Great Impressions Quotes

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He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
Juan gave Bones the most admiring look he’d bestowed on him yet. “You talked her into going without panties all these years? Madre de Dios, now that’s impressive. I could learn a great deal from you, amigo.
Jeaniene Frost (One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress, #2))
Belikov is a sick, evil man who should be thrown into a pit of rabid vipers for the great offense he commited against you this morning." "Thank you." I said primly. Then, I considered. "Can vipers be rabid?" "I don't see why not. Everything can be. I think. Canadian geese might be worse than vipers, though." "Canadian geese are deadlier than vipers?" "You ever try to feed those little bastards? They're vicious. You get thrown to vipers, you die quickly. But the geese? That'll go on for days. More suffering." "Wow. I don't know whether I should be impressed or frightened that you've thought about all of this.
Richelle Mead (Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2))
Why do you think the old stories tell of men who set out on great journeys to impress the gods? Because trying to impress people just isn't worth the time and effort.
Henry Rollins
Truly powerful people have great humility. They do not try to impress, they do not try to be influential. They simply are. People are magnetically drawn to them. They are most often very silent and focused, aware of their core selves. ... They never persuade, nor do they use manipulation or aggressiveness to get their way. They listen. If there is anything they can offer to assist you, they offer it; if not, they are silent.
Sanaya Roman (Living with Joy: Keys to Personal Power and Spiritual Transformation)
The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.
John Stuart Mill (On Liberty)
I warn you," the boy went on. "I am a magician of great power. I control many terrifying entities. This being you see before you" - here I rolled my shoulders back and puffed my chest up menacingly - "is but the meanest and least impressive of my slaves." (Here I slumped my shoulders and stuck my stomach out.)
Jonathan Stroud (The Golem's Eye (Bartimaeus, #2))
Always remember, child" her first teacher had impressed on her, "that to think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral you down into ever-increasing unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires effort. This is one of the things that need disipline –training- is about. So train your mind to dwell on sweet perfumes, the touch of this silk, tender raindrops against the shoji, the curve of the flower arrangement, the tranquillity of dawn. Then, at length, you won't have to make such a great effort and you will be of value to yourself,…
James Clavell (Shōgun (Asian Saga, #1))
She turned back to the cards and tapped the Ace of Cups. "You're on the verge of a new beginning, a rebirth of great power and emotion. Your life will change, but it will be change that takes you in the direction that, while difficult, will ultimatley illuminate the world." "Whoa," I said. Rhonda then pointed to the Empress. "Power and leadership lie ahead of you, which you will handle with grace and intelligence. The seeds are already in place, though there's an edge of uncertainty-an enigmatic set of influences that hang around you like a mist." Her attention was on the Moon as she said those words. "But my overall impression is that those unknown factors won't deter you from your destiny." Lissa's eyes were wide. "You can teel that just from the cards?" ... After several moments of heavy silence, she said, "You will destroy that which is undead." i waited about thirty seconds for her to continue, but she didn't. "Wait, that's it?" ... Her eyes flickered over the cards, looked at Dimitri, then looked back at the cards. Her expression was blank. "You will lose what you value most, so treasure it while you can." She pointed to the Wheel of Fortune card. "The wheel is turning, always turning.
Richelle Mead (Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3))
If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression Of something beautiful, but annihilating. Both of you are great light borrowers. Her O-mouth grieves at the world; yours is unaffected, And your first gift is making stone out of everything.
Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
know this one great truth: you are in control of your own life. You get one and only one chance to live, and life is passing you by. Stop beating yourself up, and dang it, stop letting others do it too. Stop accepting less than you deserve. Stop buying things you can’t afford to impress people you don’t even really like. Stop eating your feelings instead of working through them. Stop buying your kids’ love with food, or toys, or friendship because it’s easier than parenting. Stop abusing your body and your mind. Stop! Just get off the never-ending track.
Rachel Hollis (Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be)
Civilized people must, I believe, satisfy the following criteria: 1) They respect human beings as individuals and are therefore always tolerant, gentle, courteous and amenable ... They do not create scenes over a hammer or a mislaid eraser; they do not make you feel they are conferring a great benefit on you when they live with you, and they don't make a scandal when they leave. (...) 2) They have compassion for other people besides beggars and cats. Their hearts suffer the pain of what is hidden to the naked eye. (...) 3) They respect other people's property, and therefore pay their debts. 4) They are not devious, and they fear lies as they fear fire. They don't tell lies even in the most trivial matters. To lie to someone is to insult them, and the liar is diminished in the eyes of the person he lies to. Civilized people don't put on airs; they behave in the street as they would at home, they don't show off to impress their juniors. (...) 5) They don't run themselves down in order to provoke the sympathy of others. They don't play on other people's heartstrings to be sighed over and cosseted ... that sort of thing is just cheap striving for effects, it's vulgar, old hat and false. (...) 6) They are not vain. They don't waste time with the fake jewellery of hobnobbing with celebrities, being permitted to shake the hand of a drunken [judicial orator], the exaggerated bonhomie of the first person they meet at the Salon, being the life and soul of the bar ... They regard prases like 'I am a representative of the Press!!' -- the sort of thing one only hears from [very minor journalists] -- as absurd. If they have done a brass farthing's work they don't pass it off as if it were 100 roubles' by swanking about with their portfolios, and they don't boast of being able to gain admission to places other people aren't allowed in (...) True talent always sits in the shade, mingles with the crowd, avoids the limelight ... As Krylov said, the empty barrel makes more noise than the full one. (...) 7) If they do possess talent, they value it ... They take pride in it ... they know they have a responsibility to exert a civilizing influence on [others] rather than aimlessly hanging out with them. And they are fastidious in their habits. (...) 8) They work at developing their aesthetic sensibility ... Civilized people don't simply obey their baser instincts ... they require mens sana in corpore sano. And so on. That's what civilized people are like ... Reading Pickwick and learning a speech from Faust by heart is not enough if your aim is to become a truly civilized person and not to sink below the level of your surroundings. [From a letter to Nikolay Chekhov, March 1886]
Anton Chekhov (A Life in Letters)
Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
Some can be more intelligent than others in a structured environment—in fact school has a selection bias as it favors those quicker in such an environment, and like anything competitive, at the expense of performance outside it. Although I was not yet familiar with gyms, my idea of knowledge was as follows. People who build their strength using these modern expensive gym machines can lift extremely large weights, show great numbers and develop impressive-looking muscles, but fail to lift a stone; they get completely hammered in a street fight by someone trained in more disorderly settings. Their strength is extremely domain-specific and their domain doesn't exist outside of ludic—extremely organized—constructs. In fact their strength, as with over-specialized athletes, is the result of a deformity. I thought it was the same with people who were selected for trying to get high grades in a small number of subjects rather than follow their curiosity: try taking them slightly away from what they studied and watch their decomposition, loss of confidence, and denial. (Just like corporate executives are selected for their ability to put up with the boredom of meetings, many of these people were selected for their ability to concentrate on boring material.) I've debated many economists who claim to specialize in risk and probability: when one takes them slightly outside their narrow focus, but within the discipline of probability, they fall apart, with the disconsolate face of a gym rat in front of a gangster hit man.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder)
We hear a great deal about the rudeness of the ris- ing generation. I am an oldster myself and might be expected to take the oldsters' side, but in fact I have been far more impressed by the bad manners of par- ents to children than by those of children to parents. Who has not been the embarrassed guest at family meals where the father or mother treated their grown-up offspring with an incivility which, offered to any other young people, would simply have termi- nated the acquaintance? Dogmatic assertions on mat- ters which the children understand and their elders don't, ruthless interruptions, flat contradictions, ridicule of things the young take seriously some- times of their religion insulting references to their friends, all provide an easy answer to the question "Why are they always out? Why do they like every house better than their home?" Who does not prefer civility to barbarism?
C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician, he is also a child place before natural phenomenon, which impress him like a fairy tale.
Marie Curie
If you would stand well with a great mind, leave him with a favorable impression of yourself; if with a little mind, leave him with a favorable impression of himself.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
As Patron-Sponser, I am charged with..."-he pasued and consulted the notes-"adding a sense of royal cachet to proceedings today." He waited while a ripple of conversation ran around the room. Nobody was quite sure what adding a sense of royal cachet really meant. But everyone agreed that it sounded impressive indeed. Lady Pauline's mouth twitched in a smile and she looked down at the table. Halt found something of vast interest in the ceiling beams high above. Duncan continued. My second duty is..."-again he consulted his notes to make sure he had the wording correct-"to provide an extremly expensive present to the bride and groom..." Lady Pualine's head jerked at that. She leaned forward and turned to make eye contact with Lord Anthony. The Chamberlain met her gaze, his face completely devoid of expression. Then, very slowly, one eyelid slid down in a wink. He liked Lady Pauline and Halt a great deal and he'd added that duty without consulting them.
John Flanagan (Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, #7))
The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, "A serious misfortune of my life has arrived." I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me. I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet... wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as "my" feet were actually "our" feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil. From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.
Thich Nhat Hanh (No Death, No Fear)
Mr Horsefry was a youngish man, not simply running to fat but vaulting, leaping and diving towards obesity. He had acquired at thirty an impressive selection of chins, and now they wobbled with angry pride.* * It is wrong to judge by appearances. Despite his expression, which was that of a piglet having a bright idea, and his mode of speech, which might put you in mind of a small, breathless, neurotic but ridiculously expensive dog, Mr Horsefry might well have been a kind, generous and pious man. In the same way, the man climbing out of your window in a stripy jumper, a mask and a great hurry might merely be lost on the way to a fancy-dress party, and the man in the wig and robes at the focus of the courtroom might only be a transvestite who wandered in out of the rain. Snap judgements can be so unfair.
Terry Pratchett (Going Postal (Discworld, #33; Moist von Lipwig, #1))
The universe is one great kindergarten. Everything that exists has brought with it its own peculiar lesson. The mountain teaches stability and grandeur; the ocean immensity and change. Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon our soul.
Orison Swett Marden
If through no fault of his own the hero is crushed by a bulldozer in Act II, we are not impressed. Even though life is often like this—the absconding cashier on his way to Nicaragua is killed in a collision at the airport, the prominent statesman dies of a stroke in the midst of the negotiations he has spent years to bring about, the young lovers are drowned in a boating accident the day before their marriage—such events, the warp and woof of everyday life, seem irrelevant, meaningless. They are crude, undigested, unpurged bits of reality—to draw a metaphor from the late J. Edgar Hoover, they are “raw files.” But it is the function of great art to purge and give meaning to human suffering, and so we expect that if the hero is indeed crushed by a bulldozer in Act II there will be some reason for it, and not just some reason but a good one, one which makes sense in terms of the hero’s personality and action. In fact, we expect to be shown that he is in some way responsible for what happens to him.
Bernard Knox (The Oedipus Cycle: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone)
Stop trying to impress people. Impress yourself. Stretch yourself. Test yourself. Be the best version of you that you can be.
Vex King (Good Vibes, Good Life: How Self-Love Is the Key to Unlocking Your Greatness)
There is nothing that I so greatly admire as purposefulness. I have an enormous respect for people who know exactly what they are doing and where they are going. Such people are compact and integrated. They have clear edges. They give an impression of invulnerability and balance, and I wish I were one of them.
Louise Dickinson Rich
Upon meeting Julian Morrow, one has the impression that he is a man of extraordinary sympathy and warmth. But what you call his 'Asiatic serenity' is, I think, a mask for great coldness. The face one shows him he invariably reflects back at one, creating the illusion of warmth and depth when in fact he is brittle and shallow as a mirror.
Donna Tartt
For some time now the impression has been growing upon me that everyone is dead. It happens when I speak to people. In the middle of a sentence it will come over me: yes, beyond a doubt this is death. There is little to do but groan and make an excuse and slip away as quickly as one can. At such times it seems that the conversation is spoken by automatons who have no choice in what they say. I hear myself or someone else saying things like: "In my opinion the Russian people are a great people, but--" or "Yes, what you say about the hypocrisy of the North is unquestionably true. However--" and I think to myself: this is death. Lately it is all I can do to carry on such everyday conversations, because my cheek has developed a tendency to twitch of its own accord.
Walker Percy (The Moviegoer)
The human heart is like india-rubber; a little swells it, but a great deal will not burst it. If "little more than nothing will disturb it, little less than all things will suffice" to break it. As in the outer members of our frame, there is a vital power inherent in itself that strengthens it against external violence. Every blow that shakes it will serve to harden it against a future stroke; as constant labour thickens the skin of the hand, and strengthens its muscles instead of wasting them away: so that a day of arduous toil, that might excoriate a lady's palm, would make no sensible impression on that of a hardy ploughman.
Anne Brontë (Agnes Grey)
It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
Great. Okay. That, uh... was easier than I thought." Jack cocked his head. Wait a second... He couldn't decide if he was pissed or really impressed. He hooked a finger into the waistband of the workout pants she'd changed into and pulled her closer. "Did you fake me out with those tears, Cameron?" She peered up at him, defiantly, seemingly outraged by the suggestion. "Are you kidding? What, after the day I've had, I'm not entitled to a few tears? Sheesh." Jack waited. "This wedding is very important to me--I can't believe you're even doubting me. Honestly, Jack, the tears were real." He waited some more. She would talk eventually. They always did. Cameron shifted under the weight of his stare. "Okay, fine. Some of the tears were real." She looked him over, annoyed. "You are really good at that." He grinned. "I know.
Julie James (Something About You (FBI/US Attorney, #1))
But there are people who take salt with their coffee. They say it gives a tang, a savour, which is peculiar and fascinating. In the same way there are certain places, surrounded by a halo of romance, to which the inevitable disillusionment you experience on seeing them gives a singular spice. You had expected something wholly beautiful and you get an impression which is infinitely more complicated than any that beauty can give you. It is the weakness in the character of a great man which may make him less admirable but certainly more interesting. Nothing had prepared me for Honolulu...
W. Somerset Maugham
He’d also agreed to be betrothed to the Archduke of Varsha’s daughter, a girl of nine who had evidently impressed him a great deal by being able to spit across a garden plot. I was a little dubious about this as a foundation for marriage, but I suppose it wasn’t much worse than marrying her because her father might have stirred up rebellion, otherwise.
Naomi Novik (Uprooted)
I, too, feel the need to reread the books I have already read," a third reader says, "but at every rereading I seem to be reading a new book, for the first time. Is it I who keep changing and seeing new things of which I was not previously aware? Or is reading a construction that assumes form, assembling a great number of variables, and therefore something that cannot be repeated twice according to the same pattern? Every time I seek to relive the emotion of a previous reading, I experience different and unexpected impressions, and do not find again those of before. At certain moments it seems to me that between one reading and the next there is a progression: in the sense, for example, of penetrating further into the spirit of the text, or of increasing my critical detachment. At other moments, on the contrary, I seem to retain the memory of the readings of a single book one next to another, enthusiastic or cold or hostile, scattered in time without a perspective, without a thread that ties them together. The conclusion I have reached is that reading is an operation without object; or that its true object is itself. The book is an accessory aid, or even a pretext.
Italo Calvino (If on a Winter's Night a Traveler)
I have said that one of the distinguishing characteristics of a great man is that his active intervention makes what seemed highly improbable in fact happen.
Isaiah Berlin (Personal Impressions)
Hamish shrugged. “It’s all pretty cool and impressive … if you never saw fucking Jurassic Park.
Matthew Reilly (The Great Zoo of China)
Great revelations of nature, of course, never fail to impress in one way or another, and I was no stranger to moods of the kind. Mountains overawe and oceans terrify, while the mystery of great forests exercises a spell peculiarly its own. But all these, at one point or another, somewhere link on intimately with human life and human experience. They stir comprehensible, even if alarming, emotions. They tend on the whole to exalt.
Algernon Blackwood (The Willows)
Well do I remember the first night we met, how you questioned my opinion that first impressions are perfect. You were right to do so, of course, but even then I suspected what I've come to believe most passionately these past weeks: from that first moment, I knew you were a dangerous woman, and I was in great peril of falling in love." She thought she should say something witty here. She said, "Really?
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
The great events of life often leave one unmoved; they pass out of consciousness, and, when thinks of them, become unreal. Even the scarlet flowers of passion seem to grow in the same meadow as the poppies of oblivion. We reject the burden of their memory, and have anodynes against them. But the little things, the things of no moment, remain with us. In some tiny ivory cell the brain stores the most delicate, and the most fleeting impressions.
Oscar Wilde
...What I have denied and what my reason compels me to deny, is the existence of a Being throned above us as a god, directing our mundane affairs in detail, regarding us as individuals, punishing us, rewarding us as human judges might. When the churches learn to take this rational view of things, when they become true schools of ethics and stop teaching fables, they will be more effective than they are to-day... If they would turn all that ability to teaching this one thing – the fact that honesty is best, that selfishness and lies of any sort must surely fail to produce happiness – they would accomplish actual things. Religious faiths and creeds have greatly hampered our development. They have absorbed and wasted some fine intellects. That creeds are getting to be less and less important to the average mind with every passing year is a good sign, I think, although I do not wish to talk about what is commonly called theology. The criticisms which have been hurled at me have not worried me. A man cannot control his beliefs. If he is honest in his frank expression of them, that is all that can in justice be required of him. Professor Thomson and a thousand others do not in the least agree with me. His criticism of me, as I read it, charged that because I doubted the soul’s immortality, or ‘personality,’ as he called it, my mind must be abnormal, ‘pathological,’ in other, words, diseased... I try to say exactly what I honestly believe to be the truth, and more than that no man can do. I honestly believe that creedists have built up a mighty structure of inaccuracy, based, curiously, on those fundamental truths which I, with every honest man, must not alone admit but earnestly acclaim. I have been working on the same lines for many years. I have tried to go as far as possible toward the bottom of each subject I have studied. I have not reached my conclusions through study of traditions; I have reached them through the study of hard fact. I cannot see that unproved theories or sentiment should be permitted to have influence in the building of conviction upon matters so important. Science proves its theories or it rejects them. I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. I earnestly believe that I am right; I cannot help believing as I do... I cannot accept as final any theory which is not provable. The theories of the theologians cannot be proved. Proof, proof! That is what I always have been after; that is what my mind requires before it can accept a theory as fact. Some things are provable, some things disprovable, some things are doubtful. All the problems which perplex us, now, will, soon or late, be solved, and solved beyond a question through scientific investigation. The thing which most impresses me about theology is that it does not seem to be investigating. It seems to be asserting, merely, without actual study. ...Moral teaching is the thing we need most in this world, and many of these men could be great moral teachers if they would but give their whole time to it, and to scientific search for the rock-bottom truth, instead of wasting it upon expounding theories of theology which are not in the first place firmly based. What we need is search for fundamentals, not reiteration of traditions born in days when men knew even less than we do now. [Columbian Magazine interview]
Thomas A. Edison
I don't see the use of reading the same thing over and over again,' said Phillip. 'That's only a laborious form of idleness.' But are you under the impression that you have so great a mind that you can understand the most profound writer at a first reading?' I don't want to understand him, I'm not a critic. I'm not interested in him for his sake but for mine.' Why do you read then?' Partly for pleasure, because it's a habit and I'm just as uncomfortable if I don't read as if I don't smoke, and partly to know myself. When I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me; I've got out of the book all that's any use to me and I can't get anythning more if I read it a dozen times. ...
W. Somerset Maugham (Of Human Bondage)
While I was backstage before presenting the Best New Artist award, I talked to George Strait for a while. He's so incredibly cool. So down-to-earth and funny. I think it should be known that George Strait has an awesome, dry, subtle sense of humor. Then I went back out into the crowd and watched the rest of the show. Keith Urban's new song KILLS ME, it's so good. And when Brad Paisley ran down into the front row and kissed Kimberley's stomach (she's pregnant) before accepting his award, Kellie, my mom, and I all started crying. That's probably the sweetest thing I've ever seen. I thought Kellie NAILED her performance of the song we wrote together "The Best Days of Your Life". I was so proud of her. I thought Darius Rucker's performance RULED, and his vocals were incredible. I'm a huge fan. I love it when I find out that the people who make the music I love are wonderful people. I love Faith Hill and how she always makes everyone in the room feel special. I love Keith Urban, and how he told me he knows every word to "Love Story" (That made my night). I love Nicole Kidman, and her sweet, warm personality. I love how Kenny Chesney always has something hilarious or thoughtful to say. But the real moment that brought on this wave of gratitude was when Shania Twain HERSELF walked up and introduced herself to me. Shania Twain, as in.. The reason I wanted to do this in the first place. Shania Twain, as in.. the most impressive and independent and confident and successful female artist to ever hit country music. She walked up to me and said she wanted to meet me and tell me I was doing a great job. She was so beautiful, guys. She really IS that beautiful. All the while, I was completely star struck. After she walked away, I realized I didn't have my camera. Then I cried. You know, last night made me feel really great about being a country music fan in general. Country music is the place to find reality in music, and reality in the stars who make that music. There's kindness and goodness and....honesty in the people I look up to, and knowing that makes me smile. I'm proud to sing country music, and that has never wavered. The reason for the being.. nights like last night.
Taylor Swift
People love superheroes.  It's true we're  impressed by their bravery and fortitude, their supernatural gifts and physical brawn.  But the fact is, villains possess these same qualities.  So why our admiration for the hero and not the nemesis?  Because of virtue.   A superhero gives everything to defend what's good and right without seeking praise or reward.  Think about it.  All the great heroes give without taking, help without grumbling, sacrifice without asking recompense.  A superhero's real strength, what we absolutely fall in love with, is his finer virtue.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, and Grumblings for Every Day of the Year)
Some people look like they sound better than they actually sound, because they look confident and have good posture," once musician, a veteran of many auditions, says. "Other people look awful when they play but sound great. Other people have that belabored look when they play, but you can't hear it in the sound. There is always this dissonance between what you see and hear" (p.251).
Malcolm Gladwell (Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking)
So my first impression, that he was a person of some undefined consequence, had gradually faded and he had become simply the proprietor of an elaborate road-house next door.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
Then he said in his most excellent Mick impression, "Your powers are useless against Ninja Lords, O great zombie hunter! Surrender or feel the sting of the shuriken!
Alan Goldsher (Paul Is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion)
Great way to impress your future brother-in-law, by the way," Kieran continued. "You look like you took a blood bath. The only thing missing is the axe. Would Dallas really let his little sister date a crazed murderer who hacks bodies in the basement? You need to change that shirt pronto. And oh, you're welcome. I just saved you from making a complete and utter fool of yourself, but don't mention it." I curled my lips into a fake smile. "Thanks. It's so nice to know you've got my back." Kieran regarded me coolly. "A hobby might help ease all that hunger. Have you ever considered fixing cars, or woodworking, or maybe a DIY project around the house?" "You're getting a big laugh out of this, aren't you?" Kieran shrugged. "There's nothing on TV.
Jayde Scott (A Job From Hell (Ancient Legends, #1))
It is asked whether, in fact, the leader makes propaganda, or whether propaganda makes the leader. There is a widespread impression that a good press agent can puff up a nobody into a great man. The answer is the same as that made to the old query as to whether the newspaper makes public opinion or whether public opinion makes the newspaper. There has to be fertile ground for the leader and the idea to fall on. But the leader also has to have some vital seed to sow. To use another figure, a mutual need has to exist before either can become positively effective. Propaganda is of no use to the politician unless he has something to say which the public, consciously or unconsciously, wants to hear.
Edward L. Bernays (Propaganda)
In the end, therefore, money will be the one thing people will desire, which is moreover only representative, an abstraction. Nowadays a young man hardly envies anyone his gifts, his art, the love of a beautiful girl, or his fame; he only envies him his money. Give me money, he will say, and I am saved...He would die with nothing to reproach himself with, and under the impression that if only he had had the money he might really have lived and might even have achieved something great.
Søren Kierkegaard (Present Age & Of the Difference Between a Genius & an Apostle)
Tom Paine has almost no influence on present-day thinking in the United States because he is unknown to the average citizen. Perhaps I might say right here that this is a national loss and a deplorable lack of understanding concerning the man who first proposed and first wrote those impressive words, 'the United States of America.' But it is hardly strange. Paine's teachings have been debarred from schools everywhere and his views of life misrepresented until his memory is hidden in shadows, or he is looked upon as of unsound mind. We never had a sounder intelligence in this Republic. He was the equal of Washington in making American liberty possible. Where Washington performed Paine devised and wrote. The deeds of one in the Weld were matched by the deeds of the other with his pen. Washington himself appreciated Paine at his true worth. Franklin knew him for a great patriot and clear thinker. He was a friend and confidant of Jefferson, and the two must often have debated the academic and practical phases of liberty. I consider Paine our greatest political thinker. As we have not advanced, and perhaps never shall advance, beyond the Declaration and Constitution, so Paine has had no successors who extended his principles. Although the present generation knows little of Paine's writings, and although he has almost no influence upon contemporary thought, Americans of the future will justly appraise his work. I am certain of it. Truth is governed by natural laws and cannot be denied. Paine spoke truth with a peculiarly clear and forceful ring. Therefore time must balance the scales. The Declaration and the Constitution expressed in form Paine's theory of political rights. He worked in Philadelphia at the time that the first document was written, and occupied a position of intimate contact with the nation's leaders when they framed the Constitution. Certainly we may believe that Washington had a considerable voice in the Constitution. We know that Jefferson had much to do with the document. Franklin also had a hand and probably was responsible in even larger measure for the Declaration. But all of these men had communed with Paine. Their views were intimately understood and closely correlated. There is no doubt whatever that the two great documents of American liberty reflect the philosophy of Paine. ...Then Paine wrote 'Common Sense,' an anonymous tract which immediately stirred the fires of liberty. It flashed from hand to hand throughout the Colonies. One copy reached the New York Assembly, in session at Albany, and a night meeting was voted to answer this unknown writer with his clarion call to liberty. The Assembly met, but could find no suitable answer. Tom Paine had inscribed a document which never has been answered adversely, and never can be, so long as man esteems his priceless possession. In 'Common Sense' Paine flared forth with a document so powerful that the Revolution became inevitable. Washington recognized the difference, and in his calm way said that matters never could be the same again. It must be remembered that 'Common Sense' preceded the declaration and affirmed the very principles that went into the national doctrine of liberty. But that affirmation was made with more vigor, more of the fire of the patriot and was exactly suited to the hour... Certainly [the Revolution] could not be forestalled, once he had spoken. {The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}
Thomas A. Edison (Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)
Every time I create something, whether an idea or a work of art, initially, its supposed completion seems absolutely perfect to me. However the more I think about it, stare it down, the more it marinates in my soul over the hours, days, and weeks, the more flaws I start to find in it; and finally, the more I'm pressed to continue enhancing it. It essentially turns out that whatever thing a flawed and imperfect, human eye once thought was amazing begins to appear quite wretched. This is why, eternally, God cannot be impressed by mere talents or by mortal achievements. To perfect eyes, I imagine that great is not really that great; rather, humility is ultimately a human being's true greatness.
Criss Jami (Diotima, Battery, Electric Personality)
We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. We’re afraid that our truth isn’t enough—that what we have to offer isn’t enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing. I was afraid to walk on that stage and show the audience my kitchen-table self—these people were too important, too successful, too famous. My kitchen-table self is too messy, too imperfect, too unpredictable. Here’s the crux of the struggle: I want to experience your vulnerability but I don’t want to be vulnerable.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
Mort remembered the woodcut in his grandmother’s almanack, between the page on planting times and the phases of the moon section, showing Dethe thee Great Levyller Comes To Alle Menne. He’d stared at it hundreds of times when learning his letters. It wouldn’t have been half so impressive if it had been generally known that the flame-breathing horse the specter rode was called Binky.
Terry Pratchett (Mort (Discworld, #4))
There are three points of view from which a writer can be considered: he may be considered as a storyteller, as a teacher, and as an enchanter. A major writer combines these three — storyteller, teacher, enchanter — but it is the enchanter in him that predominates and makes him a major writer...The three facets of the great writer — magic, story, lesson — are prone to blend in one impression of unified and unique radiance, since the magic of art may be present in the very bones of the story, in the very marrow of thought...Then with a pleasure which is both sensual and intellectual we shall watch the artist build his castle of cards and watch the castle of cards become a castle of beautiful steel and glass.
Vladimir Nabokov
It just shows that you may make a great stir in the world and yet sadly fail to impress the members of your own family.
W. Somerset Maugham
A genuine teacher does not seek to impress you with their greatness, but instead to impress upon you that you possess the skills to discover your own.
Charles F. Glassman
I watched her cry--drown herself in a flood of tears. It is a great thing to be in the presence of a rational being who cries. A weak, broken creature shedding tears makes the same impression as an all-powerful god to whom one prays. In her weakness and defeat Amy was above human power.
Henri Barbusse (Hell)
Expression is saying what you wish to say, Impression is saying what others wish to hear.
Krishna Saagar
Anyaele Sam Chiyson Leadership Law of Reproduction: Distinguished leaders impress, inspire and invest in other leaders.
Anyaele Sam Chiyson (The Sagacity of Sage)
There wasn’t a man alive in Pern who hadn’t secretly cherished the notion that he might be able to Impress a dragon. That he could be linked for life to the love and sustaining admiration of these gentle great beasts. That he could transverse Pern in a twinkling, astride his dragon. That he would never suffer the loneliness that was the condition of most men - a dragonrider always had his dragon.
Anne McCaffrey (Dragonquest (Pern, #2))
It is said that the human brain divides its functions. The right brain is devoted to sensory impressions, emotions, colors, music. The left brain deals with abstract thought, logic, philosophy, analysis. My definition of a great movie: While you’re watching it, it engages your right brain. When it’s over, it engages your left brain.
Roger Ebert
Once or twice a week I would set my alarm for six A.M. so I could get up and plug in Hot Stix...I would study the curls in the mirror, impressed with both the appliance and my newfound ability to use it. Then, without fail, at the last second before leaving for school, I would ask myself, "Am I supposed to brush it out or leave it?" Why could I never remember" That feeling of "I'm pretty sure this next step is wrong, but I'm just gonna do it anyway" is part of the same set of instincts that makes me such a great cook.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
American racism has many moving parts, and has had enough centuries in which to evolve an impressive camouflage. It can hoard its malice in great stillness for a long time, all the while pretending to look the other way. Like misogyny, it is atmospheric. You don’t see it at first. But understanding comes.
Teju Cole (Known and Strange Things: Essays)
It is a great adventure to contemplate the universe, beyond man, to contemplate what it would be like without man, as it was in a great part of its long history and as it is in a great majority of places. When this objective view is finally attained, and the mystery and majesty of matter are fully appreciated, to then turn the objective eye back on man viewed as matter, to view life as part of this universal mystery of greatest depth, is to sense an experience which is very rare, and very exciting. It usually ends in laughter and a delight in the futility of trying to understand what this atom in the universe is, this thing—atoms with curiosity—that looks at itself and wonders why it wonders. Well, these scientific views end in awe and mystery, lost at the edge in uncertainty, but they appear to be so deep and so impressive that the theory that it is all arranged as a stage for God to watch man's struggle for good and evil seems inadequate. Some will tell me that I have just described a religious experience. Very well, you may call it what you will. Then, in that language I would say that the young man's religious experience is of such a kind that he finds the religion of his church inadequate to describe, to encompass that kind of experience. The God of the church isn't big enough.
Richard P. Feynman (The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist)
The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder.
Adam Smith
We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. We’re afraid that our truth isn’t enough—that what we have to offer isn’t enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
Joy is meant to be felt; its not meant to be detained. It is meant to be shared with others; not to be felt alone. When all the mouths smile out their teeth together, thats when the greatest happiness can be measured. You don't smile in order to see your friends cry and claim your joy is divine.
Israelmore Ayivor
Recordings of Georgian folk polyphonic songs makes a great musical impression. They are recorded in a tradition of active reproduction of Georgian folk music the origin of which begins from ancient time. It is a wonderful finding and can give to the performance much more than all the modem music can... Yodel or "Krimanchuli" as it is called in Georgia is the best song which I have ever heard. ["America" magazine, No 23 1967]
Igor Stravinsky
It does not answer the aim which God had in this institution, merely for men to have good commentaries and expositions on the Scripture, and other good books of divinity; because, although these may tend, as well as preaching, to give a good doctrinal or speculative understanding of the word of God, yet they have not an equal tendency to impress them on men's hearts and affections. God hath appointed a particular and lively application of his word, in the preaching of it, as a fit means to affect sinners with the importance of religion, their own misery, the necessity of a remedy, and the glory and sufficiency of a remedy provided; to stir up the pure minds of the saints, quicken their affections by often bringing the great things of religion in their remembrance, and setting them in their proper colours, though they know them, and have been fully instructed in them already.
Jonathan Edwards
Visual impressions are greatly intensified and the eye recovers some of the perceptual innocence of childhood, when the sensum was not immediately and automatically subordinated to the concept. Interest in space is diminished and interest in time falls almost to zero.
Aldous Huxley (The Doors of Perception & Heaven and Hell)
You never get a second chance to make a great first impression. Within a few seconds, with just a glance, people have judged your social and economic level, your level of education, and even your level of success. Within minutes, they've also decided your levels of intelligence, trustworthiness, competence, friendliness and confidence. Although these evaluations happen in an instant, they can last for years: first impressions are often indelible.
Olivia Fox Cabane
The problem with dreams is that they are always futuristic and gives a deceptive impression that there is still enough time to actualize them.
Sunday Adelaja (How To Become Great Through Time Conversion: Are you wasting time, spending time or investing time?)
I've learned that a true hero is not an extraordinary man. He may not impress the world, but he so greatly changes hers. That makes him utterly heroic indeed.
Joanna Davidson Politano (Finding Lady Enderly)
Words alone can effect great good as well as evil. A few apt words have swept candidates into office, ended as well as started wars, paved the way for peace and carried with them both hope as well as despair. Words alone have ruined lives, but have also brought forth healing. It is well known the harm words can cause, but the good they can bring is equally impressive.
Steve Goodier
The difference between science and philosophy is that the scientist learns more and more about less and less until she knows everything about nothing, whereas a philosopher learns less and less about more and more until he knows nothing about everything. There is truth in this clever crack, but, as Niels Bohr impressed, while the opposite of a trivial truth is false, the opposite of a great truth is another great truth.
Dorion Sagan
And if you wish to receive of the ancient city an impression with which the modern one can no longer furnish you, climb--on the morning of some grand festival, beneath the rising sun of Easter or of Pentecost--climb upon some elevated point, whence you command the entire capital; and be present at the wakening of the chimes. Behold, at a signal given from heaven, for it is the sun which gives it, all those churches quiver simultaneously. First come scattered strokes, running from one church to another, as when musicians give warning that they are about to begin. Then, all at once, behold!--for it seems at times, as though the ear also possessed a sight of its own,--behold, rising from each bell tower, something like a column of sound, a cloud of harmony. First, the vibration of each bell mounts straight upwards, pure and, so to speak, isolated from the others, into the splendid morning sky; then, little by little, as they swell they melt together, mingle, are lost in each other, and amalgamate in a magnificent concert. It is no longer anything but a mass of sonorous vibrations incessantly sent forth from the numerous belfries; floats, undulates, bounds, whirls over the city, and prolongs far beyond the horizon the deafening circle of its oscillations. Nevertheless, this sea of harmony is not a chaos; great and profound as it is, it has not lost its transparency; you behold the windings of each group of notes which escapes from the belfries.
Victor Hugo (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame)
Every morning in the middle of nowhere, without electricity or anyone to impress, I'd take great care in picking out my outfit and hover in front of a business card-size mirror to apply my lip gloss and check my eyebrows. I also felt I had a strong case for bringing a little black dress on expeditions. Village parties spring up more often than you might expect, and despite never having been a Girl Scout, I like to be prepared.
Mireya Mayor (Pink Boots and a Machete: My Journey from NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer)
The novel’s not dead, it’s not even seriously injured, but I do think we’re working in the margins, working in the shadows of the novel’s greatness and influence. There’s plenty of impressive talent around, and there’s strong evidence that younger writers are moving into history, finding broader themes. But when we talk about the novel we have to consider the culture in which it operates. Everything in the culture argues against the novel, particularly the novel that tries to be equal to the complexities and excesses of the culture. This is why books such as JR and Harlot’s Ghost and Gravity’s Rainbow and The Public Burning are important—to name just four. They offer many pleasures without making concessions to the middle-range reader, and they absorb and incorporate the culture instead of catering to it. And there’s the work of Robert Stone and Joan Didion, who are both writers of conscience and painstaking workers of the sentence and paragraph. I don’t want to list names because lists are a form of cultural hysteria, but I have to mention Blood Meridian for its beauty and its honor. These books and writers show us that the novel is still spacious enough and brave enough to encompass enormous areas of experience. We have a rich literature. But sometimes it’s a literature too ready to be neutralized, to be incorporated into the ambient noise. This is why we need the writer in opposition, the novelist who writes against power, who writes against the corporation or the state or the whole apparatus of assimilation. We’re all one beat away from becoming elevator music.
Don DeLillo
Today You Soar "Like the grand eagle, you spread your wings And put forth the effort to do great things. Looking skyward you dared to challenge the wind, Harnessing power to help you ascend. With an eye on the goal, fixed in flight, You climbed to an impressive height. Undaunted by gusts and unkind gails, You never gave up and would not fail. So now you’ve reached where few even try As the eagle high in a glorious sky. Not superior, but grand. Not proud, but sure. Not a cub, wolf, or bear but an eagle pure. Today you soar.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
Pain transcends through an invisible crack in your body and slithers inside you. It travels in your vessels, befriends every organ and leaves a great impression as a souvenir. A shaped scar, a burning bruise or a deep wound. This souvenir is a constant reminder of the excruciating past. The brutal wound throbs and it reminds you that the pain has not yet set you free. The tattoo still burns. The tattoo always burns.
Kanza Javed (Ashes, Wine and Dust)
EDMUND *Then with alcoholic talkativeness You've just told me some high spots in your memories. Want to hear mine? They're all connected with the sea. Here's one. When I was on the Squarehead square rigger, bound for Buenos Aires. Full moon in the Trades. The old hooker driving fourteen knots. I lay on the bowsprit, facing astern, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail white in the moonlight, towering high above me. I became drunk with the beauty and signing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself -- actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself! To God, if you want to put it that way. Then another time, on the American Line, when I was lookout on the crow's nest in the dawn watch. A calm sea, that time. Only a lazy ground swell and a slow drowsy roll of the ship. The passengers asleep and none of the crew in sight. No sound of man. Black smoke pouring from the funnels behind and beneath me. Dreaming, not keeping looking, feeling alone, and above, and apart, watching the dawn creep like a painted dream over the sky and sea which slept together. Then the moment of ecstatic freedom came. the peace, the end of the quest, the last harbor, the joy of belonging to a fulfillment beyond men's lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and dreams! And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience. Became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint's vision of beatitude. Like a veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see -- and seeing the secret, are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason! *He grins wryly. It was a great mistake, my being born a man, I would have been much more successful as a sea gull or a fish. As it is, I will always be a stranger who never feels at home, who does not really want and is not really wanted, who can never belong, who must always be a a little in love with death! TYRONE *Stares at him -- impressed. Yes, there's the makings of a poet in you all right. *Then protesting uneasily. But that's morbid craziness about not being wanted and loving death. EDMUND *Sardonically The *makings of a poet. No, I'm afraid I'm like the guy who is always panhandling for a smoke. He hasn't even got the makings. He's got only the habit. I couldn't touch what I tried to tell you just now. I just stammered. That's the best I'll ever do, I mean, if I live. Well, it will be faithful realism, at least. Stammering is the native eloquence of us fog people.
Eugene O'Neill (Long Day's Journey into Night)
Let me guess. Dark hair, brown eyes, great abs, white teeth, Abercrombie & Fitch.” “Close,” I say. “Light brown hair, correct on the eyes, abs, and teeth, but American Eagle Outfitters all the way.” “Impressive,” she says. “My turn,” I say. “Thick blonde hair, big blue eyes, an adorable little white dress with a matching hat, royal blue skin, and you’re about two feet tall.” She laughs loudly. “You have a thing for Smurfette?
Colleen Hoover (Finding Cinderella (Hopeless, #2.5))
What makes the strength of the soldier isn't the energy he uses trying to intimidate the other guy by sending him a whole lot of signals, it's the strength he's able to concentrate within himself, by staying centered. That Maori player was like a tree, a great indestructible oak with deep roots and a powerful radiance- everyone could feel it. And yet you also got the impression that the great oak could fly, that it would be as quick as the wind, despite, or perhaps because of, its deep roots.
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
One semester later I did, indeed, graduate with a 4.0. I had done it. And after that, my GPA did . . . Nothing. I never planned on going to graduate school. I wasn’t applying for jobs that used grades as a measurement. I didn’t need that GPA for any single reason other than to SAY I had it and impress people. I could turn this into an argument for “Let’s reward a high GPA after college in LIFE! Can we get priority seating on Southwest? A free monthly refill at Starbucks? SOMETHING to make four years of my life chasing this arbitrary number WORTH it?!” (Great idea. Never gonna happen.) Or I could argue that if I’d been easier on myself and gotten 10 percent worse grades I could have had 50 percent more friendships and fun. If someone’s takeaway from this story is “Felicia Day said don’t study!,” I’ll punch you in the face. But I AM saying don’t chase perfection for perfection’s sake, or for anyone else’s sake at all. If you strive for something, make sure it’s for the right reasons. And if you fail, that will be a better lesson for you than any success you’ll ever have. Because you learn a lot from screwing up. Being perfect . . . not so much.
Felicia Day (You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost))
To prove to [her friend, Swedish diplomat Count] Gyllenborg that she was not superficial, Catherine composed an essay about herself, "so that he would see whether I knew myself or not." The next day, she wrote and handed to Gyllenborg an essay titled 'Portrait of a Fifteen-Year-Old Philosopher.' He was impressed and returned it with a dozen pages of comments, mostly favorable. "I read his remarks again and again, many times [Catherine later recalled in her memoirs]. I impressed them on my consciousness and resolved to follow his advice. In addition, there was something else surprising: one day, while conversing with me, he allowed the following sentence to slip out: 'What a pity that you will marry! I wanted to find out what he meant, but he would not tell me.
Robert K. Massie (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman)
I dried my hands and took out my pocket-book from the inside of my tunic hanging on the wall. Rinaldi took the note, folded it without rising from the bed and slid it in his breeches pocket. He smiled, "I must make on Miss Barkley the impression of a man of sufficient wealth. You are my great and good friend and financial protector." "Go to hell," I said.
Ernest Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms)
The great chefs understand human desire. They can balance nurturing with the desire to dazzle or seduce or impress.
David Blum (Anthony Bourdain: The Kindle Singles Interview (Kindle Single))
As king, your desires must be stronger than any other. You must be more magnificent, more easily angered than everyone else! He should be both pure and chaotic, a man who was more real than any other man. Only through this could your subjects be impressed by their king, and only through this would the message ‘if I was king, such would be my wonder’ be imprinted upon their hearts.
武内 崇 (Fate/Zero(2)英霊参集 [Eirei Sanshuu])
Barham you may be, but there is one thing you have been which is certain!' He paused to let this sink in. My lord did not seem to be greatly impressed. 'Oh, a number of things!' he assured his guest. 'Of course, there are a number of things I have not been, too.
Georgette Heyer (The Masqueraders)
After all, it is sometimes rather enjoyable to feel insulted, is it not? For the person knows that no one has insulted him, and that he himself has thought up the insult and told lies as an ornament, has exaggerated in order to create a certain impression, has seized on a word and made a mountain out of a molehill – is well aware of this, and yet is the very first to feel insulted, feel insulted to the point of pleasure, to the point of great satisfaction, and for that very reason ends up nurturing a sense of true animosity…
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamozov)
And in winter, under my greatcoat, I wrapped myself in swathes of newspaper, and did not shed them until the earth awoke, for good, in April. The Times Literary Supplement was admirably adapted to this purpose, of a neverfailing toughness and impermeability. Even farts made no impression on it. I can't help it, gas escapes from my fundament on the least pretext, it's hard not to mention it now and then, however great my distaste. One day I counted them. Three hundred and fifteen farts in nineteen hours, or an average of over sixteen farts an hour. After all it's not excessive. Four farts every fifteen minutes. It's nothing. Not even one fart every four minutes. It's unbelievable. Damn it, I hardly fart at all, I should never have mentioned it.
Samuel Beckett (Molloy)
Pandora decided to take another tack. “You do not want to marry me, my lord. I would be the worst wife imaginable. I’m forgetful and stubborn, and I can never sit still for more than five minutes. I’m always doing things I shouldn’t. I eavesdrop on other people, I shout and run in public, and I’m a clumsy dancer. And I’ve lowered my character with a great deal of unwholesome reading material.” Pausing to draw breath, she noticed that Lord St. Vincent didn’t appear properly impressed by her list of faults. “Also, my legs are skinny. Like a stork’s.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end …'" Mustapha Mond paused, put down the first book and, picking up the other, turned over the pages. "Take this, for example," he said, and in his deep voice once more began to read: "'A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false–a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses.'" Mustapha Mond shut the book and leaned back in his chair. "One of the numerous things in heaven and earth that these philosophers didn't dream about was this" (he waved his hand), "us, the modern world. 'You can only be independent of God while you've got youth and prosperity; independence won't take you safely to the end.' Well, we've now got youth and prosperity right up to the end. What follows? Evidently, that we can be independent of God. 'The religious sentiment will compensate us for all our losses.' But there aren't any losses for us to compensate; religious sentiment is superfluous. And why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires, when youthful desires never fail? A substitute for distractions, when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last? What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity? of consolation, when we have soma? of something immovable, when there is the social order?
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
His success in dealing with the strong egos of the men in his cabinet suggests that in the hands of a truly great politician the qualities we generally associate with decency and morality—kindness, sensitivity, compassion, honesty, and empathy—can also be impressive political resources.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln)
Reading over what I have written so far I see I have given the impression that the events of three nights several weeks apart were all that absorbed me. On the contrary they were merely casual events in a crowded summer and, until much later, they absorbed me infinitely less than my personal affairs.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
In the first place I spent most of my time at home, reading. I tried to stifle all that was continually seething within me by means of external impressions. And the only external means I had was reading. Reading, of course, was a great help--exciting me, giving me pleasure and pain. But at times it bored me fearfully. One longed for movement in spite of everything, and I plunged all at once into dark, underground, loathsome vice of the pettiest kind. My wretched passions were acute, smarting, from my continual, sickly irritability I had hysterical impulses, with tears and convulsions. I had no resource except reading, that is, there was nothing in my surroundings which I could respect and which attracted me. I was overwhelmed with depression, too; I had an hysterical craving for incongruity and for contrast, and so I took to vice. I have not said all this to justify myself .... But, no! I am lying. I did want to justify myself. I make that little observation for my own benefit, gentlemen. I don't want to lie. I vowed to myself I would not.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
The author nicely encapsulates Paul's overarching intent in his letter to Corinth, to impress upon those in the church infatuated with the gifts of the Spirit a greater awestruck awareness of His presence in and among them. The author then illustrates thusly: if we have but a few coins, we may carry them lightly with little concern as to whether we lose them. But if we are aware that we carry a great sum, we will carry it with great care. How much more the Treasure of the Holy Spirit within the earthen vessel of our bodies?
Watchman Nee (The Normal Christian Life)
Pico Iyer: “And at some point, I thought, well, I’ve been really lucky to see many, many places. Now, the great adventure is the inner world, now that I’ve spent a lot of time gathering emotions, impressions, and experiences. Now, I just want to sit still for years on end, really, charting that inner landscape because I think anybody who travels knows that you’re not really doing so in order to move around—you’re traveling in order to be moved. And really what you’re seeing is not just the Grand Canyon or the Great Wall but some moods or intimations or places inside yourself that you never ordinarily see when you’re sleepwalking through your daily life. I thought, there’s this great undiscovered terrain that Henry David Thoreau and Thomas Merton and Emily Dickinson fearlessly investigated, and I want to follow in their footsteps.
Krista Tippett (Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living)
HOW TO ASCERTAIN THE WILL OF GOD I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is. 2.—Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions. 3.—I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them. 4.—Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's Will in connection with His Word and Spirit. 5.—I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright. 6.—Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective. GEORGE MÜLLER.
George Müller (Answers to Prayer From George Müller's Narratives)
On one hand she seems so agile, so athletic, and yet I've seen her appear so awkward that it embarrassed me. She gives the impression of a hard, worldly adroitness, and in some situations she's like an adolescent: rigid with ancient, middle class attitudes, unable to think for herself, falling back on old verities...victim of her family teaching, shocked by what shocks people, wanting what people usually want. She wants a home, a husband, and her idea of a husband is a man who earns a certain amount of money, helps around the garden, does the dishes...the idea of a good husband that's found in This Week magazine; a viewpoint from the most ordinary stratum, that great ubiquitous world of family life, transmitted from generation to generation. Despite her wild language.
Philip K. Dick (Confessions of a Crap Artist)
I'm here to present my findings at the symposium. I'm an esteemed member of the Society, with an impressive record of scholarship, and I have something of value to contribute to these proceedings. I also happen to be female. I'm a woman who knows a great deal about rocks. I suggest you find the stones to deal with it.
Tessa Dare (A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.” —John Stuart Mill1
Gad Saad (The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense)
He's paying the price and wondering for what sin and telling himself that he's been too selfish. In what act or thought of his has there ever been a self? What was his aim in life? Greatness--in other people's eyes. Fame, admiration, envy--all that which comes from others. Others dictated his convictions, which he did not hold, but he was satisfied that others believed he held them. Others were his motive power and his prime concern. He didn't want to be great, but to be thought great. He didn't want to build, but to be admired as a builder. He borrowed from others in order to make an impression on others. There's your actual selflessness.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
Life is like a film screen: pictures come, make an impression, go, and then make a place for new pictures with new impressions which obscure the previous ones. Some of those old pictures fade, but the impressions they leave will never pass away. Such an impression is the image of Hein Sietsma -- a joyful Christian who loved life so much but was still willing to give it to the great, good, and holy cause.
Diet Eman (Things We Couldn't Say)
Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss. Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we've never lost an astronaut in flight. We've never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together. For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, "Give me a challenge, and I'll meet it with joy." They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us. We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and, perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers. And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's take-off. I know it's hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them. I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program. And what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute. We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue. I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA, or who worked on this mission and tell them: "Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it." There's a coincidence today. On this day three hundred and ninety years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, "He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it." Well, today, we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake's, complete. The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God." Thank you.
Ronald Reagan
The young specialist in English Lit, having quoted me, went on to lecture me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the Universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern 'knowledge' is that it is wrong. The young man then quoted with approval what Socrates had said on learning that the Delphic oracle had proclaimed him the wisest man in Greece. 'If I am the wisest man,' said Socrates, 'it is because I alone know that I know nothing.' The implication was that I was very foolish because I was under the impression I knew a great deal. Alas, none of this was new to me. (There is very little that is new to me; I wish my correspondents would realize this.) This particular theme was addressed to me a quarter of a century ago by John Campbell, who specialized in irritating me. He also told me that all theories are proven wrong in time. My answer to him was, 'John, when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.
Isaac Asimov (The Relativity of Wrong)
He surveyed the edifice from the outside, and admired it greatly; he looked in at the windows, and received an impression of proportions equally fair. But he felt that he saw it only by glimpses, and that he had not yet stood under the roof. The door was fastened, and although he had keys in his pocket he had a conviction that none of them would fit. She was intelligent and generous; it was a fine free nature, but what was she going to do with herself?
Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)
Yes! And isn't that the root of every despicable action? Not selfishness, but precisely the absence of a self. Look at them. The man who cheats and lies, but preserves a respectable front. He knows himself to be dishonest, but others think he's honest and he derives his self-respect from that, second-hand. The man who takes credit for an achievement which is not his own. He knows himself to be mediocre, but he's great in the eyes of others. The frustrated wretch who professes love for the inferior and clings to those less endowed, in order to establish his own superiority by comparison. The man whose sole aim is to make money. Now I don't see anything evil in a desire to make money. But money is only a means to some end. If a man wants it for a personal purpose--to invest in his industry, to create, to study, to travel, to enjoy luxury--he's completely moral. But the men who place money first go much beyond that. Personal luxury is a limited endeavor. What they want is ostentation: to show, to stun, to entertain, to impress others. They're second-handers. Look at our so-called cultural endeavors. A lecturer who spouts some borrowed rehash of nothing at all that means nothing at all to him--and the people who listen and don't give a damn, but sit there in order to tell their friends that they have attended a lecture by a famous name. All second-handers.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
The great breakthrough of our age is supposed to be that we measure success by happiness, admiring a man for how much he enjoyed his life, rather than how much wealth or fame he hoarded, that old race with no finish line. Diogenes with his barrel and his sunlight lived every hour of his life content, while Alexander fought and bled, mourned friends, faced enemies, and died unsatisfied. Diogenes is greater. Or does that past-tainted inner part of you—the part that still parses ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ and ‘he’ and ‘she’—still think that happiness alone is not achievement without legacy? Diogenes has a legacy. Diogenes ruled nothing, wrote nothing, taught nothing except by the example of his life to passersby, but, so impressed were those bypassers, that, after the better part of three millennia, we still know this about him.
Ada Palmer (Seven Surrenders (Terra Ignota, #2))
For thirty years now I have been studying my fellow-men. I do not know very much about them. I should certainly hesitate to engage a servant on his face, and yet I suppose it is on the face that for the most part we judge the persons we meet. We draw our conclusions from the shape of the jaw, the look in the eyes, the contour of the mouth. I wonder if we are more often right than wrong. Why novels and plays are so often untrue to life is because their authors, perhaps of necessity, make their characters all of a piece. They cannot afford to make them self-contradictory, for then they become incomprehensible, and yet self-contradictory is what most of us are. We are a haphazard bundle of inconsistent qualities. In books on logic they will tell you that it is absurd to say that yellow is tubular or gratitude heavier than air; but in that mixture of incongruities that makes up the self yellow may very well be a horse and cart and gratitude the middle of the week. I shrug my shoulders when people tell me that their first impressions of a person are always right. I think they must have small insight or great vanity. For my own part I find that the longer I know people the more they puzzled me: my oldest friends are just these of whom I can say that I don't know the first thing about them.
W. Somerset Maugham
The very decided manner with which he spoke, and strove to impress his wife with the evil consequences of giving me instruction, served to convince me that he was deeply sensible of the truths he was uttering. It gave me the best assurance that I might rely with the utmost confidence on the results which, he said, would flow from teaching me to read. What he most dreaded, that I most desired. What he most loved, that I most hated. That which to him was a great evil, to be carefully shunned, was to me a great good, to be diligently sought; and the argument which he so warmly urged, against my learning to read, only served to inspire me with a desire and a determination to learn. In learning to read, I owe almost as much to the bitter opposition of my master, as to the kindly aid of my mistress. I acknowledge the benefit of both.
Frederick Douglass (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass)
It has been said that life has no guarantees and with that I disagree. Life gives us two great assurances and the first is that we have our personal allocation of time. For some it is only a minute and for others a century or more. Like a great inheritance of calendars and clocks, we are measured a portion of time to have as our own. The rhythm of your heart is your concert of life and no others. The impressions and thoughts of daily events are independent of any other person. We are magnificently autonomous and gifted with a liberation waiting to happen.
David Ellsworth
In other words, the problem of empire-building is essentially mystical. It must somehow foster the impression that a man is great in the degree that his nation is great; that a German as such is superior to a Belgian as such; an Englishman, to an Irishman; an American, to a Mexican: merely because the first-named countries are in each case more powerful than their comparatives. And people who have no individual stature whatever are willing to accept this poisonous nonsense because it gives them a sense of importance without the trouble of any personal effort.
Felix Morley
Contemplations on the belly When pregnant with our first, Dean and I attended a child birth class. There were about 15 other couples, all 6-8 months pregnant, just like us. As an introduction, the teacher asked us to each share what had been our favorite part of pregnancy and least favorite part. I was surprised by how many of the men and women there couldn't name a favorite part. When it was my turn, I said, "My least favorite has been the nausea, and my favorite is the belly." We were sitting in the back of the room, so it was noticeable when several heads turned to get a look at me. Dean then spoke. "Yeah, my least favorite is that she was sick, and my favorite is the belly too." Now nearly every head turned to gander incredulously at the freaky couple who actually liked the belly. Dean and I laughed about it later, but we were sincere. The belly is cool. It is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, an unmistakable sign of what's going on inside, the wigwam for our little squirmer, the mark of my undeniable superpower of baby-making. I loved the belly and its freaky awesomeness, and especially the flutters, kicks, and bumps from within. Twins belly is a whole new species. I marvel at the amazing uterus within and skin without with their unceasing ability to stretch (Reed Richards would be impressed). I still have great admiration for the belly, but I also fear it. Sometimes I wonder if I should build a shrine to it, light some incense, offer up gifts in an attempt both to honor it and avoid its wrath. It does seem more like a mythic monstrosity you'd be wise not to awaken than a bulbous appendage. It had NEEDS. It has DEMANDS. It will not be taken lightly (believe me, there's nothing light about it). I must give it its own throne, lying sideways atop a cushion, or it will CRUSH MY ORGANS. This belly is its own creature, is subject to different laws of growth and gravity. No, it's not a cute belly, not a benevolent belly. It would have tea with Fin Fang Foom; it would shake hands with Cthulhu. It's no wonder I'm so restless at night, having to sleep with one eye open. Nevertheless, I honor you, belly, and the work you do to protect and grow my two precious daughters inside. Truly, they must be even more powerful than you to keep you enslaved to their needs. It's quite clear that out of all of us, I'm certainly not the one in control. I am here to do your bidding, belly and babies. I am your humble servant.
Shannon Hale
All is ready. Except me. I am being given, if I may venture the expression, birth to into death, such is my impression. The feet are clear already, of the great cunt of existence. Favourable presentation I trust. My head will be the last to die. Haul in your hands. I can't. The render rent. My story ended I'll be living yet. Promising lag. That is the end of me. I shall say I no more.
Samuel Beckett (Malone Dies)
When I was little, my Aunt Bigeois told me "If you look at yourself too long in the mirror, you'll see a monkey." I must have looked at myself even longer than that: what I see is well below the monkey, on the fringe of the vegetable world, at the level of jellyfish... The eyes especially are horrible seen so close. They are glassy, soft, blind, red-rimmed, they look like fish scales... A silky white down covers the great slopes of the cheeks, two hairs protrude from the nostrils: it is a geological embossed map. And, in spite of everything, this lunar world is familiar to me. I cannot say I recognize the details. But the whole thing gives me an impression of something seen before which stupefies me.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Nausea)
Marketing is bad manners—and I rely on my naturalistic and ecological instincts. Say you run into a person during a boat cruise. What would you do if he started boasting of his accomplishments, telling you how great, rich, tall, impressive, skilled, famous, muscular, well educated, efficient, and good in bed he is, plus other attributes? You would certainly run away (or put him in contact with another talkative bore to get rid of both of them). It is clearly much better if others (preferably someone other than his mother) are the ones saying good things about him, and it would be nice if he acted with some personal humility.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder)
Every intellectual has a very special responsibility. He has the privilege and the opportunity of studying. In return, he owes it to his fellow men (or 'to society') to represent the results of his study as simply, clearly and modestly as he can. The worst thing that intellectuals can do – the cardinal sin – is to try to set themselves up as great prophets vis-à-vis their fellow men and to impress them with puzzling philosophies. Anyone who cannot speak simply and clearly should say nothing and continue to work until he can do so.
Karl Popper
She had been looking all round her again—at the lawn, the great trees, the reedy, silvery Thames, the beautiful old house; and while engaged in this survey she had made room in it for her companions; a comprehensiveness of observation easily conceivable on the part of a young woman who was evidently both intelligent and excited. She had seated herself and had put away the little dog; her white hands, in her lap, were folded upon her black dress; her head was erect, her eye lighted, her flexible figure turned itself easily this way and that, in sympathy with the alertness with which she evidently caught impressions. Her impressions were numerous, and they were all reflected in a clear, still smile. "I've never seen anything so beautiful as this.
Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)
The Rival If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression Of something beautiful, but annihilating. Both of you are great light borrowers. Her O-mouth grieves at the world; yours is unaffected, And your first gift is making stone out of everything. I wake to a mausoleum; you are here, Ticking your fingers on the marble table, looking for cigarettes, Spiteful as a woman, but not so nervous, And dying to say something unanswerable. The moon, too, abuses her subjects, But in the daytime she is ridiculous. Your dissatisfactions, on the other hand, Arrive through the mailslot with loving regularity, White and blank, expansive as carbon monoxide. No day is safe from news of you, Walking about in Africa maybe, but thinking of me.
Sylvia Plath
Margaret could not help her looks; but the short curled upper lip, the round, massive up-turned chin, the manner of carrying her head, her movements, full of a soft feminine defiance, always gave strangers the impression of haughtiness. […] She sat facing him and facing the light; her full beauty met his eye; her round white flexile throat rising out of the full, yet lithe figure; her lips, moving so slightly as she spoke, not breaking the cold serene look of her face with any variation from the one lovely haughty curve; her eyes, with their soft gloom, meeting his with quiet maiden freedom. He almost said to himself that he did not like her, before their conversation ended; he tried so to compensate himself for the mortified feeling, that while he looked upon her with an admiration he could not repress, she looked at him with proud indifference, taking him, he thought, for what, in his irritation, he told himself he was - a great rough fellow, with not a grace or a refinement about him. Her quiet coldness of demeanour he interpreted into contemptuousness, and resented it in his heart to the pitch of almost inclining him to get up and go away, and have nothing more to do with these Hales, and their superciliousness.
Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South)
My sister says tearfully that she has a feeling that she will never see me again. I am not very much impressed, because she has felt this every time I go to the East. And what, she asks, is she to do if Rosalind gets appendicitis? There seems no reason why my fourteen-year-old daughter should get appendicitis, and all I can think of to reply is: ‘Don’t operate on her yourself!’ For my sister has a great reputation for hasty action with her scissors,
Agatha Christie (Come, Tell Me How You Live: An Archaeological Memoir)
Professor Umbridge stood up. She was so short that this did not make a great deal of difference, but her fussy, simpering demeanour had given place to a hard fury that made her broad, flabby face look oddly sinister. ‘Potter has no chance whatsoever of becoming an Auror!’ Professor McGonagall got to her feet, too, and in her case this was a much more impressive move; she towered over Professor Umbridge. ‘Potter,’ she said in ringing tones, ‘I will assist you to become an Auror if it is the last thing I do! If I have to coach you nightly, I will make sure you achieve the required results!
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
Young people have a marvelous faculty of either dying or adapting themselves to circumstances. Even if they are unhappy - very unhappy - it is astonishing how easily they can be prevented from finding it out, or at any rate from attributing it to any other cause than their own sinfulness. To parents who wish to lead a quiet life I would say: Tell your children that they are naughty - much naughtier than most children. Point to the young people of some acquaintances as models of perfection and impress your own children with a deep sense of their own inferiority. You carry so many more guns than they do that they cannot fight you. This is called moral influence, and it will enable you to bounce them as much as you please. They think you know and they will not have yet caught you lying often enough to suspect that you are not the unworldly and scrupulously truthful person which you represent yourself to be; nor yet will they know how great a coward you are, nor how soon you will run away if they fight you with persistency and judgment. You keep the dice and throw them both for your children and yourself. Load them then, for you can easily manage to stop your children from examining them. Tell them how singularly indulgent you are; insist on the incalculable benefit you conferred upon them, firstly in bringing them into the world at all, but more particularly in bringing them into it as your own children rather than anyone else's... You hold all the trump cards, or if you do not you can filch them; if you play them with anything like judgment you will find yourselves heads of happy, united, God-fearing families... True, your children will probably find out all about it some day, but not until too late to be of much service to them or inconvenience to yourself.
Samuel Butler (The Way of All Flesh)
If you left out the sadistic serial killer part of him, he was a great guy. He was clean and orderly. He was kind. He catered to the woman he loved. He was a great cook. He had high hopes for his career. He didn’t plop down in front of the television for hours at a time. He enjoyed playing games and great conversation. His sexual stamina was impressive. And he was a handsome man. It’s just that pesky habit of his where he raped, tortured, killed, and dismembered women that was a turn off.
Kimberly A. Bettes (Held (Held, #1))
For folks who have that casual-dude energy coursing through their bloodstream, that's great. But gays should not grow up alienated just for us to alienate each other. It's too predictable, like any other cycle of abuse. Plus, the conformist, competitive notion that by "toning down" we are "growing up" ultimately blunts the radical edge of what it is to be queer; it truncates our colorful journey of identity. Said another way, it's like living in West Hollywood and working a gay job by day and working it in the gay nightlife, wearing delicate shiny shirts picked from up the gay dry cleaners, yet coquettishly left unbuttoned to reveal the pec implants purchased from a gay surgeon and shown off by prancing around the gay-owned-and-operated theater hopped up on gay health clinic steroids and wheat grass purchased from the friendly gay boy who's new to the city, and impressed by the monstrous SUV purchased from a gay car dealership with its rainbow-striped bumper sticker that says "Celebrate Diversity." Then logging on to the local Gay.com listings and describing yourself as "straight-acting." Let me make myself clear. This is not a campaign for everyone to be like me. That'd be a total yawn. Instead, this narrative is about praise for the prancy boys. Granted, there's undecided gender-fucks, dagger dykes, faux-mos, po-mos, FTMs, fisting-top daddies, and lezzie looners who also need props for broadening the sexual spectrum, but they're telling their own stories. The Cliff's Notes of me and mine are this: the only moments I feel alive are when I'm just being myself - not some stiff-necked temp masquerading as normal in the workplace, not some insecure gay boy aspiring to be an overpumped circuit queen, not some comic book version of swank WeHo living. If that's considered a political act in the homogenized world of twenty-first century homosexuals, then so be it. — excerpt of "Praise For The Prancy Boys," by Clint Catalyst appears in first edition (ISBN # 1-932360-56-5)
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (That's Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation)
And it will be a great boon to your friend. He’ll get the security he’s been searching for, the confidence he never had, and I’ll get the rest of my life with you. Sometimes victory is won by surrendering something great. And in surrender, we unburden ourselves so clarity can come through. We’re all just men hiding behind curtains and impressive toys, Evelyn. He can have whatever trinket validates his struggles, but he’ll never have your heart. That’s mine. I’ll surrender everything, except for you.
Lydia Michaels (Coming Home (The Surrender Trilogy, #3))
When it was proclaimed that the Library contained all books, the first impression was one of extravagant happiness. All men felt themselves to be the masters of an intact and secret treasure. There was no personal or world problem whose eloquent solution did not exist in some hexagon. The universe was justified, the universe suddenly usurped the unlimited dimensions of hope. At that time a great deal was said about the Vindications: books of apology and prophecy which vindicated for all time the acts of every man in the universe and retained prodigious arcana for his future. Thousands of the greedy abandoned their sweet native hexagons and rushed up the stairways, urged on by the vain intention of finding their Vindication. These pilgrims disputed in the narrow corridors, proffered dark curses, strangled each other on the divine stairways, flung the deceptive books into the air shafts, met their death cast down in a similar fashion by the inhabitants of remote regions. Others went mad ... The Vindications exist (I have seen two which refer to persons of the future, to persons who are perhaps not imaginary) but the searchers did not remember that the possibility of a man's finding his Vindication, or some treacherous variation thereof, can be computed as zero.
Jorge Luis Borges (Ficciones)
I'm up for a Shadow hunt." She tries to let us out, but the lock's stuck. "That's weird." "Is this like an omen?" Daisy asks. Jazz unzips her boot and takes it off so she can slam it at the lock. "It's not an omen." Slam. "Tonight." Slam. "Is going to be great." Slam. "I've got a feeling." Slam. She puts her book back on and looks at us. "Okay, we'll have to climb out of here." She stands on the toilet seat and from there to the toilet-roll holder and then heaves herself over the wall. "Impresive," I say, and then we hear her slam to the ground. "Less impressive," Daisy says. "It doesn't mean anything," Jazz calls. "Trust me. I'm a psychic.
Cath Crowley (Graffiti Moon)
It has always been a mystery to me how Adam, Eve, and the serpent were taught the same language. Where did they get it? We know now, that it requires a great number of years to form a language; that it is of exceedingly slow growth. We also know that by language, man conveys to his fellows the impressions made upon him by what he sees, hears, smells and touches. We know that the language of the savage consists of a few sounds, capable of expressing only a few ideas or states of the mind, such as love, desire, fear, hatred, aversion and contempt. Many centuries are required to produce a language capable of expressing complex ideas. It does not seem to me that ideas can be manufactured by a deity and put in the brain of man. These ideas must be the result of observation and experience.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
Well, suppose we use our brains. We see things solid. Solidities are important to us in nature. In solidities, there are measures that greatly affect us. There are rhythms in the ins and outs of form. Music, the forest and to many the most impressive of arts deals in measures which seem to go in every direction. They combine, they move together, they deflect and they oppose. Music is a structure of highly mathematical measures. According to the selection and relative value of these measures the music is great or small in its effect on us.
Robert Henri
In what act or thought of his has there ever been self? What was his aim in life? Greatness - in other people's eyes. Fame, admiration, envy - all which come from others. Others dictated his convictions, which he did not hold, but he was satisfied that other believed he held them. Others were his motive power and his prime concern. He didn't want to be great, but be thought great. He didn't want to build, but to be admired as a builder. He borrowed from other in order to make an impression on others. It's his ego that he's betrayed and given up.
Ayn Rand
The ties that bind us to life are tougher than you imagine, or anyone can who has not felt how roughly they may be pulled without breaking. You might be miserable without a home, but even you could live; and not so miserably as you suppose. The human heart is like india-rubber; a little swells it, but a great deal will not burst it. If “little more than nothing will disturb it, little less than all things will suffice” to break it. As in the outer members of our frame, there is a vital power inherent in itself that strengthens it against external violence. Every blow that shakes it will serve to harden it against a future stroke; as constant labor thickens the skin of the hand, and strengthens its muscles instead of wasting them away: so that a day of arduous toil, that might excoriate a lady’s palm, would make no sensible impression on that of a hardy ploughman.
Anne Brontë (Agnes Grey)
I always instruct my students to write a great deal. Write a journal. Take notes. Write when you are feeling wretched, when your mind is about to break down...who knows what will float up to the surface? I am an unashamed believer in the magical powers of dreams; dreams enhance us. Even nightmares may be marketable -- there is something to be said for the conscious, calculating exorcism of nightmares, if they give to us such works as those of Dostoyevsky, Celine,and Kafka. So the most important thing is to write, and to write nearly every day, in sickness and in health. In a while, in a few weeks or a few years, you can always make sense of that jumble of impressions...or perhaps it will suddenly reveal its sense to you.
Joyce Carol Oates
I lean all my weight on the porcelain ledge, I draw my face closer until it touches the mirror. The eyes, nose, and mouth disappear. Nothing is left. Brown wrinkles show on each side of the feverish swelled lips, crevices, mole holes. A silky, white down covers the great slopes of the cheeks, two hairs protrude from the nostrils: it is a geological embossed map. And, in spite of everything, this lunar world is familiar to me. I cannot say I recognize the details. But the whole thing gives me an impression of something seen before which stupefies me: I slip quietly off to sleep.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Nausea)
Priests confine broad truths into narrow doctrines, because more rules mean that they have more power. Priests mistake their own prejudice for conscience and mistake what they personally fear for what should universally be feared. Priests look inward to their own small souls and try to impress that smallness on the world, when they should be looking at the greatness of the universe and trying to impress that upon their souls. Priests forget they owe everything to their gods and begin to think the world owes everything to them . . . : the cat stopped, and shook his head. :Power is a poison.
Mercedes Lackey (Redoubt (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles, #4))
And when neither their property nor honour is touched, the majority of men live content, and he has only to contend with the ambition of a few, whom he can curb with ease in many ways. It makes him contemptible to be considered fickle, frivolous, effeminate, mean-spirited, irresolute, from all of which a prince should guard himself as from a rock; and he should endeavour to show in his actions greatness, courage, gravity, and fortitude; and in his private dealings with his subjects let him show that his judgments are irrevocable, and maintain himself in such reputation that no one can hope either to deceive him or to get round him. That prince is highly esteemed who conveys this impression of himself, and he who is highly esteemed is not easily conspired against; for, provided it is well known that he is an excellent man and revered by his people, he can only be attacked with difficulty.
Niccolò Machiavelli
We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end …'" Mustapha Mond paused, put down the first book and, picking up the other, turned over the pages. "Take this, for example," he said, and in his deep voice once more began to read: "'A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false–a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
Theodora had an impressive vocabulary, which can be charming if it is used at a convenient time. But if you are in a great hurry and someone uses something like “skip tracer,” which you are unlikely to understand, then an impressive vocabulary is quite irritating. Another way of saying this is that it is vexing. Another way of saying this is that it is annoying. Another way of saying this is that it is bothersome. Another way of saying this is that it is exasperating. Another way of saying this is that it is troublesome. Another way of saying this is that it is chafing. Another way of saying this is that it is nettling. Another way of saying this is that it is ruffling. Another way of saying this is that it is infuriating or enraging or aggravating or embittering or envenoming, or that it gets one’s goat or raises one’s dander or makes one’s blood boil or gets one hot under the collar or blue in the face or mad as a wet hen or on the warpath or in a huff or up in arms or in high dudgeon, and as you can see, it also wastes time when there isn’t any time to waste.
Lemony Snicket
Aryans?" I asked, thinking I must have heard the word incorrectly. Christian and Allie nodded. "Aryans as in white supremacist, those sorts of Aryans?" "Yes," Christian said. "Neo-Nazis?" My mind was having a hard time grasping the idea of a power-hungry vampire leading an army of Hitler's Youth. "Skinheads and their ilk?" "Hasi, what is it you find so unbelievable?" Adrian asked, a smile in his voice. "Oh, I don't know. I guess I just expected that any army Saer raised would be… you know… the evil undead." Everyone just looked at me. "Oh, yeah, I guess you're right. Neo-Nazis are more or less the evil undead. Right. So we have Saer about to attack at any moment with a bunch of goose-stepping Nazis. Great. Anyone here do a really good Winston Churchill impression?
Katie MacAlister (Sex, Lies and Vampires (Dark Ones #3))
Humility was an offensive characteristic for a God, in the eyes of early non-Christians. How could Christians worship a God who deliberately chose to share in human birth with all its mess and vulnerability and limitation, as well as a shameful death? How can we now worship a God to whom all the unimportant little details of our lives actually matter? How can we respect a God who takes us more seriously than we take ourselves, and yet is not impressed with all our accomplishments? Who loves us equally well, whetherwe succeed or fail? How could it really be that God simply disregards not only our education, our tastes, our industry, our niceness, our worthiness in order to love us? God's greatness we can begin to approach. The sheer humility of God's love is incomprehensible.
Roberta C. Bondi (To Love as God Loves)
I have always believed that places with long history, especially those in which terrible events have taken place, retain something of those times, some trace in the air, just as I have been in many a cathedral all over the world and sensed the impress of centuries of prayers and devotions. Places are often filled with their own pasts and exude a sense of then, an atmosphere of great good or great evil, which can be picked up by anyone sensitive to their surroundings.
Susan Hill
The objection to conforming to usages that have become dead to you is, that it scatters your force. It loses your time and blurs the impression of your character. If you maintain a dead church, contribute to a dead Bible-society, vote with a great party either for the government or against it, spread your table like base housekeepers, under all these screens I have difficulty to detect the precise man you are.And, of course, so much force is withdrawn from your proper life. But do your work, and I shall know you. Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself. A man must consider what a blindman's-buff is this game of conformity. If I know your sect, I anticipate your argument. I hear a preacher announce for his text and topic the expediency of one of the institutions of his church.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
NOTHING should more deeply shame the modern student than the recency and inadequacy of his acquaintance with India. Here is a vast peninsula of nearly two million square miles; two-thirds as large as the United States, and twenty times the size of its master, Great Britain; 320,000,000 souls, more than in all North and South America combined, or one-fifth of the population of the earth; an impressive continuity of development and civilization from Mohenjo-daro, 2900 B.C. or earlier, to Gandhi, Raman and Tagore; faiths compassing every stage from barbarous idolatry to the most subtle and spiritual pantheism; philosophers playing a thousand variations on one monistic theme from the Upanishads eight centuries before Christ to Shankara eight centuries after him; scientists developing astronomy three thousand years ago, and winning Nobel prizes in our own time; a democratic constitution of untraceable antiquity in the villages, and wise and beneficent rulers like Ashoka and Akbar in the capitals; minstrels singing great epics almost as old as Homer, and poets holding world audiences today; artists raising gigantic temples for Hindu gods from Tibet to Ceylon and from Cambodia to Java, or carving perfect palaces by the score for Mogul kings and queens—this is the India that patient scholarship is now opening up, like a new intellectual continent, to that Western mind which only yesterday thought civilization an exclusively European thing.I
Will Durant (Our Oriental Heritage (Story of Civilization 1))
Time is a great healer. I never felt that Julian hated him. Perhaps that would have been better. I got the impression that he lost all respect for the hatter as a result of all those scenes. Julian spoke about it as if it didn't matter to him, as if it were part of a past he had left behind, but these things are never forgotten. The words with which a child's heart is poisoned, whether through malice or through ignorance, remain branded in his memory, and sooner or later they burn his soul.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1))
For as Molly looked at him, she felt an immediate … she didn’t know what. Despite her love of the language arts, she also possessed an analytic mind, and that mind straightaway tried to seek out the why. And it couldn’t unearth the reason apart from his smile. Or, rather, how he smiled at her—warm and full-armed, like the embrace from a long-absent friend, without the slightest trace of fakeness or concealed motive. His was the most open face she’d ever seen in her life. Concomitant with these sensations, all delivered within a split second, was a thought, seemingly originating not in her mind but from the center of her torso and radiating out to the ends of each nerve, inexplicable in its suddenness and surety. A thought that children and very young people might have, but never middle-aged adults, especially one with a divorce behind her and the conviction that she already knew the world and what it was able to offer. But there it was, undeniably, the thought: I’m on a great adventure.
Ray Smith (The Magnolia That Bloomed Unseen)
It is a mistake to read too many good books when quite young. A man once told me that he had read all the books that mattered. Cross-questioned, he appeared to have read a great many, but they seemed to have made only a slight impression. How many had he understood? How many had entered into his mental composition? How many had been hammered on the anvils of his mind and afterwards ranged in an armoury of bright weapons ready to hand? It is a great pity to read a book too soon in life. The first impression is the one that counts….Young people should be careful in their reading, as old people in eating their food. They should not eat too much. They should chew it well.
Winston S. Churchill (Painting as a Pastime)
the things that most white people imagine that they can salvage from the storm of life is really, in sum, their innocence. It was this commodity precisely which I had to get rid of at once, literally, on pain of death. I am afraid that most of the white people I have ever known impressed me as being in the grip of a weird nostalgia, dreaming of a vanished state of security and order, against which dream, unfailingly and unconsciously, they tested and very often lost their lives. It is a terrible thing to say, but I am afraid that for a very long time the troubles of white people failed to impress me as being real trouble. They put me in mind of children crying because the breast has been taken away. Time and love have modified my tough-boy lack of charity, but the attitude sketched above was my first attitude and I am sure that there is a great deal of it left.
James Baldwin (Nobody Knows My Name)
The art of the great historic civilizations never impress us as much as an Eskimo harpoon or a mask from the South Pacific. The contact is physical, and the feeling we experience is very much like acute anxiety. Inner or outer space, the world below or beyond, becomes a great weight pressing down upon us. Each work is a solid block of time, time standing still, time more massive than a mountain, despite the fact that it is as intangible as air or thought. The handiwork of primitive peoples reveals the time before time.
Octavio Paz
When one reads, and re-reads, Moby Dick, it seems to me that one gets a more convincing, a more definite, impression of the man than from anything one may learn of his life and circumstances; an impression of a man endowed by nature with a great gift blighted by an evil genius, so that, like the agave, no sooner had it put forth its splendid blooming than it withered; a moody, unhappy man tormented by instincts he shrank from with horror; a man conscious that the virtue had gone out of him, and embittered by failure and poverty; a man of heart craving for friendship, only to find that friendship too was vanity. Such, as I see him, was Herman Melville, a man whom one can only regard with deep compassion.
W. Somerset Maugham (Ten Novels and Their Authors)
The sexual eagle exults he will gild the earth once more his descending wing his ascending wing sways imperceptibly the sleeves of the peppermint and all the water's adorable undress Days are counted so clearly that the mirror has yielded to a froth of fronds of the sky i see but one star now around us there is only the milk describing its dizzy ellipsis from which sometimes soft intuition with pupils of eyed agate rises to poke its umbrella tip in the mud of the electric light then great reaches cast anchor stretch out in the depths of my closed eyes icebergs radiating the customs of all the worlds yet to come bron from a fragment of you fragment unkown and iced on the wing your existence the giant bouquet escaping fr4om my arms is badly tied it didgs out walls unrolls the stairs of houses loses its leaves in the show windows of the street to gether the news i am always leaving to gather the news the newspaper is glass today and if letters no longer arrive it's that the train has been consumed the great incision of the emerald which gaave birth to the foliage is scarred for always the sawdust of blinding snow and the quarries of flesh are sounding along on the first shelf reversed on this shelf i take the impression of death and life to the liquid air
André Breton
A man with delicately-strung nerves often says and does things which often lead us to think more meanly of him than he deserves. It is his great misfortune constantly to present himself at his worst. On the other hand, a man provided with nerves vigorously constituted, is provided also with a constitutional health and a hardihood wich express themselves brightly in his manners, and which lead to a mistaken impression that his nature is what it appears to be on the surface. Having good health, he has good spirits. Having good spirits, he wins as an agreeable companion on the persons with whom he comes in contact - although he may be hiding all the while, under an outer covering which is physically wholesome, an inner nature which is morally diseased.
Wilkie Collins (Poor Miss Finch)
When I visited George Bernard Shaw, in 1948, at his home in Aylot, a suburb of London, he was extremely anxious for me to tell him all that I knew about Ingersoll. During the course of the conversation, he told me that Ingersoll had made a tremendous impression upon him, and had exercised an influence upon him probably greater than that of any other man. He seemed particularly anxious to impress me with the importance of Ingersoll's influence upon his intellectual endeavors and accomplishments. In view of this admission, what percentage of the greatness of Shaw belongs to Ingersoll? If Ingersoll's influence upon so great an intellect as George Bernard Shaw was that extensive, what must have been his influence upon others? What seed of wisdom did he plant into the minds of others, and what accomplishments of theirs should be attributed to him? The world will never know. What about the countless thousands from whom he lifted the clouds of darkness and fear, and who were emancipated from the demoralizing dogmas and creeds of ignorance and superstition? What will be Ingersoll's influence upon the minds of future generations, who will come under the spell of his magic words, and who will be guided into the channels of human betterment by the unparalleled example of his courageous life? The debt the world owes Robert G. Ingersoll can never be paid.
Joseph Lewis (Ingersoll the Magnificent)
Dear Friend, I hope it is alright that I address you in such a manner. I figured if you are a friend of Ashlyn, then you are a friend of mine. I wish we had a chance to meet under better circumstances, but the whole dying thing really puts a damper on my ability to make a great first impression. So what I want to say is thank you. Thank you for befriending a girl who is probably very broken but at the same time so amazingly perfect. Thank you for befriending a girl who is probably a little different and quotes too many books. Thank you for befriending a girl who doesn’t talk about her feelings a lot, but trust me, she feels everything. Thank you for being there for her. So now, I promise you that I’ll be there for you, too. I don’t know how. And I probably shouldn’t make those kinds of promises…yet just know that when you see the winds whistling through the flowers, that’s me thanking you and hugging you during your darkest days. Thank you, friend. You’re doing great. ~ Gabrielle
Brittainy C. Cherry (Loving Mr. Daniels)
The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder.
Friedrich A. Hayek
What is important is not what is said, but that some talk be continually going on. Silence is the great crime, for silence is lonely and frightening. One shouldn’t feel much, nor put much meaning into what one says: what you say seems to have more effect if you don’t try to understand. One has the strange impression that these people are all afraid of something—what is it? It is as if the “yatata” were a primitive tribal ceremony, a witch dance calculated to appease some god. There is a god, or rather a demon, they are trying to appease: it is the specter of loneliness which hovers outside like the fog drifting in from the sea. One will have to meet this specter’s leering terror for the first half-hour one is awake in the morning anyway, so let one do everything possible to keep it away now.
Rollo May (Man's Search for Himself)
It was difficult to not compare the two men as they stood together. Mr. Beaufort was certainly dashing, with his stylish golden hair and the flair of his dress. But seeing him next to Philip, his appeal faded greatly in my mind. For it was obvious, comparing them side by side, that Mr. Beaufort was like a set of paste jewels—flashy on the outside but really an imposter, with nothing of great value within. Philip, on the other hand, shone like a real gem—without even trying. His clothes were just as well-made as Mr. Beaufort’s, but he wore them with a natural, athletic grace, and he didn’t employ any extreme fashions to create an impression. He was purely elegant, naturally, without thought or planning, and upon looking at them, I found that I would infinitely prefer the real gem to the imposter.
Julianne Donaldson (Edenbrooke)
I heard a story once in the Orient about two architects who went to see the Buddha. They had run out of money on their projects and hoped the Buddha could do something about it. 'Well, I'll do what I can,' said the Buddha, and he went off to see their work. The first architect was building a bridge, and the Buddha was very impressed. 'That's a very good bridge,' he said, and he began to pray. Suddenly a great white bull appeared, carrying on its back enough gold to finish construction. 'Take it,' said the Buddha, 'and build even more bridges.' And so the first architect went away very happy. The second architect was building a wall, and when the Buddha saw it he was equally impressed. 'That's a very good wall,' he said solemnly, and began to pray. Suddenly the sacred bull appeared, walked over to the second architect, and sat on him.
Colin Higgins (Harold and Maude)
Abundance of the Heart. He describes an experience with nature and his father. An environment of trust can have to do with a special experience, a place, another person, or people. My first real discovery of nature in life came one morning in April 1916. My father put me on the back of his bike, where I had a little seat, and said, "Off we go." And then he turned in the wrong direction for I thought he was taking me down to Quakers' meeting--it was a Sunday. "No," he said, "we are going somewhere else today." And we rode for about eight miles, and we stopped at a wood. . . . We went into the wood; and there, suddenly, was a great pool of bluebells stretching for perhaps a hundred yards in the shade of the oak trees. And I could scarcely breathe because the impression was so great. The experience then was just the bluebells and the scent; now, when I recall it, it is also the love of my father who chose to do that that morning--to give me that experience. I am sure he had been there the day before, found it, and thought, "I'll take my son there." As we rode there and as we rode back, we heard the distant thud of the guns at the Battle of the Somme, where thousands were dying every day. That overwhelming experience of a natural phenomenon, a demonstration of beneficent creation, and at the same time hearing those guns on the Somme--that experience has remained with me almost more clearly than anything else in my life. [The Abundance of the Heart (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1986), p. 88]
Arthur Henry King
Well, I guess that answers my question." The deep velvet voice startles me. I jump, grab my pillow like I'm going to use it as a weapon. Will stands in the doorway, sipping from a metallic travel mug. His gray T-shirt stretches across his shoulders and chest in a way that makes my throat close up. "What question?" I ask, breathless. "Whether you're as beautiful in the morning as you are during the rest of the day." "Oh," I say dumbly, pushing the tangle of hair back off my shoulders, certain I don't look good right now, just rolling out of bed. Not that I take pains with my appearance on the average day, but still...who looks their best fresh out of bed? "You're here again," I murmur. "Apparently." "Can't stay away?" "Apparently not." I'm okay with that. Great, in fact. "I made you breakfast," he adds. "You can cook?" I'm impressed. He grins. "I live in a bachelor household, remember? My mom died when I was a kid. I hardly remember her. I kind of had to learn to cook." "Oh," I murmur, then sit up straighter. "Wait a minute. How'd you get in here?" "Opened the front door." He takes another sip from his mug and looks at me like I'm in trouble. "Your mom really should lock the door when she leaves." I arch a brow. "Would that have kept you out?" He smiles a little. "You know me well.
Sophie Jordan (Firelight (Firelight, #1))
Every time I am shown to an old, dimly lit, and, I would add, impeccably clean toilet in a Nara or Kyoto temple, I am impressed with the singular virtues of Japanese architecture. The parlor may have its charms, but the Japanese toilet truly is a place of spiritual repose. It always stands apart from the main building, at the end of a corridor, in a grove fragrant with leaves and moss. No words can describe that sensation as one sits in the dim light, basking in the faint glow reflected from the shoji, lost in meditation or gazing out at the garden. The novelist Natsume Soseki counted his morning trips to the toilet a great pleasure, ‘a physiological delight’ he called it. And surely there could be no better place to savor this pleasure than a Japanese toilet where, surrounded by tranquil walls and finely grained wood, one looks out upon blue skies and green leaves.
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki (In Praise of Shadows)
Six express tracks and twelve locals pass through Palimpsest. The six Greater Lines are: Stylus, Sgraffito, Decretal, Foolscap, Bookhand, and Missal. Collectively, in the prayers of those gathered prostrate in the brass turnstiles of its hidden, voluptuous shrines, these are referred to as the Marginalia Line. They do not run on time: rather, the commuters of Palimpsest have learned their habits, the times of day and night when they prefer to eat and drink, their mating seasons, their gathering places. In days of old, great safaris were held to catch the great trains in their inexorable passage from place to place, and women grappled with them with hooks and tridents in order to arrive punctually at a desk in the depth, of the city. As if to impress a distracted parent on their birthday, the folk of Palimpsest built great edifices where the trains liked to congregate to drink oil from the earth and exchange gossip. They laid black track along the carriages’ migratory patterns. Trains are creatures of routine, though they are also peevish and curmudgeonly. Thus the transit system of Palimpsest was raised up around the huffing behemoths that traversed its heart, and the trains have not yet expressed displeasure. To ride them is still an exercise in hunterly passion and exactitude, for they are unpredictable, and must be observed for many weeks before patterns can be discerned. The sport of commuting is attempted by only the bravest and the wildest of Palimpsest. Many have achieved such a level of aptitude that they are able to catch a train more mornings than they do not. The wise arrive early with a neat coil of hooked rope at their waist, so that if a train is in a very great hurry, they may catch it still, and ride behind on the pauper’s terrace with the rest of those who were not favored, or fast enough, or precise in their calculations. Woe betide them in the infrequent mating seasons! No train may be asked to make its regular stops when she is in heat! A man was once caught on board when an express caught the scent of a local. The poor banker was released to a platform only eight months later, when the two white leviathans had relinquished each other with regret and tears.
Catherynne M. Valente (Palimpsest)
I trust you will not be as scared by this word as you were Thursday [Du Bois was referring to the audience’s reaction to a speech by Dr. Broadus Mitchell of Johns Hopkins University]. I am not discussing a coming revolution, I am trying to impress the fact upon you that you are already in the midst of a revolution; you are already in the midst of war; that there has been no war of modern times that has taken so great a sacrifice of human life and human spirit as the extraordinary period through which we are passing today. Some people envisage revolution chiefly as a matter of blood and guns and the more visible methods of force. But that, after all, is merely the temporary and outward manifestation. Real revolution is within. That comes before or after the explosion—is a matter of long suffering and deprivation, the death of courage and the bitter triumph of despair. This is the inevitable prelude to decisive and enormous change, and that is the thing that is on us now. We are not called upon then to discuss whether we want revolution or not. We have got it. Our problem is how we are coming out of it. 67
Cedric J. Robinson (Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition)
This good sir Knight here was showing me his most impressive weapon." "Oh?" His eyebrow arched, and I tried to ignore the way it sent heat dspeeding down my spine. "Are you seeking out others then? Does my weapon no longer interest you? I had to bite down hard on my bottom lip to keep from laughing. We were blowing right past subtle innuendo today. "Oh, Captain." I fluttered my eyelashes dramatically. "I believe you are quite aware that I have no complaints with your... weapon." He choked for a split second, but covered it with a small cough before he leaned a casual elbow against the bar. "I hope not, love." His smile was as broad as ever. "I would hate to think I would have to duel with another for your affections." "I hope not, for your sake." I rounded my eyes in feigned horror. "I've seen you fight, sir. It typically ends on your knees in the dirt with a knife at your throat, does it not?" I shook my head, clucking my tongue. "Not a good ending." A nearby patron snorted, and it was all I could do to not turn my head. Great. Simon and I turned into a show all on our own. Come for the beer, stay for the bad comedy. "Odd." He tiled his head and considered me, his eyes doing the same slow travel mine had done on him. It took everything I had not to fidget under his gaze. "Typically women don't mind when I'm on my knees in front of them.
Jen DeLuca (Well Met (Well Met, #1))
This man had saved his life, which was something; but, further, he was the ideal master. Other men saw to the welfare of their dogs from a sense of duty and business expediency; he saw to the welfare of his as if they were his own children, because he could not help it. And he saw further. He never forgot a kindly greeting or a cheering word, and to sit down for a long talk with them ("gas" he called it) was as much his delight as theirs. He had a way of taking Buck's head roughly between his hands, and resting his own head upon Buck's, of shaking him back and forth, the while calling him ill names that to Buck were love names. Buck knew no greater joy than that rough embrace and the sound of murmured oaths, and at each jerk back and forth it seemed that his heart would be shaken out of his body so great was its ecstasy. And when, released, he sprang to his feet, his mouth laughing, his eyes eloquent, his throat vibrant with unuttered sound, and in that fashion remained without movement, John Thornton would reverently exclaim, "God! you can all but speak!" Buck had a trick of love expression that was akin to hurt. He would often seize Thornton's hand in his mouth and close so fiercely that the flesh bore the impress of his teeth for some time afterward. And as Buck understood the oaths to be love words, so the man understood this feigned bite for a caress.
Jack London
I’m not sure how the ponies happened, though I have an inkling: “Can I get you anything?” I’ll say, getting up from a dinner table, “Coffee, tea, a pony?” People rarely laugh at this, especially if they’ve heard it before. “This party’s ‘sposed to be fun,” a friend will say. “Really? Will there be pony rides?” It’s a nervous tic and a cheap joke, cheapened further by the frequency with which I use it. For that same reason, it’s hard to weed it out of my speech – most of the time I don’t even realize I’m saying it. There are little elements in a person’s life, minor fibers that become unintentionally tangled with your personality. Sometimes it’s a patent phrase, sometimes it’s a perfume, sometimes it’s a wristwatch. For me, it is the constant referencing of ponies. I don’t even like ponies. If I made one of my throwaway equine requests and someone produced an actual pony, Juan-Valdez-style, I would run very fast in the other direction. During a few summers at camp, I rode a chronically dehydrated pony named Brandy who would jolt down without notice to lick the grass outside the corral and I would careen forward, my helmet tipping to cover my eyes. I do, however, like ponies on the abstract. Who doesn’t? It’s like those movies with the animated insects. Sure, the baby cockroach seems cute with CGI eyelashes, but how would you feel about fifty of her real-life counterparts living in your oven? And that’s precisely the manner in which the ponies clomped their way into my regular speech: abstractly. “I have something for you,” a guy will say on our first date. “Is it a pony?” No. It’s usually a movie ticket or his cell phone number. But on our second date, if I ask again, I’m pretty sure I’m getting a pony. And thus the Pony drawer came to be. It’s uncomfortable to admit, but almost every guy I have ever dated has unwittingly made a contribution to the stable. The retro pony from the ‘50s was from the most thoughtful guy I have ever known. The one with the glitter horseshoes was from a boy who would later turn out to be straight somehow, not gay. The one with the rainbow haunches was from a librarian, whom I broke up with because I felt the chemistry just wasn’t right, and the one with the price tag stuck on the back was given to me by a narcissist who was so impressed with his gift he forgot to remover the sticker. Each one of them marks the beginning of a new relationship. I don’t mean to hint. It’s not a hint, actually, it’s a flat out demand: I. Want. A. Pony. I think what happens is that young relationships are eager to build up a romantic repertoire of private jokes, especially in the city where there’s not always a great “how we met” story behind every great love affair. People meet at bars, through mutual friends, on dating sites, or because they work in the same industry. Just once a coworker of mine, asked me out between two stops on the N train. We were holding the same pole and he said, “I know this sounds completely insane, bean sprout, but would you like to go to a very public place with me and have a drink or something...?” I looked into his seemingly non-psycho-killing, rent-paying, Sunday Times-subscribing eyes and said, “Sure, why the hell not?” He never bought me a pony. But he didn’t have to, if you know what I mean.
Sloane Crosley (I Was Told There'd Be Cake: Essays)
We shouldn't let our envy of distinguished masters of the arts distract us from the wonder of how each of us gets new ideas. Perhaps we hold on to our superstitions about creativity in order to make our own deficiencies seem more excusable. For when we tell ourselves that masterful abilities are simply unexplainable, we're also comforting ourselves by saying that those superheroes come endowed with all the qualities we don't possess. Our failures are therefore no fault of our own, nor are those heroes' virtues to their credit, either. If it isn't learned, it isn't earned. When we actually meet the heroes whom our culture views as great, we don't find any singular propensities––only combinations of ingredients quite common in themselves. Most of these heroes are intensely motivated, but so are many other people. They're usually very proficient in some field--but in itself we simply call this craftmanship or expertise. They often have enough self-confidence to stand up to the scorn of peers--but in itself, we might just call that stubbornness. They surely think of things in some novel ways, but so does everyone from time to time. And as for what we call "intelligence", my view is that each person who can speak coherently already has the better part of what our heroes have. Then what makes genius appear to stand apart, if we each have most of what it takes? I suspect that genius needs one thing more: in order to accumulate outstanding qualities, one needs unusually effective ways to learn. It's not enough to learn a lot; one also has to manage what one learns. Those masters have, beneath the surface of their mastery, some special knacks of "higher-order" expertise, which help them organize and apply the things they learn. It is those hidden tricks of mental management that produce the systems that create those works of genius. Why do certain people learn so many more and better skills? These all-important differences could begin with early accidents. One child works out clever ways to arrange some blocks in rows and stacks; a second child plays at rearranging how it thinks. Everyone can praise the first child's castles and towers, but no one can see what the second child has done, and one may even get the false impression of a lack of industry. But if the second child persists in seeking better ways to learn, this can lead to silent growth in which some better ways to learn may lead to better ways to learn to learn. Then, later, we'll observe an awesome, qualitative change, with no apparent cause--and give to it some empty name like talent, aptitude, or gift.
Marvin Minsky (The Society of Mind)
And so this end in confusion, where when things stop I never get to know it, and this moving is the space, is that what is yet to be, which is for others to see filled wherever it may finally be in the frame when the last pieces are fitted and the others stop, and there will be the stopped pattern, the final array, but not even that, because that final finitude will itself be a bit of scrolling, a percent clump of tiles, which will generally stay together but move about within another whole and be mingled, with in endless ways of other people's memories, so that I will remain a set of impressions porous and open to combination with all of the other vitreous squares floating about in whoever else's frames, because there is always the space left in reserve for the rest of their downtime, and to my great-grandchildren, with more space than tiles, I will be no more than the smoky arrangement of a set of rumors, and to their great-grandchildren, I will be no more than a tint of some obscure color, and to their great grandchildren nothing they ever know about, and so what army of strangers and ghosts has shaped and colored me until back to Adam, until back to when ribs were blown from molten sand into the glass bits that took up the light of this world because they were made from this world, even though the fleeting tenants of those bits of colored glass have vacated them before they have had even the remotest understanding of what it is to inhabit them, and if they -- if we are fortunate (yes, I am lucky, lucky), and if we are fortunate, have fleeting instants when we are satisfied that the mystery is ours to ponder, if never to solve, or even just rife personal mysteries, never mind those outside-- are there even mysteries outside? a puzzle itself -- but anyway, personal mysteries, like where is my father, why can't I stop all the moving and look out over the vast arrangements and find by the contours and colors and qualities of light where my father is, not to solve anything but just simple even to see it again one last time, before what, before it ends, before it stops. But it doesn't stop; it simply ends. It is a final pattern scattered without so much as a pause at the end, at the end of what, at the end of this.
Paul Harding
Ultimately, the roast turkey must be regarded as a monument to Boomer's love. Look at it now, plump and glossy, floating across Idaho as if it were a mammoth, mutated seed pod. Hear how it backfires as it passes the silver mines, perhaps in tribute to the origin of the knives and forks of splendid sterling that a roast turkey and a roast turkey alone possesses the charisma to draw forth into festivity from dark cupboards. See how it glides through the potato fields, familiarly at home among potatoes but with an air of expectation, as if waiting for the flood of gravy. The roast turkey carries with it, in its chubby hold, a sizable portion of our primitive and pagan luggage. Primitive and pagan? Us? We of the laser, we of the microchip, we of the Union Theological Seminary and Time magazine? Of course. At least twice a year, do not millions upon millions of us cybernetic Christians and fax machine Jews participate in a ritual, a highly stylized ceremony that takes place around a large dead bird? And is not this animal sacrificed, as in days of yore, to catch the attention of a divine spirit, to show gratitude for blessings bestowed, and to petition for blessings coveted? The turkey, slain, slowly cooked over our gas or electric fires, is the central figure at our holy feast. It is the totem animal that brings our tribe together. And because it is an awkward, intractable creature, the serving of it establishes and reinforces the tribal hierarchy. There are but two legs, two wings, a certain amount of white meat, a given quantity of dark. Who gets which piece; who, in fact, slices the bird and distributes its limbs and organs, underscores quite emphatically the rank of each member in the gathering. Consider that the legs of this bird are called 'drumsticks,' after the ritual objects employed to extract the music from the most aboriginal and sacred of instruments. Our ancestors, kept their drums in public, but the sticks, being more actively magical, usually were stored in places known only to the shaman, the medicine man, the high priest, of the Wise Old Woman. The wing of the fowl gives symbolic flight to the soul, but with the drumstick is evoked the best of the pulse of the heart of the universe. Few of us nowadays participate in the actual hunting and killing of the turkey, but almost all of us watch, frequently with deep emotion, the reenactment of those events. We watch it on TV sets immediately before the communal meal. For what are footballs if not metaphorical turkeys, flying up and down a meadow? And what is a touchdown if not a kill, achieved by one or the other of two opposing tribes? To our applause, great young hungers from Alabama or Notre Dame slay the bird. Then, the Wise Old Woman, in the guise of Grandma, calls us to the table, where we, pretending to be no longer primitive, systematically rip the bird asunder. Was Boomer Petaway aware of the totemic implications when, to impress his beloved, he fabricated an outsize Thanksgiving centerpiece? No, not consciously. If and when the last veil dropped, he might comprehend what he had wrought. For the present, however, he was as ignorant as Can o' Beans, Spoon, and Dirty Sock were, before Painted Stick and Conch Shell drew their attention to similar affairs. Nevertheless, it was Boomer who piloted the gobble-stilled butterball across Idaho, who negotiated it through the natural carving knives of the Sawtooth Mountains, who once or twice parked it in wilderness rest stops, causing adjacent flora to assume the appearance of parsley.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
One thus gets an impression that civilization is something which was imposed on a resisting majority by a minority which understood how to obtain possession of the means to power and coercion. It is, of course, natural to assume that these difficulties are not inherent in the nature or civilization itself but are determined by the imperfections of the cultural forms which have so far been developed. And in fact it is not difficult to indicate those defects. While mankind has made continual advances in its control over nature and may expect to make still greater ones, it is not possible to establish with certainty that a similar advance has been made in the management of human affairs; and probably at all periods, just as now once again, many people have asked themselves whether what little civilization has thus acquired is indeed worth defending at all. One would think that a re-ordering of human relations should be possible, which would remove the sources of dissatisfaction with civilization by renouncing coercion and the suppression of the instincts, so that, undisturbed by internal discord, men might devote themselves to the acquisition of wealth and its enjoyment. That would be a golden age, but it is questionable if such a state of affairs can be realized. It seems rather that every civilization must be built upon coercion and renunciation of instinct; it does not even seem certain that if coercion were to cease the majority of human beings would be prepared to undertake to perform the work necessary for acquiring new wealth. One has, I think, to reckon with the fact that there are present in all men destructive, and therefore anti-social and anti-cultural, trends and that in a great number of people these are strong enough to determine their behavior in human society.
Sigmund Freud (The Future of an Illusion)
Too often critics have taken as the sole and crucial matter of fantasy the preoccupation of Tolkien, the quest for a remedy to the world's pain that will not destroy innocence with the temptations of power. Impressive and popular as The Lord of the Rings is, it manages its landscapes, vast green-leaved or slag-heaped vistas of pathetic fallacy and implied morality, far better than its people; it leaves the impression that important issues have been turned by sleight of hand and Georgian prettiness into questions of good and bad practice in urban planning and rural conservation. After all, the Grail is only worth seeking if you can believe in a god who put it there to help those who help themselves, in an Avalon to which burned-out heroes can retire with dignity. There is another great Matter for fantasy, one of more obvious resonance for the creative artist - the reconciliation of faerie and humanity; of the passion, power and wit of a world of sensuality, magic, and danger with the requirements of kind and ordinary life.
Roz Kaveney
Finally, the work of the minister tended to be judged by his success in a single area - the saving of souls in measurable numbers. The local minister was judged either by his charismatic powers or by his ability to prepare his congregation for the preaching of some itinerant ministerial charmer who would really awaken its members. The 'star' system prevailed in religion before it reached the theater. As the evangelical impulse became more widespread and more dominant, the selection and training of ministers was increasingly shaped by the revivalist criterion of ministerial merit. The Puritan ideal of the minister as an intellectual and educational leader was steadily weakened in the face of the evangelical ideal of the minister as a popular crusader and exhorter. Theological education itself became more instrumental. Simple dogmatic formulations were considered sufficient. In considerable measure the churches withdrew from intellectual encounters with the secular world, gave up the idea that religion is a part of the whole life of intellectual experience, and often abandoned the field of rational studies on the assumption that they were the natural province of science alone. By 1853 an outstanding clergyman complained that there was 'an impression, somewhat general, that an intellectual clergyman is deficient in piety, and that an eminently pious minister is deficient in intellect.
Richard Hofstadter (Anti-Intellectualism in American Life)
Poets claim that we recapture for a moment the self that we were long ago when we enter some house or garden in which we used to live in our youth. But these are most hazardous pilgrimages, which end as often in disappointment as in success. It is in ourselves that we should rather seek to find those fixed places, contemporaneous with different years. And great fatigue followed by a good night's rest can to a certain extent help us to do so. For in order to make us descend into the most subterranean galleries of sleep, where no reflexion from overnight, no gleam of memory comes to light up the interior monologue—if the latter does not itself cease—fatigue followed by rest will so thoroughly turn over the soil and penetrate the bedrock of our bodies that we discover down there, where our muscles plunge and twist in their ramifications and breathe in new life, the garden where we played in our childhood. There is no need to travel in order to see it again; we must dig down inwardly to discover it. What once covered the earth is no longer above but beneath it; a mere excursion does not suffice for a visit to the dead city: excavation is necessary also. But we shall see how certain fugitive and fortuitous impressions carry us back even more effectively to the past, with a more delicate precision, with a more light-winged, more immaterial, more headlong, more unerring, more immortal flight, than these organic dislocations.
Marcel Proust (The Guermantes Way)
Perhaps the immobility of the things that surround us is forced upon them by our conviction that they are themselves, and not anything else, and by the immobility of our conceptions of them. For it always happened that when I awoke like this, and my mind struggled in an unsuccessful attempt to discover where I was, everything would be moving round me through the darkness: things, places, years. My body, still too heavy with sleep to move, would make an effort to construe the form which its tiredness took as an orientation of its various members, so as to induce from that where the wall lay and the furniture stood, to piece together and to give a name to the house in which it must be living. Its memory, the composite memory of its ribs, knees, and shoulder-blades offered it a whole series of rooms in which it had at one time or another slept; while the unseen walls kept changing, adapting themselves to the shape of each successive room that it remembered, whirling madly through the darkness. And even before my brain, lingering in consideration of when things had happened and of what they had looked like, had collected sufficient impressions to enable it to identify the room, it, my body, would recall from each room in succession what the bed was like, where the doors were, how daylight came in at the windows, whether there was a passage outside, what I had had in my mind when I went to sleep, and had found there when I awoke. The stiffened side underneath my body would, for instance, in trying to fix its position, imagine itself to be lying, face to the wall, in a big bed with a canopy; and at once I would say to myself, "Why, I must have gone to sleep after all, and Mamma never came to say good night!" for I was in the country with my grandfather, who died years ago; and my body, the side upon which I was lying, loyally preserving from the past an impression which my mind should never have forgotten, brought back before my eyes the glimmering flame of the night-light in its bowl of Bohemian glass, shaped like an urn and hung by chains from the ceiling, and the chimney-piece of Siena marble in my bedroom at Combray, in my great-aunt's house, in those far distant days which, at the moment of waking, seemed present without being clearly denned, but would become plainer in a little while when I was properly awake.
Marcel Proust (Swann's Way)
Without making any great show of it, Mather withdrew from him. Though they saw each other in company, and he was never obviously distant toward Edward, the friendship was never the same. Edward was in agonies when he considered that Mather was actually repelled by his behavior, but he did not have the courage to raise the subject. Besides, Mather made sure they were never alone together. At first Edward believed that his error was to have damaged Mather's pride by witnessing his humiliation, which Edward then compounded by acting as his champion, demonstrating that he was tough while Mather was a vulnerable weakling. Later on, Edward realized that what he had done was simply not cool, and his shame was all the greater. Street fighting did not go with poetry and irony, bebop or history. He was guilty of a lapse of taste. He was not the person he had thought. What he believed was an interesting quirk, a rough virtue, turned out to be a vulgarity. He was a country boy, a provincial idiot who thought a bare-knuckle swipe could impress a friend. It was a mortifying reappraisal. He was making one of the advances typical of early adulthood: the discovery that there were new values by which he preferred to be judged.
Ian McEwan (On Chesil Beach)
This new concept of the "finest, highest achievement of art" had no sooner entered my mind than it located the imperfect enjoyment I had had at the theater, and added to it a little of what it lacked; this made such a heady mixture that I exclaimed, "What a great artiste she is!" It may be thought I was not altogether sincere. Think, however, of so many writers who, in a moment of dissatisfaction with a piece they have just written, may read a eulogy of the genius of Chateaubriand, or who may think of some other great artist whom they have dreamed of equaling, who hum to themselves a phrase of Beethoven for instance, comparing the sadness of it to the mood they have tried to capture in their prose, and are then so carried away by the perception of genius that they let it affect the way they read their own piece, no longer seeing it as they first saw it, but going so far as to hazard an act of faith in the value of it, by telling themselves "It's not bad you know!" without realizing that the sum total which determines their ultimate satisfaction includes the memory of Chateaubriand's brilliant pages, which they have assimilated to their own, but which, of course, they did not write. Think of all the men who go on believing in the love of a mistress in whom nothing is more flagrant than her infidelities; of all those torn between the hope of something beyond this life (such as the bereft widower who remembers a beloved wife, or the artist who indulges in dreams of posthumous fame, each of them looking forward to an afterlife which he knows is inconceivable) and the desire for a reassuring oblivion, when their better judgement reminds them of the faults they might otherwise have to expiate after death; or think of the travelers who are uplifted by the general beauty of a journey they have just completed, although during it their main impression, day after day, was that it was a chore--think of them before deciding whether, given the promiscuity of the ideas that lurk within us, a single one of those that affords us our greatest happiness has not begun life by parasitically attaching itself to a foreign idea with which it happened to come into contact, and by drawing from it much of the power of pleasing which it once lacked.
Marcel Proust (In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower)
A character like that," he said to himself—"a real little passionate force to see at play is the finest thing in nature. It's finer than the finest work of art—than a Greek bas-relief, than a great Titian, than a Gothic cathedral. It's very pleasant to be so well treated where one had least looked for it. I had never been more blue, more bored, than for a week before she came; I had never expected less that anything pleasant would happen. Suddenly I receive a Titian, by the post, to hang on my wall—a Greek bas-relief to stick over my chimney-piece. The key of a beautiful edifice is thrust into my hand, and I'm told to walk in and admire. My poor boy, you've been sadly ungrateful, and now you had better keep very quiet and never grumble again." The sentiment of these reflexions was very just; but it was not exactly true that Ralph Touchett had had a key put into his hand. His cousin was a very brilliant girl, who would take, as he said, a good deal of knowing; but she needed the knowing, and his attitude with regard to her, though it was contemplative and critical, was not judicial. He surveyed the edifice from the outside and admired it greatly; he looked in at the windows and received an impression of proportions equally fair. But he felt that he saw it only by glimpses and that he had not yet stood under the roof. The door was fastened, and though he had keys in his pocket he had a conviction that none of them would fit. She was intelligent and generous; it was a fine free nature; but what was she going to do with herself? This question was irregular, for with most women one had no occasion to ask it. Most women did with themselves nothing at all; they waited, in attitudes more or less gracefully passive, for a man to come that way and furnish them with a destiny. Isabel's originality was that she gave one an impression of having intentions of her own. "Whenever she executes them," said Ralph, "may I be there to see!
Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)
We have seen the kind of morality which is even now shaping itself in the ideas of the masses and of the thinkers. This morality will issue no commands. It will refuse once and for all to model individuals according to an abstract idea, as it will refuse to mutilate them by religion, law or government. It will leave to the individual man full and perfect liberty. It will be but a simple record of facts, a science. And this science will say to man: "If you are not conscious of strength within you, if your energies are only just sufficient to maintain a colorless, monotonous life, without strong impressions, without deep joys, but also without deep sorrows, well then, keep to the simple principles of a just equality. In relations of equality you will find probably the maximum of happiness possible to your feeble energies. "But if you feel within you the strength of youth, if you wish to live, if you wish to enjoy a perfect, full and overflowing life --that is, know the highest pleasure which a living being can desire-- be strong, be great, be vigorous in all you do. "Sow life around you. Take heed that if you deceive, lie, intrigue, cheat, you thereby demean yourself. belittle yourself, confess your own weakness beforehand, play the part of the slave of the harem who feels himself the inferior of his master. Do this if it so pleases you, but know that humanity will regard you as petty, contemptible and feeble, and treat you as such. Having no evidence of your strength, it will act towards you as one worthy of pity-- and pity only. Do not blame humanity if of your own accord you thus paralyze your energies. Be strong on the other hand, and once you have seen unrighteousness and recognized it as such --inequity in life, a lie in science, or suffering inflicted by another-- rise in revolt against the iniquity, the lie or the injustice. "Struggle! To struggle is to live, and the fiercer the struggle the intenser the life. Then you will have lived; and a few hours of such life are worth years spent vegetating.
Pyotr Kropotkin (Anarchist Morality)
California during the 1940s had Hollywood and the bright lights of Los Angeles, but on the other coast was Florida, land of sunshine and glamour, Miami and Miami Beach. If you weren't already near California's Pacific Coast you headed for Florida during the winter. One of the things which made Miami such a mix of glitter and sunshine was the plethora of movie stars who flocked there to play, rubbing shoulders with tycoons and gangsters. Sometimes it was hard to tell the difference between the latter two. Miami and everything that surrounded it hadn't happened by accident. Carl Fisher had set out to make Miami Beach a playground destination during the 1930s and had succeeded far beyond his dreams. The promenade behind the Roney Plaza Hotel was a block-long lovers' lane of palm trees and promise that began rather than ended in the blue waters of the Atlantic. Florida was more than simply Miami and Miami Beach, however. When George Merrick opened the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables papers across the country couldn't wait to gush about the growing aura of Florida. They tore down Collins Bridge in the Gables and replaced it with the beautiful Venetian Causeway. You could plop down a fiver if you had one and take your best girl — or the girl you wanted to score with — for a gondola ride there before the depression, or so I'd been told. You see, I'd never actually been to Florida before the war, much less Miami. I was a newspaper reporter from Chicago before the war and had never even seen the ocean until I was flying over the Pacific for the Air Corp. There wasn't much time for admiring the waves when Japanese Zeroes were trying to shoot you out of the sky and bury you at the bottom of that deep blue sea. It was because of my friend Pete that I knew so much about Miami. Florida was his home, so when we both got leave in '42 I followed him to the warm waters of Miami to see what all the fuss was about. It would be easy to say that I skipped Chicago for Miami after the war ended because Pete and I were such good pals and I'd had such a great time there on leave. But in truth I decided to stay on in Miami because of Veronica Lake. I'd better explain that. Veronica Lake never knew she was the reason I came back with Pete to Miami after the war. But she had been there in '42 while Pete and I were enjoying the sand, sun, and the sweet kisses of more than a few love-starved girls desperate to remember what it felt like to have a man's arm around them — not to mention a few other sensations. Lake had been there promoting war bonds on Florida's first radio station, WQAM. It was a big outdoor event and Pete and I were among those listening with relish to Lake's sultry voice as she urged everyone to pitch-in for our boys overseas. We were in those dark early days of the war at the time, and the outcome was very much in question. Lake's appearance at the event was a morale booster for civilians and servicemen alike. She was standing behind a microphone that sat on a table draped in the American flag. I'd never seen a Hollywood star up-close and though I liked the movies as much as any other guy, I had always attributed most of what I saw on-screen to smoke and mirrors. I doubted I'd be impressed seeing a star off-screen. A girl was a girl, after all, and there were loads of real dolls in Miami, as I'd already discovered. Boy, was I wrong." - Where Flamingos Fly
Bobby Underwood (Where Flamingos Fly (Nostalgic Crime #2))
One also, in our milieu, simply didn't meet enough Americans to form an opinion. And when one did—this was in the days of crew-cuts and short-legged pants—they, too, often really did sport crew-cuts and trousers that mysteriously ended several inches short of the instep. Why was that? It obviously wasn't poverty. A colleague of my father's had a daughter who got herself married and found that an American friend she had met on holiday had offered to pay the whole cost of the nuptial feast. I forget the name of this paladin, but he had a crew-cut and amputated trouser-bottoms and a cigar stub and he came from a place called Yonkers, which seemed to me a ridiculous name to give to a suburb. (I, who had survived Crapstone… ) Anyway, once again one received a Henry Jamesian impression of brash generosity without overmuch refinement. There was a boy at my boarding school called Warren Powers Laird Myers, the son of an officer stationed at one of the many U.S. Air Force bases in Cambridgeshire. Trousers at The Leys School were uniform and regulation, but he still managed to show a bit of shin and to buzz-cut his hair. 'I am not a Yankee,' he informed me (he was from Norfolk, Virginia). 'I am a CON-federate.' From what I was then gleaning of the news from Dixie, this was unpromising. In our ranks we also had Jamie Auchincloss, a sprig of the Kennedy-Bouvier family that was then occupying the White House. His trousers managed to avoid covering his ankles also, though the fact that he shared a parent with Jackie Kennedy meant that anything he did was accepted as fashionable by definition. The pants of a man I'll call Mr. 'Miller,' a visiting American master who skillfully introduced me to J.D. Salinger, were also falling short of their mark. Mr. Miller's great teacher-feature was that he saw sexual imagery absolutely everywhere and was slightly too fond of pointing it out [...]. Meanwhile, and as I mentioned much earlier, the dominant images projected from the United States were of the attack-dog-and-firehose kind, with swag-bellied cops lying about themselves and the political succession changed as much by bullets as by ballots.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
That we can prescribe the terms of our own success, that we can live outside or in ignorance of the Great Economy are the greatest errors. They condemn us to a life without a standard, wavering in inescapable bewilderment from paltry self-satisfaction to paltry self-dissatisfaction. But since we have no place to live but in the Great Economy, whether or not we know that and act accordingly is the critical question, not about economy merely, but about human life itself. It is possible to make a little economy, such as our present one, that is so short-sighted and in which accounting is of so short a term as to give the impression that vices are necessary and practically justifiable. When we make our economy a little wheel turning in opposition to what we call “nature,” then we set up competitiveness as the ruling principle in our explanation of reality and in our understanding of economy; we make of it, willy-nilly, a virtue. But competitiveness, as a ruling principle and a virtue, imposes a logic that is extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, to control. That logic explains why our cars and our clothes are shoddily made, why our “wastes” are toxic, and why our “defensive” weapons are suicidal; it explains why it is so difficult for us to draw a line between “free enterprise” and crime. If our economic ideal is maximum profit with minimum responsibility, why should we be surprised to find our corporations so frequently in court and robbery on the increase? Why should we be surprised to find that medicine has become an exploitive industry, profitable in direct proportion to its hurry and its mechanical indifference? People who pay for shoddy products or careless services and people who are robbed outright are equally victims of theft, the only difference being that the robbers outright are not guilty of fraud.
Wendell Berry (What Matters?: Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth)
It is part of the nature of a strong erotic passion—as distinct from a transient fit of appetite—that makes more towering promises than any other emotion. No doubt all our desires makes promises, but not so impressively. To be in love involves the almost irresistible conviction that one will go on being in love until one dies, and that possession of the beloved will confer, not merely frequent ecstasies, but settled, fruitful, deep-rooted, lifelong happiness. Hence all seems to be at stake. If we miss this chance we shall have lived in vain. At the very thought of such a doom we sink into fathomless depths of self-pity. Unfortunately these promises are found often to be quite untrue. Every experienced adult knows this to be so as regards all erotic passions (except the one he himself is feeling at the moment). We discount the world-without-end pretensions of our friends’ amours easily enough. We know that such things sometimes last—and sometimes don’t. And when they do last, this is not because they promised at the outset to do so. When two people achieve lasting happiness, this is not solely because they are great lovers but because they are also—I must put it crudely—good people; controlled, loyal, fair-minded, mutually adaptable people. If we establish a “right to (sexual) happiness” which supersedes all the ordinary rules of behavior, we do so not because of what our passion shows itself to be in experience but because of what it professes to be while we are in the grip of it.
