Sentient in San Francisco – 17 September 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 17 September 1907 – Edmonia Lewis, an American sculpture who for most of her career worked in Rome, Italy. In the words of one writer, “Born free in New York [4 July 1844], she was the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to achieve international fame and recognition as a sculptor in the fine arts world. Her work is known for incorporating themes relating to black people and indigenous peoples of the Americas into Neoclassical-style sculpture.”

Below – “Forever Free”; “The Death of Cleopatra”; “The Marriage of Hiawatha”; “The Old Arrowmaker and His Daughter”; “Hiawatha and Minnehaha”; “Robert Gould Shaw.”

This Date in Philosophical History: Died 17 December 1994 – Karl Popper, an Austrian-born British philosopher, who is regarded as one of the 20th century’s greatest philosophers of science.

Some quotes from the work of Karl Popper:

“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.”
“The growth of knowledge depends entirely upon disagreement.”
“The question is not how to get good people to rule; THE QUESTION IS: HOW TO STOP THE POWERFUL from doing as much damage as they can to us.”
“Every intellectual has a very special responsibility. He has the privilege and the opportunity of studying. In return, he owes it to his fellow men (or ‘to society’) to represent the results of his study as simply, clearly and modestly as he can. The worst thing that intellectuals can do – the cardinal sin – is to try to set themselves up as great prophets vis-à-vis their fellow men and to impress them with puzzling philosophies. Anyone who cannot speak simply and clearly should say nothing and continue to work until he can do so.”
“No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.”
“In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
“Ignorance is not a simple lack of knowledge but an active aversion to knowledge, the refusal to know, issuing from cowardice, pride, or laziness of mind.”
“Astrologers were greatly impressed, and misled, by what they believed to be confirming evidence-so much so that they were quite unimpressed by any unfavorable evidence. Moreover, by making their interpretations and prophecies sufficiently vague they were able to explain away anything that might have been a refutation of the theory had the theory and the prophecies been more precise. In order to escape falsification they destroyed the testability of their theory. It is a typical soothsayer’s trick to predict things so vaguely that the predictions can hardly fail: that they become irrefutable.”
“The best thing that can happen to a human being us to find a problem, to fall in love with that problem, and to live trying to solve that problem, unless another problem even more lovable appears.”
“There is no history, only histories.”
“The true Enlightenment thinker, the true rationalist, never wants to talk anyone into anything. No, he does not even want to convince; all the time he is aware that he may be wrong. Above all, he values the intellectual independence of others too highly to want to convince them in important matters. He would much rather invite contradiction, preferably in the form of rational and disciplined criticism. He seeks not to convince but to arouse – to challenge others to form free opinions.”
“We should realize that, if [Socrates] demanded that the wisest men should rule, he clearly stressed that he did not mean the learned men; in fact, he was skeptical of all professional learnedness, whether it was that of the philosophers or of the learned men of his own generation, the Sophists. The wisdom he meant was of a different kind. It was simply the realization: how little do I know! Those who did not know this, he taught, knew nothing at all. This is the true scientific spirit.”
“When we enter a new situation in life and are confronted by a new person, we bring with us the prejudices of the past and our previous experiences of people. These prejudices we project upon the new person. Indeed, getting to know a person is largely a matter of withdrawing projections; of dispelling the smoke screen of what we imagine he is like and replacing it with the reality of what he is actually like.”

This Date in Art History: Died 17. September 1928 – Carl Eytel, a German-American painter and illustrator.

Below – “Desert near Palm Springs”; “California landscape”; “A Rio Grande pueblo”; “Desert landscape”; “Cattle Herding.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 September 1903 – Frank O’Connor, an Irish short story writer, memoirist, novelist, travel writer, critic, and poet.

Some quotes from the work of Frank O’Connor

“Even if there were only two men left in the world and both of them saints they wouldn’t be happy. One them would be bound to try and improve the other. That is the nature of things.”
“The short story is the art form that deals with the individual when there is no longer a society to absorb him, and when he is compelled to exist, as it were, by his own inner light.”
“I was a great believer in hot buttered toast at all hours of the day.”
“Choice was an illusion. Seeing that a man can never really get out of jail, the great thing is to ensure that he gets into the biggest possible one with the largest possible range of modern amenities.”
“All I know from my own experience is that the more loss we feel the more grateful we should be for whatever it was we had to lose. It means that we had something worth grieving for. The ones I’m sorry for are the ones that go through life not knowing what grief is.”
“Always in the short story there is this sense of outlawed figures wandering about the fringes of society…. As a result there is in the short story at its most characteristic something we do not often find in the novel–an intense awareness of human loneliness.”

Contemporary American Art – Faustine Badrichani

Below – “Blue WoCarlman”; “Pink and Blue Woman”; “Pink and Blue Woman”; “Maroon Woman”; “Nudes”; from “Lifestyle,” acrylic paint on paper.

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 September 1935 – Ken Kesey, an American novelist, essayist, and author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” a book that was made into a splendid movie directed by Milos Forman and starring Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, and Wiil Sampson. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Some quotes from the work of Ken Kesey:

“Since we don’t know where we’re going, we have to stick together in case someone gets there.”
“The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking. I’ve never seen anybody really find the answer, but they think they have. So they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.”
“If you’ve got love in your heart, whatever you do from that moment out is likely to be right. If you’ve got that one true note ringing inside you, then whatever you do is going to be OK.”
“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”
“When you love someone it is forever, or it was never really love at all.”
“The fundamentalists have taken the fun out of the mental.”
“You can count how many seeds are in the apple, but not how many apples are in the seed.”
“You can’t really be strong until you see a funny side to things.”
“People think love is an emotion. Love is good sense.”
It is just as much an offense to take offense as it is to give offense.
“He Who Marches Out Of Step Hears Another Drum.”
“It isn’t by getting out of the world that we become enlightened, but by getting into the world…by getting so tuned in that we can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because we become the waves.”

Contemporary German Art – Sven Pfrommer

Below (photographs) – “Human Crowd V”; “Urban Sensor XII”; “Tokyo Crossing XI”; “Human Hub V”; “Java Jazz XXIX”; “Urban Shadow VIII.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 September 1883 – William Carlos Williams, an American poet, short story writer, and essayist.

by William Carlos Williams

years of anger following
hours that float idly down —
the blizzard
drifts its weight
deeper and deeper for three days
or sixty years, eh? Then
the sun! a clutter of
yellow and blue flakes —
Hairy looking trees stand out
in long alleys
over a wild solitude.
The man turns and there —
his solitary track stretched out
upon the world.

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