Art Forms Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Art Forms. Here they are! All 200 of them:

Like any artist without an art form, she became dangerous.
Toni Morrison (Sula)
Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change – it can not only move us, it makes us move.
Ossie Davis
You gotta know when to be lazy. Done correctly, it's an art form that benefits everyone.
Nicholas Sparks (The Choice)
Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
All forms of madness, bizarre habits, awkwardness in society, general clumsiness, are justified in the person who creates good art.
Roman Payne (Rooftop Soliloquy)
To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action;
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
Disappearing is an art form, and I am its queen.
Francesca Zappia (Eliza and Her Monsters)
Why are you so weird?" "Because my weird has to be able to cancel out your weird, Lady Cross-stitch." "At least what I do is considered an art form." "Yes, in ye olde medieal Europse you would've been quite the catch-
Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1))
We teach girls shame. “Close your legs. Cover yourself.” We make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up — and this is the worst thing we do to girls — they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an art form.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (We Should All Be Feminists)
Every form of art is another way of seeing the world. Another perspective, another window. And science –that’s the most spectacular window of all. You can see the entire universe from there.
Claudia Gray (A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1))
Black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, not as a serious, rigorous art form.
Toni Morrison
When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine.
Pablo Picasso
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.
Albert Einstein (Living Philosophies)
We cannot have a world where everyone is a victim. "I'm this way because my father made me this way. I'm this way because my husband made me this way." Yes, we are indeed formed by traumas that happen to us. But then you must take charge, you must take over, you are responsible.
Camille Paglia
I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.
Oscar Wilde
Scapegrace leaped up. “I am the Killer Supreme! I make murder into an art form!” Skulduggery hit him again and Scapegrace did a little twirl before falling.
Derek Landy (Playing with Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant, #2))
Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires. The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame. Pain is an inextricable thread in the fabric of life, and to tear it out is not only impossible, but destructive: attempting to tear it out unravels everything else with it. To try to avoid pain is to give too many fucks about pain. In contrast, if you’re able to not give a fuck about the pain, you become unstoppable." ~~~~ Mark Manson
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
In a way, her strangeness, her naiveté, her craving for the other half of her equation was the consequence of an idle imagination. Had she paints, or clay, or knew the discipline of the dance, or strings, had she anything to engage her tremendous curiosity and her gift for metaphor, she might have exchanged the restlessness and preoccupation with whim for an activity that provided her with all she yearned for. And like an artist with no art form, she became dangerous.
Toni Morrison (Sula)
The only honest art form is laughter, comedy. You can't fake it...try to fake three laughs in an hour -- ha ha ha ha ha -- they'll take you away, man. You can't.
Lenny Bruce
My religious convictions and scientific views cannot at present be more specifically defined than as those of a believer in creative evolution. I desire that no public monument or work of art or inscription or sermon or ritual service commemorating me shall suggest that I accepted the tenets peculiar to any established church or denomination nor take the form of a cross or any other instrument of torture or symbol of blood sacrifice. [From the will of GBS]
George Bernard Shaw
The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one's narcissism. The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one. The opposite pole to narcissism is objectivity; it is the faculty to see other people and things as they are, objectively, and to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one's desires and fears.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
Immodest and attractive is easy. Modest and repulsive is easy too. But modest and attractive is an art form.
Douglas Wilson (5 Paths to the Love of Your Life: Defining Your Dating Style)
In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.
Julia Child
The business of art lies just in this, -- to make that understood and felt which, in the form of an argument, might be incomprehensible and inaccessible.
Leo Tolstoy (What Is Art?)
It is the story that matters not just the ending.
Paul Lockhart (A Mathematician's Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form)
there are very few who can think, but every man wants to have an opinion; and what remains but to take it ready-made from others, instead of forming opinions for himself?
Arthur Schopenhauer (The Art of Always Being Right)
I'm not that hard to get to know, really." He flashed me a quick smile. "But you... I think you've made an art form out of deflection and self-possession.
Samantha Young (On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street, #1))
In fact I don't think of literature, or music, or any art form as having a nationality. Where you're born is simply an accident of fate. I don't see why I shouldn't be more interested in say, Dickens, than in an author from Barcelona simply because I wasn't born in the UK. I do not have an ethno-centric view of things, much less of literature. Books hold no passports. There's only one true literary tradition: the human.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I'm not an abstractionist. I'm not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.
Mark Rothko
Have you killed anyone?” she asked quickly. “What? Did you miss what I said, about turning murder into an art form?” “But you haven’t actually killed anyone yet, have you? I read your file.” He glowered. “Technically, yeah, all right, maybe I haven’t
Derek Landy (Playing with Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant, #2))
There's little in taking or giving There's little in water or wine This living, this living , this living was never a project of mine. Oh, hard is the struggle, and sparse is the gain of the one at the top for art is a form of catharsis and love is a permanent flop and work is the province of cattle and rest's for a clam in a shell so I'm thinking of throwing the battle would you kindly direct me to hell?
Dorothy Parker
Art always serves beauty, and beauty is the joy of possessing form, and form is the key to organic life since no living thing can exist without it.
Boris Pasternak (Doctor Zhivago)
I found my God in music and the arts, with writers like Hermann Hesse, and musicians like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Little Walter. In some way, in some form, my God was always there, but now I have learned to talk to him.
Eric Clapton
The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.
Stanley Kubrick
There are only three forms of high art: the symphony, the illustrated children's book and the board game.
Brian K. Vaughan (Saga, Volume 3)
If a person is confident enough in the way they feel, whether it's an art form or whether it's just in life, it comes off---you don't have anything to prove; you can just be who you are.
Clint Eastwood
I think music is the greatest art form that exists, and I think people listen to music for different reasons, and it serves different purposes. The best songs are the ones that make you feel something
Eddie Vedder
Tell me something boss. What do you think is the highest form of art? 'Literature," he answered without hesitation. 'Painters and sculptors require elaborate supplies and tools. Dancers must have music. Musicians must have instruments. Literature needs nothing but a voice to speak it or sand to scrawl it in.
Tiffany Reisz (The Siren (The Original Sinners, #1))
Mental acuity of any kind comes from solving problems yourself, not from being told how to solve them.
Paul Lockhart (A Mathematician's Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form)
The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth. Art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy, and ascetic disciplines are instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into spheres of ever-expanding realization. As he crosses threshold after threshold, conquering dragon after dragon, the stature of the divinity that he summons to his highest wish increases, until it subsumes the cosmos. Finally, the mind breaks the bounding sphere of the cosmos to a realization transcending all experiences of form - all symbolizations, all divinities: a realization of the ineluctable void.
Joseph Campbell (The Hero With a Thousand Faces)
All great art is a form of complaint
John Cage
You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to romantic love, back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame, back home to exile, to escape to Europe and some foreign land, back home to lyricism, to singing just for singing's sake, back home to aestheticism, to one's youthful idea of 'the artist' and the all-sufficiency of 'art' and 'beauty' and 'love,' back home to the ivory tower, back home to places in the country, to the cottage in Bermude, away from all the strife and conflict of the world, back home to the father you have lost and have been looking for, back home to someone who can help you, save you, ease the burden for you, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time--back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.
Thomas Wolfe
Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purpose through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is "man" in a higher sense— he is "collective man"— one who carries and shapes the unconscious, psychic forms of mankind.
C.G. Jung
Books are, let's face it, better than everything else. If we played Cultural Fantasy Boxing League, and made books go fifteen rounds in the ring against the best that any other art form had to offer, then books would win pretty much every time.
Nick Hornby (The Polysyllabic Spree)
We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. If we fix on the old, we get stuck. When we hang onto any form, we are in danger of putrefaction. Hell is life drying up.
Joseph Campbell (A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living)
We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.
John F. Kennedy
Was there a reason behind it? There would be no point in asking Zaphod, he never appeared to have a reason for anything he did at all: he had turned unfathomability into an art form. He attacked everything in life with a mixture of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence and it was often difficult to tell which was which.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms.
Arthur Conan Doyle (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #3))
Artistic symbols and myths speak out of the primordial, preconscious realm of the mind which is powerful and chaotic. Both symbol and myth are ways of bringing order and form into this chaos.
Rollo May (My Quest for Beauty)
Shapeshifting requires the ability to transcend your attachments, in particular your ego attachments to identity and who you are. If you can get over your attachment to labeling yourself and your cherishing of your identity, you can be virtually anybody. You can slip in and out of different shells, even different animal forms or deity forms.
Zeena Schreck
Books are, let's face it, better than everything else. If we played cultural Fantasy Boxing League, and made books go 15 rounds in the ring against the best that any other art form had to offer, then books would win pretty much every time. Go on, try it. “The Magic Flute” v. Middlemarch? Middlemarch in six. “The Last Supper” v. Crime and Punishment? Fyodor on points. See? I mean, I don’t know how scientific this is, but it feels like the novels are walking it. You might get the occasional exception -– “Blonde on Blonde” might mash up The Old Curiosity Shop, say, and I wouldn’t give much for Pale Fire’s chance against Citizen Kane. And every now and again you'd get a shock, because that happens in sport, so Back to the Future III might land a lucky punch on Rabbit, Run; but I'm still backing literature 29 times out of 30.
Nick Hornby (The Polysyllabic Spree)
The institutions of human society treat us as parts of a machine. They assign us ranks and place considerable pressure upon us to fulfill defined roles. We need something to help us restore our lost and distorted humanity. Each of us has feelings that have been suppressed and have built up inside. There is a voiceless cry resting in the depths of our souls, waiting for expression. Art gives the soul's feelings voice and form.
Daisaku Ikeda
Your primary desire, says Epictetus, should be your desire not to be frustrated by forming desires you won’t be able to fulfill.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
it’s not our experiences that form us but the ways in which we respond to them;
Pico Iyer (The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere (TED Books))
This is the eternal origin of art that a human being confronts a form that wants to become a work through him. Not a figment of his soul but something that appears to the soul and demands the soul's creative power. What is required is a deed that a man does with his whole being..
Martin Buber (I and Thou)
Doing mathematics should always mean finding patterns and crafting beautiful and meaningful explanations.
Paul Lockhart (A Mathematician's Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form)
Of course it's juggling,” the man in motley was saying [...] “You know what your problem is, Sir Grenall? You've been seduced by the lure of spectacle. Sure, I could juggle three or four balls and use two hands, and that would be very impressive, but then what would I do after that? Five balls? Three hands? You see how it goes? Now me, I'm an artist, trying to recapture the original purity of the art form. This” - the man nodded at the ball he tossing up and down - “this is the essence of juggling.
Gerald Morris (The Lioness and Her Knight (The Squire's Tales, #7))
Literary fiction and poetry are real marginalized right now. There's a fallacy that some of my friends sometimes fall into, the ol' "The audience is stupid. The audience only wants to go this deep. Poor us, we're marginalized because of TV, the great hypnotic blah, blah." You can sit around and have these pity parties for yourself. Of course this is bullshit. If an art form is marginalized it's because it's not speaking to people. One possible reason is that the people it's speaking to have become too stupid to appreciate it. That seems a little easy to me.
David Foster Wallace
I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.
David Ogilvy (Ogilvy on Advertising)
Form follows emotion
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
Odd as I am sure it will appear to some, I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world. He is producing something to eat, which makes him somewhat independent of the grocery business, but he is also enlarging, for himself, the meaning of food and the pleasure of eating.
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
You are missing a key element to the story. Maybe the moral of the legend is that we are all carved, created, and formed by a master hand. Maybe we are all works of art.
Amy Harmon (A Different Blue)
Man's naked form belongs to no particular moment in history; it is eternal, and can be looked upon with joy by the people of all ages.
Auguste Rodin
As humanity perfects itself, man becomes degraded. When everything is reduced to the mere counter-balancing of economic interests, what room will there be for virtue? When Nature has been so subjugated that she has lost all her original forms, where will that leave the plastic arts? And so on. In the mean time, things are going to get very murky.
Gustave Flaubert
The novel is perhaps the highest art form because it so closely resembles life: it is about human relationships. It's technique, page by page, resembles our technique of living day by day--a way of relating.
Joyce Carol Oates
Seduction is an art form. It's the capturing of someone's sexual attention, whilst remaining and looking completely innocent in that movement yourself, then feeling good about the attention received, not actually needing anything else from it
The Conductor (The Jamange Line)
No mathematician in the world would bother making these senseless distinctions: 2 1/2 is a "mixed number " while 5/2 is an "improper fraction." They're EQUAL for crying out loud. They are the exact same numbers and have the exact same properties. Who uses such words outside of fourth grade?
Paul Lockhart (A Mathematician's Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form)
It’s the highest art form, deceiving without lying. A word is the only thing in the world made more powerful by absence than existence.
Rae Carson (The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3))
Do you know anything about silent films?” “Sure,” I said. “The first ones were developed in the late nineteenth century and sometimes had live musical accompaniment, though it wasn’t until the 1920s that sound become truly incorporated into films, eventually making silent ones obsolete in cinema.” Bryan gaped, as though that was more than he’d been expecting. “Oh. Okay. Well, um, there’s a silent film festival downtown next week. Do you think you’d want to go?” I shook my head. “No, I don’t think so. I respect it as an art form but really don’t get much out of watching them.” “Huh. Okay.” He smoothed his hair back again, and I could almost see him groping for thoughts. Why on earth was he asking me about silent films? “What about Starship 30? It opens Friday. Do you want to see that?” “I don’t really like sci-fi either,” I said. It was true, I found it completely implausible. Bryan looked ready to rip that shaggy hair out. “Is there any movie out there you want to see?” I ran through a mental list of current entertainment. “No. Not really.” The bell rang, and with a shake of his head, Bryan slunk back to his desk. “That was weird,” I muttered. “He has bad taste in movies.” Glancing beside me, I was startled to see Julia with her head down on her desk while she shook with silent laughter. “What?” “That,” she gasped. “That was hilarious.” “What?” I said again. “Why?” “Sydney, he was asking you out!” I replayed the conversation. “No, he wasn’t. He was asking me about cinema.” She was laughing so hard that she had to wipe away a tear. “So he could find out what you wanted to see and take you out!” “Well, why didn’t he just say that?” “You are so adorably oblivious,” she said. “I hope I’m around the day you actually notice someone is interested in you.” I continued to be mystified, and she spent the rest of class bursting out with spontaneous giggles.
Richelle Mead (Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1))
The water caught the Falselight glimmer like layers of shifting, translucent mirrors and formed split-second works of art in the air, but men cursed it anyway, because it made their heads wet.
Scott Lynch (The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1))
In other countries, congenital introverts simply remain introverts all their lives, neither advancing nor retreating, but America's commitment to extroversion as a national art form can abrade some naturally aloof personalities until they flower into deadly nightshade.
Florence King
He had been standing still; for an artist, one of the more painful forms of death.
Irving Stone
Travel is the art form available to Everyman. You sit in the coffee shop in a strange city and nobody knows who you are, or cares, and so you shed your checkered past and your motley credentials and you face the day unarmed ... And onward we go and some day in the distant future, we will stop and turn around in astonishment to see all the places we've been and the heroes we were.
Garrison Keillor
Although we read with our minds, the seat of artistic delight is between the shoulder blades. That little shiver behind is quite certainly the highest form of emotion that humanity has attained when evolving pure art and pure science. Let us worship the spine and its tingle.
Vladimir Nabokov
All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music. For while in all other kinds of art it is possible to distinguish the matter from the form, and the understanding can always make this distinction, yet it is the constant effort of art to obliterate it.
Walter Pater
Poets are not so scrupulous as you are. They know how useful passion is for publication. Nowadays a broken heart will run to many editions." "I hate them for it," cried Hallward. "An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them. We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty. Some day I will show the world what is it; and for that the world shall never see my portrait of Dorian Gray.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Think of Shakespeare and Melville and you think of thunder, lightning, wind. They all knew the joy of creating in large or small forms, on unlimited or restricted canvases. These are the children of the gods.
Ray Bradbury (Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You)
And its object is Art not power, sub-creation not domination and tyrannous re-forming of Creation.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Silmarillion)
Modern romance, like Greek tragedy, celebrates the mystery of dismemberment, which is life in time. The happy ending is justly scorned as a misrepresentation; for the world, as we know it, as we have seen it, yields but one ending: death, disintegration, dismemberment, and the crucifixion of our heart with the passing of the forms that we have loved.
Joseph Campbell (The Hero With a Thousand Faces)
Death is my art form--when I fight, I'm a ballerina. Graceful. Chi lacks my grace, but makes up for it in energy and enthusiasm. His fighting style is like breakdancing--strong and frenetic with some really sweet moves. Jo's is . . .the Macarena. Ugly but gets the job done.
Eliza Crewe (Cracked (Soul Eaters, #1))
There is no one way to salvation, whatever the manner in which a man may proceed. All forms and variations are governed by the eternal intelligence of the Universe that enables a man to approach perfection. It may be in the arts of music and painting or it may be in commerce, law, or medicine. It may be in the study of war or the study of peace. Each is as important as any other. Spiritual enlightenment through religious meditation such as Zen or in any other way is as viable and functional as any "Way."... A person should study as they see fit.
Miyamoto Musashi (A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy)
When we experience a film, we consciously prime ourselves for illusion. Putting aside will and intellect, we make way for it in our imagination. The sequence of pictures plays directly on our feelings. Music works in the same fashion; I would say that there is no art form that has so much in common with film as music. Both affect our emotions directly, not via the intellect. And film is mainly rhythm; it is inhalation and exhalation in continuous sequence.
Ingmar Bergman
Karate is a form of martial arts in which people who have had years and years of training can using only their hands and feet make some of the worst movies in the history of the world.
Dave Barry
Guilt isn't in cat vocabulary. They never suffer remorse for eating too much, sleeping too long or hogging the warmest cushion in the house. They welcome every pleasurable moment as it unravels and savour it to the full until a butterfly or falling leaf diverts their attention. They don't waste energy counting the number of calories they've consumed or the hours they've frittered away sunbathing. Cats don't beat themselves up about not working hard enough. They don't get up and go, they sit down and stay. For them, lethargy is an art form. From their vantage points on top of fences and window ledges, they see the treadmills of human obligations for what they are - a meaningless waste of nap time.
Helen Brown (Cleo: How an Uppity Cat Helped Heal a Family)
The artist must have something to say, for mastery over form is not his goal but rather the adapting of form to its inner meaning.
Wassily Kandinsky (Concerning the Spiritual in Art)
When the general is weak and without authority; when his orders are not clear and distinct; when there are no fixed duties assigned to officers and men, and the ranks are formed in a slovenly haphazard manner, the result is utter disorganization.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
The warrior learns of the spiritual realm by dwelling on the cutting edge of the sword, standing at the edge of the fire pit, venturing right up to the edge of starvation if necessary. Vibrant and intense living is the warrior's form of worship.
Stephen K. Hayes
Art is the most effective form of communication.
Jennifer Echols (Going Too Far)
... food is not simply organic fuel to keep body and soul together, it is a perishable art that must be savoured at the peak of perfection.
E.A. Bucchianeri (Brushstrokes of a Gadfly, (Gadfly Saga, #1))
All forms of art are consciousness expanders, and I am convinced that they will take us further, and more consciously, than drugs.
Madeleine L'Engle
The difference between a path and a road is not only the obvious one. A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity. As a form, it is a form of contact with a known landscape. It is not destructive. It is the perfect adaptation, through experience and familiarity, of movement to place; it obeys the natural contours; such obstacles as it meets it goes around.
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
A good movie can take you out of your dull funk and the hopelessness that so often goes with slipping into a theatre; a good movie can make you feel alive again, in contact, not just lost in another city. Good movies make you care, make you believe in possibilities again. If somewhere in the Hollywood-entertainment world someone has managed to break through with something that speaks to you, then it isn’t all corruption. The movie doesn’t have to be great; it can be stupid and empty and you can still have the joy of a good performance, or the joy in just a good line. An actor’s scowl, a small subversive gesture, a dirty remark that someone tosses off with a mock-innocent face, and the world makes a little bit of sense. Sitting there alone or painfully alone because those with you do not react as you do, you know there must be others perhaps in this very theatre or in this city, surely in other theatres in other cities, now, in the past or future, who react as you do. And because movies are the most total and encompassing art form we have, these reactions can seem the most personal and, maybe the most important, imaginable. The romance of movies is not just in those stories and those people on the screen but in the adolescent dream of meeting others who feel as you do about what you’ve seen. You do meet them, of course, and you know each other at once because you talk less about good movies than about what you love in bad movies.
Pauline Kael (For Keeps: 30 Years at the Movies)
Mathematics is the art of explanation.
Paul Lockhart (A Mathematician's Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form)
Q: Do you feel concerned that after all this work, people won't treat [Starship Titanic] with the gravity of, say, a movie or a book? That they won't treat it as an art form? D.A.: I hope that's the case, yes. I get very worried about this idea of art. Having been an English literary graduate, I've been trying to avoid the idea of doing art ever since. I think the idea of art kills creativity. ... [I]f somebody wants to come along and say, "Oh, it's art," that's as may be. I don't really mind that much. But I think that's for other people to decide after the fact. It isn't what you should be aiming to do. There's nothing worse than sitting down to write a novel and saying, "Well, okay, I'm going to do something of high artistic worth." ... I think you get most of the most interesting work done in fields where people don't think they're doing art, but merely practicing a craft, and working as good craftsmen. ... I tend to get very suspicious of anything that thinks it's art while it's being created.
Douglas Adams
Every form of art is another way of seeing the world. Another perspective, another window.
Claudia Gray (A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1))
Religion can never reform mankind because religion is slavery. It is far better to be free, to leave the forts and barricades of fear, to stand erect and face the future with a smile. It is far better to give yourself sometimes to negligence, to drift with wave and tide, with the blind force of the world, to think and dream, to forget the chains and limitations of the breathing life, to forget purpose and object, to lounge in the picture gallery of the brain, to feel once more the clasps and kisses of the past, to bring life's morning back, to see again the forms and faces of the dead, to paint fair pictures for the coming years, to forget all Gods, their promises and threats, to feel within your veins life's joyous stream and hear the martial music, the rhythmic beating of your fearless heart. And then to rouse yourself to do all useful things, to reach with thought and deed the ideal in your brain, to give your fancies wing, that they, like chemist bees, may find art's nectar in the weeds of common things, to look with trained and steady eyes for facts, to find the subtle threads that join the distant with the now, to increase knowledge, to take burdens from the weak, to develop the brain, to defend the right, to make a palace for the soul. This is real religion. This is real worship
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. IV)
Every form of strength is also a form of weakness,” he once wrote. “Pretty girls tend to become insufferable because, being pretty, their faults are too much tolerated. Possessions entrap men, and wealth paralyzes them. I learned to write because I am one of those people who somehow cannot manage the common communications of smiles and gestures, but must use words to get across things that other people would never need to say.
Michael Lewis (Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game)
Meditation practice is like piano scales, basketball drills, ballroom dance class. Practice requires discipline; it can be tedious; it is necessary. After you have practiced enough, you become more skilled at the art form itself. You do not practice to become a great scale player or drill champion. You practice to become a musician or athlete. Likewise, one does not practice meditation to become a great meditator. We meditate to wake up and live, to become skilled at the art of living.
