Tuesday, April 23, 2013

alternate definitions: a selection

While reading, one of the things I like to collect are definitions―alternate, non-literal, or poetic.

Sometimes an author's words are a few steps removed from what I've fashioned out of their provisions. Take the following excerpt from Walter Lippmann's Public Opinion:

"By making the invisible visible, he confronts the people who exercise material force with a new environment, sets ideas and feelings at work in them, throws them out of position, and so, in the profoundest way, affects the decision."

Lippmann's subject is the role of an ambassador, and his sentence inspired one of the definitions below. But as you'll see, the word I selected has little to do with his original intent.

Other definitions are only slightly altered, with most falling somewhere in between.

Credits can be found at the end.

* * *

"Why do we call all our generous ideas illusions, and the mean ones truths? Isn't it a sufficient condemnation of society to find one's self accepting such phraseology? ...I know how names can alter the colour of beliefs." ―Lawrence Selden in Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth (1905)

Art: a parenthesis within the real world

Artist: someone who makes the invisible visible; someone who confronts the people with a new environment, sets ideas and feelings at work in them, throws them out of position, and, in the profoundest ways, affects them

Chance: the name given to our ignorance of causes

Charisma: the power to persuade without the use of logic

Common sense: the foundation of the bourgeois statement of fact; truth when it stops on the arbitrary order of him who speaks it

Duty: a term used by the the bourgeois to mythify strength 

the freeing of the mind through the discipline of wonder

Love: to desire someone else's happiness over your own, no matter the cost to you

Maturity: a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists

Nationality: that core of images and devotions without which man is unthinkable to himself

Order: the name the bourgeoisie gives to itself

Plastic: the excrement of oil

Rich: when one is able to meet the requirements of their imagination

War: the legal return to a state of savagery

See also: Sweet Ambrose, Nectar of the Gods

In order:

Robert Hughes (The Shock of the New); Walter Lippmann (Public Opinion); Lamarck (via Philippe Soupault's Last Night of Paris); Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly (Dandyism); Barthes (Mythologies); Ibid.; Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book); (?); Kurt Vonnegut (Cat's Cradle); Lippmann (Public Opinion); Barthes (Mythologies); Norman Mailer (video interview); Henry James (Portrait of a Lady); Paul Leautaud (via Dan Franck's Bohemian Paris)

1 comment:

the curator said...

An addition, not a correction:

"Though there be no such thing as Chance in the world; our ignorance of the real cause of any event has the same influence on the understanding, and begets a like species of belief or opinion."

-David Hume