Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry.
Today starts a very long stretch of 5 day work weeks. Optimism is needed.
To be an American is precisely to imagine a destiny rather than to inherit one; since we have always been, insofar as we are Americans at all, inhabitants of myth rather than history.
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.
With James Schamus Out At Focus, Are Good Movies In Trouble? Not So Fast»
Yet if all of these companies went the way of Focus, many of the best movies out there today would stick around. The concerned cinephile should turn to festival screenings and VOD to discover the gems unlikely to find any influential advocate with the capacity to release them widely. If it’s not a golden age for film distribution, there’s more product than ever. The process of discovery lies in the hands of the enterprising viewer rather than any financially-empowered curatorial vision. A world without Focus — not a world without Schamus, mind you — isn’t the same as a world without movies. The doom and gloom about the state of the business shouldn’t obscure the prevalence of cinema that will never fit studio equations because, thankfully, it plays by different rules altogether.
Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia is what you need on this Saturday morning. He says what so many others are saying nowadays: make mistakes, enjoy the journey, break the rules, make good art. But, he says it better than most, and I believe him.
Often I half-jokingly tell my friends, “Fake ‘til you make it.” So it should come as no surprise that one of my favorite Gaiman nuggets parallels this line of thinking:
"Be wise, because the world needs more wisdom. And if you cannot be wise pretend to be someone who is wise — and then just behave like they would."
"I’ve been examining my values lately, and determining whether or not I like the feelings that result from those values."
"What’s an example of one of your values?"
"I’m very competitive."
"And what’s a feeling that results from being competitive?”
"How does competitiveness result in jealousy?"
"When you have a competitive mindset, you tend to view the world in terms of winners and losers. So you resent other people getting recognition, because you somehow believe that less recognition is available to you. I’m learning that this is a false mindset. There’s not a fixed amount of success and recognition in the world. So another person’s accomplishments don’t diminish the accomplishments available to you."
"You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist? And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it."
— Junot Diaz
(on cultural representation in our world)
"She’s infectiously excitable."
What people who do write do understand»
Woody Allen recently:
What people who don’t write don’t understand is that they think you make up the line consciously — but you don’t. It proceeds from your unconscious. So it’s the same surprise to you when it emerges as it is to the audience when the comic says it. I don’t think of the joke and then say it. I say it and then realize what I’ve said. And I laugh at it, because I’m hearing it for the first time myself.
Whenever I find myself in a bout of nonwriting (not writer’s block per se, but an extended period of nonwritingness), I know it’s this. Not a lack of ideas, not a lack of the right space to write, the right drink, the right order, the right methods, the proper instrument, not a deficit of time. It’s simply my conscious getting in the way. I would be better off saying things more wildly, then looking at what I’d said. Do first, think later; many things can benefit from this method — falling in love, taking your first job, speaking up for what you believe in. Write first, think later. Repeat.
This thought was first published by The Pastry Box Project