Remote Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Remote. Here they are! All 200 of them:

Life has no remote....get up and change it yourself!
Mark A. Cooper (Operation Einstein (Edelweiss Pirates #1))
To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote, To travel is to live.
Hans Christian Andersen (The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography)
I can't stand just sitting here not doing anything. You can't solve a problem by remote control.
Lisa Scottoline (Every Fifteen Minutes)
As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, the Whale)
Never confuse faith, or belief—of any kind—with something even remotely intellectual.
John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany)
Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.
H.P. Lovecraft
So each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in; some dream, some affection, some hobby, or at least some remote and distant hope....
Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D'Urbervilles)
The wise man knows that it is better to sit on the banks of a remote mountain stream than to be emperor of the whole world.
Zhuangzi
Rule number one of anime," Simon said. He sat propped up against a pile of pillows at the foot of his bed, a bag of potato chips in one hand and the TV remote in the other. He was wearing a black T-shirt that said I BLOGGED YOUR MOM and a pair of jeans that were ripped in one knee. "Never screw with a blind monk.
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
Only a fool took a remote from a god.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Night Embrace (Dark-Hunter #2))
And, for an instant, she stared directly into those soft blue eyes and knew, with an instinctive mammalian certainty, that the exceedingly rich were no longer even remotely human.
William Gibson (Count Zero (Sprawl, #2))
The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain… Music expresses only the quintessence of life and its events, never these themselves.
Arthur Schopenhauer
In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
Every man desires to live long, but no man wishes to be old.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World.)
Relationships with negative people are simply tedious encounters with porcupines. You don’t have the remote knowledge how to be close to them without quills being shot in your direction.
Shannon L. Alder
Keep your language. Love its sounds, its modulation, its rhythm. But try to march together with men of different languages, remote from your own, who wish like you for a more just and human world.
Hélder Câmara (Spiral Of Violence)
Unfortunately, real life doesn't have a remote control.
Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1))
Intelligence is like four-wheel drive. It only allows you to get stuck in more remote places.
Garrison Keillor
Grimly, she realized that clocks don't make a sound that even remotely resembles ticking, tocking. It was more the sound of a hammer, upside down, hacking methodically at the earth. It was the sound of a grave.
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
The warlock's gaze, on the flames, was remote and distant, as if he were looking back into the past. Simon couldn't help but remember what Magnus had said to him once, about living forever: Someday you and I will be the only two left.
Cassandra Clare (City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5))
For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, that color of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away. The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go.
Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)
The books we need are of the kind that act upon us like a misfortune, that makes us suffer like the death of someone we love more than ourselves, that make us feel as though we were on the verge of suicide, lost in a forest remote from all human habitation.
Franz Kafka (The Trial)
How comes every time I write a book and one of my character's say something remotely offensive, do people stick that “Quote” next to my bloody name on social media? I didn't bloody say it, did I?
Jimmy Tudeski (Comedian Gone Wrong)
Anna: You really think he likes me? Rashmi: Anna. He teases you all the time. It's classic boy-pulling-girl's-pigtail syndrome. And whenever anyone else even remotely does it, he always takes your side and tells them to shove it.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
That traitorous bastard. The idiot who thinks he's won himself a pretty girl. He has no idea who she is. No idea what she'd about to become. And if he thinks he's even remotely suited to match her, he's even more of an idiot than I gave him credit for.
Tahereh Mafi (Destroy Me (Shatter Me, #1.5))
I suppose one of the reasons we’re all able to continue to exist for our allotted span in this green and blue vale of tears is that there is always, however remote it might seem, the possibility of change.
Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)
After the bitching I'd done to Abe about going to remote, crappy places, I should have been excited about the prospect of going to Sin City.
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
You know I meant it. I am human. And male. And not remotely blind. Do you want me to say it again? You are distractingly, even if-that-is-not-a-real-word pretty. You are so pretty that I bullied Clay Whitaker into drawing me a picture of you so I could look at you when you aren't around. You are so pretty that one of these days I'm going to lose a finger in my garage because I can't concentrate with you so close to me. You are so pretty that I wish you weren't so I wouldn't want to hit every guy at school who looks at you, especially my best friend.
Katja Millay (The Sea of Tranquility)
Von Loewe really should know me well enough by now to realize that I am not going to face my execution without a fight. Or with anything remotely resembling dignity.
Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity)
To die; to decide to die; that's much easier for an adolescent than for an adult. What? Doesn't death strip an adolescent of a far larger portion of future? Certainly it does, but for a young person, the future is a remote, abstract, unreal thing he doesn't really believe in.
Milan Kundera (Ignorance)
He wasn't perfect, or even remotely close, for that matter, but, hey, neither was I. We were both pretty fucked up. Somehow, though, that made everything more exciting. Yeah, it was sick and twisted, but that's reality, right? Escape is impossible, so why not embrace it?
Kody Keplinger (The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend (Hamilton High, #1))
We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.
Henry Beston (The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod)
I'm infatuated with you, I cannot deny it. Physically speaking, you're a very attractive man. But I don't like you, the vast majority of the time. So far as I can gather, you behave abominably in public and are only marginally better in private. I only find you remotely tolerable when you're kissing me.
Tessa Dare (One Dance with a Duke (Stud Club, #1))
And I know I said earlier that he was perfect but he wasn’t perfect, far from it; he could be silly and vain and remote and often cruel and still we loved him, in spite of, because.
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
Life has no remote, get up and change it yourself!
Mark A. Cooper
Well, it's nice to have a dream. But it's even nicer when there's a remote possibility of it coming true.
Alyson Noel (Blue Moon (The Immortals, #2))
Historical fact: People stopped being people in 1913. That was the year Henry Ford put his cars on rollers and made his workers adopt the speed of the assembly line. At first, workers rebelled. They quit in droves, unable to accustom their bodies to the new pace of the age. Since then, however, the adaptation has been passed down: we've all inherited it to some degree, so that we plug right into joy-sticks and remotes, to repetitive motions of a hundred kinds.
Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex)
Someone said, 'The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did.' Precisely, and they are that which we know.
T.S. Eliot (Selected Essays)
I don’t even want to be with anyone if there’s even a remote possibility that there’s a third party at play. Love should be between two people, and if it isn’t, I’d rather bow out than take part in the race.
Colleen Hoover (November 9)
You can be a pawn, be someone’s reward, and spend the rest of your immortal life bowing and scraping and pretending you’re less than him, than Ianthe, than any of us. If you want to pick that road, then fine. A shame, but it’s your choice.” The shadow of wings rippled again. “But I know you—more than you realize, I think—and I don’t believe for one damn minute that you’re remotely fine with being a pretty trophy for someone who sat on his ass for nearly fifty years, then sat on his ass while you were shredded apart—” “Stop it—” “Or,” he plowed ahead, “you’ve got another choice. You can master whatever powers we gave to you, and make it count. You can play a role in this war. Because war is coming one way or another, and do not try to delude yourself that any of the Fae will give a shit about your family across the wall when our whole territory is likely to become a charnel house.” I stared
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2))
don’t believe for one damn minute that you’re remotely fine with being a pretty trophy for someone who sat on his ass for nearly fifty years, then sat on his ass while you were shredded apart—” “Stop
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2))
It was a movie about American bombers in World War II and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this: American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation. The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers , and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans though and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new. When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
That's all I need," I say. "Well...I need the lamp. And the astray. And the remote control. And the paddleball game. And you, Dean Holder. But that's all I need
Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
Here was one with an air of high nobility such as Aragorn at times revealed, less high perhaps, yet also less incalculable and remote: one of the Kings of Men born into a later time, but touched with the wisdom and sadness of the Eldar Race. He knew now why Beregond spoke his name with love. He was a captain that men would follow, that he would follow, even under the shadow of the black wings.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings)
The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain...Music expresses only the quintessence of life and of its events, never these themselves.
Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain)
The mutual-aid tendency in man has so remote an origin, and is so deeply interwoven with all the past evolution of the human race, that is has been maintained by mankind up to the present time, notwithstanding all vicissitudes of history.
Pyotr Kropotkin (Mutual Aid)
A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.
Lawrence M. Krauss
I don’t think anybody’s ever written a song called, “There’s urine on the couch, and the remote control is in the shower.” I would write it myself, but I’ve never been very good at writing love ballads.
Jarod Kintz (Great Listener Seeks Mute Women)
In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering among innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge.
Friedrich Nietzsche
But for pain words are lacking. There should be cries, cracks, fissures, whiteness passing over chintz covers, interference with the sense of time, of space; the sense also of extreme fixity in passing objects; and sounds very remote and then very close; flesh being gashed and blood spurting, a joint suddenly twisted - beneath all of which appears something very important, yet remote, to be just held in solitude.
Virginia Woolf (The Waves)
Only now is the child finally divested of all that he has been. His origins are become remote as is his destiny and not again in all the world's turning will there be terrains so wild and barbarous to try whether the stuff of creation may be shaped to man's will or whether his own heart is not another kind of clay.
Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West)
I have a rule." "Elaborate." The statue is still warm from the previous visitors. "I ask myself, if the worst happened—if I did get knocked up-would I be embarrassed to tell my child who his father was? If the answer is anywhere even remotely close to yes, then there's no way." He nods slowly. "That's a good rule.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
From quite early on, I had this idea of compartmentalized identities - 'this is how you are when you are with your mum, and this is how you are when you are with your dad' - so it seemed like I could never absolutely be myself. And the image of myself as compromised and inconsistent made me want to withdraw from the world even further. I had a sense of formulating a paper-mache version of myself to send out in the world, while I sat controlling it remotely from some smug suburban barracks.
Russell Brand (My Booky Wook)
We are quick to forget that just being alive is an extraordinary piece of good luck, a remote event, a chance occurrence of monstrous proportions.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable)
The tiny Lilliputians surmise that Gulliver's watch may be his god, because it is that which, he admits, he seldom does anything without consulting.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World.)
I Like For You To Be Still I like for you to be still It is as though you are absent And you hear me from far away And my voice does not touch you It seems as though your eyes had flown away And it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth As all things are filled with my soul You emerge from the things Filled with my soul You are like my soul A butterfly of dream And you are like the word: Melancholy I like for you to be still And you seem far away It sounds as though you are lamenting A butterfly cooing like a dove And you hear me from far away And my voice does not reach you Let me come to be still in your silence And let me talk to you with your silence That is bright as a lamp Simple, as a ring You are like the night With its stillness and constellations Your silence is that of a star As remote and candid I like for you to be still It is as though you are absent Distant and full of sorrow So you would've died One word then, One smile is enough And I'm happy; Happy that it's not true
Pablo Neruda
I have my own set of survival techniques. I am patient. I know how to pack light. But my one might travel talent is that I can make friends with anybody. I can make friends with the dead. If there isn’t anyone else around to talk to, I could probably make friends with a four-foot-tall pile of sheetrock. That is why I’m not afraid to travel to the most remote places in the world, not if there are human beings there to meet. People asked me before I left, “do you have friends [there]?’ and I would just shake my head no, thinking to myself, But I will.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia)
Perhaps I am a man of exceptional moods. I do not know how far my experience is common. At times I suffer from the strangest sense of detachment from myself and the world about me; I seem to watch it all from the outside, from somewhere inconceivably remote, out of time, out of space, out of the stress and tragedy of it all. This feeling was very strong upon me that night. Here was another side to my dream.
H.G. Wells (The War of the Worlds)
My sense of the holy is bound up with the hope that some day my remote descendants will live in a global civilization in which love is pretty much the only law.
