Yet Naked Lunch, and all the great works of all the bad people above named [Toni Morrison, Doris Lessing, Anne Sexton, Derek Walcott, Oscar Wilde, Charlotte Brontë], are worthwhile not because they offer moral wisdom—very little great literature, aside from a few obvious exceptions (e.g., Middlemarch), does that—but because they provide irreplaceably intelligent or intricate or intense experiences of the world.
—John Pistelli, “Against Intellectual Biblioclasm” (13 January 2018; my emphasis)
When there is a question of meaning, instead of looking to the dictionaries, one should look at etymologies.
—Dr. Joseph Suglia, “A Few Words of Introduction to PRINCIPLES OF ENGLISH USAGE: STANDARD WRITTEN AMERICAN ENGLISH” (15 April 2018)
(Solid advice. Get thee, fair reader, to the Online Etymology Dictionary—that is, if you don’t have a copy of Skeat, Partridge, or Barnhart.)
Hubris and nemesis encompass Aristotelian logic and escape it.
—Outsideness (14 May 2017)
[I’ve lost a stable electronic location for this tweet, but it remains searchable. Having echoed through my brain for months, it might as well externalize itself here.]
The message can only be relayed from a lurker at the threshold to a prospective sharer of the feast.
—Harold Bloom, The Visionary Company, rev. ed. (1971). My emphasis.
(This accidental reference of a third-rate Lovecraft collaboration hides in Bloom’s reading of Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Asynchronic gothboicliques lurk in the lines of influence.)
Great cinema is Heraclitean, dull cinema is Parmenidean—very roughly speaking.
—Meta-Nomad, “Blog: TSPDT2, Outside” (29 January 2018)
(A handy distinction.)
We’ve come to realize that the Internet is the crime scene of the 21st century.
—Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.; qtd. in Joseph Berger, “Access to Details on Wealthy Donors Fueled Theft Ring,” NYTimes (16 December 2011)
No striving with supreme powers.
—Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1638/1651)
(This is the grimmer lesson to be gleaned from today’s introduction of the 17th President & and the new First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Spenser W. Kimball, 12th President, explains:
There have been some eighty apostles so endowed since Joseph Smith, though only eleven have occupied the place of the President of the Church, death having intervened; and since the death of his servants is in the power and control of the Lord, he permits to come to the first place only the one who is destined to take that leadership. Death and life become the controlling factors.
—Spencer W. Kimball, “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” (6 October 1972)
[My emphasis.] The succession of LDS leadership is Darwinian; death—natural process & index from the Outside—is the selection mechanism.)
This malady [clinical lycanthropy], said Avicenna, troubleth men most in February, and is nowadays frequent in Bohemia and Hungary, according to Heurnius.
—Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1638/1651)
(Cf. Nabi Banazadeh, Ali Kheradmand, & Mansoureh Nasirian, “Rare Variant of Lycanthropy and Ecstasy,” Addict Health 1:1 [2009, Summer]:
Patient was a 28-year-old, unemployed, married male living in Kerman province, Iran. His education level was 5th grade and was brought to Beheshti Psychiatry Hospital in Kerman for his aggressiveness and restlessness. The patient complained of people who were observing him with an intention to harm.
The patient believed that his father had changed to a boar and frequently attacked him, his brother had changed to a horse and sometimes kicked him, and his mother changed to a donkey and continuously brayed. He said that his soul sometimes left his body and went to various places with these animals and found what others do in their houses. He also stated that there was an angel protecting him and he could hear some people talking to him about his daily activities. He believed that there was a chicken in his head capturing his body and pushing his brain with thoughts that were not his. He believed that his wife was wearing a ring and by moving it puts more stress on his brain and more unpleasant feeling and for this reason had asked his wife to move out.
It was found in his history that following taking many ecstasy pills for opium cessation in an unofficial opium cessation center, he developed some delusional symptoms. He had been under physician’s observation for several months and after relative recovery, he stopped his medications and the symptoms aggravated again. There was no history of mental problems before taking ecstasy. He had persecutory delusions, depersonalization, passivity, loss of ego boundary, out of body experience, synesthesia, lycanthropy, thought insertion delusions and auditory and visual hallucinations. His time, place and person orientation and memory were intact. His neurological exam showed no important point. He had normal brain CT scan and MRI. Based on his history and diagnostic criteria of DSM-IV-TR, the patient was admitted with schizophrenia diagnosis and received 15 mg olanzapine daily. His lycanthropic symptoms stopped after two weeks of treatment and other symptoms improved gradually after second month of admission.
My emphasis. Happy Wolf Moon!)
“What has *being informed* done for you?”
—@Logo-Daedalus, “” (22 December 2017)
(Inform, the transitive verb, means “to give form or shape to; to give vital organizing power to; to give life to; to imbue and actuate with vitality; to animate; to mold; to figure; to fashion.” Antithetically, inform, the adjective, means “without regular form; shapeless; ugly; deformed” (my emphasis); its root is “not + form.”
The whole tweet & its thread is excellent, a contemporary variant of this caustic paragraph from Thoreau’s “Life Without Principle“:
Just so hollow and ineffectual, for the most part, is our ordinary conversation. Surface meets surface. When our life ceases to be inward and private, conversation degenerates into mere gossip. We rarely meet a man who can tell us any news which he has not read in a newspaper, or been told by his neighbor; and, for the most part, the only difference between us and our fellow is that he has seen the newspaper, or been out to tea, and we have not. In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post-office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while.
[My emphasis.] Save your minds.)
Why have we none [no grace] for books, those spiritual repasts; a grace before Milton, a grace before Shakespeare, a devotional exercise proper to be said before reading the Fairy Queen?
—Charles Lamb, “Grace Before Meat” (1823)
(Lamb cedes this extension of “the solitary ceremony of manducation” to “the use of a certain snug congregation of Utopian Rabelæsian Christians,” which is a double shame, first that we don’t specific devotional exercises for specific authors & acts of reading, and second that there isn’t an actual congregation of Utopian Rabelæsian Christians.)