Elegant Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Elegant. Here they are! All 100 of them:

β€œ
I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is inprobably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary?
”
”
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
β€œ
We must never confuse elegance with snobbery
”
”
Yves Saint-Laurent
β€œ
A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.
”
”
Coco Chanel (Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons From The World's Most Elegant Woman)
β€œ
Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.
”
”
Coco Chanel
β€œ
Some things you know all your life. They are so simple and true they must be said without elegance, meter and rhyme...they must be naked and alone, they must stand for themselves.
”
”
Philip Levine
β€œ
Like all magnificent things, it's very simple.
”
”
Natalie Babbitt (Tuck Everlasting)
β€œ
Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.
”
”
Maya Angelou
β€œ
she loved to walk down the street with a book under her arm. It had the same significance for her as an elegant cane for the dandy a century ago. It differentiated her from others.
”
”
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
β€œ
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
”
”
Clare Boothe Luce
β€œ
Let us be elegant or die!
”
”
Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)
β€œ
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius β€” and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
”
”
Ernst F. Schumacher
β€œ
Elegance is refusal.
”
”
Coco Chanel
β€œ
Elegant, feminine, and utterly wild. Warm, and steadfastβ€”unbreakable, his queen.
”
”
Sarah J. Maas (Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4))
β€œ
Adornment, what a science! Beauty, what a weapon! Modesty, what elegance!
”
”
Coco Chanel
β€œ
I have found my star. She is beauty and grace. Elegance and goodness. My laughter in winter. She is courageous and strong. Bold and tempting. Unlike any other in all the universe, and I cannot touch her. I dare not even try." [Zarek]
”
”
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dance with the Devil (Dark-Hunter, #3))
β€œ
Do not consider me now as an elegant female intending to plague you, but as a rational creature speaking the truth from her heart.
”
”
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
β€œ
Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference which is an elegant name for ignorance.
”
”
G.K. Chesterton
β€œ
An elegant woman is a woman who despises you and has no hair under her arms.
”
”
Salvador DalΓ­ (The Secret Life Of Salvador Dali)
β€œ
A woman can be over dressed but never over elegant.
”
”
Coco Chanel
β€œ
You gave too much rein to your imagination. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely.
”
”
Agatha Christie (The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot, #1))
β€œ
Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.
”
”
Audrey Hepburn
β€œ
How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, β€œThis is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?” Instead they say, β€œNo, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.
”
”
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
β€œ
I thought: pity the poor in spirit who know neither the enchantment nor the beauty of language.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
Elegance is a glowing inner peace. Grace is an ability to give as well as to receive and be thankful. Mystery is a hidden laugh always ready to surface! Glamour only radiates if there is a sublime courage & bravery within: glamour is like the moon; it only shines because the sun is there.
”
”
C. JoyBell C.
β€œ
But nature is always more subtle, more intricate, more elegant than what we are able to imagine.
”
”
Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
β€œ
I am not a graceful person. I am not a Sunday morning or a Friday sunset. I am a Tuesday 2 a.m., gunshots muffled by a few city blocks, I am a broken window during February. My bones crack on a nightly basis. I fall from elegance with a dull thud, and I apologize for my awkward sadness. I sometimes believe that I don’t belong around people, that I belong to all the leap days that didn’t happen. The way light and darkness mix under my skin has become a storm. You don’t see the lightning, but you hear the echoes.
”
”
Anna Peters
β€œ
People aim for the stars, and they end up like goldfish in a bowl. I wonder if it wouldn't be simpler just to teach children right from the start that life is absurd.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
Physics is really nothing more than a search for ultimate simplicity, but so far all we have is a kind of elegant messiness.
”
”
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
β€œ
Madame Michel has the elegance of the hedgehog: on the outside she is covered in quills, a real fortress, but my gut feeling is that on the inside, she has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: a deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary--and terrible elegant.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
Personally I think that grammar is a way to attain beauty.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
If you have but one friend, make sure you choose her well.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.
