Monday, October 26, 2015

[Pericles] told them to wait quietly, to pay attention to their marine, to attempt no new conquests, and to expose the city to no hazards during the war, and doing this, promised them a favourable result. What they did was the very contrary, allowing private ambitions and private interests, in matters apparently quite foreign to the war, to lead them into projects unjust both to themselves and to their allies— projects whose success would only conduce to the honour and advantage of private persons, and whose failure entailed certain disaster on the country in the war.... each grasping at supremacy, they ended by committing even the conduct of state affairs to the whims of the multitude.

Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Or as [John Gray] put it in Straw Dogs:  The destruction of the natural world is not the result of global capitalism, industralisation, 'Western civilization' or any flaw in human institutions.  It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate."

David Bromwich, "Are We ‘Exceptionally Rapacious Primates’?", The New York Review of Books (November 5, 2015)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Human beings ... may be divided simply into those who know they are acting and those who do not. True philosophers belong to the first group. The second encompasses, among others, utopian capitalists and Communists, the fanatics of the religious wars of the seventeenth century and the jihadists of the twenty-first.

David Bromwich, "Are We ‘Exceptionally Rapacious Primates’?", The New York Review of Books (November 5, 2015)

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Why are we so often awake? What is the purpose of being awake? I mean, besides for ten minutes of eating, a little bit of romance. Once that’s over, why are we not immediately again asleep?”

Rivka Galchen, Usl at the Stadium (The New Yorker, October 12, 2015)