Richard M. Rorty
I love going out of my way, beyond what I know, and finding my way back a few extra miles, by another trail, with a compass that argues with the map…nights alone in motels in remote western towns where I know no one and no one I know knows where I am, nights with strange paintings and floral spreads and cable television that furnish a reprieve from my own biography, when in Benjamin’s terms, I have lost myself though I know where I am. Moments when I say to myself as feet or car clear a crest or round a bend, I have never seen this place before. Times when some architectural detail on vista that has escaped me these many years says to me that I never did know where I was, even when I was home.
Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)
The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first - wanting to be the centre - wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake...what Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they 'could be like Gods' - could set up on their own as if they had created themselves - be their own masters - invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come...the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
The fossil record implies trial and error, the inability to anticipate the future, features inconsistent with a Great Designer (though not a Designer of a more remote and indirect temperament.)
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
To live (as I understand it) is to exist within a conception of time. But to remember is to vacate the very notion of time. Every memory, no matter how remote its subject, takes place 'Now,' at the moment it's called to the mind. The more something is recalled, the more the brain has a chance to refine the original experience. Because every memory is a re-creation, not a playback.
David Mazzucchelli (Asterios Polyp)
Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth. Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star. But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many--perhaps most--of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven--or hell. How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars. Men have been slow to face this prospect; some still hope that it may never become reality. Increasing numbers, however are asking; 'Why have such meetings not occurred already, since we ourselves are about to venture into space?' Why not, indeed? Here is one possible answer to that very reasonable question. But please remember: this is only a work of fiction. The truth, as always, will be far stranger.
Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1))
How did you fastforward and turn it off? (Danger) I wanted it off and off it went. (Alexion) Wow, that’s amazing. I guess this makes me the luckiest woman in the world. (Danger) How so? (Alexion) I’ve found the only man alive who won’t ever shout out, ‘honey, where’s the remote?’ then tear my house apart in pursuit of it. (Danger)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Sins of the Night (Dark-Hunter, #7))
I saw a special on the Discovery Channel.” “You were watching the Discovery Channel?” “Yes.” “Um, why?” “I lost the remote.” “You lost the remote?
Michelle Leighton (Down to You (The Bad Boys, #1))
Beware thoughts that come in the night. They aren't turned properly; they come in askew, free of sense and restriction, deriving from the most remote of sources.
William Least Heat-Moon (Blue Highways)
There is nothing remotely ordinary about you, accept it. I'll show you what you are." "And what am I?" "Mine. I will tear open the sky to make you see it.
Amy A. Bartol (Incendiary (The Premonition, #4))
Do you know where Jason is?” she asked Dmitri when they exited the morgue. Dmitri pressed the car remote to unlock the flame red Ferrari parked in the employees-only lot. “Tired of your Bluebell already?” A tendril of champagne circled around her senses, cut with something far harder. Never had she felt that harsh edge in Dmitri’s scent. She pitied the woman he took to his bed today. “Yeah, that’s it. I’m building a harem.
Nalini Singh (Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3))
There is a famous painting, Nighthawks, by Edward Hopper. I am in love with that painting. Sometimes, I think everyone is like the people in that painting, everyone lost in their own private universes of pain or sorrow or guilt, everyone remote and unknowable. The painting reminds me of you. It breaks my heart.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante, #1))
I won't leave you! Do you know how unbearable it's been without you? You're not like the rest of them." His hand swipes through air almost savagely. I stare at him, my eyes wide and aching. "You're not some well-trained puppy content to go along with what you're told. You have fire." He laughs brokenly. "I don't mean literally, although there is that. There's something in you, Jacinda. You're the only thing real for me there, the only thing remotely interesting.
Sophie Jordan (Firelight (Firelight, #1))
Throwing things horrified me. I suffered extreme, paralyzing anxiety when it came to anything remotely athletic. I wouldn't even run to catch the school bus because I knew I'd trip and then get teased for a year.
Augusten Burroughs (Possible Side Effects)
Vimes took the view that life was so full of things happening erraticaly in all directions, that the chance of any of them making some kind of relevant sense were remote in the extreme.
Terry Pratchett (Feet of Clay (Discworld, #19; City Watch, #3))
The chances of finding out what’s really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied.
Douglas Adams
Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards.
Fred Hoyle
For the first time I realized adults could back themselves into corners so remote that love, or its memory, could no longer reach them.
Kirby Michael Wright (Moloka'i Nui Ahina: Summers on the Lonely Isle)
He began to cry, not hysterically or screaming as people cry when concealed rage with tears, but with continuous sobs who has just discovered that he's alone and will be for long. He cried because safety and reason seemed to have left the world. Loneliness was a reality, but in this situation madness was also remotely a possibility.
Stephen King (The Talisman (The Talisman, #1))
My job is unbearable to me because it conflicts with my only desire and my only calling, which is literature. Since I am nothing but literature and can and want to be nothing else, my job will never take possession of me, it may, however, shatter me completely, and this is by no means a remote possibility.
Franz Kafka (Diaries, 1910-1923)
What you are is an inteligent, sassy, sarcastic, cynical, neurotic, loyal, compassionate girl. That's what you are, OK? You're not a slut or a whore or anything remotely similar. Just because you have some secrets and some screwups...You're just confused...like the rest of us.
Kody Keplinger (The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend (Hamilton High, #1))
Von Linden really should know me well enough by now to realise that I am not going to face my execution without a fight. Or with anything remotely resembling dignity.
Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity)
Emotional detachment from the plight of others — easily achieved by simply looking the other way — always favoured the perpetrators rather than the victims who were reduced to being inconsequential nonentities; were persecuted and denied legal and human rights; were starving, sick, and dying; were victims of Apartheid policies with racial segregations inclusive of political and economic discrimination; were harassed, internally displaced, or forcibly deported; were imprisoned, tortured, or simply “disappeared”; were enslaved, exploited, or trafficked; and were ultimately the victims of mindless massacres that defied the comprehension of anyone even remotely humane.
William Hanna (THE GRIM REAPER)
Difference in opinions has cost many millions of lives: for instance, whether flesh be bread, or bread be flesh; whether the juice of a certain berry be blood or wine.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World.)
The dark side of life, and the horror of it, belonged to a world that lay remote from his own select little atmosphere of books and dreamings.
Algernon Blackwood (The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories)
Self abandoned, relaxed and effortless, I seemed to have laid me down in the dried-up bed of a great river; I heard a flood loosened in remote mountains, I felt the torrent come; to rise I had no will, to flee I had no strength.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
At the heart of all beauty lies something inhuman, and these hills, the softness of the sky, the outline of these trees at this very minute lose the illusory meaning with which we had clothed them, henceforth more remote than a lost paradise . . . that denseness and that strangeness of the world is absurd.
Albert Camus
Listen closely. There’s a remote possibility that you might learn something: First, I don’t give a damn if my work is commercial or not…I’m the writer. If what I write is good, then people will read it. That’s why literature exists. An author puts his heart and guts on the page. For your information, a good novel can change the world. Keep that in mind before you attempt to sit down at a typewriter. Never waste time on something you don’t believe in yourself.
John Fante
Now you're sure we are not going to be murdered?" Call Me Steve says, actually looking a bit nervous. "Prom night. Group of diverse teens. Remote cabin…
Patrick Ness (The Rest of Us Just Live Here)
The Cosmos extends, for all practical purposes, forever. After a brief sedentary hiatus, we are resuming our ancient nomadic way of life. Our remote descendants, safely arrayed on many worlds throughout the Solar System and beyond, will be unified by their common heritage, by their regard for their home planet, and by the knowledge that, whatever other life may be, the only humans in all the Universe come from Earth. They will gaze up and strain to find the blue dot in their skies. They will love it no less for its obscurity and fragility. They will marvel at how vulnerable the repository of all our potential once was, how perilous our infancy, how humble our beginnings, how many rivers we had to cross before we found our way.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
Whenever I tell people I'm a misanthrope they react as though that's a bad thing, the idiots. I live in London, for God's sake. Have you walked down Oxford Street recently? Misanthropy's the only thing that gets you through it. It's not a personality flaw, it's a skill. It's nothing to do with sheer numbers. Move me to a remote cottage in the Hebrides and I'd learn to despise the postman, even if he only visited once a year. I can't abide other people, with their stink and their noise and their irritating ringtones. Bill Hicks called the human race 'a virus with shoes', and if you ask me he was being unduly hard on viruses; I'd consider a career in serial killing if the pay wasn't so bad.
Charlie Brooker (Screen Burn)
Come to think of it, that word (choice) shouldn't be applied to people's destinies. Ever. Choice should be relegated to TV and meals: You could choose NBC over CBS or steak instead of chicken. But take the concept any further than the stove or the remote control and the word just didn't apply. - V
J.R. Ward (Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #5))
Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I think that the chances of finding out what's actually going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, "Hang the sense of it," and keep yourself busy. I'd much rather be happy than right any day.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
The alcohol smell is on my fingers, cold and remote, piercing like a steel pin going in. It smells like white enamel basins. When I look up at the stars in the nighttime, cold and white and sharp, I think they must smell like that.
Margaret Atwood (Cat's Eye)
How can I keep my soul in me, so that it doesn’t touch your soul? How can I raise it high enough, past you, to other things? I would like to shelter it, among remote lost objects, in some dark and silent place that doesn’t resonate when your depths resound. Yet everything that touches us, me and you, takes us together like a violin’s bow, which draws one voice out of two separate strings. Upon what instrument are we two spanned? And what musician holds us in his hand? Oh sweetest song. - Love Song
Rainer Maria Rilke (Ahead of All Parting: The Selected Poetry and Prose)
We seem to live in a world where forgetting and oblivion are an industry in themselves and very, very few people are remotely interested or aware of their own recent history, much less their neighbors'. I tend to think we are what we remember, what we know. The less we remember, the less we know about ourselves, the less we are. (Interview with Three Monkeys Online, October 2008)
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Hinduism comes closest to being a nature religion. Rivers, rocks, trees, plants, animals, and birds all play their part, both in mythology and everyday worship. This harmony is most evident in remote places like this, and I hope it does not loose its unique character in the ruthless urban advance.
Ruskin Bond (Rain in the Mountains: Notes from the Himalayas)
The universe is full of men going through the same motions in the same surroundings, but carrying within themselves, and projecting around them, universes as mutually remote as the constellations.
Emmanuel Mounier (Personalism)
Solitude in the city is about the lack of other people or rather their distance beyond a door or wall, but in remote places it isn’t an absence but the presence of something else, a kind of humming silence in which solitude seems as natural to your species as to any other, words strange rocks you may or may not turn over.
Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)
They just stood there, regarding each other silently, the room suddenly as quiet as the elevator had been, as comfortable as the kitchen floor, as remote as the roof. Because that's what happened when you were with someone like that: the world shrank to just the right size. It molded itself to fit only the two of you, and nothing more.
Jennifer E. Smith (The Geography of You and Me)
We have too much technological progress, life is too hectic, and our society has only one goal: to invent still more technological marvels to make life even easier and better. The craving for every new scientific discovery breeds a hunger for greater comfort and the constant struggle to achieve it. All that kills the soul, kills compassion, understanding, nobility. It leaves no time for caring what happens to other people, least of all criminals. Even the officials in Venezuela's remote areas are better for they're also concerned with public peace. It gives them many headaches, but they seem to believe that bringing about a man's salvation is worth the effort. I find that magnificent.
Henri Charrière (Papillon)
This exchange marked the beginning of Mr. Malfoy's long campaign to have me removed from my post as headmaster of Hogwarts, and of mine to have him removed from his position as Lord Voldemort's Favorite Death Eater. My response prompted several further letters from Mr. Malfoy, but as they consisted mainly of opprobrious remarks on my sanity, parentage, and hygiene, their relevance to this commentary is remote.
