Bafflement Quotes

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Were all the geniuses of history to focus on this single theme, they could never fully express their bafflement at the darkness of the human mind. No person would give up even an inch of their estate, and the slightest dispute with a neighbor can mean hell to pay; yet we easily let others encroach on our lives—worse, we often pave the way for those who will take it over. No person hands out their money to passersby, but to how many do each of us hand out our lives! We’re tight-fisted with property and money, yet think too little of wasting time, the one thing about which we should all be the toughest misers.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
Take some very deep breaths," Miranda said. "Relax. Concentrate. Then envision a frosty six-pack and wiggle your pinky." A frosty six-pack. Kylie inhaled. He held out her pinky, and right then Della chimed in. "We are talking a six=pack of soda, not a cold guy with good-looking abs, right?" There was a strange kind of sizzle in the air. And suddenly appearing in front of the refrigerator was a shirtless, shivering guy with great abs. His blue eyes studied the three of them in complete bafflement. "What the...!" he muttered. Kylie gasped. Miranda giggled. Della snorted with laughter.
C.C. Hunter (Whispers at Moonrise (Shadow Falls, #4))
Later, her first intense, serious love affair, yes then she'd lost something more tangible, if undefinable: her heart? her independence? her control of, definition of, self? That first true loss, the furious bafflement of it. And never again quite so assured, confident.
Joyce Carol Oates (Faithless)
A supreme deity would no more gift us with intellect and expect us to forsake it in moments of bafflement, than He would fashion us eyes to see and bid us shut them to the stars
Terryl L. Givens (The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life)
We use time machines to learn from the past,” Chris continued. “But there are still a few things that have been puzzling some of us, and maybe you can help clear up one of them. There’s a person called Kim Kardashian—someone born in your time, I believe. She has had thousands of regeneration and cybernetic enhancement procedures. But no one can seem to recall her purpose. Does she have any special talent or reason for being kept alive all these centuries?” Heads shook in bafflement. “Anyway,” said Chris, “you’ll be glad to know that Tom Brady is still slinging footballs as far as ever. And Brett Favre is considering another comeback.
Steve Bates (Back To You)
She struggled with her sadness, but tried to conceal it, to divide it into smaller and smaller parts and scatter these in places she thought no one would find them. But often I did - with time I learned where to look - and tried to fit them together. It pained me that she felt she couldn't come to me with it, but I knew it would hurt her more to know that I'd uncovered what she hadn't intended for me to find. In some fundamental way I think she objected to being known. Or resented it even as she longed for it. It offended her sense of freedom. But it isn't possible to simply look upon a person one loves in tranquility, content to regard her in bafflement.
Nicole Krauss (Great House)
My eyes fill with tears, but I exit the text, hitting the home screen. The wallpaper makes my mouth hang open. Our first kiss in Ronan’s party. I stare at Aiden with bafflement. “Why do you have this as the wallpaper?” “Because.” “I’ll change it for you.” He snatches the phone from between my fingers and tucks it in his pocket with a scowl. It’s as if I just offended him. “Absolutely not.” “Is it that important to you?” “It was the day I decided you’ll be mine till the day I die.
Rina Kent (Steel Princess (Royal Elite, #2))
Perhaps the funniest example is that of the Rev. Milton Barfoot, who said to Dan’s brother, in apparently honest bafflement, “But, isn’t Dan afraid of hell?” No, Reverend, Dan doesn’t believe in hell anymore, that’s one of the things about being an atheist, you see.
Dan Barker (Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists)
I can do this,” [Daemon] crooned, slowly circling around her. “I can keep Dorothea and Hekatah off-balance enough to keep the others safe and also prevent those Ladies from giving the orders to send the Terreillean armies into Kaeleer. I can buy you seventy-two hours, Jaenelle. But it’s going to cost me because I’m going to do things I may never be forgiven for, so I want something in return.” He could taste her slight bafflement before she said, “All right.” “I don’t want to wear the Consort’s ring anymore.” A slash of pain, quickly stifled. “All right.” “I want a wedding ring in its place.” A flash of joy, immediately followed by sorrow. She smiled at him at the same time her eyes filled with tears. “It would be wonderful.” She meant that.
Anne Bishop (Queen of the Darkness (The Black Jewels, #3))
The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
Eugene Paul Wigner
The thing is, and here we come to E. Gorey's Great Simple Theory About Art (which he has never tried to communicate to anybody else until now, so prepare for Severe Bafflement), that on the surface they are so obviously those situations that it is very difficult to see that they really are about something else entirely. This is the theory, incidentally, that anything is art, and it's the way I tell, is presumably about some certain thing, but is really always about something else, and it's no good having one without the other, because if you have the something it is boring and if you just have the something else it's irritating.
Edward Gorey (Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey & Peter F. Neumeyer)
It is one of the great bafflements of student fiction. I have read that college students can spend up to ten hours a day on social media. But for the people they write about - also mostly college students - the internet barely exists.
Sigrid Nunez (The Friend)
A mixture, before the English, of irritation and bafflement, of having this same language, same past, so many same things, and yet not belonging to them any more. Being worse than rootless... speciesless.
John Fowles (The Magus)
first things you might have to deal with when you decide to wake up from the Big Snooze and make massive positive changes in your life is disapproval from other people who are snoring away. Especially the people closest to you, lame as this may sound. They may express their discomfort in all sorts of ways: anger, hurt, bafflement, criticism, snorting every time you talk about your new business or your new friends, constant remarks about how you’re not the way you used to be, brow furrowing,
Jen Sincero (You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life)
As long as she persisted in her belief that bafflement justified her actions, she felt confident no one would contradict her.
Thomm Quackenbush (We Shadows (Night's Dream, #1))
She thought she loved him. What do you have in your pocket?” He smiled, drew out the gray button that had fallen off her very ugly suit the first day they’d met. “See?” She couldn’t say why that stupid button moved her so damn much. “People in love keep things. Sentimental things.” “What do you have?” She pulled the chain, and the tear-shaped diamond from under her shirt. “I wouldn’t wear this for anybody but you. It’s embarrassing. And—” “Ah, something else.” “Shit. I’m tired. It makes me gabby. I have one of your shirts.” His brow creased in absolute bafflement. “My shirts?” “In my drawer, under a bunch of stuff. You lent it to me the morning after our first night together. It still sort of smells like you.” For a moment, the worry on his face simply dissolved. “I believe that’s the sweetest thing you’ve said to me in all our time together.” “Well, I owed you. Besides, you have enough shirts to outfit a Broadway troupe. So, help me toss the room?” “Absolutely.
J.D. Robb (New York to Dallas (In Death, #33))
Thus, although life is by and large unthrilling, when we do find ourselves in the sort of situation upon which thrillers dote we cannot really experience it, because our imaginations are occupied by the familiar tropes of popular fiction. And the result of this is a kind of dull bafflement, and the sense that whatever it is cannot really be happening. We actually think that phrase: this can’t be happening to me.
Michael Gruber (The Book of Air and Shadows)
I'd trust you a hell of a lot more if you didn't refer to her as an old friend when we both know she was a hell of a lot more" "What she was is nearly a dozen years in the past. Years before I ever set eyes on you." Now simple bafflement joined the irritation and the ice. "Christ Jesus, are you jealous of a woman I haven't spoken to, seen, or thought of in years?" Even only looked at him for one long moment. "You're thinking of her now
J.D. Robb (Innocent in Death (In Death, #24))
As a youth I got my jollies by confronting my professors with facts that ran completely contrary to what they were trying to ram into our thick skulls. His expressions of bafflement and anger had never failed to amuse me.