Elizabeth Lesser (The Seeker's Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure)
Art is a person's private vision expressed in aesthetic forms.
Chaim Potok (My Name Is Asher Lev)
I was the basest of readers. All I wanted was my own world, and myself in it, given back to me in artful shapes and accessible form.
Ian McEwan (Sweet Tooth)
Yet, the work was not complete. Next, citing Bond’s veranda and our subsequent construction of it as an example, Sanjit elaborated on the thought which he had previously teased, but not fully explained: that when a reader reads, the reader constructs a setting and world and is able to view themselves through this world. However, he also added that when we read, we are not only able to see our constructed world, but to evaluate our constructed world. This is how, Sanjit would argue, we influence and better ourselves, even if unintentionally; for by pausing and analyzing our constructions we may be able to identify our assumptions about people, places, or things. And it is in this way that books may be an expressed form of art, not just for the writer, but also for the reader.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
Phase one, my dear, is find your inner hoochie mama." "Ahh, I get it." Sally nodded. "It's all about embracing your inner skank." Jen shook her head. "I think the air is thinner here because you two are clearly not getting enough oxygen to the brain." "Oh, come on. Give us a break. Out of all of us, you've got inner skank-embracing down to an art form," Sally told her. "True, very true, Sally. I am expert on all things skank.
Quinn Loftis (Just One Drop (The Grey Wolves, #3))
Photography is essentially an act of recognition by street photographers, not an act of invention. Photographers might respond to an old man’s face, or an Arbus freak, or the way light hits a building—and then they move on. Whereas in all the other art forms, take William Blake, everything that came to that paper never existed before. It’s the idea of alchemy, of making something from nothing.
Duane Michals
My mother's voice and my father's fists are two bookends of my childhood, and they form the basis of my art.
Pat Conroy (My Reading Life)
To reiterate: not all things need to be finished, and free reading is a prime example of this. Writing – or the composition of words which are intended to be read – just like painting, sculpting, or composing music, is a form of art. Typically, not all art is able to resonate with each and every viewer – or, in this case, reader. If we walk through a museum and see a boring painting, or listen to an album we don’t enjoy, we won’t keep staring at said painting, nor will we listen to the album. So, if we don’t like a book, if we aren’t learning from it, dreaming about it, enjoying its descriptions, pondering its messages, or whatever else may be redeeming about a specific book, why would we waste our time to “just finish it?” Sure, we may add another book to the list of books read, but is more always better?
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
Whatever the source of emotion that drives me to create, I want to give it a form which has some connection with the visible world, even if it is only to wage war on that world....I want my paintings to be able to defend themselves to resist the invader, just as though there were razor blades on all surfaces so no one could touch them without cutting his hands.
Pablo Picasso
The artist must be blind to distinction between 'recognized' or 'unrecognized' conventions of form, deaf to the transitory teaching and demands of his particular age.
Wassily Kandinsky (Concerning the Spiritual in Art)
There is no line between fine art and illustration; there is no high or low art; there is only art, and it comes in many forms.” (p. 12)
James Gurney (Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist (Volume 1) (James Gurney Art))
Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things.
Epictetus (The Art of Living (Start Publishing))
Art is nothing more than creating an emotion in your own form.
Shannon L. Alder
That is the way convince people. Or change them and prevent them from hurting whether themselves and others. Art is the most effective form of communication. You can use it to lift the human spirit and make them understand that there is more to life than their next drug use.
Jennifer Echols (Going Too Far)
We humans are unhappy in large part because we are insatiable; after working hard to get what we want, we routinely lose interest in the object of our desire. Rather than feeling satisfied, we feel a bit bored, and in response to this boredom, we go on to form new, even grander desires.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
I feel robbing a bank would be the highest form of performance art. No need to pay to see me work. The Federal Reserve is subsidizing it.
Jarod Kintz (This Book is Not for Sale)
When it comes to forming opinions on works of art, people look to others. Most people end up liking paintings, songs and movies just because the majority have a favourable opinion about them. Ultimately it’s all about the brand value of the artist.
Abhaidev (The Influencer: Speed Must Have a Limit)
Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions, there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.
Paul Rand
Mathematics is the music of reason. To do mathematics is to engage in an act of discovery and conjecture, intuition and inspiration; to be in a state of confusion—not because it makes no sense to you, but because you gave it sense and you still don't understand what your creation is up to; to have a break-through idea; to be frustrated as an artist; to be awed and overwhelmed by an almost painful beauty; to be alive, damn it.
Paul Lockhart (A Mathematician's Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form)
A good journal entry- like a good song, or sketch, or photograph- ought to break up the habitual and life away the film that forms over the eye, the finger, the tongue, the heart. A good journal entry ought to be a love letter to the world.
Anthony Doerr (Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World)
Nowadays, of course, just about our only solvent industry is the merchandising of death, bankrolled by our grandchildren, so that the message of our principal art forms, movies and television and political speeches and newspaper columns, for the sake of the economy, simply has to be this: War is hell, all right, but the only way a boy can become a man is in a shoot-out of some kind, preferably, but by no means necessarily, on a battlefield.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Bluebeard)
There are few of us who have not sometimes wakened before dawn, either after one of those dreamless nights that make us almost enamoured of death, or one of those nights of horror and misshapen joy, when through the chambers of the brain sweep phantoms more terrible than reality itself, and instinct with that vivid life that lurks in all grotesques, and that lends to Gothic art its enduring vitality, this art being, one might fancy, especially the art of those whose minds have been troubled with the malady of reverie. Gradually white fingers creep through the curtains, and they appear to tremble. In black fantastic shapes, dumb shadows crawl into the corners of the room and crouch there. Outside, there is the stirring of birds among the leaves, or the sound of men going forth to their work, or the sigh and sob of the wind coming down from the hills and wandering round the silent house, as though it feared to wake the sleepers and yet must needs call forth sleep from her purple cave. Veil after veil of thin dusky gauze is lifted, and by degrees the forms and colours of things are restored to them, and we watch the dawn remaking the world in its antique pattern. The wan mirrors get back their mimic life. The flameless tapers stand where we had left them, and beside them lies the half-cut book that we had been studying, or the wired flower that we had worn at the ball, or the letter that we had been afraid to read, or that we had read too often. Nothing seems to us changed. Out of the unreal shadows of the night comes back the real life that we had known. We have to resume it where we had left off, and there steals over us a terrible sense of the necessity for the continuance of energy in the same wearisome round of stereotyped habits, or a wild longing, it may be, that our eyelids might open some morning upon a world that had been refashioned anew in the darkness for our pleasure, a world in which things would have fresh shapes and colours, and be changed, or have other secrets, a world in which the past would have little or no place, or survive, at any rate, in no conscious form of obligation or regret, the remembrance even of joy having its bitterness and the memories of pleasure their pain.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
To evoke in oneself a feeling one has once experienced, and having evoked it in oneself, then by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds, or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling that others may experience the same feeling - this is the activity of art.
Leo Tolstoy (What Is Art?)
Yet again, the more you strive for some kind of perfection or mastery—in morals, in art or in spirituality—the more you see that you are playing a rarified and lofty form of the old ego-game, and that your attainment of any height is apparent to yourself and to others only by contrast with someone else's depth or failure.
Alan W. Watts (The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)
The thing I want you especially to understand is this feeling of divine revelation. I feel that this structure was "out there" all along I just couldn't see it. And now I can! This is really what keeps me in the math game-- the chance that I might glimpse some kind of secret underlying truth, some sort of message from the gods.
Paul Lockhart (A Mathematician's Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating and Imaginative Art Form)
Under the seeming disorder of the old city, wherever the old city is working successfully, is a marvelous order for maintaining the safety of the streets and the freedom of the city. It is a complex order. Its essence is intricacy of sidewalk use, bringing with it a constant succession of eyes. This order is all composed of movement and change, and although it is life, not art, we may fancifully call it the art form of the city and liken it to the dance — not to a simple-minded precision dance with everyone kicking up at the same time, twirling in unison and bowing off en masse, but to an intricate ballet in which the individual dancers and ensembles all have distinctive parts which miraculously reinforce each other and compose an orderly whole. The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any once place is always replete with new improvisations.
Jane Jacobs (The Death and Life of Great American Cities)
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? E'en in Australia art thou still more hot Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May (Since that's your winter it don't mean a lot) Sometimes too bright the eye of heaven shines And bushfires start through half of New South Wales Just so, when I do see thy bosom's lines A fire consumes me and my breathing fails But thine eternal summer shall not fade This is in no way due to global warming; Nay, from thy breasts shall verses fair be made So damn compulsive they are habit-forming So long as men can read and eyes can see So long lives this, thou 34DD (Based on an idea by William Shakespeare. I'm sure he'd agree that I've improved it)
Manny Rayner
There were profound reasons for his attachment to the sea: he loved it because as a hardworking artist he needed rest, needed to escape from the demanding complexity of phenomena and lie hidden on the bosom of the simple and tremendous; because of a forbidden longing deep within him that ran quite contrary to his life's task and was for that very reason seductive, a longing for the unarticulated and immeasurable, for eternity, for nothingness. To rest in the arms of perfection is the desire of any man intent upon creating excellence; and is not nothingness a form of perfection?
Thomas Mann (Death in Venice and Other Tales)
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have acted rightly; "these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions";[69] we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit;
Will Durant (The Story of Philosophy)
What does Art do for us? It gives shape to our emotions, makes them visible, and, in so doing, places a seal of eternity upon them, a seal representing all those works that, by means of a particular form, have incarnated the universal nature of human emotions.
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
Now take a human body. Why wouldn't you like to see a human body with a curling tail with a crest of ostrich feathers at the end? And with ears shaped like acanthus leaves? It would be ornamental, you know, instead of the stark, bare ugliness we have now. Well, why don't you like the idea? Because it would be useless and pointless. Because the beauty of the human body is that is hasn't a single muscle which doesn't serve its purpose; that there's not a line wasted; that every detail of it fits one idea, the idea of a man and the life of a man.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
Blessed be the mind that dreamed the day the blueprint of your life would begin to glow on earth, illuminating all the faces and voices that would arrive to invite your soul to growth. Praised be your father and mother, who loved you before you were, and trusted to call you here with no idea who you would be. Blessed be those who have loved you into becoming who you were meant to be, blessed be those who have crossed your life with dark gifts of hurt and loss that have helped to school your mind in the art of disappointment. When desolation surrounded you, blessed be those who looked for you and found you, their kind hands urgent to open a blue window in the gray wall formed around you. Blessed be the gifts you never notice, your health, eyes to behold the world, thoughts to countenance the unknown, memory to harvest vanished days, your heart to feel the world’s waves, your breath to breathe the nourishment of distance made intimate by earth. On this echoing-day of your birth, may you open the gift of solitude in order to receive your soul; enter the generosity of silence to hear your hidden heart; know the serenity of stillness to be enfolded anew by the miracle of your being.
John O'Donohue (To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings)
Some people flinch when you talk about art in the context of the needs of society thinking you are introducing something far too common for a discussion of art. Why should art have a purpose and a use? Art shouldn't be concerned with purpose and reason and need, they say. These are improper. But from the very beginning, it seems to me, stories have indeed been meant to be enjoyed, to appeal to that part of us which enjoys good form and good shape and good sound.
Chinua Achebe (There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra)
IMBECILE!" the chef shouted. "Next time why don't you just put your whole HAND in the food, hey? Yes, your whole hand, or maybe your FACE! I arrange the food on plates with care, are you understanding what I am telling you? It is part of the art form of cooking, yes? A lovely plate of food is a thing of beauty! And then you, NUMBSKULL, come along and put your fat greasy FINGERS all over my plate, and SHAKE the plate, and move my food all around the plate until it looks like pigs' vomit!" "Chef Vlad!" I cried out in delight.
Kenneth Oppel (Skybreaker (Matt Cruse, #2))
This is the female form, vapor, A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot, It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction, I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor, all falls aside but myself and it, Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth, and what was expected of heavaen or fear'd of hell, are now consumed, Mad filament, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the response likewise ungovernable...
Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
Oh, Lord, forgive three sins that are due to my human limitations. Thou art Everywhere, but I worship thee here: Thou art without form, but I worship thee in these forms; Thou needest no praise, yet I offer thee these prayers and salutations. Lord, forgive three sins that are due to my human limitations." - Ash
M.M. Kaye
Beauty and art, no doubt, pervade all business of life like a kindly genius, and form the bright adornment of all our surroundings, both mental and material, soothing the sadness of our condition and the embarrassments of real life, killing time in entertaining fashion, and where there’s nothing to be achieved, occupying the place of what is vicious, better, at any rate, than vice.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (Introductory Lectures on Aesthetics)
I had been reading children's books all my life and saw them not as minor amusements but as part of the whole literary mainstream; not as "juveniles" or "kiddie lit," one of the most demeaning terms in the scholastic jargon. My belief was, and is, that the child's book is a unique and valid art form; a means of dealing with things which cannot be dealt with quite as well in any other way. There is, I'm convinced, no inner, qualitative difference between writing for adults and writing for children. The raw materials are the same for both: the human condition and our response to it.
Lloyd Alexander
There are no forms in nature. Nature is a vast, chaotic collection of shapes. You as an artist create configurations out of chaos. You make a formal statement where there was none to begin with. All art is a combination of an external event and an internal event… I make a photograph to give you the equivalent of what I felt. Equivalent is still the best word.
Ansel Adams
To see the act of learning as something not for its own sake but because of what it will get you reduces the wonder of humanity. We are thinking, feeling, art-making, knowledge-hungry, marvellous animals, who understand ourselves and our world through the act of learning. It is an end in itself. It has far more to offer than the things it lets us write on application forms. It is a way to love living right now.
Matt Haig (Notes on a Nervous Planet)
One of those realizations was this: that life itself is a form of suffering. The rich suffer because of their riches. The poor suffer because of their poverty. People without a family suffer because they have no family. People with a family suffer because of their family. People who pursue worldly pleasures suffer because of their worldly pleasures. People who abstain from worldly pleasures suffer because of their abstention. This isn’t to say that all suffering is equal. Some suffering is certainly more painful than other suffering. But we all must suffer nonetheless.
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
Infinite Jest not only says that being human is hard work; it makes us work hard. It not only suggests we put ourselves in service to something larger than ourselves; it is one of those larger somethings. That's its rhetorical genius, and is how Wallace gets his self-help “to fly at such a high altitude”: Like AA, it is theory and praxis in a single stroke. Or: It is what it says, which may be the purest form of art.
Garth Risk Hallberg
Life is infinite energy coupled with limitless creative imagination. It is the invisible essence and substance of every visible form. Its nature is goodness, truth, wisdom and beauty, as well as energy and imagination. Our highest satisfaction comes from a sense of conscious union with this invisible Life. All human endeavor is an attempt to get back to first principles, to find such an inward wholeness that all sense of fear, doubt and uncertainty vanishes.
Ernest Shurtleff Holmes (The Art of Life)
But is it not already an insult to call chess anything so narrow as a game? Is it not also a science, an art, hovering between these categories like Muhammad's coffin between heaven and earth, a unique yoking of opposites, ancient and yet eternally new, mechanically constituted and yet an activity of the imagination alone, limited to a fixed geometric area but unlimited in its permutations, constantly evolving and yet sterile, a cogitation producing nothing, a mathematics calculating nothing, an art without an artwork, an architecture without substance and yet demonstrably more durable in its essence and actual form than all books and works, the only game that belongs to all peoples and all eras, while no one knows what god put it on earth to deaden boredom, sharpen the mind, and fortify the spirit?
Stefan Zweig (Chess Story)
She has form," he said to himself, as he walked away through the grove - "that cannot be denied to her; but has she got feeling? I am afraid not. In fact, she is like most artists; she is all style, without any sincerity. She would not sacrifice herself for others. She thinks merely of music, and everybody knows that arts are selfish. Still, it must be admitted that she has some beautiful notes in her voice. What a pity it is that they do not mean anything, or do any practical good.
Oscar Wilde (The Nightingale And The Rose)
To be fully awake is the condition for not being bored, or being boring—and indeed, not to be bored or boring is one of the main conditions for loving. To be active in thought, feeling, with one's eyes and ears, throughout the day, to avoid inner laziness, be it in the form of being receptive, hoarding, or plain wasting one's time, is an indispensable condition for the practice of the art of loving.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
Critical art is an art that aims to produce a new perception of the world, and therefore to create a commitment to its transformation. This schema, very simple in appearance, is actually the conjunction of three processes: first, the production of a sensory form of 'strangeness'; second, the development of an awareness of the reason for that strangeness and third, a mobilization of individuals as a result of that awareness.
Jacques Rancière (Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics)
But I realized something. About art. And psychiatry. They're both self-perpetuating systems. Like religion. All three of them promise you a sense of inner worth and meaning, and spend a lot of time telling you about the suffering you have to go through to achieve it. As soon as you get a problem in any one of them, the solution it gives is always to go deeper into the same system. They're all in rather uneasy truce with one another in what's actually a mortal battle. Like all self-reinforcing systems. At best, each is trying to encompass the other two and define them as sub-groups. You know: religion and art are both forms of madness and madness is the realm of psychiatry. Or, art is the study and praise of man and man's ideals, so therefore a religious experience just becomes a brutalized aesthetic response and psychiatry is just another tool for the artist to observe man and render his portraits more accurately. And the religious attitude I guess is that the other two are only useful as long as they promote the good life. At worst, they all try to destroy one another. Which is what my psychiatrist, whether he knew it or not, was trying, quite effectively, to do to my painting. I gave up psychiatry too, pretty soon. I just didn't want to get all wound up in any systems at all.
Samuel R. Delany (Dhalgren)
The shared meal is no small thing. It is a foundation of family life, the place where our children learn the art of conversation and acquire the habits of civilization: sharing, listening, taking turns, navigating differences, arguing without offending. What have been called the “cultural contradictions of capitalism”—its tendency to undermine the stabilizing social forms it depends on—are on vivid display today at the modern American dinner table, along with all the brightly colored packages that the food industry has managed to plant there.
Michael Pollan (Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation)
Many people, when they feel some form of pain or anger or sadness, drop everything and attend to numbing out whatever they're feeling. Their goal is to get back to "feeling good" again as quickly as possible, even if that means substances or deluding themselves or returning to their shitty values. Learn to sustain the pain you've chosen. When you choose a new value, you are choosing to introduce a new form of pain into your life. Relish it. Savor it. Welcome it with open arms. Then act despite it.
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
Everyone has an angel, a guardian who watches over us. We can't know what form they'll take. One day old man, next day little girl. But don't let appearances fool you, they can be as fierce as any dragon. Yet they are not here to fight our battles, but to whisper from a hearth. Reminding that it's us... it's everyone of us who holds the power of the worlds we create.
Zack Snyder Sucker Punch (Sucker Punch: The Art of the Film)
I expect to see the coming decades transform the planet into an art form; the new man, linked in a cosmic harmony that transcends time and space, will sensuously caress and mold and pattern every facet of the terrestrial artifact as if it were a work of art, and man himself will become an organic art form. There is a long road ahead, and the stars are only way stations, but we have begun the journey. To be born in this age is a precious gift, and I regret the prospect of my own death only because I will leave so many pages of man’s destiny — if you will excuse the Gutenbergian image — tantalizingly unread. But perhaps, as I’ve tried to demonstrate in my examination of the postliterate culture, the story begins only when the book closes.
Marshall McLuhan
But the very question of whether photography is or is not an art is essentially a misleading one. Although photography generates works that can be called art --it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives aesthetic pleasure-- photography is not, to begin with, an art form at all. Like language, it is a medium in which works of art (among other things) are made. Out of language, one can make scientific discourse, bureaucratic memoranda, love letters, grocery lists, and Balzac's Paris. Out of photography, one can make passport pictures, weather photographs, pornographic pictures, X-rays, wedding pictures, and Atget's Paris. Photography is not an art like, say, painting and poetry. Although the activities of some photographers conform to the traditional notion of a fine art, the activity of exceptionally talented individuals producing discrete objects that have value in themselves, form the beginning photography has also lent itself to that notion of art which says that art is obsolete. The power of photography --and its centrality in present aesthetic concerns-- is that it confirms both ideas of art. But the way in which photography renders art obsolete is, in the long run, stronger.
Susan Sontag (On Photography)
But when you talk about Nabokov and Coover, you’re talking about real geniuses, the writers who weathered real shock and invented this stuff in contemporary fiction. But after the pioneers always come the crank turners, the little gray people who take the machines others have built and just turn the crank, and little pellets of metafiction come out the other end. The crank-turners capitalize for a while on sheer fashion, and they get their plaudits and grants and buy their IRAs and retire to the Hamptons well out of range of the eventual blast radius. There are some interesting parallels between postmodern crank-turners and what’s happened since post-structural theory took off here in the U.S., why there’s such a big backlash against post-structuralism going on now. It’s the crank-turners fault. I think the crank-turners replaced the critic as the real angel of death as far as literary movements are concerned, now. You get some bona fide artists who come along and really divide by zero and weather some serious shit-storms of shock and ridicule in order to promulgate some really important ideas. Once they triumph, though, and their ideas become legitimate and accepted, the crank-turners and wannabes come running to the machine, and out pour the gray pellets and now the whole thing’s become a hollow form, just another institution of fashion. Take a look at some of the critical-theory Ph.D. dissertations being written now. They’re like de Man and Foucault in the mouth of a dull child. Academia and commercial culture have somehow become these gigantic mechanisms of commodification that drain the weight and color out of even the most radical new advances. It’s a surreal inversion of the death-by-neglect that used to kill off prescient art. Now prescient art suffers death-by acceptance. We love things to death, now. Then we retire to the Hamptons.
David Foster Wallace
Any kind of modification, whether it’s to alter physical features, like cosmetic surgery, or to decorate, like piercings and tattoos, cause some degree of discomfort. But that’s the point, isn’t it? It’s cathartic because it’s the promise of change in some form or another. My tattoos give the memory related to the art a place to exist outside of my head, on my body. At least that’s my interpretation, but not everyone feels the same way I do.
Helena Hunting (Clipped Wings (Clipped Wings, #1))
If there is such a thing as being conditioned by climate and geography, and I think there is, it is the West that has conditioned me. It has the forms and lights and colors that I respond to in nature and in art. If there is a western speech, I speak it; if there is a western character or personality, I am some variant of it; if there is a western culture in the small-c , anthropological sense, I have not escaped it. It has to have shaped me. I may even have contributed to it in minor ways, for culture is a pyramid to which each of us brings a stone.
Wallace Stegner (The American West as Living Space)
But the truth is it’s hard for me to know what I really think about any of the stuff I’ve written. It’s always tempting to sit back and make finger-steeples and invent impressive sounding theoretical justifications for what one does, but in my case most of it’d be horseshit. As time passes I get less and less nuts about anything I’ve published, and it gets harder to know for sure when its antagonistic elements are in there because they serve a useful purpose and when their just covert manifestations of this "look-at-me-please-love-me-I-hate you" syndrome I still sometimes catch myself falling into. Anyway, but what I think I meant by "antagonize" or "aggravate" has to do with the stuff in the TV essay about the younger writer trying to struggle against the cultural hegemony of TV. One thing TV does is help us deny that we’re lonely. With televised images, we can have the facsimile of a relationship without the work of a real relationship. It’s an anesthesia of "form." The interesting thing is why we’re so desperate for this anesthetic against loneliness. You don’t have to think very hard to realize that our dread of both relationships and loneliness, both of which are like sub-dreads of our dread of being trapped inside a self (a psychic self, not just a physical self), has to do with angst about death, the recognition that I’m going to die, and die very much alone, and the rest of the world is going to go merrily on without me. I’m not sure I could give you a steeple-fingered theoretical justification, but I strongly suspect a big part of real art fiction’s job is to aggravate this sense of entrapment and loneliness and death in people, to move people to countenance it, since any possible human redemption requires us first to face what’s dreadful, what we want to deny.
David Foster Wallace
When did the body first set out on its own adventures? Snowman thinks; after having ditched its old travelling companions, the mind and the soul, for whom it had once been considered a mere corrupt vessel or else a puppet acting out their dramas for them, or else bad company, leading the other two astray. it must have got tired of the soul’s constant nagging and whining and the anxiety-driven intellectual web-spinning of the mind, distracting it whenever it was getting its teeth into something juicy or its fingers into something good. It had dumped the other two back there somewhere, leaving them stranded in some damp sanctuary or stuffy lecture hall while it made a beeline for the topless bars, and it had dumped culture along with them: music and painting and poetry and plays. Sublimation, all of it; nothing but sublimation, according to the body. Why not cut to the chase? But the body had its own cultural forms. It had its own art. Executions were its tragedies, pornography was its romance.
Margaret Atwood (Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1))
The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science. Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear is a dead man. To know that what is impenetrable for us really exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties – this knowledge, this feeling … that is the core of the true religious sentiment. In this sense, and in this sense alone, I rank myself among profoundly religious men.
Albert Einstein
Second, nothing about adolescence can be understood outside the context of delayed frontocortical maturation. If by adolescence limbic, autonomic, and endocrine systems are going full blast while the frontal cortex is still working out the assembly instructions, we’ve just explained why adolescents are so frustrating, great, asinine, impulsive, inspiring, destructive, self-destructive, selfless, selfish, impossible, and world changing. Think about this—adolescence and early adulthood are the times when someone is most likely to kill, be killed, leave home forever, invent an art form, help overthrow a dictator, ethnically cleanse a village, devote themselves to the needy, become addicted, marry outside their group, transform physics, have hideous fashion taste, break their neck recreationally, commit their life to God, mug an old lady, or be convinced that all of history has converged to make this moment the most consequential, the most fraught with peril and promise, the most demanding that they get involved and make a difference. In other words, it’s the time of life of maximal risk taking, novelty seeking, and affiliation with peers. All because of that immature frontal cortex.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
I'm not sure I would put it that way. When we get over something, we move on, we put it behind us. Do we leave the dead behind or do we take them with us? I think we take them with us. They accompany us. They remain with us, if in another form. We have to learn to live with them and their deaths..... I think of them every day, I wonder what they would say at a given moment. I ask them for advice, even today, at my age, when it will soon be time to be thinking of my own death"...
Jan-Philipp Sendker (The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, #1))
Great works of art in all cultures succeed in capturing within the constraints of their form both the pathos of anguish and a vision of its resolution. Take, for example, the languorous sentences of Proust or the haiku of Basho, the late quartets and sonatas of Beethoven, the tragicomic brushwork of Sengai or the daunting canvases of Rothko, the luminous self-portraits of Rembrandt and Hakuin. Such works achieve their resolution not through consoling or romantic images whereby anguish is transcended. They accept anguish without being overwhelmed by it. They reveal anguish as that which gives beauty its dignity and depth.
Stephen Batchelor (Buddhism without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening)
The Love that dare not speak its name" in this century is such a great affection of an elder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare. It is that deep, spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It dictates and pervades great works of art like those of Shakespeare and Michelangelo, and those two letters of mine, such as they are. It is in this century misunderstood, so much misunderstood that it may be described as the "Love that dare not speak its name," and on account of it I am placed where I am now. It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it. It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an elder and a younger man, when the elder man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him. That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it.
Oscar Wilde
I can't tell you what art does and how it does it, but I know that art has often judged the judges, pleaded revenge to the innocent and shown to the future what the past has suffered, so that it has never been forgotten. I know too that the powerful fear art, whatever its form, when it does this, and that amongst the people such art sometimes runs like a rumour and a legend because it makes sense of what life's brutalities cannot, a sense that unites us, for it is inseparable from a justice at last. Art, when it functions like this, becomes a meeting-place of the invisible, the irreducible, the enduring, guts and honour.
John Berger
A woman's body is a sacred temple. A work of art, and a life-giving vessel. And once she becomes a mother, her body serves as a medicine cabinet for her infant. From her milk she can nourish and heal her own child from a variety of ailments. And though women come in a wide assortment as vast as the many different types of flowers and birds, she is to reflect divinity in her essence, care and wisdom. God created a woman's heart to be a river of love, not to become a killing machine.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
In this course I have tried to reveal the mechanism of those wonderful toys — literary masterpieces. I have tried to make of you good readers who read books not for the infantile purpose of identifying oneself with the characters, and not for the adolescent purpose of learning to live, and not for the academic purpose of indulging in generalizations. I have tried to teach you to read books for the sake of their form, their visions, their art. I have tried to teach you to feel a shiver of artistic satisfaction, to share not the emotions of the people in the book but the emotions of its author — the joys and difficulties of creation. We did not talk around books, about books; we went to the center of this or that masterpiece, to the live heart of the matter.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lectures on Literature)
In all great works of fiction, regardless of the grim reality they present, there is an affirmation of life against the transience of that life, an essential defiance. This affirmation lies in the way the author takes control of reality by retelling it in his own way, thus creating a new world. Every great work of art, I would declare pompously, is a celebration, an act of insubordination against the betrayals, horrors and infidelities of life. The perfection and beauty of form rebels against the ugliness and shabbiness of the subject matter.
Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books)
Marriage, in what is evidently its most popular version, is now on the one hand an intimate 'relationship' involving (ideally) two successful careerists in the same bed, and on the other hand a sort of private political system in which rights and interests must be constantly asserted and defended. Marriage, in other words, has now taken the form of divorce: a prolonged and impassioned negotiation as to how things shall be divided. During their understandably temporary association, the 'married' couple will typically consume a large quantity of merchandise and a large portion of each other. The modern household is the place where the consumptive couple do their consuming. Nothing productive is done there. Such work as is done there is done at the expense of the resident couple or family, and to the profit of suppliers of energy and household technology. For entertainment, the inmates consume television or purchase other consumable diversion elsewhere. There are, however, still some married couples who understand themselves as belonging to their marriage, to each other, and to their children. What they have they have in common, and so, to them, helping each other does not seem merely to damage their ability to compete against each other. To them, 'mine' is not so powerful or necessary a pronoun as 'ours.' This sort of marriage usually has at its heart a household that is to some extent productive. The couple, that is, makes around itself a household economy that involves the work of both wife and husband, that gives them a measure of economic independence and self-employment, a measure of freedom, as well as a common ground and a common satisfaction. (From "Feminism, the Body, and the Machine")
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
Bad music is a form of murder to the true art of music in general.Bad music forced on a child is abuse because it invariably forms that child´s taste in music. Bad music has raped an industry that was held up strongly by great expression for decades but now finds itself floundering, giving in to the lowest common denominator of music just to keep its panties around its waist. Bad music tortures the eardrums and kills little bits of your senses through prolonged exposure. Bad music steals money from shallow pockets, steals airtime from more deserving bands and songwriters, and steals the spotlight from undiscovered geniuses who have all but given up on a dream because of the mediocrity of popular radio. Bad music is a lie, and yet it is foisted on the public in an attempt to turn melodies and songs into hamburgers and fries. Bad music is truly a sin because you don´t have to be exceptional to make it in the music industry anymore. You just have to be good enough to stick around and be tolerated. I understand that bad music is a matter of opinion. I know that. But I am fairly confident that more people agree with me than you suspect. Bad music is just fucking bad.
Corey Taylor (Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good)
These five values are both unconventional and uncomfortable. But, to me, they are life-changing. The first, which we’ll look at in the next chapter, is a radical form of responsibility: taking responsibility for everything that occurs in your life, regardless of who’s at fault. The second is uncertainty: the acknowledgement of your own ignorance and the cultivation of constant doubt in your own beliefs. The next is failure: the willingness to discover your own flaws and mistakes so that they may be improved upon. The fourth is rejection: the ability to both say and hear no, thus clearly defining what you will and will not accept in your life. The final value is the contemplation of one’s own mortality; this one is crucial, because paying vigilant attention to one’s own death is perhaps the only thing capable of helping us keep all our other values in proper perspective.
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
When Suzie introduced Helen, she told the audience that one of the best things about books is that they are an interactive art form: that while the author may describe in some detail how a character looks, it is the reader's imagination that completes the image, making it his or her own. "That's why we so often don't like movies made from books, right?" Suzie said. "We don't like someone else's interpretation of what we see so clearly." She talked, too, about how books educate and inspire, and how they soothe the soul-"like comfort food without the calories," she said. She talked about the tactile joys of reading, the feel of a page beneath one's fingers; the elegance of typeface on a page. She talked about how people complain that they don't have time to read, and reminded them that if they gave up half an hour of television a day in favor of reading, they could finish twenty-five books a year. "Books don't take time away from us," she said. "They give it back. In this age of abstraction, of multitasking, of speed for speed's sake, they reintroduce us to the elegance-and the relief!-of real, tick-tock time.
Elizabeth Berg (Home Safe)
And in fact the artist's experience lies so unbelievably close to the sexual, to its pain and its pleasure, that the two phenomena are really just different forms of one and the same longing and bliss. And if instead of "heat" one could say "sex";- sex in the great, pure sense of the word, free of any sin attached to it by the Church, - then his art would be very great and infinitely important. His poetic power is great and as strong as a primal instinct; it has its own relentless rhythms in itself and explodes from him like a volcano.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
In Japan, a number of time-honored everyday activities (such as making tea, arranging flowers, and writing) have traditionally been deeply examined by their proponents. Students study how to make tea, perform martial arts, or write with a brush in the most skillful way possible to express themselves with maximum efficiency and minimum strain. Through this efficient, adroit, and creative performance, they arrive at art. But if they continue to delve even more deeply into their art, they discover principles that are truly universal, principles relating to life itself. Then, the art of brush writing becomes shodo—the “Way of the brush”—while the art of arranging flowers is elevated to the status of kado—the “Way of flowers.” Through these Ways or Do forms, the Japanese have sought to realize the Way of living itself. They have approached the universal through the particular.
H.E. Davey (Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation)
For over twenty-five centuries we’ve been bearing the weight of superb and heterogeneous civilizations, all from outside, none made by ourselves, none that we could call our own. This violence of landscape, this cruelty of climate, this continual tension in everything, and even these monuments of the past, magnificent yet incomprehensible because not built by us and yet standing round us like lovely mute ghosts; all those rulers who landed by main force from every direction who were at once obeyed, soon detested, and always misunderstood, their only expressions works of art we couldn't understand and taxes which we understood only too well and which they spent elsewhere: all these things have formed our character, which is thus conditioned by events outside our control as well as by a terrifying insularity of mind.
