If conservatives really believed in individual liberty, as they endlessly claim and if they used both halves of their brains then they'd be libertarians . Instead, they sabotage themselves, and their cause, by constantly generating one spurious reason after another to deprive other people of their freedom.
L. Neil Smith
Wherefore all theology, when separated from Christ, is not only vain and confused, but is also mad, deceitful, and spurious; for, though the philosophers sometimes utter excellent sayings, yet they have nothing but what is short-lived, and even mixed up with wicked and erroneous sentiments.
What The Mysteries of Udolpho suggests is how a novel, by presenting phenomena before it present resolutions, can create an on-going, perhaps spurious, but nevertheless compelling dynamic between details which can undermine the ability of form to impose its particular tyranny on the reader's experience: there is a life in the novel which comes from within.
My happiest hours are those in which I think nothing, want nothing, when I do not even dream, but lose myself in some spurious vegetable torpor, moss growing on the surface of life. Without a trace of bitterness I savour my absurd awareness of being nothing, a mere foretaste of death and extinction.
One may desire a spurious respect and precedence among one's fellow monks, and the veneration of outsiders. "Both monks and laity should think it was my doing. They should accept my authority in all matters great or small." This is a fool's way of thinking. His self-seeking and conceit just increase.
All other swindlers upon earth are nothing to the self-swindlers, and with such pretences did I cheat myself. Surely a curious thing. That I should innocently take a bad half-crown of somebody else's manufacture, is reasonable enough; but that I should knowingly reckon the spurious coin of my own make, as good money!
Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty...the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent humanity, the mark of cruelty.
James A. Baldwin
Jargon is the verbal sleight of hand that makes the old hat seem newly fashionable; it gives an air of novelty and specious profundity to ideas that, if stated directly, would seem superficial, stale, frivolous, or false. The line between serious and spurious scholarship is an easy one to blur, with jargon on your side.
A spurious democracy has influenced both our research methods (I am sometimes tempted to define "validity" as part of the context of an experiment demanding so little in the way of esoteric gift that any number can play at it, provided they have taken a certain number of courses) and our research subjects (it would be deemed snobbish to investigate only the best people).
I knew in that moment, we were never meant to surrender our childlike innocence, to trade a world in which we fit like a glove for one that hung on us like ill-fitting hand-me-downs. However, all about us insisted on our membership. And instead of a handshake or a mystical password as entrance into this spurious society, we agreed instead to share a lie, the one that says we're safe, secure, and fulfilled living this way.
For every gain in deep certitude there is a corresponding growth of superficial "doubt." This doubt is by no means opposed to genuine faith, but it mercilessly examines and questions the spurious "faith" of everyday life, the human faith which is nothing but the passive acceptance of conventional opinion.
... the embryological record, as it is usually presented to us, is both imperfect and misleading. It may be compared to an ancient manuscript, with many of the sheets lost, others displaced, and with spurious passages interpolated by a later hand. ... Like the scholar with his manuscript, the embryologist has by a process of careful and critical examination to determine where the gaps are present, to detect the later insertions, and to place in order what has been misplaced.
Francis Maitland Balfour
Some relate . . . that the eagle tries the eyes of her young by turning them to the sun; which if they cannot look steadily on, she rejects them as spurious. We may truly try our faith by immediate intuitions of the Sun of Righteousness. Direct faith to act itself, immediately and directly on the incarnation of Christ and His mediation; and if it be not the right kind and race, it will turn its eyes aside to anything else.
To experience conflicts knowingly, though it may be distressing, can be an invaluable asset. The more we face our own conflicts and seek out our own solutions, the more inner freedom and strength we will gain. Only when we are willing to bear the brunt can we approximate the ideal of being the captain of our ship. Spurious tranquillity rooted in inner dullness is anything but enviable. It is bound to make us weak and an easy prey to any kind of influence.
To say nothing of what you lose, lose, lose, are losing, man. You fool, you stupid fool ... You've even been insulated from the responsibility of genuine suffering ... Even the suffering you do endure is largely unnecessary. Actually spurious. It lacks the very basis you require of it for its tragic nature. You deceive yourself.
