Certain knowledge of what to fight for, and what to fight against, gives meaning to life and provides its own version of discipline: never give up. That kind of meaning is illusory, I now believe, and blinkered. Fealty to a mystical absolute is a formula for disaster, especially in transformative times.
The [travel] writer, looking back at the journey from a distance of a year or two (or three), is a different character from the hapless character who undertook the trip: wise after the event, with the leisure to tease out meanings from the experience that the distracted traveler never had, and often impatient with his alter ego's blinkered and unsatisfactory version of things.
The peasants have seen the future - Greece and France - and concluded that it does not work. Hence their opposition to Obama's proudly transformational New Foundation agenda. Their logic is impeccable: Only the most blinkered intellectual could be attempting to introduce social democracy to America precisely when the world's foremost exemplar of that model - Europe - is in chaotic meltdown.
The pre-scientific age, whatever its deficiencies, had at least offered its members the peace of mind that follows from knowing all man-made achievements to be nothing next to the grandeur of the universe. We, more blessed in our gadgetry but less humble in our outlook, have been left ... having no more compelling repository of veneration than our brilliant, precise, blinkered and morally troubling fellow human beings.
Alain de Botton
I'm no more modern than ancient, no more French than Chinese, and the idea of a native country, that is to say, the imperative to live on one bit of ground marked red or blue on the map and to hate the other bits in green or black, has always seemed to me narrow-minded, blinkered and profoundly stupid. I am a soul brother to everything that lives, to the giraffe and to the crocodile as much as to man.
While we women dilly-dally, making decisions, leaving jobs half done, forgetting where we've put the house keys while we water the Hoover and leave the laundry in the dishwasher, men, like blinkered horses, look straight ahead, oblivious to peripheral vision, where a discarded pile of wet towels might have caught their eye.
Internationalism means that we can see into the dark corners of the world, and hold those companies to account when they are devastating forests or employing children as bonded labour. Globalization is the complete opposite, its rules pit country against country and workers against workers in the blinkered pursuit of international competitiveness.
In the background lurks the scourge of international terrorism. There are people exercising power in a few countries and leading political factions in others who seem to be moved by narrow, brutal and irrational impulses. Their view of their own self-interest is so blinkered as to leave no space for purely human values, for peaceful negotiation or for economic advancement. They are bent on the destruction of the established order and of civilised ways of doing business. They must never be allowed to succeed.
Finally, from what we now know about the cosmos, to think that all this was created for just one species among the tens of millions of species who live on one planet circling one of a couple of hundred billion stars that are located in one galaxy among hundreds of billions of galaxies, all of which are in one universe among perhaps an infinite number of universes all nestled within a grand cosmic multiverse, is provincially insular and anthropocentrically blinkered. Which is more likely? That the universe was designed just for us, or that we see the universe as having been designed just for us?
[I]f the basic claims of religion are true, the scientific worldview is so blinkered and susceptible to supernatural modification as to be rendered nearly ridiculous; if the basic claims of religion are false, most people are profoundly confused about the nature of reality, confounded by irrational hopes and fears, and tending to waste precious time and attention-often with tragic results. Is this really a dichotomy about which science can claim to be neutral?
Never surrender your hopes and dreams to the fateful limitations others have placed on their own lives. The vision of your true destiny does not reside within the blinkered outlook of the naysayers and the doom prophets. Judge not by their words, but accept advice based on the evidence of actual results. Do not be surprised should you find a complete absence of anything mystical or miraculous in the manifested reality of those who are so eager to advise you. Friends and family who suffer the lack of abundance, joy, love, fulfillment and prosperity in their own lives really have no business imposing their self-limiting beliefs on your reality experience.
Anthon St. Maarten
I had grown up on Folkway's Nonesuch field recordings and the stuff Lomax had done for the Library of Congress, but the production values on the Ocora releases were on a whole other level. Eno and I realized that music from elsewhere didn't need to sound distant, scratchy, or 'primitive.' These recordings were as well produced as any contemporary recordings in any genre. You were made to feel, for example, that this music wasn't a ghostly remnant form some lost culture, soon to be relegated to the almost forgotten past. It was vital, and it was happening right now. To us there was strange beauty there, deep passion, and the compositions often operated by rules and structures that were radically different from what we were used to. As a result, our limited ideas of what constituted music were exploded forever. These recordings opened up myriad ways that music could be made and organized. There were many musical universes out there, and we had been blinkered by confining ourselves to only one.
What I'm feeling, I think, is joy. And it's been some time since I've felt that blinkered rush of happiness, This might be one of those rare events that lasts, one that'll be remembered and recalled as months and years wind and ravel. One of those sweet, significant moments that leaves a footprint in your mind. A photograph couldn't ever tell its story. It's like something you have to live to understand. One of those freak collisions of fizzing meteors and looming celestial bodies and floating debris and one single beautiful red ball that bursts into your life and through your body like an enormous firework. Where things shift into focus for a moment, and everything makes sense. And it becomes one of those things inside you, a pearl among sludge, one of those big exaggerated memories you can invoke at any moment to peel away a little layer of how you felt, like a lick of ice cream. The flavor of grace.
