๐น๐‘œ๐“Š๐“ƒ๐’น Hand Washing with Homunculus

โ€” from anย illuminated manuscript of The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices by Al Jazari (1136โ€“1206)

1315

๐น๐‘œ๐“Š๐“ƒ๐’น Back in the tuberculosis days

On Halloween We Touched Hearts

And brains. We touched eyeballs and intestines. The basement of the Nyberg Building had been converted to a haunted house and in one room were bowls of eyeballs. In another was spaghetti noodles with some sort of slime that made them feel slippery, like your insides when youโ€™re scared all the time. The brains must have been Jell-O, the heart a tomato, and we were all dressed like monsters or the men weโ€™d grow up to be. I donโ€™t remember if Derrick was there, or Dalton. Only mist from dry ice that smoked slowly throughout rooms where bodies had once been embalmed, back in the tuberculosis days, before the Institute became a safe haven for a different kind of disease. Somewhere someone was screaming. A chainsaw fired up behind a fitted sheet but all we could see was a silhouette. Everything was fake: all the hearts, the intestines, our own insides, which should say that weโ€™ll submit to being scared as long as we know itโ€™s not real, but Iโ€™ve always observed the opposite: everything we know to be real we pretend is fake, and that scares us.

โ€” from “Derrick Wore His Pants Too High” by Paul Crenshaw

2019

๐น๐‘œ๐“Š๐“ƒ๐’น The new hope is despair

โ€œThe hope of reason lies in the emancipation from our own fear of despair.โ€ โ€ฆย It is not despair that is the agent of imprisonment, not despair that keeps us, (or reason), in a state of unfreedom in need of emancipation; but ratherย fear. The problem is not despair, but our being afraid to feel despair. In other words, it isย not pessimismย that is a challenge to the liberating effects of rational hope, but our fearful dismissal of it. It is optimism itself that keeps us from achieving what optimism hopes for. Optimism is its own worst enemy; it is self-destructive โ€ฆ Kierkegaard suggests [we] give in to despair โ€ฆ Any life that isnโ€™t fundamentally lived in submission to God is a life lived in despair anyway, whether it is lived in pursuit of aesthetic enjoyment, or in pursuit of fundamental ethical commitments. The problem is that both sorts of life unavoidably must involve various kinds of mechanisms for covering over despair, of distracting us from it. But such mechanisms cannot succeed forever, and in fact the mechanisms usually only serve to make things worse. So the advice is just to cut to the chase, to choose hopelessness. Despair is the necessary step to God, so being openly in despair is better than trying to fool yourself that youโ€™re actually not; and in this sense despair takes you closer to God and to genuine hope.

โ€” from “Hope & Despair: Philosophical considerations for uncertain times” by Michael Stevenson

