Thursday, October 19, 2017

The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceeding fine.

Ancient proverb coming down through Sextus Empiricus

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

These are the times we live in, in which men hide their truths, perhaps even from themselves, and live in lies, until the lies reveal those truths in ways impossible to foretell.

Salman Rushdie, The Golden House

Friday, September 29, 2017

The nation’s labor market continues to bifurcate, separating the workers lucky enough to get the high-skill jobs our economy has newly created (and get paid accordingly) from those stuck with jobs for which automation has taken away the need for skills and that therefore pay very little.

Benjamin M. Friedman, New York Review (October 12, 2017)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dedicated to My Brother Gyorgy

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?

Robert Browning

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The principal effect of [the] power [of tradition] is, so to seize and ensnare us, that it is hardly in us to disengage ourselves from its gripe, or so to come to ourselves, as to consider of and to weigh the things it enjoins.... we suck it in with our milk.

Michel de Montaigne

Friday, August 18, 2017

No one departs out of life otherwise than if he had but just before entered into it.... We should always, as near as we can, be booted and spurred, and ready to go.

Michel de Montaigne

Monday, August 14, 2017

All of our memories are subjective.... The loss of pleasure and pain is a loss of subjectivity, of an ability to relate to objects, to persons, and to oneself.... All of our memories are subjective—they are created from the point of view of the individual who is remembering.

Israel Rosenfield and Edward Ziff,  The New York Review, August 17.2017

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The same sun shines on everyone and everything, each place is as real as the next.

From an afternoon in Swaziland

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The real benefit of complex inferences like weighing uncertainty may not be apparent unless the uncertainty has complex structure.

Quoted in Science News, "There’s a long way to go in understanding the brain," 7/25/2017)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The urgent project at the moment isn’t adding more information to the cultural file; it is understanding how meaning is produced.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

That stone just keeps on rolling,
Bringing me some real bad news.
Takers get the honey,
Givers sing the blues.

Robin Trower

Sunday, July 02, 2017

A strong memory is commonly coupled with infirm judgement.

Michel de Montaigne

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Man (in good earnest) is a marvelous vain, fickle, and unstable subject, and on whom it is very hard to form any certain and uniform judgment. 

Michel de Montaigne

Friday, June 09, 2017

Virtue and ambition, unfortunately, seldom lodge together.

Michel de Montaigne

Friday, May 19, 2017

The only remedy, the only rule, and the sole doctrine for avoiding the evils by which mankind is surrounded, whatever they are, is to resolve to bear them so far as our nature permits, or to put an end to them courageously and promptly.

 Michel de Montaigne

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Many times I've wondered how much there is to know.

Jimmy Page/Robert Plant, Over the Hills and Far Away

Sunday, March 05, 2017

The Authoritarian Personality

• Rigid adherence to conventional, middle-class values.

• Submissive, uncritical attitude toward idealised moral authorities of the in-group.

• Opposition to the subjective, the imaginative, the tender-minded.

• Tendency to…condemn, reject, and punish people who violate conventional values.

• The belief in mystical determinants of the individual’s fate….

• Preoccupation with the dominance- submission, strong-weak, leader-follower dimension; identification with power figures….

• Generalized hostility, vilification of the human.

• The disposition to believe that wild and dangerous things go on in the world; the projection outwards of unconscious emotional impulses.

• Exaggerated concern with sexual “goings-on.”

From a March 23, 2017 New York Review piece on the Frankfurt School:

Friday, March 03, 2017

The real objective must always be the good life for all the people.  International machinery will mean something to the common man throughout the world only when it is translated into terms that he can understand: peace, bread, housing, clothing, education, good health, and above all, the right to walk with dignity on the world's great boulevards.

Ralph J. Bunche, Mont Tremblant, Canada (1942)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Voices in My Head

[W]hat a meditative poem contributes to the history of consciousness is a reenactment in real time of the volatile inner life of a human being. Such a poem does not present itself as plot or character portrayal or argument, but rather ... as a hypothesis .... and include[s] waverings, self-contradictions, repudiations, aspirations, and doubts; they are not offered as a philosophical system.

Helen Vendler,  The New York Review of Books (February 23, 2017)

Monday, January 16, 2017

The first step in dealing with the madness of the political world is not to let it make you crazy.... Fanaticism always seems foolish until it locks you up.

Adam Gopnik, Mixed Up: Montaigne On Trial (New Yorker, Jan 16, 2017)