The serious reader in the age of technology is a rebel by definition: a protester without a placard, a Luddite without hammer or bludgeon. She reads on planes to picket the antiseptic nature of modern travel, on commuter trains to insist on individualism in the midst of the herd, in hotel rooms to boycott the circumstances that separate her from her usual sources of comfort and stimulation, during office breaks to escape from the banal conversation of office mates, and at home to revolt against the pervasive and mind-deadening irrelevance of television.
Life in the world... was nothing more than a system of atavistic contracts, banal ceremonies, preordained words, with which people entertained each other in society in order not to commit murder. The dominant sign in that paradise of provincial frivolity was fear of the unknown.
I love and admire everyone who is different. I love that. The 'jet set' is banal. 'Good taste' is banal. Eccentricity is chic. Good taste paralyzes. But punk or street fashion or a tattoo-covered body, that is interesting to me, and that I love. I didn't go to fashion school. I learned from watching couture shows on TV and reading magazines. That made me dream.
The great work of art is the complete banality, and the fault with most banalities is that they are not banal enough. Banality here is not infinite in its depth and consequence, but rests on a foundation of spirituality and aesthetics.
Any one who has stood upon a lofty summit and gazed over an inchoate tangle of deep canyons and cragged mountains, of sunlit lakelets and black expanses of forest, has become aware of a certain giddy sensation that there are no distances, no measures, simply unrelated matter rising and falling without any analogy to the banal geometry of breadth, thickness, and height.
There's almost a fear that if you understood too deeply the way you arrived at choices, you could become self-conscious. In any case, many ideas which are full of personal meaning seem rather banal when you put words to them.
Dawn was written well before 9/11. People speak a lot today about the banality of evil, but not all evil is banal. Some of it is carefully structured and well-thought-out. That's where the real danger lies.