The nineteenth century, utilitarian throughout, set up a utilitarian interpretation of the phenomenon of life which has come down to us and may still be considered as the commonplace of everyday thinking. ... An innate blindness seems to have closed the eyes of this epoch to all but those facts which show life as a phenomenon of utility
Jose Ortega y Gasset
For it is owing to their wonder that men both now begin and at first began to philosophize.... And a man who is puzzled and wonders thinks himself ignorant ...; therefore since they philosophized in order to escape from ignorance, evidently they were pursuing science in order to know, and not for any utilitarian end.
Centuries of secularism have failed to transform eating into something strictly utilitarian. Food is still treated with reverence...To eat is still something more than to maintain bodily functions. People may not understand what that 'something more' is, but they nonetheless desire to celebrate it. They are still hungry and thirsty for sacramental life.
Treading the soil of the moon, palpating its pebbles, tasting the panic and splendor of the event, feeling in the pit of one's stomach the separation from Terra-these form the most romantic sensation an explorer has ever known . . . this is the only thing I can say about the matter. The utilitarian results do not interest me.
Centuries of secularism have failed to transform eating into something strictly utilitarian. Food is still treated with reverence... To eat is still something more than to maintain bodily functions. People may not understand what that 'something more' is, but they nonetheless desire to celebrate it. They are still hungry and thirsty for sacramental life.
It is fortunate that molecular synthesis also serves the utilitarian function of producing quantities of rare or novel substances which satisfy human needs, especially with regard to health, and the scientific function of stimulating research and education throughout the whole discipline of chemistry.
Elias James Corey
8. Conditions of Dialogue The functional is what is practical. The only practical thing is the resolution of our fundamental problem: the realization of ourselves (our uncoupling from the system of isolation). This is useful and utilitarian. Nothing else. All the rest represents only trivial derivations of the practical, and its mystification.
They will speak of things that are spiritual and beautiful and of things that are practical and utilitarian; they will mix up angels and engines, sunsets and spark plugs, fraternity and frequencies in one all-encompassing comradeship of interests that makes for the best and most lasting kind of friendship any man can have.
Effective altruism is a philosophy and social movement which tries to work out the most effective ways to improve the world. Effective altruists - conform to old-school utilitarian principles - consider all causes and actions, and then act in the way that they believe brings about the greatest positive impact.
Jens Martin Skibsted
The crisis besetting America is not just an economic or political crisis; something deeper is wreaking havoc across the land, a mercenary and utilitarian attitude that demonstrates little empathy for people's actual well-being, that dismisses imagination and thought, branding passion for knowledge as irrelevant.
My favourite sites are all about web accessiblity, like Jakob Nielsen's site, but I'm afraid I've got quite utilitarian in my uses of the web. I buy things for friends and family in America on it. I find train times on it. I get a quick short article on a subject from it. I do not surf for fun much.
If the flower were not attached to its stem, it would flee at the approach of man, like the insect or the bird; for the attribute of man on the earth, at least as long as he does not better understand his role, is to worry and frighten what he is not interested in taming for utilitarian purposes. Man is skillful in mistreating everything he can use
Not having finished high school and having been fairly utilitarian in the way I went about college, I didn't have a deep liberal arts background. So we'd go to lunch and people would talk about their favorite seventeenth-century poets, and I'd be thinking, 'Could I even name five poets? From any century?'
What the Net does is shift the emphasis of our intelligence, away from what might be called a meditative or contemplative intelligence and more toward what might be called a utilitarian intelligence. The price of zipping among lots of bits of information is a loss of depth in our thinking.
Nicholas G. Carr
The utilitarian behaves sensibly in all that is required for preservation but never takes account of the fact that he must die...His whole life is absorbed in avoiding death, which is inevitable, and therefore he might be thought to be the most irrational of men, if rationality has anything to do with understanding ends or comprehending the human situation as such. He gives way without reserve to his most powerful passion and the wishes it engenders.
The ego must be able to listen attentively and to give itself, without any further design or purpose, to that inner urge toward growth. ... People living in cultures more securely rooted than our own have less trouble in understanding that it is necessary to give up the utilitarian attitude of conscious planning in order to make way for the inner growth of the personality.
Marie-Louise von Franz
We live in a society that doesn't offer any support or appreciation for ventures that aren't clearly articulated and aligned for a goal. A writer gets past this. It's going to be a mess before you're finished, and you may not have a name for the mess or understand its utilitarian purposes. There aren't words for everything. For now, we'll call it the draft of a story.
The idea of having more technology solving this idea of hyperactive lifestyle is not really the mainstream problem. I think the real innovation that's going to be rewarded will be on things like, let's convert our computers from being tools to being companions. Let's convert our computers from being utilitarian to being enlightening. These are human needs.
Most of what I read is for reviewing purposes or related to something I want to write about. It's slightly utilitarian. I definitely miss that sense of being a disinterested reader who's reading purely for the pleasure of imagining his way into emotional situations and vividly realized scenes in nineteenth-century France or late nineteenth-century Russia.
And the greatest praise to India is this: not only are her people beautiful; not only are her daily life and cult beautiful; but, in the midst of the utilitarian, humanitarian, dogmatic world of the present day, she keeps on proclaiming the outstanding value of Beauty for the sake of Beauty, through her very conception of Godhead, of religion and of life.
It was also her nature that caused her letters to avoid emotional pitfalls and confine themselves to relating the events of her daily life in the utilitarian style of a ship's log. In reality they were distracted letters, intended to keep the coals alive without putting her hand in the fire, while Florentino Ariza burned himself alive in every line.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The elimination of horrible disease, the increase of the quality of lives (for humans and for animals) achieved through research using animals is so incalculably great that the argument of these critics, systematically pursued, establishes not their conclusion but its reverse: to refrain from using animals in biomedical research is, on utilitarian grounds, morally wrong.
In the temple of science are many mansions, and various indeed are they that dwell therein and the motives that have led them thither. Many take to science out of a joyful sense of superior intellectual power; science is their own special sport to which they look for vivid experience and the satisfaction of ambition; many others are to be found in the temple who have offered the products of their brains on this altar for purely utilitarian purposes.
In our hurry of utilitarian progress, we have either forgotten the Indian altogether, or looked upon him only in a business point of view, as we do almost everything else; as a thriftless, treacherous, drunken fellow, who knows just enough to be troublesome, and who must be cajoled or forced into leaving his hunting-grounds for the occupation of very orderly and virtuous white people, who sell him gunpowder and whiskey, but send him now and then a missionary to teach him that it is wrong to get drunk and murder his neighbor.
Mary H. Eastman
Democracy is essentially a means, a utilitarian device for safeguarding internal peace and individual freedom. As such it is by no means infallible or certain. Nor must we forget that there has often been much more cultural and spiritual freedom under an autocratic rule than under some democracies and it is at least conceivable that under the government of a very homogeneous and doctrinaire majority democratic government might be as oppressive as the worst dictatorship.
Friedrich August von Hayek
Creation and destruction are one, to the eyes who can see beauty. And the greatest praise to India is this: not only are her people beautiful; not only are her daily life and cult beautiful; but, in the midst of the utilitarian, humanitarian, dogmatic world of the present day, she keeps on proclaiming the outstanding value of Beauty for the sake of Beauty, through her very conception of Godhead, of religion and of life.
As Peret asserts, the value of such stories resides in the fact that they respond to direct social necessity but in a way that is not obvious in a society dominated by what is utilitarian and functional. Rather they represent a natural surplus of imaginative abundance that may confound or reinforce the way we perceive the world, but which never does so in a simple way. Even though they may have no direct social use, they nonetheless embody the actual state of real relations between people.
In a traditional German toilet, the hole into which shit disappears after we flush is right at the front, so that shit is first laid out for us to sniff and inspect for traces of illness. In the typical French toilet, on the contrary, the hole is at the back, i.e. shit is supposed to disappear as quickly as possible. Finally, the American (Anglo-Saxon) toilet presents a synthesis, a mediation between these opposites: the toilet basin is full of water, so that the shit floats in it, visible, but not to be inspected. [... ] It is clear that none of these versions can be accounted for in purely utilitarian terms: each involves a certain ideological perception of how the subject should relate to excrement. Hegel was among the first to see in the geographical triad of Germany, France and England an expression of three different existential attitudes: reflective thoroughness (German), revolutionary hastiness (French), utilitarian pragmatism (English). In political terms, this triad can be read as German conservatism, French revolutionary radicalism and English liberalism. [... ] The point about toilets is that they enable us not only to discern this triad in the most intimate domain, but also to identify its underlying mechanism in the three different attitudes towards excremental excess: an ambiguous contemplative fascination; a wish to get rid of it as fast as possible; a pragmatic decision to treat it as ordinary and dispose of it in an appropriate way. It is easy for an academic at a round table to claim that we live in a post-ideological universe, but the moment he visits the lavatory after the heated discussion, he is again knee-deep in ideology.
