of such titles as Essays in Trespassing and Crossing Boundaries that hint at his penchant for the interdisciplinary, wrote in 1970 discussing the paradox inherent in the economic model of perfect competition:

...society as a whole produces a comfortable and perhaps steadily increasing surplus, but every individual firm considered in isolation is barely getting by, so that a single false step will be its undoing. As a result, everyone is constantly made to perform at the top of his form and society as a whole is operating on its — forever expanding — "production frontier," with economically useful resources fully occupied... These various observations add up to a syndrome, namely, to man's fundamentally ambivalent attitude toward his ability to produce a surplus: he likes surplus but is fearful of paying its price. While unwilling to give up progress he hankers after the simple rigid constraints on behavior that governed him when he, like all other creatures, was totally absorbed by the need to satisfy his most basic drives. Who knows but that this hankering is at the root of the paradise myth! (Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, 9)
It would seem that we are doomed to a cult of work that is ever-present, seeking to assimilate each of us and to steal our souls. It offers up promises of predictable reward, and asks us to ignore the diminishing returns on our labor.

The recourse must be to honor the space between work and not-work. Here we come not only to appreciate a sense of balance, but to open up a channel for fulfilment by facilitating a fundamental reciprocal relationship. We work well because we have rested well; we rest well because we have worked well. This cycle only functions if we acknowledge that there is a state of not-working that is yet not mere idleness, and that is crucial to the whole mechanism of fulfilment and creativity. The cycle functions if we allow the space for work to be a dynamic concept and not a monolithic one. It functions if we allow ourselves the space and time to shed our skin, to shrug off the stale in order to embrace the new. We take a breath to allow ourselves to be thinking creatures. Only then can work and rest be restored to their proper roles.



— Semiotic Borders: Signs and Symbols —

"Most of the ambiguities I have considered here seem to me beautiful; I consider, then, that I have shown by example, in showing the nature of the ambiguity, the nature of the forces which are adequate to hold it together." — William Empson, Seven Types of Ambiguity


Every artist is aware of the potential for misunderstanding of his intent. There is a fine line to be walked between heavyhandedness and incoherence. The same is true of any communicative enterprise. Even in small talk, there are patterns of behavior and cues we give in order to get our point across without coming across as rude or nonsensical.