EppsNet Archive: Quotations

Two Great Fears

We now know that the human animal is characterized by two great fears that other animals are protected from: the fear of life and the fear of death. — Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death Read more →

Passing for Normal

The onset of the state of mind consisted in a loyalty to objects. She apologized to one egg for having boiled it, to another for not having selected it to boil. Since it was impossible to know with much precision whether an egg prefers to be boiled or not to, she was always in a state of indecision, followed, as soon as she had taken any action, by extreme remorse. Since this is not far from the predicament of most people of any sensitivity or conscience, she passed for normal. — Renata Adler, Speedboat Read more →

Be Thankful That You’re Miserable

I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. That’s the two categories. The horrible are like, I don’t know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, crippled. I don’t know how they get through life. It’s amazing to me. And the miserable is everyone else. So you should be thankful that you’re miserable, because that’s very lucky, to be miserable. — Alvy Singer Read more →

Philistinism

Philistinism tranquilizes itself in the trivial — Kierkegaard — Paul Epps (@paulepps) June 17, 2018 Read more →

It Is Just Too Shaking and Wearing

We are just not strong enough to endure more! It is just too shaking and wearing. So often people in . . . ecstatic moments say, “It’s too much,” or “I can’t stand it,” or “I could die” . . . Delirious happiness cannot be borne for long. Our organisms are just too weak for any large doses of greatness. — Abraham Maslow Read more →

Non ridere, non lugere, neque detestari, sed intelligere. (Not to laugh, not to curse, not to lament, but to understand.) — Spinoza

Not every problem someone has with his girlfriend is necessarily due to the capitalist mode of production. — Herbert Marcuse

Tom Wolfe, 1930-2018

Everything that bloggers have done for journalism — and I personally think they’ve done a lot — Wolfe did it first, he did it 30 years earlier, and he did it better. And I think we’re still catching up to him. — Lev Grossman Tom Wolfe had a rare combination of ideas, insight and a virtuosity with language. A lot of writers do well with at most one out of the three. You can read Tom Wolfe quotes all over the web but I include one of my favorites (from The Bonfire of the Vanities) here: Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later . . . that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of… Read more →

The sinner is at the very heart of Christianity. Nobody is so competent as the sinner in matters of Christianity. Nobody, except the saint. — Charles Peguy

Charles Peguy

It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been committed for fear of not looking sufficiently progressive. — Charles Peguy, Notre Patrie (1905)

What to Do and What to Have Done

All wisdom can be stated in two lines: What is done for you — allow it to be done. What you must do for yourself — make sure you do it. — Khawwas Read more →

If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. — George Orwell, Animal Farm

A Nest, a Haven and Calm Place

The low trolley on its cushiony rubber tyres luxuriously bore the corpse away down the middle of the ward. There was speed and secretiveness and deftness in its movement. Over the dead man’s face was a blanket, so that age, torture, ugliness and fear, all were hidden. Instead of looking on this covering, this careful manipulation as an hypocrisy and cheat, I saw it for what it really was, a desperate effort to make life bearable and sane. I admired the doctors and the nurses. I admired every human being in the world who, on top of a million, million horrors, yet built a nest, a haven and calm place. — Denton Welch, A Voice Through a Cloud Read more →

Turning Away Wrath

There are answers which, in turning away wrath, only send it to the other end of the room, and to have a discussion coolly waived when you feel that justice is all on your own side is even more exasperating in marriage than in philosophy. — George Eliot, Middlemarch Read more →

She Never Even Knew It

Chapter XXII of George Eliot’s Middlemarch starts with an epigraph from Alfred de Musset: Nous câusames longtemps; elle était simple et bonne. Ne sachant pas le mal, elle faisait le bien; Des richesses du coeur elle me fit l’aumône, Et tout en écoutant comme le coeur se donne, Sans oser y penser je lui donnai le mien; Elle emporta ma vie, et n’en sut jamais rien. Some editions of Middlemarch provide a translation in a footnote: We talked for a long time; she was simple and kind. Knowing no evil, she did only good: She gave me alms from the riches of her heart, And listening intently as she poured out her heart, Scarcely daring to think, I gave her mine; Thus she carried off my life, and never even knew it. Read more →

George Eliot on #MeToo

Let any lady who is inclined inquire into the comprehensiveness of her own beautiful views, and be quite sure that they afford accommodation for all the lives which have the honour to coexist with hers. — Middlemarch Read more →

The end of a melody is not its goal: but nonetheless, had the melody not reached its end it would not have reached its goal either. — Nietzsche

Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them. — George Eliot, Middlemarch

The script of life is so unspeakably beautiful to read because death looks over our shoulder. — Martin Buber

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger. — James Joyce

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