Pattern Art Quotes

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You look at where you're going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back at where you've been and a pattern seems to emerge.
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (Phaedrus, #1))
Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.
Alfred North Whitehead
I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning
Plato
You look at where you're going and where you are and it never makes much sense, but then you look back at where you've been and a pattern seems to emerge. And if you project forward from that pattern, then sometimes you can come up with something.
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (Phaedrus, #1))
Behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we—I mean all human beings—are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art. Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.
Virginia Woolf (Moments of Being: A Collection of Autobiographical Writing)
But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values)
By overcoming biases - be it through a closer and more honest examination of ourselves, deeper self-knowledge, an understanding of the patterns of thoughts and behaviors we experience, or any other method - we can undo these mental blocks and reignite a passion for honest, genuine, and will-intentioned discourse.
Milan Kordestani (I'm Just Saying: The Art of Civil Discourse: A Guide to Maintaining Courteous Communication in an Increasingly Divided World)
Art—the meaning of the pattern of our common actions in reality. The cloth-of-gold that hides behind the sackcloth of reality, forced out by the pain of human memory.
Lawrence Durrell (Justine (The Alexandria Quartet, #1))
Doing mathematics should always mean finding patterns and crafting beautiful and meaningful explanations.
Paul Lockhart (A Mathematician's Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form)
We are not the stuff that abides, but patterns that perpetuate themselves.
Norbert Wiener (The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society)
The whole point is that writing has a pattern and life hasn't. Life is so untidy. Art is so short and life so long. It is not possible to have perfection in life but it is possible to have perfection in a novel.
Elizabeth Taylor
But how can we be free to look and learn when our minds from the moment we are born to the moment we die are shaped by a particular culture in the narrow pattern of the ‘me’? For centuries we have been conditioned by nationality, caste, class, tradition, religion, language, education, literature, art, custom, convention, propaganda of all kinds, economic pressure, the food we eat, the climate we live in, our family, our friends, our experiences – every influence you can think of – and therefore our responses to every problem are conditioned.
J. Krishnamurti (Freedom from the Known)
Aunts are to be a pattern and example to all aunts; to be a delight to boys (and girls) and a comfort to their parents; and to show that at least one daughter in every generation ought to remain unmarried, and raise the profession of auntship to a fine art.
Dave Isay (Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project)
There are few of us who have not sometimes wakened before dawn, either after one of those dreamless nights that make us almost enamoured of death, or one of those nights of horror and misshapen joy, when through the chambers of the brain sweep phantoms more terrible than reality itself, and instinct with that vivid life that lurks in all grotesques, and that lends to Gothic art its enduring vitality, this art being, one might fancy, especially the art of those whose minds have been troubled with the malady of reverie. Gradually white fingers creep through the curtains, and they appear to tremble. In black fantastic shapes, dumb shadows crawl into the corners of the room and crouch there. Outside, there is the stirring of birds among the leaves, or the sound of men going forth to their work, or the sigh and sob of the wind coming down from the hills and wandering round the silent house, as though it feared to wake the sleepers and yet must needs call forth sleep from her purple cave. Veil after veil of thin dusky gauze is lifted, and by degrees the forms and colours of things are restored to them, and we watch the dawn remaking the world in its antique pattern. The wan mirrors get back their mimic life. The flameless tapers stand where we had left them, and beside them lies the half-cut book that we had been studying, or the wired flower that we had worn at the ball, or the letter that we had been afraid to read, or that we had read too often. Nothing seems to us changed. Out of the unreal shadows of the night comes back the real life that we had known. We have to resume it where we had left off, and there steals over us a terrible sense of the necessity for the continuance of energy in the same wearisome round of stereotyped habits, or a wild longing, it may be, that our eyelids might open some morning upon a world that had been refashioned anew in the darkness for our pleasure, a world in which things would have fresh shapes and colours, and be changed, or have other secrets, a world in which the past would have little or no place, or survive, at any rate, in no conscious form of obligation or regret, the remembrance even of joy having its bitterness and the memories of pleasure their pain.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Our education system teaches about linearity, not about what to do when this linear pattern breaks, not where to look for resilience, not the art of recovery from disruption." - Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons To Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity and Happiness.
Keisha Blair (Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity, and Happiness)
Modern man has lost the sense of wonder about the unknown and he treats it as an enemy.
Laurens van der Post (Patterns of Renewal (Pendle Hill Pamphlets Book 121))
Also in contemporary Western society the union with the group is the prevalent way of overcoming separateness. It is a union which the individual self disappears to a large extent, and where the aim is to belong to the heard. If I am like everybody else, if I have no feeling or thoughts which make me different, if I conform in custom, dress, ideas, to the pattern of the group, I am saved: saved from the frightening experience of aloneness.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
Patterns cannot be weighed or measured. Patterns must be mapped.
Fritjof Capra (The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems)
daughters-in-law, notice the beauty of the rug that your mother-in-law spent a lifetime weaving. Remember that her pattern is mostly firmly established-no need to suggest improvements. Be kinder than necessary, being mindful that the piece of art it took her a lifetime to weave-her masterpiece-she gave to you to keep you warm at night.
Glennon Doyle Melton (Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life)
The finished clock is resplendent. At first glance it is simply a clock, a rather large black clock with a white face and a silver pendulum. Well crafted, obviously, with intricately carved woodwork edges and a perfectly painted face, but just a clock. But that is before it is wound. Before it begins to tick, the pendulum swinging steadily and evenly. Then, then it becomes something else. The changes are slow. First, the color changes in the face, shifts from white to grey, and then there are clouds that float across it, disappearing when they reach the opposite side. Meanwhile, bits of the body of the clock expand and contract, like pieces of a puzzle. As though the clock is falling apart, slowly and gracefully. All of this takes hours. The face of the clock becomes a darker grey, and then black, with twinkling stars where numbers had been previously. The body of the clock, which has been methodically turning itself inside out and expanding, is now entirely subtle shades of white and grey. And it is not just pieces, it is figures and objects, perfectly carved flowers and planets and tiny books with actual paper pages that turn. There is a silver dragon that curls around part of the now visible clockwork, a tiny princess in a carved tower who paces in distress, awaiting an absent prince. Teapots that pour into teacups and minuscule curls of steam that rise from them as the seconds tick. Wrapped presents open. Small cats chase small dogs. An entire game of chess is played. At the center, where a cuckoo bird would live in a more traditional timepiece, is the juggler. Dress in harlequin style with a grey mask, he juggles shiny silver balls that correspond to each hour. As the clock chimes, another ball joins the rest until at midnight he juggles twelve balls in a complex pattern. After midnight, the clock begins once more to fold in upon itself. The face lightens and the cloud returns. The number of juggled balls decreases until the juggler himself vanishes. By noon it is a clock again, and no longer a dream.
Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
I expect to see the coming decades transform the planet into an art form; the new man, linked in a cosmic harmony that transcends time and space, will sensuously caress and mold and pattern every facet of the terrestrial artifact as if it were a work of art, and man himself will become an organic art form. There is a long road ahead, and the stars are only way stations, but we have begun the journey. To be born in this age is a precious gift, and I regret the prospect of my own death only because I will leave so many pages of man’s destiny — if you will excuse the Gutenbergian image — tantalizingly unread. But perhaps, as I’ve tried to demonstrate in my examination of the postliterate culture, the story begins only when the book closes.
Marshall McLuhan
This was a face such as I had never seen before, even in the most fanciful of dreams, a face that was, in its way, a work of art. For it was light and dark, night and day, this world and the Otherworld. On the left side, the face of a youngish man, the skin weathered but fair, the eye gray and clear, the mouth well formed if unyielding in character. On all the right side, extending from an undrawn mark down the exact center, an etching of line and curve and feathery pattern, like the mask of some fierce bird of prey. An eagle? A goshawk? No, it was, I thought, a raven, even as far as the circles about the eye and the suggestion of predatory beak around the nostril. The mark of the raven. If I had not been so frightened, I might have laughed at the irony of it. The pattern extended down his neck and under the border of his leather jerkin and the linen shirt he wore beneath it. His head was completely shaven, and the skull, too, was colored the same, half-man, half-wild creature; some great artist of the inks and needle had wrought this over many days, and I imagined the pain must have been considerable.
Juliet Marillier (Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters, #2))
When you see a fish you don't think of its scales, do you? You think of its speed, its floating, flashing body seen through the water. Well, I've tried to express just that. If I made fins and eyes and scales, I would arrest its movement, give a pattern or shape of reality. I want just the flash of its spirits.
