Meaning is a scrap among other scraps, though stickier. Meaning is so much better than nothing, in that it defines “nothing” as everything that meaning is not. Meaning prevents nothing from being only nothing. The “nothing that is not there and the nothing that is,” Wallace Stevens noticed. The same nothing, but a difference of attitude.
— Peter Schjeldahl, "The Art of Dying," The New Yorker
Inscriptions or objects designed to project an image of cosmic power - palaces, mausoleums, lavish stelae with godlike figures announcing laws or boasting of their conquests - are all precisely the ones most likely to endure, thereby forming the core of the world's major heritage sites and museum collections today. Such is their power that even now we risk falling under their spell. We don't really know how seriously to take them.
— David Graeber and David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything
— David Graeber and David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything
Do you know a psychotic thought that I've had, that the Temple of Dendur has something to do with me.
— Lily
The museum inexplicably has one of the world's largest collections of cicadas (regrettably not on view). It charges admission of $10.
— Andrew Sondern, "A Tourist's Guide to Staten Island"
Everyone, close your eyes.
— One Night Ultimate Werewolf app
Are you stealing our popcorn?
— Rina (potentially paraphrased)
It's the kookiest book cover I've ever seen."
— Conan O'Brien, "Reggie Watts: Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend"
As we've seen, when kings appear in the historical record, they tend to leave unmistakable traces.
— David Graeber and David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything
President Biden's influence over Israel and Ukraine seems far more constrained than expected, given his central role as the supplier of arms and intelligence.
New York Times subheadline
The world presents itself to those who travel on foot.
— Werner Herzog, "Werner Herzog: Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend"
It was vast and, in that vastness, more closely resembled a naturally occuring phenomenon than something man-made.
— Justin Beal, Sandfuture
What inspires me is that the work is a long continuum and never ending. I take stewardship of collections very seriously, as long in the future someone will benefit from my collection building and caretaking– as I have from past librarians. Preparing for an unknown future is an exciting and challenging puzzle. What we think is a great collection today is continually changing.
— Holly Hatheway, "What inspires you? Holly Hatheway, Head of Marquand Library"
Birds in the Americas Will No Longer Be Named After People
New York Times headline
Was farming from the very beginning about the serious business of producing more food to supply growing populations? Most scholars assume, as a matter of course, that this had to be the principal reason for its invention. But maybe farming began as a more playful or even subversive kind of process - or perhaps even as a side effect of other concerns, such as the desire to spend longer in particular kinds of locations, where hunting and trading were the real priorities.
— David Graeber and David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything
American societies typically reffered to themselves by some term that can be roughly translated as 'human beings' - most of the tribal names traditionally applied to them by Europeans are derogatory terms used by their neighbours ('Eskimo', for example, means 'people who don't cook their fish', and 'Iroquois' is derived from an Algonkian term meaning 'vicious killers').
— David Graeber and David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything
Looking back at the work Linda van Deursen and I made over the last 20 years, I count around 120 books, all of which fit on one shelf. Our whole career is just 100 inches wide, printed in small print runs.
— Armand Mevis, "Every Book Starts with an Idea: Notes for Designers"
They often write as if all important ideas in a given age can be traced back to one or other extraordinary individual - whether Plato, Confucius, Adam Smith, or Karl Marks - rather than seeing such authors' writings as particularly brilliant interventions in debates that were already going on in taverns or dinner parties or public gardens (or, for that matter, lecture rooms), but which otherwise might never have been written down. It's a bit like pretending William Shakespeare had somehow invented the English language. In fact, many of Shakespeare's most brilliant turns of phrase turn out to have been common expressions of the day, which any Elizabethan Englishman or woman would be likely to have thrown into casual conversation, and whose authors remain as obscure as those of knock-knock jokes – even if, were it not for Shakespeare, they'd probably have passed out of use and been forgotten long ago.
— David Graeber and David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything
This is a performance art... You need to know something about the ambitions of the people you're talking to.
— David Cornwell, The Pigeon Tunnel
Concerned that he lacked a native facility for remembering names and appointments, and believing that “a politician who sees a man once should remember him forever," Weed consciously trained his memory. He spent fifteen minutes every night telling his wife, Catherine, everything that had happened to him that day, everyone he had met, the exact words spoken.
— Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln