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Posted on by Elliott David

The fine folks at Freunde Von Freunden came to my hermit cave, took some pictures, and asked me some questions. Click the pic to read me ramble.

 

Eva Hesse

Posted on by Elliott David

“I know art history and I know what I believe in. I know where I come from and who I am related to or the work that I have looked at and that I am really personally moved by and feel close to or am connect or attached to. But I feel so strongly that the only art is the art of the artist personally and found out as much as possible for himself and by himself." -Eva Hesse

Posted on by Elliott David

In your essay in Louise Antony’s collection “Philosophers Without Gods,” you say, “Much as I try, much as I may want to, I cannot be a believer.”  Why can’t you — and why would you want to?

D.G.: I can’t believe because I’m not convinced that it is true that God exists. It is as simple as that. Belief is not voluntary, and there are no (rational) considerations that move me to believe that God exists. In all honesty, I will admit that I don’t have a definitive argument that God doesn’t exist either. Which is to say that I refuse to make the judgment that some make that it is positively irrational to believe in God in an objective sense. But without convincing affirmative reasons to believe, I’m stuck. If others find reasons that convince them, I’m willing to discuss them and consider them. Who knows? There might be a convincing argument out there, or at least one that convinces me.

On the other hand, it is easy say why I might want to believe. I see people around me — often very smart and thoughtful people — who get great comfort from believing that God exists. Why wouldn’t I want to be like them? It’s just that I can’t.

Daniel Garber, a professor of philosophy at Princeton, specializing in philosophy and science in the period of Galileo and Newton, speaking with the NYTimes. 

 

Posted on by Elliott David

“What is the secret of life?’ I asked.

‘I forget,’ said Sandra.

‘Protein,’ the bartender declared. ‘They found something out about protein.‘

‘Yeah,’ said Sandra, ‘that’s it.” 

-Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

Posted on by Elliott David

"[Cultured people] develop the aesthetic feeling in themselves. They cannot go to sleep in their clothes, see cracks full of bugs on the walls, breathe bad air, walk on a floor that has been spat upon, cook their meals over an oil stove. They seek as far as possible to restrain and ennoble the sexual instinct…. What they want in a woman is not a bed-fellow … They do not ask for the cleverness which shows itself in continual lying. They want especially, if they are artists, freshness, elegance, humanity, the capacity for motherhood…. They do not swill vodka at all hours of the day and night, do not sniff at cupboards, for they are not pigs and know they are not. They drink only when they are free, on occasion…. For they want mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body).”

-Anton Chekhov. Moscow, 1886.

Wilder and Pryor

Posted on by Elliott David

"Gene Wilder and I went to do a film at Arizona State Penitentiary. I was up there six weeks. It was strange, because it was 80% black people, and what’s strange about that is there are no black people in Arizona. I’m not lying, they bus motherfuckers in. I was up there and looking at all the brothers and it made my heart ache, all these beautiful black men in the joint, god damn warriors should be out there helping the masses. I felt that way, I was real naive. Six weeks I was up there, and I talk to the brothers, and I talk to ‘em. And thank god we got penitentiaries.

I asked this one, I said, ‘Why did you kill everybody in the house?’ He goes, ‘They was home.’ I mean, murderers. Real live murderers. I thought black people killed people by accident. No, these motherfuckers was murderers. 

Gene Wilder loved to jump in the middle of the killers and start talking. ‘Hi guys, how ya doin?’ I’d say, ‘Gene bring your ass out of there.’ He said, ‘What do you think they’d do to us if we were here, Rich?’ I said ‘Fuck us!’ And Gene said, ‘I’m not homosexual.’ I said, ‘Homosexual ain’t got nothin’ to do with it. They don’t fuck you ‘cause you like it. They fuck you just to see the look on your face.’”

-Richard Pryor, Live On The Sunset Strip, 1982. 

Posted on by Elliott David

The term “genetic engineering” was first coined by Jack Williamson in his science fiction novel Dragon’s Island, published in 1951, one year before DNA’s role in heredity was confirmed by Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase, and two years before James Watson and Francis Crick showed that the DNA molecule has a double-helix structure. [w]

Posted on by Elliott David

If you would interview yourself at this point in your life — there must be a question that you haven’t been asked, that would be obvious and important, but has been ignored by the journalists? What would that be?

Perversely enough, when you ask about a question that has been ignored by journalists, I think immediately of the question that any number of them cannot seem to ignore. The question goes something like this: “Do you still think such-and-such? Do you still believe so-and-so?” and then they quote something spoken not by me but by a character in a book of mine. If you won’t mind, may I use the occasion of your final question to say what is probably already clear to the readers of the literary pages of Svenska Dagbladet, if not to the ghosts of the journalists I am summoning up?

Whoever looks for the writer’s thinking in the words and thoughts of his characters is looking in the wrong direction. Seeking out a writer’s “thoughts” violates the richness of the mixture that is the very hallmark of the novel. The thought of the novelist that matters most is the thought that makes him a novelist.

The thought of the novelist lies not in the remarks of his characters or even in their introspection but in the plight he has invented for his characters, in the juxtaposition of those characters and in the lifelike ramifications of the ensemble they make — their density, their substantiality, their lived existence actualized in all its nuanced particulars, is in fact his thought metabolized.

The thought of the writer lies in his choice of an aspect of reality previously unexamined in the way that he conducts an examination. The thought of the writer is embedded everywhere in the course of the novel’s action. The thought of the writer is figured invisibly in the elaborate pattern — in the newly emerging constellation of imagined things — that is the architecture of the book: what Aristotle called simply “the arrangement of the parts,” the “matter of size and order.” The thought of the novel is embodied in the moral focus of the novel. The tool with which the novelist thinks is the scrupulosity of his style. Here, in all this, lies whatever magnitude his thought may have.

The novel, then, is in itself his mental world. A novelist is not a tiny cog in the great wheel of human thought. He is a tiny cog in the great wheel of imaginative literature. Finis.

-Philip Roth

Posted on by Elliott David

“The dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.” 

-Anaïs Nin. Diary entry, 1946.  

Posted on by Elliott David

There are monosaccharides, meaning single molecules, and then there are disaccharides, meaning combinations of two molecules together. Monosaccharides are the basic units of biologically important carbohydrates, the simplest form of sugar, and the three most important are: glucose, galactose, and fructose.

Glucose is the energy of life. Your body will make glucose if you don’t take it in dietarily because it’s so important. Every cell in your body—in fact every cell on the planet—can metabolize glucose for energy. Glucose is, for lack of a better word, necessary.

Then you have galactose. Galactose is the monosaccharide (the single molecule) found in milk sugar. Your liver will turn galactose to glucose in about a nanosecond. So galactose is essentially glucose for the overwhelming majority of the population.

And then there’s this other third molecule called fructose. And fructose is the sweet part of table sugar. It’s the molecule we seek. We love fructose. We think that any food that has sugar (fructose) in it is a safe food to eat, and that is actually built into our DNA. It is a Darwinian precept because there is no foodstuff on the planet that is both sweet and acutely poisonous.