Category Archives: Quotes

The meaning of neural activity

“The meaning off neural activity lies outside the brain…brain activity can be understood, that is, has meaning only to the extent that it is a representation of the state of the body, of the external world, or of a potential … Continue reading

The consolations of isolation

“Isolation offered its own form of companionship: the reliable silence of her rooms, the steadfast tranquility of the evenings. The promise that she would find things where she put them, that there would be no interruption, no surprise. It greeted … Continue reading


“Nowadays being an explorer is a trade, which consists not, as one may think, in discovering hitherto unknown facts after years of study, but in covering a great many miles and assembling lantern-slides or motion pictures, preferably in colour, so … Continue reading

Life and apologies

Culture and utility

Re-reading a chapter in Marshall Sahlins’ Culture and Practical Reason, Le Penseé Bourgoisie today I could have cited multiple chunks of though-provoking writing. Instead, here’s a simple passage outlining, in brief, the argument of the book.

Giving ideas away

I’ve giving a talk – well 5 minutes of comments which will likely be off the cuff etc and probably not not worth posting here – at the first Unrulyversity session of the 2013/14 academic year. The session is titled “Where Do … Continue reading

The Universal Machine

“It can be anything you want it to be. This is the nearest we have got to seeing what I would call a universal machine.” David Hockney, in a 2010 interview


From the 2012 Jefferson Lecture by Wendell E Barry  “The term “imagination” in what I take to be its truest sense refers to a mental faculty that some people have used and thought about with the utmost seriousness. The sense … Continue reading


From Nigger of the Narcissus by Joseph Conrad: A gone shipmate, like any other man, is gone for ever; and I never met one of them again. But at times the spring-flood of memory sets with force up the dark … Continue reading

First simplify

“You can’t simplify reality without understanding it first.” Carl Theodor Dreyer, Danish filmmaker.

Madmen in authority

George Maynard Keynes quoted in a nice book review entitled Talking Short of 3 volumes on the economic crisis in the Dublin Review of Books The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they … Continue reading


“Fiction is the study of the human condition through the medium of interesting lies—scenarios that explore some aspect of what it means to be a person” Charlie Stross

One equal music

And into that gate they shall enter, and in that house they shall dwell, where there shall be no cloud nor sun, no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light, no noise nor silence, but one equal music, no fears … Continue reading

Internet punditry (1974)

From Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s 1974 collection of essays “The Consciousness Industry; On Literature, Politics and the Media”: The open secret of the new electronic media, the decisive political factor, which has been waiting, suppressed or crippled, for its moment to … Continue reading

Three Types of People

I was interested in the following quote from Lynda Gratton from London Business School, in a Lunch with the FT Interview (several weeks ago). Not much more comment to make on it but it feels, intuitively, like a nice way … Continue reading

Make no little plans

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but … Continue reading

Words, Words, Words

An NYT piece examines the content of previous innaugral speeches from 1789 to yesterday, sizing the words according to the frequency of their use. The words highlighted in yellow were used significantly more in this inaugural address than average. Unsurpisingly, Dubya's … Continue reading


This little aphorism was new to me and I like it – but the interweb doesn't say much about who this woman is/was…. "For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please … Continue reading

Inspired Inspiration

Fantastic mash-up of inspirational speeches, via swissmiss


WARNING by Jenny Joseph When I am an old woman I shall wear purpleWith a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer glovesAnd satin sandals, and say we’ve no … Continue reading

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