America overflows with specious 'victims' demanding redress for spurious grievances. However, one genuinely oppressed minority is getting overdue relief. Beginning with spring training in Arizona and Florida, Major League Baseball, taking pity on traumatized pitchers, is directing umpires to enforce the strike zone as defined in the rulebook. What a concept.
What havoc has been made of books through every century of the Christian era? Where are fifty gospels, condemned as spurious by the bull of Pope Gelasius? Where are the forty wagon-loads of Hebrew manuscripts burned in France, by order of another pope, because suspected of heresy? Remember the 'index expurgatorius', the inquisition, the stake, the axe, the halter and the guillotine.
Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as collective memory-part of the same family of spurious notions as collective guilt. But there is collective instruction... What is called collective memory is not a remembering but a stipulating: that this is important, and this is the story about how it happened, with the pictures that lock the story in our minds.
We live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups. I ask, in my writing, 'What is real?' Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms.
Philip K. Dick
Welfare now erodes work and family and thus keeps poor people poor. Accompanying welfare is an ideology - sustaining a whole system of federal and state bureaucracies - that also operates to destroy their faith. The ideology takes the form of false theories of discrimination and spurious claims of racism and sexism as the dominant forces in the lives of the poor.
Nonetheless, GAO's conclusion that employer sanctions had somehow caused employment discrimination was contradicted by GAO's own Chief of Methodology, who criticized the GAO report. ...here is what she said, 'I believe the truth is that we have no strong causal link between IRCA and discrimination, and in [my] view it is just as likely that the discrimination we found has always been there, or that it is spurious, as that IRCA has caused it.'
Alan K. Simpson
The standard argument is that civilian deaths in Afghanistan were the regrettable consequence of military action that was needed to destroy Al Qaida bases and thus prevent further terrorist attacks. But this is a spurious argument since it is obvious that Al Qaida is a decentralised network. The counterargument - that bombing Afghanistan has made it more likely that terrorists will attack - is equally plausible. Most of the September nth hijackers were from Saudi Arabia,
Rationalization is a cover-up, a process of providing one's emotions with a false identity, of giving them spurious explanations and justifications - in order to hide one's motives, not just from others, but primarily from oneself. The price of rationalizing is the hampering, the distortion, and, ultimately, the destruction of one's cognitive faculty. Rationalization is a process not of perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one's emotions.
When speaking of a "body of knowledge" or of "the results of research," e.g., we tacitly assign the same cognitive status to inherited knowledge and to independently acquired knowledge. To counteract this tendency a special effort is required to transform inherited knowledge into genuine knowledge by revitalizing its original discovery, and to discriminate between the genuine and the spurious elements of what claims to be inherited knowledge.
Since the primary motive of the evil is disguise, one of the places evil people are most likely to be found is within the church. What better way to conceal one's evil from oneself, as well as from others, than to be a deacon or some other highly visible form of Christian within our culture? ... I do not mean to imply that the evil are anything other than a small minority among the religious or that the religious motives of most people are in any way spurious. I mean only that evil people tend to gravitate toward piety for the disguise and concealment it can offer them.
I join cordially in admiring and revering the Constitution of the United States, the result of the collected wisdom of our country. That wisdom has committed to us the important task of proving by example that a government, if organized in all its parts on the Representative principle unadulterated by the infusion of spurious elements, if founded, not in the fears & follies of man, but on his reason, on his sense of right, on the predominance of the social over his dissocial passions, may be so free as to restrain him in no moral right, and so firm as to protect him from every moral wrong.
Repentance is being sorry enough to quit your sin. You will never know the forgiving mercy of God while you are still wedded to your sins. Repentance is the soul's divorce from sin, but it will always be joined to faithRepentance that is not joined to faith is a legalistic repentanceProfessed faith that is not joined to repentance is a spurious faith, for true faith is faith in Christ to save me not in but from my sin. Repentance and faith are inseparable, and 'unless you repent you will all likewise perish' (Luke 13:3).