2018

๐น๐‘œ๐“Š๐“ƒ๐’น ุฑุณุงู„ุฉ ู…ู† ุฅุณู„ุงู… ุญู†ูŠุด

ู…ุฑ ุนุงู…ูŒ ูˆู†ูŠู ู…ู†ุฐ ูƒุชุงุจูŠ ุงู„ุฃุฎูŠุฑ. ูˆู‡ุฐุง ุฎุทุฃ. ุงู„ุฃู…ูˆุฑ ุนู„ู‰ ู…ุง ูŠุฑุงู… ู†ุณุจูŠู‹ุง. ู†ุธุงุฑุฉ ุงู„ุซู„ุงุซูŠู†ุงุช ุชุฎุชู„ู ุชู…ุงู…ู‹ุง ุนู…ุง ู‚ุจู„ู‡ุง. ุงู„ุญูŠุงุฉ ู…ู† ู‡ู†ุง ู„ูŠุณุช ุจุงู„ุจุณุงุทุฉ ุงู„ุชูŠ ูƒู†ุง ู†ุชุฎูŠู„ู‡ุง ู…ู† ู‚ุจู„ุŒ ุงู„ุฒูˆุฌูŠุฉ ุจุงู„ุฃุฎุต. ุฃุตุจุญุช ุจุนุฏ ุงู„ุซู„ุงุซูŠู† ุฃุญู„ู… ุฃุญู„ุงู…ู‹ุง ุบุฑูŠุจุฉุŒ ูˆุญูŠุฉ ุจุดูƒู„ ุนุฌูŠุจ. ุฃูˆุณุฎ ุชู„ูƒ ุงู„ุฃุญู„ุงู… ุนู„ู‰ ุณุจูŠู„ ุงู„ู…ุซุงู„ – ูˆุฃูƒุซุฑู‡ุง ุชูƒุฑุงุฑู‹ุง – ุฃู† ุฃุญู„ู… ุจุงู†ุญุจุงุณ ุตูˆุชูŠ. ุฃู†ุงุฏูŠ ู…ุณุชู†ุฌุฏู‹ุงุŒ ูุฃุดุนุฑ ุจุตูˆุชูŠ ูƒุนุฌูŠู†ุฉ ู…ุฑุฎูŠุฉุŒ ุชุชู…ุฏุฏ ููŠ ูƒุณู„ุŒ ูู„ุง ูŠุตู„. ุซู… ุฃุณุชูŠู‚ุธ ูุฒูุนู‹ุงุŒ ูˆุฃุชุดุจุซ ุจุฃู‚ุฑุจ ู‚ุทุนุฉ ุฃุซุงุซ ุชู‚ุงุจู„ู†ูŠ. ุฃุชุนู„ู… ุฃู†ูŠ ุจู„ุช ููŠ ูุฑุงุดูŠ ู…ุซู„ ุงู„ุฃุทูุงู„ ู…ู†ุฐ ูŠูˆู…ูŠู†ุŸ ุงุนุชู‚ุฏุช ููŠ ุจุฏุงูŠุฉ ุงู„ุฃู…ุฑ ุฃู†ู†ูŠ ุงุญุชู„ู…ุช ู…ุซู„ู‹ุง. ูˆู„ูƒู† ุณุฑุนุงู† ู…ุง ุชุจูŠู†ุช ุฃู†ู‡ ุจูˆู„. ุจูˆู„ ูŠุง ูŠูˆุณู! ูƒู†ุช ุฃุญู„ู… ุฃู†ูŠ ุฃูุฑุบ ุถุบุทู‹ุง ุดุฏูŠุฏู‹ุง ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ู…ุซุงู†ุฉุŒ ูˆุงุณุชูŠู‚ุธุช ุดุงุฎุฎ ุนู„ู‰ ุฑูˆุญูŠโ€ฆ ุฃูŠ ูˆุงู„ู„ู‡! ุทูŠุจ. ู†ู‡ุงูŠุชู‡. ุฃุฎุจุฑูƒ ุฃู†ูŠ ู„ู… ุฃู„ุญู‚ ู…ูˆุนุฏ ุงู„ุชู‚ุฏูŠู… ููŠ ู…ู†ุญุฉ ุงู„ู†ุดุฑ. ูˆู„ูƒู†ูŠ ู‚ุฏู…ุช ู‚ุจู„ู‡ุง ุจุดู‡ุฑ ุฃูˆ ุงุซู†ูŠู† ููŠ ู…ู†ุญุฉ ู„ุฅู†ุชุงุฌ ุงู„ุจูˆุฏูƒุงุณุชุŒ ู…ู† ู‚ุจู„ ุงู„ู…ูˆุฑุฏ ุงู„ุซู‚ุงููŠ ุจุงู„ุชุนุงูˆู† ู…ุน ุจูŠ.ุจูŠ.ุณูŠ. ูˆู„ู… ูŠุฎุชุงุฑูˆู†ูŠ ุจุงู„ุทุจุน. ุฃููƒุฑ ุญุงู„ูŠู‹ุง ููŠ ู†ุดุฑ ุงู„ุฏูŠูˆุงู† ุฌุฏูŠู‹ุงุŒ ูˆู„ูƒู† ุงู„ุนู„ูˆู‚ูŠุฉุŒ ูƒู…ุง ุชุนู„ู…ุŒ ุฃุนูŠุช ู…ู† ูŠุฏุงูˆูŠู‡ุงุŒ ูˆุชู…ู†ุนู†ูŠ ู…ู† ุงู„ุนู…ู„ ุฌุฏูŠู‹ุง ูƒู…ุง ุฃููƒุฑ. ู…ุฑูู‚ ุทูŠู‡ ุตูˆุฑุฉ ู„ุฃูˆู„ ุฃุญุฌูŠุฉ (ุจุงุฒู„) ุฑูƒุจู†ุงู‡ุง ุณูˆูŠู‹ุง ุฃู†ุง ูˆุฐูˆ ุงู„ู†ูˆู†. ู„ู‚ุฏ ูˆุถุน ููŠู‡ุง ุงู„ูƒุซูŠุฑ ู…ู† ุงู„ุฌู‡ุฏ (ุฑุบู… ุญุฑูƒุชู‡ ุงู„ู…ูุฑุทุฉ)ุŒ ู„ูŠุญุงูˆู„ ุงุชุจุงุน ุชุนู„ูŠู…ุงุชูŠุŒ ูˆุงู„ุชุฑูƒูŠุฒ ููŠ ูƒู„ ู‚ุทุนุฉ. ู„ุนู†ุฉ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ุฌูŠู†ุงุช. ูˆุงู„ุณู„ุงู… ุฎุชุงู….

