Quotation

No Comment, Quotation — March 23, 2012, 2:17 pm

Merton: The Distortion of Dogma

It seems a little strange that we [Catholics] are so wildly exercised about the “murder” (and the word is of course correct) of an unborn infant by abortion, or even the prevention of conception which is hardly murder, and yet accept without a qualm the extermination of millions of helpless and innocent adults, some of whom may be Christians and even our friends rather than our enemies. I submit that we ought to fulfill the one without omitting the other. —Thomas Merton, Cold War Letters, p. 38 (letter to Dorothy Day, Dec. 20, 1961). The U.S. Department of Health and …

No Comment, Quotation — February 13, 2012, 10:18 am

Schopenhauer: Causality and Synchronicity

Alle Ereignisse im Leben eines Menschen standen demnach in zwei grundverschiedenen Arten des Zusammenhangs: erstlich, im objektiven, kausalen Zusammenhange des Naturlaufs; zweitens, in einem subjektiven Zusammenhange, der nur in Beziehung auf das sie erlebende Individuum vorhanden und so subjektiv wie dessen eigene Träume ist, in welchem jedoch ihre Succession und Inhalt ebenfalls nothwendig bestimmt ist, aber in der Art, wie die Succession der Scenen eines Drama‘s, durch den Plan des Dichters. Daß nun jene beiden Arten des Zusammenhangs zugleich bestehn und die nämliche Begebenheit, als ein Glied zweier ganz verschiedener Ketten, doch beiden sich genau einfügt, in Folge wovon jedes …

No Comment, Quotation — January 23, 2012, 10:41 am

Lessing: In Praise of Laziness

Faulheit, jetzo will ich dir Auch ein kleines Loblied bringen.— O—wie—sau—er—wird es mir,— Dich—nach Würden—zu besingen! Doch, ich will mein Bestes tun, Nach der Arbeit ist gut ruhn.   Höchstes Gut! wer dich nur hat, Dessen ungestörtes Leben— Ach!—ich—gähn’—ich—werde matt— Nun—so—magst du—mir’s vergeben, Daß ich dich nicht singen kann; Du verhinderst mich ja dran.   Laziness, now I’ll sing you A little song of praise, Oh what a challenge it will be To craft a song worthy of you But I’ll do my best For after work comes the soundest rest.   The highest good! He who possesses you Will …

No Comment, Quotation — January 16, 2012, 11:07 am

Martin Luther King Jr.: Nonviolence and the Struggle Between Rich and Poor

The emergency we now face is economic, and it is a desperate and worsening situation. For the 35 million poor people in America—not even to mention, just yet, the poor in other nations—there is a kind of strangulation in the air. In our society it is murder, psychologically, to deprive a man of a job or an income. You are in substance saying to that man that he has no right to exist. You are in a real way depriving him of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, denying in his case the very creed of his society. Now, …

No Comment, Quotation — January 13, 2012, 11:38 am

Donne: An Anatomy of the World

And new philosophy calls all in doubt, The element of fire is quite put out, The sun is lost, and th’ earth, and no man’s wit Can well direct him where to look for it. And freely men confess that this world’s spent, When in the planets and the firmament They seek so many new; they see that this Is crumbled out again to his atomies. ‘Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone, All just supply, and all relation; Prince, subject, father, son, are things forgot, For every man alone thinks he hath got To be a phoenix, and that …

No Comment, Quotation — December 28, 2011, 7:26 pm

Tolstoy: The Chain of Ideas that Constitutes Art

??? ??? ?????? ????? ????? ??????, ??? ?????????, ???? ????????? ??? ????. ??????, ??? ???? ?? ?? ???? ?????? ???????, ?? ????? ?? ????????? ? ??, ?????????? ?????????, ???? ?? ???????. ?????? ??, ??????, ??? ????? 9/10 ????? ????????? ???? ???????, ?? ??? ??????? ????????? ????? ????, ??????? ?? ?????????? ??????????? ??????????? ?????? ? ?????????????? ???????????? ? ????????? ?????????? ?? ????????? ? ??? ??????????? ????????? ?????????, ? ??????? ? ??????? ???????? ?????????, ? ? ??? ???????, ??????? ?????? ?????????? ???? ?????????. ? ???? ??????? ?????? ??? ???????? ? ? ????????? ????? ???????? ??, ??? ? ???? ???????, ?? ? ?? …