The resurrection cannot be tamed or tethered by any utilitarian test. It is a vast watershed in history, or it is nothing. It cannot be tested for truth; it is the test of lesser truths. No light can be thrown on it; its own light blinds the investigator. It does not compel belief; it resists it. But once accepted as fact, it tells more about the universe, about history, and about man's state and fate that all the mountains of other facts in the human accumulation.
Unless the fundamental categories of economics such as 'property' were to be redefined in a radically personal way the liberal rationalist curse which had established economics as a scientific discipline cut off from human interests would proliferate. Economic models ... have failed to incorporate any meaningful index of individual benefit other than the original utilitarian one, ... the index of increasing income or an increasing flow of commodities.
Only those are called liberal or free which are concerned with knowledge; those which are concerned with utilitarian ends... are called servile... The question is... can man develop to the full as a functionary and a "worker" and nothing else; can a full human existence be contained within an exclusively workaday existence? Stated differently and translated back into our terms: is there such a thing as a liberal art?
Only those are called liberal or free which are concerned with knowledge; those which are concerned with utilitarian ends... are called servile...The question is... can man develop to the full as a functionary and a worker and nothing else; can a full human existence be contained within an exclusively workaday existence? Stated differently and translated back into our terms: is there such a thing as a liberal art?
From a nonpatriarchal metaethical standpoint, however, Singer's and Regan's theoretical similarities are as significant as their differences. In particular, both Singer's utilitarian theory and Regan's rights approach are developed within a framework of patriarchal norms, which includes the subordinatin of emotion to reason, the privileging of abstract principles of conduct, the perception of ethical discussion as a battle between adversaries, and the presumption that ethics shoudl function as a means of social control.
Worship ought not to be construed in a utilitarian way. Its purpose is not to gain numbers nor for our church to be seen as successful. Rather, the entire reason for our worship is that God deserves it. (Worship) immerses us in the regal splendor of the King of the cosmos... provides opportunities for us to enjoy God's presence in corporate ways that takes us out of time and into the eternal purposes of God's kingdom. As a result, we shall be changed""but not because of anything we do. God, on whom we are centered and to whom we submit, will transform us by his Revelation of himself.
Modern anthropology ... opposes the utilitarian assumption that the primitive chants as he sows seed because he believes that otherwise it will not grow, the assumption that his economic goal is primary, and his other activities are instrumental to it. The planting and the cultivating are no less important than the finished product. Life is not conceived as a linear progression directed to, and justified by, the achievement of a series of goals; it is a cycle in which ends cannot be isolated, one which cannot be dissected into a series of ends and means.
Mr. J.S. Mill speaks, in his celebrated work, "Utilitarianism," of the social feelings as a "powerful natural sentiment," and as "the natural basis of sentiment for utilitarian morality," but on the previous page he says, "if, as is my own belief, the moral feelings are not innate, but acquired, they are not for that reason less natural." It is with hesitation that I venture to differ from so profound a thinker, but it can hardly be disputed that the social feelings are instinctive or innate in the lower animals; and why should they not be so in man?
The world' is man's experience as it appears to, and is moulded by, his ego. It is that less abundant life, which is lived according to the dictates of the insulated self. It is nature denatured by the distorting spectacles of our appetites and revulsions. It is the finite divorced from the Eternal. It is multiplicity in isolation from its non-dual Ground. It is time apprehended as one damned thing after another. It is a system of verbal categories taking the place of the fathomlessly beautiful and mysterious particulars which constitute reality. It is a notion labelled 'God'. It is the Universe equated with the words of our utilitarian vocabulary.
