391: The Meaning of True Glory.

The danger of literary education is that it inspires men with an immoderate desire for fame, without always providing the moral seriousness which defines the meaning of true glory.

(Ernest Renan, Antichrist. London: Walter Scott, Ltd., 1900, p. 160).

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391: The Meaning of True Glory.

389: Do You Even Lift, Bro?

What’s a IYI?

Intellectual Yet Idiot: semi-erudite bureaucrat who thinks he is an erudite; pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand not realizing it is his understanding that may be limited; imparts normative ideas to others: thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are uneducated “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class.

More socially: subscribes to the New Yorker; never curses on twitter; speaks of “equality of races” and “economic equality” but never went out drinking with a minority cab driver; has considered voting for Tony Blair; has attended more than one TEDx talks and watched more than two TED talks; will vote for Hillary Monsanto-Malmaison because she seems electable; has The Black Swan on his shelves but mistakes absence of evidence for evidence of absence; is member of a club to get traveling privileges; if social scientist uses statistics without knowing how they are derived; when in the UK goes to literary festivals; drinks red wine with steak (never white); used to believe that fat was harmful and has now completely reversed; takes statins because his doctor told him so; fails to understand ergodicity and when explained forgets about it soon later; doesn’t use Yiddish words; studies grammar before speaking a language; has a cousin who worked with someone who knows the Queen; has never read Frédéric Dard, Michael Oakeshott, John Gray, or Joseph De Maistre; has never gotten drunk with Russians and went breaking glasses; doesn’t know the difference between Hecate and Hecuba; doesn’t know that there is no difference between “pseudointellectual” and “intellectual”; has mentioned quantum mechanics at least twice in the past five years; knows at any point in time what his words or actions are doing to his reputation.

But a much easier marker: doesn’t deadlift.

(Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Facebook, June 25, 2016).

389: Do You Even Lift, Bro?

387: Amuse Ourselves.

Ought a man — that is to say — can a man merely do what he likes? I often recollect a saying which was addressed in a ball at Philadelphia to a young lady who was amusing herself in lounging with a young gentleman, instead of taking the place which was assigned to her in the dance. Some master of the ceremonies, usual in that country, said to her with an air of severity, ‘Young lady, do you suppose that you have come here to amuse yourself?’ It is in this world just as at the ball: we are not there to amuse ourselves, but to dance as well as we can, minuet or waltz, or what not. It is all very well to say — I am tired, my partner is awkward, the playing is out of tune. All that signifies nothing — dance we must, without any valid excuse, save that we do not know how to dance.

(Joseph de Maistre; quoted in William Alexander, “Joseph de Maistre,” The Dublin University Magazine, Vol. LIV, 1859, p. 662).

387: Amuse Ourselves.

385: Metaphor.

It is said to have been a boast of Swift, or some of his friends, “that he had hardly a metaphor in all his works.” This, if true, was but a foolish boast. […] It is not easy to conceive why a man should think his style improved by the entire absence, were such a thing possible, of Metaphor. There is, to be sure, a vulgar idea, that a style not metaphorical is necessarily a plain style. In one sense of the word this is true, or rather this is a truism. If, however, by the term “plain,” is to be understood a style more intelligible than other styles, the assertion is unfounded. There can be no doubt, that men ambitious of metaphorical expression, are very liable to fail in their attempt to express themselves metaphorically, and thus darken and confuse their language. But this is not the fault of metaphor. It is the fault of the writer. That a happily written figurative style is not less easy to be comprehended than any other, it needs only a consideration of the nature of Metaphor to show. It is less easy of attainment than a plainer method; but when attained, just as obvious to the comprehension of the reader. A Metaphor may be defined to be the appellation of something by the name of some other thing, to which it has some similitude, or with which it has some quality in common. Dr. Johnson well describes it as “a simile in one word.” Now what has been the original reason of authors, whether of prose or poetry, adopting this expedient? Surely not the desire of being unintelligible! If we only ask the question why are metaphors made use of, the plain answer is this — to render more striking some unusual or abstract expression, by joining to it another idea which is less common, or less abstract, to illustrate the first. Thus we say “striking effect,” adding to the abstract general idea of effect, the visible idea of a blow; and this we do to give additional force and meaning to the phrase, and for no other reason. What is the reason of poets being so wedded to the employment of metaphors? Not for the sake of being obscure — that they can be easily enough, God knows, without metaphors; but for the sake of that force and intensity of meaning, which is the pith and marrow of poetry, and which is best attainable by the employment, where it is possible, of vivid and distinct imagery. It is for this reason that an original metaphor is better than one that is not original. It attracts the attention more strongly, and stamps the impression more forcibly upon the mind. Trite metaphors in time cease to be metaphors; even as Addison’s lady was described by him, to have become of no sex after a few anniversaries of the honey-moon. We employ them without knowing that we do so; and this accounts for the boast of Swift or his friends, with his books before them and their eyes open. It is perhaps almost impossible to construct a language which shall be divested of metaphor.

(Thomas Doubleday, “On the Use of Metaphors,” Blackwood’s Magazine, Vol. XVIII, 1825, pp. 719–720).

385: Metaphor.