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One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. -Nietzsche

  November 26, 2016


John Gray is fond of reminding the cheerleaders of progress that their claim is a spurious secular faith and in fact humans remain the same as all previous times, or declining, in all attributes except for some technological areas.

This rude reflection brings culture into clear focus, especially timeless warnings about the hollow seductive lure of material concerns. More practically, we remember that tools are intended to serve a purpose, not merely displaying novelty or adding a chore that needs more tending to the tool than the labor it saves.

We see technical marvels everywhere and because everything else is flat or sinking, some use technology as the sole marker of cultural achievement. To pick any other of hundreds previous measures would be depressing considering our currently low abilities and output.

Technical performance excels by a principle of demonstration. No one can compose classical music anymore, but performers are better than ever.

Moves once deemed impossible on a skateboard, bicycle, or motorbike quickly become a widely performed standard in the repertoire as soon as one person shows them possible, raising expectations for all.

The body obeys what it is commanded to do, yet the mind cannot be compelled to create beauty, meaning, or insight, as that follows spirit.

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