Cut and Paste Philosophy

I’ve tabbed many pages of David Shield’s Reality Hunger, and I have been rereading these sections in the past few days. They’re particularly helpful in reminding me of my own philosophy on art and writing. Sometimes other people put it in words way better than you can.

I decided it would be nice to create a little archive of the quotations I’ve found most influential for my personal philosophy. (And I will continue to update it as I come across more.)
Without further ado, and in no particular order:

“Picasso was once asked if he knew what a painting was going to look like when he started it. He answered, “No, of course not. If I knew, I wouldn’t bother doing it.”
Hungarian photographer Brassaï once asked Picasso whether his ideas come to him “by chance or by design,” and Picasso responded:
“I don’t have a clue. Ideas are simply starting points. I can rarely set them down as they come to my mind. As soon as I start to work, others well up in my pen. To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing… When I find myself facing a blank page, that’s always going through my head. What I capture in spite of myself interests me more than my own ideas.”
original article


“This is a work of fiction. No person in it bears any resemblance to any actual person living or dead, etc., etc. London does not exist.”
Graham Greene


“The film is the talking.”
— David Lynch


“Rothko is great because he forced artists who came after him to change how they thought about painting.”
— Unknown Tour Guide via David Shields


“One view is “There’s something in charge and I wanna get straight with it.” Another view is “There’s something in charge and it means me no good and I wanna get the fuck out of here.” And the third is, “There’s nothing and everything going on.” The third, because it contains the other two, is most appealing to me.”
— Robert Hass


“Authenticity comes from a single faithfulness: that to the ambiguity of experience.”
— John Berger


“When we are not sure, we are alive.”
— Greene


“Serious writing actually tries to get somewhere–to make intellectual, emotional, psychic, and philosophical “progress” . . . in the work of my favorite writers, the armature of overt drama is dispensed with, and we’re left with a deeper drama, the real drama: an active human consciousness trying to figure out how he or she has solved or not solved being alive.”
— David Shields


“Kill your band.”
— Lou Reed


“Let us hope a time will come when language is most efficiently used where it is being most efficiently misused.”
— Beckett


“I’ve never heard of a crime I could not imagine committing myself.”
— Goethe


“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”
— Gore Vidal


“The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”
— Pablo Picasso


“If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth.”
— Carl Sagan


“Or in other words: shy from the sky. No answer lies there. It cannot care, especially for what it no longer knows. Treat that place as a thing unto itself, independent of all else, and confront it on those terms. You alone must find the way. No one else can help you. Every way is different. And if you do lose yourself at least take solace in the absolute certainty that you will perish.”
— Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves


“I’ve never tried to be shocking. The only thing you can do is confuse people, because it makes them think. And the art of confusion and chaos is the way to make people think, the way to create a catalyst of change.”
— Marilyn Manson


“Any A.I. smart enough to pass a Turing test is smart enough to know to fail it.”
— Ian McDonald


“Sometimes I worry that not enough people hate me.”
— Amy Poehler


“Have no fear of perfection–you’ll never reach it.”
— Salvador Dali


“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”
— Cesar A. Cruz


“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world he doesn’t exist.”
— The Usual Suspects


“I am more than a devil; I am a man. I can do the one thing which Satan himself cannot do— I can die.”
— G. K. Chesterton, The Man Who was Thursday


“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all of its contents.”
— H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu


“Only a real artist knows the actual anatomy of the terrible or the physiology of fear.”
— H. P. Lovecraft, Pickman’s Model


“It is homage to the majesty of the absurd which bespeaks the presence of human beings.”
— Paul Celan, The Meridian


“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
— Fitzgerald


“Great art is clear thinking about mixed feelings.”
— W. H. Auden


I am god and I need to be destroyed.


“To see what everyone else has seen but to think what nobody else has thought.”
— Albert Szent-Gyorgyi


“For now in every exuberant joy there is heard an undertone of terror”
— Friedrich Nietzsche


“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex . . . It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”

— Albert Einstein


I’m not sorry.

You’re wrong and you know nothing.


Why aren’t you dead.

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