Aphorisms XIV

Pronouns again – A teenage girl bought the airfix. “Did she?” says my friend. But here is a place where I would say ‘they’ – uncertainty again being the aspect relevant to explaining why. I don’t know them…

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Can there be a superlative without the disgust of the ordinary? Yes. In fact, that is a prerequisite. It’s not the difference from the ordinary that makes something superlative, but a superlative relation of that thing to us, experiencing it. And the disgust of the ordinary often slides in surreptitiously at the back. It may seem stupid to say that the best film has no relation to other films by that fact, but it is stupider to say that any film could satisfy the language game of suiting the squirly set of conditions for bestness taken in the tool like sense. The best tool for the task does that one job better than the others. But a film without an adjective, has no one task. I guess it’s a classic example of language going on holiday.

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Aphorisms XIII

Though it’s had a rough start, I think that social media will end up making us more dialogic, willing to consider other points and views. The same patchy start was true of the printing press, of books and pamphlets, I suspect. It will take hundreds of years having all the impact it will have, and may never finish impacting us. Has the printer finished with us yet? Probably not.

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Aphorisms XI

A plot or storyline can be outlined in a more or less random string of images. If you want to, you just have to massage them into shape to make them seem like they were destined to appear together.

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Say a french novel was published in 1954. If you are nostalgic, or a scholar, you may want to translate it in a way that expresses the 1950s in France through a kind of amalgamated 1950s english. But, If I want to really relate with the characters, as it were, I have to go all the way, and rather than travelling back in time to put myself in their positions, I bring them forward in time, putting them in our positions, or at least positions more well known to us, living as we do. If we are going to translate a book, why not really translate it? We need both kinds of translations, and more and different still, if we are to really translate something.

To do otherwise is to fetishize language, do our best to ignore who was speaking it, or at least to try and control them by confining them to the past, or to a kind of nostalgic revery.

Good lord, listen to me, I’ve only just  started translating. So ignore me, or don’t. It doesn’t matter.

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Aphorisms VI

To ask – is it okay to have a child? If it is not okay to propogate existence as such, existence is said in practice to be ‘not okay’. We pronounce on ourselves that we are not okay. To lack even a baseline of worth. For who will continue to care about the world, if we don’t care enough to continue to propogate the possibility of care?

Our basic humanity rests on this acceptance that we can continue. Fantasies such as ‘Children of Men’ show us this emotional truth, that to not have children is to accept the apocalypse. A childless world is a slow apocalypse. And what right do we have to choose ourselves as those who do not deserve propagation? No one has this right. This first form is an attribution of nonexistent rights over nonexistents.

Another form of this is a kind of overload of care – we care about children so much that we will not let them live with a possibility of a worse life than ourselves… We care so much that we won’t allow care to exist. But of course, we will be living most of it with them.

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When I played Spyro as a child, the world of Spyro was complete, without traces of anything, no history. No background. A world with no influences, music which was never played by anyone, a beautiful summer forest, puzzles and gems and orbs. Now, I start to think about how the soundtrack is structured and that perfect being of Spyro starts to darken. Then I stop thinking because it is not worth the value lost to question the most deep art experiences.

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Isn’t there something disingenuous about a philosopher searching for arguments, as such, to prove a point? Surely they should be just looking closer at the way things work? But pragmatically a good, graspable argument is often hard to find.

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Aphorisms III

Consuming isn’t easy, sometimes. It’s a form of emotional labour. Though series and films can play themselves out in front of us, we don’t just sit and absorb their images. Or at least, not by default. In this way, A Clockwork Orange has a fallacy in it – that being forced to watch something would change us, simply by being made spectator. Of course this is the case for certain experiences, that we are particularly receptive to, but the active spectator can critique whilst in the process of watching (hopefully not out loud though, for the sake of others…)

This idea has an interesting expression in the world of music – are there not songs that you love, whilst being almost completely ignorant of the lyrics, or cognisant of them only in a vague, catchphrase fashion. Consuming music like this is simply allowing it to bounce off us, alter our rhythms. But to consume the whole is to process the message of the song, and to come to a conclusion regarding its sense. I do this rarely. It’s a lot of work.

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Sometimes I come across people like this. I ask – do you love books? They say – Yes, I love 1984.

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Nationalism is the symptom of a badly functioning state.

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“Become who you are!” Careful not to read this as an exhortation to selfishness. For who you are can well include others.

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