MINIMAL CONTEXT

A collection of things...presented with minimal context.

Blind Mens’ Dogs

This makes me wonder if a history of seeing eye dogs would be a possible; from Bleak House:

It wast the hottest long vacation known for many years….All the middle-aged clerks think their families too large. All the unowned dogs who stray into the Inns of Court, and pant about staircases and other dry places, seeking water, give short howls of aggravation. All the blind mens’ dogs in the streets draw their masters against pumps, or trip them over buckets.

Exceedingly Fair

From Pride and Prejudice:

In as short a time as Mr. Collins’s long speeches would allow, everything was settled between them to the satisfaction of both; and as they entered the house, he earnestly entreated her to name the day that was to make him the happiest of men; and though such a solicitation must be waved for the present, the lady felt no inclination to trifle with his happiness. The stupidity with which he was favored by nature, must guard his courtship from any charm that could make  a woman wish for its continuance; and Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, cared not how soon that established were gained.

Sir William and Lady Lucas were speedily applied to for their consent; and it was bestowed with a most joyful alacrity.  Mr. Collins’s present circumstances made it a most eligible match for their daughter, to whom they could give little fortune; and his prospects for further wealth were exceedingly fair.  Lady Lucas began directly to calculate with more interest than the matter ever excited before, how many years longer Mr. Bennet was likely to live; and Sir William gave it as his decided opinion, that whenever Mr. Collins should be in possession of the Longbourn estate, it would be highly expedient that both he and his wife should make their appearance at St. James’s.  The whole family in short were properly overjoyed on the occasion.  The younger girls formed hopes of coming out a year or two sooner than they might have otherwise done; and the boys were relieved from their apprehension of Charlotte’s dying an old maid.  Charlotte herself was tolerably composed. She had gained her point, and had time to consider of it.  Her reflections were in general satisfactory.  Mr. Collins to be sure was neither sensible or agreeable; his society was irksome, and his attachment to her must be imaginary.  But still he would be her husband.–Without thinking highly of either men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honorable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want.

SOMETHING ALIVE

Well known, but still worth remembering…

Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet: 

It is not inertia alone that is responsible for human relationships repeating themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new, unforeseeable experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope. But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation to another as something alive.

A VERY PROLONGED DREAM

More Bertrand Russell: 

Is there a table which has a certain intrinsic nature, and continues to exist when I am not looking, or is the table merely a product of my imagination, a dream-table in a very prolonged dream? 

THE INTEREST OF THE WORLD

Bertrand Russell, from Problems of Philosophy: 

Among all these surprising possibilities, doubt suggests that perhaps there is no [object] at all. Philosophy, if it cannot answer so many questions as we could wish, has at least the power of asking questions which increase the interest of the world, and show the strangeness and wonder lying just below the surface even in the commonest things of daily life. 

Virtual Auto-Icon

A 360 degree rotating view of Jeremy Bentham’s auto-icon. Naturally. 

"FIVE FRAGRANCES; FIVE PERSONALITIES"

The Awl has this spot-on analysis of what teen girls in the nineties wanted to smell like, and how the Gap exploited those desires. I’m ashamed and delighted to say that not only are the descriptions of my teen self fairly accurate, but the prophesies for my adult life aren’t far off either. It’s worth reading the whole thing.

I was a devoted Grass wearer.

IT IS IMAGINATION ALONE

So now it all makes sense!

But seriously…it kinda does.  Feuerbach on what bridges the gap between the real and our perceptions:

The opposition of the noumenal or invisible divine nature and the phenomenal or visible nature of the world, is however nothing else than the opposition between the nature of abstraction and the nature of perception; but that which connects abstraction with perception is the imagination…It is the imagination alone by which man neutralizes the opposition between God and the world.

A SHORT CUT TO THE COMMON DOOM

More from James:

It was he who was old—it was he who was older—it was he who was oldest. That was so disconcertingly what he had become. It was in short what he would have been had he been as old as he looked. He looked almost anything—he looked quite sixty. It made it out again at dinner, where, from a distance, but opposite, I had him in sight. Nothing could have been stranger than the way that, fatigued, fixed, settled, he seemed to have piled up the years. They were there without having had time to arrive. It was as if he had discovered some miraculous short cut to the common doom.  he had grown old, in fine, as people you see after an interval sometimes strike you as having grown rich—too quickly for the honest, or at least for the straight way.  He had cheated or inherited or speculated.