J.K. Rowling (The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Hogwarts Library))
Whenever I start thinking of my love for a person, I am in the habit of immediately drawing radii from my love - from my heart, from the tender nucleus of a personal matter- to monstrously remote points of the universe. Something impels me to measure the consciousness of my love against such unimaginable and incalculable things as the behaviour of nebulae (whose very remoteness seems a form of insanity), the dreadful pitfalls of eternity, the unknowledgeable beyond the unknown, the helplessness, the cold, the sickening involutions and interpenetrations of space and time.
Vladimir Nabokov (Speak, Memory)
And he gave it for his opinion, "that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World.)
I could not help feeling that they were evil things-- mountains of madness whose farther slopes looked out over some accursed ultimate abyss. That seething , half-luminous cloud-background held ineffable suggestions of a vague, ethereal beyondness far more than terrestrially spatial; and gave appalling reminders of the utter remoteness, separateness, desolation, and aeon-long death of this untrodden and unfathomed austral world.
H.P. Lovecraft (At the Mountains of Madness)
Maybe that's what growing up means, in the end - you go far enough in the direction of - somewhere - and you realise that you've neutered the capacity of the term home to mean anything. [...] We don't get an endless number of orbits away from the place where meaning first arises, that treasure-house of first experiences. What we learn, instead, is that our adventures secure us in our isolation. Experience revokes our licence to return to simpler times. Sooner or later, there's no place remotely like home.
Gregory Maguire (Out of Oz (The Wicked Years, #4))
Have you ever been in love, Hadrian?” “I’m not sure. How do you tell?” “Love? Why, it’s like coming home.” Hadrian considered the comment. “What are you thinking?” Bulard asked. Hadrian shook his head. “Nothing.” “Yes, you were. What? You can tell me. I’m an excellent repository for secrets. I’ll likely forget, but if I don’t, well, I’m an old man in a remote jungle. I’m sure to die before I can repeat anything.” Hadrian smiled, then shrugged. “I was just thinking about the rain.
Michael J. Sullivan (Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations, #3-4))
Sometimes, after Adam had been hit, there was something remote and absent in his eyes, like his body belonged to someone else. When Ronan was hit, it was the opposite; he became so urgently present that it was as if he’d been sleeping before.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
It is something great and greatening to cherish an ideal; to act in the light of truth that is far-away and far above; to set aside the near advantage, the momentary pleasure; the snatching of seeming good to self; and to act for remoter ends, for higher good, and for interests other than our own.
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
His origins are become remote as is his destiny and not again in all the world’s turnings will there be terrains so wild and barbarous to try whether the stuff of creation may be shaped to man’s will or whether his own heart is not another kind of clay.
Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West)
After all, we were young. We were fourteen and fifteen, scornful of childhood, remote from the world of stern and ludicrous adults. We were bored, we were restless, we longed to be seized by any whim or passion and follow it to the farthest reaches of our natures. We wanted to live – to die – to burst into flame – to be transformed into angels or explosions. Only the mundane offended us, as if we secretly feared it was our destiny . By late afternoon our muscles ached, our eyelids grew heavy with obscure desires. And so we dreamed and did nothing, for what was there to do, played ping-pong and went to the beach, loafed in backyards, slept late into the morning – and always we craved adventures so extreme we could never imagine them. In the long dusks of summer we walked the suburban streets through scents of maple and cut grass, waiting for something to happen.
Steven Millhauser (Dangerous Laughter)
On the way out to the car, Philip turns to me. “How could you be so stupid? I shrug, stung in spite of myself. “I thought I grew out of it.” Philip pulls out his key fob and presses the remote to unlock his Mercedes. I slide into the passenger side, brushing coffee cups off the seat and onto the floor mat, where crumpled printouts from MapQuest soak up any spilled liquid. “I hope you mean sleepwalking,” Philip says, “since you obviously didn’t grow out of stupid.
Holly Black (White Cat (Curse Workers, #1))
What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory. He rides the drifts like an escaped ski. His course is a caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance. Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape.
Leonard Cohen (Beautiful Losers)
There should be a little gap between you and your friends, though you'll miss their companionship and you'll also miss their disrespect.
Michael Bassey Johnson
When a young person, even a gifted one, grows up without proximate living examples of what she may aspire to become--whether lawyer, scientist, artist, or leader in any realm--her goal remains abstract. Such models as appear in books or on the news, however inspiring or revered, are ultimately too remote to be real, let alone influential. But a role model in the flesh provides more than inspiration; his or her very existence is confirmation of possibilities one may have every reason to doubt, saying, 'Yes, someone like me can do this.
Sonia Sotomayor
To fall in the void as I fell: none of you knows what that means… I went down into the void, to the most absolute bottom conceivable, and once there I saw that the extreme limit must have been much, much farther below, very remote, and I went on falling, to reach it.
Italo Calvino (Cosmicomics)
What I heard was but the melody of children at play, nothing but that, and so limpid was the air that within this vapor of blended voices, majestic and minute, remote and magically near, frank and divinely enigmatic—one could hear now and then, as if released, an almost articulate spurt of vivid laughter, or the crack of a bat, or the clatter of a toy wagon, but it was all really too far for the eye to distinguish any movement in the lightly etched streets. I stood listening to that musical vibration from my lofty slope, to those flashes of separate cries with a kind of demure murmur for background, and then I knew that the hopelessly poignant thing was not Lolita’s absence from my side, but the absence of her voice from that concord.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
There are scores of people who have never recovered, or been recovered, from an FSB interrogation. They’re a hard organization to describe because nothing like the FSB exists in the USA. To get even remotely close, you’d have to ask the CIA to birth a seven-headed hydra with the faces of the FBI, DEA, NSA, Immigration, Border Patrol, Coast Guard, and the Navy Seals with a hangover and a grudge.
Tanya Thompson (Red Russia)
This girl wasn’t tapping her fingers restlessly, though. Her movements were methodical. Synchronized. Sitting far enough to the left of her to study her profile, I watched her chin bob, so subtly it was almost undetectable – and at some point, I realized that when her expression was remote and her fingers were moving, she was hearing music. She was playing music. It was the most magical thing I’d ever seen anyone do.
Tammara Webber (Breakable (Contours of the Heart, #2))
We wondered, sometimes, when your conscience and his would part company, and over what.” Dr. Finch smiled. “Well, we know now. I’m just thankful I was around when the ructions started. Atticus couldn’t talk to you the way I’m talking—” “Why not, sir?” “You wouldn’t have listened to him. You couldn’t have listened. Our gods are remote from us, Jean Louise. They must never descend to human level.
Harper Lee (Go Set a Watchman)
He felt like a man who, after straining his eyes to peer into the remote distance, finds what he was seeking at his very feet. All his life he had been looking over the heads of those around him, while he had only to look before him without straining his eyes. p 1320
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
It is a popular fact that nine-tenths of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong. Not even the most stupid Creator would go to the trouble of making the human head carry around several pounds of unnecessary gray goo if its only real purpose was, for example, to serve as a delicacy for certain remote tribesmen in unexplored valleys.
Terry Pratchett (Small Gods (Discworld, #13))
... a wife should be always a reasonable and agreeable companion, because she cannot always be young.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World.)
He seemed a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of it's frozen woe, with all that was warm and sentient in him fast bound below the surface; but there was nothing nothing unfriendly in his silence. I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access, and I had the sense that his loneliness was not merely the result of his personal plight, tragic as I guessed that to be, but had in it, as Harmon Gow had hinted, the profound accumulated cold of many Starkfield winters.
Edith Wharton (Ethan Frome)
Here dwell together still two men of note Who never lived and so can never die: How very near they seem, yet how remote That age before the world went all awry. But still the game’s afoot for those with ears Attuned to catch the distant view-halloo: England is England yet, for all our fears– Only those things the heart believes are true. A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane As night descends upon this fabled street: A lonely hansom splashes through the rain, The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet. Here, though the world explode, these two survive, And it is always eighteen ninety-five.
Vincent Starrett
She says to me, but were we ever intimate? How intimate were we really? Sure, there were the ordinary familiarity-type things - our bodies, our bodily discharges and stains and seepages, an encyclopedic knowledge of each other's family grudges, knowledge of each other's early school yard slights, our dietary peccadilloes, our tv remote control channel-changing styles. And yet... And yet? And yet in the end did we ever really give each other completely to the other? Do either of us even know how to really share ourselves? Imagine the house is on fire and I reach to save one thing - what is it? Do you know? Imagine that I am drowning and I reach within myself to save that one memory which is me - what is it? Do you know? What things would either of us reach for? Neither of us know. After all these years we just wouldn't know.
Douglas Coupland (Life After God)
In Rome, I really wanted an Audrey Hepburn Roman Holiday experience, but the Trevi Fountain was crowded, there was a McDonald's at the base of the Spanish Steps, and the ruins smelled like cat pee because of all the strays. The same thing happened in Prague, where I'd been yearning for some of the bohemianism of The Unbearable Lightness of Being. But no, there were no fabulous artists, no guys who looked remotely like a young Daniel Day-Lewis. I saw this one mysterious-looking guy reading Sartre in a cafe, but then his cell phone rang and he started talking in aloud Texan twang.
Gayle Forman (Just One Day (Just One Day, #1))
Above all human existence requires stability, the permanence of things. The result is an ambivalence with respect to all great and violent expenditure of strength; such an expenditure, whether in nature or in man, represents the strongest possible threat. The feelings of admiration and of ecstasy induced by them thus mean that we are concerned to admire them from afar. The sun corresponds to that prudent concern. It is all radiance gigantic loss of heat and light, flame, explosion; but remote from men, who can enjoy in safety and quiet the fruits of this cataclysm. To earth belongs the solidity which sustains houses of stone and the steps of men (at least on its surface, for buried within the depths of the earth is the incandescence of lava).
Georges Bataille (Van Gogh As Prometheus)
They rode like men invested with a purpose whose origins were antecedent to them, like blood legatees of an order both imperative and remote. For although each man among them was discrete unto himself, conjoined they made a thing that had not been before and in that communal soul were wastes hardly reckonable more than those whited regions on old maps where monsters do live and where there is nothing other of the known world save conjectural winds.
Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West)
More chibis," said Simon gloomily. All the characters on-screen had turned into inch-high baby versions of themselves and were chasing each other around waving pots and pans. "I'm changing the channel," Simon announced, seizing the remote. "I'm tired of this anime. I can't tell what the plot is and no one ever has sex." "Of course they don't," Clary said, taking another chip. "Anime is wholesome family entertainment." "If you're in the mood for less wholesome entertainment, we could try the porn channels," Simon observed. "Would you rather watch The Witches of Breastwick or As I Lay Dianne?
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
I could distinguish the shape of her bosom, her arms, her thighs, just as I remember them now, just as now, when the Moon has become that flat, remote circle, I still look for her as soon as the first sliver appears in the sky, and the more it waxes, the more clearly I imagine I can see her, her or something of her, but only her, in a hundred, a thousand different vistas, she who makes the Moon the Moon and, whenever she is full, sets the dogs to howling all night long, and me with them.
