Friends Seldom See Quotes

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unaccountably we are alone forever alone and it was meant to be that way, it was never meant to be any other way– and when the death struggle begins the last thing I wish to see is a ring of human faces hovering over me– better just my old friends, the walls of my self, let only them be there. I have been alone but seldom lonely. I have satisfied my thirst at the well of my self and that wine was good, the best I ever had, and tonight sitting staring into the dark I now finally understand the dark and the light and everything in between. peace of mind and heart arrives when we accept what is: having been born into this strange life we must accept the wasted gamble of our days and take some satisfaction in the pleasure of leaving it all behind. cry not for me. grieve not for me. read what I’ve written then forget it all. drink from the well of your self and begin again. Mind and Heart
Charles Bukowski (Come On In!: New Poems)
Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realise the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors. We realise it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. The man who is contented to be only himself, and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented…. In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.
C.S. Lewis (An Experiment in Criticism)
Some paintings become famous because, being durable, they are viewed by successive generations, in each of which are likely to be found a few appreciative eyes. I know a painting so evanescent that it is seldom viewed at all, except by some wandering deer. It is a river who wields the brush, and it is the same river who, before I can bring my friends to view his work, erases it forever from human view. After that it exists only in my mind's eye. Like other artists, my river is temperamental; there is no predicting when the mood to paint will come upon him, or how long it will last. But in midsummer, when the great white fleets cruise the sky for day after flawless day, it is worth strolling down to the sandbars just to see whether he has been at work.
Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There)
My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.
Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from the Birmingham Jail)
When depression sufferers fight, recover, and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark … ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness … afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t. We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe. When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate. Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive. We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker … but as survivors. Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it. Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand. I hope to one day see a sea of people all wearing silver ribbons as a sign that they understand the secret battle, and as a celebration of the victories made each day as we individually pull ourselves up out of our foxholes to see our scars heal, and to remember what the sun looks like.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things)
It is always safe to learn, even from our enemies; seldom safe to venture to instruct, even our friends." Charles Caleb Colton A leader's greatest strength is knowing his greatest weakness. No person is made perfect and every human is born with unique flaws that affect every decision they make. For some it is envy. For others, greed. And for many, it is pride.  Enemies are often more honest than friends. Friends will overlook your weaknesses, telling you what you want to hear instead of what you should be told because they see you through eyes clouded by admiration.  Enemies care nothing for your friendship. A rival will find your most vulnerable point and expose it without any remorse. But this is a gift — a chance to strengthen where you are
Illuminatiam (Illuminations: Wisdom From This Planet's Greatest Minds)
It is astonishing how much you can enjoy almost everything. There are few things more desirable than to be an accepter and an enjoyer. You can like and enjoy almost any kind of food or way of life. You can enjoy country life, dogs, muddy walks, towns, noise, people, clatter. In the one there is repose, ease for nerves, time for reading, knitting, embroidery, and the pleasure of growing things; in the other theatres, art galleries, good conerts, and seeing friends you would otherwise seldom see. I am happy to say that I can enjoy almost everything.
Agatha Christie (Agatha Christie: An Autobiography)
Many things in this period have been hard to bear, or hard to take seriously. My own profession went into a protracted swoon during the Reagan-Bush-Thatcher decade, and shows scant sign of recovering a critical faculty—or indeed any faculty whatever, unless it is one of induced enthusiasm for a plausible consensus President. (We shall see whether it counts as progress for the same parrots to learn a new word.) And my own cohort, the left, shared in the general dispiriting move towards apolitical, atonal postmodernism. Regarding something magnificent, like the long-overdue and still endangered South African revolution (a jagged fit in the supposedly smooth pattern of axiomatic progress), one could see that Ariadne’s thread had a robust reddish tinge, and that potential citizens had not all deconstructed themselves into Xhosa, Zulu, Cape Coloured or ‘Eurocentric’; had in other words resisted the sectarian lesson that the masters of apartheid tried to teach them. Elsewhere, though, it seemed all at once as if competitive solipsism was the signifier of the ‘radical’; a stress on the salience not even of the individual, but of the trait, and from that atomization into the lump of the category. Surely one thing to be learned from the lapsed totalitarian system was the unwholesome relationship between the cult of the masses and the adoration of the supreme personality. Yet introspective voyaging seemed to coexist with dull group-think wherever one peered about among the formerly ‘committed’. Traditionally then, or tediously as some will think, I saw no reason to discard the Orwellian standard in considering modern literature. While a sort of etiolation, tricked out as playfulness, had its way among the non-judgemental, much good work was still done by those who weighed words as if they meant what they said. Some authors, indeed, stood by their works as if they had composed them in solitude and out of conviction. Of these, an encouraging number spoke for the ironic against the literal mind; for the generously interpreted interest of all against the renewal of what Orwell termed the ‘smelly little orthodoxies’—tribe and Faith, monotheist and polytheist, being most conspicuous among these new/old disfigurements. In the course of making a film about the decaffeinated hedonism of modern Los Angeles, I visited the house where Thomas Mann, in another time of torment, wrote Dr Faustus. My German friends were filling the streets of Munich and Berlin to combat the recrudescence of the same old shit as I read: This old, folkish layer survives in us all, and to speak as I really think, I do. not consider religion the most adequate means of keeping it under lock and key. For that, literature alone avails, humanistic science, the ideal of the free and beautiful human being. [italics mine] The path to this concept of enlightenment is not to be found in the pursuit of self-pity, or of self-love. Of course to be merely a political animal is to miss Mann’s point; while, as ever, to be an apolitical animal is to leave fellow-citizens at the mercy of Ideolo’. For the sake of argument, then, one must never let a euphemism or a false consolation pass uncontested. The truth seldom lies, but when it does lie it lies somewhere in between.
