Brief reflections 1

  • The difficulty with writing aphorisms is that you’ve got to find a rare enough insight not to be trivial, but self-evident enough that merely stating it is persuasive.
  • Aphorisms are innately the most egotistical form for this reason. “I don’t even have to give you substantial arguments to be worth reading”. I apologise for that. This explains Twitter.
  • If Twitter is a game, the parameters of that game mean that the vast majority of its players are losing.
  • Creativity is not about turning off the filter exactly, it’s a bout making a simultaneous process sequential. Normally we filter our ideas as we make them. In a creative mode of thought we make a reiterating two step process of creating, then filtering, creating, then filtering… It’s like the tug of war between the gods and demons over the naga serpent which churned the ocean of milk.
  • It’s very hard to describe a method for individually working out whether a new thought is A) An original (or at least rare) insight or B) Something everyone else had already figured except you. This is why people in the business of thinking up original thoughts are all paranoid about being laughed at, egomaniacs, or both.
  • The furtiveness of a bad conscience- its exact balance of shame and guilt and other fascinating parameters- is the secret master of the world. Secret because it’s self-occluding. Definitionally people don’t want to talk about it. This means its real influence is assuredly manyfold times larger than its apparent influence.
  • Guilt’s a pretty dark emotion. It almost invariably shades into grief that I have to deal with the emotional consequences of having done wrong rather than grief that I have done wrong. The line between guilt and shame is worryingly thin, as is the line between guilt and fear of punishment. Often the only thing more reprehensible than feeling guilt is not feeling it.
  • It’s very possible that, virtual reality and brain computer interface will mean that people are going to have access to all the types of sex with all the permutations of bodies they could possibly want. This is a cultural event horizon that it’s difficult to see past, because beyond this point, people will have to be honest that what they were really craving all along in most cases was status, intimacy with another human, or both. These are far more compromising desires to admit to than merely wanting sex.
  • One of the disturbing aspects of how the media has chosen to cover #metoo is that it is covered as a sex scandal. This means a degree of the interest is prurient. I remember a case broke about a footballer accused of rape in my country. The tabloid in question chose for its accompanying image the footballer in question in a pair of speedos.
  • The best argument for loving everyone is that you can’t fully love anyone unless you love everyone. We all contain each others flaws and capacities, even if only in fragments.
  • It’s simple enough to get statistics on what percentages of people affiliate with religion. What I want is statistics on what percentage of people believe in god in the same way they believe in Belgium. I want to know how this has changed over time and I suspect it’s much more dramatic.
  • It’s interesting that it’s Astrology- rather than Tarot, which is undergoing a revival, despite the frankly superior aesthetics of Tarot. One suspects that the role of tarot in assigning identities is part of the attraction, much like people love the Myers Briggs for giving out labels. But equally important is its facility in making other people comprehensible, in an increasingly fragmentary world.

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