Posts tagged ‘quotes’

11 October, 2011

The More We Change…

We are at that point in the semester (called midterms) where I devolve into a disheveled mess (I am currently wearing a sweatshirt in what I am affectionately thinking of as “caveman style”– one arm free, one arm in, zipper about half way up to allow this oddity of fashion to happen.) Dishes are piling, readings are spiraling, and then I find an article that’s basically like a present hidden in the pile of psychoanalytic jargon I’m reading on Edgar Huntly.

In my heart of hearts I am a classicist, and I admit this like it’s a perverse, guilty pleasure. In a conversation with a Nice Fellow, we were talking about classics departments, and how it’s like they’re segregated. There is no Romanticism department. Classicists get routinely deported to their own department though. Granted, you could argue there’s a more interdisciplinary bent to Classics departments, but the same could totally be said for any other era of history and the way we study it.

Anyway, my inner Classicist was thrilled to get to read about Sumer and Egypt briefly today, and loved and demanded to share this sentence:

Also, as in the Mesopotamian system, hieroglyphs were the tools of an elite priesthood expert in medicine and magic. The scribes guarded and boasted of their technological secrets, with a zeal that rivals even Microsoft.

Scott B. Noegel “Text, Script, and Media.”

While I think Apple would be the more appropriate comparison to secret mongering, I love the comparison for its silliness.

That is all. More photos come weekend-time.

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27 September, 2011

Metaphor = APORIA

I try to limit the amount of super dense crap I put up on the internet, but this is too beautiful an analysis of the nature of metaphor to pass up sharing.

The rhetoric of metaphor is, after all, grounded in aporia. Metaphor, like its extension, allegory, is resorted to when the proper term is deemed inappropriate or unavailable and a non-proper term is inserted in its place–to the effect of a hovering validity which is held in suspense by the knowledge that the term is not the proper one. The paradox of the wrong term being the only appropriate or possible one accounts for the precariousness of metaphoric speech.

Hofmann, Klaus. “Keats’s Ode to a Grecian Urn.” Studies in Romanticism 45.2. Boston: 2006.

LOVE IT. I love the idea that the effectiveness of metaphor is the very knowledge that the image created through comparison is disparate from the object. It is the paradox of needing to draw weird comparisons to understand what is already understood that just screams Socratic aporia.

Aporia, incidentally, is not understood simply as the definition in the dictionary– an irresolvable internal contradiction in a text or argument– but also as the poignant Greek literal meaning: to be in a state of loss. Aporia is what the Socratic method reduces its “victims” to. A weird logical limbo, where the old understandings of a thing have been torn down. It is, literally, to “be at a loss.” Slack-jawed.

Metaphor as a state of aporia. LOVE. SO. MUCH.

 

18 September, 2011

Week two, check; Heraclitus and Big Brother and the Holding Company

Briefly, this week I attended part of a hermeneutics conference. Being that my knowledge of Gadamer is zilch, however, I respectfully bowed out after the first lecture. There was a salient crumb from the hour and a half I spent there, however– I was reminded of Heraclitus.

Heraclitus is remembered for his interest in logos— the word, reason, plan which drives and unites the universe, and for his doctrine of flux. All is in flux, ever changing– each instant we are in a different universe.

πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει” καὶ “δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης”
Panta chōrei kai ouden menei … kai … dis es ton auton potamon ouk an embaies
“Everything changes and nothing remains still …. and … you cannot step twice into the same stream”

–Heraclitus 402a, qtd. from wikipedia (because I don’t feel like cracking my ancient Greek philosophy books.)

In each moment the world is changed. Flux is constant; action now is different from action even a millisecond from now. Nothing is ever repeated. It’s a terrible beauty.

 

September 12: I found this beautiful oddity tacked to a telephone pole while attempting to find the grocery store (I realized about five seconds after snapping this that I was in fact walking the wrong way).

 

September 13: The leaves are starting to turn on campus and in the parks. This is outside of Gasson– expect indoor shots of the beautiful Gasson Hall later next week. There’s a poetry reading in there that’ll take me back in there in the coming days.

September 14: This week I embarked on the sacred quest for a Most Excellent Used Books Purveyor. I haven’t found a good, grungy one with dirt cheap books yet, but I did find Brookline Booksellers, which is wonderful, filled with books, knick-knacks, and all sorts of charming things. Like magnets. They also have the Jesus Shaves/Saves mug, which I NEEEEEEED.

Also, in the used book cellar, the far wall is “Mystery, Mystery, Mystery, More Mystery and Still More Mystery.”

September 15: My studies force me to have hermit days every so often, so here’s a tableau of hermit day #1 in this set: my book, and my snack bowl. It’s a beautiful green glass beauty that I got at a garage sale this summer for a dollar. Also, my proliferation of flags, which pretty much make flagging pages useless, given their overwhelming number.

 

September 16: There’s a beautiful patch of sunflowers on my walk to the T. I snapped this just as a car was zooming past. Flowers in motion.

September 17: I left the Copley library on Saturday needing coffee. Found this tri-corner wearing Godzilla demanding that I pahk the caaah in a  Starbucks. Love it, and Bostonians’ acute awareness that they talk silly. Because so many people who live here are college transplants like myself, however, you rarely hear the Boston accent.

This is in the Copley library. Each section of the hall I was sitting in had the name of a great thinker, artist, or writer carved and gilded below the coffered barrel vault ceiling (fear my art history jargon). WITHOUT LOOKING, I sat myself under Socrates. This is the kind of stuff that happens to me. Things chase me. Socrates is one of them.

September 18: another academic hermit day. This, by the way, is the view out my window into part of the playground/park/field that I live next to. I took a nap face-down in these pillows today instead of reading about reception history.

And, to round out a completely disjointed set of images and thoughts, Janis and Big Brother Caterpillering. ❤

 

11 September, 2011

Mapping the World

“Different maps tell very different stories, and assume very different forms, according to their function, or their point of view. Ptolemy mapped the heavens by standing on earth. Galileo remapped them by imagining that he was standing on the Sun.”

–D.F. McKenzie, Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts, 44.

I stumbled awkwardly through a mire of hilightings and underlinings until this sentiment and I ran headlong into each other on page 44. Yes, it might have been my nerd senses tingling at the mention of a Ptolemy (not, in case you’re wondering, a Pharaonic Ptolemy, but still an Alexandrian), but I also have a pronounced interest in maps and cartography.

Maps are essentially attempt 90 billion on the part of humans to put the universe into nice, neat boxes (or nice, neatly drawn grid squares, in this case), and our need to understand through cataloging is something of a source of perpetual entertainment for me.

One of the strangest realizations is that maps don’t have to be objective. They can show whatever they want to know. They are a reflection of a reflected reality. By this I mean, they are an imperfect written record of an imperfect and biased view (the cartographer’s) view of the world.

I have a character in the project I’m (re)working through right now who’s a cartographer. I wonder what form of imperfection his maps have?

Anyways, onward with the photo project…

Sept. 6: So much rain this weekend. While I was walking to campus from the T stop, I happened to look down. I like sidewalk cracks. Looking at them reminds me that nothing’s forever, and that sooner or later, everything is fragmentary. Sorry, there was no way to phrase that without sounding emo/heavy handed.I could talk more about sidewalk cracks, but I’ll spare you.



Sept. 7: I walk by several goofy signs every day, and while there is nothing inherently goofy about the phrase “Not a through street” in and of itself, I love how squished it looks on this big yellow diamond, like it’s outgrowing the constrictive size of the sign. Think of it like a typographical sumo wrestler trying to wedge himself into skinny jeans.

Sept. 8: This was my day of discovering enormously odd tiny things. Like this guy, hanging out on the concrete steps by the main library. You can tell it rained a little, looking at the discolored concrete.

Sept 9: My city’s library is cooler than your city’s library. Just saying. Beyond those paneled wooden doors? That’s a courtyard. With sculptures. And a fountain. And a garden. And chairs. Just saying. Sorry for the lousy photo quality.