C.S. Lewis (God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics)
He tells me how the Great Lakes came to be. All where Lake Huron is now, he says, used to be flat land, a wide flat plain. Then came the ice, creeping down from the north, pushing deep into the low places. Like that—and he shows me his hand with his spread fingers pressing the rock-hard ground where we are sitting. His fingers make hardly any impression at all and he says, “Well, the old ice cap had a lot more power behind it than this hand has.” And then the ice went back, shrank back towards the North Pole where it came from, and left its fingers of ice in the deep places it had gouged, and ice turned to lakes and there they were today. They were new, as time went. I try to see that plain before me, dinosaurs walking on it, but I am not able even to imagine the shore of the Lake when the Indians were there, before Tuppertown. The tiny share we have of time appalls me, though my father seems to regard it with tranquillity. Even my father, who sometimes seems to me to have been at home in the world as long as it has lasted, has really lived on this earth only a little longer than I have, in terms of all the time there has been to live in. He has not known a time, any more than I, when automobiles and electric lights did not at least exist. He was not alive when this century started. I will be barely alive—old, old—when it ends. I do not like to think of it. I wish the Lake to be always just a lake, with the safe-swimming floats marking it, and the breakwater and the lights of Tuppertown.
Alice Munro (Dance of the Happy Shades)
All great, simple images reveal a psychic state. The house, even more than the landscape, is a "psychic state," and even when reproduced as it appears from the outside, it bespeaks intimacy. Psychologists generally, and Francoise Minkowska in particular, together with those whom she has succeeded interesting in the subject, have studied the drawing of houses made by children, and even used them for testing. Indeed, the house-test has the advantage of welcoming spontaneity, for many children draw a house spontaneously while dreaming over their paper and pencil. To quote Anne Balif: "Asking a child to draw his house is asking him to reveal the deepest dream shelter he has found for his happiness. If he is happy, he will succeed in drawing a snug, protected house which is well built on deeply-rooted foundations." It will have the right shape, and nearly always there will be some indication of its inner strength. In certain drawings, quite obviously, to quote Mme. Balif, "it is warm indoors, and there is a fire burning, such a big fire, in fact, that it can be seen coming out of the chimney." When the house is happy, soft smoke rises in gay rings above the roof. If the child is unhappy, however, the house bears traces of his distress. In this connection, I recall that Francoise Minkowska organized an unusually moving exhibition of drawings by Polish and Jewish children who had suffered the cruelties of the German occupation during the last war. One child, who had been hidden in a closet every time there was an alert, continued to draw narrow, cold, closed houses long after those evil times were over. These are what Mme. Minkowska calls "motionless" houses, houses that have become motionless in their rigidity. "This rigidity and motionlessness are present in the smoke as well as in the window curtains. The surrounding trees are quite straight and give the impression of standing guard over the house". Mme. Minkowska knows that a live house is not really "motionless," that, particularly, it integrates the movements by means of which one accedes to the door. Thus the path that leads to the house is often a climbing one. At times, even, it is inviting. In any case, it always possesses certain kinesthetic features. If we were making a Rorschach test, we should say that the house has "K." Often a simple detail suffices for Mme. Minkowska, a distinguished psychologist, to recognize the way the house functions. In one house, drawn by an eight-year-old child, she notes that there is " a knob on the door; people go in the house, they live there." It is not merely a constructed house, it is also a house that is "lived-in." Quite obviously the door-knob has a functional significance. This is the kinesthetic sign, so frequently forgotten in the drawings of "tense" children. Naturally, too, the door-knob could hardly be drawn in scale with the house, its function taking precedence over any question of size. For it expresses the function of opening, and only a logical mind could object that it is used to close as well as to open the door. In the domain of values, on the other hand, a key closes more often than it opens, whereas the door-knob opens more often than it closes. And the gesture of closing is always sharper, firmer, and briefer than that of opening. It is by weighing such fine points as these that, like Francoise Minkowska, one becomes a psychologist of houses.
Gaston Bachelard (The Poetics of Space)
The news filled me with such euphoria that for an instant I was numb. My ingrained self-censorship immediately started working: I registered the fact that there was an orgy of weeping going on around me, and that I had to come up with some suitable performance. There seemed nowhere to hide my lack of correct emotion except the shoulder of the woman in front of me, one of the student officials, who was apparently heartbroken. I swiftly buried my head in her shoulder and heaved appropriately. As so often in China, a bit of ritual did the trick. Sniveling heartily she made a movement as though she was going to turn around and embrace me I pressed my whole weight on her from behind to keep her in her place, hoping to give the impression that I was in a state of abandoned grief. In the days after Mao's death, I did a lot of thinking. I knew he was considered a philosopher, and I tried to think what his 'philosophy' really was. It seemed to me that its central principle was the need or the desire? for perpetual conflict. The core of his thinking seemed to be that human struggles were the motivating force of history and that in order to make history 'class enemies' had to be continuously created en masse. I wondered whether there were any other philosophers whose theories had led to the suffering and death of so many. I thought of the terror and misery to which the Chinese population had been subjected. For what? But Mao's theory might just be the extension of his personality. He was, it seemed to me, really a restless fight promoter by nature, and good at it. He understood ugly human instincts such as envy and resentment, and knew how to mobilize them for his ends. He ruled by getting people to hate each other. In doing so, he got ordinary Chinese to carry out many of the tasks undertaken in other dictatorships by professional elites. Mao had managed to turn the people into the ultimate weapon of dictatorship. That was why under him there was no real equivalent of the KGB in China. There was no need. In bringing out and nourishing the worst in people, Mao had created a moral wasteland and a land of hatred. But how much individual responsibility ordinary people should share, I could not decide. The other hallmark of Maoism, it seemed to me, was the reign of ignorance. Because of his calculation that the cultured class were an easy target for a population that was largely illiterate, because of his own deep resentment of formal education and the educated, because of his megalomania, which led to his scorn for the great figures of Chinese culture, and because of his contempt for the areas of Chinese civilization that he did not understand, such as architecture, art, and music, Mao destroyed much of the country's cultural heritage. He left behind not only a brutalized nation, but also an ugly land with little of its past glory remaining or appreciated. The Chinese seemed to be mourning Mao in a heartfelt fashion. But I wondered how many of their tears were genuine. People had practiced acting to such a degree that they confused it with their true feelings. Weeping for Mao was perhaps just another programmed act in their programmed lives. Yet the mood of the nation was unmistakably against continuing Mao's policies. Less than a month after his death, on 6 October, Mme Mao was arrested, along with the other members of the Gang of Four. They had no support from anyone not the army, not the police, not even their own guards. They had had only Mao. The Gang of Four had held power only because it was really a Gang of Five. When I heard about the ease with which the Four had been removed, I felt a wave of sadness. How could such a small group of second-rate tyrants ravage 900 million people for so long? But my main feeling was joy. The last tyrants of the Cultural Revolution were finally gone.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
You heard me. Let someone else send you to your blaze of glory. You're a speck, man. You're nothing. You're not worth the bullet or the mark on my soul for taking you out." You trying to piss me off again, Patrick?" He removed Campbell Rawson from his shoulder and held him aloft. I tilted my wrist so the cylinder fell into my palm, shrugged. "You're a joke, Gerry. I'm just calling it like I see it." That so?" Absolutely." I met his hard eyes with my own. "And you'll be replaced, just like everything else, in maybe a week, tops. Some other dumb, sick shit will come along and kill some people and he'll be all over the papers, and all over Hard Copy and you'll be yesterday's news. Your fifteen minutes are up, Gerry. And they've passed without impact." They'll remember this," Gerry said. "Believe me." Gerry clamped back on the trigger. When he met my finger, he looked at me and then clamped down so hard that my finger broke. I depressed the trigger on the one-shot and nothing happened. Gerry shrieked louder, and the razor came out of my flesh, then swung back immediately, and I clenched my eyes shut and depressed the trigger frantically three times. And Gerry's hand exploded. And so did mine. The razor hit the ice by my knee as I dropped the one shot and fire roared up the electrical tape and gasoline on Gerry's arm and caught the wisps of Danielle's hair. Gerry threw his head back and opened his mouth wide and bellowed in ecstasy. I grabbed the razor, could barely feel it because the nerves in my hand seemed to have stopped working. I slashed into the electric tape at the end of the shotgun barrel, and Danielle dropped away toward the ice and rolled her head into the frozen sand. My broken finger came back out of the shotgun and Gerry swung the barrels toward my head. The twin shotgun bores arced through the darkness like eyes without mercy or soul, and I raised my head to meet them, and Gerry's wail filled my ears as the fire licked at his neck. Good-bye, I thought. Everyone. It's been nice. Oscar's first two shots entered the back of Gerry's head and exited through the center of his forehead and a third punched into his back. The shotgun jerked upward in Gerry's flaming arm and then the shots came from the front, several at once, and Gerry spun like a marionette and pitched toward the ground. The shotgun boomed twice and punched holes through the ice in front of him as he fell. He landed on his knees and, for a moment, I wasn't sure if he was dead or not. His rusty hair was afire and his head lolled to the left as one eye disappeared in flames but the other shimmered at me through waves of heat, and an amused derision shone in the pupil. Patrick, the eye said through the gathering smoke, you still know nothing. Oscar rose up on the other side of Gerry's corpse, Campbell Rawson clutched tight to his massive chest as it rose and fell with great heaving breaths. The sight of it-something so soft and gentle in the arms of something so thick and mountaineous-made me laugh. Oscar came out of the darkness toward me, stepped around Gerry's burning body, and I felt the waves of heat rise toward me as the circle of gasoline around Gerry caught fire. Burn, I thought. Burn. God help me, but burn. Just after Oscar stepped over the outer edge of the circle, it erupted in yellow flame, and I found myself laughing harder as he looked at it, not remotely impressed. I felt cool lips smack against my ear, and by the time I looked her way, Danielle was already past me, rushing to take her child from Oscar. His huge shadow loomed over me as he approached, and I looked up at him and he held the look for a long moment. How you doing, Patrick?" he said and smiled broadly. And, behind him, Gerry burned on the ice. And everything was so goddamned funny for some reason, even though I knew it wasn't. I knew it wasn't. I did. But I was still laughing when they put me in the ambulance.
Dennis Lehane
Imperial is like Robert Caro’s The Power Broker with the attitude of Mike Davis’s City of Quartz, if Robert Caro had been raised in an abandoned grain silo by a band of feral raccoons, and if Mike Davis were the communications director of a heavily armed libertarian survivalist cult, and if the two of them had somehow managed to stitch John McPhee’s cortex onto the brain of a Gila monster, which they then sent to the Mexican border to conduct ten years of immersive research, and also if they wrote the entire manuscript on dried banana leaves with a toucan beak dipped in hobo blood, and then the book was line-edited during a 36-hour peyote séance by the ghosts of John Steinbeck, Jack London, and Sinclair Lewis, with 200 pages of endnotes faxed over by Henry David Thoreau’s great-great-great-great grandson from a concrete bunker under a toxic pond behind a maquiladora, and if at the last minute Herman Melville threw up all over the manuscript, rendering it illegible, so it had to be re-created from memory by a community-theater actor doing his best impression of Jack Kerouac. With photographs by Dorothea Lange. (Viking has my full blessing to use that as a blurb.)
Sam Anderson
And that discovery would betray the closely guarded secret of modern culture to the laughter of the world. For we moderns have nothing of our own. We only become worth notice by filling ourselves to overflowing with foreign customs, arts, philosophies, religions and sciences: we are wandering encyclopaedias, as an ancient Greek who had strayed into our time would probably call us. But the only value of an encyclopaedia lies in the inside, in the contents, not in what is written outside, in the binding or the wrapper. And so the whole of modern culture is essentially internal; the bookbinder prints something like this on the cover: “Manual of internal culture for external barbarians.” The opposition of inner and outer makes the outer side still more barbarous, as it would naturally be, when the outward growth of a rude people merely developed its primitive inner needs. For what means has nature of repressing too great a luxuriance from without? Only one,—to be affected by it as little as possible, to set it aside and stamp it out at the first opportunity. And so we have the custom of no longer taking real things seriously, we get the feeble personality on which the real and the permanent make so little impression. Men become at last more careless and accommodating in external matters, and the [Pg 34] considerable cleft between substance and form is widened; until they have no longer any feeling for barbarism, if only their memories be kept continually titillated, and there flow a constant stream of new things to be known, that can be neatly packed up in the cupboards of their memory.
Friedrich Nietzsche (On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life)
After this Daisy was never at home, and Winterbourne ceased to meet her at the houses of their common acquaintances, because, as he perceived, these shrewd people had quite made up their minds that she was going too far. They ceased to invite her, and they intimated that they desired to express observant Europeans the great truth that, though Miss Daisy Miller was a young American lady, her behaviour was not representative - was regarded by her compatriots as abnormal. Winterbourne wondered how she felt about all the cold shoulders that were turned towards her, and sometimes it annoyed him to suspect that she did not feel at all. He said to himself that she was too light and childish, too uncultivated and unreasoning, too provincial, to have reflected upon her ostracism or even to have perceived it. Then at other moments he believed that she carried about in her elegant and irresponsible little organism a defiant, passionate, perfectly observant consciousness of the impression she produced. He asked himself whether Daisy's defiance came from the consciousness of innocence or from her being, essentially, a young person of the reckless class. It must be admitted that holding oneself to a belief in Daisy's "innocence" came to see Winterbourne more and more a matter of fine-spun gallantry. As I have already had occasion to relate, he was angry at finding himself reduced to chopping logic about this young lady; he was vexed at his want of instinctive certitude as to how far her eccentricities were generic, national, and how far they were personal. From either view of them he had somehow missed her, and now it was too late.
Henry James (Daisy Miller)
At times I can certainly see a subject clearly and distinctly, think my way through it, great sweeping thoughts that I can scarcely grasp but which all at once give me an intense feeling of importance. Yet when I try to write them down they shrivel into nothing, and that's why I lack the courage to commit them to paper - in case I become too disillusioned with the fatuous little as they that emerges. But let me impress just one thing upon you, sister. Wash your hands of all attempts to embody those great, sweeping thoughts. The smallest, most fatuous little essay is worth more than the flood of grandiose ideas in which you like to wallow. Of course you must hold on to your forebodings and your intuitions. They are the sources upon which you draw, but be careful not to drown in them. Just organise things a little, exercise some mental hygiene. Your imagination and your emotions are like a vast ocean from which you wrest small pieces of land that may well be flooded again. The ocean is wide and elemental, but what matter are the small pieces of land you reclaim from it. The subject right before you is more important than those prodigious thoughts of Tolstoy and Napoleon that occurred to you in the middle of last night, and the lesson you gave that keen young girl and Friday night is more important than all your vague philosophizing. Never forget that. Don't overestimate your own intensity; it may give you the impression that you were cut out for greater things than the so-called men in the street, who's inner life is a closed book to you. In fact, you're no more than a weakling and a non-entity adrift and tossed by the waves. Keep your eyes fixed on the mainland and don't flounder helplessly in the ocean.
Etty Hillesum (An Interrupted Life: The Diaries, 1941-1943; and Letters from Westerbork)
So he asked her what she’d like to drink. Her choice would be crucial. If she orders a decaf, he thought, I’m getting up and leaving. No one was entitled to drink a decaf when it came to this type of encounter. It’s the least gregarious drink there is. Tea isn’t much better. Just met, and already settling into some kind of dull cocoon. You feel like you’re going to end up spending Sunday afternoons watching TV. Or worse: at the in-laws’. Yes, tea is indisputably in-law territory. Then what? Alcohol? No good for this time of day. You could have qualms about a woman who starts drinking right away like that. Even a glass of red wine isn’t going to cut it. François kept waiting for her to choose what she’d like to drink, and this was how he kept up his liquid analysis of first impressions of women. What was left now? Coke, or any type of soda … no, not possible, that didn’t say woman at all. Might as well ask for a straw, too, while she was at it. Finally he decided that juice was good. Yes, juice, that was nice. It’s friendly and not too aggressive. You can sense the kind of sweet, well-balanced woman who would make such a choice. But which juice? Better to avoid the great classics: apple, orange, too popular. It would have to be only slightly original without being completely eccentric. Papaya or guava—frightening. No, the best is choosing something in between, like apricot. That’s it. Apricot juice: perfect. If she chooses it, I’ll marry her, thought François. At that precise instant, Natalie raised her head from the menu, as if emerging from a long reflection. It was the same reflection in which the stranger opposite her had just been absorbed. “I’ll have a juice…” “…?” “Apricot juice, I guess.” He looked at her as if she were a violation of reality.
David Foenkinos (Delicacy)
Asking a writer why they like to write {in the theoretical sense of the question} is like asking a person why they breathe. For me, writing is a natural reflex to the beauty, the events, and the people I see around me. As Anais Nin put it, "We write to taste life twice." I live and then I write. The one transfers to the other, for me, in a gentle, necessary way. As prosaic as it sounds, I believe I process by writing. Part of the way I deal with stressful situations, catty people, or great joy or great trials in my own life is by conjuring it onto paper in some way; a journal entry, a blog post, my writing notebook, or my latest story. While I am a fair conversationalist, my real forte is expressing myself in words on paper. If I leave it all chasing round my head like rabbits in a warren, I'm apt to become a bug-bear to live with and my family would not thank me. Some people need counselors. Some people need long, drawn-out phone-calls with a trusted friend. Some people need to go out for a run. I need to get away to a quiet, lonesome corner--preferably on the front steps at gloaming with the North Star trembling against the darkening blue. I need to set my pen fiercely against the page {for at such moments I must be writing--not typing.} and I need to convert the stress or excitement or happiness into something to be shared with another person. The beauty of the relationship between reading and writing is its give-and-take dynamic. For years I gathered and read every book in the near vicinity and absorbed tale upon tale, story upon story, adventures and sagas and dramas and classics. I fed my fancy, my tastes, and my ideas upon good books and thus those aspects of myself grew up to be none too shabby. When I began to employ my fancy, tastes, and ideas in writing my own books, the dawning of a strange and wonderful idea tinged the horizon of thought with blush-rose colors: If I persisted and worked hard and poured myself into the craft, I could create one of those books. One of the heart-books that foster a love of reading and even writing in another person somewhere. I could have a hand in forming another person's mind. A great responsibility and a great privilege that, and one I would love to be a party to. Books can change a person. I am a firm believer in that. I cannot tell you how many sentiments or noble ideas or parts of my own personality are woven from threads of things I've read over the years. I hoard quotations and shadows of quotations and general impressions of books like a tzar of Russia hoards his icy treasures. They make up a large part of who I am. I think it's worth saying again: books can change a person. For better or for worse. As a writer it's my two-edged gift to be able to slay or heal where I will. It's my responsibility to wield that weapon aright and do only good with my words. Or only purposeful cutting. I am not set against the surgeon's method of butchery--the nicking of a person's spirit, the rubbing in of a salty, stinging salve, and the ultimate healing-over of that wound that makes for a healthier person in the end. It's the bitter herbs that heal the best, so now and again you might be called upon to write something with more cayenne than honey about it. But the end must be good. We cannot let the Light fade from our words.
Rachel Heffington
In the campaign of 1876, Robert G. Ingersoll came to Madison to speak. I had heard of him for years; when I was a boy on the farm a relative of ours had testified in a case in which Ingersoll had appeared as an attorney and he had told the glowing stories of the plea that Ingersoll had made. Then, in the spring of 1876, Ingersoll delivered the Memorial Day address at Indianapolis. It was widely published shortly after it was delivered and it startled and enthralled the whole country. I remember that it was printed on a poster as large as a door and hung in the post-office at Madison. I can scarcely convey now, or even understand, the emotional effect the reading of it produced upon me. Oblivious of my surroundings, I read it with tears streaming down my face. It began, I remember: "The past rises before me like a dream. Again we are in the great struggle for national life.We hear the sounds of preparation--the music of boisterous drums--the silver voices of heroic bugles. We see the pale cheeks of women and the flushed faces of men; and in those assemblages we see all the dead whose dust we have covered with flowers..." I was fairly entranced. he pictured the recruiting of the troops, the husbands and fathers with their families on the last evening, the lover under the trees and the stars; then the beat of drums, the waving flags, the marching away; the wife at the turn of the lane holds her baby aloft in her arms--a wave of the hand and he has gone; then you see him again in the heat of the charge. It was wonderful how it seized upon my youthful imagination. When he came to Madison I crowded myself into the assembly chamber to hear him: I would not have missed it for every worldly thing I possessed. And he did not disappoint me. A large handsome man of perfect build, with a face as round as a child's and a compelling smile--all the arts of the old-time oratory were his in high degree. He was witty, he was droll, he was eloquent: he was as full of sentiment as an old violin. Often, while speaking, he would pause, break into a smile, and the audience, in anticipation of what was to come, would follow him in irresistible peals of laughter. I cannot remember much that he said, but the impression he made upon me was indelible. After that I got Ingersoll's books and never afterward lost an opportunity to hear him speak. He was the greatest orater, I think, that I have ever heard; and the greatest of his lectures, I have always thought, was the one on Shakespeare. Ingersoll had a tremendous influence upon me, as indeed he had upon many young men of that time. It was not that he changed my beliefs, but that he liberated my mind. Freedom was what he preached: he wanted the shackles off everywhere. He wanted men to think boldly about all things: he demanded intellectual and moral courage. He wanted men to follow wherever truth might lead them. He was a rare, bold, heroic figure.