No Comment, Quotation — November 23, 2011, 11:42 am

Quesnay: The Despotism of Natural Law

Les loix naturelles et fondamentales des sociétés sont la règle souveraine et decisive du juste et de l’injuste absolu, du bien et du mal moral, elles s’impriment dans le cœur des hommes, elles sont la lumière qui les éclaire et maîtrise leur conscience: cette lumière n’est affaiblie ou obscurcie que par leurs passions déréglées. Le principal objet des loix positives est ce dérèglement même auquel elles oposent une sanction redoubtable aux hommes pervers: car en gros de quoi s’agit-it pour la prospérité d’une nation? De cultiver la terre avec le plus grand succès possible et de preserver la société des …

No Comment, Quotation — November 18, 2011, 4:43 pm

Leopardi: The Eve of the Feast Day

Ecco è fuggito Il dì festivo, ed al festivo il giorno Volgar succede, e si travolge il tempo Ogni umano accidente. Or dov’è ’l suono Di que’ popoli antichi? or dov’è ’l grido De’ nostri avi famosi, e ’l grande impero Di quella Roma, e l’armi, e ’l fragorio Che n’andò per la terra e l’oceano? Tutto è silenzio e pace, e tutto cheto È ’l mondo, e più di lor non si favella. Ne la mia prima età, quando s’aspetta Bramosamente il dì festivo, or poscia Ch’egli era spento, io doloroso e desto Premea le piume; e per la …

No Comment, Quotation — October 21, 2011, 1:13 pm

Plato — The Origins of Democracy

?????? ?? ? ???????? ????? ??????? ??????, ?????? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???? ?????????? ???? ????? ????? ????????, ??? ????????? ?????? ?? ????????? ??? ???????? ????: ?????? ????? ??? ??????? ???? ??????????? ?? ?????, ??? ???????? ??? ??????? ??? ????????? ??? ???????? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ??????. ???? ?? ??????????????? ???? ????? ???????? ????? ????????, ?????? ?? ??? ????: ????????? ??? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ?? ??????? ????? ???????????? ?????, ??? ? ??????????? ????? ?????? ???? ??? ?????? ????? ?????? ??, ???? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ??????? ?????? — ????????? ??? ?????? ???? ?????, ?? ????? ???????? — ??????? …

No Comment, Quotation — September 2, 2011, 12:39 pm

Shakespeare/Morley — “O Mistress Mine”

O Mistress mine, where are you roaming? O, stay and hear; your true love’s coming, That can sing both high and low: Trip no further, pretty sweeting; Journeys end in lovers meeting, Every wise man’s son doth know. What is love? ’Tis not hereafter; Present mirth hath present laughter; What’s to come is still unsure: In delay there lies not plenty; Then, come kiss me, sweet and twenty, Youth’s a stuff will not endure. —William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, II, iii (1602) These lines are sung by Feste, one of the more complex comic foils to appear in a Shakespearean work. …

