It’s true that Burke anticipated some of the pathologies of individualism and (while being in many ways himself a product of the Enlightenment) identified important weaknesses in Enlightenment thinking – but the earliest postmodern political thinker? Come off it. The grand narrative of human progress that Burke inherited along with the idea of providence and, despite the French Revolution, never renounced clearly rules him out. If you are looking for the first postmodern philosopher, the sceptical Michel de Montaigne is a much better candidate.
— John Gray
In all, the EU estimated that more than 70,000 citizens of 12 countries died from heat-induced illnesses over a four-month period in the summer of 2003. This number represents more fatalities than have resulted from any EU or American conflict since World War Two or any natural disaster (e.g., hurricanes, earthquakes and floods) to have ever struck a developed nation. It dwarfs the 1800 deaths attributed to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and effectively renders trivial the 900 lives lost during the highly publicised Sars epidemic that struck in the same year as the heatwave … Americans would need to experience more than 20 terrorist attacks equivalent in destruction to 9/11 before such a death toll would be approached. Yet the global response to this climate event, an event that reveals more about the profoundly changing environment in which we now live than any other yet endured, has largely been one of indifference.
— The City and the Coming Climate: Climate Change in the Places We Live by Brian Stone, LRB review
Really, when I’m reading, all I want is to stand amazed in front of an unknown object at odds with the world.
— David Winters
I cannot remember ever before feeling the visceral contempt I have for this gang of posh sociopaths. As a rough guide, I would say any government that sets the welfare of the comfortably off above the welfare of the old, the young, the sick, the poor, the oppressed, the disabled … well, call me old-fashioned but any government like that wants hosing down the drain. … those 10,726,614 people who voted Tory three years ago. Yeah, thanks to some voodoo mathematics, they are apparently in charge of everything now. It’s like when Marlo and his heartless soldiers took the corners in The Wire and now they are mugging our frail, elderly parents and we just stay out of sight like the useless bubbles we are.
— Ian Martin
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.
— François-René de Chateaubriand, via Maria Popova