Lia Habel (Dearly, Departed (Gone With the Respiration, #1))
It wasn’t that my personality changed when I met Stella. It was that it became, it flourished, because I could say things to Stella that I wouldn’t have said to anyone back home—knowing they would only respond with bafflement, or laughter—and she always volleyed right back, sharpening me like a whetstone to a knife. I didn’t just want the friendship of this dazzling girl. I wanted the world that had made her so dazzling in the first place.
Anna Pitoniak (Necessary People)
As feminist scholar Carol Christ points out, “Symbol systems cannot simply be rejected, they must be replaced. Where there is no replacement, the mind will revert to familiar structures at times of crisis, bafflement, or defeat.
Starhawk (The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religions of the Great Goddess)
I’ve got nothing.” Eve swiveled around to him. “Zip. You’ve got something. What?” “Apparently, it’s not coffee,” he said with a glance at his empty mug. “What am I, a domestic droid?” “If so, why aren’t you wearing your frilly white apron and little white cap, and nothing else?” She sent him a pained look of sincere bafflement. “Why do men think that kind of getup is sexy?” “Hmm, let me think. Mostly naked women wearing only symbols of servitude. No, I can’t understand it myself.” “Perverts, your entire species. What have you got?” “Besides a very clear picture of you in my head wearing a frilly white apron and little white cap?” “Jesus, I’ll get the damn coffee if you’ll cut it out.
J.D. Robb (Promises in Death (In Death, #28))
I suppose…” she said reflectively, “I could make more of an effort to overcome my shyness.” “Do as you please. But when you’re with Rohan or any other man, you had better keep in mind that you belong completely to me.” Trying to interpret the comment, Evie stared at him with astonishment. “Are you… is it possible… you’re jealous?” Sudden bafflement flickered across his features. “Yes,” he said gruffly. “It would seem so.” And throwing Evie a glance of bewildered annoyance, he left the room.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
My parents were told by the principal of West Barnstable Elementary School and my teacher that I was a bright boy whose spelling was in the retarded range and whose handwriting was the worst they’d ever seen. I find it embarrassing that I spell so badly. I will do almost anything to avoid being embarrassed, but no effort either on my part or on the part of any teacher has ever dented my utter bafflement when it comes to choosing which letters to put down, how many, and in what order.
Mark Vonnegut (Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So: A Memoir)
She watched him surrender his crisp gaze to a softening, a bright-eyed fear that seemed to tunnel out of childhood. It had the starkness of a last prayer. She worked to get at it. His face was drained and slack, coming into flatness, into black and white, cracked lips and flaring brows, age lines that hinge the chin, old bafflements and regrets.
Don DeLillo (Mao II)
We have advanced to new and surprising levels of bafflement,
Lois McMaster Bujold (Komarr (Vorkosigan Saga, #11))
And he wanted us to call him Twilight. I was too tired and melancholy to truly feel the level of bafflement this request deserved. However, I did notice the initial exchange between my brother and Isaac/Twilight when they arrived with Tina’s momma. It went something like this: Jackson: “Tina. I didn’t know you were bringing Isaac. Good to see you, man.” Isaac/Twilight: “It’s Twilight.” Jackson (looking bemused): “No it ain’t, it’s not even noon yet.” Isaac/Twilight: “No. My name is Twilight.” Jackson (still looking bemused): “Say what?” Isaac/Twilight: “My name. Call me Twilight.” Jackson: “You mean like that My Little Pony character?” Tina: “Jackson! I didn’t know you were a My Little Pony fan.” Jackson (scowling then motioning to Isaac/Twilight): “Jessica was always watching it growing up, and I’m not a fan—not like Twilight Sparkle over here.” Isaac/Twilight: “The name is Twilight, not Twilight Sparkle.” Jackson (irritated): “If you want me to call you Twilight, then don’t be surprised if I slip up a few times and call you Pinky Pie.” A similar conversation ensued when Twilight was brought in to greet my dad, except my dad said, “That’s not a name, son. That’s a time of day.
Penny Reid (Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1))
Jenny’s admonition had the desired effect. Ned drew a deep breath and thrust his arm gingerly into the bag, his mouth puckered in distaste. The expression on his face flickered from queasy horror to confusion. From there, it flew headlong into outright bafflement. Shaking his head, he pulled his fist from the bag and turned his hand palm up. For a long moment, the two men stared at the offending lump. It was brightly colored. It was round. It was— “An orange?” Lord Blakely rubbed his forehead. “Not quite what I expected.” He scribbled another notation. “We live in enlightened times,” Jenny murmured.
Courtney Milan (Proof by Seduction (Carhart, #1))
Let me end on a more cheerful note. The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
Eugene Paul Wigner (The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences)
Erwin Strauss, in his brilliant monograph on obsession, similarly earlier showed how repulsed Swift was by the animality of the body, by its dirt and decay. Straus pronounced a more clinical judgment on Swift's disgust, seeing it as part of the typical obsessive's worldview: "For all obsessives sex is severed from unification and procreation....Through the...isolation of the genitals from the whole of the body, sexual functions are experienced as excretions and as decay." This degree of fragmentation is extreme, but we all see the world through obsessive eyes at least part of the time and to some degree; and as Freud said, not only neurotics take exception to the fact that "we are born between urine and feces." In t his horror of the incongruity of man Swift the poet gives more tormented voice to the dilemma that haunts us all, and it is worth summing it up one final time: Excreting is the curse that threatens madness because it shows man his abject finitude, his physicalness, the likely unreality of his hopes and dreams. But even more immediately, it represents man's utter bafflement at the sheer non-sense of creation: to fashion the sublime miracle of the human face, the mysterium tremendum of radiant female beauty, the veritable goddesses that beautiful women are; to bring this out of nothing, out of the void, and make it shine in noonday; to take such a miracle and put miracles again within it, deep in the mystery of eyes that peer out-the eye that gave even the dry Darwin a chill; to do all this, and to combine it with an anus that shits! It is too much. Nature mocks us, and poets live in torture.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
Even people who no longer "believe in God" or participate in the institutional structure of patriarchal religion still may not be free of the power of the symbolism of God the Father. A symbol's effect does not depend on rational assent, for a symbol also functions on levels of the psyche other than the rational. Symbol systems cannot simply be rejected; they must be replaced. Where there is no replacement, the mind will revert to familiar structures at times of crisis, bafflement, or defeat.
Carol P. Christ
Which is probably one of the reasons those of us who love contemporary fiction love it as we do. We’re alone with it. It arrives without references, without credentials we can trust. Givers of prizes (not to mention critics) do the best they can, but they may—they probably will—be scoffed at by their children’s children. We, the living readers, whether or not we’re members of juries, decide, all on our own, if we suspect ourselves to be in the presence of greatness. We’re compelled to let future generations make the more final decisions, which will, in all likelihood, seem to them so clear as to produce a sense of bafflement over what was valued by their ancestors; what was garlanded and paraded, what carried to the temple on the shoulders of the wise.
