Crowd And Alone Quotes

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The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.
Albert Einstein
When you're surrounded by all these people, it can be lonelier than when you're by yourself. You can be in a huge crowd, but if you don't feel like you can trust anyone or talk to anybody, you feel like you're really alone.
Fiona Apple
I've never been lonely. I've been in a room -- I've felt suicidal. I've been depressed. I've felt awful -- awful beyond all -- but I never felt that one other person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me...or that any number of people could enter that room. In other words, loneliness is something I've never been bothered with because I've always had this terrible itch for solitude. It's being at a party, or at a stadium full of people cheering for something, that I might feel loneliness. I'll quote Ibsen, "The strongest men are the most alone." I've never thought, "Well, some beautiful blonde will come in here and give me a fuck-job, rub my balls, and I'll feel good." No, that won't help. You know the typical crowd, "Wow, it's Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there?" Well, yeah. Because there's nothing out there. It's stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. I've never been bothered with the need to rush out into the night. I hid in bars, because I didn't want to hide in factories. That's all. Sorry for all the millions, but I've never been lonely. I like myself. I'm the best form of entertainment I have. Let's drink more wine!
Charles Bukowski
The worst time to feel alone is when you're in a crowd.
Anthony Horowitz (Point Blank (Alex Rider, #2))
The trouble is not really in being alone, it's being lonely. One can be lonely in the midst of a crowd, don't you think?
Christine Feehan (Dark Prince (Dark, #1))
Sometimes you need to sit lonely on the floor in a quiet room in order to hear your own voice and not let it drown in the noise of others.
Charlotte Eriksson (You're Doing Just Fine)
And there’s no way I’m leaving you alone with Prince Perfect.” “So you don’t trust me to resist his charms?” “I don’t even trust myself. I’ve never seen anyone work a crowd the way he does. I’m pretty sure the rocks and trees are getting ready to swear fealty to him.
Leigh Bardugo (Siege and Storm (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #2))
Always remember that you were once alone, and the crowd you see in your life today are just as unecessary as when you were alone.
Michael Bassey Johnson
With her Florentino Ariza learned what he had already experienced many times without realizing it: that one can be in love with several people at the same time, feel the same sorrow with each, and not betray any of them. Alone in the midst of the crowd on the pier, he said to himself in a flash of anger: 'My heart has more rooms than a whorehouse.
Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)
Don’t you understand? When you’re standing on their side, you’re the bizarre genius, the miraculous hero, the force of the rebellion, the flower that blooms alone. But the second your voice differs from theirs, you’ve lost your mind, you’ve ignored morality, you’ve walked the crooked path.
墨香铜臭 (魔道祖师 [Mó Dào Zǔ Shī])
I am rarely bored alone; I am often bored in groups and crowds.
Laurie A. Helgoe (Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength)
Those who are near me do not know that you are nearer to me than they are Those who speak to me do not know that my heart is full with your unspoken words Those who crowd in my path do not know that I am walking alone with you Those who love me do not know that their love brings you to my heart
Rabindranath Tagore
it's easy to stand in the crowd but it takes courage to stand alone
Mahatma Gandhi
I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.
Albert Camus (The Stranger)
The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.
Albert Einstein
The sun,--the bright sun, that brings back, not light alone, but new life, and hope, and freshness to man--burst upon the crowded city in clear and radiant glory. Through costly-coloured glass and paper-mended window, through cathedral dome and rotten crevice, it shed its equal ray.
Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist)
The people that I liked and had not met went to the big cafes because they were lost in them and no one noticed them and they could be alone in them and be together.
Ernest Hemingway (A Moveable Feast)
Abe held my gaze a bit longer and then broke into an easy smile. ʺOf course, of course. This is a family gathering. A celebration. And look: hereʹs our newest member.ʺ Dimitri had joined us and wore black and white like my mother and me. He stood beside me, conspicuously not touching. ʺMr. Mazur,ʺ he said formally, nodding a greeting to both of them. ʺGuardian Hathaway.ʺ Dimitri was seven years older than me, but right then, facing my parents, he looked like he was sixteen and about to pick me up for a date. ʺAh, Belikov,ʺ said Abe, shaking Dimitriʹs hand. ʺIʹd been hoping weʹd run into each other. Iʹd really like to get to know you better. Maybe we can set aside some time to talk, learn more about life, love, et cetera. Do you like to hunt? You seem like a hunting man. Thatʹs what we should do sometime. I know a great spot in the woods. Far, far away. We could make a day of it. Iʹve certainly got a lot of questions Iʹd like to ask you. A lot of things Iʹd like to tell you too.ʺ I shot a panicked look at my mother, silently begging her to stop this. Abe had spent a good deal of time talking to Adrian when we dated, explaining in vivid and gruesome detail exactly how Abe expected his daughter to be treated. I did not want Abe taking Dimitri off alone into the wilderness, especially if firearms were involved. ʺActually,ʺ said my mom casually. ʺIʹd like to come along. I also have a number of questions—especially about when you two were back at St. Vladimirʹs.ʺ ʺDonʹt you guys have somewhere to be?ʺ I asked hastily. ʺWeʹre about to start.ʺ That, at least, was true. Nearly everyone was in formation, and the crowd was quieting. ʺOf course,ʺ said Abe. To my astonishment, he brushed a kiss over my forehead before stepping away. ʺIʹm glad youʹre back.ʺ Then, with a wink, he said to Dimitri: ʺLooking forward to our chat.ʺ ʺRun,ʺ I said when they were gone. ʺIf you slip out now, maybe they wonʹt notice. Go back to Siberia." "Actually," said Dimitri, "I'm pretty sure Abe would notice. Don't worry, Roza. I'm not afraid. I'll take whatever heat they give me over being with you. It's worth it.
Richelle Mead (Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6))
It is entirely possible to be alone in a crowded room.  Your solitude only compounded by the faces around you.  The presence of others serving only to remind you of how lonely you truly are.
Amie Kaufman (Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3))
6 months, 2 weeks, 4 days, and I still don’t know which month it was then or what day it is now. Blurred out lines from hangovers to coffee Another vagabond lost to love. 4am alone and on my way. These are my finest moments. I scrub my skin to rid me from you and I still don’t know why I cried. It was just something in the way you took my heart and rearranged my insides and I couldn’t recognise the emptiness you left me with when you were done. Maybe you thought my insides would fit better this way, look better this way, to you and us and all the rest. But then you must have changed your mind or made a wrong because why did you leave? 6 months, 2 weeks, 4 days, and I still don’t know which month it was then or what day it is now. I replace cafés with crowded bars and empty roads with broken bottles and this town is healing me slowly but still not slow or fast enough because there’s no right way to do this. There is no right way to do this. There is no right way to do this.
