I guess it was this over-riding feeling I wanted people to get from the album - a kind of positivity. On the one hand it's quite a sad record, but I wanted the songs in essence to be about pulling yourself out of a difficult time. So I thought that the idea of day after a really long, difficult night, would be pretty appropriate... I think the album's about contrasts too - contrasts of emotion - so I thought the comparison was appropriate.
Contradictions of perspective. Contrasts of light. Contrasts of form. Points of view impossible to achieve in drawing and painting. Foreshortenings with a strong distortion of the objects, with a crude handling of matter. Moments altogether new, never seen before compositions whose boldness outstrips the imagination of painters Then the creation of those instants which do not exist, contrived by means of photomontage. The negative transmits altogether new stimuli to the sentient mind and eye.
Narcissus knew only too well what a charming golden bird had flown to him. This hermit soon sensed a kindred soul in Goldmund, in spite of their apparent contrasts. Narcissus was dark and spare; Goldmund, a radiant youth. Narcissus was analytical, a thinker; Goldmund, a dreamer with the soul of a child. But something they had in common bridged these contrasts: both were refined; both were different from the others because of obvious gifts and signs; both bore the special mark of fate.
Contrasts The windows of my poetry are wide open on the boulevards and in the shop windows Shine The precious stones of light Listen to the violins of the limousines and the xylophones of the linotypes The sketcher washes with the hand-towel of the sky All is color spots And the hats of the women passing by are comets in the conflagration of the evening Unity There's no more unity All the clocks now read midnight after being set back ten minutes There's no more time. There's no more money. In the Chamber They are spoiling the marvelous elements of raw material ("Contrasts")
The most important day I remember in all my life is the one on which my teacher, Anne Mansfield Sullivan, came to me. I am filled with wonder when I consider the immeasurable contrasts between the two lives which it connects. It was the third of March, 1887, three months before I was seven years old.
I realize that in everything I was saying, that underneath my words was essentially, "why can't we be less judgemental and more like me." Which is judgemental and arrogant, to try and change somebody else's perspective just so that the world can seem better for you. It's important that we have these contrasts in life - nothing was ever created by being the same.
Happiness is like time and space-we make and measure it ourselves; it is a fancy-as big, as little, as you please; just a thing of contrasts and comparisons, like health or strength or beauty or any other good-that wouldn't even be noticed but for sad personal experience of its opposite!-or its greater!
George du Maurier
Old age is not one of the beauties of creation, but it is one of its harmonies. The law of contrasts is one of the laws of beauty. Under the conditions of our climate, shadow gives light its worth; sternness enhances mildness; solemnity, splendor. Varying proportions of size support and subserve one another.
He, who, in view of its inconsistencies, says of human nature the same that, in view of its contrasts, is said of the divine nature, that it is past finding out, thereby evinces a better appreciation of it than he who, by always representing it in a clear light, leaves it to be inferred that he clearly knows all about it.
An elegant simplicity is an understated, organic aesthetic that contrasts with the excess of consumerist lifestyles. Drawing from influences ranging from Zen to the Quakers, it celebrates natural materials and clean, functional expressions, such as are found in many of the hand-made arts and crafts from this community.
That's because only a real artist knows the actual anatomy of the terrible or the physiology of fear - the exact sort of lines and proportions that connect up with latent instincts or hereditary memories of fright, and the proper colour contrasts and lighting effects to stir the dormant sense of strangeness.
The ontological concept of truth is in the centre of a logic which may serve as a model of pre- technological rationality. It is the rationality of a two-dimensional universe of discourse which, contrasts with the of thought and behavior that develop in the execution of the technological project.
What I most cherish is the observation of the movement of colors. Only in this have I found the laws of those simultaneous and complementary color contrasts that nourish the actual rhythm of my vision. In this I find the actual essence, an essence which is not born out of an a priori system or theory.
I say that in narrative paintings one should mingle direct contraries close by, because they produce strong contrasts with one another, and all the more so when they are very close together; that is, the ugly next to the beautiful, the big to the small, the old to the young, the strong to the weak; in this way you will vary as much as possible and close by.
Leonardo da Vinci
I believe that Manila can be a reflection of your state of mind. Being a city of extreme contrasts it's easy to see how it can become an intense personal experience. Manila can be chaotic and spiritual, dirty and divine, gritty and gorgeous all at once. If you don't find beauty and poetry here, you will never find it anywhere.
The contrasts between what is spent today to educate a child in the poorest New York City neighborhoods, where teacher salaries are often even lower than the city averages, and spending levels in the wealthiest suburban areas are daunting challenges to any hope New Yorkers might retain that even semblances of fairness still prevail.
Our days are a kaleidoscope. Every instant a change takes place in the contents. New harmonies, new contrasts, new combinations of every sort. Nothing ever happens twice alike. The most familiar people stand each moment in some new relation to each other, to their work, to surrounding objects. The most tranquil house, with the most serene inhabitants, living upon the utmost regularity of system, is yet exemplifying infinite diversities.
Henry Ward Beecher
There was a time in my life when I did a fair bit of work for the tempestuous Lucretia Stewart, then editor of the American Express travel magazine, Departures. Together, we evolved a harmless satire of the slightly driveling style employed by the journalists of tourism. 'Land of Contrasts' was our shorthand for it. ('Jerusalem: an enthralling blend of old and new.' 'South Africa: a harmony in black and white.' 'Belfast, where ancient meets modern.') It was as you can see, no difficult task. I began to notice a few weeks ago that my enemies in the 'peace' movement had decided to borrow from this tattered style book. The mantra, especially in the letters to this newspaper, was: 'Afghanistan, where the world's richest country rains bombs on the world's poorest country.' Poor fools. They should never have tried to beat me at this game. What about, 'Afghanistan, where the world's most open society confronts the world's most closed one'? 'Where American women pilots kill the men who enslave women.' 'Where the world's most indiscriminate bombers are bombed by the world's most accurate ones.' 'Where the largest number of poor people applaud the bombing of their own regime.' I could go on. (I think number four may need a little work.) But there are some suggested contrasts for the 'doves' to paste into their scrapbook. Incidentally, when they look at their scrapbooks they will be able to re-read themselves saying things like, 'The bombing of Kosovo is driving the Serbs into the arms of Milosevic.
The precision of hisskill places his work beyond the tentative and the experimental stage. He is continually searching and exploring both himself and his surroundings. and in this exploration of the realm of places, people and things, contrasts and relationships, Callahan is no respecter of conventional technical formula or code. His delicate sense of pattern is an integral part of his photography and not a thing by itself.
A tattered copy of Johnson's large Dictionary was a great delight to me, on account of the specimens of English versifications which I found in the Introduction. I learned them as if they were so many poems. I used to keep this old volume close to my pillow; and I amused myself when I awoke in the morning by reciting its jingling contrasts of iambic and trochaic and dactylic metre, and thinking what a charming occupation it must be to "make up" verses.
It is a place that 'grows upon you' every day. There seems to be always something to find out in it. There are the most extraordinary alleys and by-ways to walk about in. You can lose your way (what a comfort that is, when you are idle!) twenty times a day, if you like; and turn up again, under the most unexpected and surprising difficulties. It abounds in the strangest contrasts; things that are picturesque, ugly, mean, magnificent, delightful, and offensive, break upon the view at every turn.
As one who knows many things, the humanist loves the world precisely because of its manifold nature and the opposing forces in itdo not frighten him. Nothing is further from him than the desire to resolve such conflictsand this is precisely the mark of the humanist spirit: not to evaluate contrasts as hostility but to seek human unity, that superior unity, for all that appears irreconcilable.
