Dialectic

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Nov. 12, 2013:  Jonathan Swift, “Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting”

“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”

 

Nov. 11, 2013:  Franz Kafka, from a letter to Oskar Pollak

“Altogether, I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can make us happy, as you put it? Good God, we’d be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, in a pinch, also write ourselves. What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like suicide. A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe.”

What ax cracks you up?

June 20, 2013: From Charles Dickens, The Last of the Great Men

“All criticism tends too much to become criticism of criticism; and the reason is very evident. It is that criticism of creation is so very staggering a thing.” –G.K. Chesterton

Mar. 1, 2013: Quotes from a February 6th, 2013 lecture by storyteller Ryan Griffith:

  1. “It’s not the story you’re writing, it’s the way you tell it.”
  2. “A good story pulls from all parts of your life.”
  3. “We all write in a culturally acceptable way.”
  4. “It’s amazing how people ignore a sentence, because the sentence is the way you think your way through a story.”
  5. Like jazz, return to the phrase, then improvise on it.”

Aug. 5, 2012: In R. Buckminster Fuller‘s book Critical Path, he writes “Humanity’s present rate of total energy consumption amounts to only one four-millionth of one percent of the rate of its energy income.” He goes on in that book to add that “Out automobiles’ reciprocating engines are only 15-percent efficient, whereas turbines are 30 percent, jet engines, 60 percent, and fuel cells used by astronauts 80 percent.”

The book was written in 1981, and we have yet to significantly efficiently improve upon and use the former three technologies. Bucky continues, “All books on economics have only one basic tenet–the fundamental scarcity of life support.” What about the vast resources of creative potential? Who in our generation will “step up” to the challenge?

July 18, 2012: Philip Sidney states that the poet “ever sets virtue so out in her best colors . . . that one must be enamored of her.” Professor William A. Dyrness in his book Poetic Theology seems to agree.

And yet, there is so much more the poet does, and often does, and to me there are much more worthy subjects than virtue only . . .

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