Much water has flown under Tiber's bridges, carrying away splendour and mystery from Rome, since the pontificate of Pius XII. The essentials, I know, remain firmly entrenched and I find the post-Conciliar Mass simpler and generally better than the Tridentine; but the banality and vulgarity of the translations which have ousted the sonorous Latin and little Greek are of a super-market quality which is quite unacceptable. Hand-shaking and embarrassed smiles or smirks have replaced the older courtesies; kneeling is out, queueing is in, and the general tone is rather like a BBC radio broadcast for tiny tots (so however will they learn to put away childish things?) The clouds of incense have dispersed, together with many hidebound, blinkered and repressive attitudes, and we are left with social messages of an almost over-whelming progressiveness. The Church has proved she is not moribund. 'All shall be well, ' I feel, 'and all manner of things shall be well, ' so long as the God who is worshipped is the God of all ages, past and to come, and not the idol of Modernity, so venerated by some of our bishops, priests and mini-skirted nuns.
Nothing in my view is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position, which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming controversial; you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate; your hope is to be asked back, to consult, to be on a board or prestigious committee, and so to remain within the responsible mainstream; someday you hope to get an honorary degree, a big prize, perhaps even an ambassadorship. For an intellectual these habits of mind are corrupting par excellence. If anything can denature, neutralize, and finally kill a passionate intellectual life it is the internalization of such habits. Personally I have encountered them in one of the toughest of all contemporary issues, Palestine, where fear of speaking out about one of the greatest injustices in modern history has hobbled, blinkered, muzzled many who know the truth and are in a position to serve it. For despite the abuse and vilification that any outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and self-determination earns for him or herself, the truth deserves to be spoken, represented by an unafraid and compassionate intellectual.
Edward W. Said
Aside from wanting to write cracking good books that turn children into lifelong readers, I really want to create stories that enable kids to LOOK at the world around them. To see it for what it is, with wide open, wondering eyes. Our mass media is so horribly skewed. It presents this idea of 'normalcy' which excludes and marginalises so many for an idea of commercial viability which is really nothing but blinkered prejudice. People who are black and Asian and Middle Eastern and Hispanic, people who are gay or transgendered or genderqueer, people who have disabilities, disfigurements or illnesses - all have this vision of a world which does not include them shoved down their throats almost 24-7, and they're told 'No one wants to see stories about people like you. Films and TV shows about people like you won't make money. Stories about straight, white, cisgendered, able-bodied people are universal and everyone likes them. You are small and useless and unattractive and you don't matter.' My worry is that this warped version of 'normal' eventually forms those very same blinkers on children's eyes, depriving them of their ability to see anyone who isn't the same as them, preventing them from developing the ability to empathise with and appreciate and take joy in the lives and experiences of people who are different from them. If Shadows on the Moon - or anything I write - causes a young person to look at their own life, or the life of another, and think, 'Maybe being different is cool' I will die a happy writer. -Guest blog - what diversity means to me
There was just enough room for the tonga to get through among the bullock-carts, rickshaws, cycles and pedestrians who thronged both the road and the pavement-which they shared with barbers plying their trade out of doors, fortune-tellers, flimsy tea-stalls, vegetable-stands, monkey-trainers, ear-cleaners, pickpockets, stray cattle, the odd sleepy policeman sauntering along in faded khaki, sweat-soaked men carrying impossible loads of copper, steel rods, glass or scrap paper on their backs as they yelled 'Look out! Look out!' in voices that somehow pierced though the din, shops of brassware and cloth (the owners attempting with shouts and gestures to entice uncertain shoppers in), the small carved stone entrance of the Tinny Tots (English Medium) School which opened out onto the courtyard of the reconverted haveli of a bankrupt aristocrat, and beggars-young and old, aggressive and meek, leprous, maimed or blinded-who would quietly invade Nabiganj as evening fell, attempting to avoid the police as they worked the queues in front of the cinema-halls. Crows cawed, small boys in rags rushed around on errands (one balancing six small dirty glasses of tea on a cheap tin tray as he weaved through the crowd) monkeys chattered in and bounded about a great shivering-leafed pipal tree and tried to raid unwary customers as they left the well-guarded fruit-stand, women shuffled along in anonymous burqas or bright saris, with or without their menfolk, a few students from the university lounging around a chaat-stand shouted at each other from a foot away either out of habit or in order to be heard, mangy dogs snapped and were kicked, skeletal cats mewed and were stoned, and flies settled everywhere: on heaps of foetid, rotting rubbish, on the uncovered sweets at the sweetseller's in whose huge curved pans of ghee sizzled delicioius jalebis, on the faces of the sari-clad but not the burqa-clad women, and on the horse's nostrils as he shook his blinkered head and tried to forge his way through Old Brahmpur in the direction of the Barsaat Mahal.