Sept. 10: Today was a pretty productive exploring day. I went to two street festivals, through Quincy Market, and bookstore hunting. More bookstore hunting is in my future. I bumbled into an outdoor concert down by Quincy at the Boston Arts Festival (ahts festival, if you like) and stayed until the group finished their set. I read my book history book. I wonder if the fellow with the card in his hat is a Lackadaisy lover?

Sept 11: I, in fact, didn’t leave my apartment today, so you get a picture of something weird in my room, namely, a sculpture that I now use to keep my hair sticks in check.

 

Until next time, friends.

7 September, 2011

Keeping the time with ghosts

“Above all else, you must show respect for the ghosts that linger in your department.” 32

“Be protective of your time; no one else will protect it for you.” 51

Graduate Study For the 21st Century, Gregory Colon Semenza

 

There were some other gems, too, but these two were pretty resonant.

More pictures in a few days. Until then, think deep thoughts and try not to walk into signs.

5 September, 2011

Embarking on a New Project…Boston 365

So, I’ve recently transplanted from upstate New York to Boston. Pretty much everything is shiny, new, and strange, and I’m doing my best to explore, adapt, and generally not suck.

One way that I’ve decided to get to know the city is by doing a photo project. So, starting on August 31, I began taking pictures.

August 31: Crossing the Hudson, getting ready to say goodbye to New York…

September 1: I found you some plants on move in day…

September 2: Scaffolding and construction on campus. My mother thought I was very weird for taking pictures of construction work. BC.


September 3: Dramatic tortilla chips and beer…and then a wall of rainbow Crocs. Quincy Market.

September 4: Went exploring… found lots of things, especially green things. Boston loves itself some green things. Also, BC at night.


September 5: My room is finally complete (until I decide that I’m bored and need to add more posters), so here is a view of my view. Window seat, overlooking green things, which we’ve already established Boston’s love for.


More later, that’s all for now. I’ll leave you with some Rumi:

“When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep.
Praise God for those two insomnias!
And the difference between them.”

— Rumi



15 August, 2011

Prepping for the Big Move

In two weeks I pick up, move to a new state, and begin the adventures of an English grad school student. I’m knee-deep in preparation work, and I need to remember to take pictures of my room at home before I completely dismantle it. Already, parts of it are starting to look pretty spare. While I meditate on that, have some music, some words, and some peace of mind.

space

space

space

space

space

space

Spun silk of mercy,

long-limbed afternoon,

sun urging purple blossoms from baked stems.

What better blessing than to move without hurry

under trees?

–from “Last August Hours Before the Year 2000,” You & Yours by Naomi Shihab Nye

1 May, 2011

The Madness of Art

We work in the dark–we do what we can–we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.

–Henry James

30 March, 2011

Gothic Fairytales

I ran across these beautiful images from Japanese photographer Miwa Yanagi, and thought they were worth sharing.

More after the break.

 

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12 March, 2011

Memento Mori

I think I have at least alluded to the pathetic state of my memory– it’s one of the reasons why I write. I write to remember. My brain is very, very good at forgetting. It has relegated important conversations to the space of dreams, and sometimes erased them all together.

Strange things get burned into my grey matter– I remember learning about cavities in kindergarten, and clouds in first grade. I remember being outraged at my kindergarten graduation present (Barney cookie cutters), but none of the names of my classmates. I remember learning the meaning of the middle finger, but still know the name of my first grade crush only because I wrote it down in a Lisa Frank diary with a bubblegum-dispenser-shaped lock on it. Needless to say, I broke the lock years later and devoured the memories hidden there (and then promptly forgot most of them again.)

I often wonder if there is a logic to what we remember and forget, or if the resonance is too abstract for even us to understand why some things get dutifully filed away, while so much is lost.

What will I forget, in a year? In a month? In a day? How long will it take me to forget, for example, the color of your eyes, or the incident with the cell phone? The time(s) time stopped? How long before even these obscure references don’t ring true? I leave myself these breadcrumbs back to my memories, hoping (usually in vain) that years later I’ll know. I’ll remember what I felt so strongly, what shook me to my core, and what adventures I had. Or, at least, that’s what I hope.

“Your memory is a monster; you forget—it doesn’t. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you—and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you.” –

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving