Friday, April 22, 2011

Taking an inordinate intermission from packing, haha!
Wanted to take the chance to say that music boxes enchant me.
Flipped a couple open today and peered in eagerly to study the manifold mechanism.
It works like this:

There is a golden cylinder that revolves around at the prepared pace when the music box is opened. As the cylinder spins around and twirls, there are subtle indentations upon it which strike a row of keys that produce sound -- sort of like how a piano progresses.

I really have to pack now, bye, lovelies!
By the way, lovelies, it's EARTH DAY TODAY!
I love the Earth. I've been thinking of how I can put this down into writing but I think it's too personal.
The Earth is so beautiful; there is no apt description for it.
It's something perceived within the mind, I think. You know how when you're at the seaside, or sniffing the scent of grass into your nostrils, or standing at the supreme of a mountain and feeling so near to the nature, and that palpation it gives you is so personal, it's what makes you go all reticent, all conservative, and it makes you reflect, makes you remember, makes you regret, but also makes you content, complacent and fulfilled in a way that only you can feel.
That's all I'm going to say.
Bye for now!
Hi, my lovelies.

I apologize for the rather lengthy absence in blogging! I've been busy.
I'm going back to Taiwan tomorrow for the first time in over 2 years, which is really lovely because I miss it so much! I wonder how it's changed!

I'm currently reading: "The Portrait of the Artist as a  Young Man" by James Joyce. I also intended on tackling "Dubliners" (by him as well) over the Easter break, so I borrowed a fattish volume containing the two books above.

Now, I don't mean to be superficial, but I sort of regret borrowing the huge volume instead of the two separate books. For 4 silly reasons...
1. I prefer the covers of the two separate books.
2. I prefer the font of the two separate books.
3. I prefer clutching 2 books under my arm.
4. The cover of "The Portrait of the Artist as a  Young Man" was a gorgeous lime green that matched my wristband and contained 100% recyclable material.
Well, that was me being perfectly honest!

I'm glad I've got the book though, I'm going to really enjoy reading over the holidays.
I'll be getting a load of reading done -- hours on the plane, train rides, and when I'm having chill-time in hotel rooms or at my relatives' homes.

I'm bringing my notebook there so I can write everyday, too! Will be writing a lot. This is a good time to mention that I'm going to go see the 'cloud sea' up on Alishan. It will be beautiful and I'll be wanting to write down how it was the moment I see it. Very excited. I remember planning a Taiwan soundtrack to bring with me so I could listen to songs during my trip, but I don't think that will be happening.

Over the summer, I'll spend my Dymocks coupon to buy 1 or 2 books and also tackle "Odysseus" which is curiously lying at home! Great!

Well, before I go, I wanted to share the things I learned about my name and birth date today, but then realized that it will probably make you uncomfortable (as it had slightly made me) and for safety reasons, I'll choose not to, haha!

I'll say that I agree with some of it and disagree with the rest.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My lovelies, I'm having the time of my life!
Just watched Mumford and Sons, Bright Eyes, and now ARCADE FIRE live! This is phenomenal. I love this.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I've tacked up:

""Far above the Ephel Dúath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach." -- The Return of the King p.234"

on my wall.