Charlotte Eriksson (Another Vagabond Lost To Love: Berlin Stories on Leaving & Arriving)
I finally figured out that I’m solitary by nature, but at the same time I know so many people; so many people think they own a piece of me. They shift and move under my skin, like a parade of memories that simply won’t go away. It doesn’t matter where I am, or how alone--I always have such a crowded head.
Charles de Lint (Memory and Dream (Newford, #2))
I liked the idea of living in a city — any city, especially a strange one — liked the thought of traffic and crowds, of working in a bookstore, waiting tables in a coffee shop, who knew what kind of solitary life I might slip into? Meals alone, walking the dogs in the evenings; and nobody knowing who I was.
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
The Genius Of The Crowd there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average human being to supply any given army on any given day and the best at murder are those who preach against it and the best at hate are those who preach love and the best at war finally are those who preach peace those who preach god, need god those who preach peace do not have peace those who preach peace do not have love beware the preachers beware the knowers beware those who are always reading books beware those who either detest poverty or are proud of it beware those quick to praise for they need praise in return beware those who are quick to censor they are afraid of what they do not know beware those who seek constant crowds for they are nothing alone beware the average man the average woman beware their love, their love is average seeks average but there is genius in their hatred there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you to kill anybody not wanting solitude not understanding solitude they will attempt to destroy anything that differs from their own not being able to create art they will not understand art they will consider their failure as creators only as a failure of the world not being able to love fully they will believe your love incomplete and then they will hate you and their hatred will be perfect like a shining diamond like a knife like a mountain like a tiger like hemlock their finest art
Charles Bukowski
I learned years ago that it’s okay to do this. To seek out small spaces for me, to stop and imagine myself alone. People are too much sometimes. Friends, acquaintances, enemies, strangers. It doesn’t matter; they all crowd. Even if they’re all the way across the room, they crowd. I take a moment of silence and think: I am here. I am okay.
Francesca Zappia (Eliza and Her Monsters)
And I have the others in me. Even when I’m far away from them, I am forced to live with them. Even when I’m all alone, crowds surround me. I have no place to flee to, unless I were to flee from myself.
Fernando Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet)
Got you. You're mine now. For the rest of the day, week, month, year, life. Have you guessed who I am? Sometimes I think you have. Sometimes when you're standing in a crowd I feel those sultry, dark eyes of yours stop on me. Are you too afraid to come up to me and let me know how you feel? I want to moan and writhe with you and I want to go up to you and kiss your mouth and pull you to me and say "I love you I love you I love you" while stripping. I want you so bad it stings. I want to kill the ugly girls that you're always with. Do you really like those boring, naive, coy, calculating girls or is it just for sex? The seeds of love have taken hold, and if we won't burn together, I'll burn alone.
Bret Easton Ellis (The Rules of Attraction)
So I go. I travel farther and faster and harder than most, and I read, and I write, and I love cities. To be alone in a crowd, apart and belonging, to have distance between what I see and what I am.
Amal El-Mohtar (This is How You Lose the Time War)
There's only two ways to be completely alone in this world, lost in a crowd or in total isolation...
Jeff Lemire (Essex County, Vol. 2: Ghost Stories)
In a city, you can be alone in a crowd, and in fact what makes the city a city is that it lets you hide the strangeness in your mind inside its teeming multitudes.
Orhan Pamuk (A Strangeness in My Mind)
And that boys," yelled Mr. Weasley over the tumult of the crowd below,"is why you should never go for looks alone!
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4))
Only the self-sufficient stand alone - most people follow the crowd and imitate.
Bruce Lee
Even when it seems that there is no one else, always remember there's one person who never ceased to love you - yourself.
Sanhita Baruah
We know it's all just daydreaming. In all likelihood, no one in this forest'll ever get a javelin, and I'll never see my mother's kingdom again, let alone be hailed by crowds as the jewel of Kildenree. Maybe it's vain to wish for it. But sometimes, it'd be nice just to hold something real in your hands that felt like a measure of your worth. Right Finn?
Shannon Hale (The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern, #1))
I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be one of so many, to have not just parents and siblings but cousins and aunts and uncles, an entire tribe to claim as your own. Maybe you would feel lost in the crowd. Or sheltered by it. Whatever the case, one things was for sure: like it or not, you'd never be alone.
Sarah Dessen (Lock and Key)
Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone; For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, But has trouble enough of its own. Sing, and the hills will answer; Sigh, it is lost on the air; The echoes bound to a joyful sound, But shrink from voicing care. Rejoice, and men will seek you; Grieve, and they turn and go; They want full measure of all your pleasure, But they do not need your woe. Be glad, and your friends are many; Be sad, and you lose them all,— There are none to decline your nectared wine, But alone you must drink life’s gall. Feast, and your halls are crowded; Fast, and the world goes by. Succeed and give, and it helps you live, But no man can help you die. There is room in the halls of pleasure For a large and lordly train, But one by one we must all file on Through the narrow aisles of pain.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
It takes Nothing to join the crowd.It takes Everything to stand alone".
Hans F. Hansen
And in the end, I lost him. I did it on purpose, the way Garance lost Baptiste in the crowd. I needed to be alone, I felt. I wanted to be going on alone to my future.
Susanna Kaysen
Which is worth more, a crowd of thousands, or your own genuine solitude? Freedom, or power over an entire nation? A little while alone in your room will prove more valuable than anything else that could ever be given you.
Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad ar-Rumi) (The Essential Rumi)
Suddenly he saw himself as others in the crowd must surely see him; a silent, solitary figure, standing apart from the rest. He looked out at the hoardes of singing, laughing people and felt more alone than he'd ever felt in his life. Was this how it was going to be then? Was this who he was? A man apart from his fellows, making the journey through life alone?
Mary Lawson (The Other Side of the Bridge)
But love, sooner or later, forces us out of time...of all that we feel and do, all the virtues and all the sins, love alone crowds us at last over the edge of the world. For love is always more than a little strange here...It is in the world, but is not altogether of it. It is of eternity. It takes us there when it most holds us here.
