The autobiography of some great delight

Another reading from The Voice of the Machines, Gerald Stanley Lee’s “Introduction to the Twentieth Century”:

The truest definition of a gentleman is that he is a man who loves his work. This is also the truest definition of a poet. The man who loves his work is a poet because he expresses delight in that work. He is a gentleman because his delight in that work makes him his own employer. No matter how many men are over him, or how many men pay him, or fail to pay him, he stands under the wide heaven the one man who is master of the earth. He is the one infallibly overpaid man on it. The man who loves his work has the single thing the world affords that can make a man free, that can make him his own employer, that admits him to the ranks of gentlemen, that pays him, or is rich enough to pay him, what a gentleman’s work is worth.

The poets of the world are the men who pour their passions into it, the men who make the world over with their passions. Everything that these men touch, as with some strange and immortal joy from out of them, has the thrill of beauty in it, and exultation and wonder. They cannot have it otherwise even if they would. A true man is the autobiography of some great delight mastering his heart for him, possessing his brain, making his hands beautiful.

… While the definition of a poet and a gentleman—that he is a man who loves his work—might appear to make a new division of society, it is a division that already exists in the actual life of the world, and constitutes the only literal aristocracy the world has ever had.

You can get The Voice of the Machines at Gutenberg.org. This selection is from Part I: “The Men Behind the Machines”.

Cycle count

Hearing aids: left, right. Disposable batteries lasting two days each.

A tiny Bluetooth remote + condenser mic paired to three devices, as well as both hearing aids. Rechargeable battery somehow lasts for 10-14 hours (depending on how desperately I claw at those radios).

An iPhone whose battery is always drained 18 hours later. iPhones are for people with short days and simple lives.

An iPad. Sucker can hold a charge. I use it for reading and writing. It is a screen for words, and words are what we have. Also, the iPad’s little keyboard, which has disposable batteries that change with the seasons.

A Macbook Pro. Several golden hours. Many more if I’m just looking at the computer rather than doing anything with it.

A Nintendo 3DS. Rechargeable battery, good for four hours or so. More than I ever play, these days. More than enough for a trip through the cataclysmic end of a pocket universe. Last days, last rites. This world collapses and is not rebuilt, again and again.

A small faceless watch (also pedometer and sleep tracker). Disposable battery lasting about two months.

Living with these devices means that I take a short midnight stroll around the house before bed, setting small, expensive objects in place and plugging them into various chargers. It means I have a nest of whatever-to-USB cables that I drag with me when on the road.

Because of these objects I can speak with the people around me and the people far away from me. I can make things, and try to understand and explain them. I can listen to music. That’s good enough for me, and I am grateful for them.

Because of these objects I am reminded that we are all set against the clock; that we can be renewed, albeit temporarily; and that we can only do what we do a certain number of times before the possibility for renewal is itself depleted.

And I suppose am grateful for that, too.

The blue and the green

Noted without comment:

There is only one crime, in the local sense, and that is not to turn blue, if the gods are blue: but, in the universal sense, the one crime is not to turn the gods themselves green, if you’re green.

From Charles Fort’s The Book of the Damned.