Michael Cunningham
Every person’s story contains chapters of pain and loss, victory and defeat, love and hate, pride and prejudice, courage and fear, faith and self-distrust, charity and kindness, selfishness and jealously. Every person’s story also contains folios of hopefulness and truthfulness, deceit and despair, action and change, passion and compassion, excitement and boredom, birth and creation, mutation and defect, generation and preservation, delusions and illusions, imagination and fantasy, bafflement and puzzlement. What makes a person’s selfsame story unique is how he or she organizes the pure and impure forces that comprise them, how they respond to internal and external crisis, if they act in a safeguarding and humble manner, or lead a self-seeking and destructive existence.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
I envy her. No one in my family cares about literature at all. My mother views my love of reading with the same vague bafflement with which she viewed my former interest in running— a hobby one might reference in polite conversation, but ultimately unnecessary.
Victoria Lee (A Lesson in Vengeance)
Sometimes the less we know about what will happen in a work of fiction, the better off we are. Because the more we know about what happens next, the more we close off the possibilities of the unexpected, the less chance we have of allowing our subconscious minds to speculate and probe down to the awkward truths that we need to express instead of glib things we initially thought we wanted to say. If we already know what we intend to say, we are going to learn nothing by saying it. Only when we allow our imagination the space to catch us by surprise, when we sit back and stare in bafflement at words that suddenly start appearing on our screens, do we find ourselves to be truly writing. Only then can we honestly say that we are being brought – often by the seat of our pants – on imaginative journeys into the unknown.
Dermot Bolger
Rhoda moved off slowly, an expression of patient bafflement in her eyes; then, throwing herself on the sofa, she buried her face in a pillow and wept plaintively, peering up at her mother through her laced fingers. But the performance was not at all convincing, and Christine looked back at her child with a new, dispassionate interest, and thought: She’s an amateur so far; but she’s improving day by day. She’s perfecting her act. In a few years, her act won’t seem corny at all. It’ll be most convincing then, I’m sure.
William March (The Bad Seed)
As for the world beyond my family—well, what they would see for most of my teenage years was not a budding leader but rather a lackadaisical student, a passionate basketball player of limited talent, and an incessant, dedicated partyer. No student government for me; no Eagle Scouts or interning at the local congressman’s office. Through high school, my friends and I didn’t discuss much beyond sports, girls, music, and plans for getting loaded. Three of these guys—Bobby Titcomb, Greg Orme, and Mike Ramos—remain some of my closest friends. To this day, we can laugh for hours over stories of our misspent youth. In later years, they would throw themselves into my campaigns with a loyalty for which I will always be grateful, becoming as skilled at defending my record as anyone on MSNBC. But there were also times during my presidency—after they had watched me speak to a big crowd, say, or receive a series of crisp salutes from young Marines during a base tour—when their faces would betray a certain bafflement, as if they were trying to reconcile the graying man in a suit and tie with the ill-defined man-child they’d once known. That guy? they must have said to themselves. How the hell did that happen? And if my friends had ever asked me directly, I’m not sure I’d have had a good answer.
Barack Obama (A Promised Land)
The Republican Party spent the year of the liberal apotheosis enacting the most unlikely political epic ever told: a right-wing fringe took over the party from the ground up, nominating Barry Goldwater, the radical-right senator from Arizona, while a helpless Eastern establishment-that-was-now-a-fringe looked on in bafflement. Experts, claiming the Republican tradition of progressivism was as much a part of its identity as the elephant, began talking about a party committing suicide. The Goldwaterites didn’t see suicide. They saw redemption. This was part and parcel of their ideology—that Lyndon Johnson’s “consensus” was their enemy in a battle for the survival of civilization. For them, the idea that calamitous liberal nonsense—ready acceptance of federal interference in the economy; Negro “civil disobedience”; the doctrine of “containing” the mortal enemy Communism when conservatives insisted it must be beaten—could be described as a “consensus” at all was symbol and substance of America’s moral rot. They also believed the vast majority of ordinary Americans already agreed with them, whatever spake the polls—“crazy figures,” William F. Buckley harrumphed, doctored “to say, ‘Yes, Mr. President.’” It was their article of faith. And faith, and the uncompromising passions attending it, was key to their political makeup.
Rick Perlstein (Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America)
An irregular birthmark stood out on the crest of her hip, like a splash of wine on snow. He touched a finger to it, and she stirred. “Don’t look at that,” she mumbled, rubbing sleep from her eyes. “I know it’s horrid.” “Horrid?” Despite the pained expression on her face, he had to laugh. “Sweetheart, I can honestly say that there is nothing about you that’s horrid in the least.” “My painting master would not agree.” The bitter taste of envy filled his mouth. “Do you know, that Frenchman of yours had better hope I never meet with him. “Oh, no,” she said quickly. “Not Gervais. Never Gervais. My painting master was an old, balding prig called Mr. Turklethwaite.” Gray’s bafflement must have been obvious. She went on, “There was never any Gervais. I mean, you know that I’d never taken a man to my bed, but you must understand…I’ve never allowed another man into my heart, either.” She kissed his brow, then his lips. “I love you, only you.” God. How brave she was. Tossing those words about as though they were feathers. Could she possibly suspect how they landed in his chest like cannonballs, detonating deep in his heart? Struggling for equanimity, he asked casually, “So when did this other painting master have occasion to see your birthmark?” She laughed. “He didn’t. But I painted something like it once, on a portrait of Venus. I told him I thought it lent her an air of reality. Oh, how he scolded me. A lady who paints, he said-“ She gave Gray a teasing look. “He would not apply the term “artist” to a female, you see.” “I see.” “A lady who paints, he said, should approach the art as she would any other genteel accomplishment. Her purpose is to please; her goal is to create an example of refinement. A true lady would not paint an imperfection, he said, any more than she would strike a false note in a sonata. Beauty is not real, and reality is not beautiful.” Gray shook his head. “Remarkable. I believe I despise your real painting master even more than I hated the fictional one. I wouldn’t have thought it possible.
Tessa Dare (Surrender of a Siren (The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy, #2))
From my college courses and my reading I knew the various names that came at the end of a line of questions or were placed as periods to bafflement: the First Cause, the First Mover, the Life Force, the Universal Mind, the First Principle, the Unmoved Mover, even Providence. I too had used those names in arguing with others, and with myself, trying to explain the world to myself. And now I saw that those names explained nothing. They were of no more use than Evolution or Natural Selection or Nature or The Big Bang of these later days. All such names do is catch us within the length and breadth of our own thoughts and our own bewilderment. Though I knew the temptation of simple reason, to know nothing that can't be proved, still I supposed that those were not the right names. I imagined that the right name might be Father, and I imagined all that that name would imply: the love, the compassion, the taking offense, the disappointment, the anger, the bearing of wounds, the weeping of tears, the forgiveness, the suffering unto death. If love could force my own thoughts over the edge of the world and out of time, then could I not see how even divine omnipotence might by the force of its own love be swayed down into the world? Could I not see how it might, because it could know its creatures only by compassion, put on mortal flesh, become a man, and walk among us, assume our nature and our fate, suffer our faults and our death? Yes. I could imagine a Father who is yet like a mother hen spreading her wings before the storm or in the dusk before the dark night for the little ones of Port William to come in under, some of whom do, and some do not. I could imagine Port William riding its humble wave through time under the sky, its little flames of wakefulness lighting and going out, its lives passing through birth, pleasure, sufferning, and death. I could imagine God looking down upon it, its lives living by His spirit, breathing by His breath, knowing by His light, but each life living also (inescapably) by its own will--His own body given to be broken.