Glacier Gray is an unobtrusive gray that contrasts and enhances; bouncing off other shades without taking away from them as it slips into the background to allow other colors to take center stage. Nature's most perfect neutral, Glacier Gray is a shade that is timeless. Quietly assuring and peacefully relaxing, Glacier Gray, is above all, constant.
The greatest country, the richest country, is not that which has the most capitalists, monopolists, immense grabbings, vast fortunes, with its sad, sad soil of extreme, degrading, damning poverty, but the land in which there are the most homesteads, freeholds - where wealth does not show such contrasts high and low, where all men have enough - a modest living- and no man is made possessor beyond the sane and beautiful necessities.
Novelists should never allow themselves to weary of the study of real life. If they observed this duty conscientiously, they would give us fewer pictures chequered with vivid contrasts of light and shade; they would seldom elevate their heroes and heroines to the heights of rapture - still seldomer sink them to the depths of despair; for if we rarely taste the fulness of joy in this life, we yet more rarely savour the acrid bitterness of hopeless anguish.
Color is a major element in scale. A small room can have a larger look by the use of closely related values, hues, and intensity. A large room can be made to look smaller by marked contrasts of color and value, hue, and intensity. Value is one of the most important elements. Whether light or dark, little value contrast makes for unity, and sharper contrast makes for stronger punctuation.
Van Day Truex
Our democratic societies rest on a meritocratic worldview, or at any rate a meritocratic hope, by which I mean a belief in a society in which inequality is based more on merit and effort than on kinship and rents. This belief and this hope play a very crucial role in modern society, for a simple reason: in a democracy, the professed equality of rights of all citizens contrasts sharply with the very real inequality of living conditions, and in order to overcome this contradiction it is vital to make sure that social inequalities derive from rational and universal principles rather than arbitrary contingencies. Inequalities must therefore be just and useful to all, at least in the realm of discourse and as far as possible in reality as well.
I have taken a different approach. One that I hope is more easily accessible to the reader's emotional imagination, though less analytically systematic. I have summoned back into life again-through my own translations from a selection of popular Chinese novel sand poems-some of the imagined worlds in which Chinese have passed their daily reality during the last two hundred years. I have tried to convey something of what it felt like to be a Chinese, living in Chinese society, in different settings of status, age, and gender, and how this has changed over time. For reasons of method, I have looked at a small number of organically coherent emotional spaces, contained in individual works or parts of works, and considered them in detail... It would be pretending to more wisdom than I have to claim that the selection I have made is the result of a rigorous intellectual winnowing process from a harvest of widespread reading in late-imperial and modern Chinese literature. Honesty compels the admission that it is more the outcome of chance, serendipity, and whatever happened to catch my imagination, for reasons that I am probably in no position to do more than guess at... In so far as there has been a guiding principle behind my choices it has been the desire to show as much as the constraints of space allow of the contrasts among those in different social position, different periods, and different ideologies.
In the history of philosophy, the term 'rationalism' has two distinct meanings. In one sense, it signifies an unbreached commitment to reasoned thought in contrast to any irrationalist rejection of the mind. In this sense, Aristotle and Ayn Rand are preeminent rationalists, opposed to any form of unreason, including faith. In a narrower sense, however, rationalism contrasts with empiricism as regards the false dichotomy between commitment to so-called 'pure' reason (i.e., reason detached from perceptual reality) and an exclusive reliance on sense experience (i.e., observation without inference therefrom). Rationalism, in this sense, is a commitment to reason construed as logical deduction from non-observational starting points, and a distrust of sense experience (e.g., the method of Descartes). Empiricism, according to this mistaken dichotomy, is a belief that sense experience provides factual knowledge, but any inference beyond observation is a mere manipulation of words or verbal symbols (e.g., the approach of Hume). Both Aristotle and Ayn Rand reject such a false dichotomy between reason and sense experience; neither are rationalists in this narrow sense. Theology is the purest expression of rationalism in the sense of proceeding by logical deduction from premises ungrounded in observable fact-deduction without reference to reality. The so-called 'thinking' involved here is purely formal, observationally baseless, devoid of facts, cut off from reality. Thomas Aquinas, for example, was history's foremost expert regarding the field of 'angelology.' No one could match his 'knowledge' of angels, and he devoted far more of his massive Summa Theologica to them than to physics.
