(with trout) we are touching something unrestricted, wild and arcane, beyond the reach of those who carefully maintain one-dimensional lives. There is, I tell myself, someone in the city nearby whose one contact today with unreconstructed nature will be to step into a diminutive pile of poodle excrement
Do you think I am a fool, Masha? All this time, and you speak to me as though I were a flighty pinprick of a girl. I am a magician! Did you never think, even once, that I loved lipstick and rouge for more than their color alone? I am a student of their lore, and it is arcane and hermetic beyond the dreams of alchemists. Did you never wonder why I gave you so many pots, so many creams, so much perfume?
Catherynne M. Valente
The impediment to scientific thinking is not, I think, the difficulty of the subject. Complex intellectual feats have been mainstays even of oppressed cultures. Shamans, magicians and theologians are highly skilled in their intricate and arcane arts. No, the impediment is political and hierarchical.
Maybe the Truth of the Meaning of Life, Ancient and Arcane Knowledge of the Great Unknowable Universe is handed down only to persons presenting with the correct brand-name footwear. If you turn up wearing Shoe City knock-offs, you don't get to pass Go and collect Infinite Enlightenment.
Poetry is a sort of inspired mathematics, which gives us equations, not for abstract figures, triangles, squares, and the like, but for the human emotions. If one has a mind which inclines to magic rather than science, one will prefer to speak of these equations as spells or incantations; it sounds more arcane, mysterious, recondite.
What if we changed the story that has been peddled to us over thousands of years by those religions that want to control us, that this life is merely a stepping stone to something better or something worse, and that we can only achieve the better by passing through the doors of their institutions and following their rules? What if we trash this arcane story which has caused so much suffering and hostility, and accept that we have already arrived in heaven and that there is nothing more gorgeous than here and now?
The more passive one's life in the field, the greater the need to reverse the situation when one returns home, which is why the arcane and authoratative character of academic writing may be seen, to some extent, as a vengeful reaction to the inertia, uneventfulness, and waiting one had to endure as a guest at someone else's banquet. A way of redressing an existental imbalance, as it were reclaiming authorial will by superimposing one's own meaning on theirs...
Science, the largest religion of the twentieth century, had become tarnished by images of exploding space shuttles, crack babies, and a generation of complacent Americans who allowed the television to raise their children. People were looking for something - I think they just didn't know what. And even though they were once again starting to open their eyes to the world of magic and the arcane that had been with them all the while, they still thought I must be some kind of joke.
People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence. They are far too ready to dismiss it and to build arcane structures of extremely rickety substance in order to avoid it. I, on the other hand, see coincidence everywhere as an inevitable consequence of the laws of probability, according to which having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be.
For a lot of people, well-meaning teaching has made poetry seem arcane, difficult, a kind of brown-knotting medicine that might be good for you but doesn't taste so good. So I tried to make a collection of poetry that would be fun. And that would bring out poetry as an art, rather than the challenge to say smart things.
I've often wished that I had some suave and socially acceptable hobby that I could fall back on in times like this. You know, play the violin (or was it the viola) like Sherlock Holmes, or maybe twiddle away on the pipe organ like the Disney version of Captain Nemo. But I don't. I'm sort of the arcane equivalent of a classic computer geek. I do magic, in one form or another, and that's pretty much it. I really need to get a life, one of these days
Are you smarter than my chicken?' cried a weathered, wild-haired woman holding a nonplussed bird over her head. At her feet was a wooden board covered with numbers and arcane symbols. 'Lay your bets! Test your wits against a trained fowl! One coppin a try! Are you smarter than my chicken? You might be in for a surprise!
The rites of passage in the academic world are arcane and, in their own way, highly romantic, and the tensions and unplesantries of dissertations and final oral examinations are quickly forgotten in the wonderful moment of the sherry afterward, admission into a very old club, parties of celebration, doctoral gowns, academic rituals, and hearing for the first time "Dr.," rather than "Miss" Jamison.
Kay Redfield Jamison
The Devil' is, historically, the God of any people that one personally dislikes... This serpent, SATAN, is not the enemy of Man, but He who made Gods of our race, knowing Good and Evil; He bade 'Know Thyself!' and taught Initiation. He is 'The Devil' of the Book of Thoth, and His emblem is BAPHOMET, the Androgyne who is the hieroglyph of arcane perfection... He is therefore Life, and Love.
Then all at once in late August's heat, tall leafless stalks crowned with iridescent pink and purple blossoms burst from the purgatory in the earth. This arcane act of nature, though perceived by us as ordinary, is a manifestation of Maya's phantom play, the great immensity expressed in every way. My garden is the universe. I am the universe. I am my garden. All things are the same.