Christopher Hitchens (For the Sake of Argument: Essays and Minority Reports)
When the wind stops, the trees still move, the way my heart creaks long after it bends. Iam always surprised at the aftereffect of being moved deeply by something. I can be hurt or disappointed or feel the warmth of being loved or the gentle sway of being temporarily left, and then I'm ready to chew on something else, seldom allowing for the feelings to digest completely. In fact, I've come to see that much of my confusion in life comes from giving my attention to the next thing too soon, and then wrapping new experience in the remnants of feeling that are not finished with me. For example, the other day I felt sad because an old friend is ill. I addressed my sadness directly and thought I'd been with this mood enough, so I continued on my way. The next day I found myself in the usual frustration of traffic and shopping, and the indifferent reactions of waitresses and clerks were suddenly making me sad. Or so I thought. Though it seems obvious here in the telling, it wasn't in the happening, and I spent a good deal of misguided energy wondering if it was time to change my lifestyle. But really I was feeling ripples of sadness about my friend's illness. The deeper lesson involves nature's sway: its approach, its impact, and, especially, its echo. Everything living encounters it, especially us in the unseeable ripples of what we think and feel. Being alive takes time.
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have)
But I enjoyed the feeling of wind in my hair, and I knew my father liked to see it blow straight out when we stood on the quay and watched the boats come in. And after all it was my only pride. The train waited behind us, puffing and hissing through its valves, and even though it was only an hour's journey to Skagen, I had never been there. 'Can't we go to Skagen one day?' I asked. Being with Jesper and his friends had made me realize the world was far bigger than the town I lived in, and the fields around it, and I wanted to go travelling and see it. 'There's nothing but sand at Skagen,' my father said, 'you don't want to go there my lass." And because it was Sunday and he seldom said my lass, he took a cigar from his waistcoat pocket with a pleased expression, lit it, and blew out smoke into the wind. The smoke flew back in our faces and scorched them, but I pretended not to notice and so did he.
Per Petterson (To Siberia)
Instinct caused a woman who had once been so attractive to still attempt makeup and hairdos, Marisa guessed, but more often than not, the effort came off with Mama looking like a clown. Seeing it broke Marisa’s heart, but she didn’t interfere. Her mother didn’t know the difference and these days, it was rare for anyone but Marisa to see her. What little family they had seldom came and Mama’s friends in Agua Dulce, out of respect, were reluctant to gawk at her decline.
Anna Jeffrey
Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realise the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors. We realise it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. The man who is contented to be only himself, and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented.
C.S. Lewis (The Reading Life: The Joy of Seeing New Worlds Through Others' Eyes)
On the American desert are horses which eat the locoweed and some are driven made by it; their vision is affected, they take enormous leaps to cross a tuft of grass or tumble blindly into rivers. The horses which have become thus addicted are shunned by the others and will never rejoin the herd. So it is with human beings: those who are conscious of another world, the world of the spirit, acquire an outlook which distorts the values of ordinary life; they are consumed by the weed of non-attachment. Curiosity is their one excess and therefore they are recognized not by what they do, but by what they refrain from doing, like those Araphants or disciples of Buddha who are pledged to the "Nine Incapabilities." Thus they do not take life, they do not compete, they do not boast, they do not join groups of more than six, they do not condemn others; they are "abandoners of revels, mute, contemplative" who are depressed by gossip, gaiety and equals, who wait to be telephoned to, who neither speak in public, nor keep up with their friends, nor take revenge upon their enemies. Self-knowledge has taught them to abandon hate and blame and envy in their lives, and they look sadder than they are. They seldom make positive assertions because they see, outlined against any statement, as a painter sees a complementary color, the image of its opposite. Most psychological questionnaires are designed to search out these moonlings and to secure their non-employment. They divine each other by a warm indifference for they know that they are not intended to forgather, but, like stumps of phosphorus in the world's wood, each to give forth his misleading radiance.