Constantin Brâncuși
Home should be a warm, liveable place that is alive, a place to please the eye and soothe the senses in scale, curves, colour, variety, pattern and texture. -Josef Frank
Louisa Thomsen Brits (The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well)
to require perfection is to invite paralysis. The pattern is predictable: as you see error in what you have done, you steer your work toward what you imagine you can do perfectly. You cling ever more tightly to what you already know you can do — away from risk and exploration, and possibly further from the work of your heart. You find reasons to procrastinate, since to not work is to not make mistakes. Believing that artwork should be perfect, you gradually become convinced that you cannot make such work. (You are correct.) Sooner or later, since you cannot do what you are trying to do, you quit. And in one of those perverse little ironies of life, only the pattern itself achieves perfection — a perfect death spiral: you misdirect your work; you stall; you quit.
David Bayles (Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking)
Life is, if anything, the art of combination. Of discrimination. Of freely picking one's own personal pattern out of a hundred choices. Not letting it be picked for you—either by the Establishment, or by the Rebels. Conformity of Hip is no better than Conformity of Square.
Sydney J. Harris
...[F]ireworks had for her a direct and magical appeal. Their attraction was more complex than that of any other form of art. They had pattern and sequence, colour and sound, brilliance and mobility; they had suspense, surprise, and a faint hint of danger; above all, they had the supreme quality of transience, which puts the keenest edge on beauty and makes it touch some spring in the heart which more enduring excellences cannot reach.
Jan Struther (Mrs. Miniver)
Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man. And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on that preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken. And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
the most efficient breathing rhythm occurred when both the length of respirations and total breaths per minute were locked in to a spooky symmetry: 5.5-second inhales followed by 5.5-second exhales, which works out almost exactly to 5.5 breaths a minute. This was the same pattern of the rosary. The results were profound, even when practiced for just five to ten minutes a day. “I have seen patients transformed by adopting regular breathing practices,” said Brown.
James Nestor (Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art)
The human brain seeks patterns and rules. In fact, it takes it one step further: If it finds no familiar patterns, it simply invents some.
Rolf Dobelli (The Art of Thinking Clearly)
Just as when we step into a mosque and its high open dome leads our minds up, up, to greater things, so a great carpet seeks to do the same under the feet. Such a carpet directs us to the magnificence of the infinite, veiled, yet never near, closer than the pulse of jugular, the sunburst that explodes at the center of a carpet signals this boundless radiance. Flowers and trees evoke the pleasures of paradise, and there is always a spot at the center of the carpet that brings calm to the heart. A single white lotus flower floats in a turquoise pool, and in this tiniest of details, there it is: a call to the best within, summoning us to the joy of union. In carpets, I now saw not just intricacies of nature and color, not just mastery of space, but a sign of the infinite design. In each pattern lay the work of a weaver of the world, complete and whole; and in each knot of daily existence lay mine.
Anita Amirrezvani (The Blood of Flowers)
One minute it was Ohio winter, with doors closed, windows locked, the panes blind with frost, icicles fringing every roof, children skiing on slopes, housewives lumbering like great black bears in their furs along the icy streets. And then a long wave of warmth crossed the small town. A flooding sea of hot air; it seemed as if someone had left a bakery door open. The heat pulsed among the cottages and bushes and children. The icicles dropped, shattering, to melt. The doors flew open. The windows flew up. The children worked off their wool clothes. The housewives shed their bear disguises. The snow dissolved and showed last summer's ancient green lawns. Rocket summer. The words passed among the people in the open, airing houses. Rocket summer. The warm desert air changing the frost patterns on the windows, erasing the art work. The skis and sleds suddenly useless. The snow, falling from the cold sky upon the town, turned to a hot rain before it touched the ground. Rocket summer. People leaned from their dripping porches and watched the reddening sky. The rocket lay on the launching field, blowing out pink clouds of fire and oven heat. The rocket stood in the cold winter morning, making summer with every breath of its mighty exhausts. The rocket made climates, and summer lay for a brief moment upon the land....
Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles)
The power to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace the implication of things, to judge the whole piece by the pattern, the condition of feeling life, in general, so completely that you are well on your way to knowing any particular corner of it-this cluster of gifts may almost be said to constitute experience, and they occur in country and in town, and in the most differing stages of education.
Henry James (The Art of Fiction (Notable American Authors Series))
Why is music capable of inflicting such pain? Because it works on our feelings directly. No ideas interfere with its emotions. This is why "all art aspires to the condition of music." The symphony gives us the thrill of uncertainty--the pleasurable anxiety of searching for a pattern--but without the risks of real life. When we listen to music, we are moved by an abstraction. We feel, but we don't know why.
Jonah Lehrer (Proust Was a Neuroscientist)
what we call expertise is really just “vast amounts of knowledge, pattern-based retrieval, and planning mechanisms acquired over many years of experience in the associated domain.” In other words, a great memory isn’t just a by-product of expertise; it is the essence of expertise.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
Even in an era of open data, data science and data journalism, we still need basic statistical principles in order not to be misled by apparent patterns in the numbers.
David Spiegelhalter (The Art of Statistics: Learning from Data)
Just as a prism refracts light differently when you change its angle, each experience of love illuminates love in new ways, drawing from an infinite palette of patterns and hues.
Sharon Salzberg (Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection)
Why be seduced by something as small as a front door in another country? Why fall in love with a place because it has trams and its people seldom have curtains in their homes? However absurd the intense reactions provoked by such small (and mute) foreign elements may seem, the pattern is at least familiar from our personal lives. There, too, we may find ourselves anchoring emotions of love on the way a person butters his or her bread, or recoiling at his or her taste in shoes. To condemn ourselves for these minute concerns is to ignore how rich in meaning details may be.
Alain de Botton (The Art of Travel)
The stopped time of a painting, say, or the drawn-out minutes and compressed years of a novel, in which it is possible to see patterns and consequences that are otherwise invisible.
Olivia Laing (Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency)
In conclusion: when it comes to pattern recognition, we are oversensitive. Regain your scepticism. If you think you have discovered a pattern, first consider it pure chance. If it seems too good to be true, find a mathematician and have the data tested statistically. And if the crispy parts of your pancake start to look a lot like Jesus’ face, ask yourself: if he really wants to reveal himself, why doesn’t he do it in Times Square or on CNN?
Rolf Dobelli (The Art of Thinking Clearly: The Secrets of Perfect Decision-Making)
If sexual physiology provides the pattern for our experience of the world, what is woman's basic metaphor? It is mystery, the hidden. Karen Horney speaks of a girl's inability to see her genitals and a boy's ability to see his as the source of "the greater subjectivity of women as compared with the greater objectivity of men." To rephrase this with my different emphasis: men's delusional certitude that objectivity is possible is based on the visibility of their genitals. Second, this certitude is a defensive swerve from the anxiety-inducing invisibility of the womb. Women tend to be more realistic and less obsessional because of their toleration for ambiguity which they learn from their inability to learn about their own bodies. Women accept limited knowledge as their natural condition, a great human truth that a man may take a lifetime to reach. The female body’s unbearable hiddenness applies to all aspects men’s dealings with women. What does it look like in there? Did she have an orgasm? Is it really my child? Who was my real father? Mystery surrounds women’s sexuality. This mystery is the main reason for the imprisonment man has imposed on women. Only by confining his wife in a locked harem guarded by eunuchs could he be certain that her son was also his.
Camille Paglia (Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (Yale Nota Bene))
Lies, fictions and untrue suppositions can create new human truths which build technology, art, language, everything that is distinctly of Man. The word "stone" for instance is not a stone, it is an oral pattern of vocal, dental and labial sounds or a scriptive arrangement of ink on a white surface, but man pretends that it is actually the thing it refers to. Every time he wishes to tell another man about a stone he can use the word instead of the thing itself. The word bodies forth the object in the mind of the listener and both speaker and listener are able to imagine a stone without seeing one. All the qualities of stone can be metaphorically and metonymically expressed. "I was stoned, stony broke, stone blind, stone cold sober, stonily silent," oh, whatever occurs. More than that, a man can look at a stone and call it a weapon, a paperweight, a doorstep, a jewel, an idol. He can give it function, he can possess it.
