Nowadays Quotes

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Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?", here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!
Andy Rooney
Besides, nowadays, almost all capable people are terribly afraid of being ridiculous, and are miserable because of it.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
And yet,to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.
William Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Music makes one feel so romantic - at least it always gets on one's nerves - which is the same thing nowadays.
Oscar Wilde
In old days books were written by men of letters and read by the public. Nowadays books are written by the public and read by nobody.
Oscar Wilde
I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays.
Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
It is perfectly monstrous,' he said, at last, 'the way people go about nowadays saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Everyone is so obsessed with themselves nowadays that they have no time for me.
Louise Rennison (Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, #4))
Maybe the target nowadays is not to discover what we are but to refuse what we are.
Michel Foucault
You know, a long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays everybody's crazy.
Charles Manson
I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.
Agatha Christie (Agatha Christie: An Autobiography)
Nowadays what isn't worth saying is sung. (Aujourd'hui ce qui ne vaut pas la peine d'être dit, on le chante.)
Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (Le Barbier de Séville)
All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. You can do any thing and everything, without even the guidance of any one. Stand up and express the divinity within you.
Vivekananda (Lectures from Colombo to Almora (Hard bound))
Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly -- that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to oneself. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion -- these are the two things that govern us.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Stories)
Nowadays you can go anywhere in the world in a few hours, and nothing is fabulous any more.
Roald Dahl
Young people, nowadays, imagine that money is everything. Yes, murmured Lord Henry, settling his button-hole in his coat; and when they grow older they know it.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Writings)
Children nowadays are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannise their teachers.
Socrates
Nowadays I know the true reason I read is to feel less alone, to make a connection with a consciousness other than my own.
Zadie Smith (Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays)
Nowadays, you can do anything that you want—anal, oral, fisting—but you need to be wearing gloves, condoms, protection.
Slavoj Žižek
Why aren't you in school? I see you every day wandering around." "Oh, they don't miss me," she said. "I'm antisocial, they say. I don't mix. It's so strange. I'm very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn't it? Social to me means talking to you about things like this." She rattled some chestnuts that had fallen off the tree in the front yard. "Or talking about how strange the world is. Being with people is nice. But I don't think it's social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you? An hour of TV class, an hour of basketball or baseball or running, another hour of transcription history or painting pictures, and more sports, but do you know, we never ask questions, or at least most don't; they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing, and us sitting there for four more hours of film-teacher. That's not social to me at all. It's a lot of funnels and lot of water poured down the spout and out the bottom, and them telling us it's wine when it's not. They run us so ragged by the end of the day we can't do anything but go to bed or head for a Fun Park to bully people around, break windowpanes in the Window Smasher place or wreck cars in the Car Wrecker place with the big steel ball. Or go out in the cars and race on the streets, trying to see how close you can get to lampposts, playing 'chicken' and 'knock hubcaps.' I guess I'm everything they say I am, all right. I haven't any friends. That's supposed to prove I'm abnormal. But everyone I know is either shouting or dancing around like wild or beating up one another. Do you notice how people hurt each other nowadays?
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
For nowadays the world is lit by lightning! Blow out your candles, Laura -- and so goodbye. . . .
Tennessee Williams (The Glass Menagerie)
One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation.
Oscar Wilde
You can't imagine how stupid the whole world has grown nowadays.
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
You can't imagine how stupid the whole world has grown nowadays. The things these scribblers write!
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
When a couple has an argument nowadays they may think it s about money or power or sex or how to raise the kids or whatever. What they're really saying to each other, though without realizing it, is this: "You are not enough people!
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.
Oscar Wilde
An en is a karmic bond lasting a lifetime. Nowadays many people seem to believe their lives are entirely a matter of choice; but in my day we viewed ourselves as pieces of clay that forever show the fingerprints of everyone who has touched them.
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
But you could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred. Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act.
George Orwell (1984)
The aim of life is self-development. To realise one's nature perfectly-that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one's self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
No one dies of fatal truths nowadays: there are too many antidotes.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits)
I’m not trying to—What do teenagers say nowadays?” he asked my grandmother.“Get all up in her biznez,” Nana said.Without cracking a smile.“That’s right,” he replied. “We’re not trying to get all up in your biznez, Ali.
Gena Showalter (Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, #1))
This life we live nowadays. It's not life, it's stagnation death-in-life. Look at all these bloody houses and the meaningless people inside them. Sometimes I think we're all corpses. Just rotting upright.
George Orwell (Keep the Aspidistra Flying)
As we live and as we are, Simplicity - with a capital "S" - is difficult to comprehend nowadays. We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.
Frank Lloyd Wright (The Natural House)
In the old days, writers used to sit in front of a typewriter and stare out of the window. Nowadays, because of the marvels of convergent technology, the thing you type on and the window you stare out of are now the same thing.
Douglas Adams
A mismatched outfit, a slightly defective denture, an exquisite mediocrity of the soul-those are the details that make a woman real, alive. The women you see on posters or in fashion magazines-the ones all the women try to imitate nowadays-how can they be attractive? They have no reality of their own; they're just the sum of a set of abstract rules. They aren't born of human bodies; they hatch ready-made from the computers." ~The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
Milan Kundera (The Book of Laughter and Forgetting)
To get into the best society, nowadays, one has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people - that is all!
Oscar Wilde (A Woman of No Importance)
Never mind what I say. I am always saying what I shouldn't say. In fact, I usually say what I really think. A great mistake nowadays. It makes one so liable to be misunderstood.
Oscar Wilde (An Ideal Husband)
Every great man nowadays has his disciples, and it is usually Judas who writes the biography.
Oscar Wilde (The Critic as Artist)
I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can’t go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we had a few fools left.
Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
Hardly anyone still reads nowadays. People make use of the writer only in order to work off their own excess energy on him in a perverse manner, in the form of agreement or disagreement.
Robert Musil (The Man Without Qualities)
Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the running to spread the truth among such persons.
Bertolt Brecht (Galileo)
I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can't go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we had a few fools left. ALGERNON: We have. JACK: I should extremely like to meet them. What do they talk about? ALGERNON: The fools? Oh! about the clever people of course. JACK: What fools.
Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
Nowadays silence is looked on as odd and most of my race has forgotten the beauty of meaning much by saying little. Now tongues work all day by themselves with no help from the mind.
Toni Morrison (Love)
I've enjoyed every age I've been, and each has had its own individual merit. Every laugh line, every scar, is a badge I wear to show I've been present, the inner rings of my personal tree trunk that I display proudly for all to see. Nowadays, I don't want a "perfect" face and body; I want to wear the life I've lived.
Pat Benatar (Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir)
I am not altogether on anybody’s side, because nobody is altogether on my side, if you understand me: nobody cares for the woods as I care for them, not even Elves nowadays.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2))
What’s so phony nowadays is all this familiarity. Pretending there isn’t any difference between people —well, like you were saying about minorities, this morning. If you and I are no different, what do we have to give each other? How can we ever be friends?
Christopher Isherwood (A Single Man)
We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.
Oscar Wilde (The Canterville Ghost)
It seems to be the fashion nowadays for a girl to behave as much like a man as possible. Well, I won't! I'll make the best of being a girl and be as nice a specimen as I can: sweet and modest, a dear, dainty thing with clothes smelling all sweet and violety, a soft voice, and pretty, womanly ways. Since I'm a girl, I prefer to be a real one!
Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
People don't have fortunes left them in that style nowadays; men have to work and women to marry for money. It's a dreadfully unjust world.
Louisa May Alcott
There are cameras nowadays that have been developed to tell the difference between a squirrel and a bomb.
George W. Bush
It is a dangerous day when we can take the cross out of the church more easily than the flag. No wonder it is hard for seekers to find God nowadays.
Shane Claiborne
I suppose nowadays it's all a question of surgery, isn't it? Of course the notion is beautiful, the idea of staying a boy and a child forever, and I think you can. I have known plenty of people who, in their later years, had the energy of children and the kind of curiosity and fascination with things like little children. I think we can keep that, and I think it's important to keep that part of staying young. But I also think it's great fun growing old.
Johnny Depp
We boarded the plane after boxing our stakes and knives and taking them to a FedEx carrier, airport security being so strict nowadays. In the section marked 'contents', Bones filled out 'Tofu'. God, but he had a sick sense of humor sometimes.
Jeaniene Frost (Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1))
Nowadays we are all of us so hard up that the only pleasant things to pay are compliments. They’re the only things we can pay.
Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan)
Nowadays most men lead lives of noisy desperation.
James Thurber (Further Fables for Our Time)
There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
As you grow older, you realize it becomes less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. People nowadays don't know the true meaning of friendship and loyalty. People always suddenly miss you more once they see how much happier you are without them. Learn the real from the fake....and don't worry about the mistakes you make. There are no mistakes in life, just lessons. The only people worthy to be in your life are the ones that help you through the hard times and laugh with you after the hard times pass.
Ziad K. Abdelnour (Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics)
To tell the truth, girls are no longer the way they used to be. They play gangsters, nowadays, just like boys. They organize rackets. They plan holdups and practice karate. They will rape defenseless adolescents. They wear pants... Life has become impossible.
Alain Robbe-Grillet (Djinn)
I will never understand these bethroted teenagers nowadays.
Rick Riordan (The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #2))
I'll tell you something banal.We're emotional illiterates.And not only you and I-practically everybody,that's the depressing thing.We're taught everything about the body and about agriculture in Madagascar and about the square root of pi, or whatever the hell it's called,but not a word about the soul.We're abysmally ignorant,about both ourselves and others.There's a lot of loose talk nowadays to the effect that children should be brought up to know all about brotherhood and understanding and coexistence and equality and everything else that's all the rage just now.But it doesn't dawn on anyone that we must first learn something about ourselves and our own feelings.Our own fear and loneliness and anger.We're left without a chance,ignorant and remorseful among the ruins of our ambitions.To make a child aware of it's soul is something almost indecent.You're regarded as a dirty old man.How can you understand other people if you don't know anything about yourself?Now you're yawning,so that's the end of the lecture.
Ingmar Bergman
I want to say something about bad writing. I'm proud of my bad writing. Everyone is so intelligent lately, and stylish. Fucking great. I am proud of Philip Guston's bad painting, I am proud of Baudelaire's mamma's boy goo goo misery. Sometimes the lurid or shitty means having a heart, which's something you have to try to have. Excellence nowadays is too general and available to be worth prizing: I am interested in people who have to find strange and horrible ways to just get from point a to point b.
Ariana Reines
Poets are not so scrupulous as you are. They know how useful passion is for publication. Nowadays a broken heart will run to many editions." "I hate them for it," cried Hallward. "An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them. We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty. Some day I will show the world what is it; and for that the world shall never see my portrait of Dorian Gray.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.
Abraham Lincoln
The things young women read nowadays and profess to enjoy positively frighten me.
Agatha Christie (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #3))
Why nowadays there's a new fashion every day.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
There are times, they occur with increasing frequency nowadays, when I seem to know nothing, when everything I know seems to have fallen out of my mind like a shower of rain, and I am gripped for a moment in paralysed dismay, waiting for it all to come back but with no certainty that it will.
