Cybject Quotes

Apple fans celebrate new iPhone release

Apple fans celebrate new iPhone release

“neo·phil·ia (noun): love of or enthusiasm for change and what is new or novel.”
-First Known Use: 1932

“The ravages wrought by a rhetoric of good intentions: the misfortune of a few people matters little if it makes possible the advent of the celestial City or the Revolution. We are not guilty as soon as we are trying to do good. In Pascal’s Provincial Letters, a Jesuit seeks to justify misdeeds by the beauty of the end sought: ‘When we cannot prevent the action, we must purify the intention; and thus we correct the vicious nature of the means by the purity of the goal.’ We can never overemphasize the number of crimes that the love of humanity in general can inspire when it is not counterbalanced by the love of human beings in the particular.”
– Pascal Bruckner, The Paradox of Love, 2012

“In philosophy, involution refers to a situation in which a process or object is ontologically ‘turned in’ upon itself.” – Dictionary definition

“If you don’t want to feel the horrible burden of Time breaking your back and bending you down toward the ground, keep yourself drunk.
“But on what? On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, whatever you want. But get drunk.”
-Baudelaire. “Enivrez-Vous” Le Spleen de Paris, XXXIII

“Civilization commenced when man first dug the earth and sowed seeds. Religion began when man discerned the sun’s compassion on the seeds which he sowed in the earth. Art began when man glorified the sun with a hymn of gratitude. Philosophy began when man ate the produce of the earth and suffered indigestion.”
-From The Spiritual Sayings of Kahlil Gibran

“[S]omething essential is being definitively lost, a relationship to places and reality is disappearing, dissolving, evaporating. As you know, for an architect, proportions are essential. Being human takes place within 1.5 and 2 meters, not 18 meters, which would be the world of sycamores and sequoias. Looking at a computer chip, the scale is down to half millimeters… The pollution of the ‘life-size’, the pollution of proportions is nothing more than the pollution of the relationship of being in the world… We are rediscovering the hubris of the Greeks; the notion of disproportion or excessiveness is reentering history. Our difficulty is that unlike the Greeks, who staged it to distance themselves from it, hubris is now taking over. … We no longer fight it: we take pleasure in it…”
-Paul Virilio, The Administration of Fear, Interviews from 2012

“[T]here exists only one reality, and that is me, my own life, this fragile gift bestowed for an uncertain time, which had been seized, expropriated by alien forces, and circumscribed, marked up, branded – and which I had to take back from “History”, this dreadful Moloch, because it was mine and mine alone, and I had to manage it accordingly.”
-Imre Kertész, Nobel Lecture, 2002

“The quality of silence is organically linked to the quality of language. You and I are sitting here, in this house surrounded by a garden, where there is no other noise other than the sound of our conversation. Here I can work. Here I can dream and try to think. Silence has become a huge luxury. People are living in a constant din. There is no more night in cities. Young people are afraid of silence. What will become of serious and difficult reading? Is it possible to read Plato while wearing a Walkman?”
–George Steiner, A Certain Idea of Knowledge, Interview 2011

“Reality has lost much of its constancy and invariability, events of recent years are mocking it, the way the waves do a boat; nearly every day the papers give waking up a new reality, whereas dreams … Haven’t we managed to unify dreams? Haven’t we hoodwinked humanity with that sweet million-brain dream of brotherhood, a united dream about unity? Flags the colour of poppy-petals flutter above the crowds. Reality is fighting back. But its blazing suns don’t frighten the newly ascendant underground. Sleepers’ eyes are sheltered by eyelids. Yesterday’s utopia has become today’s science. We’ll break the backs of facts. We’ll rout their status quos: you’ll see those status quos turn tail and run. If an ‘I’ should rise up against our ‘we’ we’ll hurl him down a well of nightmares headfirst. We’ll hide the sun behind black blots, we’ll plunge the world into a deep, static slumber. We’ll put even the idea of waking to sleep, and if it resists, we’ll gouge out its eyes.”
-Krzhizhanovsky, The Branch Line, 1927, Moscow.

“For in a community in which the ties of family, of caste, of class, and craft fraternities no longer exist people are far too much disposed to think exclusively of their own interests, to become self-seekers practicing a narrow individualism and caring nothing for the public good. Far from trying to counteract such tendencies despotism encourages them, depriving the governed of any sense of solidarity and interdependence; of good-neighborly feelings and a desire to further the welfare of the community at large. It immures them, so to speak, each in his private life and, taking advantage of the tendency they already have to keep apart, it estranges them still more. Their feelings toward each other were already growing cold; despotism freezes them.
Since in such communities nothing is stable, each man is haunted by a fear of sinking to a lower social level and by a restless urge to better his condition. And since money has not only become the sole criterion of a man’s social status but has also acquired an extreme mobility—that is to say is changes hands incessantly, raising or lowering the prestige of individuals and families—everybody is feverishly intent on making money or, if already rich, on keeping his wealth intact. Love of gain, a fondness for business careers, the desire to get rich at all costs, a craving for material comfort and easy living quickly become the ruling passions under a despotic government.”
– Alexis de Tocqueville, The Old Régime and the French Revolution, 1856.