Stephen Fry (The Liar)
For some reason, the sight of snow descending on fire always makes me think of the ancient world – legionaries in sheepskin warming themselves at a brazier: mountain altars where offerings glow between wintry pillars; centaurs with torches cantering beside a frozen sea – scattered, unco-ordinated shapes from a fabulous past, infinitely removed from life; and yet bringing with them memories of things real and imagined. These classical projections, and something in the physical attitudes of the men themselves as they turned from the fire, suddenly suggested Poussin’s scene in which the Seasons, hand in hand and facing outward, tread in rhythm to the notes of the lyre that the winged and naked greybeard plays. The image of Time brought thoughts of mortality: of human beings, facing outwards like the Seasons, moving hand in hand in intricate measure: stepping slowly, methodically, sometimes a trifle awkwardly, in evolutions that take recognisable shape: or breaking into seeminly meaningless gyrations, while partners disappear only to reappear again, once more giving pattern to the spectacle: unable to control the melody, unable, perhaps, to control the steps of the dance.
Anthony Powell (A Question of Upbringing (A Dance to the Music of Time, #1))
If I hold my head to the left and look down at the handle grips and front wheel and map carrier and gas tank I get one pattern of sense data. If I move my head to the right I get another slightly different pattern of sense data. The two views are different. The angles of the planes and curves of the metal are different. The sunlight strikes them differently. If there's no logical basis for substance then there's no logical basis for concluding that what's produced these two views is the same motorcycle.
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (Phaedrus, #1))
It has often been suggested to me that the Constitution of the United States is a sufficient safeguard for the freedom of its citizens. It is obvious that even the freedom it pretends to guarantee is very limited. I have not been impressed with the adequacy of the safeguard. The nations of the world, with centuries of international law behind them, have never hesitated to engage in mass destruction when solemnly pledged to keep the peace; and the legal documents in America have not prevented the United States from doing the same. Those in authority have and always will abuse their power. And the instances when they do not do so are as rare as roses growing on icebergs. Far from the Constitution playing any liberating part in the lives of the American people, it has robbed them of the capacity to rely on their own resources or do their own thinking. Americans are so easily hoodwinked by the sanctity of law and authority. In fact, the pattern of life has become standardized, routinized, and mechanized like canned food and Sunday sermons. The hundred-percenter easily swallows syndicated information and factory-made ideas and beliefs. He thrives on the wisdom given him over the radio and cheap magazines by corporations whose philanthropic aim is selling America out. He accepts the standards of conduct and art in the same breath with the advertising of chewing gum, toothpaste, and shoe polish. Even songs are turned out like buttons or automobile tires--all cast from the same mold.
Emma Goldman (Red Emma Speaks: An Emma Goldman Reader (Contemporary Studies in Philosophy and the Human Sciences))
When Art struggles, it succeeds; when revelling in its own successes, it as singularly fails.
Owen Jones
During the selection process, if you come across something that does not spark joy but that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away, stop a moment and ask yourself, “Am I having trouble getting rid of this because of an attachment to the past or because of a fear for the future?” Ask this for every one of these items. As you do so, you’ll begin to see a pattern in your ownership of things, a pattern that falls into one of three categories: attachment to the past, desire for stability in the future, or a combination of both. It’s important to understand your ownership pattern because it is an expression of the values that guide your life.
Marie Kondō (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Magic Cleaning #1))
I like to live always at the beginnings of life, not at their end. We all lose some of our faith under the oppression of mad leaders, insane history, pathologic cruelties of daily life. I am by nature always beginning and believing and so I find your company more fruitful than that of, say, Edmund Wilson, who asserts his opinions, beliefs, and knowledge as the ultimate verity. Older people fall into rigid patterns. Curiosity, risk, exploration are forgotten by them. You have not yet discovered that you have a lot to give, and that the more you give the more riches you will find in yourself. It amazed me that you felt that each time you write a story you gave away one of your dreams and you felt the poorer for it. But then you have not thought that this dream is planted in others, others begin to live it too, it is shared, it is the beginning of friendship and love. […] You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and into writing. Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them. If it seems to you that I move in a world of certitudes, you, par contre, must benefit from the great privilege of youth, which is that you move in a world of mysteries. But both must be ruled by faith.
Anaïs Nin
One morning while standing at a café counter staring at the magnificently thick brows of the man making my coffee, I discovered one should not gaze too long at faces unless one is prepared to fall in love again. As I watched the warm air of the coffee machine steam his eyeglasses, as I noticed him squint behind the fog, as he made a flower pattern in the foam of my coffee, I felt overcome with love. Faces have a near-unwatchable intimacy, particularly in a world in which everything perishes in the end. It is difficult to look as we choose, without emotional consequence.
Kyo Maclear (Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation)
We could simply have used any of a number of reasonably priced handheld devices that train people to slow their breathing and synchronize it with their heart rate, resulting in a state of “cardiac coherence” like the pattern shown in the first illustration above.9 Today there are a variety of apps that can help improve HRV with the aid of a smartphone.10 In our clinic we have workstations where patients can train their HRV, and I urge all my patients who, for one reason or another, cannot practice yoga, martial arts, or qigong to train themselves at home. (See Resources for more information.)
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
Our whole culture is based on the appetite for buying, on the idea of a mutually favorable exchange. Modern man's happiness consists in the thrill of looking at the shop windows, and in buying all that he can afford to buy, either for cash or on installments. He (or she) looks at people in a similar way. For the man an attractive girl—and for the woman an attractive man—are the prizes they are after. 'Attractive' usually means a nice package of qualities which are popular and sought after on the personality market. What specifically makes a person attractive depends on the fashion of the time, physically as well as mentally. During the twenties, a drinking and smoking girl, tough and sexy, was attractive; today the fashion demands more domesticity and coyness. At the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of this century, a man had to be aggressive and ambitious—today he has to be social and tolerant—in order to be an attractive 'package'. At any rate, the sense of falling in love develops usually only with regard to such human commodities as are within reach of one's own possibilities for exchange. I am out for a bargain; the object should be desirable from the standpoint of its social value, and at the same time should want me, considering my overt and hidden assets and potentialities. Two persons thus fall in love when they feel they have found the best object available on the market, considering the limitations of their own exchange values. Often, as in buying real estate, the hidden potentialities which can be developed play a considerable role in this bargain. In a culture in which the marketing orientation prevails, and in which material success is the outstanding value, there is little reason to be surprised that human love relations follow the same pattern of exchange which governs the commodity and the labor market.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
The best works of art are never innocuous: they alter the viewer's perceptual predictions. It is only when the patterns of our vision are disrupted that we truly pay attention and must ask ourselves what we are looking at.
Siri Hustvedt (A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind)
Visionaries are those in the field of art and science who recognize novel patterns. They see beauty before the rest of us do.
Leonard Shlain (Leonardo's Brain: Understanding Da Vinci's Creative Genius)
Is there anyone who has ever written so much as a love letter in which he felt that he had said exactly what he intended? A writer falsifies himself both intentionally and unintentionally. Intentionally, because the accidental qualities of words constantly tempt and frighten him away from his true meaning. He gets an idea, begins trying to express it, and then, in the frightful mess of words that generally results, a pattern begins to form itself more or less accidentally. It is not by any means the pattern he wants, but it is at any rate not vulgar or disagreeable; it is good art. He takes it because good art is a more or less mysterious gift from heaven, and it seems a pity to waste it when it presents itself.
George Orwell
Mindfulness won’t ensure you’ll win an argument with your sister. Mindfulness won’t enable you to bypass your feelings of anger or hurt either. But it may help you see the conflict in a new way, one that allows you to break through old patterns.
Sharon Salzberg (Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection)
It is the form that allows a writer the greatest opportunity to explore human experience...For that reason, reading a novel is potentially a significant act. Because there are so many varieties of human experience, so many kinds of interaction between humans, and so many ways of creating patterns in the novel that can’t be created in a short story, a play, a poem or a movie. The novel, simply, offers more opportunities for a reader to understand the world better, including the world of artistic creation. That sounds pretty grand, but I think it’s true.
Don DeLillo
The dining-room was in the good taste of the period. It was very severe. There was a high dado of white wood and a green paper on which were etchings by Whistler in neat black frames. The green curtains with their peacock design, hung in straight lines, and the green carpet, in the pattern of which pale rabbits frolicked among leafy trees, suggested the influence of William Morris. There was blue delft on the chimneypiece. At that time there must have been five hundred dining-rooms in London decorated in exactly the same manner. It was chaste, artistic, and dull.