Wendell Berry (Jayber Crow)
You live by yourself for a stretch of time and you get to staring at different objects. Sometimes you talk to yourself. You take meals in crowded joints. You develop an intimate relationship with your used Subaru. You slowly but surely become a has-been.
Haruki Murakami (Dance Dance Dance)
I’m so fucking tired of being alone. I was scared that he’d tell me to fucking leave. Because that means going back to a life I can’t see for myself anymore.
Krista Ritchie (Hothouse Flower (Calloway Sisters #2))
So we stand there, part of a crowd a thousand people strong, beaming up at the sky with wonder. I knew with a sudden certainty that wherever I am in the future - up in my treehouse, alone in the school cafeteria, or trying to figure out what my teachers are talking about, a part of me will always be right here, right now, wish that giant eye in the sky shining down on me, telling me it's going to be alright.
Wendy Mass (Every Soul a Star)
Max," she said. He turned and briefly closed his eyes as the girl continued. There was once a strange, small man,"she said. Her arms were loose but her hands were fists at her side. "But there was a word shaker,too." One of the Jews on his way to Dachau had stopped walking now. He stood absolutely still as the others swerved morosely around him, leaving him completely alone. His eyes staggered, and it was so simple. The words were given across from the girl to the Jew. They climbed on to him. The next time she spoke, the questions stumbled from her mouth. Hot tears fought for room in her eyes as she would not let them out. Better to stand resolute and proud. Let the words do all of it. "Is it really you? the young man asked," she said. " Is it from your cheek that I took the seed.?" Max Vandenburg remained standing. He did not drop to his knees. People and Jews and clouds all stopped. They watched. As he stood, Max looked first at the girl and then stared directly into the sky who was wide and blue and magnificent. There were heavy beams-- planks of son-- falling randomly, wonderfully to the road. Clouds arched their backs to look behind as they started again to move on. "It's such a beautiful day," he said, and his voice was in many pieces. A great day to die. A great day to die,like this. Liesel walked at him. She was courageous enought to reach out and hold his bearded face. "Is it really you,Max?" Such a brilliant German day and its attentive crowd. He let his mouth kiss her palm. "Yes, Liesel, it's me," and he held the girl's hand in his face and cried onto her fingers. He cried as the soldiers came and a small collection of insolent Jews stood and watched.
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
To persons standing alone on a hill during a clear midnight such as this, the roll of the world is almost a palpable movement. To enjoy the epic form of that gratification it is necessary to stand on a hill at a small hour of the night, and, having first expanded with a sense of difference from the mass of civilized mankind, who are diregardful of all such proceedings at this time, long and quietly watch your stately progress through the stars.
Thomas Hardy (Far From the Madding Crowd)
Now it was just the two of us, Max and me. And about a thousand other people around us.
Kimberly Derting (The Pledge (The Pledge, #1))
The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.
Alan Ashley-Pitt
You lied to me." "I never lied. I just didn't tell you the whole truth." "You said you were alone." "I am alone." "There's hundreds of you. Maybe thousands. You and your 'family' are everywhere." "Just because you're standing in a crowd doesn't mean you belong there." -Yukiko and Kin
Jay Kristoff (Stormdancer (The Lotus Wars, #1))
Be nobody's darling; Be an outcast. Take the contradictions Of your life And wrap around You like a shawl, To parry stones To keep you warm. Watch the people succumb To madness With ample cheer; Let them look askance at you And you askance reply. Be an outcast; Be pleased to walk alone (Uncool) Or line the crowded River beds With other impetuous Fools. Make a merry gathering On the bank Where thousands perished For brave hurt words They said. Be nobody's darling; Be an outcast. Qualified to live Among your dead.
Alice Walker (Everyday Use)
Loneliness is a state of feeling that can be changed. People may still feel lonely even among the crowd.
Toba Beta (My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut)
Solitude is strength; to depend on the presence of the crowd is weakness. The man who needs a mob to nerve him is much more alone than he imagines.
Paul Brunton
A group experience takes place on a lower level of consciousness than the experience of an individual. This is due to the fact that, when many people gather together to share one common emotion, the total psyche emerging from the group is below the level of the individual psyche. If it is a very large group, the collective psyche will be more like the psyche of an animal, which is the reason why the ethical attitude of large organizations is always doubtful. The psychology of a large crowd inevitably sinks to the level of mob psychology. If, therefore, I have a so-called collective experience as a member of a group, it takes place on a lower level of consciousness than if I had the experience by myself alone.
C.G. Jung (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (Collected Works 9i))
You shouldn’t have to pretend to be as excited as I am just to make me happy. If it comes to that, you shouldn’t have to pretend to be anything around me. Friends should be real with each other
J.M. Richards (Tall, Dark Streak of Lightning (Dark Lightning Trilogy, #1))
I guess it’s nice to be away from the crowd sometimes, to be able to hear yourself think. I go mad when I’m surrounded by others all the time.
Tomasz Jedrowski (Swimming in the Dark)
Being alone is not the most awful thing in the world. You visit your museums and cultivate your interests and remind yourself how lucky you are not to be one of those spindly Sudanese children with flies beading their mouths. You make out To Do lists - reorganise linen cupboard, learn two sonnets. You dole out little treats to yourself - slices of ice-cream cake, concerts at Wigmore Hall. And then, every once in a while, you wake up and gaze out of the window at another bloody daybreak, and think, I cannot do this anymore. I cannot pull myself together again and spend the next fifteen hours of wakefulness fending off the fact of my own misery. People like Sheba think that they know what it's like to be lonely. They cast their minds back to the time they broke up with a boyfriend in 1975 and endured a whole month before meeting someone new. Or the week they spent in a Bavarian steel town when they were fifteen years old, visiting their greasy-haired German pen pal and discovering that her hand-writing was the best thing about her. But about the drip drip of long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. They don't know what it is to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the laundrette. Or to sit in a darkened flat on Halloween night, because you can't bear to expose your bleak evening to a crowd of jeering trick-or-treaters. Or to have the librarian smile pityingly and say, ‘Goodness, you're a quick reader!’ when you bring back seven books, read from cover to cover, a week after taking them out. They don't know what it is to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand on your shoulder sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. I have sat on park benches and trains and schoolroom chairs, feeling the great store of unused, objectless love sitting in my belly like a stone until I was sure I would cry out and fall, flailing, to the ground. About all of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.