“It is true that we shall never reach the goal; it is even more than probable that there is no such place; and if we lived for centuries and were endowed with the powers of a god, we should find ourselves not much nearer what we wanted at the end. O toiling hands of mortals! O unwearied feet, travelling ye know not whither! Soon, soon, it seems to you, you must come forth on some conspicuous hilltop, and but a little way further, against the setting sun, descry the spires of El Dorado. Little do ye know your own blessednes; for to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.”
-Robert Louis Stevenson “El Dorado” in Virginibus Puerisque, 1878

“As entropy increases, the universe, and all closed systems in the universe, tend naturally to deteriorate and lose their distinctiveness, to move from the least to the most probable state, from a state of organization and differentiation in which distinctions and forms exist, to a state of chaos and sameness. In Gibbs’ universe order is least probable, chaos most probable. But while the universe as a whole, tends to run down, there are local enclaves of whose direction seems opposed to that of the universe at large and in which there is a limited and temporary tendency for organization to increase. Life finds its home in these enclaves. It is with this point of view at its core that the new science of Cybernetics began its development.”
-Norbert Wiener, The Human Use of Human Beings, 1954

“So this, thought Jan, with a resignation that lay beyond all sadness, was the end of man. It was an end that no prophet had foreseen – an end that repudiated optimism and pessimism alike.
Yet it was fitting: it had the sublime inevitability of a great work of art. Jan had glimpsed the universe in all its immensity, and knew now that it was no place for man. He realized at last how vain, in the ultimate analysis, had been the dream that lured him to the stars.
For the road to the stars was a road that forked in two directions, and neither led to a goal that took any account of human hopes or fears.”
-Arthur C Clarke, Childhood’s End

“[N]ow men resemble each other in the ways that they try to set themselves apart. This desire to dissociate ourselves is precisely what brings us closer, and it is this distance that confirms our conformity. Romantic fascination with exceptional beings – with the insane, the criminal, the genius, the artist, the pervert – stems from our fear of being lost in the flock, in the stereotype of the petit-bourgeois man. ‘I am different from the rest.’ That is the motto of the man of the herd.”
-Pascal Bruckner, “The Victory of the Individual, or Crowning the King of Dust”

“Our affirmation is despair, our negation is despair, and from despair we abstain from affirming and denying. Note the greater part of our atheists and you will see that they are atheists from a kind of rage, rage at not being able to believe that there is a God. They are the personal enemies of God. They have invested Nothingness with substance and personality, and their No-God is an Anti-God.”
Miguel de Unamuno, The Tragic Sense of Life, 1912

“[W]e begin to suspect that the numberless Cassandras who prophesy all around us do not intend to warn us so much as to condemn us… These are not great souls who alert us to troubles but tiny minds who wish us suffering if we have the presumption to refuse to listen to them. Catastrophe is not their fear but their joy. It is a short distance from lucidity to bitterness, from prediction to anathema.”
-Pascal Bruckner, Apocalyptic Daze, 2012

“The soul sees nothing that does not distress it on reflection.”
-Blaise Pascal

“Today man believes there is *nothing* in him, so he accepts *anything*, even if he knows it to be bad, in order to find himself at one with others, in order not to be alone.”
-Czeslaw Milosz, The Captive Mind, 1951

“You always think in too short terms, Little Man just from breakfast to lunch. You must learn to think back in terms of centuries and forward in terms of thousands of years. You have to learn to think in the terms of living life, in terms of your development from the first plasmatic flake to the animal man, which walks erect but cannot yet think straight. You have no memory even for things that happened ten or twenty years ago, and so you keep repeating the same stupidities you said 2000 years ago. More than that, you cling to your stupidities, such as your ‘race’, ‘class’, ‘nation’, religious compulsion and suppression of love as a louse clings to a fur. You do not dare see how deeply you stick in the morass of your misery. Every once in a while, you stick your head out of the morass to yell, Heil! the croaking of a frog in a marsh is closer to life.”
-Wilhelm Reich, Listen Little Man, 1948

‎”…I read the criticism by a German who lived in Russia, on our students of today. ‘Show a Russian schoolboy’ he writes, ‘a map of the stars, which he knows nothing about, and he will give you back the map next day with corrections on it.’ No knowledge and unbounded conceit…”
-Dostoyevski, Brothers Karamazov, book X, chap 6

‎”…instead of asking whether God is dead, we might better raise the question whether Man is dead.”
-Erich Fromm, You Shall Be As Gods, 1966. p.180