The ruinous deeds of the ravaging foe (Beowulf) The best-known long text in Old English is the epic poem Beowulf. Beowulf himself is a classic hero, who comes from afar. He has defeated the mortal enemy of the area - the monster Grendel - and has thus made the territory safe for its people. The people and the setting are both Germanic. The poem recalls a shared heroic past, somewhere in the general consciousness of the audience who would hear it. It starts with a mention of 'olden days', looking back, as many stories do, to an indefinite past ('once upon a time'), in which fact blends with fiction to make the tale. But the hero is a mortal man, and images of foreboding and doom prepare the way for a tragic outcome. He will be betrayed, and civil war will follow. Contrasts between splendour and destruction, success and failure, honour and betrayal, emerge in a story which contains a great many of the elements of future literature. Power, and the battles to achieve and hold on to power, are a main theme of literature in every culture - as is the theme of transience and mortality... . Beowulf can be read in many ways: as myth; as territorial history of the Baltic kingdoms in which it is set; as forward-looking reassurance. Questions of history, time and humanity are at the heart of it: it moves between past, present, and hope for the future, and shows its origins in oral tradition. It is full of human speech and sonorous images, and of the need to resolve and bring to fruition a proper human order, against the enemy - whatever it be - here symbolised by a monster and a dragon, among literature's earliest 'outsiders'... Beowulf has always attracted readers, and perhaps never more than in the 1990s when at least two major poets, the Scot Edwin Morgan and the Irishman Seamus Heaney, retranslated it into modern English. Heaney's version became a worldwide bestseller, and won many awards, taking one of the earliest texts of English literature to a vast new audience.
It happens that in our phase of civility, the novel is the central form of literary art. It lends itself to explanations borrowed from any intellectual system of the universe which seems at the time satisfactory. Its history is an attempt to evade the laws of what Scott called 'the land of fiction'-the stereotypes which ignore reality, and whose remoteness from it we identify as absurd. From Cervantes forward it has been, when it has satisfied us, the poetry which is 'capable, ' in the words of Ortega, 'of coping with present reality.' But it is a 'realistic poetry' and its theme is, bluntly, 'the collapse of the poetic' because it has to do with 'the barbarous, brutal, mute, meaningless reality of things.' It cannot work with the old hero, or with the old laws of the land of romance; moreover, such new laws and customs as it creates have themselves to be repeatedly broken under the demands of a changed and no less brutal reality. 'Reality has such a violent temper that it does not tolerate the ideal even when reality itself is idealized.' Nevertheless, the effort continues to be made. The extremest revolt against the customs or laws of fiction-the antinovels of Fielding or Jane Austen or Flaubert or Natalie Sarraute-creates its new laws, in their turn to be broken. Even when there is a profession of complete narrative anarchy, as in some of the works I discussed last week, or in a poem such as Paterson, which rejects as spurious whatever most of us understand as form, it seems that time will always reveal some congruence with a paradigm-provided always that there is in the work that necessary element of the customary which enables it to communicate at all. I shall not spend much time on matters so familiar to you. Whether, with Luke¡cs, you think of the novel as peculiarly the resolution of the problem of the individual in an open society-or as relating to that problem in respect of an utterly contingent world; or express this in terms of the modern French theorists and call its progress a necessary and 'unceasing movement from the known to the unknown'; or simply see the novel as resembling the other arts in that it cannot avoid creating new possibilities for its own future-however you put it, the history of the novel is the history of forms rejected or modified, by parody, manifesto, neglect, as absurd. Nowhere else, perhaps, are we so conscious of the dissidence between inherited forms and our own reality. There is at present some good discussion of the issue not only in French but in English. Here I have in mind Iris Murdoch, a writer whose persistent and radical thinking about the form has not as yet been fully reflected in her own fiction. She contrasts what she calls 'crystalline form' with