Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We Thrive in the Details

"Science and psychoanalysis apart, the most profound development in thought since Nietzsche, as far as we are concerned, is the phenomenological approach to the world.  MallarmĂ© sought "words without wrinkles," Baudelaire cherished his minutes heureuses and ValĂ©ry his "small worlds of order," as we have seen: Checkhov concentrated on the "concrete individual" and preferred "small scale and practical answers," Gide though the "systematizing is denaturing, distorting and impoverishing."  For Oliver Wendell Holmes, "all the pleasure of life is in general ideas, but all the use of life is in specific solutions."  Wallace Stevens considered that we are "better satisfied in particulars."  Thomas Nagel put it in this way: "Particulars things can have a noncompetitive completeness which is transparent to all aspects of the self.  This also helps to explain what the experience of great beauty tends to unify the self: the object engages us immediately and totally in a way that makes distinctions among points of view irrelevant."  Or, as Robert Nozick, who counseled us to make ourselves "vehicles" for beauty, said: "this is what poets and artists bring us―the immense and unsuspected reality of a small thing.  Everything has its own patient entityhood."  George Levine call for "a profound attention to the details of this world."
-  Peter Watson, "The Age of Atheists: How We Have Sought to Live Since the Death of God," p.536

"The idea of one overbearing truth is exhausted."
- Thomas Mann, translated by James Wood  

"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind."
-  Albert Einstein

"To study the self is to forget the self.  To forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things."
-  Zen Master Dogen

"The more we understand individual things, the more we understand God."
-  Benedict De Spinoza

"God is in the details."
-  Mies Van Der Rohe

"After appreciating and understanding thousands of the details, a common variety God is really superfluous."
-  Mike Garofalo

"Caress the detail, the divine detail."
-  Vladimir Nabokov

"Details are all there are."
-  Maezumi Roshi

"We think in generalities, but we live in details."
-  W.H. Auden


Gardening and Religion

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