Peculiar Image Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Peculiar Image. Here they are! All 66 of them:

The doctor brushed past her and gestured at the holographic image that jutted from the net-screen. "Let me tell you what is peculiar about it." "I'd say 36.28 percent of it is pretty peculiar
Marissa Meyer (Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1))
It always strikes me, and it is very peculiar, that, whenever we see the image of indescribable and unutterable desolation—of loneliness, poverty, and misery, the end and extreme of things—the thought of God comes into one's mind.
Vincent van Gogh
One day Dostoevsky threw out the enigmatic remark: "Beauty will save the world". What sort of a statement is that? For a long time I considered it mere words. How could that be possible? When in bloodthirsty history did beauty ever save anyone from anything? Ennobled, uplifted, yes - but whom has it saved? There is, however, a certain peculiarity in the essence of beauty, a peculiarity in the status of art: namely, the convincingness of a true work of art is completely irrefutable and it forces even an opposing heart to surrender. It is possible to compose an outwardly smooth and elegant political speech, a headstrong article, a social program, or a philosophical system on the basis of both a mistake and a lie. What is hidden, what distorted, will not immediately become obvious. Then a contradictory speech, article, program, a differently constructed philosophy rallies in opposition - and all just as elegant and smooth, and once again it works. Which is why such things are both trusted and mistrusted. In vain to reiterate what does not reach the heart. But a work of art bears within itself its own verification: conceptions which are devised or stretched do not stand being portrayed in images, they all come crashing down, appear sickly and pale, convince no one. But those works of art which have scooped up the truth and presented it to us as a living force - they take hold of us, compel us, and nobody ever, not even in ages to come, will appear to refute them. So perhaps that ancient trinity of Truth, Goodness and Beauty is not simply an empty, faded formula as we thought in the days of our self-confident, materialistic youth? If the tops of these three trees converge, as the scholars maintained, but the too blatant, too direct stems of Truth and Goodness are crushed, cut down, not allowed through - then perhaps the fantastic, unpredictable, unexpected stems of Beauty will push through and soar to that very same place, and in so doing will fulfil the work of all three? In that case Dostoevsky's remark, "Beauty will save the world", was not a careless phrase but a prophecy? After all he was granted to see much, a man of fantastic illumination. And in that case art, literature might really be able to help the world today?
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Nobel Lecture (Bilingual Edition) (English and Russian Edition))
A lot is being said today about the influence that the myths and images of women have on all of us who are products of culture. I think it has been a peculiar confusion to the girl or woman who tries to write because she is peculiarly susceptible to language. She goes to poetry or fiction looking for her way of being in the world, since she too has been putting words and images together; she is looking eagerly for guides, maps, possibilities; and over and over in the ‘words’ masculine persuasive force’ of literature she comes up against something that negates everything she is about: she meets the image of Woman in books written by men.
Adrienne Rich (On Lies, Secrets, and Silence. Selected Prose 1966-1978)
The peculiar predicament of the present-day self surely came to pass as a consequence of the disappointment of the high expectations of the self as it entered the age of science and technology. Dazzled by the overwhelming credentials of science, the beauty and elegance of the scientific method, the triumph of modern medicine over physical ailments, and the technological transformation of the very world itself, the self finds itself in the end disappointed by the failure of science and technique in those very sectors of life which had been its main source of ordinary satisfaction in past ages. As John Cheever said, the main emotion of the adult Northeastern American who has had all the advantages of wealth, education, and culture is disappointment. Work is disappointing. In spite of all the talk about making work more creative and self-fulfilling, most people hate their jobs, and with good reason. Most work in modern technological societies is intolerably dull and repetitive. Marriage and family life are disappointing. Even among defenders of traditional family values, e.g., Christians and Jews, a certain dreariness must be inferred, if only from the average time of TV viewing. Dreary as TV is, it is evidently not as dreary as Mom talking to Dad or the kids talking to either. School is disappointing. If science is exciting and art is exhilarating, the schools and universities have achieved the not inconsiderable feat of rendering both dull. As every scientist and poet knows, one discovers both vocations in spite of, not because of, school. It takes years to recover from the stupor of being taught Shakespeare in English Lit and Wheatstone's bridge in Physics. Politics is disappointing. Most young people turn their backs on politics, not because of the lack of excitement of politics as it is practiced, but because of the shallowness, venality, and image-making as these are perceived through the media--one of the technology's greatest achievements. The churches are disappointing, even for most believers. If Christ brings us new life, it is all the more remarkable that the church, the bearer of this good news, should be among the most dispirited institutions of the age. The alternatives to the institutional churches are even more grossly disappointing, from TV evangelists with their blown-dry hairdos to California cults led by prosperous gurus ignored in India but embraced in La Jolla. Social life is disappointing. The very franticness of attempts to reestablish community and festival, by partying, by groups, by club, by touristy Mardi Gras, is the best evidence of the loss of true community and festival and of the loneliness of self, stranded as it is as an unspeakable consciousness in a world from which it perceives itself as somehow estranged, stranded even within its own body, with which it sees no clear connection. But there remains the one unquestioned benefit of science: the longer and healthier life made possible by modern medicine, the shorter work-hours made possible by technology, hence what is perceived as the one certain reward of dreary life of home and the marketplace: recreation. Recreation and good physical health appear to be the only ambivalent benefits of the technological revolution.
Walker Percy (Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book)
The division of one day from the next must be one of the most profound peculiarities of life on this planet. We are not condemned to sustained flights of being, but are constantly refreshed by little holidays from ourselves. We are intermittent creatures, always falling to little ends and rising to new beginnings. Our soon-tired consciousness is meted out in chapters, and that the world will look quite different tomorrow is, both for our comfort and our discomfort, usually true. How marvelously too night matches sleep, sweet image of it, so nearly apportioned to our need. Angels must wonder at these beings who fall so regularly out of awareness into a fantasm-infested dark. How our frail identities survive these chasms no philosopher has ever been able to explain.
Iris Murdoch (The Black Prince)
Women are mere "beauties" in men's culture so that culture can be kept male. When women in culture show character, they are not desirable, as opposed to the desirable. A beautiful heroine is a contradiction in terms, since heroism is about individuality, interesting and ever changing, while "beauty" is generic, boring, and inert. While culture works out moral dilemmas, "beauty" is amoral: If a woman is born resembling an art object, it is an accident of nature, a fickle consensus of mass perception, a peculiar coincidence--but it is not a moral act. From the "beauties" in male culture, women learn a bitter amoral lesson--that the moral lessons of their culture exclude them.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
Although we may suffer from idolatry, we do not, I think, suffer from materialism - from the overvaluing of material objects for their own sake. Of this the world accuses us. Yet our very wealth itself has somehow made us immune to materialism - the characteristic vice of impoverished peoples. Instead, our peculiar idolatry is one with which the world till now has been unfamiliar... To flood the world with images of ourselves. It is to these images and not the material objects that we are devoted. No wonder that the puzzled world finds this unattractive and calls it by the name of its own old-fashioned vices.
Daniel J. Boorstin (The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America)
From the first day I met his daughter, all I could think about was snuffling up under that sweet dimity like some bad old bear, just crawling up into that honeycomb, nose twitching, and never come out of there till early spring. Think that’s disgusting? Dammit, I do, too, but that’s the way male animals are made. Those peculiar delights were created to entrap us, and anybody who disapproves can take it up with God. In their wondrous capacity of knowing the Lord’s mind, churchly folks will tell you that He would purely hate to hear such dirty talk. My idea is, He wouldn’t mind it half so much as they would have us think, because even according to their own queer creed, we are God’s handiwork, created in His image, lust, piss, shit, and all. Without that magnificent Almighty lust that we mere mortals dare to call a sin, there wouldn’t be any more mortals, and God’s grand design for the human race, if He exists and if He ever had one, would turn to dust, and dust unto dust, forever and amen. Other creatures would step up and take over, realizing that man was too weak and foolish to properly reproduce himself. I nominate hogs to inherit the Earth, because hogs love to eat any old damned thing God sets in front of them, and they’re ever so grateful for God’s green earth even when it’s all rain and mud, and they just plain adore to feed and fuck and frolic and fulfill God’s holy plan. For all we know, it’s hogs which are created in God’s image, who’s to say?
Peter Matthiessen (Shadow Country)
Observe her when she has some knitting, or some other woman's work in hand, and sits the image of peace, calmly intent on her needles and her silk, some discussion meantime going on around her, in the course of which peculiarities of character are being developed, or important interests canvassed; she takes no part in int; her humble, feminine mind is wholl with her knitting; none of her features move; she neither presumes to smile approval, nor frown disapprobation; her little hands assiduously ply their unpretending task; if she can only get this purse finished, or this bonnet-grec completed, it is enough for her.
Charlotte Brontë (The Professor)
From a historical point of view, restricting the availability of addictive substances must be seen as a peculiarly perverse example of Calvinist dominator thought - a system in which the sinner is to be punished in this world by being transformed into an exploitable, of his cash, by the criminal/governmental combine that provides the addicitve substances. The image is more horrifying than that of the serpent that devours itself - it is once again the Dionysian image of the mother who devours her children, the image of a house divided against itself.
Terence McKenna (Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge)
I see, in place of that empty figment of one linear history which can be kept up only by shutting one’s eyes to the overwhelming multitude of facts, the drama of a number of mighty Cultures, each springing with primitive strength from the soil of a mother-region to which it remains firmly bound throughout it’s whole life-cycle; each stamping its material, its mankind, in its own image; each having its own idea, its own passions, its own life, will and feelings, its own death. Here indeed are colours, lights, movements, that no intellectual eye has yet discovered. Here the Cultures, peoples, languages, truths, gods, landscapes bloom and age as the oaks and the pines, the blossoms, twigs and leaves - but there is no ageing “Mankind.” Each Culture has its own new possibilities of self-expression which arise, ripen, decay and never return. There is not one sculpture, one painting, one mathematics, one physics, but many, each in the deepest essence different from the others, each limited in duration and self-contained, just as each species of plant has its peculiar blossom or fruit, its special type of growth and decline.
Oswald Spengler (The Decline of the West)
But since the downfall of the mythological hypothesis an interpretation of the dream has been wanting. The conditions of its origin; its relationship to our psychical life when we are awake; its independence of disturbances which, during the state of sleep, seem to compel notice; its many peculiarities repugnant to our waking thought; the incongruence between its images and the feelings they engender; then the dream's evanescence, the way in which, on awakening, our thoughts thrust it aside as something bizarre, and our reminiscences mutilating or rejecting it—all these and many other problems have for many hundred years demanded answers which up till now could never have been satisfactory. Before all there is the question as to the meaning of the dream, a question which is in itself double-sided. There is, firstly, the psychical significance of the dream, its position with regard to the psychical processes, as to a possible biological function; secondly, has the dream a meaning—can sense be made of each single dream as of other mental syntheses?
Sigmund Freud (The Interpretation of Dreams)
He had an image in his mind of a gaggle of long-necked geese, all done up in petticoats and crinolines, sitting around a stuffy parlor and talking about him.
Stefan Bachmann (The Peculiar (The Peculiar, #1))
In the end—as in the beginning—it is the authentic performance of the Beatles’ peculiar, elaborate, unfettered art that matters. It is the performance that makes the text possible in the first place, that imbues it with the heartbreaking reality of our transitory existence. It is the impermanence of the moment—rendered seemingly permanent by magnetic tape and celluloid—that is so vexing in its realness that it somehow seems immutable. Take the rooftop concert, with London’s blustery, wintry winds swirling up from the streetscape as John, Paul, George, and Ringo make one last play for greatness after a month of soul-destroying misery. They climbed the stairs above 3 Savile Row and willed a final, breathtaking performance for the ages. It is the primal image of the Beatles having become lost in the pure joy of their sound, just as they had done so many years before in the Cavern and not so very long ago in Studio Two. Everything else—the gossip, the intrigue, the emotional collapse—suddenly becomes moot, irrelevant even, as Ringo keeps the backbeat strong and true on his Ludwigs, while George furrows his brow as he drives his Rosewood Telecaster home. And John and Paul, smiling at each other across the staves of memory, play their hearts out one more time. The rest is silence.
Kenneth Womack (Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles)
Now, looking for labels, it is hard to call the Hell's Angels anything but mutants. They are urban outlaws with a rural ethic and a new, improvised style of self-preservation. Their image of themselves derives mainly from Celluloid, from the Western movies and two-fisted TV shows that have taught them most of what they know about the society they live in. Very few read books, and in most cases their formal education ended at fifteen or sixteen. What little they know of history has come from the mass media, beginning with comics ... so if they see themselves in terms of the past, it's because they can't grasp the terms of the present, much less the future. They are the sons of poor men and drifters, losers and the sons of losers. Their backgrounds are overwhelmingly ordinary. As people, they are like millions of other people. But in their collective identity they have a peculiar fascination so obvious that even the press has recognized it, although not without cynicism. In its ritual flirtation with reality the press has viewed the Angels with a mixture of awe, humor and terror -- justified, as always, by a slavish dedication to the public appetite, which most journalists find so puzzling and contemptible that they have long since abandoned the task of understanding it to a handful of poll-takers and "experts.
Hunter S. Thompson (Hell's Angels)
The church is not a political society and will never be one, but its mission is to point to one peculiar and ultimate political society: a kingdom of citizens who freely obey and follow their King, who live in a city of which their Lord is the light.
David T. Koyzis (We Answer to Another: Authority, Office, and the Image of God)
...he details everything around the beauty and excitement, which is enough to evoke it again for each of us, in the mind's eye, the gut, the secret heart, or wherever one's most vivid, passionate, lyric, and lavender images are stored. - Tobi Tobias, "Balletgorey
Edward Gorey (Ascending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey on Edward Gorey)
What is important to the historian of the world is not the petty wars between Greek cities, or the sordid squabbles for party ascendancy, but the memories retained by mankind when the brief episode was ended—like the recollection of a brilliant sunrise in the Alps, while the mountaineer struggles through an arduous day of wind and snow. These memories, as they gradually faded, left in men's minds the images of certain peaks that had shone with peculiar brightness in the early light, keeping alive the knowledge that behind the clouds a splendour still survived, and might at any moment become manifest.
Bertrand Russell (A History of Western Philosophy)
The Self is one, the same in every creature. This is not some peculiar tenet of the Hindu scriptures; it is the testimony of everyone who has undergone these experiments in the depths of consciousness and followed them through to the end. Here is Ruysbroeck, a great mystic of medieval Europe; every word is most carefully chosen: The image of God is found essentially and personally in all mankind. Each possesses it whole, entire and undivided, and all together not more than one alone. In this way we are all one, intimately united in our eternal image, which is the image of God and the source in us of all our life. Maya In the unitive experience, every trace of separateness disappears; life is a seamless whole. But the body cannot remain in this state for long. After a while, awareness of mind and body returns, and then the conventional world of multiplicity rushes in again with such vigor and vividness that the memory of unity, though stamped with reality, seems as distant as a dream. The unitive state has to be entered over and over until a person is established in it. But once established, even in the midst of ordinary life, one sees the One underlying the many, the Eternal beneath the ephemeral.
Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa (The Bhagavad Gita)
All the pictures in this book are authentic, vintage found photographs, and with the exception of a few that have undergone minimal postprocessing, they are unaltered. They were lent from the personal archives of ten collectors, people who have spent years and countless hours hunting through giant bins of unsorted snapshots at flea markets and antiques malls and yard sales to find a transcendent few, rescuing images of historical significance and arresting beauty from obscurity—and, most likely, the dump. Their work is an unglamorous labor of love, and I think they are the unsung heroes of the photography world.
Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1))
In the course of her letter writing, she’d learned a few things about the subtle peculiarities of the South’s power brokers. The Mississippi Sovereigns, like most other rebel groups, preferred to be addressed as Brothers; letters to Mr. Sharif, the director of Camp Patience, were exclusively read and acted upon by his secretary, but could never be addressed to his secretary; the Free Southern State government in Atlanta had a perfect record of responding to every letter, but no sooner than two years after the fact. She learned which methods of attack worked and which didn’t. Any familial relation between appellant and recipient, no matter how tenuous, was to be ruthlessly exploited; pictures of dead relatives or horrific war wounds never did any good, although the refugees in possession of such images invariably demanded they be sent anyway; a direct offer of bribery was more likely than not to elicit an insulted response, but an offer to make a donation to a cause of the recipient’s choosing got the same message across more tactfully. It was, in the end, hopeless work, the letters almost always doomed to fail. But for the refugees who paid or begged Martina to write these pleadings on their behalf, hopelessness was no impediment to hope.
Omar El Akkad (American War)
The depth to which Indian Muslims had sunk in British eyes is visible in an 1868 production called The People of India, which contains photographs of the different castes and tribes of South Asia ranging from Tibetans and Aboriginals (illustrated with a picture of a naked tribal) to the Doms of Bihar. The image of ‘the Mahomedan’ is illustrated by a picture of an Aligarh labourer who is given the following caption: ‘His features are peculiarly Mahomedan … [and] exemplify in a strong manner the obstinacy, sensuality, ignorance and bigotry of his class. It is hardly possible, perhaps, to conceive features more essentially repulsive.
William Dalrymple (The Last Mughal: The Fall of Delhi, 1857)
Through the medium of words, the text brings into the reader's consciousness certain concepts, certain sensuous experiences, certain images of things, people, actions, scenes. The special meanings and, more particularly, the submerged associations that these words have for the individual reader will largely determine what the work communicates to him. The reader brings to the work personality traits, memories of past events, present needs and preoccupations, a particular mood of the moment, and a particular physical condition. These and many other elements in a never-to-be-duplicated combination determine his response to the peculiar contribution of the text.
Louise M. Rosenblatt (Literature as Exploration)
One evening coming in with a candle I was startled to hear him say a little tremulously, "I am lying here in the dark waiting for death." The light was within a foot of his eyes. I forced myself to murmur, "Oh, nonsense!" and stood over him as if transfixed. Anything approaching the change that came over his features I have never seen before, and hope never to see again. Oh, I wasn't touched. I was fascinated. It was as though a veil had been rent. I saw on that ivory face the expression of sombre pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror - of an intense and hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision - he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath - "The horror! The horror!" I blew the candle out and left the cabin. The pilgrims were dining in the mess-room, and I took my place opposite the manager, who lifted his eyes to give me a questioning glance, which I successfully ignored. He leaned back, serene, with that peculiar smile of his sealing the unexpressed depths of his meanness. A continuous shower of small flies streamed upon the lamp, upon the cloth, upon our hands and faces. Suddenly the manager's boy put his insolent black head in the doorway, and said in a tone of scathing contempt - "Mistah Kurtz - he dead.
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
He had thought himself, so long as nobody knew, the most disinterested person in the world, carrying his concentrated burden, his perpetual suspense, ever so quietly, holding his tongue about it, giving others no glimpse of it nor of its effect upon his life, asking of them no allowance and only making on his side all those that were asked. He hadn't disturbed people with the queerness of their having to know a haunted man, though he had had moments of rather special temptation on hearing them say they were forsooth "unsettled." If they were as unsettled as he was—he who had never been settled for an hour in his life—they would know what it meant. Yet it wasn't, all the same, for him to make them, and he listened to them civilly enough. This was why he had such good—though possibly such rather colourless—manners; this was why, above all, he could regard himself, in a greedy world, as decently—as in fact perhaps even a little sublimely—unselfish. Our point is accordingly that he valued this character quite sufficiently to measure his present danger of letting it lapse, against which he promised himself to be much on his guard. He was quite ready, none the less, to be selfish just a little, since surely no more charming occasion for it had come to him. "Just a little," in a word, was just as much as Miss Bartram, taking one day with another, would let him. He never would be in the least coercive, and would keep well before him the lines on which consideration for her—the very highest—ought to proceed. He would thoroughly establish the heads under which her affairs, her requirements, her peculiarities—he went so far as to give them the latitude of that name—would come into their intercourse. All this naturally was a sign of how much he took the intercourse itself for granted. There was nothing more to be done about that. It simply existed; had sprung into being with her first penetrating question to him in the autumn light there at Weatherend. The real form it should have taken on the basis that stood out large was the form of their marrying. But the devil in this was that the very basis itself put marrying out of the question. His conviction, his apprehension, his obsession, in short, wasn't a privilege he could invite a woman to share; and that consequence of it was precisely what was the matter with him. Something or other lay in wait for him, amid the twists and the turns of the months and the years, like a crouching Beast in the Jungle. It signified little whether the crouching Beast were destined to slay him or to be slain. The definite point was the inevitable spring of the creature; and the definite lesson from that was that a man of feeling didn't cause himself to be accompanied by a lady on a tiger-hunt. Such was the image under which he had ended by figuring his life.
Henry James (The Beast in the Jungle)
I can easily believe, that there are more invisible than visible beings in the universe. But who will declare to us the family of all these, and acquaint us with the agreements, differences, and peculiar talents which are to be found among them? It is true, human wit has always desired a knowledge of these things, though it has never yet attained it. I will own that it is very profitable, sometimes to contemplate in the mind, as in a draught, the image of the greater and better world, lest the soul being accustomed to the trifles of this present life, should contract itself too much, and altogether rest in mean cogitations, but, in the meantime, we must take care to keep to the truth, and observe moderation, that we may distinguish certain from uncertain things, and day from night.
Thomas Burnet (Archaelogiae philosophicae: sive, doctrina antiqua de rerum originibus, libri duo)
Although it was only a single instrument, each note had the peculiar echoed quality of a thousand harmonics voiced together. There was a whisper behind the strongest note and a shout beneath the softest, and they sang of far off places in long forgotten times. There were no words, but the images of ancient pride, noble heritage, and castles in the sand were imagined from the progression. This was the song that would be played at the birth of a nation, full of hope and promise of better days ahead. This was the song of the end of days with all love and longing lost beyond recall or desire. Farris could see this song playing at her wedding, or her funeral, as a herald of joy and sorrow. She found tears in her eyes and heard herself laugh, and she couldn’t say why she was doing either. Her skin was tense and covered with goosebumps, and she shivered with pleasure.
Tobias Wade (The First Man: An Enlightened Journey (Shell Seven Book 1))
Until my thirtieth year, I lived in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression. It feels now as if I am talking about some past lifetime or somebody else’s life. One night not long after my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread. I had woken up with such a feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been. The silence of the night, the vague outlines of the furniture in the dark room, the distant noise of a passing train – everything felt so alien, so hostile, and so utterly meaningless that it created in me a deep loathing of the world. The most loathsome thing of all, however, was my own existence. What was the point in continuing to live with this burden of misery? Why carry on with this continuous struggle? I could feel that a deep longing for annihilation, for nonexistence, was now becoming much stronger than the instinctive desire to continue to live. ‘I cannot live with myself any longer.’ This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. ‘Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.’ ‘Maybe,’ I thought, ‘only one of them is real.’ I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words ‘resist nothing,’ as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that. I was awakened by the chirping of a bird outside the window. I had never heard such a sound before. My eyes were still closed, and I saw the image of a precious diamond. Yes, if a diamond could make a sound, this is what it would be like. I opened my eyes. The first light of dawn was filtering through the curtains. Without any thought, I felt, I knew, that there is infinitely more to light than we realize. That soft luminosity filtering through the curtains was love itself. Tears came into my eyes. I got up and walked around the room. I recognized the room, and yet I knew that I had never truly seen it before. Everything was fresh and pristine, as if it had just come into existence. I picked up things, a pencil, an empty bottle, marvelling at the beauty and aliveness of it all. That day I walked around the city in utter amazement at the miracle of life on earth, as if I had just been born into this world.
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference. If we do not respect ourselves, we are the one hand forced to despise those who have so few resources as to consort with us, so little perception as to remain blind to our fatal weaknesses. On the other, we are peculiarly in thrall to everyone we see, curiously determined to live out – since our self-image is untenable – their false notion of us. We flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an attractive trait: a gist for imaginative empathy, evidence of our willingness to give. Of course I will play Francesca to your Paolo, Helen Keller to anyone’s Annie Sullivan; no expectation is too misplaced, no role too ludicrous. At the mercy of those we cannot but hold in contempt, we play roles doomed to failure before they are begun, each defeat generating fresh despair at the urgency of divining and meeting the next demand made upon us.