About time too, since it's my favourite book quote of all time, haha!
I've finished the Fountainhead, I don't know what I should read next, although I've got a whole list. It's either more Faulkner, James Joyce, or F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Here is howard Roark's epic courtroom quote that pretty much the whole book has been leading up to. It is the ultimate epitome of the second-handers and Rand's philosophy illustrated in the book. I'm inspired.
Photography Graphics, Tumblr Photography
“Thousands of years ago, the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. He was considered an evildoer who had dealt with a demon mankind dreaded. But thereafter men had fire to keep them warm, to cook their food, to light their caves. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had lifted dardness off the earth. Centuries later, the first man invented the wheel. He was probably torn on the rack he had taught his brothers to build. He was considered a transgressor who ventured into forbidden terrritory. But thereafter, men could travel past any horizon. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had opened the roads of the world.
“That man, the unsubmissive and first, stands in the opening chapter of every legend mankind has recorded about its beginning. Prometheus was chained to a rock and torn by vultures—because he had stolen the fire of the gods. Adam was condemned to suffer—because he had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Whatever the legend, somewhere in the shadows of its memory mankind knew that its glory began with one and that that one paid for his courage.
“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.
“No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers, for his brothers rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful routine of their lives. His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way. A symphony, a book, an engine, a philosophy, an airplane or a building—that was his goal and his life. Not those who heard, read, operated, believed, flew or inhabited the thing he had created. The creation, not its users. The creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all things and against all men.
“His vision, his strength, his courage came from his own spirit. A man's spirit, however, is his self. That entity which is his consciousness. To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego.
“The creators were not selfless. It is the whole secret of their power—that it was self-sufficient, self-motivated, self-generated. A first cause, a fount of energy, a life force, a Prime Mover. The creator served nothing and no one. He lived for himself.
“And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.
“Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. Man has no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons—a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man—the function of his reasoning mind.
“But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought. An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn upon many individual thoughts. It is a secondary consequence. The primary act—the process of reason—must be performed by each man alone. We can divide a meal among many men. We cannot digest it in a collective stomach. No man can use his lungs to breathe for another man. No man can use his brain to think for another. All the functions of body and spirit are private. They cannot be shared or transferred.
“We inherit the products of the thought of other men. We inherit the wheel. We make a cart. The cart becomes an automobile. The automobile becomes an airplane. But all through the process what we receive from others is only the end product of their thinking. The moving force is the creative faculty which takes this product as material, uses it and originates the next step. This creative faculty cannot be given or received, shared or borrowed. It belongs to single, individual men. That which it creates is the property of the creator. Men learn from one another. But all learning is only the exchange of material. No man can give another the capacity to think. Yet that capacity is our only means of survival.
“Nothing is given to man on earth. Everything he needs has to be produced. And here man faces his basic alternative: he can survive in only one of two ways—by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of others. The creator originates. The parasite borrows. The creator faces nature alone. The parasite faces nature through an intermediary.
“The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite’s concern is the conquest of men.
“The creator lives for his work. He needs no other men. His primary goal is within himself. The parasite lives second-hand. He needs others. Others become his prime motive.
“The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary.
“The basic need of the second-hander is to secure his ties with men in order to be fed. He places relations first. He declares that man exists in order to serve others. He preaches altruism.
“Altruism is the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self.
“No man can live for another. He cannot share his spirit just as he cannot share his body. But the second-hander has used altruism as a weapon of expoloitation and reversed the base of mankind’s moral principles. Men have been taught every precept that destroys the creator. Men have been taught dependence as a virtue.
“The man who attemps to live for others is a dependent. He is a parasite in motive and makes parasites of those he serves. The relationship produces nothing but mutual corruption. It is impossible in concept. The nearest approach to it in reality—the man who lives to serve others—is the slave. If physical slavery is repulsive, how much more repulsive is the concept of servility of the spirit? The conquered slave has a vestige of honor. He has the merit of having resisted and of considering his condition evil. But the man who enslaves himself voluntarily in the name of love is the basest of creatures. He degrades the dignity of man and he degrades the conception of love. But this is the essence of altruism.