Cyril Connelly
No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard — and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable independence besides two good livings — and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might expect, she still lived on — lived to have six children more — to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features — so much for her person; and not less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind. She was fond of all boy's plays, and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush. Indeed she had no taste for a garden; and if she gathered flowers at all, it was chiefly for the pleasure of mischief — at least so it was conjectured from her always preferring those which she was forbidden to take. Such were her propensities — her abilities were quite as extraordinary. She never could learn or understand anything before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid. Her mother was three months in teaching her only to repeat the "Beggar's Petition"; and after all, her next sister, Sally, could say it better than she did. Not that Catherine was always stupid — by no means; she learnt the fable of "The Hare and Many Friends" as quickly as any girl in England. Her mother wished her to learn music; and Catherine was sure she should like it, for she was very fond of tinkling the keys of the old forlorn spinner; so, at eight years old she began. She learnt a year, and could not bear it; and Mrs. Morland, who did not insist on her daughters being accomplished in spite of incapacity or distaste, allowed her to leave off. The day which dismissed the music-master was one of the happiest of Catherine's life. Her taste for drawing was not superior; though whenever she could obtain the outside of a letter from her mother or seize upon any other odd piece of paper, she did what she could in that way, by drawing houses and trees, hens and chickens, all very much like one another. Writing and accounts she was taught by her father; French by her mother: her proficiency in either was not remarkable, and she shirked her lessons in both whenever she could. What a strange, unaccountable character! — for with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither a bad heart nor a bad temper, was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever quarrelsome, and very kind to the little ones, with few interruptions of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
We had been out for one of our evening rambles, Holmes and I, and had returned about six o’clock on a cold, frosty winter’s evening. As Holmes turned up the lamp the light fell upon a card on the table. He glanced at it, and then, with an ejaculation of disgust, threw it on the floor. I picked it up and read: CHARLES AUGUSTUS MILVERTON, Appledore Towers, Hampstead. Agent. “Who is he?” I asked. “The worst man in London,” Holmes answered, as he sat down and stretched his legs before the fire. “Is anything on the back of the card?” I turned it over. “Will call at 6:30--C.A.M.,” I read. “Hum! He’s about due. Do you feel a creeping, shrinking sensation, Watson, when you stand before the serpents in the Zoo, and see the slithery, gliding, venomous creatures, with their deadly eyes and wicked, flattened faces? Well, that’s how Milverton impresses me. I’ve had to do with fifty murderers in my career, but the worst of them never gave me the repulsion which I have for this fellow. And yet I can’t get out of doing business with him--indeed, he is here at my invitation.” “But who is he?” “I’ll tell you, Watson. He is the king of all the blackmailers. Heaven help the man, and still more the woman, whose secret and reputation come into the power of Milverton! With a smiling face and a heart of marble, he will squeeze and squeeze until he has drained them dry. The fellow is a genius in his way, and would have made his mark in some more savoury trade. His method is as follows: He allows it to be known that he is prepared to pay very high sums for letters which compromise people of wealth and position. He receives these wares not only from treacherous valets or maids, but frequently from genteel ruffians, who have gained the confidence and affection of trusting women. He deals with no niggard hand. I happen to know that he paid seven hundred pounds to a footman for a note two lines in length, and that the ruin of a noble family was the result. Everything which is in the market goes to Milverton, and there are hundreds in this great city who turn white at his name. No one knows where his grip may fall, for he is far too rich and far too cunning to work from hand to mouth. He will hold a card back for years in order to play it at the moment when the stake is best worth winning. I have said that he is the worst man in London, and I would ask you how could one compare the ruffian, who in hot blood bludgeons his mate, with this man, who methodically and at his leisure tortures the soul and wrings the nerves in order to add to his already swollen money-bags?” I had seldom heard my friend speak with such intensity of feeling.
Arthur Conan Doyle (The Complete Sherlock Holmes)
Actually he is a friend of Piers’s,’ I said. ‘Ah’ said Sybil, in a meaningful tone. I changed the subject, but when we were having dinner she brought it up again. ‘Wilmet has been entertaining a friend of Piers’s to tea,’ she said. ‘Really?’ said Rodney, in a not very interested tone. ‘Yes. I see now the clue to Piers’s lack of success in this world. I believe that he has loved not wisely but too well.’ ‘Mother, that’s such a hackneyed quotation, and it really tells one nothing. I suppose we’ve all of us done that in our time, if you come to think of it.’ I looked at Rodney in surprise. He so seldom indulged in these generalizations about love. I saw that he had gone a little pink. ‘Noddy, I think you misunderstand me,’ said Sybil.
Barbara Pym (The Barbara Pym Collection Volume One: A Glass of Blessings / Some Tame Gazelle / and Jane and Prudence)
The images strewn across a European landscape provoked horrors of the greatest sort. Therefore, seldom did my Dad or his friends ever talk about the war. Yet, to this day I can still see them lined up on the parade route, rising to ramrod attention and stalwartly saluting the flag until it had passed by. And without any hesitation whatsoever, I can tell you that I observed infinitely more patriotism in the silence of those simple actions than all of those who stand shouting their self-indulgent pontifications in the name of patriotism. And maybe, just maybe we should remember that liberty is not license, principle is non-negotiable, and humility is the bedfellow of great things.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
In their friends people like to see a certain affluence in their ready smile They seldom care for warmth and truthfulness. So why not find your friends in song and nature?
Kamo no Chōmei (Hojoki: Visions of a Torn World)
this was the way life should be. Family working, sharing, and living together with a sense of belonging and purpose, to be needed and wanted and loved by family and friends, to be part of a community that knows and helps one another. Not with families spread all about, seeing each other only once in a while, living in crowded suburbs and cities where neighbors seldom speak to one another and rarely help one another. A life spent constantly running around, hither and yon, all the time coming and going, eating and living on the run, filling their lives with things such as ball games and so on, the whole time missing out on the most important things in life; God, family, friends.
Mike Foster (The Right To Bear Arms: After the Riots Begin)
The point of power is always in the present moment. This is where we begin to make changes. What a liberating idea. We can begin to let the old nonsense go. Right now. The smallest beginning will make a difference. When you were a tiny baby, you were pure joy and love. You knew how important you were; you felt that you were the center of the universe. You had such courage that you asked for what you wanted and you expressed all your feelings openly. You loved yourself totally—every part of your body, including your feces. You knew that you were perfect. And that is the truth of your being. All the rest is learned nonsense and can be unlearned. How often have we said, “That’s the way I am,” or “That’s the way it is.” What we’re really saying is that it is what we “believe to be true for us.” Usually what we believe is only someone else’s opinion that we’ve accepted and incorporated into our own belief system. It fits in with other things that we believe. If we were taught as a child that the world is a frightening place, then everything we hear that fits in with that belief we will accept as true for us—for example: “Don’t trust strangers,” “Don’t go out at night,” “People cheat you,” and so on. On the other hand, if we were taught early in life that the world is a safe and joyous place, then we would believe other things, such as: “Love is everywhere,” “People are so friendly,” and “Money comes to me easily.” Life experiences mirror our beliefs. We seldom sit down and question our beliefs. For instance, I could ask myself: “Why do I believe that it’s difficult for me to learn? Is that really true? Is it true for me now? Where did that belief come from? Do I still believe it simply because a first-grade teacher told me so over and over? Would I be better off if I dropped that belief?” Stop for a moment and catch your thought. What are you thinking right now? If thoughts shape your life and experiences, would you want this thought to become true for you? If it’s a thought of worry, anger, hurt, or revenge, how do you think that this thought will come back for you? If we want a joyous life, we must think joyous thoughts. Whatever we send out mentally or verbally will come back to us in like form. Take a little time to listen to the words you say. If you hear yourself saying something three times, write it down. It has become a pattern for you. At the end of a week, look at the list you’ve made and you’ll see how your words fit your experiences. Be willing to change your words and thoughts and watch your life change. The way to control your life is to control your choice of words and thoughts. No one thinks in your mind but you.