narrative of the shapeless, quasi-documentary kind, rejecting the first as uncharacteristic of the novel because it does not contain free characters, and the second because it cannot satisfy that need of form which it is easier to assert than to describe; we are at least sure that it exists, and that it is not always illicit. Her argument is important and subtle, and this is not an attempt to restate it; it is enough to say that Miss Murdoch, as a novelist, finds much difficulty in resisting what she calls 'the consolations of form' and in that degree damages the 'opacity, ' as she calls it, of character. A novel has this (and more) in common with love, that it is, so to speak, delighted with its own inventions of character, but must respect their uniqueness and their freedom. It must do so without losing the formal qualities that make it a novel. But the truly imaginative novelist has an unshakable 'respect for the contingent'; without it he sinks into fantasy, which is a way of deforming reality. 'Since reality is incomplete, art must not be too afraid of incompleteness, ' says Miss Murdoch. We must not falsify it with patterns too neat, too inclusive; there must be dissonance.
I have just finished reading 'The Planner' by Tom Campbell. Its about James, a thoroughly decent but naive young city planner working for the London borough of Southwick. James, 32, has worked his way up the Southwick bureaucracy by dint of hard work, devotion to duty, and professional judgement. He has been responsible for a significant multi-purpose development and is an expert in how to survive lengthy meetings and local government practice. He has an intimate planning knowledge of London, its administrative districts, its zones and zoning regulations, its poverty rates, its demographic characteristics etc. But he knows almost nothing about the lifestyles of people who live there. The book opens on a scene where James has a get together with a few of his old friends from university. One has become a rich lawyer, one has become an even richer banker and his ex-girlfriend has become a well-known media celebrity. His friends all seem to be living glamorous and successful lives. They confront him with how dull he is; how little he has made of himself since he left university. He is filled with dissatisfaction with himself and the safe but dull life he leads. He decides he needs to brighten his life up a bit and start living a life more like that of his friends. Meanwhile, he is offered a position of Assistant Director of Planning for Nottingham (probably the UK of Hamilton, Palmy or New Plymouth) and he has 3 months to decide. He has to choose between a promotion to a safe but dull job in Nottingham, or a more glamorous life in London. He meets Felix, an advertising planner - one who designs advertising campaigns. Felix cares little about the buildings and connections of physical London, but is deeply knowledgeable about London society. He introduces James to a totally different London: London where the drug dealers live, London of high society, London of the rich and famous. He sets out to learn what he can about these aspects of London, hoping to earn the respect of his glamorous friends. In due course he begins to mix with developers whose aims are completely the opposite of his precious plan for Southwick The book is a wonderful depiction of the contrasts between city as built environment and city as lived environment. It raises questions about the value of public sector planning versus private sector development. It is also a delightful sketch of the temptations for a young planner to stray from the worthy objectives of public sector planning to private sector development; will James be lured away from his job as a local authority planner sincerely concerned about social issues such as public housing and street design, or will he be seduced by Felix and the glamorous world of the developers? Here's a lovely quote about a rumination of James as he crosses the wide open spaces of Canary Wharf, a part of London that was sold off by the state to private development: 'All of the people that James could see made a significant contribution to the wealth of the nation while making the world a worse place to live in. They worked in business services, and spent their lives helping international corporations to pay less tax, acquire commercial rivals, exploit monopoly positions, evade environmental regulations and skirt legal responsibilities. They were central to the functioning of the modern economy. Twenty thousand other people travelled in every day to make them coffee, serve them lunch and guard the buildings. It was, everyone had agreed, a tremendous success.' It is well worth a read.