Joan Didion
We have Gideon because we don't want always to be speaking of our faith in abstract, otherworldly, irrreal, or general terms, to which people may be glad to listen but don't really take note of; because it is good once in a while actually to see faith in action, not just hear what it should be like, but see how it just happens in the midst of someone's life, in the story of a human being. Only here does faith become, for everyone, not just a children's game, but rather something highly dangerous, even terrifying. Here a person is being treated without considerations or conditions or allowances; he has to bow to what is being asked, or he will be broken. This is why the image of a person of faith is so often that of someone who is not beautiful in human terms, not a harmonious picture, but rather that of someone who has been torn to shreds. The picture of someone who has learned to have faith has the peculiar quality of always pointing away from the person's own self, toward the One in whose power, in whose captivity and bondage he or she is. So we have Gideon, because his story is a story of God glorified, of the human being humbled.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Collected Sermons of Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
Its chief covering seemed to me to be composed of large wings folded over its breast and reaching to its knees; the rest of its attire was composed of an under tunic and leggings of some thin fibrous material. It wore on its head a kind of tiara that shone with jewels, and carried in its right hand a slender staff of bright metal like polished steel. But the face! it was that which inspired my awe and my terror. It was the face of man, but yet of a type of man distinct from our known extant races. The nearest approach to it in outline and expression is the face of the sculptured sphinx—so regular in its calm, intellectual, mysterious beauty. Its colour was peculiar, more like that of the red man than any other variety of our species, and yet different from it—a richer and a softer hue, with large black eyes, deep and brilliant, and brows arched as a semicircle. The face was beardless; but a nameless something in the aspect, tranquil though the expression, and beauteous though the features, roused that instinct of danger which the sight of a tiger or serpent arouses. I felt that this manlike image was endowed with forces inimical to man.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton (The Coming Race)
A world conqueror had appeared in modern times. Alexander, Caesar, Attila, Genghis Khan, Napoleon—another such as these, appearing in the age of electricity, of rotary presses and radio, when nine men out of ten would have said it was impossible. A world conqueror has to be a man of few ideas, and those fixed; a peculiar combination of exactly the right qualities, both good and bad—iron determination, irresistible energy, and no scruples of any sort. He has to know what he wants, and permit no obstacle to stand in the way of his getting it. He has to understand the minds of other men, both foes and friends, and what greeds, fears, hates, jealousies will move them to action. He must understand the mass mind, the ideals or delusions which sway it; he must be enough of a fanatic to talk their language, though not enough to be controlled by it. He must believe in nothing but his own destiny, the glorified image of himself on the screen of history; whole races of mankind made over in his own image and according to his will. To accomplish that purpose he must be liar, thief, and murderer upon a world-wide scale; he must be ready without hesitation to commit every crime his own interest commands, whether upon individuals or nations.
Upton Sinclair (Dragon's Teeth (World's End Lanny Budd, #3))
An electronic machine can carry out mathematical calculations, remember historical facts, play chess and translate books from one language to another. It is able to solve mathematical problems more quickly than man and its memory is faultless. Is there any limit to progress, to its ability to create machines in the image and likeness of man? It seems the answer is no. It is not impossible to imagine the machine of future ages and millennia. It will be able to listen to music and appreciate art; it will even be able to compose melodies, paint pictures and write poems. Is there a limit to its perfection? Can it be compared to man? Will it surpass him? Childhood memories… tears of happiness … the bitterness of parting… love of freedom … feelings of pity for a sick puppy … nervousness … a mother’s tenderness … thoughts of death … sadness … friendship … love of the weak … sudden hope … a fortunate guess … melancholy … unreasoning joy … sudden embarrassment… The machine will be able to recreate all of this! But the surface of the whole earth will be too small to accommodate this machine – this machine whose dimensions and weight will continually increase as it attempts to reproduce the peculiarities of mind and soul of an average, inconspicuous human being. Fascism annihilated tens of millions of people.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate)
Yet nothing can be more certain than this: what makes a poet a poet is the fact that he sees himself surrounded by figures who live and act before him, and into whose innermost essence he gazes. Because of the peculiar weakness of modern talent we are inclined to imagine the original aesthetic phenomenon in too complicated and abstract a manner. For the genuine poet metaphor is no rhetorical figure, but an image which takes the place of something else, something he can really see before him as a substitute for a concept. To the poet a character is not a whole composed of selected single features, but an insistently alive person whom he sees before his very eyes, and distinguished from a painter's vision of the same thing only by the fact that poet sees the figure continuing to live and act over a period of time. What allows Homer to depict things so much more vividly than all other poets? It is the fact that he looks at things so much more than they do. We talk so abstractly about poetry because we are usually all bad poets. Fundamentally the aesthetic phenomenon is simple; one only has to have the ability to watch a living play continuously and to live constantly surrounded by crowds of spirits, then one is a poet; if one feels the impulse to transform oneself and to speak out of other bodies and souls, then one is a dramatist
Friedrich Nietzsche
Speaking of gendered differences in reaction and action—you’ve talked of a certain “bullying reception” to your book here in New Zealand by a certain set of older male critics. The omniscient narrator, the idea that you “had to be everywhere,” seems to have affronted some male readers, as has the length of the book. Have you experienced this reaction in the UK, too, or in Canada? Has it been a peculiarly New Zealand response, perhaps because of the necessarily small pool of literary competition here? This is a point that has been perhaps overstated. There’s been a lot written about what I said, and in fact the way I think and feel about the reviewing culture we have in New Zealand has changed a lot through reading the responses and objections of others. Initially I used the word “bullying” only to remark that, as we all learn at school, more often than not someone’s objections are more to do with their own shortcomings or failures than with yours, and that’s something that you have to remember when you’re seeing your artistic efforts devalued or dismissed in print. I don’t feel bullied when I receive a negative review, but I do think that some of the early reviewers refused to engage with the book on its own terms, and that refusal seemed to me to have a lot to do with my gender and my age. To even things out, I called attention to the gender and age of those reviewers, which at the time seemed only fair. I feel that it’s very important to say that sexism is a hegemonic problem, written in to all kinds of cultural attitudes that are held by men and women alike. As a culture we are much more comfortable with the idea of the male thinker than the female thinker, simply because there are so many more examples, throughout history, of male thinkers; as an image and as an idea, the male thinker is familiar to us, and acts in most cases as a default. Consequently female thinkers are often unacknowledged and discouraged, sometimes tacitly, sometimes explicitly, sometimes by men, and sometimes by women. I am lucky, following the Man Booker announcement, that my work is now being read very seriously indeed; but that is a privilege conferred for the most part by the status of the prize, and I know that I am the exception rather than the rule. I’d like to see a paradigm shift, and I’m confident that one is on the way, but the first thing that needs to happen is a collective acknowledgment that reviewing culture is gendered—that everything is gendered—and that until each of us makes a conscious effort to address inequality, we will each remain a part of the problem, rather than a part of the solution. Protesting the fact of inequality is like protesting global warming or evolution: it’s a conservative blindness, born out of cowardice and hostility.
Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries)
Certain shapes and patterns hover over different moments in time, haunting and inspiring the individuals living through those periods. The epic clash and subsequent resolution of the dialectic animated the first half of the nineteenth century; the Darwinian and social reform movements scattered web imagery through the second half of the century. The first few decades of the twentieth century found their ultimate expression in the exuberant anarchy of the explosion, while later decades lost themselves in the faceless regimen of the grid. You can see the last ten years or so as a return to those Victorian webs, though I suspect the image that has been burned into our retinas over the past decade is more prosaic: windows piled atop one another on a screen, or perhaps a mouse clicking on an icon. These shapes are shorthand for a moment in time, a way of evoking an era and its peculiar obsessions. For individuals living within these periods, the shapes are cognitive building blocks, tools for thought: Charles Darwin and George Eliot used the web as a way of understanding biological evolution and social struggles; a half century later, the futurists embraced the explosions of machine-gun fire, while Picasso used them to re-create the horrors of war in Guernica. The shapes are a way of interpreting the world, and while no shape completely represents its epoch, they are an undeniable component of the history of thinking. When I imagine the shape that will hover above the first half of the twenty-first century, what comes to mind is not the coiled embrace of the genome, or the etched latticework of the silicon chip. It is instead the pulsing red and green pixels of Mitch Resnick’s slime mold simulation, moving erratically across the screen at first, then slowly coalescing into larger forms. The shape of those clusters—with their lifelike irregularity, and their absent pacemakers—is the shape that will define the coming decades. I see them on the screen, growing and dividing, and I think: That way lies the future.
Steven Johnson (Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software)
I am first affrighted and confounded with that forelorn solitude, in which I am plac'd in my philosophy, and fancy myself some strange uncouth monster, who not being able to mingle and unite in society, has been expell'd all human commerce, and left utterly abandon'd and disconsolate. Fain wou'd I run into the crowd for shelter and warmth; but cannot prevail with myself to mix with such deformity. I call upon others to join me, in order to make a company apart; but no one will hearken to me. Every one keeps at a distance, and dreads that storm, which beats upon me from every side. I have expos'd myself to the enmity of all metaphysicians, logicians, mathematicians, and even theologians; and can I wonder at the insults I must suffer? I have declar'd my disapprobation of their systems; and can I be surpriz'd, if they shou'd express a hatred of mine and of my person? When I look abroad, I foresee on every side, dispute, contradiction, anger, calumny and detraction. When I turn my eye inward, I find nothing but doubt and ignorance. All the world conspires to oppose and contradict me; tho' such is my weakness, that I feel all my opinions loosen and fall of themselves, when unsupported by the approbation of others. Every step I take is with hesitation, and every new reflection makes me dread an error and absurdity in my reasoning. For with what confidence can I venture upon such bold enterprises, when beside those numberless infirmities peculiar to myself, I find so many which are common to human nature? Can I be sure, that in leaving all established opinions I am following truth; and by what criterion shall I distinguish her, even if fortune shou'd at last guide me on her foot-steps? After the most accurate and exact of my reasonings, I can give no reason why I shou'd assent to it; and feel nothing but a strong propensity to consider objects strongly in that view, under which they appear to me. Experience is a principle, which instructs me in the several conjunctions of objects for the past. Habit is another principle, which determines me to expect the same for the future; and both of them conspiring to operate upon the imagination, make me form certain ideas in a more intense and lively manner, than others, which are not attended with the same advantages. Without this quality, by which the mind enlivens some ideas beyond others (which seemingly is so trivial, and so little founded on reason) we cou'd never assent to any argument, nor carry our view beyond those few objects, which are present to our senses. Nay, even to these objects we cou'd never attribute any existence, but what was dependent on the senses; and must comprehend them entirely in that succession of perceptions, which constitutes our self or person. Nay farther, even with relation to that succession, we cou'd only admit of those perceptions, which are immediately present to our consciousness, nor cou'd those lively images, with which the memory presents us, be ever receiv'd as true pictures of past perceptions. The memory, senses, and understanding are, therefore, all of them founded on the imagination, or the vivacity of our ideas.
David Hume (A Treatise of Human Nature)
Accordingly, love would seem to be no trifling thing: it is God himself.46 But, on the other hand, “love” is an extreme example of anthropomorphism and, together with hunger, the immemorial psychic driving-force of humanity. It is, psychologically considered, a function of relationship on the one hand and a feeling-toned psychic condition on the other, which, as we have seen, practically coincides with the God-image. There can be no doubt that love has an instinctual determinant; it is an activity peculiar to mankind, and, if the language of religion defines God as “love,” there is always the great danger of confusing the love which works in man with the workings of God. This is an obvious instance of the above-mentioned fact that the archetype is inextricably interwoven with the individual psyche, so that the greatest care is needed to differentiate the collective type, at least conceptually, from the personal psyche. In practice, however, this differentiation is not without danger if human “love” is thought of as the prerequisite for the divine presence (I John 4: 12).
C.G. Jung (Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 5: Symbols of Transformation (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung Book 7))
When it’s said that quantum mechanics is ‘weird’, or that nobody understands it, the image tends to invite the analogy of a peculiar person whose behaviour and motives defy obvious explanation. But this is too glib. It’s not so much understanding or even intuition that quantum mechanics defies, but our sense of logic itself. Sure, it’s hard to intuit what it means for objects to travel along two paths at once, or to have their properties partly situated some place other than the object itself, and so on. But these are just attempts to express in everyday words a state of affairs that defeats the capabilities of language. Our language is designed to reflect the logic we’re familiar with, but that logic won’t work for quantum mechanics.
Philip Ball (Beyond Weird)
For Epimetheus, as these verses clearly show, Pandora has the value of a soul-image—she stands for his soul; hence her divine power, her unshakable supremacy. Whenever such attributes are conferred upon a personality, we may conclude with certainty that such a personality is a symbol-carrier, or an image of projected unconscious contents. For it is the contents of the unconscious that have the supreme power Goethe has described, incomparably characterized in the line: “Make her an offer and she’ll raise your bid.” In this line the peculiar emotional reinforcement of conscious contents by association with analogous contents of the unconscious is caught to perfection. This reinforcement has in it something daemonic and compelling, and thus has a “divine” or “devilish” effect.
C.G. Jung (Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 6: Psychological Types (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung Book 16))
In order to characterize these two “impulses” more closely, Nietzsche compares the peculiar psychological states they give rise to with those of dreaming and intoxication. The Apollinian impulse produces the state comparable to dreaming, the Dionysian the state comparable to intoxication. By “dreaming” Nietzsche means, as he himself says, essentially an “inward vision,” the “lovely semblance of dream-worlds.”4 Apollo “rules over the beautiful illusion of the inner world of fantasy,” he is “the god of all shape-shifting powers.”5 He signifies measure, number, limitation, and subjugation of everything wild and untamed. “One might even describe Apollo himself as the glorious divine image of the principium individuationis.”6
C.G. Jung (Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 6: Psychological Types (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung Book 16))
These characteristics are individual peculiarities which we must not import into our conception of the introverted or extraverted attitude. In a man whose attitude is predominantly reflective, the Apollinian perception of inner images produces an elaboration of the perceived material in accordance with the nature of intellectual thinking. In other words, it produces ideas. In a man whose attitude is predominated by feeling a similar process results: a “feeling through” of the images and the production of a feeling-toned idea, which may coincide in essentials with an idea produced by thinking. Ideas, therefore, are just as much feelings as thoughts, examples being the idea of the fatherland, freedom, God, immortality, etc. In both elaborations the principle is a rational and logical one. But there is also a quite different standpoint, from which the rational and logical elaboration is not valid. This is the aesthetic standpoint. In introversion it dwells on the perception of ideas, it develops intuition, the inner vision; in extraversion it dwells on sensation and develops the senses, instinct, affectivity. From this standpoint, thinking is not the principle of an inner perception of ideas, and feeling just as little; instead, thinking and feeling are mere derivatives of inner perception and outer sensation.
C.G. Jung (Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 6: Psychological Types (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung Book 16))
These words show that the libido has now sunk to a depth where “the danger is great” (Faust, “The Mothers”). There God is near, there man would find the maternal vessel of rebirth, the seeding-place where he could renew his life. For life goes on despite loss of youth; indeed it can be lived with the greatest intensity if looking back to what is already moribund does not hamper your step. Looking back would be perfectly all right if only it did not stop at externals, which cannot be brought back again in any case; instead, it ought to consider where the fascination of the past really springs from. The golden haze of childhood memories arises not so much from the objective facts as from the admixture of magical images which are more intuited than actually conscious. The parable of Jonah who was swallowed by the whale reproduces the situation exactly. A person sinks into his childhood memories and vanishes from the existing world. He finds himself apparently in deepest darkness, but then has unexpected visions of a world beyond. The “mystery” he beholds represents the stock of primordial images which everybody brings with him as his human birthright, the sum total of inborn forms peculiar to the instincts. I have called this “potential” psyche the collective unconscious. If this layer is activated by the regressive libido, there is a possibility of life being renewed, and also of its being destroyed. Regression carried to its logical conclusion means a linking back with the world of natural instincts, which in its formal or ideal aspect is a kind of prima materia. If this prima materia can be assimilated by the conscious mind it will bring about a reactivation and reorganization of its contents. But if the conscious mind proves incapable of assimilating the new contents pouring in from the unconscious, then a dangerous situation arises in which they keep their original, chaotic, and archaic form and consequently disrupt the unity of consciousness. The resultant mental disturbance is therefore advisedly called schizophrenia, since it is a madness due to the splitting of the mind.
C.G. Jung (Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 5: Symbols of Transformation (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung Book 7))
Lichtenberg speaks, in one of his aphorisms, Of a tremor: any act, even an exact one, is preceded by a trembling, a haziness of gesture, and it always retains something of it. When this haziness, this tremor, does not exist, when an act is purely operational and is perfectly focused, we are on the verge of madness. And the true image is the one that accounts for this trembling of the world, whatever the situation or the object, whether it be a war photo or a still life, a landscape or a portrait, an art photo or reportage. At that stage, the image is something that is part of the world, that is caught up in the same becoming, in the metamorphosis of appearances. A fragment of the hologram of the world, in which each detail is a refraction of the whole. The peculiar role of photography is not to illustrate the event, but to constitute an event in itself. Logic would demand that the event, the real, occur first and that the image come after to illustrate it. This is, unfortunately, the case most of the time. A different sequence demands that the event should never exactly take place, that it should remain in a sense a stranger to itself. Something of that strangeness doubtless survives in every event, in every object, in every individual. This is what the image must convey. And, to do so, it must also remain in a sense a stranger to itself; must not conceive itself as medium, not take itself for an image; must remain a fiction and hence echo the unaccountable fiction of the event; must not be caught in its own trap or let itself be imprisoned in the image-feedback.
Jean Baudrillard (The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images))
The grand temples of Greece were built either of stone or of marble. As a general rule they are set on a platform to which a long flight of steps lead up, and are enclosed within an outer wall or a continuous colonnade. Their plan is extremely simple: a parallelogram, formed in some cases entirely of columns, in others with walls at the side and columns at the ends only, encloses a second and considerably smaller pillared space known as the cella or naos, that enshrined the image of the god to whom the building was dedicated, and was entered from a pronaos or porch, and with a posticum or back space behind it, sometimes supplemented by a kind of second cella called the opisthodomus or back temple. The front columns at either end are spanned by horizontal beams that uphold a sloping gable called a pediment, the flat, three-cornered surface of which is generally adorned with sculpture in bas-relief, and along the side-columns is placed what is known as the entablature, that consists of three parts, the architrave resting on the capitals of the columns, the frieze above it and the cornice, the last of which sustains the flat roof, usually covered with tiles or marble copies of tiles. Greek architecture is generally divided into three groups or orders: the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, each of which, though the buildings belonging to them resemble each other in general plan, is distinguished by certain peculiarities of the columns and entablatures. The Doric was the earliest to be employed, but the Ionic, that early succeeded it, was long used simultaneously with it, sometimes even in the same building, whilst the Corinthian did not come into use until considerably later.
Nancy R.E. Meugens Bell (Architecture)
Courbet’s Meeting[1], for example, was clearly based on a prototype in popular imagery [2]: yet Courbet observed the countryside around Montpellier with scrupulous attention to its peculiarities and he recorded the local flora, the bright clear atmosphere of the Midi, as well as the appearance of himself, Bruyas and his servant, with striking and convincing accuracy. What is more, he succeeded in achieving his aim: creating an image that looks like and was for long held to be an objective, almost photographic, record of an actual event.
Linda Nochlin (Realism: (Style and Civilization) (Style & Civilization))
We have Gideon because we don't want always to be speaking of our faith in abstract, otherworldly, irrreal, or general terms, to which people may be glad to listen but don't really take note of; because it is good once in a while actually to see faith in action, not just hear what it should be like, but see how it just happens in the midst of someone's life, in the story of a human being. Only here does faith become, for everyone, not just a children's game, but rather something highly dangerous, even terrifying. Here a person is being treated without considerations or conditions or allowances; he has to bow to what is being asked, or he will be broken. This is why the image of a person of faith is so often that of someone who is not beautiful in human terms, not a harmonious picture, but rather that of someone who has been torn to shreds. The picture of someone who has learned to have faith has the peculiar quality of always pointing away from the person's own self, toward the One in whose power, in whose captivity and bondage he or she is. So we have Gideon, because his story is a story of God glorified, of the human being humbled. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
Dean G. Stroud
We have Gideon because we don't want always to be speaking of our faith in abstract, otherworldly, irrreal, or general terms, to which people may be glad to listen but don't really take note of; because it is good once in a while actually to see faith in action, not just hear what it should be like, but see how it just happens in the midst of someone's life, in the story of a human being. Only here does faith become, for everyone, not just a children's game, but rather something highly dangerous, even terrifying. Here a person is being treated without considerations or conditions or allowances; he has to bow to what is being asked, or he will be broken. This is why the image of a person of faith is so often that of someone who is not beautiful in human terms, not a harmonious picture, but rather that of someone who has been torn to shreds. The picture of someone who has learned to have faith has the peculiar quality of always pointing away from the person's own self, toward the One in whose power, in whose captivity and bondage he or she is. So we have Gideon, because his story is a story of God glorified, of the human being humbled.
Dean G. Stroud (Preaching in Hitler's Shadow: Sermons of Resistance in the Third Reich)
Goliath said with somber voice, “Since it is our custom to grant defeated deities some amount of vassal-like privilege, the Lord of Ashdod, Mutallu, thought it only gracious to allow this Yahweh an audience in Dagon’s presence. But the next morning when the priests opened the temple, the image of Dagon was on the floor, face down before the Israelite ark.” Lahmi and Ittai gasped. Warati sighed. Ishbi said, “That is only the beginning of the pranks that malevolent deity has pulled.” Goliath said, “They returned Dagon to his position, but the very next morning, he was prostrate before the ark yet again. Only this time, Dagon’s head and hands had been cut off lying on the threshold.” “Holy father of Ba’al,” whispered Warati. The cutting off of heads and hands of enemy combatants was a peculiar tactic of victory in war. It was a denigration of one’s conquered foes into complete powerlessness. Warati continued, “It would take great strength to cut through that diorite. No one was seen in or near the temple?” “It was locked and guarded,” said Goliath. “The guards never even heard the sound of the fall or the breaking.” Ishbi added, “That abomination was followed by an infestation of rats as well as a plague of boils, tumors, and hemorrhoids.
