Sea View Quotes

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When we feel abandoned along the road of indifference, we can jam our path into our thinking mind, breaking free from the shackles of inattention, getting our life together, uncovering our identity, and resurfacing in a world of sympathy and understanding. (”Life with sea view”)
Erik Pevernagie
When we come to face the entangled vagaries on the chessboard of our life, let us not shrink from using the queen’s gambit to disentwine predictable hassles or diffuse incendiary plots if we want to take control of our being and make our dreams come true, transparent, and straightforward. (”Life with a sea view”)
Erik Pevernagie
As soon as the rocky coast line of the island came into view, I ordered one of the ropes to wrap around Annabeth's waist, tying her to the foremast. "Don't untie me," she said, "no matter what happens or how much I plead. I'll want to go straight over the edge and drown myself." "Are you trying to tempt me?" "Ha-ha.
Rick Riordan (The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2))
How bitterly glad I am to see you. You bring joy and pain in equal measure. Joy because you are with me, but pain because it won't be for long. What do you know about the sea? Nothing. What do I know about the sea? Nothing. Without a driver this bus is lost. Our lives are over. Come aboard if your destination is oblivion-- It should be our next stop. We can sit together. You can have the window seat, if you want. But it's a sad view. Oh enough of this disembling. Let me say plainly: I love you, I love you, I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you. Not the spiders, please.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
If we want to add human interaction to the panorama of our lifescape, the sustainability and the expectancy description of our emotions are momentous. Cracks in relations can be "restored," whereas breakups have to be "repaired." For 'repairs,' we need proper tools, respectively, concrete commitments, and endurance. For 'restoration,' we need exceptional talent and subtle adroitness to realize a perfect replica of the original emotional canvas. ("Life with sea view")
Erik Pevernagie
Time was something that largely happened to other people; he viewed it in the same way that people on the shore viewed the sea. It was big and it was out there, and sometimes it was an invigorating thing to dip a toe into, but you couldn't live in it all the time. Besides, it always made his skin wrinkle.
Terry Pratchett (Thief of Time (Discworld, #26))
I want to learn how to speak to anyone at any time and make us both feel a little bit better, lighter, richer, with no commitments of ever meeting again. I want to learn how to stand wherever with whoever and still feel stable. I want to learn how to unlock the locks to our minds, my mind, so that when I hear opinions or views that don’t match up with mine, I can still listen and understand. I want to burn up lifeless habits of following maps and to-do lists, concentrated liquids to burn my mind and throat and I want to go back to the way nature shaped me. I want to learn to go on well with whatever I have in my hands at the moment in a natural state of mind, certain like the sea. I will find comfort in the rhythm of the sea.
Charlotte Eriksson
Like a view of the sea on a summer day on the most perfect winding road taken in from your car seat window A thing perfect and ready to become a part of the texture of the fabric of Something more ethereal like Mount Olympus where Zeus and Athena and the rest of the immortals play
Lana Del Rey (Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass)
I smelled jasmine first-then saw stars. A sea of stars flickering beyond glowing pillars of moonstone that framed the sweeping view of endless snowcapped mountains. "Welcome to the Night Court.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2))
I gaze out at the glittering sea, the breathtaking sky above it, and think of birds and the moment before the fall, and how my sister as a child had been strong enough for the both of us, and I wonder when exactly that changed. I don't know when, but it did. Jake was right - I'm strong in a way June never was. Because I know that I want to be here. Even with the pain. Even with the ugliness. I've seen the other side - marching side by side down city streets with people who all believe they can change the world and the view of the sunset from Fridgehenge and Tom Waits lyrics and doing the waltz and kisses so hot they melt into each other and best friends who hold your hand and stretching out underneath a sky draped with stars and everything else. There is so much beauty in just existing. In being alive. I don't want to miss a second.
Hannah Harrington (Saving June)
We tell ourselves stories in order to live. The princess is caged in the consulate. The man with the candy will lead the children into the sea. The naked woman on the ledge outside the window on the sixteenth floor is a victim of accidie, or the naked woman is an exhibitionist, and it would be 'interesting' to know which. We tell ourselves that it makes some difference whether the naked woman is about to commit a mortal sin or is about to register a political protest or is about to be, the Aristophanic view, snatched back to the human condition by the fireman in priest's clothing just visible in the window behind her, the one smiling at the telephoto lens. We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely... by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the 'ideas' with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria — which is our actual experience.
Joan Didion
Who ain’t a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, however the old sea-captains may order me about—however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way— either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other’s shoulder-blades, and be content.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick)
I was free with every road as my home. No limitations and no commitments. But then summer passed and winter came and I fell short for safety. I fell for its spell, slowly humming me to sleep, because I was tired and small, too weak to take or handle those opinions and views, attacking me from every angle. Against my art, against my self, against my very way of living. I collected my thoughts, my few possessions and built isolated walls around my values and character. I protected my own definition of beauty and success like a treasure at the bottom of the sea, for no one saw what I saw, or felt the same as I did, and so I wanted to keep to myself. You hide to protect yourself.
Charlotte Eriksson (Another Vagabond Lost To Love: Berlin Stories on Leaving & Arriving)
For thirty years," he said, "I've sailed the seas and seen good and bad, better and worse, fair weather and foul, provisions running out, knives going, and what not. Well, now I tell you, I never seen good come o' goodness yet. Him as strikes first is my fancy; dead men don't bite; them's my views—amen, so be it.
Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island)
I Keep Six Honest Serving Men ..." I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who. I send them over land and sea, I send them east and west; But after they have worked for me, I give them all a rest. I let them rest from nine till five, For I am busy then, As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea, For they are hungry men. But different folk have different views; I know a person small— She keeps ten million serving-men, Who get no rest at all! She sends'em abroad on her own affairs, From the second she opens her eyes— One million Hows, two million Wheres, And seven million Whys!
Rudyard Kipling (The Elephant's Child (Just So Stories))
After lunch, they went for a walk around the island. The sun was out, but the wind was brisk, bringing a chill into their hands and faces. They arrived at the viewing point on the northwest corner of the island. The waves from the Atlantic crashed relentlessly against the rocks. They took a seat together on a large, smooth stone and gazed out at the sea and the barrier islands. Orla sat between Aideen and Dani. They all held hands. For a while, no words were spoken, but then Orla broke the silence. “What do ya’ think will happen to us in 2253?” she asked.
Steven Decker (Time Chain)
There is much that is immortal in this medieval lady. The dragons have gone, and so have the knights, but still she lingers in our midst. She reigned in many an early Victorian castle, and was Queen of much early Victorian song. It is sweet to protect her in the intervals of business, sweet to pay her honour when she has cooked our dinner well. But alas! the creature grows degenerate. In her heart also there are springing up strange desires. She too is enamoured of heavy winds, and vast panoramas, and green expanses of the sea. She has marked the kingdom of this world, how full it is of wealth, and beauty, and war--a radiant crust, built around the central fires, spinning towards the receding heavens. Men, declaring that she inspires them to it, move joyfully over the surface, having the most delightful meetings with other men, happy, not because they are masculine, but because they are alive. Before the show breaks up she would like to drop the august title of the Eternal Woman, and go there as her transitory self.
E.M. Forster (A Room With a View)
ratio et prudentia curas, Non locus effusi late maris arbiter, aufert. [it is reason and wisdom which take away cares, not places affording wide views over the sea.]
Horatius
There are marvelous sea creatures whose existences can be viewed only within the deep blue sea, and similarly we all have dear secrets that can be spoken only in the habitat of the heart.
Alexandra Katehakis (Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence)
Why does the sea induce these feelings of transcendence in us? Is it because an unobstructed view of overarching sky meeting endlessly stirring water is as close as we can come on this earth to a visual symbol of the infinite?
William Boyd (Any Human Heart)
Thinking like a Mountain We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes - something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.…I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades. So also with cows. The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf's job of trimming the herd to fit the range. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.
Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There)
Alex: OK, that sounds like a challenge! Well firstly, I would have brought you to a hotel along the coast so that your suite would have the best sea view in the hotel. You could fall asleep listening to the waves crashing against the rocks, I would sprinkle the bed with red rose petals and have candles lit all around the room, I would have your favorite CD playing quietly in the background. But I wouldn’t propose to you there. I would bring you to where there was a huge crowd of people so they could all gasp when I got down on one knee and proposed. Or something like that. Note I have italicized all important buzz words. Rosie: Oh. Alex: Oh? That’s all you can say? One word for the most important night of our lives?
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
This is how we leave the world, with the heart weeping, and the hope that distance brings the solving wonder of one last clear view before that long sleep about the weather's changes
Mark Haddon (The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea: Poems)
Her blue, almond-shaped eyes - now even more elongated - had altered in appearance; they were indeed of the same colour, but seemed to have passed into a liquid state. So much so that, when she closed them, it was as though a pair of curtains had been drawn to shut out a view of the sea.
Marcel Proust (The Captive / The Fugitive (In Search of Lost Time, #5-6))
strach nie jest jak choroba zakaźna, nie przychodzi skądś, ale sam go tworzysz. głównie przez miłość. im bardziej coś kochasz, tym bardziej dręczy cię myśl, że mógłbyś to stracić. wtedy strach jest zawsze gdzieś tuż obok.
Jonathan Carroll (The Wooden Sea (Crane's View, #3))
We stayed at a cheap hotel that had a view out the window more beautiful than anything I’d ever seen. The water was wickedly blue. A cliff of dark rock jutted out of the sea. I wanted to cry because I was sure I would never get to be in such a place again.
Jenny Offill (Dept. of Speculation)
I could live alone forever if I just had a view of the sea.
Norah Vincent (Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin)
Well, then, however the old sea-captains may order me about--however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way--either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other's shoulder-blades, and be content.
Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
The Poem That Took The Place Of A Mountain There it was, word for word, The poem that took the place of a mountain. He breathed its oxygen, Even when the book lay turned in the dust of his table. It reminded him how he had needed A place to go to in his own direction How he had recomposed the pines, Shifted the rocks and picked his way among clouds For the outlook that would be right, Where he would be complete in an unexplained completion: The exact rock where his inexactness Would discover, at last, the view toward which they had edged Where he could lie and gazing down at the sea, Recognize his unique and solitary home.