Wendell Berry (Jayber Crow)
Some of them are mech,” said Zita, nimbly picking her high heels through the steaming pools of red goo and severed, wriggling limbs. She was splattered with blood and grinning as she came to them, but she frowned to see the utter bafflement on Rose’s face. “Hey, snap out of it. Haven’t you seen mech before?” She kicked a man’s severed head, and Rose gasped when his face slid off, revealing a skull of gleaming silver metal. Rose shook her head. “Mech are illegal. The government s-said they feared a robot war!” she insisted, turning to follow as Zita limped past her. Zita laughed dryly, folding up her rifle and tucking it under her skirt. “Is it so hard to imagine your government lied? Governments tend to do that.
Ash Gray (Project Mothership (The Prince of Qorlec #1))
Excreting is the curse that threatens madness because it shows man his abject finitude, his physicalness, the likely unreality of his hopes and dreams. But even more immediately, it represents man’s utter bafflement at the sheer non-sense of creation: to fashion the sublime miracle of the human face, the mysterium tremendum of radiant feminine beauty, the veritable goddesses that beautiful women are; to bring this out of nothing, out of the void, and make it shine in noonday; to take such a miracle and put miracles again within it, deep in the mystery of eyes that peer out—the eye that gave even the dry Darwin a chill: to do all this, and to combine it with an anus that shits! It is too much. Nature mocks us, and poets live in torture.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
When war broke out in Europe in September 1939, Eisenhower was a 49-year-old lieutenant colonel stuck in a distant outpost in the Pacific. Less than three years later, in June 1942, General Eisenhower took command of the entire European Theater of Operations in the war with Germany. Some contemporaries expressed wonder and sheer bafflement at this meteoric rise to fame and power by the once-obscure staff officer who had never commanded troops in the field. Yet inside the armed forces and in Washington, D.C., Eisenhower had developed a reputation for planning brilliance, hard work, supreme organizational skills, and personal qualities of tact, loyalty, devotion to duty, and optimism. Eisenhower himself said it best: he had been preparing all his life for this moment, and he would make the most of it.
William I. Hitchcock (The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s)
She opened her eyes and looked into his rather intensely. "What?" Alex asked. "This cannot be." "What can't be?" Alex asked her, more bafflement in his voice this time. "I have been reading people all my life. I can even read cats and dogs. I've been doing it all my life and i've been here longer than the two of you put together." "And?" Alex wanted to get to the point. Whatever the truth may be, he just wanted to hear it, wanted it on the table before them so he could get this over with and they can go home. "AND.....you are the first person that has nothing for me to see." "And here I was hoping you'd say I'd win the lottery or get married to a supermodel or something." Alex said, starting to laugh. "You don't understand. I don't see anything, anything at all. There is nothing to you, nothing but what I see before me." "So....what does that mean?" "It means you don't exist.
J.C. Joranco (Halfway to Nowhere)
To her complete bafflement, instead of continuing his attack, Ian Thornton turned around and met her stormy eyes, an odd expression on his handsome face. “I apologize, Elizabeth,” he said grimly. “My remarks were uncalled for.” And on that amazing note he strode off, saying that he intended to spend the day hunting. Elizabeth tore her startled gaze from his departing back, but the vicar continued staring after him for several long moments. Then he turned and looked at Elizabeth. An odd, thoughtful smile slowly dawned across his face and lit his brown eyes as he continued gazing at her. “Is-is something amiss?” she asked. His smile widened, and he leaned back in his chair, beaming thoughtfully at her. “Apparently there is,” he answered, looking positively delighted. “And I, for one, am vastly pleased.” Elizabeth was beginning to wonder if a tiny streak of insanity ran in the family, and only good manners prevented her from remarking on it. Instead she stood up and began clearing the dishes.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
the list was a smoke screen: ten applications would be made on the pretense of this being a meritocratic process. But the first-choice school would have opened a file on the child once his PSATs were posted. The result was already assured. For Anne, much of the work lay in managing these lists. How to carve, from the great shared dream of college destiny, a range to fairly suit each child? And how then to help bring round the parents, in their bafflement and their shame? More accurately, how to awaken these families from a fantasy that held colleges up bright and shining and implacably steady in character, to reveal each as just what it was—a living, breathing institution—struggling to serve young minds weaned on ambition and fear and heading into a job market that matched conscription to greed and made interns of all the rest? Take Middlebury: one thought immediately of all the blond kids with a green streak, the vegans, the skiers. Take the Ivies: the Euro kids wanted Brown. Jews, Yale or Penn. WASPs wanted Princeton. Cold athletes Dartmouth. Hot athletes, Stanford. Cornell was big and seemed possible but Ithaca was a high price to pay. Columbia for the city kids. Everyone wanted Harvard, if only to say they got in. Then the cult schools. Tufts, Georgetown, Duke. Big
Lacy Crawford (Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy)
I am now going to turn to a couple of the ways in which the New Testament depicts significant silence. One of the most dramatic of these moments is Jesus’ silence before his judges, before the High Priest and the Governor. The gospel narratives show us how the High Priest or Pontius Pilate urge Jesus to speak: ‘Why don’t you answer me?’ says Pilate, ‘Don’t you know that I have the power to crucify you or to release you?’ And we’re told in St John’s Gospel that when Jesus gives no answer to the charges made against him, Pilate wonders, he is ‘amazed’. Now the odd thing in these stories is that Jesus is precisely in the position of someone having his voice taken away; he is a person who has been reduced to silence by the violence and injustice of the world he is in. But then, mysteriously, he turns this around. His silence, his complete presence and openness, his refusal to impose his will in a struggle, becomes a threat to those who have power–or think they have power. ‘For God’s sake, talk to me!’ says the High Priest, more or less (‘ I adjure you in the name of the living God, tell us!’). And Pilate’s wonderment, bafflement and fear in the face of Jesus’ silence are a reminder that, in this case, Jesus as it were takes the powerlessness that has been forced on him and turns it around so that his silence becomes a place in the world where the mystery of God is present. In a small way, that’s what happens when we seek to be truly and fully silent or let ourselves be silenced by the mystery of God. We become a ‘place’ where the mystery of God happens.
Rowan Williams (Being Human: Bodies, Minds, Persons)
I’m going to sleep now,” she said in a strangled voice. “Alone,” she added, and his face whitened as if she had slapped him. During his entire adult life Ian had relied almost as much on his intuition as on his intellect, and at that moment he didn’t want to believe in the explanation they were both offering. His wife did not want him in her bed; she recoiled from his touch; she had been away for two consecutive nights; and-more alarming than any of that-guilt and fear were written all over her pale face. “Do you know what a man thinks,” he said in a calm voice that belied the pain streaking through him, “when his wife stays away at night and doesn’t want him in her bed when she does return?” Elizabeth shook her head. “He thinks,” Ian said dispassionately, “that perhaps someone else has been taking his place in it.” Fury sent bright flags of color to her pale cheeks. “You’re blushing, my dear,” Ian said in an awful voice. “I am furious!” she countered, momentarily forgetting that she was confronting a madman. His stunned look was replaced almost instantly by an expression of relief and then bafflement. “I apologize, Elizabeth.” “Would you p-lease get out of here!” Elizabeth burst out in a final explosion of strength. “Just go away and let me rest. I told you I was tired. And I don’t see what right you have to be so upset! We had a bargain before we married-I was to be allowed to live my life without interference, and quizzing me like this is interference!” Her voice broke, and after another narrowed look he strode out of the room. Numb with relief and pain, Elizabeth crawled back into bed and pulled the covers up under her chin, but not even their luxurious warmth could still the alternating chills and fever that quaked through her. Several minutes later a shadow crossed her bed, and she almost screamed with terror before she realized it was Ian, who had entered silently though the connecting door of their suite. Since she’d gasped aloud when she saw him, it was useless to pretend she was sleeping. In silent dread she watched him walking toward her bed. Wordlessly he sat down beside her, and she realized there was a glass in his hand. He put it on the bedside table, then he reached behind her to prop up her pillows, leaving Elizabeth no choice but to sit up and lean back against them. “Drink this,” he instructed in a calm tone. “What is it?” she asked suspiciously. “It’s brandy. It will help you sleep.” He watched while she sipped it, and when he spoke again there was a tender smile in his voice. “Since we’ve ruled out another man as the explanation for all this, I can only assume something has gone wrong at Havenhurst. Is that it?” Elizabeth seized on that excuse as if it were manna from heaven. “Yes,” she whispered, nodding vigorously. Leaning down, he pressed a kiss on her forehead and said teasingly, “Let me guess-you discovered the mill overcharged you?” Elizabeth thought she would die of the sweet torment when he continued tenderly teasing her about being thrifty. “Not the mill? Then it was the baker, and he refused to give you a better price for buying two loaves instead of one.” Tears swelled behind her eyes, treacherously close to the surface, and Ian saw them. “That bad?” he joked.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Speaking of debutantes,” Jake continued cautiously when Ian remained silent, “what about the one upstairs? Do you dislike her especially, or just on general principle?” Ian walked over to the table and poured some Scotch into a glass. He took a swallow, shrugged, and said, “Miss Cameron was more inventive than some of her vapid little friends. She accosted me in a garden at a party.” “I can see how bothersome that musta been,” Jake joked, “having someone like her, with a face that men dream about, tryin’ to seduce you, usin’ feminine wiles on you. Did they work?” Slamming the glass down on the table, Ian said curtly, “They worked.” Coldly dismissing Elizabeth from his mind, he opened the deerskin case on the table, removed some papers he needed to review, and sat down in front of the fire. Trying to suppress his avid curiosity, Jake waited a few minutes before asking, “Then what happened?” Already engrossed in reading the documents in his hand, Ian said absently and without looking up, “I asked her to marry me; she sent me a note inviting me to meet her in the greenhouse; I went there; her brother barged in on us and informed me she was a countess, and that she was already betrothed.” The topic thrust from his mind, Ian reached for the quill lying on the small table beside his chair and made a note in the margin of the contract. “And?” Jake demanded avidly. “And what?” “And then what happened-after the brother barged in?” “He took exception to my having contemplated marrying so far above myself and challenged me to a duel,” Ian replied in a preoccupied voice as he made another note on the contract. “So what’s the girl doin’ here now?” Jake asked, scratching his head in bafflement over the doings of the Quality. “Who the hell knows,” Ian murmured irritably. “Based on her behavior with me, my guess is she finally got caught in some sleezy affair or another, and her reputation’s beyond repair.” “What’s that got to do with you?” Ian expelled his breath in a long, irritated sigh and glanced at Jake with an expression that made it clear he was finished answering questions. “I assume,” he bit out, “that her family, recalling my absurd obsession with her two years ago, hoped I’d come up to scratch again and take her off their hands.” “You think it’s got somethin’ to do with the old duke talking about you bein’ his natural grandson and wantin’ to make you his heir?” He waited expectantly, hoping for more information, but Ian ignored him, reading his documents. Left with no other choice and no prospect for further confidences, Jake picked up a candle, gathered up some blankets, and started for the barn. He paused at the door, struck by a sudden thought. “She said she didn’t send you any note about meetin’ her in the greenhouse.” “She’s a liar and an excellent little actress,” Ian said icily, without taking his gaze from the papers. “Tomorrow I’ll think of some way to get her out of here and off my hands.” Something in Ian’s face made him ask, “Why the hurry? You afraid of fallin’ fer her wiles again?” “Hardly.” “Then you must be made of stone,” he teased. “That woman’s so beautiful she’d tempt any man who was alone with her for an hour-includin’ me, and you know I ain’t in the petticoat line at all.” “Don’t let her catch you alone,” Ian replied mildly. “I don’t think I’d mind.” Jake laughed as he left.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
The God of monotheism did not die, it only left the scene for a while in order to reappear as humanity—the human species dressed up as a collective agent, pursuing its self-realization in history. But, like the God of monotheism, humanity is a work of the imagination. The only observable reality is the multitudinous human animal, with its conflicting goals, values and ways of life. As an object of worship, this fractious species has some disadvantages. Old-fashioned monotheism had the merit of admitting that very little can be known of God. As far back as the prophet Isaiah, the faithful have allowed that the Deity may have withdrawn from the world. Awaiting some sign of a divine presence, they have encountered only deus absconditus—an absent God. The end result of trying to abolish monotheism is much the same. Generations of atheists have lived in expectation of the arrival of a truly human species: the communal workers of Marx, Mill’s autonomous individuals and Nietzsche’s absurd Übermensch, among many others. None of these fantastical creatures has been seen by human eyes. A truly human species remains as elusive as any Deity. Humanity is the deus absconditus of modern atheism. A free-thinking atheism would begin by questioning the prevailing faith in humanity. But there is little prospect of contemporary atheists giving up their reverence for this phantom. Without the faith that they stand at the head of an advancing species they could hardly go on. Only by immersing themselves in such nonsense can they make sense of their lives. Without it, they face panic and despair. According to the grandiose theories today’s atheists have inherited from Positivism, religion will wither away as science continues its advance. But while science is advancing more quickly than it has ever done, religion is thriving—at times violently. Secular believers say this is a blip—eventually, religion will decline and die away. But their angry bafflement at the re-emergence of traditional faiths shows they do not believe in their theories themselves. For them religion is as inexplicable as original sin. Atheists who demonize religion face a problem of evil as insoluble as that which faces Christianity. If you want to understand atheism and religion, you must forget the popular notion that they are opposites. If you can see what a millenarian theocracy in early sixteenth-century Münster has in common with Bolshevik Russia and Nazi Germany, you will have a clearer view of the modern scene. If you can see how theologies that affirm the ineffability of God and some types of atheism are not so far apart, you will learn something about the limits of human understanding. Contemporary atheism is a continuation of monotheism by other means. Hence the unending succession of God-surrogates, such as humanity and science, technology and the all-too-human visions of transhumanism. But there is no need for panic or despair. Belief and unbelief are poses the mind adopts in the face of an unimaginable reality. A godless world is as mysterious as one suffused with divinity, and the difference between the two may be less than you think.
John N. Gray (Seven Types of Atheism)
Hitler invaded Poland on 1 September 1939. Much to the bafflement of the Allies, however, Pope Pius XII said nothing. He refused to condemn the Nazis even as war escalated and casualties mounted on both sides, although it was in 1942, when the world woke up to the reality of the Final Solution, that the papal silence became most unsettling.
Cyrus Shahrad (Secrets of the Vatican)
If I stress this episode, it is because it sets the scene for the kind of activity the narrator is to observe with some bafflement in the salons and dinner parties he is to attend. The point is emphasized in the predilection of society people for the theatricals, recitations, and fancy-dress balls that are frequently referred to.
Marcel Proust (The Guermantes Way (In Search of Lost Time, #3))
I think fiction at its best can serve as a moment of induced bafflement that calls into question our usual relation to things and reminds us that our minds, as nice as they are, aren’t necessarily up to the task of living, and shouldn’t get cocky.
George Saunders
In many cases we find ourselves drawn to doctrines such as rebirth not out of a genuine existential insight or concern, but rather out of a need for consolatioṇ At the level of popular religion, Buddhism, as much as any other tradition, has provided such consolatioṇ Yet if we take an agnostic position, we will find ourselves facing death as a moment of our existential encounter with life. Any examined human life involves the realization that we have been thrown into this world, without any choice, only to look forward to the prospect of being expelled at death. The sheer sense of bafflement and perplexity at this situation is crucial to spiritual awareness. To opt for a comforting, even a discomforting, explanation of what brought us here or what awaits us after death severely limits that very rare sense of mystery with which religion is essentially concerned. We thereby obscure with consoling man-made concepts that which most deeply terrifies and fascinates us.
Stephen Batchelor (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World)
during a press conference he declared (to general bafflement) that he was profoundly influenced by distributism. He had actually said so before, several times, on the campaign trail, but since journalists have a natural tendency to ignore what they don’t understand, no one had paid attention and he’d let it drop. Now
Michel Houellebecq (Submission)
Lem cast an annoyed glance at his wife. “So he’s my son when he’s an idiot, but your son when he does anything right?” “Well, obviously.” Harriet looked up from the phone to stare at her husband in bafflement. They’d been married thirty-five years, and he still had to ask such damn fool questions? No wonder her son was a cement head.
Georgette St. Clair (Big Bad Wolf (The Mating Game, #1))
Kathleen doesn’t look like you,” Henry said suddenly, staring at me. “Uh, no. She doesn’t. Not really,” I stammered, not knowing what else to say. Without another word, Henry turned and left the kitchen. I heard him run up the stairs and looked at Georgia who met my gaze with bafflement. “Did you hear that, woman?” I asked Georgia. “Henry doesn’t think Kathleen looks like me. You got something to tell me?” Kathleen shrieked again. Georgia wasn’t moving fast enough with the jar of bananas she’d produced. Georgia smirked and stuck out her tongue at me, and Kathleen bellowed. Georgia hastily dipped the tiny spoon into the yellow goo and proceeded to feed our little beast, who wailed as she inhaled. “She may not look like you, Moses. But she definitely has your sunny disposition,” Georgia sassed, but she leaned into me when I dropped a kiss on her lips. It didn’t hurt my feelings at all that my dimpled baby girl looked more like her mother.
Amy Harmon (The Song of David (The Law of Moses, #2))
So how's the new school?' 'Why does everyone always ask me about school?' I said. 'There are other things to talk about.' He feigned bafflement. 'Like what?' "LIke the weather. Or sports.' 'You hate sports.' 'Ah, but I hate school more.' "Point taken,' my dad said, smiling.
Michelle Hodkin (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1))
A supreme deity would no more gift us with intellect and expect us to forsake it in moments of bafflement, than He would fashion us eyes to see and bid us shut them to the stars.
Terryl L. Givens (The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life)
If one could not bear the memory of the dead, then they must be shut out of memory. There was no other action anyone could take against the bafflement of grief.
Olivia Manning (Fortunes of War: The Balkan Trilogy (New York Review Books Classics))
Those people who leap from personal bafflement at a natural phenomenon straight to a hasty invocation of the supernatural are no better than the fools who see a conjuror bending a spoon and leap to the conclusion that it is ‘paranormal’.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
The first task I really need done are wooden barriers built here,” his finger trailed along the plains on the map, “so that we can control how many troops can come at us.” “Wood?” she questioned in bafflement. “Wouldn’t stone be better?” He met her eyes unflinchingly. “Wood burns.” Her eyes widened in understanding. “No man would go too near a fire. But stone they would try to scale, is that it?” “Yes.
Honor Raconteur (Kingslayer)
It is the illusion of magic and the magic of illusion that we are primarily interested in- not the privy tricks or the key to the secrets themselves. We seek the bafflement, the contradictions, the amusements, and the innumerable emotions that ripple uneasily through the audience. It is not knowledge we are after, but mystery and disguises. We want to gaze at the impossible. We are hungry for surprises, astonishment. In short, we are looking for a true story, but one impossible to explain in all its complexity. When we discover that story, we shall have found- magic.
Edward Claflin
I try to be open-minded. And yet this food writer has less sense than God gave a goose about where food comes from. I’d worked on our relationship, moving through the stages of bafflement, denial, and asking this guy out loud, “Where do you live, the moon?
Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle)
SIT IN A CHAIR AND KEEP still. Let the dancer’s shoulders emerge from your shoulders, the dancer’s chest from your chest, the dancer’s loins from your loins, the dancer’s hips and thighs from yours; and from your silence the throat that makes a sound, and from your bafflement a clear song to which the dancer moves, and let him serve God in beauty.
Leonard Cohen (Book of Mercy)
Like a phoenix rising from ashes, she had created a new life for herself out of the wreckage of the old one, and it suited her down to the ground. She was a duchess with no duke, a mistress with no master, and much to the bafflement of society, she liked it that way. Her life was comfortable, safe, and as predictable as a finely tuned machine, every aspect within her control.
Laura Lee Guhrke (How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days (An American Heiress in London, #2))
Why young men,” Lily demanded, “and not girls?” Caleb put a hand over hers in a gesture that had become familiar. She knew he wasn’t silencing her, but merely asking her to wait. “I’d be willing to invest in something like that,” he said. Rupert looked embarrassed and chagrined. “I couldn’t take money from you.” “Why not?” Lily wanted to know. She was still ruffled and spoke peevishly. “He must have piles of it, the way he throws it around.” In that instant the tension was broken and both men laughed. “Perhaps I should discuss this with Winola,” Rupert conceded. “I still want to know why it’s going to be a boarding school for boys,” Lily put in. Rupert smiled at her and took her hand. “Lily, dear, so many people don’t believe in educating girls. Boys, now, they have to make their way in the world—” Lily was outraged. “And girls don’t?” she snapped, looking from Caleb to Rupert. Caleb was distinctly uncomfortable, while Rupert wore his prejudices and complacency as easily as a pair of old slippers. “You and Winola are both notable exceptions, of course,” Rupert allowed with a benevolent smile. “Mostly, though, girls just need to be taught to cook and sew and care for children, and they can learn those things right at home.” Caleb closed his eyes as though bracing for an explosion. Lily leapt to her feet, waggling one finger in her brother’s face. “Is that what you’ll want for daughters of your own?” she sputtered. “Nothing but babies, and slaving for some man?” Rupert’s expression was one of kindly bafflement. Obviously Winola’s progressive ideas had not affected him. “It’s what a woman wants—” Lily wouldn’t have begrudged Rupert a penny if it hadn’t been for his narrow and unfair views. “If you give this man money for a school that admits only boys, Caleb Halliday,” she railed, “I’ll make you sleep in the chicken house!” “Sit down,” Caleb said quietly. Lily sat, but grudgingly. “I’ll be happy to give you the money you need,” Caleb told Rupert. Lily favored him with a horrified glare. “You mean you would support such a prejudice?” She was back on her feet again. “Tell me this, Caleb Halliday—do you want your daughters to be ignorant? I can assure you they won’t be, because I will not permit it!” “That,” said Caleb evenly, “is enough. You and I will discuss this later, in private.” Lily’s cheeks were flaming, but she resisted an impulse to storm off to the hotel in high dudgeon because she knew Caleb would not follow or try to assuage her anger in any way. “Yes, Major,” she said sweetly. Caleb narrowed his eyes at her but said nothing. Rupert looked concerned. “I can’t be the cause of trouble between the two of you,” he said. “Winola and I will think of some other solution to the problem.” “You could at least include girls in the classes,” Lily said stiffly. But Rupert shook his head. “Their parents would never permit them to live in such close quarters with young men, Lily,” he reasoned, “and rightly so.” Lily still felt as though her entire gender had been insulted, but she kept silent. Finally,
Linda Lael Miller (Lily and the Major (Orphan Train, #1))
You don't watch anime?! Such a statement would be unbelievable, were it not the 21st century. Common sense in this era must have been completely different.
