April 22nd, 2005 § Comments Off § permalink
Something my supervisor allegedly said, which i thought was very wise: “If you’ve got money to throw at a problem, do it, because the one thing you’re never going to have spare is time”.
April 21st, 2005 § Comments Off § permalink
If you want to become whole,
first let yourself become broken.
If you want to become straight,
first let yourself become twisted.
If you want to become full,
first let yourself become empty.
If you want to become new,
first let yourself become old.
Those whose desires are few gets them,
those whose desires are great go astray.
For this reason the Master embraces the Tao,
as an example for the world to follow.
Because she isn’t self centered,
people can see the light in her.
Because she does not boast of herself,
she becomes a shining example.
Because she does not glorify herself,
she becomes a person of merit.
Because she wants nothing from the world,
the world cannot overcome her.
When the ancient Masters said,
“If you want to become whole,
then first let yourself be broken,”
they weren’t using empty words.
All who do this will be made complete.
- Lao Tzu, from J.M. MacDonald’s public domain translation of the Tao Te Ching
April 19th, 2005 § Comments Off § permalink
In the future, when the world is better organised, when children come of age, we will let ones who’ve been good read Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, we’ll tell them that, because they’ve been good, they get to meet the judge. When the ones who have been bad come of age, we’ll make them read Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, we’ll tell them that, because they’ve been bad, they get to meet the judge. His feet are light and nimble. He never sleeps. He says he’ll never die.
This book is simply fantastic, in a blood and dust, Moby Dick meets McCabe And Mrs Miller, gore and unrectified night, kind of way. So man loves games? Then let him play for stakes
April 18th, 2005 § Comments Off § permalink
GO Sheffield is a fanzine dedicated to celebrating sheffield, and town planning, and everything human, lo-fi, and cool-because-its-not-trying-to-be in this ragged beautiful city. Yes, a fanzine that is kind of about town planning. And it’s damn cool. In their lo-fi underground kind of way the fanzine has been in a photocopied, limited release, format thus far. But now you can see scans of all the back issues at www.gosheffield.net, as well as the current issue and the results of the Cooling The Towers competition (that i mentioned before here). Also, because I don’t really like frames, here are links to a couple of pages from issue four about ‘city living’. Urban housing projects, then and now, and this for the quote about how the new flats in the center of town are being marketed:
The reality. A bunch of hollow ugly men live out their in-crowd fantasies by telling people what’s cool
GO sheffield has attitude and something to say. You won’t get a party line, and you will get engaging and engaged writing about the city. Awesome stuff.
April 11th, 2005 § Comments Off § permalink
Two more from Steven Pinker’s ‘How The Mind Works’:
Each of the major engineering problems solves by the mind is unsolvable without built-in assuptions about the laws that hold in that arena of interaction with the world
Beliefs and desires are the explanatory tools of our own intuitive psychology, and intuitive psychology is the still the most useful and complete science of behaviour their is. The predict the vast majority of human acts – going to the refrigerator, getting on the bus, reaching into one’s wallet – you don’t need to crank through a mathematical model, run a computer simulation of a neural network, or a hire a professional psychologist; you can just ask your grandmother.
April 11th, 2005 § Comments Off § permalink
I have not bummed across America
with only a dollar to spare, one pair
of busted Levi’s and a bowie knife.
I have lived with thieves in Manchester.
I have not padded through the Taj Mahal,
barefoot, listening to the space between
each footfall, picking up and putting down
its print against the marble floor. But I
skimmed flat stones across Black Moss on a day
so still I could hear each set of ripples
as they crossed. I felt each stone’s inertia
spend itself against the water; then sink.
I have not toyed with a parachute cord
while perched on the lip of a light aircraft;
but I held the wobbly head of a boy
at the day centre, and stroked his fat hands.
And I guess that the lightness in the throat
and the tiny cascading sensation
somewhere inside us are both part of that
sense of something else. That feeling, I mean.
Steven Pinker has this to say about why ‘counter-culture’ dress and habits is so common amount the youth of the privilaged:
Aggressive nonconformity is an advertisement that one is so confident in one’s station or abilities that one can jeopardise the good will of others without ending up ostracized and destitute.
(‘How The Mind Works’, 1997, Penguin – p501 my edition)
April 7th, 2005 § Comments Off § permalink
From Neil Gaiman, from 1994, part of a comic strip about Section 28:
i am so wired on caffeine i can hardly see. Please come and visit Sheffield so i can take you to my new favourite coffee shop – Remos in Broomhill
April 5th, 2005 § Comments Off § permalink
Looking on the bright side, let us remind ourselves of what has happened in the wake of earlier demystifications. We find no diminution of wonder; on the contrary, we find deeper beauties and more dazzling visions of the complexity of the universe than the protectors of mystery ever conceived. The “magic” of earlier visions was, for the most part, a cover-up for frank failures of imagination, a boring dodge enshrined in the concept of a deus ex machina. Fiery gods driving golden chariots across the skies are simpleminded comic-book fare compared with the ravishing strangeness of contemporary cosmology, and the recursive intricacies of the reproductive machinery of DNA make ?lan vital about as interesting as Superman’s dread kryptonite. When we understand consciousness – when there is no more mystery – consciousness will be different, but there will still be beauty, and more room than ever for awe.
Daniel C. Dennett, Consciousness Explained.
April 4th, 2005 § Comments Off § permalink
We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.
G. K. Chesterton
Anyone who wants to know the human psyche will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology. He would be better advised to abandon exact science, put away his scholar’s gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart throught the world. There in the horrors of prisons, lunatic asylums and hospitals, in drab suburban pubs, in brothels and gambling-hells, in the salons of the elegant, the Stock Exchanges, socialist meetings, churches, revivalist gatherings and ecstatic sects, through love and hate, through the experience of passion in every form in his own body, he would reap richer stores of knowledge than text-books a foot thick could give him, and he will know how to doctor the sick with a real knowledge of the human soul.
The first line is true, the last line is false – everything in between is poetry