Wallace Stevens
Her endeavor was misguided and wrong and maybe plain crazy, akin to someone waking up one day and deciding he’s going to scale Kilimanjaro because he can’t stop imagining the view from the top, the picture so arresting and beautiful that it too soon delivers him to a precarious ledge, where he can no longer turn back. And while it’s easy to say this is a situation to be avoided, isn’t this what we also fear and crave simultaneously, that some internal force which defies understanding might remake us into the people we dream we are?
Chang-rae Lee (On Such a Full Sea)
I haven’t seen Lucy’s room. I haven’t asked. He has offered many times; once, he cornered me and whispered that I wouldn’t believe my eyes, but I don’t think I’m ready to see it yet. I will make sure to view it before I leave. If it is the last thing I do, my last will and testament has been filed with Human Resources. If enough of my remains exist, please see that they are cremated.
T.J. Klune (The House in the Cerulean Sea (The House in the Cerulean Sea, #1))
I am constantly surrounded by a display of natural wonders...It is beauty surrounded by ugly fear. I write in my log that it's a view of heaven from a seat in hell. (survivor after 53 days at sea)
Laurence Gonzales (Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why)
The painting was framed in a misty view of sky, sea, and valley. Newt's painting was small, black, and warty. It consisted of scratches made in a black, gummy impasto. The scratches formed a sort of spider's web, and I wondered if they might not be the sticky nets of human futility hung up on a moonless night to dry.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Cat’s Cradle)
The Infinite It was always dear to me, this solitary hill, and this hedgerow here, that closes out my view, from so much of the ultimate horizon. But sitting here, and watching here, in thought, I create interminable spaces, greater than human silences, and deepest quiet, where the heart barely fails to terrify. When I hear the wind, blowing among these leaves, I go on to compare that infinite silence with this voice, and I remember the eternal and the dead seasons, and the living present, and its sound, so that in this immensity my thoughts are drowned, and shipwreck seems sweet to me in this sea.
Giacomo Leopardi
It's a very cheery thing to come into London by any of these lines which run high and allow you to look down upon the houses like this." I thought he was joking, for the view was sordid enough, but he soon explained himself. "Look at those big, isolated clumps of buildings rising up above the slates, like brick islands in a lead-coloured sea." "The board-schools." "Light-houses, my boy! Beacons of the future! Capsules with hundreds of bright little seeds in each, out of which will spring the wiser, better England of the future.
Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I)
It is. It’s got the most gorgeous view over the sea, too,’ said Alicia. ‘It’s built on the cliff, you know. It’s lucky you’re in North Tower – that’s got the best view of all!
Enid Blyton (First Term at Malory Towers (Malory Towers (Pamela Cox) Book 1))
Obviously, a rigid, blinkered, absolutist world view is the easiest to keep hold of, whereas the fluid, uncertain, metamorphic picture I've always carried about is rather more vulnerable. Yet I must cling with all my might to … my own soul; must hold on to its mischievous, iconoclastic, out-of-step clown-instincts, no matter how great the storm. And if that plunges me into contradiction and paradox, so be it; I've lived in that messy ocean all my life. I've fished in it for my art. This turbulent sea was the sea outside my bedroom window in Bombay. It is the sea by which I was born, and which I carry within me wherever I go.
Salman Rushdie
My skin prickled and I looked back at the ocean. None of us ask for the things we inherit; they are thrust upon us, willy-nilly. Like The Marine, I suddenly understood. Mom and I weren't trespassing. This house was ours. This view was ours. And that seemed as absurd and unreal as the stories Sailor Hat had spun for me on the ferry.
Aimee Friedman (Sea Change)
I become like a boulder on the beach in a time-lapse video. The sun and moon and stars cross the sky again and again, shadows lengthen and shrink, the tide rushes in and out. The sea heaves in the background, crabs and seabirds flicker in and out of view. Meanwhile, the boulder sits there, stolid, unmoving, all alone, as life whizzes past.
Misa Sugiura (It's Not Like It's a Secret)
Just as at sea those who are carried away from the direction of the harbor bring themselves back on course by a clear sign, on seeing a tall beacon light or some mountain peak coming into view, so Scripture may guide those adrift on the sea of the life back into the harbor of the divine will.
Gregory of Nyssa
Despina can be reached in two ways: by ship or by camel. The city displays one face to the traveler arriving overland and a different one to him who arrives by sea. When the camel driver sees, at the horizon of the tableland, the pinnacles of the skyscrapers come into view, the radar antennae, the white and red wind-socks flapping, the chimneys belching smoke, he thinks of a ship; he knows it is a city, but he thinks of it as a vessel that will take him away from the desert, a windjammer about to cast off, with the breeze already swelling the sails, not yet unfurled, or a steamboat with its boiler vibrating in the iron keel; and he thinks of all the ports, the foreign merchandise the cranes unload on the docks, the taverns where crews of different flags break bottles over one another’s heads, the lighted, ground-floor windows, each with a woman combing her hair. In the coastline’s haze, the sailor discerns the form of a camel’s withers, an embroidered saddle with glittering fringe between two spotted humps, advancing and swaying; he knows it is a city, but he thinks of it as a camel from whose pack hang wine-skins and bags of candied fruit, date wine, tobacco leaves, and already he sees himself at the head of a long caravan taking him away from the desert of the sea, toward oases of fresh water in the palm trees’ jagged shade, toward palaces of thick, whitewashed walls, tiled courts where girls are dancing barefoot, moving their arms, half-hidden by their veils, and half-revealed. Each city receives its form from the desert it opposes; and so the camel driver and the sailor see Despina, a border city between two deserts.
Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities)
One faction views SeaWorld as a Garden Hilton for killer whales, and the other views it as a Hanoi Hilton for killer whales.
David Kirby (Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity)
She wandered as though in a dream, through the wavering sea of barley, touched with crimson stains of poppies. All unobserved, he came to her…There came from his lips no wordy protestations such as formal lovers use. No eloquence was his, nor did he suffer for lack of it. He simply enfolded her in his manly arms…
E.M. Forster (A Room with a View)
My anxieties as to behavior are futile, ever more so, to infinity. If the other, incidentally or negligently, gives the telephone number of a place where he or she can be reached at certain times, I immediately grow baffled: should I telephone or shouldn't I? (It would do no good to tell me that I can telephone - that is the objective, reasonable meaning of the message - for it is precisely this permission I don't know how to handle.) What is futile is what apparently has and will have no consequence. But for me, an amorous subject, everything which is new, everything which disturbs, is received not as a fact but in the aspect of a sign which must be interpreted. From the lover's point of view, the fact becomes consequential because it is immediately transformed into a sign: it is the sign, not the fact, which is consequential (by its aura). If the other has given me this new telephone number, what was that the sign of? Was it an invitation to telephone right away, for the pleasure of the call, or only should the occasion arise, out of necessity? My answer itself will be a sign, which the other will inevitably interpret, thereby releasing, between us, a tumultuous maneuvering of images. Everything signifies: by this proposition, I entrap myself, I bind myself in calculations, I keep myself from enjoyment. Sometimes, by dint of deliberating about "nothing" (as the world sees it), I exhaust myself; then I try, in reaction, to return -- like a drowning man who stamps on the floor of the sea -- to a spontaneous decision (spontaneity: the great dream: paradise, power, delight): go on, telephone, since you want to! But such recourse is futile: amorous time does not permit the subject to align impulse and action, to make them coincide: I am not the man of mere "acting out" -- my madness is tempered, it is not seen; it is right away that I fear consequences, any consequence: it is my fear -- my deliberation -- which is "spontaneous.
Roland Barthes (A Lover's Discourse: Fragments)
And this is where I learned that sometimes our most holy mountain-moving faith looks more like spending our whole lives making that mountain move, rock by rock, pebble by pebble, unsexy day after daily day, casting the mountain to the sea stone by stone rather than watching a mountain suddenly rise up and cast itself.
Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)
Whether I’m working a street corner or a market stall, well, that’s none of their business unless they’re buying. The anonymity is comfortable, like going around draped in magic, hidden from view.
Cat Hellisen (When the Sea Is Rising Red (Hobverse #1))
What he longs for instead, as he sits at the food-strewn table, is winter, winter itself. He wants the essentiality of winter, not this half-season grey selfsameness. He wants real winter where woods are sheathed in snow, trees emphatic with its white, their bareness shining and enhanced because of it, the ground underfoot snow-covered as if with frozen feathers or shredded cloud but streaked with gold through the trees from low winter sun, and at the end of the barely discernible track, along the dip in the snow that indicates a muffled path between the trees, the view and the woods opening to a light that’s itself untrodden, never been blemished, wide like an expanse of snow-sea, above it more snow promised, waiting its time in the blank of the sky.
Ali Smith (Winter (Seasonal, #2))
Our ego consciousness — namely, who we think we are, or what we believe real — is at best a thin wafer floating on an iridescent sea. In any moment, we view the world through a distorting lens and make choices based on what the lens allows us to see, not what lies outside its frame.
James Hollis (Living an Examined Life: Wisdom for the Second Half of the Journey)
Question: Which Mediterranean government shares all of Ronald Reagan's views on international terrorism, the present danger of Soviet advance, the hypocrisy of the United Nations, the unreliability of Europe, the perfidy of the Third World and the need for nuclear defense policy? Question: Which Mediterranean government is Ronald Reagan trying, with the help of George Shultz and Caspar Weinberger, to replace with a government led by a party which professes socialism and which contains extreme leftists? If you answered 'the government of Israel' to both of the above, you know more about political and international irony than the President does.
Christopher Hitchens
Before us, over the tree tops, we beheld a great field of open sea to the East. Sheer above us rose single pines, black with precipices. There was no sound but that of the distant breakers, mounting from all around, and the chirp of countless insects in the brush. Not a man, not a sail upon the sea; the very largeness of the view increased the sense of solitude.
Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island)
To be able to see the Bosphorus, even from afar—for İstanbullus this is a matter of spiritual import that may explain why windows looking out onto the sea are like the mihrabs in mosques, the altars in Christian churches, and the tevans in synagogues, and why all the chairs, sofas, and dining tables in our Bosphorus-facing sitting rooms are arranged to face the view.
Orhan Pamuk (Istanbul (Vintage International))
Something, most certainly, happens to a diver’s emotions underwater. It is not merely a side effect of the pleasing, vaguely erotic sensation of water pressure on the body. Nor is it alone the peculiar sense of weightlessness, which permits a diver to hang motionless in open water, observing sea life large as whales around him; not the ability of a diver, descending in that condition, to slowly tumble and rotate in all three spatial planes. It is not the exhilaration from disorientation that comes when one’s point of view starts to lose its “lefts” and “down” and gains instead something else, a unique perception that grows out of the ease of movement in three dimensions. It is not from the diminishment of gravity to a force little more emphatic than a suggestion. It is not solely exposure to an unfamiliar intensity of life. It is not a state of rapture with the bottomless blue world beneath one’s feet…it is some complicated mix of these emotions, together with the constant proximity of real terror.
Barry Lopez (About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory)
They were like those deep-sea creatures with watery, transparent skin: you could see the soft little jerking beans of their hearts, you understood that the very thing that was supposed to protect them was the thing that made them vulnerable, and you knew you couldn’t help them, so you decided to love them instead.
Kevin Brockmeier (The View from the Seventh Layer)
Tom lived by the sea. In a small blue house that was from another time. It was squeaky and drafty and held one of my favorite places in the entire world: a big old chair by a front window and a fireplace, from which could be seen a view of the North Sea while one lounged, under a quilt preferably, and read book after book.
Paige Shelton (The Cracked Spine (Scottish Bookshop Mystery, #1))
At present, the successful office-seeker is a good deal like the center of the earth; he weighs nothing himself, but draws everything else to him. There are so many societies, so many churches, so many isms, that it is almost impossible for an independent man to succeed in a political career. Candidates are forced to pretend that they are catholics with protestant proclivities, or christians with liberal tendencies, or temperance men who now and then take a glass of wine, or, that although not members of any church their wives are, and that they subscribe liberally to all. The result of all this is that we reward hypocrisy and elect men entirely destitute of real principle; and this will never change until the people become grand enough to allow each other to do their own thinking. Our government should be entirely and purely secular. The religious views of a candidate should be kept entirely out of sight. He should not be compelled to give his opinion as to the inspiration of the bible, the propriety of infant baptism, or the immaculate conception. All these things are private and personal. The people ought to be wise enough to select as their officers men who know something of political affairs, who comprehend the present greatness, and clearly perceive the future grandeur of our country. If we were in a storm at sea, with deck wave-washed and masts strained and bent with storm, and it was necessary to reef the top sail, we certainly would not ask the brave sailor who volunteered to go aloft, what his opinion was on the five points of Calvinism. Our government has nothing to do with religion. It is neither christian nor pagan; it is secular. But as long as the people persist in voting for or against men on account of their religious views, just so long will hypocrisy hold place and power. Just so long will the candidates crawl in the dust—hide their opinions, flatter those with whom they differ, pretend to agree with those whom they despise; and just so long will honest men be trampled under foot.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
And he came to understand that the burial of the broken wasn't eccentric — this was what people did every day, stuffing their brokenness down, pushing it down, smoothing the surface over, making the surface look like nothing was broken underneath. Because, if people see that you are broken, they will not want to stand with you. They will migrate away from you the way groups of people walking down the street will move aside when a shambling ranting man approaches. They will look at the ground and look away so that such a person becomes invisible. So if you are such a person or just an everyday person with some broken places, some places really broken, you will pull them back from view so you can mingle with others without being seen as broken. Because if you have the look of a broken thing, if you are pushed aside and turned from, you will never find your footing again in the world.
Lindsay Hill (Sea of Hooks)
I feel to that the gap between my new life in New York and the situation at home in Africa is stretching into a gulf, as Zimbabwe spirals downwards into a violent dictatorship. My head bulges with the effort to contain both worlds. When I am back in New York, Africa immediately seems fantastical – a wildly plumaged bird, as exotic as it is unlikely. Most of us struggle in life to maintain the illusion of control, but in Africa that illusion is almost impossible to maintain. I always have the sense there that there is no equilibrium, that everything perpetually teeters on the brink of some dramatic change, that society constantly stands poised for some spasm, some tsunami in which you can do nothing but hope to bob up to the surface and not be sucked out into a dark and hungry sea. The origin of my permanent sense of unease, my general foreboding, is probably the fact that I have lived through just such change, such a sudden and violent upending of value systems. In my part of Africa, death is never far away. With more Zimbabweans dying in their early thirties now, mortality has a seat at every table. The urgent, tugging winds themselves seem to whisper the message, memento mori, you too shall die. In Africa, you do not view death from the auditorium of life, as a spectator, but from the edge of the stage, waiting only for your cue. You feel perishable, temporary, transient. You feel mortal. Maybe that is why you seem to live more vividly in Africa. The drama of life there is amplified by its constant proximity to death. That’s what infuses it with tension. It is the essence of its tragedy too. People love harder there. Love is the way that life forgets that it is terminal. Love is life’s alibi in the face of death. For me, the illusion of control is much easier to maintain in England or America. In this temperate world, I feel more secure, as if change will only happen incrementally, in manageable, finely calibrated, bite-sized portions. There is a sense of continuity threaded through it all: the anchor of history, the tangible presence of antiquity, of buildings, of institutions. You live in the expectation of reaching old age. At least you used to. But on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, those two states of mind converge. Suddenly it feels like I am back in Africa, where things can be taken away from you at random, in a single violent stroke, as quick as the whip of a snake’s head. Where tumult is raised with an abruptness that is as breathtaking as the violence itself.
Peter Godwin (When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa)
THEY FOUND LEO AT THE TOP of the city fortifications. He was sitting at an open-air café, overlooking the sea, drinking a cup of coffee and dressed in…wow. Time warp. Leo’s outfit was identical to the one he’d worn the day they first arrived at Camp Half-Blood—jeans, a white shirt, and an old army jacket. Except that jacket had burned up months ago. Piper nearly knocked him out of his chair with a hug. “Leo! Gods, where have you been?” “Valdez!” Coach Hedge grinned. Then he seemed to remember he had a reputation to protect and he forced a scowl. “You ever disappear like that again, you little punk, I’ll knock you into next month!” Frank patted Leo on the back so hard it made him wince. Even Nico shook his hand. Hazel kissed Leo on the cheek. “We thought you were dead!” Leo mustered a faint smile. “Hey, guys. Nah, nah, I’m good.” Jason could tell he wasn’t good. Leo wouldn’t meet their eyes. His hands were perfectly still on the table. Leo’s hands were never still. All the nervous energy had drained right out of him, replaced by a kind of wistful sadness. Jason wondered why his expression seemed familiar. Then he realized Nico di Angelo had looked the same way after facing Cupid in the ruins of Salona. Leo was heartsick. As the others grabbed chairs from the nearby tables, Jason leaned in and squeezed his friend’s shoulder. “Hey, man,” he said, “what happened?” Leo’s eyes swept around the group. The message was clear: Not here. Not in front of everyone. “I got marooned,” Leo said. “Long story. How about you guys? What happened with Khione?” Coach Hedge snorted. “What happened? Piper happened! I’m telling you, this girl has skills!” “Coach…” Piper protested. Hedge began retelling the story, but in his version Piper was a kung fu assassin and there were a lot more Boreads. As the coach talked, Jason studied Leo with concern. This café had a perfect view of the harbor. Leo must have seen the Argo II sail in. Yet he sat here drinking coffee—which he didn’t even like—waiting for them to find him. That wasn’t like Leo at all. The ship was the most important thing in his life. When he saw it coming to rescue him, Leo should have run down to the docks, whooping at the top of his lungs. Coach Hedge was just describing how Piper had defeated Khione with a roundhouse kick when Piper interrupted. “Coach!” she said. “It didn’t happen like that at all. I couldn’t have done anything without Festus.” Leo raised his eyebrows. “But Festus was deactivated.” “Um, about that,” Piper said. “I sort of woke him up.” Piper explained her version of events—how she’d rebooted the metal dragon with charmspeak.
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4))
All of the great mythologies and much of the mythic story-telling of the world are from the male point of view. When I was writing The Hero with a Thousand Faces and wanted to bring female heroes in, I had to go to the fairy tales. These were told by women to children, you know, and you get a different perspective. It was the men who got involved in spinning most of the great myths. The women were too busy; they had too damn much to do to sit around thinking about stories. [...] In the Odyssey, you'll see three journeys. One is that of Telemachus, the son, going in quest of his father. The second is that of the father, Odysseus, becoming reconciled and related to the female principle in the sense of male-female relationship, rather than the male mastery of the female that was at the center of the Iliad. And the third is of Penelope herself, whose journey is [...] endurance. Out in Nantucket, you see all those cottages with the widow's walk up on the roof: when my husband comes back from the sea. Two journeys through space and one through time.
Joseph Campbell
I watched the shadow of our plane hastening below us across hedges and fences, rows of poplars and canals … Nowhere, however, was a single human being to be seen. No matter whether one is flying over Newfoundland or the sea of lights that stretches from Boston to Philadelphia after nightfall, over the Arabian deserts which gleam like mother-of-pearl, over the Ruhr or the city of Frankfurt, it is as though there were no people, only the things they have made and in which they are hiding. One sees the places where they live and the roads that link them, one sees the smoke rising from their houses and factories, one sees the vehicles in which they sit, but one sees not the people themselves. And yet they are present everywhere upon the face of the earth, extending their dominion by the hour, moving around the honeycombs of towering buildings and tied into networks of a complexity that goes far beyond the power of any one individual to imagine, from the thousands of hoists and winches that once worked the South African diamond mines to the floors of today's stock and commodity exchanges, through which the global tides of information flow without cease. If we view ourselves from a great height, it is frightening to realize how little we know about our species, our purpose and our end, I thought, as we crossed the coastline and flew out over the jelly-green sea.
