The Oniontown Observer

(Tetman Callis's Literary & Artistickal Creations and Sundry Other Emanations, Transfigurations, Quotations, and Asides — some of which may not be suitable for youths under 16 years of age)

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Does the legislature know about this?

July 23rd, 2014 · No Comments

“In the United States, social issues often dress themselves up in legal costume and muscle their way into court. There are few countries in the world where abortion policy is decided, in the first instance, by judges. In few countries would courts draw the boundary lines of school districts or demand wholesale reform in state mental-health facilities. Yet these things happen in the United States. A movement is going on which is bringing these issues into court, which expands the very idea of what should or can be dealt with through law and litigation, and which causes ‘law’ to seep into nooks and corners where it never penetrated before. Nobody has quite found the right name for this movement or trend. We can call aspects of it judicialization, legalization, constitutionalization, the due-process revolution, or something similar. Whatever its name, it is certainly a significant trend. Courtlike procedures and habits extend their tentacles throughout government, big institutions, and society in general. Courts themselves have become final arbiters of many social issues, not just individual disputes.” – Lawrence M. Friedman, American Law: An Introduction

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Eastlake Terrace

July 22nd, 2014 · No Comments

Eastlake Terrace, July 22, 2014

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Ghosts in the machines

July 22nd, 2014 · No Comments

“Technology is a great lawmaker and a great leveler. The railroad in many ways and in many fields practically rewrote the law books of the United States in the nineteenth century…. Accident law—the heart of the legal field we call torts—is basically the offspring of the nineteenth-century railroad; in the twentieth century, the automobile largely replaced the railroad as a source of accidents, and of accident law.” – Lawrence M. Friedman, American Law: An Introduction

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Open wide

July 21st, 2014 · No Comments

“The doctor’s main concern is to identify all the resistances that are prejudicial to the effectiveness of the curative force, and to eliminate them as much as possible. Doctors have undoubtedly, since the start of the profession, helped the patient and will continue to do so forever. But undoubtedly, too, the doctor’s action very often creates or reinforces an inhibiting effect on the curative force. This is exactly what the doctor must be aware of: that he is a danger to his patient.” – Georg Groddeck (as quoted by Catherine Clément in The Weary Sons of Freud (trans. Ball))

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We’ll never get out of here alive

July 20th, 2014 · No Comments

“What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”

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Many get stuck in the tunnel

July 19th, 2014 · No Comments

“Religion is an attempt to master the sensory world in which we are situated by means of the wishful world which we have developed within us as a result of biological and psychological necessities. But religion cannot achieve this. Its doctrines bear the imprint of the times in which they arose, the ignorant times of the childhood of humanity. Its consolations deserve no trust. Experience teaches us that the world is no nursery. The ethical demands on which religion seeks to lay stress need, rather, to be given another basis; for they are indispensable to human society and it is dangerous to link obedience to them with religious faith. If we attempt to assign the place of religion in the evolution of mankind, it appears not as a permanent acquisition but as a counterpart to the neurosis which individual civilized men have to go through in their passage from childhood to maturity.” – Sigmund Freud, “The Question of a Weltanschauung” (ed. Gay)

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The blind men and the elephant

July 18th, 2014 · No Comments

“If we are to give an account of the grandiose nature of religion, we must bear in mind what it undertakes to do for human beings. It gives them information about the origin and coming into existence of the universe, it assures them of its protection and of ultimate happiness in the ups and downs of life and it directs their thoughts and actions by precepts which it lays down with its whole authority. Thus it fulfills three functions. With the first of them it satisfies the human thirst for knowledge; it does the same thing that science attempts to do with its means, and at that point enters into rivalry with it. It is to its second function that it no doubt owes the greatest part of its influence. Science can be no match for it when it soothes the fear that men feel of the dangers and vicissitudes of life, when it assures them of a happy ending and offers them comfort in unhappiness. It is true that science can teach us how to avoid certain dangers and that there are some sufferings which it can successfully combat; it would be most unjust to deny that it is a powerful helper to men; but there are many situations in which it must leave a man to his suffering and can only advise him to submit to it. In its third function, in which it issues precepts and lays down prohibitions and restrictions, religion is furthest away from science. For science is content to investigate and to establish facts, though it is true that from its application rules and advice are derived on the conduct of life. In some circumstances these are the same as those offered by religion, but, when this is so, the reasons for them are different.” – Sigmund Freud, “The Question of a Weltanschauung” (ed. Gay; emphasis in original)

