Overweening Generalist

Sunday, May 22, 2011

23 Quotes, Strategically Arranged, From The Files (Perspective From Incongruity?)

1. "Before judging any proposition as true or false, you should not only ask if it might better be called indeterminate or meaningless or self-reflexive of a 'local' Game Rule, but also if it is part of a Strange Loop that may make you appear crazy if you try to live with it." - Robert Anton Wilson, found in The Fringes of Reason, p.173

2. "How we organize our world reflects not only the world but also our interests, our passions, our needs, our dreams." - David Weinberger, Everything Is Miscellaneous, p.40

3. "It must be recognized that here we are dealing with a purely symbolic procedure...Hence our whole space-time view of physical phenomena depends ultimately upon these abstractions." - Niels Bohr, articulating part of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, in his Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature, p.77

4. "The more things you know, or pretend to know, the more powerful you are. It doesn't matter if the things are true. What counts, remember, is to possess a secret." - Umberto Eco (I forget where I found this.)

5. "Discoveries are made by gluttons and addicts. The man who forgets to eat and sleep has an appetite for fact, for interrelations among causes." - Ezra Pound, Guide To Kulchur, p.100

6. "I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people - and the West in general - into an unbearable hell and a choking life." - Osama bin Laden, CNN, February 5, 2002

7. "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair (source?)

8. "Nor is the guilt entirely with the warmongers, plutocrats and demagogues. If people permit exploitation and regimentation in any name, they deserve their slavery. A tyrant does not make his tyranny possible. It is made by the people and not otherwise." - John Whiteside Parsons, Freedom Is A Two-Edged Sword

9. "Whoever has known himself has known God." - Hajji Bektash, Sufi

10. "Every minute, every second, the pattern of genes being expressed in your brain changes, often in direct or indirect response to events outside the body. Genes are the mechanisms of experience." - Matt Ridley

11. "I believe with Schopenhauer that one of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever-shifting desires. A finely-tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought." - Albert Einstein

12. "Our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear." - not Noam Chomsky, but Gen. Douglas MacArthur

13. "Einstein pronounced the doom of continuous or 'rational' space, and the way was made clear for Picasso and the Marx Brothers and Mad magazine." - McLuhan

14. "Someone will always want to mobilize
       Death on a massive scale for economic
       Domination or revenge. And the task, taken
       As a task, appeals to the imagination.
       The military is an engineering profession." - Robert Hass, "Bush's War,"
       Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005

15. "We have certain preconceived notions about location in space and which have come down to us from ape-like ancestors." - Sir Arthur Eddington, Space, Time and Gravitation

16. "One of the reasons that politics lets us down is that we keep comparing it to our ideal narratives, to politics on TV or in the movies, which is tidier and better fits such structures." - George Lakoff, The Political Mind, p. 27

17. "Hitler repeatedly stressed that one could not get at the masses with arguments, proofs, and knowledge, but only with feelings and beliefs." - Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, p.83

18. "for want of correspondence/with the imagination/the rich have become richer/the poor poorer/from an unmitigated exercise of the calculating faculty." - P.B. Shelley, repeated by W.B. Yeats, found p.196 of Peter Dale Scott's Minding The Darkness

19. "It seems evident that everything which exists in nature, is natural, no matter how simple or complicated a phenomenon it is; and on no occasion can the so-called 'supernatural' be anything else than a completely natural law, though it may, at the moment, be above and beyond the present understanding." - Alfred Korzybski, Manhood of Humanity, pp.228-229

20. "Another bad effect of commerce is that the minds of men are contracted and rendered incapable of elevation. Education is despised, or at least neglected." - Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

21. "Every profession is a conspiracy against the laity." - George Bernard Shaw

22. "A magician is only an actor - an actor pretending to be a magician." - Houdini

23. "The fact that something is quoted from someone else or somewhere else gives it a magical gloss, the portentous found-object." - William S. Burroughs, Last Words, p.224


ARW23 said...

23? I am puzzled by 23 quotes. Why not 22 or 24? I know I am 23, because my screen name says so: ARW23. But you did not know that, therefore 23 does not relate to me in this case. Does it relate to you? If that is really your photo on your blog, you do not look 23. More like 33.

Anyway, whatever the reason for the 23 quotes, all 23 of them are worth quoting and memorizing.

By the way, happy 23rd!

michael said...

And somehow you managed to post this at 12:23AM, I see.

I suspect you know more than you let on, ARW23, but note the final quote, by William S. Burroughs. For those who came in late: He is generally credited with starting the 23 Craze with his story about uncanny coincidences involving the number 23. Via his influence in some circles of literary bohemia and other art-welt avant gardes, the number 23 became a meme before Dawkins coined the term.

Eric Wagner said...

"Let us listen oftener, more closely." - Joseph Kerman, from an essay on the song "Retire, My Soul" by William Byrd.

As a glutton, I appreciate #5. On rare occasions I have become gluttonous for the music of William Byrd.

#8 makes me think of Wilhelm Reich's Mass Psychology of Fascism. (I just got to #17 from Reich.) You have created what Pound might have called an ideogram.

Terrific collection of quotes.