Superficial Things Quotes

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Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability.
H.P. Lovecraft
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.
Thomas Paine (Common Sense)
Whatever you proclaim as your identity here in the material realm is also your drag. You are not your religion. You are not your skin color. You are not your gender, your politics, your career, or your marital status. You are none of the superficial things that this world deems important. The real you is the energy force that created the entire universe!
RuPaul (Workin' It! Rupaul's Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style)
You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be, sans cannon and machine guns and steel plating half a foot thick; you come at them unmenacingly on your own ten toes instead of tearing up the turf with your caterpillar treads, take them on with an open mind, as equals, man to man, as we used to say, and yet you never fail to get them wrong. You might as well have the brain of a tank. You get them wrong before you meet them, while you're anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you're with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion. ... The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It's getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That's how we know we're alive: we're wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that -- well, lucky you.
Philip Roth (American Pastoral)
Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones are not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, the truth. It could even sometimes make things worse. It is a risky undertaking but in the end it is worthwhile, because in the end only an honest confrontation with reality can bring real healing. Superficial reconciliation can bring only superficial healing.
Desmond Tutu
I have a great affection for people who are intellectually engaged with the world, and who don’t treat everything superficially. And I think, when people talk about nerdiness, what they’re really talking about is smart people who who are trying to think hard about the world. And I don’t think that’s an insult, I think that’s a great thing.
John Green
I have no memory for things I have learned, nor things I have read, nor things experienced or heard, neither for people nor events; I feel that I have experienced nothing, learned nothing, that I actually know less than the average schoolboy, and that what I do know is superficial, and that every second question is beyond me. I am incapable of thinking deliberately; my thoughts run into a wall. I can grasp the essence of things in isolation, but I am quite incapable of coherent, unbroken thinking. I can’t even tell a story properly; in fact, I can scarcely talk.
Franz Kafka (Letters to Felice)
The world will benefit significantly from talents such as empathy, emotional intensity, certitude, sensitivity, ability to detect details, depth of thought, will to embrace, and many other things that we need in a time where alienation, coldness, superficiality, and emotional hardness are predominating.
Jenara Nerenberg (Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn't Designed for You)
As it is, we are merely bolting our lives—gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in—because awareness of our own existence is so superficial and so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being. If I ask you what you did, saw, heard, smelled, touched and tasted yesterday, I am likely to get nothing more than the thin, sketchy outline of the few things that you noticed, and of those only what you thought worth remembering. Is it surprising that an existence so experienced seems so empty and bare that its hunger for an infinite future is insatiable? But suppose you could answer, “It would take me forever to tell you, and I am much too interested in what’s happening now.” How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such a fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god? And, when you consider that this incalculably subtle organism is inseparable from the still more marvelous patterns of its environment—from the minutest electrical designs to the whole company of the galaxies—how is it conceivable that this incarnation of all eternity can be bored with being?
Alan W. Watts (The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)
The emptiness of the narcissist often means that they are only focused on whatever is useful or interesting to them at the moment. If at that moment it is interesting for them to tell you they love you, they do. It’s not really a long game to them, and when the next interesting issue comes up, they attend to that. The objectification of others—viewing other people as objects useful to his needs—can also play a role. When you are the only thing in the room, or the most interesting thing in the room, then the narcissist’s charisma and charm can leave you convinced that you are his everything. The problem is that this is typically superficial regard, and that superficiality results in inconsistency, and emotions for the narcissistic person range from intense to detached on a regular basis. This vacillation between intensity and detachment can be observed in the narcissist’s relationships with people (acquaintances, friends, family, and partners), work, and experiences. A healthy relationship should feel like a safe harbor in your life. Life throws us enough curve balls in the shape of money problems, work issues, medical issues, household issues, and even the weather. Sadly, a relationship with a narcissist can be one more source of chaos in your life, rather than a place of comfort and consistency.
Ramani Durvasula (Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Surviving a Relationship with a Narcissist)
While everybody tries to be as close as possible to the rest, everybody remains utterly alone, pervaded by the deep sense of insecurity, anxiety and guilt which always results when human separateness cannot be overcome. Our civilization offers many palliatives which help people to be consciously unaware of this aloneness: first of all the strict routine of bureaucratized, mechanical work, which helps people to remain unaware of their most fundamental human desires, of the longing for transcendence and unity. Inasmuch as the routine alone does not succeed in this, man overcomes his unconscious despair by the routine of amusement, the passive consumption of sounds and sights offered by the amusement industry; furthermore by the satisfaction of buying ever new things, and soon exchanging them for others. Modern man is actually close to the picture Huxley describes in his Brave New World: well fed, well clad, satisfied sexually, yet without self, without any except the most superficial contact with his fellow men, guided by the slogans which Huxley formulated so succinctly, such as: “When the individual feels, the community reels”; or “Never put off till tomorrow the fun you can have today,” or, as the crowning statement: “Everybody is happy nowadays.” Man’s happiness today consists in “having fun.” Having fun lies in the satisfaction of consuming and “taking in” commodities, sights, food, drinks, cigarettes, people, lectures, books, movies—all are consumed, swallowed.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
Reader — supposing this book has readers some day — I am not clever and I don't possess the vivid style, the living power, that is needed to describe this immense feeling of self-respect — no, of rehabilitation, or even a new life. This figurative baptism, this bath of cleanliness, this raising of me above filth I had sunk in, this way of bringing me overnight face to face with true responsibility, quite simply changed my whole being. I had been a convict, a man who could hear his chains even when he was free and who always felt that someone was watching over him; I had been all the things that had urged me to become a marked, evil man, dangerous at all times, superficially docile yet terribly dangerous when he broke out: but all this had vanished — disappeared as though by magic. Thank you Mr. Bowen, barrister in His Majesty's courts of law, thank you for having made another man of me in so short a time!
