Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Now is now!  There is never more to experience than this single "now", which recurs at an interval exactly one second in length.

Jack Vance, Tales of the Dying Earth

 See also:   http://everythingrum.blogspot.com/2013/09/moments-in-time-and-consciousness.html

Thursday, November 16, 2017

In truth, knowledge is not so absolutely necessary as judgment; the last may make shift without the other, but the other never without this.

Michel de Montaigne

Monday, November 13, 2017

What shall we do tomorrow? What shall we ever do?...

Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
And the profit and loss.
                                   A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
                                   Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Weber was wrong: the modern world is not disenchanted (even if secularists pretend otherwise) but a continuation of Christianity by other means. Whether liberal, communist, fascist, or authoritarian, every polity relies to one degree or another on the persistence of charismatic authority and the (usually disguised) theological legitimation of political power.

Benjamin Nathans on Yuri Slezkine'd  The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution in the New York Review of November 23, 2017

See also Freud and Plato - The Politics of the Soul (Pt 1)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

About Filling A Commonplace Book?

I go here and there, culling out of several books the sentences that best please me, not to keep them (for I have no memory to retain them in), but to transplant them into this; where, to say the truth, they are no more mine than in their first places. 

Michel de Montaigne

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Even in our counsels and deliberations there must, certainly, be something of chance and good-luck mixed with human prudence; for all that our wisdom can do alone is no great matter; the more piercing, quick, and apprehensive it is, the weaker it finds itself, and is by so much more apt to mistrust itself.... [Given] the shortsightedness of human wisdom...the surest way, in my opinion, did no other consideration invite us to it, is to pitch upon that wherein is the greatest appearance of honesty and justice; and not, being certain of the shortest, to keep the straightest and most direct way.

Michel de Montaigne

Sunday, October 22, 2017

We are, as we have always been, dangerous creatures, the enemies of our own happiness. But the only help we have ever found for this, the only melioration, is in mutual reverence. God’s grace comes to us unmerited, the theologians say. But the grace we could extend to one another we consider it best to withhold in very many cases, presumptively, or in the absence of what we consider true or sufficient merit (we being more particular than God), or because few gracious acts, if they really deserve the name, would stand up to a cost-benefit analysis. This is not the consequence of a new atheism, or a systemic materialism that afflicts our age more than others. It is good old human meanness, which finds its terms and pretexts in every age. The best argument against human grandeur is the meagerness of our response to it, paradoxically enough.

Marilynne Robinson, New York Review (November , 2017)