Tag Archives: Ideas

Marginalia, no.278

It is true of ideas, as of men, that they cannot fight unless they occupy the same ground: ideas that rush toward each other on different levels of apprehension will pass without conflict or mutual injury because they never establish contact, never collide.

~ Carl Becker, The Heavenly City of the 18th-Century Philosophers

This is perhaps not what Blake had in mind when he wrote that “opposition is true friendship,” but the phrase comes to mind. The outright infidel is always a stranger, reasoning from alien assumptions to alien conclusions. You are a ghost to his knife. The heretic, however, is always dear – a brother, child, friend – and draws blood.

Leave a comment

Filed under Marginalia

Marginalia, no.220

Contribution to the Understanding of the Color of Water

~ Title of a book by Franz Boas

It sometimes happens that you meet a person obsessed with an idea or problem the interest in which is inconceivable to you. Sometimes (you are surprised to find) this person is your own past self, met again in the reminiscence of a friend or the page of a journal. The object that so utterly blocked your light five years ago has been made invisible by a trick of time. New objects press in from the sides and distract from the old one or re-frame it into an irrelevant bit of distant scenery. You are only temporarily acquainted with yourself.


Filed under Marginalia