One of the leading uses of photography by the mass media came to be called photojournalism. From the late 'twenties' to the early 'fifties' what might have been the golden age of this speciality - photographers worked largely as the possessors of special and arcane skills, like the ancient priests who practiced and monopolized the skills of pictography or carving or manuscript illumination. In those halcyon days the photographer enjoyed a privileged status.
Pyotr was the arcane hero, complete with buff body that you secretly whacked off to as a boy. And suddenly he turned and stared straight at him, some carnal fire burning in his eyes now. Pyotr walked for him slow and cautious like he was fighting his own control just then. Cliff could only gape and his eyes followed Pyotr's hand as it reached out to clap his shoulder then moved him firmly for the car.
The study of law can be disappointing at times, a matter of applying narrow rules and arcane procedure to an uncooperative reality; a sort of glorified accounting that serves to regulate the affairs of those who have power--and that all too often seeks to explain, to those who do not, the ultimate wisdom and justness of their condition. But that's not all the law is. The law is also memory; the law also records a long-running conversation, a nation arguing with its conscience.
The value of market esoterica to the consumer of investment advice is a different story. In my opinion, investment success will not be produced by arcane formulae, computer programs or signals flashed by the price behavior of stocks and markets. Rather an investor will succeed by coupling good business judgment with an ability to insulate his thoughts and behavior from the super-contagious emotions that swirl about the marketplace.
The study of law can be disappointing at times, a matter of applying narrow rules and arcane procedure to an uncooperative reality; a sort of glorified accounting that serves to regulate the affairs of those who have power-and that all too often seeks to explain, to those who do not, the ultimate wisdom and justness of their condition. But that's not all the law is. The law is also memory; the law also records a long-running conversation, a nation arguing with its conscience.
What does the novel know? It has no practical or educational aim; yet it knows what ordinary knowledge cannot seize. The novel's intricate tangle of character-and-incident alights on the senses with a hundred cobwebby knowings fanning their tiny threads, stirring up nuances and disclosures. The arcane designs and driftings of metaphor - what James called the figure in the carpet, what Keats called negative capability, what Kafka called explaining the inexplicable - are that the novel knows.
Film theory has nothing to do with film. Students presumably hope to find out something about film, and all they will find out is an occult and arcane language designed only for the purpose of excluding those who have not mastered it and giving academic rewards to those who have. No one with any literacy, taste or intelligence would want to teach these courses, so the bona fide definition of people teaching them are people who are incapable of teaching anything else.
Every article and review and book that I have ever published has constituted an appeal to the person or persons to whom I should have talked before I dared to write it. I never launch any little essay without the hope-and the fear, because the encounter may also be embarrassing-that I shall draw a letter that begins, 'Dear Mr. Hitchens, it seems that you are unaware that... ' It is in this sense that authorship is collaborative with 'the reader.' And there's no help for it: you only find out what you ought to have known by pretending to know at least some of it already. It doesn't matter how obscure or arcane or esoteric your place of publication may be: some sweet law ensures that the person who should be scrutinizing your work eventually does do so.
I finish a short afternoon shift that I spent learning about book descriptions with George. It is an arcane system that the Internet is putting paid to, where fair is foul and good is bad and perfect means you are a charlatan. Price-clipped is bad. Second impression is bad. Inscribed is bad, unless it is by the author, and then inscribed is good, but nearly as good as signed. Unless the inscription is to someone patently important-To my dear Laura, love from Petrarch.
In spite of the fact that religion looks backward to revealed truth while science looks forward to new vistas and discoveries, both activities produce a sense of awe and a curious mixture of humility and arrogance in their practitioners. All great scientists are inspired by the subtlety and beauty of the natural world that they are seeking to understand. Each new subatomic particle, every unexpected object, produces delight and wonderment. In constructing their theories, physicists are frequently guided by arcane concepts of elegance in the belief that the universe is intrinsically beautiful.
He didn't like to fly-the noise and vibration gave him a headache-but, as with anything new, he was excited by the strangeness of it. The disjuncture intrigued him: stepping through a door in one place, sitting still for a few hours, then stepping out a thousand miles away. It seemed to him a very American mode of travel, even more so than the car, not simply going farther faster, but eliminating any temporal experience of the journey, skipping over whole sections of the country, the sole focus on arriving, with the help of expensive and arcane technologies, at one's destination, except of course, when one didn't-a thought brought on by his own instinctive disbelief and the bumpiness of the flight.
The best way to avoid abuses is for the populace in general to be scientifically literate, to understand the implications of such investigations. In exchange for freedom of inquiry, scientists are obliged to explain their work. If science is considered a closed priesthood, too difficult and arcane for the average person to understand, the dangers of abuse are greater. But if science is a topic of general interest and concern - if both its delights and its social consequences are discussed regularly and competently in the schools, the press, and at the dinner table - we have greatly improved our prospects for learning how the world really is and for improving both it and us.
Meditation is a mysterious method of self-restoration. It involves 'shutting' out the outside world, and by that means sensing the universal 'presence' which is, incidentally, absolute perfect peace. It is basically an existential 'time-out'-a way to 'come up for a breath of air' out of the noisy clutter of the world. But don't be afraid, there is nothing arcane or supernatural or creepy about the notion of taking a time-out. Ball players do it. Kids do it, when prompted by their parents. Heck, even your computer does it (and sometimes not when you want it to). So, why not you? A meditation can be as simple as taking a series of easy breaths, and slowly, gently counting to ten in your mind.
I just read this great quote by Junot Diaz, he was talking about true intimacy, and he was saying that it was the willingness to be vulnerable and to be found out. That's what I felt that YA did. It wasn't pretentious, and it wasn't hiding its heart. It wanted to be found out... It felt like those moments when you go to a party and you're standing around for a long time, going, I don't fit in here, what am I going to talk to these people about? And everybody's getting drunk, and then you find this one person, and you end up sitting in some corner talking about all these arcane things. And then before you know it you're having a conversation about the meaning of life and it's four o'clock in the morning. That kind of feeling, that kind of intimacy - I felt like that's what I got from YA.
WELL THE OLD WORLD MAY BE DEAD OUR PARENTS CAN'T UNDERSTAND BUT I STILL LOVE MY PARENTS AND I STILL LOVE THE OLD WORLD OH, I HAD A NEW YORK GIRLFRIEND AND SHE COULDN'T UNDERSTAND HOW I COULD STILL LOVE MY PARENTS AND STILL LOVE THE OLD WORLD SO I TOLD HER: I WANT TO KEEP MY PLACE IN THE OLD WORLD KEEP MY PLAVE IN THE ARCANE 'CAUSE I STILL LOVE MY PARENTS AND I STILL LOVE THE OLD WORLD I SAY OLD WORLD I SAY OLD WORLD I SAY
Do you think I am a foo, Masha? All this time, and you speak to me as though I were a flighty pinprick of a girl. I am a magician! Did you ever think, even once, that I loved lipstick and rouge for more than their color alone? I am a student of their lore, and it is arcane and hermetic beyond the dreams of alchemists. Did you ever wonder why I gave you so many pots, so many creams, so much perfume?... Cosmetics are an extension of the will. Why do you think all men paint themselves when they go to fight? When I paint my eyes to match my soup, it is not because I have nothing better to do than worry over trifles. It says, I belong here, and you will not deny me. When I streak my lips red as foxgloves, I say, Come here, male. I am your mate, and you will not deny me. When I pinch my cheeks and dust them with mother-of-pearl, I say, Death, keep off, I am your enemy and you will not deny me. I say these things, and the world listens, Masha. Because my magic is as strong as an arm. I am never denied.
Catherynne M. Valente
In the two years after No Logo came out, I went to dozens of teach-ins and conferences, some of them attended by thousands of people (tens of thousands in the case of the World Social Forum), that were exclusively devoted to popular education about the inner workings of global finance and trade. No topic was too arcane: the science of genetically modified foods, trade-related intellectual property rights, the fine print of bilateral trade deals, the patenting of seeds, the truth about certain carbon sinks. I sensed in these rooms a hunger for knowledge that I have never witnessed in any university class. It was as if people understood, all at once, that gathering this knowledge was crucial to the survival not just of democracy but of the planet. Yes, this was complicated, but we embraced that complexity because we were finally looking at systems, not just symbols.
Borges is particularly stimulating to a man who works in the cinema, because the unusual thing about his writing is that it is like a dream, extraordinarily farsighted in calling up from the unconscious complete images in which the thing itself, and its meaning, coexist - exactly as happens in a film. And, just as happens in dreams, in Borges the incongruous, the absurd, the contradictory, the arcane and the repetitive, although as powerfully imaginative as ever, are at the same time illumined like the careful details of something larger, something unknown, and are the faultless elements of a cruelly perfect, indifferent mosaic. Even the fact that Borges's work is strangely fragmentary makes me think of a broken dreamlike flow; and the heterogeneous quality of his work - stories, essays, poems - I prefer to see not as the union of the multiple threads in a greedy, impatient talent, but as a mysterious sign of unending change.