2019

๐น๐‘œ๐“Š๐“ƒ๐’น of course the thing you mustnโ€™t say is

O pray for me St Sasha

in fluent ั€ัƒััะบะธะน or via

yr unusually expressive eyebrows

when you remove the bone as one might draw

a hairpin, smear the rollmop on black bread

and indulge my little

pretence that the Russian deli at Elephant & Castle is

St Petersburg.

 

O pray for me St Edwin

with all the fervency the envious angels will allow

when, picked out on the dripping verges,

I feel against my cheek

the blowsy petals of the rhododendron.

 

O pray for me St Effy:

walk with me under the viaduct to Flass Vale

where goldfinches chivvy up &

off across the way;

teach me to live the hours not the years

and do, please, to my dizzy, boring, Venlafaxin thinking what

Ozโ€™s whistling once did to Sunday afternoons.

 

โ€” from Paul Batchelor’s “A Form of Words”, in the London Review of Books

 

2019

๐น๐‘œ๐“Š๐“ƒ๐’น Blissfully Metricized

Academia is not alone in dealing with the pernicious effects of this new system. With Facebook now one of the worldโ€™s largest corporations, it is not a loose analogy to say that clicks, likes, follows, page views, and so on are at the foundation of a new global economy. Clicks have radically transformed journalism, for instance, which explains in part why so many New York Times opinion pieces now have all the tone and nuance of a tweet. Increasingly, it is as tweets that they are conceived.

The same click-swipe-and-rate economy has left everyone involved in cultural production dazed and stumbling. Journalism, art, literature, and entertainment have been engulfed by a tsunami of metrics. And dare we mention love, friendship, and political community? These, too, have been absorbed by the mania of metrics coupled with so-called gamification โ€” a treacherous imitation of play. A flood of neurochemicals saturates our dried-out brains when a heart or a thumbs-up pops up in response to a text, or when our dating profiles get a match, or when our hasty yet emphatic political opinions or our pseudo-humble tales of small daily failures are praised and echoed back to us. The more we swipe in the right direction, or achieve whatever minor virality we can get, the more we are rewarded, and the more we hone our future swipes and tweets and posts. The first flood triggers another, and we float along blissfully metricized, trading our subjectivity for an algorithm.

โ€” from “How Social Media Imperils Scholarship” by Justin E. H. Smith

2019

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