W. Somerset Maugham (The Moon and Sixpence)
A synthesis—an abstraction, chunk, or gist idea—is a neural pattern. Good chunks form neural patterns that resonate, not only within the subject we’re working in, but with other subjects and areas of our lives. The abstraction helps you transfer ideas from one area to another. That’s why great art, poetry, music, and literature can be so compelling. When we grasp the chunk, it takes on a new life in our own minds—we form ideas that enhance and enlighten the neural patterns we already possess, allowing us to more readily see and develop other related patterns. Once we have created a chunk as a neural pattern, we can more easily pass that chunked pattern to others, as Cajal and other great artists, poets, scientists, and writers have done for millennia, Once other people grasp that chunk, not only can they use it, but also they can more easily create similar chunks that apply to other areas in their lives—an important part of the creative process.
Barbara Oakley (A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra))
In the days to come, when it will seem as if I were entombed, when the very firmament threatens to come crashing down upon my head, I shall be forced to abandon everything except what these spirits implanted in me. I shall be crushed, debased, humiliated. I shall be frustrated in every fiber of my being. I shall even take to howling like a dog. But I shall not be utterly lost! Eventually a day is to dawn when, glancing over my own life as though it were a story or history, I can detect in it a form, a pattern, a meaning. From then on the word defeat becomes meaningless. It will be impossible ever to relapse. For on that day I become and I remain one with my creation. On another day, in a foreign land, there will appear before me a young man who, unaware of the change which has come over me, will dub me "The Happy Rock." That is the moniker I shall tender when the great Cosmocrator demands-" Who art thou?" Yes, beyond a doubt, I shall answer "The Happy Rock!" And, if it be asked-"Didst thou enjoy thy stay on earth?"-I shall reply: "My life was one long rosy crucifixion." As to the meaning of this, if it is not already clear, it shall be elucidated. If I fail then I am but a dog in the manger. Once I thought I had been wounded as no man ever had. Because I felt thus I vowed to write this book. But long before I began the book the wound had healed. Since I had sworn to fulfill my task I reopened the horrible wound. Let me put it another way. Perhaps in opening my own wound, I closed other wounds.. Something dies, something blossoms. To suffer in ignorance is horrible. To suffer deliberately, in order to understand the nature of suffering and abolish it forever, is quite another matter. The Buddha had one fixed thought in mind all his life, as we know it. It was to eliminate human suffering. Suffering is unnecessary. But, one has to suffer before he is able to realize that this is so. It is only then, moreover, that the true significance of human suffering becomes clear. At the last desperate moment-when one can suffer no more!-something happens which is the nature of a miracle. The great wound which was draining the blood of life closes up, the organism blossoms like a rose. One is free at last, and not "with a yearning for Russia," but with a yearning for ever more freedom, ever more bliss. The tree of life is kept alive not by tears but the knowledge that freedom is real and everlasting.
Henry Miller
A great textile, like the William Morris Strawberry Thief, is a piece of art, but it takes a lot of time to make a piece of art. It isn't simply design either. You have to understand the fabrics and what they can bear. You have to understand the dyeing process and how to achieve certain colors and what will make the color last through the ages. If you make a mistake, you might have to begin again." "I don't think I know Strawberry Thief," Sadie said. "One moment," Mrs. Watanabe said. Mrs. Watanabe went into her bedroom, and she returned with a little footstool that was upholstered in a reproduction of Strawberry Thief. The pattern depicted birds and strawberries in a garden, and although Sadie hadn't known the name, she recognized the print when she saw it. "This was William Morris's garden. These were his strawberries. Those were birds he knew. No designer had ever used red or yellow in an indigo discharge dyeing technique before. He must have had to start over many times to get the colors right. This fabric is not just a fabric. It's the story of failure and of perseverance, of the discipline of a craftsman, of the life of an artist.
Gabrielle Zevin (Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow)
An artist is someone who sees and feels realty very intensely. Creativity doesn't mean just making things up out of thin air. It means seeing and feeling the world so vividly that you can put together connections and patterns that help to explain reality. It means you see the beauty in the world rather than trying to hide from it.
Danny Gregory (The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be The Artist You Truly Are)
There are no mistakes in Zentangle, so there is no need for an eraser. If you do not like the look of a stroke you have made, it then becomes only an opportunity to create a new tangle, or transform it using an old trusty pattern. A Zentangle tile is meant to be a surprise that unfolds before the creator's eyes, one stroke at a time.
Beckah Krahula (One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun (One A Day))
And I'll go even further and say that mathematics, this art of abstract pattern-making — even more than storytelling, painting, or music - is our most quintessentially human art form. This is what our brains do, whether we like it or not. We are biochemical pattern-recognition machines and mathematics is nothing less than the distilled essence of who we are.
Paul Lockhart (A Mathematician's Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form)
Music and literature, the two temporal arts, contrive their pattern of sounds in time; or, in other words, of sounds and pauses.  Communication may be made in broken words, the business of life be carried on with substantives alone; but that is not what we call literature; and the true business of the literary artist is to plait or weave his meaning, involving it around itself; so that each sentence, by successive phrases, shall first come into a kind of knot, and then, after a moment of suspended meaning, solve and clear itself. -ON SOME TECHNICAL ELEMENTS OF STYLE IN LITERATURE
Robert Louis Stevenson (Essays in the Art of Writing)
I love L.A. It's a great, sprawling, spread-to-hell city that protects us by its sheer size. Four hundred sixty-five square miles. Eleven million beating hearts in Los Angeles County, documented and not. Eleven million. What are the odds? The girl raped beneath the Hollywood sign isn't your sister, the boy back-stroking in a red pool isn't your son, the splatter patterns on the ATM machine are sourceless urban art. We're safe that way. When it happens it's going to happen to someone else.
Robert Crais (L.A. Requiem (Elvis Cole, #8))
gold light burned faintly. From his cosy window seat, Mario was tracing a frost-flower on the windowpane with an unsure finger. Were its perfectly-rendered geometric patterns a product of nature, or were they an artefact of metaphysics? Was the frost-flower to the Masters what a work of Art was to him? Did the Masters of Strings truly control every aspect of reality? The fractal flower slowly melted under Mario’s fingertip. “No work of chance here,” he bitterly thought. “This was by design.
Louise Blackwick (The Underworld Rhapsody)
Fiction is usually seen as escapist entertainment...But it's hard to reconcile the escapist theory of fiction with the deep patterns we find in the art of storytelling... Our various fictional worlds are-- on the whole-- horrorscapes. Fiction may temporarily free us from our troubles, but it does so by ensnaring us in new sets of troubles-- in imaginary worlds of struggle and stress and mortal woe.
Jonathan Gottschall (The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human)
Coleridge wrote a poem called ‘The Eolian Harp,’ in which he explored the notion of music slumbering on its instrument. It's a gorgeous poem! It moves through thoughts and moods of the soul as if we're all but harps waiting for a breeze to pass through us to animate us. I feel the same way about art: that it is something that on many levels colonises you, gets inside you and changes you from the inside out. I find that happens with books, too. After I’ve read a book, for a couple of days afterwards I think in the patterns of the book’s writing, because the act of reading is an act of organising your own thought process. If you are reading someone else’s writing, you are having to organise your perception along someone else’s structure. So if I read a book by Terry Pratchett, a few days later there is still a little Terry Pratchettness to my thoughts. When I read something by Catherynne Valente, for quite a few days there is a kind of ‘jewelled’ quality to my thoughts. To read a book is to let someone else reach inside me and reorganise me. As a writer, I find it very difficult to start writing immediately after having read another writer's book. I have to digest it first, and let the influence pass…
Amal El-Mohtar
That was true, Iris would sometimes think, about marriage: it was only a boat, too. A wooden boat, difficult to build, even more difficult to maintain, whose beauty derived at least in part from its unlikelihood. Long ago the pragmatic justifications for both marriage and wooden-boat building had been lost or superseded. Why invest countless hours, years, and dollars in planing and carving, gluing and fastening, caulking and fairing, when a fiberglass boat can be had at a fraction of the cost? Why struggle to maintain love and commitment over decades when there were far easier ways to live, ones that required no effort or attention to prevent corrosion and rot? Why continue to pour your heart into these obsolete arts? Because their beauty, the way they connect you to your history and to the living world, justifies your efforts. A long marriage, like a classic wooden boat, could be a thing of grace, but only if great effort was devoted to its maintenance. At first your notions of your life with another were no more substantial than a pattern laid down in plywood. Then year by year you constructed the frame around the form, and began layering memories, griefs, and small triumphs like strips of veneer planking bent around the hull of everyday routine. You sanded down the rough edges, patched the misunderstandings, faired the petty betrayals. Sometimes you sprung a leak. You fell apart in rough weather or were smashed on devouring rocks. But then, as now, in the teeth of a storm, when it seemed like all was lost, the timber swelled, the leak sealed up, and you found that your craft was, after all, sea-kindly.
