Nota Bene: Leo Tolstoy On Cognitive Dissonance

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I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.

Leo Tolstoy, excerpt from “What Is Art?”

Nota Bene: Seneca – On the Philosopher’s Seclusion

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As to the course which I seem to you to be urging on you now and then, my object in shutting myself up and locking the door is to be able to help a greater number. I never spend a day in idleness; I appropriate even a part of the night for study. I do not allow time for sleep but yield to it when I must, and when my eyes are wearied with waking and ready to fall shut, I keep them at their task.

I have withdrawn not only from men, but from affairs, especially from my own affairs; I am working for later generations, writing down some ideas that may be of assistance to them. There are certain wholesome counsels, which may be compared to prescriptions of useful drugs; these I am putting into writing; for I have found them helpful in ministering to my own sores, which, if not wholly cured, have at any rate ceased to spread.

– excerpt, Letters from a Stoic – Letter VIII: “On the Philosopher’s Seclusion”

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist

Nota Bene: Stephin Merritt

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Nota Bene is a new feature collecting noteworthy quotes from some of my favorite artists, scientists, writers, creators, and thinkers.

“I feel like Psychocandy is the last significant event in pop music production. It’s the last album that sounded shockingly new, to me anyway.”

– Stephin Merritt, in conversation with the New York Times, January 2008