“Men have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve, but to give. Yet one cannot give that which has not been created. Creation comes before distribution—or there will be nothing to distribute. The need of the creator comes before the need of any possible beneficiary. Yet we are taught to admire the second-hander who dispenses gifts he has not produced above the man who made the gifts possible. We praise an act of charity. We shrug at an act of achievement.
“Men have been taught that their first concern is to relieve the sufferings of others. But suffering is a disease. Should one come upon it, one tries to give relief and assistance. To make that the highest test of virtue is to make suffering the most important part of life. Then man must wish to see others suffer—in order that he may be virtuous. Such is the nature of altruism. The creator is not concerned with disease, but with life. Yet the work of the creators has eliminated one form of disease after another, in man’s body and spirit, and brought more relief from suffering than any altruist could ever conceive.
“Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone.
“Men have been taught that the ego is the synonym of evil, and selflessness the ideal of virtue. But the creator is the egotist in the absolute sense, and the selfless man is the one who does not think, feel, judge or act. These are functions of the self.
“Here the basic reversal is most deadly. The issue has been perverted and man has been left no alternative—and no freedom. As poles of good and evil, he was offered two conceptions: egotism and altruism. Egotism was held to mean the sacrifice of others to self. Altruism—the sacrifice of self to others. This tied man irrevocably to other men and left him nothing but a choice of pain: his own pain borne for the sake of others or pain inflicted upon others for the sake of self. When it was added that man must find joy in self-immolation, the trap was closed. Man was forced to accept masochism as his ideal—under the threat that sadism was his only alternative. This was the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind.
“This was the device by which dependence and suffering were perpetuated as fundamentals of life.
“The choice is not self-sacrifice or domination. The choice is independence or dependence. The code of the creator or the code of the second-hander. This is the basic issue. It rests upon the alternative of life or death. The code of the creator is built on the needs of the reasoning mind which allows man to survive. The code of the second-hander is built on the needs of a mind incapable of survival. All that which proceeds from man’s independent ego is good. All that which proceeds from man’s dependence upon men is evil.
“The egotist is the absolute sense is not the man who sacrifices others. He is the man who stands above the need of using others in any manner. He does not function through them. He is not concerned with them in any primary matter. Not in his aim, not in his motive, not in his thinking, not in his desires, not in the source of his energy. He does not exist for any other man—and he asks no other man to exist for him. This is the only form of brotherhood and mutual respect possible between men.
“Degrees of ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of a man’s independence, initiative and personal love for his work determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man. Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes of himself; not what he has or hasn’t done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal dignity except independence.
“In all proper relationships there is no sacrifice of anyone to anyone. An architect needs clients, but he does not subordinate his work to their wishes. They need him, but they do not order a house just to give him a commission. Men exchange their work by free, mutual consent to mutual advantage when their personal interests agree and they both desire the exchange. If they do not desire it, they are not forced to deal with each other. They seek further. This is the only possible form of relationship between equals. Anything else is a relation of slave to master, or victim to executioner.
“No work is ever done collectively, by a majority decision. Every creative job is achieved under the guidance of a single individual thought. An architect requires a great many men to erect his building. But he does not ask them to vote on his design. They work together by free agreement and each is free in his proper function. An architect uses steel, glass, concrete, produced by others. But the materials remain just so much steel, glass and concrete until he touches them. What he does with them is his individual product and his individual property. This is the only pattern for proper co-operation among men.
“The first right on earth is the right of the ego. Man’s first duty is to himself. His moral law is never to place his prime goal within the persons of others. His moral obligation is to do what he wishes, provided his wish does not depend primarily upon other men. This includes the whole sphere of his creative faculty, his thinking, his work. But it does not include the sphere of the gangster, the altruist and the dictator.
“A man thinks and works alone. A man cannot rob, exploit or rule—alone. Robbery, exploitation and ruling presuppose victims. They imply dependence. They are the province of the second-hander.
“Rulers of men are not egotists. They create nothing. They exist entirely through the persons of others. Their goal is in their subjects, in the activity of enslaving. They are as dependent as the beggar, the social worker and the bandit. The form of dependence does not matter.
“But men were taught to regard second-handers—tyrants, emperors, dictators—as exponents of egotism. By this fraud they were made to destroy the ego, themselves and others. The purpose of the fraud was to destroy the creators. Or to harness them. Which is a synonym.
“From the beginning of history, the two antagonists have stood face to face: the creator and the second-hander. When the first creator invented the wheel, the first second-hander responded. He invented altruism.
“The creator—denied, opposed, persecuted, exploited—went on, moved forward and carried all humanity along on his energy. The second-hander contributed nothing to the process except the impediments. The contest has another name: the individual against the collective.
“The ‘common good’ of a collective—a race, a class, a state—was the claim and justification of every tyranny ever established over men. Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive. Has any act of selfishness ever equaled the carnage perpetrated by disciples of altruism? Does the fault lie in men’s hypocrisy or in the nature of the principle? The most dreadful butchers were the most sincere. They believed in the perfect society reached through the guillotine and the firing squad. Nobody questioned their right to murder since they were murdering for an altruistic purpose. It was accepted that man must be sacrificed for other men. Actors change, but the course of the tragedy remains the same. A humanitarian who starts with declarations of love for mankind and ends with a sea of blood. It goes on and will go on so long as men believe that an action is good if it is unselfish. That permits the altruist to act and forces his victims to bear it. The leaders of collectivist movements ask nothing for themselves. But observe the results.
“The only good which men can do to one another and the only statement of their proper relationship is—Hands off!
“Now observe the results of a society built on the principle of individualism. This, our country. The noblest country in the history of men. The country of greatest achievement, greatest prosperity, greatest freedom. This country was not based on selfless service, sacrifice, renunciation or any precept of altruism. It was based on a man’s right to the pursuit of happiness. His own happiness. Not anyone else’s. A private, personal, selfish motive. Look at the results. Look into your own conscience.
“It is an ancient conflict. Men have come close to the truth, but it was destroyed each time and one civilization fell after another. Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.
“Now, in our age, collectivism, the rule of the second-hander and second-rater, the ancient monster, has broken loose and is running amuck. It has brought men to a level of intellectual indecency never equaled on earth. It has reached a scale of horror without precedent. It has poisoned every mind. It has swallowed most of Europe. It is engulfing our country.
“I am an architect. I know what is to come by the principle on which it is built. We are approaching a world in which I cannot permit myself to live.
“Now you know why I dynamited Cortlandt.
“I designed Cortlandt. I gave it to you. I destroyed it.
“I destroyed it because I did not choose to let it exist. It was a double monster. In form and in implication. I had to blast both. The form was mutilated by two second-handers who assumed the right to improve upon that which they had not made and could not equal. They were permitted to do it by the general implication that the altruistic purpose of the building superseded all rights and that I had no claim to stand against it.
“I agreed to design Cortlandt for the purpose of seeing it erected as I dedigned it and for no other reason. That was the price I set for my work. I was not paid.
“I do not blame Peter Keating. He was helpless. He had a contract with his employers. It was ignored. He had a promise that the structure he offered would be built as designed. The promise was broken. The love of a man for the integrity of his work and his right to preserve it are now considered a vague intangible and an inessential. You have heard the prosecutor say that. Why was the building disfigured? For no reason. Such acts never have any reason, unless it’s the vanity of some second-handers who feel they have a right to anyone’s property, spiritual or material. Who permitted them to do it? No particular man among the dozens in authority. No one cared to permit it or to stop it. No one was responsible. No one can be held to account. Such is the nature of all collective action.
“I did not receive the payment I asked. But the owners of Cortlandt got what they needed from me. They wanted a scheme devised to build a structure as cheaply as possible. They found no one else who could do it to their satisfaction. I could and did. They took the benefit of my work and made me contribute it as a gift. But I am not an altruist. I do not contribute gifts of this nature.
“It is said that I have destroyed the home of the destitute. It is forgotten that but for me the destitute could not have had this particular home. Those who were concerned with the poor had to come to me, who have never been concerned, in order to help the poor. It is believed that the poverty of the future tenants gave them the right to my work. That their need constituted a claim on my life. That it was my duty to contribute anything demanded of me. This is the second-hander’s credo now swallowing the world.
“I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy. Nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim, how large their number or how great their need.
“I wished to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others.
“It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing.
“I wished to come here and say that the integrity of a man’s creative work is of greater importance than any charitable endeavor. Those of you who do not understand this are the men who’re destroying the world.
“I wished to come here and state my terms. I do not care to exist on any others.
“I recognize no obligations toward men except one: to respect their freedom and to take no part in a slave society. To my country, I wish to give the ten years which I will spend in jail if my country exists no longer. I will spend them in memory and in gratitude for what my country has been. It will be my act of loyalty, my refusal to live or work in what has taken its place.
“My act of loyalty to every creator who ever lived and was made to suffer by the force responsible for the Cortlandt I dynamited. To every tortured hour of loneliness, denial, frustration, abuse he was made to spend—and to the battles he won. To every creator whose name is known—and to every creator who lived, struggled and perished unrecognized before he could achieve. To every creator who was destroyed in body or in spirit. To Henry Cameron. To Steven Mallory. To a man who doesn’t want to be named, but who is sitting in this courtroom and knows that I am speaking of him.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Below is the most memorable passage by far from The Fountainhead. It has changed the way I think. Yes, I know that it is rather verbose.