W.G. Sebald (The Rings of Saturn)
Some are questioning whether the churches they grew up in have anything to offer them as they make their ways in a culture of many cultures with many views of truth, some of which make a great deal of sense to them. For those who counted on God to protect them from so many choices, it is as if the heavenly Father let go of their hand in a crowd one day and vanished into a sea of divine possibilities. I cannot protect the students in my classes from this any better than I can protect myself. Existential dizziness is one of the side effects of higher education, and it affects teachers too.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others)
All through the winter months, Rose kept up the practice of sitting by the fire with Peter and a book telling him stories. The doctor stopped to listen one afternoon out of curiosity, and heard her say, “…then the Mermaid said to the Pirate, ‘I would rather perish with the boy than go with you.’ And the Pirate said, ‘So be it,’ and sealed them both up inside the treasure chest. Then the pirate’s crew got together to lift the chest up, and with a nod from their captain, they cast the chest overboard into the sea. The chest was so heavy, it sank in the water in spite of the air inside, and in seconds it was gone from view, disappearing into the deep blue depths. If the boy and the mermaid were unable to free themselves, they would surely perish.” Peter’s eyes were wide with interest. “But- I can’t tell you what happened- you’ll have to find out next time.” She stopped and closed the book. Peter shook his head and put his hand on the book. She laughed and said, “You want to hear more now, do you?
Christopher Daniel Mechling (Peter: The Untold True Story)
The loveliness of the view outside stopped me in my tracks. The mountain fell away before me, a carpet of green made greener by the luminous dawn staining the clouds with pinks and golds. The mountains themselves were lightly ensnowed, though there was no threat of a sequel in that cerulean canopy. Within the hinterlands of the prospect heaved the great beast of the sea with its patchy pelt of ice floes.
Heather Fawcett (Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries (Emily Wilde, #1))
There, at a depth to which divers would find it difficult to descend, are caverns, haunts, and dusky mazes, where monstrous creatures multiply and destroy each other. Huge crabs devour fish and are devoured in their turn. Hideous shapes of living things, not created to be seen by human eyes wander in this twilight. Vague forms of antennae, tentacles, fins, open jaws, scales, and claws, float about there, quivering, growing larger, or decomposing and perishing in the gloom, while horrible swarms of swimming things prowl about seeking their prey. To gaze into the depths of the sea is, in the imagination, like beholding the vast unknown, and from its most terrible point of view. The submarine gulf is analogous to the realm of night and dreams. There also is sleep, unconsciousness, or at least apparent unconsciousness, of creation. There in the awful silence and darkness, the rude first forms of life, phantomlike, demoniacal, pursue their horrible instincts.
Victor Hugo (The Toilers of the Sea)
Close up gave me a nice view of Mychael, and as always, he was damned good to look at. His eyes were that mix of blue and pale green found only in warm, tropical seas. His hair was short and auburn. His handsome features were strong, and his face scruffy with stubble. Very nice. Sexy nice. I guess having demons on your island didn’t give you time to shave. Mychael was an elf, and the tips of his ears were elegantly pointed. I’d felt the urge to nibble those tips on more than one occasion, but I didn’t think now was the time or place.
Lisa Shearin (The Trouble with Demons (Raine Benares #3))
His prime resource is the leaky vessel of is own memory. At times he views it thus, quite literally- as some old pail with holes and rusted seams. Alternatively, he imagines an extensive manuscript of which there survive only a handful of charred fragments; it is like trying to piece together the Gospels from the Dead Sea Scrolls....
Penelope Lively (The Photograph)
Nothing is clear now. Something must be the matter with my way of viewing things. I have no middle view. Either I fix on a detail and see it as thought it were magnified -- a leaf with all its veins perceived, the fine hairs on a man's hands -- or else the world recedes and becomes blurred, artificial, indefinite, an abstract painting of a world. The darkening sky is hugely blue, gashed with rose, blood, flame from the volcano or wound or flower of the lowering sun. The wavering green, the sea of grass, piercingly bright. Black tree trunks, contorted, arching over the river.
Margaret Laurence (A Jest of God)
I’ve started dreaming in Spanish, which has never happened before. I wake up feeling different, like something inside me is changing, something chemical and irreversible. There’s a magic here working its way through my veins. There’s something about the vegetation, too, that I respond to instinctively - the stunning bougainvillea, the flamboyants and jacarandas, the orchids growing from the trunks of the mysterious ceiba trees. And I love Havana, its noise and decay and painted ladyness. I could happily sit on one of those wrought-iron balconies for days, or keep my grandmother company on her porch, with its ringside view of the sea. I’m afraid to lose all this, to lose Abuela Celia again. But sooner or later I’d have to return to New York. I know now it’s where I belong - not instead of here, but more than here. How can I tell my grandmother this?
Cristina García (Dreaming in Cuban)
What of it, if some old hunks of a sea-captain orders me to get a broom and sweep down the decks? What does that indignity amount to, weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular instance? Who ain't a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, however the old sea-captains may order me about- however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way- either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other's shoulder-blades, and be content.
Herman Melville (Moby Dick, or the Whale)
The sun was shining on the sea, Shining with all his might: He did his very best to make The billows smooth and bright-- And this was odd, because it was The middle of the night. The moon was shining sulkily, Because she thought the sun Had got no business to be there After the day was done-- "It's very rude of him," she said, "To come and spoil the fun!" The sea was wet as wet could be, The sands were dry as dry. You could not see a cloud, because No cloud was in the sky: No birds were flying over head-- There were no birds to fly. The Walrus and the Carpenter Were walking close at hand; They wept like anything to see Such quantities of sand: "If this were only cleared away," They said, "it WOULD be grand!" "If seven maids with seven mops Swept it for half a year, Do you suppose," the Walrus said, "That they could get it clear?" "I doubt it," said the Carpenter, And shed a bitter tear. "O Oysters, come and walk with us!" The Walrus did beseech. "A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk, Along the briny beach: We cannot do with more than four, To give a hand to each." The eldest Oyster looked at him. But never a word he said: The eldest Oyster winked his eye, And shook his heavy head-- Meaning to say he did not choose To leave the oyster-bed. But four young oysters hurried up, All eager for the treat: Their coats were brushed, their faces washed, Their shoes were clean and neat-- And this was odd, because, you know, They hadn't any feet. Four other Oysters followed them, And yet another four; And thick and fast they came at last, And more, and more, and more-- All hopping through the frothy waves, And scrambling to the shore. The Walrus and the Carpenter Walked on a mile or so, And then they rested on a rock Conveniently low: And all the little Oysters stood And waited in a row. "The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax-- Of cabbages--and kings-- And why the sea is boiling hot-- And whether pigs have wings." "But wait a bit," the Oysters cried, "Before we have our chat; For some of us are out of breath, And all of us are fat!" "No hurry!" said the Carpenter. They thanked him much for that. "A loaf of bread," the Walrus said, "Is what we chiefly need: Pepper and vinegar besides Are very good indeed-- Now if you're ready Oysters dear, We can begin to feed." "But not on us!" the Oysters cried, Turning a little blue, "After such kindness, that would be A dismal thing to do!" "The night is fine," the Walrus said "Do you admire the view? "It was so kind of you to come! And you are very nice!" The Carpenter said nothing but "Cut us another slice: I wish you were not quite so deaf-- I've had to ask you twice!" "It seems a shame," the Walrus said, "To play them such a trick, After we've brought them out so far, And made them trot so quick!" The Carpenter said nothing but "The butter's spread too thick!" "I weep for you," the Walrus said. "I deeply sympathize." With sobs and tears he sorted out Those of the largest size. Holding his pocket handkerchief Before his streaming eyes. "O Oysters," said the Carpenter. "You've had a pleasant run! Shall we be trotting home again?" But answer came there none-- And that was scarcely odd, because They'd eaten every one.
Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, #2))
During the next few years I wrote a series of Martian pensées, Shakespearean "asides," wandering thoughts, long night visions, predawn half-dreams. The French, like St. John Perce, practice this to perfection. It is the half-poem, half-prose paragraph that runs as little as one hundred words or as long as a full page on any subject, summoned by weather, time, architectural facade, fine wine, good victuals, a view of the sea, quick sunsets, or a long sunrise. From these elements one upchucks rare hairballs or a maundering Hamlet-like soliloquy.
Ray Bradbury
Oh, but to reach silence, what a huge effort of voice. My voice is the way I go seek reality; reality prior to my language exists as an unthinkable thought, but I was and am fatefully impelled to have to know what thought thinks. Reality precedes the voice that seeks it, but like the earth precedes the tree, but like the world precedes the man, but like the sea precedes the view of the sea, life precedes love, bodily matter precedes the body, and one day in its turn language shall have preceded possession of silence. - Clarice Lispector, The Passion According to G.H.
Clarice Lispector
In addition to the little ecosystem developing around my raft, I am constantly surrounded by a display of natural wonders. The acrobatic dorados perform beneath ballets of fluffy white clouds. The clouds glide across the sky until they join at the horizon to form whirling, flaming sunsets that are slowly doused by nightfall. Then, as if the sun had suddenly crashed, thousands of glistening galaxies are flung out into deep black night. There is no bigger sky country than the sea. But I cannot enjoy the incredible beauty around me. It lies beyond my grasp, taunting me. Knowing it can be stolen from me at any time, by a Dorado or shark attack or by a deflating raft, I cannot relax and appreciate it. It is beauty surrounded by ugly fear. I write in my log that it is a view of heaven from a seat in hell.
