I am frequently wondering why nearly all of the people I meet know everything, and why we face nevertheless so many unanswered questions ….
… Could it be that we refrain from asking those questions we cannot easily answer?
Towards the end of chapter 42 of Montaigne’s essays we read
In Anacharsis’ opinion, the happiest state of government would be where, all other things being equal, precedence should be measured out by the virtues, and repulses by the vices of men.
When King Pyrrhus prepared for his expedition into Italy, his wise counsellor Cyneas, to make him sensible of the vanity of his ambition: “Well, sir,” said he, “to what end do you make all this mighty preparation?”—“To make myself master of Italy,” replied the king. “And what after that is done?” said Cyneas. “I will pass over into Gaul and Spain,” said the other. “And what then?”—“I will then go to subdue Africa; and lastly, when I have brought the whole world to my subjection, I will sit down and rest content at my own ease.”
“For God sake, sir,” replied Cyneas, “tell me what hinders that you may not, if you please, be now in the condition you speak of? Why do you not now at this instant settle yourself in the state you seem to aim at, and spare all the labour and hazard you interpose?”
“Nimirum, quia non cognovit, qux esset habendi Finis, et omnino quoad crescat vera voluptas.” [“Forsooth because he does not know what should be the limit of acquisition, and altogether how far real pleasure should increase.” —Lucretius, v. 1431]
Reading it, I remembered the story explaining the Irony of the Rat: the Mexican fisherman, who was approached by the highly business-qualified American tourist who knows all about how one gets rich by working enduringly hard over many years …, finally accumulating enough wealth to relax … at the beach of a small Mexican village.
And today? The Measuring the World takes new forms again, it is about data, the collection of everything that can be counted, and the deformation of everything in order to make it countable …. entire libraries, galleries, landscapes and cities, people alone and in their encounters … all is just a mouse-click away.
It was Sunday morning, when I read Montaigne, remembered the Mexican fisherman’s story and thought about the new turn of human-kind’s perpetuated existence as hunter&gatherer to data-obsessed beings …
… it was the very same Sunday in the tenth month of the year, well deserving the name golden October, when I met later the day a friend, should I even say: a golden encounter, ‘autumnous spring’** – not counting minutes or hours, going to the gallery, taking account of the non-digitalised treasures of the gallery, the original paintings and joining the special exhibition that brought music and the magnificent painter Botticelli together
– an encounter of people, bringing centuries and continents together.
Well, when it comes to numbers and accounting, there are surely Limits to Cheating History and there is surely the need for Changing the Reference. Check for a revised and edited version of the article the International Journal of Social Quality.
Botticelli’s painting reproduced below is titled Primavera
Nothing is older than yesterday’s newspapers
It sounds a bit like an empty statement: I like concert halls as much as plenary parliamentary meeting halls, lecture theatres and rooms for seminars and intensive debates.
It fills with so much substance by the sentence Alvin Ailey contended:
I want that everybody understands that dance is not about wind-up-dolls. I am interested in ensemble-dance and human personality – that is the most important. Whet makes it really interesting is when a dancer can reveal something of him- or herself by the dance.
You can turn it as you like, never loosing, though always specifically gaining meaning:
Life is a dance – dance is living – political and learning stages are dance floors – all those theories and political strategies and studies make only sense if they reflect such dialectic that makes the apparent main actors to mere servants, keys opening gates to spaces, more than unlocking doors to corridors – allowing inner beauty to unfold … –
– … so strange, remembering dancing with the European Commissioner and heads of the “DG V”, many years back?
– … so strange remembering dancing with the young cygan woman, many years back? What went wrong that we dance less and less instead of more, and instead of all of us dancing together?
– … so strange, remembering the para from the German Ideology,, that is dealing with [overcoming] the division of labour?
A meeting the other day – in connection with exams I dared to raise a point that should be considered. Indeed my muttering, expressing some demur was not ignored but answered:
We are not talking about fairness, we are looking for a solution.
Sometimes I cannot stop myself thinking that days are increasingly speechless since we life in the communication society. Time is absorbed by searching for information on the web; waiting for the sites to open: increasingly data-complex with the many integrated links ad fancy features, and in inverted proportion decreasingly info-deep; safe files that we download and don’t read; search on the own computer where we saved them …
… not much left to be said …, and what we say is too often adopted and adapted, reduced on the exchange of information … – equally then up to be forgotten before it is expressed … – if going beyond 42, ending in the best case up by reaching at 84.
It remains remarkable: This way it is possible to impress, maintaining life, living on a stage without recognising the iron curtain.