Autodidact: self-taught



by V. L. Craven

Naked by David Sedaris Naked by David Sedaris
-001- Acting is different than posing or pretending. When done with precision, it bears a striking resemblance to lying.
-002- The drama bug seemed to strike hardest with Jews, homosexuals and portly girls whose faces were calked with acne medication. These were individuals who, for one reason or another, desperately craved attention. I would later discover it was a bad idea to gather more than two of these people in an enclosed area for any lengh of time. The stage was not only a physical place, but also a state of mind and the word audience was defined as anyone forced to suffer your company.
-003- Seeing as I was not the type of person to make things happen…

Neither Here nor There by Bill Bryson
01. p194 [Vaduz, Liechtenstein: At the foot of Mount Alpspitz 6,700 feet up] On an outcrop directly above the town is the gloomy and fortress like royal Schloss, looking uncannily like the Wicked Witch’s castle in The Wizard of Oz . Every time I looked up at it I half-expected to see those winged monkeys flying in and out.

The New Gothic The New Gothic edited by Bradford Morrow and Patrick McGrath
[Introduction]  01. Gothic fiction, in its earliest days, was known by the props and settings it employed, by it’s furniture. Dark forests and dripping cellars, ruined abbeys riddled with secret passages, clanking chains, skeletons, thunderstorms, and moonlight—from such materials did the first gothicists frame their tales. It’s not until the 1830s and ’40s, with Edgar Allan Poe, that the gothic begins to shift the emphasis away from all this gloomy hardward [sic hardware?] and becomes increasingly fascinated with the psyche of the gothic personality. With the shift a fresh vein of gothic ore is opened, and in Poe’s work we encounter minds and souls haunted by the urge to transgress and do evil, crippled with distortions of perception and moral sense, and obsessed with death and morbidity. With Poe the gothic turns inward, and starts rigorously to explore extreme states of psychological disturbance.

Poe recognised how the furniture of the genre could be spliced together with the sensibility. Roderick Usher’s mind is as much a reflection of his house as his house is a reflection of his mind. When the one fissures, the other fissures also–‘and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the ‘House of Usher’.’ In such a tale climate, landscape, architecture, genealogy, and psychology seem to bleed into one another until it is impossible to distinguish a figure from its metaphors.

The New Sins by David Byrne
-01- Hope carries more weight than all the other sins put together. Hope, although irrational, illogical and immaterial, encourages the most ridiculous, vile and treacherous acts…Hope is for the cowardly, for those who cannot face the reality of existence. Hope is empty wishing—that your girlfriend will be faithful, that your labour will lead to something of eternal worth or value, that you will eventually reach a destination.

Not Even Wrong Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism by Paul Collins
-01- [About In the Realms of the Unreal, a 15,000 page novel found in the apartment of a probably autistic man] Realms is a shutting out of the outside world, the literary equivalent of living inside Darger’s head: ‘At a certain point the length of a written work can change its nature completely,’ notes his biographer, John MacGregor. ‘It ceases to be a book, or a piece fo writing to be read… [and becomes] a means of living for a lifetime in another world.’
-02- [About Paul’s ‘fits’ in school] I just wanted everyone to shut up. It was overwhelming—horrible–the blast of noise of everyone talking at once, everyone singing at once, everyone looking at me at the same time when my turn came for something, and why can’t they stop it!

