Useful ideas surface. The internet indulges our will to capture the essence before it recedes into oblivion. This medium is inherently subject to the Hawthorne Effect, and tends to amplify the message from ideologues. If everything is amplified, nothing is heard. The signal-to-noise ratio wilts in an endless jungle of voices.
“In some remote corner of the universe, poured out into countless flickering solar systems, there once was a star near which some clever animals invented knowledge. It was the most arrogant and most untruthful minute of ‘world history,’ but still only a minute. When nature had drawn a few breaths the star solidified and the clever animals died. It was time, too; for although they prided themselves on knowing a lot, they had finally discovered, to their great annoyance, that they knew everything wrongly.
One could invent such a fable, but one would still not have sufficiently illustrated how pathetic, how shadowy and volatile, how useless and arbitrary the human intellect seems within nature. There were eternities in which it did not exist, and when it is gone nothing will have happened. For the intellect has no further mission leading beyond human life. It is human, and only its owner and creator treat it as solemnly as if the hinges of the world turned upon it.”
Beneath Nietzsche’s desolate 19th century observation on “anthropocentric delusion” stood a subtler disdain for days wasted or idle, and a drive to extend the trajectory of what man could conceptualize. Because we are human, we suppose that all events lead up to humanity and are designed to subserve its needs. Albert Camus potently updated the notion once or twice. Albert Einstein as well. Carl Sagan, David Foster Wallace, Cormac McCarthy, Susan Sontag in the mix…before them and their critics, the silhouettes of Aristotle and William Shakespeare on dark, austere days of yore. An endless fathoming by the future-minded, plying the arts and sciences in passage to dimensions beyond society’s default thinking. Positivist and negativist edge to the common ground where tradition, myth, religiosity, the world order and so-called “rational” lines of thought are not silent in their movement through time. Some grow quite noisy, and jam a stick in our spokes. Some “truths” expire, but fight to disappear as slowly as possible. This gives us things to discuss. –DEM
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“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty .”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson