“I went to see [George] Santayana daily. The talk ranged from autobiography, philosophical theories on world politics, Aristotle’s theory of sensation, Spanish quotations, ideas on Boston, lots of very catty and very good gossip and above all Boston and religion. The meetings were delightful for me and perfect, except that he is deaf and couldn’t hear a word—shouted or whispered—that I said.”more info
source: letter to Elizabeth Bishop, dated December 6, 1950, written from Florence, in Words in Air (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010), 115.
“Being a poet, divining beauty, is like divining nature—a gift. It does not matter if one does not create. It is enough to have the poetic vision. To see the beauty hidden. As I did tonight, hearing someone whistle in the distance as I stood by an open window. I felt all kinds of moods of streets at night, of walking with loved women, of the dark blue and whiteness, and the strange, magical desertion of streets at night. I felt it all exactly in a moment, such a rush of impressions that they can hardly be seized. Algernon Blackwood: ‘To feel like a poet is not to be a poet.’ True, yet, poetry making is not necessarily the printing of words. It is a philosophical outlook, an epicureanism, a hedonism.”more info
source: entry dated September 24, 1949, in The Journals: Volume One 1949–1965 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 4.
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“They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure.”more info
source: A Moveable Feast (New York: Scribner, 2009), restored edition, 86.
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“We are living longer, but thinking shorter.”more info
source: “An Anthropologist’s Take on Homemaking,” by Penelope Green, The New York Times, August 25, 2010.
medium: newspaper article
notes: Bateson's personal website here
“I cannot follow you where I will not go.”more info
source: The Book of Questions, Vol. 1 [The Book of Questions, The Book of Yukel, Return to the Book] (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1991), 385.
“Be gentle and keep your voice low.”more info
source: The Motto Book (East Aurora, NY: The Roycrofters, 1920), 13.
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“Schopenhauer: the task of philosophy is to turn tears into knowledge. And for me, a sigh into a tweet.”more info