“Stuff your eyes with wonder … live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”—Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (via liquidnight)
“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”—Alan Watts
“Once you learn to discern the voice of Mother Culture humming in the background, telling her story over and over again to the people of your culture, you’ll never stop being conscious of it. Wherever you go for the rest of your life, you’ll be tempted to say to the people around you, “how can you listen to this stuff and not recognize it for what it is?”
“At the origin of the phenomenon of scientific knowledge, we find wonder and the contemplation of reality, as we find it created in front of us and not in accordance with the affirmation of our sensibilities or a preconceived image. Therefore, to say that in the mind of the scientist there is something like a childlike spirit is not a rhetorical phrase but indicates a distinctive feature of the attitude required to understand reality: to know how to look, to allow oneself to be amazed by what is there.”—How the art of wonder fuels science (via explore-blog)
“Late modern society is principally concerned with purchasing things, in ever greater abundance and variety, and so has to strive to fabricate an ever greater number of desires to gratify, and to abolish as many limits and prohibitions upon desire as it can. Such a society is already implicitly atheist and so must slowly but relentlessly apply itself to the dissolution of transcendent values. It cannot allow ultimate goods to distract us from proximate goods. Our sacred writ is advertising, our piety is shopping, our highest devotion is private choice. God and the soul too often hinder the purely acquisitive longings upon which the market depends, and confront us with values that stand in stark rivalry to the only truly substantial value at the center of the social universe: the price tag.”—David Bentley Hart (via onancientpaths)
Jonze is not setting up a simplistic, fatiguing argument about how we’ve lost our humanity to our devices, nor is he telling an idealized story about a man who meets the perfect woman.
He is asking what humanity is. He is asking what relationships are. He is asking, more than perhaps any movie I’ve seen in a long time, about the nature of love.
Because in the end, we are all run by chemistry and biology and electricity, even when we are in love, even when we are in grief, even when we are watching a film and analyzing it. Grow something in your head that shouldn’t be there, change the chemistry, sever something, modify something, treat something, and you will get a person who acts differently, whose personality perhaps shifts. Jonze is asking, really: if we are the sum of processes that can be understood as based in science, why could science not recreate them?
Many adults are put off when youngsters pose scientific questions. Children ask why the sun is yellow, or what a dream is, or how deep you can dig a hole, or when is the world’s birthday, or why we have toes.
Too many teachers and parents answer with irritation or ridicule, or quickly move on to something else. Why adults should pretend to omniscience before a five-year-old, I can’t for the life of me understand. What’s wrong with admitting that you don’t know? Children soon recognize that somehow this kind of question annoys many adults. A few more experiences like this, and another child has been lost to science.
There are many better responses. If we have an idea of the answer, we could try to explain. If we don’t, we could go to the encyclopedia or the library. Or we might say to the child: “I don’t know the answer. Maybe no one knows. Maybe when you grow up, you’ll be the first to find out.
“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. there is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.”—Henry Miller