Ayelet Waldman (Red Hook Road)
Poshlust,” or in a better transliteration poshlost, has many nuances, and evidently I have not described them clearly enough in my little book on Gogol, if you think one can ask anybody if he is tempted by poshlost. Corny trash, vulgar clichés, Philistinism in all its phases, imitations of imitations, bogus profundities, crude, moronic, and dishonest pseudo-literature—these are obvious examples. Now, if we want to pin down poshlost in contemporary writing, we must look for it in Freudian symbolism, moth-eaten mythologies, social comment, humanistic messages, political allegories, overconcern with class or race, and the journalistic generalities we all know. Poshlost speaks in such concepts as “America is no better than Russia” or “We all share in Germany’s guilt.” The flowers of poshlost bloom in such phrases and terms as “the moment of truth,” “charisma,” “existential” (used seriously), “dialogue” (as applied to political talks between nations), and “vocabulary” (as applied to a dauber). Listing in one breath Auschwitz, Hiroshima, and Vietnam is seditious poshlost. Belonging to a very select club (which sports one Jewish name—that of the treasurer) is genteel poshlost. Hack reviews are frequently poshlost, but it also lurks in certain highbrow essays. Poshlost calls Mr. Blank a great poet and Mr. Bluff a great novelist. One of poshlost’s favorite breeding places has always been the Art Exhibition; there it is produced by so-called sculptors working with the tools of wreckers, building crankshaft cretins of stainless steel, Zen stereos, polystyrene stinkbirds, objects trouvés in latrines, cannonballs, canned balls. There we admire the gabinetti wall patterns of so-called abstract artists, Freudian surrealism, roric smudges, and Rorschach blots—all of it as corny in its own right as the academic “September Morns” and “Florentine Flowergirls” of half a century ago. The list is long, and, of course, everybody has his bête noire, his black pet, in the series. Mine is that airline ad: the snack served by an obsequious wench to a young couple—she eyeing ecstatically the cucumber canapé, he admiring wistfully the hostess. And, of course, Death in Venice. You see the range.
Vladimir Nabokov (Strong Opinions)
If a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves. . . . There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding. —ROBERT PIRSIG, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Donella H. Meadows (Thinking in Systems: A Primer)
These three tools of light, energy, and mass by which the Divine geometer constructs the cosmos and by which the symbolic geometer approximates archetypal patterns are also mirrored in us. What scientists call “light, energy, and mass” are the traditional “spirit, soul, and body” described by Plutarch as nous (divine intellect), psyche (soul), and soma (body).
Michael S. Schneider (A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe: The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science)
His life had seemed horrible when it was measured by its happiness, but now he seemed to gather strength as he realised that it might be measured by something else. Happiness mattered as little as pain. They came in, both of them, as all the other details of his life came in, to the elaboration of the design. He seemed for an instant to stand above the accidents of his existence, and he felt that they could not affect him again as they had done before. Whatever happened to him now would be one more motive to add to the complexity of the pattern, and when the end approached he would rejoice in its completion. It would be a work of art, and it would be none the less beautiful because he alone knew of its existence, and with his death it would at once cease to be. Philip was happy.
W. Somerset Maugham (Of Human Bondage)
No matter how keenly, how admirably, a story, a piece of music, a picture is discussed and analyzed, there will be minds that remain blank and spines that remain unkindled. 'To take upon us the mystery of things'—what King Lear so wistfully says for himself and for Cordelia—this is also my suggestion for everyone who takes art seriously. A poor man is robbed of his overcoat (Gogol’s The Greatcoat, or more correctly The Carrick); another poor fellow is turned into a beetle (Kafka’s The Metamorphosis)—so what? There is no rational answer to ‘so what.’ We can take the story apart, we can find out how the bits fit, how one part of the pattern responds to the other; but you have to have in you some cell, some gene, some germ that will vibrate in answer to sensations that you can neither define, nor dismiss. Beauty plus pity—that is the closest we can get to a definition of art. Where there is beauty there is pity for the simple reason that beauty must die: beauty always dies, the manner dies with the matter, the world dies with the individual.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lectures on Literature)
Motivation is an emotion—NOT a logical, rational activity. Just because your forebrain thinks you should be motivated to do something does not mean you’ll automatically become motivated to do that thing. (If only it were that easy, right?) Very often, Mental Simulations, Patterns, Conflicts, and Interpretations hidden in the midbrain can get in the way of making progress toward what we want to accomplish. As long as there are “move away from” signals being sent, you’ll have a hard time feeling motivated to move toward what you want.
Josh Kaufman (The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business)
But if Quality or excellence is seen as the ultimate reality then it becomes possible for more than one set of truths to exist, Then one doesn’t seek the absolute “Truth.” One seeks instead the highest quality intellectual explanation of things with the knowledge that if the past is any guide to the future this explanation must be taken provisionally; as useful until something better comes along. One can then examine intellectual realities the same way he examines paintings in an art gallery, not with an effort to find out which one is the “real” painting, but simply to enjoy and keep those that are of value. There are many sets of intellectual reality in existence and we can perceive some to have more quality than others, but that we do so is, in part, the result of our history and current patterns of values.
Robert M. Pirsig (Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals)
No matter what I study, I can see patterns. I see the gestalt, the melody within the notes, in everything: mathematics and science, art and music, psychology and sociology. As I read the texts, I can think only that the authors are plodding along from one point to the next, groping for connections that they can’t see. They’re like a crowd of people unable to read music, peering at the score for a Bach sonata, trying to explain how one note leads to another. As glorious as these patterns are, they also whet my appetite for more. There are other patterns waiting to be discovered, gestalts of another scale entirely. With respect to those, I’m blind myself; all my sonatas are just isolated data points by comparison. I have no idea what form such gestalts might assume, but that’ll come in time. I want to find them, and comprehend them. I want this more than anything I’ve ever wanted before.
Ted Chiang
Were he now still among the living, Dr. Incandenza would now describe tennis in the paradoxical terms of what’s now called ‘Extra-Linear Dynamics.’ And Schtitt, whose knowledge of formal math is probably about equivalent to that of a Taiwanese kindergartner, nevertheless seemed to know what Hopman and van der Meer and Bollettieri seemed not to know: that locating beauty and art and magic and improvement and keys to excellence and victory in the prolix flux of match play is not a fractal matter of reducing chaos to a pattern. Seemed intuitively to sense that it was a matter not of reduction at all, but — perversely — of expansion, the aleatory flutter of uncontrolled, metastatic growth — each well-shot ball admitting of n possible responses, n² responses to those responses, and on into what Incandenza would articulate to anyone who shared both his backgrounds as a Cantorian continuum of infinities of possible move and response, Cantorian and beautiful because infoliating, contained, this diagnate infinity of infinities of choice and execution, mathematically uncontrolled but humanly contained, bounded by the talent and imagination of self and opponent, bent in on itself by the containing boundaries of skill and imagination that brought one player finally down, that kept both from winning, that made it, finally, a game, these boundaries of self.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Fitbit is a company that knows the value of Shadow Testing. Founded by Eric Friedman and James Park in September 2008, Fitbit makes a small clip-on exercise and sleep data-gathering device. The Fitbit device tracks your activity levels throughout the day and night, then automatically uploads your data to the Web, where it analyzes your health, fitness, and sleep patterns. It’s a neat concept, but creating new hardware is time-consuming, expensive, and fraught with risk, so here’s what Friedman and Park did. The same day they announced the Fitbit idea to the world, they started allowing customers to preorder a Fitbit on their Web site, based on little more than a description of what the device would do and a few renderings of what the product would look like. The billing system collected names, addresses, and verified credit card numbers, but no charges were actually processed until the product was ready to ship, which gave the company an out in case their plans fell through. Orders started rolling in, and one month later, investors had the confidence to pony up $2 million dollars to make the Fitbit a reality. A year later, the first real Fitbit was shipped to customers. That’s the power of Shadow Testing.
Josh Kaufman (The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business)
This world is of a single piece; yet, we invent nets to trap it for our inspection. Then we mistake our nets for the reality of the piece. In these nets we catch the fishes of the intellect but the sea of wholeness forever eludes our grasp. So, we forget our original intent and then mistake the nets for the sea. Three of these nets we have named Nature, Mathematics, and Art. We conclude they are different because we call them by different names. Thus, they are apt to remain forever separated with nothing bonding them together. It is not the nets that are at fault but rather our misunderstanding of their function as nets. They do catch the fishes but never the sea, and it is the sea that we ultimately desire.
