“Just as a complicated mathematical formula is a system of brackets within brackets set out in space, so Burden’s mental life of attention and concentration is chopped up into a series of interruptions extended in time.  Day after day after day appears to him in retrospect as a series of frustrated attempts to pick up the broken thread of what was to have been the main business of the day before.  All the time spent on that main business has been spent in getting back to the starting line, no progress whatever has been made and he seems to himself to have wasted the entire day.  Like Alice Through the Looking Glass, he is out of breath with running at full speed in order to keep up with himself remaining in the same place.”

Owen Barfield, This Ever Diverse Pair (London: Gollancz, 1950; rpt. Barfield Press 2010), 37.

5 thoughts on “Thursday, 10 May

  1. I’m intrigued by this Burden. In the last posted passage, he seemed to be the interruption (perhaps even an allegorical figure for the source of many interruptions); in this one, he is being interrupted (and yes, sounds like an academic, or at least like me).

  2. Burden’s got some fucken issues. In particular, it sounds like Burden is one of those intrusive assholes who not only can’t keep his own mental house in order, but also affirmatively interferes with the equanimity and concentration of others. I avoid people like Burden like the plague.

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