Robert Marion La Follette (La Follette's Autobiography: A Personal Narrative of Political Experiences)
Well before she became famous — or infamous, depending on where you cast your vote — Loftus's findings on memory distortion were clearly commodifiable. In the 1970s and 1980s she provided assistance to defense attorneys eager to prove to juries that eyewitness accounts are not the same as camcorders. "I've helped a lot of people," she says. Some of those people: the Hillside Strangler, the Menendez brothers, Oliver North, Ted Bundy. "Ted Bundy?" I ask, when she tells this to me. Loftus laughs. "This was before we knew he was Bundy. He hadn't been accused of murder yet." "How can you be so confident the people you're representing are really innocent?" I ask. She doesn't directly answer. She says, "In court, I go by the evidence.... Outside of court, I'm human and entitled to my human feelings. "What, I wonder are her human feelings about the letter from a child-abuse survivor who wrote, "Let me tell you what false memory syndrome does to people like me, as if you care. It makes us into liars. False memory syndrome is so much more chic than child abuse.... But there are children who tonight while you sleep are being raped, and beaten. These children may never tell because 'no one will believe them.'" "Plenty of "Plenty of people will believe them," says Loftus. Pshaw! She has a raucous laugh and a voice with a bit of wheedle in it. She is strange, I think, a little loose inside. She veers between the professional and the personal with an alarming alacrity," she could easily have been talking about herself.
Lauren Slater (Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century)
And if I was seen as temperamentally cool and collected, measured in how I used my words, Joe was all warmth, a man without inhibitions, happy to share whatever popped into his head. It was an endearing trait, for he genuinely enjoyed people. You could see it as he worked a room, his handsome face always cast in a dazzling smile (and just inches from whomever he was talking to), asking a person where they were from, telling them a story about how much he loved their hometown (“Best calzone I ever tasted”) or how they must know so-and-so (“An absolutely great guy, salt of the earth”), flattering their children (“Anyone ever tell you you’re gorgeous?”) or their mother (“You can’t be a day over forty!”), and then on to the next person, and the next, until he’d touched every soul in the room with a flurry of handshakes, hugs, kisses, backslaps, compliments, and one-liners. Joe’s enthusiasm had its downside. In a town filled with people who liked to hear themselves talk, he had no peer. If a speech was scheduled for fifteen minutes, Joe went for at least a half hour. If it was scheduled for a half hour, there was no telling how long he might talk. His soliloquies during committee hearings were legendary. His lack of a filter periodically got him in trouble, as when during the primaries, he had pronounced me “articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” a phrase surely meant as a compliment, but interpreted by some as suggesting that such characteristics in a Black man were noteworthy. As I came to know Joe, though, I found his occasional gaffes to be trivial compared to his strengths. On domestic issues, he was smart, practical, and did his homework. His experience in foreign policy was broad and deep. During his relatively short-lived run in the primaries, he had impressed me with his skill and discipline as a debater and his comfort on a national stage. Most of all, Joe had heart. He’d overcome a bad stutter as a child (which probably explained his vigorous attachment to words) and two brain aneurysms in middle age.
Barack Obama (A Promised Land)
Roosevelt fought hard for the United States to host the opening session [of the United Nations]; it seemed a magnanimous gesture to most of the delegates. But the real reason was to better enable the United States to eavesdrop on its guests. Coded messages between the foreign delegations and their distant capitals passed through U.S. telegraph lines in San Francisco. With wartime censorship laws still in effect, Western Union and the other commercial telegraph companies were required to pass on both coded and uncoded telegrams to U.S. Army codebreakers. Once the signals were captured, a specially designed time-delay device activated to allow recorders to be switched on. Devices were also developed to divert a single signal to several receivers. The intercepts were then forwarded to Arlington Hall, headquarters of the Army codebreakers, over forty-six special secure teletype lines. By the summer of 1945 the average number of daily messages had grown to 289,802, from only 46,865 in February 1943. The same soldiers who only a few weeks earlier had been deciphering German battle plans were now unraveling the codes and ciphers wound tightly around Argentine negotiating points. During the San Francisco Conference, for example, American codebreakers were reading messages sent to and from the French delegation, which was using the Hagelin M-209, a complex six-wheel cipher machine broken by the Army Security Agency during the war. The decrypts revealed how desperate France had become to maintain its image as a major world power after the war. On April 29, for example, Fouques Duparc, the secretary general of the French delegation, complained in an encrypted note to General Charles de Gaulle in Paris that France was not chosen to be one of the "inviting powers" to the conference. "Our inclusion among the sponsoring powers," he wrote, "would have signified, in the eyes of all, our return to our traditional place in the world." In charge of the San Francisco eavesdropping and codebreaking operation was Lieutenant Colonel Frank B. Rowlett, the protégé of William F. Friedman. Rowlett was relieved when the conference finally ended, and he considered it a great success. "Pressure of work due to the San Francisco Conference has at last abated," he wrote, "and the 24-hour day has been shortened. The feeling in the Branch is that the success of the Conference may owe a great deal to its contribution." The San Francisco Conference served as an important demonstration of the usefulness of peacetime signals intelligence. Impressive was not just the volume of messages intercepted but also the wide range of countries whose secrets could be read. Messages from Colombia provided details on quiet disagreements between Russia and its satellite nations as well as on "Russia's prejudice toward the Latin American countries." Spanish decrypts indicated that their diplomats in San Francisco were warned to oppose a number of Russian moves: "Red maneuver . . . must be stopped at once," said one. A Czechoslovakian message indicated that nation's opposition to the admission of Argentina to the UN. From the very moment of its birth, the United Nations was a microcosm of East-West spying. Just as with the founding conference, the United States pushed hard to locate the organization on American soil, largely to accommodate the eavesdroppers and codebreakers of NSA and its predecessors.
James Bamford (Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency from the Cold War Through the Dawn of a New Century)
Before he could say my name, I closed the space between us. Quickly, my lips moved against his. The mental and emotional emptiness took over instantly, but physically, I was more alert than ever. Wesley’s surprise didn’t last as long as it had before, and his hands were on me in seconds. My fingers tangled in his soft hair, and Wesley’s tongue darted into my mouth and became a new weapon in our war. Once again, my body took complete control of everything. Nothing existed at the corners of my mind; no irritating thoughts harassed me. Even the sounds of Wesley’s stereo, which had been playing some piano rock I didn’t recognize, faded away as my sense of touch heightened. I was fully conscious of Wesley’s hand as it slid up my torso and moved to cup my breast. With an effort, I pushed him away from me. His eyes were wide as he leaned back. “Please don’t slap me again,” he said. “Shut up.” I could have stopped there. I could have stood up and left the room. I could have let that kiss be the end of it. But I didn’t. The mind-numbing sensation I got from kissing him was so euphoric-such a high-that I couldn’t stand to give it up that fast. I might have hated Wesley Rush, but he held the key to my escape, and at that moment I wanted him… I needed him. Without speaking, without hesitating, I pulled my T-shirt over my head and threw it onto Wesley’s bedroom floor. He didn’t have a chance to say anything before I put my hands on his shoulders and shoved him onto his back. A second later, I was straddling him and we were kissing again. His fingers undid the clasp on my bra, and it joined my shirt on the floor. I didn’t care. I didn’t feel self-conscious or shy. I mean, he already knew I was the Duff, and it wasn’t like I had to impress him. I unbuttoned his shirt as he pulled the alligator clip from my hair and let the auburn waves fall around us. Casey had been right. Wesley had a great body. The skin pulled tight over his sculpted chest, and my hands drifted down his muscular arms with amazement. His lips moved to my neck, giving me a moment to breathe. I could only smell his cologne this close to him. As his mouth traveled down my shoulder, a thought pushed through the exhilaration. I wondered why he hadn’t shoved me-Duffy-away in disgust. Then again, I realized, Wesley wasn’t known for rejecting girls. And I was the one who should have been disgusted. But his mouth pressed into mine again, and that tiny, fleeting thought died. Acting on instinct, I pulled on Wesley’s lower lip with my teeth, and he moaned quietly. His hands moved over my ribs, sending chills up my spine. Bliss. Pure, unadulterated bliss. Only once, as Wesley flipped me onto my back, did I seriously consider stopping. He looked down at me, and his skilled hand grasped the zipper on my jeans. My dormant brain stirred, and I asked myself if things had gone too far. I thought about pushing him away, ending it right where we were. But why would I stop now? What did I stand to lose? Yet what could I possibly gain? How would I feel about this in an hour… or sooner? Before I could come up with any answers, Wesley had my jeans and underwear off. He pulled a condom from his pocket (okay, now that I’m thinking about it, who keeps condoms in their pockets? Wallet, yes, but pocket? Pretty presumptuous, don’t you think?), and then his pants were on the floor, too. All of a sudden, we were having sex, and my thoughts were muted again.
Kody Keplinger (The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend (Hamilton High, #1))
Of real sensational journalism, as it exists in France, in Ireland, and in America, we have no trace in this country. When a journalist in Ireland wishes to create a thrill, he creates a thrill worth talking about. He denounces a leading Irish member for corruption, or he charges the whole police system with a wicked and definite conspiracy. When a French journalist desires a frisson there is a frisson; he discovers, let us say, that the President of the Republic has murdered three wives. Our yellow journalists invent quite as unscrupulously as this; their moral condition is, as regards careful veracity, about the same. But it is their mental calibre which happens to be such that they can only invent calm and even reassuring things. The fictitious version of the massacre of the envoys of Pekin was mendacious, but it was not interesting, except to those who had private reasons for terror or sorrow. It was not connected with any bold and suggestive view of the Chinese situation. It revealed only a vague idea that nothing could be impressive except a great deal of blood. Real sensationalism, of which I happen to be very fond, may be either moral or immoral. But even when it is most immoral, it requires moral courage. For it is one of the most dangerous things on earth genuinely to surprise anybody. If you make any sentient creature jump, you render it by no means improbable that it will jump on you. But the leaders of this movement have no moral courage or immoral courage; their whole method consists in saying, with large and elaborate emphasis, the things which everybody else says casually, and without remembering what they have said. When they brace themselves up to attack anything, they never reach the point of attacking anything which is large and real, and would resound with the shock. They do not attack the army as men do in France, or the judges as men do in Ireland, or the democracy itself as men did in England a hundred years ago. They attack something like the War Office--something, that is, which everybody attacks and nobody bothers to defend, something which is an old joke in fourth-rate comic papers
G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)
At his leisure, the lieutenant allowed the unforgettable spectacle to engrave itself upon his mind. With one hand he fondled the hair, with the other he softly stroked the magnificent face, implanting kisses here and there where his eyes lingered. The quiet coldness of the high, tapering forehead, the closed eyes with their long lashes beneath faintly etched brows, the set of the finely shaped nose, the gleam of teeth glimpsed between full, regular lips, the soft cheeks and the small, wise chin… Wherever the lieutenant's eyes moved his lips faithfully followed. The high, swelling breasts, surmounted by nipples like the buds of a wild cherry, hardened as the lieutenant's lips closed about them. The arms flowed smoothly downward from each side of the breast, tapering toward the wrists, yet losing nothing of their roundness or symmetry…The natural hollow curving between the bosom and the stomach carried in its lines a suggestion not only of softness but of resilient strength, and while it gave forewarning to the rich curves spreading outward from here to the hips it had, in itself, an appearance only of restraint and proper discipline. The whiteness and richness of the stomach and hips was like milk brimming in a great bowl, and the sharply shadowed dip of the navel could have been the fresh impress of a raindrop, fallen there that very moment. Where the shadows gathered more thickly, hair clustered, gentle and sensitive, and as the agitation mounted in the now no longer passive body there hung over this region a scent like the smoldering of fragrant blossoms, growing steadily more pervasive… Passionately they held their faces close, rubbing cheek against cheek…Their breasts, moist with sweat, were tightly joined, and every inch of the young and beautiful bodies had become so much one with the other that it seemed impossible there should ever again be a separation…From the heights they plunged into the abyss, and from the abyss they took wing and soared once more to dizzying heights…As one cycle ended, almost immediately a new wave of passion would be generated, and together -with no trace of fatigue- they would climb again in a single breathless movement to the very summit.
Yukio Mishima (Patriotism)
Well, she would marry a man who didn't need or want her fortune. Mr. Pinter didn't fall into that category. And given how blank his expression became as his gaze met hers, she'd been right to be skeptical. he would never be interested in her in that way. He confirmed it by saying, with his usual formality, "I doubt any man would consider your ladyship unacceptable as a wife." Oh, when he turned all hoity-toity, she could just murder him. "Then we agree that the gentlemen in question would find me satisfactory," she said, matching his cold tone. "So I don't see why you assume they'd be unfaithful." "Some men are unfaithful no matter how beautiful their wives are," Mr. Pinter growled. He thought her beautiful? There she went again, reading too much into his words. He was only making a point. "But you have no reason to believe that these gentleman would be. Unless there's some dark secret you already know about them that I do not?" Glancing away, he muttered a curse under his breath. "No." "Then here's your chance to find out the truth about their characters. Because I prefer facts to opinions. And I was under the impression that you do, too." Take that, Mr. Pinter! Hoist by your own petard. The man always insisted on sticking to the facts. And he was well aware that she'd caught him out, for he scowled, then crossed his arms over his chest. His rather impressive chest, from what she could tell beneath his black coat and plain buff waistcoat. "I can't believe I'm the only person who would object to these gentlemen," he said. "What about your grandmother? Have you consulted her?" She lifted her eyes heavenward. He was being surprisingly resistant to her plans. "I don't need to. Every time one of them asks to dance with me, she beams. She's forever urging me to smile at them or attempt flirtation. And if they so much as press my hand or take my for a stroll, she quizzes me with great glee on what was said and done." "She's been letting you go out on private strolls with these scoundrels?" Mr. Pinter said in sheer outrage. "They aren't scoundrels." "I swear to God, you're a lamb among the wolves," he muttered. That image of her, so unlike how she saw herself, made her laugh. "I've spent half my life in the company of my brothers. Every time Gabe went to shoot, I went with him. At every house party that involved his friends, I was urged to show off my abilities with a rifle. I think I know how to handle a man, Mr. Pinter." His glittering gaze bored into her. "There's a vast difference between gamboling about in your brother's company with a group of his friends and letting a rakehell like Devonmont or a devilish foreigner like Basto stroll alone with you down some dark garden path." A blush heated her cheeks. "I didn't mean strolls of that sort, sir. I meant daytime walks about our gardens and such, with servants in plain view. All perfectly innocent." He snorted. "I doubt it will stay that way." "Oh, for heaven's sake, why are you being so stubborn? You know I must marry. Why do you even care whom I choose?" "I don't care," he protested. "I'm merely thinking of how much of my time will be wasted investigating suitors I already know are unacceptable." She let out an exasperated breath. Of course. With him, it was always about money. Heaven forbid he should waste his time helping her.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
A while back a young woman from another state came to live with some of her relatives in the Salt Lake City area for a few weeks. On her first Sunday she came to church dressed in a simple, nice blouse and knee-length skirt set off with a light, button-up sweater. She wore hose and dress shoes, and her hair was combed simply but with care. Her overall appearance created an impression of youthful grace. Unfortunately, she immediately felt out of place. It seemed like all the other young women her age or near her age were dressed in casual skirts, some rather distant from the knee; tight T-shirt-like tops that barely met the top of their skirts at the waist (some bare instead of barely); no socks or stockings; and clunky sneakers or flip-flops. One would have hoped that seeing the new girl, the other girls would have realized how inappropriate their manner of dress was for a chapel and for the Sabbath day and immediately changed for the better. Sad to say, however, they did not, and it was the visitor who, in order to fit in, adopted the fashion (if you can call it that) of her host ward. It is troubling to see this growing trend that is not limited to young women but extends to older women, to men, and to young men as well. . . . I was shocked to see what the people of this other congregation wore to church. There was not a suit or tie among the men. They appeared to have come from or to be on their way to the golf course. It was hard to spot a woman wearing a dress or anything other than very casual pants or even shorts. Had I not known that they were coming to the school for church meetings, I would have assumed that there was some kind of sporting event taking place. The dress of our ward members compared very favorably to this bad example, but I am beginning to think that we are no longer quite so different as more and more we seem to slide toward that lower standard. We used to use the phrase “Sunday best.” People understood that to mean the nicest clothes they had. The specific clothing would vary according to different cultures and economic circumstances, but it would be their best. It is an affront to God to come into His house, especially on His holy day, not groomed and dressed in the most careful and modest manner that our circumstances permit. Where a poor member from the hills of Peru must ford a river to get to church, the Lord surely will not be offended by the stain of muddy water on his white shirt. But how can God not be pained at the sight of one who, with all the clothes he needs and more and with easy access to the chapel, nevertheless appears in church in rumpled cargo pants and a T-shirt? Ironically, it has been my experience as I travel around the world that members of the Church with the least means somehow find a way to arrive at Sabbath meetings neatly dressed in clean, nice clothes, the best they have, while those who have more than enough are the ones who may appear in casual, even slovenly clothing. Some say dress and hair don’t matter—it’s what’s inside that counts. I believe that truly it is what’s inside a person that counts, but that’s what worries me. Casual dress at holy places and events is a message about what is inside a person. It may be pride or rebellion or something else, but at a minimum it says, “I don’t get it. I don’t understand the difference between the sacred and the profane.” In that condition they are easily drawn away from the Lord. They do not appreciate the value of what they have. I worry about them. Unless they can gain some understanding and capture some feeling for sacred things, they are at risk of eventually losing all that matters most. You are Saints of the great latter-day dispensation—look the part.
D. Todd Christofferson
The problem, Augustine came to believe, is that if you think you can organize your own salvation you are magnifying the very sin that keeps you from it. To believe that you can be captain of your own life is to suffer the sin of pride. What is pride? These days the word “pride” has positive connotations. It means feeling good about yourself and the things associated with you. When we use it negatively, we think of the arrogant person, someone who is puffed up and egotistical, boasting and strutting about. But that is not really the core of pride. That is just one way the disease of pride presents itself. By another definition, pride is building your happiness around your accomplishments, using your work as the measure of your worth. It is believing that you can arrive at fulfillment on your own, driven by your own individual efforts. Pride can come in bloated form. This is the puffed-up Donald Trump style of pride. This person wants people to see visible proof of his superiority. He wants to be on the VIP list. In conversation, he boasts, he brags. He needs to see his superiority reflected in other people’s eyes. He believes that this feeling of superiority will eventually bring him peace. That version is familiar. But there are other proud people who have low self-esteem. They feel they haven’t lived up to their potential. They feel unworthy. They want to hide and disappear, to fade into the background and nurse their own hurts. We don’t associate them with pride, but they are still, at root, suffering from the same disease. They are still yoking happiness to accomplishment; it’s just that they are giving themselves a D– rather than an A+. They tend to be just as solipsistic, and in their own way as self-centered, only in a self-pitying and isolating way rather than in an assertive and bragging way. One key paradox of pride is that it often combines extreme self-confidence with extreme anxiety. The proud person often appears self-sufficient and egotistical but is really touchy and unstable. The proud person tries to establish self-worth by winning a great reputation, but of course this makes him utterly dependent on the gossipy and unstable crowd for his own identity. The proud person is competitive. But there are always other people who might do better. The most ruthlessly competitive person in the contest sets the standard that all else must meet or get left behind. Everybody else has to be just as monomaniacally driven to success. One can never be secure. As Dante put it, the “ardor to outshine / Burned in my bosom with a kind of rage.” Hungry for exaltation, the proud person has a tendency to make himself ridiculous. Proud people have an amazing tendency to turn themselves into buffoons, with a comb-over that fools nobody, with golden bathroom fixtures that impress nobody, with name-dropping stories that inspire nobody. Every proud man, Augustine writes, “heeds himself, and he who pleases himself seems great to himself. But he who pleases himself pleases a fool, for he himself is a fool when he is pleasing himself.”16 Pride, the minister and writer Tim Keller has observed, is unstable because other people are absentmindedly or intentionally treating the proud man’s ego with less reverence than he thinks it deserves. He continually finds that his feelings are hurt. He is perpetually putting up a front. The self-cultivator spends more energy trying to display the fact that he is happy—posting highlight reel Facebook photos and all the rest—than he does actually being happy. Augustine suddenly came to realize that the solution to his problem would come only after a transformation more fundamental than any he had previously entertained, a renunciation of the very idea that he could be the source of his own solution.
David Brooks (The Road to Character)