lecturing birds to fly

The fragilista falls for the Soviet-Harvard delusion, the (unscientific) overestimation of the reach of scientific knowledge. Because of such delusion, he is what is called a naive rationalist, a rationalizer, or sometimes just a rationalist, in the sense that he believes that the reasons behind things are automatically accessible to him. And let us not confuse rationalizing with the rational—the two are almost always exact opposites.”

-Nassim Taleb
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

snakes

Thoughts were snakes shooting through high grasses. Now you see them, now you don’t. As you walk in the high grasses, you must take a stick and beat the ground. Scare up the snakes, pursue them to the edge of the field into the open and see them, exorcise them. You must perform this ritual now. In the middle of the night, alone with pen and paper, you sound out the snakey thoughts. You write one of those letters that’s never meant to be sent, isn’t addressed to anyone. No one’s eyes are meant to see this. This is a private ritual. The writer, the reader are trying to get as close together as possible. They are coming together, sealed in a word on a page where you’re trying to make the shooting thoughts come out in the pen. Shoot them down your arm, through your fingers, and out the end of your pen. Make them visible. You know it’s primitive: filling up a page so you can empty your mind. But you’re doing what you must: trying to let go. You’re starting by addressing yourself:”

-Constance DeJong
Modern Love

Torino dreams

Just then the alarm went off; she was awake already, thinking of so many things in the warm coziness of her bed. As dawn broke she regretted that it was now winter and you could not see the lovely colors that accompanied the sun. She wondered if Guido, who said that all colors were really one, was thinking the same thought. ‘How lovely,’ said Ginia to herself and got up.”

-Cesare Pavese
The Beautiful Summer

gone West

He has rejected a great many books that he liked before the War, as well as a great many trends in painting or music, because they have not stood the test of experience. The work of human thought should withstand the test of brutal, naked reality. If it cannot, it is worthless. Probably only those things are worth while which can preserve their validity in the eyes of man threatened with instant death.”

-Czeslaw Milosz
The Captive Mind

ink

‘… Your mother will be coming any moment now, and she’ll teach you many things.’ Eleseus is eager to learn and asks, ‘When you write on paper, what does it feel like?’—’It feels like almost nothing,’ the father answers, ‘just like being empty-handed.’—’But doesn’t he slip, like on the ice?’—’Who?’—’The pen you write with?’—’Uh-huh. Well you have to learn to steer him.'”

-Knut Hamsun
Growth of the Soil

glukupikron

It is a deadly stinginess by which the nonlover eludes desire. He measures his emotions out like a miser counting gold. There is no risk entailed in his transaction with eros because he does not invest in the single moment that is open to risk, the moment when desire begins, ‘now.’ ‘Now’ is the moment when change erupts. The nonlover declines change, as successfully as the cicadas do, enclosed in a carapace of sōphrosynē. He is secure in his narrative choices of life and love. He already knows how the novel will end, and he has firmly crossed out the beginning…

The point of time that Lysias deletes from his logos, the moment of mania when Eros enters the lover, is for Sokrates the single most important moment to confront and grasp. ‘Now’ is a gift from the gods and an access onto reality. To address yourself to the moment when Eros glances into your life and to grasp what is happening in your soul at that moment is to begin to understand how to live. Eros’ mode of takeover is an education: it can teach you the real nature of what is inside you. Once you glimpse that, you can begin to become it. Sokrates says it is a glimpse of a god.”

-Anne Carson
Eros, The Bittersweet