Steven Callahan (Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea)
That's what Jesus meant," whispers the ghost of Slothrop's first American ancestor William, "venturing out on the Sea of Galilee. He saw it from the lemming point of view. Without the millions who had plunged and drowned, there could have been no miracle. The successful loner was only the other part of it: the last piece to the jigsaw puzzle, whose shape had already been created by the Preterite, like the last blank space on the table." "Wait a minute. You people didn't have jigsaw puzzles." "Aw, shit.
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity’s Rainbow)
What's all this, I expect you're thinking, about "the tallest mountain in the world"? Everest, surely, deserves at least an honourable mention in this category? Well, it all depends on your point of view. Certainly, Everest stands a sturdy 29,028 feet above sea level, which is, in its way, impressive. But if you were going to climb Everest, you would probably start, fi you were using a reliable guide, somewhere in the Himalayas. Anywhere in the Himalayas is pretty damn high to start with, and so, to hear some people tell it, it's just a smartish jog to do the last little bit to the actual top of Everest. The way to keep it interesting these days is to do it without oxygen or in your underpants or something.
Douglas Adams (The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time)
The gentleman was asking what you thought of democracy, sir,’ said Vidal, smiling. ‘Alas I cannot tell you, sir,’ said Stephen, returning the smile. ‘For although it would not be proper to call this barque or vessel a King’s ship except in the largest sense, we nevertheless adhere strictly to the naval tradition which forbids the discussion of religion, women, or politics in our mess. It has been objected that this rule makes for insipidity, which may be so; yet on the other hand it has its uses, since in this case for example it prevents any member from wounding any other gentleman present by saying that he did not think the policy that put Socrates to death and that left Athens prostrate was the highest expression of human wisdom, or by quoting Aristotle’s definition of democracy as mob-rule, the depraved version of a commonwealth.’ ‘Can you suggest a better system?’ asked Dutourd. ‘Sir,’ said Stephen, ‘my words were those of some hypothetical person: where my own views are concerned, tradition seals my mouth. As I have told you, we do not discuss politics at this table.
Patrick O'Brian (The Wine-Dark Sea (Aubrey/Maturin, #16))
Notice also that there is a tie between Genesis and Revelation, the first and last books of the Bible. Genesis presents the beginning, and Revelation presents the end. Note the contrasts between the two books: In Genesis the earth was created; in Revelation the earth passes away. In Genesis was Satan’s first rebellion; in Revelation is Satan’s last rebellion. In Genesis the sun, moon, and stars were for earth’s government; in Revelation these same heavenly bodies are for earth’s judgment. In Genesis the sun was to govern the day; in Revelation there is no need of the sun. In Genesis darkness was called night; in Revelation there is “no night there” (see Rev. 21:25; 22:5). In Genesis the waters were called seas; in Revelation there is no more sea. In Genesis was the entrance of sin; in Revelation is the exodus of sin. In Genesis the curse was pronounced; in Revelation the curse is removed. In Genesis death entered; in Revelation there is no more death. In Genesis was the beginning of sorrow and suffering; in Revelation there will be no more sorrow and no more tears. In Genesis was the marriage of the first Adam; in Revelation is the marriage of the Last Adam. In Genesis we saw man’s city, Babylon, being built; in Revelation we see man’s city, Babylon, destroyed and God’s city, the New Jerusalem, brought into view. In Genesis Satan’s doom was pronounced; in Revelation Satan’s doom is executed. It is interesting that Genesis opens the Bible not only with a global view but also with a universal view—“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). And the Bible closes with another global and universal book. The Revelation shows what God is going to do with His universe and with His creatures. There is no other book quite like this.
J. Vernon McGee (Revelation 1-5)
I wonder what I’m going to be when I grow up,’ Rob asked himself. ‘Well, not a film star,’ Mike said. ‘And not an all-in wrestler. Why don’t you be a drunk? You don’t need any talents for that.’ ‘It’s got to be something in your blood,’ Rob said. It was his view that all history was a matter of blood. ‘That’s a lot of bullshit,’ Mike said. ‘Hell, Australia was built by people who didn’t know who their grandparents were. You can be anything you want to be, and you ought to be what you want to be, not what your grandpa was.’ ‘Well, what are you going to be?’ Rob demanded… ‘A drunk,’ said Mike. ‘I haven’t got any talents.
Randolph Stow (The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea)
She's saying something. My mother's words found me, there in the black. I pinched my eyes closed, her face coming into perfect view One long, dark red braid over her shoulder. Pale gray eyes the color of morning fog and the sea-dragon necklace around her neck as she looked up into the clouds above us. Isolde loved the storms. That night, the bell rang out and my father came for me, pulling me from my hammock bleary-eyed and confused. and when he put me in the rowboat, I screamed for my mother until my throat was raw. The Lark was already half-sunk, disappearing in the water behind us. My mother called it touching the soul of the storm. When she came upon us like that, she was taking us into her hart and letting us see her. She was saying something. And only then would we know what lay within her. Only then would we know who she was.
Adrienne Young (Fable (The World of the Narrows, #1))
Say you could view a time lapse film of our planet: what would you see? Transparent images moving through light, “an infinite storm of beauty.” The beginning is swaddled in mists, blasted by random blinding flashes. Lava pours and cools; seas boil and flood. Clouds materialize and shift; now you can see the earth’s face through only random patches of clarity. The land shudders and splits, like pack ice rent by widening lead. Mountains burst up, jutting, and dull and soften before your eyes, clothed in forests like felt. The ice rolls up, grinding green land under water forever; the ice rolls back. Forests erupt and disappear like fairy rings. The ice rolls up- mountains are mowed into lakes, land rises wet from the sea like a surfacing whale- the ice rolls back. A blue-green streaks the highest ridges, a yellow-green spreads from the south like a wave up a strand. A red dye seems to leak from the north down the ridges and into the valleys, seeping south; a white follows the red, then yellow-green washes north, then red spreads again, then white, over and over, making patterns of color too intricate to follow. Slow the film. You see dust storms, locusts, floods, in dizzying flash-frames. Zero in on a well-watered shore and see smoke from fires drifting. Stone cities rise, spread, and crumble, like paths of alpine blossoms that flourish for a day an inch above the permafrost, that iced earth no root can suck, and wither in a hour. New cities appear, and rivers sift silt onto their rooftops; more cities emerge and spread in lobes like lichen on rock. The great human figures of history, those intricate, spirited tissues whose split second in the light was too brief an exposure to yield any image but the hunched shadowless figures of ghosts. Slow it down more, come closer still. A dot appears, a flesh-flake. It swells like a balloon; it moves, circles, slows, and vanishes. This is your life.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
Questions of Travel There are too many waterfalls here; the crowded streams hurry too rapidly down to the sea, and the pressure of so many clouds on the mountaintops makes them spill over the sides in soft slow-motion, turning to waterfalls under our very eyes. —For if those streaks, those mile-long, shiny, tearstains, aren't waterfalls yet, in a quick age or so, as ages go here, they probably will be. But if the streams and clouds keep travelling, travelling, the mountains look like the hulls of capsized ships, slime-hung and barnacled. Think of the long trip home. Should we have stayed at home and thought of here? Where should we be today? Is it right to be watching strangers in a play in this strangest of theatres? What childishness is it that while there's a breath of life in our bodies, we are determined to rush to see the sun the other way around? The tiniest green hummingbird in the world? To stare at some inexplicable old stonework, inexplicable and impenetrable, at any view, instantly seen and always, always delightful? Oh, must we dream our dreams and have them, too? And have we room for one more folded sunset, still quite warm? But surely it would have been a pity not to have seen the trees along this road, really exaggerated in their beauty, not to have seen them gesturing like noble pantomimists, robed in pink. —Not to have had to stop for gas and heard the sad, two-noted, wooden tune of disparate wooden clogs carelessly clacking over a grease-stained filling-station floor. (In another country the clogs would all be tested. Each pair there would have identical pitch.) —A pity not to have heard the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird who sings above the broken gasoline pump in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque: three towers, five silver crosses. —Yes, a pity not to have pondered, blurredly and inconclusively, on what connection can exist for centuries between the crudest wooden footwear and, careful and finicky, the whittled fantasies of wooden cages. —Never to have studied history in the weak calligraphy of songbirds' cages. —And never to have had to listen to rain so much like politicians' speeches: two hour of unrelenting oratory and then a sudden golden silence in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes: "Is it lack of imagination that makes us come to imagined places, not just stay at home? Or could Pascal have been entirely right about just sitting quietly in one's room? Continent, city, country, society: the choice is never wide and never free. And here, or there...No. Should we have stayed at home, wherever that may be?
Elizabeth Bishop (Questions of Travel)
- Paddle Your Own Canoe Voyager upon life's sea, To yourself be true, And whatever your lot may be, Paddle your own canoe. Never, though the winds may rave, Falter or look back; But upon the darkest wave Leave a shining track. Paddle your own canoe. Nobly dare the wildest storm, Stem the hardest gale, Brave of heart and strong of arm You will never fail. When the world is cold and dark, Keep your aim in view; And toward the beacon work, Paddle your own canoe. ... ..Would you crush the giant wrong, In the world's free fight? With a spirit brave and strong, Battle for the right. And to break the chains that bind The many to the few To enfranchise slavish mind,- Paddle your own canoe. Nothing great is lightly won, Nothing won is lost, Every good deed, nobly done, Will repay the cost. Leave to Heaven, in humble trust, All you will to do: But if succeed, you must Paddle your own canoe.