No Comment, Quotation — August 18, 2011, 2:32 pm

Solov'ëv and the Eternal Struggle with Evil

Ka?e?c?, o? ?????. ??o ?e?c????e???o cy?ec??ye?, ? o?o ??pa?ae?c? ?e ? o??o? o?cy?c???? ?o?pa, a ? ?o?o???e???o? c??po????e??? ? ?epe?ece ?????x ?a?ec?? ?a? ??c???? ?o ?cex o??ac??x ?????. Ec?? ??o ???????ya???oe — o?o ??pa?ae?c? ? ?o?, ??o ????a? c??po?a ?e?o?e?a, c?o?c??e ? ??epc??e c?pac?? ?po?????c? ?y???? c?pe??e???? ?y?? u ocu?u?a?m ux ? o?po??o? ?o?????c??e ???e?. Ec?? ??o o??ec??e??oe — o?o ? ?o?, ??o ???c?a? ?o??a, ???????ya???o ?opa?o?e??a? ??y, ?po?????c? c?ac??e????? yc????? ?e??o??x ?y???x ???e? ? o?o?e?ae? ?x; ec??, ?a?o?e?, ??o ?????ec?oe ? ?e?o?e?e — ? ?o?, ??? ?????e ?a?ep?a????e ??e?e??? e?o ?e?a co?po???????c? ???o? ? c?e??o? c??e, c?????a??e? ?x ? …

No Comment, Quotation — April 24, 2011, 5:39 am

Johnson – The Vanity of Human Wishes

Let Observation with extensive View, Survey Mankind, from China to Peru; Remark each anxious Toil, each eager Strife, And watch the busy Scenes of crouded Life; Then say how Hope and Fear, Desire and Hate, O’er spread with Snares the clouded Maze of Fate, Where wav’ring Man, betray’d by vent’rous Pride, To tread the dreary Paths without a Guide; As treach’rous Phantoms in the Mist delude, Shuns fancied Ills, or chases airy Good. How rarely Reason guides the stubborn Choice, Rules the bold Hand, or prompts the suppliant Voice, How Nations sink, by darling Schemes oppres’d, When Vengeance listens to …

No Comment, Quotation — April 23, 2011, 9:23 am

Barth – Standing with the Downtrodden

In diesem Zusammenhang wird es nun wichtig, daß als das Volk, dem Gott sich in seiner Gerechtigkeit als Helfer und Retter zuwendet, im Alten Testament durchweg das bedrängte, unterdrückte, recht- und hilfslose, das ohne ihn der Übergewalt seiner Feinde preisgegebene, das aus eigener Kraft ohnmächtige Israel sichtbar wird und innerhalb Israels im Besonderen: die Armen, die Witwen und Waisen, die Schwachen und Rechtlosen. Der Sproß aus der Wurzel Isai «wird Wohlgefallen haben an der Furcht des Herrn. Er wird nicht richten nach dem, was seine Augen sehen, noch Recht sprechen nach dem, was seine Ohren hören», d. h. offenbar: er …

No Comment, Quotation — April 3, 2011, 7:15 am

Al-Shabi – To the Tyrants of the World

??? ???? ?????? ??????? ???? ?????? ??? ?????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ? ??? ???? ??? ?????? ? ???? ??? ????? ?? ???? ????? ?? ?????? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ????? ??? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ???? ???? ?????? ?????? ? ?? ???? ????? ??? ?????? ???? ????? ??? ???? ???? ????? ? ???? ????? ? ???? ????? ??? ?????? ?????? ????? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ?????? ? ????? ?????? ??????? Hey you, the unfair tyrants… You the lovers of the darkness… You the enemies of life… …

No Comment, Quotation — April 2, 2011, 9:18 am

Constant – The Faulty Judgment of the Powerful

Il y a dans le pouvoir quelque chose qui fausse plus ou moins le jugement. Les chances d’erreur de la force sont multipliées que celles de la faiblesse. La force trouve ses ressources en elle-même. La faiblesse a besoin de raison. Toutes choses égales, il est toujours vraisemblable que les gouvernants auront des opinions moins justes, moins saines, moines impartiales que les gouvernés. There is something about power that distorts judgments more or less. The chances that a powerful person will make an error are much greater than those of a weak person. Power has recourse to its own resources. …

