Patti Smith : “life is the best thing that we have”

Q :Do you think that, collectively, we’re going to pull through as a planet? That we’re going to manage to pull out of this and change our direction? And I must stress that I’m not asking you this as a prophet-poet but simply as a conscious human being.

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Smith: Of course I do. Because we’re not just one generation. We’re generation after generation after generation, and right now, we’re in a very…I would say it’s a very bad period. But there are good people within this bad period. We’re not in a bad period where everybody is evil, or where everybody is buying into all this stuff. A lot of people are just confused.

I mean… the way things are, they’re a lot worse than they were in the early seventies. It’s an atmosphere that I recognize. It’s the atmosphere that made me do Horses. Because I looked around and thought “What the hell’s going on?”, you know, “what’s wrong with people?” They’re forgetting who they are. And um, in some ways, we’re forgetting who we are. New generations will make records or write poems or get involved in politics. There are always good people that are ready to make change. And you know, I feel discouraged sometimes, especially in my country – my country is very discouraging. But on the other hand, I just, I don’t know what it is…but…I mean life is beautiful.

We have a relatively short life span. But of all the things that we can get, you know, all the material things, life is the best thing that we have. And if you’re living and you’re breathing, you have a chance. And I just think at any moment people can start turning things around. You know, for me, just the fact that you asked a question like that, I think is optimistic.

I think it’s quite beautiful that you would ask me that question. It’s like, you’re what, 44? I’m 68 years old. So I forget…I still feel young. I don’t feel like like your grandma I’m talking to you. You know – we’re like two humans…not that there’s anything wrong with a grandma. I’m just saying that I don’t feel severed by that. Because what we’re doing is we’re communicating. And that’s what…that’s how change will be made. And uh…I don’t know, it’s a rough time. All I can say is you know, try to be happy and take care of your teeth.

(laughs)

Drink a lot of water. And take care of your teeth, because if you don’t, it’s really a drag when you get older. So keep your teeth clean. I really spend a lot of time talking to people about their teeth because my generation had the worst teeth and the worst dental care. And when you get older, it’s a pain in the ass.

People think ‘It’s just your teeth’ and so they’re worried about their kidneys or their liver. But your teeth are really important. So, take care of your teeth as best you can. Drink a lot of water. Cultivate your mind. And try to be happy. Because the world is fucked up. I can’t pretend, or say “Oh, it’s not as bad as you think.” Yes, dear, the world is fucked up.

And a lot of reasons it’s fucked up is my country. But with all that, as an individual…I tell my kids too…you know…you like to think of yourself like a captain, and you’ve got this little boat. And sometimes the weather’s good, and you’re just sailing, and sometimes big storms hit, and you know, you’re in a stormy sea, but just ride it out, ride it out. Because it’s good to be alive.

source : http://www.salon.com/2015/10/05/patti_smiths_most_personal_interview_the_things_that_make_me_feel_strange_ive_transformed_them_into_work/

Leonard Cohen : I think my opinions are second-rate

Rogers: But I think in some of the songs that you’ve written there’s such a close relationship with poetry obviously, but form too. There’s a soundtrack to Night Magic where you wrote the lyrics in Spenserian ode form.

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Cohen: I’ve always been interested in form, maybe because I don’t trust my own spontaneous nature to come up with anything interesting, and form imposes a certain opportunity to get deeper than your first thought. There’s a school of poetry that believes first thought, best thought. That would have condemned me to an inauspicious superficiality if I had followed that, because I don’t have any ideas. Irving Layton once said to me, “Leonard is free from ideas.” I don’t have an idea and I don’t trust my opinions. I think my opinions are second-rate, but when you submit yourself to a form, then something happens and you’re invited to dig deeper into the language and to discard the slogans by which you live, the easy alibis of language and of opinion. And if you’re looking in the Spenserian stanza, for instance—which is a very, very intricate verse form—you have to come up with many rhymes of the same sound; you’re invited to explore realms that you usually don’t get to in ordinary, easy thought. I’ve considered my thought stream extremely uninteresting, and it’s only when I can discard it that I find I can say something that I can get behind.

source : https://brickmag.com/an-interview-with-leonard-cohen/

 

Noam Chomsky : capitalism is a tiny period of human society.

Q: One of the main arguments used against socialism is that human nature is by definition selfish and competitive, and hence is only conducive to capitalism. How would you respond?

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Chomsky : Bear in mind that capitalism is a tiny period of human society. We never really had capitalism, we always had one or another variant of state capitalism. The reason is capitalism would self-destruct in no time. So the business classes have always demanded strong state intervention to protect the society from the destructive effect of market forces. It’s often business that it’s in the lead, because they don’t want everything destroyed.

So we’ve had one or another form of state capitalism during an extremely brief period of human history, and it tells us essentially nothing about human nature. If you look at human societies and human interactions, you can find anything. You find selfishness, you find altruism, you find sympathy.

