Fantasy World Quotes

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The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That's the only lasting thing you can create.
Chuck Palahniuk (Choke)
Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild With a faery, hand in hand, For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
W.B. Yeats (The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats)
Closed in a room, my imagination becomes the universe, and the rest of the world is missing out.
Criss Jami (Diotima, Battery, Electric Personality)
Looking back, I guess I used to play-act all the time. For one thing, it meant I could live in a more interesting world than the one around me.
Marilyn Monroe
I look up to say something but he puts his finger to my lips and whispers, “Don’t talk. You’ll just spoil my fantasy of rescuing an innocent damsel in distress as soon as you open your mouth.
Susan Ee (World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2))
Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.
Walt Disney Company
I was as unburdened as a piece of dandelion fluff, and he was the wind that stirred me about the world.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
Perhaps the greatest faculty our minds possess is the ability to cope with pain. Classic thinking teaches us of the four doors of the mind, which everyone moves through according to their need. First is the door of sleep. Sleep offers us a retreat from the world and all its pain. Sleep marks passing time, giving us distance from the things that have hurt us. When a person is wounded they will often fall unconscious. Similarly, someone who hears traumatic news will often swoon or faint. This is the mind's way of protecting itself from pain by stepping through the first door. Second is the door of forgetting. Some wounds are too deep to heal, or too deep to heal quickly. In addition, many memories are simply painful, and there is no healing to be done. The saying 'time heals all wounds' is false. Time heals most wounds. The rest are hidden behind this door. Third is the door of madness. There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind. Last is the door of death. The final resort. Nothing can hurt us after we are dead, or so we have been told.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable." REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE. "Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—" YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES. "So we can believe the big ones?" YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING. "They're not the same at all!" YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED. "Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—" MY POINT EXACTLY.
Terry Pratchett (Hogfather (Discworld, #20; Death, #4))
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." [Kung Fu Monkey -- Ephemera, blog post, March 19, 2009]
John Rogers
Reality depresses me. I need to find fantasy worlds and escape in them.
Noel Fielding
Don't forget - no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.
Charles de Lint (The Blue Girl (Newford, #15))
I want to survive this world that keeps trying to destroy me.
Leigh Bardugo (Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1))
We hunt the flame, the light in the darkness, the good this world deserves.
Hafsah Faizal (We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya, #1))
There are only two worlds - your world, which is the real world, and other worlds, the fantasy. Worlds like this are worlds of the human imagination: their reality, or lack of reality, is not important. What is important is that they are there. these worlds provide an alternative. Provide an escape. Provide a threat. Provide a dream, and power; provide refuge, and pain. They give your world meaning. They do not exist; and thus they are all that matters.
Neil Gaiman (The Books of Magic)
We rode on the winds of the rising storm, We ran to the sounds of the thunder. We danced among the lightning bolts, and tore the world asunder.
Robert Jordan (The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time, #3))
There is no such thing as coincidence in this world. The only thing is hitsuzen. Hitsuzen...A naturally fore-ordained event. A state in which all other outcomes are impossible.
CLAMP (xxxHolic, Vol. 1 (xxxHOLiC, #1))
As children, we all live in a world of imagination, of fantasy, and for some of us that world of make-believe continues into adulthood.
Jim Henson
I'm not the world's greatest expert, but I would have thought that the wizards, witches, trolls, unicorns, ... broomsticks and spells would have given her a clue?' - when J.K. Rowling insisted she wasn't writing fantasy.
Terry Pratchett
He was the fantasy of every girl in the country. He was so far out of realm, her world, that she should have stopped thinking about him the second the door had closed. Should stop thinking about him immediately. Should never think about him again, except maybe as a client--and her prince. And yet, the memory of his fingers against her skin refused to fade.
Marissa Meyer (Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1))
We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality" says Iris Murdoch. But given the state of the world, is it wise?
Iris Murdoch
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.
Michael Scott (The Warlock (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #5))
The usual warmth of his hands wasn’t there. They chilled my skin as they slipped to my waist, and I realized he was scared.
M.R. Noble (Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes)
We don’t create a fantasy world to escape reality, we create it to be able to stay.
Lynda Barry
I live in a world of fantasy, so keep your reality away from me. I see what I want, I want what I see and that is all okay with me.
Itzah C. Kret
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
Robert Jordan (The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1))
This is where we are at right now, as a whole. No one is left out of the loop. We are experiencing a reality based on a thin veneer of lies and illusions. A world where greed is our God and wisdom is sin, where division is key and unity is fantasy, where the ego-driven cleverness of the mind is praised, rather than the intelligence of the heart.
Bill Hicks
Just remember who you are... The world will try to change you into someone else. Don't let them. That's the best advice anyone can give you.
Cinda Williams Chima (The Warrior Heir (The Heir Chronicles, #1))
The creative writer does the same as the child at play; he creates a world of fantasy which he takes very seriously.
Sigmund Freud
To be born means being compelled to choose an era, a place, a life. To exist here, now, means to lost the possibility of being countless other potential selves.. Yet once being born there is no turning back. And I think that's exactly why the fantasy worlds of cartoon movies so strongly represent our hopes and yearnings. They illustrate a world of lost possibilities for us.
Hayao Miyazaki (Starting Point: 1979-1996)
Death is lighter than a feather. Duty, heavier than a mountain.
Robert Jordan (The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1))
Bipolar robs you of that which is you. It can take from you the very core of your being and replace it with something that is completely opposite of who and what you truly are. Because my bipolar went untreated for so long, I spent many years looking in the mirror and seeing a person I did not recognize or understand. Not only did bipolar rob me of my sanity, but it robbed me of my ability to see beyond the space it dictated me to look. I no longer could tell reality from fantasy, and I walked in a world no longer my own.
Alyssa Reyans (Letters from a Bipolar Mother (Chronicles of A Fractured Life))
I felt a little guilty about jangling the poor bugger's brains with that evil fantasy. But what the hell? Anybody who wanders around the world saying, "Hell yes, I'm from Texas," deserves whatever happens to him.
Hunter S. Thompson (The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (The Gonzo Papers, #1))
Realization hit his face like a bomb. His hand trembled on my cheek, and he looked down to the ground, no longer able to hold my gaze.
M.R. Noble (Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes)
There are two types of men, Karolina. The ones who can admire the greatness of the little flower. Or the ones who try to control it.
M.R. Noble (Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes)
Hurricanes couldn’t remove you from my mind. You’re my world and I’m incapable of not loving you.
Billie-Jo Williams
there are three kinds of people in the world: those who don't know and don't know they don't know; those who don't know and do know they don't know; and those who know and know how much they still don't know.
Karen Marie Moning (Bloodfever (Fever, #2))
I am going to go into this world, and I don't care if you and your narrow mind cannot be a part of it.
Elise Kova (Air Awakens (Air Awakens, #1))
A star becomes a sun, under the pressure of darkness.
M.R. Noble (Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes)
For a second, fire flared inside of him, not like mine, but the fire of a man about to lose control.
M.R. Noble (Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes)
There are certain children who are told they are too sensitive, and there are certain adults who believe sensitivity is a problem that can be fixed in the way that crooked teeth can be fixed and made straight. And when these two come together you get a fairytale, a kind of story with hopelessness in it. I believe there is something in these old stories that does what singing does to words. They have transformational capabilities, in the way melody can transform mood. They can't transform your actual situation, but they can transform your experience of it. We don't create a fantasy world to escape reality, we create it to be able to stay. I believe we have always done this, used images to stand and understand what otherwise would be intolerable.
Lynda Barry (What It Is)
And to think of all the colors in the world, blood chose to be red.
Nelou Keramati
The use of imaginative fiction is to deepen your understanding of your world, and your fellow men, and your own feelings, and your destiny.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction)
You couldn't hide from bad things and pretend they didn't exist–that left you with a dream world, and dream worlds eventually crumbled. You had to face the truth. And then decide what you wanted.
Sarah Cross (Kill Me Softly (Beau Rivage, #1))
she told me to be my own hero. Inside of all of us was the potential for greatness—all it took was a change in perspective. “You can burn brighter than they can, if you have too.
M.R. Noble (Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes)
The most wonderful and the strongest things in the world, you know, are just the things which no one can see.
Charles Kingsley (The Water-Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby)
I couldn’t remember a time when I felt the type of love Miruna had. Eternal love. The kind which keeps one going when one is ninety and alone.
M.R. Noble (Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes)
You can burn brighter than they can, if you have too.
M.R. Noble (Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes)
Do you want me?” he whispered. It was a simple but loaded question. The answer, like it could remove all anguish from the past few weeks, stood out in my head. “Yes.
M.R. Noble (Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes)
Your fantasies define you, so dream carefully. A man with no imagination is a man with no future in today’s world—and no past in tomorrow’s.
Jarod Kintz (This Book is Not for Sale)
There are no happy endings... There are no endings, happy or otherwise. We all have our own stories which are just part of the one Story that binds both this world and Faerie. Sometimes we step into each others stories - perhaps just for a few minutes, perhaps for years - and then we step out of them again. But all the while, the Story just goes on.
Charles de Lint (Dreams Underfoot (Newford, #1))
I had plans, Karolina, and I chose power over love.
M.R. Noble (Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes)
The world is not beautiful. Therefore it is.
Keiichi Sigsawa (Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World)
she told me to be my own hero. Inside of all of us was the potential for greatness—all it took was a change in perspective.
M.R. Noble (Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes)
The world is full of magic. You’ve just got to learn how to access it.
Max Nowaz (Get Rich or Get Lucky)
We like to think we live in daylight, but half the world is always dark, and fantasy, like poetry, speaks the language of the night.
Ursula K. Le Guin
I admire Tolkien greatly. His books had enormous influence on me. And the trope that he sort of established—the idea of the Dark Lord and his Evil Minions—in the hands of lesser writers over the years and decades has not served the genre well. It has been beaten to death. The battle of good and evil is a great subject for any book and certainly for a fantasy book, but I think ultimately the battle between good and evil is weighed within the individual human heart and not necessarily between an army of people dressed in white and an army of people dressed in black. When I look at the world, I see that most real living breathing human beings are grey.
George R.R. Martin
I have met some highly intelligent believers, but history has no record to say that [s]he knew or understood the mind of god. Yet this is precisely the qualification which the godly must claim—so modestly and so humbly—to possess. It is time to withdraw our 'respect' from such fantastic claims, all of them aimed at the exertion of power over other humans in the real and material world.
Christopher Hitchens (The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever)
What did they do to you, Kazi?” His voice was low, earnest. Even in the dim light, I was able to see the worry in his eyes. I pretended I didn’t know what he was talking about. “Who did what?” “Who made you afraid of an open world? An open sky? Was it Venda? Your parents?” “No one did anything,” I answered quietly. “Then hold on to me,” he said. “Let me show you the stars.
Mary E. Pearson (Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, #1))
She had no time for sleep, with the weight of the world upon her shoulders. And she feared to dream. Sleep is a little death, dreams the whisperings of the Other, who would drag us all into his eternal night.
George R.R. Martin (A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5))
I always needed that extra fantasy world. I had to have another world I could be in at the same time.
Stephenie Meyer (The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide)
We live in a world full of people who are satisfied with pretending to be someone they are not.
