We are continuously challenged to discover new works of culture—and, in the process, we don’t allow any one of them to assume a weight in our minds.

On Distraction by Alain de Botton, City Journal Spring 2010 (via machinerysecondperiodandrewtsks)

Man, fuck that. I don’t “allow” shit to do shit in my mind. If culture wants to assume a weight in my thoughts, it better damn well tear down my barricades and storm its way in. 

If you click through to the link, De Botton waxes rhapsodic about some of the most limiting and stale ideas in human history. Viz:

A student pursuing a degree in the humanities can expect to run through 1,000 books before graduation day. A wealthy family in England in 1250 might have owned three books: a Bible, a collection of prayers, and a life of the saints—this modestly sized library nevertheless costing as much as a cottage. The painstaking craftsmanship of a pre-Gutenberg Bible was evidence of a society that could not afford to make room for an unlimited range of works but also welcomed restriction as the basis for proper engagement with a set of ideas.

You know what? I’m 100 per cent OK with having read more than the Bible in my lifetime. (I haven’t actually read the Bible because it’s boring and badly written.) But knowledge is good. Finding out new things is good. And finding out new things goes hand in hand with thinking about new things; one does not come at the expense of the other. I am the culture eater: feed me, feed me.