I existed before Star Trek. I started in live television. I was there when the cameras were as big as a table, had internal fans that were whirring and tubes that, because of the heat, had to come right up to our face for a close-up. Now, we are talking about green screen and putting us in locations that we'll never visit. What has happened to us is a miracle, and the miracle is our inventiveness. The tragedy of our lives is also our inventiveness.
The United States pledges before you-and therefore before the world-its determination to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma-to devote its entire heart and mind to find the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
The seraph looked up, and pain sliced through my head as our eyes met, almost blinding me. "I honor you. You can do something I cannot," it said softly. "For all I am and all I have been, you are human. You are loved for your inventiveness, both good and bad. I can kill, but you can create. You can even create...an end," it said wistfully. "That's something I will never be able to do. Accept this. Create.
In many professions, what used to matter most were abilities associated with the left side of the brain: linear, sequential, spreadsheet kind of faculties. Those still matter, but they're not enough. What's important now are the characteristics of the brain's right hemisphere: artistry, empathy, inventiveness, big-picture thinking.
There are writers you admire, for the skill or the art, for the inventiveness or for the professionalism of a career well spent. And there are writers-sometimes the same ones, sometimes not-to whom you are powerfully attracted, for reasons that may or may not have to do with literary values. They speak to you, or speak for you, sometimes with a voice that could almost be your own. Often there is one writer in particular who awakens you, who is the teacher they say you will meet when you are ready for the lesson.
James D. Houston
One of the ways in which writers most show their inventiveness is in the things they tell us about how they write. Generally speaking, I don't like to make a plan before I've written a story. I find it kills the story - deadens it, makes it uninteresting. Unless I'm surprised by something in a story, the reader's not going to be surprised either.
It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when conditions are right. Man's curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.
When men are engaged in war and conquest, the tools of science become as dangerous as a razor in the hands of a child of three. We must not condemn man because his inventiveness and patient conquest of the forces of nature are being exploited for false and destructive purposes. Rather, we should remember that the fate of mankind hinges entirely upon man's moral development.
The total mental efficiency of a man is the resultant of the working together of all his faculties. He is too complex a being for any one of them to have the casting vote. If any one of them do have the casting vote, it is more likely to be the strength of his desire and passion, the strength of the interest he takes in what is proposed. Concentration, memory, reasoning power, inventiveness, excellence of the senses, all are subsidiary to this.
Patricia Smith is one of the best poets around and has been for a long time. Her Blood Dazzler is full of capacious soul and formal inventiveness: the compassion and artfulness necessary to capture the tragedies and Tragedy of Katrina. Smith is herself a storm of beautiful, frightening talent. Her words will wash you or wash you away. I consider this new book a major literary event.
Something I always wanted to do, to capture that later half of the '70s. It's like the early half of the '70s is still the '60s, in that there's still kind of a playfulness and inventiveness in terms of design and the things that were going on in the culture. The second half, it got much more commodified. It's possibly the ugliest era of architecture and clothes and design in the entire 20th century, from 1975 to '81 or '82.
There open up, deep inside a city, reflected streets, streets which are double, make-believe streets. One's imagination, bewitched and misled, creates illusory maps of the apparently familiar districts, maps in which the streets have their proper places and usual names but are provided with new and fictitious configurations by the inexhaustible inventiveness of the night.
For three million years we were hunter-gatherers, and it was through the evolutionary pressures of that way of life that a brain so adaptable and so creative eventually emerged. Today we stand with the brains of hunter-gatherers in our heads, looking out on a modern world made comfortable for some by the fruits of human inventiveness, and made miserable for others by the scandal of deprivation in the midst of plenty.
Richard E. Leakey
I must consider more closely this cycle of good and bad days which I find coursing within myself. Passion, attachment, the urge to action, inventiveness, performance, order all alternate and keep their orbit; cheerfulness, vigor, energy, flexibility and fatigue, serenity as well as desire. Nothing disturbs the cycle for I lead a simple life, but I must still find the time and order in which I rotate.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
By all odds, earliest man, so naked to the elements and to deadly enemies, should have existed in a state of constant shock. We find him instead the only lighthearted being in a deadly serious universe.... He alone, with childish carelessness, tinkered and played, and exerted himself more in the pursuit of superfluities than of necessities. Yet the tinkering and playing, and the fascination with the nonessential, were a chief source of the inventiveness which enabled man to prevail over better-equipped and more-purposeful animals.
The attack on youth is a national pathology, unwarranted by fact, smokescreen for the failure of adulthood and its leadership to confront larger predicaments. No rescue by the monied, governing, institutional, or otherwise privileged is in sight. It's up to the energy and inventiveness of the younger generation to pull the gated minds of millennium America toward acceptance of diversity, community, and fairness, and I hope they have as much fun as I did in my adolescences achieving what we Sixties kids only imagined.
Mike A. Males
Those who applaud social production and networked amateurism, the colorful cacophony that is the Internet, and the creative capacities of everyday people to produce entertaining and enlightening things online, are right to marvel. There is amazing inventiveness, boundless talent and ability, and overwhelming generosity on display. Where they go wrong is thinking that the Internet is an egalitarian, let alone revolutionary, platform for our self-expression and development, that being able to shout into the digital torrent is adequate for democracy.
In The Federalist, James Madison called the rage for equality 'a wicked project.' People differ and rewards differ-that's the essence of both liberty and justice. No nation that rewards effort, talent, inventiveness and luck can even pretend to cherish equal outcomes. In an inventive and dynamic society, equal (even relatively equal) incomes can be achieved only by abandoning liberty for tyranny.
The discipline of suffering, of great suffering- do you not know that only this discipline has created all enhancements of man so far? That tension of the soul in unhappiness which cultivates its strength, its shudders face to face with great ruin, its inventiveness and courage in enduring, preserving, interpreting, and exploiting suffering, and whatever has been granted to it of profundity, secret, mask, spirit, cunning, greatness- was it not granted to it through suffering, through the discipline of great suffering?
You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won't really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we'll figure out a way to divert the ocean. This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won't wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.
Something went greatly wrong in our collective history and the starting point of it was the industrial revolution. Our school systems are focussed on a single objective: to produce model citizens for society in order to feed this machine and prevent its breakdown. That's why our school systems have no interest in developing models that actually require and stimulate useful values in people, such as courage or imagination or inventiveness. None of these are taught in our schools, on the contrary the system focuses on memorizing. Memorizing is a way of overloading the mind with mental baggage it doesn't really need. Besides being horribly dull and stiffening the effect of 20 years of abundant memorization training is modern man: an unimaginative creature stuffed with useless knowledge and unable to clean his mind of this information dirt: our school systems are purposely constructed to deliver mental automatons that are unable to think creatively.
The language of mathematics differs from that of everyday life, because it is essentially a rationally planned language. The languages of size have no place for private sentiment, either of the individual or of the nation. They are international languages like the binomial nomenclature of natural history. In dealing with the immense complexity of his social life man has not yet begun to apply inventiveness to the rational planning of ordinary language when describing different kinds of institutions and human behavior. The language of everyday life is clogged with sentiment, and the science of human nature has not advanced so far that we can describe individual sentiment in a clear way. So constructive thought about human society is hampered by the same conservatism as embarrassed the earlier naturalists. Nowadays people do not differ about what sort of animal is meant by Cimex or Pediculus, because these words are used only by people who use them in one way. They still can and often do mean a lot of different things when they say that a mattress is infested with bugs or lice. The study of a man's social life has not yet brought forth a Linnaeus. So an argument about the 'withering away of the State' may disclose a difference about the use of the dictionary when no real difference about the use of the policeman is involved. Curiously enough, people who are most sensible about the need for planning other social amenities in a reasonable way are often slow to see the need for creating a rational and international language.
