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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18 Aug '12 06:29:17 AM

You hardly need to be Nietzsche to be struck by how Greek (still, in the fourth century) Athanasius' life of St. Antony is: the introduction addresses a community of monks who want to outdo another one in their askesis of virtue.

A bit further on: 'Even toward those of his own age he was not contentious, with the sole exception of his desire that he appear to be second to none of them in moral improvements'.

17 Aug '12 10:50:27 PM

(Nietzsche employs it in a noticeably concentrated way in the latter half of book III of The Gay Science, referring to other aspects of human beings by talking about their bodies, parts of their bodies, conditions or productions of their bodies, in around fifty different aphorisms: faces, tongues and mouths, voices, hands, stomachs, whole bodies, and illnesses of them. The bodily lexicon stands out especially in contrast to passages about self and others in earlier books, like chapters 6, 7, and 9 of Human, All Too Human I, where the remarks are formally just as concise and sequentially sustained, but not lexically selective in that way.)

17 Aug '12 10:54:32 AM

An aphorist's ploy: embody ideas in words about bodies.

17 Aug '12 10:49:54 AM

To give a lazy argument, you wave your hands; a lazy performance, your arms.

17 Aug '12 10:12:13 AM

Being attracted to the idea of performativity is not the same thing as knowing how to put on a performance. It's not even a start at knowing how to put on a performance.

17 Aug '12 09:00:34 AM

The diarist observing his times:

'Reading the newspapers on Jan. 2, 1941, for example, Orwell made this observation: “The word ‘blitz’ now used everywhere to mean any kind of attack on anything. Cf. ‘strafe’ in the last war. ‘Blitz’ is not yet used as a verb, a development I am expecting.”

In his very next entry, a few weeks later, he wrote, without further comment: “The Daily Express has used ‘blitz’ as a verb.”'

17 Aug '12 04:50:58 AM

A fragment of the inarticulate aspects of listening to, e.g., Mutilation Rites: over time, but before full familiarity, one learns more and more to say to oneself, 'this is the one where…' - without completing the ellipsis.

16 Aug '12 08:16:48 PM

'Shall I allow myself to be forever tossed about by the specious arguments of the eloquent whose opinions, which they preach and which they are so keen for others to accept, I am not even sure are their own? Their passions, which determine their opinions and their interest in making people believe this or that, make it impossible to discover what they themselves believe. Can one look for good faith in the leaders of parties? Their philosophy is for others; I need one for myself.'

16 Aug '12 01:09:33 AM

In 1859, 'new thoughts' are on Emerson's mind again:

'I have now for more than a year, I believe, ceased to write in my Journal, in which I formerly wrote almost daily. I see few intellectual persons, & even those to no purpose, & sometimes believe that I have no new thoughts, and that my life is quite at an end. But the magnet that lies in my drawer for years, may believe it has no magnetism, and, on touching it with steel, it shows the old virtue; and, this morning, came by a man with knowledge & interests like mine, in his head, and suddenly I had thoughts again.'