Zoë Heller (What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal])
But Aelin, crowned and glowing, only said, “Walk with me.” She gestured to the gates behind her. “All of you.” This day did not belong to her alone. Not at all. And when they all balked, Aelin walked forward. Took Yrene Westfall by the hand to guide her to the front. Then Manon Blackbeak. Elide Lochan. Lysandra. Evangeline. Nesryn Faliq. Borte and Hasar and Ansel of Briarcliff. All the women who had fought by her side, or from afar. Who had bled and sacrificed and never given up hope that this day might come. “Walk with me,” Aelin said to them, the men and males falling into step behind. “My friends.” The bells still ringing, Aelin nodded to the guards at the castle gates. They opened at last, and the roar from the gathered crowds was loud enough to rattle the stars.
Sarah J. Maas (Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7))
I’d been on my own for ages, and I was convinced that there was no way I could be any more alone, but now I’d finally realized how alone I truly was. Despite the crowds of people, and all the different places, and a limitless supply of sounds and colors packed together, there was nothing here that I could reach out and touch.
Mieko Kawakami (All the Lovers in the Night)
We’re always alone. You can be in a crowded room and still feel the bite of loneliness. Personally, I find that it bites deepest whenever others are around.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (The Guardian (Dark-Hunter, #20; Dream-Hunter, #5; Were-Hunter, #6; Hellchaser, #5))
Men have been found to resist the most powerful monarchs and to refuse to bow down before them, but few indeed have been found to resist the crowd, to stand up alone before misguided masses, to face their implacable frenzy without weapons and with folded arms to dare a no when a yes is demanded. Such a man was Zola!
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
All I wanted was to be left alone. They abhor a vacuum, other people. You find a quiet corner where you can hunker down in peace, and the next minute there they are, crowding around you in their party hats, tooting their paper whistles in your face and insisting you get up and join in the knees-up.
John Banville
Sometimes it's your fragrance that comes to me, out of the blue, on a crowded road in a Sunday afternoon. But more often, it's memories of us that cross my mind almost every lone evening. All I want is to lessen the pain I feel every night. But every morning I wake up is another day, hopeless and miserable, with nothing but a deafening silence, a wave of tears, memories and your absence.
Sanhita Baruah
Life is a performance, I thought. Perthaps the word "illusion" would have meant more or less the same thing, but to me "performance" seemed closed to the truth. Standing there in the midst of the crowd that evening, I felt this realization swirl dizzily through my body in a dazzling splendor of light, if only for an instant. Each one of us continues to carry the heart of each self we've ever been, at every stage along the way, and a chaos of everything good and rotten. And we have to carry this weight all alone, through each day that we live. We try to be as nice as we can to the people we love, but we alone support the weight of ourselves.
Banana Yoshimoto (Goodbye Tsugumi)
What is needed is that you become aware of your aloneness, which is a reality. And it is so beautiful to experience it, to feel it, because it is your freedom from the crowd, from the other. It is your freedom from the fear of being lonely.
Osho (Love, Freedom, and Aloneness: On Relationships, Sex, Meditation, and Silence)
Attitude Is Everything We live in a culture that is blind to betrayal and intolerant of emotional pain. In New Age crowds here on the West Coast, where your attitude is considered the sole determinant of the impact an event has on you, it gets even worse.In these New Thought circles, no matter what happens to you, it is assumed that you have created your own reality. Not only have you chosen the event, no matter how horrible, for your personal growth. You also chose how you interpret what happened—as if there are no interpersonal facts, only interpretations. The upshot of this perspective is that your suffering would vanish if only you adopted a more evolved perspective and stopped feeling aggrieved. I was often kindly reminded (and believed it myself), “there are no victims.” How can you be a victim when you are responsible for your circumstances? When you most need validation and support to get through the worst pain of your life, to be confronted with the well-meaning, but quasi-religious fervor of these insidious half-truths can be deeply demoralizing. This kind of advice feeds guilt and shame, inhibits grieving, encourages grandiosity and can drive you to be alone to shield your vulnerability.
Sandra Lee Dennis
There is pride, too, though—pride that he has done it alone. That his daughter is so curious, so resilient. There is the humility of being a father to someone so powerful, as if he were only a narrow conduit for another, greater thing. That’s how it feels right now, he thinks, kneeling beside her, rinsing her hair: as though his love for his daughter will outstrip the limits of his body. The walls could fall away, even the whole city, and the brightness of that feeling would not wane. The drain moans; the cluttered house crowds in close.
Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
I dislike interaction. The less I say the better I feel. I was naturally a loner. I didn’t want conversation, or to goanywhere. I didn’t understand other people who wanted to share their emotions. Parties sickened me. I was drawn to all the wrong things: I was lazy , I didn’t have a god, politics, ideas, ideals. I was settled into nothingness; a kind of non - being, and I accepted it. I didn’t make for an interesting person. I didn’t want to be interesting, it was too hard. What I really wanted was only a soft, hazy space to live in, and to be left alone. Relationships never worked with me. I alwayslost interest. I simply disliked people, crowds, anywhere, except at my readings.
Charles Bukowski
It feels like shit to be alone. To be in a place full of people and feel like they don't want you there. To feel like you're at a party you weren't invited to. No one even knows your name. No one wants to. No one cares. Are they laughing at you? Talking about you? Are they sneering at you like their perfect world would be so much better if you weren't there, messing up their view? Are they just wishing you'd get the hint already and leave? I feel like that a lot. I know it's pathetic to want a place among other people, and I know you'll say it's better to stand in a crowd and be wrong, but... I still feel that need all the time. Do you ever feel it? I wonder if the cheerleader feels it. When the music stops and everyone goes home? When the day is gone and she doesn't have anyone to entertain herself with? When she removes her makeup, taking off her brave face for the day, do the demons she keeps buried start playing with her when there's no one else to play with? I guess not. Narcissists don't have insecurities, right? Must be nice.
Penelope Douglas (Punk 57)
beware those quick to praise for they need praise in return beware those who are quick to censor they are afraid of what they do not know beware those who seek constant crowds for they are nothing alone beware the average man the average woman beware their love, their love is average seeks average
Charles Bukowski
People are gregarious by necessity. Since the days of the first cave dwellers, humans -- hairless, weak, and helpless save for cunning -- have survived by joining together in groups; knowing, as so many other edible creatures have found, that there is protection in numbers. And that knowledge, bred in the bone, is what lies behind mob rule. Because to step outside the group, let alone to stand against it was for uncounted thousands of years death to the creature who dared it. To stand against a crowd would take something more than ordinary courage; something that went beyond human instinct. And I feared I did not have it, and fearing, was ashamed.