The discords of our experience-delight in change, fear of change; the death of the individual and the survival of the species, the pains and pleasures of love, the knowledge of light and dark, the extinction and the perpetuity of empires-these were Spenser's subject; and they could not be treated without this third thing, a kind of time between time and eternity. He does not make it easy to extract philosophical notions from his text; but that he is concerned with the time-defeating aevum and uses it as a concord-fiction, I have no doubt. 'The seeds of knowledge, ' as Descartes observed, 'are within us like fire in flint; philosophers educe them by reason, but the poets strike them forth by imagination, and they shine the more clearly.' We leave behind the philosophical statements, with their pursuit of logical consequences and distinctions, for a free, self-delighting inventiveness, a new imagining of the problems. Spenser used something like the Augustinian seminal reasons; he was probably not concerned about later arguments against them, finer discriminations. He does not tackle the questions, in the Garden cantos, of concreation, but carelessly-from a philosophical point of view-gives matter chronological priority. The point that creation necessitates mutability he may have found in Augustine, or merely noticed for himself, without wondering how it could be both that and a consequence of the Fall; it was an essential feature of one's experience of the world, and so were all the arguments, precise or not, about it. Now one of the differences between doing philosophy and writing poetry is that in the former activity you defeat your object if you imitate the confusion inherent in an unsystematic view of your subject, whereas in the second you must in some measure imitate what is extreme and scattering bright, or else lose touch with that feeling of bright confusion. Thus the schoolmen struggled, when they discussed God, for a pure idea of simplicity, which became for them a very complex but still rational issue: for example, an angel is less simple than God but simpler than man, because a species is less simple than pure being but simpler than an individual. But when a poet discusses such matters, as in say 'Air and Angels, ' he is making some human point, in fact he is making something which is, rather than discusses, an angel-something simple that grows subtle in the hands of commentators. This is why we cannot say the Garden of Adonis is wrong as the Faculty of Paris could say the Averroists were wrong. And Donne's conclusion is more a joke about women than a truth about angels. Spenser, though his understanding of the expression was doubtless inferior to that of St. Thomas, made in the Garden stanzas something 'more simple' than any section of the Summa. It was also more sensuous and more passionate. Milton used the word in his formula as Aquinas used it of angels; poetry is more simple, and accordingly more difficult to talk about, even though there are in poetry ideas which may be labelled 'philosophical.
The usual short story cannot have a complex plot, but it often has a simple one resembling a chain with two or three links. The short short, however, doesn't as a rule have even that much - you don't speak of a chain when there's only one link... Sometimes... the short short appears to rest on nothing more than a fragile anecdote which the writer has managed to drape with a quantity of suggestion. A single incident, a mere anecdote - these form the spine of the short short. Everything depends on intensity, one sweeping blow of perception. In the short short the writer gets no second chance. Either he strikes through at once or he's lost. And because it depends so heavily on this one sweeping blow, the short short often approaches the condition of a fable. When you read the two pieces by Tolstoy in this book, or I.L. Peretz's 'If Not Higher, ' or Franz Kafka's 'The Hunter Gracchus, ' you feel these writers are intent upon 'making a point' - but obliquely, not through mere statement. What they project is not the sort of impression of life we expect in most fiction, but something else: an impression of an idea of life. Or: a flicker in darkness, a slight cut of being. The shorter the piece of writing, the more abstract it may seem to us. In reading Paz's brilliant short short we feel we have brushed dangerously against the sheer arbitrariness of existence; in reading Peretz's, that we have been brought up against a moral reflection on the nature of goodness, though a reflection hard merely to state. Could we say that the short short is to other kinds of fiction somewhat as the lyric is to other kinds of poetry? The lyric does not seek meaning through extension, it accepts the enigmas of confinement. It strives for a rapid unity of impression, an experience rendered in its wink of immediacy. And so too with the short short... Writers who do short shorts need to be especially bold. They stake everything on a stroke of inventiveness. Sometimes they have to be prepared to speak out directly, not so much in order to state a theme as to provide a jarring or complicating commentary. The voice of the writer brushes, so to say, against his flash of invention. And then, almost before it begins, the fiction is brought to a stark conclusion - abrupt, bleeding, exhausting. This conclusion need not complete the action; it has only to break it off decisively. Here are a few examples of the writer speaking out directly. Paz: 'The universe is a vast system of signs.' Kafka in 'First Sorrow': The trapeze artist's 'social life was somewhat limited.' Paula Fox: 'We are starving here in our village. At last, we are at the center.' Babel's cossack cries out, 'You guys in specs have about as much pity for chaps like us as a cat for a mouse.' Such sentences serve as devices of economy, oblique cues. Cryptic and enigmatic, they sometimes replace action, dialogue and commentary, for none of which, as it happens, the short short has much room. There's often a brilliant overfocussing. ("Introduction")