No Comment, Quotation — February 13, 2011, 6:48 am

The Life of Wolkenstein

Es fügt sich, do ich was von zehen jaren alt ich wolt besehen, wie die werlt wer gestalt. mit ellend, armüt mangen winkel, haiss und kalt hab ich gebawt bei cristen, Kriechen, haiden. Drei pfenning in dem peutel und ain stücklin brot, das was von haim mein zerung, do ich loff in not. von fremden freunden so hab ich manchen tropfen rot gelassen seider, das ich wand verschaiden. Ich loff ze füss mit swerer büss, bis das mir starb mein vatter, zwar wol vierzen jar nie ross erwarb, wann aines roupt, stal ich halbs zu mal mit valber varb und …

No Comment, Quotation — February 12, 2011, 11:44 am

Planck on Science’s Commitment to Truth

Sollte aber Ihr ehrliches, durch mehrfache Proben bewährtes Streben Ihnen mit Entschiedenheit besondere, von den bisherigen abweichende Wege weisen, dann—folgen Sie Ihrer eigenen Überzeugung mehr als jeder anderen. Denn diese ist und bleibt Ihr höchstes, köstlichstes Gut, so gewiß als die Heranbildung zur wissenschaftlichen Selbständigkeit das schönste Ziel des akademischen Unterrichts bildet, und so gewiß eine in redlicher Arbeit erworbene eigene wissenschaftliche Überzeugung einen festen Ankergrund angibt, um auch der sittlichen Weltanschauung allen den möglichen Wechselfällen des Lebens gegenüber den nötigen Halt zu gewähren. Die edelste unter den sittlichen Blüten der Wissenschaft und zugleich auch ihre eigentümlichste ist ohne Zweifel …

No Comment, Quotation — January 16, 2011, 11:07 am

Fet/Rachmaninoff – In the Mysterious Silence of the Night

?, ????? ???? ?, ? ???????? ???? ??????, ???????? ????? ????, ??????, ???? ?????????, ??????? ????????? ????? ?????? ????? ?? ?????? ???????? ? ????? ?????????; ???? ?????????, ????, ????? ?? ??????, ?????? ? ????? ???????? ???????, ?????? ???? ????? ?????????? ????? ? ??????, ??????? ??????????? ??; ??????? ? ?????????? ????? ????????? ????? ???? ? ?????, ??????????? ????????, ? ? ?????????, ????????? ???, ???????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ????. Oh, I will spend long moments, in the mysterious silence of the night, driving from my mind thoughts of your insidious chatter, your smile, your gaze, a casual look, the hair that obeyed …

No Comment, Quotation — January 15, 2011, 3:20 pm

Burke on Sharia Law

On one side, your lordships have the prisoner declaring that the people have no laws, no rights, no usages, no distinctions of rank, no sense of honor, no property; in short that they are nothing but a herd of slaves to be governed by the arbitrary will of a master. On the other side, we assert that the direct contrary of this is true. And to prove out assertion we have referred you to the institutes of Ghinges Khân and of Tamerlane: we have referred you to the Mahomedan law, which is binding upon all, from the crowned head to …

No Comment, Quotation — December 26, 2010, 2:21 pm

Monteverdi – Beatus vir

Beatus vir qui timet Dominum: In mandates ejus volet nimis. Potens in terra erit semen ejus Benedicetur generatio rectorum, Gloria et divitiae in domo ejus: et justitia ejus manet in saeculum saeculi. Exortum est in tenebris lumen rectis misericors, miserator et justus. Jucundus homo qui miseretur et commodat, disponet sermones suos in judicio: quia in aeternum non commovebitur. In memoria aeterna, ab auditione mala non timebit. Paratum cor ejus confirmatum est, non commovebitur donec despiciat inimicos suos Dispersit dedit pauperibus, justitia ejus manet in saeculum saeculi cornu ejus exaltabitur in gloria. Peccator videbit, et irascetur dentibus suis, fremet et tabescet: …

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That year, the year of the Ghost Ship fire, I lived in a shack. I’d found the place just as September’s Indian summer was giving way to a wet October. There was no plumbing or running water to wash my hands or brush my teeth before sleep. Electricity came from an extension cord that snaked through a yard of coyote mint and monkey flower and up into a hole I’d drilled in my floorboards. The structure was smaller than a cell at San Quentin—a tiny house or a huge coffin, depending on how you looked at it—four by eight and ten feet tall, so cramped it fit little but a mattress, my suit jackets and ties, a space heater, some novels, and the mason jar I peed in.