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (The Leopard)
Writing, music, sculpting, painting, and prayer! These are the three things that are most closely related! Writers, musicians, sculptors, painters, and the faithful are the ones who make things out of nothing. Everybody else, they make things out of something, they have materials! But a written work can be done with nothing, it can begin in the soul! A musical piece begins with a harmony in the soul, a sculpture begins with a formless, useless piece of rock chiseled and formed and molded into the thing that was first conceived in the sculptor's heart! A painting can be carried inside the mind for a lifetime, before ever being put onto paper or canvass! And a prayer! A prayer is a thought, a remembrance, a whisper, a communion, that is from the soul going to what cannot be seen, yet it can move mountains! And so I believe that these five things are interrelated, these five kinds of people are kin.
C. JoyBell C.
A work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line...To snatch in a moment of courage, from the remorseless rush of time, a passing phase of life is only the beginning of the task. The task approached in tenderness and faith is to hold up unquestioningly, without choice and without fear, the rescued fragment before all eyes and in the light of a sincere mood. It is to show its vibration, its colour, its form; and through its movement, its form, and its colour, reveal the substance of its truth -- disclose its inspiring secret: the stress and passion within the core of each convincing moment. In a single-minded attempt of that kind, if one be deserving and fortunate, one may perchance attain to such clearness of sincerity that at last the presented vision of regret or pity, of terror or mirth, shall awaken in the hearts of the beholders that feeling of unavoidable solidarity; of the solidarity in mysterious origin, in toil, in joy, in hope, in uncertain fate, which binds men to each other and all mankind to the visible world.
Joseph Conrad
We ate, we slept, we formed our kaleidoscopic relationships and marched ever forward. We licked chocolate from our fingers. We arranged flowers in vases. We inspected our backsides when we tried on new clothes. We gave ourselves over to art. We elected officials and complained. We stood up for home runs. We marked life passages in ceremonies we attended with impatience and pride. We reached out for new love when what we had died, confessing our unworthiness, confessing our great need. We felt at times that perhaps we really were visitors from another planet. We occasionally wondered if it was true that each of us was making everything up. But this was a wobbly saucer; this was thinking we could not endure; we went back to our elegant denial of unbreachable isolation, to refusing the lesson of being born alone and dying that way, too. We went back to loving, to eating, to sleeping, to marching and marching and marching along.
Elizabeth Berg (The Year of Pleasures)
We are now ready to tackle Dickens. We are now ready to embrace Dickens. We are now ready to bask in Dickens. In our dealings with Jane Austen we had to make a certain effort to join the ladies in the drawing room. In the case of Dickens we remain at table with our tawny port. With Dickens we expand. It seems to me that Jane Austen's fiction had been a charming re-arrangement of old-fashioned values. In the case of Dickens, the values are new. Modern authors still get drunk on his vintage. Here, there is no problem of approach as with Austen, no courtship, no dallying. We just surrender ourselves to Dickens' voice--that is all. If it were possible I would like to devote fifty minutes of every class meeting to mute meditation, concentration, and admiration of Dickens. However my job is to direct and rationalize those meditations, that admiration. All we have to do when reading Bleak House is to relax and let our spines take over. Although we read with our minds, the seat of artistic delight is between the shoulder-blades. That little shiver behind is quite certainly the highest form of emotion that humanity has attained when evolving pure art and pure science. Let us worship the spine and its tingle. Let us be proud of being vertebrates, for we are vertebrates tipped at the head with a divine flame. The brain only continues the spine, the wick really runs through the whole length of the candle. If we are not capable of enjoying that shiver, if we cannot enjoy literature, then let us give up the whole thing and concentrate on our comics, our videos, our books-of-the-week. But I think Dickens will prove stronger.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lectures on Literature)
For Schwartz this formed the paradox at the heart of baseball, or football, or any other sport. You loved it because you considered it an art: an apparently pointless affair, undertaken by people with special aptitude, which sidestepped attempts to paraphrase its value yet somehow seemed to communicate something true or even crucial about The Human Condition. The Human Condition being, basically, that we're alive and have access to beauty, can even erratically create it, but will someday be dead and will not. Baseball was an art, but to excel at it you had to become a machine. It didn't matter how beautifully you performed SOMETIMES, what you did on your best day, how many spectacular plays you made. You weren't a painter or a writer--you didn't work in private and discard your mistakes, and it wasn't just your masterpieces that counted.
Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding)
If human nature were not base, but thoroughly honourable, we should in every debate have no other aim than the discovery of truth; we should not in the least care whether the truth proved to be in favour of the opinion which we had begun by expressing, or of the opinion of our adversary. That we should regard as a matter of no moment, or, at any rate, of very secondary consequence; but, as things are, it is the main concern. Our innate vanity, which is particularly sensitive in reference to our intellectual powers, will not suffer us to allow that our first position was wrong and our adversary’s right. The way out of this difficulty would be simply to take the trouble always to form a correct judgment. For this a man would have to think before he spoke. But, with most men, innate vanity is accompanied by loquacity and innate dishonesty. They speak before they think; and even though they may afterwards perceive that they are wrong, and that what they assert is false, they want it to seem thecontrary. The interest in truth, which may be presumed to have been their only motive when they stated the proposition alleged to be true, now gives way to the interests of vanity: and so, for the sake of vanity, what is true must seem false, and what is false must seem true.
Arthur Schopenhauer (The Art of Always Being Right)
Political economy tends to see work in capitalist societies as divided between two spheres: wage labor, for which the paradigm is always factories, and domestic labor – housework, childcare – relegated mainly to women. The first is seen primarily as a matter of creating and maintaining physical objects. The second is probably best seen as a matter of creating and maintaining people and social relations. [...] This makes it easier to see the two as fundamentally different sorts of activity, making it hard for us to recognize interpretive labor, for example, or most of what we usually think of as women’s work, as labor at all. To my mind it would probably be better to recognize it as the primary form of labor. Insofar as a clear distinction can be made here, it’s the care, energy, and labor directed at human beings that should be considered fundamental. The things we care most about – our loves, passions, rivalries, obsessions – are always other people; and in most societies that are not capitalist, it’s taken for granted that the manufacture of material goods is a subordinate moment in a larger process of fashioning people. In fact, I would argue that one of the most alienating aspects of capitalism is the fact that it forces us to pretend that it is the other way around, and that societies exist primarily to increase their output of things.
David Graeber (Revolutions in Reverse: Essays on Politics, Violence, Art, and Imagination)
This was a face such as I had never seen before, even in the most fanciful of dreams, a face that was, in its way, a work of art. For it was light and dark, night and day, this world and the Otherworld. On the left side, the face of a youngish man, the skin weathered but fair, the eye gray and clear, the mouth well formed if unyielding in character. On all the right side, extending from an undrawn mark down the exact center, an etching of line and curve and feathery pattern, like the mask of some fierce bird of prey. An eagle? A goshawk? No, it was, I thought, a raven, even as far as the circles about the eye and the suggestion of predatory beak around the nostril. The mark of the raven. If I had not been so frightened, I might have laughed at the irony of it. The pattern extended down his neck and under the border of his leather jerkin and the linen shirt he wore beneath it. His head was completely shaven, and the skull, too, was colored the same, half-man, half-wild creature; some great artist of the inks and needle had wrought this over many days, and I imagined the pain must have been considerable.
Juliet Marillier (Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters, #2))
Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of Life, which they are thenceforth to rule. Not William the Silent only, but all the considerable men I have known, and the most undiplomatic and unstrategic of these, forbore to babble of what they were creating and projecting. Nay, in thy own mean perplexities, do thou thyself but hold thy tongue for one day: on the morrow, how much clearer are thy purposes and duties; what wreck and rubbish have those mute workmen within thee swept away, when intrusive noises were shut out! Speech is too often not, as the Frenchman defined it, the art of concealing Thought; but of quite stifling and suspending Thought, so that there is none to conceal. Speech too is great, but not the greatest. As the Swiss Inscription says: Sprecfien ist silbern, Schweigen ist golden (Speech is silvern, Silence is golden); or as I might rather express it: Speech is of Time, Silence is of Eternity.
Thomas Carlyle (Sartor Resartus)
In a society that is essentially designed to organize, direct, and gratify mass impulses, what is there to minister to the silent zones of man as an individual? Religion? Art? Nature? No, the church has turned religion into standardized public spectacle, and the museum has done the same for art. The Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls have been looked at so much that they've become effete, sucked empty by too many stupid eyes. What is there to minister to the silent zones of man as an individual? How about a cold chicken bone on a paper plate at midnight, how about a lurid lipstick lengthening or shortening at your command, how about a Styrofoam nest abandoned by a 'bird' you've never known, how about a pair of windshield wipers pursuing one another futilely while you drive home alone through a downpour, how about something beneath a seat touched by your shoe at the movies, how about worn pencils, cute forks, fat little radios, boxes of bow ties, and bubbles on the side of a bathtub? Yes, these are the things, these kite strings and olive oil cans and Valentine hearts stuffed with nougat, that form the bond between the autistic vision and the experiential world, it is to show these things in their true mysterious light that is the purpose of the moon.
Tom Robbins
ABSTRACT THOUGHTS in a blue room; Nominative, genitive, etative, accusative one, accusative two, ablative, partitive, illative, instructive, abessive, adessive, inessive, essive, allative, translative, comitative. Sixteen cases of the Finnish noun. Odd, some languages get by with only singular and plural. The American Indian languages even failed to distinguish number. Except Sioux, in which there was a plural only for animate objects. The blue room was round and warm and smooth. No way to say warm in French. There was only hot and tepid If there's no word for it, how do you think about it? And, if there isn't the proper form, you don't have the how even if you have the words. Imagine, in Spanish having to assign a sex to every object: dog, table, tree, can-opener. Imagine, in Hungarian, not being able to assign a sex to anything: he, she, it all the same word. Thou art my friend, but you are my king; thus the distinctions of Elizabeth the First's English. But with some oriental languages, which all but dispense with gender and number, you are my friend, you are my parent, and YOU are my priest, and YOU are my king, and YOU are my servant, and YOU are my servant whom I'm going to fire tomorrow if YOU don't watch it, and YOU are my king whose policies I totally disagree with and have sawdust in YOUR head instead of brains, YOUR highness, and YOU may be my friend, but I'm still gonna smack YOU up side the head if YOU ever say that to me again; And who the hell are you anyway . . .?
Samuel R. Delany (Babel-17)
There is no remedy against this reversal of the natural order. Man cannot escape from his own achievement. He cannot but adopt the conditions of his own life. No longer in a merely physical universe, man lives in a symbolic universe. Language, myth, art, and religion are parts of this universe. They are the varied threads which weave the symbolic net, the tangled web of human experience. All human progress in thought and experience refines and strengthens this net. No longer can man confront reality immediately; he cannot see it, as it were, face to face. Physical reality seems to recede in proportion as man's symbolic activity advances. Instead of dealing with the things themselves man is in a sense constantly conversing with himself. He has so enveloped himself in linguistic forms, in artistic images, in mythical symbols or religious rites that he cannot see or know anything except by the interposition of this artificial medium. His situation is the same in the theoretical as in the practical sphere. Even here man does not live in a world of hard facts, or according to his immediate needs and desires. He lives rather in the midst of imaginary emotions, in hopes and fears, in illusions and disillusions, in his fantasies and dreams. 'What disturbs and alarms man,' said Epictetus, 'are not the things, but his opinions and fantasies about the things.