Renouncing false beliefs will not usher in the millennium. Few things about the strategy of contemporary apologists are more repellent than their frequent recourse to spurious alternatives. The lesser lights inform us that the alternative to Christianity is materialism, thus showing how little they have read, while the greater lights talk as if the alternative were bound to be a shallow and inane optimism. I don't believe that man will turn this earth into a bed of roses either with the aid of God or without it. Nor does life among the roses strike me as a dream from which one would not care to wake up after a very short time.
Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups... So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.
Philip K. Dick
The truthfulness of 'The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism' is in doubt largely because of uncertainty about its authorship, and, as we have seen, a nearly identical ambiguity surrounds the Appendix. The parallel is significant. Two psychologically oriented critics, Murray Sperber and J. Brooks Bouson, have each pointed out strong resemblances between O'Brien's manipulation of Winston and Orwell's manipulation of the reader. I believe these resemblances extend to the book's handling of its two principal documents. Just as O'Brien plays upon Winston's desire for certain knowledge about Oceania's social and political structure, leading him on with the possibly spurious 'Goldstein' tract, so the story's narrator draws the truth-seeking reader into an Appendix whose truth value cannot be determined.
Richard K. Sanderson
I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave 'V' words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land's-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.
war is not inevitable. Nor has it always been with us. War is a human invention-an organized, deliberate action of an anti-social kind-and in the long span of human life on Earth, a fairly recent one. For more than 99 percent of the time that humans have lived on this planet, most of them have never made war. Many languages don't even have a word for it. Turn off CNN and read anthropology. You'll see. What's more, war is obsolete. Most nations don't make war anymore, except when coerced by the United States to join some spurious "coalition." The earth is small, and our time here so short. No other nation on the planet makes war as often, as long, as forcefully, as expensively, as destructively, as wastefully, as senselessly, or as unsuccessfully as the United States. No other nation makes war its business.
Depending on the contemporary mood, Orwell oscillates from Saint George to George the Seer to George the Sage. What other thinker has been both so fervidly claimed and derided by both the left and right? Who else except Kafka do we credit with having seen the sinister future? When the NSA spying scandal broke in June, Amazon sales of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four vaulted more than 6000 percent. The connection of Big Brother with the NSA might have been hysterical and spurious, but it was also testament to our sentimental, kneejerk affection for Orwell, to the fact that he remains the default scribe whenever our paranoia is fondled by the ominous machinations of realpolitik. The utter clarity and goodness of his intellect seem something of a miracle when one considers how many of his fellow writers botched the most pressing moral and political tests of their time. He could smell bullshit and blood a continent away: When a passel of leftist intellectuals was hailing the Soviet Union as humankind's only hope, Orwell was persistent in pointing out that Stalin was a monocratic lunatic.
Apocalypse is a part of the modern Absurd. This is testimony to its vitality, a vitality dependent upon its truth to the set of our fear and desire. Acknowledged, qualified by the scepticism of the clerks, it is-even when ironized, even when denied-an essential element in the arts, a permanent feature of a permanent literature of crisis. If it becomes myth, if its past is forgotten, we sink quickly into myth, into stereotype. We have to employ our knowledge of the fictive. With it we can explain what is essential and eccentric about early modernism, and purge the trivial and stereotyped from the arts of our own time. Great men deceived themselves by neglecting to do this; other men, later, have a programme against doing it. The critics should know their duty. Part of this duty, certainly, will be to abandon ways of speaking which on the one hand obscure the true nature of our fictions-by confusing them with myths, by rendering spatial what is essentially temporal-and on the other obscure our sense of reality by suggesting that fictions represent some kind of surrender or false consolation. The critical issue, given the perpetual assumption of crisis, is no less than the justification of ideas of order. They have to be justified in terms of what survives, and also in terms of what we can accept as valid in a world different from that out of which they come, resembling the earlier world only in that there is biological and cultural continuity of some kind. Our order, our form, is necessary; our skepticism as to fictions requires that it shall not be spurious. It is an issue central to the understanding of modern literary fiction, and I hope in my next talk to approach it more directly.
