josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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4 Jul '07 04:55:55 AM

Carrying my usual bag, a bag of books, and a bag of groceries, I walked past a little boy. He asked his mother: 'Is that the mailman?'

25 Jun '07 07:54:16 AM

'There are questions we could never get past, were it not that we are freed from them by nature.'

21 Jun '07 02:36:23 AM

A previous reader has left a gray cut-out paper heart in the library's copy of the German Library volume of Kant's writings, starting at the page beginning the 'Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View'.

19 Jun '07 07:59:26 PM

'a Shaolin scholar of some standing'

19 Jun '07 08:07:34 AM

Sometimes I wish people would check out books that I want at the library, so that I could recall them over the internet and then not have to remember until the next time I go to the library that I want them. Not that having the books waiting at the front desk wouldn't be convenient, too.

19 Jun '07 04:07:14 AM

If summer days were always like today then I would consider approving of summer. As it is there are too few days like today to make me consider approving of spring.

18 Jun '07 05:05:25 AM

A remark I had never noticed before: 'The criteria for the truth of the confession that I thought such-and-such are not the criteria for a true description of a process. And the importance of the true confession does not reside in its being a correct and certain report of a process. It resides rather in the special conclusion which can be drawn from a confession whose truth is guaranteed by the special criteria of truthfulness.'

18 Jun '07 01:28:14 AM

'[...] the OED still testifies to Coleridge's talent for linguistic innovation. In several cases, Coleridge himself declares that he is inventing a new word, for example 'aloofness', 'aspheterize', 'athanasiophagous', 'clerisy', 'esemplastic', 'intensify', 'potenziate', 'psilanthropist', 'reliability', 'statuesque', 'Theo-mammonists', and 'vaccimulgence'. In other cases, Coleridge claims to be reviving an old and forgotten word, such as 'agglomerative', 'haemony', 'multeity', and 'sensuous'. Some of his word coinages are truly imaginative, others merely bizarre; while some have passed so effortlessly into common usage that we are surprised to find that they are so recently minted. In the bizarre category, we find dozens of words like 'anatopism' (a faulty arrangement), 'exforcipate' (to extract with foreceps), 'finific' (putting a limit to something), 'heautophany' (self-manifestation), 'linguipotence' (mastery of languages), 'misology' (hatred of reason), 'nasoductility' (capacity of being led by the nose), 'obitaneously' (by the way), 'parthenolatry' (virgin-worship), 'pinguinitescent' (having a greasy lustre), 'pleistodox' (holding the opinion of the majority), and 'somniloquent' (talking in sleep). In the truly imaginative category belong such words as 'neuro-pathology', 'subconsciousness', 'psycho-analytical', and 'psycho-somatic', which anticipate Freudian terminology by almost a century, and the astonishing word 'relativity', which looks forward to another key twentieth-century concept. Perhaps even more surprising is the discovery that a large number of familiar, everyday words were invented (or first recorded) by Colridge; a short list would include: actualize, adaptive, appraisal, artifact, associative, atomistic, bathetic, belletristic, bipolar, bisexual, chromatology, cosmological, cyclical, egoistic, factual, fatalistic, fore-grounded, greenery, heuristic, historicism, housemate, interdependence, marginalia, negativity, otherworldliness, phenomenal, productivity, protozoa, realism, resurgence, romanticise, sectarianism, Shakspeareanize, soulmate, Spenserian, statuesque, subjectivity, technique, totalize, uniqueness, and many more.'

11 Jun '07 06:39:53 AM

'This fantasy of surveying is a late version [...] of a quest myth, in which the goal of the quest is an understanding of the origin of the quest itself, of the dream that dispatches you. I assume that a piece of writing able to accept itself within a known genre would not have to contain or project such a myth of its own origin. It is a quest for authority in one's speech in the absence of the authority of genre, of a shared present, a grant of history. This quest for authority naturally tends toward the autobiographical, and since the self in question is not given, it presents itself as lost. Therefore the landscape through which the journey progresses will present itself as something distant, gone. The issue is one of inhabitation, placing yourself. But placing a lost self in a land that is gone is an exercise of mourning.'