Sarah Knowles Bolton
When I go to sea, I go as a simple sailor, right before the mast, plumb down into the forecastle, aloft there to the royal mast-head. True, they rather order me about some, and make me jump from spar to spar, like a grasshopper in a May meadow. And at first, this sort of thing is unpleasant enough. It touches one's sense of honor, particularly if you come of an old established family in the land, the van Rensselaers, or Randolphs, or Hardicanutes. And more than all, if just previous to putting your hand into the tar-pot, you have been lording it as a country schoolmaster, making the tallest boys stand in awe of you. The transition is a keen one, I assure you, from the schoolmaster to a sailor, and requires a strong decoction of Seneca and the Stoics to enable you to grin and bear it. But even this wears off in time. What of it, if some old hunks of a sea-captain orders me to get a broom and sweep down the decks? What does that indignity amount to, weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular instance? Who ain't a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, however the old sea-captains may order me about—however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way—either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other's shoulder-blades, and be content.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, The Whale)
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board, which I have padded with our dog's blanket and the tea-cosy. I can't say that I am really comfortable, and there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. And I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring - I wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen-house. Though even that isn't a very good poem. I have decided my best poetry is so bad that I mustn't write any more of it. Drips from the roof are plopping into the water-butt by the back door. The view through the windows above the sink is excessively drear. Beyond the dank garden in the courtyard are the ruined walls on the edge of the moat. Beyond the moat, the boggy ploughed fields stretch to the leaden sky. I tell myself that all the rain we have had lately is good for nature, and that at any moment spring will surge on us. I try to see leaves on the trees and the courtyard filled with sunlight. Unfortunately, the more my mind's eye sees green and gold, the more drained of all colour does the twilight seem. It is comforting to look away from the windows and towards the kitchen fire, near which my sister Rose is ironing - though she obviously can't see properly, and it will be a pity if she scorches her only nightgown. (I have two, but one is minus its behind.) Rose looks particularly fetching by firelight because she is a pinkish person; her skin has a pink glow and her hair is pinkish gold, very light and feathery. Although I am rather used to her I know she is a beauty. She is nearly twenty-one and very bitter with life. I am seventeen, look younger, feel older. I am no beauty but I have a neatish face. I have just remarked to Rose that our situation is really rather romantic - two girls in this strange and lonely house. She replied that she saw nothing romantic about being shut up in a crumbling ruin surrounded by a sea of mud. I must admit that our home is an unreasonable place to live in. Yet I love it. The house itself was built in the time of Charles II, but it was grafted on to a fourteenth-century castle that had been damaged by Cromwell. The whole of our east wall was part of the castle; there are two round towers in it. The gatehouse is intact and a stretch of the old walls at their full height joins it to the house. And Belmotte Tower, all that remains of an even older castle, still stands on its mound close by. But I won't attempt to describe our peculiar home fully until I can see more time ahead of me than I do now. I am writing this journal partly to practise my newly acquired speed-writing and partly to teach myself how to write a novel - I intend to capture all our characters and put in conversations. It ought to be good for my style to dash along without much thought, as up to now my stories have been very stiff and self-conscious. The only time father obliged me by reading one of them, he said I combined stateliness with a desperate effort to be funny. He told me to relax and let the words flow out of me.
Dodie Smith (I Capture the Castle)
Equally important was the fact that the interpretation provided the model for how Tianming had hidden his message in the three stories. He employed two basic methods: dual-layer metaphors and two-dimensional metaphors. The dual-layer metaphors in the stories did not directly point to the real meaning, but to something far simpler. The tenor of this first metaphor became the vehicle for a second metaphor, which pointed to the real intelligence. In the current example, the princess’s boat, the He’ershingenmosiken soap, and the Glutton’s Sea formed a metaphor for a paper boat driven by soap. The paper boat, in turn, pointed to curvature propulsion. Previous attempts at decipherment had failed largely due to people’s habitual belief that the stories only involved a single layer of metaphors to hide the real message. The two-dimensional metaphors were a technique used to resolve the ambiguities introduced by literary devices employed in conveying strategic intelligence. After a dual-layer metaphor, a single-layer supporting metaphor was added to confirm the meaning of the dual-layer metaphor. In the current example, the curved snow-wave paper and the ironing required to flatten it served as a metaphor for curved space, confirming the interpretation of the soap-driven boat. If one viewed the stories as a two-dimensional plane, the dual-layer metaphor only provided one coordinate; the supporting single-layer metaphor provided a second coordinate that fixed the interpretation on the plane. Thus, this single-layer metaphor was also called the bearing coordinate. Viewed by itself, the bearing coordinate seemed meaningless, but once combined with the dual-layer metaphor, it resolved the inherent ambiguities in literary language. “A subtle and sophisticated system,” a PIA specialist said admiringly. All the committee members congratulated Cheng Xin and AA. AA, who had always been looked down on, saw her status greatly elevated among the committee members. Cheng
Liu Cixin (Death's End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #3))
— If love wants you; if you’ve been melted down to stars, you will love with lungs and gills, with warm blood and cold. With feathers and scales. Under the hot gloom of the forest canopy you’ll want to breathe with the spiral calls of birds, while your lashing tail still gropes for the waes. You’ll try to haul your weight from simple sea to gravity of land. Caught by the tide, in the snail-slip of your own path, for moments suffocating in both water and air. If love wants you, suddently your past is obsolete science. Old maps, disproved theories, a diorama. The moment our bodies are set to spring open. The immanence that reassembles matter passes through us then disperses into time and place: the spasm of fur stroked upright; shocked electrons. The mother who hears her child crying upstairs and suddenly feels her dress wet with milk. Among black branches, oyster-coloured fog tongues every corner of loneliness we never knew before we were loved there, the places left fallow when we’re born, waiting for experience to find its way into us. The night crossing, on deck in the dark car. On the beach wehre night reshaped your face. In the lava fields, carbon turned to carpet, moss like velvet spread over splintered forms. The instant spray freezes in air above the falls, a gasp of ice. We rise, hearing our names called home through salmon-blue dusk, the royal moon an escutcheon on the shield of sky. The current that passes through us, radio waves, electric lick. The billions of photons that pass through film emulsion every second, the single submicroscopic crystal struck that becomes the phograph. We look and suddenly the world looks back. A jagged tube of ions pins us to the sky. — But if, like starlings, we continue to navigate by the rear-view mirror of the moon; if we continue to reach both for salt and for the sweet white nibs of grass growing closest to earth; if, in the autumn bog red with sedge we’re also driving through the canyon at night, all around us the hidden glow of limestone erased by darkness; if still we sish we’d waited for morning, we will know ourselves nowhere. Not in the mirrors of waves or in the corrading stream, not in the wavering glass of an apartment building, not in the looming light of night lobbies or on the rainy deck. Not in the autumn kitchen or in the motel where we watched meteors from our bed while your slow film, the shutter open, turned stars to rain. We will become indigestible. Afraid of choking on fur and armour, animals will refuse the divided longings in our foreing blue flesh. — In your hands, all you’ve lost, all you’ve touched. In the angle of your head, every vow and broken vow. In your skin, every time you were disregarded, every time you were received. Sundered, drowsed. A seeded field, mossy cleft, tidal pool, milky stem. The branch that’s released when the bird lifts or lands. In a summer kitchen. On a white winter morning, sunlight across the bed.
Anne Michaels
In the early months of World War II, San Francisco's Fill-more district, or the Western Addition, experienced a visible revolution. On the surface it appeared to be totally peaceful and almost a refutation of the term “revolution.” The Yakamoto Sea Food Market quietly became Sammy's Shoe Shine Parlor and Smoke Shop. Yashigira's Hardware metamorphosed into La Salon de Beauté owned by Miss Clorinda Jackson. The Japanese shops which sold products to Nisei customers were taken over by enterprising Negro businessmen, and in less than a year became permanent homes away from home for the newly arrived Southern Blacks. Where the odors of tempura, raw fish and cha had dominated, the aroma of chitlings, greens and ham hocks now prevailed. The Asian population dwindled before my eyes. I was unable to tell the Japanese from the Chinese and as yet found no real difference in the national origin of such sounds as Ching and Chan or Moto and Kano. As the Japanese disappeared, soundlessly and without protest, the Negroes entered with their loud jukeboxes, their just-released animosities and the relief of escape from Southern bonds. The Japanese area became San Francisco's Harlem in a matter of months. A person unaware of all the factors that make up oppression might have expected sympathy or even support from the Negro newcomers for the dislodged Japanese. Especially in view of the fact that they (the Blacks) had themselves undergone concentration-camp living for centuries in slavery's plantations and later in sharecroppers' cabins. But the sensations of common relationship were missing. The Black newcomer had been recruited on the desiccated farm lands of Georgia and Mississippi by war-plant labor scouts. The chance to live in two-or three-story apartment buildings (which became instant slums), and to earn two-and even three-figured weekly checks, was blinding. For the first time he could think of himself as a Boss, a Spender. He was able to pay other people to work for him, i.e. the dry cleaners, taxi drivers, waitresses, etc. The shipyards and ammunition plants brought to booming life by the war let him know that he was needed and even appreciated. A completely alien yet very pleasant position for him to experience. Who could expect this man to share his new and dizzying importance with concern for a race that he had never known to exist? Another reason for his indifference to the Japanese removal was more subtle but was more profoundly felt. The Japanese were not whitefolks. Their eyes, language and customs belied the white skin and proved to their dark successors that since they didn't have to be feared, neither did they have to be considered. All this was decided unconsciously.
Maya Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou's Autobiography, #1))
When I first consciously faced my own emptiness, it felt like a sheer drop off a cliff; I could not find the way back up. I was floating in a sea of pain and sorrow that had no words. All I could do was try to welcome what came, weep every day, and let those close to me know what I was going through. I needed to tend and care for this vulnerable place. This well of grief was deeper than anything else I had faced in my life, and the terrain was suffused with emptiness and darkness. There was no one else in this place, no hands to comfort, no arms to hold and support. No other voices could assure me of my connection to the world. I felt utterly alone. Whether or not there is any personal history to this perception is not what is important. What did matter was that I stumbled into this place, and its truth was undeniable. Daily weeping was something I had never experienced before. In fact, I had always been in control of myself emotionally, having shaped a life made up only of the known. I stayed in the well-lit areas, at the shallow end of the pool. I kept other people outside safe peripheries. I had built a strategically controlled life in which I was appreciated and respected. But when I plunged into this place of emptiness, it was like a wall that had been blocking my view was shattered, and I could finally see how I was limiting my life in hopes of avoiding the emptiness.
