Justin Duke

Ten arguments

I just finished 300 Arguments, a series of aphorisms, vignettes, and truisms.

I recommend it: it’s not perfect, and a lot of the observations tend towards the vacuous, but the process of reading it is so quick and frictionless that it’s worth wading through the banality – like watching an okay movie that has a couple transcendent scenes.

My favorite ten “arguments”:

I don’t miss the city. I miss the place it was in the nineties, when everyone else also was twenty-two and broke.

Only a fire can teach you what survives a fire. No, it teaches you what can survive that fire.

I fret about my lost scarf. Then I miss my flight.

I’ve written whole books in order to avoid writing other books.

The true nobility put their inferiors at ease—by being kind to them? No, by dismantling the system for a moment.

The first beautiful songs you hear tend to stay beautiful because better than beauty, which is everywhere, is the memory of first discovering beauty.

With great and solemn portent, my teacher announced she would tell us something that her teacher had told her, and that her teacher’s teacher had told him, and so on, back to Yeats: The thing to remember is that no one ever finds out that you don’t know what you’re doing.

Bad art is from no one to no one.

Biographies should also contain the events that failed to foreshadow.

Every case is orthogonal to all the others. That’s the entire problem.

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