Tommy Tran
Wishes of one's old life wither and shrivel like old leaves if they are not replaced with new wishes when the world changes. And the world always changes. Wishes get slimy, and their colors fade, and soon they are just mud, like all the rest of the mud, and not wishes at all, but regrets. The trouble is, not everyone can tell when they ought to launder their wishes. Even when one finds oneself in Fairyland and not at home at all, it is not always so easy to remember to catch the world in it's changing and change with it.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1))
It is only by enlarging the scope of one’s tastes and one’s fantasies, by sacrificing everything to pleasure, that the unfortunate individual called Man, thrown despite himself into this sad world, can succeed in gathering a few roses among life’s thorns
Marquis de Sade
He had killed his way across the world; he had gone to war and back more times than he cared to remember. And despite it all, despite the rage and despair and ice he’d wrapped around his heart, he’d still found Aelin. Every horizon he’d gazed toward, unable and unwilling to rest during those centuries, every mountain and ocean he’d seen and wondered what lay beyond … It had been her. It had been Aelin, the silent call of the mating bond driving him, even when he could not feel it. They’d walked this dark path together back to the light. He would not let the road end here.
Sarah J. Maas (Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7))
There was something magical about an island—the mere word suggested fantasy. You lost touch with the world—an island was a world of its own. A world, perhaps, from which you might never return.
Agatha Christie (And Then There Were None)
The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man – state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world... Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo. Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun. Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.
Karl Marx (Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right)
Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars.
Robert E. Howard (The Complete Chronicles of Conan)
A book had always been a door to another world... a world much more interesting and fantastical than reality. But she had finally discovered that life could be even more wonderful than fantasy. And that love could fill the real world with magic.
Lisa Kleypas (Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers, #4))
Men live in a fantasy world. I know this because I am one, and I actually receive my mail there
Scott Adams
Humanity today is like a waking dreamer, caught between the fantasies of sleep and the chaos of the real world. The mind seeks but cannot find the precise place and hour. We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology. We thrash about. We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.
Edward O. Wilson (The Social Conquest of Earth)
They all had stories. They had mothers or fathers, sisters or lovers. They weren't alone in the world, mattering to no one but themselves. It seemed utterly wrong to treat them like pennies in a purse. I felt the soldiers understood perfectly well that we were making sums out of them-- this many safe to spend, this number too high, as if each one wasn't a whole man.
Naomi Novik (Uprooted)
Do the children who prefer books set in the real, ordinary, workaday world ever read as obsessively as those who would much rather be transported into other worlds entirely?
Laura Miller (The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia)
Is there magic in this world? Certainly! But it is not the kind of magic written about in fantasy stories. It is the kind of magic that comes from ideas and the hard work it often takes to make them real.
Robert Fanney
Tattooing, when understood in its entirety, must be seen as a religious act. The human being brings forth images from the center of the self and communicates them to the world. Fantasy is embodied in reality and the person is made whole.
Spider Webb
Turn on Your Inner Light and Illuminate the World
Lali A. Love (Heart of a Warrior Angel)
So, when people try to give you some book with a shiny round award on the cover, be kind and gracious, but tell them you don't read "fantasy," because you prefer stories that are real. Then come back here and continue your research on the cult of evil Librarians who secretly rule the world.
Brandon Sanderson (Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1))
And starward drifts the stricken world, Lone in unalterable gloom Dead, with a universe for tomb, Dark, and to vaster darkness whirled. (“The Testimony of the Suns”)
George Sterling (The Thirst of Satan: Poems of Fantasy and Terror)
We're living in momentous times, Garion. The events of a thousand years and more have all focused on these very days. The world, I'm told, is like that. Centuries pass when nothing happens, and then in a few short years events of such tremendous importance take place that the world is never the same again." I think that if I had my choice, I'd prefer one of those quiet centuries," Garion said glumly. Oh, no," Silk said, his lips drawing back in a ferretlike grin. "Now's the time to be alive - to see it all happen, to be a part of it. That makes the blood race, and each breath is an adventure.
David Eddings (Pawn of Prophecy (The Belgariad, #1))
The only thing worth writing about is people. People. Human beings. Men and women whose individuality must be created, line by line, insight by insight. If you do not do it, the story is a failure. [...] There is no nobler chore in the universe than holding up the mirror of reality and turning it slightly, so we have a new and different perception of the commonplace, the everyday, the 'normal', the obvious. People are reflected in the glass. The fantasy situation into which you thrust them is the mirror itself. And what we are shown should illuminate and alter our perception of the world around us. Failing that, you have failed totally.
Harlan Ellison
List of Artists Who Created Fantasy Worlds to Try and Cure Bouts of Sadness 1. Italo Calvino 2. Gabriel Garcia Marquez 3. Jim Henson and Jorge Luis Borges - Labyrinths 4. The creator of MySpace 5. Richard Brautigan 6. J.K. Rowling 7. The inventor of the children's toy Lite-Brite 8. Ann Sexton 9. David Foster Wallace 10. Gaugin and the Caribbean 11. Charles Schulz 12. Liam Rector
Shane Jones (Light Boxes)
But happiness is being able to hope, however faintly, for happiness. So, at least, we must believe if we are to live in the world of today.
Osamu Dazai (Blue Bamboo: Japanese Tales of Fantasy)
All was shattered, and all but memory lost, and one memory above all others, of him who brought the Shadow and the Breaking of the World. And him they named Dragon.
Robert Jordan
Though the details differ across the world, no known culture lacks some version of the time-consuming, wealth consuming, hostility provoking rituals, the anti-factual, counter-productive fantasies of religion.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
Small children believe themselves to be gods, or some of them do, and they can only be satisfied when the rest of the world goes along with their way of seeing things.
Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane)
This is, in part, why there is less magic in the world today. Magic is secret and secrets are magic, after all, and years upon years of teaching and sharing magic and worse. Writing it down in fancy books that get all dusty with age has lessened it, removed its power bit by bit.
Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
Do you mean to say," asked Caspian, "that you three come from a round world (round like a ball) and you've never told me! It's really too bad for you. Because we have fairy-tales in which there are round worlds and I have always loved them … Have you ever been to the parts where people walk about upside-down?" Edmund shook his head. "And it isn't like that," he added. "There's nothing particularly exciting about a round world when you're there.
C.S. Lewis (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, #3))
Fantasy is storytelling with the beguiling power to transform the impossible into the imaginable, and to reveal our own “real” world in a fresh and truth-bearing light.
Leonard S. Marcus (The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy)
Readers love fantasy, but we need horror. Smart horror. Truthful horror. Horror that helps us make sense of a cruelly senseless world.
Brian K. Vaughan
Imagine that you traveled all over the world, looking for happiness, looking for thrills to pass the time. Imagine seeing everything there is to see and still not finding happiness. Well, that would give you a very bleak outlook on life, would it not?
Tricia Levenseller (Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1))
Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you've never been. Once you've visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different. And while we're on the subject, I'd like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term bandied about as if it's a bad thing. As if "escapist" fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in. If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn't you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real. As JRR Tolkien reminded us, the only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
Before there was Cocaine or vodka or sex or any of that, there was fantasy. There was escape. That was my first addiction. I remember being a little kid and imagining everything different, myself different. How did I get the idea in my head at age eight that everything was better somewhere else? Why would a child have a hole inside that can't get full no matter what she does? The real world could never make me happy, so I retreated to the world inside my head. And as I grew, as the real world proved itself more and more painful, the fantasy world expanded.
Amy Reed (Clean)
I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it -- I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know -- but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.
Virginia Satir
I am a hopeless romantic. A silly, ridiculous, foolish romantic. I live in a fantasy land. I need to get real. And now, for the first time, I want to get real. I want a real relationship with a real man in the real world–-with all the real problems, faults, and whatever comes with it.
Alexandra Potter (Me and Mr. Darcy)
All people live in a fantasy in which they are the main character.
Keiichi Sigsawa (Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World)
Fear, your fear takes hold of you…I can smell it. You are in my world now, and in my world, darkness is light.
J.B. Lion (The Seventh Spark: Volume One – Knights of the Trinity)
What had been in my head for so long would now be out in the real world, no longer afloat in my foreverland of ambiguities.
André Aciman (Call Me by Your Name)
New mothers enter the world of parenting feeling much like Alice in Wonderland. - Being a mother is one of the most rewarding jobs on earth and also one of the most challenging. - Motherhood is a process. Learn to love the process. - There is a tremendous amount of learning that takes place in the first year of your baby’s life; the baby learns a lot, too. - It is sometimes difficult to reconcile the fantasy of what you thuoght motherhood would be like, and what you thought you would be like as a mother, with reality. - Take care of yourself. If Mommy isn’t happy, no one else in the family is happy either. - New mother generally need to lower their expectations. - A good mother learns to love her child as he is and adjusts her mothering to suit her child.
Debra Gilbert Rosenberg
Meryn shrugged. "That's not my fault, I tried to indoctrinate you into the wonderful world of the gamer geek, but it's like you have some sort sci-fi/fantasy narcolepsy. It's weird. The second I try to show you something you fall asleep.
Alanea Alder (My Protector (Bewitched and Bewildered, #2))
I knew then that I would devote every minute we had left together to making her happy, to repairing the pain I had caused her and returning to her what I never known how to give her. These pages will be our memory until she drows her last breath in my arms and I take her forever and escape at last to a place where neither heaven nor hell will ever be able to find us.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
How can I judge?" she said at last. "To me, he is a hero. To the world a monster." She let her head fall into her arms and started crying quietly. "I miss him! Curse him! I miss him!" Mithorden put a hand on her shoulder and let her cry for a few minutes. A sad smile slowly spread across his face. "I'm glad you can forgive him," he said at last. Luthiel lifted her head. "How do you know?" Because you miss him.
Robert Fanney
I've always liked books," she said softly. "I love being around them. I love getting loaf in a story, a world. I love that I can become anyone, that I can become anyone, that I can live any fantasy.
Bella Andre (I Only Have Eyes for You (San Francisco Sullivans, #4; The Sullivans, #4))
It isn’t life that keeps the world turning; it is love.
S. Jae-Jones (Shadowsong (Wintersong, #2))
You may choose to live in a world of fantasy if you like, my dear, but I am a realist.
Ransom Riggs (Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #2))
One’s options in this world are as vast as the horizon, which is technically a circle and thus infinitely broad. Yet we must choose each step we take with utmost caution, for the footprints we leave behind are as important as the path we will follow. They’re part of the same journey — our story.
Lori R. Lopez (Dance of the Chupacabras)
There is a curious comfort in letting go. After the agony, letting go brings numbness, and after the numbness, clarity. As if I can see the world for the first time, and my place in it, independent of you, a whole vista of what may be. Even if it is not grand or inspiring, it is real and solid, unlike the fantasy I've built around you. I will do this. I will triumph over you.
Julie Berry (All the Truth That's in Me)
I think fantasy is best described as a kind of fiction that evokes wonder, mystery or magic, a sense of possibility beyond the ordinary world in which we live, and yet which reflects and comments upon that known world.
Kate Forsyth
there are people all over the world who carry the mermaid inside them, that otherworldly beauty and longing and desire that made her reach for heaven when she lived in the darkness of the sea.
Carolyn Turgeon (Mermaid)
And what makes you so certain I won't enlighten the world about your romantic indiscretions?" "Because it won't save you from prison. And if you ruin Rose, you'll destroy whatever weak chance you had of Lissa helping you with your warped fantasy." Victor flinched just a little; Dimitri was right. Dimitri stepped forward, pressing close to the bars as I had earlier. I'd though I had a scary voice, but when he spoke his next words, I realized I wasn't even close. "And it'll be pointless anyway, because you won't stay alive long enough in prison to stage your grand plans. You aren't the only one with connections." My breath caught a little. Dimitri brought so many things to my life: love, comfort, and instruction. I got so used to him sometimes I forgot how dangerous he could be. As he stood there, tall and threatening while he glared down at Victor, I felt a chill run down my spine. I remembered how when I had first come to the Academy, people said Dimitri was a god. In this moment, he looked like it.
Richelle Mead (Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3))
A spell... this is real life, not some magical world - what kind of an alternate reality did I stumble into?
