"I had not seen her for two years, and I saw her now, not as she was, but as she had been; I saw us both as we had been, because a mysterious Ezekiel had made the sun turn back to the days of our youth. The sun turned back, I shook off all my miseries, and this handful of dust, soon to be scattered in the eternity of nothingness, became stronger than time, stronger than the minister of death."
— The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by Macado de Assis
what’s the balance between hope for/argument for the ideal and necessity for/argument for a contingency plan?
can guilt be bottomless (a rabbit’s hole/infinite doorways)?
should i “turn off” the news?
are works or art responsible for ignorant audiences?
is jealousy not a sympathizable emotion? more so than envy?
do you agree that universality is not only compatible with but necessary in order to provoke empathy?
what is the meaning of a tidal wave?
"A wine shop was open and I went in for some coffee. It smelled of early morning, of swept dust, spoons in coffee-glasses and the wet circles left by wine glasses."
— A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
(Source: goodreads.com, via introspectivepoet)
"Unwilling to concede the negation of the other as the moment of its obliteration in a void, Hegel insists upon a “positive” remainder for it. Hence Hegel simultaneously validates the other as bearing a “positive” content while also functioning as the negative reflection of the self that in effect doubly jeopardizes the position of the other as such. With respect to the self, the other can be identified as an other solely in terms of its difference from the self, as a negation of the self, as that something that the self is not, what ever else the other may be. After the self is able to realize its negation as constituted in the other, the existence of this other is only valuable to the self as long as the self is able to suppress the other and turn inward and contemplate the determinateness of its own existence. In so doing the self, as per Hegel’s schema, is free to consume the other in itself by acknowledging the other’s newly known positive content and thereby grant the other a not so autonomous position of importance only in so far as this other has facilitated the determination of the self by virtue of its negativity. Yet again Hegel clarifies this secondary status accorded the other as it makes possible the determinate realization of the self. Hegel explains the other as an “alien power” that enables the movement of the self inward, towards itself, but only after its otherness has been consumed by the self, “within itself.”"
— "Hegel-Marx: The ‘Other’ Logic of Unproductive Labor" by Mrinalini Chakravorty
"In point of fact, however, slavery and oppression may well have made black people more human and more American while it has made white people less human and less American. Anyway, Negroes have as much reason to think so as to think otherwise. It is the political behavior of black activists, not that of norm-calibrated Americans, that best represents the spirit of such constitutional norm-ideals as freedom, justice, equality, fair representation, and democratic processes. Black Americans, not Americans devoted to whiteness, exemplify the open disposition toward change, diversity, unsettled situations, new structures and experience, that are pre-requisite to the highest level of citizenship. Black not white or even somewhat white Americans display the greatest willingness to adjust to the obvious consequences of those contemporary innovations in communication and transportation facilities whose networks have in effect shrunk the world to one pluralistic community in which the most diverse people are now neighbors. It is Negroes, not the median of the white population, who act as if the United States is such a world in miniature. It is the non-conforming Negro who now acts like the true descendant of the Founding Fathers—who cries ‘Give me liberty or give me death,’ and who regards taxation without representation as tyranny. It is the norm-oriented white American who becomes the rednecked progeny of the Red Coats, and yells, ‘Disperse, ye rebels.’ It is the white American who, in the name of law and order, now sanctions measures (including the stock piling of armor piercing weapons to be used against American citizens) that are more in keeping with the objectives of a police state than those of an open society."
The Omni-Americans by Albert Murray
Happy fourth of July my fellow Americanos.
"His passage through literature left a trail of blood and several questions posed by a mute. It also left one or two silent replies."
— Nazi Literature in the Americas by Roberto Bolano
An eye shouldn’t look through (past) a lens in search of a photograph, but with the lens. The vision of camera lens is essentially distinct from the anatomical lens of the eye. An appreciation of this distinction clarifies the difference between amateurish, bad, or “normal” pictures from art and photography. What is a beautiful arrangement to the eye will probably not become a beautiful photograph, that is, without a rearrangement into what is beautiful within the frame of a camera. That is why one thousand pictures a day can be taken from the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower, or along the Great Wall of China, or walking down the sidewalk on Madison Avenue and the result will occur to the viewer as banal and frustrating. The moment, as we knew it, is not reproduced in the photograph because the elements were not refined by the means of artistic production (the camera).
This is especially important to recognize if we still mistakenly believe that artistic photographs do, in fact, reproduce our moments. We can glean information from any stock or instagram photo, but the object photograph is inconsequential—it is less a photograph (an artistic object) and more a picture (a visual aid). In this unrefined form, specific individuals might still associate meaning and emotion with the photo, but typically that emotion and meaning is refracted from the subject of the photo, which is specific or vernacular (a picture of us with a relative, a snapshot from our first hour in Istanbul, etc.) and not universal (and refracted not only from the specific subject but from the artistic object). Even the universally recognizable subjects of a piece of photojournalism—dead bodies, siege, catastrophe—are not messengers of consciousness but of information, not of beauty but of dissemination, which distinguishes them again from the artistic photograph.
"Night, you rained
Serrated shadows through dank leaves
Till, bathed in warm suffusion of your dappled cells
Sensations pained me, faceless, silent as night thieves.
Hide me now, when night children haunt the earth
I must hear none! These misted cells will yet
Undo me; naked, unbidden, at night’s muted birth."
— From the poem, 'Night' by Nigerian poet, Wole Soyinka.