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Shields are up (blinders are on)

July 17th, 2014 · No Comments

“Of the three powers which may dispute the basic position of science, religion alone is to be taken seriously as an enemy. Art is almost always harmless and beneficent; it does not seek to be anything but an illusion. Except for a few people who are spoken of as being ‘possessed’ by art, it makes no attempt at invading the realm of reality. Philosophy is not opposed to science, it behaves like a science and works in part by the same methods; it departs from it, however, by clinging to the illusion of being able to present a picture of the universe which is without gaps and is coherent, though one which is bound to collapse with every fresh advance in our knowledge. It goes astray in its method by over-estimating the epistemological value of our logical operations and by accepting other sources of knowledge such as intuition.” – Sigmund Freud, “The Question of a Weltanschauung” (ed. Gay)

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Makes sense

July 16th, 2014 · No Comments

“Crime is common. Logic is rare.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches”

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Clocking in

July 15th, 2014 · No Comments

“No other technique for the conduct of life attaches the individual so firmly to reality as laying emphasis on work; for his work at least gives him a secure place in a portion of reality, in the human community. The possibility it offers of displacing a large amount of libidinal components, whether narcissistic, aggressive, or even erotic, on to professional work and on to the human relations connected with it lends it a value by no means second to what it enjoys as something indispensable to the preservation and justification of existence in society. Professional activity is a source of special satisfaction if it is a freely chosen one—if, that is to say, by means of sublimation, it makes possible the use of existing inclinations, of persisting or constitutionally reinforced instinctual impulses. And yet, as a path to happiness, work is not highly prized by men. They do not strive after it as they do after other possibilities of satisfaction. The great majority of people only work under the stress of necessity, and this natural human aversion to work raises most difficult social problems.” – Sigmund Freud, “Civilization and Its Discontents” (ed. Gay)

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One can be only so stupid

July 14th, 2014 · No Comments

“The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest till it has gained a hearing. Finally, after a countless succession of rebuffs, it succeeds.” – Sigmund Freud, “The Future of an Illusion” (ed. Gay)

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Proposing amendments to the laws of God

July 13th, 2014 · No Comments

“Since it is an awkward task to separate what God Himself has demanded from what can be traced to the authority of an all-powerful parliament or a high judiciary, it would be an undoubted advantage if we were to leave God out altogether and honestly admit the purely human origin of all the regulations and precepts of civilization. Along with their pretended sanctity, these commandments and laws would lose their rigidity and unchangeableness as well. People could understand that they are made, not so much to rule them as, on the contrary, to serve their interests; and they would adopt a more friendly attitude to them, and instead of aiming at their abolition, would aim only at their improvement. This would be an important advance along the road which leads to becoming reconciled to the burden of civilization.” – Sigmund Freud, “The Future of an Illusion” (ed. Gay)

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So wide, you can’t get around it

July 12th, 2014 · No Comments

“Where questions of religion are concerned, people are guilty of every possible sort of dishonesty and intellectual misdemeanour. Philosophers stretch the meaning of words until they retain scarcely anything of their original sense. They give the name of ‘God’ to some vague abstraction which they have created for themselves; having done so they can pose before all the world as deists, as believers in God, notwithstanding that their God is now nothing more than an insubstantial shadow and no longer the mighty personality of religious doctrines. Critics persist in describing as ‘deeply religious’ anyone who admits to a sense of man’s insignificance or impotence in the face of the universe, although what constitutes the essence of the religious attitude is not this feeling but only the next step after it, the reaction to it which seeks a remedy for it. The man who goes no further, but humbly acquiesces in the small part which human beings play in the great world—such a man is, on the contrary, irreligious in the truest sense of the word.” – Sigmund Freud, “The Future of an Illusion” (ed. Gay)

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Ricochet rabbits

July 11th, 2014 · No Comments

“The less a man knows about the past and the present the more insecure must prove to be his judgement of the future. And there is the further difficulty that precisely in a judgement of this kind the subjective expectations of the individual play a part which it is difficult to assess; and these turn out to be dependent on purely personal factors in his own experience, on the greater or lesser optimism of his attitude to life, as it has been dictated for him by his temperament or by his success or failure. Finally, the curious fact makes itself felt that in general people experience their present naïvely, as it were, without being able to form an estimate of its contents; they have first to put themselves at a distance from it—the present, that is to say, must have become the past—before it can yield points of vantage from which to judge the future.” – Sigmund Freud, “The Future of an Illusion” (ed. Gay)

