Especially having to apologize for it later

“It’s what musicians do when they don’t know what to do anymore. They take out a wineglass or a handkerchief and try to play their cellos with that. Or they rub a balloon and tell people that this is their new instrument. Or they hang on to the bow and toss the cello, and they play their bow on the radiator or piano or a piece of wood. They make a sliding or scratching sound and this is their new music. Or artists, they do it too. They put away their pads and pull stuff out of the garbage. They’ve been doing that for so long, it’s unnerving—this little segment of the population going around, saying that they see art everywhere: trash bin, mountain, sidewalk, plank, person, disease. Some people find it almost annoying.” – Deb Olin Unferth, “Abandon Normal Instruments”

What’s love got to do with it

“I went on through the post town of Sekimoto, where the citizens in their rows of houses offer lodgings and wait upon the traveler as their master for a night, while the girls singing in the windows entice him in to treat him as a husband. How sad, to pin such vows of eternal love on a night’s transient dream, a long life’s faithful bond on the desires of a passing traveler. Though so different from all the rich trappings of bridal jade-green curtains and scarlet boudoir, life together in a humble hut with rustic brushwood door is the same, for both are no more than brief pleasures of a passing lifetime.” – Anonymous Monk, “Journey Along the Sea Road” (trans. Meredith McKinney)

Would you like fries with that

“The fisherman hauls his nets, tiring his body in the very act of shielding it from starvation; the starving fish takes the bait, its very need for life condemning it to death. Just how much can a man profit in this world; how much can a little fish consume? Each feels the same about existence, each treasures life. Further, the woodsman sweating on the hillside, who returns at evening bearing the north wind at his back, the limping seller plying his trade through the fields, who sets out at dawn through the thick white dew—their work may differ but for all, the sufferings of this life are one.” – Anonymous Monk, “Journey Along the Sea Road” (trans. Meredith McKinney)

Woman and child, too

“Man has long talked somewhat arrogantly about the conquest of nature; now he has the power to achieve his boast. It is our misfortune—it may well be our final tragedy—that this power has not been tempered with wisdom, but has been marked by irresponsibility; that there is all too little awareness that man is part of nature, and that the price of conquest may well be the destruction of man himself.” – Rachel Carson, “Of Man and the Stream of Time” (emphasis in original)

The shining

“It happened late Friday night. That morning no one suspected anything. I sent my son to school, my husband went to the barber’s. I was preparing lunch when my husband came back. ‘There’s some sort of fire at the atomic station. They’re saying we are not to turn off the radio.’ This wasn’t any ordinary fire, it was some kind of shining. It was pretty. I’d never seen anything like it in the movies. That evening everyone spilled out onto their balconies, and those who didn’t have balconies went to friends’ houses. We were on the ninth floor, we had a great view. People brought their kids out, picked them up, said: ‘Look! Remember!’ And these were people who worked at the reactor—engineers, laborers, physics instructors. They stood in the black dust, talking, breathing, wondering at it. People came from all around in their cars and on their bikes to have a look. We didn’t know that death could be so beautiful.” – Nadezhda Petrovna Vygovskaya (from Voices from Chernobyl, by Svetlana Alexievich, trans. Keith Gessen)

The ontic telos of need

“The logic of the present situation is no longer of an economic but of an ethico-political kind. Work is the linchpin of the citizen factory. As such, it is indeed necessary, as necessary as nuclear reactors, city planning, the police, or television. One has to work because one has to feel one’s existence, at least in part, as foreign to oneself.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program (emphases in original)

BBQ Beckies all

“Citizens, insofar as they are made to compensate more and more frequently for the failures of the welfare state, will be paid more and more overtly for their work in comanaging social pacification. A citizen’s dividend will therefore be established as a form of coercion to maintain self-discipline, in the form of strange, extremely tight-knit, community policing. If necessary, they maight even call it ‘existence wages,’ since it would in fact entail sponsoring those forms-of-life most compatible with Empire.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program

Try it and see what happens

“To be truly hospitable you don’t ask someone if they’re thirsty or hungry—you offer them food, you offer them drink. They will not turn down what you put in front of them if they’re hungry and thirsty.” – Patrick Glenn Jeffries, “A Mother’s Earth”

Coin of the realm

“Look, the sun is a sort of bribe, you know, and so is a heavy thunderstorm or a snowfall. So is a dawn, though not I think a sunset. So is a warm bath or a shower, and a sound sleep. Bribes all, in the conspiracy of everything to continue to exist.” – Renata Adler, Pitch Dark