”
”
Albert Einstein
β€œ
In character, in manner, in style, in all the things, the supreme excellence is simplicity
”
”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Favorite Poems (Dover Thrift Editions: Poetry))
β€œ
Alaska finished her cigarette and flicked it into the river. 'Why do you smoke so damn fast?' I asked. She looked at me and smiled widely, and such a wide smile on her narrow face might have looked goofy were it not for the unimpeachably elegant green in her eyes. She smiled with all the delight of a kid on Christmas morning and said, 'Y'all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die.
”
”
John Green
β€œ
When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
Stories are like spiders, with all they long legs, and stories are like spiderwebs, which man gets himself all tangled up in but which look pretty when you see them under a leaf in the morning dew, and in the elegant way that they connect to one another, each to each.
”
”
Neil Gaiman (Anansi Boys)
β€œ
Elegance comes from being as beautiful inside as outside.
”
”
Coco Chanel
β€œ
Never use the word β€œcheap”. Today everybody can look chic in inexpensive clothes (the rich buy them too). There is good clothing design on every level today. You can be the chicest thing in the world in a T-shirt and jeans β€” it’s up to you.
”
”
Karl Lagerfeld
β€œ
I find this a fascinating phenomenon: the ability we have to manipulate ourselves so that the foundation of our beliefs is never shaken.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
To achieve harmony in bad taste is the height of elegance.
”
”
Jean Genet
β€œ
You soon learn there’s no elegance or dignity in death if you spend time in the castle kitchens. You learn how ugly it is, and how good it tastes.
”
”
Mark Lawrence (Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1))
β€œ
I was in love with the innocence of dogs, the purity of their affection. They didn't know enough to hide their feelings. They existed. A dog was a dog. There was such a simple elegance about being a dog that I envied.
”
”
Benjamin Alire SΓ‘enz (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante, #1))
β€œ
To live content with small means. To seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion. To be worthy not respectable, and wealthy not rich. To study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars, birds, babes, and sages with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.
”
”
William Henry Channing
β€œ
...but, dear me, let us be elegant or die.
”
”
Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)
β€œ
Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.
”
”
Coco Chanel
β€œ
I picked up the nearest weapon I could lay my hands on: a stapler. I lifted it, going for β€œmenacing.” I admit it lacked a certain elegance, but hey. It was worth a shot. David placed his hand on my arm and pushed it back down. β€œWhat?” β€œJust . . . that’s embarrassing for all of us,” he replied.
”
”
Rachel Hawkins (Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, #1))
β€œ
They took to silence. They touched each other without comment and without progression. A hand on a hand, a clothed arm, resting on an arm. An ankle overlapping an ankle, as they sat on a beach, and not removed. One night they fell asleep, side by side... He slept curled against her back, a dark comma against her pale elegant phrase.
”
”
A.S. Byatt (Possession)
β€œ
Dipped in chocolate, bronzed in elegance, enameled with grace, toasted with beauty. My lord, she's a black woman.
”
”
Yosef A.A. Ben-Jochannan
β€œ
Do you know that it is in your company that I have had my finest thoughts?
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
It's not very easy to grow up into a woman. We are always taught, almost bombarded, with ideals of what we should be at every age in our lives: "This is what you should wear at age twenty", "That is what you must act like at age twenty-five", "This is what you should be doing when you are seventeen." But amidst all the many voices that bark all these orders and set all of these ideals for girls today, there lacks the voice of assurance. There is no comfort and assurance. I want to be able to say, that there are four things admirable for a woman to be, at any age! Whether you are four or forty-four or nineteen! It's always wonderful to be elegant, it's always fashionable to have grace, it's always glamorous to be brave, and it's always important to own a delectable perfume! Yes, wearing a beautiful fragrance is in style at any age!
”
”
C. JoyBell C.
β€œ
I may be indigent in name, position, and in appearance, but in my own mind I am an unrivaled goddess -
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
The only real elegance is in the mind; if you've got that, the rest really comes from it.
”
”
Diana Vreeland
β€œ
I have a renewed commitment to elegance, she said, in case you think I'm just spending money for the fun of it.