Takashi Kajii (My Little Sister Can Read Kanji: Volume 1)
Any examined human life involves the realization that we have been thrown into this world, without any choice, only to look forward to the prospect of being expelled at death. The sheer sense of bafflement and perplexity at this situation is crucial to spiritual awareness. To opt for a comforting, even a discomforting, explanation of what brought us here or what awaits us after death severely limits that very rare sense of mystery with which religion is essentially concerned. We thereby obscure with consoling man-made concepts that which most deeply terrifies and fascinates us.
Stephen Batchelor (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World)
Those people who leap from personal bafflement at a natural phenomenon straight to a hasty invocation of the supernatural are no better than the fools who see a conjuror bending a spoon and leap to the conclusion that it is 'paranormal'.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
God is Santa Claus for grown-ups, not a misery-guts, not an asshole; we've got enough of those in town already. I didn't believe; but the guy I didn't believe in wasn't like that. He was a warm, smiling chap, overflowing with benevolence; someone you looked up to with the same bafflement and confused wonder and absolute trust that you had for the giants who put you on your potty when you were two. He was a nice guy who would make it all right; who understood; the one guy you never had to explain your screw-ups to. He smelled good, too: of pews and old hassocks, floor polish and musty velvet drapes, of candle wax and mildewed pages. He resided in the tranquility that can fill even the heart of an unbeliever in old churches, where the eye and the spirit are soothed by the flicker of golden candlelight and the gentle but vivid hues from the stained-glass good guys above the altar. And the great thing about Him was, He was human. You could feel sorry for Him. I knew there could be only one reason why He let us suffer like this: He can't find a way to stop it. Like a roller-coaster ride that gets too scary, there's no way off. He set it in motion and now He's as helpless as the rest of us.
Malcolm Pryce (Don't Cry For Me Aberystwyth (Aberystwyth Noir, #4))
dusty light invaded the pitch-black core of him. He felt a dull ache in his ankles. Rising up like a ballet dancer on the balls of his feet, he stretched his Achilles tendons and calf muscles. The pain and the music stopped, and then the sliver of light disappeared. The elevator gate rattled. “Geiger?” Harry said. The word came to Geiger as if called to him across a canyon. He turned to find Harry standing in the doorway, bafflement breaking across his face. “Jesus Christ. What the hell happened?” Geiger glanced back at Hall. “We’re leaving,” he said, as if he were informing the body instead of Harry. Harry put the attaché case down at his feet. “Oh fuck. What’d you do to him? Is—is he dead?” “No. We have to go now.” Geiger moved for the door, and Harry put his hands up like a traffic cop. Geiger stopped, staring at Harry’s raised palms. “Wait a second,” Harry said. “Just wait, okay? Jesus Christ.” He put his palms to his cheeks. “What the hell is going on with you?” “We have to go.” “Can we talk about this for a minute?” “Right now, Harry, it’s more important that we leave.” “I disagree, man. This is crazy. This is truly nuts,
Mark Allen Smith (The Inquisitor: A Novel)
They both looked at me in a way that was fast becoming familiar: two parts bafflement to one part awe at my talent for making a bad situation worse.
David Bennun (Tick Bite Fever)
There was no physical violence in Nadia’s home, and much giving to charity, but when after finishing university Nadia announced, to her family’s utter horror, and to her own surprise for she had not planned to say it, that she was moving out on her own, an unmarried woman, the break involved hard words on all sides, from her father, from her mother, even more so from her sister, and perhaps most of all from Nadia herself, such that Nadia and her family both considered her thereafter to be without a family, something all of them, all four, for the rest of their lives, regretted, but which none of them would ever act to repair, partly out of stubbornness, partly out of bafflement at how to go about doing so, and partly because the impending descent of their city into the abyss would come before they realized that they had lost the chance.
Mohsin Hamid (Exit West)
In practical affairs Pierre suddenly sensed that he now had a centre of gravity that had been missing before. Before, every monetary question, especially requests for money, which came his way all the time because he was a wealthy man, had always left him worried and perplexed, not knowing which way to turn. ‘To give, or not to give?’ he used to ask himself. ‘I have money and he needs it. But somebody else needs it more. Who needs it most? Maybe they’re both crooks?’ And in the old days he could never see any way out of all these speculations, so he ended up giving to all as long as he had money to give. In those days he had also had the same feeling of bafflement over every question that concerned his property, with one person telling him to do one thing and another recommending something different. Nowadays, much to his own surprise, he found he had no more doubts or misgivings over any such questions. Now there was a judge within him determining what he must do and not do according to a set of laws of which he had no understanding. He was no more concerned about money matters than he had been before, but he was no longer troubled by doubts about what to do, or not do. The first assignment of this new judge sitting within him concerned a request from a prisoner, a French colonel, who called in one day, talked endlessly about his own splendid achievements, and ended up by issuing what amounted to a demand for four thousand francs to send to his wife and children. Pierre refused him effortlessly, without a qualm, and then wondered why something as easy and simple as this could once have seemed so impossibly difficult. And even as he refused the French colonel he made up his mind that when he left Oryol he would have to invent some subterfuge in order to induce the Italian officer to accept some money, which he obviously needed.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
(Gesture of incomprehension.)
Pierre Unik (Investigating Sex: Surrealist Discussions, 1928-1932)
There was a difference, she’d begun to realize recently, between settling and ceding. She was still utterly baffled by the world around her but she felt at least more comfortable with her bafflement...
Claire Lombardo (The Most Fun We Ever Had)
(...) she keeps her distance by pretending to be more foreign and less intelligent that she is, misusing words and faking bafflement at quirky native customs, and is both insulted and relieved that none of them see through the blatant subterfuge.
