There are two kinds of pity. One, the weak-minded, sentimental sort, is really just the heart’s impatience to rid itself as quickly as possible of the painful experience of being moved by another person’s suffering. It is not a case of real sympathy, of feeling with the sufferer, but a way of defending yourself against someone else’s pain. The other kind, the only one that counts, is unsentimental but creative. It knows its own mind, and is determined to stand by the sufferer, to the last of its strength and even beyond.
— The epigraph of Stefan Zweig’s Beware of Pity (translation by Anthea Bell, 2013 edition). This book is next on my reading list.
The truth is, griping can be fun, and as rapidly ageing gentlemen, seasoned observers of the human comedy, wise gray heads who have seen it all and are surprised by nothing, I feel it is our duty to gripe and scold, to attack the hypocrisies, injustices, and stupidities of the world we live in. Let the young roll their eyes when we speak. Let the not so young ignore what we say. We must carry on with utmost vigilance, scorned prophets crying into the wilderness - for just because we know we are fighting a losing battle, that doesn’t mean we should abandon the fight.
— From a letter written by Paul Auster, part of a published exchange between Auster and writer/friend J.M. Coetzee, Here and Now (2013)
I am dismayed at the prospect of the library of the future. I am sure that feeling is shared by many. But, aside from sentiment, what can justify such dismay? A hunger for the real in a world of shadows? Books are not real, not in any important sense. The very letters on the page are signs, images of sounds, which are images of ideas. The fact that what we call a book can be picked up in one’s hands, has a smell and a feel of its own, is an accident of its production with no relevance to what the book conveys
— From a letter written by J.M. Coetzee, part of a published exchange between Coetzee and writer/friend Paul Auster, Here and Now
For this is the truth that we are now facing. For all of its democratizing power, the Internet, in its current form, has simply replaced the old boss with a new boss. And these new bosses have market power that, in time, will be vastly larger than that of the old boss.
— Interesting post (and comments) by venture capitalist Fred Wilson, Platform Monopolies
, via AVC
Technology is not destiny
— From The Second Machine Age
by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, both from MIT. Often when I read books about technology and business I feel uncomfortable with the sense of inevitability conveyed. This book is an optimistic one but does recognise the complexity of the issues it examines.