”
”
Brian Andreas
β€œ
I have finally concluded, maybe that's what life is about: there's a lot of despair, but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no longer the same. It's as if those strains of music created a sort of interlude in time, something suspended, an elsewhere that had come to us, an always within never. Yes, that's it, an always within never.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
Words define us,' Mom continued, as I struggled to make my clumsy marks look like her elegant script. 'We must protect our knowledge and pass it on whenever we can. If we are ever to become a society again, we must teach others how to remain human.
”
”
Julie Kagawa (The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1))
β€œ
Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better.
”
”
Edsger W. Dijkstra
β€œ
Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology toward the organic, the gentle, the elegant and beautiful.
”
”
Ernst F. Schumacher (Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered)
β€œ
The Queen touched her lips thoughtfully with a single long white finger. 'The Fair Folk, unlike humans, do not concern themselves overmuch with liking. Love, perhaps, and hate. Both are useful emotions. But liking . . ." She shrugged elegantly.
”
”
Cassandra Clare (City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3))
β€œ
When something is bothering me, I seek refuge. No need to travel far; a trip to the realm of literary memory will suffice. For where can one find more noble distraction, more entertaining company, more delightful enchantment than in literature?
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
O love, O fire! once he drew With one long kiss my whole soul through My lips, as sunlight drinketh dew.
”
”
Alfred Tennyson
β€œ
I have a different idea of elegance. I don't dress like a fop, it's true, but my moral grooming is impeccable. I never appear in public with a soiled conscience, a tarnished honor, threadbare scruples, or an insult that I haven't washed away. I'm always immaculately clean, adorned with independence and frankness. I may not cut a stylish figure, but I hold my soul erect. I wear my deeds as ribbons, my wit is sharper then the finest mustache, and when I walk among men I make truths ring like spurs.
”
”
Edmond Rostand (Cyrano de Bergerac)
β€œ
Beautiful things should belong to beautiful souls.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
They didn't recognize me," I repeat. He stops in turn, my hand still on his arm. "It is because they have never seen you," he says. "I would recognize you anywhere.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
What a marvelous cooperative arrangement - plants and animals each inhaling each other's exhalations, a kind of planet-wide mutual mouth-to-stoma resuscitation, the entire elegant cycle powered by a star 150 million kilometers away.
”
”
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
β€œ
I walk through the black Indiana night, under a ceiling of stars, and think about the phrase "elegance and euphoria," and how it describes exactly what I feel with Violet. For once, I don't want to be anyone but Theodore Finch, the boy she sees. He understands what it is to be elegant and euphoric and a hundered different people most of them flawed and stupid, part asshole, part screwup, part freak, a boy who wants to be easy for the folks around him so that he doesn't worry them and, most of all, easy for himself. A boy who belongs - here in the world, here in his own skin. He is exactly who I want to be and what I want my epitaph to say: The Boy Violet Markey Loves.
”
”
Jennifer Niven (All the Bright Places)
β€œ
When someone that you love dies..it's like fireworks suddenly burning out in the sky and everything going black.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
Can I see it?" She knew what he meant, and had held up her hands before her. Ribbons and plumes and flowers of red and gold fire danced through his room, bright and glorious and elegant. Chaol's eyes had been lined with silver when the flames winked out. "it's lovely," he said at last.
”
”
Sarah J. Maas (Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4))
β€œ
The boldness of asking deep questions may require unforeseen flexibility if we are to accept the answers.
”
”
Brian Greene (The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory)
β€œ
Life has meaning and we grown-ups know what it is is the universal lie that everyone is supposed to believe. Once you become an adult and you realize that's not true, it's too late.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
There was no sleeper more elegant than she, with her curved body posed for a dance and her hand across her forehead, but there was also no one more ferocious when anyone disturbed the sensuality of her thinking she was still asleep when she no longer was.
”
”
Gabriel GarcΓ­a MΓ‘rquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)
β€œ
The only purpose of cats is that they constitute mobile decorative objects.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
There is in all things a pattern that is part of our universe. It has symmetry, elegance, and grace - these qualities you find always in that the true artist captures. You can find it in the turning of the seasons, the way sand trails along a ridge, in the branch clusters of the creosote bush of the pattern of its leaves. We try to copy these patterns in our lives and in our society, seeking the rhythms, the dances, the forms that comfort. Yet, it is possible to see peril in the finding of ultimate perfection. It is clear that the ultimate pattern contains its own fixity. In such perfection, all things move towards death.
”
”
Frank Herbert (Dune (Dune, #1))
β€œ
We think we can make honey without sharing in the fate of bees, but we are in truth nothing but poor bees, destined to accomplish our task and then die.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
Dirge Without Music I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground. So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind: Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned. Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you. Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust. A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew, A formula, a phrase remains,β€”but the best is lost. The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,β€” They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve. More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world. Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind; Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave. I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
”
”
Edna St. Vincent Millay (Collected Poems)
β€œ
I am excessively fond of a cottage; there is always so much comfort, so much elegance about them. And I protest, if I had any money to spare, I should buy a little land and build one myself, within a short distance of London, where I might drive myself down at any time, and collect a few friends about me and be happy. I advise everybody who is going to build, to build a cottage.
”
”
Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility)
β€œ
With another shock of excitement, Harry saw Sirius give James the thumbs-up. Sirius was lounging in his chair at his ease, tilting it back on two legs. He was very good-looking, his dark hair fell into his eyes with a sort of casual elegance neither James's nor Harry's could ever have achieved, and a girl sitting behind him was eyeing him hopefully, though he didn't seem to have noticed.
”
”
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
β€œ
Halt," said the elegant diplomat, "when you asked me to marry you, did you think we could just sneak off to a glade in the woods with a few close friends and get it done?" Halt hesitated. "Well, no...of course not." As a matter of fact, that was exactly what he had thought. A simple ceremony, a few friends, some food and drink and then he and Pauline would be a couple. But he felt that it might not be wise to admit that right now.
”
”
John Flanagan (Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, #7))
β€œ
...what I dread more than anything else in this life is noise...silence helps you to go inward..anyone who is interested in something more than just life outside actually needs silence.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
The process of dissociation is an elegant mechanism built into the human psychological system as a form of escape from (sometimes literally) going crazy. The problem with checking out so thoroughly is that it can leave us feeling dead inside, with little or no ability to feel our feelings in our bodies. The process of repair demands a re-association with the body, a commitment to dive into the body and feel today what we couldn’t feel yesterday because it was too dangerous.
”
”
Alexandra Katehakis (Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence)
β€œ
Well, I suppose you’re right about the forgery,” he admitted. β€œAfter all, it’s only the Gallican’s seal we’re forging, isn’t it? It’s not as if you’re forging a document from King Duncan. Even you wouldn’t go as far as that, would you?” Of course not,” Halt replied smoothly. He began to pack away his forgery tools. He was glad he’d laid hands on the forged Gallican seal on his pack so easily. It was as well that he hadn’t had to tip them all out and risk Horace’s seeing the near perfect copy of King Duncan’s seal that he carried among other. β€œNow may I suggest you climb into your elegant tin suit and we’ll go sweet-talk the Skandian border guards.
”
”
John Flanagan (The Battle for Skandia (Ranger's Apprentice, #4))
β€œ
I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her. (Although when I mentioned this to my priest friend Tom, he said that you can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.)
”
”
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird)
β€œ
This pause in time, within time ... When did I first experience the exquisite sense of surrender that is only possible with another person? The peace of mind one experiences on one's own, one's certainty of self in the serenity of solitude, are nothing in comparison to the release and openness and fluency one shares with another, in close companionship ...