Francis Weller (The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief)
When the old Liberals removed the gags from all the heresies, their idea was that religious and philosophical discoveries might thus be made. Their view was that cosmic truth was so important that every one ought to bear independent testimony. The modern idea is that cosmic truth is so unimportant that it cannot matter what any one says. The former freed inquiry as men loose a noble hound; the latter frees inquiry as men fling back into the sea a fish unfit for eating. Never has there been so little discussion about the nature of men as now, when, for the first time, any one can discuss it. The old restriction meant that only the orthodox were allowed to discuss religion. Modern liberty means that nobody is allowed to discuss it. Good taste, the last and vilest of human superstitions, has succeeded in silencing us where all the rest have failed.
G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)
We stay in that sunshine, on that marvellous summit, for an hour and an era. We don’t talk much. Up there, language seems impossible, impertinent, sliding stupidly off this landscape. Its size makes metaphor and simile seem preposterous. It is like nowhere I have ever been. It shucks story, leaves the usual forms of meaning-making derelict. Glint of ice cap, breach of whales, silt swirls in outflows, sapphire veins of a crevasse field. A powerful dissonance overtakes my mind, whereby everything seems both distant and proximate at the same time. It feels as if I could lean from that summit and press a finger into the crevasses, tip a drop of water from the serac pool, nudge a berg along the skyline with my fingertip. I realize how configured my sense of distance has become from living so much on the Internet, where everything is in reach and nothing is within touch. The immensity and the vibrancy of the ice are beyond anything I have encountered before. Seen in deep time – viewed even in the relatively shallow time since the last glaciation – the notion of human dominance over the planet seems greedy, delusory. Up there on that summit, at that moment, gazing from the Inner Ice to the berg-filled sea, the idea of the Anthropocene feels at best a conceit, at worst a perilous vanity. I recall the Inuit word I first heard in northern Canada: ilira, meaning ‘a sense of fear and awe’, and also carrying an implication of the landscape’s sentience with it. Yes. That is what I feel here. Ilira.
Robert Macfarlane (Underland: A Deep Time Journey)
Outsiders sometimes have an impression that mathematics consists of applying more and more powerful tools to dig deeper and deeper into the unknown, like tunnelers blasting through the rock with ever more powerful explosives. And that's one way to do it. But Grothendieck, who remade much of pure mathematics in his own image in the 1960's and 70's, had a different view: "The unknown thing to be known appeared to me as some stretch of earth or hard marl, resisting penetration...the sea advances insensibly in silence, nothing seems to happen, nothing moves, the water is so far off you hardly hear it...yet it finally surrounds the resistant substance." The unknown is a stone in the sea, which obstructs our progress. We can try to pack dynamite in the crevices of rock, detonate it, and repeat until the rock breaks apart, as Buffon did with his complicated computations in calculus. Or you can take a more contemplative approach, allowing your level of understanding gradually and gently to rise, until after a time what appeared as an obstacle is overtopped by the calm water, and is gone. Mathematics as currently practiced is a delicate interplay between monastic contemplation and blowing stuff up with dynamite.
Jordan Ellenberg (How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking)
Romance Of A Youngest Daughter" Who will wed the Dowager’s youngest daughter, The Captain? filled with ale? He moored his expected boat to a stake in the water And stumbled on sea-legs into the Hall for mating, Only to be seduced by her lady-in-waiting, Round-bosomed, and not so pale. Or the thrifty burgher in boots and fancy vest With considered views of marriage? By the tidy scullery maid he was impressed Who kept that house from depreciation and dirt, But wife does double duty and takes no hurt, So he rode her home in his carriage. Never the spare young scholar antiquary Who was their next resort; They let him wait in the crypt of the Old Library And found him compromised with a Saxon book, Claiming his truelove Learning kept that nook And promised sweet disport. Desirée (of a mother’s christening) never shall wed Though fairest child of her womb; “We will have revenge,” her injured Ladyship said, “Henceforth the tightest nunnery be thy bed By the topmost stair! When the ill-bred lovers come We’ll say, She is not at home.
John Crowe Ransom
Bill.' If you don't, I'll do this," and with that he gave me a twitch that I thought would have made me faint. Between this and that, I was so utterly terrified of the blind beggar that I forgot my terror of the captain, and as I opened the parlour door, cried out the words he had ordered in a trembling voice. The poor captain raised his eyes, and at one look the rum went out of him and left him staring sober. The expression of his face was not so much of terror as of mortal sickness. He made a movement to rise, but I do not believe he had enough force left in his body. "Now, Bill, sit where you are," said the beggar. "If I can't see, I can hear a finger stirring. Business is business. Hold out your left hand. Boy, take his left hand by the wrist and bring it near to my right." We both obeyed him to the letter, and I saw him pass something from the hollow of the hand that held his stick into the palm of the captain's, which closed upon it instantly. "And now that's done," said the blind man; and at the words he suddenly left hold of me, and with incredible accuracy and nimbleness, skipped out of the parlour and into the road, where, as I still stood motionless, I could hear his stick go tap-tap-tapping into the distance. It was some time before either I or the captain seemed to gather our senses, but at length, and about at the same moment, I released his wrist, which I was still holding, and he drew in his hand and looked sharply into the palm. "Ten o'clock!" he cried. "Six hours. We'll do them yet," and he sprang to his feet. Even as he did so, he reeled, put his hand to his throat, stood swaying for a moment, and then, with a peculiar sound, fell from his whole height face foremost to the floor. I ran to him at once, calling to my mother. But haste was all in vain. The captain had been struck dead by thundering apoplexy. It is a curious thing to understand, for I had certainly never liked the man, though of late I had begun to pity him, but as soon as I saw that he was dead, I burst into a flood of tears. It was the second death I had known, and the sorrow of the first was still fresh in my heart. 4 The Sea-chest I LOST no time, of course, in telling my mother all that I knew, and perhaps should have told her long before, and we saw ourselves at once in a difficult and dangerous position. Some of the man's money—if he had any—was certainly due to us, but it was not likely that our captain's shipmates, above all the two specimens seen by me, Black Dog and the blind beggar, would be inclined to give up their booty in payment of the dead man's debts. The captain's order to mount at once and ride for Doctor Livesey would have left my mother alone and unprotected, which was not to be thought of. Indeed, it seemed impossible for either of us to remain much longer in the house; the fall of coals in the kitchen grate, the very ticking of the clock, filled us with alarms. The neighbourhood, to our ears, seemed haunted by approaching footsteps; and what between the dead body of the captain on the parlour floor and the thought of that detestable blind beggar hovering near at hand and ready to return, there were moments when, as the saying goes, I jumped in my skin for terror. Something must speedily be resolved upon, and it occurred to us at last to go forth together and seek help in the neighbouring hamlet. No sooner said than done. Bare-headed as we were, we ran out at once in the gathering evening and the frosty fog. The hamlet lay not many hundred yards away, though out of view, on the other side of the next cove; and what greatly encouraged me, it was in an opposite direction from that whence the blind man had made his appearance and whither he had presumably returned. We were not many minutes on the road, though we sometimes stopped to lay hold of each other and hearken. But there was no unusual sound—nothing but the low wash of the ripple and the croaking of the inmates of the wood.
Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island)
Those whom [the Lord] teaches, are always increasing in knowledge, both of themselves and of him. The heart is deep, and, like Ezekiel's vision, presents so many chambers of imagery, one within another, that it requires time to get a considerable acquaintance with it, and we shall never know it thoroughly. It is now more than twenty-eight years since the Lord began to open mine to my own view; and from that time to this, almost every day has discovered to me something which until then was unobserved; and the farther I go, the more I seem convinced that I have entered but a little way. A person who travels in some parts of Derbyshire may easily be satisfied that the country is cavernous; but how large, how deep, how numerous the caverns may be, which are hidden from us by the surface of the ground, and what is contained in them—are questions which our most discerning inquirers cannot fully answer… And if our own hearts are beyond our comprehension, how much more incomprehensible is the heart of Jesus! If sin abounds in us—grace and love superabound in him! His ways and thoughts are higher than ours, as the heavens are higher than the earth; his love has a height, and depth, and length, and breadth, which passes all knowledge! The riches of his grace are unsearchable riches! Eph. 3:8, Eph. 3:18, Eph. 3:19. All that we have received or can receive from him, or know of him in this life, compared with what he is in himself, or what he has for us—is but as the drop of a bucket—compared with the ocean; or a single ray of light—compared with the sun. The waters of the sanctuary flow to us at first almost ankle deep—so graciously does the Lord condescend to our weakness; but they rise as we advance, and constrain us to cry out, with the Apostle, O the depth! We find before us, as Dr. Watts beautifully expresses it, A sea of love and grace unknown, Without a bottom or a shore!
John Newton
Big squidhead lies a-sleeping at the bottom of the sea, And one day, when the stars are right, he’ll wake up presently, And then may wipe us all out, which sounds worrying to me, While the Tcho-Tcho sing this song… Aie! Ftagn! Ftagn! Cthulhu! Cosmic horror coming to you, The Old Ones are back now with a view to Sucking out your brains. Big Squidhead lies a-sleeping, although, in a way, he’s dead. There are dreams that change reality a-running round his head. He lies in dread R’lyeh, which is on the ocean bed. But pops up and down for fun. And the Tcho-Tcho sing Aie! Ftagn! Ftagn! Yog-Sothoth! The streets will be chockablock with shoggoth, How sweetly their cries ‘Tekeli-li!’ doth Improve the slimy hour. Big Squidhead lies a-scheming at the bottom of the sea, He is counting out the aeons that make up eternity, And when he’s done, it’s curtains for the mast majority, While the Tcho-Tcho get on down. Aie! Ftagn! Ftagn! Shub-Niggurath! We’re on the winning side to see the aftermath, Put on your marching boots because we’re on the path, To the end times, here we come! To the end times, here we come! To the end times! Here! We! Coooooooooome!