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
...remember the dangers of the New Groupthink. If it's creativity you're after, ask your employees to solve problems alone before sharing their ideas. If you want the wisdom of the crowd, gather it electronically, or in writing, and make sure people can't see each other's ideas until everyone has had a chance to contribute.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Now you are walking in Paris all alone in the crowd As herds of bellowing buses drive by Love's anguish tightens your throat As if you were never to be loved again If you lived in the old days you would enter a monastery You are ashamed when you discover yourself reciting a prayer You make fun of yourself and like the fire of Hell your laughter crackles The sparks of your laugh gild the depths of your life It's a painting hanging in a dark museum And sometimes you go and look at it close up
Guillaume Apollinaire (Zone)
Secrets make life more interesting. You can be in a crowded room with someone and touch them without touching, just with a look, because they know a part of you no one else knows. And whenever you're with them, the two of you are alone, because the you they see no one else can.
Mohsin Hamid (Moth Smoke)
You made me who I am today, Nanni. Wherever I go, everyone I see and crave is ultimately measured by the glow of your light. If my life were a boat, you were the one who stepped on board, turned on its running lights, and was never heard from again. All this might as well be in my head, and in my head it stays. But I've lived and loved by your light alone. In a bus, on a busy street, in class, in a crowded concert hall, once or twice a year, whether for a man or a woman, my heart still jolts when I spot your look-alike. We love only once in our lives, my father had said, sometimes too early, sometimes too late; the other times are always a touch deliberate.
André Aciman (Enigma Variations)
Thy soul shall find itself alone ’Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone— Not one, of all the crowd, to pry Into thine hour of secrecy. Be silent in that solitude, Which is not loneliness—for then The spirits of the dead who stood In life before thee are again In death around thee—and their will Shall overshadow thee: be still. [...]
Edgar Allan Poe (Spirits of the Dead: Tales and Other Poems)
I had nothing to contribute. I played no part. I was on the edge. Different. Alone. Everything around me, grey. It was the same old feeling, back again. I was in the middle of the group but I might as well have been a million miles away from these people.
Tim Relf (Stag)
The man who is unable to people his solitude is equally unable to be alone in a bustling crowd. The poet enjoys the incomparable privilege of being able to be himself or some one else, as he chooses. [...] The solitary and thoughtful stroller finds a singular intoxication in this universal communion. [...] What men call love is a very small, restricted, feeble thing compared with this ineffable orgy, this divine prostitution of the soul giving itself entire...to the unexpected as it comes along, the stranger as he passes.
Charles Baudelaire (Paris Spleen)
But love, sooner or later, forces us out of time. It does not accept that limit. Of all that we feel and do, all the virtues and all the sins, love alone crowds us at last over the edge of the world. For love is always more than a little strange here. It is not explainable or even justifiable. It is itself the justifier. We do not make it. If it did not happen to us, we could not imagine it. It includes the world and time as a pregnant woman includes her child whose wrongs she will suffer and forgive. It is in the world but is not altogether of it. It is of eternity. It takes us there when it most holds us here.
Wendell Berry (Jayber Crow)
You are not an ugly person all the time; you are not an ugly person ordinarily; you are not an ugly person day to day. From day to day, you are a nice person. From day to day, all the people who are supposed to love you on the whole do. From day to day, as you walk down a busy street in the large and modern and prosperous city in which you work and lie, dismayed and puzzled at how alone you can feel in this crowd, how awful it is to go unnoticed, how awful it is to go unloved, even as you are surrounded by more people than you could possibly get to know in a lifetime that lasted for millennia and then out of the corner of your eye you see someone looking at you and absolute pleasure is written all over the person's face, and then you realize that you are not as revolting a presence as you think you are. And so, ordinarily, you are a nice person, an attractive person, a person capable of drawing to yourself the affection of other people, a person at home in your own skin: a person at home in your own house, with its nice backyard, at home on your street, your church, in community activities, your job, at home with your family, your relatives, your friends - you are a whole person.
Jamaica Kincaid (A Small Place)
Death stood alone, watching the wheat dance in the wind. Of course, it was only a metaphor. People were more than corn. They whirled through tiny crowded lives, driven literally by clock work, filling their days from edge to edge with the sheer effort of living. And all lives were exactly the same length. Even the very long and very short ones. From the point of view of eternity, anyway.
Terry Pratchett (Reaper Man (Discworld, #11; Death, #2))
...I have had such a sickening of men in masses, and of causes, that I would not cross this room to reform parliament or prevent the union or to bring about the millennium. I speak only for myself, mind - it is my own truth alone - but man as part of a movement or a crowd is indifferent to me. He is inhuman. And I have nothing to do with nations, or nationalism. The only feelings I have - for what they are - are for men as individuals; my loyalties, such as they may be, are to private persons alone.
Patrick O'Brian (Master & Commander (Aubrey & Maturin, #1))
I once had to say this on a show many years ago, and I truly believe it: Loneliness is a choice. I like to be alone; I’m more comfortable alone. But I do recognize that I take it too far sometimes and so I try to force myself to keep up with being sociable. I just am a bit of a lone ranger; I always have been. But I don’t believe that necessarily has to translate to being lonely. You can be lonely in a crowd of a thousand people. I can be in a hotel room on my own and not feel lonely. It all comes down to how comfortable you are with who you are in the silence.
Gillian Anderson
what sets wilderness apart in the modern day is not that it's dangerous (it's almost certainly safer than any town or road) or that it's solitary (you can, so they say, be alone in a crowded room) or full of exotic animals (there are more at the zoo). it's that five miles out in the woods you can't buy anything.
Bill McKibben (The Age of Missing Information)
I desire nothing, seek nothing but peace, the slumber of the soul. I have tasted all the hollowness and wretchedness of life and I despise it heartily. Whoever has lived and thought cannot but, in his soul, despise humanity. Activity, cares, worries, distractions - I am sick of them all. I wish for nothing, I seek nothing. I have no aim, for one gains that which one is eager for - and sees that it is all illusion. My joyous days have passed. I have cooled to them. In the educated world, amidst human beings, I feel the disadvantages of life too strongly, but alone, far from the crowd, I turn to stone. In this trance anything can happen, I see neither others nor myself. I do nothing and do not notice the actions either of others or myself - and I am at peace, I am indifferent. There can be no happiness for me, and I will not succumb to unhappiness.
