Longing is the agony of the nearness of the distant.
Art is longing. You never arrive, but you keep going in the hope that you will.
“We want to decipher skies and paintings, go behind these starry backgrounds or these painted canvases and, like kids trying to find a gap in a fence, try to look through the cracks in the world.”
The experience of beauty makes me aware of absence. What I experience, what touches me, entails both joy and pain. Painful is the experience of absence and pure bliss the experience of a beautiful form that has been ignited by the feeling of absence. In the words of writer Martin Walser: ‘The more we miss something, the more beautiful may become that which we have to mobilize in order to endure absence.’
‘I have two female ideals. If I can’t find my noble, sunny ideal, a kind and faithful woman to share my life, then I won’t put up with anything halfway, anything lukewarm! I would rather submit to a woman with no virtue, no fidelity, no compassion. Such a woman in her selfish grandeur is also an ideal. If I can’t enjoy the full and total happiness of love, then I want to drain its torments, its tortures to the dregs; then I want the woman I love to mistreat me, betray me, and the more cruelly the better. That too is a pleasure.’
Seneca asked us to think of ourselves like dogs who have been tied to a charriot driven by an unpredictable driver. Our leash is long enough to give us a degree of leeway, but is not long enough to allow us to wander wherever we please. A dog will naturally hope to roam about as it wants. But as Seneca’s metaphor implies, if it can’t, then it’s better for the animal to follow obediently behind the cart rather than dragged and strangled by it.
FOMO — Fear of Missing Out — is a great motivator of human behavior, and I think a crucial key to understanding social software, and why it works the way it does. Many people have studied the game mechanics that keep people collecting things (points, trophies, check-ins, mayorships, kudos). Others have studied how the neurochemistry that keeps us checking Facebook every five minutes is similar to the neurochemistry fueling addiction. Social media has made us even more aware of the things we are missing out on. You’re home alone, but watching your friends status updates tell of a great party happening somewhere. You are aware of more parties than ever before. And, like gym memberships, adding Bergman movies to your Netflix queue and piling up unread copies of the New Yorker, watching these feeds gives you a sense that you’re participating, not missing out, even when you are.
News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress. Everything else is advertising.
The soul has no secrets that conduct does not reveal.
The only laws of matter are those which our minds must fabricate, and the only laws of mind are fabricated for it by matter.
In 1857 naturalist Gerard Kreff on an expedition in the Australian outback caught two rare bandicoots. Desperately hungry, he ate them. They were, he later discovered, the last pair.
‘Nature has put man at woman’s mercy through his passion, and woman is misguided if she fails to make him her subject, her slave, no, her toy and ultimately fails to laugh and betray him.’