“There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it.” – Ernest Hemingway, Death In The Afternoon (1935)
I have said, and I maintain…everyone leaves eventually, that pain is inevitable, unavoidable. We have but one choice.
To be a writer, an oft sought social title that brings with it a sense of achievement, of accomplishment and of hard won respect for ones ideas. This is the passion of a great many people in contemporary Western culture, one that I share with those millions of wordsmiths, though I am guilty of harbouring a grudge. In fact I have been quoted as saying more than once in my past…“writing is perhaps the most useless skill in today’s world, unless the writer has ideas worth reading.”
If I may misquote an historical icon in the genre of pessimistic philosophy, “there are no original ideas, only original people.” I say misquote because Barbara Grizzuti Harrison meant something wholly more affirmative than I. In fact, if it would not reduce her words to merely the shell of her intent, I would say that she could have stopped at the notion that original ideas are dead.
“Through me the way into the suffering city,
Through me the way to the eternal pain,
Through me the way that runs among the lost,
Justice urged on my high artificer,
My maker was divine authority,
The highest wisdom, and the primal love,
Before me nothing but eternal things were made,
And I endure eternally,
Abandon every hope, who enter here.”
A casting of ‘The Thinker’ (Originally ‘Le Poet’)
The above is the opening verse of Canto III in the Divine Comedy, Vol I – Inferno. Written by the 13th century Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Inferno is oft confused and translated differently, the above verse is the reading of an inscription located high upon the infamous gate to hell from the third Canto or chapterof inferno. It signified Dante Alighieri’s entrance to the city of woe, which was the first level of hell in the epic poem, and the point of no return in his journey to paradise. The final line is perhaps the most famous line of poetry to ever come out of Italy, and it has inspired much artful attention.
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” – Isaac Asimov
This is a poignant and ever more relevant quote or excerpt from an article Asimov wrote for Newsweek in January of 1980. As brilliant as Asimov was, it’s astonishing that he both recognised and so accurately predicted the state of American culture and anti-intellectualism.
RE: Promotion of Unnamed Grey Shirt Henchman #2
As you may or may not be aware, Deck Commander Hennessey has failed me for the last time. He is now resting peacefully in the cold void of space (somewhere in the vicinity of the Camino system).
Please join me in welcoming this other guy to the prestigious position of Patsy…err, I mean Deck Commander; you will all now take your duty assignments directly from him. This means, in case you missed it, when you screw the pooch and let those blasted rebels get away, it’s his ass in the sling. Or rather, it’s his throat in my magic fingers. So, if you value his company Continue reading
“Those who are in love with practise without knowledge are like the sailor who gets into a ship without a rudder or compass and who never can be certain whether he is going. Practise must always be founded on sound theory, and to this Perspective is the guide and the gateway; and without this nothing can be done well…” – Leonardo da Vinci; Prolegomena and General Introduction To The Book On Painting – Clavis sigillorum
Taken from the collected folios of Leonardo’s personal notebooks.