Ursula K. Le Guin:

The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil, the terrible boredom of pain.

(see also)


Lewis Thomas, “The Long Habit,” in The Lives of a Cell:

In a recent study of the reaction to dying in patients with obstructive disease of the lungs, it was concluded that the process was considerably more shattering for the professional observers than the observed. Most of the patients appeared to be preparing themselves with equanimity for death, as though intuitively familiar with the business. One elderly woman reported that the only painful and distressing part of the process was in being interrupted; on several occasions she was provided with conventional therapeutic measures to maintain oxygenation or restore fluids and electrolytes, and each time she found the experience of coming back harrowing; she deeply resented the interference with her dying.


Ernie Fontaine, Lodge 49:

What’s the use of living forever if you’re all alone on a Sunday.


Brian Eno:

With tools, we crave intimacy. This appetite for emotional resonance explains why users – when given a choice – prefer deep rapport over endless options.


Emily & Amelia Nagoski, Burnout:

Science is the best idea humanity has ever had. It’s a systematic way of exploring the nature of reality, of testing and proving or disproving ideas. But it’s important to remember that science is ultimately a specialized way of being wrong. That is, every scientist tries to be (a) slightly less wrong than the scientists who came before them, by proving that something we thought was true actually isn’t, and (b) wrong in a way that can be tested and proven, which results in the next scientist being slightly less wrong. Research is the ongoing process of learning new things that show us a little more of what’s true, which inevitably reveals how wrong we used to be, and it is never “finished.” So when you read a headline like “New Study Shows…” or “Latest Research Finds…,” read it with skepticism. One study does not equal proof of anything. In [this book], we’ve aimed to use ideas that have been established over multiple decades and reinforced by multiple approaches. Still, science doesn’t offer perfect truth, only the best available truth. Science, in a sense, is not an exact science.


CG Jung:

If there were no imperfections, no primordial defect in the ground of creation, why should there be any urge to create, any longing for what must yet be fulfilled?


Always do the more difficult thing.

—Wittman Ah Sing
(Maxine Hong Kingston, Tripmaster Monkey)


📚 What I finished reading in August.


Cold Mountain (trns Red Pine):

disappointed impoverished scholars
know the limits of hunger and cold
unemployed they like to write poems
scribbling away with the strength of their hearts
but who collects a nobody’s words
may as well save your sighs
write them down on rice-flour cakes
even mongrels won’t touch them


I’m this week’s guest on Micro Monday.

I know: fifty-four minutes isn’t very “micro.” Well, we talked for almost 40 extra minutes about Until the End of the World, which we’re both very big fans of.

And “cinephile”? Oh I don’t know. I think of myself more as a song & dance man.