I remember the very day, sometime during the first two weeks of my five-year amorous sojourn in Brutland, when I was made privy to one of the most arcane of their utterings. The time was ripe for that major epiphany, my initiation into the sacred knowledge-or should I say gnosis?-of that all-important, quintessentially Brutish slang term, the word that endless hours of scholastic education by renowned mentors, plus years of scrupulous scrutiny into scrofulous texts, had disappointingly failed to impart to me, leaving me with that deep sense of emptiness begotten by hemimathy; the time was finally ripe for me to be transported by the velvety feel of the unvoiced palato-alveolar fricative, the elan of the unpronounceable and masochistically hedonistic front open-rounded vowel, and, last but not least, the (admittedly short) ejaculatory quality of the voiced velar stop: all three of them combined together to form that miraculous lexical item, the word shag.
Quinn seemed to have become one of a jaded philosophical society, a group of arcane deviates. Their raison d'etre was a kind of mystical masochism, forcing initiates toward feats of occult daredevilry - "glimpsing the inferno with eyes of ice", to take from the notebook a phrase that was repeated often and seemed a sort of chant of power. As I suspected, hallucinogenic drugs were used by the sect, and there was no doubt that they believed themselves communing with strange metaphysical venues. Their chief aim, in true mystical fashion, was to transcend common reality in the search for higher states of being, but their stratagem was highly unorthodox, a strange detour along the usual path toward positive illumination. Instead, they maintained a kind of blasphemous fatalism, a doomed determinism which brought them face to face with realms of obscure horror. Perhaps it was this very obscurity that allowed them the excitement of their central purpose, which seemed to be a precarious flirting with personal apocalypse, the striving for horrific dominion over horror itself. ("The Dreaming In Nortown")
Centuries have passed since the wars of religion ceased in Europe, and since men stopped dying in large numbers because of arcane theological disputes. Hence, perhaps, the incredulity and denial with which Westerners have greeted news of the theology and practices of the Islamic State. Many refuse to believe that this group is as devout as it claims to be, or as backward-looking or apocalyptic as its actions and statements suggest. "Their skepticism is comprehensible. In the past, Westerners who accused Muslims of blindly following ancient scriptures came to deserved grief from academics-notably the late Edward Said-who pointed out that calling Muslims 'ancient' was usually just another way to denigrate them. Look instead, these scholars urged, to the conditions in which these ideologies arose-the bad governance, the shifting social mores, the humiliation of living in lands valued only for their oil. "Without acknowledgment of these factors, no explanation of the rise of the Islamic State could be complete. But focusing on them to the exclusion of ideology reflects another kind of Western bias: that if religious ideology doesn't matter much in Washington or Berlin, surely it must be equally irrelevant in Raqqa or Mosul. When a masked executioner says Allahu akbar while beheading an apostate, sometimes he's doing so for religious reasons.
We are about to study the idea of a computational process. Computational processes are abstract beings that inhabit computers. As they evolve, processes manipulate other abstract things called data. The evolution of a process is directed by a pattern of rules called a program. People create programs to direct processes. In effect, we conjure the spirits of the computer with our spells. A computational process is indeed much like a sorcerer's idea of a spirit. It cannot be seen or touched. It is not composed of matter at all. However, it is very real. It can perform intellectual work. It can answer questions. It can affect the world by disbursing money at a bank or by controlling a robot arm in a factory. The programs we use to conjure processes are like a sorcerer's spells. They are carefully composed from symbolic expressions in arcane and esoteric programming languages that prescribe the tasks we want our processes to perform. A computational process, in a correctly working computer, executes programs precisely and accurately. Thus, like the sorcerer's apprentice, novice programmers must learn to understand and to anticipate the consequences of their conjuring. Even small errors (usually called bugs or glitches) in programs can have complex and unanticipated consequences.
On either side of them the essence of honky tonk beach resort had now enclosed them: gas stations, fried clam stands, Dairy Treets, motels painted in feverish pastel colors, mini golf. 'Larry was drawn two painful ways by these things. Part of him clamored at their sad and blatant ugliness and at the ugliness of the minds that had turned this section of a magnificent, savage coastline into one long highway amusement park for families in station wagons. But there was a more subtle, deeper part of him that whispered of the people who had filled these places and this road during other summers. Ladies in sunhats and shorts too tight for their large behinds. College boys in red and black striped rugby shirts. Girls in beach shifts and thong sandals. Small screaming children with ice cream spread over their faces. They were American people, and there was a kind of dirty, compelling romance about them whenever they were in groups never mind if the group was in an Aspen ski lodge or performing their prosaic/ arcane rites of summer along Route 1 in Maine. And now all these Americans were gone... Stephen King, from The Stand p. 303 304
My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as "quothe." Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I've had more names than anyone has a right to. The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it's spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree. "The Flame" is obvious if you've ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably have been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it's unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I have been set afire. "The Thunder" I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age. I've never thought of "The Broken Tree" as very significant. Although in retrospect, I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic. My first mentor called me E'lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them. But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant "to know." I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.