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
There's so much humanity in a love of trees, so much nostalgia for our first sense of wonder, so much power in just feeling our own insignificance when we are surrounded by nature…yes, that's it: just thinking about trees and their indifferent majesty and our love for them teaches us how ridiculous we are - vile parasites squirming on the surface of the earth - and at the same time how deserving of life we can be, when we can honor this beauty that owes us nothing.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
I wonder if the world’s fascination has less to do with the flower itself, and more with the muck that it flourishes in. The Lotus flower is of an unparalleled beauty in its elegance and grace, yet its’ origins are of an environment that is a stark contrast. We cannot help but ponder such strange juxtaposition. However, there is something telling in this natural contrast between the flower and its environment: we are meant to grow, like the Lotus, and not dirty our hands in the mud that surrounds us.
”
”
Forrest Curran (Purple Buddha Project: Purple Book of Self-Love)
β€œ
. . . maybe that's what life's all about: there's a lof of despair, but also the odd moments of beauty, where time is no longer the same . . . [like] something suspended . . . an elsewhere . . . an always within a never. Yes, that's is, an always within a never.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
I have read so many books. And yet, like most Autodidacts, I am never quite sure of what I have gained from them. There are days when I feel I have been able to grasp all there is to know in one single gaze, as if invisible branches suddenly spring out of no where, weaving together all the disparate strands of my reading. And then suddenly the meaning escapes, the essence evaporates and no matter how often I reread the same lines they seem to flee ever further with each subsequent reading and I see myself as some mad old fool who thinks her stomach is full because she's been reading the menu.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
But many intelligent people have a sort of bug: they think intelligence is an end in itself. They have one idea in mind: to be intelligent, which is really stupid. And when intelligence takes itself for its own goal, it operates very strangely: the proof that it exists is not to be found in the ingenuity or simplicity of what it produces, but in how obscurely it is expressed.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
Magic comes from the heart, from your feelings, your deepest expressions of desire. That's why black magic is so easyβ€”it comes from lust, from fear and anger, from things that are easy to feed and make grow. The sort I do is harder. It comes from something deeper than that, a truer and purer sourceβ€”harder to tap, harder to keep, but ultimately more elegant, more powerful. My magic. That was at the heart of me. It was a manifestation of what I believed, what I lived. It came from my desire to see to it that someone stood between the darkness and the people it would devour. It came from my love of a good steak, from the way I would sometimes cry at a good movie or a moving symphony. From my life. From the hope that I could make things better for someone else, if not always for me. Somewhere, in all of that, I touched on something that wasn't tapped out, in spite of how horrible the past days had been, something that hadn't gone cold and numb inside of me. I grasped it, held it in my hand like a firefly, and willed its energy out, into the circle I had created with the spinning amulet on the end of its chain.
”
”
Jim Butcher (Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2))
β€œ
The tea ritual: such a precise repetition of the same gestures and the same tastes; accession to simple, authentic and refined sensations, a license given to all, at little cost, to become aristocrats of taste, because tea is the beverage of the wealthy and the poor; the tea ritual, therefore, has the extraordinary virtue of introducing into the absurdity of our lives an aperture of serene harmony. Yes, the world may aspire to vacuousness, lost souls mourn beauty, insignificance surrounds us. Then let us drink a cup of tea. Silence descends, one hears the wind outside, autumn leaves rustle and take flight, the cat sleeps in a warm pool of light. And, with each swallow, time is sublimed.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator’s first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure that no one listens. To this end, he marshals an impressive array of arguments, from the most blatant denial to the most sophisticated and elegant rationalization. After every atrocity one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies: it never happened; the victim lies; the victim exaggerates; the victim brought it upon herself; and in any case it is time to forget the past and move on. The more powerful the perpetrator, the greater is his prerogative to name and define reality, and the more completely his arguments prevail.
”
”
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
β€œ
Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust. Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many. Therefore in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled; the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests.
”
”
John Rawls (A Theory of Justice)
β€œ
I want to say one last thing, and it’s important. Though I am a generally happy person who feels comfortable in my skin, I do beat myself up because I am influenced by a societal pressure to be thin. All the time. I feel it the same way anybody who picks up a magazine and sees Keira Knightley’s elegantly bony shoulder blades poking out of a backless dress does. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen my shoulder blades once. Honestly, I’m dubious that any part of my body could be so sharp and firm as to be described as a β€œblade.” I feel it when I wake up in the morning and try on every single pair of my jeans and everything looks bad and I just want to go back to sleep. But my secret is: even though I wish I could be thin, and that I could have the ease of lifestyle that I associate with being thin, I don’t wish for it with all of my heart. Because my heart is reserved for way more important things.
”
”
Mindy Kaling (Why Not Me?)
β€œ
The mockingbird took a single step into the air and dropped. His wings were still folded against his sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second per second, through empty air. Just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled his wings with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant, white-banded tail, and so floated onto the grass. I had just rounded a corner when his incouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight. The fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest. The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.
”
”
Annie Dillard
β€œ
Freedom isn't an illusion; it's perfectly real in the context of sequential consciousness. Within the context of simultaneous consciousness, freedom is not meaningful, but neither is coercion; it's simply a different context, no more or less valid than the other. It's like that famous optical illusion, the drawing of either an elegant young woman, face turned away from the viewer, or a wart-nosed crone, chin tucked down on her chest. There's no β€œcorrect” interpretation; both are equally valid. But you can't see both at the same time. β€œSimilarly, knowledge of the future was incompatible with free will. What made it possible for me to exercise freedom of choice also made it impossible for me to know the future. Conversely, now that I know the future, I would never act contrary to that future, including telling others what I know: those who know the future don't talk about it. Those who've read the Book of Ages never admit to it.
”
”
Ted Chiang (Stories of Your Life and Others)
β€œ
One day Dostoevsky threw out the enigmatic remark: "Beauty will save the world". What sort of a statement is that? For a long time I considered it mere words. How could that be possible? When in bloodthirsty history did beauty ever save anyone from anything? Ennobled, uplifted, yes - but whom has it saved? There is, however, a certain peculiarity in the essence of beauty, a peculiarity in the status of art: namely, the convincingness of a true work of art is completely irrefutable and it forces even an opposing heart to surrender. It is possible to compose an outwardly smooth and elegant political speech, a headstrong article, a social program, or a philosophical system on the basis of both a mistake and a lie. What is hidden, what distorted, will not immediately become obvious. Then a contradictory speech, article, program, a differently constructed philosophy rallies in opposition - and all just as elegant and smooth, and once again it works. Which is why such things are both trusted and mistrusted. In vain to reiterate what does not reach the heart. But a work of art bears within itself its own verification: conceptions which are devised or stretched do not stand being portrayed in images, they all come crashing down, appear sickly and pale, convince no one. But those works of art which have scooped up the truth and presented it to us as a living force - they take hold of us, compel us, and nobody ever, not even in ages to come, will appear to refute them. So perhaps that ancient trinity of Truth, Goodness and Beauty is not simply an empty, faded formula as we thought in the days of our self-confident, materialistic youth? If the tops of these three trees converge, as the scholars maintained, but the too blatant, too direct stems of Truth and Goodness are crushed, cut down, not allowed through - then perhaps the fantastic, unpredictable, unexpected stems of Beauty will push through and soar to that very same place, and in so doing will fulfil the work of all three? In that case Dostoevsky's remark, "Beauty will save the world", was not a careless phrase but a prophecy? After all he was granted to see much, a man of fantastic illumination. And in that case art, literature might really be able to help the world today?
