Lessons – 1

[257] The illusion of facts will suffice. [272] Reality-based art hijacks its material and doesn’t apologize. [255] Facts now seem important.

A note to be affixed to the bulletin board. A finding from today's reading.

[255] Facts now seem important.

[150] If Tina Fey’s impression of Sarah Palin hadn’t been based closely on verbatim transcripts of Palin’s performances, it wouldn’t have been remotely funny, and it wouldn’t have affected the election; its comedy derived precisely from its scrupulous reframing of the real.

[256] Facts have gravitas.

[381] In order to make it easier to handle, Darwin would cut a large book in half; he’d also tear out any chapters he didn’t find of interest.

[257] The illusion of facts will suffice.

[272] Reality-based art hijacks its material and doesn’t apologize.

[496] This is the wager, isn’t it? It’s by remaining faithful to the contingencies and peculiarities of your own existence and the vagaries of your own nature that you stand the greatest chance of conveying something universal.

[497] Self-study of any seriousness aspires to myth. Thus do we endlessly inscribe and magnify ourselves.

[498] A man’s life of any worth is a continual allegory.

[499] What is true in your private heart is true for all men.

[500] All our stories are the same.

[501] Every man has within himself the entire human condition.

[502] Deep down, you know you’re him.


Some recognition goes to David Shield’s book, Reality Hunger, for providing these chewy didactic bits. This in spite of [259]. If “Genius borrows nobly”, I hope to have a little of it, genius–his or otherwise–rub off on me.

5 Einstein Quotes To Which I Owe My Current Sanity & Perspective

Albert Einstein, for reasons too numerous to go into here, is a personal hero of mine. “Avuncular” is a good word to describe him; he is the deadly-smart uncle with crazy hair we all want… that is, until one learns about his personal life. But, nonetheless, his public persona is one I respect immensely. His words, in their simplicity, their sagacity interpolated or genuine, are powerful. Here, I will post the quote, and under it I’ll give a one or two sentence explanation of my interpretation of it.

– – –

“In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep.”

Einstein was never what one might call a “conformist”. Especially in the context of academia, his iconoclasm provided inspiration for my own dissidence since early high school. This quote, if I had to guess, might have been in reference to 4.0 GPA’s… but that’s just my best estimate.

– – –

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

Although I believe Einstein (and F. Scott Fitzgerald) cribbed this line from Mark Twain, I nonetheless say this quote–some agglomeration of Einstein, Twain, and Amory Blaine’s versions–to myself when the going gets tough at school. I have it written on an index card I keep thumb-tacked next to my door knob. I see it every day.

– – –

“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”

I’m in the middle of breaking away from the majority of these prejudices… of which there are many.

– – –

“…one of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one’s own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought.”

This, of all Einstein’s quotes I will mention here, is the one that affects me most right now. I am torn between business and writing fiction and nonfiction, between international relations, systems theory and neurology, psychology, and cognitive science. Although I believe I am suited for the world of “innovation” (God, what an awfully hackneyed word) in the world of entrepreneurship, I know, at some deep, visceral level that the only way I would ever be truly happy would be to recluse myself from the harshness, the brutality, and (more often than not) the soul-crushing banality of day-to-day life to craft and curate worlds of my own: perfect recreations of the “real world”, where crushing denouement, its resultant ache plays synecdoche for realization.

– – –

“If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.”

I needn’t say more.

Introducing Oratorize.

Of many things, the prime one that precluded me from writing on The Halcyon Days is not my college workload (which can be largely shirked and/or explained away) but the fact that I’ve been doing a lot of freelance writing for a couple of websites and fleshing out the skeleton I built for Kairos Praxis.

It looks like I’m going to be writing the promotional documents for their NYC 2011 Global Summit, which will be a solid long weekend of writing. In light of these requests to put my noetic machinery to some constructive cause, I’ve founded a company I call “Oratorize.”

Oratorize is a copywriting, copyediting, and “special situations” writing service. Oratorize seeks to provide competitively priced writing and editing services with prompt, highly responsive, and intuitive user interface. A list of specific services is forthcoming, as is the website, which will be at www.oratorize.com.

Twenty-four thousand, seven-hundred fifty-five :: Or, “On the Pleasures and Sorrows of Returning to School”

Over this past summer, I’ve seen and done and learned many thjngs. I’ve visited exotic and not so exotic locales, read over a dozen books, became more involved with an entrepreneurship organization—the first whose mission statement I can actually stand behind—and, most pertinent to the readers of The Halcyon Days, published a total of 24,755 words since HD’s inception in early June.

To put this into some perspective, 24,755 words is roughly equal to 34 book pages of text. It’s almost 70 pages in a small-format book. Surprisingly, this is roughly equivalent to the amount of writing I did last year for all of my classes combined, which I calculated to be between 105-115 double-spaced pages.

Unfortunately, the coming school year promises to be challenging, and the volume of published material might taper off a bit. It is my goal and promise to myself and each person who reads this to maintain the current level of intellectual rigor and lexical verve present on The Halcyon Days as it currently exists.

I have a couple of interesting ideas that I’m toying with, and a huge collection of non sequitur paragraphs languishing in a document I call “Orphans”. Some of them will find a home tomorrow. I will too.