Joel Sumner Smith

Product Manager @Gatsby focused on developer experience.
Analogical thinker in an analytical world.

Letters

Two Short Excerpts

Most people enjoy contemplating the sufferings of tragic heroes, but they do not wish to be called upon for heroism themselves. Not caring deeply; looking at everything with irony, as a mere spectacle; and pursuing superficial pleasures: these are clever ways of evading or thwarting tragedy–in love, but also in every department of life. The smallness of aspiration against which Nietzsche inveighed in his portrait of “the last man” is not, as he suggested, a recent creation of bourgeois European Christianity. It is a pervasive inclination of ordinary human life.  (Martha Nussbaum “The Passion Fashion” The New Republic)

The industrial economy has made a general principle of the youthful antipathy to the past, and the modern world abounds with herlads of “a better future” and with debunkers happy to point out that Yeats was “silly like us” or that Thomas Jefferson may have had a Negro slave as a mistress–and so we are disencumbered of the burden of great lives, set free to be as cynical or desperate as we please.  (Wendell Berry “Marriage and Poetry: The Use of Old Forms” Standing By Words, p. 102)

© 2020, Joel Sumner Smith