Before You Read


Exuberance is beauty. —William Blake

All authentic reading is in its own way violent, or it is nothing but the mildness of paraphrase. —Pierre Macherey

Plain speech is essentially inaccurate. It is only by new metaphors that it can be made precise. —T.E. Hulme

What got me by during that period was conceiving of the history of philosophy as a kind of ass-fuck, or, what amounts to the same thing, an immaculate conception. I imagined myself approaching an author from behind and giving him a child that would indeed be his but would nonetheless be monstrous. —Gilles Deleuze

What is the good of passing from one untenable position to another, of seeking justification always on the same plane? —Samuel Beckett

Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
—Bertrand Russell

Not suitable as a party member:Whoever thinks much is not suitable as a party member: he soon thinks himself right out of the party. —Friedrich Nietzsche

The good teacher imparts a satisfying explanation. The great teacher unsettles, bequeaths disquiet, invites argument. —Richard Sennett

Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself. —Ludwig Wittgenstein

A text is not a text unless it hides from the first comer, from the first glance, the law of its composition and the rules of its game. —Jacques Derrida, Plato’s Pharmacy

Ask yourself, “what is the truth,” and your Buddhism will be a series of platitudes. Ask yourself, “what are the lies,” and …? —SNB

All true language is incomprehensible, like the chatter of a beggar’s teeth. —Antonin Artaud

Exposure, not protection. Evocation, not indication. —SNB

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. —Buckminster Fuller

[Contra:] The most dangerous party member.—In every party there is one who, through his all-too credulous avowal of the party’s principles, incites the others to apostasy. —Friedrich Nietzsche

[Pro:] The most dangerous follower. —The most dangerous follower is he whose defection would destroy the whole party: that is to say, the best follower. —Friedrich Nietzsche

A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window. ―Brian Massumi, “Translator’s Foreword: Pleasure of Philosophy,” A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

I don’t know any form that doesn’t shit on being in the most unbearable manner. ―Samuel Beckett

The universe is designed to erase your name. Thus:

In Euripides’s time, the Greeks never wrote obituaries. They posed only one question: did the dead person possess a passion? —Camelia Elias

Our actions dwell in darkness—if they lack song. And I know of only one way to hold a mirror up to those deeds: if, through the presence of memory, we find a recompense for our lives in glorious song. —Pindar, paraphrase

Now one hanged man kicks at the end of his rope
in another little attack of hope. —Paul Muldoon

It is too late for arguments. —SNB

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