Brian Godawa (David Ascendant (Chronicles of the Nephilim, #7))
How many planes there are, we do not know. The levels of nature that science discriminates give us no clue, for these all pertain to size which, being an aspect of space, belongs to our plane only. (We discount as irrelevant for present purposes the peculiar modes of space we experience when dreaming.) The entire size-continuum, from minutest particle to our 26-billion-light-year universe, falls along the horizontal arms we see. The planes that bracket this central one—central from our point of view—may be indefinite in number, but even if they are, something can be said about their antipodes. As the levels of reality array themselves along the vertical axis in descending degrees of reality, reality being (as noted in the preceding chapter) worth's final criterion, the bottom of the arm represents the point—a fraction of a degree above absolute zero as we might say—where being phases out completely; all that could lie beyond this margin is a nothing that is as unthinkable as it is non-existent. The top of the axis represents the opposite of this, that is, everything. Opposites being well acquainted, this everything shares in common with its antithesis the fact that it too cannot be imaged, but unlike complete nothingness it can be conceived. Being we experience, whereas nothing, by itself, we do not. The zenith of being is Being Unlimited, Being relieved of all confines and conditionings. The next chapter will discuss it; for now we simply name it. It is All-Possibility, the Absolute, the In-finite in all the directions that word can possibly point." from_The Forgotten Truth_
Huston Smith
So saying, she managed to straighten- which left her facing the house, looking directly at the blank bow windows of the downstairs parlor. With the storm darkening the skies, the windows were reflective. They reflected the image of a man standing directly behind her. With a gasp, Patience whirled. Her gaze collided with the man's- his eyes were hard, crystalline gray, pale in the weak light. They were focused, intently, on her, their expression one she couldn't fathom. He stood no more than three feet away, large, elegant and oddly forbidding. In the instant her brain registered those facts, Patience felt her heels sink, and sink- into the soft soil of the flower bed. The edge crumbled beneath her feet. Her eyes flew wide- her lips formed a helpless "Oh." Arms flailing, she started to topple back- The man reacted so swiftly his movement was a blur- he gripped her upper arms and hauled her forward. She landed against him, breast to chest, hips to hard thighs. The breath was knocked out of her, leaving her gasping, mentally as well as physically. Hard hands held her upright, long fingers iron shackles about her arms. His chest was a wall of rock against her breasts; the rest of his body, the long thighs that held them braced, felt as resilient as tensile steel. She was helpless. Utterly, completely, and absolutely helpless. Patience looked up and met the stranger's hooded gaze. As she watched, his grey eyes darkened. The expression they contained- intensely concentrated- sent a most peculiar thrill through her. She blinked; her gaze fell- to the man's lips. Long, thin yet beautifully proportioned, they'd been sculpted with a view to fascination. They certainly fascinated her; she couldn't drag her gaze away. The mesmerizing contours shifted, almost imperceptibly softening; her own lips tingled. She swallowed, and dragged in a desperately needed breath. Her breasts rose, shifting against the stranger's coat, pressing more definitely against his chest. Sensation streaked through her, from unexpectedly tight nipples all the way to her toes. She caught another breath and tensed- but couldn't stop the quiver that raced through her. The stranger's lips thinned; the austere planes of his face hardened. His fingers tightened about her arms. To Patience's stunned amazement, he lifted her- easily- and carefully set her down two feet away.
Stephanie Laurens (A Rake's Vow (Cynster, #2))
He looked up at a 1992 calendar, level with his eyes, and about ten inches away. Someone had quit pulling the months off, in August. It advertised a commercial real estate firm, and was decorated with a drastically color-saturated daytime photograph of the New York skyline, complete with the black towers of the World Trade Center. These were so intensely peculiar-looking, in retrospect, so monolithically sci-fi blank, unreal, that they now seemed to Milgrim to have been Photoshopped into every image he encountered them in.
William Gibson (Spook Country (Blue Ant, #2))
Very often these luminous designs, rich in data, take the form of geometry. I speak from experience, having participated in more than seventy ayahuasca sessions since 2003, continuing to work with the brew for the valuable lessons it teaches me long after Supernatural was researched, written, and published. Here’s part of my account of the first time I drank ayahuasca in the Amazon: I raise the cup to my lips again. About two thirds of the measure that the shaman poured for me still remains, and now I drain it in one draught. The concentrated bittersweet foretaste, followed instantly by the aftertaste of rot and medicine, hits me like a punch in the stomach…. Feeling slightly apprehensive, I thank the shaman and wander back to my place on the floor…. Time passes but I don’t keep track of it. I’ve improvized a pillow from a rolled-up sleeping bag and I now find I’m swamped by a powerful feeling of weariness. My muscles involuntarily relax, I close my eyes, and without fanfare a parade of visions suddenly begins, visions that are at once geometrical and alive, visions of lights unlike any light I’ve ever seen—dark lights, a pulsing, swirling field of the deepest luminescent violets, of reds emerging out of night, of unearthly textures and colors, of solar systems revolving, of spiral galaxies on the move. Visions of nets and strange ladder-like structures. Visions in which I seem to see multiple square screens stacked side by side and on top of each other to form immense patterns of windows arranged in great banks. Though they manifest without sound in what seems to be a pristine and limitless vacuum, the images possess a most peculiar and particular quality. They feel like a drum-roll—as though their real function is to announce the arrival of something else.13 Other notes I made following my ayahuasca sessions in the Amazon refer to a “geometrical pulse,”14 to “a recurrence of the geometrical patterns,”15 to “a background of shifting geometrical patterns,”16 and to “complex interlaced patterns of geometry…. I zoom in for a closer view…. They’re rectangular, outlined in black, like windows. There’s a circle in the centre of each rectangle.”17
Graham Hancock (America Before: The Key to Earth's Lost Civilization)
Walking along the pavement overlooking the biggest basilica and down the famous steps to a fountain and many picked flowers of so many colours, crossing the crowded square, we went along a narrow one-way street [via Marguttal, quiet, with not too many cars; there in that dimly lit street, with few unfashionable shops, suddenly and most unexpectedly, that otherness came with such intense tenderness and beauty that ones body and brain became motionless. For some days now, it had not made its immense presence felt; it was there vaguely, in the distance, a whisper but there the immense was manifesting itself, sharply and with waiting patience. Thought and speech were gone and there was peculiar joy and clarity. It followed down the long, narrow street till the roar of traffic and the overcrowded pavement swallowed us all. It was a benediction that was beyond all image and thoughts.
J. Krishnamurti (Krishnamurti's Notebook)
Translation is a tricky business," Holmes observed, placing the tips of his fingers together in his accustomed fashion. "Cervantes once said that reading something in translation is like looking at a Flemish tapestry wrong side out. The image may be there, but is obscured by a great many dangling threads.
Nicholas Meyer (The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols: Adapted from the Journals of John H. Watson, M.D.)
I have observed a peculiar dynamic in the current political landscape that makes political fodder of this liberationist legacy. With increasing frequency, we are party (or participant) to a white liberal and “multicultural”/“people of color” liberal imagination that venerates and even fetishizes the iconography and rhetoric of contemporary Black and Third World liberation movements, and then proceeds to incorporate these images and vernaculars into the public presentation of foundation-funded liberal or progressive organizations. I have also observed and experienced how these organizations, in order to protect their nonprofit status and marketability to liberal foundations, actively self-police against members’ deviations from their essentially reformist agendas, while continuing to appropriate the language and imagery of historical revolutionaries.
Incite! Women of Color Against Violence (The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex)
One peculiar thing about the new sect, as they were viewed by the pagans, was the absence of images and forms which the senses could comprehend. When Christians gathered for worship, there was no altar, no god, no incense. When the Christians prayed, there was no priesthood, no vain repetition of words, no offerings, but a simple petition in the name of Christ. An invisible power seemed to have taken control of the new converts, a power which never quailed, and which no pagan votary could gainsay. The life which God had so long searched for among the Jews was found among the early Christians.