Let’s take Adam Smith, the patron saint of capitalism — what did he think? He thought the main human instinct was sympathy. In fact, take a look at the word “invisible hand.” Take a look at the actual way in which he used the phrase. Actually, it’s not hard to find out, because he only used it twice in any relevant sense, once in each of his two major books.

In his one major book, The Wealth of Nations, the phrase appears once, and it appears in what amounts to a critique of neoliberal globalization. What he says is that, if in England, the manufacturers and merchants invested abroad and imported from abroad, they might benefit, but it would be harmful to England. But their commitment to their home country is sufficient, so they are unlikely to do this and therefore, by an invisible hand, England will be saved from the impact of what we call neoliberal globalization. That’s one use.

The other use is in his other major book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (which people don’t read much, but for him it was the major book). Here he is an egalitarian, he believed in equality of outcome, not opportunity. He is an Enlightenment figure, pre-capitalist.

He says, suppose in England, one landowner got most of the land and other people would have nothing to live on. He says it wouldn’t matter much, because the rich landowner, by virtue of his sympathy for other people would distribute resources among them, so that by an invisible hand, we would end up with a pretty egalitarian society. That’s his conception of human nature.

That’s not the way “invisible hand” is used by the people who you took courses with or whose books you read. That shows a difference in doctrine, not in fact, about human nature. What we actually know about human nature is that it has all of these possibilities.

 

Source : https://chomsky.info/20161213-2/

 

Che’s goodbye letter to his children

Dear Hildita, Aleidita, Camilo, Celia and Ernesto,

If you read this letter one day, it will mean that I am no longer alive. You will hardly remember me, and the smallest among you will have entirely forgotten me.

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Your father was a man who acted as he thought best and who has been absolutely faithful to his convictions.

Grow up into good revolutionaries. Study hard to master technique, which gives you mastery over nature. Remember that it is the Revolution which is important and that each of us, taken in isolation, is worth nothing.

Above all be sensitive, in the deepest areas of yourselves, to any injustice committed against whoever it may be anywhere in the world.

Yours always, my children. I hope to see you again.

A big strong kiss from Daddy.

Dieter Ram: We have to move away from the throwaway habit

Q: How has design changed in the last 50 years?

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Dieter Rams: What I am especially bothered by today is that, particularly in the media, design is being used as a ‘lifestyle asset.’ I’m bothered by the arbitrariness and the thoughtlessness with which many things are produced and brought to the market. There are so many unnecessary things we produce, not only in the sector of consumer goods, but also in architecture, in advertising. We have too many unnecessary things everywhere. And I would even go as far as to describe this as inhumane. That is the situation today. But actually, it has always been a problem.

We need to deal with our resources differently, in terms of how we waste things. We have to move away from the throwaway habit. Things can, and must, last longer. They must be designed so that they can be reused. We need to take more care of our environment. That means not only our personal environment but also our cities and our resources. That is the future of design, to take more care of these basic elements. Otherwise I’m not sure what the future of our planet will be. So designers have to take on that responsibility, and to do so we need more support from government. We need political support to solve the problems with our environment and how we should shape our cities. As designers, we shouldn’t be doing this for ourselves, but for our community. And the community needs support, not only to interact with each other democratically, but it also needs support to live democratically.

source : https://www.fastcodesign.com/3043815/dieter-rams-if-i-could-do-it-again-i-would-not-want-to-be-a-designer

 

Neruda : you ought to make your own way

INTERVIEWER

What advice would you give to young poets?

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NERUDA:

Oh, there is no advice to give to young poets! They ought to make their own way; they will have to encounter the obstacles to their expression and they have to overcome them. What I would never advise them to do is to begin with political poetry. Political poetry is more profoundly emotional than any other—at least as much as love poetry—and cannot be forced because it then becomes vulgar and unacceptable. It is necessary first to pass through all other poetry in order to become a political poet. The political poet must also be prepared to accept the censure which is thrown at him—betraying poetry, or betraying literature. Then, too, political poetry has to arm itself with such content and substance and intellectual and emotional richness that it is able to scorn everything else. This is rarely achieved.

Source : https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4091/pablo-neruda-the-art-of-poetry-no-14-pablo-neruda

 

 

Hemingway: Worry destroys the ability to write

INTERVIEWER

How about financial security? Can that be a detriment to good writing?

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HEMINGWAY

If it came early enough and you loved life as much as you loved your work it would take much character to resist the temptations. Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it. Financial security then is a great help as it keeps you from worrying. Worry destroys the ability to write. Ill health is bad in the ratio that it produces worry which attacks your subconscious and destroys your reserves.

source : https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4825/ernest-hemingway-the-art-of-fiction-no-21-ernest-hemingway