Italo Calvino (Cosmicomics)
A Ritual to Read to Each Other If you don’t know the kind of person I am and I don’t know the kind of person you are a pattern that others made may prevail in the world and following the wrong god home we may miss our star. For there is many a small betrayal in the mind, a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood storming out to play through the broken dyke. And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail, but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park, I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty to know what occurs but not recognize the fact. And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy, a remote important region in all who talk: though we could fool each other, we should consider--- lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark. For it is important that awake people be awake, or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep; the signals we give---yes or no, or maybe--- should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
William Stafford
On rainy afternoons, embroidering with a group of friends on the begonia porch, she would lose the thread of the conversation and a tear of nostalgia would salt her palate when she saw the strips of damp earth and the piles of mud that the earthworms had pushed up in the garden. Those secret tastes, defeated in the past by oranges and rhubarb, broke out into an irrepressible urge when she began to weep. She went back to eating earth. The first time she did it almost out of curiosity, sure that the bad taste would be the best cure for the temptation. And, in fact, she could not bear the earth in her mouth. But she persevered, overcome by the growing anxiety, and little by little she was getting back her ancestral appetite, the taste of primary minerals, the unbridled satisfaction of what was the original food. She would put handfuls of earth in her pockets, and ate them in small bits without being seen, with a confused feeling of pleasure and rage, as she instructed her girl friends in the most difficult needlepoint and spoke about other men, who did not deserve the sacrifice of having one eat the whitewash on the walls because of them. The handfuls of earth made the only man who deserved that show of degradation less remote and more certain, as if the ground that he walked on with his fine patent leather boots in another part of the world were transmitting to her the weight and the temperature of his blood in a mineral savor that left a harsh aftertaste in her mouth and a sediment of peace in her heart.
Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
I'm changing the channel," Simon announced, seizing the remote. "I'm tired of this anime. I cant tell what the plot is and no one ever has sex." "Of course they dont," Clary said, taking another chip. "Anime is wholesome family entertainment." "If you're in the mood for less wholesome entertainment we could try the porn channels," Simon observed. "Would you rather watch The Witches of Breastwick or As I Lay Dianne?" "Give me that!" Clary grabbed for the remote... -Simon & Clary, pg.16 & 17-
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
My particular dread--the vivid possibility that left me staring at tree shadows on the bedroom ceiling night after night--was having to lie in a small tent, alone in an inky wilderness, listening to a foraging bear outside and wondering what its intentions were. I was especially riveted by an amateur photograph in Herrero's book, taken late at night by a camper with a flash at a campground out West. The photograph caught four black bears as they puzzled over a suspended food bag. The bears were clearly startled but not remotely alarmed by the flash. It was not the size or demeanor of the bears that troubled me--they looked almost comically nonaggressive, like four guys who had gotten a Frisbee caught up a tree--but their numbers. Up to that moment it had not occurred to me that bears might prowl in parties. What on earth would I do if four bears came into my camp? Why, I would die, of course. Literally shit myself lifeless. I would blow my sphincter out my backside like one of those unrolling paper streamers you get at children's parties--I daresay it would even give a merry toot--and bleed to a messy death in my sleeping bag.
Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)
We are familiar with people who seek out solitude: penitents, failures, saints, or prophets. They retreat to deserts, preferably, where they live on locusts and honey. Others, however, live in caves or cells on remote islands; some-more spectacularly-squat in cages mounted high atop poles swaying in the breeze. They do this to be nearer God. Their solitude is a self-moritification by which they do penance. They act in the belief that they are living a life pleasing to God. Or they wait months, years, for their solitude to be broken by some divine message that they hope then speedily to broadcast among mankind. Grenouille's case was nothing of the sort. There was not the least notion of God in his head. He was not doing penance or wating for some supernatural inspiration. He had withdrawn solely for his own pleasure, only to be near to himself. No longer distracted by anything external, he basked in his own existence and found it splendid. He lay in his stony crypt like his own corpse, hardly breathing, his heart hardly beating-and yet lived as intensively and dissolutely as ever a rake lived in the wide world outside.
Patrick Süskind (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer)
It was not the privileged and the fortunate who took in the Jews in France. It was the marginal and damaged, which should remind us that there are real limits to what evil and misfortune can accomplish. If you take away the gift of reading, you create the gift of listening. If you bomb a city, you leave behind death and destruction. But you create a community of remote misses. If you take away a mother or a father, you cause suffering and despair. But one time in ten, out of that despair rises as indomitable force. You see the giant and the shepherd in the Valley of Elah and your eye is drawn to the man with sword and shield and the glittering armor. But so much of what is beautiful and valuable in the world comes from the shepherd, who has more strength and purpose than we ever imagine.
Malcolm Gladwell (David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants)
Long ago, when an early galaxy began to pour light out into the surrounding darkness, no witness could have known that billions of years later some remote clumps of rock and metal, ice and organic molecules would fall together to make place called Earth; or that life would arise and thinking beings evolve who would one day capture a little of that galactic light, and try to puzzle out what had sent it on its way. And after the earth dies, some 5 billion years from now, after it's burned to a crisp, or even swallowed by the Sun, there will be other worlds and stars and galaxies coming into being -- and they will know nothing of a place once called Earth.
Carl Sagan
Love is, without a doubt, the basis of everything. Not some abstract, hard-to-fathom kind of love but the day-to-day kind that everyone knows-the kind of love we feel when we look at our spouse and our children, or even our animals. In its purest and most powerful form, this love is not jealous or selfish, but unconditional. This is the reality of realities, the incomprehensibly glorious truth of truths that lives and breathes at the core of everything that exists or will ever exist, and no remotely accurate understanding of who and what we are can be achieved by anyone who does not know it, and embody it in all of their actions.
Eben Alexander (Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife)
Afterwards, in bed with a book, the spell of television feels remote compared to the journey into the page. To be in a book. To slip into the crease where two pages meet, to live in the place where your eyes alight upon the words to ignite a world of smoke and peril, colour and serene delight. That is a journey no one can end with the change of a channel. Enduring magic.
Ann-Marie MacDonald (The Way the Crow Flies)
For one week, all I could think about was drinking margaritas--well, that and running my tongue along Reyes's teeth--but I didn't have salt--or Reyes's teeth. I'd also lacked the energy to leave my apartment to get some--or the desire to stoop low enough to beg Reyes to let me lick his teeth after what he did--so I could only wish for a margarita. And dream of Reyes's teeth. I'd secretly hoped a margarita would magically appear in my hand, but that would mean I would have to put down the remote, and God knew that was not going to happen.
Darynda Jones (Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charley Davidson, #4))
Tamlin isn’t your keeper, and you know it.” “I’m his subject, and he is my High Lord—“ “You are no one’s subject.” “I will say this once—and only once. You can be a pawn, be someone’s reward, and spend the rest of your immortal life bowing and scraping and pretending you’re less than him, than Ianthe, than any of us. If you want to pick that road, then fine. A shame, but it’s your choice. But I know you – more than you realize, I think – and I don’t believe for one damn minute that you’re remotely fine with being a pretty trophy for someone who sat on his ass for nearly fifty years then sat on his ass while you were shredded apart.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2))
what he sought was always something lying ahead, and even if it was a matter of the past it was a past that changed gradually as he advanced on his journey, because the traveller's past changes according to the route he has followed: not the immediate past, that is, to which each day that goes by adds a day, but the more remote past. Arriving at each new city, the traveller finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.
Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities)
How about that one? Is that a constellation?" I asked, pointing upward. We were down in the small valley where the truck was parked. Alex sat leaning against a rock; I was between his legs with my back against his chest, his arms around me as we stared up at the stars. "Yeah, that's the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades." He bent his head, and I caught my breath as his warm mouth nuzzled at my neck. I hadn't gotten even remotely used yet to how good it felt to be kissed by Alex. "It's so sexy how you know all of this," I said when I could speak again. "Yeah?" I heard the grin in his voice. "I know the summer constellations, too. Will that get me bonus kisses?" "I think it might, actually.
L.A. Weatherly (Angel (Angel, #1))
Rule number one of anime," Simon said. He sat propped up against a pile of pillows at the foot of his bed, a bag of potato chips in one hand and the TV remote in the other. He was wearing a black T-shirt that said I BLOGGED YOUR MOM and a pair of jeans with a hole ripped in one knee. "Never screw with a blind monk." "I know," Clary said, taking a potato chip and dunking it into the can of dip balanced on the TV tray between them. "For some reason they're always way better fighters than monks who can see." She peered at the screen. "Are those guys dancing?" "That's not dancing. They're trying to kill each other. This is the guy who's the mortal enemy of the other guy, remember? He killed his dad. Why would they be dancing?
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
Then, for more than ten days, they did not see the sun again. The ground became soft and damp, like volcanic ash, and the vegetation was thicker and thicker, and the cries of the birds and the uproar of the monkeys became more and more remote, and the world became eternally sad. The men on the expedition felt overwhelmed by their most ancient memories in that paradise of dampness and silence, going back to before original sin, as their boots sank into pools of steaming oil and their machetes destroyed bloody lilies and golden salamanders.
Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
This is why the shaman is the remote ancestor of the poet and artist. Our need to feel part of the world seems to demand that we express ourselves through creative activity. The ultimate wellsprings of this creativity are hidden in the mystery of language. Shamanic ecstasy is an act of surrender that authenticates both the individual self and that which is surrendered to, the mystery of being. Because our maps of reality are determined by our present circumstances, we tend to lose awareness of the larger patterns of time and space. Only by gaining access to the Transcendent Other can those patterns of time and space and our role in them be glimpsed.
Terence McKenna (Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge)
Read to your children Twenty minutes a day; You have the time, And so do they. Read while the laundry is in the machine; Read while the dinner cooks; Tuck a child in the crook of your arm And reach for the library books. Hide the remote, Let the computer games cool, For one day your children will be off to school; Remedial? Gifted? You have the choice; Let them hear their first tales In the sound of your voice. Read in the morning; Read over noon; Read by the light of Goodnight Moon. Turn the pages together, Sitting close as you'll fit, Till a small voice beside you says, "Hey, don't quit.
Richard Peck
There is nothing sane, merciful, heroic, devout, redemptive, wise, holy, loving, peaceful, joyous, righteous, gracious, remotely spiritual, or worthy of praise where mass murder is concerned. We have been in this world long enough to know that by now and to understand that nonviolent conflict resolution informed by mutual compassion is the far better option.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
[Slitscan's audience] is best visualized as a vicious, lazy, profoundly ignorant, perpetually hungry organism craving the warm god-flesh of the anointed. Personally I like to imagine something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It's covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth, Laney, no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote. Or by voting in presidential elections.
William Gibson (Idoru (Bridge #2))
He who travels much has this advantage over others – that the things he remembers soon become remote, so that in a short time they acquire the vague and poetical quality which is only given to other things by time. He who has not traveled at all has this disadvantage – that all his memories are of things present somewhere, since the places with which all his memories are concerned are present.
Giacomo Leopardi
He was thirty-one now, not too old, but old enough to be lonely. He hadn't dated since he'd been back here, hadn't met anyone who remotely interested him. It was his own fault, he knew. There was something that kept a distance between him and any woman who started to get close, something he wasn't sure he could change even if he tried. And sometimes in the moments right before sleep came, he wondered if he was destined to be alone forever.
Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook (The Notebook, #1))
Or consider a story in the Jewish Talmud left out of the Book of Genesis. (It is in doubtful accord with the account of the apple, the Tree of Knowledge, the Fall, and the expulsion from Eden.) In The Garden, God tells Eve and Adam that He has intentionally left the Universe unfinished. It is the responsibility of humans, over countless generations, to participate with God in a "glorious" experiment - the "completing of the Creation." The burden of such a responsibility is heavy, especially on so weak and imperfect a species as ours, one with so unhappy a history. Nothing remotely like "completion" can be attempted without vastly more knowledge than we have today. But, perhaps, if our very existence is at stake, we will find ourselves able to rise to this supreme challenge.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
We need a barn or one of those storage areas for the Broken vehicles." "A garage?" He gave her a short nod. "A private, relatively remote location, with thick walls to dampen the sound and preferably a sturdy door I could bolt from the inside, keeping your grandmother, your brothers, and all other painfully annoying spectators out..." Rose began to laugh. A make-out bunker... "I'm glad you find our dilemma hilarious,
Ilona Andrews (On the Edge (The Edge, #1))
A step lower and strangeness creeps in: perceiving that the world is "dense", sensing to what a degree a stone is foreign and irreducible to us, with what intensity nature or a landscape can negate us. At the heart of all beauty lies something inhuman, and these hills, the softness of the sky, the outline of these trees at this very minute lose the illusory meaning with which we had clothed them, henceforth more remote than a lost paradise. The primitive hostility of the world rises up to face us across millenia.