Ivan Goncharov (The Same Old Story)
Adventures are funny things. Many are merely happy accidents—a single spark that ignites an unexpected chain of events. But some adventures are meant for you and you alone. And whether you want them or not, they seek you out of a great crowd and take you somewhere you never thought you’d go. Often, these unlooked for adventures require a sacrifice too great to imagine.
Wayne Thomas Batson
Lost" they say that hell is crowded, yet, when you’re in hell, you always seem to be alone. & you can’t tell anyone when you’re in hell or they’ll think you’re crazy & being crazy is being in hell & being sane is hellish too. those who escape hell, however, never talk about it & nothing much bothers them after that. I mean, things like missing a meal, going to jail, wrecking your car, or even the idea of death itself. when you ask them, “how are things?” they’ll always answer, “fine, just fine…” once you’ve been to hell and back, that’s enough it’s the greatest satisfaction known to man. once you’ve been to hell and back, you don’t look behind you when the floor creaks and the sun is always up at midnight and things like the eyes of mice or an abandoned tire in a vacant lot can make you smile once you’ve been to hell and back.
Charles Bukowski (Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame)
An incomplete list: No more diving into pools of chlorinated water lit green from below. No more ball games played out under floodlights. No more porch lights with moths fluttering on summer nights. No more trains running under the surface of cities on the dazzling power of the electric third rail. No more cities. No more films, except rarely, except with a generator drowning out half the dialogue, and only then for the first little while until the fuel for the generators ran out, because automobile gas goes stale after two or three years. Aviation gas lasts longer, but it was difficult to come by. No more screens shining in the half-light as people raise their phones above the crowd to take pictures of concert states. No more concert stages lit by candy-colored halogens, no more electronica, punk, electric guitars. No more pharmaceuticals. No more certainty of surviving a scratch on one's hand, a cut on a finger while chopping vegetables for dinner, a dog bite. No more flight. No more towns glimpsed from the sky through airplane windows, points of glimmering light; no more looking down from thirty thousand feet and imagining the lives lit up by those lights at that moment. No more airplanes, no more requests to put your tray table in its upright and locked position – but no, this wasn't true, there were still airplanes here and there. They stood dormant on runways and in hangars. They collected snow on their wings. In the cold months, they were ideal for food storage. In summer the ones near orchards were filled with trays of fruit that dehydrated in the heat. Teenagers snuck into them to have sex. Rust blossomed and streaked. No more countries, all borders unmanned. No more fire departments, no more police. No more road maintenance or garbage pickup. No more spacecraft rising up from Cape Canaveral, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, from Vandenburg, Plesetsk, Tanegashima, burning paths through the atmosphere into space. No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room. No more avatars.
Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven)
Ah, Belikov," said Abe, shaking Dimitri's hand. "I'd been hoping we'd run into each other. I'd really like to get to know you better. Maybe we can set aside some time to talk, learn more about life, love, et cetera. Do you like to hunt? You seem like a hunting man. That's what we should do sometime. I know a great spot in the woods. Far, far away. We could make a day of it. I've certainly got a lot of question to ask you. A lot of things I'd like to tell you." I shot a panicked look at my mother, silently begging her to stop this. Abe had spent a good deal of time talking to Adrian when we dated, explaining in vivid and gruesome detail exactly how Abe expected his daughter to be treated. I did not want Abe taking Dimitri off alone into the wilderness, especially if firearms were involved. "Actually," said my mum casually."I'd like to come along. I also have a number of questions-especially about when you two were back at St. Vladimir's." "Don't you guys have somewhere to be?" I asked hastily. "We're about to start." That, at least, was true. Nearly everyone was in formation, and the crowd was quieting. "of course," said Abe. To my astonishment, he brushed a kiss over my forehead before stepping away. "I'm glad you're back." Then, with a wink, he said to Dimitri:"Looking forward to our chat." "Run," I said when they were gone. "If you slip out now, maybe they won't notice. Go back to Siberia.
Richelle Mead (Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6))
I have never looked into my sister's eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to the beguiling moon. I’ve never used an airplane bathroom. Or worn a hat. Or been kissed like that. I’ve never driven a car. Or slept through the night. Never a private talk. Or a solo walk. I’ve never climbed a tree. Or faded into a crowd. So many things I’ve never done, but oh, how I’ve been loved. And, if such things were to be, I’d live a thousand lives as me, to be loved so exponentially.
Lori Lansens
The work of the art student is no light matter. Few have the courage and stamina to see it through. You have to make up your mind to be alone in many ways. We like sympathy and we like to be in company. It is easier than going it alone. But alone one gets acquainted with himself, grows up and on, not stopping with the crowd. It costs to do this. If you succeed somewhat you may have to pay for it as well as enjoy it all your life.
Robert Henri (The Art Spirit)
To persons standing alone on a hill during a clear midnight such as this, the roll of the world eastward is almost a palpable movement. The sensation may be caused by the panoramic glide of the stars past earthly objects, which is perceptible in a few minutes of stillness, or by the better outlook upon space that a hill affords, or by the wind, or by the solitude; but whatever be its origin the impression of riding along is vivid and abiding. The poetry of motion is a phrase much in use, and to enjoy the epic form of that gratification it is necessary to stand on a hill at a small hour of the night, and, having first expanded with a sense of difference from the mass of civilized mankind, who are dreamwrapt and disregardful of all such proceedings at this time, long and quietly watch your stately progress through the stars. After such a nocturnal reconnoitre it is hard to get back to earth, and to believe that the consciousness of such majestic speeding is derived from a tiny human frame.