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Mengele was a geneticist

July 10th, 2014 · No Comments

“When a doctor does go wrong, he is the first of criminals. He has nerve and he has knowledge.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”

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You’ll learn lessons you’ll never forget

July 9th, 2014 · No Comments

“Side by side with the exigencies of life, love is the great educator; and it is by the love of those nearest him that the incomplete human being is induced to respect the decrees of necessity and to spare himself the punishment that follows any infringement of them.” – Sigmund Freud, “Some Character Types” (ed. Gay)

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You’ll never believe what I saw today

July 8th, 2014 · No Comments

“For strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself, which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Red-Headed League”

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Round up the usual suspects

July 7th, 2014 · No Comments

“People between twenty and forty are not sympathetic. The child has the capacity to do but it can’t know. It only knows when it is no longer able to do—after forty. Between twenty and forty the will of the child to do gets stronger, more dangerous, but it has not begun to learn to know yet. Since his capacity to do is forced into channels of evil through environment and pressures, man is strong before he is moral. The world’s anguish is caused by people between twenty and forty.” – William Faulkner (interview with Jean Stein in Paris Review)

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Assuming facts not in evidence is objectionable

July 6th, 2014 · No Comments

“It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “A Scandal in Bohemia”

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Arriba los manos

July 5th, 2014 · 2 Comments

“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist’s way of scribbling ‘Kilroy was here’ on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass.” – William Faulkner (interview with Jean Stein in Paris Review)

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Potter’s Field

July 4th, 2014 · No Comments

“A book is a huge cemetery in which on the majority of the tombs the names are effaced and can no longer be read. Sometimes on the other hand we remember a name well enough but do not know whether anything of the individual who bore it survives in our pages. That girl with the very deep-set eyes and the drawling voice, is she here? and if she is, in what part of the ground does she lie? we no longer know, and how are we to find her beneath the flowers?” – Marcel Proust, Time Regained (trans. Moncrieff and Kilmartin)

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Damned, by god

July 3rd, 2014 · No Comments

“Since people exist only in life, they must devote their time simply to being alive. Life is motion, and motion is concerned with what makes man move—which is ambition, power, pleasure. What time a man can devote to morality, he must take by force from the motion of which he is a part. He is compelled to make choices between good and evil sooner or later, because moral conscience demands that from him in order that he can live with himself tomorrow. His moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream.” – William Faulkner (interview with Jean Stein in Paris Review)

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Fabricating the impingements

July 2nd, 2014 · No Comments

“A man born with sensibility but without imagination might, in spite of this deficiency, be able to write admirable novels. For the suffering inflicted upon him by other people, his own efforts to ward it off, the long conflict between his unhappiness and another person’s cruelty, all this, interpreted by the intellect, might furnish the material for a book not merely as beautiful as one that was imagined, invented, but also in as great a degree exterior to the day-dreams that the author would have had if he had been left to his own devices and happy.” – Marcel Proust, Time Regained (trans. Moncrieff and Kilmartin)

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Critic schmitick

July 1st, 2014 · No Comments

“The artist doesn’t have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don’t have the time to read reviews. The critic too is trying to say ‘Kilroy was here.’ His function is not directed toward the artist himself. The artist is a cut above the critic, for the artist is writing something which will move the critic. The critic is writing something which will move everybody but the artist.” – William Faulkner (interview with Jean Stein in Paris Review)