Albert Camus (The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays)
Come live with me and be my love And we will all the pleasures prove Of a marriage conducted with economy In the Twentieth Century Anno Donomy. We’ll live in a dear little walk-up flat With practically room to swing a cat And a potted cactus to give it hauteur And a bathtub equipped with dark brown water. We’ll eat, without undue discouragement, Foods low in cost but high in nouragement And quaff with pleasure, while chatting wittily, The peculiar wine of Little Italy. We’ll remind each other it’s smart to be thrifty And buy our clothes for something-fifty. We’ll bus for miles on holidays For seas at depressing matinees, And every Sunday we’ll have a lark And take a walk in Central Park. And one of these days not too remote You’ll probably up and cut my throat.
Ogden Nash (Hard Lines)
In America, alas, beauty has become something you drive to, and nature an either/or proposition--either you ruthlessly subjugate it, as at Tocks Dam and a million other places, or you deify it, treat it as something holy and remote, a thing apart, as along the Appalachian Trail. Seldom would it occur to anyone on either side that people and nature could coexist to their mutual benefit--that, say, a more graceful bridge across the Delaware River might actually set off the grandeur around it, or that the AT might be more interesting and rewarding if it wasn't all wilderness, if from time to time it purposely took you past grazing cows and till fields.
Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)
So what did you do?" I repeated. "I hit Sophie on the back of the head with a universal remote. This thing was huge. It's like a cell phone from the '90s." "You were supposed to get rid of Avari without hurting the host!" "Yeah, I didn't get that memo. Maybe next time you should be a little more specific when you boss me around while I'm saving your ass. Though, frankly, this whiny little shrew is lucky she only has one bump, 'cause she's had this coming for a while." -Kaylee and Tod
Rachel Vincent (My Soul to Keep (Soul Screamers, #3))
You may claim no affiliation with them, but perhaps some have crossed your path.And perhaps you'd like to help us find them." "Oh,sure.You killed my mother. You can imagine I'm dying to help you out." Thomas manages to ignore me again. He glances at the first photo projected on the wall. "Know this person?" I shake my head. "Never seen him before." Thomas clicks the remote. Another photo pops up. "How about this one?" "Nope." Another photo. "How about this?" "Nope." Yet another stranger pops up on the wall. "Seen this girl before?" "Never seen her in my life." More unfamiliar faces. Thomas goes through them without blinking an eye or questioning my responses. What a stupid puppet of the state. I watch him as we continue, wishing I weren't chained so I could beat this man to the ground.
Marie Lu (Legend (Legend, #1))
Compared to a star, we are like mayflies, fleeting ephemeral creatures who live out their whole lives in the course of a single day. From the point of view of a mayfly, human beings are stolid, boring, almost entirely immovable, offering hardly a hint that they ever do anything. From the point of view of a star, a human being is a tiny flash, one of billions of brief lives flickering tenuously on the surface of a strangely cold, anomalously solid, exotically remote sphere of silicate and iron.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. The open road still softly calls, like a nearly forgotten song of childhood. We invest far-off places with a certain romance. This appeal, I suspect, has been meticulously crafted by natural selection as an essential element in our survival. Long summers, mild winters, rich harvests, plentiful game—none of them lasts forever. It is beyond our powers to predict the future. Catastrophic events have a way of sneaking up on us, of catching us unaware. Your own life, or your band’s, or even your species’ might be owed to a restless few—drawn, by a craving they can hardly articulate or understand, to undiscovered lands and new worlds. Herman Melville, in Moby Dick, spoke for wanderers in all epochs and meridians: “I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas…” Maybe it’s a little early. Maybe the time is not quite yet. But those other worlds— promising untold opportunities—beckon. Silently, they orbit the Sun, waiting.
Carl Sagan
December stillness, teach me through your trees That loom along the west, one with the land, The veiled evangel of your mysteries. While nightfall, sad and spacious, on the down Deepens, and dusk embues me where I stand, With grave diminishings of green and brown, Speak, roofless Nature, your instinctive words; And let me learn your secret from the sky, Following a flock of steadfast-journeying birds In lone remote migration beating by. December stillness, crossed by twilight roads, Teach me to travel far and bear my loads.
Siegfried Sassoon
I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. The only God I believe in is the One Nietzsche ridiculed as 'God on the cross.' In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statue of the Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I have had to turn away. And in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in Godforsaken darkness. That is the God for me! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in the light of his. There is still a question mark against human suffering, but over it we boldly stamp another mark, the cross that symbolizes divine suffering. 'The cross of Christ ... is God’s only self-justification in such a world” as ours....' 'The other gods were strong; but thou wast weak; they rode, but thou didst stumble to a throne; But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak, And not a god has wounds, but thou alone.
John R.W. Stott (Cross)
It occurs to me," said Hodge, "that the dilemmas of power are always the same." Clary glanced at him sideways. "What do you mean?" She sat on the window seat in the library, Hodge in his chair with Hugo on the armrest. The remains of breakfast—sticky jam, toast crumbs, and smears of butter—clung to a stack of plates on the low table that no one had seemed inclined to clear away. After breakfast they had scattered to prepare themselves, and Clary had been the first one back. This was hardly surprising, considering that all she had to do was pull on jeans and a shirt and run a brush through her hair, while everyone else had to arm themselves heavily. Having lost Jace's dagger in the hotel, the only remotely supernatural object she had on her was the witchlight stone in her pocket. "I was thinking of your Simon," Hodge said, "and of Alec and Jace, among others." She glanced out the window. It was raining, thick fat drops spattering against the panes. The sky was an impenetrable gray. "What do they have to do with each other?" "Where there is feeling that is not requited," said Hodge, "there is an imbalance of power. It is an imbalance that is easy to exploit, but it is not a wise course. Where there is love, there is often also hate. They can exist side by side." "Simon doesn't hate me." "He might grow to, over time, if he felt you were using him.
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
It is easy to take a stand about a remote issue, but speciesists, like racists, reveal their true nature when the issue comes nearer home. To protest about bullfighting in Spain, the eating of dogs in South Korea, or the slaughter of baby seals in Canada, while continuing to eat eggs from hens who have spent their lives crammed into cages, or veal from calves who have been deprived of their mothers, their proper diet, or the freedom to lie down with their legs extended, is like denouncing apartheid in South Africa while asking your neighbors not to sell their houses to blacks.
Peter Singer (Animal Liberation)
The Search for reason ends at the known; on the immense expanse beyond it only the sense of the ineffable can glide. It alone knows the route to that which is remote from experience and understanding. Neither of them is amphibious: reason cannot go beyond the shore, and the sense of the ineffable is out of place where we measure, where we weigh. We do not leave the shore of the known in search of adventure or suspense or because of the failure of reason to answer our questions. We sail because our mind is like a fantastic seashell, and when applying our ear to its lips we hear a perpetual murmur from the waves beyond the shore. Citizens of two realms, we all must sustain a dual allegiance: we sense the ineffable in one realm, we name and exploit reality in another. Between the two we set up a system of references, but we can never fill the gap. They are as far and as close to each other as time and calendar, as violin and melody, as life and what lies beyond the last breath.
Abraham Joshua Heschel (Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion)
Was there to be any end to the gradual improvement in the techniques and artifices used by the replicators to ensure their own continuation in the world? There would be plenty of time for improvement. What weird engines of self-preservation would the millennia bring forth? Four thousand million years on, what was to be the fate of the ancient replicators? They did not die out, for they are past masters of the survival arts. But do not look for them floating loose in the sea; they gave up that cavalier freedom long ago. Now they swarm in huge colonies, safe inside gigantic lumbering robots, sealed off from the outside world, communicating with it by tortuous indirect routes, manipulating it by remote control. They are in you and in me; they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence. They have come a long way, those replicators. Now they go by the name of genes, and we are their survival machines.
Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene)
He looked like every glossy frat boy in every nerd movie ever made, like every popular town boy who’d ever looked right through her in high school, like every rotten rich kid who’d ever belonged where she hadn’t. My mama warned me about guys like you. He turned to her as if he’d heard her and took off his sunglasses, and she went down the steps to meet him, wiping her sweaty palms on her dust-smeared khaki shorts. “Hi, I’m Sophie Dempsey,” she said, flashing the Dempsey gotta-love-me grin as she held out her hot, grimy hand, and after a moment he took it. His hand was clean and cool and dry, and her heart pounded harder as she looked into his remote, gray eyes. “Hello, Sophie Dempsey,” her worst nightmare said. “Welcome to Temptation.
Jennifer Crusie (Welcome to Temptation (Dempseys, #1))
For every man there are certain words that are as if closer and more intimate to him than any others. And often, unexpectedly, in some remote, forsaken backwater, some deserted desert, one meets a man whose warming conversation makes you forget the pathlessness of your paths, the homelessness of your nights, and the contemporary world full of people's stupidity, of deceptions for deceiving man. Forever and always an evening spent in this way will vividly remain with you, and all that was and that took place then will be retained by the faithful memory: who was there, and who stood where, and what he was holding--the walls, the corners, and every trifle.
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
Alex sat playing with the remote, turning it over in his hand. A long moment passed, and then he cleared his throat."Look... I'm sorry," he said. "What I said i that first night- " He stopped and sighed, tossing the remote onto the bed. Scraping his hand through his hair, he said, "When I first found out, it just threw me,OK? For a lot of reasons. I don't-I don't think you're like the angels. And I've been acting like a jerk. I'm sorry." A smile grew slowley across my face. "Yes you have," I said "But apology accepted.
L.A. Weatherly (Angel Burn (Angel, #1))
Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising. But life with God is like that exponentially. We can dig in, make plans, write in stone, pretend we're not listening, but the voice of God has a way of being heard. It seeps in like smoke or vapor even when we've barred the door against any last-minute changes, and it moves us to different countries and different emotional territories and different ways of living. It keeps us moving and dancing and watching, and never lets us drop down into a life set on cruise control or a life ruled by remote control. Life with God is a dancing dream, full of flashes and last-minute exits and generally all the things we've said we'll never do. And with the surprises comes great hope.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
She was like that, excited and delighted by little things, crossing her fingers before any remotely unpredictable event, like tasting a new flavor of ice cream, or dropping a letter in a mailbox. It was a quality he did not understand. It made him feel stupid, as if the world contained hidden wonders he could not anticipate, or see. He looked at her face, which, it occurred to him, had not grown out of its girlhood, the eyes untroubled, the pleasing features unfirm, as if they still had to settle into some sort of permanent expression. Nicknamed after a nursery rhyme, she had yet to shed a childhood endearment.
Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies)
...I don't believe in Him, and if He does exist, I don't like Him. His type of gods aren't gods who echo how mortals behave. They're gods who are held up as example of perfection to be emulated. They're not gods of the people. They're remote and inaccessible, they demand blind, unthinking obedience from their followers. They're dictators. We Aesir and Vanir, by contrast, are mirrors. Other gods rule. We reflect and magnify. We are you, only more so. We share your flaws and foibles. We are as humanlike as we are divine, and I think we are all the better for that.
