Seneca On Saving Time

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Not a bad thing to think about at this time of year. (From Seneca’s Letters to Lucilius. 1. Continue to act thus, my dear Lucilius – set yourself free for your own sake; gather and save your time, which till lately has been forced from you, or filched away, or has merely slipped from your hands. Make yourself believe the … Read More

Gramsci’s “Optimism of the Will”

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Isn’t it pointless to fight back? Antonio Gramsci, the Italian political writer jailed by Mussolini’s Fascist regime, believed in “pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will.” In other words, you can know your clapboard house is on fire, and you’re a long way from civilization. But you have to call 911, get out your garden hose and bucket, … Read More

The most important thing is insight

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Another one less than enamoured with talent. William Faulkner in a Press conference, University of Virginia, May 20, 1957. (The audio is here) “At one time I thought the most important thing was talent. I think now that — the young man or the young woman must possess or teach himself, train himself, in infinite patience, which is to try … Read More

Beware of Artists & Things You Want to be True

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Just came across a nice quote via Euan on Facebook. It was attributed to the McCarthy era. “Beware of artists. They mix with all classes of society and are therefore the most dangerous” Alongside taking exercise and eating healthily, one of the things I keep trying to do more of, not always successfully, is check the sources of things like … Read More

Good and Bad Teachers

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“People think of good and bad teachers as engaged in the same activity, as if education was a substance, and that bad teachers supply a little of the substance, and good teachers supply a lot. This makes it difficult to understand that education can be a destructive process, and that bad teachers are wrecking talent, and that good and bad … Read More

Banksy and The Human Race

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From Banksy’s book Wall and Piece: “The human race is the most stupid and unfair kind of race. A lot of the runners don’t even get decent sneakers or clean drinking water.”

Art and niceness

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“Who wants art that looks nice these days? We live in a world of strikes and bombings.” – 77 Clocks, Christopher Fowler

Madness and glamour

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From Adam Phillips’ excellent Going Sane: “Sanity may impress us, but it has never been made to seem attractive; sanity may be a good thing, but it is somehow not desirable. The terrifying thing – and it is the only terrifying thing that is ever glamorized – is madness; and, as ever, it is the frightening that seems real. Violence … Read More