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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12 May '20 09:28:43 PM

'Everything is getting reduced to the essential thing of being there and playing.'

2 May '20 08:08:44 PM

'… when I was playing in the local highlife band, they would come to watch, asking me, "What [are you] doing? What is that?" Just because I had added hi-hats to the sound.'

13 Apr '20 05:10:26 AM

'The goal or object of practice is pleasure. Hence practice, in this sense, only recommends to us the means of suppressing and avoiding pain. But our pleasures have much more formidable obstacles than our pains: phantoms, superstitions, terrors, the fear of death—everything that tends to disturb the soul. The picture of humanity is one of a troubled humanity, more terrified than in pain (even the plague is defined not only by the pain and suffering it transmits, but by the disturbance of the spirit which it institutes). It is this disturbance of the soul which increases suffering, renders it invincible—although its origin is more profound and is to be found elsewhere. It is composed of two elements: an illusion which arises from the body of an infinite capacity for pleasure; then a second illusion, cast in the mind, of an infinite duration of the soul itself, which is given over without restraint to the idea of an infinity of possible sufferings following death. And the two illusions are linked: the fear of infinite punishment is the natural price to be paid for having unlimited desires. It is on this ground that one must seek out Sisyphus and Tityos; "the fool's life at length becomes a hell on earth." Epicurus goes so far as to say that if injustice is an evil, if greed, ambition, and even debauchery are evils, it is because they deliver us up to the idea of a punishment which may occur at any instant. To be delivered without defense to this turmoil of the soul is, precisely, the condition of man, or the product of this double illusion. "… As it is, there is no way of resistance and no power, because everlasting punishment is to be feared after death." This is why, for Lucretius as for Spinoza later on, the religious man displays two aspects: avidity and anguish, covetousness and culpability—a strange complex that generates crimes. The spirit's disquietude is therefore brought about by the fear of dying when we are not yet dead, and also by the fear of not yet being dead once we already are. The entire problem is that of the source of this disturbance or of these two illusions.'

12 Apr '20 07:55:32 PM

'Epicureans live convinced of the truth of Epicurus' theory of nature, which makes physical reality all the reality there is. All that is real is ultimately made up exclusively of material atoms moving in an infinite void, by chance at some places and times forming worlds, such as our own. Epicurus made major points in this theory available for memorization in his published Letter to Herodotus, a pupil. Having memorized these major points, one could readily call them to mind, thereby renewing one's convinced belief in their truth, in case something might happen to make one waver, and thus threaten one's steady and pleasure-filled state of mind by some foreboding or worry about nature's operations. In particular, this theory makes it completely clear that, though gods do exist, they do not and cannot affect human life, or the world and its operations, in any way, through any actions of their own. Their own long-lasting lives of supreme katastematic bliss, effortlessly and beautifully varied in their communal activities, make them paragons and paradigms of that immortal blessedness that we ourselves attain through the immortal good of friendship. Except in that way, that is, as models of long-lasting and continuous happiness for us to aspire to, the gods play, and can play, no role in our lives—unless, that is, we are foolish or deluded enough to imagine one for them to play, as many people, including philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics do. Likewise, Epicurus' theory of nature shows that our physical deaths are the permanent end to our consciousness, and so to our very existence, as agents and seekers of happiness.'

12 Apr '20 05:42:31 PM


9 Apr '20 04:49:50 PM


9 Apr '20 01:59:38 AM

'Either ethics makes no sense at all, or this is what it means and has nothing else to say: not to be unworthy of what happens to us. To grasp whatever happens as unjust and unwarranted (it is always someone else's fault) is, on the contrary, what renders our sores repugnant—veritable ressentiment, resentment of the event. There is no other ill will.'

3 Apr '20 06:33:17 PM


28 Mar '20 06:29:22 PM

'… if one abandons Marxism, one abandons the last hopes one has.'