"Balthus said that the twentieth century was the century of ugliness. I think it has been much more than that, and the twenty-first century, the century of junk, is no better. There is a junk effect that spreads through everything, and certainly through thinking, insofar as it shows itself in the public sphere. That thinking will not stand the test of time. Idolatrous of the present, it has no future, but most of all, and perhaps worse still, it has no past. Its vision is entirely teleological: it sees thought as a slow progress towards what it is today, towards this supreme culmination of thinking humanity: itself. The highest compliment that can be payed to the great figures of the past, the great peoples, the great civilisations, is how contemporary they are. “Shakespeare is contemporary.” “Aeschylus is contemporary.” “Tocqueville is contemporary.” But Tocqueville, Shakespeare, Corneille, Aeschylus, the Greece of Pericles or Thucydides […] are not at all our contemporaries. They are elsewhere. They are distant. Free thought is distant. It is neither everyday, nor daily, nor journalistic, nor familiar, nor contemporary: it is absent, it is not there, it belongs to another age, it thinks with the dead. And it is a rather singular experience to note that nine tenths of what has thought, naturally but most of all culturally, for twenty or thirty centuries (but twenty separate centuries, not all together…) would today be considered - and effectively is - unacceptable, revolting, or, to employ a term used a great deal by those who have been authorised to speak, criminal."
Renaud Camus (via hierarchical-aestheticism
(Source: beinghiskitten, via hierarchical-aestheticism)
G. K. Chesterton, The Mercy of Mr. Arnold Bennett
"All our senses ought to be trained to endurance. They are naturally long-suffering, if only the mind desists from weakening them. This should be summoned to give an account of itself every day. Sextius had this habit, and when the day was over and he had retired to his nightly rest, he would put these questions to his soul: ‘What bad habit have you cured today? What fault have you resisted? In what respects are you better?’ Anger will cease and become controllable if it finds that it must appear before a judge every day. Can anything be more excellent that this practice of thoroughly sifting the whole day? And how delightful the sleep that follows this self-examination — how tranquil it is, how deep and untroubled, when the soul has either praised or admonished itself, and when this secret examiner and critic of self has given report of its own character! I avail myself of this privilege, and every day I plead my cause before the bar of self. When the light has been removed from sight, and my wife, long aware of my habit, has become silent, I scan the whole of my day and retrace all my deeds and words. I conceal nothing from myself, I omit nothing. For why should I shrink from any of my mistakes, when I may commune thus with my self? ‘See what you never do that again; I will pardon you this time. In that dispute you spoke too offensively; after this don’t have encounters with ignorant people; those who have never learned do not want to learn. You reproved that man more frankly than you ought, and consequently you have not so much mended him as offended him. In the future, consider not only the truth of what you say, but also whether the man to whom you are speaking can endure the truth. A good man accepts reproof gladly; the worse a man is the more bitterly he resents it."
Seneca, De Ira