atoms and the void and nothing else
All speculation – all science, all morality, all attempts to fashion a life worth living – must start and end with a comprehension of the invisible seeds of things: atoms and the void and nothing else.
Stephen Greenblatt – THE SWERVE – How the World Became Modern
...that lighthearted balloon, the world
I believe in movement. I believe in that lighthearted balloon, the world.
Patti Smith – M Train
Oh what a life this is
Oh what a life this is! Why do we have to be born in the first place, and only so we can have our poor gentle flesh laid out to such impossible horrors as huge mountains and rock and empty space?
Jack Kerouac – The Dharma Bums
The Wrong Kind of Bars
I don’t like jails, they got the wrong kind of bars in there.
I hate flowers
I hate flowers – I paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move.
The stronghold of man’s enslavement
Religion, the dominion of the human mind; Property, the dominion of human needs; and Government, the dominion of human conduct, represent the stronghold of man’s enslavement and all the horrors it entails.
Emma Goldman (1869-1940)
Let us all be friends for once
Come, let us all be friends for once
Let us make life easy on us,
Let us be lovers and loved ones,
The earth shall be left to no one.
Yunus Emre, Turkish, 1240-1320(?)
Concerning mighty things
I teach concerning mighty things,
And go right on to loose from round the mind
The tightened coils of dread Religion
– Lucretius, On the Nature of Things
No man took thought of the common good
Thus the city (Florence, 1497) was openly divided: in the public councils one faction fought against the other, and as happens in divided cities, no man took thought of the common good, so intent was he upon smashing his adversary’s reputation.
― Francesco Guicciardini, The History of Italy
The hills are old
Viejo los cerros, y aun todavia enverdecen. (The hills are old, but they still turn green.)
― Mexican saying
Invisible molecular moral forces
I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny, invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man’s pride.
― William James
Long live the world
Long live the world which is so very funny to live in! What meaning to the living world had that little box of decomposing flesh? None. How insignificant is man in the universe, how insignificant his worries, his wars, his struggles, his ambitions, his trying to outwit his competitors! What is left of the great Caesar? There would be one Rome just the same, Caesar or no Caesar. Perhaps it would not be on the river Tiber, but there would be one Rome. What will be left tomorrow of the dozen little Caesars of today who think that they can build up a new world and terrify mankind? What are all the wars and dictatorships and bolshevisms for if finally men always end up by doing what is best for them, great men or not? So then why not enjoy life, love, merriment? And if some day you cannot enjoy them any longer, die and be forgotten and leave no ghosts behind. That’s paradise.
– B. Traven, The Bridge in the Jungle
We collect it
Surrealists, who aspire to be cultural radicals, even revolutionaries, have often been under the well-intentioned illusion that they could be, indeed should be, Marxists. But Surrealist aestheticism is too suffused with irony to be compatible with the twentieth century’s most seductive form of moralism. Marx reproached philosophy for only trying to understand the world rather than trying to change it. Photographers, operating within the terms of the Surrealist sensibility, suggest the vanity of even trying to understand the world and instead propose that we collect it.
– Susan Sontag, On Photography
...it is his duty to do so
A man has not only a right to express his thoughts, but it is his duty to do so.
Percy Byshe Shelly, Declaration of Rights
Racial prejudice has no place in this country.
The Lone Ranger, 1956
Dance with them
Watch a butterfly dance. Watch the fireflies dance. Watch the lights on the water dance. Let your heart dance with them.
― Yoko Ono, Twitter
Contradictory social realities
Gender, race, or class consciousness is an achievement forced on us by the terrible historical experience of the contradictory social realities of patriarchy, colonialism, racism and capitalism.
― Donna Haraway, A Manifesto for Cyborgs
Evolution is the author of its spontaneous creations
In this regard, we do not need to explain away the subjective experience. We are what we experience ourselves to be. Our self-experience of intentions and “will” are not epiphenomenal illusions. They are what we should expect an evolutionlike process to feel like!
THE SYMBOLIC SPECIES
The co-evolution of language and the brain
Terrence W. Deacon