A torch for traversing “the territory where no one possesses the truth… but where everyone has the right to be understood.” BY MARIA POPOVA This might be the most transcendent capacity of consciousness, and the most terrifying: that in the world of the mind, we can construct models of the real world built upon theories of exquisite internal consistency; that those theories can have zero external validity when tested against reality; and that we rarely get to test them, or wish to test them. Just ask Ptolemy. In its clinical manifestation, we call this tendency delusion. In its creative manifestation, … Continue reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being Opaque to Ourselves: Milan Kundera on Writing and the Key to Great Storytelling
Tempting it might be, but the idea that culture has become vacuous and banal comes with unsavoury implications Christy Wampole is an essayist and professor at Princeton University. She is the author of Rootedness: The Ramifications of a Metaphor (2016) and Degenerative Realism: Novel and Nation in 21st-Century France (2020). Edited bySam Haselby I’ll admit that when I turn on the TV or radio or dig around on the internet, I am often appalled at what I find. When I hear the vapid pronouncements of influencers or the mind-numbing inanity of much of today’s pop culture, my reflex is to become angry and depressed. … Continue reading Can culture degenerate?