Posts in: Quote posts

Really illuminating post by James Shelley (via @patrickrhone):

Whether papyrus or the internet, humans doggedly write for influence, status, wealth, conviction, and pleasure. But the so-called sanctity of “authorship” is only a very recent idea. These “rights” of authorship are only true if they are enforced. They are a kind of fiction that only make sense in occasional times, places, and cultures. For the next chapter of the human experiment, I wonder if “authorship” will again recede into the background, as it often seems to do in times of disruptive changes in communication technology.

But the banishment of the author doesn’t mean writing ends. Writers still write even when “authorship” functionally means nothing. And what they write still influences their world, with or without the universe dutifully paying homage to their bylines. In the long arcs of history, what is written typically goes on to mean much more than who wrote it. The future, like today, is built on ideas, not on the people who had them, because people die but ideas never stop evolving.

As we used to say, read the whole thing. I’m particularly struck by his invocation of ancient anonymous and pseudonymous works. It’s the ideas that matter, less so the author.

Adam Kotsko, “The Information Environment: Toward a Deeper Enshittification Thesis”:

The near-total context collapse we are now experiencing was already baked into the workings of the Mosaic web browser and the dream of the “information age” that it encapsulates. Information does want to be free, as it turns out — free of context, free of pleasure, free of empathy, even free of comprehension. The effort to just cut to the chase and give us the information has actively destroyed the conditions for understanding and using that information in an intelligent way.

Wendell Berry, Hannah Coulter:

There can be places in this world, and in human hearts too, that are opposite to war. There is a kind of life that is opposite to war, so far as this world allows it to be.

Wendell Berry, Hannah Coulter:

The living can’t quit living because the world has turned terrible and people they love and need are killed. They can’t because they don’t. The light that shines in darkness and never goes out calls them on into life. It calls them back again into the great room [of love]. It calls them into their bodies and into the world, into whatever the world will require. It calls them into work and pleasure, goodness and beauty, and the company of other loved ones.

… No big happiness came to me yet, but little happinesses did come, and they came from ordinary pleasures in ordinary things: the baby, sunlight, breezes, animals and birds, daily work, rest when I was tired, food, strands of fog in the hollows early in the morning, butterflies, flowers. The flowers didn’t have to be dahlias and roses either, but just the weeds blooming in the fields, the daisies and the yarrow. I began to trust the world again, not to give me what I wanted, for I saw that it could not be trusted to do that, but to give unforeseen goods and pleasures that I had not thought to want.

Catching up on @dwalbert’s “Road to Jockey’s Ridge” this morning. Loved this from “The Changeable Woods":

I walked the same acre of woods every day for seven years, and a trail by a river almost every week for about that long, and the light of each discovery was, like the stars in the sky, one more pinprick in the vast darkness of my ignorance. I learned enough to feel my way along familiar paths; I had an idea what to expect and when to expect it, but I was often enough surprised. And that was one place. Give me a different forest on a given day, say spruce pine forest on a mountainside in early June, and it’s just a pretty picture again. Having come to know one place over months and years, you may at least sense the changeability of another, merely in passing, even if you don’t understand it. You know, at least, that the snapshot is only a snapshot. You know enough to wonder. But even to know that much requires sustained attention.

Wendell Berry, “It All Turns on Affection”:

For humans to have a responsible relationship to the world, they must imagine their places in it. To have a place, to live and belong to a place, to live from a place without destroying it, we must imagine it. By imagination we see it illuminated by its own unique character and by our love for it. By imagination we recognize with sympathy the fellow members, human and nonhuman, with whom we share our place. By that local experience we see the need to grant a sort of preemptive sympathy to all the fellow members, the neighbors, with whom we share the world. As imagination enables sympathy, sympathy enables affection. And in affection we find the possibility of a neighborly, kind, and conserving economy.

Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow (p248):

All I can answer is that I did love her all her life—from the time before I ever saw her, it seems, and until she died. I do love her all her life, and still, and always. That is my answer, but in fact love does not answer any argument. It answers all arguments, merely by turning away, leaving them to find what rest they can.

That’s certainly one of the most beautiful things you’ll read all week.

James Hillman, “The Poetic Basis of Mind”:

Because symptoms lead to soul, the cure of symptoms may also cure away soul, get rid of just what is beginning to show, at first tortured and crying for help, comfort, and love, but which is the soul in the neurosis trying to make itself heard, trying to impress the stupid and stubborn mind–that impotent mule which insists on going its unchanging obstinate way. The right reaction to a symptom may as well be a welcoming rather than laments and demands for remedies, for the symptom is the first herald of an awakening psyche which will not tolerate any more abuse. Through the symptom the psyche demands attention. Attention means attending to, tending, a certain tender care of, as well as waiting, pausing, listening. It takes a span of time and a tension of patience. Precisely what each symptom needs is time and tender care and attention. Just this same attitude is what the soul needs in order to be felt and heard. So it is often little wonder that it takes a breakdown, an actual illness, for someone to report the most extraordinary experiences of, for instance, a new sense of time, of patience and waiting, and in the language of religious experience, of coming to the center, coming to oneself, letting go and coming home.

Alan Jacobs:

If you’re reading the news several times a day, you’re not being informed, you’re being stimulated.