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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Le Corbusier said of the High Court building in Chandigarh “it’s about majesty, the power and home of the law”. And this is a crisp example of the way buildings are conditioned by histories – of the materials, of state and society. When I see poured concrete in the Indian sun’s heat, it can seem stuffy, and humid. I wonder at the corrosion brought by the rain, conditioned by my viewing of Slumdog Millionaire, absorbing the backgrounds of bollywood and countless documentaries. But to someone who was born and lives in Indian rain and humidity, coming to the High Court in 1955 will not have brought up these feelings. They might only see the rectangular immensity, the incredible newness of the state of India, the absolute unlikeness to bland imperial domination, they might see rebirth. They might see a clearness, and a simplicity which I can see through a glass darkly. Or they might not. I would love to read an account of someone coming to this building for the first time.

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People say we are insulating ourselves in small online communities, because we won’t listen to their bullshit.

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