John Banville (The Sea)
Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors...disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking one occupies the spaces between those interiors in the same way one occupies those interiors. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it.
Rebecca Solnit (Wanderlust: A History of Walking)
But you see, a rich country like America can perhaps afford to be stupid.
Barack Obama (Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance)
Nowadays it is seen as a shame, to marry a girl who is a mother, who has never been married. I want to get rid of that prejudice.
Frederick the Great (Erster Diener Seines Staates: Friedrich Der Grosse In Ausgewählten Zitaten)
Well, Daddy, I used to believe that artists went crazy in the process of creating the beautiful works of art that kept society sane. Nowadays, though, artists make intentionally ugly art that’s only supposed to reflect society rather than inspire it. So I guess we’re all loony together now, loony rats in the shithouse of commercialism.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
What readers ask nowadays in a book is that it should improve, instruct and elevate. This book wouldn't elevate a cow. I cannot conscientiously recommend it for any useful purposes whatever. All I can suggest is that when you get tired of reading "the best hundred books," you may take this for half an hour. It will be a change.
Jerome K. Jerome (Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow)
People nowadays think that scientists exist to instruct them, poets, musicians, etc. to give them pleasure. The idea that these have something to teach them - that does not occur to them.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (Culture and Value)
So many people make a name nowadays, that it is more distinguished to remain in obscurity.
Thomas Hardy (A Pair of Blue Eyes)
That’s how we stay young nowadays: Chasing down bottles of pills, jumping off bridges, slicing up our bodies and an idealized vision of being skinny enough.
Juansen Dizon (I Am The Architect of My Own Destruction)
Rituals are important. Nowadays it's hip not to be married. I'm not interested in being hip.
John Lennon
All that is necessary for evil to triumph, said Burke, is for good men to do nothing; and most good men nowadays can be relied upon to do precisely that. Where a reputation for intolerance is more feared than a reputation for vice itself, all manner of evil may be expected to flourish.
Theodore Dalrymple (Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses)
Nowadays you have to be a scientist if you want to be a killer. No, no, I was neither. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, the majority of sex offenders that hanker for some throbbing, sweet-moaning, physical but not necessarily coital, relation with a girl-child, are innocuous, inadequate, passive, timid strangers who merely ask the community to allow them to pursue their practically harmless, so-called aberrant behavior, their little hot wet private acts of sexual deviation without the police and society cracking down upon them. We are not sex fiends! We do not rape as good soldiers do. We are unhappy, mild, dog-eyed gentlemen, sufficiently well integrated to control our urge in the presence of adults, but ready to give years and years of life for one chance to touch a nymphet. Emphatically, no killers are we. Poets never kill.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
Liz cleared her throat. "Isn't there a more polite term we're supposed to use nowadays? Like....little person, or vertically challenged,or-" "I'm not going to call myself the god of vertically challenged people," Bes grumbled. "I'm a dwarf!
Rick Riordan
Given a decent start any girl can beat a man nowadays.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (This Side of Paradise)
Nowadays you have to be a scientist if you want to be a killer.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
My son, be worthy of your noble name, worthily borne by your ancestors for over five hundred years. Remember it’s by courage, and courage alone, that a nobleman makes his way nowadays. Don’t be afraid of opportunities, and seek out adventures. My son, all I have to give you is fifteen ecus, my horse, and the advice you’ve just heard. Make the most of these gifts, and have a long, happy life.
Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers (The D'Artagnan Romances, #1))
In olden times gold was manufactured by science; nowadays science must be renewed by gold. We have fixed the volatile and we must now volatilize the fixed—in other words, we have materialized spirit, and we must now spiritualize matter.
Éliphas Lévi (Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual)
OK, now let’s have some fun. Let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about women. Freud said he didn’t know what women wanted. I know what women want. They want a whole lot of people to talk to. What do they want to talk about? They want to talk about everything. What do men want? They want a lot of pals, and they wish people wouldn’t get so mad at them. Why are so many people getting divorced today? It’s because most of us don’t have extended families anymore. It used to be that when a man and a woman got married, the bride got a lot more people to talk to about everything. The groom got a lot more pals to tell dumb jokes to. A few Americans, but very few, still have extended families. The Navahos. The Kennedys. But most of us, if we get married nowadays, are just one more person for the other person. The groom gets one more pal, but it’s a woman. The woman gets one more person to talk to about everything, but it’s a man. When a couple has an argument, they may think it’s about money or power or sex, or how to raise the kids, or whatever. What they’re really saying to each other, though, without realizing it, is this: “You are not enough people!” I met a man in Nigeria one time, an Ibo who has six hundred relatives he knew quite well. His wife had just had a baby, the best possible news in any extended family. They were going to take it to meet all its relatives, Ibos of all ages and sizes and shapes. It would even meet other babies, cousins not much older than it was. Everybody who was big enough and steady enough was going to get to hold it, cuddle it, gurgle to it, and say how pretty it was, or handsome. Wouldn't you have loved to be that baby?
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian)
Nowadays he doesn't think of his wife, though he knows he can turn around and evoke every move of her, describe any aspect of her, the weigh of her wrist on his heart during the night.
Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient)
The worst thing is not that the world is unfree, but that people have unlearned their liberty. The more indifferent people are to politics, to the interests of others, the more obsessed they become with their own faces. The individualism of our time. Not being able to fall asleep and not allowing oneself to move: the marital bed. If high culture is coming to an end, it is also the end of you and your paradoxical ideas, because paradox as such belongs to high culture and not to childish prattle. You remind me of the young men who supported the Nazis or communists not out of cowardice or out of opportunism but out of an excess of intelligence. For nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought… You are the brilliant ally of your own gravediggers. In the world of highways, a beautiful landscape means: an island of beauty connected by a long line with other islands of beauty. How to live in a world with which you disagree? How to live with people when you neither share their suffering nor their joys? When you know that you don’t belong among them?... our century refuses to acknowledge anyone’s right to disagree with the world…All that remains of such a place is the memory, the ideal of a cloister, the dream of a cloister… Humor can only exist when people are still capable of recognizing some border between the important and the unimportant. And nowadays this border has become unrecognizable. The majority of people lead their existence within a small idyllic circle bounded by their family, their home, and their work... They live in a secure realm somewhere between good and evil. They are sincerely horrified by the sight of a killer. And yet all you have to do is remove them from this peaceful circle and they, too, turn into murderers, without quite knowing how it happened. The longing for order is at the same time a longing for death, because life is an incessant disruption of order. Or to put it the other way around: the desire for order is a virtuous pretext, an excuse for virulent misanthropy. A long time a go a certain Cynic philosopher proudly paraded around Athens in a moth-eaten coat, hoping that everyone would admire his contempt for convention. When Socrates met him, he said: Through the hole in your coat I see your vanity. Your dirt, too, dear sir, is self-indulgent and your self-indulgence is dirty. You are always living below the level of true existence, you bitter weed, you anthropomorphized vat of vinegar! You’re full of acid, which bubbles inside you like an alchemist’s brew. Your highest wish is to be able to see all around you the same ugliness as you carry inside yourself. That’s the only way you can feel for a few moments some kind of peace between yourself and the world. That’s because the world, which is beautiful, seems horrible to you, torments you and excludes you. If the novel is successful, it must necessarily be wiser than its author. This is why many excellent French intellectuals write mediocre novels. They are always more intelligent than their books. By a certain age, coincidences lose their magic, no longer surprise, become run-of-the-mill. Any new possibility that existence acquires, even the least likely, transforms everything about existence.
Milan Kundera
But, especially in love, only counterfeit emotions exist nowadays. We have all been taught to mistrust everybody emotionally, from parents downwards, or upwards. Don’t trust anybody with your real emotions: if you’ve got any: that is the slogan of today. Trust them with your money, even, but never with your feelings. They are bound to trample on them.
D.H. Lawrence (Lady Chatterley's Lover)
In the old days, spies had done they'd done because they loved their country, because they believed in what they were doing. But he'd never been given a choice. Nowadays, spies weren't employed. They were used.
Anthony Horowitz (Stormbreaker (Alex Rider, #1))
And what does it mean - ridiculous? wWhat does it matter how many times a man is or seems to be ridiculous? Besides, nowadays almost all capable people are terribly afraid of being ridiculous, and are miserable because of it.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
Neighbor… was that the word for "whoring tramp" nowadays?
Gena Showalter (Animal Instincts)
Nowadays anyone with a crap laptop and an Internet connection can sound their barbaric yawp, whatever it may be.
Julie Powell (Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously)
Yes, I like that—loyalty, I mean. It’s out of fashion nowadays. She’s an odd character, that girl—proud, reserved, stubborn, and terribly warm-hearted underneath, I fancy.
Agatha Christie (Death on the Nile)
But nowadays," she keeps going, "we don't hold a woman responsible for a man's behavior.
Penelope Douglas (Birthday Girl)
Christians often ask why God does not speak to them, as he is believed to have done in former days. When I hear such questions, it always makes me think of the rabbi who asked how it could be that God often showed himself to people in the olden days whereas nowadays nobody ever sees him. The rabbi replied: "Nowadays there is no longer anybody who can bow low enough." This answer hits the nail on the head. We are so captivated by and entangled in our subjective consciousness that we have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions. The Buddhist discards the world of unconscious fantasies as useless illusions; the Christian puts his Church and his Bible between himself and his unconscious; and the rational intellectual does not yet know that his consciousness is not his total psyche.
C.G. Jung
There used to be two kinds of kisses: First when girls were kissed and deserted; second, when they were engaged. Now there's a third kind, where the man is kissed and deserted. If Mr. Jones of the nineties bragged he'd kissed a girl, everyone knew he was through with her. If Mr. Jones of 1919 brags the same, everyone knows it's because he can't kiss her any more. Given a decent start any girl can beat a man nowadays.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (This Side of Paradise)
It's most dangerous nowadays for a husband to pay any attention to his wife in public. It always makes people think that he beats her when they are alone. The world has grown so suspicious of anything that looks like a happy married life.
Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan)
You could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred.
George Orwell (1984)
Nowadays, an artist is someone who makes art mean the things he does.
Tom Stoppard (Travesties)
In years past, to keep their men close, women would wear a ring and bear children. It doesn't work like that today. Nowadays, how do we hold on to those we love? I've no idea.
Guillaume Musso (Que serais-je sans toi?)
Society ends up with the adults it deserves. It's just a little more obvious nowadays.
Åke Edwardson
I usually say what I really think. A great mistake nowadays. It makes one so liable to be misunderstood.
Oscar Wilde (Witticisms Of Oscar Wilde)
In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise. When there are wars, where there are divided allegiances, where there are temptations to be resisted, objects of love to be fought for or defended - there, obviously, nobility and heroism have some sense. But there aren't any wars nowadays. The greatest care is taken to prevent you from loving anyone too much. There's no such thing as a divided allegiance; you're so conditioned that you can't help doing what you ought to do. And what you ought to do is on the whole so pleasant, so many of the natural impulses are allowed free play, that there really aren't any temptations to resist. And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there's always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your mortality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears - that's what soma is.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
Nowadays, people resort to all kinds of activities in order to calm themselves after a stressful event: performing yoga poses in a sauna, leaping off bridges while tied to a bungee, killing imaginary zombies with imaginary weapons, and so forth. But in Miss Penelope Lumley's day, it was universally understood that there is nothing like a nice cup of tea to settle one's nerves in the aftermath of an adventure- a practice many would find well worth reviving.
