"We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories."
Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human (via thatkindofwoman)
And again. Junot Diaz. (via bananaleaves)
I wince whenever I hear people claim “If you don’t know the past, you can’t know where you’re going.” The fact is that that you should know the past, but, beyond some vague outlines, it can’t tell you where you are going. Last week, I saw Benjamin Netanyahu claim that “history is a map" and I just got depressed. I don’t know what "history" could have seen Lincoln’s assassination or Barack Obama’s election. We live in chaos here. History helps a little—but only a little. It does not exist for your services. It can not be your morality, your crystal ball nor your self-esteem.
I have tried to push this in my writing about the Civil War. It is not enough to know that you are the descendant of slaves—you should also understand how easily you could have been the slave-master. You don’t read George Fitzhugh to assure yourself that there is evil in the world. Auschwitz is all around us. Auschwitz is alive and well and living in your noble heart. The existence of evil is the premise. The discussion must proceed from there.
I deeply regret the fact that the incident has become something of a scandal: a prize was awarded, and I refused it…
The writer who accepts an honor of this kind involves as well as himself the association or institution which has honored him. My sympathies for the Venezuelan revolutionists commit only myself, while if Jean-Paul Sartre the Nobel laureate champions the Venezuelan resistance, he also commits the entire Nobel Prize as an institution.
The writer must therefore refuse to let himself be transformed into an institution, even if this occurs under the most honorable circumstances, as in the present case.
This attitude is of course entirely my own, and contains no criticism of those who have already been awarded the prize. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for several of the laureates whom I have the honor to know.
My objective reasons are as follows: The only battle possible today on the cultural front is the battle for the peaceful coexistence of the two cultures, that of the East and that of the West. I do not mean that they must embrace each other—I know that the confrontation of these two cultures must necessarily take the form of a conflict—but this confrontation must occur between men and between cultures, without the intervention of institutions.
"Language without context is babbling."
“Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire. The emotion derives from a double contact: on the one hand, a whole activity of discourse discreetly, indirectly focuses upon a single signified, which is “I desire you,” and releases, nourishes, ramifies it to the point of explosion (language experiences orgasm upon touching itself); on the other hand, I enwrap the other in my words, I caress, brush against, talk up this contact, I extend myself to make the commentary to which I submit the relation endure. ”
Swarms. Hive minds. The web*.
It can be hard to avoid talking about our digital culture without using insect metaphors.
Yet for new media theorist Jussi Parikka, it may be more than just a metaphor. Parikka is a reader in Media and Design at Winchester School of Art and author of the Anne Friedberg Award-winning Insect Media.
“For me Insect Media started from a realization and a question: why do we constantly talk about digital culture and networks through insect metaphors?” says Parikka. “Is it just a metaphoric relation? If yes, why do we make sense of high technological culture through references to these small brained, rather ‘dumb’ animals? Or is there even more to this?”
The English major reads because, as rich as the one life he has may be, one life is not enough.