Salutary

The Victorian love letter and the text message, the memoir and the Instagram selfie — they are all fragments of self-expression frozen in time, expressing a self fragmentary and discontinuous across the sweep of a life, fragments that can never reconstitute for posterity a complete and cohesive portrait of a person, because to be a person is to be perpetually contradictory and incomplete.

~ Maria Popova from, https://www.brainpickings.org/2021/09/09/aldous-huxley-island-universes/

Today was a good day. Any day wherein I stumble upon a word I do not know is a good day. I think it’s just right as rain that Huxley would be the source of the “salutary” which caused me to reach for my dictionary. (If it’s also new to you, I’ll give you a hint: It has nothing to do with “salutation,” as I had presumed.)

In addition to the unexpectedly salutary new word—a second hint—I was pleasantly held up in my light reading by Popova’s sentiment. I’m certainly not going to truly understand someone in one brief conversation. But I am definitely better off for each of those experiences spending time visiting another island universe. (That’s one of Huxley’s metaphors. Click thru already!)

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Pseudo-knowledge

Zeal, dogmatism and idealism exist only because we are forever committing intellectual sins. We sin by attributing concrete significance to meaningless pseudo-knowledge; We sin in being too lazy to think in terms of multiple causation and indulging instead in over-simplification, over-generalization and over-abstraction; And we sin by cherishing the false but agreeable notion that conceptual knowledge and, above all, conceptual pseudo-knowledge are the same as understanding.

~ Aldous Huxley

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Concrete ignorance

Living amphibiously, half in fact and half in words, half in immediate experience and half in abstract notions, we contrive most of the time to make the worst of both worlds. We use language so badly that we became the slaves of our clichés and are turned either into conforming Babbits or into fanatics and doctrinairs. And we use immediate experience so badly that we become blind to the realities of our own nature and insensitive to the universe around us. The abstract knowledge which words bring us is paid for by concrete ignorance.

~ Aldous Huxley

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Always and everywhere silence

From pure sensation to the intuition of beauty, from pleasure and pain to love and the mystical ecstasy and death—all the things that are fundamental, all the things that, to the human spirit, are most profoundly significant, can only be experienced, not expressed. The rest is always and everywhere silence. After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

~ Aldous Huxley

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