Thomas Hardy (Far From the Madding Crowd)
Here you sit on your high-backed chair Wonder how the view is from there I wouldn't know 'cause I like to sit Upon the floor, yeah upon the floor If you like we could play a game Let's pretend that we are the same But you will have to look much closer Than you do, closer than you do And I'm far too tired to stay here anymore And I don't care what you think anyway 'Cause I think you were wrong about me Yeah what if you were, what if you were And what if I'm a snowstorm burning What if I'm a world unturning What if I'm an ocean, far too shallow, much too deep What if I'm the kindest demon Something you may not believe in What if I'm a siren singing gentlemen to sleep I know you've got it figured out Tell me what I am all about And I just might learn a thing or two Hundred about you, maybe about you I'm the end of your telescope I don't change just to suit your vision 'Cause I am bound by a fraying rope Around my hands, tied around my hands And you close your eyes when I say I'm breaking free And put your hands over both your ears Because you cannot stand to believe I'm not The perfect girl you thought Well what have I got to lose And what if I'm a weeping willow Laughing tears upon my pillow What if I'm a socialite who wants to be alone What if I'm a toothless leopard What if I'm a sheepless shepherd What if I'm an angel without wings to take me home You don't know me Never will, never will I'm outside your picture frame And the glass is breaking now You can't see me Never will, never will If you're never gonna see What if I'm a crowded desert Too much pain with little pleasure What if I'm the nicest place you never want to go What if I don't know who I am Will that keep us both from trying To find out and when you have Be sure to let me know What if I'm a snowstorm burning What if I'm a world unturning What if I'm an ocean, far too shallow, much too deep What if I'm the kindest demon Something you may not believe in What if I'm a siren singing gentlemen to sleep Sleep... Sleep...
Emilie Autumn
If you follow the crowd, you will likely get no further than the crowd. If you walk alone, you're likely to end up in places no one has ever been before. Being an achiever is not without its difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt. The unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people finally realize you were right, they'll simply say it was obvious to everyone all along. You have two choices in life. You can dissolve into the main stream, or you can choose to become an achiever and be distinct. To be distinct, you must be different. To be different, you must strive to be what no else but you can be.
Alan Ashley-Pitt
-A Word On Statistics- Out of every hundred people, those who always know better: fifty-two. Unsure of every step: almost all the rest. Ready to help, if it doesn't take long: forty-nine. Always good, because they cannot be otherwise: fourwell, maybe five. Able to admire without envy: eighteen. Led to error by youth (which passes): sixty, plus or minus. Those not to be messed with: four-and-forty. Living in constant fear of someone or something: seventy-seven. Capable of happiness: twenty-some-odd at most. Harmless alone, turning savage in crowds: more than half, for sure. Cruel when forced by circumstances: it's better not to know, not even approximately. Wise in hindsight: not many more than wise in foresight. Getting nothing out of life except things: thirty (though I would like to be wrong). Balled up in pain and without a flashlight in the dark: eighty-three, sooner or later. Those who are just: quite a few, thirty-five. But if it takes effort to understand: three. Worthy of empathy: ninety-nine. Mortal: one hundred out of one hundred a figure that has never varied yet.
Wisława Szymborska
I’m such a negative person, and always have been. Was I born that way? I don’t know. I am constantly disgusted by reality, horrified and afraid. I cling desperately to the few things that give me some solace, that make me feel good. I hate most of humanity. Though I might be very fond of particular individuals, humanity in general fills me with contempt and despair. I hate most of what passes for civilization. I hate the modern world. For one thing there are just too Goddamn many people. I hate the hordes, the crowds in their vast cities, with all their hateful vehicles, their noise and their constant meaningless comings and goings. I hate cars. I hate modern architecture. Every building built after 1955 should be torn down! I despise modern music. Words cannot express how much it gets on my nerves – the false, pretentious, smug assertiveness of it. I hate business, having to deal with money. Money is one of the most hateful inventions of the human race. I hate the commodity culture, in which everything is bought and sold. No stone is left unturned. I hate the mass media, and how passively people suck up to it. I hate having to get up in the morning and face another day of this insanity. I hate having to eat, shit, maintain the body – I hate my body. The thought of my internal functions, the organs, digestion, the brain, the nervous system, horrify me. Nature is horrible. It’s not cute and loveable. It’s kill or be killed. It’s very dangerous out there. The natural world is filled with scary, murderous creatures and forces. I hate the whole way that nature functions. Sex is especially hateful and horrifying, the male penetrating the female, his dick goes into her hole, she’s impregnated, another being grows inside her, and then she must go through a painful ordeal as the new being pushes out of her, only to repeat the whole process in time. Reproduction – what could be more existentially repulsive? How I hate the courting ritual. I was always repelled by my own sex drive, which in my youth never left me alone. I was constantly driven by frustrated desires to do bizarre and unacceptable things with and to women. My soul was in constant conflict about it. I never was able to resolve it. Old age is the only relief. I hate the way the human psyche works, the way we are traumatized and stupidly imprinted in early childhood and have to spend the rest of our lives trying to overcome these infantile mental fixations. And we never ever fully succeed in this endeavor. I hate organized religions. I hate governments. It’s all a lot of power games played out by ambition-driven people, and foisted on the weak, the poor, and on children. Most humans are bullies. Adults pick on children. Older children pick on younger children. Men bully women. The rich bully the poor. People love to dominate. I hate the way humans worship power – one of the most disgusting of all human traits. I hate the human tendency towards revenge and vindictiveness. I hate the way humans are constantly trying to trick and deceive one another, to swindle, to cheat, and take unfair advantage of the innocent, the naïve and the ignorant. I hate the vacuous, false, banal conversation that goes on among people. Sometimes I feel suffocated; I want to flee from it. For me, to be human is, for the most part, to hate what I am. When I suddenly realize that I am one of them, I want to scream in horror.
Robert Crumb
Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits. After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
My friend, I am not what I seem. Seeming is but a garment I wear-a care-woven garment that protects me from thy questionings and thee from my negligence. The “I” in me, my friend, dwells in the house of silence, and therein it shall remain for ever more, unperceived, unapproachable. I would not have thee believe in what I say nor trust in what I do-for my words are naught but thy own thoughts in sound and my deeds thy own hopes in action. When thou sayest, “The wind bloweth eastward,” I say, “Aye it doth blow eastward”; for I would not have thee know that my mind doth not dwell upon the wind but upon the sea. Thou canst not understand my seafaring thoughts, nor would I have thee understand. I would be at sea alone. When it is day with thee, my friend, it is night with me; yet even then I speak of the noontide that dances upon the hills and of the purple shadow that steals its way across the valley; for thou canst not hear the songs of my darkness nor see my wings beating against the stars-and I fain would not have thee hear or see. I would be with night alone. When thou ascendest to thy Heaven I descend to my Hell-even then thou callest to me across the unbridgeable gulf, “My companion, my comrade,” and I call back to thee, “My comrade, my companion”-for I would not have thee see my Hell. The flame would burn thy eyesight and the smoke would crowd thy nostrils. And I love my Hell too well to have thee visit it. I would be in Hell alone. Thou lovest Truth and Beauty and Righteousness; and I for thy sake say it is well and seemly to love these things. But in my heart I laughed at thy love. Yet I would not have thee see my laughter. I would laugh alone. My friend, thou art good and cautious and wise; nay, thou art perfect-and I, too, speak with thee wisely and cautiously. And yet I am mad. But I mask my madness. I would be mad alone. My friend, thou art not my friend, but how shall I make thee understand? My path is not thy path, yet together we walk, hand in hand.