“Best of all for mortal beings is never to have been born at all
Nor ever to have set eyes on the bright light of the sun
But, since he is born, a man should make utmost haste through the gates of Death
And then repose, the earth piled into a mound round himself.”
-Theognis of Megara, 6th Century BC

“When truth conquers with the help of 10,000 yelling men – even supposing that that which is victorious is truth; with the form and manner of the victory a far greater untruth is victorious… “
-Soren Kierkegaard, ‘Journals’, 1847

“One of the great unresolved psychological enigmas of the modern western world is the question of what or who has persuaded us to accept as virtually axiomatic a self-view and a world-view that demand we reject out of hand the wisdom and vision of our major philosophers and poets in order to imprison our thought and our very selves in the materialist, mechanical and dogmatic torture-chamber devised by purely quantitative and third-rate scientific minds.”
– Philip Sherrard, Human Image: World Image – The Death and Resurrection of Sacred Cosmology

“Existence, for all organismic life, is a constant struggle to feed — a struggle to incorporate whatever other organisms they can fit into their mouths and press down their gullets without choking. Seen in these stark terms, life on this planet is a gory spectacle, a science-fiction nightmare in which digestive tracts fitted with teeth at one end are tearing away at whatever flesh they can reach, and at the other end are piling up the fuming waste excrement as they move along in search of more flesh.”
-Ernest Becker, Escape from Evil, 1975.

“If our society were to be transformed into yours, it would mean an improvement in certain aspects, but also a change for the worse on some potentially significant points. Of course, a society cannot remain in an abyss of lawlessness, as is the case of our country. But, it is also demeaning for it to stay on such a soulless and smooth plane of legalism as is the case of yours. After decades of violence and oppression, the human soul longs for things higher, warmer, and purer than those offered by today’s mass living habits, introduced as by a calling card by the revolting invasion of commercial advertising, by TV stupor, and by intolerable music.”
-Solzhenitsyn’s commencement address at Harvard University, June 8, 1978.

“For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”
-William Shakespeare, Sonnet 94

“The corruption of the Best is the Worst”
– Ivan Illich

“Rabbi Pinhas said: When a man embarks on something great, in the spirit of truth, he need not be afraid that another may imitate him. But if he does not do it in the spirit of truth, but plans to do it in a way no one could imitate, then he drags the great down to the lowest level—and everyone can do the same.”
– Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim: The Early Masters, 1961

“Our heroic projects that are aimed at destroying evil have the paradoxical effect of bringing more evil into the world. Human conflicts are life and death struggles – my gods against your gods, my immortality project against your immortality project. The root of humanly caused evil is not man’s animal nature, not territorial aggression, or innate selfishness, but our need to gain self-esteem, deny our mortality, and achieve a heroic self-image. Our desire for the best is the cause of the worst. We want to clean up the world, make it perfect, keep it safe for democracy or communism, purify it of the enemies of god, eliminate evil, establish an alabaster city undimmed by human tears, or a thousand year Reich.”
-Introduction to Ernest Becker’s The Denial of Death, 1973

“Victor Segalen observed that from the moment we became certain that the Earth was a sphere, travel ceased to exist – for to leave any point on the surface of a sphere is also necessarily to begin the return to that same point.”
-Baudrillard, Transparency of Evil

“Since the seventeenth century we have been living in an age of system-makers, and what is even worse, system-appliers. The world has been divided first of all into two general parties, the conservatives and the radicals, or as Comte called them, the party of order and the party of progress – as if both order and change, stability and variation, continuity and novelty, were not equally fundamental attributes of life”
-Lewis Mumford, “The Triumph Over Systems”, The Conduct of Life, 1951

“…[E]veryone who has set out to create heaven on earth has brought only hell.”
-Karl Popper

“The democratic socialist Eduard Bernstein issued a warning at the turn of the nineteenth century to his fellow Marxists. The danger of a ‘truly miraculous belief in the creative power of force,’ he prophesied, is that you begin by doing violence to reality in theory, and end by doing violence to people in practice. What distinguishes the new communism is that its leading partisans are fully aware of that potential…and embrace it as a strategy.”
-Alan Johnson, Resurrecting the Utopian Delusion

“Claim too great freedom, too great license, and too great subjection shall befall you.
Alexis de Toqueville, The Old Regime and the French Revolution

“If there were ever to come a future in which every stumbling block were smoothed away, then, indeed, mankind would be as one flock; but then, no longer like men but like a flock of innocent brutes they would feed on the good things provided by Nature, with the same unconscious simplicity as they did at the beginning of [the] long course of civilisation.”
-Hermann Lotze, Microcosmus, Vol. II, Bk. VII, Chap. 7.9, 1885.


~ by dccohen on December 1, 2012.

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