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Ghost Fictions

Using an open-source implementation of a popular large language model, I created extended portions of text that attempt to 'mirror' classic literature entered as a prompt. The following outputs generally reflect the ability of large language to imitate a particular style without a rich understanding of its content.  

The process involves feeding several pages of a nominated text into the network. Given that a large volume of text acts as a prompt for the system – and that the resulting sample is several pages in length – this project includes highlights from the final output only.   

Yet, on the other hand, their labor is not as fruitless as it looks, for they get the necessaries of life, and in some measure improve their condition, and if their bodies are consumed, their spirits do not return to the void, but are engendered in a state of bliss. If they do not get so much bread and cheese and beefsteaks as they want, and if they do not see the sun and stars, and the great ocean, and the living and the dead, and the heaven itself, they have an object in view which is much more important, a good conscience, which is much better than bread, and cheese, and beefsteaks. They have a great deal of pride and vanity, but they are proud and vain of the right use they make of their power, and vain of their duty to their fellow-men. There is a good deal of vanity in all this; and there is something in their employment which is not vain, but noble, and something else which is vain and foolish. In the first place, it is the employment of the poor; and, in the next place, it is the employment of the poor who are not only willing, but are willing to be employed in it. In this country, the poor have been the willing slaves of the rich, and the poor who have not been willing slaves have not been very useful. So far as I can understand it, the poor man who has no employment is willing to labor if he can get the price of his labor, but if he cannot get the price of his labor he does not want to labor. But there is another kind of vanity, which is the employment of the idle; and I have never seen any poor man who was willing to work, and who was not willing to be idle. The idle have been the willing slaves of the industrious. I believe that as the world goes, there has not been a great deal of virtuous labor. I have seen a man of genius who was forced to act the part of a drudge, and I have seen a man of labor who was forced to act the part of a drudge. And I believe that if there were no poor, and if the rich were contented with their wealth, there would be no drudgery in this country; and that there would be no drudgery anywhere else. I have been acquainted with men who had all their lives been drudges, and who had not learned to be happy.

Thoreau, Walden

Written in 1854 by Henry Thoreau, Walden chronicles the author's experience of living alone in the woods in Massachusetts. It documents the  fulfilment to be found in the wilderness, and his philosophical and political motivations for rejecting materialism.

I am even likely to have a more tenuous acquaintance with myself than I think. If I were to confess that I were not sure whether I had heard a joke said, I might be more ready than I imagine to expose the contradiction of my present belief with my past impressions. I am constantly conscious of two separate experiences, the one a perception of the world, the other a perception of myself, and it is only in the confusion of the two that I am able to be conscious of my past. The greater the difference between the two consciousnesses, the more limited is my knowledge of my personality, and the less can I be said to be my own. And to this difference between the two consciousnesses I attribute my frequent failures of self-possession, my inability to follow a conversation, my forgetfulness of a remark which I have made, and my confusion when I speak of myself, which I do so often. The first and most obvious instance of self-betrayal is the betrayal of our opinions.

Marian Evans, Impressions of Theophrastus Such

A work of fiction by George Eliot (Marian Evans) first published in 1879. The text takes the form of a series of literary essays by an imaginary minor scholar whose eccentric character is revealed through his work. 

We may, then, at once return to the question of what is money. The thing which comes into being as money, and which is always bought and sold as money, is that which is accepted as the representative of a debt, or as the promise to pay a debt, or as the price of a commodity. But the debt itself, the commodity, and the price, are names or descriptions, and the thing which is bought or sold is the thing itself. The thing itself is money. It is not necessary to go any further into the intricacies of the matter in order to show that the thing itself is money. It is money because it is accepted as a substitute for something else, and because it is accepted as a means of keeping the account between the parties. It is not because it is money that it is money, but because it is money. It is because it is money that it is accepted as a medium of exchange. The theory of money must therefore be primarily concerned with the nature of the thing which is accepted as a medium of exchange. It must be concerned with the nature of money, not with the history of money. And it must be concerned with the things which it is the function of the State to declare, when the time comes, to be money, not with the things which, at different times, have been declared to be money by the State. We may, then, look at the nature of money in three ways: (1) The nature of the thing which is accepted as a medium of exchange. (2) The nature of the title by which the thing is accepted. (3) The nature of the State or community which claims the right to declare what is money.

Keynes, Treatise on Money

A Treatise on Money is a two-volume book by English economist John Maynard Keynes published in 1930 in which the author considers the nature of money, savings, investment and employment. 

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