Hell

Hell is the incapacity to be other than the creature one finds oneself ordinarily behaving as.

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The whole and the part

Whoever reaches into a rosebush may seize a handful of flowers; but no matter how many one holds, it’s only a small portion of the whole. Nevertheless, a handful is enough to experience the nature of the flowers. Only if we refuse to reach into the bush, because we can’t possibly seize all the flowers at once, or if we spread out our handful of roses as if it were the whole of the bush itself—only then does it bloom apart from us, unknown to us, and we are left alone.

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Superior Persons

In a way it is even humiliating to watch coal miners working. It raises in you a momentary doubt about your own status as an ‘intellectual’ and a superior person generally. For it is brought home to you, at least while you are watching, that it is only because miners sweat their guts out that superior persons can remain superior. You and I and the editor of the Times Literary Supplement and the Nancy Poets and the Archbishop of Canterbury and Comrade X, author of ‘Marxism for Infants’–all of us really owe the comparative decency of our lives to poor drudges underground, blackened to the eyes, with their throats full of coal dust, driving their shovels forward with arms and belly muscles of steel.

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The Uses of Literacy

Most mass-entertainments are in the end what D.H. Lawrence described as ‘anti-life’. They are full of a corrupt brightness, of improper appeals and moral evasions. To recall instances: they tend towards a view of the world in which progress is conceived as a seeking of material possessions, equality as a moral leveling, and freedom as the ground for endless irresponsible pleasure. These productions belong to a vicarious, spectators’ world; they offer nothing which can really grip the brain or heart. They assist a gradual drying-up of the more positive, the fuller, the more cooperative kinds of enjoyment, in which one gains by giving much. They have intolerable pretensions; and pander to the wish to have things both ways, to do as we want and accept no consequences.

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Benjamin Bratton: What’s Wrong with TED Talks

Our problems are not puzzles to be solved. This metaphor implies that all the necessary pieces are already on the table, they just need to be rearranged and reprogrammed. That’s not true. Innovation defined as puzzles and rearranging pieces and adding more processing power, is not some big idea that’s going to disrupt the broken status quo: that precisely is the broken status quo.

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