A word is worth 1,000th of a picture— Ian Baxter

Look at any word long enough and you will see it open up into a series of faults, into a terrain of particles, each containing its own void. This discomforatory language of fragmentation offers no easy gestalt solution. — Robert Smithson

The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the “state of emergency” in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight. Then we shall clearly realize that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency, and this will improve our position in the war against Fascism. One reason why Fascism has a chance is that in the name of progress its opponents treat it as a historical norm. The current amazement that the things we are experiencing are “still” possible in the twentieth century is not philosophical. This amazement is not the beginning of knowledge— unless it is the knowledge that the view of history which gives rise to it is untenable.

Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History

No account of the history of philosophy can be oriented to history alone. The consideration of the philosophic past must always be accompanied by philosophical reorientation and self-criticism. More than ever before, it seems to me, the time is again ripe for applying such self-criticism to the present age, for holding up to it the bright clear mirror of the Enlightenment. Much which seems to us today the result of “progress” will to be sure lose its luster when seen in this mirror; and much of what we boast of will look strange and distorted in this perspective. But we should be guilty of hasty judgment and dangerous self-deception if we simply ascribe these distortions as opaque spots in the mirror, rather than to look elsewhere for the source.

Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of the Enlightenment

I say, then, that in hereditary states, accustomed to their prince’s family, there are far fewer difficulties in maintaining one’s rule than in new principalities; because it is enough merely not to neglect the institutions founded by one’s ancestors and then to adapt policy to events. In this way, if the prince is reasonably assiduous he will always maintain his rule, unless some extraordinary force deprive him of it; and if so deprived, whenever the usurper suffers a setback he will reconquer.

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince