The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives

October 2023


3 October 2023, around 16.28.

‘I have a remarkable memory: I forget everything! It is wonderfully convenient. It is as though the world were constantly renewing itself for me.’ —Jules Renard (Journal, trans. Louise Bogan and Elizabeth Roget, April 1907)

night thoughts

23 October 2023, around 19.21.

A view from the window in the early autumn evening

Sometimes a contemplative prologue will depict the protagonist looking out the window and thinking of all the philosophical conundrums the author will not have time to present in the ensuing narrative. Sometimes the prologue simply presents those philosophical conundrums in a voice that issues from nowhere. Sometimes the prologue dispenses with philosophy completely and presents a protagonist looking out the window thinking about hair products.

—Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman (How Not to Write a Novel, p. 2)

Adversaria (7)

31 October 2023, around 4.31.

‘…we must fall back upon the wholesome truth that we cannot delegate our intellectual functions, and say to a machine, to a formula, to a rule, or to a dogma, I am too lazy to think, do please think for me.’ —Edward Sang (‘On Mechanical Aids to Calculation. A Lecture to the Actuarial Society of Edinburgh’, p. 265; mentioned in Daston, Rules, p. 116)

‘An island of stability and predictability in a tumultuous world, not matter what the epoch or locale, is the arduous and always fragile achievement of political will, technological infrastructure, and internalized norms. At any moment it can be suddenly overwhelmed by war, pandemic, natural disaster, or revolution.’ —Lorraine Daston (Rules: A Short History of What We Live By, p. 5)

‘We have received our early ideas, formed our taste, on books from which the first page was torn off, leaving us ignorant of both title and author. It is the old, tattered novel read forty times on the sly that has left the most lasting mark on us’ —Jules Renard (Journal, trans. Louise Bogan and Elizabeth Roget, September 1908)

‘Interpretation too readily declared dims the lights of things; holding off allows the elements to glow.’ —Lewis Hyde (A Primer for Forgetting, p. 339)

‘But fantasy machines defy friction and wear; no dust or moisture perturbs their inner workers; they never break down. An essential part of the story of the newfound rigidity of rules is how such fantasies first became imaginable, even if their realization lagged far behind.’ —Lorraine Daston (Rules: A Short History of What We Live By, p. 117)

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