Maryrose Wood (The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #2))
Nowadays, we never allow ourselves the convenience of being temporarily unavailable, even to strangers. With telephone and beeper, people subject themselves to being instantly accessible to everyone at all times, and it is the person who refuses to be on call, rather than the importunate caller, who is considered rude.
Judith Martin (Common Courtesy: In Which Miss Manners Solves the Problem That Baffled Mr. Jefferson)
I am honestly starting to question evolution. We went from cavemen, to homo sapiens, to this incredible society of great minds—Alexander Graham Bell inventing telephones, Steve Jobs inventing…everything. And now we’re devolving. We’ve travelled back to cavemen, only nowadays we call them fuckboys.
Elle Kennedy (The Risk (Briar U, #2))
In life nowadays it matters to most of us, what we do and how much we have in our lives.... However it should mostly be who we have beside us through our lives, that should really matter.
Jonathan Anthony Burkett (Friends 2 Lovers: The Unthinkable (Volume 1))
The nowadays ruling that no word is unprintable has, I think, done nothing whatever for beautiful letters. The boys have gone hog-wild with liberty, yet the short flat terms used over and over, both in dialogue and narrative, add neither vigor nor clarity; the effect is not of shock but of something far more dangerous — tedium.
Dorothy Parker
How do you turn catastrophe into art? Nowadays the process is automatic. A nuclear plant explodes? We'll have a play on the London stage within a year. A President is assissinated? You can have the book or the film or the filmed book or booked film. War? Send in the novelists. A series of gruesome murders? Listen for the tramp of the poets. We have to understand it, of course, this catastrophe; to understand it, we have to imagine it, so we need the imaginative arts. But we also need to justify it and forgive it, this catastrophe, however minimally. Why did it happen, this mad act of Nature, this crazed human moment? Well, at least it produced art. Perhaps, in the end, that's what catastrophe is for.
Julian Barnes (A History of the World in 10½ Chapters)
Nowadays, I dont have expectations, and this way she beats them all.
Jodi Picoult (My Sister's Keeper)
It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true.
Oscar Wilde (A Woman of No Importance)
Adrian Mole's father was so angry that so many pepole got divorced nowadays. HE had been unhappilly married for 30 years, why should everybody else get away?
Sue Townsend
Rabbits are played. Nowadays it's all about the turtles. Tell them it's a ninja, they'll freak.
Etgar Keret
Is there an expiration date on marriages nowadays? ...For some people, yes.
Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
For everyone nowadays knows, absolutely is CERTAIN, that nothing bad will ever happen to ME. Others die, I go on. There are no consequences and no responsibilities. Except that there ARE. But let's not talk about them, eh? By the time the consequences catch up to you, it's too late, isn't it, Montag?
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
Look, the Devil has asked me. We’re very old acquaintances, he and I, and I couldn’t turn him down. My estate is enormous, so he asked me for a little space, since hell has become totally overpopulated and there’s no room left whatsoever. He doesn’t have any choice in the matter Himself. Nowadays, everyone wants to go to hell, and the Devil, being as decent as he is, can’t turn anyone down. You understand, don’t you? There’s nobody left in Heaven. Heaven has gone bankrupt,”.
Alexandar Tomov (Beyond the Absurd)
A thing which I regret, and which I will try to remedy some time, is that I have never in my life planted a walnut. Nobody does plant them nowadays—when you see a walnut it is almost invariably an old tree. If you plant a walnut you are planting it for your grandchildren, and who cares a damn for his grandchildren?
George Orwell
Nowadays, her life is more like a newspaper: aimless, up-to-date and full of meaningless events
Michel Faber
Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call 'humble' nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
I don’t know who has it, but apparently other people have been playing it which is why we have zombies cropping up all over the place. (Madaug) Yeah, two and three at a time, ‘cause God forbid kids should do what we did back in the old days and play in a room by ourselves. What kind of geeks are they raising nowadays? Geeks with friends who play video games together. Whoever heard of such? It’s the end of days, I’m telling you all. (Bubba)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Infinity (Chronicles of Nick, #1))
Today the logic goes something like this: 'Calling a ruler Son of God is out of style. No one really does that nowadays. We can support a president while also worshiping Jesus as the Son of God.' But how is this possible? For one says that we must love our enemies, and the other says we must kill them; one promotes the economics of competition, while the other admonishes the forgiveness of debts. To which do we pledge allegiance?
Shane Claiborne (Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals)
Any man who can take a TV wall apart and put it back together again, and most men can nowadays, is happier than any man who tries to slide-rule, measure, and equate the universe, which just won't be measured or equated without making man feel bestial and lonely.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
That is one of the great secrets of life Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
How to please the public - that's the test, But nowadays I find I'm in a fix; I know they're not accustomed to the best, But they've all read so much they know the tricks. How can we give then something fresh and new That's serious, but entertaining too?
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I remember a time when a cabbage could sell itself by being a cabbage. Nowadays it’s no good being a cabbage – unless you have an agent and pay him a commission. Nothing is free anymore to sell itself or give itself away. These days, Countess, every cabbage has its pimp.
Jean Giraudoux (The Madwoman of Chaillot)
Nowadays, as before, the public declaration and confession of Orthodoxy is usually encountered among dull-witted, cruel and immoral people who tend to consider themselves very important. Whereas intelligence, honesty, straightforwardness, good-naturedness and morality are qualities usually found among people who claim to be non-believers.
Leo Tolstoy (A Confession)
Whether it is because the faith which creates has ceased to exist in me, or because reality takes shape in the memory alone, the flowers that people show me nowadays for the first time never seem to me to be true flowers.
Marcel Proust (Swann’s Way)
Perhaps if the year was 1447 instead of 1947 I might have hoodwinked my gentle nature by administering her some classical poison from a hollow agate, some tender philter of death. But in our middle-class nosy era it would not have come off the way it used to in the brocaded palaces of the past. Nowadays you have to be a scientist if you want to be a killer.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
Nowadays, ads don't just sell a product. They sell an attitude! Look at this one! Here's a cool guy saying nobody tells him what to do. He does whatever he wants and he buys this product as a reflection of that independence. So basically, this maverick is urging everyone to express his individuality through conformity in brand-name selection?
Bill Watterson (There's Treasure Everywhere (Calvin and Hobbes, #10))
Nowadays I’m really cranky about comics. Because most of them are just really, really poorly written soft-core. And I miss good old storytelling. And you know what else I miss? Super powers. Why is it now that everybody’s like “I can reverse the polarity of your ions!” Like in one big flash everybody’s Doctor Strange. I like the guys that can stick to walls and change into sand and stuff. I don’t understand anything anymore. And all the girls are wearing nothing, and they all look like they have implants. Well, I sound like a very old man, and a cranky one, but it’s true.
Joss Whedon
The taste of rotting, waxen oranges slid across my tongue, paying no attention to the fact that I was chewing on a wad of spearmint gum. Gran called it arrah-an aura. I was calling it danger candy nowadays. I always felt like spitting it out, but spitting would only make it worse. Plus, spitting on a dance floor is damn rude. I was raised better.
Lili St. Crow (Defiance (Strange Angels, #4))
I have not much patience with a certain class of Christians nowadays who will hear anybody preach so long as they can say, 'He is very clever, a fine preacher, a man of genius, a born orator.' Is cleverness to make false doctrine palatable? Why, sirs, to me the ability of a man who preaches error is my sorrow rather than my admiration.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Your answer is the logical, coherent answer an absolutely normal person would give: It's a tie! A lunatic, however, would say that what I have around my neck is a ridiculous, useless bit of colored cloth tied in a very complicated way, which makes it harder to get air into your lungs and difficult to turn your neck. I have to be careful when I'm anywhere near a fan, or I could be strangled by this bit of cloth. If a lunatic were to ask me what this tie is for, I would have to say, absolutely nothing. It's not even purely decorative, since nowadays it's become a symbol of slavery, power, aloofness. The only really useful function a tie serves is the sense of relief when you get home and take it off; you feel as if you've freed yourself from something, though quite what you don't know.
Paulo Coelho (Veronika Decides to Die)
God has matured. He is not the impulsive, bowel-less being of the Testaments - the vehement glory-monger, with His bag of cheap carny tricks and his booming voice - the fiery huckster with his burning bushes and his wonder wands. Nowadays God knows what He wants and He knows who He wants.
Nick Cave
He knows how to market himself well. Nowadays, that's all that seems to count. He's rebellious in a way that appeals to people with vain, shallow taste. So of course he manipulates his audiences with the blessing of his recording company and the financial investors behind his brand.
Jess C. Scott (Sven (Naked Heat #2))
I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us. They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded Dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along, making a noise like elephants which they can hear a mile off. They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colours (chiefly green and yellow); wear no...
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit)
Why are you so afraid of the word ‘Fascism,’ Doremus? Just a word—just a word! And might not be so bad, with all the lazy bums we got panhandling relief nowadays, and living on my income tax and yours—not so worse to have a real Strong Man, like Hitler or Mussolini—like Napoleon or Bismarck in the good old days—and have ‘em really run the country and make it efficient and prosperous again. ‘Nother words, have a doctor who won’t take any back-chat, but really boss the patient and make him get well whether he likes it or not!
Sinclair Lewis (It Can't Happen Here)
We all want to be in the room where it happens, we want to be part of the things that matter to us, but no two people have the exact same collection of things that matter. Nowadays, I don't so much want to be in the room where it happens, but I do really want to help other people choose the right rooms, and help them realize that they really are a part of things that matter. Because when we feel like none of the rooms we are in matter, that's when we're really lost.
Hank Green (A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor (The Carls, #2))
Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth: this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert-himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt - the Divine Reason... The old humility was a spur that prevented a man from stopping: not a nail in his boot that prevented him from going on. For the old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which will make him stop working altogether.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
Abuse doesn’t come from people’s inability to resolve conflicts but from one person’s decision to claim a higher status than another. So while it is valuable, for example, to teach nonviolent conflict-resolution skills to elementary school students—a popular initiative nowadays—such efforts contribute little by themselves to ending abuse. Teaching equality, teaching a deep respect for all human beings — these are more complicated undertakings, but they are the ones that count.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
That’s why everyone hates each other nowadays,’ he reckoned. ‘Because they are overloaded with non-friends friends. Ever heard about Dunbar’s number?’ And then he had told her about a man called Roger Dunbar at Oxford University, who had discovered that human beings were wired to know only a hundred and fifty people, as that was the average size of hunter-gatherer communities.