James Lovegrove
Women can go mad with insomnia. The sleep-deprived roam houses that have lost their familiarity. With tea mugs in hand, we wander rooms, looking on shelves for something we will recognize: a book title, a photograph, the teak-carved bird -- a souvenir from what place? A memory almost rises when our eyes rest on a painting's grey sweep of cloud, or the curve of a wooden leg in a corner. Fingertips faintly recall the raised pattern on a chair cushion, but we wonder how these things have come to be here, in this stranger's home. Lost women drift in places where time has collapsed. We look into our thoughts and hearts for what has been forgotten, for what has gone missing. What did we once care about? Whom did we love? We are emptied. We are remote. Like night lilies, we open in the dark, breathe in the shadowy world. Our soliloquies are heard by no one.
Cathy Ostlere (Lost)
A man lives not only his personal life, as an individual, but also, consciously or unconsciously, the life of his epoch and his contemporaries. He may regard the general, impersonal foundations of his existence as definitely settled and taken for granted, and be as far from assuming a critical attitude towards them as our good Hans Castorp really was; yet it is quite conceivable that he may none the less be vaguely conscious of the deficiencies of his epoch and find them prejudicial to his own moral well-being. All sorts of personal aims, hopes, ends, prospects, hover before the eyes of the individual, and out of these he derives the impulse to ambition and achievement. Now, if the life about him, if his own time seems, however outwardly stimulating, to be at bottom empty of such food for his aspirations; if he privately recognises it to be hopeless, viewless, helpless, opposing only a hollow silence to all the questions man puts, consciously or unconsciously, yet somehow puts, as to the final, absolute, and abstract meaning in all his efforts and activities; then, in such a case, a certain laming of the personality is bound to occur, the more inevitably the more upright the character in question; a sort of palsy, as it were, which may extend from his spiritual and moral over into his physical and organic part. In an age that affords no satisfying answer to the eternal question of 'Why?' 'To what end?' a man who is capable of achievement over and above the expected modicum must be equipped either with a moral remoteness and single-mindedness which is rare indeed and of heroic mould, or else with an exceptionally robust vitality. Hans Castorp had neither one nor the other of these; and thus he must be considered mediocre, though in an entirely honourable sense.
Thomas Mann (The Magic Mountain)
Austerity means to eliminate the comforts and cushions in your life that you have learned to snuggle into and lose wakefulness. Take away anything that dulls your edge. No newspapers or magazines. No TV. No candy, cookies, or sweets. No sex. No cuddling. No reading of anything at all while you eat or sit on the toilet. Reduce working time to a necessary minimum. No movies. No conversation that isn't about truth, love, or the divine. If you take on these disciplines for a few weeks, as well as any other disciplines that may particularly cut through your unique habits of dullness, then your life will be stripped of routine distraction. All that will be left is the edge you have been avoiding by means of your daily routine. You will have to face the basic discomfort and dissatisfaction that is the hidden texture of your life. You will be alive with the challenge of living your truth, rather than hiding form it. Unadorned suffering is the bedmate of masculine growth. Only by staying intimate with your personal suffering can you feel through it to its source. By putting all your attention into work, TV, sex, and reading, your suffering remains unpenetrated, and the source remains hidden. Your life becomes structured entirely by your favorite means of sidestepping the suffering you rarely allow yourself to feel. And when you do touch the surface of your suffering, perhaps in the form of boredom, you quickly pick up a magazine or the remote control. Instead, feel your suffering, rest with it, embrace it, make love with it. Feel your suffering so deeply and thoroughly that you penetrate it, and realize its fearful foundation. Almost everything you do, you do because you are afraid to die. And yet dying is exactly what you are doing, from the moment you are born. Two hours of absorption in a good Super Bowl telecast may distract you temporarily, but the fact remains. You were born as a sacrifice. And you can either participate in the sacrifice, dissolving in the giving of your gift, or you can resist it, which is your suffering. By eliminating the safety net of comforts in your life, you have the opportunity to free fall in this moment between birth and death, right through the hole of your fear, into the unthreatenable openness which is the source of your gifts. The superior man lives as this spontaneous sacrifice of love.
David Deida (The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire)
In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or the propaganda might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies - the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions. In the past most people never got a chance of fully satisfying this appetite. They might long for distractions, but the distractions were not provided. Christmas came but once a year, feasts were "solemn and rare," there were few readers and very little to read, and the nearest approach to a neighborhood movie theater was the parish church, where the performances though frequent, were somewhat monotonous. For conditions even remotely comparable to those now prevailing we must return to imperial Rome, where the populace was kept in good humor by frequent, gratuitous doses of many kinds of entertainment - from poetical dramas to gladiatorial fights, from recitations of Virgil to all-out boxing, from concerts to military reviews and public executions. But even in Rome there was nothing like the non-stop distractions now provided by newspapers and magazines, by radio, television and the cinema. In "Brave New World" non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature are deliberately used as instruments of policy, for the purpose of preventing people from paying too much attention to the realities of the social and political situation. The other world of religion is different from the other world of entertainment; but they resemble one another in being most decidedly "not of this world." Both are distractions and, if lived in too continuously, both can become, in Marx's phrase "the opium of the people" and so a threat to freedom. Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
Let us face ourselves. We are Hyperboreans; we know very well how far off we live. 'Neither by land nor by sea will you find the way to the Hyperboreans'—Pindar already knew this about us. Beyond the north, ice, and death—our life, our happiness. We have discovered happiness, we know the way, we have found the exit out of the labyrinth of thousands of years. Who else has found it? Modern man perhaps? 'I have got lost; I am everything that has got lost,' sighs modern man. This modernity was our sickness: lazy peace, cowardly compromise, the whole virtuous uncleanliness of the modern Yes and No. … Rather live in the ice than among modern virtues and other south winds! We were intrepid enough, we spared neither ourselves nor others; but for a long time we did not know where to turn with our intrepidity. We became gloomy, we were called fatalists. Our fatum—abundance, tension, the damming of strength. We thirsted for lightning and deeds and were most remote from the happiness of the weakling, 'resignation.' In our atmosphere was a thunderstorm; the nature we are became dark—for we saw no way. Formula for our happiness: a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Anti-Christ)
Teachers dread nothing so much as unusual characteristics in precocious boys during the initial stages of their adolescence. A certain streak of genius makes an ominous impression on them, for there exists a deep gulf between genius and the teaching profession. Anyone with a touch of genius seems to his teachers a freak from the very first. As far as teachers are concerned, they define young geniuses as those who are bad, disrespectful, smoke at fourteen, fall in love at fifteen, can be found at sixteen hanging out in bars, read forbidden books, write scandalous essays, occasionally stare down a teacher in class, are marked in the attendance book as rebels, and are budding candidates for room-arrest. A schoolmaster will prefer to have a couple of dumbheads in his class than a single genius, and if you regard it objectively, he is of course right. His task is not to produce extravagant intellects but good Latinists, arithmeticians and sober decent folk. The question of who suffers more acutely at the other's hands - the teacher at the boy's, or vice versa - who is more of a tyrant, more of a tormentor, and who profanes parts of the other's soul, student or teacher, is something you cannot examine without remembering your own youth in anger and shame. yet that s not what concerns us here. We have the consolation that among true geniuses the wounds almost always heal. As their personalities develop, they create their art in spite of school. Once dead, and enveloped by the comfortable nimbus of remoteness, they are paraded by the schoolmasters before other generations of students as showpieces and noble examples. Thus teh struggle between rule and spirit repeats itself year after year from school to school. The authorities go to infinite pains to nip the few profound or more valuable intellects in the bud. And time and again the ones who are detested by their teachers are frequently punished, the runaways and those expelled, are the ones who afterwards add to society's treasure. But some - and who knows how many? - waste away quiet obstinacy and finally go under.
Hermann Hesse (Beneath the Wheel)
This metropolitan world, then, is a world where flesh and blood is less real than paper and ink and celluloid. It is a world where the great masses of people, unable to have direct contact with more satisfying means of living, take life vicariously, as readers, spectators, passive observers: a world where people watch shadow-heroes and heroines in order to forget their own clumsiness or coldness in love, where they behold brutal men crushing out life in a strike riot, a wrestling ring or a military assault, while they lack the nerve even to resist the petty tyranny of their immediate boss: where they hysterically cheer the flag of their political state, and in their neighborhood, their trades union, their church, fail to perform the most elementary duties of citizenship. Living thus, year in and year out, at second hand, remote from the nature that is outside them and no less remote from the nature within, handicapped as lovers and as parents by the routine of the metropolis and by the constant specter of insecurity and death that hovers over its bold towers and shadowed streets - living thus the mass of inhabitants remain in a state bordering on the pathological. They become victims of phantasms, fears, obsessions, which bind them to ancestral patterns of behavior.
Lewis Mumford (The Culture of Cities (Book 2))
But it so happens that everything on this planet is, ultimately, irrational; there is not, and cannot be, any reason for the causal connexion of things, if only because our use of the word "reason" already implies the idea of causal connexion. But, even if we avoid this fundamental difficulty, Hume said that causal connexion was not merely unprovable, but unthinkable; and, in shallower waters still, one cannot assign a true reason why water should flow down hill, or sugar taste sweet in the mouth. Attempts to explain these simple matters always progress into a learned lucidity, and on further analysis retire to a remote stronghold where every thing is irrational and unthinkable. If you cut off a man's head, he dies. Why? Because it kills him. That is really the whole answer. Learned excursions into anatomy and physiology only beg the question; it does not explain why the heart is necessary to life to say that it is a vital organ. Yet that is exactly what is done, the trick that is played on every inquiring mind. Why cannot I see in the dark? Because light is necessary to sight. No confusion of that issue by talk of rods and cones, and optical centres, and foci, and lenses, and vibrations is very different to Edwin Arthwait's treatment of the long-suffering English language. Knowledge is really confined to experience. The laws of Nature are, as Kant said, the laws of our minds, and, as Huxley said, the generalization of observed facts. It is, therefore, no argument against ceremonial magic to say that it is "absurd" to try to raise a thunderstorm by beating a drum; it is not even fair to say that you have tried the experiment, found it would not work, and so perceived it to be "impossible." You might as well claim that, as you had taken paint and canvas, and not produced a Rembrandt, it was evident that the pictures attributed to his painting were really produced in quite a different way. You do not see why the skull of a parricide should help you to raise a dead man, as you do not see why the mercury in a thermometer should rise and fall, though you elaborately pretend that you do; and you could not raise a dead man by the aid of the skull of a parricide, just as you could not play the violin like Kreisler; though in the latter case you might modestly add that you thought you could learn. This is not the special pleading of a professed magician; it boils down to the advice not to judge subjects of which you are perfectly ignorant, and is to be found, stated in clearer and lovelier language, in the Essays of Thomas Henry Huxley.
Aleister Crowley
She could just distinguish his features, as he slept the perfect sleep. In this darkness, she seemed to see him so distinctly. But he was far off, in another world. Ah, she could shriek with torment, he was so far off, and perfected, in another world. She seemed to look at him as at a pebble far away under clear dark water. And here was she, left with all the anguish of consciousness, whilst he was sunk deep into the other element of mindless, remote, living shadow-gleam. He was beautiful, far-off, and perfected. They would never be together. Ah, this awful, inhuman distance which would always be interposed between her and the other being! There was nothing to do but to lie still and endure. She felt an overwhelming tenderness for him, and a dark, under-stirring of jealous hatred, that he should lie so perfect and immune, in an other-world, whilst she was tormented with violent wakefulness, cast out in the outer darkness.