Jonathan L. Howard
The Future is an illusion because, at the most fundamental level, Choice is an illusion. I am a believer in the theory, popular among physicists, that every time there is a Choice, the universe splits: both choices come to pass, but in now-separate universes. And so on, and on, with every choice of every particle, every atom, every molecule, every cell, every being, coming into being. In this universe of universes, everything happens, and every combination of things happens. Our universe is a mote of dust in an ever-growing dust-storm of possibilities, but each mote of dust in that storm is generating its own dust-storm of possibilities every instant, the motes of which in turn... But you get the general impression. Indeed to think of ourselves as single selves, and our universe as a single universe, is to be blinded, by the limitations of our senses and our consciousness, to the infinite-faceted truth: that we are infinite in a universe of universes that are each infinitely infinite..." "An intriguingly intricate view of the world," I said (...) Pat Sheeran nodded. "And it is astonishing how little practical difference it makes," he said. "All my other lives are as inaccessible to me as if they did not exist at all. No doubt in other universes I am a beggar, a revolutionary thinker, an academic, an accountant; a drinker, a thinker, a writer of books; I lose a freckle, gain a mole, shade off into men nothing like me at all; I have sons, fire guns, live forever, die too young. Whenever any particle in this universe changes state, I am split and travel in both directions, multiplied. But here I am, suffering the illusion of unity in this endlessly bifurcating moment. Yet sometimes, I wave my arms for the joy of creating a spray of universes." I said startled at the implications, “Though it may make no practical difference, the implications are nonetheless startling." "Indeed," said Pat Sheeran. "I had immediately to file all the fiction on my shelves under Non-Fiction. For it is an unavoidable corollary of this theory, that Fiction is impossible. For all novels are true histories of worlds as real as ours, but which we cannot see. All stories are possible, all histories have happened. I, billion-bodied, live a trillion lives every quantum instant. Those trillion lives branch out, a quintillion times a second, as every particle in every atom in each mote of dust on land, in sea, and sky, and space, and star, flickering in and out of being in the void, hesitates and decides its next stage. All tragedies, all triumphs, are mine, are yours." "It is a curious and difficult thing, to think that all is possible. No, probable. No, certain," I said, attempting to grasp the largeness of the thought."That nothing is improbable." "It is a comforting thought, some nights, to this version of me, now," said Pat Sheeran, and we roared on.
Julian Gough (Jude: Level 1)
Say you could view a time-lapse film of our planet: what would you see? Transparent images moving through light, “an infinite storm of beauty.” The beginning is swaddled in mists, blasted by random blinding flashes. Lava pours and cools; seas boil and flood. Clouds materialize and shift; now you can see the earth’s face through only random patches of clarity. The land shudders and splits, like pack ice rent by a widening lead. Mountains burst up, jutting and dull and soften before your eyes, clothed in forests like felt. The ice rolls up, grinding green land under water forever; the ice rolls back. Forests erupt and disappear like fairy rings. The ice rolls up-mountains are mowed into lakes, land rises wet from the sea like a surfacing whale- the ice rolls back. A blue-green streaks the highest ridges, a yellow-green spreads from the south like a wave up a strand. A red dye seems to leak from the north down the ridges and into the valleys, seeping south; a white follows the red, then yellow-green washes north, then red spreads again, then white, over and over, making patterns of color too swift and intricate to follow. Slow the film. You see dust storms, locusts, floods, in dizzying flash frames. Zero in on a well-watered shore and see smoke from fires drifting. Stone cities rise, spread, and then crumble, like patches of alpine blossoms that flourish for a day an inch above the permafrost, that iced earth no root can suck, and wither in a hour. New cities appear, and rivers sift silt onto their rooftops; more cities emerge and spread in lobes like lichen on rock. The great human figures of history, those intricate, spirited tissues that roamed the earth’s surface, are a wavering blur whose split second in the light was too brief an exposure to yield any images. The great herds of caribou pour into the valleys and trickle back, and pour, a brown fluid. Slow it down more, come closer still. A dot appears, like a flesh-flake. It swells like a balloon; it moves, circles, slows, and vanishes. This is your life.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
When Franz returned to himself, he seemed still to be in a dream. He thought himself in a sepulchre, into which a ray of sunlight in pity scarcely penetrated. He stretched forth his hand, and touched stone; he rose to his seat, and found himself lying on his bournous in a bed of dry heather, very soft and odoriferous. The vision had fled; and as if the statues had been but shadows from the tomb, they had vanished at his waking. He advanced several paces towards the point whence the light came, and to all the excitement of his dream succeeded the calmness of reality. He found that he was in a grotto, went towards the opening, and through a kind of fanlight saw a blue sea and an azure sky. The air and water were shining in the beams of the morning sun; on the shore the sailors were sitting, chatting and laughing; and at ten yards from them the boat was at anchor, undulating gracefully on the water. There for some time he enjoyed the fresh breeze which played on his brow, and listened to the dash of the waves on the beach, that left against the rocks a lace of foam as white as silver. He was for some time without reflection or thought for the divine charm which is in the things of nature, specially after a fantastic dream; then gradually this view of the outer world, so calm, so pure, so grand, reminded him of the illusiveness of his vision, and once more awakened memory. He recalled his arrival on the island, his presentation to a smuggler chief, a subterranean palace full of splendor, an excellent supper, and a spoonful of hashish. It seemed, however, even in the very face of open day, that at least a year had elapsed since all these things had passed, so deep was the impression made in his mind by the dream, and so strong a hold had it taken of his imagination. Thus every now and then he saw in fancy amid the sailors, seated on a rock, or undulating in the vessel, one of the shadows which had shared his dream with looks and kisses. Otherwise, his head was perfectly clear, and his body refreshed; he was free from the slightest headache; on the contrary, he felt a certain degree of lightness, a faculty for absorbing the pure air, and enjoying the bright sunshine more vividly than ever.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
On one side hung a very large oil-painting so thoroughly besmoked, and every way defaced, that in the unequal cross-lights by which you viewed it, it was only by diligent study and a series of systematic visits to it, and careful inquiry of the neighbors, that you could any way arrive at an understanding of its purpose. such unaccountable masses of shades and shadows, that at first you almost thought some ambitious young artist, in the time of the New England hags, had endeavored to delineate chaos bewitched. But by dint of much and earnest contemplation, and oft repeated ponderings, and especially by throwing open the little window towards the back of the entry, you at last come to the conclusion that such an idea, however wild, might not be altogether unwarranted. But what most puzzled and confounded you was a long, limber, portentous, black mass of something hovering in the centre of the picture over three blue, dim, perpendicular lines floating in a nameless yeast. A boggy, soggy, squitchy picture truly, enough to drive a nervous man distracted. Yet was there a sort of indefinite, half-attained, unimaginable sublimity about it that fairly froze you to it, till you involuntarily took an oath with yourself to find out what that marvellous painting meant. Ever and anon a bright, but, alas, deceptive idea would dart you through. - It's the Black Sea in a midnight gale. - It's the unnatural combat of the four primal elements. - It's a blasted heath. - It's a Hyperborean winter scene. - It's the breaking- up of the ice-bound stream of Time. But at last all these fancies yielded to that one portentous something in the picture's midst. That once found out, and all the rest were plain. But stop; does it not bear a faint resemblance to a gigantic fish? even the great Leviathan himself?
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, The Whale)
Hey Pete. So why the leave from social media? You are an activist, right? It seems like this decision is counterproductive to your message and work." A: The short answer is I’m tired of the endless narcissism inherent to the medium. In the commercial society we have, coupled with the consequential sense of insecurity people feel, as they impulsively “package themselves” for public consumption, the expression most dominant in all of this - is vanity. And I find that disheartening, annoying and dangerous. It is a form of cultural violence in many respects. However, please note the difference - that I work to promote just that – a message/idea – not myself… and I honestly loath people who today just promote themselves for the sake of themselves. A sea of humans who have been conditioned into viewing who they are – as how they are seen online. Think about that for a moment. Social identity theory run amok. People have been conditioned to think “they are” how “others see them”. We live in an increasing fictional reality where people are now not only people – they are digital symbols. And those symbols become more important as a matter of “marketing” than people’s true personality. Now, one could argue that social perception has always had a communicative symbolism, even before the computer age. But nooooooothing like today. Social media has become a social prison and a strong means of social control, in fact. Beyond that, as most know, social media is literally designed like a drug. And it acts like it as people get more and more addicted to being seen and addicted to molding the way they want the world to view them – no matter how false the image (If there is any word that defines peoples’ behavior here – it is pretention). Dopamine fires upon recognition and, coupled with cell phone culture, we now have a sea of people in zombie like trances looking at their phones (literally) thousands of times a day, merging their direct, true interpersonal social reality with a virtual “social media” one. No one can read anymore... they just swipe a stream of 200 character headlines/posts/tweets. understanding the world as an aggregate of those fragmented sentences. Massive loss of comprehension happening, replaced by usually agreeable, "in-bubble" views - hence an actual loss of variety. So again, this isn’t to say non-commercial focused social media doesn’t have positive purposes, such as with activism at times. But, on the whole, it merely amplifies a general value system disorder of a “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT HOW GREAT I AM!” – rooted in systemic insecurity. People lying to themselves, drawing meaningless satisfaction from superficial responses from a sea of avatars. And it’s no surprise. Market economics demands people self promote shamelessly, coupled with the arbitrary constructs of beauty and success that have also resulted. People see status in certain things and, directly or pathologically, use those things for their own narcissistic advantage. Think of those endless status pics of people rock climbing, or hanging out on a stunning beach or showing off their new trophy girl-friend, etc. It goes on and on and worse the general public generally likes it, seeking to imitate those images/symbols to amplify their own false status. Hence the endless feedback loop of superficiality. And people wonder why youth suicides have risen… a young woman looking at a model of perfection set by her peers, without proper knowledge of the medium, can be made to feel inferior far more dramatically than the typical body image problems associated to traditional advertising. That is just one example of the cultural violence inherent. The entire industry of social media is BASED on narcissistic status promotion and narrow self-interest. That is the emotion/intent that creates the billions and billions in revenue these platforms experience, as they in turn sell off people’s personal data to advertisers and governments. You are the product, of course.
Peter Joseph