Matt Haig (The Midnight Library)
Nowadays, of course, just about our only solvent industry is the merchandising of death, bankrolled by our grandchildren, so that the message of our principal art forms, movies and television and political speeches and newspaper columns, for the sake of the economy, simply has to be this: War is hell, all right, but the only way a boy can become a man is in a shoot-out of some kind, preferably, but by no means necessarily, on a battlefield.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Bluebeard)
The quantitative degeneration of all things is closely linked to that of money, as is shown by the fact that nowadays the ‘worth’ of an object is ordinarily ‘estimated’ only in terms of its price, considered simply as a ‘figure’, a ‘sum’, or a numerical quantity of money; in fact, with most of our contemporaries, every judgment brought to bear on an object is nearly always based exclusively on what it costs. The word ‘estimate’ has been emphasized because it has in itself a double meaning, qualitative and quantitative; today the first meaning has been lost to sight, or what amounts to the same thing, means have been found to equate it to the second, and thus it comes about that not only is the ‘worth’ of an object ‘estimated’ according to its price, but the ‘worth’ of a man is ‘estimated’ according to his wealth.
René Guénon
Youth was the time for happiness, its only season; young people, leading a lazy, carefree life, partially occupied by scarcely absorbing studies, were able to devote themselves unlimitedly to the liberated exultation of their bodies. They could play, dance, love, and multiply their pleasures. They could leave a party, in the early hours of the morning, in the company of sexual partners they had chosen, and contemplate the dreary line of employees going to work. They were the salt of the earth, and everything was given to them, everything was permitted for them, everything was possible. Later on, having started a family, having entered the adult world, they would be introduced to worry, work, responsibility, and the difficulties of existence; they would have to pay taxes, submit themselves to administrative formalities while ceaselessly bearing witness--powerless and shame-filled--to the irreversible degradation of their own bodies, which would be slow at first, then increasingly rapid; above all, they would have to look after children, mortal enemies, in their own homes, they would have to pamper them, feed them, worry about their illnesses, provide the means for their education and their pleasure, and unlike in the world of animals, this would last not just for a season, they would remain slaves of their offspring always, the time of joy was well and truly over for them, they would have to continue to suffer until the end, in pain and with increasing health problems, until they were no longer good for anything and were definitively thrown into the rubbish heap, cumbersome and useless. In return, their children would not be at all grateful, on the contrary their efforts, however strenuous, would never be considered enough, they would, until the bitter end, be considered guilty because of the simple fact of being parents. From this sad life, marked by shame, all joy would be pitilessly banished. When they wanted to draw near to young people's bodies, they would be chased away, rejected, ridiculed, insulted, and, more and more often nowadays, imprisoned. The physical bodies of young people, the only desirable possession the world has ever produced, were reserved for the exclusive use of the young, and the fate of the old was to work and to suffer. This was the true meaning of solidarity between generations; it was a pure and simple holocaust of each generation in favor of the one that replaced it, a cruel, prolonged holocaust that brought with it no consolation, no comfort, nor any material or emotional compensation.
Michel Houellebecq (The Possibility of an Island)
It is extraordinary that nobody nowadays under the stress of great troubles is turned into stone or a bird or a tree or some inanimate object; they used to undergo such metamorphoses in ancient times (or so they say), though whether that is myth or a true story I know not. Maybe it would be better to change one's nature into something that lacks all feeling, rather than be so sensitive to evil. Had that been possible, these calamities would in all probability have turned me to stone.
Anna Comnena (The Alexiad)
Anxiety has a purpose. Originally the purpose was to protect the existence of the caveman from wild beasts and savage neighbors. Nowadays the ocassions for anxiety are very different - we are afraid of losing out in the competition, feeling unwanted, isolated, and ostracized. But the purpose of anxiety is still to protect us from dangers that threaten the same things: our existence or values that we identify with our existence. This normal anxiety of life cannot be avoided except at the price of apathy or the numbing of one's sensibilities and imagination.
Rollo May (The Meaning of Anxiety)
For many years I've been ashamed, mortally ashamed, of having been, even with the best intentions, even at many removes, a murderer in my turn. As time went on I merely learned that even those who were better than the rest could not keep themselves nowadays from killing or letting others kill, because such is the logic by which they live; and that we can't stir a finger in this world without the risk of bringing death to somebody.
Albert Camus (The Plague)
You must remember that there was virtually no air travel in the early 1930s. Africa was two weeks away from England by boat and it took you about five weeks to get to China. These were distant and magic lands and nobody went to them just for a holiday. You went there to work. Nowadays you can go anywhere in the world in a few hours and nothing is fabulous anymore.
Roald Dahl (Boy: Tales of Childhood (Roald Dahl's Autobiography, #1))
The history of the world? Just voices echoing in the dark; images that burn for a few centuries and then fade; stories, old stories that sometimes seem to overlap; strange links, impertinent connections. We lie here in our hospital bed of the present (what nice clean sheets we get nowadays) with a bubble of daily news drip-fed into our arm. We think we know who we are, though we don't quite know why we're here, or how long we shall be forced to stay. And while we fret and write in bandaged uncertainty - are we a voluntary patient? - we fabulate. We make up a story to cover the facts we don't know or can't accept; we keep a few true facts and spin a new story round them. Our panic and our pain are only eased by soothing fabulation; we call it history.
Julian Barnes (A History of the World in 10½ Chapters)
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)
There are blondes and blondes and it is almost a joke word nowadays. All blondes have their points, except perhaps the metallic ones who are as blond as a Zulu under the bleach and as to disposition as soft as a sidewalk. There is the small cute blonde who cheeps and twitters, and the big statuesque blonde who straight-arms you with an ice-blue glare. There is the blonde who gives you the up-from-under look and smells lovely and shimmers and hangs on your arm and is always very tired when you take her home. She makes that helpless gesture and has that goddamned headache and you would like to slug her except that you are glad you found out about the headache before you invested too much time and money and hope in her. Because the headache will always be there, a weapon that never wears out and is as deadly as the bravo’s rapier or Lucrezia’s poison vial. There is the soft and willing and alcoholic blonde who doesn’t care what she wears as long as it is mink or where she goes as long as it is the Starlight Roof and there is plenty of dry champagne. There is the small perky blonde who is a little pal and wants to pay her own way and is full of sunshine and common sense and knows judo from the ground up and can toss a truck driver over her shoulder without missing more than one sentence out of the editorial in the Saturday Review. There is the pale, pale blonde with anemia of some non-fatal but incurable type. She is very languid and very shadowy and she speaks softly out of nowhere and you can’t lay a finger on her because in the first place you don’t want to and in the second place she is reading The Waste Land or Dante in the original, or Kafka or Kierkegaard or studying Provençal. She adores music and when the New York Philharmonic is playing Hindemith she can tell you which one of the six bass viols came in a quarter of a beat too late. I hear Toscanini can also. That makes two of them. And lastly there is the gorgeous show piece who will outlast three kingpin racketeers and then marry a couple of millionaires at a million a head and end up with a pale rose villa at Cap Antibes, an Alfa-Romeo town car complete with pilot and co-pilot, and a stable of shopworn aristocrats, all of whom she will treat with the affectionate absent-mindedness of an elderly duke saying goodnight to his butler.
Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye (Philip Marlowe, #6))
But, Bernard, you're saying the most awful things.' 'Don't you wish you were free, Lenina?' 'I don't know what you mean. I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody's happy nowadays.' He laughed, 'Yes, "Everybody's happy nowadays." We begin giving children that at five. But wouldn't you like to be free to e happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else's way.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
Is he good? Or is he bad? That's the only thing I ask nowadays. And as I grow older—I'd swear this on the last crust I eat—I feel I shan't even go on asking that! Whether a man's good or bad, I'm sorry for him, for all of 'em. The sight of a man just rends my insides, even if I act as though I don't care a damn! There he is, poor devil, I think, he also eats and drinks and makes love and is frightened, whoever he is: he has his God and his devil just the same, and he'll peg out and lie as stiff as a board beneath the ground and be food for worms, just the same. Poor devil! We're all brothers! All worm-meat!
Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek)
Nowadays, no one believes in evil. It is considered, at most, a mere negation of good. Evil, people say, is done by those who know no better - who are undeveloped - who are to be pitied rather than blamed. But, M. Poirot, evil is real! It is a fact! I believe in Evil as I believe in Good. It exists! It is powerful! It walks the earth!' He stopped. His breath was coming fast. He wiped his forehead with his handkerchief and looked suddenly apologetic. 'I'm sorry. I got carried away.
Agatha Christie (Evil Under the Sun (Hercule Poirot, #21))
I remember still how full of bad magic all those spearpoints to be put on the ends of rifles seemed to be. One was like a sharpened curtain rod. Another was triangular in cross-section, so that the wound it made wouldn't close up again and keep the blood and guts from falling out. Another one had sawteeth - so it could work its way through bone, I guess. I can remember thinking that war was so horrible that, at last, thank goodness, nobody could ever be fooled by romantic pictures and fiction and history into marching to war again. Nowadays, of course, you can buy a machine gun with a plastic bayonet for your little kid at the nearest toy boutique.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Bluebeard)
For what are called criminals nowadays are not criminals at all.  Starvation, and not sin, is the parent of modern crime.  That indeed is the reason why our criminals are, as a class, so absolutely uninteresting from any psychological point of view.  They are not marvellous Macbeths and terrible Vautrins.  They are merely what ordinary, respectable, commonplace people would be if they had not got enough to eat. 
Oscar Wilde (The Soul of Man under Socialism)
Every time something really bad happens, people cry out for safety, and the government answers by taking rights away from good people. We have no proof that the bad, stupid crazy people who have planted bombs in the past few years used the phone much for their stupid bad crimes, let alone logged on the Internet. Yet when those kind of bad things happen nowadays, the government tries to do bad things to phones and the Net. The phones and the Internet are just good smart things, and the government should leave them alone. You have to watch the government all the time on everything. Thomas Jefferson didn't say that, but he said something very close to that.
Penn Jillette (Penn & Teller's How to Play in Traffic)
Ours is the only civilization in history which has enshrined mediocrity as its national ideal. Others have been corrupt, but leave it to us to invent the most undistinguished of corruptions. No orgies, no blood running in the street, no babies thrown off cliffs. No, we're sentimental people and we horrify easily. True, our moral fiber is rotten. Our national character stinks to high heaven. But we are kinder than ever. No prostitute ever responded with a quicker spasm of sentiment when our hearts are touched. Nor is there anything new about thievery, lewdness, lying, adultery. What is new is that in our time liars and thieves and whores and adulterers wish also to be congratulated by the great public, if their confession is sufficiently psychological or strikes a sufficiently heartfelt and authentic note of sincerity. Oh, we are sincere. I do not deny it. I don't know anybody nowadays who is not sincere.
Walker Percy (The Moviegoer)
The young people nowadays – men and women, amateurs and pros – generally fall into one of two categories: either they don’t know what it is that’s most important to them, or they know but don’t have the power to go after it. But this girl’s different. She knows what’s most important to her and she knows how to get it, but she doesn’t let on what it is. I’m pretty sure it’s not money, or success, or a normal happy life, or a strong man, or some weird religion, but that’s about all I can tell you. She’s like smoke: you think you’re seeing her clearly enough, but when you reach for her there’s nothing there. That’s a sort of strength, I suppose. But it makes her hard to figure out.
Ryū Murakami (Audition)
Bruno opened his eyes in wonder at the things he saw. In his imagination he had tough that all the huts were full of happy families, some of whom sat outside on rocking chairs in the evening and told stories about how things were so much better when they were children and they'd had nowadays. He thought that all the boys and girls who lived there would be in different groups, playing tennis or football, skipping and drawing out squares for hopscotch on the ground. As it turned out, all the things he thought might be there-wern't.'' -The boy in the striped Pajamas
John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas)
Remember when only a few people had mobile phones. Generally regarded as an object of derision, you would occasionally see business types clutching those ridiculous grey bricks to their faces and mutter to yourself 'what a prick.' Nowadays, an eyebrow hardly even flutters when we see a ten-year-old child happily texting away. You probably wouldn't notice anyway; you'd be too busy downloading an app that could definitively pinpoint who it was that had just farted in your tube carriage.
Simon Pegg (Nerd Do Well)
In his imagination he had thought that all the huts were full of happy families, some of whom sat outside on rocking chairs in the evening and told stories about how things were so much better when they were children and they'd had respect for their elders, not like the children nowadays. He thought that all the boys and girls who lived here would be in different groups, playing tennis or football, skipping and drawing out squares for hopscotch on the ground. He had thought that there would be a shop in the centre, and maybe a small café like the ones he had known in Berlin; he had wondered whether there would be a fruit and vegetable stalls. As it turned out, all the things that he thought might be there - weren't.
John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas)
A sign of the times: there are no longer any chairs in the bookshops along the embankments. [Noël] France was the last bookseller who provided chairs where you could sit down and chat and waste a little time between sales. Nowadays books are bought standing. A request for a book and the naming of the price: that is the sort of transaction to which the all-devouring activity of modern trade has reduced bookselling, which used to be a matter for dawdling, idling, and chatty, friendly browsing.
Jules de Goncourt (Pages from the Goncourt Journals)
Nearly all children nowadays were horrible. What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages, and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party. On the contrary, they adored the Party and everything connected with it… All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children.
George Orwell (1984)
By the way, don't 'weep inwardly' and get a sore throat. If you must weep, weep: a good honest howl! I suspect we - and especially, my sex - don't cry enough now-a-days. Aeneas and Hector and Beowulf, Roland and Lancelot blubbered like schoolgirls, so why shouldn't we?
C.S. Lewis (The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy, 1950 - 1963)
The core predicament of medicine - the thing that makes being a patient so wrenching, being a doctor so difficult, and being a part of society that pays the bills they run up so vexing - is uncertainty. With all that we know nowadays about people and diseases and how to diagnose and treat them, it can be hard to see this, hard to grasp how deeply uncertainty runs. As a doctor, you come to find, however, that the struggle in caring for people is more often with what you do not know than what you do. Medicine's ground state is uncertainty. And wisdom - for both the patients and doctors - is defined by how one copes with it.
Atul Gawande (Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science)
Christianity nowadays is like a big household where many cousins live under the same roof. They all belong to the same clan, but at times they have very different ideas about how to run their family affairs. Some of them, for instance, have no use for any outside devotion. God is a spirit, and He wants to be worshipped in spirit only, they say. Consequently, they have dispensed with all liturgy. They don’t want any distracting ceremonies, no incense, no vestments, no music, no pictures and images, not even sacraments—only the service of the spirit. The trouble is, however, that as long as we live here on earth, we simply are not pure spirits, but we have also a body, and in that body, a very human heart; and this heart needs outward signs of its inward affections. That is why we embrace and kiss the one we love; and the more we love, the more ardently we press him to this very heart—somehow it seems as if these cousins had overlooked that fact. But you can’t cheat the heart; it knows what it wants, and it knows how to get it.
Maria Augusta von Trapp
at one time, a freethinker was a man who had been brought up in the conceptions of religion, law and morality, who reached freethought only after conflict and difficulty. But now a new type of born freethinkers has appeared, who grow up without so much as hearing that there used to be laws of morality, or religion, that authorities existed... In the old days, you see, if a man - a Frenchman, for instance- wished to get an education, he would have set to work to study the classics, the theologians, the tragedians, historians and philosophers- and you can realize all the intellectual labour involved. But nowadays he goes straight for the literature of negation, rapidly assimilates the essence of the science of negation, and thinks he's finished.
Leo Tolstoy
The day of the full moon, when the moon is neither increasing nor decreasing, the Babylonians called Sa-bat, meaning "heart-rest." It was believed that on this day, the woman in the moon, Ishtar, as the moon goddess was known in Babylon, was menstruating, for in Babylon, as in virtually every ancient and primitive society, there had been since the earliest times a taboo against a woman working, preparing food, or traveling when she was passing her monthly blood. On Sa-bat, from which comes our Sabbath, men as well as women were commanded to rest, for when the moon menstruated, the taboo was on everyone. Originally (and naturally) observed once a month, the Sabbath was later to be incorporated by the Christians into their Creation myth and made conveniently weekly. So nowadays hard-minded men with hard muscles and hard hats are relieved from their jobs on Sundays because of an archetypal psychological response to menstruation.
Tom Robbins (Still Life with Woodpecker)
There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr. Gray. All influence is immoral - immoral from the scientific point of view.' 'Why?' 'Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of someone else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly - that is what each of us is here ofr. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one's self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion - these are the two things that govern us. And yet [...] I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream - I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all maladies of medievalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal - to something finer, richer, than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. [...] We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind, and poisons us. ... The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.
Oscar Wilde
People in the West like to shoot things. When they first got to the West they shot buffalo. Once there were 70 million buffalo on the plains and then the people of the West started blasting away at them. Buffalo are just cows with big heads. If you've ever looked a cow in the face and seen the unutterable depths of trust and stupidity that lie within, you will be able to guess how difficult it must have been for people in the West to track down buffalo and shoot them to pieces. By 1895, there were only 800 buffalo left, mostly in zoos and touring Wild West shows. With no buffalo left to kill, Westerners started shooting Indians. Between 1850 and 1890 they reduced the number of Indians in America from two million to 90,000. Nowadays, thank goodness, both have made a recovery. Today there are 30,000 buffalo and 300,000 Indiands, and of course you are not allowed to shoot either, so all the Westerners have left to shoot at are road signs and each other, both of which they do rather a lot. There you have a capsule history of the West.
Bill Bryson
In the twentieth century, astrophysicists in the United States discovered galaxies, the expanding of the universe, the nature of supernovas, quasars, black holes, gamma-ray bursts, the origin of the elements, the cosmic microwave background, and most of the known planets in orbit around solar systems other than our own. Although the Russians reached one or two places before us, we sent space probes to Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. American probes have also landed on Mars and on the asteroid Eros. And American astronauts have walked on the Moon. Nowadays most Americans take all this for granted, which is practically a working definition of culture: something everyone does or knows about, but no longer actively notices. While shopping at the supermarket, most Americans aren’t surprised to find an entire aisle filled with sugar-loaded, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. But foreigners notice this kind of thing immediately, just as traveling Americans notice that supermarkets in Italy display vast selections of pasta and that markets in China and Japan offer an astonishing variety of rice. The flip side of not noticing your own culture is one of the great pleasures of foreign travel: realizing what you hadn’t noticed about your own country, and noticing what the people of other countries no longer realize about themselves.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries)
As early as 1930 Schoenberg wrote: "Radio is an enemy, a ruthless enemy marching irresistibly forward, and any resistance is hopeless"; it "force-feeds us music . . . regardless of whether we want to hear it, or whether we can grasp it," with the result that music becomes just noise, a noise among other noises. Radio was the tiny stream it all began with. Then came other technical means for reproducing, proliferating, amplifying sound, and the stream became an enormous river. If in the past people would listen to music out of love for music, nowadays it roars everywhere and all the time, "regardless whether we want to hear it," it roars from loudspeakers, in cars, in restaurants, in elevators, in the streets, in waiting rooms, in gyms, in the earpieces of Walkmans, music rewritten, reorchestrated, abridged, and stretched out, fragments of rock, of jazz, of opera, a flood of everything jumbled together so that we don't know who composed it (music become noise is anonymous), so that we can't tell beginning from end (music become noise has no form): sewage-water music in which music is dying.
Milan Kundera (Ignorance)
I was gradually coming to have a mysterious and shuddery reverence for this girl; nowadays whenever she pulled out from the station and got her train fairly started on one of those horizonless transcontinental sentences of hers, it was borne in upon me that I was standing in the awful presence of the Mother of the German Language. I was so impressed with this, that sometimes when she began to empty one of these sentences on me I unconsciously took the very attitude of reverence, and stood uncovered; and if words had been water, I had been drowned, sure. She had exactly the German way; whatever was in her mind to be delivered, whether a mere remark, or a sermon, or a cyclopedia, or the history of a war, she would get it into a single sentence or die. Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.
Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)
I'm still of the same mind. For many years I've been ashamed, mortally ashamed, of having been, even with the best intentions, even at many removes, a murderer in my turn. As time went on, I merely learned that even those who were better than the rest could not keep themselves nowadays from killing or letting others kill, because such is the logic by which they live, and that we can't stir a finger in this world without the risk of bringing death to somebody. Yes, I've been ashamed ever since I have realized that we all have the plague, and I have lost my peace. And today I am still trying to find it; still trying to understand all those others and not to be the mortal enemy of anyone. I only know that one must do what one can to cease being plague stricken, and that's the only way in which we can hope for some peace or, failing that, a decent death.
Albert Camus
It is a difficult question, my friends, for any young man-- that question I had to grapple with, and which thousands are weighing at the present moment in these uprising times-- whether to follow uncritically the track he finds himself in, without considering his aptness for it, or to consider what his aptness or bent may be, and re-shape his course accordingly. I tried to do the latter, and I failed. But I don't admit that my failure proved my view to be a wrong one, or that my success would have made it a right one; though that's how we appraise such attempts nowadays--I mean, not by their essential soundness, but by their accidental outcomes. If I had ended by becoming like one of these gentlemen in red and black that we saw dropping in here by now, everybody would have said: 'See how wise that young man was, to follow the bent of his nature!' But having ended no better than I began they say: 'See what a fool that fellow was in following a freak of his fancy!
Thomas Hardy (Jude the Obscure)
Christians often ask why God does not speak to them, as he is believed to have done in former days. When I hear such questions, it always makes me think of the rabbi who was asked how it could be that God often showed himself to people in the olden days while nowadays nobody ever sees him. The rabbi replied: "Nowadays there is now longer anybody who can bow low enough." This answer hits the nail on the head. We are so captivated by and entangled in our subjective consciousness that we have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions. The Buddhist discards the world of unconscious fantasies as useless illusions; the Christian puts his Church and his Bible between himself and his unconscious; and the rational intellectual does not yet know that his consciousness is not his total psyche. This ignorance persists today in spite of the fact that for more than 70 years the unconscious has been a basic scientific concept that is indispensable to any serious psychological investigation.