Stephen Nelson Haskell (The Story of Daniel the Prophet)
Even when I thought, with most other well-informed, though unscholarly, people, that Buddhism and Christianity were alike, there was one thing about them that always perplexed me; I mean the startling difference in their type of religious art. I do not mean in its technical style of representation, but in the things that it was manifestly meant to represent. No two ideals could be more opposite than a Christian saint in a Gothic cathedral and a Buddhist saint in a Chinese temple. The opposition exists at every point; but perhaps the shortest statement of it is that the Buddhist saint always has his eyes shut, while the Christian saint always has them very wide open. The Buddhist saint has a sleek and harmonious body, but his eyes are heavy and sealed with sleep. The mediaeval saint's body is wasted to its crazy bones, but his eyes are frightfully alive. There cannot be any real community of spirit between forces that produced symbols so different as that. Granted that both images are extravagances, are perversions of the pure creed, it must be a real divergence which could produce such opposite extravagances. The Buddhist is looking with a peculiar intentness inwards. The Christian is staring with a frantic intentness outwards.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
Jung called the quality of eternity or religious power associated with the imaginal numinosity, a term he revived from Rudolf Otto's original conception of religious experiences in The Idea of the Holy. Otto's term helped describe the autonomous, compelling qualities of the image that Jung encountered when the imaginal began to intrude spontaneously upon his world. In 1937, Jung described the numinosum as “a dynamic agency or effect not caused by an arbitrary act of will. On the contrary, it seizes and controls the human subject, who is always rather its victim than its creator . . . The numinosum is either a quality belonging to a visible object or the influence of an invisible presence that causes a peculiar alteration of consciousness”33 Jung viewed encounters with the numinous as enigmatic, deeply impressive, and mysterious, defying explanation.34 Though not proving the existence of God, Jung described imaginal encounters as “godlike.”35 He assumed, as does Corbin, that numinous images gain their potency from their connection to a greater truth that we normally only dimly recognize, and considered an encounter with the numinosum a part of all religious, as well as psychopathological experience. Summarizing Jung's thoughts on the numinosum, Andrew Samuels concludes that a confrontation with numinous images not only compels tremendously, but has teleological implications, foretelling “a not yet disclosed, attractive, and fateful meaning.”36
Sandra Dennis (Embrace of the Daimon: Healing through the Subtle Energy Body: Jungian Psychology & the Dark Feminine)
Art is not just a display of beauty. Art also reflects what is ugly, and it celebrates the grotesque. An artist frequently creates what we describe as beautiful by depicting what is at first glance unpleasing, peculiar, or abnormal and casting the unpleasant, strange, or outlandish images into a more agreeable light that reaches deeper truths.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Japanese tragedy illustrates this aspect of the Trinity better than Greek tragedy, Kitamori taught, because it is based on the feeling expressed by the word tsurasa. This is the peculiar pain felt when someone dies in behalf of another. yet the term implies neither bitterness nor sadness. Nor is tsurasa burdened with the dialectical tension in the struggle with fate that is emphasized in Greek drama, since dialectic is a concept foreign to Japan. Tsurasa is pain with resignation and acceptance. Kitamori called our attention to a Kabuki play, The Village School. The feudal lord of a retainer named Matsuo is defeated in battle and forced into exile. Matsuo feigns allegiance to the victor but remains loyal to his vanquished lord. When he learns that his lord's son and heir, Kan Shusai, has been traced to a village school and marked for execution, Matsuo resolves to save the boy's life. The only way to do this, he realizes, is to substitute a look-alike who can pass for Kan Shusai and be mistakenly killed in his place. Only one substitute will likely pass: Matsuo's own son. So when the enemy lord orders the schoolmaster to produce the head of Kan Shusai, Matsuo's son consents to be beheaded instead. The plot succeeds: the enemy is convinced that the proffered head is that of Kan Shusai. Afterwards, in a deeply emotional scene, the schoolmaster tells Matsuo and his wife that their son died like a true samurai to save the life of the other boy. The parents burst into tears of tsurasa. 'Rejoice my dear,' Matsuo says consolingly to his wife. 'Our son has been of service to our lord.' Tsurasa is also expressed in a Noh drama, The Valley Rite. A fatherless boy named Matsuwaka is befriended by the leader of a band of ascetics, who invites him to accompany the band on a pilgrimage up a sacred mountain. On the way, tragically, Matsuwaka falls ill. According to an ancient and inflexible rule of the ascetics, anyone who falls ill on a pilgrimage must be put to death. The band's leader is stricken with sorrow; he cannot bear to sacrifice the boy he has come to love as his own son. He wishes that 'he could die and the boy live.' But the ascetics follow the rule. They hurl the boy into a ravine, then fling stones and clods of dirt to bury him. The distressed leader then asks to be thrown into the ravine after the boy. His plea so moves the ascetics that they pray for Matsuwaka to be restored to life. Their prayer is answered, and mourning turns to celebration. So it was with God's sacrifice of his Son. The Son's obedience to the Father, the Father's pain in the suffering and death of the Son, the Father's joy in the resurrection - these expressions of a deep personal relationship enrich our understanding of the triune God. Indeed, the God of dynamic relationships within himself is also involved with us his creatures. No impassive God, he interacts with the society of persons he has made in his own image. He expresses his love to us. He shares in our joys and sorrows. This is true of the Holy Spirit as well as the Father and Son... Unity, mystery, relationship - these are the principles of Noh that inform our understanding of the on God as Father, Son, and Spirit; or as Parent, Child, and Spirit; or as Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier...this amazing doctrine inspires warm adoration, not cold analysis. It calls for doxology, not definition.
F. Calvin Parker
Not one but many Djunas descended the staircase of the barge, one layer formed by the parents, the childhood, another molded by her profession and her friends, still another born of history geology, climate, race, economics, and all the backgrounds and backdrops, the sky and nature of the earth, the pure sources of birth, the influence of a tree, a word dropped carelessly, an image seen, and all the corrupted sources: books, art, dogmas, tainted friendships, and all the places where a human being is wounded... People add up their physical mishaps, the stubbed toes, the cut finger, the burn scar, the fever, the cancer, the microbe, the infection, the wounds and broken bones. They never add up the accumulated bruises and scars of the inner lining, forming a complete universe of reactions, a reflected world through which no event could take place without being subjected to a personal private interpretation, through this kaleidoscope of memory, through the peculiar formation of the psyche's sensitive photographic plates, to this assemblage of emotional chemicals through which every word, every event, every experience is filtered, digested, deformed, before it is projected again upon people and relationships.
Anaïs Nin (The Four-Chambered Heart: V3 in Nin's Continuous Novel)
Along similar lines, Stephen Mitchell points out that we need to pay close attention to what we mean when we assert that we “know” another person. There are obviously many different ways of knowing someone, some utilitarian, others desire-driven, some superficial, others intensely intuitive, and there is little reason to assume that any one version of our image of the other—what we believe we know about the other—is the accurate one. In effect, the fact that the other can be viewed from various perspectives at once forces us to regard the other as a multifaceted and ever-shifting entity who is no less complicated, no less dependent on context and setting, than we are ourselves. Most important, it asks us to recognize that the other does not possess transparent knowledge of itself either—that what we deem uncanny or unknowable about the other is often experienced as such by the other as well. From this viewpoint, the idea that we could ever know the other in any certain fashion is a curiously arrogant assumption. And it is also peculiar in the sense that it is often precisely the other’s mysterious opacity that elicits our desire—that makes the other of interest to us—in the first place. Why, then, are we so devoted to solving the other’s secret?
Mari Ruti (A World of Fragile Things: Psychoanalysis and the Art of Living (SUNY series in Psychoanalysis and Culture))
...The happy Warrior... is he... whose powers shed round him in the common strife, or mild concerns of ordinary life, a constant influence, a peculiar grace; but who, if he be called upon to face some awful moment to which Heaven has joined great issues, good or bad for human kind, is happy as a lover; and attired with sudden brightness, like a man inspired; and, through the heat of conflict, keeps the law in calmness made, and sees what he foresaw; or if an unexpected call succeed, come when it will, is equal to the need: he who, though thus endued as with a sense and faculty for storm and turbulence, is yet a soul whose master-bias leans to homefelt pleasures and to gentle scenes; sweet images! which, wheresoe'er he be, are at his heart; and such fidelity it is his darling passion to approve; more brave for this, that he hath much to love:—
William Wordsworth (Character of the Happy Warrior)
Some theologies say it is not an individual but a collective people who bear the image of God. I quite like this, because it means we need a diversity of people to reflect God more fully. Anything less and the image becomes pixelated and grainy, still beautiful but lacking clarity. If God really is three parts in one like they say, it means that God's wholeness is in a multitude. I do not know if God meant to confer value on us by creating us in their own image, but they had to have known it would at least be one outcome. How can anyone who is made to bear likeness to the maker of the cosmos be anything less than glory? This is inherent dignity. I do find it peculiar that humans have come to wield this over the rest of creation as though we are somehow superior. I don't believe this to be the case. Sometimes I wonder if we knelt down and put our ear to the ground, it would whisper up to us, Yes, you were made in the image of God, but God made you of me. We've grown numb to the idea that we ourselves are made of the dust, mysteriously connected to the goodness of the creation that surrounds us. Perhaps the more superior we believe ourselves to be to creation, the less like God we become. But if we embrace shalom—the idea that everything is suspended in a delicate balance between the atoms that make me and the tree and the bird and the sky—if we embrace the beauty of all creation, we find our own beauty magnified. And what is shalom but dignity stretched out like a blanket over the cosmos?
Cole Arthur Riley (This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us)