Never Understood Quotes

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If a man cannot understand the beauty of life, it is probably because life never understood the beauty in him.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.
Thomas Sowell (Barbarians inside the Gates and Other Controversial Essays (Hoover Institution Press Publication))
I never understood why Clark Kent was so hell bent on keeping Lois Lane in the dark.
Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife)
He was smoking hot. As in H-O-T-T, hott. I’d never understood until that moment why girls insisted on adding an extra t. This guy was extra-t-worthy.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts.
Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train)
She’s easy to like. I’ve never understood why that’s considered a compliment - that just anyone could like you.
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
You should date a girl who reads. Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve. Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn. She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book. Buy her another cup of coffee. Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice. It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does. She has to give it a shot somehow. Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world. Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two. Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series. If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are. You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype. You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots. Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads. Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
Rosemarie Urquico
Nothing had changed. I was the stupid one again. I was the girl who never understood who she was to people.
Carol Rifka Brunt (Tell the Wolves I'm Home)
libidinous, adj. I never understood why anyone would have sex on the floor. Until I was with you and I realized: you don't ever realize you're on the floor.
David Levithan (The Lover's Dictionary)
I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W. I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never.
Jane Austen (Persuasion)
I have never voted in my life... I have always known and understood that the idiots are in a majority so it's certain they will win.
Louis-Ferdinand Céline
She’s got an indiscreet voice,” I remarked. “It’s full of–” I hesitated. “Her voice is full of money,” he said suddenly. That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money–that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
All I wanted was to live a life where I could be me, and be okay with that. I had no need for material possessions, money or even close friends with me on my journey. I never understood people very well anyway, and they never seemed to understand me very well either. All I wanted was my art and the chance to be the creator of my own world, my own reality. I wanted the open road and new beginnings every day.
Charlotte Eriksson (Empty Roads & Broken Bottles: in search for The Great Perhaps)
Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses.
Plato
I’ve never understood this taste for otkazat’sya. Is it because you thought you were one of them for so long?” “I had a taste for you, once.” His head snapped up. He hadn’t expected that. Saints, it was satisfying.
Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3))
...larger than life...I've never understood that expression. What's larger than life?
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
I never understood how men could remember all those details about sports but, yet, were incapable of remembering where they set their car keys or wallet.
Tina Reber (Love Unscripted (Love, #1))
Truth can never be told so as to be understood and not be believed.
William Blake
Katsa sat in the darkness of the Sunderan forest and understood three truths. She loved Po. She wanted Po. And she could never be anyone's but her own.
Kristin Cashore (Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1))
I’ve never understood pity and self-pity as an emotion. We have a finite amount of time. Whether short or long, it doesn’t matter. Life is to be lived.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
It never occurred to me that our lives, until then so closely interwoven, could unravel and separate over a thing like that. But the fact was, I suppose, there were powerful tides tugging us apart by then, and it only needed something like that to finish the task. If we'd understood that back then-who knows?-maybe we'd have kept a tighter hold of one another.
Kazuo Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go)
I never understood people who don't have bookshelves.
George Plimpton
I finally understood what my grandmother meant. If I wasn't comfortable with myself, I would never be comfortable.
Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Persepolis, #2))
Hey Clark', he said.'Tell me something good'. I stared out of the window at the bright-blue Swiss sky and I told him a story of two people. Two people who shouldn't have met, and who didn't like each other much when they did, but who found they were the only two people in the world who could possibly have understood each other. And I told him of the adventures they had, the places they had gone, and the things I had seen that I had never expected to. I conjured for him electric skies and iridescent seas and evenings full of laughter and silly jokes. I drew a world for him, a world far from a Swiss industrial estate, a world in which he was still somehow the person he had wanted to be. I drew the world he had created for me, full of wonder and possibility.
Jojo Moyes (Me Before You (Me Before You, #1))
Now she had a fumbling knowledge that, had she ever understood Ashley, she would never have loved him; had she ever understood Rhett, she would never have lost him.
Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind)
I understood why she did it. At that moment I knew why people tagged graffiti on the walls of neat little houses and scratched the paint on new cars and beat up well-tended children. It was only natural to want to destroy something you could never have.
Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
Grown ups never understood anything by themselves. And it is rather tedious to have to explain things to them time and again
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince)
I NEVER UNDERSTOOD THE POINT OF BEING SAD WHEN I COULD CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY
Megan McCafferty (Second Helpings (Jessica Darling, #2))
If one makes a mistake, then an apology is usually sufficient to get things back on an even keel. However-and this is a big ‘however’- most people do not ever know why their apology did not seem to have any effect. It is simply that they did not make a mistake; they made a choice…and never understood the difference between the two.
Andy Andrews (The Noticer: Sometimes, All a Person Needs Is a Little Perspective)
I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts. Who was it said that following your heart is a good thing? It is pure egotism, a selfishness to conquer all.
Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train)
I never really understood the word ‘loneliness’. As far as I was concerned, I was in an orgy with the sky and the ocean, and with nature.
Björk
And do you know a funny thing? I'm almost fifty years old and I've never understood anything in my whole life.
Richard Yates (The Easter Parade)
Do you love me?' I asked her. She smiled. 'Yes.' 'Do you want me to be happy?' as I asked her this I felt my heart beginning to race. 'Of course I do.' 'Will you do something for me then?' She looked away, sadness crossing her features. 'I don't know if I can anymore.' she said. 'but if you could, would you?' I cannot adequately describe the intensity of what I was feeling at that moment. Love, anger, sadness, hope, and fear, whirling together sharpened by the nervousness I was feeling. Jamie looked at me curiously and my breaths became shallower. Suddenly I knew that I'd never felt as strongly for another person as I did at that moment. As I returned her gaze, this simple realization made me wish for the millionth time that I could make all this go away. Had it been possible, I would have traded my life for hers. I wanted to tell her my thoughts, but the sound of her voice suddenly silenced the emotions inside me. 'yes' she finally said, her voice weak yet somehow still full of promise. 'I would.' Finally getting control of myself I kissed her again, then brought my hand to her face, gently running my fingers over her cheek. I marveled at the softness of her skin, the gentleness I saw in her eyes. even now she was perfect. My throat began to tighten again, but as I said, I knew what I had to do. Since I had to accept that it was not within my power to cure her, what I wanted to do was give her something that she'd wanted. It was what my heart had been telling me to do all along. Jamie, I understood then, had already given me the answer I'd been searching for, the answer my heart needed to find. She'd told me outside Mr. Jenkins office, the night we'd asked him about doing the play. I smiled softly, and she returned my affection with a slight squeeze of my hand, as if trusting me in what I was about to do. Encouraged, I leaned closer and took a deep breath. When I exhaled, these were the words that flowed with my breath. 'Will you marry me?
Nicholas Sparks (A Walk to Remember)
I am too alone in the world, and yet not alone enough to make every moment holy. I am too tiny in this world, and not tiny enough just to lie before you like a thing, shrewd and secretive. I want my own will, and I want simply to be with my will, as it goes toward action; and in those quiet, sometimes hardly moving times, when something is coming near, I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone. I want to be a mirror for your whole body, and I never want to be blind, or to be too old to hold up your heavy and swaying picture. I want to unfold. I don’t want to stay folded anywhere, because where I am folded, there I am a lie. and I want my grasp of things to be true before you. I want to describe myself like a painting that I looked at closely for a long time, like a saying that I finally understood, like the pitcher I use every day, like the face of my mother, like a ship that carried me through the wildest storm of all.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God)
He never understood that I wasn’t scared of someone leaving me, I was scared that the wrong person would stay.
Laura Dave (The Last Thing He Told Me)
Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.
Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
And then his arms were folding around her, and in that small gesture, she understood, felt it down to her bones, that draw, not the electric pulse of power but the thing beneath it, the weight she'd never understood. In a world where everything rocked and swayed and fell away, this was solid ground. Safe.
V.E. Schwab (A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3))
I've never understood why looking hot had to be equated with sex and conquest. Whatever happened to anticipation, to courtship, to true love? Can't a person look hot and not have it mean something? Call me an old-fashioned Naomi bitch, but I'm holding out for true love. Even if it's an unattainable fantasy
David Levithan (Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List)
I love you,' Buttercup said. 'I know this must come as something of a surprise to you, since all I've ever done is scorn you and degrade you and taunt you, but I have loved you for several hours now, and every second, more. I thought an hour ago that I loved you more than any woman has ever loved a man, but a half hour after that I knew that what I felt before was nothing compared to what I felt then. But ten minutes after that, I understood that my previous love was a puddle compared to the high seas before a storm. Your eyes are like that, did you know? Well they are. How many minutes ago was I? Twenty? Had I brought my feelings up to then? It doesn't matter.' Buttercup still could not look at him. The sun was rising behind her now; she could feel the heat on her back, and it gave her courage. 'I love you so much more now than twenty minutes ago that there cannot be comparison. I love you so much more now then when you opened your hovel door, there cannot be comparison. There is no room in my body for anything but you. My arms love you, my ears adore you, my knees shake with blind affection. My mind begs you to ask it something so it can obey. Do you want me to follow you for the rest of your days? I will do that. Do you want me to crawl? I will crawl. I will be quiet for you or sing for you, or if you are hungry, let me bring you food, or if you have thirst and nothing will quench it but Arabian wine, I will go to Araby, even though it is across the world, and bring a bottle back for your lunch. Anything there is that I can do for you, I will do for you; anything there is that I cannot do, I will learn to do. I know I cannot compete with the Countess in skills or wisdom or appeal, and I saw the way she looked at you. And I saw the way you looked at her. But remember, please, that she is old and has other interests, while I am seventeen and for me there is only you. Dearest Westley--I've never called you that before, have I?--Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley,--darling Westley, adored Westley, sweet perfect Westley, whisper that I have a chance to win your love.' And with that, she dared the bravest thing she'd ever done; she looked right into his eyes.
William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
Belief, like fear or love, is a force to be understood as we understand the theory of relativity and principals of uncertainty. Phenomena that determine the course of our lives. Yesterday, my life was headed in one direction. Today, it is headed in another. Yesterday, I believe I would never have done what I did today. These forces that often remake time and space, that can shape and alter who we imagine ourselves to be, begin long before we are born and continue after we perish. Our lives and our choices, like quantum trajectories, are understood moment to moment. That each point of intersection, each encounter, suggest a new potential direction. Proposition, I have fallen in love with Luisa Rey. Is this possible? I just met her and yet, I feel like something important has happened to me.
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
I've never understood why people pick Noah's ark for a nursery theme anyway." Andrea said breezily... Really", I snorted. "I mean, who wants reminders of a natural disaster, literally of biblical portions, on their baby's walls? What are you supposed to say, 'Oh, drowning sinners, isn't that precious?
Molly Harper (Nice Girls Don't Live Forever (Jane Jameson, #3))
I have never understood the importance of having children memorize battle dates. It seems like such a waste of mental energy. Instead, we could teach them important subjects such as How the Mind Works, How to Handle Finances, How to Invest Money for Financial Security, How to be a Parent, How to Create Good Relationships, and How to Create and Maintain Self-Esteem and Self-Worth. Can you imagine what a whole generation of adults would be like if they had been taught these subjects in school along with their regular curriculum?
Louise L. Hay (You Can Heal Your Life)
I knew then that I had never understood what humans called love. But if that was anything close to the power you held over me, then no wonder they searched for it so passionately." I reached out and pulled him into bed with me. "You're going to be late." "Why ?" "Because after hearing that I can't let you leave until I've had my fill. Get naked, Dankmar.
Abbi Glines (Ceaseless (Existence, #3))
You don't understand, you fool' says Yegor, looking dreamily up at the sky. 'You've never understood what kind of person I am, nor will you in a million years... You just think I'm a mad person who has thrown his life away... Once the free spirit has taken hold of a man, there's no way of getting it out of him.
Anton Chekhov (About Love and Other Stories)
We live in time - it holds us and molds us - but I never felt I understood it very well. And I'm not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click-clock. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time's malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing - until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
Lucien had been prepared to take me against my will. Fae males were territorial, dominant, arrogant—but the ones in the Spring Court … something had festered in their training. Because I knew—deep in my bones—that Cassian might push and test my limits, but the moment I said no, he’d back off. And I knew that if … that if I had been wasting away and Rhys had done nothing to stop it, Cassian or Azriel would have pulled me out. They would have taken me somewhere—wherever I needed to be—and dealt with Rhys later. But Rhys … Rhys would never have not seen what was happening to me; would never have been so misguided and arrogant and self-absorbed. He’d known what Ianthe was from the moment he met her. And he’d understood what it was like to be a prisoner, and helpless, and to struggle—every day—with the horrors of both.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2))
Happy," I muttered, trying to pin the word down. But it is one of those words, like Love, that I have never quite understood. Most people who deal in words don’t have much faith in them and I am no exception – especially the big ones like Happy and Love and Honest and Strong. They are too elusive and far to relative when you compare them to sharp, mean little words like Punk and Cheap and Phony. I feel at home with these, because they’re scrawny and easy to pin, but the big ones are tough and it takes either a priest or a fool to use them with any confidence.
Hunter S. Thompson (The Rum Diary)
From this experience, I understood the danger of focusing only on what isn't there. What if I came to the end of my life and realized that I'd spent every day watching for a man who would never come to me? What an unbearable sorrow it would be, to realize I'd never really tasted the things I'd eaten, or seen the places I'd been, because I'd thought of nothing but the Chairman even while my life was drifting away from me. And yet if I drew my thoughts back from him, what life would I have? I would be like a dancer who had practiced since childhood for a performance she would never give.
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
Fire will save the Clan...you never understood, did you? Not even when I gave you your apprentice name, Firepaw. And I doubted it myself, when fire raged through our camp. Yet I see the truth now. Fireheart, you are the fire who will save ThunderClan. You will be a great leader. One of the greatest the forest has ever known. You will have the warmth of fire to protect your Clan and the fierceness of fire to defend it. You will be Firestar, the light of ThunderClan." - Bluestar
Erin Hunter (A Dangerous Path (Warriors, #5))
Reshaping life! People who can say that have never understood a thing about life—they have never felt its breath, its heartbeat—however much they have seen or done. They look on it as a lump of raw material that needs to be processed by them, to be ennobled by their touch. But life is never a material, a substance to be molded. If you want to know, life is the principle of self-renewal, it is constantly renewing and remaking and changing and transfiguring itself, it is infinitely beyond your or my obtuse theories about it.
Boris Pasternak (Doctor Zhivago)
He carried so much sadness and loneliness, so much heartache. Yet he put his mission first. He persevered. Reyna respected that. She understood that. She'd never been a touchy-feely person, but she had the strangest desire to drape her cloak over Nico's shoulders and tuck him in. She mentally chided herself. He was a comrade, not her little brother. He wouldn't appreciate the gesture.
Rick Riordan (The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5))
There is a twilight zone in our hearts that we ourselves cannot see. Even when we know quite a lot about ourselves-our gifts and weaknesses, our ambitions and aspirations, our motives and our drives-large parts of ourselves remain in the shadow of consciousness. This is a very good thing. We will always remain partially hidden to ourselves. Other people, especially those who love us, can often see our twilight zones better than we ourselves can. The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves. We will never fully know the significance of our presence in the lives of our friends. That's a grace, a grace that calls us not only to humility, but to a deep trust in those who love us. It is the twilight zones of our hearts where true friendships are born.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
We could never understand why the girls cared so much about being mature, or why they felt compelled to compliment each other, but sometimes, after one of us had read a long portion of the diary out loud, we had to fight back the urge to hug one another or tell each other how pretty we were. We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colors went together. We knew that the girls were our twins, that we allexisted in space like animals with identical skins, and that they knew everything about us though we couldn'y fathom them at all. We knew finally that the girls were really woman in diquise, that they understood love even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them.
Jeffrey Eugenides (The Virgin Suicides)
On more than one occasion I have been ready to abandon my whole life for love. To alter everything that makes sense to me and to move into a different world where the only known will be the beloved. Such a sacrifice must be the result of love... or is it that the life itself was already worn out? I had finished with that life, perhaps, and could not admit it, being stubborn or afraid, or perhaps did not known it, habit being a great binder. I think it is often so that those most in need of change choose to fall in love and then throw up their hands and blame it all on fate. But it is not fate, at least, not if fate is something outside of us; it is a choice made in secret after nights of longing. ... I may be cynical when I say that very rarely is the beloved more than a shaping spirit for the lover's dreams... To be a muse may be enough. The pain is when the dreams change, as they do, as they must. Suddenly the enchanted city fades and you are left alone again in the windy desert. As for your beloved, she didn't understand you. The truth is, you never understood yourself.
Jeanette Winterson (Sexing the Cherry)
Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands (see Revelation 7:9), I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me that she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last 'trick', whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school. 'But how?' we ask. Then the voice says, 'They have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.' There they are. There *we* are - the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life's tribulations, but through it all clung to faith. My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace.
Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel)
A child blind from birth doesn't even know he's blind until someone tells him. Even then he has only the most academic idea of what blindness is; only the formerly sighted have a real grip on the thing. Ben Hanscom had no sense of being lonely because he had never been anything but. If the condition had been new, or more localized, he might have understood, but loneliness both encompassed his life and overreached it.
Stephen King (It)
I marveled at the beauty of all life and savored the power and possibilities of my imagination. In these rare moments, I prayed, I danced, and I analyzed. I saw that life was good and bad, beautiful and ugly. I understood that I had to dwell on the good and beautiful in order to keep my imagination, sensitivity, and gratitude intact. I knew it would not be easy to maintain this perspective. I knew I would often twist and turn, bend and crack a little, but I also knew that…I would never completely break.
Maria Nhambu (Africa's Child (Dancing Soul Trilogy, #1))
When I was a kid--10, 11, 12, 13--the thing I wanted most in the world was a best friend. I wanted to be important to people; to have people that understood me. I wanted to just be close to somebody. And back then, a thought would go through my head almost constantly: "There's never gonna be a room someplace where there's a group of people sitting around, having fun, hanging out, where one of them goes, 'You know what would be great? We should call Fiona. Yeah, that would be good.' That'll never happen. There's nothing interesting about me." I just felt like I was a sad little boring thing.
Fiona Apple
We are all wired into a survival trip now. No more of the speed that fueled that 60's. That was the fatal flaw in Tim Leary's trip. He crashed around America selling "consciousness expansion" without ever giving a thought to the grim meat-hook realities that were lying in wait for all the people who took him seriously... All those pathetically eager acid freaks who thought they could buy Peace and Understanding for three bucks a hit. But their loss and failure is ours too. What Leary took down with him was the central illusion of a whole life-style that he helped create... a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential old-mystic fallacy of the Acid Culture: the desperate assumption that somebody... or at least some force - is tending the light at the end of the tunnel.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
…I have never understood the concept of infatuation. It has always been my understanding that being ‘infatuated’ with someone means you think you are in love, but you’re actually not; infatuation is (supposedly) just a foolish, fleeting feeling. But if being ‘in love’ is an abstract notion, and it’s not tangible, and there is no way to physically prove it to anyone else… well, how is being in love any different than having an infatuation? They’re both human constructions. If you think you’re in love with someone and you feel like you’re in love with someone, then you obviously are; thinking and feeling is the sum total of what love is. Why do we feel an obligation to certify emotions with some kind of retrospective, self-imposed authenticity?
Chuck Klosterman (Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story)
When reading a book, be very certain that you never go past a word you do not fully understand. The only reason a person gives up a study or becomes confused or unable to learn is because he or she has gone past a word that was not understood.
L. Ron Hubbard
i have never understood. will probably never understand. the white mans lust to eat the world. to eat the universe. (mars is next) why he was born with such a rabid starvation. why he feigns for power like crack rock. doing everything. and anything. to have it. no matter how deranged. why he is in so much pain he needs to rip the roots of happiness from the earth and burn them into his smile. what happened in his relationship with our mother. that he needs to set a person on fire. watch them burn. to feel powerful. not every white man is born this way, but, it stands to remain there are many who are.
Nayyirah Waheed
Hughes: (Talking for Mustang) 'I won't allow you to die under my jurisdiction because it'd be a pain to clean up the mess.' That's what he said. Edward: Fine. Tell him, 'Understood. I'll never die before you, colonel, you @#'$ idiot.' Hughes: Ha ha ha! They say the ruder you are, the luckier you are! In that case, you and Roy are gonna live forever!
Hiromu Arakawa (Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 2 (Fullmetal Alchemist, #2))
He shook his head pityingly. “This, more than anything else, is what I have never understood about your people. You can roll dice, and understand that the whole game may hinge on one turn of a die. You deal out cards, and say that all a man's fortune for the night may turn upon one hand. But a man's whole life, you sniff at, and say, what, this naught of a human, this fisherman, this carpenter, this thief, this cook, why, what can they do in the great wide world? And so you putter and sputter your lives away, like candles burning in a draft.” “Not all men are destined for greatness,” I reminded him. “Are you sure, Fitz? Are you sure? What good is a life lived as if it made no difference at all to the great life of the world? A sadder thing I cannot imagine. Why should not a mother say to herself, if I raise this child aright, if I love and care for her, she shall live a life that brings joy to those about her, and thus I have changed the world? Why should not the farmer that plants a seed say to his neighbor, this seed I plant today will feed someone, and that is how I change the world today?” “This is philosophy, Fool. I have never had time to study such things.” “No, Fitz, this is life. And no one has time not to think of such things. Each creature in the world should consider this thing, every moment of the heart's beating. Otherwise, what is the point of arising each day?
Robin Hobb (Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy, #2))
It was like she understood something about me that she'd never quite understood before. I always felt that when she looked at me, she was trying to find me, trying to find out who I was. But it seemed at that moment that she saw me, that she knew me. But that confused me.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante, #1))
Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them. To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.
Bill Watterson
A poet once said, 'The whole universe is in a glass of wine.' We will probably never know in what sense he meant it, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass of wine closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflection in the glass; and our imagination adds atoms. The glass is a distillation of the earth's rocks, and in its composition we see the secrets of the universe's age, and the evolution of stars. What strange array of chemicals are in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization; all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts -- physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on -- remember that nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure; drink it and forget it all!
Richard P. Feynman
Then I understood I would never marry him. It's funny how one thing can make you realize something like that. One can be ready to give up the children one always wanted, one can be ready to withstand remarks about one's past, or one's clothes, but then—a tiny remark and the soul deflates and says: Oh.
Elizabeth Strout (My Name Is Lucy Barton (Amgash, #1))
They never pried, but it took him weeks to realize they didn't have to. They didn't ask for secrets; they settled for the breadcrumb truths of day to day life. They knew he hated vegetables but loved fruit, that his favorite color was gray, and that he didn't like movies or loud music. They were things Neil understood only in terms of survival, but his teammates hoarded these insights like gold. They were piecing Neil together and building a real person around all of his lies. They found the parts of him no disguise could change.
Nora Sakavic (The Raven King (All for the Game, #2))
But what Andy never understood about him was this: he was an optimist. Every month, every week, he chose to open his eyes, to live another day in the world. He did it when he was feeling so awful that sometimes the pain seemed to transport him to another state, one in which everything, even the past that he worked so hard to forget, seemed to fade into a gray watercolor wash. He did it when his memories crowded out all other thoughts, when it took real effort, real concentration, to tether himself to his current life, to keep himself from raging with despair and shame. He did it when he was so exhausted of trying, when being awake and alive demanded such energy that he had to lie in bed thinking of reasons to get up and try again,
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
And when she at last came out, her eyes were dry. Her parents stared up from their silent breakfast at her. They both started to rise but she put a hand out, stopped them. ‘I can care for myself, please,’ and she set about getting some food. They watched her closely. In point of fact, she had never looked as well. She had entered her room as just an impossibly lovely girl. The woman who emerged was a trifle thinner, a great deal wiser, and an ocean sadder. This one understood the nature of pain, and beneath the glory of her features, there was character, and a sure knowledge of suffering. She was eighteen. She was the most beautiful woman in a hundred years. She didn’t seem to care. ‘You’re all right?’ her mother asked. Buttercup sipped her cocoa. ‘Fine,’ she said. ‘You’re sure?’ her father wondered. ‘Yes,’ Buttercup replied. There was a very long pause. ‘But I must never love again.’ She never did.
William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
Jacks’s chest was heaving, his clothes were soaked, his hair was a mess across his face—yet in that moment, Evangeline knew he would carry her through more than just freezing waters. He would pull her through fire if he had to, haul her from the clutches of war, from falling cities and breaking worlds. And for one brittle heartbeat, Evangeline understood why so many girls had died from his lips. If Jacks hadn’t betrayed her, if he hadn’t set her up for murder, she might have been a little bewitched by him.
Stephanie Garber (The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart, #2))
Sadie, do you see this? This is a persimmon tree! This is my favorite fruit." Marx picked a fat orange persimmon from the tree, and he sat down on the now termite-free wooden deck, and he ate it, juice running down his chin. "Can you believe our luck?" Max said. "We bought a house with a tree that has my actual favorite fruit!" Sam used to say that Marx was the most fortunate person he had ever met - he was lucky with lovers, in business, in looks, in life. But the longer Sadie knew Marx, the more she thought Sam hadn't truly understood the nature of Marx's good fortune. Marx was fortunate because he saw everything as if it were a fortuitous bounty. It was impossible to know - were persimmons his favorite fruit, or had hey just now become his favorite fruit because there they were, growing in his own backyard? He had certainly never mentioned persimmons before.
Gabrielle Zevin (Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow)
They’d lied to me and betrayed me, leaving jagged edges where all my trust had been, and I didn’t like or respect or admire them any more, but still I loved them. I had no choice. I understood that, perfectly, standing in the white wilderness of snow. You can’t kill love. You can’t even kill it with hate. You can kill in-love, and loving, and even loveliness. You can kill them all, or numb them into dense, leaden regret, but you can’t kill love itself. Love is the passionate search for a truth other than your own; and once you feel it, honestly and completely, love is forever. Every act of love, every moment of the heart reaching out, is a part of the universal good: it’s a part of God, or what we call God, and it can never die.
Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram)
I felt the taste of mortality in my mouth, and at that moment I understood that I was not going to live forever. It takes a long time to learn that, but when you finally do, everything changes inside you, you can never be the same again. I was seventeen years old, and all of a sudden, without the slightest flicker of a doubt, I understood that my life was my own, that it belonged to me and no one else. I’m talking about freedom, Fogg. A sense of despair that becomes so great, so crushing, so catastrophic, that you have no choice but to be liberated by it. That’s the only choice, or else you crawl into a corner and die.
Paul Auster (Moon Palace)
When I had nothing more to lose, I was given everything. When I ceased to be who I am, I found myself. When I experienced humiliation and yet kept on walking, I understood that I was free to choose my destiny. Perhaps there's something wrong with me, I don't know, perhaps my marriage was a dream I couldn't understand while it lasted. All I know is that even though I can live without her, I would still like to see her again, to say what I never said when we were together: I love you more than I love myself. If I could say that, then I could go on living, at peace with myself, because that love has redeemed me.
Paulo Coelho (The Zahir)
Brida’s eyes filled with tears. She was proud of her Soulmate. That is what the forest taught me. That you will never be mine, and that is why I will never lose you. You were my hope during my days of loneliness, my anxiety during moments of doubt, my certainty during moments of faith. Knowing that my Soulmate would come one day, I devoted myself to learning the Tradition of the Sun. Knowing that you existed was my one reason for continuing to live.’ Brida could no longer conceal her tears. Then you came, and I understood all of this. You came to free me from the slavery I myself had created, to tell me that I was free to return to the world and to the things of the world. I understood everything I needed to know, and I love you more than all the women I have ever known, more than I loved the woman who, quite unwittingly, exiled me to the forest. I will always remember now that love is liberty. That was the lesson it took me so many years to learn. That is the lesson that sent me into exile and now sets me free again.’ I will always remember you, and you will remember me, just as we will remember the evening, the rain on the windows, and all the things we’ll always have because we cannot possess them.
Paulo Coelho
She loved him. But he didn’t know how to love. He could talk about love. He could see love and feel love. But he couldn’t give love. He could make love. But he couldn’t make promises. She had desperately wanted his promises. She wanted his heart, knew she couldn’t have it so she took what she could get. Temporary bliss. Passionate highs and lows. Withdrawal and manipulation. He only stayed long enough to take what he needed and keep moving. If he stopped moving, he would self-destruct. If he stopped wandering, he would have to face himself. He chose to stay in the dark where he couldn’t see. If he exposed himself and the sun came out, he’d see his shadow. He was deathly afraid of his shadow. She saw his shadow, loved it, understood it. Saw potential in it. She thought her love would change him. He pushed and he pulled, tested boundaries, thinking she would never leave. He knew he was hurting her, but didn’t know how to share anything but pain. He was only comfortable in chaos. Claiming souls before they could claim him. Her love, her body, she had given to him and he’d taken with such feigned sincerity, absorbing every drop of her. His dark heart concealed. She’d let him enter her spirit and stroke her soul where everything is love and sensation and surrender. Wide open, exposed to deception. It had never occurred to her that this desire was not love. It was blinding the way she wanted him. She couldn’t see what was really happening, only what she wanted to happen. She suspected that he would always seek to minimize the risk of being split open, his secrets revealed. He valued his soul’s privacy far more than he valued the intimacy of sincere connection so he kept his distance at any and all costs. Intimacy would lead to his undoing—in his mind, an irrational and indulgent mistake. When she discovered his indiscretions, she threw love in his face and beat him with it. Somewhere deep down, in her labyrinth, her intricacy, the darkest part of her soul, she relished the mayhem. She felt a sense of privilege for having such passion in her life. He stirred her core. The place she dared not enter. The place she could not stir for herself. But something wasn’t right. His eyes were cold and dark. His energy, unaffected. He laughed at her and her antics, told her she was a mess. Frantic, she looked for love hiding in his eyes, in his face, in his stance, and she found nothing but disdain. And her heart stopped.
G.G. Renee Hill (The Beautiful Disruption)
While this is all very amusing, the kiss that will free the girl is the kiss that she most desires,” she said. “Only that and nothing more.” Jace’s heart started to pound. He met the Queen’s eyes with his own. “Why are you doing this?” … “Desire is not always lessened by disgust…And as my words bind my magic, so you can know the truth. If she doesn’t desire your kiss, she won’t be free.” “You don’t have to do this, Clary, it’s a trick—” (Simon) ...Isabelle sounded exasperated. ‘Who cares, anyway? It’s just a kiss.” “That’s right,” Jace said. Clary looked up, then finally, and her wide green eyes rested on him. He moved toward her... and put his hand on her shoulder, turning her to face him… He could feel the tension in his own body, the effort of holding back, of not pulling her against him and taking this one chance, however dangerous and stupid and unwise, and kissing her the way he had thought he would never, in his life, be able to kiss her again. “It’s just a kiss,” he said, and heard the roughness in his own voice, and wondered if she heard it, too. Not that it mattered—there was no way to hide it. It was too much. He had never wanted like this before... She understood him, laughed when he laughed, saw through the defenses he put up to what was underneath. There was no Jace Wayland more real than the one he saw in her eyes when she looked at him… All he knew was that whatever he had to owe to Hell or Heaven for this chance, he was going to make it count. He...whispered in her ear. “You can close your eyes and think of England, if you like,” he said. Her eyes fluttered shut, her lashes coppery lines against her pale, fragile skin. “I’ve never even been to England,” she said, and the softness, the anxiety in her voice almost undid him. He had never kissed a girl without knowing she wanted it too, usually more than he did, and this was Clary, and he didn’t know what she wanted. Her eyes were still closed, but she shivered, and leaned into him — barely, but it was permission enough. His mouth came down on hers. And that was it. All the self-control he’d exerted over the past weeks went, like water crashing through a broken dam. Her arms came up around his neck and he pulled her against him… His hands flattened against her back... and she was up on the tips of her toes, kissing him as fiercely as he was kissing her... He clung to her more tightly, knotting his hands in her hair, trying to tell her, with the press of his mouth on hers, all the things he could never say out loud... His hands slid down to her waist... he had no idea what he would have done or said next, if it would have been something he could never have pretended away or taken back, but he heard a soft hiss of laughter — the Faerie Queen — in his ears, and it jolted him back to reality. He pulled away from Clary before he it was too late, unlocking her hands from around his neck and stepping back... Clary was staring at him. Her lips were parted, her hands still open. Her eyes were wide. Behind her, Alec and Isabelle were gaping at them; Simon looked as if he was about to throw up. ...If there had ever been any hope that he could have come to think of Clary as just his sister, this — what had just happened between them — had exploded it into a thousand pieces... He tried to read Clary’s face — did she feel the same? … I know you felt it, he said to her with his eyes, and it was half bitter triumph and half pleading. I know you felt it, too…She glanced away from him... He whirled on the Queen. “Was that good enough?” he demanded. “Did that entertain you?” The Queen gave him a look: special and secretive and shared between the two of them. “We are quite entertained," she said. “But not, I think, so much as the both of you.
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
Ah cher ami, how poor in invention men are! They are They always think one commits suicide for a reason. But it's quite possible to commit suicide for two reasons. No, that never occurs to them. So what's the good of dying intentionally, of sacrificing yourself to the idea you want people to have of you? Once you are dead, they will take advantage of it to attribute idiotic or vulgar motives to your action. Martyrs, cher ami, must choose between being forgotten, mocked, or made use of. As for being understood--never!
Albert Camus (The Fall)
My child, I know you're not a child But I still see you running wild Between those flowering trees. Your sparkling dreams, your silver laugh Your wishes to the stars above Are just my memories. And in your eyes the ocean And in your eyes the sea The waters frozen over With your longing to be free. Yesterday you'd awoken To a world incredibly old. This is the age you are broken Or turned into gold. You had to kill this child, I know. To break the arrows and the bow To shed your skin and change. The trees are flowering no more There's blood upon the tiles floor This place is dark and strange. I see you standing in the storm Holding the curse of youth Each of you with your story Each of you with your truth. Some words will never be spoken Some stories will never be told. This is the age you are broken Or turned into gold. I didn't say the world was good. I hoped by now you understood Why I could never lie. I didn't promise you a thing. Don't ask my wintervoice for spring Just spread your wings and fly. Though in the hidden garden Down by the green green lane The plant of love grows next to The tree of hate and pain. So take my tears as a token. They'll keep you warm in the cold. This is the age you are broken Or turned into gold. You've lived too long among us To leave without a trace You've lived too short to understand A thing about this place. Some of you just sit there smoking And some are already sold. This is the age you are broken Or turned into gold. This is the age you are broken or turned into gold.
Antonia Michaelis (The Storyteller)
The first words that are read by seekers of enlightenment in the secret, gong-banging, yeti-haunted valleys near the hub of the world, are when they look into The Life of Wen the Eternally Surprised. The first question they ask is: 'Why was he eternally surprised?' And they are told: 'Wen considered the nature of time and understood that the universe is, instant by instant, recreated anew. Therefore, he understood, there is in truth no past, only a memory of the past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.' The first words read by the young Lu-Tze when he sought perplexity in the dark, teeming, rain-soaked city of Ankh-Morpork were: 'Rooms For Rent, Very Reasonable.' And he was glad of it.
Terry Pratchett (Thief of Time (Discworld, #26; Death, #5))
Everyone just laughed. But then, I closed my eyes and deeply thought about the story of the tourist, deeply thinking about that story of how many times he was lied to and when he had only his head left, he still thankfully cried. And then, I understood it. Ahh, that's "love", isn't it? Am I right? Loss... All sorts of pain... He never thought about it. The tourist never thought of himself. And even though he's an idiot to lots of people, to me, he's not an idiot at all. A lot of people would take the chance to cheat him, but I would never do that. I would want to make him happy, and that's all.
Natsuki Takaya
Closing The Cycle One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill. None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back. Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else. Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important. Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.
Paulo Coelho
When it was done and I went to sleep, I lay awake and listened to the clock on your nightstand and the wind outside and understood that I was really home, that in bed with you was home, and something that had been getting close in the dark was suddenly gone. It could not stay. It had been banished. It knew how to come back, I was sure of that, but it could not stay and I could really go to sleep. My heart cracked with gratitude. I think it was the first gratitude I’ve ever really known. I lay there beside you and the tears rolled down the sides of my face and onto the pillow. I loved you then and I love you now and I have loved you every second in between. I don’t care if you understand me. Understanding is vastly overrated, but nobody ever gets enough safety. I’ve never forgotten how safe I felt with that thing gone out of the darkness.
Stephen King (Lisey's Story)
I miss the way he used to kiss my shoulder whenever it was bare and he was nearby. I miss how he cleared his throat before he took a sip of water and scratched his left arm with his right hand when he was nervous. I miss how he tucked my hair behind my ear when it came loose and took my temperature when I was sick or when he was bored. I miss his glasses on my nightstand. I miss watching him take Sunday afternoon naps on my couch, with the newspaper resting on his stomach like a blanket. How his hands stayed clasped, fingers intertwined, while he slept. I miss the cadence of his speech and the stupidity of his puns. I miss playing doctor when we made love, and even when we didn't. I miss his smell, like fresh laundry and honey (because of his shampoo) at his place. Fresh laundry and coconut (because of my shampoo) at mine. I miss that he used to force me to listen to French rap and would sing along in a horrible accent. I miss that he always said "I love you" when he hung up the phone with his sister, never shy or embarassed, regardless of who else was around. I miss that his ideal Friday night included a DVD, eating Chinese food right out of the carton, and cuddling on top of my duvet cover. I miss that he reread books from his childhood and then from mine. I miss that he was the only man that I have ever farted on, and with, freely. I miss that he understood that the holidays were hard for me and that he wanted me to never feel lonely.
Julie Buxbaum (The Opposite of Love)
She laughed. 'It won't last. Nothing lasts. But I'm happy now.' 'Happy,' I muttered, trying to pin the word down. But it is one of those words, like Love, that I have never quite understood. Most people who deal in words don't have much faith in them and I am no exception--especially the big ones like Happy and Love and Honest and Strong. They are too elusive and far too relative when you compare them to sharp, mean little words like Punk and Cheap and Phony. I feel at home with these, because they're scrawny and easy to pin, but the big ones are tough and it takes either a priest or a fool to use them with any confidence.
Hunter S. Thompson (The Rum Diary)
Whatever you do in life will be insignificant. but it is very important that you do it because, You can't know; You can't ever really know the meaning of your life, and you don't need to. Just know that your life has a meaning. Every life has a meaning; whether it lasts one-hundred years or one-hundred seconds.Every life and every death changes the world in its own way. Gandhi knew this. He knew his life would mean something to someone, somewhere, somehow. And he knew with as much certainty that he could never know that meaning. He understood that enjoying life should be of much greater concern than understanding it. And so do I. You can't know. So don't take it for granted; but don't take it too seriously. Don't postpone what you want. Don't leave anything misunderstood. Make sure the people you care about know. Make sure they know how you really feel. Because just like that it could end.
Will Fetters (Memoirs (Remember Me))
I did not run to him, but I did wrap my arms around him, press my ear to his chest, hold on to him as if he were the last solid thing in the world. He stroked my hair and murmured to me in French. I understood enough to know he was glad to see me and that he thought I looked beautiful. But beyond that it was just pretty noise. It wasn't until I felt Zerbrowski behind me that I pulled away, but when Jean-Claude's hand found mine, I welcomed it. Zerbrowski was looking at me as if he'd never seen me before. "What?" It came out hostile. "I've never seen you be that ... soft with anyone before." It startled me. "You've seen me kiss Richard before." He nodded. "That was lust. This is ..." He shook his head, glancing up at Jean-Claude, then back to me. "He makes you feel safe.
Laurell K. Hamilton (Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #10))
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: Comforting Wisdom for Life)
Ithaka As you set out for Ithaka hope the voyage is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery. Laistrygonians and Cyclops, angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them: you’ll never find things like that on your way as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, as long as a rare excitement stirs your spirit and your body. Laistrygonians and Cyclops, wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them unless you bring them along inside your soul, unless your soul sets them up in front of you. Hope the voyage is a long one. May there be many a summer morning when, with what pleasure, what joy, you come into harbors seen for the first time; may you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things, mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, sensual perfume of every kind— as many sensual perfumes as you can; and may you visit many Egyptian cities to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars. Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you are destined for. But do not hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you are old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you have gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you would not have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
Constantinos P. Cavafy (C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems)
The first language humans had was gestures. There was nothing primitive about this language that flowed from people’s hands, nothing we say now that could not be said in the endless array of movements possible with the fine bones of the fingers and wrists. The gestures were complex and subtle, involving a delicacy of motion that has since been lost completely. During the Age of Silence, people communicated more, not less. Basic survival demanded that the hands were almost never still, and so it was only during sleep (and sometimes not even then) that people were not saying something or other. No distinction was made between the gestures of language and the gestures of life. The labor of building a house, say, or preparing a meal was no less an expression than making the sign for I love you or I feel serious. When a hand was used to shield one’s face when frightened by a loud noise something was being said, and when fingers were used to pick up what someone else had dropped something was being said; and even when the hands were at rest, that, too, was saying something. Naturally, there were misunderstandings. There were times when a finger might have been lifted to scratch a nose, and if casual eye contact was made with one’s lover just then, the lover might accidentally take it to be the gesture, not at all dissimilar, for Now I realize I was wrong to love you. These mistakes were heartbreaking. And yet, because people knew how easily they could happen, because they didn’t go round with the illusion that they understood perfectly the things other people said, they were used to interrupting each other to ask if they’d understood correctly. Sometimes these misunderstandings were even desirable, since they gave people a reason to say, Forgive me, I was only scratching my nose. Of course I know I’ve always been right to love you. Because of the frequency of these mistakes, over time the gesture for asking forgiveness evolved into the simplest form. Just to open your palm was to say: Forgive me." "If at large gatherings or parties, or around people with whom you feel distant, your hands sometimes hang awkwardly at the ends of your arms – if you find yourself at a loss for what to do with them, overcome with sadness that comes when you recognize the foreignness of your own body – it’s because your hands remember a time when the division between mind and body, brain and heart, what’s inside and what’s outside, was so much less. It’s not that we’ve forgotten the language of gestures entirely. The habit of moving our hands while we speak is left over from it. Clapping, pointing, giving the thumbs-up, for example, is a way to remember how it feels to say nothing together. And at night, when it’s too dark to see, we find it necessary to gesture on each other’s bodies to make ourselves understood.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
During the Age of Glass, everyone believed some part of him or her to be extremely fragile. For some it was a hand, for others a femur, yet others believed it was their noses that were made of glass. The Age of Glass followed the Stone Age as an evolutionary corrective, introducing into human relations a new sense of fragility that fostered compassion. This period lasted a relatively short time in the history of love-about a century-until a doctor named Ignacio da Silva hit on the treatment of inviting people to recline on a couch and giving them a bracing smack on the body part in question, proving to them the truth. The anatomical illusion that had seemed so real slowly disappeared and-like so much we no longer need but can't give up-became vestigial. But from time to time, for reasons that can't always be understood, it surfaces again, suggesting that the Age of Glass, like the Age of Silence, never entirely ended.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
Hmm…’ Ciri bit her lower lip, then leaned over and put her eye closer to the hole. ‘Madam Yennefer is standing by a willow… She’s plucking leaves and playing with her star. She isn’t saying anything and isn’t even looking at Geralt… And Geralt’s standing beside her. He’s looking down and he’s saying something. No, he isn’t. Oh, he’s pulling a face… What a strange expression…’ ‘Childishly simple,’ said Dandelion, finding an apple in the grass, wiping it on his trousers and examining it critically. ‘He’s asking her to forgive him for his various foolish words and deeds. He’s apologising to her for his impatience, for his lack of faith and hope, for his obstinacy, doggedness. For his sulking and posing; which are unworthy of a man. He’s apologising to her for things he didn’t understand and for things he hadn’t wanted to understand—’ ‘That’s the falsest lie!’ said Ciri, straightening up and tossing the fringe away from her forehead with a sudden movement. ‘You’re making it all up!’ ‘He’s apologising for things he’s only now understood,’ said Dandelion, staring at the sky, and he began to speak with the rhythm of a balladeer. ‘For what he’d like to understand, but is afraid he won’t have time for… And for what he will never understand. He’s apologising and asking for forgiveness… Hmm, hmm… Meaning, conscience, destiny? Everything’s so bloody banal…’ ‘That’s not true!’ Ciri stamped. ‘Geralt isn’t saying anything like that! He’s not even speaking. I saw for myself. He’s standing with her and saying nothing…’ ‘That’s the role of poetry, Ciri. To say what others cannot utter.’ ‘It’s a stupid role. And you’re making everything up!’ ‘That is also the role of poetry. Hey, I hear some raised voices coming from the pond. Have a quick look, and see what’s happening there.’ ‘Geralt,’ said Ciri, putting her eye once more to the hole in the wall, ‘is standing with his head bowed. And Yennefer’s yelling at him. She’s screaming and waving her arms. Oh dear… What can it mean?’ ‘It’s childishly simple.’ Dandelion stared at the clouds scudding across the sky. ‘Now she’s saying sorry to him.
Andrzej Sapkowski (The Time of Contempt (The Witcher, #2))
She kept her stare locked on his as she let go of his face and slowly, making sure he understood every step of the way,tilted her head back until her throat was arched and bared before him. "Aelin," he breathed. Not in reprimand or warning, but... a plea. It sounded like a plea. He lowered his head to her exposed neck and hovered a hair's breath away. She arched her neck farther, a silent invitation. Rowan let out a soft groan and grazed his teeth against her skin. One bite, one movement, was all it would take for him to rip out her throat. His elongated canines slid along her flesh-gently, precisely. She clenched the sheets to keep from running her fingers down on his bare back and drawing him closer. He braced one hand beside her head, his fingers twining in her hair. "No one else," she whispered. "I would never allow anyone else at my throat." Showing him was the only way he'd understand that trust, in a manner that only the predatory, Fae side of him would comprehend. "No one else," she said again. He let out another low groan, answer and confirmation and request, and the rumble echoed inside her. Carefully, he closed his teeth over the spot where her lifeblood thrummed and pounded, his breath hot on her skin. She shut her eyes, every sense narrowing on that sensation, on the teeth and mouth at her throat, on the powerful body trembling with restraint above hers. His tongue flicked against her skin. She made a small noise that might have been a moan, or a word, or his name. He shuddered and pulled back, the cool air kissing her neck. Wildness-pure wildness sparked in those eyes.
Sarah J. Maas (Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4))
I don’t know if I’ve learned anything yet! I did learn how to have a happy home, but I consider myself fortunate in that regard because I could’ve rolled right by it. Everybody has a superficial side and a deep side, but this culture doesn’t place much value on depth — we don’t have shamans or soothsayers, and depth isn’t encouraged or understood. Surrounded by this shallow, glossy society we develop a shallow side, too, and we become attracted to fluff. That’s reflected in the fact that this culture sets up an addiction to romance based on insecurity — the uncertainty of whether or not you’re truly united with the object of your obsession is the rush people get hooked on. I’ve seen this pattern so much in myself and my friends and some people never get off that line. But along with developing my superficial side, I always nurtured a deeper longing, so even when I was falling into the trap of that other kind of love, I was hip to what I was doing. I recently read an article in Esquire magazine called ‘The End of Sex,’ that said something that struck me as very true. It said: “If you want endless repetition, see a lot of different people. If you want infinite variety, stay with one.” What happens when you date is you run all your best moves and tell all your best stories — and in a way, that routine is a method for falling in love with yourself over and over. You can’t do that with a longtime mate because he knows all that old material. With a long relationship, things die then are rekindled, and that shared process of rebirth deepens the love. It’s hard work, though, and a lot of people run at the first sign of trouble. You’re with this person, and suddenly you look like an asshole to them or they look like an asshole to you — it’s unpleasant, but if you can get through it you get closer and you learn a way of loving that’s different from the neurotic love enshrined in movies. It’s warmer and has more padding to it.
Joni Mitchell
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)
Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900. To You WHOEVER you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams, I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands; Even now, your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you, Your true Soul and Body appear before me, They stand forth out of affairs—out of commerce, shops, law, science, work, forms, clothes, the house, medicine, print, buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying. Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem; I whisper with my lips close to your ear, I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you. O I have been dilatory and dumb; I should have made my way straight to you long ago; I should have blabb’d nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing but you. I will leave all, and come and make the hymns of you; None have understood you, but I understand you; None have done justice to you—you have not done justice to yourself; None but have found you imperfect—I only find no imperfection in you; None but would subordinate you—I only am he who will never consent to subordinate you; I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself. Painters have painted their swarming groups, and the centre figure of all; From the head of the centre figure spreading a nimbus of gold-color’d light; But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus of gold-color’d light; From my hand, from the brain of every man and woman it streams, effulgently flowing forever. O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you! You have not known what you are—you have slumber’d upon yourself all your life; Your eye-lids have been the same as closed most of the time; What you have done returns already in mockeries; (Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in mockeries, what is their return?) The mockeries are not you; Underneath them, and within them, I see you lurk; I pursue you where none else has pursued you; Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the accustom’d routine, if these conceal you from others, or from yourself, they do not conceal you from me; The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if these balk others, they do not balk me, The pert apparel, the deform’d attitude, drunkenness, greed, premature death, all these I part aside. There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in you; There is no virtue, no beauty, in man or woman, but as good is in you; No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you; No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for you. As for me, I give nothing to any one, except I give the like carefully to you; I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I sing the songs of the glory of you. Whoever you are! claim your own at any hazard! These shows of the east and west are tame, compared to you; These immense meadows—these interminable rivers—you are immense and interminable as they; These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of apparent dissolution—you are he or she who is master or mistress over them, Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, pain, passion, dissolution. The hopples fall from your ankles—you find an unfailing sufficiency; Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest, whatever you are promulges itself; Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, nothing is scanted; Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you are picks its way.
Walt Whitman
The night before brain surgery, I thought about death. I searched out my larger values, and I asked myself, if I was going to die, did I want to do it fighting and clawing or in peaceful surrender? What sort of character did I hope to show? Was I content with myself and what I had done with my life so far? I decided that I was essentially a good person, although I could have been better--but at the same time I understood that the cancer didn't care. I asked myself what I believed. I had never prayed a lot. I hoped hard, I wished hard, but I didn't pray. I had developed a certain distrust of organized religion growing up, but I felt I had the capacity to be a spiritual person, and to hold some fervent beliefs. Quite simply, I believed I had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking, and honorable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn't a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whether I believed in a certain book, or whether I'd been baptized. If there was indeed a God at the end of my days, I hoped he didn't say, 'But you were never a Christian, so you're going the other way from heaven.' If so, I was going to reply, 'You know what? You're right. Fine.' I believed, too, in the doctors and the medicine and the surgeries--I believed in that. I believed in them. A person like Dr. Einhorn [his oncologist], that's someone to believe in, I thought, a person with the mind to develop an experimental treatment 20 years ago that now could save my life. I believed in the hard currency of his intelligence and his research. Beyond that, I had no idea where to draw the line between spiritual belief and science. But I knew this much: I believed in belief, for its own shining sake. To believe in the face of utter hopelessness, every article of evidence to the contrary, to ignore apparent catastrophe--what other choice was there? We do it every day, I realized. We are so much stronger than we imagine, and belief is one of the most valiant and long-lived human characteristics. To believe, when all along we humans know that nothing can cure the briefness of this life, that there is no remedy for our basic mortality, that is a form of bravery. To continue believing in yourself, believing in the doctors, believing in the treatment, believing in whatever I chose to believe in, that was the most important thing, I decided. It had to be. Without belief, we would be left with nothing but an overwhelming doom, every single day. And it will beat you. I didn't fully see, until the cancer, how we fight every day against the creeping negatives of the world, how we struggle daily against the slow lapping of cynicism. Dispiritedness and disappointment, these were the real perils of life, not some sudden illness or cataclysmic millennium doomsday. I knew now why people fear cancer: because it is a slow and inevitable death, it is the very definition of cynicism and loss of spirit. So, I believed.
Lance Armstrong (It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life)
Who are we to say getting incested or abused or violated or any of those things can’t have their positive aspects in the long run? … You have to be careful of taking a knee-jerk attitude. Having a knee-jerk attitude to anything is a mistake, especially in the case of women, where it adds up to this very limited and condescending thing of saying they’re fragile, breakable things that can be destroyed easily. Everybody gets hurt and violated and broken sometimes. Why are women so special? Not that anybody ought to be raped or abused, nobody’s saying that, but that’s what is going on. What about afterwards? All I’m saying is there are certain cases where it can enlarge you or make you more of a complete human being, like Viktor Frankl. Think about the Holocaust. Was the Holocaust a good thing? No way. Does anybody think it was good that it happened? No, of course not. But did you read Viktor Frankl? Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning? It’s a great, great book, but it comes out of his experience. It’s about his experience in the human dark side. Now think about it, if there was no Holocaust, there’d be no Man’s Search for Meaning… . Think about it. Think about being degraded and brought within an inch of your life, for example. No one’s gonna say the sick bastards who did it shouldn’t be put in jail, but let’s put two things into perspective here. One is, afterwards she knows something about herself that she never knew before. What she knows is that the most totally terrible terrifying thing that she could ever have imagined happening to her has now happened, and she survived. She’s still here, and now she knows something. I mean she really, really knows. Look, totally terrible things happen… . Existence in life breaks people in all kinds of awful fucking ways all the time, trust me I know. I’ve been there. And this is the big difference, you and me here, cause this isn’t about politics or feminism or whatever, for you this is just ideas, you’ve never been there. I’m not saying nothing bad has ever happened to you, you’re not bad looking, I’m sure there’s been some sort of degradation or whatever come your way in life, but I’m talking Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning type violation and terror and suffering here. The real dark side. I can tell from just looking at you, you never. You wouldn’t even wear what you’re wearing, trust me. What if I told you it was my own sister that was raped? What if I told you a little story about a sixteen-year-old girl who went to the wrong party with the wrong guy and four of his buddies that ended up doing to her just about everything four guys could do to you in terms of violation? But if you could ask her if she could go into her head and forget it or like erase the tape of it happening in her memory, what do you think she’d say? Are you so sure what she’d say? What if she said that even after that totally negative as what happened was, at least now she understood it was possible. People can. Can see you as a thing. That people can see you as a thing, do you know what that means? Because if you really can see someone as a thing you can do anything to him. What would it be like to be able to be like that? You see, you think you can imagine it but you can’t. But she can. And now she knows something. I mean she really, really knows. This is what you wanted to hear, you wanted to hear about four drunk guys who knee-jerk you in the balls and make you bend over that you didn’t even know, that you never saw before, that you never did anything to, that don’t even know your name, they don’t even know your name to find out you have to choose to have a fucking name, you have no fucking idea, and what if I said that happened to ME? Would that make a difference?
David Foster Wallace (Brief Interviews with Hideous Men)