Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

9

[...] Perhaps life is kept going by our ignorance of its fundamental meaning, as capitalism is for Karl Marx. [...]

just thought this was a cool quote

—p.9 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] Perhaps life is kept going by our ignorance of its fundamental meaning, as capitalism is for Karl Marx. [...]

just thought this was a cool quote

—p.9 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago
11

Only by keeping your head down as you pick a precarious way through the minefield of human existence can you hope to survive, paying homage to cruelly capricious gods who often enough scarcely deserve human respect, let alone religious veneration. The very human powers which might allow you to find a foothold in this unstable terrain continually threaten to spin out of control, turning against you and bringing you low. It is in these fearful conditions that the Chorus of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King delivers its final gloomy judgement: ‘Count no man happy till he dies, free of pain at last'.

This may be a response to the problem of human existence, but it is hardly a solution to it. For tragedy, there is often enough no answer to why individual lives are crushed and mutilated beyond endurance, why injustice and oppression appear to reign sovereign in human affairs, or why men are deceived into chewing the roasted flesh of their own slaughtered children. Or rather, the only answer lies in the resilience with which these issues are confronted, the depth and artistry with which they are framed. Tragedy at its most potent is a question without an answer, deliberately depriving us of ideological consolation. If it demonstrates in its every gesture that human existence cannot tolerably carry on like this, it challenges us to find a solution to its anguish which is more than just another piece of wishful thinking, piecemeal reformism, sentimental humanism, or idealist panacea. In portraying a world in urgent need of redemption, it intimates at the same moment that the very thought of redemption may well be just another way of distracting ourselves from a terror which threatens to turn us to stone.

—p.11 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago

Only by keeping your head down as you pick a precarious way through the minefield of human existence can you hope to survive, paying homage to cruelly capricious gods who often enough scarcely deserve human respect, let alone religious veneration. The very human powers which might allow you to find a foothold in this unstable terrain continually threaten to spin out of control, turning against you and bringing you low. It is in these fearful conditions that the Chorus of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King delivers its final gloomy judgement: ‘Count no man happy till he dies, free of pain at last'.

This may be a response to the problem of human existence, but it is hardly a solution to it. For tragedy, there is often enough no answer to why individual lives are crushed and mutilated beyond endurance, why injustice and oppression appear to reign sovereign in human affairs, or why men are deceived into chewing the roasted flesh of their own slaughtered children. Or rather, the only answer lies in the resilience with which these issues are confronted, the depth and artistry with which they are framed. Tragedy at its most potent is a question without an answer, deliberately depriving us of ideological consolation. If it demonstrates in its every gesture that human existence cannot tolerably carry on like this, it challenges us to find a solution to its anguish which is more than just another piece of wishful thinking, piecemeal reformism, sentimental humanism, or idealist panacea. In portraying a world in urgent need of redemption, it intimates at the same moment that the very thought of redemption may well be just another way of distracting ourselves from a terror which threatens to turn us to stone.

—p.11 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago
12

Heidegger argues in his work Being and Time that humans are distinguished from other beings by their capacity to put their own existence into question. They are the creatures for whom existence as such, not just particular features of it, is problematic. This or that situation might prove problematic for a warthog, but – so the theory goes – humans are those peculiar animals who confront their own situation as a question, quandary, source of anxiety, ground of hope, burden, gift, dread, or absurdity. And this is not least because they are aware, as warthogs presumably are not, that their existence is finite. Human beings are perhaps the only animals who live in the perpetual shadow of death.

—p.12 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago

Heidegger argues in his work Being and Time that humans are distinguished from other beings by their capacity to put their own existence into question. They are the creatures for whom existence as such, not just particular features of it, is problematic. This or that situation might prove problematic for a warthog, but – so the theory goes – humans are those peculiar animals who confront their own situation as a question, quandary, source of anxiety, ground of hope, burden, gift, dread, or absurdity. And this is not least because they are aware, as warthogs presumably are not, that their existence is finite. Human beings are perhaps the only animals who live in the perpetual shadow of death.

—p.12 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago
15

The question ‘What is the meaning of life? might have seemed to an ancient Hebrew as curious as the question ‘Do you believe in God?’ For most people today, including a lot of religious believers, the latter question is unconsciously modelled on questions like ‘Do you believe in Father Christmas?’, or ‘Do you believe in alien abductions? [...] But an ancient Hebrew would probably not have imagined that ‘Do you believe in God?’ meant anything like that. Since the presence of Yahweh was proclaimed by the whole earth and heavens, the question could only mean: ‘Do you have faith in him?’ It was a matter of a practice, not of an intellectual proposition. It asked about a relationship, not about an opinion.

on the meaning of life being, at least in pre-modern times, obvious, in the sense of
a "solid foundation to human existence known as God"