Henri Charrière (Papillon)
Accordingly, we imagine ourselves to be innocuous, reasonable, and humane. We do not think of distrusting our motives or of asking ourselves how the inner man feels about the things we do in the outside world. But actually it is frivolous, superficial, and unreasonable of us, as well as psychically unhygienic, to overlook the reaction and standpoint of the unconscious. One can regard one’s stomach or heart as unimportant and worthy of contempt, but that does not prevent overeating or overexertion from having consequences that affect the whole man. Yet we think that psychic mistakes and their consequences can be got rid of with mere words, for ‘psychic’ means less than air to most people. All the same, nobody can deny that without the psyche there would be no world at all, and still less a human world. Virtually everything depends on the human psyche and its functions. It should be worthy of all the attention we can give it, especially today, when everyone admits that the weal or woe of the future will be decided neither by the threat of wild animals, nor by natural catastrophes, nor by the danger of world-wide epidemics, but simply and solely by the psychic changes in man. It needs only an almost imperceptible disturbance of equilibrium in a few of our rulers’ heads to plunge the world into blood, fire, and radioactivity. The technical means necessary for this are present on both sides. And certain conscious deliberations, uncontrolled by any inner opponent, can be put into effect all too easily, as we have seen already from the example of one 'Leader.’ The consciousness of modern man still clings so much to external objects that he makes them exclusively responsible, as if it were on them that the decision depended
C.G. Jung
But the beauty of Tragedy does but make visible a quality which, in more or less obvious shapes, is present always and everywhere in life. In the spectacle of Death, in the endurance of intolerable pain, and in the irrevocableness of a vanished past, there is a sacredness, an overpowering awe, a feeling of the vastness, the depth, the inexhaustible mystery of existence, in which, as by some strange marriage of pain, the sufferer is bound to the world by bonds of sorrow. In these moments of insight, we lose all eagerness of temporary desire, all struggling and striving for petty ends, all care for the little trivial things that, to a superficial view, make up the common life of day by day; we see, surrounding the narrow raft illumined by the flickering light of human comradeship, the dark ocean on whose rolling waves we toss for a brief hour; from the great night without, a chill blast breaks in upon our refuge; all the loneliness of humanity amid hostile forces is concentrated upon the individual soul, which must struggle alone, with what of courage it can command, against the whole weight of a universe that cares nothing for its hopes and fears. Victory, in this struggle with the powers of darkness, is the true baptism into the glorious company of heroes, the true initiation into the overmastering beauty of human existence. From that awful encounter of the soul with the outer world, enunciation, wisdom, and charity are born; and with their birth a new life begins.
Bertrand Russell
Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. Simplify, simplify. Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion. Our life is like a German Confederacy, made up of petty states, with its boundary forever fluctuating, so that even a German cannot tell you how it is bounded at any moment. The nation itself, with all its so-called internal improvements, which, by the way are all external and superficial, is just such an unwieldy and overgrown establishment, cluttered with furniture and tripped up by its own traps, ruined by luxury and heedless expense, by want of calculation and a worthy aim, as the million households in the land; and the only cure for it, as for them, is in a rigid economy, a stern and more than Spartan simplicity of life and elevation of purpose. It lives too fast. Men think that it is essential that the Nation have commerce, and export ice, and talk through a telegraph, and ride thirty miles an hour, without a doubt, whether they do or not; but whether we should live like baboons or like men, is a little uncertain. If we do not get out sleepers, and forge rails, and devote days and nights to the work, but go to tinkering upon our lives to improve them, who will build railroads? And if railroads are not built, how shall we get to heaven in season? But if we stay at home and mind our business, who will want railroads? We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us. Did you ever think what those sleepers are that underlie the railroad? Each one is a man, an Irishman, or a Yankee man.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
For a woman to contemplate her own beauty is vanity, superficial pride, shallow beyond contempt, the sign of a mindless slut. Of course for a woman to be anything less than beautiful is for her to be ugly, or in the best case invisible and without merit, and that is also unacceptable, but still, but still. The most a woman born without socially acceptable perfection can do is worry about these things in secret, rather than be caught trying.
Claire North (House of Odysseus (The Songs of Penelope, #2))
Doing the hard thing even at the expense of comfort and immediate happiness does not make the Christian life one of perpetual misery. In following God through difficulty, we find real joy instead of its superficial substitute, happiness.
Thomas Williams (The Heart of the Chronicles of Narnia: Knowing God Here by Finding Him There)