D.H. Lawrence (Women in Love)
On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the surface of the moon. In the months leading up to their expedition, the Apollo II astronauts trained in a remote moon-like desert in the western United States. The area is home to several Native American communities, and there is a story – or legend – describing an encounter between the astronauts and one of the locals. One day as they were training, the astronauts came across an old Native American. The man asked them what they were doing there. They replied that they were part of a research expedition that would shortly travel to explore the moon. When the old man heard that, he fell silent for a few moments, and then asked the astronauts if they could do him a favour. ‘What do you want?’ they asked. ‘Well,’ said the old man, ‘the people of my tribe believe that holy spirits live on the moon. I was wondering if you could pass an important message to them from my people.’ ‘What’s the message?’ asked the astronauts. The man uttered something in his tribal language, and then asked the astronauts to repeat it again and again until they had memorised it correctly. ‘What does it mean?’ asked the astronauts. ‘Oh, I cannot tell you. It’s a secret that only our tribe and the moon spirits are allowed to know.’ When they returned to their base, the astronauts searched and searched until they found someone who could speak the tribal language, and asked him to translate the secret message. When they repeated what they had memorised, the translator started to laugh uproariously. When he calmed down, the astronauts asked him what it meant. The man explained that the sentence they had memorised so carefully said, ‘Don’t believe a single word these people are telling you. They have come to steal your lands.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
There is evidence that the honoree [Leonard Cohen] might be privy to the secret of the universe, which, in case you're wondering, is simply this: everything is connected. Everything. Many, if not most, of the links are difficult to determine. The instrument, the apparatus, the focused ray that can uncover and illuminate those connections is language. And just as a sudden infatuation often will light up a person's biochemical atmosphere more pyrotechnically than any deep, abiding attachment, so an unlikely, unexpected burst of linguistic imagination will usually reveal greater truths than the most exacting scholarship. In fact. The poetic image may be the only device remotely capable of dissecting romantic passion, let alone disclosing the inherent mystical qualities of the material world. Cohen is a master of the quasi-surrealistic phrase, of the "illogical" line that speaks so directly to the unconscious that surface ambiguity is transformed into ultimate, if fleeting, comprehension: comprehension of the bewitching nuances of sex and bewildering assaults of culture. Undoubtedly, it is to his lyrical mastery that his prestigious colleagues now pay tribute. Yet, there may be something else. As various, as distinct, as rewarding as each of their expressions are, there can still be heard in their individual interpretations the distant echo of Cohen's own voice, for it is his singing voice as well as his writing pen that has spawned these songs. It is a voice raked by the claws of Cupid, a voice rubbed raw by the philosopher's stone. A voice marinated in kirschwasser, sulfur, deer musk and snow; bandaged with sackcloth from a ruined monastery; warmed by the embers left down near the river after the gypsies have gone. It is a penitent's voice, a rabbinical voice, a crust of unleavened vocal toasts -- spread with smoke and subversive wit. He has a voice like a carpet in an old hotel, like a bad itch on the hunchback of love. It is a voice meant for pronouncing the names of women -- and cataloging their sometimes hazardous charms. Nobody can say the word "naked" as nakedly as Cohen. He makes us see the markings where the pantyhose have been. Finally, the actual persona of their creator may be said to haunt these songs, although details of his private lifestyle can be only surmised. A decade ago, a teacher who called himself Shree Bhagwan Rajneesh came up with the name "Zorba the Buddha" to describe the ideal modern man: A contemplative man who maintains a strict devotional bond with cosmic energies, yet is completely at home in the physical realm. Such a man knows the value of the dharma and the value of the deutschmark, knows how much to tip a waiter in a Paris nightclub and how many times to bow in a Kyoto shrine, a man who can do business when business is necessary, allow his mind to enter a pine cone, or dance in wild abandon if moved by the tune. Refusing to shun beauty, this Zorba the Buddha finds in ripe pleasures not a contradiction but an affirmation of the spiritual self. Doesn't he sound a lot like Leonard Cohen? We have been led to picture Cohen spending his mornings meditating in Armani suits, his afternoons wrestling the muse, his evenings sitting in cafes were he eats, drinks and speaks soulfully but flirtatiously with the pretty larks of the street. Quite possibly this is a distorted portrait. The apocryphal, however, has a special kind of truth. It doesn't really matter. What matters here is that after thirty years, L. Cohen is holding court in the lobby of the whirlwind, and that giants have gathered to pay him homage. To him -- and to us -- they bring the offerings they have hammered from his iron, his lead, his nitrogen, his gold.
Tom Robbins
I recall one particular sunset. It lent an ember to my bicycle hell. Overhead, above the black music of telegraph wires, a number of long, dark-violet clouds lined with flamingo pink hung motionless in a fan-shaped arrangement; the whole thing was like some prodigious ovation in terms of color and form! It was dying, however, and everything else was darkening, too; but just above the horizon, in a lucid, turquoise space, beneath a black stratus, the eye found a vista that only a fool could mistake for the square parts of this or any other sunset. It occupied a very small sector of the enormous sky and had the peculiar neatness of something seen through the wrong end of a telescope. There it lay in wait, a brilliant convolutions, anachronistic in their creaminess and extremely remote; remote but perfect in every detail; fantastically reduced but faultlessly shaped; my marvelous tomorrow ready to be delivered to me.
Vladimir Nabokov (Speak, Memory)
The horror of profound depression, and the hopelessness that usually accompanies it, are hard to imagine for those who have not experienced them. Because the despair is private, it is resistant to clear and compelling description. Novelist William Styron, however, in recounting his struggle with suicidal depression, captures vividly the heavy, inescapable pain that can lead to suicide: What I had begun to discover is that, mysteriously and in ways that are totally remote from normal experience, the gray drizzle of horror induced by depression takes on the quality of physical pain. But it is not an immediately identifiable pain, like that of a broken limb. It may be more accurate to say that despair, owing to some evil trick played upon the sick brain by the inhabiting psyche, comes to resemble the diabolical discomfort of being imprisoned in a fiercely overheated room. And because no breeze stirs this cauldron, because there is no escape from this smothering confinement, it is entirely natural that the victim begins to think ceaselessly of oblivion. (105)
Kay Redfield Jamison (Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide)
In every remote corner of the world there are people like Carl Jones and Don Merton who have devoted their lives to saving threatened species. Very often, their determination is all that stands between an endangered species and extinction. But why do they bother? Does it really matter if the Yangtze river dolphin, or the kakapo, or the northern white rhino, or any other species live on only in scientists' notebooks? Well, yes, it does. Every animal and plant is an integral part of its environment: even Komodo dragons have a major role to play in maintaining the ecological stability of their delicate island homes. If they disappear, so could many other species. And conservation is very much in tune with our survival. Animals and plants provide us with life-saving drugs and food, they pollinate crops and provide important ingredients or many industrial processes. Ironically, it is often not the big and beautiful creatures, but the ugly and less dramatic ones, that we need most. Even so, the loss of a few species may seem irrelevant compared to major environmental problems such as global warming or the destruction of the ozone layer. But while nature has considerable resilience, there is a limit to how far that resilience can be stretched. No one knows how close to the limit we are getting. The darker it gets, the faster we're driving. There is one last reason for caring, and I believe that no other is necessary. It is certainly the reason why so many people have devoted their lives to protecting the likes of rhinos, parakeets, kakapos, and dolphins. And it is simply this: the world would be a poorer, darker, lonelier place without them.
Mark Carwardine (Last Chance to See)
All my life I have been the sort of person in whom people confide. And all my life I have been flattered by this role - grateful for the frisson of importance that comes with receiving important information. In recent years, however, I have noticed that my gratification is becoming diluted by a certain weary indignation. They tell me because they regard me as safe. All of them, they make their disclosures to me in the same spirit that they might tell a castrato or a priest - with a sense that I am so outside the loop, so remote from the doings of the great world, as to be defused of any possible threat. The number of secrets I receive is in inverse proportion to the number of secrets anyone expects me to have of my own. And this is the real source of my dismay. Being told secrets is not - never has been - a sign that I belong or that I matter. It is quite the opposite: confirmation of my irrelevance.
Zoë Heller (What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal])
For when I speak of the banality of evil, I do so only on the strictly factual level, pointing to a phenomenon which stared one in the face at the trial. Eichmann was not Iago and not Macbeth, and nothing would have been farther from his mind than to determine with Richard III 'to prove a villain.' Except for an extraordinary diligence in looking out for his personal advancement, he had no motives at all… He merely, to put the matter colloquially, never realized what he was doing… It was sheer thoughtlessness—something by no means identical with stupidity—that predisposed him to become one of the greatest criminals of that period. And if this is 'banal' and even funny, if with the best will in the world one cannot extract any diabolical or demonic profundity from Eichmann, this is still far from calling it commonplace… That such remoteness from reality and such thoughtlessness can wreak more havoc than all the evil instincts taken together which, perhaps, are inherent in man—that was, in fact, the lesson one could learn in Jerusalem.
Hannah Arendt (Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil)
This sadness lies at the heart of every merely positivistic, agnostic, or naturalistic scheme of philosophy. Let sanguine healthy-mindedness do its best with its strange power of living in the moment and ignoring and forgetting, still the evil background is really there to be thought of, and the skull will grin in at the banquet. In the practical life of the individual, we know how his whole gloom or glee about any present fact depends on the remoter schemes and hopes with which it stands related. Its significance and framing give it the chief part of its value. Let it be known to lead nowhere, and however agreeable it may be in its immediacy, its glow and gilding vanish. The old man, sick with an insidious internal disease, may laugh and quaff his wine at first as well as ever, but he knows his fate now, for the doctors have revealed it; and the knowledge knocks the satisfaction out of all these functions. They are partners of death and the worm is their brother, and they turn to a mere flatness.
William James (The Varieties of Religious Experience)
Already, Cullum felt a stirring of interest. The name Horace and the mention of an oakleaf symbol struck a chord in his memory. Sir Horace, the Oakleaf Knight, was a legendary figure in Araluen, even in a place as remote as Norgate. Of course, the more remote the location, the more garbled and fantastic the legends became. As Cullum had hear tell, Sir Horace had been a youth of sixteen when he defeated the tyrant Morgarath in single combat, slicing the head off the evil lord's shoulders with one might strocke of a massive broadsword. Then, in the company of the equally legendary Ranger Halt, Sir Horace had traveled across the Stormwhite Sea to defeat the Riders from the East and rescue Princess Cassandra and her companion, the apprentice Ranger known as Will. Will! The significance of the name suddenly registered with the innkeeper. The jongleur's name was Will. Now here he was, in a cowled cloak, festooned with recurve bow and a quiver of arrows. He looked more closely and saw the hilt of a heavy saxe knife just visible at his waist. No doubt about it, Cullum thought, these cheerful young men were two of Araluen's greatest heroes!
John Flanagan (The Siege of Macindaw (Ranger's Apprentice, #6))
We may, indeed, say that the hour of death is uncertain, but when we say so we represent that hour to ourselves as situated in a vague and remote expanse of time, it never occurs to us that it can have any connexion with the day that has already dawned, or may signify that death — or its first assault and partial possession of us, after which it will never leave hold of us again — may occur this very afternoon, so far from uncertain, this afternoon every hour of which has already been allotted to some occupation. You make a point of taking your drive every day so that in a month’s time you will have had the full benefit of the fresh air; you have hesitated over which cloak you will take, which cabman to call, you are in the cab, the whole day lies before you, short because you have to be at home early, as a friend is coming to see you; you hope that it will be as fine again to-morrow; and you have no suspicion that death, which has been making its way towards you along another plane, shrouded in an impenetrable darkness, has chosen precisely this day of all days to make its appearance, in a few minutes’ time, more or less, at the moment when the carriage has reached the Champs-Elysées.
