Monday, September 07, 2009

About Truisms

A couple of people asked after my last post, Truisms.

I was watching the movie Helvetica (a great movie, by the way). About 50 minutes in begins a segment with this guy Stefan Sagmeister, who says

I myself got fairly disappointed with modernism in general. It simply became boring. If I see a brochure now with lots of whitespace, that has six lines of Helvetica up on the top, and a little abstract logo on the bottom, and a picture of a businessman walking somewhere—the overall communcation says to me "do not read me because I will bore the shit out of you"

Stefan himself was not the most engaging individual ever, but behind him was a poster series of Jenny Holzer's Truisms. See here in a frame from the film:

Picture 2.png
I looked them up, and there they were.

My favorites, you ask? Here:

A SENSE OF TIMING IS THE MARK OF GENIUS
A SINCERE EFFORT IS ALL YOU CAN ASK
A STRONG SENSE OF DUTY IMPRISONS YOU
ABSOLUTE SUBMISSION CAN BE A FORM OF FREEDOM
ANY SURPLUS IS IMMORAL
ANYTHING IS A LEGITIMATE AREA OF INVESTIGATION
AT TIMES INACTIVITY IS PREFERABLE TO MINDLESS FUNCTIONING
BEING HAPPY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING ELSE
CALM IS MORE CONDUCTIVE TO CREATIVITY THAN IS ANXIETY
DEVIANTS ARE SACRIFICED TO INCREASE GROUP SOLIDARITY
DYING AND COMING BACK GIVES YOU CONSIDERABLE PERSPECTIVE
ENJOY YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU CAN'T CHANGE ANYTHING ANYWAY
FAKE OR REAL INDIFFERENCE IS A POWERFUL PERSONAL WEAPON
GOVERNMENT IS A BURDEN ON THE PEOPLE
GRASS ROOTS AGITATION IS THE ONLY HOPE
HABITUAL CONTEMPT DOESN'T REFLECT A FINER SENSIBILITY
HIDING YOUR MOTIVES IS DESPICABLE
IF YOU LIVE SIMPLY THERE IS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT
IGNORING ENEMIES IS THE BEST WAY TO FIGHT
IN SOME INSTANCES IT'S BETTER TO DIE THAN TO CONTINUE
IT'S GOOD TO GIVE EXTRA MONEY TO CHARITY
IT'S IMPORTANT TO STAY CLEAN ON ALL LEVELS
IT'S NOT GOOD TO OPERATE ON CREDIT
IT'S VITAL TO LIVE IN HARMONY WITH NATURE
MOSTLY YOU SHOULD MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
OFTEN YOU SHOULD ACT LIKE YOU ARE SEXLESS
PEOPLE ARE NUTS IF THEY THINK THEY ARE IMPORTANT
POLITICS IS USED FOR PERSONAL GAIN
SELF-AWARENESS CAN BE CRIPPLING
SOLITUDE IS ENRICHING
THE SUM OF YOUR ACTIONS DETERMINES WHAT YOU ARE
THERE'S NOTHING EXCEPT WHAT YOU SENSE
TORTURE IS BARBARIC
WORDS TEND TO BE INADEQUATE
YOU CAN'T EXPECT PEOPLE TO BE SOMETHING THEY'RE NOT
I don't necessarily agree with every one (although it's fair to say that I do with most) but each one is worthy of serious thought.

7 comments:

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you.xx

seneca said...

THE SUM OF YOUR ACTIONS DETERMINES WHAT YOU ARE

to others, not to yourself. no one will ever be able to see the total sum of your actions without seeing your intention.

Isaac said...

I think intention is an orthogonal issue: your actions are what matters because they determine the actual effect you have on the world. intentions don't.

i think this statement relates to the human equivalent of the "if a tree falls in the forest and noone is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" riddle. to the world, to the universe, the sum of your actions determines what you are. is there any other meaning of "I am"? and if so, does it matter?

Matt said...

Glad you liked the movie dude. Does what mean you bought a Blu-ray player?

Isaac said...

Umm... it more means that I gave up waiting for myself to buy a Blu-ray player and watched it in streaming HD on Netflix via TiVo.

Don't hate me. When BR arrives Helvetica will be first disc in it.

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