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"Everything you can imagine is real."— Pablo Picasso

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Jun
5th
Wed
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“The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenalin but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.” “
— attributed to Glenn Gould, Canadian pianist who became one of the best-known and most celebrated classical pianists of the 20th century (1932-1982), in Payzant (1962), cited in Glenn Gould: Music and Mind, p.64
Jun
1st
Sat
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“Only the understanding of evolution offers a chance to get a real understanding of the human species. We are determined by the interplay between individual and group selection where individual selection is responsible for much of what we call sin, while group selection is responsible for the greater part of virtue. We’re all in constant conflict between self-sacrifice for the group on the one hand and egoism and selfishness on the other. I go so far as to say that all the subjects of humanities, from law to the creative arts are based upon this play of individual versus group selection. (…) And it is very creative and probably the source of our striving, our inventiveness and imagination. It’s that eternal conflict that makes us unique. (…)

Q: (…) [W]ill we reach a higher state of humanity?

Do we really want to improve ourselves? Humans are a very young species, in geologic terms, and that’s probably why we’re such a mess. We’re still living with all this aggression and ability to go to war. But do we really want to change ourselves? We’re right on the edge of an era of being able to actually alter the human genome. But do we want that? Do we want to create a race that’s more rational and free of many of these emotions? My response is no, because the only thing that distinguishes us from super-intelligent robots are our imperfect, sloppy, maybe even dangerous emotions. They are what makes us human.” “

Edward O. Wilson, American biologist, researcher (sociobiologybiodiversity), theorist (consiliencebiophilia), naturalist (conservationist) and author, Interview with Edward O. Wilson: The Origin of Morals, originally in P. Bethge, J. Grolle, Wir sind ein Schlamassel, Der Spiegel, 8/2013. (Photo: Edward O. Wilson in Puerto Rico, NYT)

See also: ☞ E. O. Wilson on human evolution, altruism and a ‘new Enlightenment’, Lapidarium notes

Apr
5th
Fri
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An abstract gets close scrutiny

At the San Francisco Museum of Art (taken before 1975, Life Magazine)

“What I think is so interesting about this photograph is the way that the girls are responding to the space of the modern art gallery: they are not merely ignoring the art on the walls, but literally looking beyond those walls. It is not a quick glance or sneaky peek, either. This is intense, curious looking that requires them to physically crouch down and brace themselves against the grate in order to get the closest possible view through the vent. The square grid-like vent seems congruous with the canvasses of the modern art gallery, and the children are inspired to look beyond the surface of lines and shapes. (…)

As Clement Greenberg, that stalwart champion of abstract expressionism, once said: “To hold that one kind of art must invariably be superior or inferior to another kind means to judge before experiencing; and the whole history of art is there to demonstrate the futility of rules of preference laid down beforehand: the impossibility, that is, of anticipating the outcome of aesthetic experience.” (From his Art and Culture (Boston: Beacon, 1961), pp. 133).

So, the girls might not be looking at the abstract art on the gallery walls, but who is to say that their examination of whatever lay beyond that vent is any less of a valid aesthetic experience?” “
Feb
14th
Thu
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Art is not the application of a canon of beauty, but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon.
Pablo Picasso, Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer who spent most of his adult life in France (1881-1973)
Feb
9th
Sat
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image
"Hello, what’s your name?"
“My name is Mr. Fischer, what’s your name?”
“Bush. I’m Mr. Bush.”
George W. Bush's dialogue with German foreign minister and Vice Chancellor Joschka Fischer during his visit in Germany, 24. February 2005.
Illustration: George W. Bush’s self-portraits in the bathroom e-mailed to his sister Dorothy
See also: Bruce Handy, Nude Self-Portraits of George W. Bush: A Critique, Vanity Fair, Feb 8, 2013
Jan
1st
Tue
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Realer Than Real: The Simulacrum According to Deleuze and Guattari

"A common definition of the simulacrum is a copy of a copy whose relation to the model has become so attenuated that it can no longer properly be said to be a copy. It stands on its own as a copy without a model. (…)

As Eric Alliez and Michel Feher observe, the best weapon against the simulacrum is not to unmask it as a false copy, but to force it to be a true copy, thereby resubmitting it to representation and the mastery of the model: the corporation that built the rebellious replicants introduces a new version complete with second-hand human memories. (…)

Simulation,” Deleuze and Guattari write, “does not replace reality (…) but rather it appropriates reality in the operation of despotic overcoding, it produces reality on the new full body that replaces the earth. It expresses the appropriation and production of the real by a quasi-cause.” (…)

Reality is nothing but a well-tempered harmony of simulation. The world is a complex circuit of interconnected simulations, in which Feuillade's own film takes its place. (…) So what we are left with is a distinction not primarily between the model and the copy, or the real and the imaginary, but between two modes of simulation. (…)

Artists are replicants who have found the secret of their obsolescence. (…)

What Deleuze and Guattari offer, particularly in A Thousand Plateaus, is a logic capable of grasping Baudrillard’s failing world of representation as an effective illusion the demise of which opens a glimmer of possibility. Against cynicism, a thin but fabulous hope—of ourselves becoming realer than real in a monstrous contagion of our own making.” “
Brian Massumi, Canadian social theorist, Ph.D in French Literature from Yale University, Realer Than Real: The Simulacrum According to Deleuze and Guattari (1987) (pdf)
Dec
7th
Fri
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Philosophy, art, and science are not the mental objects of an objectified brain but the three aspects under which the brain becomes subject.
Gilles Deleuze, French philosopher (1925-1995), What Is Philosophy?, Verso, 1994, p. 210.
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Paul Klee, Swiss born German painter (1879-1940), Pedagogical Sketchbook1925, cited in S. Manghani, A. Piper, J. Simons, Images: A Reader, SAGE, 2006, p. 222. (tnx the-rx)
Nov
4th
Sun
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There’s never been a more exciting time to be a storyteller. (…)

A revolution in how we view and consume news, in how we engage politically, how we promote and fund businesses, how we spend our leisure time. And more to the point, it’s completely altered the landscape of the possible for art and for artists. We have new tools and new ways to reach audiences — and that’s amazing.

But the part that gets me incredibly excited is that we’re experimenting with new forms, too, or changing old ones into something breathtakingly novel. We’re making new kinds of art that can exist only in the intersections between media, not just taking old media to new places. It’s not every generation that gets to feel like you’re shaping a whole new art form.
Andrea Phillips is an award-winning transmedia writer, game designer and author, Creating Transmedia: An Interview with Andrea Phillips (Part One), Nov 2, 2012.
Oct
9th
Tue
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A work of art is an artifact upon which some person(s) acting on behalf of the artworld has conferred the status of candidate for appreciation.
George Dickie, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at University of Illinois at Chicago and is an influential philosopher of art working in the analytical tradition, The Definition of Art, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Sep
9th
Sun
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Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art; it arises in hypothesis and flows into achievement.
Will Durant, American writer, historian, and philosopher (1885-1981), The Pleasures of Philosophy, 1929.
Mar
14th
Wed
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“Amidst the attention given to the sciences as how they can lead to the cure of all diseases and daily problems of mankind, I believe that the biggest breakthrough will be the realization that the arts, which are conventionally considered ‘useless,’ will be recognized as the whole reason why we ever try to live longer or live more prosperously.” “
John Maeda, Japanese-American graphic designer, computer scientist, university professor, and author, cited in The universe will fly like a bird
Mar
11th
Sun
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We now know enough to know that we will never know everything. This is why we need art: it teaches us how to live with mystery. Only the artist can explore the ineffable without offering us an answer, for sometimes there is no answer. John Keats called this romantic impulse ‘negative capability.’ He said that certain poets, like Shakespeare, had ‘the ability to remain in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.’ Keats realized that just because something can’t be solved, or reduced into the laws of physics, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. When we venture beyond the edge of our knowledge, all we have is art.

But before we can get a fourth culture, our two existing cultures must modify their habits. First of all, the humanities must sincerely engage with the sciences. Henry James defined the writer as someone on whom nothing is lost; artists must heed his call and not ignore science’s inspiring descriptions of reality. Every humanist should read Nature.

At the same time, the sciences must recognize that their truths are not the only truths. No knowledge has a monopoly on knowledge. That simple idea will be the starting premise of any fourth culture. As Karl Popper, an eminent defender of science, wrote, ‘It is imperative that we give up the idea of ultimate sources of knowledge, and admit that all knowledge is human; that it is mixed with our errors, our prejudices, our dreams, and our hopes; that all we can do is to grope for truth even though it is beyond our reach. There is no authority beyond the reach of criticism.
Jonah Lehrer, American journalist who writes on the topics of psychology, neuroscience, and the relationship between science and the humanities, Proust Was a Neuroscientist, Mariner Books, 2008. 
Mar
4th
Sun
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Odysseus wept when he heard the poet sing of his great deeds abroad because, once sung, they were no longer his alone. They belonged to anyone who heard the song.” “
Ward Just, American writer, An Unfinished Season, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004. (Illustration: Odysseus)
Jan
8th
Sun
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To make a face from marble means to remove from the slab everything that is not the face.
Anton Chekhov, Russian physician, dramatist and author (1860-1904), cited in Lionel Kelly, Anton Checkhov and Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Strategies of Reading, JSTOR: The Yearbook of English Studies, Vol. 26 (1996), pp. 218-231.