There is a degree of emotional impact in the nature poetry of the eighteenth century which marks a shift in sensibility towards what came to be called 'the sublime'. The concept, from classical Greek, came to England through the French of Boileau, and reached its definitive explication in Edmund Burke's Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1757-59). This is a key text of the times, displaying an emphasis on feelings and on imagination, which is almost the antithesis of the neoclassical insistence on form and reason. Burke's idea of the sublime goes beyond natural beauty (although the beauty of nature is very much a part of it) and goes into the realms of awe, or 'terror'. The sublime is, for Burke, 'productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling'. Terror, emotion, feeling: all these represent a break from the intellectual rigours of the Augustan age, and are in one sense a reaction against the new pressures of society and bourgeois concerns... The link between the sublime and terror is most clearly seen in the imaginative exaggeration of the Gothic novel - a form which concentrated on the fantastic, the macabre and the supernatural, with haunted castles, spectres from the grave and wild landscapes. It is significant that the term 'Gothic' originally had mediaeval connotations: this is the first of several ways of returning to pre-Renaissance themes and values which is to be found over the next hundred years or so. The novels of the 1760s to the 1790s, however, gave the term 'Gothic' the generic meaning of horror fantasy. The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole (son of the prime minister Sir Robert Walpole) was the first of this kind, and the sub-genre has flourished ever since... .. Like many texts of its times, Walpole's novel purported to be a translation of an ancient manuscript dating from the eleventh or twelfth century. There was a strange fashion for these mediaeval rediscoveries, Thomas Chatterton and James Macpherson (Ossian) being notable contributors to the trend. Whether this was a deliberate avoidance of boastful originality or an attempt to give the works involved some spurious historical validity is not clear. Peter Ackroyd's novel Chatterton (1987) examines the phenomenon.
Darwin singled out the eye as posing a particularly challenging problem: 'To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.' Creationists gleefully quote this sentence again and again. Needless to say, they never quote what follows. Darwin's fulsomely free confession turned out to be a rhetorical device. He was drawing his opponents towards him so that his punch, when it came, struck the harder. The punch, of course, was Darwin's effortless explanation of exactly how the eye evolved by gradual degrees. Darwin may not have used the phrase 'irreducible complexity', or 'the smooth gradient up Mount Improbable', but he clearly understood the principle of both. 'What is the use of half an eye?' and 'What is the use of half a wing?' are both instances of the argument from 'irreducible complexity'. A functioning unit is said to be irreducibly complex if the removal of one of its parts causes the whole to cease functioning. This has been assumed to be self-evident for both eyes and wings. But as soon as we give these assumptions a moment's thought, we immediately see the fallacy. A cataract patient with the lens of her eye surgically removed can't see clear images without glasses, but can see enough not to bump into a tree or fall over a cliff. Half a wing is indeed not as good as a whole wing, but it is certainly better than no wing at all. Half a wing could save your life by easing your fall from a tree of a certain height. And 51 per cent of a wing could save you if you fall from a slightly taller tree. Whatever fraction of a wing you have, there is a fall from which it will save your life where a slightly smaller winglet would not. The thought experiment of trees of different height, from which one might fall, is just one way to see, in theory, that there must be a smooth gradient of advantage all the way from 1 per cent of a wing to 100 per cent. The forests are replete with gliding or parachuting animals illustrating, in practice, every step of the way up that particular slope of Mount Improbable. By analogy with the trees of different height, it is easy to imagine situations in which half an eye would save the life of an animal where 49 per cent of an eye would not. Smooth gradients are provided by variations in lighting conditions, variations in the distance at which you catch sight of your prey-or your predators. And, as with wings and flight surfaces, plausible intermediates are not only easy to imagine: they are abundant all around the animal kingdom. A flatworm has an eye that, by any sensible measure, is less than half a human eye. Nautilus (and perhaps its extinct ammonite cousins who dominated Paleozoic and Mesozoic seas) has an eye that is intermediate in quality between flatworm and human. Unlike the flatworm eye, which can detect light and shade but see no image, the Nautilus 'pinhole camera' eye makes a real image; but it is a blurred and dim image compared to ours. It would be spurious precision to put numbers on the improvement, but nobody could sanely deny that these invertebrate eyes, and many others, are all better than no eye at all, and all lie on a continuous and shallow slope up Mount Improbable, with our eyes near a peak-not the highest peak but a high one.
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.