Notes

Brief excerpts from articles, papers, and books that I enjoyed reading. May or may not contain views that I agree with.

“Every being cries out silently to be read differently.”

– Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace

“Uno no es lo que es por lo que escribe, sino por lo que ha leído.”

(“You are not what you write, but what you have read.”)

– Jorge Luis Borges

“Late twentieth-century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between natural and artificial, mind and body, self-developing and externally designed, and many other distinctions that used to apply to organisms and machines. Our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert.”

– Donna Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto

“This ‘ideology of objectivity’ itself derives from one of the most profound myths in the liberal ideology: the absolute distinction between fact and value, the distinction which appears as a common-sense ‘rule’ in newspaper practice as ‘the distinction between facts and interpretation’: the empiricist illusion, the utopia of naturalism.”

– Stuart Hall, The Determinations of News Photographs

 

“To teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can still do for those who study it.”

 – Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy

“Utopia, today, is to believe that current societies will be able to continue along on their merry little way without major upheavals. Social modes of organization that prevail today on earth are not holding up, literally and figuratively.”

– Félix Guattari, Soft Subversions: Texts and Interviews 1977-1985

“Nowhere is the multidimensionality, multifocality, multivocality of twentieth-century African literature more evident than in the postcolonial generation of writers born after 1960, whose creative flowering came in the 1980s and 1990s, the era of pervasive crisis for the postcolony and the triumph of postcolonial theory, both of which marked and mediated their work. This generation incorporated in their literary imaginations disdain for colonialism and distrust of nationalism that had animated earlier generations of writers who bemoaned the cultural agonies of colonialism and the aborted dreams of the uhuru. The new generation had decidedly more cosmopolitan visions of the African condition, cultural production, and the subjectivities of gender, class, and sexuality.”

– Paul Zeleza, Colonial Fictions: Memory and History in Yvonne Vera’s Imagination

 

EXTRA: Fun graph from Google’s Ngram Viewer

“Even sceptics, pragmatists, and empiricists – those anti-dogmatic heroes – have their own kinds of dogma-x; for the sceptic, the notion that knowledge is fallible; for the pragmatist, the commitment to practical application; for the empiricist, the religion of sense experience. And even the most intrepid anti-essentialist positions, such as poststructuralism or deconstruction, have their own versions of dogma-x: ‘there is nothing outside of the text’ or ‘all rationality contains a play of supplementarity.’ Dogma-x is a claim, a claim formulated as a picture of the world.”

– Alexander R Galloway, A Network is a Network is a Network: Reflections on the Computational and the Societies of Control

“We know summer is the height of of being alive. We don’t believe in God or the prospect of an afterlife mostly, so we know that we’re only given eighty summers or so per lifetime, and each one has to be better then the last, has to encompass a trip to that arts center up at Bard, a seemingly mellow game of badminton over at some yahoo’s Vermont cottage, and a cool, wet, slightly dangerous kayak trip down an unforgiving river. Otherwise, how would you know that you have lived your summertime best? What is you missed out on some morsel of shaded nirvana?”

– Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story