“The sweetest and most inoffensive path of life leads through the avenues of science and learning; and whoever can either remove any obstructions in this way, or open up any new prospect, ought so far to be esteemed a benefactor to mankind. And though these researches may appear painful and fatiguing, it is with some minds as with some bodies, which being endowed with vigorous and florid health, require severe exercise, and reap a pleasure from what, to the generality of mankind, may seem burdensome and laborious. Obscurity, indeed, is painful to the mind as well as to the eye; but to bring light from obscurity, by whatever labour, must needs be delightful and rejoicing.” —From the first chapter of David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, with which I’m breaking in a new reading chair.
“Julian Assange’s extremely weird version of dissident “living in truth” doesn’t bear much relationship to the way that public life has ever been arranged. It does, however, align very closely to what we’ve done to ourselves by inventing and spreading the Internet. If the Internet was walking around in public, it would look and act a lot like Julian Assange. The Internet is about his age, and it doesn’t have any more care for the delicacies of profit, propriety and hierarchy than he does.” —From The Blast Shack by Bruce Sterling. Very thought-provoking and stylized read (if you haven’t read it already today).
“For your writing to be great—I mean great, not clever, or even brilliant, or most misleading of all, beautiful—it must be useful to the world. And for that to happen you must form an opinion of the world. And for that to happen you need to observe the world, closely and steadily, with a mind open to change. And for that to happen you have to live in the world, and not pretend that it is someone else’s world you are writing about.” —
But not before you go read the rest of The Book Bench: An Inspirational Letter to My Students : The New Yorker
“And I thought, okay, the writing life - damn that phrase - it doesn’t have to be romantic. It can be workmanlike, it can be a grind, and it can take years to make anything of any value. But if, at the end of it all, there’s a Gabby who holds the words to her heart and rides the subway through the night, back to Oakland, thinking of what those words on a page did to her, then the work is worth doing.” —Dave Eggers’s Writing Life