C.G. Jung (Man and His Symbols)
Well, now there is a very excellent, necessary, and womanly accomplishment that my girl should not be without, for it is a help to rich and poor, and the comfort of families depends upon it. This fine talent is neglected nowadays and considered old-fashioned, which is a sad mistake and one that I don't mean to make in bringing up my girl. It should be part of every girl's eductation, and I know of a most accomplished lady who will teach you in the best and pleasantest manner." "Oh, what is it?" cried Rose eagerly, charmed to be met in this helpful and cordial way. "Housekeeping!" "Is that an accomplsihment?" asked Rose, while her face fell, for she had indulged in all sorts of vague, delightful daydreams.
Louisa May Alcott (Eight Cousins (Eight Cousins, #1))
Now, for example, people with freckles aren’t thought of as a minority by the nonfreckled. They aren’t a minority in the sense we’re talking about. And why aren’t they? Because a minority is only thought of as a minority when it constitutes some kind of a threat to the majority, real or imaginary. And no threat is ever quite imaginary. Anyone here disagree with that? If you do, just ask yourself, What would this particular minority do if it suddenly became the majority overnight? You see what I mean? Well, if you don’t – think it over! “All right. Now along come the liberals – including everybody in this room, I trust – and they say, ‘Minorities are just people, like us.’ Sure, minorities are people – people, not angels. Sure, they’re like us – but not exactly like us; that’s the all-too- familiar state of liberal hysteria in which you begin to kid yourself you honestly cannot see any difference between a Negro and a Swede….” (Why, oh why daren’t George say “between Estelle Oxford and Buddy Sorensen”? Maybe, if he did dare, there would be a great atomic blast of laughter, and everybody would embrace, and the kingdom of heaven would begin, right here in classroom. But then again, maybe it wouldn’t.) “So, let’s face it, minorities are people who probably look and act and – think differently from us and hay faults we don’t have. We may dislike the way they look and act, and we may hate their faults. And it’s better if we admit to disliking and hating them than if we try to smear our feelings over with pseudo liberal sentimentality. If we’re frank about our feelings, we have a safety valve; and if we have a safety valve, we’re actually less likely to start persecuting. I know that theory is unfashionable nowadays. We all keep trying to believe that if we ignore something long enough it’ll just vanish…. “Where was I? Oh yes. Well, now, suppose this minority does get persecuted, never mind why – political, economic, psychological reasons. There always is a reason, no matter how wrong it is – that’s my point. And, of course, persecution itself is always wrong; I’m sure we all agree there. But the worst of it is, we now run into another liberal heresy. Because the persecuting majority is vile, says the liberal, therefore the persecuted minority must be stainlessly pure. Can’t you see what nonsense that is? What’s to prevent the bad from being persecuted by the worse? Did all the Christian victims in the arena have to be saints? “And I’ll tell you something else. A minority has its own kind of aggression. It absolutely dares the majority to attack it. It hates the majority–not without a cause, I grant you. It even hates the other minorities, because all minorities are in competition: each one proclaims that its sufferings are the worst and its wrongs are the blackest. And the more they all hate, and the more they’re all persecuted, the nastier they become! Do you think it makes people nasty to be loved? You know it doesn’t! Then why should it make them nice to be loathed? While you’re being persecuted, you hate what’s happening to You, you hate the people who are making it happen; you’re in a world of hate. Why, you wouldn’t recognize love if you met it! You’d suspect love! You’d think there was something behind it – some motive – some trick…
Christopher Isherwood (A Single Man)
You have a picture of life within you, a faith, a challenge, and you were ready for deeds and sufferings and sacrifices, and then you became aware by degrees that the world asked no deeds and no sacrifices of you whatever, and that life is no poem of heroism with heroic parts to play and so on, but a comfortable room where people are quite content with eating and drinking, coffee and knitting, cards and wireless. And whoever wants more and has got it in him--the heroic and the beautiful, and the reverence for the great poets or for the saints--is a fool and a Don Quixote. Good. And it has been just the same for me, my friend. I was a gifted girl. I was meant to live up to a high standard, to expect much of myself and do great things. I could have played a great part. I could have been the wife of a king, the beloved of a revolutionary, the sister of a genius, the mother of a martyr. And life has allowed me just this, to be a courtesan of fairly good taste, and even that has been hard enough. That is how things have gone with me. For a while I was inconsolable and for a long time I put the blame on myself. Life, thought I, must in the end be in the right, and if life scorned my beautiful dreams, so I argued, it was my dreams that were stupid and wrong headed. But that did not help me at all. And as I had good eyes and ears and was a little inquisitive too, I took a good look at this so-called life and at my neighbors and acquaintances, fifty or so of them and their destinies, and then I saw you. And I knew that my dreams had been right a thousand times over, just as yours had been. It was life and reality that were wrong. It was as little right that a woman like me should have no other choice than to grow old in poverty and in a senseless way at a typewriter in the pay of a money-maker, or to marry such a man for his money's sake, or to become some kind of drudge, as for a man like you to be forced in his loneliness and despair to have recourse to a razor. Perhaps the trouble with me was more material and moral and with you more spiritual--but it was the same road. Do you think I can't understand your horror of the fox trot, your dislike of bars and dancing floors, your loathing of jazz and the rest of it? I understand it only too well, and your dislike of politics as well, your despondence over the chatter and irresponsible antics of the parties and the press, your despair over the war, the one that has been and the one that is to be, over all that people nowadays think, read and build, over the music they play, the celebrations they hold, the education they carry on. You are right, Steppenwolf, right a thousand times over, and yet you must go to the wall. You are much too exacting and hungry for this simple, easygoing and easily contented world of today. You have a dimension too many. Whoever wants to live and enjoy his life today must not be like you and me. Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours--
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can't for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit. Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards—in heaven if not on earth—all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.
Paul A.M. Dirac
You see the suffering of children all the time nowadays. Wars and famines are played out before us in our living rooms, and almost every week there are pictures of children who have been through unimaginable loss and horror. Mostly they look very calm. You see them looking into the camera, directly at the lens, and knowing what they have been through you expect to see terror or grief in their eyes, yet so often there’s no visible emotion at all. They look so blank it would be easy to imagine that they weren’t feeling much. And though I do not for a moment equate what I went through with the suffering of those children, I do remember feeling as they look. I remember Matt talking to me--- others as well, but mostly Matt--- and I remember the enormous effort required even to hear what he said. I was so swamped by unmanageable emotions that I couldn’t feel a thing. It was like being at the bottom of the sea.
Mary Lawson (Crow Lake)
In the first movement, our infancy as a species, we felt no separation from the natural world around us. Trees, rocks, and plants surrounded us with a living presence as intimate and pulsing as our own bodies. In that primal intimacy, which anthropologists call "participation mystique," we were as one with our world as a child in the mother's womb. Then self-consciousness arose and gave us distance on our world. We needed that distance in order to make decisions and strategies, in order to measure, judge and to monitor our judgments. With the emergence of free-will, the fall out of the Garden of Eden, the second movement began -- the lonely and heroic journey of the ego. Nowadays, yearning to reclaim a sense of wholeness, some of us tend to disparage that movement of separation from nature, but it brought us great gains for which we can be grateful. The distanced and observing eye brought us tools of science, and a priceless view of the vast, orderly intricacy of our world. The recognition of our individuality brought us trial by jury and the Bill of Rights. Now, harvesting these gains, we are ready to return. The third movement begins. Having gained distance and sophistication of perception, we can turn and recognize who we have been all along. Now it can dawn on us: we are our world knowing itself. We can relinquish our separateness. We can come home again -- and participate in our world in a richer, more responsible and poignantly beautiful way than before, in our infancy.
Joanna Macy (World as Lover, World as Self)
...civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise. Where there are wars, where there are divided allegiances, where there are temptations to be resisted, objects of love to be fought for or defended—there, obviously, nobility and heroism have some sense. But there aren't any wars nowadays. The greatest care is taken to prevent you from loving any one too much. There's no such thing as a divided allegiance; you're so conditioned that you can't help doing what you ought to do. And what you ought to do is on the whole so pleasant, so many of the natural impulses are allowed free play, that there really aren't any temptations to resist.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
Doing nothing is the hardest torture that a person can put himself through. For he is always brought face to face with his own self, which demands that he gives account for the sun which he uselessly squanders, for the springs of energy in his organism, the gold of wisdom in the mines of his brains. The masses work, slog, forget. They drink the alcohol of their sweat. Work is a flight from responsibility and God. Since the mystic beliefs have been banned from Europe, pillars of glory have been erected to rationality in order to put something in place of the cross: the French Revolution named its goddess reason, the Russians named their Moloch work. But the machine called Europe is running idle: it fills stomachs with fake bread, builds artificial houses with iron paper, the products are bad, the pay meager, and at the end of the six holy work days is the unholy Sunday which one sleeps through out of fear of the great boredom which is infecting Europe. Sunday, the day of idleness, is nowadays a punishment for Christianity, the cities collapse into soulless ruins, nature is just a backdrop for dusty sports. Doing nothing out of principle, my dear, is nowadays the most violent form of revolt.
Iwan Goll
She said to me, over the phone She wanted to see other people I thought, Well then, look around. They're everywhere Said that she was confused... I thought, Darling, join the club 24 years old, Mid-life crisis Nowadays hits you when you're young I hung up, She called back, I hung up again The process had already started At least it happened quick I swear, I died inside that night My friend, he called I didn't mention a thing The last thing he said was, Be sound Sound... I contemplated an awful thing, I hate to admit I just thought those would be such appropriate last words But I'm still here And small So small.. How could this struggle seem so big? So big... While the palms in the breeze still blow green And the waves in the sea still absolute blue But the horror Every single thing I see is a reminder of her Never thought I'd curse the day I met her And since she's gone and wouldn't hear Who would care? What good would that do? But I'm still here So I imagine in a month...or 12 I'll be somewhere having a drink Laughing at a stupid joke Or just another stupid thing And I can see myself stopping short Drifting out of the present Sucked by the undertow and pulled out deep And there I am, standing Wet grass and white headstones all in rows And in the distance there's one, off on its own So I stop, kneel My new home... And I picture a sober awakening, a re-entry into this little bar scene Sip my drink til the ice hits my lip Order another round And that's it for now Sorry Never been too good at happy endings...
