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  • Something from Taleb's "Fooled by Randomness":

    Then I figured out a personal rule: for writing to be agreeable to do, the length of the piece needs to remain uncertain. If I see the end of it, or if I am subjected to the shadow of an outline, I give up. Think of it this way: would you like to know with great precision when you will die? Would you like to know who did the crime at the beginning of a murder mystery? Actually.. wouldn't it be better going into a movie not having seen trailers/promos, and not knowing the runtime?

    Michel Houellebecq's "Submission":

    .. the special thing about literature, the major art form of a Western civilisation now ending before our very eyes, is not hard to define. Like literature, music can overwhelm you with sudden emotion, can move you to absolute sorrow or ecstasy; like literature, painting has the power to astonish, and to make you see the world through fresh eyes. But only literature can put you in touch with another human spirit, as a whole, with all its weaknesses and grandeurs, its limitations, its pettinesses, its obsessions, its beliefs; with whatever it finds moving, interesting, exciting or repugnant. Only literature can give you access to a spirit from beyond the grave – a more direct, more complete, deeper access than you’d have in conversation with a friend. Even in our deepest, most lasting friendships, we never speak as openly as when we face a blank page and address a reader we do not know. The beauty of an author’s style, the music of his sentences have their importance in literature, of course; the depth of an author’s reflections, the originality of his thought certainly can’t be overlooked; but an author is above all a human being, present in his books, and whether he writes very well or very badly hardly matters – as long as he gets the books written and is, indeed, present in them.