Carl Novakovich (The Watchers: The Tomb)
Those were my fifth-year fantasies: kisses and blood and Snow ridding the world of me.
Rainbow Rowell (Carry On)
Your realm? This is the Guardian’s and you’re just playing in his. You are nothing but a fragment of his world. A piece of it.
Marie Montine (Mourning Grey: Part Two)
War as a moral metaphor is limited, limiting, and dangerous. By reducing the choices of action to “a war against” whatever-it-is, you divide the world into Me or Us (good) and Them or It (bad) and reduce the ethical complexity and moral richness of our life to Yes/No, On/Off. This is puerile, misleading, and degrading. In stories, it evades any solution but violence and offers the reader mere infantile reassurance. All too often the heroes of such fantasies behave exactly as the villains do, acting with mindless violence, but the hero is on the “right” side and therefore will win. Right makes might.
Ursula K. Le Guin (A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1))
Sometimes it seemed the timing of the entire world was off, our intentions coming too soon or too late, life crowding up to blur our vision, and only later when the dust settles can we see our missteps.
Mary E. Pearson (Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, #1))
The American Dream has run out of gas. The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It's over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now: the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Vietnam...
J.G. Ballard
In this Music [the singing of the angels in harmony] the World was begun; for Iluvatar made visible the song of the Ainur,and they beheld it as a light in the darkness.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Silmarillion)
We all have secret lives. The life of excretion; the world of inappropriate sexual fantasies; our real hopes, our terror of death; our experience of shame; the world of pain; and our dreams. No one else knows these lives. Consciousness is solitary. Each person lives in that bubble universe that rests under the skull, alone.
Kim Stanley Robinson (Galileo's Dream)
You ask yourself: where are your dreams now? And you shake your head and say how swiftly the years fly by! And you ask yourself again: what have you done with your best years, then? Where have you buried the best days of your life? Have you lived or not? Look, you tell yourself, look how cold the world is becoming. The years will pass and after them will come grim loneliness, and old age, quaking on its stick, and after them misery and despair. Your fantasy world will grow pale, your dreams will fade and die, falling away like the yellow leaves from the trees… Ah, Nastenka! Will it not be miserable to be left alone, utterly alone, and have nothing even to regret — nothing, not a single thing… because everything I have lost was nothing, stupid, a round zero, all dreaming and no more!
Fyodor Dostoevsky
You heard me. A creature from another world, a dark world, lurks the halls of Hellgate, tormenting victims at will. A grotesque, gnarled, twisted creature, with thick iron stakes impaled into its body, whip marks across its chest and back-- the beast got inside my brain.
J.B. Lion (The Seventh Spark: Volume One – Knights of the Trinity)
And to think of all colors in the world, blood chose to be red." ~ The Fray Theory
Nelou Keramati
I will say, this bed is really comfortable... What is it a pillow top? Damn, I slept great.
Carl Novakovich (The Watchers: The Tomb)
There he is, a woman's living, breathing fantasy, doing his slow, cocky turn, spiky black hair, darkly tanned chest, dimpled smile-killer smile-all in the package of Remington Tate. He's perfection itself, and a new surge of hormones sweeps through me as I do what the rest of the crowd does and take in his visual, so blatantly on display in those low riding boxing shorts and so strikingly sexy, he becomes the center of my attention. The center. Of my. World.
Katy Evans (Real (Real, #1))
Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it. In using Escape in this way the critics have chosen the wrong word, and, what is more, they are confusing, not always by sincere error, the Escape of the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter. just so a Party-spokesman might have labeled departure from the misery of the Fuhrer's or any other Reich and even criticism of it as treachery .... Not only do they confound the escape of the prisoner with the flight of the deserter; but they would seem to prefer the acquiescence of the "quisling" to the resistance of the patriot.
J.R.R. Tolkien (Tolkien On Fairy-stories)
Fantasies are more than substitutes for unpleasant reality; they are also dress rehearsals, plans. All acts performed in the world begin in the imagination.
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
Don't talk. You'll just spoil my fantasy of rescuing an innocent damsel in distress as soon as you open your mouth.
Susan Ee (World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2))
I like the immaterial world. I like to live among thoughts and images of the past and the possible, and even of the impossible, now and then.
Thomas Love Peacock (Gryll Grange)
There is nothing else in magic but the wild thought of the bird as it casts itself into the void. There is no creature upon the earth with such potential for magic. Even the least of them may fly straight out of this world and come by chance to the Other Lands. Where does the wind come from that blows upon your face, that fans the pages of your book? Where the harum-scarum magic of small wild creatures meets the magic of Man, where the language of the wind and the rain and the trees can be understood, there we will find the Raven King.
Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell)
As it so happens, I like your mouth." "It doesn't -- " "Challenge me?" He set the bottle down and moved to the end of the bed. "An outspoken woman makes the world a livable place. You have fire in you, and I would never put that out.
Dannika Dark (Twist (Mageri, #2; Mageriverse #2))
It might have a slight hallucinatory effect, though." "That explains why I can see seven of you," Magnus said to Alec. "My ultimate fantasy." Dru covered Tavvy's ears, though Tavvy was playing with a Slinky Alec had given him and appeared deaf to the world. Magnus pointed. "That one of you over there is extremely attractive, Alexander." "That's a vase," said Helen. Magnus squinted at it. "I'd be willing to buy it from you.
Cassandra Clare (Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices, #3))
Although now long estranged, Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed. Dis-graced he may be, yet is not de-throned, and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned: Man, Sub-creator, the refracted Light through whom is splintered from a single White to many hues, and endlessly combined in living shapes that move from mind to mind. Though all the crannies of the world we filled with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build Gods and their houses out of dark and light, and sowed the seed of dragons- 'twas our right (used or misused). That right has not decayed: we make still by the law in which we're made. Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.
J.R.R. Tolkien (Tolkien On Fairy-stories)
When your mind wants to bolt, but your heart hangs on, it is because you don’t know with absolute certainty what the truth is. When you waste so much time on something that you want to believe is true, you begin to overthink things. Eventually, something obvious becomes twisted into something absurd, which keeps us from believing a simpler answer. Over time, you believe your own lies and fantasies to shield yourself from hurt, when following what is logical would have been the quickest way to healing. It is through your own self-imposed delusions that you lose your perspective. The world then becomes different to you when in fact you are different. Why? Because your own ego gets in the way. Everyone wants to feel special. Everyone wants to have faith in others. Everyone wants to believe in fairytales, happy endings and have all bad interactions with others explained. It is easier to sit in denial with your delusions and pray God will intervene, not realizing he has. He gave you commonsense and intuition, but you didn’t like how it made you feel. This is what true mental illness really is: Following your gut instinct through hell because you want to prove you are right, either to yourself or others. You sacrifice choosing to do right, in order to avoid pain. However, you don't realize that you have been in pain for a really long time and believed this was how happiness felt.
Shannon L. Alder
But writers INVITE ghosts, maybe; along with actors and artists, they are the only totally accepted mediums of our society. They make worlds that never were, populate them with people who never existed, and then invite us to join them in their fantasies. And we do it, don't we? Yes. We PAY to do it.
Stephen King (The Dark Half)
You’re deluding yourself if you think you can know who I am or what I want from spying on me in my dreams. Therein lies a realm of fantasy, and while it’s an interesting place to visit every once in a while, we both have to live in the real world, don’t we?
Chloe Jacobs (Greta and the Goblin King (Mylena Chronicles, #1))
A hundred years from now, people will look back on us and laugh. They'll say, 'You know what people used to believe? They believed in photons and electrons. Can you imagine anything so silly?' They'll have a good laugh, because by then there will be newer better fantasies... And meanwhile, you feel the way the boat moves? That's the sea. That's real. You smell the salt in the air? You feel the sunlight on your skin? That's all real. Life is wonderful. It's a gift to be alive, to see the sun and breathe the air. And there isn't really anything else.
Michael Crichton (The Lost World (Jurassic Park #2))
I recognized it instantly. It was a made-up story, a fantasy, the tale of four kids who went through a magic wardrobe and found themselves in a strange new world. I'd read it more times than I could remember, and although I sneered at the thought of a magical land with friendly, talking animals, there were times when I wished, in my most secret moments, that I could find a hidden door that would take us allout of this place.
Julie Kagawa (The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1))
Alcohol is used by millions of people, both men and women, and I will make no friends by taking the position that alcohol culture is not politically correct. Yet how can we explain the legal toleration for alcohol, the most destructive of all intoxicants, and the almost frenzied efforts to repress nearly all other drugs? Could it not be that we are willing to pay the terrible toll that alcohol extracts because it is allowing us to continue the repressive dominator style that keeps us all infantile and irresponsible participants in a dominator world characterized by the marketing of ungratified sexual fantasy?
Terence McKenna (Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge)
An admirable line of Pablo Neruda’s, “My creatures are born of a long denial,” seems to me the best definition of writing as a kind of exorcism, casting off invading creatures by projecting them into universal existence, keeping them on the other side of the bridge… It may be exaggerating to say that all completely successful short stories, especially fantastic stories, are products of neurosis, nightmares or hallucination neutralized through objectification and translated to a medium outside the neurotic terrain. This polarization can be found in any memorable short story, as if the author, wanting to rid himself of his creature as soon and as absolutely as possible, exorcises it the only way he can: by writing it.
Julio Cortázar (Around the Day in Eighty Worlds)
I´d read fantasy if they had simple names like Jane and Bob from Wagga," I say. "Why does it have to be Tehrana and Bihaad from the World of Sceehina?" Jimmy looks at my mother and rolls his eyes. "No wonder they call her bimbo behind her back." And my mum laughs. And because of that, Mark Viduka, the soccer player, stops being my brothers hero, and Luca and Pinocchio run after Jimmy like he´s their idol.
Melina Marchetta (Saving Francesca)
All stories have a curious and even dangerous power. They are manifestations of truth -- yours and mine. And truth is all at once the most wonderful yet terrifying thing in the world, which makes it nearly impossible to handle. It is such a great responsibility that it's best not to tell a story at all unless you know you can do it right. You must be very careful, or without knowing it you can change the world.
Vera Nazarian (Dreams of the Compass Rose)
It took me years to learn to sit at my desk for more than two minutes at a time, to put up with the solitude and the terror of failure, and the godawful silence and the white paper. And now that I can take it . . . now that I can finally do it . . . I'm really raring to go. I was in my study writing. I was learning how to go down into myself and salvage bits and pieces of the past. I was learning how to sneak up on the unconscious and how to catch my seemingly random thoughts and fantasies. By closing me out of his world, Bennett had opened all sorts of worlds inside my own head. Gradually I began to realize that none of the subjects I wrote poems about engaged my deepest feelings, that there was a great chasm between what I cared about and what I wrote about. Why? What was I afraid of? Myself, most of all, it seemed. "Freedom is an illusion," Bennett would have said and, in a way, I too would have agreed. Sanity, moderation, hard work, stability . . . I believed in them too. But what was that other voice inside of me which kept urging me on toward zipless fucks, and speeding cars and endless wet kisses and guts full of danger? What was that other voice which kept calling me coward! and egging me on to burn my bridges, to swallow the poison in one gulp instead of drop by drop, to go down into the bottom of my fear and see if I could pull myself up? Was it a voice? Or was it a thump? Something even more primitive than speech. A kind of pounding in my gut which I had nicknamed my "hunger-thump." It was as if my stomach thought of itself as a heart. And no matter how I filled it—with men, with books, with food—it refused to be still. Unfillable—that's what I was. Nymphomania of the brain. Starvation of the heart.