”
”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Nobel Lecture (Bilingual Edition) (English and Russian Edition))
β€œ
If you dread tomorrow it's because you don't know how to build the present, and when you don't know how to build the present, you tell yourself you can deal with it tomorrow, and it's a lost cause anyway because tomorrow always ends up being today don't you see ... We have to live with the certainty that we'll get old and that it won't look nice or be good or feel happy. And tell ourselves that it's now that matters: to build something now at any price using all our strength. Always remember that there's a retirement home waiting somewhere and so we have to surpass ourselves every day, make every day undying. Climb our own personal Everest and do it in such a way that every step is a little bit of eternity. That's what the future is for: to build the present with real plans made by living people.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
When I am high I couldn’t worry about money if I tried. So I don’t. The money will come from somewhere; I am entitled; God will provide. Credit cards are disastrous, personal checks worse. Unfortunately, for manics anyway, mania is a natural extension of the economy. What with credit cards and bank accounts there is little beyond reach. So I bought twelve snakebite kits, with a sense of urgency and importance. I bought precious stones, elegant and unnecessary furniture, three watches within an hour of one another (in the Rolex rather than Timex class: champagne tastes bubble to the surface, are the surface, in mania), and totally inappropriate sirenlike clothes. During one spree in London I spent several hundred pounds on books having titles or covers that somehow caught my fancy: books on the natural history of the mole, twenty sundry Penguin books because I thought it could be nice if the penguins could form a colony. Once I think I shoplifted a blouse because I could not wait a minute longer for the woman-with-molasses feet in front of me in line. Or maybe I just thought about shoplifting, I don’t remember, I was totally confused. I imagine I must have spent far more than thirty thousand dollars during my two major manic episodes, and God only knows how much more during my frequent milder manias. But then back on lithium and rotating on the planet at the same pace as everyone else, you find your credit is decimated, your mortification complete: mania is not a luxury one can easily afford. It is devastating to have the illness and aggravating to have to pay for medications, blood tests, and psychotherapy. They, at least, are partially deductible. But money spent while manic doesn’t fit into the Internal Revenue Service concept of medical expense or business loss. So after mania, when most depressed, you’re given excellent reason to be even more so.
”
”
Kay Redfield Jamison (An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness)
β€œ
The peculiar predicament of the present-day self surely came to pass as a consequence of the disappointment of the high expectations of the self as it entered the age of science and technology. Dazzled by the overwhelming credentials of science, the beauty and elegance of the scientific method, the triumph of modern medicine over physical ailments, and the technological transformation of the very world itself, the self finds itself in the end disappointed by the failure of science and technique in those very sectors of life which had been its main source of ordinary satisfaction in past ages. As John Cheever said, the main emotion of the adult Northeastern American who has had all the advantages of wealth, education, and culture is disappointment. Work is disappointing. In spite of all the talk about making work more creative and self-fulfilling, most people hate their jobs, and with good reason. Most work in modern technological societies is intolerably dull and repetitive. Marriage and family life are disappointing. Even among defenders of traditional family values, e.g., Christians and Jews, a certain dreariness must be inferred, if only from the average time of TV viewing. Dreary as TV is, it is evidently not as dreary as Mom talking to Dad or the kids talking to either. School is disappointing. If science is exciting and art is exhilarating, the schools and universities have achieved the not inconsiderable feat of rendering both dull. As every scientist and poet knows, one discovers both vocations in spite of, not because of, school. It takes years to recover from the stupor of being taught Shakespeare in English Lit and Wheatstone's bridge in Physics. Politics is disappointing. Most young people turn their backs on politics, not because of the lack of excitement of politics as it is practiced, but because of the shallowness, venality, and image-making as these are perceived through the media--one of the technology's greatest achievements. The churches are disappointing, even for most believers. If Christ brings us new life, it is all the more remarkable that the church, the bearer of this good news, should be among the most dispirited institutions of the age. The alternatives to the institutional churches are even more grossly disappointing, from TV evangelists with their blown-dry hairdos to California cults led by prosperous gurus ignored in India but embraced in La Jolla. Social life is disappointing. The very franticness of attempts to reestablish community and festival, by partying, by groups, by club, by touristy Mardi Gras, is the best evidence of the loss of true community and festival and of the loneliness of self, stranded as it is as an unspeakable consciousness in a world from which it perceives itself as somehow estranged, stranded even within its own body, with which it sees no clear connection. But there remains the one unquestioned benefit of science: the longer and healthier life made possible by modern medicine, the shorter work-hours made possible by technology, hence what is perceived as the one certain reward of dreary life of home and the marketplace: recreation. Recreation and good physical health appear to be the only ambivalent benefits of the technological revolution.
