Journal 2021-08-01

It is possible to define much that is essential to humanity’s flourishing with an inverse reading of this passage in Orwell’s 1984:

“There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”

Approval Addiction

If you are indifferent to others’ opinions about you:

You don’t need to pretend or hide anything;

You don’t need to worry about impressions or what was said;

You don’t need to be conform to rigid or mistuned expectations;

You don’t need to be offended or hurt by words;

There is no need to show-off and chase false, empty priorities;

You break the addiction to the approval of others;

You break free from inhibitions;

You have freedom to be who you are.

Journal 2020-07-05

Reading about Dostoevsky. There is certainly a trend in history that the most interesting thinkers and artists tended to be outsiders for defining periods; and sometimes the untamed spark that made them great was dampened when invited in from the wilderness. Dostoevsky’s spark seemed to ignite after the more eventful stages of his life – in particular after a death sentence for sedition was commuted at the last minute to hard labour in a Siberian gulag, writing four classic novels after this period.

Journal 2020-06-16

One of the effects of the worldwide shut-down has been to hasten the widespread transition from offline real life to an online virtual life.

The analogue world often has more reverence, albeit less sheer efficiency than the online version; for instance finding a seminal work in the labyrinth of a dusty old library feels like discovering a bit of history, rather than scrolling past disposable data on a screen.