, 2010

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Degradation followed display. Reified and emptied, the image was treated like the lowliest of things. Images were broken, burned, toppled, beheaded, and hanged. They were spat, pissed, and shat on, tossed into toilets, sewers, fountains, canals, rivers, rubble heaps, garbage dumps, pigsties, and charnel houses, and lewdly handled in brothels and inns. Stone statues were used as cobblestones, keystones and infill, or were modified to represent something new. Wooden statues became table ornaments and toys, or were sold on the markets as firewood or distributed free to the poor.

A statue of the virgin was turned into a personification of justice, simply by removing the christ child and replacing him with scales. Images were taken from the church, broken and buried in a hole before the cathedral. There they would lie until Judgement Day.

It takes two to make a thing go right. With famous books, the first time is already the second, since we approach them already knowing them. The cautious comments saying rereading the classic turns out to be an innocent voracity. We are always somehow rereading a classic because we have encountered some previous incarnation of it, a refraction, in other stories, texts, or versions. What are the many versions if not diverse perspectives of a moveable event, if not a long, experimental assortment of omissions and emphases?

Just about everything has been photoshopped. Precisely, it is about what five people think this reality consists of. How an incident happens may reflect nothing about the incident itself, but it must reflect something about the person involved in the happening and supplying the how. Five people interpret an action, and each interpretation is different because in the telling and the retelling, the people reveal not the action but themselves.

For the first time several months ago, I spent hours looking at the facade of the cathedral. But only when I bought a book on the cathedral a week later did I really see it. The photographs enabled me to see in a way that my naked eye could not possibly see the cathedral.

If no one drawing should singly answer the personal taste, there will yet be found a variety of hints sufficient to construct a new one. I am confident I can convince all who will honor me with their commands that every design can be improved, both as to beauty and enrichment in the execution of it. Every writer creates his precursors. I express unlimited thanks to all the authors that have in the past, by compiling in the past remarkable instances of skill, provided us with abundant materials of different kinds. Drawing from them as it were water from springs and converting them to our own purposes, we find our own powers of writing rendered more fluent and easy. And relying upon such authorities, we venture to produce new systems of instruction.

The function proper to knowledge is interpreting. Scriptural commentary, commentaries on ancient authors, and the accounts of travelers are legends and fables. None of these forms of discourse is required to justify its claim to be expressing a truth before it is interpreted. All that is required of it is the possibility of talking about it. There is more work in interpreting interpretations than in interpreting things, and more books about books than any other subject.

A sculpture can not merely be copied but always only staged or performed. It begins to function like a piece of music whose score is not identical to the piece, the score being not audible but silent. For the music to resound, it has to be performed. The more images, mediations, intermediaries, icons are multiplied and overtly fabricated, explicitly and publicly constructed, the more respect I have for their capacities to welcome, to gather, to recollect meaning, and sanctity.

Flesh is a glebe, bones are rocks, veins great rivers, the bladder is the sea, and the seven principal organs are the metals hidden in the shafts of minds. Because four is better than one.

Same, same, but different. The multiverse is composed of a quantum superposition of infinitely many, increasingly divergent, non-communicating parallel universes or quantum worlds. Every historical “what if” compatible with the initial conditions in physical law is realized. All outcomes exist simultaneously but do not interfere further with each other, each single prior world having split into mutual unobservable, but equally real worlds.

Double the treat, double your pleasure, double your fun. Every lie creates a parallel world, the world in which it’s true.

It is a frequent habit when I discover several resemblances between two things to attribute to both equally, even on points in which they are in reality different, that which I have recognized to be true of only one of them. Combined with this is another perversity, an innate preference for the represented subject over the real one. The defect of the real one is so apt to be a lack of representation. I like things that appear, and one is sure. Whether they are or not is a subordinate, and almost always a profitless question.

Multiplication of an icon, far from diluting its cultic power, rather increases its fame, and each image, however imperfect, conventionally partakes of some portion of the properties of the precursor. Touched with a hammer as with a tuning fork, I cook every chance I can in my pot. It’s the real thing.

Updated on August 31, 2015