Part of my current paradigm is to insert a pithy quotation into each post. These are meant to reinforce whatever point I’m trying to make. Some are pulled from my journals, gathered from books that I’ve read. Others are old favorites that I practically know by heart. A few are sourced in the wild, i.e. I searched the internet for something appropriate.
“Life itself is a quotation.”
Jorge Luis Borges, quoted by Jean Baudrillard in Cool Memories (1987), heard by Baudrillard at a lecture given by Borges in Paris.
The are many reasons for this, beyond the fact that I love quotes. First, it gives me comfort to know that other people have had similar, if not the same, ideas. Often people far smarter than I have reached the same conclusions. In a world where not long ago I was asked how many legs a spider has, this seriously helps my mental health and well-being.
Second, it gives the place a more literary feel. I’m not being pretentious here. To keep doing this I need the site to be more about ideas, and less about how I’m feeling today and what I’m planning to eat for breakfast tomorrow. Placed in that context, I hope you can agree.
I have a couple of ground rules, though. I need to know precisely where the quote came from. There are a million sites that will feed you a quote and the person that allegedly said it. These all feed off of one another, and are frequently wrong. The right person needs to get credit.
They also rarely tell you if the person said it in a speech, or in an interview, or if it originates in a book they wrote. That really bugs me. The work needs to be credited, and shared. Over the years I have discovered some great books I would never have heard of otherwise via sourcing quotes.
I also need to know the context. Just the other day I can across a brilliant quote by Joseph Conrad. In sourcing the quote… well, it comes from a book with “Narcissus” in the title, if you’re inclined to Google it. With context, it did not mean what I initially thought it meant. I also learned a lot about his political views that I never knew before. Yikes.
Life Itself is a Quotation
As for the quote used in this post, “life itself is a quotation”, Borges was referring to the power of actions. We cite the kindness of others, for example, as inspiring us to perform our own acts of kindness. It’s not about what they did; it’s what you did with that. Which brings us full circle to why I’m incorporating quotes. It’s not about what they said; it’s what I’m trying to say.