Marcel Proust (The Guermantes Way)
When we hear the ancient bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: Is it really possible! This, for a jew, crucified two thousand years ago, who said he was God's son? The proof of such a claim is lacking. Certainly the Christian religion is an antiquity projected into our times from remote prehistory; and the fact that the claim is believed - whereas one is otherwise so strict in examining pretensions - is perhaps the most ancient piece of this heritage. A god who begets children with a mortal woman; a sage who bids men work no more, have no more courts, but look for the signs of the impending end of the world; a justice that accepts the innocent as a vicarious sacrifice; someone who orders his disciples to drink his blood; prayers for miraculous interventions; sins perpetrated against a god, atoned for by a god; fear of a beyond to which death is the portal; the form of the cross as a symbol in a time that no longer knows the function and ignominy of the cross -- how ghoulishly all this touches us, as if from the tomb of a primeval past! Can one believe that such things are still believed?
Friedrich Nietzsche (Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits)
I think most historians would agree that the part played by impulses of selfish, individual aggression in the holocausts of history was small; first and foremost, the slaughter was meant as an offering to the gods, to king and country, or the future happiness of mankind. The crimes of a Caligula shrink to insignificance compared to the havoc wrought by Torquemada. The number of victims of robbers, highwaymen, rapists, gangsters and other criminals at any period of history is negligible compared to the massive numbers of those cheerfully slain in the name of the true religion, just policy or correct ideology. Heretics were tortured and burnt not in anger but in sorrow, for the good of their immortal souls. Tribal warfare was waged in the purported interest of the tribe, not of the individual. Wars of religion were fought to decide some fine point in theology or semantics. Wars of succession dynastic wars, national wars, civil wars, were fought to decide issues equally remote from the personal self-interest of the combatants. Let me repeat: the crimes of violence committed for selfish, personal motives are historically insignificant compared to those committed ad majorem gloriam Dei, out of a self-sacrificing devotion to a flag, a leader, a religious faith or a political conviction. Man has always been prepared not only to kill but also to die for good, bad or completely futile causes. And what can be a more valid proof of the reality of the self-transcending urge than this readiness to die for an ideal?
Arthur Koestler (The Ghost in the Machine)
Ma was heavy, but not fat; thick with child-bearing and work. She wore a loose Mother Hubbard of gray cloth in which there had once been colored flowers, but the color was washed out now, so that the small flowered pattern was only a little lighter gray than the background. The dress came down to her ankles, and he strong, broad, bare feet moved quickly and deftly over the floor. Her thin, steel-gray hair was gathered in a sparse wispy knot at the back of her head. Strong, freckled arms were bare to the elbow, and her hands were chubby and delicate, like those of a plump little girl. She looked out into the sunshine. Her full face was not soft; it was controlled, kindly. Her hazel eyes seemed to have experienced all possible tragedy and to have mounted pain and suffering like steps into a high calm and a superhuman understanding. She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken. And since old Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged hurt and fear, she had practiced denying them in herself. And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials. But better than joy was calm. Imperturbability could be depended upon. And from her great and humble position in the family she had taken dignity and a clean calm beauty. From her position as healer, her hands had grown sure and cool and quiet; from her position as arbiter she had become as remote and faultless in judgment as a goddess. She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever really deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall, the family will to function would be gone.
John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath)
Bit by bit, I found myself relaxing into the conversation. Kitty had a natural talent for drawing people out of themselves, and it was easy to fall in with her, to feel comfortable in her presence. As Uncle Victor had once told me long ago, a conversation is like having a catch with someone. A good partner tosses the ball directly into your glove, making it almost impossible for you to miss it; when he is on the receiving end, he catches everything sent his way, even the most errant and incompetent throws. That’s what Kitty did. She kept lobbing the ball straight into the pocket of my glove, and when I threw the ball back to her, she hauled in everything that was even remotely in her area: jumping up to spear balls that soared above her head, diving nimbly to her left or right, charging in to make tumbling, shoestring catches. More than that, her skill was such that she always made me feel that I had made those bad throws on purpose, as if my only object had been to make the game more amusing. She made me seem better than I was, and that strengthened my confidence, which in turn helped to make my throws less difficult for her to handle. In other words, I started talking to her rather than to myself, and the pleasure of it was greater than anything I had experienced in a long time.
Paul Auster (Moon Palace)
Long before it was known to me as a place where my ancestry was even remotely involved, the idea of a state for Jews (or a Jewish state; not quite the same thing, as I failed at first to see) had been 'sold' to me as an essentially secular and democratic one. The idea was a haven for the persecuted and the survivors, a democracy in a region where the idea was poorly understood, and a place where—as Philip Roth had put it in a one-handed novel that I read when I was about nineteen—even the traffic cops and soldiers were Jews. This, like the other emphases of that novel, I could grasp. Indeed, my first visit was sponsored by a group in London called the Friends of Israel. They offered to pay my expenses, that is, if on my return I would come and speak to one of their meetings. I still haven't submitted that expenses claim. The misgivings I had were of two types, both of them ineradicable. The first and the simplest was the encounter with everyday injustice: by all means the traffic cops were Jews but so, it turned out, were the colonists and ethnic cleansers and even the torturers. It was Jewish leftist friends who insisted that I go and see towns and villages under occupation, and sit down with Palestinian Arabs who were living under house arrest—if they were lucky—or who were squatting in the ruins of their demolished homes if they were less fortunate. In Ramallah I spent the day with the beguiling Raimonda Tawil, confined to her home for committing no known crime save that of expressing her opinions. (For some reason, what I most remember is a sudden exclamation from her very restrained and respectable husband, a manager of the local bank: 'I would prefer living under a Bedouin muktar to another day of Israeli rule!' He had obviously spent some time thinking about the most revolting possible Arab alternative.) In Jerusalem I visited the Tutungi family, who could produce title deeds going back generations but who were being evicted from their apartment in the old city to make way for an expansion of the Jewish quarter. Jerusalem: that place of blood since remote antiquity. Jerusalem, over which the British and French and Russians had fought a foul war in the Crimea, and in the mid-nineteenth century, on the matter of which Christian Church could command the keys to some 'holy sepulcher.' Jerusalem, where the anti-Semite Balfour had tried to bribe the Jews with the territory of another people in order to seduce them from Bolshevism and continue the diplomacy of the Great War. Jerusalem: that pest-house in whose environs all zealots hope that an even greater and final war can be provoked. It certainly made a warped appeal to my sense of history.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Most of Arbus's work lies within the Warhol aesthetic, that is, defines itself in relation to the twin poles of boringness and freakishness; but it doesn't have the Warhol style. Arbus had neither Warhol's narcissism and genius for publicity nor the self-protective blandness with which he insulates himself from the freaky nor his sentimentality. It is unlikey that Warhol, who comes from a working-class family, ever felt any ambivalence toward success which afflicted the children of the Jewish upper middle classes in the 1960s. To someone raised as a Catholic, like Warhol (and virtually everyone in his gang), a fascination with evil comes much more genuinely than it does to someone from a Jewish background. Compared with Warhol, Arbus seems strikingly vulnerable, innocent--and certainly more pessimistic. Her Dantesque vision of the city (and the suburbs) has no reserves of irony. Although much of Arbus's material is the same as that depicted in, say, Warhol's Chelsea Girls (1966)...For Arbus, both freaks and Middle America were equally exotic: a boy marching in a pro-war parade and a Levittown housewife were as alien as a dwarf or a transvestite; lower-middle-class suburbia was as remote as Times Square, lunatic asylums, and gay bars. Arbus's work expressed her turn against what was public (as she experienced it), conventional, safe, reassuring--and boring--in favor of what was private, hidden, ugly, dangerous, and fascinating. These contrasts, now, seem almost quaint. What is safe no long monopolizes public imagery. The freakish is no longer a private zone, difficult of access. People who are bizarre, in sexual disgrace, emotionally vacant are seen daily on the newsstands, on TV, in the subways. Hobbesian man roams the streets, quite visible, with glitter in his hair.
Susan Sontag (On Photography)
If you want to see philosophy in action, pay a visit to a robo-rat laboratory. A robo-rat is a run-ofthe-mill rat with a twist: scientists have implanted electrodes into the sensory and reward areas in the rat’s brain. This enables the scientists to manoeuvre the rat by remote control. After short training sessions, researchers have managed not only to make the rats turn left or right, but also to climb ladders, sniff around garbage piles, and do things that rats normally dislike, such as jumping from great heights. Armies and corporations show keen interest in the robo-rats, hoping they could prove useful in many tasks and situations. For example, robo-rats could help detect survivors trapped under collapsed buildings, locate bombs and booby traps, and map underground tunnels and caves. Animal-welfare activists have voiced concern about the suffering such experiments inflict on the rats. Professor Sanjiv Talwar of the State University of New York, one of the leading robo-rat researchers, has dismissed these concerns, arguing that the rats actually enjoy the experiments. After all, explains Talwar, the rats ‘work for pleasure’ and when the electrodes stimulate the reward centre in their brain, ‘the rat feels Nirvana’. To the best of our understanding, the rat doesn’t feel that somebody else controls her, and she doesn’t feel that she is being coerced to do something against her will. When Professor Talwar presses the remote control, the rat wants to move to the left, which is why she moves to the left. When the professor presses another switch, the rat wants to climb a ladder, which is why she climbs the ladder. After all, the rat’s desires are nothing but a pattern of firing neurons. What does it matter whether the neurons are firing because they are stimulated by other neurons, or because they are stimulated by transplanted electrodes connected to Professor Talwar’s remote control? If you asked the rat about it, she might well have told you, ‘Sure I have free will! Look, I want to turn left – and I turn left. I want to climb a ladder – and I climb a ladder. Doesn’t that prove that I have free will?
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
Billy looked at the clock on the gas stove. He had an hour to kill before the saucer came. He went into the living room, swinging the bottle like a dinner bell, turned on the television. He came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this: American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation. The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new. When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground., to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again. The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby, Billy Pilgrim supposed. That wasn't in the movie. Billy was extrapolating. Everybody turned into a baby, and all humanity, without exception, conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve, he supposed.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
It is worse, much worse, than you think. The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says it isn’t happening at all, and comes to us bundled with several others in an anthology of comforting delusions: that global warming is an Arctic saga, unfolding remotely; that it is strictly a matter of sea level and coastlines, not an enveloping crisis sparing no place and leaving no life undeformed; that it is a crisis of the “natural” world, not the human one; that those two are distinct, and that we live today somehow outside or beyond or at the very least defended against nature, not inescapably within and literally overwhelmed by it; that wealth can be a shield against the ravages of warming; that the burning of fossil fuels is the price of continued economic growth; that growth, and the technology it produces, will allow us to engineer our way out of environmental disaster; that there is any analogue to the scale or scope of this threat, in the long span of human history, that might give us confidence in staring it down. None of this is true. But let’s begin with the speed of change. The earth has experienced five mass extinctions before the one we are living through now, each so complete a wiping of the fossil record that it functioned as an evolutionary reset, the planet’s phylogenetic tree first expanding, then collapsing, at intervals, like a lung: 86 percent of all species dead, 450 million years ago; 70 million years later, 75 percent; 125 million years later, 96 percent; 50 million years later, 80 percent; 135 million years after that, 75 percent again. Unless you are a teenager, you probably read in your high school textbooks that these extinctions were the result of asteroids. In fact, all but the one that killed the dinosaurs involved climate change produced by greenhouse gas. The most notorious was 250 million years ago; it began when carbon dioxide warmed the planet by five degrees Celsius, accelerated when that warming triggered the release of methane, another greenhouse gas, and ended with all but a sliver of life on Earth dead. We are currently adding carbon to the atmosphere at a considerably faster rate; by most estimates, at least ten times faster. The rate is one hundred times faster than at any point in human history before the beginning of industrialization. And there is already, right now, fully a third more carbon in the atmosphere than at any point in the last 800,000 years—perhaps in as long as 15 million years. There were no humans then. The oceans were more than a hundred feet higher.
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)