Within the age…

we cannot transcend all the errors that characterize our time.

Archive for January 2015

No Reason for Good Writing

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“…unless language is regarded as a work of art and treated as we treat efforts to paint and compose music, there is no tenable reason for setting themes and demanding precise diction, correct idiom, economical syntax, varied rhythm, suitable tone, adroit linkage and transitions – in short, no reason for good writing.”  – Jacques Barzun

Source: The Culture We Deserve by Jacques Barzun

Written by Agrammatos

January 28, 2015 at 9:15 PM

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Specialized in the Humanities

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“This threefold division—science, social science, humanities—which is convenient for academic organization, contains the germ of the evil that has infected nearly every attempt to revigorate and derive benefit from the humanities. By becoming “subjects” grouped over against other subjects termed nonhumanistic, the humanities inevitably become specialties like those other subjects. And thus their original purpose has been perverted or lost.”  – Jacques Barzun

Source: The Culture We Deserve by Jacques Barzun

Written by Agrammatos

January 23, 2015 at 8:56 PM

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Dried Soup

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“So much compiling and disseminating of data in small bundles is, among other things, an orgy of self-consciousness. We seem to live mainly in order to see how we live, and this habit brings about what might be called the externalizing of knowledge; with every new manual there is less need for its internal, visceral presence. The owner or user feels confident that he possesses its contents – there they are, in handy form on the handy shelf. And with their imminent transfer to a computer, that sense of possession will presumably attach itself to the hard disk or the phone number of the data bank…

…But what we are experiencing is not the knowledge explosion so often boasted of; it is a torrent of information, made possible by first reducing the known to compact form, and then bulking it up again – adding water. That is why the product so often tastes like dried soup.”  – Jacques Barzun

Source: The Culture We Deserve by Jacques Barzun

Written by Agrammatos

January 7, 2015 at 3:21 AM

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Cultivation is not Automatic

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“Culture in whatever form-art, thought, history, religion – is for meditation and conversation. Both are necessary sequels to the experience. Cultivation does not come automatically after exposure to the good things as health follows a dose of the right drug. If it did, orchestra players would be the most cultured people  musically and copy editors the finest judges of literature. Nor does “reading up” on art suffice unless it spurs meditation and conversation. Both are actions of the mind along the path of finesse. No one can imagine a systematic conversation.” – Jacques Barzun (The Culture We Deserve)

Written by Agrammatos

January 2, 2015 at 1:44 AM