Erica Jong (Fear of Flying)
When we let go of our battles and open our heart to things as they are, then we come to rest in the present moment. This is the beginning and the end of spiritual practice. Only in this moment can we discover that which is timeless. Only here can we find the love that we seek. Love in the past is simply memory, and love in the future is fantasy. Only in the reality of the present can we love, can we awaken, can we find peace and understanding and connection with ourselves and the world.
Jack Kornfield (A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life)
We are all the judges and the judged, victims of the casual malice and fantasy of others, and ready sources of fantasy and malice in our turn. And if we are sometimes accused of sins of which we are innocent, are there not also other sins of which we are guilty and of which the world knows nothing?
Iris Murdoch (Nuns and Soldiers)
If only life were more on the scale of Orlando Bloom taking down the giant Oliphaunt in The Return of the King rather than the usual, tedious mall-crawl with the Abercrombie crowd! We often wish the daily grind held a greater resemblance to all those fantasy worlds we’ve come to love, don’t we? In our more desperate moments, we’re tempted to walk smack into pillars at subway stations, just to see if we end up at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. And which of us, at some point in our not-so-distant childhood (yes, let’s be honest!), hasn’t pushed aside the coats in a closet, hoping to find an entrance to another world?
Sarah Arthur (Walking Through the Wardrobe: A Devotional Quest Into the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)
Christians often ask why God does not speak to them, as he is believed to have done in former days. When I hear such questions, it always makes me think of the rabbi who asked how it could be that God often showed himself to people in the olden days whereas nowadays nobody ever sees him. The rabbi replied: "Nowadays there is no longer anybody who can bow low enough." This answer hits the nail on the head. We are so captivated by and entangled in our subjective consciousness that we have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions. The Buddhist discards the world of unconscious fantasies as useless illusions; the Christian puts his Church and his Bible between himself and his unconscious; and the rational intellectual does not yet know that his consciousness is not his total psyche.
C.G. Jung
I was in the winter of my life- and the men I met along the road were my only summer. At night I fell sleep with vision of myself dancing and laughing and crying with them. Three year down the line of being on an endless world tour and memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times. I was a singer, not very popular one, who once has dreams of becoming a beautiful poet- but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again- sparkling and broken. But I really didn’t mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is. When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I had been living- they asked me why. But there’s no use in talking to people who have a home, they have no idea what its like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lied you head. I was always an unusual girl, my mother told me that I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing me due north, no fixed personality. Just an inner indecisiviness that was as wide as wavering as the ocean. And if I said that I didn’t plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying- because I was born to be the other woman. I belonged to no one- who belonged to everyone, who had nothing- who wanted everything with a fire for every experience and an obssesion for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about- and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me. Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people- and finally I did- on the open road. We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore- except to make our lives into a work of art. LIVE FAST. DIE YOUNG. BE WILD. AND HAVE FUN. I believe in the country America used to be. I belive in the person I want to become, I believe in the freedom of the open road. And my motto is the same as ever- *I believe in the kindness of strangers. And when I’m at war with myself- I Ride. I Just Ride.* Who are you? Are you in touch with all your darkest fantasies? Have you created a life for yourself where you’re free to experience them? I Have. I Am Fucking Crazy. But I Am Free.
Lana Del Rey
And for adults, the world of fantasy books returns to us the great words of power which, in order to be tamed, we have excised from our adult vocabularies. These words are the pornography of innocence, words which adults no longer use with other adults, and so we laugh at them and consign them to the nursery, fear masking as cynicism. These are the words that were forged in the earth, air, fire, and water of human existence, and the words are: Love. Hate. Good. Evil. Courage. Honor. Truth.
Jane Yolen (Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie & Folklore in the Literature of Childhood)
Children are often envied for their supposed imaginations, but the truth is that adults imagine things far more than children do. Most adults wander the world deliberately blind, living only inside their heads, in their fantasies, in their memories and worries, oblivious to the present, only aware of the past or future.
Dara Horn (The World to Come)
My name is all but lost to antiquity while his legend is told and retold around the world. Yet I am a god and he is nothing but a bastard seed not even fit to inhabit Olympus. (Priapus) Get your hands off her, you worthless footnote. You’re not fit to wipe her shoes. (Julian)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Fantasy Lover (Hunter Legends, #1))
The media represents world that is more real than reality that we can experience. People lose the ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy. They also begin to engage with the fantasy without realizing what it really is. They seek happiness and fulfilment through the simulacra of reality, e.g. media and avoid the contact/interaction with the real world. (Note: This quote is fake and does not appear in Simulacra and Simulation. I tried to delete it, but the system doesn't allow that because this quote has "too many fans" lol.)
Jean Baudrillard (Simulacra and Simulation)
You have no idea," he says to me, "what it means to truly suffer. Sometimes I think you live in some fantasy land where everyone survives on optimism-- but it doesn't work that way out here. In this world, you're either alive, about to die, or dead. There's no romance in it. No illusion. So don't try to pretend you have any idea what it means to be alive today. Right now. Because you don't.
Tahereh Mafi (Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3))
Then he was there, turned half toward her with a guarded expression etched across his face. She didn't stop or even slow her step. When she reached him, she grabbed the front of his shirt in both fists, pulling him to her, pushing her mouth up into his. Heat swirled through her as she pulled his face even closer, tighter. His arms wound around her and their bodies melded with a rightness she didn't bother to question. Her lips filled with the sweetness of his mouth and Tamani held her against him as if he could somehow pull her inside him, make her part of him. And for a moment, she did feel like a part of him. As if their kiss bridged the gap between the two worlds, even if only for that one brief, sparkling moment. A sigh that held the weight of years shuddered out of Tamani as their faces drew apart. "Thank you," Tamani whispered, almost too quiet to be heard.
Aprilynne Pike (Wings (Wings, #1))
Many readers simply can't stomach fantasy. They immediately picture elves with broadswords or mighty-thewed barbarians with battle axes, seeking the bejeweled Coronet of Obeisance ... (But) the best fantasies pull aside the velvet curtain of mere appearance. ... In most instances, fantasy ultimately returns us to our own now re-enchanted world, reminding us that it is neither prosaic nor meaningless, and that how we live and what we do truly matters.
Michael Dirda
Fantasy is a natural human activity. It certainly does not destroy or even insult Reason; and it does not either blunt the appetite for, nor obscure the perception of, scientific verity. On the contrary. The keener and the clearer is the reason, the better fantasy will it make. If men were ever in a state in which they did not want to know or could not perceive truth (facts or evidence), then Fantasy would languish until they were cured. If they ever get into that state (it would not seem at all impossible), Fantasy will perish, and become Morbid Delusion. For creative Fantasy is founded upon the hard recognition that things are so in the world as it appears under the sun; on a recognition of fact, but not a slavery to it. So upon logic was founded the nonsense that displays itself in the tales and rhymes of Lewis Carroll. If men really could not distinguish between frogs and men, fairy-stories about frog-kings would not have arisen.
J.R.R. Tolkien (Tolkien On Fairy-stories)
Skill alone cannot teach or produce a great short story, which condenses the obsession of the creature; it is a hallucinatory presence manifest from the first sentence to fascinate the reader, to make him lose contact with the dull reality that surrounds him, submerging him in another that is more intense and compelling.
Julio Cortázar (Around the Day in Eighty Worlds)
Christians . . . ought not to be threatened by fantasy and imagination. Great painting is not "photographic": think of the Old Testament art commanded by God. There were blue pomegranates on the robes of the priest who went into the Holy of Holies. In nature there are no blue pomegranates. Christian artists do not need to be threatened by fantasy and imagination, for they have a basis for knowing the difference between them and the real world "out there." The Christian is the really free person--he is free to have imagination. This too is our heritage. The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.
Francis A. Schaeffer (Art & the Bible)
And yet many of us do it without families," Nynaeve said. "Without love, without passion beyond our own particular interests. So even while we try to guide the world, we separate ourselves from it.We risk arrogance, Egwene. We always assume we know best, but risk making ourselves unable to fathom the people we claim to serve.
Robert Jordan
I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn't be—basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful—nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mash-ups à la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children's books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and—I imagine this goes without saying—vampires.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
Fantasy is escapism, but wait... Why is this wrong? What are you escaping from, and where are you escaping to? Is the story opening windows or slamming doors? The British author G.K. Chesterton summarized the role of fantasy very well. He said its purpose was to take the everyday, commonplace world and lift it up and turn it around and show it to us from a different perspective, so that once again we see it for the first time and realize how marvelous it is. Fantasy - the ability to envisage the world in many different ways - is one of the skills that make us human.
Terry Pratchett
The World "You know the saddest thing," she said. "The saddest thing is that we're you." I said nothing. "In your fantasies," she said, "my people are just like you. Only better. We don't die or age or suffer from pain or cold or thirst. We're snappier dressers. We possess the wisdom of the ages. And if we crave blood, well, it is no more than the way you people crave food or affection or sunlight - and besides, it gets us out of the house. Crypt. Coffin. Whatever." "And the truth is?" I ask her. "We're you," she said. "We're you with all your fuckups and all the things that make you human - all your fears and lonelinesses and confusions... none of that gets better. "But we're colder than you are. Deader. I miss daylight and food and knowing how it feels to touch someone and care. I remember life, and meeting people as people and not just as things to feed on or control, and I remember what it was to feel something, anything, happy or sad or anything..." And then she stopped. "Are you crying?" I asked. "We don't cry," she told me. Like I said, the woman was a liar." Fifteen Painted Cards From A Vampire Tarot
Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders)
Horses are of a breed unique to Fantasyland. They are capable of galloping full-tilt all day without a rest. Sometimes they do not require food or water. They never cast shoes, go lame or put their hooves down holes, except when the Management deems it necessary, as when the forces of the Dark Lord are only half an hour behind. They never otherwise stumble. Nor do they ever make life difficult for Tourists by biting or kicking their riders or one another. They never resist being mounted or blow out so that their girths slip, or do any of the other things that make horses so chancy in this world. For instance, they never shy and seldom whinny or demand sugar at inopportune moments. But for some reason you cannot hold a conversation while riding them. If you want to say anything to another Tourist (or vice versa), both of you will have to rein to a stop and stand staring out over a valley while you talk. Apart from this inexplicable quirk, horses can be used just like bicycles, and usually are. Much research into how these exemplary animals come to exist has resulted in the following: no mare ever comes into season on the Tour and no stallion ever shows an interest in a mare; and few horses are described as geldings. It therefore seems probable that they breed by pollination. This theory seems to account for everything, since it is clear that the creatures do behave more like vegetables than mammals. Nomads appears to have a monopoly on horse-breeding. They alone possess the secret of how to pollinate them.
Diana Wynne Jones (The Tough Guide to Fantasyland)
The man is a monster. The worst I have ever seen, in fact, since I last looked in the mirror. The truth? I am rotting too. I am buried alive, and already rotting. If I was not such a coward I would kill myself, but I am, and so I must content myself with killing others in the hope that one day, if I can only wade deep enough in blood, I will come out clean.
Joe Abercrombie (The Heroes (First Law World, #5))
The subtlest change in New York is something people don't speak much about but that is in everyone's mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition. (Written in 1949, 22 years before the World Trade Center was completed.)
E.B. White (Essays of E.B. White)
Time has no meaning in the wyldwood. Day and night don't really exist here, just light and darkness, and they can be as fickle and moody as everything else. A "night" can pass in the space of a blink, or go on forever. Light and darkness will chase each other through the sky, play hide-and-seek or tag or catch-me-if-you-can. Sometimes, one or the other will become offended...and refuse to come out for an indefinite amount of time. Once, light became so angry, a hundred years passed in the mortal realm before it deigned to come out again. And though the sun continued to rise and set in the human world, it was a rather turbulent period for the world of men, as all the creatures who lurked in darkness and shadow got to roam freely under the lightless Nevernever skies.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron Knight (The Iron Fey, #4))
I think the truth is that we are in love with the fantasy of being that one person who could inspire, arouse, or affect someone who is so untouchable to the rest of the world.  It makes us feel special; like we’re the diamond in the rough, the one in a million, the one that everyone else couldn’t be, and do what everyone else couldn’t do.  Imagine being that significant to someone?  To never have to doubt that he loves you, or needs you, or more importantly, wants you more than any other.
