The Reading Room
Writing to the Convivial Society, L. M. Sacasas discusses information and anxiety, even dread. Near the end, he invokes his intellectual lodestone:
In a talk Ivan Illich gave late in his life, he made the following observation: “Learned and leisurely hospitality is the only antidote to the stance of deadly cleverness that is acquired in the professional pursuit of objectively secured knowledge.” Then he added, “I remain certain that the quest for truth cannot thrive outside the nourishment of mutual trust flowering into a commitment to friendship.”
You could chew on that short blockquote for a long, long time. It offers at least two phrases that, for me, glow like amulets:
There’s “deadly cleverness,” of course —
But really, the power is in “learned and leisurely hospitality”. Put that on a string and carry it around your neck.
Sent to the Reading Room committee in April 2021