“He imagined that the clock’s second hand possessed awareness and knew that it was a second hand and that its job was to go around and around inside a circle of numbers forever at the same slow unvarying machinelike rate, going no place it hadn’t already been a million times before, and imagining the second hand was so awful it made his breath catch in his throat…”—David Foster Wallace, The Pale King (via wordsandetcetera)
“Life is going to present to you a series of transformations. And the point of education should be to transform you. To teach you how to be transformed so you can ride the waves as they come. But today, the point of education is not education. It’s accreditation. The more accreditation you have, the more money you make. That’s the instrumental logic of neoliberalism. And this instrumental logic comes wrapped in an envelope of fear. And my Ivy League, my MIT students are the same. All I feel coming off of my students is fear. That if you slip up in school, if you get one bad grade, if you make one fucking mistake, the great train of wealth will leave you behind. And that’s the logic of accreditation. If you’re at Yale, you’re in the smartest 1% in the world. […] And the brightest students in the world are learning in fear. I feel it rolling off of you in waves. But you can’t learn when you’re afraid. You cannot be transformed when you are afraid.”—
“People speak sometimes about the ‘bestial’ cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.”—Fyodor Dostoyevsky (via rhaegartargryen)
Do you remember what your first encounters were with the atomic bombings?
I think I learned about them sometime back in elementary school, maybe not through school but through a documentary or one of my father’s books, but I couldn’t conceptualize the severity of it. Much like how I experienced 9/11- I was in second grade at the time, and I saw the buildings burning on the TV, but I wasn’t aware of what it meant. The mass loss of human life. The threat of war. To me, it was just as it was - buildings burning. The atomic bomb was just as it was - we were taught it ended WWII. There’s a lot more to it than that, of course. Now I’m totally consumed by it. It’s a horrific memento mori. Men have the power to end tens of thousands of lives in a flash second, and they’ve used it. It’s insane. Sometimes all you can do is ask, why?