”
”
Walker Percy (Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book)
β€œ
She said, β€œDo you see how I’m wearing this apron? It means I’m working. For a living.” The unconcerned expression didn’t flag. He said, β€œI’ll take care of it.” She echoed, β€œTake care of it?” β€œYeah. How much do you make in an hour? I’ll take care of it. And I’ll talk to your manager.” For a moment, Blue was actually lost for words. She had never believed people who claimed to be speechless, but she was. She opened her mouth, and at first, all that came out was air. Then something like the beginning of a laugh. Then finally, she managed to sputter, β€œI am not a prostitute.” The Aglionby boy appeared puzzled for a long moment, and then realization dawned. β€œOh, that was not how I meant it. That is not what I said.” β€œThat is what you said! You think you can just pay me to talk to your friend? Clearly you pay most of your female companions by the hour and don’t know how it works with the real world, but . . . but . . .” Blue remembered that she was working to a point, but now what that point was. Indignation had eliminated all higher functions and all that remained was the desire to slap him. The boy opened his mouth to protest, and her thought came back to her all in a rush. β€œMost girls, when they’re interested in a guy, will sit with them for free.” To his credit, the Aglionby boy didn’t speak right away. Instead, he thought for a moment and then he said, without heat, β€œYou said you were working for living. I thought it’d be rude to not take that into account. I’m sorry you’re insulted. I see where you’re coming from, but I feel it’s a little unair that you’re not doing the same for me.” β€œI feel you’re being condescending,” Blue said. In the background, she caught a glimpse of Soldier Boy making a plane of his hand. It was crashing and weaving toward the table surface while Smudgy Boy gulped laughter down. The elegant boy held his palm over his face in exaggerated horror, fingers spread just enough that she could see him wince. β€œDear God,” remarked Cell Phone boy. β€œI don’t know what else to say.” β€œSorry,” she recommended. β€œI said that already.” Blue considered. β€œThen β€˜bye.’” He made a little gesture at his chest that she thought was supposed to mean he was curtsying or bowing or something sarcastically gentleman-like.
”
”
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
β€œ
MY MOTHER GETS DRESSED It is impossible for my mother to do even the simplest things for herself anymore so we do it together, get her dressed. I choose the clothes without zippers or buckles or straps, clothes that are simple but elegant, and easy to get into. Otherwise, it's just like every other day. After bathing, getting dressed. The stockings go on first. This time, it's the new ones, the special ones with opaque black triangles that she's never worn before, bought just two weeks ago at her favorite department store. We start with the heavy, careful stuff of the right toes into the stocking tip then a smooth yank past the knob of her ankle and over her cool, smooth calf then the other toe cool ankle, smooth calf up the legs and the pantyhose is coaxed to her waist. You're doing great, Mom, I tell her as we ease her body against mine, rest her whole weight against me to slide her black dress with the black empire collar over her head struggle her fingers through the dark tunnel of the sleeve. I reach from the outside deep into the dark for her hand, grasp where I can't see for her touch. You've got to help me a little here, Mom I tell her then her fingertips touch mine and we work her fingers through the sleeve's mouth together, then we rest, her weight against me before threading the other fingers, wrist, forearm, elbow, bicep and now over the head. I gentle the black dress over her breasts, thighs, bring her makeup to her, put some color on her skin. Green for her eyes. Coral for her lips. I get her black hat. She's ready for her company. I tell the two women in simple, elegant suits waiting outside the bedroom, come in. They tell me, She's beautiful. Yes, she is, I tell them. I leave as they carefully zip her into the black body bag. Three days later, I dream a large, green suitcase arrives. When I unzip it, my mother is inside. Her dress matches her eyeshadow, which matches the suitcase perfectly. She's wearing coral lipstick. "I'm here," she says, smiling delightedly, waving and I wake up. Four days later, she comes home in a plastic black box that is heavier than it looks. In the middle of a meadow, I learn a naked more than naked. I learn a new way to hug as I tighten my fist around her body, my hand filled with her ashes and the small stones of bones. I squeeze her tight then open my hand and release her into the smallest, hottest sun, a dandelion screaming yellow at the sky.
”
”
Daphne Gottlieb (Final Girl)