""What have you been thinking about these past weeks?"

"The principle behind the dean who fired me from Stanton."
"What principle?"

"The thing that is destroying the world. The thing you were talking about.
Actual selflessness."

"The ideal which they say does not exist?"

"They're wrong. It does exist--though not in the way they imagine. It's what I
couldn't understand about people for a long time. They have no self. They live
within others. They live second-hand. Look at Peter Keating."

"You look at him. I hate his guts."

"I've looked at him--at what's left of him--and it's helped me to understand.
He's paying the price and wondering for what sin and telling himself that he's
been too selfish. In what act or thought of his has there ever been a self? What
was his aim in life? Greatness--in other people's eyes. Fame, admiration,
envy--all that which comes from others. Others dictated his convictions, which
he did not hold, but he was satisfied that others believed he held them. Others
were his motive power and his prime concern. He didn't want to be great, but to
be thought great. He didn't want to build, but to be admired as a builder. He
borrowed from others in order to make an impression on others. There's your
actual selflessness. It's his ego he's betrayed and given up. But everybody
calls him selfish."

"That's the pattern most people follow."

"Yes! And isn't that the root of every despicable action? Not selfishness, but
precisely the absence of a self. Look at them. The man who cheats and lies, but
preserves a respectable front. He knows himself to be dishonest, but others
think he's honest and he derives his self-respect from that, second-hand. The
man who takes credit for an achievement which is not his own. He knows himself
to be mediocre, but he's great in the eyes of others. The frustrated wretch who
professes love for the inferior and clings to those less endowed, in order to
establish his own superiority by comparison. The man whose sole aim is to make
money. Now I don't see anything evil in a desire to make money. But money is
only a means to some end. If a man wants it for a personal purpose--to invest in
his industry, to create, to study, to travel, to enjoy luxury--he's completely
moral. But the men who place money first go much beyond that. Personal luxury is
a limited endeavor. What they want is ostentation: to show, to stun, to
entertain, to impress others. They're second-handers. Look at our so-called
cultural endeavors. A lecturer who spouts some borrowed rehash of nothing at all
that means nothing at all to him--and the people who listen and don't give a
damn, but sit there in order to tell their friends that they have attended a
lecture by a famous name. All second-handers."

"If I were Ellsworth Toohey, I'd say: aren't you making out a case against
selfishness? Aren't they all acting on a selfish motive--to be noticed, liked,

"--by others. At the price of their own self-respect. In the realm of greatest
importance--the realm of values, of judgment, of spirit, of thought--they place
others above self, in the exact manner which altruism demands. A truly selfish
man cannot be affected by the approval of others. He doesn't need it."
"I think Toohey understands that. That's what helps him spread his vicious
nonsense. Just weakness and cowardice. It's so easy to run to others. It's so
hard to stand on one's own record. You can fake virtue for an audience. You
can't fake it in your own eyes. Your ego is the strictest judge. They run from
it. They spend their lives running. It's easier to donate a few thousand to
charity and think oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards
of personal achievement. It's simple to seek substitutes for competence--such
easy substitutes: love, charm, kindness, charity. But there is no substitute for

"That, precisely, is the deadliness of second-handers. They have no concern for
facts, ideas, work. They're concerned only with people. They don't ask: 'Is this
true?' They ask: 'Is this what others think is true?' Not to judge, but to
repeat. Not to do, but to give the impression of doing. Not creation, but show.
Not ability, but friendship. Not merit, but pull. What would happen to the world
without those who do, think, work, produce? Those are the egotists. You don't
think through another's brain and you don't work through another's hands. When
you suspend your faculty of independent judgment, you suspend consciousness. To
stop consciousness is to stop life. Second-handers have no sense of reality.
Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one
human body from another. Not an entity, but a relation--anchored to nothing.
That's the emptiness I couldn't understand in people. That's what stopped me
whenever I faced a committee. Men without an ego. Opinion without a rational
process. Motion without brakes or motor. Power without responsibility. The
second-hander acts, but the source of his actions is scattered in every other
living person. It's everywhere and nowhere and you can't reason with him. He's
not open to reason. You can't speak to him--he can't hear. You're tried by an
empty bench. A blind mass running amuck, to crush you without sense or purpose.
Steve Mallory couldn't define the monster, but he knew. That's the drooling
beast he fears. The second-hander."
"I think your second-handers understand this, try as they might not to admit it
to themselves. Notice how they'll accept anything except a man who stands alone.
They recognize him at once. By instinct. There's a special, insidious kind of
hatred for him. They forgive criminals. They admire dictators. Crime and
violence are a tie. A form of mutual dependence. They need ties. They've got to
force their miserable little personalities on every single person they meet. The
independent man kills them--because they don't exist within him and that's the
only form of existence they know. Notice the malignant kind of resentment
against any idea that propounds independence. Notice the malice toward an
independent man. Look back at your own life, Howard, and at the people you've
met. They know. They're afraid. You're a reproach."

"That's because some sense of dignity always remains in them. They're still
human beings. But they've been taught to seek themselves in others. Yet no man
can achieve the kind of absolute humility that would need no self-esteem in any
form. He wouldn't survive. So after centuries of being pounded with the doctrine
that altruism is the ultimate ideal, men have accepted it in the only way it
could be accepted. By seeking self-esteem through others. By living second-hand.
And it has opened the way for every kind of horror. It has become the dreadful
form of selfishness which a truly selfish man couldn't have conceived. And now,
to cure a world perishing from selflessness, we're asked to destroy the self.
Listen to what is being preached today. Look at everyone around us. You've
wondered why they suffer, why they seek happiness and never find it. If any man
stopped and asked himself whether he's ever held a truly personal desire, he'd
find the answer. He'd see that all his wishes, his efforts, his dreams, his
ambitions are motivated by other men. He's not really struggling even for
material wealth, but for the second-hander's delusion--prestige. A stamp of
approval, not his own. He can find no joy in the struggle and no joy when he has
succeeded. He can't say about a single thing: 'This is what I wanted because I
wanted it, not because it made my neighbors gape at me.' Then he wonders why
he's unhappy. Every form of happiness is private. Our greatest moments are
personal, self-motivated, not to be touched. The things which are sacred or
precious to us are the things we withdraw from promiscuous sharing. But now we
are taught to throw everything within us into public light and common pawing. To
seek joy in meeting halls. We haven't even got a word for the quality I
mean--for the self-sufficiency of man's spirit. It's difficult to call it
selfishness or egotism, the words have been perverted, they've come to mean
Peter Keating. Gail, I think the only cardinal evil on earth is that of placing
your prime concern within other men. I've always demanded a certain quality in
the people I liked. I've always recognized it at once--and it's the only quality
I respect in men. I chose my friends by that. Now I know what it is. A
self-sufficient ego. Nothing else matters."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blossoms at night by Kobayashi Issa

Blossoms at night,
and the faces of people
moved by music.

The spring sea rising by Yosa Buson

The spring sea rising
and falling, rising
and falling all day.

Not quite dark yet by Yosa Buson

Not quite dark yet
and the stars shining
above the withered fields.
"The basic trouble with the modern world … is the intellectual fallacy that freedom and compulsion are opposites. To solve the gigantic problems crushing the world today, we must clarify our mental confusion. We must acquire a philosophical perspective. In essence, freedom and compulsion are one. Let me give you a simple illustration. Traffic lights restrain your freedom to cross a street whenever you wish. But this restraint gives you the freedom from being run over by a truck. If you were assigned to a job and prohibited from leaving it, it would restrain the freedom of your career. But it would give you freedom from the fear of unemployment. Whenever a new compulsion is forced upon us, we automatically gain a new freedom. The two are inseparable. Only by accepting total compulsion can we achieve total freedom."
-- Ellsworth M. Toohey

"One loses everything when one loses one's sense of humor."
--Ellsworth M. Toohey

"I was thinking of people who say that happiness is impossible on earth. Look how hard they all try to find some joy in life. Look how they struggle for it. Why should any living creature exist in pain? By what conceivable right can anyone demand that a human being exist for anything but his own joy? Every one of them wants it. Every part of him wants it. But they never find it. I wonder why. They whine and say they don't understand the meaning of life. There's a particular kind of people that I despise. Those who seek some sort of a higher purpose or 'universal goal,' who don't know what to live for, who moan that they must 'find themselves.' You hear it all around us. That seems to be the official bromide of our century. Every book you open. Every drooling self-confession. It seems to be the noble thing to confess. I'd think it would be the most shameful one."

"Look, Gail." Roark got up, reached out, tore a thick branch off a tree, held it in both hands, one fist closed at each end; then, his wrists and knuckles tensed against the resistance, he bent the branch slowly into an arc. "Now I can make what I want of it: a bow, a spear, a cane, a railing. That's the meaning of life."

"Your strength?"

"Your work." He tossed the branch aside. "The material the earth offers you and what you make of it."

-- Gail Wynand and Howard Roark

Memorable and through-provoking, cerebration culling quotes from The Fountainhead.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I just had a scroll through my posts back in '09 and '10... Thank goodness I grew up!
My panorama (new word of the day) of the world has completely changed, and will
probably be even more different as I age.

I want to write a book.
I've said that so many times, I'm hoping that I can take it seriously! I'll start plotting
tomorrow or something.
Something rather odd is happening to me.

Recently I feel that I haven't been myself.
I'm not doing so well on things that I've excelled
at before. I'm not quite sure why. Silly things like
spelling solecisms.
I've also been contemplating cockeyed cognitions
that commonly wouldn't be culled concepts of cerebration.

I love the alliteration I played with above. Love it.
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I also don't mean to be ridiculous but The Fountainhead
is emboldening these emotional engrossments.
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A positive point is that Noah and the Whale is still
the most amazing band of my week. I've been 
listening to them all day. Can't stand listening to
any music that isn't them, now.
Took a listen to Monsters by Hurricane Bells and 
couldn't really bear it, haha!

I hope that the alliteration I've altered with in this
perceiving post makes sense.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Noah and the Whale's the best.

I haven't blogged in a while, I'm sorry!
Can't think of anything that I particularly want to say, apart from:
1. Tom Hobden is fantastic.
2. Noah and the Whale is fantastic.
3. I'm slightly stressed.

This is my new desktop background, by the way. I set it to 'image repeat' so that there are 2.35 duplicates of this image visible on my screen. I like it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Noah and the Whale is a lovely, lovely band.

Monday, April 4, 2011

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My brain is cluttered.

I think that when one becomes absorbed in one primary object from many sources at a time (not going to go into details) all the different links that connect to the desired point causes confusion and a sense of continuity on pursuing the object, even though one does not particularly want to (as one wants to rid of the muddle state of mind at once, of course). However, the way out of this is not easily deciphered and in the process of deciphering one's brain is cluttered, which is what is happening to me.

Imagine drawing a brainstorm, you know, which the topic in the center and tonnes of relations shooting out in all different directions.

That's not too bad...

Now imagine drawing a brainstorm with the topic in the center and many complex and diverse relations shooting out in different directions, accompanied by a bibliography. This is also a messy brainstorm.

The emotion it's produced is camping in my head right now.

I think I'll go shower so the water will bring it rushing out of my ears.

Sorry for the lousy writing, I could have done better.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I'm experiencing a rather inconvenient feeling of dread.
My mind feels like a state of loss.
It's not a very nice place to be, at the moment.

I tried reading The Fountainhead to make things better, but strangely a book I fawned over for the whole of yesterday seems stranger to me now and I couldn't even get past 2 pages without feeling restless.

I have a reflection to write but it isn't helping my mind in any way.
In fact, it's increasing my soporific subconsciousness.

Maybe I'm just debilitated.

Even writing seems trite and tiresome.

Sorry for being so dreary.

No people are uninteresting.
Their fate is like the chronicle of planets.

Nothing in them is not particular,
and planet is dissimilar from planet.

And if a man lived in obscurity
making his friends in that obscurity
obscurity is not uninteresting.

To each his world is private,
and in that world one excellent minute.

And in that world one tragic minute.
These are private.

In any man who dies there dies with him
his first snow and kiss and fight.
It goes with him.

There are left books and bridges
and painted canvas and machinery.
Whose fate is to survive.

But what has gone is also not nothing:
by the rule of the game something has gone.
Not people die but worlds die in them.

-- Yevgeny Yevtushenko
1. The View -- Bread and Circuses
2. Noah and the Whale -- Last Night on Earth
3. The Vaccines -- What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
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I'm reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
I recommend it strongly, along with the 3 albums above.
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Sorry, I know I haven't blogged in a while.
I've been sick, busy, and stressed.
Mostly stressed.
I'd like to be happy today!
You too, guys.