Kahlil Gibran (The Madman)
Morning Poem" I've got to tell you how I love you always I think of it on grey mornings with death in my mouth the tea is never hot enough then and the cigarette dry the maroon robe chills me I need you and look out the window at the noiseless snow At night on the dock the buses glow like clouds and I am lonely thinking of flutes I miss you always when I go to the beach the sand is wet with tears that seem mine although I never weep and hold you in my heart with a very real humor you'd be proud of the parking lot is crowded and I stand rattling my keys the car is empty as a bicycle what are you doing now where did you eat your lunch and were there lots of anchovies it is difficult to think of you without me in the sentence you depress me when you are alone Last night the stars were numerous and today snow is their calling card I'll not be cordial there is nothing that distracts me music is only a crossword puzzle do you know how it is when you are the only passenger if there is a place further from me I beg you do not go
Frank O'Hara (The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara)
Masks! I see them everywhere. That dreadful vision of the other night - the deserted town with its masked corpses in every doorway; that nightmare product of morphine and ether - has taken up residence within me. I see masks in the street, I see them on stage in the theatre, I find yet more of them in the boxes. They are on the balcony and in the orchestra-pit. Everywhere I go I am surrounded by masks. The attendants to whom I give my overcoat are masked; masks crowd around me in the foyer as everyone leaves, and the coachman who drives me home has the same cardboard grimace fixed upon his face! It is truly too much to bear: to feel that one is alone and at the mercy of all those enigmatic and deceptive faces, alone amid all the mocking laughs and the threats embodied in those masks. I have tried to persuade myself that I am dreaming, and that I am the victim of a hallucination, but all the powdered and painted faces of women, all the rouged lips and kohl-blackened eyelids... all of that has created around me an atmosphere of trance and mortal agony. Cosmetics: there is the root cause of my illness! But I am happy, now, when there are only masks! Sometimes, I detect the cadavers beneath, and remember that beneath the masks there is a host of spectres.
Jean Lorrain (Monsieur De Phocas)
Don’t strive to be a well-rounded leader. Instead, discover your zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else. Admitting a weakness is a sign of strength. Acknowledging weakness doesn’t make a leader less effective. Everybody in your organization benefits when you delegate responsibilities that fall outside your core competency. Thoughtful delegation will allow someone else in your organization to shine. Your weakness is someone’s opportunity. Leadership is not always about getting things done “right.” Leadership is about getting things done through other people. The people who follow us are exactly where we have led them. If there is no one to whom we can delegate, it is our own fault. As a leader, gifted by God to do a few things well, it is not right for you to attempt to do everything. Upgrade your performance by playing to your strengths and delegating your weaknesses. There are many things I can do, but I have to narrow it down to the one thing I must do. The secret of concentration is elimination. Devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing. My competence in these areas defines my success as a pastor. A sixty-hour workweek will not compensate for a poorly delivered sermon. People don’t show up on Sunday morning because I am a good pastor (leader, shepherd, counselor). In my world, it is my communication skills that make the difference. So that is where I focus my time. To develop a competent team, help the leaders in your organization discover their leadership competencies and delegate accordingly. Once you step outside your zone, don’t attempt to lead. Follow. The less you do, the more you will accomplish. Only those leaders who act boldly in times of crisis and change are willingly followed. Accepting the status quo is the equivalent of accepting a death sentence. Where there’s no progress, there’s no growth. If there’s no growth, there’s no life. Environments void of change are eventually void of life. So leaders find themselves in the precarious and often career-jeopardizing position of being the one to draw attention to the need for change. Consequently, courage is a nonnegotiable quality for the next generation leader. The leader is the one who has the courage to act on what he sees. A leader is someone who has the courage to say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. It is not his insight that sets the leader apart from the crowd. It is his courage to act on what he sees, to speak up when everyone else is silent. Next generation leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price than remain silent and die on the inside. The first person to step out in a new direction is viewed as the leader. And being the first to step out requires courage. In this way, courage establishes leadership. Leadership requires the courage to walk in the dark. The darkness is the uncertainty that always accompanies change. The mystery of whether or not a new enterprise will pan out. The reservation everyone initially feels when a new idea is introduced. The risk of being wrong. Many who lack the courage to forge ahead alone yearn for someone to take the first step, to go first, to show the way. It could be argued that the dark provides the optimal context for leadership. After all, if the pathway to the future were well lit, it would be crowded. Fear has kept many would-be leaders on the sidelines, while good opportunities paraded by. They didn’t lack insight. They lacked courage. Leaders are not always the first to see the need for change, but they are the first to act. Leadership is about moving boldly into the future in spite of uncertainty and risk. You can’t lead without taking risk. You won’t take risk without courage. Courage is essential to leadership.
Andy Stanley (Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future)
There was music from my neighbor's house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor-boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains. And on Mondays eight servants, including an extra gardener, toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages of the night before. Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York--every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler's thumb. At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby's enormous garden. On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors-d'oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold. In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from another. By seven o'clock the orchestra has arrived, no thin five-piece affair, but a whole pitful of oboes and trombones and saxophones and viols and cornets and piccolos, and low and high drums. The last swimmers have come in from the beach now and are dressing up-stairs; the cars from New York are parked five deep in the drive, and already the halls and salons and verandas are gaudy with primary colors, and hair shorn in strange new ways, and shawls beyond the dreams of Castile. The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other's names. The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath; already there are wanderers, confident girls who weave here and there among the stouter and more stable, become for a sharp, joyous moment the centre of a group, and then, excited with triumph, glide on through the sea-change of faces and voices and color under the constantly changing light. Suddenly one of the gypsies, in trembling opal, seizes a cocktail out of the air, dumps it down for courage and, moving her hands like Frisco, dances out alone on the canvas platform. A momentary hush; the orchestra leader varies his rhythm obligingly for her, and there is a burst of chatter as the erroneous news goes around that she is Gilda Gray's understudy from the FOLLIES. The party has begun.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)