Since quitting social media, I’ve had all this time to read. Last week, I finished The Talented Mr Ripley. Patricia Highsmith writes very fine sentences, good paragraphs, but is not much for chapters. Nonetheless, her capacity to identify the micro-incentives, micro-disappointments, and micro-delusions which happen at a nearly imperceptible level in the human heart was astounding.
“It is not so much that modern men have ceased to believe in god as it is they have ceased to believe in transcendence. We still have gods, but they are immanent. They are here and now and nowhere else in history or in the future. Immanent gods require a culture of immanence, as well, and so we have exalted art which affects us immediately and profoundly. We prize art which is sleek, sensual, sexy, shocking, loud, flashy, funny, and fast-paced. Subtle art is heretical, then, for it requires long periods of contemplation and by the time it is understood, we will have already moved on to the worship of new gods.”
“The 20th century witnessed a bifurcation in art, where “high art” became increasingly esoteric and “low art” became increasingly sensual. Over the course of the 20th century, high art and low art engaged in a game of chicken, wherein each side dared the other to greater extreme. The weirder high art became, the more sensual low art became. Jackson Pollock and Hugh Hefner both rose to prominence in the 1950s, though Pollock’s appeal was that no one understood him and Hefner’s appeal was that no one misunderstood him. When modern men think of art, they tend to think of such highs and lows. In the midst of this daring game of extremes, art lost the common touch.”
“A man does not mind being blamed for his faults and being punished for them, and he patiently suffers for them, but he becomes impatient if he is required to give them up.
What does it mean for our faults to be “worth it”? How do faults slowly become our private lives? How do our private lives ultimately overtake our public lives? This week’s episode of Proverbial addresses these questions. Download the latest episode here.