Eddie Vedder
Tell me something. Do you believe in God?' Snow darted an apprehensive glance in my direction. 'What? Who still believes nowadays?' 'It isn't that simple. I don't mean the traditional God of Earth religion. I'm no expert in the history of religions, and perhaps this is nothing new--do you happen to know if there was ever a belief in an...imperfect God?' 'What do you mean by imperfect?' Snow frowned. 'In a way all the gods of the old religions were imperfect, considered that their attributes were amplified human ones. The God of the Old Testament, for instance, required humble submission and sacrifices, and and was jealous of other gods. The Greek gods had fits of sulks and family quarrels, and they were just as imperfect as mortals...' 'No,' I interrupted. 'I'm not thinking of a god whose imperfection arises out of the candor of his human creators, but one whose imperfection represents his essential characteristic: a god limited in his omniscience and power, fallible, incapable of foreseeing the consequences of his acts, and creating things that lead to horror. He is a...sick god, whose ambitions exceed his powers and who does not realize it at first. A god who has created clocks, but not the time they measure. He has created systems or mechanisms that serves specific ends but have now overstepped and betrayed them. And he has created eternity, which was to have measured his power, and which measures his unending defeat.' Snow hesitated, but his attitude no longer showed any of the wary reserve of recent weeks: 'There was Manicheanism...' 'Nothing at all to do with the principles of Good and Evil,' I broke in immediately. 'This god has no existence outside of matter. He would like to free himself from matter, but he cannot...' Snow pondered for a while: 'I don't know of any religion that answers your description. That kind of religion has never been...necessary. If i understand you, and I'm afraid I do, what you have in mind is an evolving god, who develops in the course of time, grows, and keeps increasing in power while remaining aware of his powerlessness. For your god, the divine condition is a situation without a goal. And understanding that, he despairs. But isn't this despairing god of yours mankind, Kelvin? Is it man you are talking about, and that is a fallacy, not just philosophically but also mystically speaking.' I kept on: 'No, it's nothing to do with man. man may correspond to my provisional definition from some point of view, but that is because the definition has a lot of gaps. Man does not create gods, in spite of appearances. The times, the age, impose them on him. Man can serve is age or rebel against it, but the target of his cooperation or rebellion comes to him from outside. If there was only a since human being in existence, he would apparently be able to attempt the experiment of creating his own goals in complete freedom--apparently, because a man not brought up among other human beings cannot become a man. And the being--the being I have in mind--cannot exist in the plural, you see? ...Perhaps he has already been born somewhere, in some corner of the galaxy, and soon he will have some childish enthusiasm that will set him putting out one star and lighting another. We will notice him after a while...' 'We already have,' Snow said sarcastically. 'Novas and supernovas. According to you they are candles on his altar.' 'If you're going to take what I say literally...' ...Snow asked abruptly: 'What gave you this idea of an imperfect god?' 'I don't know. It seems quite feasible to me. That is the only god I could imagine believing in, a god whose passion is not a redemption, who saves nothing, fulfills no purpose--a god who simply is.
Stanisław Lem (Solaris)
Novelists when they write novels tend to take an almost godlike attitude toward their subject, pretending to a total comprehension of the story, a man's life, which they can therefore recount as God Himself might, nothing standing between them and the naked truth, the entire story meaningful in every detail. I am as little able to do this as the novelist is, even though my story is more important to me than any novelist's is to him - for this is my story; it is the story of a man, not of an invented, or possible, or idealized, or otherwise absent figure, but of a unique being of flesh and blood, Yet, what a real living human being is made of seems to be less understood today than at any time before, and men - each one of whom represents a unique and valuable experiment on the part of nature - are therefore shot wholesale nowadays. If we were not something more than unique human beings, if each one of us could really be done away with once and for all by a single bullet, storytelling would lose all purpose. But every man is more than just himself; he also represents the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world's phenomena intersect, only once in this way and never again. That is why every man's story is important, eternal, sacred; that is why every man, as long as he lives and fulfills the will of nature, is wondrous, and worthy of every consideration. In each individual the spirit has become flesh, in each man the creation suffers, within each one a redeemer is nailed to the cross.
Hermann Hesse (Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend)
In earlier times, one had an easier conscience about being a person than one does today. People were like cornstalks in a field, probably more violently tossed back and forth by God, hail, fire, pestilence, and war than they are today, but as a whole, as a city, a region, a field, and as to what personal movement was left to the individual stalk – all this was clearly defined and could be answered for. But today responsibility’s center of gravity is not in people but in circumstances. Have we not noticed that experiences have made themselves independent of people? They have gone on the stage, into books, into the reports of research institutes and explorers, into ideological or religious communities, which foster certain kinds of experience at the expense of others as if they are conducting a kind of social experiment, and insofar as experiences are not actually being developed, they are simply left dangling in the air. Who can say nowadays that his anger is really his own anger when so many people talk about it and claim to know more about it than he does? A world of qualities without a man has arisen, of experiences without the person who experiences them, and it almost looks as though ideally private experience is a thing of the past, and that the friendly burden of personal responsibility is to dissolve into a system of formulas of possible meanings. Probably the dissolution of the anthropocentric point of view, which for such a long time considered man to be at the center of the universe but which has been fading away for centuries, has finally arrived at the “I” itself, for the belief that the most important thing about experience is the experiencing, or of action the doing, is beginning to strike most people as naïve. There are probably people who still lead personal lives, who say “We saw the So-and-sos yesterday” or “We’ll do this or that today” and enjoy it without its needing to have any content of significance. They like everything that comes in contact with their fingers, and are purely private persons insofar as this is at all possible. In contact with such people, the world becomes a private world and shines like a rainbow. They may be very happy, but this kind of people usually seems absurd to the others, although it is still not at all clear why. And suddenly, in view of these reflections, Ulrich had to smile and admit to himself that he was, after all, a character, even without having one.
Robert Musil (The Man Without Qualities: Volume I)
I didn’t go to the moon, I went much further — for time is the longest distance between two places. Not long after that I was fired for writing a poem on the lid of a shoe-box. I left Saint Louis. I descended the steps of this fire escape for a last time and followed, from then on, in my father’s footsteps, attempting to find in motion what was lost in space. I traveled around a great deal. The cities swept about me like dead leaves, leaves that were brightly colored but torn away from the branches. I would have stopped, but I was pursued by something. It always came upon me unawares, taking me altogether by surprise. Perhaps it was a familiar bit of music. Perhaps it was only a piece of transparent glass. Perhaps I am walking along a street at night, in some strange city, before I have found companions. I pass the lighted window of a shop where perfume is sold. The window is filled with pieces of colored glass, tiny transparent bottles in delicate colors, like bits of a shattered rainbow. Then all at once my sister touches my shoulder. I turn around and look into her eyes. Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be! I reach for a cigarette, I cross the street, I run into the movies or a bar, I buy a drink, I speak to the nearest stranger — anything that can blow your candles out! For nowadays the world is lit by lightning! Blow out your candles, Laura — and so goodbye. . .
Tennessee Williams (The Glass Menagerie)
The 'Manifesto' being our joint production, I consider myself bound to state that the fundamental proposition which forms its nucleus belongs to Marx. That proposition is: that in every historical epoch, the prevailing mode of economic production and exchange, and the social organization necessarily following from it, form the basis upon which is built up, and from which alone can be explained, the political and intellectual history of that epoch; that consequently the whole history of mankind (since the dissolution of primitive tribal society, holding land in common ownership) has been a history of class struggles, contests between exploiting and exploited, ruling and oppressed classes; that the history of these class struggles forms a series of evolution in which, nowadays, a stage has been reached where the exploited and the oppressed class—the proletariat—cannot attain its emancipation from the sway of the exploiting and ruling class—the bourgeoisie—without, at the same time, and once for all, emancipating society at large from all exploitation, oppression, class distinctions and class struggles. This proposition, which, in my opinion, is destined to do for history what Darwin's theory has done for biology, we, both of us, had been gradually approaching for some years before 1845.
Friedrich Engels (The Communist Manifesto)
While everybody tries to be as close as possible to the rest, everybody remains utterly alone, pervaded by the deep sense of insecurity, anxiety and guilt which always results when human separateness cannot be overcome. Our civilization offers many palliatives which help people to be consciously unaware of this aloneness: first of all the strict routine of bureaucratized, mechanical work, which helps people to remain unaware of their most fundamental human desires, of the longing for transcendence and unity. Inasmuch as the routine alone does not succeed in this, man overcomes his unconscious despair by the routine of amusement, the passive consumption of sounds and sights offered by the amusement industry; furthermore by the satisfaction of buying ever new things, and soon exchanging them for others. Modern man is actually close to the picture Huxley describes in his Brave New World: well fed, well clad, satisfied sexually, yet without self, without any except the most superficial contact with his fellow men, guided by the slogans which Huxley formulated so succinctly, such as: “When the individual feels, the community reels”; or “Never put off till tomorrow the fun you can have today,” or, as the crowning statement: “Everybody is happy nowadays.” Man’s happiness today consists in “having fun.” Having fun lies in the satisfaction of consuming and “taking in” commodities, sights, food, drinks, cigarettes, people, lectures, books, movies—all are consumed, swallowed.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
I’ve been labeled before. I’m supposed to be a jock and then a brain and then one of those music/theater people. I guess I like to keep surprising people. But what kind of life can you live in a tiny square box? My personality is less narrow. I like a lot of different things. But still, people like to be able to put you in a category, to be able to place you in even rows and put a sign at the front. They think the best you can achieve is being at the front of your row…but why not form your own row? Isn’t that the definition of being a leader? Maybe taking charge means something different nowadays. How come lately people think you’re a leader just because you happen to be at the front of the line? A good leader need only point the way and watch as others follow a direction, not a figure. A great leader can lead without anyone ever knowing it. A spectacular leader can lead without ever knowing it themselves. The person at the front of the line is the puppet of someone that you couldn’t name because someone else pointed the way. I must have missed something. I thought being a follower was letting other people shape your life. I thought it meant letting other people decide who you were going to be. I won’t conform. I won’t let people class me. Because once you’re there you’re stuck. I will be whoever I want to be, and no one can stop me. I have something they don’t have, which is nothing to lose. I have my entire life to live and I intend to live it the way I would like to live. I will form my own row. I will point in a new direction. If that means going against other peoples’ opinion of normal, then so be it. Who says normal is right? Normal certainly strikes me as a boring way to live my life.