—p.15 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago

The question ‘What is the meaning of life? might have seemed to an ancient Hebrew as curious as the question ‘Do you believe in God?’ For most people today, including a lot of religious believers, the latter question is unconsciously modelled on questions like ‘Do you believe in Father Christmas?’, or ‘Do you believe in alien abductions? [...] But an ancient Hebrew would probably not have imagined that ‘Do you believe in God?’ meant anything like that. Since the presence of Yahweh was proclaimed by the whole earth and heavens, the question could only mean: ‘Do you have faith in him?’ It was a matter of a practice, not of an intellectual proposition. It asked about a relationship, not about an opinion.

on the meaning of life being, at least in pre-modern times, obvious, in the sense of
a "solid foundation to human existence known as God"

—p.15 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago
17

Postmodernism then pushes this secularization one step further. As long as we still have depths, essences, and foundations, it insists, we are still in the awesome presence of the Almighty. We have not really killed and buried God at all. We have simply given him a series of majestic new names, like Nature, Man, Reason, History, Power, Desire, and so on. Rather than dismantling the whole outdated apparatus of metaphysics and theology, we have simply given it a new content. Only by breaking with the whole notion of ‘deep’ meaning, which will always tempt us to chase the chimera of the Meaning of meanings, can we be free. Not, to be sure, free to be ourselves, for we have also dismantled the metaphysical essence known as the self. Quite who is to be set free by this project, then, remains something of a mystery. It may also be that even postmodernism, with its aversion to absolute foundations, secretly smuggles such an absolute into the argument. It is not, to be sure, God or Reason or History, but it behaves in just such a bottom-line sort of way. Like these other absolutes, it is impossible to delve beneath it. For postmodernism, this is known as Culture.

his writing is kind of curmudgeonly but in a remarkably fun way

—p.17 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago

Postmodernism then pushes this secularization one step further. As long as we still have depths, essences, and foundations, it insists, we are still in the awesome presence of the Almighty. We have not really killed and buried God at all. We have simply given him a series of majestic new names, like Nature, Man, Reason, History, Power, Desire, and so on. Rather than dismantling the whole outdated apparatus of metaphysics and theology, we have simply given it a new content. Only by breaking with the whole notion of ‘deep’ meaning, which will always tempt us to chase the chimera of the Meaning of meanings, can we be free. Not, to be sure, free to be ourselves, for we have also dismantled the metaphysical essence known as the self. Quite who is to be set free by this project, then, remains something of a mystery. It may also be that even postmodernism, with its aversion to absolute foundations, secretly smuggles such an absolute into the argument. It is not, to be sure, God or Reason or History, but it behaves in just such a bottom-line sort of way. Like these other absolutes, it is impossible to delve beneath it. For postmodernism, this is known as Culture.

his writing is kind of curmudgeonly but in a remarkably fun way

—p.17 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago
22

Capitalist modernity, so it appeared, had landed us with an economic system which was almost purely instrumental. It was a way of life dedicated to power, profit, and the business of material survival, rather than to fostering the values of human sharing and solidarity. The political realm was more a question of management and manipulation than of the communal shaping of a common life. Reason itself had been debased to mere self-interested calculation. As for morality, this, too, had become an increasingly private affair, more relevant to the bedroom than the boardroom. Cultural life had grown more important in one sense, burgeoning into a whole industry or branch of material production. In another sense, however, it had dwindled to the window-dressing of a social order which had exceedingly little time for anything it could not price or measure. Culture was now largely a matter of how to keep people harmlessly distracted when they were not working.

—p.22 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago

Capitalist modernity, so it appeared, had landed us with an economic system which was almost purely instrumental. It was a way of life dedicated to power, profit, and the business of material survival, rather than to fostering the values of human sharing and solidarity. The political realm was more a question of management and manipulation than of the communal shaping of a common life. Reason itself had been debased to mere self-interested calculation. As for morality, this, too, had become an increasingly private affair, more relevant to the bedroom than the boardroom. Cultural life had grown more important in one sense, burgeoning into a whole industry or branch of material production. In another sense, however, it had dwindled to the window-dressing of a social order which had exceedingly little time for anything it could not price or measure. Culture was now largely a matter of how to keep people harmlessly distracted when they were not working.