Martha Boles (Universal Patterns (The Golden Relationship: Art, Math & Nature, Book 1))
Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man. And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on that preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken. And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for that is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
Come with me.” He led her to the beach again, but during dinner a few people had been busy. It was now lined with an aisle of candles. A man stood close to the breaking surf, hands crossed, waiting. Someone had used the surrounding sand as a canvas, creating a swirling pattern. Their names were part of the art. What? She asked without a sound. “I want you to marry me. Here. Now.” Beckett let go of her hand and strode away from her. When he turned around, close to the water at the end of the aisle, he hoped to hell she wasn’t running in the other direction.
Debra Anastasia (Saving Poughkeepsie (Poughkeepsie Brotherhood, #3))
A synthesis—an abstraction, chunk, or gist idea—is a neural pattern. Good chunks form neural patterns that resonate, not only within the subject we’re working in, but with other subjects and areas of our lives. The abstraction helps you transfer ideas from one area to another.15 That’s why great art, poetry, music, and literature can be so compelling. When we grasp the chunk, it takes on a new life in our own minds—we form ideas that enhance and enlighten the neural patterns we already possess, allowing us to more readily see and develop other related patterns.
Barbara Oakley (A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra))
Even if all the changes don't work the way you hope, you are doing wonders for yourself just by actively engaging in change. Every time you confront the stagnant areas in your life that you previously have avoided, you will find that your fears are lessening and your confidence is growing. And with the increased confidence, you will want to change even more--to get out of your old patterns and start daring to do the things that have caused you the most emotional terror in the past. You will find yourself filled with an energy you haven't had before to pursue your own goals.
Art E. Berg (The Impossible Just Takes a Little Longer: Living with Purpose and Passion)
These (Shakespeare, Milton, and Victor Hugo) not only knit and knot the logical texture of the style with all the dexterity and strength of prose; they not only fill up the pattern of the verse with infinite variety and sober wit; but they give us, besides, a rare and special pleasure, by the art, comparable to that of counterpoint, with which they follow at the same time, and now contrast, and now combine, the double pattern of the texture and the verse.  Here the sounding line concludes; a little further on, the well-knit sentence; and yet a little further, and both will reach their solution on the same ringing syllable.  The best that can be offered by the best writer of prose is to show us the development of the idea and the stylistic pattern proceed hand in hand, sometimes by an obvious and triumphant effort, sometimes with a great air of ease and nature.  The writer of verse, by virtue of conquering another difficulty, delights us with a new series of triumphs.  He follows three purposes where his rival followed only two; and the change is of precisely the same nature as that from melody to harmony. -ON SOME TECHNICAL ELEMENTS OF STYLE IN LITERATURE
Robert Louis Stevenson (Essays in the Art of Writing)
Clever deceivers rarely tell outright falsehoods. It’s too risky. The art of deception is closely related to the magician’s craft: it involves knowing how to draw attention to a harmless place, to deflect it away from the action. Deeply entrenched patterns of perceptual, emotional, and cognitive dispositions serve as instruments of deception. A skilled deceiver is an illusionist who knows how to manipulate the normal patterns of what is salient to their audience. He places salient markers—something red, something anomalous, something desirable—in the visual field, to draw attention just where he wants it.
Clancy Martin (The Philosophy of Deception)
There are many ways to generate numerical falsehoods from data, many ways to create proofiness from even valid meaurements. Causuistry distorts the relationships between two sets of numbers. Randumbness creates patterns where none are to be found. Regression to the moon disguises nonsense in mathematical-looking lines or equations or formulae, making even the silliest ideas seem respectable. Such as the one described by this formula: Callipygianness=(S+C)x(B+F)/T-V) Where S is shape, C is circularity, B is bounciness, F ir firmness, T is texture, and V is waist-to-hip ratio. This formula was devised by a team of academic psychologists after many hours of serious research into the female derriere. Yes, indeed. This is supposed to be the formula for the perfect butt. It fact, it's merely a formula for a perfect ass
Charles Seife (Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception)
The more I know the human being, the more I cling to animal nature. Mention poem 2013 Since its beginnings, the human being has been a complex and enigmatic being, capable of great achievements and feats, and at the same time, of the most cruel and vile acts. There is no doubt that our species is one of the most evolved and sophisticated of the planet, but at what cost? What is behind our apparent superiority? When we observe human behavior, we can see that it hides a mixture of animal instincts and rational thoughts. Although human beings take pride in our ability for critical thinking and reflection, We are also emotional, impulsive and visceral beings. And it is precisely this duality that makes us so different from animals. that cohabit this planet with us. It is often difficult for us to understand the nature of animals, because we cannot access their internal world. However, what we can say is that animals are transparent beings, His actions are always a consequence of his instincts, not from premeditated thoughts or complex emotions. For animals, living is following their instinct, something that allows them to act quickly and effectively in situations of danger or threat. Animals are beings in balance with their environment, They don't feel the need to constantly change, nor to think beyond the here and now. On the other hand, we have human beings, beings capable of conceiving abstract thoughts, create works of art, invent technologies and, at the same time, of destroying the environment, oppressing other human beings and commit acts of extreme cruelty. The human being is a complex, contradictory being, capable of loving and hating, forgiving and punishing, healing and destroying. We are creatures of light and darkness, in a constant search for balance between both parties. But what is behind our duality as human beings? Why are we capable of the worst acts of destruction and cruelty? If we look back at the history of humanity, we can see that our genetic patterns are impregnated of violence, war and resentment. History has been a constant parade of wars and conflicts, each one more brutal than the last. This being the only way in which many cultures they have found to impose their ideas or consolidate power. It is precisely here that the idea is born that the creators of humanity They have intoxicated us with the yoke of evil. Who are these forgers? They are the same societies, cultures, religions, policies, which have used violence, war and resentment as a tool to impose their desires and ideals on others. This is the curse that we have dragged like chains since long ago, that of a genetic pattern that drags us towards violence and war. It is true that, as human beings, we can choose our own paths, our own decisions, and not fall into the trap of cruelty and evil. However, it is also true that we carry within us an ancestral burden that is difficult to overcome. What will the most advanced civilizations in the universe think of us? Will we be violent and hateful beings for them? Or will we be beings like animals, in balance with our environment? The answer is not easy, since it remains an unknown. if we are able to overcome our animal instincts and embrace only the best of our humanity. The key to this lies in becoming aware of our own duality, to recognize that we carry both light and darkness within us, and make a real effort to choose the best of ourselves, instead of letting ourselves be carried away by our internal evil.
Marcos Orowitz
Before his and Pushkin's advent Russian literature was purblind. What form it perceived was an outline directed by reason: it did not see color for itself but merely used the hackneyed combinations of blind noun and dog-like adjective that Europe had inherited from the ancients. The sky was blue, the dawn red, the foliage green, the eyes of beauty black, the clouds grey, and so on. It was Gogol (and after him Lermontov and Tolstoy) who first saw yellow and violet at all. That the sky could be pale green at sunrise, or the snow a rich blue on a cloudless day, would have sounded like heretical nonsense to your so-called "classical" writer, accustomed as he was to the rigid conventional color-schemes of the Eighteenth Century French school of literature. Thus the development of the art of description throughout the centuries may be profitably treated in terms of vision, the faceted eye becoming a unified and prodigiously complex organ and the dead dim "accepted colors" (in the sense of "idées reçues") yielding gradually their subtle shades and allowing new wonders of application. I doubt whether any writer, and certainly not in Russia, had ever noticed before, to give the most striking instance, the moving pattern of light and shade on the ground under trees or the tricks of color played by sunlight with leaves.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lectures on Russian Literature)
Why, all our art treasures of to-day are only the dug-up commonplaces of three or four hundred years ago. I wonder if there is real intrinsic beauty in the old soup-plates, beer-mugs, and candle-snuffers that we prize so now, or if it is only the halo of age glowing around them that gives them their charms in our eyes. The “old blue” that we hang about our walls as ornaments were the common every-day household utensils of a few centuries ago; and the pink shepherds and the yellow shepherdesses that we hand round now for all our friends to gush over, and pretend they understand, were the unvalued mantel-ornaments that the mother of the eighteenth century would have given the baby to suck when he cried. Will it be the same in the future? Will the prized treasures of to-day always be the cheap trifles of the day before? Will rows of our willow-pattern dinner-plates be ranged above the chimneypieces of the great in the years 2000 and odd? Will the white cups with the gold rim and the beautiful gold flower inside (species unknown), that our Sarah Janes now break in sheer light-heartedness of spirit, be carefully mended, and stood upon a bracket, and dusted only by the lady of the house? That china dog that ornaments the bedroom of my furnished lodgings. It is a white dog. Its eyes blue. Its nose is a delicate red, with spots. Its head is painfully erect, its expression is amiability carried to verge of imbecility. I do not admire it myself. Considered as a work of art, I may say it irritates me. Thoughtless friends jeer at it, and even my landlady herself has no admiration for it, and excuses its presence by the circumstance that her aunt gave it to her. But in 200 years’ time it is more than probable that that dog will be dug up from somewhere or other, minus its legs, and with its tail broken, and will be sold for old china, and put in a glass cabinet. And people will pass it round, and admire it. They will be struck by the wonderful depth of the colour on the nose, and speculate as to how beautiful the bit of the tail that is lost no doubt was. We, in this age, do not see the beauty of that dog. We are too familiar with it. It is like the sunset and the stars: we are not awed by their loveliness because they are common to our eyes. So it is with that china dog. In 2288 people will gush over it. The making of such dogs will have become a lost art. Our descendants will wonder how we did it, and say how clever we were. We shall be referred to lovingly as “those grand old artists that flourished in the nineteenth century, and produced those china dogs.” The “sampler” that the eldest daughter did at school will be spoken of as “tapestry of the Victorian era,” and be almost priceless. The blue-and-white mugs of the present-day roadside inn will be hunted up, all cracked and chipped, and sold for their weight in gold, and rich people will use them for claret cups; and travellers from Japan will buy up all the “Presents from Ramsgate,” and “Souvenirs of Margate,” that may have escaped destruction, and take them back to Jedo as ancient English curios.