K.D. Enos
The word “coherence” literally means holding or sticking together, but it is usually used to refer to a system, an idea, or a worldview whose parts fit together in a consistent and efficient way. Coherent things work well: A coherent worldview can explain almost anything, while an incoherent worldview is hobbled by internal contradictions. … Whenever a system can be analyzed at multiple levels, a special kind of coherence occurs when the levels mesh and mutually interlock. We saw this cross-level coherence in the analysis of personality: If your lower-level traits match up with your coping mechanisms, which in turn are consistent with your life story, your personality is well integrated and you can get on with the business of living. When these levels do not cohere, you are likely to be torn by internal contradictions and neurotic conflicts. You might need adversity to knock yourself into alignment. And if you do achieve coherence, the moment when things come together may be one of the most profound of your life. … Finding coherence across levels feels like enlightenment, and it is crucial for answering the question of purpose within life. People are multilevel systems in another way: We are physical objects (bodies and brains) from which minds somehow emerge; and from our minds, somehow societies and cultures form. To understand ourselves fully we must study all three levels—physical, psychological, and sociocultural. There has long been a division of academic labor: Biologists studied the brain as a physical object, psychologists studied the mind, and sociologists and anthropologists studied the socially constructed environments within which minds develop and function. But a division of labor is productive only when the tasks are coherent—when all lines of work eventually combine to make something greater than the sum of its parts. For much of the twentieth century that didn’t happen — each field ignored the others and focused on its own questions. But nowadays cross-disciplinary work is flourishing, spreading out from the middle level (psychology) along bridges (or perhaps ladders) down to the physical level (for example, the field of cognitive neuroscience) and up to the sociocultural level (for example, cultural psychology). The sciences are linking up, generating cross-level coherence, and, like magic, big new ideas are beginning to emerge. Here is one of the most profound ideas to come from the ongoing synthesis: People gain a sense of meaning when their lives cohere across the three levels of their existence.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
We have a predator that came from the depths of the cosmos and took over the rule of our lives. Human beings are its prisoners. The Predator is our lord and master. It has rendered us docile, helpless. If we want to protest, it suppresses our protest. If we want to act independently, it demands that we don't do so... I have been beating around the bush all this time, insinuating to you that something is holding us prisoner. Indeed we are held prisoner! "This was an energetic fact for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico ... They took us over because we are food for them, and they squeeze us mercilessly because we are their sustenance. just as we rear chickens in chicken coops, the predators rear us in human coops, humaneros. Therefore, their food is always available to them." "No, no, no, no," [Carlos replies] "This is absurd don Juan. What you're saying is something monstrous. It simply can't be true, for sorcerers or for average men, or for anyone." "Why not?" don Juan asked calmly. "Why not? Because it infuriates you? ... You haven't heard all the claims yet. I want to appeal to your analytical mind. Think for a moment, and tell me how you would explain the contradictions between the intelligence of man the engineer and the stupidity of his systems of beliefs, or the stupidity of his contradictory behaviour. Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of belief, our ideas of good and evil, our social mores. They are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations and dreams of success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed, and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary, and egomaniacal." "'But how can they do this, don Juan? [Carlos] asked, somehow angered further by what [don Juan] was saying. "'Do they whisper all that in our ears while we are asleep?" "'No, they don't do it that way. That's idiotic!" don Juan said, smiling. "They are infinitely more efficient and organized than that. In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous manoeuvre stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous manoeuvre from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind, which becomes our mind. The predators' mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now." "I know that even though you have never suffered hunger... you have food anxiety, which is none other than the anxiety of the predator who fears that any moment now its manoeuvre is going to be uncovered and food is going to be denied. Through the mind, which, after all, is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them. And they ensure, in this manner, a degree of security to act as a buffer against their fear." "The sorcerers of ancient Mexico were quite ill at ease with the idea of when [the predator] made its appearance on Earth. They reasoned that man must have been a complete being at one point, with stupendous insights, feats of awareness that are mythological legends nowadays. And then, everything seems to disappear, and we have now a sedated man. What I'm saying is that what we have against us is not a simple predator. It is very smart, and organized. It follows a methodical system to render us useless. Man, the magical being that he is destined to be, is no longer magical. He's an average piece of meat." "There are no more dreams for man but the dreams of an animal who is being raised to become a piece of meat: trite, conventional, imbecilic.
Carlos Castaneda (The Active Side of Infinity)
Hi, I’m Adele Czerny. I don’t really have a long speech. I mean, I sat through these things when I was your age, and they’re boring. I’m just going to say a few things about Noah and Raven Day. Did any of you guys know him?” In unison, Gansey and Adam started to lift their hands and just as quickly dropped them. Yes, they knew him. No, they had not known him. Noah, alive, had been before their time here. Noah, dead, was a phenomenon, not an acquaintance. “Well, you were missing out,” she said. “My mom always said he was a firecracker, which just meant he was always getting speeding tickets and jumping on tables at family reunions and stuff. He always had so many ideas. He was so hyper.” Adam and Gansey looked at each other. They had always had the sense that the Noah they knew was not the true Noah. It was just disconcerting to hear how much Noahness death had stripped. It was impossible to not wonder what Noah would have done with himself if he had lived. “Anyway, I’m here because I was actually the first one he told about his idea for Raven Day. He called me one evening, I guess it would’ve been when he was fourteen, and he told me he’d had this dream about ravens fighting and battling. He said they were all different colours and sizes and shapes, and he was inside them, and they were, like, swirling around him.” She motioned around herself in a whirlwind; she had Noah’s hands, Noah’s elbows. “And he told me, ‘I think it would be a cool art project.’ And I told him, ‘I’ll bet if everybody at the school made one, I bet you’d have enough.’ ” Gansey was aware that his arm hairs were standing up. “So they’re swooping and careening and there’s nothing but ravens, nothing but dreams all around you,” Adele said, only Gansey wasn’t sure if she had actually said it, or if he’d heard her wrong and he was just half-remembering something she’d already said. “Anyway, I know he’d like what it is like nowadays. So, um, thanks for remembering one of his crazy dreams.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4))
Let me make a clean breast of it here, and frankly admit that I kept but sorry guard. With the problem of the universe revolving in me, how could I- being left completely to myself at such a thought-engendering altitude- how could I but lightly hold my obligations to observe all whaleships' standing orders, "Keep your weather eye open, and sing out every time." And let me in this place movingly admonish you, ye ship-owners of Nantucket! Beware of enlisting in your vigilant fisheries any lad with lean brow and hollow eye; given to unseasonable meditativeness...: your whales must be seen before they can be killed; and this sunken-eyed young Platonist will tow you ten wakes round the world, and never make you one pint of sperm the richer. Nor are these monitions at all unneeded. For nowadays, the whale-fishery furnishes an asylum for many romantic, melancholy, and absent-minded young men, disgusted with the corking care of earth, and seeking sentiment in tar and blubber. Childe Harold not unfrequently perches himself upon the mast-head of some luckless disappointed whale-ship, and in moody phrase ejaculates:- "Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll! Ten thousand blubber-hunters sweep over thee in vain. " ... "Why, thou monkey," said a harpooneer to one of these lads, "we've been cruising now hard upon three years, and thou hast not raised a whale yet. Whales are scarce as hen's teeth whenever thou art up here." Perhaps they were; or perhaps there might have been shoals of them in the far horizon; but lulled into such an opium-like listlessness of vacant, unconscious reverie is this absent-minded youth by the blending cadence of waves with thoughts, that at last he loses his identity; takes the mystic ocean at his feet for the visible image of that deep, blue, bottomless soul, pervading mankind and nature; and every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing that eludes him; every dimly-discovered, uprising fin of some undiscernible form, seems to him the embodiment of those elusive thoughts that only people the soul by continually flitting through it. In this enchanted mood, thy spirit ebbs away to whence it came; becomes diffused through time and space; like Crammer's sprinkled Pantheistic ashes, forming at last a part of every shore the round globe over. There is no life in thee, now, except that rocking life imparted by a gentle rolling ship; by her, borrowed from the sea; by the sea, from the inscrutable tides of God. But while this sleep, this dream is on ye, move your foot or hand an inch; slip your hold at all; and your identity comes back in horror. Over Descartian vortices you hover. And perhaps, at midday, in the fairest weather, with one half-throttled shriek you drop through that transparent air into the summer sea, no more to rise for ever. Heed it well, ye Pantheists!
Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
And thus it passed on from Candlemass until after Easter, that the month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit; for like as herbs and trees bring forth fruit and flourish in May, in like wise every lusty heart that is in any manner a lover, springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds. For it giveth unto all lovers courage, that lusty month of May, in something to constrain him to some manner of thing more in that month than in any other month, for divers causes. For then all herbs and trees renew a man and woman, and likewise lovers call again to their mind old gentleness and old service, and many kind deeds that were forgotten by negligence. For like as winter rasure doth alway arase and deface green summer, so fareth it by unstable love in man and woman. For in many persons there is no stability; for we may see all day, for a little blast of winter's rasure, anon we shall deface and lay apart true love for little or nought, that cost much thing; this is no wisdom nor stability, but it is feebleness of nature and great disworship, whosomever useth this. Therefore, like as May month flowereth and flourisheth in many gardens, so in like wise let every man of worship flourish his heart in this world, first unto God, and next unto the joy of them that he promised his faith unto; for there was never worshipful man or worshipful woman, but they loved one better than another; and worship in arms may never be foiled, but first reserve the honour to God, and secondly the quarrel must come of thy lady: and such love I call virtuous love. But nowadays men can not love seven night but they must have all their desires: that love may not endure by reason; for where they be soon accorded and hasty heat, soon it cooleth. Right so fareth love nowadays, soon hot soon cold: this is no stability. But the old love was not so; men and women could love together seven years, and no licours lusts were between them, and then was love, truth, and faithfulness: and lo, in like wise was used love in King Arthur's days. Wherefore I liken love nowadays unto summer and winter; for like as the one is hot and the other cold, so fareth love nowadays; therefore all ye that be lovers call unto your remembrance the month of May, like as did Queen Guenever, for whom I make here a little mention, that while she lived she was a true lover, and therefore she had a good end.
Thomas Malory (Le Morte d'Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table)
What is the use of beauty in woman? Provided a woman is physically well made and capable of bearing children, she will always be good enough in the opinion of economists. What is the use of music? -- of painting? Who would be fool enough nowadays to prefer Mozart to Carrel, Michael Angelo to the inventor of white mustard? There is nothing really beautiful save what is of no possible use. Everything useful is ugly, for it expresses a need, and man's needs are low and disgusting, like his own poor, wretched nature. The most useful place in a house is the water-closet. For my part, saving these gentry's presence, I am of those to whom superfluities are necessaries, and I am fond of things and people in inverse ratio to the service they render me. I prefer a Chinese vase with its mandarins and dragons, which is perfectly useless to me, to a utensil which I do use, and the particular talent of mine which I set most store by is that which enables me not to guess logogriphs and charades. I would very willingly renounce my rights as a Frenchman and a citizen for the sight of an undoubted painting by Raphael, or of a beautiful nude woman, -- Princess Borghese, for instance, when she posed for Canova, or Julia Grisi when she is entering her bath. I would most willingly consent to the return of that cannibal, Charles X., if he brought me, from his residence in Bohemia, a case of Tokai or Johannisberg; and the electoral laws would be quite liberal enough, to my mind, were some of our streets broader and some other things less broad. Though I am not a dilettante, I prefer the sound of a poor fiddle and tambourines to that of the Speaker's bell. I would sell my breeches for a ring, and my bread for jam. The occupation which best befits civilized man seems to me to be idleness or analytically smoking a pipe or cigar. I think highly of those who play skittles, and also of those who write verse. You may perceive that my principles are not utilitarian, and that I shall never be the editor of a virtuous paper, unless I am converted, which would be very comical. Instead of founding a Monthyon prize for the reward of virtue, I would rather bestow -- like Sardanapalus, that great, misunderstood philosopher -- a large reward to him who should invent a new pleasure; for to me enjoyment seems to be the end of life and the only useful thing on this earth. God willed it to be so, for he created women, perfumes, light, lovely flowers, good wine, spirited horses, lapdogs, and Angora cats; for He did not say to his angels, 'Be virtuous,' but, 'Love,' and gave us lips more sensitive than the rest of the skin that we might kiss women, eyes looking upward that we might behold the light, a subtile sense of smell that we might breathe in the soul of the flowers, muscular limbs that we might press the flanks of stallions and fly swift as thought without railway or steam-kettle, delicate hands that we might stroke the long heads of greyhounds, the velvety fur of cats, and the polished shoulder of not very virtuous creatures, and, finally, granted to us alone the triple and glorious privilege of drinking without being thirsty, striking fire, and making love in all seasons, whereby we are very much more distinguished from brutes than by the custom of reading newspapers and framing constitutions.
Théophile Gautier (Mademoiselle de Maupin)
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)