The exterior of my hermitage was washed the color of runny egg yolk. Two redwood French doors with plexiglass windows hung cockeyed from creaky hinges at the entrance, and a combination lock provided meager security against intruders. White beadboard capped the roof, its brim shading a front porch set on cinder blocks.

After living on the East Coast for eight years, I’d recently left New York City to take a job at an investigative reporting magazine in San Francisco. If it seems odd that I was a fully employed editor who lived in a thirty-two-square-foot shack, that’s precisely the point: my situation was evidence of how distorted the Bay Area housing market had become, the brutality inflicted upon the poor now trickling up to everyone but the super-rich. The problem was nationwide, although, as Californians tend to do, they’d taken this trend to an extreme. Across the state, a quarter of all apartment dwellers spent half of their incomes on rent. Nearly half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population lived in California, even while the state had the highest concentration of billionaires in the nation. In the Bay Area, including West Oakland, where my shack was located, the crisis was most acute. Tent cities had sprung up along the sidewalks, swarming with capitalism’s refugees. Telegraph, Mission, Market, Grant: every bridge and overpass had become someone’s roof.

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I am eight years old, sitting in my childhood kitchen, ready to watch one of the home videos my father has made. The videotape still exists somewhere, so somewhere she still is, that girl on the screen: hair that tangles, freckles across her nose that in time will spread across one side of her forehead. A body that can throw a baseball the way her father has shown her. A body in which bones and hormones lie in wait, ready to bloom into the wide hips her mother has given her. A body that has scars: the scars over her lungs and heart from the scalpel that saved her when she was a baby, the invisible scars left by a man who touched her when she was young. A body is a record or a body is freedom or a body is a battleground. Already, at eight, she knows it to be all three.

But somebody has slipped. The school is putting on the musical South Pacific, and there are not enough roles for the girls, and she is as tall as or taller than the boys, and so they have done what is unthinkable in this striving 1980s town, in this place where the men do the driving and the women make their mouths into perfect Os to apply lipstick in the rearview. For the musical, they have made her a boy.

No, she thinks. They have allowed her to be a boy.

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The writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes lives in a nondescript modern building in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. I know it well: it has a Bricorama—like a French Home Depot—on the ground floor, where we sometimes had cause to shop back when we lived in the neighborhood. The people who work there seemed to hate their jobs more than most; they were often absent from the sales floor. In the elevator to Despentes’s apartment, I marvel that while I was trying to get someone to help me find bathroom grout she was right upstairs, with her partner, Tania, a Spanish tattoo artist who goes by the name La Rata, like someone out of one of Despentes’s novels.

In an email before our meeting, Despentes asked that we not do a photo shoot. “There are so many images available already,” she explained. Much had been written about her, too. A Google search yielded page after page: profiles, interviews, reviews, bits and bobs—she read from Pasolini at a concert with Béatrice Dalle; someone accused her of plagiarizing a translation; a teacher in Switzerland was fired for teaching her work. The week I met her, she appeared in the culture magazine Les Inrockuptibles in conversation with the rapper-turned-actor JoeyStarr. The woman is simply always in the news.

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That night at the window, looking out at the street full of snow, big flakes falling through the streetlight, I listened to what Anna was saying. She was speaking of a man named Karl. We both knew him as a casual acquaintance—thin and lanky like Ichabod Crane, with long hair—operating a restaurant down in the village whimsically called the Gist Mill, with wood paneling, a large painting of an old gristmill on a river on one wall, tin ceilings, and a row of teller cages from its previous life as a bank. Karl used to run along the river, starting at his apartment in town and turning back about two miles down the path. He had been going through the divorce—this was a couple of years ago, of course, Anna said—and was trying to run through his pain.

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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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