Ernst Cassirer (An Essay on Man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture)
I remember discussing this dynamic with my Russian teacher one day, and he had an interesting theory. Having lived under communism for so many generations, with little to no economic opportunity and caged by a culture of fear, Russian society found the most valuable currency to be trust. And to build trust you have to be honest. That means when things suck, you say so openly and without apology. People’s displays of unpleasant honesty were rewarded for the simple fact that they were necessary for survival—you had to know whom you could rely on and whom you couldn’t, and you needed to know quickly. But, in the “free” West, my Russian teacher continued, there existed an abundance of economic opportunity—so much economic opportunity that it became far more valuable to present yourself in a certain way, even if it was false, than to actually be that way. Trust lost its value. Appearances and salesmanship became more advantageous forms of expression. Knowing a lot of people superficially was more beneficial than knowing a few people closely. This is why it became the norm in Western cultures to smile and say polite things even when you don’t feel like it, to tell little white lies and agree with someone whom you don’t actually agree with. This is why people learn to pretend to be friends with people they don’t actually like, to buy things they don’t actually want. The economic system promotes such deception. The downside of this is that you never know, in the West, if you can completely trust the person you’re talking to. Sometimes this is the case even among good friends or family members. There is such pressure in the West to be likable that people often reconfigure their entire personality depending on the person they’re dealing with. Rejection
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
The consolation of fairy-stories, the joy of the happy ending: or more correctly of the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous “turn” (for there is no true end to any fairy-tale): this joy, which is one of the things which fairy-stories can produce supremely well, is not essentially “escapist,” nor “fugitive.” In its fairy-tale--or otherworld--setting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief. It is the mark of a good fairy-story, of the higher or more complete kind, that however wild its events, however fantastic or terrible the adventures, it can give to child or man that hears it, when the “turn” comes, a catch of the breath, a beat and lifting of the heart, near to (or indeed accompanied by) tears, as keen as that given by any form of literary art, and having a peculiar quality ... In such stories when the sudden “turn” comes we get a piercing glimpse of joy, and heart's desire, that for a moment passes outside the frame, rends indeed the very web of story, and lets a gleam come through.
J.R.R. Tolkien (Tolkien On Fairy-stories)
The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things. The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass. The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art. Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art. From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor's craft is the type. All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Who would appreciate such candor? No one. None of us really likes honesty. We prefer deception –but only when it is unabashedly flattering or artfully camouflaged. Groups seem to need to believe that they are superior to others and that they have a purpose greater than just passing along their genes to the next generation. Individuals seem to need similar delusions – about who they are and why they do what they do. They need heroes, however fraudulent… Studies show that people are more likely to accept the opinion of a confident con man than the cautious view of someone who actually knows what he is talking about. And professionals who form overconfident opinions on the basis of incorrect readings of the facts are more likely to succeed than their more competent peers who display greater doubt. What’s more, deception works best, according to studies by psychologists, when the person doing the deceiving is fool enough to be deceived, too; that is, when he believes his own lies. That is why incompetent leaders – who are naïve enough to fall for their own guff – are such a danger to civilized life. If they are modern leaders, they must also delude themselves into thinking they know how to make the world a better place. Invariably, the answers they propose to problems are ones that bubble up from their own vanity, the essence of which is to make the rest of the world look just like them!
William Bonner (Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics)
There is some confusion as to what magic actually is. I think this can be cleared up if you just look at the very earliest descriptions of magic. Magic in its earliest form is often referred to as “the art”. I believe this is completely literal. I believe that magic is art and that art, whether it be writing, music, sculpture, or any other form is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness. The very language about magic seems to be talking as much about writing or art as it is about supernatural events. A grimmoir for example, the book of spells is simply a fancy way of saying grammar. Indeed, to cast a spell, is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people's consciousness. And I believe that this is why an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world that you are likely to see to a Shaman. I believe that all culture must have arisen from cult. Originally, all of the faucets of our culture, whether they be in the arts or sciences were the province of the Shaman. The fact that in present times, this magical power has degenerated to the level of cheap entertainment and manipulation, is, I think a tragedy. At the moment the people who are using Shamanism and magic to shape our culture are advertisers. Rather than try to wake people up, their Shamanism is used as an opiate to tranquilize people, to make people more manipulable. Their magic box of television, and by their magic words, their jingles can cause everyone in the country to be thinking the same words and have the same banal thoughts all at exactly the same moment. In all of magic there is an incredibly large linguistic component. The Bardic tradition of magic would place a bard as being much higher and more fearsome than a magician. A magician might curse you. That might make your hands lay funny or you might have a child born with a club foot. If a Bard were to place not a curse upon you, but a satire, then that could destroy you. If it was a clever satire, it might not just destroy you in the eyes of your associates; it would destroy you in the eyes of your family. It would destroy you in your own eyes. And if it was a finely worded and clever satire that might survive and be remembered for decades, even centuries. Then years after you were dead people still might be reading it and laughing at you and your wretchedness and your absurdity. Writers and people who had command of words were respected and feared as people who manipulated magic. In latter times I think that artists and writers have allowed themselves to be sold down the river. They have accepted the prevailing belief that art and writing are merely forms of entertainment. They’re not seen as transformative forces that can change a human being; that can change a society. They are seen as simple entertainment; things with which we can fill 20 minutes, half an hour, while we’re waiting to die. It’s not the job of the artist to give the audience what the audience wants. If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn’t be the audience. They would be the artists. It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need.
Alan Moore
For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover: no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself . . . . And it is not only the faculty of love which is thus sterilized, forced back on itself, but also the faculty of imagination. The true exercise of imagination, in my view, is (a) To help us to understand other people (b) To respond to, and, some of us, to produce, art. But it has also a bad use: to provide for us, in shadowy form, a substitute for virtues, successes, distinctions etc. which ought to be sought outside in the real world—e.g. picturing all I’d do if I were rich instead of earning and saving. Masturbation involves this abuse of imagination in erotic matters (which I think bad in itself) and thereby encourages a similar abuse of it in all spheres. After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little, dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.
C.S. Lewis
Some years ago I had a conversation with a man who thought that writing and editing fantasy books was a rather frivolous job for a grown woman like me. He wasn’t trying to be contentious, but he himself was a probation officer, working with troubled kids from the Indian reservation where he’d been raised. Day in, day out, he dealt in a concrete way with very concrete problems, well aware that his words and deeds could change young lives for good or ill. I argued that certain stories are also capable of changing lives, addressing some of the same problems and issues he confronted in his daily work: problems of poverty, violence, and alienation, issues of culture, race, gender, and class... “Stories aren’t real,” he told me shortly. “They don’t feed a kid left home in an empty house. Or keep an abusive relative at bay. Or prevent an unloved child from finding ‘family’ in the nearest gang.” Sometimes they do, I tried to argue. The right stories, read at the right time, can be as important as shelter or food. They can help us to escape calamity, and heal us in its aftermath. He frowned, dismissing this foolishness, but his wife was more conciliatory. “Write down the names of some books,” she said. “Maybe we’ll read them.” I wrote some titles on a scrap of paper, and the top three were by Charles de lint – for these are precisely the kind of tales that Charles tells better than anyone. The vital, necessary stories. The ones that can change and heal young lives. Stories that use the power of myth to speak truth to the human heart. Charles de Lint creates a magical world that’s not off in a distant Neverland but here and now and accessible, formed by the “magic” of friendship, art, community, and social activism. Although most of his books have not been published specifically for adolescents and young adults, nonetheless young readers find them and embrace them with particular passion. I’ve long lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people from troubled backgrounds say that books by Charles saved them in their youth, and kept them going. Recently I saw that parole officer again, and I asked after his work. “Gets harder every year,” he said. “Or maybe I’m just getting old.” He stopped me as I turned to go. “That writer? That Charles de Lint? My wife got me to read them books…. Sometimes I pass them to the kids.” “Do they like them?” I asked him curiously. “If I can get them to read, they do. I tell them: Stories are important.” And then he looked at me and smiled.
Terri Windling
Try as we will to take the “cure” of ineffectuality; to meditate on the Taoist fathers’ doctrine of submission, of withdrawal, of a sovereign absence; to follow, like them, the course of consciousness once it ceases to be at grips with the world and weds the form of things as water does, their favorite element—we shall never succeed. They scorn both our curiosity and our thirst for suffering; in which they differ from the mystics, and especially from the medieval ones, so apt to recommend the virtues of the hair shirt, the scourge, insomnia, inanition, and lament. “A life of intensity is contrary to the Tao,” teaches Lao Tse, a normal man if ever there was one. But the Christian virus torments us: heirs of the flagellants, it is by refining our excruciations that we become conscious of ourselves. Is religion declining? We perpetuate its extravagances, as we perpetuate the macerations and the cell-shrieks of old, our will to suffer equaling that of the monasteries in their heyday. If the Church no longer enjoys a monopoly on hell, it has nonetheless riveted us to a chain of sighs, to the cult of the ordeal, of blasted joys and jubilant despair. The mind, as well as the body, pays for “a life of intensity.” Masters in the art of thinking against oneself, Nietzsche, Baudelaire, and Dostoevsky have taught us to side with our dangers, to broaden the sphere of our diseases, to acquire existence by division from our being. And what for the great Chinaman was a symbol of failure, a proof of imperfection, constitutes for us the sole mode of possessing, of making contact with ourselves.
Emil M. Cioran (The Temptation to Exist)
In the days to come, when it will seem as if I were entombed, when the very firmament threatens to come crashing down upon my head, I shall be forced to abandon everything except what these spirits implanted in me. I shall be crushed, debased, humiliated. I shall be frustrated in every fiber of my being. I shall even take to howling like a dog. But I shall not be utterly lost! Eventually a day is to dawn when, glancing over my own life as though it were a story or history, I can detect in it a form, a pattern, a meaning. From then on the word defeat becomes meaningless. It will be impossible ever to relapse. For on that day I become and I remain one with my creation. On another day, in a foreign land, there will appear before me a young man who, unaware of the change which has come over me, will dub me "The Happy Rock." That is the moniker I shall tender when the great Cosmocrator demands-" Who art thou?" Yes, beyond a doubt, I shall answer "The Happy Rock!" And, if it be asked-"Didst thou enjoy thy stay on earth?"-I shall reply: "My life was one long rosy crucifixion." As to the meaning of this, if it is not already clear, it shall be elucidated. If I fail then I am but a dog in the manger. Once I thought I had been wounded as no man ever had. Because I felt thus I vowed to write this book. But long before I began the book the wound had healed. Since I had sworn to fulfill my task I reopened the horrible wound. Let me put it another way. Perhaps in opening my own wound, I closed other wounds.. Something dies, something blossoms. To suffer in ignorance is horrible. To suffer deliberately, in order to understand the nature of suffering and abolish it forever, is quite another matter. The Buddha had one fixed thought in mind all his life, as we know it. It was to eliminate human suffering. Suffering is unnecessary. But, one has to suffer before he is able to realize that this is so. It is only then, moreover, that the true significance of human suffering becomes clear. At the last desperate moment-when one can suffer no more!-something happens which is the nature of a miracle. The great wound which was draining the blood of life closes up, the organism blossoms like a rose. One is free at last, and not "with a yearning for Russia," but with a yearning for ever more freedom, ever more bliss. The tree of life is kept alive not by tears but the knowledge that freedom is real and everlasting.
Henry Miller
My life was awful. When I was a kid, I was fat, pretty ugly and had awful hair. I used to get teased every fucking day, slammed up against lockers, punched in the face - you name it. Hell, I had to go to prom with one of my female friends because I couldn’t even get a proper date. I can’t even look back at those photos because I look so bad. I transferred schools, but the teasing just got worse. After an, let’s say, ‘incident’ I had with the school play the bullying just got worse. But I made it through high school, only to find out that real life was pretty much the same. I just stayed in my dark room all day and didn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t go outside. I just stayed inside and drew. I’d draw vampires, mummies, heroes, villains. Anything to help me escape all the bad in the world. I went to art school and didn’t really belong. All I could draw was comic book characters. I tried to put my only good talent to use by drawing a cartoon and pitching it - only to have it turned down. Life to me was just pointless. I started drinking, doing drugs and just generally wasting my life drawing.