I do not see why the axiom of Prudence should not be questioned, when it conflicts with present inclination, on a ground similar to that on which Egoists refuse to admit the axiom of Rational Benevolence. If the Utilitarian has to answer the question, 'Why should I sacrifice my own happiness for the greater happiness of another?' it must surely be admissible to ask the Egoist 'Why should I sacrifice a present pleasure for a greater one in the future? Why should I concern myself about my own future feelings any more than about the feelings of other persons?'
The worst feature of the Common Core is its anti-humanistic, utilitarian approach to education. It mistakes what a child is and what a human being is for. That is why it has no use for poetry, and why it boils the study of literature down to the scrambling up of some marketable "skill" [... ] you don't read good books to learn about what literary artists do... you learn about literary art so that you can read more good books and learn more from them. It is as if Thomas Gradgrind had gotten hold of the humanities and turned them into factory robotics.
[Aldous Huxley] compared the brain to a 'reducing valve'. In ordinary perception, the senses send an overwhelming flood of information to the brain, which the brain then filters down to a trickle it can manage for the purpose of survival in a highly competitive world. Man has become so rational, so utilitarian, that the trickle becomes most pale and thin. It is efficient, for mere survival, but it screens out the most wondrous part of man's potential experience without his even knowing it. We're shut off from our own world.
It is not easy to get rid of weeds; but it is easy, by a process of neglect, to ruin your food crops and let them revert to their primitive state of wildness. [... ] In political civilization, the state is an abstraction and the relationship of men utilitarian. Because it has no roots in sentiments, it is so dangerously easy to handle. Half a century has been enough for you to master this machine; and there are men among you, whose fondness for it exceeds their love for the living ideals which were born with the birth of your nation and nursed in your centuries. It is like a child who in the excitement of his play imagines he likes his playthings better than his mother.
Divine worship means the same thing where time is concerned, as the temple where space is concerned. "Temple" means... that a particular piece of ground is specially reserved, and marked off from the remainder of the land which is used either for agriculture or habitation... Similarly in divine worship a certain definite space of time is set aside from working hours and days... and like the space allotted to the temple, is not used, is withdrawn from all merely utilitarian ends.
Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or writer of textbooks will have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.
As for wealth, we live in a civilization which piously denies that it is an end in itself, and treats it exactly this way in practice. One of the most powerful indictments of capitalism is that it compels us to invest most of our creative energies in matters which are in fact purely utilitarian. The means of life become the end. Life consists in laying the material infrastructure for living. It is astonishing that in the twenty-fi rst century, the material organization of life should bulk as large as it did in the Stone Age. The capital which might be devoted to releasing men and women, at least to some moderate degree, from the exigencies of labour is dedicated instead to the task of amassing more capital.
I am charmed by the idea that there is an activity known as work and another as play, although even in grade school the distinction eluded me. I remember how full of hope I was sitting in first-period home room listening to the teacher divide up our activities into purposeful sections. I got a grip on her process, at last, by picturing it in the following way: A cow stands in clover. When she is milked, that is her work; when she is merely eating, that is her play. But the problem lay, then as now, in the realization that, in any case, she is standing in clover. Not a handsome or elegant analogy, but it approximates for me the habit of reading - standing in a world of clover, the eating of which is occasionally utilitarian, usually nourishing, because that's what one does
From the beginning, she had sat looking at him fixedly. As he now leaned back in his chair, and bent his deep-set eyes upon her in his turn, perhaps he might have seen one wavering moment in her, when she was impelled to throw herself upon his breast, and give him the pent-up confidences of her heart. But, to see it, he must have overleaped at a bound the artificial barriers he had for many years been erecting, between himself and all those subtle essences of humanity which will elude the utmost cunning of algebra until the last trumpet ever to be sounded shall blow even algebra to wreck. The barriers were too many and too high for such a leap. With his unbending, utilitarian, matter-of-fact face, he hardened her again; and the moment shot away into the plumbless depths of the past, to mingle with all the lost opportunities that are drowned there.
Were we to confront our creaturehood squarely, how would we propose to educate? The answer, I think is implied in the root of the word education, educe, which means "to draw out." What needs to be drawn out is our affinity for life. That affinity needs opportunities to grow and flourish, it needs to be validated, it needs to be instructed and disciplined, and it needs to be harnessed to the goal of building humane and sustainable societies. Education that builds on our affinity for life would lead to a kind of awakening of possibilities and potentials that lie dormant and unused in the industrial-utilitarian mind. Therefore the task of education, as Dave Forman stated, is to help us 'open our souls to love this glorious, luxuriant, animated, planet.' The good news is that our own nature will help us in the process if we let it.