Louise L. Hay (Heal Your Body)
Here is good CS Lewis quote about reading and litterature generally: "Literature enlarges our being by admitting us to experiences not our own. They may be beautiful, terrible, awe-inspiring, exhilarating, pathetic, comic, or merely piquant. Literature give the entree to them all. Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom realize the enormous extension of our being that we owe to authors. We realize it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. he may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. My own eyes are not enough for me. Even the eyes of all humanity are not enough. Very gladly would I learn what face things present to a mouse or a bee. (…) In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in a Greek poem, I see with a thousand eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself: and am never more myself than when I do." C. S. Lewis An Experiment in Criticism. 1961 pp. 140-141 Cambridge U. Press
C.S. Lewis
Here is good CS Lewis quote about reading and literature generally: "Literature enlarges our being by admitting us to experiences not our own. They may be beautiful, terrible, awe-inspiring, exhilarating, pathetic, comic, or merely piquant. Literature give the entree to them all. Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom realize the enormous extension of our being that we owe to authors. We realize it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. he may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. My own eyes are not enough for me. Even the eyes of all humanity are not enough. Very gladly would I learn what face things present to a mouse or a bee. (…) In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in a Greek poem, I see with a thousand eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself: and am never more myself than when I do." C. S. Lewis An Experiment in Criticism. 1961 pp. 140-141 Cambridge U. Press
C.S. Lewis
To resume--and we’d better hurry, or they’ll be down here clamoring for our company before their supper goes cold--Lord Vidanric has been working very hard ever since the end of the war. Too hard, some say. He came to Athanarel sick and has been ill off and on since then, for he seldom sleeps. He’s either in the saddle, or else his lamps are burning half the night in his wing of the Residence. He’s here on his mother’s orders, to rest. He and your brother have become fast friends, I think because Branaric, in his own way, is so very undemanding. He wants no favors or powers. He just likes to enjoy his days. This seems to be what Vidanric needs just now.” “Do you think he’ll make a good king?” I asked. Again she seemed surprised. “Yes,” she said. “But then I’ve known him all my life.” As if that explains everything, I thought. Then I realized that to her it did. He was a good prospect for a king because he was her friend, and because they were both courtiers, raised the same way. And then I wondered just who--if anyone--at Court was willing to speak not for themselves, but for the people, to find out who really would be the best ruler? A discreet tap outside the door brought our attention round. Calden, the server from the inn, parted the tapestry and said, “Count Branaric sent me to find out if you’re coming?” “In just a moment, thanks,” I said. “Will you agree to my pact, then?” Nimiar asked. I opened my mouth to ask why they couldn’t just marry here, but I knew that was the coward’s way out. I did not wish to get involved in any more wars, but that didn’t mean I ought not do what I could to ensure that the next reign would be what Papa had wished for when he commenced planning his revolt. And the best way to find out, I realized as I looked into Nimiar’s face, would not be by asking questions of third parties, but by going to the capital and finding out on my own. So I squashed down my reluctance and said, “If you can teach me not to make a fool of myself at that Court, I’ll gladly come to see you marry Bran.” “You will like Court life, I promise,” she said, smiling sweetly as we went out of the parlor. I took care to walk behind her so she could not see my face.
Sherwood Smith (Court Duel (Crown & Court, #2))
…we seek an enlargement of our being. We want to be more than ourselves. … We want to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as with our own. … One of the things we feel after reading a great work is ‘I have got out’. Or from another point of view, ‘I have got in’; pierced the shell of some other monad and discovered what it is like inside. Good reading, therefore, though it is not essentially an affectional or moral or intellectual activity, has something in common with all three. In love we escape from our self into one other. In the moral sphere, every act of justice or charity involves putting ourselves in the other person’s place and thus transcending our own competitive particularity. In coming to understand anything we are rejecting the facts as they are for us in favour of the facts as they are. The primary impulse of each is to maintain and aggrandise himself. The secondary impulse is to go out of the self, to correct its provincialism and heal its loneliness. In love, in virtue, in the pursuit of knowledge, and in the reception of the arts, we are doing this. Obviously this process can be described either as an enlargement or as a temporary annihilation of the self. But that is an old paradox; ‘he that loseth his life shall save it’. … Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realise the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors. We realise it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. The man who is contented to be only himself, and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented. Even the eyes of all humanity are not enough. I regret that the brutes cannot write books. … Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality. There are mass emotions which heal the wound; but they destroy the privilege. In them our separate selves are pooled and we sink back into sub-individuality. But in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.
C.S. Lewis (An Experiment in Criticism)
°I quite distinctly heard you mulling it over, and my own ears seldom deceive me. But anyway, that’s beside the point. The reason that you are kept waiting – and this is just one “for instance” out of many other possible examples – is that what you see and experience is a reflection in the outer world of you keeping yourself and others waiting. It’s as if a mirror had been held up to your own face. Please excuse the vernacular, but if you really had your shit together as you think you have, Louie, then you wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. It’s as simple – and yet currently difficult – as that.°
H.M. Forester (Secret Friends: The Ramblings of a Madman in Search of a Soul)