Jerome K. Jerome (Complete Works of Jerome K. Jerome)
If you visit London, you’ll occasionally cross paths with young men (and less often women) on motor scooters, blithely darting in and out of traffic while studying maps affixed to their handlebars. These studious cyclists are training to become London cabdrivers. Before they can receive accreditation from London’s Public Carriage Office, cabbies-in-training must spend two to four years memorizing the locations and traffic patterns of all 25,000 streets in the vast and vastly confusing city, as well as the locations of 1,400 landmarks. Their training culminates in an infamously daunting exam called “the Knowledge,” in which they not only have to plot the shortest route between any two points in the metropolitan area, but also name important places of interest along the way. Only about three out of ten people who train for the Knowledge obtain certification.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
The Canonization" For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love, Or chide my palsy, or my gout, My five gray hairs, or ruined fortune flout, With wealth your state, your mind with arts improve, Take you a course, get you a place, Observe his honor, or his grace, Or the king's real, or his stampèd face Contemplate; what you will, approve, So you will let me love. Alas, alas, who's injured by my love? What merchant's ships have my sighs drowned? Who says my tears have overflowed his ground? When did my colds a forward spring remove? When did the heats which my veins fill Add one more to the plaguy bill? Soldiers find wars, and lawyers find out still Litigious men, which quarrels move, Though she and I do love. Call us what you will, we are made such by love; Call her one, me another fly, We're tapers too, and at our own cost die, And we in us find the eagle and the dove. The phœnix riddle hath more wit By us; we two being one, are it. So, to one neutral thing both sexes fit. We die and rise the same, and prove Mysterious by this love. We can die by it, if not live by love, And if unfit for tombs and hearse Our legend be, it will be fit for verse; And if no piece of chronicle we prove, We'll build in sonnets pretty rooms; As well a well-wrought urn becomes The greatest ashes, as half-acre tombs, And by these hymns, all shall approve Us canonized for Love. And thus invoke us: "You, whom reverend love Made one another's hermitage; You, to whom love was peace, that now is rage; Who did the whole world's soul contract, and drove Into the glasses of your eyes (So made such mirrors, and such spies, That they did all to you epitomize) Countries, towns, courts: beg from above A pattern of your love!
John Donne
I find that most people serve practical needs. They have an understanding of the difference between meaning and relevance. And at some level my mind is more interested in meaning than in relevance. That is similar to the mind of an artist. The arts are not life. They are not serving life. The arts are the cuckoo child of life. Because the meaning of life is to eat. You know, life is evolution and evolution is about eating. It's pretty gross if you think about it. Evolution is about getting eaten by monsters. Don't go into the desert and perish there, because it's going to be a waste. If you're lucky the monsters that eat you are your own children. And eventually the search for evolution will, if evolution reaches its global optimum, it will be the perfect devourer. The thing that is able to digest anything and turn it into structure to sustain and perpetuate itself, for long as the local puddle of negentropy is available. And in a way we are yeast. Everything we do, all the complexity that we create, all the structures we build, is to erect some surfaces on which to out compete other kinds of yeast. And if you realize this you can try to get behind this and I think the solution to this is fascism. Fascism is a mode of organization of society in which the individual is a cell in the superorganism and the value of the individual is exactly the contribution to the superorganism. And when the contribution is negative then the superorganism kills it in order to be fitter in the competition against other superorganisms. And it's totally brutal. I don't like fascism because it's going to kill a lot of minds I like. And the arts is slightly different. It's a mutation that is arguably not completely adaptive. It's one where people fall in love with the loss function. Where you think that your mental representation is the intrinsically important thing. That you try to capture a conscious state for its own sake, because you think that matters. The true artist in my view is somebody who captures conscious states and that's the only reason why they eat. So you eat to make art. And another person makes art to eat. And these are of course the ends of a spectrum and the truth is often somewhere in the middle, but in a way there is this fundamental distinction. And there are in some sense the true scientists which are trying to figure out something about the universe. They are trying to reflect it. And it's an artistic process in a way. It's an attempt to be a reflection to this universe. You see there is this amazing vast darkness which is the universe. There's all these iterations of patterns, but mostly there is nothing interesting happening in these patterns. It's a giant fractal and most of it is just boring. And at a brief moment in the evolution of the universe there are planetary surfaces and negentropy gradients that allow for the creation of structure and then there are some brief flashes of consciousness in all this vast darkness. And these brief flashes of consciousness can reflect the universe and maybe even figure out what it is. It's the only chance that we have. Right? This is amazing. Why not do this? Life is short. This is the thing we can do.
Joscha Bach
This was no coincidence. The best short stories and the most successful jokes have a lot in common. Each form relies on suggestion and economy. Characters have to be drawn in a few deft strokes. There's generally a setup, a reveal, a reversal, and a release. The structure is delicate. If one element fails, the edifice crumbles. In a novel you might get away with a loose line or two, a saggy paragraph, even a limp chapter. But in the joke and in the short story, the beginning and end are precisely anchored tent poles, and what lies between must pull so taut it twangs. I'm not sure if there is any pattern to these selections. I did not spend a lot of time with those that seemed afraid to tell stories, that handled plot as if it were a hair in the soup, unwelcome and embarrassing. I also tended not to revisit stories that seemed bleak without having earned it, where the emotional notes were false, or where the writing was tricked out or primped up with fashionable devices stressing form over content. I do know that the easiest and the first choices were the stories to which I had a physical response. I read Jennifer Egan's "Out of Body" clenched from head to toe by tension as her suicidal, drug-addled protagonist moves through the Manhattan night toward an unforgivable betrayal. I shed tears over two stories of childhood shadowed by unbearable memory: "The Hare's Mask," by Mark Slouka, with its piercing ending, and Claire Keegan's Irishinflected tale of neglect and rescue, "Foster." Elizabeth McCracken's "Property" also moved me, with its sudden perception shift along the wavering sightlines of loss and grief. Nathan Englander's "Free Fruit for Young Widows" opened with a gasp-inducing act of unexpected violence and evolved into an ethical Rubik's cube. A couple of stories made me laugh: Tom Bissell's "A Bridge Under Water," even as it foreshadows the dissolution of a marriage and probes what religion does for us, and to us; and Richard Powers's "To the Measures Fall," a deftly comic meditation on the uses of literature in the course of a life, and a lifetime. Some stories didn't call forth such a strong immediate response but had instead a lingering resonance. Of these, many dealt with love and its costs, leaving behind indelible images. In Megan Mayhew Bergman's "Housewifely Arts," a bereaved daughter drives miles to visit her dead mother's parrot because she yearns to hear the bird mimic her mother's voice. In Allegra Goodman's "La Vita Nuova," a jilted fiancée lets her art class paint all over her wedding dress. In Ehud Havazelet's spare and tender story, "Gurov in Manhattan," an ailing man and his aging dog must confront life's necessary losses. A complicated, only partly welcome romance blossoms between a Korean woman and her demented
Geraldine Brooks (The Best American Short Stories 2011)
We know, however, that the mind is capable of understanding these matters in all their complexity and in all their simplicity. A ball flying through the air is responding to the force and direction with which it was thrown, the action of gravity, the friction of the air which it must expend its energy on overcoming, the turbulence of the air around its surface, and the rate and direction of the ball's spin. And yet, someone who might have difficulty consciously trying to work out what 3 x 4 x 5 comes to would have no trouble in doing differential calculus and a whole host of related calculations so astoundingly fast that they can actually catch a flying ball. People who call this "instinct" are merely giving the phenomenon a name, not explaining anything. I think that the closest that human beings come to expressing our understanding of these natural complexities is in music. It is the most abstract of the arts - it has no meaning or purpose other than to be itself. Every single aspect of a piece of music can be represented by numbers. From the organization of movements in a whole symphony, down through the patterns of pitch and rhythm that make up the melodies and harmonies, the dynamics that shape the performance, all the way down to the timbres of the notes themselves, their harmonics, the way they change over time, in short, all the elements of a noise that distinguish between the sound of one person piping on a piccolo and another one thumping a drum - all of these things can be expressed by patterns and hierarchies of numbers. And in my experience the more internal relationships there are between the patterns of numbers at different levels of the hierarchy, however complex and subtle those relationships may be, the more satisfying and, well, whole, the music will seem to be. In fact the more subtle and complex those relationships, and the further they are beyond the grasp of the conscious mind, the more the instinctive part of your mind - by which I mean that part of your mind that can do differential calculus so astoundingly fast that it will put your hand in the right place to catch a flying ball- the more that part of your brain revels in it. Music of any complexity (and even "Three Blind Mice" is complex in its way by the time someone has actually performed it on an instrument with its own individual timbre and articulation) passes beyond your conscious mind into the arms of your own private mathematical genius who dwells in your unconscious responding to all the inner complexities and relationships and proportions that we think we know nothing about. Some people object to such a view of music, saying that if you reduce music to mathematics, where does the emotion come into it? I would say that it's never been out of it.
Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently, #1))
I had better come clean now and say that I do not believe that art (all art) and beauty are ever separate, nor do I believe that either art or beauty are optional in a sane society." "That puts me on the side of what Harold Bloom calls 'the ecstasy of the privileged moment. Art, all art, as insight, as transformation, as joy. Unlike Harold Bloom, I really believe that human beings can be taught to love what they do not love already and that the privileged moment exists for all of us, if we let it. Letting art is the paradox of active surrender. I have to work for art if I want art to work on me." (...) We know that the universe is infinite, expanding and strangely complete, that it lacks nothing we need, but in spite of that knowledge, the tragic paradigm of human life is lack, loss, finality, a primitive doomsaying that has not been repealed by technology or medical science. The arts stand in the way of this doomsaying. Art objects. The nouns become an active force not a collector's item. Art objects. "The cave wall paintings at Lascaux, the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the huge truth of a Picasso, the quieter truth of Vanessa Bell, are part of the art that objects to the lie against life, against the spirit, that is pointless and mean. The message colored through time is not lack, but abundance. Not silence but many voices. Art, all art, is the communication cord that cannot be snapped by indifference or disaster. Against the daily death it does not die." "Naked I came into the world, but brush strokes cover me, language raises me, music rhythms me. Art is my rod and my staff, my resting place and shield, and not mine only, for art leaves nobody out. Even those from whom art has been stolen away by tyranny, by poverty, begin to make it again. If the arts did not exist, at every moment, someone would begin to create them, in song, out of dust and mud, and although the artifacts might be destroyed, the energy that creates them is not destroyed. If, in the comfortable West, we have chosen to treat such energies with scepticism and contempt, then so much the worse for us. "Art is not a little bit of evolution that late-twentieth-century city dwellers can safely do without. Strictly, art does not belong to our evolutionary pattern at all. It has no biological necessity. Time taken up with it was time lost to hunting, gathering, mating, exploring, building, surviving, thriving. Odd then, that when routine physical threats to ourselves and our kind are no longer a reality, we say we have no time for art. "If we say that art, all art is no longer relevant to our lives, then we might at least risk the question 'What has happened to our lives?
Jeanette Winterson (Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery)
We may now briefly enumerate the elements of style.  We have, peculiar to the prose writer, the task of keeping his phrases large, rhythmical, and pleasing to the ear, without ever allowing them to fall into the strictly metrical: peculiar to the versifier, the task of combining and contrasting his double, treble, and quadruple pattern, feet and groups, logic and metre—harmonious in diversity: common to both, the task of artfully combining the prime elements of language into phrases that shall be musical in the mouth; the task of weaving their argument into a texture of committed phrases and of rounded periods—but this particularly binding in the case of prose: and, again common to both, the task of choosing apt, explicit, and communicative words.  We begin to see now what an intricate affair is any perfect passage; how many faculties, whether of taste or pure reason, must be held upon the stretch to make it; and why, when it is made, it should afford us so complete a pleasure.  From the arrangement of according letters, which is altogether arabesque and sensual, up to the architecture of the elegant and pregnant sentence, which is a vigorous act of the pure intellect, there is scarce a faculty in man but has been exercised.  We need not wonder, then, if perfect sentences are rare, and perfect pages rarer. -ON SOME TECHNICAL ELEMENTS OF STYLE IN LITERATURE
Robert Louis Stevenson (Essays in the Art of Writing)
I hope I have now made it clear why I thought it best, in speaking of the dissonances between fiction and reality in our own time, to concentrate on Sartre. His hesitations, retractations, inconsistencies, all proceed from his consciousness of the problems: how do novelistic differ from existential fictions? How far is it inevitable that a novel give a novel-shaped account of the world? How can one control, and how make profitable, the dissonances between that account and the account given by the mind working independently of the novel? For Sartre it was ultimately, like most or all problems, one of freedom. For Miss Murdoch it is a problem of love, the power by which we apprehend the opacity of persons to the degree that we will not limit them by forcing them into selfish patterns. Both of them are talking, when they speak of freedom and love, about the imagination. The imagination, we recall, is a form-giving power, an esemplastic power; it may require, to use Simone Weil's words, to be preceded by a 'decreative' act, but it is certainly a maker of orders and concords. We apply it to all forces which satisfy the variety of human needs that are met by apparently gratuitous forms. These forms console; if they mitigate our existential anguish it is because we weakly collaborate with them, as we collaborate with language in order to communicate. Whether or no we are predisposed towards acceptance of them, we learn them as we learn a language. On one view they are 'the heroic children whom time breeds / Against the first idea,' but on another they destroy by falsehood the heroic anguish of our present loneliness. If they appear in shapes preposterously false we will reject them; but they change with us, and every act of reading or writing a novel is a tacit acceptance of them. If they ruin our innocence, we have to remember that the innocent eye sees nothing. If they make us guilty, they enable us, in a manner nothing else can duplicate, to submit, as we must, the show of things to the desires of the mind. I shall end by saying a little more about La Nausée, the book I chose because, although it is a novel, it reflects a philosophy it must, in so far as it possesses novel form, belie. Under one aspect it is what Philip Thody calls 'an extensive illustration' of the world's contingency and the absurdity of the human situation. Mr. Thody adds that it is the novelist's task to 'overcome contingency'; so that if the illustration were too extensive the novel would be a bad one. Sartre himself provides a more inclusive formula when he says that 'the final aim of art is to reclaim the world by revealing it as it is, but as if it had its source in human liberty.' This statement does two things. First, it links the fictions of art with those of living and choosing. Secondly, it means that the humanizing of the world's contingency cannot be achieved without a representation of that contingency. This representation must be such that it induces the proper sense of horror at the utter difference, the utter shapelessness, and the utter inhumanity of what must be humanized. And it has to occur simultaneously with the as if, the act of form, of humanization, which assuages the horror. This recognition, that form must not regress into myth, and that contingency must be formalized, makes La Nausée something of a model of the conflicts in the modern theory of the novel. How to do justice to a chaotic, viscously contingent reality, and yet redeem it? How to justify the fictive beginnings, crises, ends; the atavism of character, which we cannot prevent from growing, in Yeats's figure, like ash on a burning stick? The novel will end; a full close may be avoided, but there will be a close: a fake fullstop, an 'exhaustion of aspects,' as Ford calls it, an ironic return to the origin, as in Finnegans Wake and Comment c'est. Perhaps the book will end by saying that it has provided the clues for another, in which contingency will be defeated, ...
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)