Within sixty-minute limits or one-hundred-yard limits or the limits of a game board, we can look for perfect moments or perfect structures. In my fiction I think this search sometimes turns out to be a cruel delusion. No optimism, no pessimism. No homesickness for lost values or for the way fiction used to be written. Everybody seems to know everything. Subjects surface and are totally exhausted in a matter of days or weeks, totally played out by the publishing industry and the broadcast industry. Nothing is too arcane to escape the treatment, the process. Making things difficult for the reader is less an attack on the reader than it is on the age and its facile knowledge-market. The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence. The writer is the man or woman who automatically takes a stance against his or her government. There are so many temptations for American writers to become part of the system and part of the structure that now, more than ever, we have to resist. American writers ought to stand and live in the margins, and be more dangerous. Writers in repressive societies are considered dangerous. That's why so many of them are in jail. Some people prefer to believe in conspiracy because they are made anxious by random acts. Believing in conspiracy is almost comforting because, in a sense, a conspiracy is a story we tell each other to ward off the dread of chaotic and random acts. Conspiracy offers coherence. I see contemporary violence as a kind of sardonic response to the promise of consumer fulfillment in America... I see this desperation against the backdrop of brightly colored packages and products and consumer happiness and every promise that American life makes day by day and minute by minute everywhere we go. Discarded pages mark the physical dimensions of a writer's labor. Film allows us to examine ourselves in ways earlier societies could not-examine ourselves, imitate ourselves, extend ourselves, reshape our reality. It permeates our lives, this double vision, and also detaches us, turns some of us into actors doing walk-throughs. Every new novel stretches the term of the contract-let me live long enough to do one more book. You become a serious novelist by living long enough.
When Magnus looked at Imasu, he saw Imasu had dropped his head into his hands. "Er, " Magnus said. "Are you quite all right?" "I was simply overcome, " Imasu said in a faint voice. Magnus preened slightly. "Ah. Well." "By how awful that was, " Imasu said. Magnus blinked. "Pardon?" "I can't live a lie any longer!" Imasu burst out. "I have tried to be encouraging. Dignitaries of the town have been sent to me, asking me to plead with you to stop. My own sainted mother begged me, with tears in her eyes - " "It isn't as bad as all that - " "Yes, it is!" It was like a dam of musical critique had broken. Imasu turned on him with eyes that flashed instead of shining. "It is worse than you can possibly imagine! When you play, all of my mother's flowers lose the will to live and expire on the instant. The quinoa has no flavor now. The llamas are migrating because of your music, and llamas are not a migratory animal. The children now believe there is a sickly monster, half horse and half large mournful chicken, that lives in the lake and calls out to the world to grant it the sweet release of death. The townspeople believe that you and I are performing arcane magic rituals - " "Well, that one was rather a good guess, " Magnus remarked. " - using the skull of an elephant, an improbably large mushroom, and one of your very peculiar hats!" "Or not, " said Magnus. "Furthermore, my hats are extraordinary." "I will not argue with that." Imasu scrubbed a hand through his thick black hair, which curled and clung to his fingers like inky vines. "Look, I know that I was wrong. I saw a handsome man, thought that it would not hurt to talk a little about music and strike up a common interest, but I don't deserve this. You are going to get stoned in the town square, and if I have to listen to you play again, I will drown myself in the lake." "Oh, " said Magnus, and he began to grin. "I wouldn't. I hear there is a dreadful monster living in that lake." Imasu seemed to still be brooding about Magnus's charango playing, a subject that Magnus had lost all interest in. "I believe the world will end with a noise like the noise you make!" "Interesting, " said Magnus, and he threw his charango out the window. "Magnus!" "I believe that music and I have gone as far as we can go together, " Magnus said. "A true artiste knows when to surrender." "I can't believe you did that!" Magnus waved a hand airily. "I know, it is heartbreaking, but sometimes one must shut one's ears to the pleas of the muse." "I just meant that those are expensive and I heard a crunch.