—p.22 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago
24

[...] If everyday life was deficient in meaning, then it would have to be artificially supplemented with the stuff. It could be laced from time to time with a dash of astrology or necromancy, as one might add vitamin pills to one’s daily diet. Studying the secrets of the ancient Egyptians made a pleasant change from the tiresome business of finding yourself yet another fifty-bedroom mansion. Besides, since spirituality was all in the mind, it did not require of you any inconvenient sort of action, such as freeing yourself from the burden of running your mansions by giving away large amounts of money to the homeless.

on celebrities trying to find meaning in, e.g., Scientology

—p.24 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago

[...] If everyday life was deficient in meaning, then it would have to be artificially supplemented with the stuff. It could be laced from time to time with a dash of astrology or necromancy, as one might add vitamin pills to one’s daily diet. Studying the secrets of the ancient Egyptians made a pleasant change from the tiresome business of finding yourself yet another fifty-bedroom mansion. Besides, since spirituality was all in the mind, it did not require of you any inconvenient sort of action, such as freeing yourself from the burden of running your mansions by giving away large amounts of money to the homeless.

on celebrities trying to find meaning in, e.g., Scientology

—p.24 Questions and answers (1) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago
45

Religious fundamentalism is the neurotic anxiety that without a Meaning of meanings, there is no meaning at all. It is simply the flip side of nihilism. Underlying this assumption is the house-of-cards view of life: flick away the one at the bottom, and the whole fragile structure comes fluttering down. Someone who thinks this way is simply the prisoner of a metaphor. In fact, a great many believers reject this view. No sensitive, intelligent religious believer imagines that non-believers are bound to be mired in total absurdity. Nor are they bound to believe that because there is a God, the meaning of life becomes luminously clear. On the contrary, some of those with religious faith believe that God’s presence makes the world more mysteriously unfathomable, not less. If he does have a purpose, it is remarkably impenetrable. God is not in that sense the answer to a problem. He tends to thicken things rather than render them self-evident.

—p.45 The problem of meaning (33) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago

Religious fundamentalism is the neurotic anxiety that without a Meaning of meanings, there is no meaning at all. It is simply the flip side of nihilism. Underlying this assumption is the house-of-cards view of life: flick away the one at the bottom, and the whole fragile structure comes fluttering down. Someone who thinks this way is simply the prisoner of a metaphor. In fact, a great many believers reject this view. No sensitive, intelligent religious believer imagines that non-believers are bound to be mired in total absurdity. Nor are they bound to believe that because there is a God, the meaning of life becomes luminously clear. On the contrary, some of those with religious faith believe that God’s presence makes the world more mysteriously unfathomable, not less. If he does have a purpose, it is remarkably impenetrable. God is not in that sense the answer to a problem. He tends to thicken things rather than render them self-evident.

—p.45 The problem of meaning (33) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago
47

We speak of the complex network of meanings of a Shakespeare play without always supposing that Shakespeare was holding these meanings in his head at the exact moment of writing the words down. How could any poet of such prodigal imaginative fertility keep in mind all the possible connotations of his meanings? To say ‘This is a possible meaning of the work’ is sometimes to say that this is what the work can be plausibly interpreted to mean. What the author actually ‘had in mind’ may be completely beyond recovery, even for himself. Many writers have had the experience of being shown patterns of meaning in their work which they did not mean to put there. And what of unconscious meanings, which are by definition not deliberately intended? ‘I really do think with my pen’, Wittgenstein observes, ‘because my head often knows nothing about what my hand is writing.

—p.47 The problem of meaning (33) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago

We speak of the complex network of meanings of a Shakespeare play without always supposing that Shakespeare was holding these meanings in his head at the exact moment of writing the words down. How could any poet of such prodigal imaginative fertility keep in mind all the possible connotations of his meanings? To say ‘This is a possible meaning of the work’ is sometimes to say that this is what the work can be plausibly interpreted to mean. What the author actually ‘had in mind’ may be completely beyond recovery, even for himself. Many writers have had the experience of being shown patterns of meaning in their work which they did not mean to put there. And what of unconscious meanings, which are by definition not deliberately intended? ‘I really do think with my pen’, Wittgenstein observes, ‘because my head often knows nothing about what my hand is writing.

—p.47 The problem of meaning (33) by Terry Eagleton 1 year, 4 months ago
53

To dig strenuously with its enormous shovel-paws is the business of its whole life; permanent night surrounds it … what does it attain by this course of life that is full of trouble and devoid of pleasure? Nourishment and procreation, that is, only the means for continuing and beginning again in the new individual the same melancholy course.

from _ The World as Will and Representation_. the shovel-pawed mole as an emblem for human enterprise

pretty metal

—p.53 The problem of meaning (33) by Arthur Schopenhauer 1 year, 4 months ago

To dig strenuously with its enormous shovel-paws is the business of its whole life; permanent night surrounds it … what does it attain by this course of life that is full of trouble and devoid of pleasure? Nourishment and procreation, that is, only the means for continuing and beginning again in the new individual the same melancholy course.

from _ The World as Will and Representation_. the shovel-pawed mole as an emblem for human enterprise

pretty metal

—p.53 The problem of meaning (33) by Arthur Schopenhauer 1 year, 4 months ago