Thursday, February 4, 2010

Aphorisms & c. (6)

The Traveler: I wake in the quiet morning, amid fog, with a sense of living in a diminished world – fewer species, fewer languages, few people who can talk with each other about one thing for longer than 15 minutes. The weather is said to be growing stranger every year. In its silence, the world around me shrieks.

Meaning is information combined with experience.

People are finally disappointed by most scientific breakthroughs. After all, they are about the world. There is no claim on our inner selves. That was the province of Art, which became more interested in a market value derived from shock and disapproval. The more disapproval Art aroused, the more money it made, guaranteeing ultimate approval.

Today’s artists, like celebrities, have become filters of data. They exist because they are seen, and their personalities are compelled to explain something. Or they are journalists, pointing at things and moving on.

We all end as Alexander, weeping at the frontier with no more to conquer.

The Traveler: A Kurdish cab driver in Jutland, Denmark: “Before, I had many plans. Now is not. Making a plan, any second it is a bomb.” He dropped me off and drove away past midnight at Legoland's hotel.

There was a beggar outside the billionaire’s compound in Delhi, pounding the limousine window while he dodges a delivery elephant. To live in our world is to embrace the contradictions of other worlds.

A Greek newspaper on the ferry to Pireus. “Gossip” is the only word in English.

Thermopylae, Nanking, Dresden, Shiloh, Da Nang, Stalingrad – if we had enough memory and language, the entire world would be a series of memorials for the folly and waste that once ended there.

God is infinite, We are not, in any way that we really understand. The struggle to connect those two realities has created most of our art and warfare. What if we are wrong? What if the infinite is here?

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