Pleasure to our hot grasp — , Empedocles on Etna (Act I, Scene 2, 357-361)
Gives flowers after flowers,
With passionate warmth we clasp
Hand after hand in hours;
Nor do we soon perceive how fast our youth is spent.
I look forward to unpacking and reflecting on this passage from Henry James’s The American:
His smile went through two or three curious phases. It felt, apparently, a momentary impulse to broaden; but this it immediately checked. Then it remained for some instants taking counsel with itself, at the end of which it decreed a retreat. It slowly effaced itself and left a look of seriousness modified by the desire not to be rude.
A roller coaster ride for your mind — have a look at this documentary, “Dangerous Knowledge,” on the work of Georg Cantor, Kurt Gödel, and Alan Turing. YouTube changes its offerings for all sorts of reasons, so you might need search a bit if this video link goes bad. At one point, the narrator uses a most memorable phrase to characterize what it is to be “modern”— I can only paraphrase:
The vertigo of the modern: the whirlpool of thinking about thinking about thinking about thinking . . .
Poets thrive on paradoxes, creating them, giving them expression; philosophers also thrive on paradox, but by explaining them away. Poets present things as they are; philosophers explain how things come to be.
O for a Life of Sensations rather than of Thoughts!
Letter to Benjamin Bailey
22 November 1817
I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable
reaching after fact & reason.
Letter to his brothers
21 December 1817