Christine Zolendz (Brutally Beautiful (Beautiful, #1))
I did my best to fight and claw my way back to the life I once knew, but panic had taken over and colors were swirling and fading all around me. It was all turning into a great cloud of blackness, just like the one I had seen in my dream. The looming cloud of nothingness I had feared for so long was finally grabbing me, wiping my world dark and blank. The darkness was thick and intense, an inky void that stretched to eternity in every direction. Eventually my panic burnt itself out and I simply stayed there in the dark, feeling as if someone had drained my adrenal glands. I was no longer responding to the dark with fear, but acceptance. In fact, curiosity was beginning to take over. The longer I let myself stare into it, the less dark it appeared. After some time, I realized that it was all different shades of murky black and foggy gray overlapping and undulating, just out of focus. I blinked mentally and suddenly she was there, standing above me with concern etched in sooty-colored lines on her monochromatic face.
Misty Mount (The Shadow Girl)
At first I protested and rebelled against poetry. I was about to deny my poetic worlds. I was doing violence to my illusions with analysis, science, and learning Henry’s language, entering Henry’s world. I wanted to destroy by violence and animalism my tenuous fantasies and illusions and my hypersensitivity. A kind of suicide. The ignominy awakened me. Then June came and answered the cravings of my imagination and saved me. Or perhaps she killed me, for now I am started on a course of madness.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934)
We cannot build on peace on blood. We are still so addicted to this lie. We have this fantasy that we honor the dead by adding to their number. What we need to do is remember that these bodies bury us. This ocean of blood that we create through the fantasy that violence brings virtue drowns us, drowns our children, drowns our future, drowns the world. We have to understand that when we pour these endless young bodies into this pit of death, we follow…
Stefan Molyneux
Most kids don't believe in fairy tales very long. Once they hit six or seven they put away "Cinderella" and her shoe fetish, "The Three Little Pigs" with their violation of building codes, "Miss Muffet" and her well-shaped tuffet—all forgotten or discounted. And maybe that's the way it has to be. To survive in the world, you have to give up the fantasies, the make-believe. The only trouble is that it's not all make-believe. Some parts of the fairy tales are all too real, all too true. There might not be a Red Riding Hood, but there is a Big Bad Wolf. No Snow White, but definitely an Evil Queen. No obnoxiously cute blond tots, but a child-eating witch… yeah. Oh yeah.
Rob Thurman (Nightlife (Cal Leandros, #1))
I want to be, if I can, as sure of the world--the real world--around me as is possible. Now, you can only attain that to a certain degree, but I want the greatest degree of control. I've never involved myself in narcotics of any kind, I don't smoke, and I don't drink because that can easily just fuzz the edges of my rationality--fuzz the edges of my reasoning powers--and I want to be as aware as I possibly can. That means giving up a lot of fantasies that might be comforting in some ways, but I'm willing to give that up in order to live in an actually real world, or as close as I can get to it.
James Randi
I had become so quiet and so small in the grass by the pond that I was barely noticeable, hardly there. I sat there watching their living room shining out of the dark beside the pond. It looked like a fairy-tale functioning happily in the post-World War II gothic of America before television crippled the imagination and turned people indoors and away from living out their own fantasies with dignity. Anyway, I just kept getting smaller and smaller beside the pond, more and more unnoticed in the darkening summer grass until I disappeared into the 32 years that have passed since then.
Richard Brautigan (So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away)
Dear Collector: We hate you. Sex loses all its power and magic when it becomes explicit, mechanical, overdone, when it becomes a mechanistic obsession. It becomes a bore. You have taught us more than anyone I know how wrong it is not to mix it with emotion, hunger, desire, lust, whims, caprices, personal ties, deeper relationships that change its color, flavor, rhythms, intensities. "You do not know what you are missing by your micro-scopic examination of sexual activity to the exclusion of aspects which are the fuel that ignites it. Intellectual, imaginative, romantic, emotional. This is what gives sex its surprising textures, its subtle transformations, its aphrodisiac elements. You are shrinking your world of sensations. You are withering it, starving it, draining its blood. If you nourished your sexual life with all the excitements and adventures which love injects into sensuality, you would be the most potent man in the world. The source of sexual power is curiosity, passion. You are watching its little flame die of asphyxiation. Sex does not thrive on monotony. Without feeling, inventions, moods, no surprises in bed. Sex must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, scenes, jealousy, envy, all the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, novels, stories, dreams, fantasies, music, dancing, opium, wine. How much do you lose by this periscope at the tip of your sex, when you could enjoy a harem of distinct and never-repeated wonders? No two hairs alike, but you will not let us waste words on a description of hair; no two odors, but if we expand on this you cry Cut the poetry. No two skins with the same texture, and never the same light, temperature, shadows, never the same gesture; for a lover, when he is aroused by true love, can run the gamut of centuries of love lore. What a range, what changes of age, what variations of maturity and innocence, perversity and art . . . We have sat around for hours and wondered how you look. If you have closed your senses upon silk, light, color, odor, character, temperament, you must be by now completely shriveled up. There are so many minor senses, all running like tributaries into the mainstream of sex, nourishing it. Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.
Anaïs Nin (Delta of Venus)
Small Man can be a very funny or a very tiresome Tour Companion, depending on how this kind of thing grabs you. He gambles, he drinks too much and he always runs away. Since the Rules allow him to make Jokes, he will excuse his behaviour in a variety of comical ways. Physically he is stunted and not at all handsome, although he usually dresses flamboyantly. He tends to wear hats with feathers in. You will discover he is very vain. But, if you can avoid smacking him, you will come to tolerate if not love him. He will contrive, in some cowardly way, to play a major part in saving the world.
Diana Wynne Jones (The Tough Guide to Fantasyland)
After all, we're currently living in a Bizarro society where teenagers are technology-obsessed, where the biggest sellers in every bookstores are fantasy novels about a boy wizard, and the blockbuster hit movies are all full of hobbits and elves or 1960s spandex superheroes. You don't have to go to a Star Trek convention to find geeks anymore. Today, almost everyone is an obsessive, well-informed aficionado of something. Pick your cult: there are food geeks and fashion geeks and Desperate Housewives geeks and David Mamet geeks and fantasy sports geeks. The list is endless. And since everyone today is some kind of trivia geek or other, there's not even a stigma anymore. Trivia is mainstream. "Nerd" is the new "cool.
Ken Jennings (Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs)
There aren't many berry bushes where I'm from." "And just where would that be?" His hand paused on a berry like it was a monumental decision whether to pluck it or not. He finally pulled and explained he was from a small town in the southernmost part of Morringhan. When I asked the name, he said it was very small and had no name.... "A town with no name? Really? How very odd." I waited for him to scramble, and he didn't disappoint me. "It's only a region. A few scattered dwellings at most. We're farmers there. Mostly farmers. And you? Where are you from?"... I took the berry still poised in his fingers and popped it in my mouth. Where was I from? I narrowed my eyes and smiled. "A small town in the northernmost part of Morrighan. Mostly farmers. Only a regions, really. A few scattered dwellings. At most. No name." He couldn't restrain a chuckle. "Then we come from opposite but similar worlds, don't we?
Mary E. Pearson (The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1))
I'm going to go out on a limb here. I've thought a lot about this one, as a feminist, and as an author. How should traditional roles be portrayed? In fantasy literature there is a school of thought that holds that women must be treated precisely like men. Only the traditional male sphere of power and means of wielding power count. If a woman is shown in a traditionally female role, then she must be being shown as inferior. After a lot of thought, and some real-life stabs at those traditional roles, I've come to firmly disagree with this idea. For an author to show that only traditional male power and place matter is to discount and belittle the hard and complex lives of our peers and our ancestresses.
Sarah Zettel (Mapping the World of Harry Potter: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Explore the Bestselling Series of All Time)
In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or the propaganda might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies - the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions. In the past most people never got a chance of fully satisfying this appetite. They might long for distractions, but the distractions were not provided. Christmas came but once a year, feasts were "solemn and rare," there were few readers and very little to read, and the nearest approach to a neighborhood movie theater was the parish church, where the performances though frequent, were somewhat monotonous. For conditions even remotely comparable to those now prevailing we must return to imperial Rome, where the populace was kept in good humor by frequent, gratuitous doses of many kinds of entertainment - from poetical dramas to gladiatorial fights, from recitations of Virgil to all-out boxing, from concerts to military reviews and public executions. But even in Rome there was nothing like the non-stop distractions now provided by newspapers and magazines, by radio, television and the cinema. In "Brave New World" non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature are deliberately used as instruments of policy, for the purpose of preventing people from paying too much attention to the realities of the social and political situation. The other world of religion is different from the other world of entertainment; but they resemble one another in being most decidedly "not of this world." Both are distractions and, if lived in too continuously, both can become, in Marx's phrase "the opium of the people" and so a threat to freedom. Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
The problem with a lot of people who read only literary fiction is that they assume fantasy is just books about orcs and goblins and dragons and wizards and bullshit. And to be fair, a lot of fantasy is about that stuff. The problem with people in fantasy is they believe that literary fiction is just stories about a guy drinking tea and staring out the window at the rain while he thinks about his mother. And the truth is a lot of literary fiction is just that. Like, kind of pointless, angsty, emo, masturbatory bullshit. However, we should not be judged by our lowest common denominators. And also you should not fall prey to the fallacious thinking that literary fiction is literary and all other genres are genre. Literary fiction is a genre, and I will fight to the death anyone who denies this very self-evident truth. So, is there a lot of fantasy that is raw shit out there? Absolutely, absolutely, it’s popcorn reading at best. But you can’t deny that a lot of lit fic is also shit. 85% of everything in the world is shit. We judge by the best. And there is some truly excellent fantasy out there. For example, Midsummer Night’s Dream; Hamlet with the ghost; Macbeth, ghosts and witches; I’m also fond of the Odyessey; Most of the Pentateuch in the Old Testament, Gargantua and Pantagruel. Honestly, fantasy existed before lit fic, and if you deny those roots you’re pruning yourself so closely that you can’t help but wither and die.
Patrick Rothfuss
Of course, we know that the world sees this wedding as a historical event. The first recorded marriage union between a Lunar and an Earthen since the second era. And maybe that is important. Maybe the love and compassion these two people have for each other is symbolic of hope for the future. Maybe this wedding signifies the possibility that someday our two races will not only learn to tolerate each other, but to love and appreciate each other as well. Or, maybe…” Kai’s eyes glinted. "… this relationship has absolutely nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with our shared human need to find someone who will care for us as much as we care for them. To find a partner who complements us and teaches us. Who makes us stronger. Who makes us want to be our best possible self.