Then one day, I saw bodies falling from the sky. I witnessed people dying. And that’s when I decided to turn my life around. I called up anyone I knew who had an instrument and we formed a band. Being on tour for the first few years was bad. All we’d do is get drunk and do drugs, but I loved it. Because I was doing something I loved with people I loved. And a few years ago I met the most perfect woman ever. It’s like we share a wave-link or something. She just knows me without even knowing me, if you understand. And now, 2011, I have a beautiful baby girl, a caring wife and I get to perform for my adoring fans everyday. I am living proof that no matter how bad it gets, it gets better. I am Gerard Way, and I survived.
Gerard Way
Most striking about the traditional societies of the Congo was their remarkable artwork: baskets, mats, pottery, copper and ironwork, and, above all, woodcarving. It would be two decades before Europeans really noticed this art. Its discovery then had a strong influence on Braque, Matisse, and Picasso -- who subsequently kept African art objects in his studio until his death. Cubism was new only for Europeans, for it was partly inspired by specific pieces of African art, some of them from the Pende and Songye peoples, who live in the basin of the Kasai River, one of the Congo's major tributaries. It was easy to see the distinctive brilliance that so entranced Picasso and his colleagues at their first encounter with this art at an exhibit in Paris in 1907. In these central African sculptures some body parts are exaggerated, some shrunken; eyes project, cheeks sink, mouths disappear, torsos become elongated; eye sockets expand to cover almost the entire face; the human face and figure are broken apart and formed again in new ways and proportions that had previously lain beyond sight of traditional European realism. The art sprang from cultures that had, among other things, a looser sense than Islam or Christianity of the boundaries between our world and the next, as well as those between the world of humans and the world of beasts. Among the Bolia people of the Congo, for example, a king was chosen by a council of elders; by ancestors, who appeared to him in a dream; and finally by wild animals, who signaled their assent by roaring during a night when the royal candidate was left at a particular spot in the rain forest. Perhaps it was the fluidity of these boundaries that granted central Africa's artists a freedom those in Europe had not yet discovered.
Adam Hochschild (King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa)
Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual changes; it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is christianized, it is rich, it is scientific; but this change is not amelioration. For every thing that is given, something is taken. Society acquires new arts, and loses old instincts. What a contrast between the well-clad, reading, writing, thinking American, with a watch, a pencil, and a bill of exchange in his pocket, and the naked New Zealander, whose property is a club, a spear, a mat, and an undivided twentieth of a shed to sleep under! But compare the health of the two men, and you shall see that the white man has lost his aboriginal strength. If the traveller tell us truly, strike the savage with a broad axe, and in a day or two the flesh shall unite and heal as if you struck the blow into soft pitch, and the same blow shall send the white to his grave. The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of muscle. He has a fine Geneva watch, but he fails of the skill to tell the hour by the sun. A Greenwich nautical almanac he has, and so being sure of the information when he wants it, the man in the street does not know a star in the sky. The solstice he does not observe; the equinox he knows as little; and the whole bright calendar of the year is without a dial in his mind. His note-books impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit; the insurance-office increases the number of accidents; and it may be a question whether machinery does not encumber; whether we have not lost by refinement some energy, by a Christianity entrenched in establishments and forms, some vigor of wild virtue. For every Stoic was a Stoic; but in Christendom where is the Christian?
Ralph Waldo Emerson
For my present purpose I require a word which shall embrace both the Sub-Creative Art in itself, and a quality of strangeness and wonder in the Expression, derived from the Image: a quality essential to fairy-story. I propose, therefore, to arrogate to myself the powers of Humpty-Dumpty, and to use Fantasy for this purpose: in a sense, that is, which combines with its older and higher use as an equivalent of Imagination the derived notions of 'unreality' (that is, of unlikeness to the Primary World), of freedom from the dominion of 'observed fact,' in short of the fantastic. I am thus not only aware but glad of the etymological and semantic connexions of fantasy with fantastic: with images of things that are not only 'not actually present,' but which are indeed not to be found in our primary world at all, or are generally believed not to be found there. But while admitting that, I do not assent to the depreciative tone. That the images are of things not in the primary world (if that indeed is possible) is, I think, not a lower but a higher form of Art, indeed the most nearly pure form, and so (when achieved) the most Potent. Fantasy, of course, starts out with an advantage: arresting strangeness. But that advantage has been turned against it, and has contributed to its disrepute. Many people dislike being 'arrested.' They dislike any meddling with the Primary World, or such small glimpses of it as are familiar to them. They, therefore, stupidly and even maliciously confound Fantasy with Dreaming, in which there is no Art; and with mental disorders, in which there is not even control; with delusion and hallucination. But the error or malice, engendered by disquiet and consequent dislike, is not the only cause of this confusion. Fantasy has also an essential drawback: it is difficult to achieve. . . . Anyone inheriting the fantastic device of human language can say the green sun. Many can then imagine or picture it. But that is not enough -- though it may already be a more potent thing than many a 'thumbnail sketch' or 'transcript of life' that receives literary praise. To make a Secondary World inside which the green sun will be credible, commanding Secondary Belief, will probably require labour and thought, and will certainly demand a special skill, a kind of elvish craft. Few attempt such difficult tasks. But when they are attempted and in any degree accomplished then we have a rare achievement of Art: indeed narrative art, story-making in its primary and most potent mode.
J.R.R. Tolkien
Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness, Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: What leaf-fring’d legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or of both, In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d, Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare; Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve; She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu; And, happy melodist, unwearied, For ever piping songs for ever new; More happy love! more happy, happy love! For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d, For ever panting, and for ever young; All breathing human passion far above, That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d, A burning forehead, and a parching tongue. Who are these coming to the sacrifice? To what green altar, O mysterious priest, Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies, And all her silken flanks with garlands drest? What little town by river or sea shore, Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn? And, little town, thy streets for evermore Will silent be; and not a soul to tell Why thou art desolate, can e’er return. O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede Of marble men and maidens overwrought, With forest branches and the trodden weed; Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
John Keats (Ode On A Grecian Urn And Other Poems)
The light was crude. It made Artaud's eyes shrink into darkness, as they are deep-set. This brought into relief the intensity of his gestures. He looked tormented. His hair, rather long, fell at times over his forehead. He has the actor's nimbleness and quickness of gestures. His face is lean, as if ravaged by fevers. His eyes do not seem to see the people. They are the eyes of a visionary. His hands are long, long-fingered. Beside him Allendy looks earthy, heavy, gray. He sits at the desk, massive, brooding. Artaud steps out on the platform, and begins to talk about " The Theatre and the Plague." He asked me to sit in the front row. It seems to me that all he is asking for is intensity, a more heightened form of feeling and living. Is he trying to remind us that it was during the Plague that so many marvelous works of art and theater came to be, because, whipped by the fear of death, man seeks immortality, or to escape, or to surpass himself? But then, imperceptibly almost, he let go of the thread we were following and began to act out dying by plague. No one quite knew when it began. To illustrate his conference, he was acting out an agony. "La Peste" in French is so much more terrible than "The Plague" in English. But no word could describe what Artaud acted out on the platform of the Sorbonne. He forgot about his conference, the theatre, his ideas, Dr. Allendy sitting there, the public, the young students, his wife, professors, and directors. His face was contorted with anguish, one could see the perspiration dampening his hair. His eyes dilated, his muscles became cramped, his fingers struggled to retain their flexibility. He made one feel the parched and burning throat, the pains, the fever, the fire in the guts. He was in agony. He was screaming. He was delirious. He was enacting his own death, his own crucifixion. At first people gasped. And then they began to laugh. Everyone was laughing! They hissed. Then, one by one, they began to leave, noisily, talking, protesting. They banged the door as they left. The only ones who did not move were Allendy, his wife, the Lalous, Marguerite. More protestations. More jeering. But Artaud went on, until the last gasp. And stayed on the floor. Then when the hall had emptied of all but his small group of friends, he walked straight up to me and kissed my hand. He asked me to go to the cafe with him.
Anaïs Nin
Let me make a clean breast of it here, and frankly admit that I kept but sorry guard. With the problem of the universe revolving in me, how could I- being left completely to myself at such a thought-engendering altitude- how could I but lightly hold my obligations to observe all whaleships' standing orders, "Keep your weather eye open, and sing out every time." And let me in this place movingly admonish you, ye ship-owners of Nantucket! Beware of enlisting in your vigilant fisheries any lad with lean brow and hollow eye; given to unseasonable meditativeness...: your whales must be seen before they can be killed; and this sunken-eyed young Platonist will tow you ten wakes round the world, and never make you one pint of sperm the richer. Nor are these monitions at all unneeded. For nowadays, the whale-fishery furnishes an asylum for many romantic, melancholy, and absent-minded young men, disgusted with the corking care of earth, and seeking sentiment in tar and blubber. Childe Harold not unfrequently perches himself upon the mast-head of some luckless disappointed whale-ship, and in moody phrase ejaculates:- "Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll! Ten thousand blubber-hunters sweep over thee in vain. " ... "Why, thou monkey," said a harpooneer to one of these lads, "we've been cruising now hard upon three years, and thou hast not raised a whale yet. Whales are scarce as hen's teeth whenever thou art up here." Perhaps they were; or perhaps there might have been shoals of them in the far horizon; but lulled into such an opium-like listlessness of vacant, unconscious reverie is this absent-minded youth by the blending cadence of waves with thoughts, that at last he loses his identity; takes the mystic ocean at his feet for the visible image of that deep, blue, bottomless soul, pervading mankind and nature; and every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing that eludes him; every dimly-discovered, uprising fin of some undiscernible form, seems to him the embodiment of those elusive thoughts that only people the soul by continually flitting through it. In this enchanted mood, thy spirit ebbs away to whence it came; becomes diffused through time and space; like Crammer's sprinkled Pantheistic ashes, forming at last a part of every shore the round globe over. There is no life in thee, now, except that rocking life imparted by a gentle rolling ship; by her, borrowed from the sea; by the sea, from the inscrutable tides of God. But while this sleep, this dream is on ye, move your foot or hand an inch; slip your hold at all; and your identity comes back in horror. Over Descartian vortices you hover. And perhaps, at midday, in the fairest weather, with one half-throttled shriek you drop through that transparent air into the summer sea, no more to rise for ever. Heed it well, ye Pantheists!
Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
It is a special blessing to belong among those who can and may devote their best energies to the contemplation and exploration of objective and timeless things. How happy and grateful I am for having been granted this blessing, which bestows upon one a large measure of independence from one's personal fate and from the attitude of one's contemporaries. Yet this independence must not inure us to the awareness of the duties that constantly bind us to the past, present and future of humankind at large. Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here, involuntarily and uninvited, for a short stay, without knowing the why and the wherefore. In our daily lives we feel only that man is here for the sake of others, for those whom we love and for many other beings whose fate is connected with our own. I am often troubled by the thought that my life is based to such a large extent on the work of my fellow human beings, and I am aware of my great indebtedness to them. I do not believe in free will. Schopenhauer's words: 'Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills,' accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others, even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of free will keeps me from taking myself and my fellow men too seriously as acting and deciding individuals, and from losing my temper. I have never coveted affluence and luxury and even despise them a good deal. My passion for social justice has often brought me into conflict with people, as has my aversion to any obligation and dependence I did not regard as absolutely necessary. [Part 2] I have a high regard for the individual and an insuperable distaste for violence and fanaticism. All these motives have made me a passionate pacifist and antimilitarist. I am against any chauvinism, even in the guise of mere patriotism. Privileges based on position and property have always seemed to me unjust and pernicious, as does any exaggerated personality cult. I am an adherent of the ideal of democracy, although I know well the weaknesses of the democratic form of government. Social equality and economic protection of the individual have always seemed to me the important communal aims of the state. Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice keeps me from feeling isolated. The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as of all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all there is.
Albert Einstein