This poetry is utilitarian-heavy-duty, industrial strength poetry. It is meant to be read aloud and, even better, memorized and recited. It is best used in the natural world where there are starlit skies, the warmth of blazing fires, and sounds and sights of open expanse. This book is meant to be carried with you in the glove box of a pickup truck, the back pocket of a worn pair of pants, even a saddlebag. It is not made to take up space on a library shelf, squeezed between other unread volumes. Take it along; you never know when the opportunity will be just right. Nothing pleases more than to see copies of the book twice as thick as the original from continued page turning, with turned-down corners marking favorite poems, or the whole shape curved to match the owner's posterior.
In our modern world, this elemental quality of storytelling is denied. We live today in a world in which everything has its place and function and nothing is left out of place. Storytelling is thus at a discount and like everything else in a world ruled by the laws of exchange value, literature is required to submit itself to the requirements of the market and must learn, like any other commodity, to adapt and serve needs that lie outside of itself and its concrete value. It is forced to stand not for itself but for an ideological cause of one sort or another, whether it be political, social or literary. It cannot exist for itself: like everything else it has to be justified. And for this very reason the power of storytelling is automatically devalued. Literature is reduced to the status of complimentary utilitarian functions: as a pastime to provide distraction and entertainment, or as a heightened activity that would claim to explore 'great truths' about the human condition.
Libertarian opponents of anarchy are attacking a straw man. Their arguments are usually utilitarian in nature and amount to "but anarchy won't work" or "we need the (things provided by the) state." But these attacks are confused at best, if not disingenuous. To be an anarchist does not mean you think anarchy will "work" (whatever that means); nor that you predict it will or "can" be achieved. It is possible to be a pessimistic anarchist, after all. To be an anarchist only means that you believe that aggression is not justified, and that states necessarily employ aggression. And, therefore, that states, and the aggression they necessarily employ, are unjustified. It's quite simple, really. It's an ethical view, so no surprise it confuses utilitarians. Accordingly, anyone who is not an anarchist must maintain either: (a) aggression is justified; or (b) states (in particular, minimal states) do not necessarily employ aggression.
N. Stephan Kinsella
In ordinary perception, the senses send an overwhelming flood of information to the brain, which the brain then filters down to a trickle it can manage for the purpose of survival in a highly competitive world. Man has become so rational, so utilitarian, that the trickle becomes most pale and thin. It is efficient, for mere survival, but it screens out the most wondrous parts of man's potential experience without his even knowing it. We're shut off from our own world. Primitive man once experienced the rich and sparkling flood of the senses fully. Children experience it for a few months-until "normal" training, conditioning, close the doors on this other world, usually for good. Somehow, the drugs opened these ancient doors. And through them modern man may at last go, and rediscover his divine birthright...
Many of the innovations in science and philosophy have come from unbelievers, some of whom died for their 'unbeliefs.' Without unbelief, we might well be living in the Dark Ages or at least in the intellectual equivalent of that time. In past centuries many theists savagely attacked atheists on the ground that someone without a belief in God must be a moral 'monster, ' who would permit any action. This argument is rarely heard today, as the number of people who are openly atheists has become so large that its falsity is self-evident. Atheists do have a moral code to guide them. It is usually based upon the Golden Rule, plus a variety of utilitarian reasons, although there are a number of other possible systems. Rather than being immoral, most atheists are extremely moral. There are a large number of people who can and do manage to lead decent upright lives with no use for a belief in God as a guide. Atheists do not care whether others believe as they do. They do ask, however, for the right to believe as they wish...
The primitive idea of justice is partly legalized revenge and partly expiation by sacrifice. It works out from both sides in the notion that two blacks make a white, and that when a wrong has been done, it should be paid for by an equivalent suffering. It seems to the Philistine majority a matter of course that this compensating suffering should be inflicted on the wrongdoer for the sake of its deterrent effect on other would-be wrongdoers; but a moment's reflection will shew that this utilitarian application corrupts the whole transaction. For example, the shedding of blood cannot be balanced by the shedding of guilty blood. Sacrificing a criminal to propitiate God for the murder of one of his righteous servants is like sacrificing a mangy sheep or an ox with the rinderpest: it calls down divine wrath instead of appeasing it. In doing it we offer God as a sacrifice the gratification of our own revenge and the protection of our own lives without cost to ourselves; and cost to ourselves is the essence of sacrifice and expiation.