Marissa Meyer (Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5))
Maria, lonely prostitute on a street of pain, You, at least, hail me and speak to me While a thousand others ignore my face. You offer me an hour of love, And your fees are not as costly as most. You are the madonna of the lonely, The first-born daughter in a world of pain. You do not turn fat men aside, Or trample on the stuttering, shy ones, You are the meadow where desperate men Can find a moment's comfort. Men have paid more to their wives To know a bit of peace And could not walk away without the guilt That masquerades as love. You do not bind them, lovely Maria, you comfort them And bid them return. Your body is more Christian than the Bishop's Whose gloved hand cannot feel the dropping of my blood. Your passion is as genuine as most, Your caring as real! But you, Maria, sacred whore on the endless pavement of pain, You, whose virginity each man may make his own Without paying ought but your fee, You who know nothing of virgin births and immaculate conceptions, You who touch man's flesh and caress a stranger, Who warm his bed to bring his aching skin alive, You make more sense than stock markets and football games Where sad men beg for virility. You offer yourself for a fee--and who offers himself for less? At times you are cruel and demanding--harsh and insensitive, At times you are shrewd and deceptive--grasping and hollow. The wonder is that at times you are gentle and concerned, Warm and loving. You deserve more respect than nuns who hide their sex for eternal love; Your fees are not so high, nor your prejudice so virtuous. You deserve more laurels than the self-pitying mother of many children, And your fee is not as costly as most. Man comes to you when his bed is filled with brass and emptiness, When liquor has dulled his sense enough To know his need of you. He will come in fantasy and despair, Maria, And leave without apologies. He will come in loneliness--and perhaps Leave in loneliness as well. But you give him more than soldiers who win medals and pensions, More than priests who offer absolution And sweet-smelling ritual, More than friends who anticipate his death Or challenge his life, And your fee is not as costly as most. You admit that your love is for a fee, Few women can be as honest. There are monuments to statesmen who gave nothing to anyone Except their hungry ego, Monuments to mothers who turned their children Into starving, anxious bodies, Monuments to Lady Liberty who makes poor men prisoners. I would erect a monument for you-- who give more than most-- And for a meager fee. Among the lonely, you are perhaps the loneliest of all, You come so close to love But it eludes you While proper women march to church and fantasize In the silence of their rooms, While lonely women take their husbands' arms To hold them on life's surface, While chattering women fill their closets with clothes and Their lips with lies, You offer love for a fee--which is not as costly as most-- And remain a lonely prostitute on a street of pain. You are not immoral, little Maria, only tired and afraid, But you are not as hollow as the police who pursue you, The politicians who jail you, the pharisees who scorn you. You give what you promise--take your paltry fee--and Wander on the endless, aching pavements of pain. You know more of universal love than the nations who thrive on war, More than the churches whose dogmas are private vendettas made sacred, More than the tall buildings and sprawling factories Where men wear chains. You are a lonely prostitute who speaks to me as I pass, And I smile at you because I am a lonely man.
James Kavanaugh (There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves)
We can trace the communitarian fantasy that lies at the root of all humanism back to the model of a literary society, in which participation through reading the canon reveals a common love of inspiring messages. At the heart of humanism so understood we discover a cult or club fantasy: the dream of the portentous solidarity of those who have been chosen to be allowed to read. In the ancient world—indeed, until the dawn of the modern nation-states—the power of reading actually did mean something like membership of a secret elite; linguistic knowledge once counted in many places as the provenance of sorcery. In Middle English the word 'glamour' developed out of the word 'grammar'. The person who could read would be thought easily capable of other impossibilities.
Peter Sloterdijk (Regels voor het Mensenpark)
Nobody looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.' I said, 'Are you a monster? Like Ursula Monkton?' Lettie threw a pebble into the pond. 'I don't think so,' she said. 'Monsters come in all shapes and sizes, Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren't.' I said, 'People should be scared of Ursula Monkton.' 'P'raps. What do you think Ursula Monkton is scared of?' 'Dunno. Why do you think she's scared of anything? She's a grown-up, isn't she? Grown-ups and monsters aren't scared of things.' Oh, monsters are scared," said Lettie. "That's why they're monsters. And as for grown-ups...' She stopped talking, rubbed her freckled nose with a finger. Then, 'I'm going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.
Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane)
The greatest book in the world, the Mahabharata, tells us we all have to live and die by our karmic cycle. Thus works the perfect reward-and-punishment, cause-and-effect, code of the universe. We live out in our present life what we wrote out in our last. But the great moral thriller also orders us to rage against karma and its despotic dictates. It teaches us to subvert it. To change it. It tells us we also write out our next lives as we live out our present. The Mahabharata is not a work of religious instruction. It is much greater. It is a work of art. It understands men will always fall in the shifting chasm between the tug of the moral and the lure of the immoral. It is in this shifting space of uncertitude that men become men. Not animals, not gods. It understands truth is relative. That it is defined by context and motive. It encourages the noblest of men - Yudhishtra, Arjuna, Lord Krishna himself - to lie, so that a greater truth may be served. It understands the world is powered by desire. And that desire is an unknowable thing. Desire conjures death, destruction, distress. But also creates love, beauty, art. It is our greatest undoing. And the only reason for all doing. And doing is life. Doing is karma. Thus it forgives even those who desire intemperately. It forgives Duryodhana. The man who desires without pause. The man who precipitates the war to end all wars. It grants him paradise and the admiration of the gods. In the desiring and the doing this most reviled of men fulfils the mandate of man. You must know the world before you are done with it. You must act on desire before you renounce it. There can be no merit in forgoing the not known. The greatest book in the world rescues volition from religion and gives it back to man. Religion is the disciplinarian fantasy of a schoolmaster. The Mahabharata is the joyous song of life of a maestro. In its tales within tales it takes religion for a spin and skins it inside out. Leaves it puzzling over its own poisoned follicles. It gives men the chance to be splendid. Doubt-ridden architects of some small part of their lives. Duryodhanas who can win even as they lose.
Tarun J. Tejpal (The Alchemy of Desire)
A man steps out. Strong. Brilliant. Controlled. Predator. Unbreakable. He's everything I admire plus things I can't even put into words. I crush on Jericho Barrons violently. My brain almost shuts down every time I see him and that's a lot of gray matter to stupefy. Used to be, if I couldn't fall asleep I'd fantasize all kinds of ways I'd impress Barrons by killing monsters or saying something really smart or saving the world, and he'd see me as a grown up woman and I'd glow just from the look on his face. But then Ryodan began popping into my fantasies like he had some kind of business being there, and he'd look all, well...like...Ryodan and he'd laugh and do that husky groan thing he did on level four, so I terminated that happy little exercise in somnolence. Now I count sheep. Lately even those buggers look like Ryodan with clear, cold eyes and some weird kind of hypnotic hold on me. Fecker. I'm beginning to think I'm going to have to figure out a way to kill him, permanent-like just to get him out of my head.
Karen Marie Moning (Burned (Fever, #7))
The lions of hard rock, guys like Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Brian Johnson, Rob Halford, these monsters feel completely timeless, iconic, eternal. They simply shall not, will not, do not die. It's almost impossible to imagine a musical world without Robert Plant. No metal fan of any stripe can imagine a day when, say, Iron Maiden shuts it all down because Bruce Dickinson turned 85 and suddenly can't remember the lyrics to "Hallowed Be Thy Name." Metal revels in the raw energy and unchecked phantasmagorical ridiculousness of youth. It is all fire and testosterone and rebellious fantasy. It doesn't go well with reality. So it is for hard rock and a guy like Dio, an elfin titan with an undying love for lasers and sorcery, dragons and kings. The man wrote some terribly corny metal songs, but he sang every one with a ferocity and love and total honesty. He also wrote some of the finest hard rock melodies of all time, sang them with a precision and love unmatched by any hard rock singer since. It's a rare thing to give metal some heartfelt props. It is time. Raise your devil horns and salute.
Mark Morford
Religion is man's way of accepting life as an inevitable defeat. That it is not an inevitable defeat is a claim that cannot be defended in good faith. One can, of course, disperse one's life over the contingencies of every day, but even then it is only a ceaseless and desperate desire to live, and finally a regret that one has not lived. One can accept life, and accept it, at the same time, as a defeat only if one accepts that there is a sense beyond that which is inherent in human history -- if, in other words, one accepts the order of the sacred. A hypothetical world from which the sacred had been swept away would admit of only two possibilities: vain fantasy that recognizes itself as such, or immediate satisfaction which exhausts itself. It would leave only the choice proposed by Baudelaire, between lovers of prostitutes and lovers of clouds: those who know only the satisfactions of the moment and are therefore contemptible, and those who lose themselves in otiose imaginings , and are therefore contemptible. Everything is contemptible, and there is no more to be said. The conscience liberated from the sacred knows this, even if it conceals it from itself.
Leszek Kołakowski
There is no remedy against this reversal of the natural order. Man cannot escape from his own achievement. He cannot but adopt the conditions of his own life. No longer in a merely physical universe, man lives in a symbolic universe. Language, myth, art, and religion are parts of this universe. They are the varied threads which weave the symbolic net, the tangled web of human experience. All human progress in thought and experience refines and strengthens this net. No longer can man confront reality immediately; he cannot see it, as it were, face to face. Physical reality seems to recede in proportion as man's symbolic activity advances. Instead of dealing with the things themselves man is in a sense constantly conversing with himself. He has so enveloped himself in linguistic forms, in artistic images, in mythical symbols or religious rites that he cannot see or know anything except by the interposition of this artificial medium. His situation is the same in the theoretical as in the practical sphere. Even here man does not live in a world of hard facts, or according to his immediate needs and desires. He lives rather in the midst of imaginary emotions, in hopes and fears, in illusions and disillusions, in his fantasies and dreams. 'What disturbs and alarms man,' said Epictetus, 'are not the things, but his opinions and fantasies about the things.
Ernst Cassirer (An Essay on Man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture)
Dear Hunger Games : Screw you for helping cowards pretend you have to be great with a bow to fight evil. You don't need to be drafted into a monkey-infested jungle to fight evil. You don't need your father's light sabre, or to be bitten by a radioactive spider. You don't need to be stalked by a creepy ancient vampire who is basically a pedophile if you're younger than a redwood. Screw you mainstream media for making it look like moral courage requires hair gel, thousands of sit ups and millions of dollars of fake ass CGI. Moral courage is the gritty, scary and mostly anonymous process of challenging friends, co-workers and family on issues like spanking, taxation, debt, circumcision and war. Moral courage is standing up to bullies when the audience is not cheering, but jeering. It is helping broken people out of abusive relationships, and promoting the inner peace of self knowledge in a shallow and empty pseudo-culture. Moral courage does not ask for - or receive - permission or the praise of the masses. If the masses praise you, it is because you are helping distract them from their own moral cowardice and conformity. Those who provoke discomfort create change - no one else. So forget your politics and vampires and magic wands and photon torpedoes. Forget passively waiting for the world to provoke and corner you into being virtuous. It never will. Stop watching fictional courage and go live some; it is harder and better than anything you will ever see on a screen. Let's make the world change the classification of courage from 'fantasy' to 'documentary.' You know there are people in your life who are doing wrong. Go talk to them, and encourage them to pursue philosophy, self-knowledge and virtue. Be your own hero; you are the One that your world has been waiting for.