Not in Kansas Anymore by Christine Wicker
001. 24-5 … language creates reality. What we name is what we notice, and that’s another argument for the inherent strength in magic.
002. 28-9 Philosopher and psychologist William James wasn’t so sure about [belief in divinity or force that benefits humankind is deviant, childlike thinking] . He suspected that powers and forces not yet acknowledged by science might be active on the earth. He thought that belief in things greater than ourselves could have definite benefits, especially for those he called the sick-minded, among whom he counted himself.
The healthy-minded person looks at life with optimism and is able to hold his own against the ills of the world, clearly understanding himself to be separate from most of them and able to chart his own course, said James. Following Bettleheim’s thinking, we might say that the healthy-minded person has internalized the heroes and demons of the magical (or unconscious) world and found his place among the strong, the beautiful and the wise. Whether his actions and attributes actually place him in such company isn’t nearly as important as whether he thinks they do, because it is his belief in himself that makes him healthy and effective.
James’ sick-minded person, on the other hand, needs the second birth promised by religious life. He is depressive, fearful, too sensitive, morbidly fixated on illness, death and failure. He needs a new outlook so that he can forge through life with hope and confidence. He looks for something outside himself, some transformation. It is for him that religion may be vitally important—and a true path toward fulfillment as a human being—says James.
003. 32 Because human beings are helplessly committed to making meaning out of what happens to us, and these things do happen to us, it’s hard for us to resist the sense that “events may happen for their personal significance,” as James put it. Forswearing such connections may not be to our benefit at all. To accept that transcendence s imaginary, that epiphany is delusional, is to accept a state of spiritual impoverishment that hasn’t been required of any other human beings.
004. 33 Enchantment frightens us for good reason. Whether it’s enchantment of the ordinary kind or the magical kind, it may very well change us, and we may not be able to return to our old selves, to our old certainties and our easy understandings. {If you put a God tagline on it it’s more acceptable, but it’s still magic.}
005. 48-9 … but the gospel of positive thinking says that a person’s intentions, his will, and his inner reality can change what happens around him. That’s purely magical.
006. 53 When scientists showed that the brains of people with spiritual leanings and visionary experiences behave differently from the brains of people without such ideas, the magical people said, ‘We knew it. The brain is hard-wired to pick up the hidden knowledge that’s all around us. We must recover our abilities.’
007. 72 It’s been my experience that anytime men start telling women how sex ought to be, women don’t do well.
008. 87 God always seems to be puny and late to arrive. I can’t count how many stories of suffering and worry I’ve heard that ended with God finally coming to the rescue. Nobody ever asks why it took him so long…
009. hypnopompic vision: a vision that occurs between waking and sleep. Such visions aren’t anything real, just a little blip in imagination.
010. 173-4 Kioni: “The Negro, in spite of his open-faced laughter, his seeming acquiescence, is particularly evasive,” she wrote. You see, we are a polite people and we do not say to our questioner, ‘Get out of here!’ We smile and tell him or her something that satisfies the white person because, knowing so lttle about us, he doesn’t know what he is missing. The Indian resists curiosity by a stony silence. The Negro offers a feather-bed resistance. That is, we let the probe enter, but it never comes out. It gets smothered under a lot of laughter and pleasantries.
Added to featherbed resistance, there’s another problem when white people try to find out about hoodoo. A lot of magical thought is secret, or used to be. When Cat went into conjure shops hoping to talk about hoodoo, she always looked for a particular picture, as a sign that the proprietor might be willing to talk with a white person. it had a yellow background and showed three heads: Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy. If she saw that picture, she was usually able to count on a good reception.
011. 190 All three men were constructing what Philip Roth calls counterlife, a fantasy biography. Hillman says that reading a life backward gives us a clue as to why. They told these stories once they had fulfilled the destiny that their daimon ordained for them. Anyone who does that may feel that they were always “themselves” even in childhood and that their stories should reflect that.
“Something in us doesn’t want to lay out the facts for fear that they will be taken to be the truth and the only truth,” Hillman writes. Everyone reads his life backward to one degree or another as maturity casts new light on personal history. Mark Twain said that the older he got, the more he remembered things that never happened.
012. 238 The brain works by percentages, authors Vilayanur S. Ramachandran and Diane Rogers-Ramachandran wrote in explanation. “As you feel your unseen hand being tapped and stroked and see the table or dummy hand being touched the same way, your brain in effect asks itself, ‘What is the likelihood that these two sets of random sequences [on the hidden hand and on the visible table or dummy] could be identical simply by chance? Nil. Therefore, the other person must be touching me.’”
The brain makes its decision automatically based only on sensory input. higher consciousness that might involve logic is never consulted. “Even a lifetime of experience that a table is not a part of your body is abandoned in light of the perceptual decision that it is. Your ‘knowing’ that it cannot be so does not negate the illusion,” the authors wrote. The researchers then went on to link this deep ‘knowing’ with people who cling to superstitions even when their logic tells them that such things cannot be true.

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