George Bernard Shaw
Across the centuries the moral systems from medival chivalry to Bruce Springsteen love anthems have worked the same basic way. They take immediate selfish interests and enmesh them within transcendent, spiritual meanings. Love becomes a holy cause, an act of self-sacrifice and selfless commitment. But texting and the utilitarian mind-set are naturally corrosive toward poetry and imagination. A coat of ironic detachment is required for anyone who hopes to withstand the brutal feedback of the marketplace. In today's world, the choice of a Prius can be a more sanctified act than the choice of an erotic partner. This does not mean that young people today are worse or shallower than young people in the past. It does mean they get less help. People once lived within a pattern of being, which educated the emotions, guided the temporary toward the permanent and linked everyday urges to higher things. The accumulated wisdom of the community steered couples as they tried to earn each other's commitment. Today there are fewer norms that guide that way. Today's technology seems to threaten the sort of recurring and stable reciprocity that is the building block of trust.
Anyone and everyone taking a writing class knows that the secret of good writing is to cut it back, pare it down, winnow, chop, hack, prune, and trim, remove every superfluous word, compress, compress, compress... Actually, when you think about it, not many novels in the Spare tradition are terribly cheerful. Jokes you can usually pluck out whole, by the roots, so if you're doing some heavy-duty prose-weeding, they're the first to go. And there's some stuff about the whole winnowing process I just don't get. Why does it always stop when the work in question has been reduced to sixty or seventy thousand words-entirely coincidentally, I'm sure, the minimum length for a publishable novel? I'm sure you could get it down to twenty or thirty if you tried hard enough. In fact, why stop at twenty or thirty? Why write at all? Why not just jot the plot and a couple of themes down on the back of an envelope and leave it at that? The truth is, there's nothing very utilitarian about fiction or its creation, and I suspect that people are desperate to make it sound manly, back-breaking labor because it's such a wussy thing to do in the first place. The obsession with austerity is an attempt to compensate, to make writing resemble a real job, like farming, or logging. (It's also why people who work in advertising put in twenty-hour days.) Go on, young writers-treat yourself to a joke, or an adverb! Spoil yourself! Readers won't mind!
Art is the conscious making of numinous phenomena. Many objects are just objects - inert, merely utilitarian. Many events are inconsequential, too banal to add anything to our experience of life. This is unfortunate, as one cannot grow except by having one's spirit greatly stirred; and the spirit cannot be greatly stirred by spiritless things. Much of our very life is dead. For primitive man, this was not so. He made his own possessions, and shaped and decorated them with the aim of making them not merely useful, but powerful. He tried to infuse his weapons with the nature of the tiger, his cooking pots with the life of growing things; and he succeeded. Appearance, material, history, context, rarity - perhaps rarity most of all - combine to create, magically, the quality of soul. But we modern demiurges are prolific copyists; we give few things souls of their own. Locomotives, with their close resemblance to beasts, may be the great exception; but in nearly all else with which today's poor humans are filling the world, I see a quelling of the numinous, an ashening of the fire of life. We are making an inert world; we are building a cemetery. And on the tombs, to remind us of life, we lay wreaths of poetry and bouquets of painting. You expressed this very condition, when you said that art beautifies life. No longer integral, the numinous has become optional, a luxury - one of which you, my dear friend, are fond, however unconsciously. You adorn yourself with the same instincts as the primitive who puts a frightening mask of clay and feathers on his head, and you comport yourself in an uncommonly calculated way - as do I. We thus make numinous phenomena of ourselves. No mean trick - to make oneself a rarity, in this overpopulated age.