Stefan Molyneux
there is a list of questions i want to ask but never will there is a list of questions i go through in my head every time i'm alone and my mind can't stop itself from searching for you there is a list of questions i want to ask so if you're listening somewhere here i am asking them what do you think happens to the love that's left behind when two lovers leave how blue do you think it gets before it passes away does it pass away or does it still exist somewhere waiting for us to come back when we lied to ourselves by calling this unconditional and left which one of us hurt more i shattered into a million little pieces and those pieces shattered into a million more crumbled into dust till there was nothing left of me but the silence tell me how love how did the grieving feel for you how did the mourning hurt how did you peel your eyes open after every blink knowing i'd never be there staring back it must be hard to live with what ifs there must always be this constant dull aching in the pit of your stomach trust me i feel it too how in the world did we get here how did we live through it and how are we still living how many months did it take before you stopped thinking of me or are you still thinking of me cause if you are then maybe i am too thinking of you thinking of me with me in me around me everywhere you and me and us do you still touch yourself to the thoughts of me do you still imagine my naked naked tiny tiny body pressed into yours do you still imagine the curve of my spine and how you wanted to rip it out of me cause the way it dipped into my perfectly rounded bottom drove you crazy baby sugar baby sweet baby ever since we left how many times did you pretend it was my hand stroking you how many times did you search for me in your fantasies and end up crying instead of coming don't you lie to me i can tell when you're lying cause there's always that little bit of arrogance in your response are you angry with me are you okay and would you tell me if you're not and if we ever see each other again do you think you'd reach out and hold me like you said you would the last time we spoke and you talked of the next time we would or do you think we'd just look shake in our skin as we pine to absorb as much as we can of each other cause by this time we've probably got someone else waiting at home we were good together weren't we and is it wrong that i'm asking you these questions tell me love that you have been looking for these answers too
Rupi Kaur (The Sun and Her Flowers)
Houses, gardens, and people were transfigured into musical sounds, all that was solid seemed to be transfigured into soul and into gentleness. Sweet veils of silver and soul-haze swam through all things and lay over all things. The soul of the world had opened, and all grief, all human disappointment, all evil, all pain seemed to vanish, from now on never to appear again. Earlier walks came before my eyes; but the wonderful image of the humble present became a feeling which overpowered all others. The future paled, and the past dissolved. I glowed and flowered myself in the glowing, flowering present. From near and far, great things and small things emerged bright silver with marvelous gestures, joys, and enrichments, and in the midst of this beautiful place I dreamed of nothing but this place itself. All other fantasies sank and vanished in meaninglessness. I had the whole rich earth immediately before me, and I still looked only at what was most small and most humble. With gestures of love the heavens rose and fell. I had become an inward being, and walked as in an inward world; everything outside me became a dream; what I had understood till now became unintelligible. I fell away from the surface, down into the fabulous depths, which I recognized then to be all that was good. What we understand and love understands and loves us also. I was no longer myself, was another, and yet it was on this account that I became properly myself. In the sweet light of love I realized, or believe I realized, that perhaps the inward self is the only self which really exists.
Robert Walser (Selected Stories)
To those who suspect that intellect is a subversive force in society, it will not do to reply that intellect is really a safe, bland, and emollient thing. In a certain sense, the suspicious Tories and militant philistines are right: intellect is dangerous. Left free, there is nothing it will not reconsider, analyze, throw into question. "Let us admit the case of the conservative," John Dewey once wrote. "If we once start thinking no one can guarantee what will be the outcome, except that many objects, ends and institutions will be surely doomed. Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently stable world in peril, and no one can wholly predict what will emerge in its place." Further, there is no way of guaranteeing that an intellectual class will be discreet and restrained in the use of its influence; the only assurance that can be given to any community is that it will be far worse off if it denies the free uses of the power of intellect than if it permits them. To be sure, intellectuals, contrary to the fantasies of cultural vigilantes, are hardly ever subversive of a society as a whole. But intellect is always on the move against something: some oppression, fraud, illusion, dogma, or interest is constantly falling under the scrutiny of the intellectual class and becoming the object of exposure, indignation, or ridicule.
Richard Hofstadter (Anti-Intellectualism in American Life)
By the time we grow up we become masters at dissimulation, at cultivating a self that the world cannot probe. But we pay a price. After years of turning people away, of protecting our inner self, of cultivating it by living in a different world, of furnishing this world with our fantasies and dreams—lo and behold we find that we are hopelessly separated from everyone else. We have become victims of our own art. We touch people on the outsides of their bodies, and they us, but we cannot get at their insides and cannot reveal our insides to them. This is one of the great tragedies of our interiority—it is utterly personal and unrevealable. Often we want to say something unusually intimate to a spouse, a parent, a friend, communicate something of how we are really feeling about a sunset, who we really feel we are—only to fall strangely and miserably flat. Once in a great while we succeed, sometimes more with one person, less or never with others. But the occasional break-through only proves the rule. You reach out with a disclosure, fail, and fall back bitterly into yourself. We emit huge globs of love to our parents and spouses, and the glob slithers away in exchange of words that are somehow beside the point of what we are trying to say. People seem to keep bumping up against each other with their exteriors and falling away from each other. The cartoonist Jules Feiffer is the modern master of this aspect of the human tragedy. Take even the sexual act—the most intimate merger given to organisms. For most people, even for their entire lives, it is simply a joining of exteriors. The insides melt only in the moment of orgasm, but even this is brief, and a melting is not a communication. It is a physical overcoming of separateness, not a symbolic revelation and justification of one’s interior. many people pursue sex precisely because it is a mystique of the overcoming of the separateness of the inner world, and they go from one partner to another because they can never quite achieve “it." So the endless interrogations: “What are you thinking about right now—me? Do you feel what I feel? Do you love me?
Ernest Becker
Some years ago I had a conversation with a man who thought that writing and editing fantasy books was a rather frivolous job for a grown woman like me. He wasn’t trying to be contentious, but he himself was a probation officer, working with troubled kids from the Indian reservation where he’d been raised. Day in, day out, he dealt in a concrete way with very concrete problems, well aware that his words and deeds could change young lives for good or ill. I argued that certain stories are also capable of changing lives, addressing some of the same problems and issues he confronted in his daily work: problems of poverty, violence, and alienation, issues of culture, race, gender, and class... “Stories aren’t real,” he told me shortly. “They don’t feed a kid left home in an empty house. Or keep an abusive relative at bay. Or prevent an unloved child from finding ‘family’ in the nearest gang.” Sometimes they do, I tried to argue. The right stories, read at the right time, can be as important as shelter or food. They can help us to escape calamity, and heal us in its aftermath. He frowned, dismissing this foolishness, but his wife was more conciliatory. “Write down the names of some books,” she said. “Maybe we’ll read them.” I wrote some titles on a scrap of paper, and the top three were by Charles de lint – for these are precisely the kind of tales that Charles tells better than anyone. The vital, necessary stories. The ones that can change and heal young lives. Stories that use the power of myth to speak truth to the human heart. Charles de Lint creates a magical world that’s not off in a distant Neverland but here and now and accessible, formed by the “magic” of friendship, art, community, and social activism. Although most of his books have not been published specifically for adolescents and young adults, nonetheless young readers find them and embrace them with particular passion. I’ve long lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people from troubled backgrounds say that books by Charles saved them in their youth, and kept them going. Recently I saw that parole officer again, and I asked after his work. “Gets harder every year,” he said. “Or maybe I’m just getting old.” He stopped me as I turned to go. “That writer? That Charles de Lint? My wife got me to read them books…. Sometimes I pass them to the kids.” “Do they like them?” I asked him curiously. “If I can get them to read, they do. I tell them: Stories are important.” And then he looked at me and smiled.
Terri Windling
For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover: no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself . . . . And it is not only the faculty of love which is thus sterilized, forced back on itself, but also the faculty of imagination. The true exercise of imagination, in my view, is (a) To help us to understand other people (b) To respond to, and, some of us, to produce, art. But it has also a bad use: to provide for us, in shadowy form, a substitute for virtues, successes, distinctions etc. which ought to be sought outside in the real world—e.g. picturing all I’d do if I were rich instead of earning and saving. Masturbation involves this abuse of imagination in erotic matters (which I think bad in itself) and thereby encourages a similar abuse of it in all spheres. After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little, dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.
C.S. Lewis
Because people who live their lives this way can look forward to a single destiny, shared with others of this type - though such people do not believe they represent a type, but feel themselves distinguished from the common run of man, who they see as held down by the banal anchors of the world. But while others actually build a life in which things gain meaning and significance, this is not true of the puer. Such a person inevitably looks back on life as it nears its end with a feeling of emptiness and sadness, aware of what they have built: nothing. In their quest for a life without failure, suffer, or doubt, that is what they achieve: a life empty of all those things that make a human life meaningful. And yet they started off believing themselves too special for this world! But - and here is the hope - there is a solution for people of this type, and it's perhaps not the solution that could have been predicted. The answer for them is to build on what they have begun and not abandon their plans as soon as things start getting difficult. They must work - without escaping into fantasies about being the person who worked. And I don't mean work for its own sake, but they must choose work that begins and ends in a passion, a question that is gnawing at their guts, which is not to be avoided but must be realized and live through the hard work and suffering that inevitably comes with the process. They must reinforce and build on what is in their life already rather than always starting anew, hoping to find a situation without danger. Puers don't need to check themselves into analysis. If they can just remember this - It is their everlasting switching that is the dangerous thing, and not what they choose - they might discover themselves saved. The problem is the puer ever anticipates loss, disappointment, and suffering - which they foresee at the very beginning of every experience, so they cut themselves off at the beginning, retreating almost at once in order to protect themselves. In this way, they never give themselves to life - living in constant dread of the end. Reason, in this case, has taken too much from life. They must give themselves completely to the experience! One things sometimes how much more alive such people would be if they suffered! If they can't be happy, let them at least be unhappy - really, really unhappy for once, and then the might become truly human!
Sheila Heti (How Should a Person Be?)
For my present purpose I require a word which shall embrace both the Sub-Creative Art in itself, and a quality of strangeness and wonder in the Expression, derived from the Image: a quality essential to fairy-story. I propose, therefore, to arrogate to myself the powers of Humpty-Dumpty, and to use Fantasy for this purpose: in a sense, that is, which combines with its older and higher use as an equivalent of Imagination the derived notions of 'unreality' (that is, of unlikeness to the Primary World), of freedom from the dominion of 'observed fact,' in short of the fantastic. I am thus not only aware but glad of the etymological and semantic connexions of fantasy with fantastic: with images of things that are not only 'not actually present,' but which are indeed not to be found in our primary world at all, or are generally believed not to be found there. But while admitting that, I do not assent to the depreciative tone. That the images are of things not in the primary world (if that indeed is possible) is, I think, not a lower but a higher form of Art, indeed the most nearly pure form, and so (when achieved) the most Potent. Fantasy, of course, starts out with an advantage: arresting strangeness. But that advantage has been turned against it, and has contributed to its disrepute. Many people dislike being 'arrested.' They dislike any meddling with the Primary World, or such small glimpses of it as are familiar to them. They, therefore, stupidly and even maliciously confound Fantasy with Dreaming, in which there is no Art; and with mental disorders, in which there is not even control; with delusion and hallucination. But the error or malice, engendered by disquiet and consequent dislike, is not the only cause of this confusion. Fantasy has also an essential drawback: it is difficult to achieve. . . . Anyone inheriting the fantastic device of human language can say the green sun. Many can then imagine or picture it. But that is not enough -- though it may already be a more potent thing than many a 'thumbnail sketch' or 'transcript of life' that receives literary praise. To make a Secondary World inside which the green sun will be credible, commanding Secondary Belief, will probably require labour and thought, and will certainly demand a special skill, a kind of elvish craft. Few attempt such difficult tasks. But when they are attempted and in any degree accomplished then we have a rare achievement of Art: indeed narrative art, story-making in its primary and most potent mode.
