Thursday, February 24, 2011

Walter Benjamin

"Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience."

The Storyteller


There is nothing that commends a story to memory more effectively than that chaste compactness which precludes psychological analysis. And the more natural the process by which the storyteller forgoes psychological shading, the greater becomes the story's claim to a place in the memory of the listener, the more completely is it integrated into his own experience, the greater will be his inclination to repeat it to someone else someday, sooner or later. This process of assimilation, which takes place in depth, requires a state of relaxation which is becoming rarer and rarer. If sleep is the apogee of physical relaxation, boredom is the apogee of mental relaxation. Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away. His nesting places--the activities that are intimately associated with boredom--are already extinct in the cities and are declining in the country as well. With this the gift for listening is lost and the community of listeners disappears. For storytelling is always the art of repeating stories, and this art is lost when the stories are no longer retained. It is lost because there is no more weaving and spinning going on while they are being listened to. The more self-forgetful the listener is, the more deeply is what he listens to impressed upon his memory. When the rhythm of work has seized him, he listens to the tales in such a way that the gift of retelling them comes to him all by itself. This, then, is the nature of the web in which the gift of storytelling is cradled. This is how today it is becoming unraveled at all its ends after being woven thousands of years ago in the ambiance of the oldest forms of craftsmanship.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011


"In this way, language as the power of universals is given to us in order that we must transcend our environment, in order that we may have a world."

"Language thus becomes indispensable not only for the construction of the world of thought but also for the construction of the world of perception, both of which constitute the ultimate nexus of an intelligible communion, spiritual and moral, between all of us."

Frege's basic assumption: "mankind possesses a common treasure of thoughts which is transmitted from generation to generation"

People think, they do not have thoughts. "John has a thought" vs. "John has a diamond" vs. "John thinks"

"The point is that both "constitution" and "memory" are constructs -- culturally determined ways of looking at human beings, rather than scientifically determined ways of cutting nature at its joints. "Memory", which is our primary concern here, is not something that objectively exists -- a "thing", or a distinct and clearly determined aspect of human nature."

"We are going to determine that while we are still at the aphelion of our matter, for, when we arrive at the perihelion, the heat will be capable of making us forget it."

"Flesh composed of suns. How can such be? exclaim the simple ones."

Actual Memory vs. Imagined Memory:

What do you remember about your first ice-cream cone?

If you were your Mother or Father, watching you eat your first ice-cream cone, what would you remember?