a spider and a fly i heard a spider and a fly arguing wait said the fly do not eat me i serve a great purpose in the world you will have to show me said the spider i scurry around gutters and sewers and garbage cans said the fly and gather up the germs of typhoid influenza and pneumonia on my feet and wings then i carry these germs into households of men and give them diseases all the people who have lived the right sort of life recover from the diseases and the old soaks who have weakened their systems with liquor and iniquity succumb it is my mission to help rid the world of these wicked persons i am a vessel of righteousness scattering seeds of justice and serving the noblest uses it is true said the spider that you are more useful in a plodding material sort of way than i am but i do not serve the utilitarian deities i serve the gods of beauty look at the gossamer webs i weave they float in the sun like filaments of song if you get what i mean i do not work at anything i play all the time i am busy with the stuff of enchantment and the materials of fairyland my works transcend utility i am the artist a creator and demi god it is ridiculous to suppose that i should be denied the food i need in order to continue to create beauty i tell you plainly mister fly it is all damned nonsense for that food to rear up on its hind legs and say it should not be eaten you have convinced me said the fly say no more and shutting all his eyes he prepared himself for dinner and yet he said i could have made out a case for myself too if i had had a better line of talk of course you could said the spider clutching a sirloin from him but the end would have been just the same if neither of us had spoken at all boss i am afraid that what the spider said is true and it gives me to think furiously upon the futility of literature archy
I feel as though dispossessed from the semblances of some crystalline reality to which I'd grown accustomed, and to some degree, had engaged in as a participant, but to which I had, nevertheless, grown inexplicably irrelevant. But the elements of this phenomenon are now quickly dissolving from memory and being replaced by reverse-engineered Random Access actualizations of junk code/DNA consciousness, the retro-coded catalysts of rogue cellular activity. The steel meshing titters musically and in its song, I hear a forgotten tale of the Interstitial gaps that form pinpoint vortexes at which fibers (quanta, as it were) of Reason come to a standstill, like light on the edge of a Singularity. The gaps, along their ridges, seasonally infected by the incidental wildfires in the collective unconscious substrata. Heat flanks passageways down the Interstices. Wildfires cluster-spread down the base trunk Axon in a definitive roar: hitting branches, flaring out to Dendrites to give rise to this release of the very chemical seeds through which sentience is begotten. Float about the ether, gliding a gentle current, before skimming down, to a skip over the surface of a sea of deep black with glimmering waves. And then, come to a stop, still inanimate and naked before any trespass into the Field, with all its layers that serve to veil. Plunge downward into the trenches. Swim backwards, upstream, and down through these spiraling jets of bubbles. Plummet past the threshold to trace the living history of shadows back to their source virus. And acquire this sense that the viruses as a sample, all of the outlying populations withstanding: they have their own sense of self-importance, too. Their own religion. And they mine their hosts barren with the utilitarian wherewithal that can only be expected of beings with self-preservationist motives.
The full moon, well risen in a cloudless eastern sky, covered the high solitude with its light. We are not conscious of daylight as that which displaces darkness. Daylight, even when the sun is clear of clouds, seems to us simply the natural condition of the earth and air. When we think of the downs, we think of the downs in daylight, as with think of a rabbit with its fur on. Stubbs may have envisaged the skeleton inside the horse, but most of us do not: and we do not usually envisage the downs without daylight, even though the light is not a part of the down itself as the hide is part of the horse itself. We take daylight for granted. But moonlight is another matter. It is inconstant. The full moon wanes and returns again. Clouds may obscure it to an extent to which they cannot obscure daylight. Water is necessary to us, but a waterfall is not. Where it is to be found it is something extra, a beautiful ornament. We need daylight and to that extent it us utilitarian, but moonlight we do not need. When it comes, it serves no necessity. It transforms. It falls upon the banks and the grass, separating one long blade from another; turning a drift of brown, frosted leaves from a single heap to innumerable flashing fragments; or glimmering lengthways along wet twigs as though light itself were ductile. Its long beams pour, white and sharp, between the trunks of trees, their clarity fading as they recede into the powdery, misty distance of beech woods at night. In moonlight, two acres of coarse bent grass, undulant and ankle deep, tumbled and rough as a horse's mane, appear like a bay of waves, all shadowy troughs and hollows. The growth is so thick and matted that event the wind does not move it, but it is the moonlight that seems to confer stillness upon it. We do not take moonlight for granted. It is like snow, or like the dew on a July morning. It does not reveal but changes what it covers. And its low intensity-so much lower than that of daylight-makes us conscious that it is something added to the down, to give it, for only a little time, a singular and marvelous quality that we should admire while we can, for soon it will be gone again.