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Pencil envy

June 30th, 2014 · No Comments

“The man of letters envies the painter, he would like to take notes and make sketches, but it is disastrous for him to do so. Yet when he writes, there is not a single gesture of his characters, not a trick of behaviour, not a tone of voice which has not been supplied to his inspiration by his memory; beneath the name of every character of his invention he can put sixty names of characters that he has seen, one of whom has posed for the grimaces, another for the monocle, another for the fits of temper, another for the swaggering movement of the arm, etc. And in the end the writer realises that if his dream of being a sort of painter was not in a conscious and intentional manner capable of fulfillment, it has nevertheless been fulfilled and that he too, for his work as a writer, has unconsciously made use of a sketch-book. For, impelled by the instinct that was in him, the writer, long before he thought that he would one day become one, regularly omitted to look at a great many things which other people notice, with the result that he was accused by others of being absent-minded and by himself of not knowing how to listen or look, but all this time he was instructing his eyes and ears to retain for ever what seemed to others puerile trivialities, the tone of voice in which a certain remark had been made, or the facial expression and the movement of the shoulders which he had seen at a certain moment, years ago, in somebody of whom perhaps he knows nothing else whatsoever, simply because this tone of voice was one that he had heard before or felt that he might hear again, because it was something renewable, durable.” – Marcel Proust, Time Regained (trans. Moncrieff and Kilmartin)

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And if you get drunk, you end up in jail

June 29th, 2014 · No Comments

“One of the saddest things is that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day, is work. You can’t eat eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours—all you can do for eight hours is work. Which is the reason why man makes himself and everybody else so miserable and unhappy.” – William Faulkner (interview with Jean Stein in Paris Review)

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June 28th, 2014 · No Comments

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Look, it’s right there

June 28th, 2014 · No Comments

“We have to rediscover, to reapprehend, to make ourselves fully aware of that reality, remote from our daily preoccupations, from which we separate ourselves by an ever greater gulf as the conventional knowledge which we substitute for it grows thicker and more impermeable, that reality which it is very easy for us to die without ever having known and which is, quite simply, our life. Real life, life at last laid bare and illuminated—the only life in consequences which can be said to be really lived—is literature, and life thus defined is in a sense all the time immanent in ordinary men no less than in the artist. But most men do not see it because they do not seek to shed light upon it. And therefore their past is like a photographic darkroom encumbered with innumerable negatives which remain useless because the intellect has not developed them. But art, if it means awareness of our own life, means also awareness of the lives of other people—for style for the writer, no less than colour for the painter, is a question not of technique but of vision: it is the revelation, which by direct and conscious methods would be impossible, of the qualitative difference, the uniqueness of the fashion in which the world appears to each one of us, a difference which, if there were no art, would remain for ever the secret of each individual. Through art alone are we able to emerge from ourselves, to know what another person sees of a universe which is not the same as our own and of which, without art, the landscapes would remain as unknown to us as those that may exist on the moon. Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world only, our own, we see that world multiply itself and we have at our disposal as many worlds as there are original artists, worlds more different one from the other than those which revolve in infinite space, worlds which, centuries after the extinction of the fire from which their light first emanated, whether it is called Rembrandt or Vermeer, send us still each one its special radiance.” – Marcel Proust, Time Regained (trans. Moncrieff and Kilmartin)

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Pack your kit with these

June 27th, 2014 · No Comments

“A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination—any two of which, at times any one of which—can supply the lack of the others.” – William Faulkner (interview with Jean Stein in Paris Review)

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1 + 1 = story

June 26th, 2014 · No Comments

“An image presented to us by life brings with it, in a single moment, sensations which are in fact multiple and heterogeneous. The sight, for instance, of the binding of a book once read may weave into the characters of its title the moonlight of a distant summer night. The taste of our breakfast coffee brings with it that vague hope of fine weather which so often long ago, as with the day still intact and full before us, we were drinking it out of a bowl of white porcelain, creamy and fluted and itself almost looking like vitrified milk, suddenly smiled upon us in the pale uncertainty of the dawn. An hour is not merely an hour, it is a vase full of scents and sounds and projects and climates, and what we call reality is a certain connexion between these immediate sensations and the memories which envelope us simultaneously with them—a connexion that is suppressed in a simple cinematographic vision, which just because it professes to confine itself to the truth in fact departs widely from it—a unique connexion which the writer has to rediscover in order to link forever in his phrase the two sets of phenomena which reality joins together. He can describe a scene by describing one after another the innumerable objects which at a given moment were present at a particular place, but truth will be attained by him only when he takes two different objects, states the connexion between them—a connexion analogous in the world of art to the unique connexion which in the world of science is provided by the law of causality—and encloses them in the necessary links of a well-wrought style; truth—and life too—can be attained by us only when, by comparing a quality common to two sensations, we succeed in extracting their common essence and in reuniting them to each other, liberated from the contingencies of time, within a metaphor.” – Marcel Proust, Time Regained (trans. Moncrieff and Kilmartin)

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