Mark Haddon (The Pier Falls: And Other Stories)
December 9th SPENDTHRIFTS OF TIME “Were all the geniuses of history to focus on this single theme, they could never fully express their bafflement at the darkness of the human mind. No person would give up even an inch of their estate, and the slightest dispute with a neighbor can mean hell to pay; yet we easily let others encroach on our lives—worse, we often pave the way for those who will take it over. No person hands out their money to passersby, but to how many do each of us hand out our lives! We’re tight-fisted with property and money, yet think too little of wasting time, the one thing about which we should all be the toughest misers.” —SENECA, ON THE BREVITY OF LIFE, 3.1–2
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
Human consciousness is just about the last surviving mystery. A mystery is a phenomenon that people don't know how to think about - yet. There have been other great mysteries: the mystery of the origin of the universe, the mystery of life and reproduction, the mystery of the design to be found in nature, the mysteries of time, space and gravity. These were not just areas of scientific ignorance, but of utter bafflement and wonder. We do not yet have the final answers to any of the questions of cosmology and particle physics, molecular genetics and evolutionary theory, but we do know how to think about them. The mysteries haven't vanished, but they have been tamed. They no longer overwhelm our efforts to think about the phenomena, because now we know how to tell the misbegotten questions from the right questions, and even if we turn out to be dead wrong about some of the currently accepted answers, we know how to go about looking for better answers. With consciousness, however, we are still in a terrible muddle. Consciousness stands alone today as a topic that often leaves even the most sophisticated thinkers tongue-tied and confused. And, as with all the earlier mysteries, there are many who insist - and hope - that there will never be a demystification of consciousness. Mysteries are exciting, after all, part of what makes life fun. No one appreciates the spoilsport who reveals whodunit to the moviegoers waiting in line. Once the cat is out of the bag, you can never regain the state of delicious mystification that once enthralled you. So let the reader beware. If I succeed in my attempt to explain consciousness, those who read on will trade mystery for the rudiments of scientific knowledge of consciousness, not a fair trade for some tastes. Since some people view demystification as a desecration, I expect them to view this book at the outset as an act of intellectual vandalism, an assault on the last sanctuary of humankind. I would like to change their minds.
Daniel Dennett
. "Why do you not want to marry John the Scot?” “I do not like him, Mama.” Exasperation and bafflement—familiar emotions to Joanna where her daughter was concerned. “But you do not know him well enough to make a judgment like that,” she pointed out, striving for patience. Elen tossed her head. “His eyes are too close together. And he has a weak chin.” “Elen, for the love of God! What does that have to do with marriage?” Elen knew her mother was right; marriages were based upon pragmatic considerations of property and political advantage.
Sharon Kay Penman (Here Be Dragons (Welsh Princes, #1))
Sit in a chair and keep still. Let the dancer's shoulders emerge from your shoulders, the dancer's chest from your chest, the dancer's loins from your loins, the dancer's hips and thighs from yours; and from your silence the throat that makes a sound, and from your bafflement a clear song to which the dancer moves...
Leonard Cohen (Book of Mercy)
emotionally immature people are more like an amalgam of various borrowed parts, many of which don’t go together well. Because they had to shut down important parts of themselves out of fear of their parents’ reactions, their personalities formed in isolated clumps, like pieces of a puzzle that don’t fit together. This explains their inconsistent reactions, which make them so difficult to understand. Because they probably weren’t allowed to express and integrate their emotional experiences in childhood, these people grow up to be emotionally inconsistent adults. Their personalities are weakly structured, and they often express contradictory emotions and behaviors. They step in and out of emotional states, never noticing their inconsistency. When they become parents, these traits create emotional bafflement in their children. One woman described her mother’s behavior as chaotic, “flip-flopping in ways that made no sense.” This inconsistency means that, as parents, emotionally immature people may be either loving or detached, depending on their mood. Their children feel fleeting moments of connection with them but don’t know when or under what conditions their parent might be emotionally available again. This sets up what behavioral psychologists call an intermittent reward situation, meaning that getting a reward for your efforts is possible but completely unpredictable. This creates a tenacious resolve to keep trying to get the reward, because once in a while these efforts do pay off. In this way, parental inconsistency can be the quality that binds children most closely to their parent, as they keep hoping to get that infrequent and elusive positive response.
Lindsay C. Gibson (Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents)
We have had quite a time of it, quite a time. I move, when I move, in a daze of bafflement. It’s as if I had been standing for all my life in front of a full-length mirror, watching the people passing by, behind and in front of me, and now someone had taken me roughly by the shoulders and spun me about, and behold! There it was, the unreflected world, of people and things, and I nowhere to be seen in it. I might as well have been the one who died.
John Banville (The Blue Guitar)
Well, after this man had come to believe that no more ways of forming tones could possibly exist- after having observed, in addition to all the things already mentioned, a variety of organs, trumpets, fifes, stringed instruments, and even that little tongue of iron which is placed between the teeth and which makes strange use of the oral cavity for sounding box and of the breath for vehicle of sound when, I say, this man believed he had seen everything, he suddenly found himself once more plunged deeper into ignorance and bafflement than ever. For having captured in his hands a cicada, he failed to diminish its strident noise either by closing its mouth or stopping its wings, yet he could not see it move the scales that covered its body, Or any other thing. At last be lifted up the armor of its chest and there he saw some thin hard ligaments beneath; thinking the sound might come from their vibration, he decided to break them in order to silence it. But nothing happened until his needle drove too deep, and transfixing the creature he took away its life with its voice, so that he was still unable to determine whether the song had originated in those ligaments. And by this experience his knowledge was reduced to diffidence, so that when asked how sounds were created be used to answer tolerantly that although he knew a few ways, he was sure that many more existed which were not only unknown but unimaginable.
Galileo Galilei
Well, after this man had come to believe that no more ways of forming tones could possibly exist- after having observed, in addition to all the things already mentioned, a variety of organs, trumpets, fifes, stringed instruments, and even that little tongue of iron which is placed between the teeth and which makes strange use of the oral cavity for sounding box and of the breath for vehicle of sound when, I say, this man believed he had seen everything, he suddenly found himself once more plunged deeper into ignorance and bafflement than ever. For having captured in his hands a cicada, he failed to diminish its strident noise either by closing its mouth or stopping its wings, yet he could not see it move the scales that covered its body, Or any other thing. At last be lifted up the armor of its chest and there he saw some thin hard ligaments beneath; thinking the sound might come from their vibration, he decided to break them in order to silence it. But nothing happened until his needle drove too deep, and transfixing the creature he took away its life with its voice, so that he was still unable to determine whether the song had originated in those ligaments. And by this experience his knowledge was reduced to diffidence, so that when asked how sounds were created he used to answer tolerantly that although he knew a few ways, he was sure that many more existed which were not only unknown but unimaginable.
Galileo Galilei (Il Saggiatore)
Well, after this man had come to believe that no more ways of forming tones could possibly exist- after having observed, in addition to all the things already mentioned, a variety of organs, trumpets, fifes, stringed instruments, and even that little tongue of iron which is placed between the teeth and which makes strange use of the oral cavity for sounding box and of the breath for vehicle of sound when, I say, this man believed he had seen everything, he suddenly found himself once more plunged deeper into ignorance and bafflement than ever. For having captured in his hands a cicada, he failed to diminish its strident noise either by closing its mouth or stopping its wings, yet he could not see it move the scales that covered its body, Or any other thing. At last be lifted up the armor of its chest and there he saw some thin hard ligaments beneath; thinking the sound might come from their vibration, he decided to break them in order to silence it. But nothing happened until his needle drove too deep, and transfixing the creature be took away its life with its voice, so that he was still unable to determine whether the song had originated in those ligaments. And by this experience his knowledge was reduced to diffidence, so that when asked how sounds were created be used to answer tolerantly that although he knew a few ways, he was sure that many more existed which were not only unknown but unimaginable.
Galileo Galilei (Il Saggiatore)