Category Archives: quotes


Bateson’s (Digital) Tick

There is a species of tick, a little round creature that gets in your skin. The baby tick when he hatches, walks up a tree, and remains on a twig until he smells butyric acid, that is sweat. If and when he smells butyric acid, he falls off the tree and hopes to fall on a mammal.

If in two or three weeks, he does not smell any sweat, he falls off the tree and climbs another tree. It is the absence of butyric acid, in the end, has the same effect that the presence of butyric acid would have. He’s able to work at two logical type levels. He is able to deal with the absence of information as a piece of information. The information which doesn’t come is itself information.

This is dreadfully important in the whole relation of figure relation, and so on.








Bateson’s Donkey

You go into the mountains looking for a donkey, and then you discover that you’re riding on one. — Gregory Bateson


Eroll Morris

‘You can never trust someone who doesn’t talk a lot, because how else could you know what they’re thinking?’ – EM

art quotes

Edward Said on Gould and Hindemith

“…a stunningly fluent and demonic rendition of the last fugal movement of Hindernith’s Third Sonata, a fine piece hardly ever played in concert today for reasons that have to do with the intellectual cowardice and low aesthetic standards of a majority of today’s musicians, which Gould’s career as a whole so strenuously impugns.” (Edward Said, Musical Elaborations, p. 31)

quotes readings

Nothing Dead

“Every portion of matter can be thought of as a garden full of plants, or as a pond full of fish. But every branch of the plant, every part of the animal, and every drop of its vital fluids, is another such garden, or another such pool. […] Thus there is no uncultivated ground in the universe; nothing barren, nothing dead.” – Leibnitz – Monadology, 67 & 69

quotes readings

A Sort of a Song – William Carlos Williams

Let the snake wait under

his weed

and the writing

be of words, slow and quick, sharp

to strike, quiet to wait,


— through metaphor to reconcile

the people and the stones.

Compose. (No ideas

but in things) Invent!

Saxifrage is my flower that splits

the rocks. 


technology reveals

“Technology reveals the active relation of man to nature, the direct process of the production of his life, and thereby it also lays bare the process of the production of the social relations of his life, and of the mental conceptions that flow from those relations.” – Marx, Capital, chapter 15 (footnote?)


the machine does not free the labourer from work, but deprives the work of all interest

At the same time that factory work exhausts the nervous system to the uttermost, it does away with the many-sided play of the muscles, and confiscates every atom of freedom, both in bodily and intellectual activity. [105] The lightening of the labour, even, becomes a sort of torture, since the machine does not free the labourer from work, but deprives the work of all interest. Every kind of capitalist production, in so far as it is not only a labour-process, but also a process of creating surplus-value, has this in common, that it is not the workman that employs the instruments of labour, but the instruments of labour that employ the workman. But it is only in the factory system that this inversion for the first time acquires technical and palpable reality. By means of its conversion into an automaton, the instrument of labour confronts the labourer, during the labour-process, in the shape of capital, of dead labour, that dominates, and pumps dry, living labour-power. The separation of the intellectual powers of production from the manual labour, and the conversion of those powers into the might of capital over labour, is, as we have already shown finally completed by modern industry erected on the foundation of machinery. The special skill of each individual insignificant factory operative vanishes as an infinitesimal quantity before the science, the gigantic physical forces, and the mass of labour that are embodied in the factory mechanism and, together with that mechanism, constitute the power of the “master.” 

Marx – Capital, Chapter 15 (1867)



These are not catastrophes that I went out of my way to look for – F. Scott Fitzgerald

quotes readings

life as encompassing object(s)

What all these aspirations have in common is that they are larger goals that contain me, which implies that if I attain these goals I will dissolve into them like a river flowing into a measureless sea. Garcia concludes as follows: “There is no salvation, because if it is effective it does not concern me, and if it concerns me then it is not effective. It absorbs me as part of an ensemble.” If the meaning of life is salvation, then this means to lose oneself—to be dissolved into something much larger.

Yet there are two meanings of life. For just as I am encompassed in something larger, I also encompass much that is less than I am, though I also cannot be dissolved downward into these components. What saves me from dissolution in either direction is the flatness of the world which leaves me, like all other things, in solitude.

Because things are in me and by me, because I encompass things no less than something encompasses me, I (like every thing) infinitely resist my dissolution or realization, my being drawn up into salvation, into a totality, an idea, a spirit, or an eternity that envelops me. I am encompassed, but I encompass. And I will never become fused into that which is more than I am.

This resistance is the tragedy of each thing, which will never be saved, whose end cannot be the exclusive meaning, which is not realized in that which completely encompasses it. But this is also the chance of each thing. (482)

My solitude in the world is what prevents my dissolution into a higher purpose, and in this way it also obstructs my salvation. Nor can my individuality become a form of purpose or salvation, since I am not just myself, but exist in other things. 

Object-Oriented France: The Philosophy of Tristan Garcia by Graham Harman