J.R.R. Tolkien
It is lonely behind these boundaries. Some people-particularly those whom psychiatrists call schizoid-because of unpleasant, traumatizing experiences in childhood, perceive the world outside of themselves as unredeemably dangerous, hostile, confusing and unnurturing. Such people feel their boundaries to be protecting and comforting and find a sense of safety in their loneliness. But most of us feel our loneliness to be painful and yearn to escape from behind the walls of our individual identities to a condition in which we can be more unified with the world outside of ourselves. The experience of falling in love allows us this escapetemporarily. The essence of the phenomenon of falling in love is a sudden collapse of a section of an individual's ego boundaries, permitting one to merge his or her identity with that of another person. The sudden release of oneself from oneself, the explosive pouring out of oneself into the beloved, and the dramatic surcease of loneliness accompanying this collapse of ego boundaries is experienced by most of us as ecstatic. We and our beloved are one! Loneliness is no more! In some respects (but certainly not in all) the act of falling in love is an act of regression. The experience of merging with the loved one has in it echoes from the time when we were merged with our mothers in infancy. Along with the merging we also reexperience the sense of omnipotence which we had to give up in our journey out of childhood. All things seem possible! United with our beloved we feel we can conquer all obstacles. We believe that the strength of our love will cause the forces of opposition to bow down in submission and melt away into the darkness. All problems will be overcome. The future will be all light. The unreality of these feelings when we have fallen in love is essentially the same as the unreality of the two-year-old who feels itself to be king of the family and the world with power unlimited. Just as reality intrudes upon the two-year-old's fantasy of omnipotence so does reality intrude upon the fantastic unity of the couple who have fallen in love. Sooner or later, in response to the problems of daily living, individual will reasserts itself. He wants to have sex; she doesn't. She wants to go to the movies; he doesn't. He wants to put money in the bank; she wants a dishwasher. She wants to talk about her job; he wants to talk about his. She doesn't like his friends; he doesn't like hers. So both of them, in the privacy of their hearts, begin to come to the sickening realization that they are not one with the beloved, that the beloved has and will continue to have his or her own desires, tastes, prejudices and timing different from the other's. One by one, gradually or suddenly, the ego boundaries snap back into place; gradually or suddenly, they fall out of love. Once again they are two separate individuals. At this point they begin either to dissolve the ties of their relationship or to initiate the work of real loving.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
Almost as an article of faith, some individuals believe that conspiracies are either kooky fantasies or unimportant aberrations. To be sure, wacko conspiracy theories do exist. There are people who believe that the United States has been invaded by a secret United Nations army equipped with black helicopters, or that the country is secretly controlled by Jews or gays or feminists or black nationalists or communists or extraterrestrial aliens. But it does not logically follow that all conspiracies are imaginary. Conspiracy is a legitimate concept in law: the collusion of two or more people pursuing illegal means to effect some illegal or immoral end. People go to jail for committing conspiratorial acts. Conspiracies are a matter of public record, and some are of real political significance. The Watergate break-in was a conspiracy, as was the Watergate cover-up, which led to Nixon’s downfall. Iran-contra was a conspiracy of immense scope, much of it still uncovered. The savings and loan scandal was described by the Justice Department as “a thousand conspiracies of fraud, theft, and bribery,” the greatest financial crime in history. Often the term “conspiracy” is applied dismissively whenever one suggests that people who occupy positions of political and economic power are consciously dedicated to advancing their elite interests. Even when they openly profess their designs, there are those who deny that intent is involved. In 1994, the officers of the Federal Reserve announced they would pursue monetary policies designed to maintain a high level of unemployment in order to safeguard against “overheating” the economy. Like any creditor class, they preferred a deflationary course. When an acquaintance of mine mentioned this to friends, he was greeted skeptically, “Do you think the Fed bankers are deliberately trying to keep people unemployed?” In fact, not only did he think it, it was announced on the financial pages of the press. Still, his friends assumed he was imagining a conspiracy because he ascribed self-interested collusion to powerful people. At a World Affairs Council meeting in San Francisco, I remarked to a participant that U.S. leaders were pushing hard for the reinstatement of capitalism in the former communist countries. He said, “Do you really think they carry it to that level of conscious intent?” I pointed out it was not a conjecture on my part. They have repeatedly announced their commitment to seeing that “free-market reforms” are introduced in Eastern Europe. Their economic aid is channeled almost exclusively into the private sector. The same policy holds for the monies intended for other countries. Thus, as of the end of 1995, “more than $4.5 million U.S. aid to Haiti has been put on hold because the Aristide government has failed to make progress on a program to privatize state-owned companies” (New York Times 11/25/95). Those who suffer from conspiracy phobia are fond of saying: “Do you actually think there’s a group of people sitting around in a room plotting things?” For some reason that image is assumed to be so patently absurd as to invite only disclaimers. But where else would people of power get together – on park benches or carousels? Indeed, they meet in rooms: corporate boardrooms, Pentagon command rooms, at the Bohemian Grove, in the choice dining rooms at the best restaurants, resorts, hotels, and estates, in the many conference rooms at the White House, the NSA, the CIA, or wherever. And, yes, they consciously plot – though they call it “planning” and “strategizing” – and they do so in great secrecy, often resisting all efforts at public disclosure. No one confabulates and plans more than political and corporate elites and their hired specialists. To make the world safe for those who own it, politically active elements of the owning class have created a national security state that expends billions of dollars and enlists the efforts of vast numbers of people.
Michael Parenti (Dirty Truths)
...while epic fantasy is based on the fairy tale of the just war, that’s not one you’ll find in Grimm or Disney, and most will never recognize the shape of it. I think the fantasy genre pitches its tent in the medieval campground for the very reason that we even bother to write stories about things that never happened in the first place: because it says something subtle and true about our own world, something it is difficult to say straight out, with a straight face. Something you need tools to say, you need cheat codes for the human brain--a candy princess or a sugar-coated unicorn to wash down the sour taste of how bad things can really get. See, I think our culture has a slash running through the middle of it, too. Past/Future, Conservative/Liberal, Online/Offline. Virgin/Whore. And yes: Classical/Medieval. I think we’re torn between the Classical Narrative of Self and the Medieval Narrative of Self, between the choice of Achilles and Keep Calm and Carry On. The Classical internal monologue goes like this: do anything, anything, only don’t be forgotten. Yes, this one sacrificed his daughter on a slab at Aulis, that one married his mother and tore out his eyes, and oh that guy ate his kids in a pie. But you remember their names, don’t you? So it’s all good in the end. Give a Greek soul a choice between a short life full of glory and a name echoing down the halls of time and a long, gentle life full of children and a quiet sort of virtue, and he’ll always go down in flames. That’s what the Iliad is all about, and the Odyssey too. When you get to Hades, you gotta have a story to tell, because the rest of eternity is just forgetting and hoping some mortal shows up on a quest and lets you drink blood from a bowl so you can remember who you were for one hour. And every bit of cultural narrative in America says that we are all Odysseus, we are all Agamemnon, all Atreus, all Achilles. That we as a nation made that choice and chose glory and personal valor, and woe betide any inconvenient “other people” who get in our way. We tell the tales around the campfire of men who came from nothing to run dotcom empires, of a million dollars made overnight, of an actress marrying a prince from Monaco, of athletes and stars and artists and cowboys and gangsters and bootleggers and talk show hosts who hitched up their bootstraps and bent the world to their will. Whose names you all know. And we say: that can be each and every one of us and if it isn’t, it’s your fault. You didn’t have the excellence for it. You didn’t work hard enough. The story wasn’t about you, and the only good stories are the kind that have big, unignorable, undeniable heroes.
Catherynne M. Valente
An imaginary circle of empathy is drawn by each person. It circumscribes the person at some distance, and corresponds to those things in the world that deserve empathy. I like the term "empathy" because it has spiritual overtones. A term like "sympathy" or "allegiance" might be more precise, but I want the chosen term to be slightly mystical, to suggest that we might not be able to fully understand what goes on between us and others, that we should leave open the possibility that the relationship can't be represented in a digital database. If someone falls within your circle of empathy, you wouldn't want to see him or her killed. Something that is clearly outside the circle is fair game. For instance, most people would place all other people within the circle, but most of us are willing to see bacteria killed when we brush our teeth, and certainly don't worry when we see an inanimate rock tossed aside to keep a trail clear. The tricky part is that some entities reside close to the edge of the circle. The deepest controversies often involve whether something or someone should lie just inside or just outside the circle. For instance, the idea of slavery depends on the placement of the slave outside the circle, to make some people nonhuman. Widening the circle to include all people and end slavery has been one of the epic strands of the human story - and it isn't quite over yet. A great many other controversies fit well in the model. The fight over abortion asks whether a fetus or embryo should be in the circle or not, and the animal rights debate asks the same about animals. When you change the contents of your circle, you change your conception of yourself. The center of the circle shifts as its perimeter is changed. The liberal impulse is to expand the circle, while conservatives tend to want to restrain or even contract the circle. Empathy Inflation and Metaphysical Ambiguity Are there any legitimate reasons not to expand the circle as much as possible? There are. To expand the circle indefinitely can lead to oppression, because the rights of potential entities (as perceived by only some people) can conflict with the rights of indisputably real people. An obvious example of this is found in the abortion debate. If outlawing abortions did not involve commandeering control of the bodies of other people (pregnant women, in this case), then there wouldn't be much controversy. We would find an easy accommodation. Empathy inflation can also lead to the lesser, but still substantial, evils of incompetence, trivialization, dishonesty, and narcissism. You cannot live, for example, without killing bacteria. Wouldn't you be projecting your own fantasies on single-cell organisms that would be indifferent to them at best? Doesn't it really become about you instead of the cause at that point?
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
What is so often said about the solders of the 20th century is that they fought to make us free. Which is a wonderful sentiment and one witch should evoke tremendous gratitude if in fact there was a shred of truth in that statement but, it's not true. It's not even close to true in fact it's the opposite of truth. There's this myth around that people believe that the way to honor deaths of so many of millions of people; that the way to honor is to say that we achieved some tangible, positive, good, out of their death's. That's how we are supposed to honor their deaths. We can try and rescue some positive and forward momentum of human progress, of human virtue from these hundreds of millions of death's but we don't do it by pretending that they'd died to set us free because we are less free; far less free now then we were before these slaughters began. These people did not die to set us free. They did not die fighting any enemy other than the ones that the previous deaths created. The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names. Solders are paid killers, and I say this with a great degree of sympathy to young men and women who are suckered into a life of evil through propaganda and the labeling of heroic to a man in costume who kills for money and the life of honor is accepting ordered killings for money, prestige, and pensions. We create the possibility of moral choice by communicating truth about ethics to people. That to me is where real heroism and real respect for the dead lies. Real respect for the dead lies in exhuming the corpses and hearing what they would say if they could speak out; and they would say: If any ask us why we died tell it's because our fathers lied, tell them it's because we were told that charging up a hill and slaughtering our fellow man was heroic, noble, and honorable. But these hundreds of millions of ghosts encircled the world in agony, remorse will not be released from our collective unconscious until we lay the truth of their murders on the table and look at the horror that is the lie; that murder for money can be moral, that murder for prestige can be moral. These poor young men and woman propagandized into an undead ethical status lied to about what is noble, virtuous, courageous, honorable, decent, and good to the point that they're rolling hand grenades into children's rooms and the illusion that, that is going to make the world a better place. We have to stare this in the face if we want to remember why these people died. They did not die to set us free. They did not die to make the world a better place. They died because we are ruled by sociopaths. The only thing that can create a better world is the truth is the virtue is the honor and courage of standing up to the genocidal lies of mankind and calling them lies and ultimate corruptions. The trauma and horrors of this century of staggering bloodshed of the brief respite of the 19th century. This addiction to blood and the idea that if we pour more bodies into the hole of the mass graves of the 20th century, if we pour more bodies and more blood we can build some sort of cathedral to a better place but it doesn't happen. We can throw as many young men and woman as we want into this pit of slaughter and it will never be full. It will never do anything other than sink and recede further into the depths of hell. We can’t build a better world on bodies. We can’t build peace on blood. If we don't look back and see the army of the dead of the 20th century calling out for us to see that they died to enslave us. That whenever there was a war the government grew and grew. We are so addicted to this lie. What we need to do is remember that these bodies bury us. This ocean of blood that we create through the fantasy that violence brings virtue. It drowns us, drowns our children, our future, and the world. When we pour these endless young bodies into this pit of death; we follow it.
Stefan Molyneux