EppsNet Archive: Quotations

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

1 Apr 2018 /

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

Turning Away Wrath

5 Mar 2018 /

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

She Never Even Knew It

4 Mar 2018 /

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.


George Eliot on #MeToo

4 Mar 2018 /

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

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


Privilege

12 Jul 2017 /
Theodore Roosevelt

There can be no grosser example of privilege than that set before us as an ideal by certain socialistic writers the ideal that . . . the man who is vicious, foolish, a drag on the whole community, who contributes less than his share to the common good, should take out what is not his, what he has not earned; that he shall rob his neighbor of what that neighbor has earned. This particular socialistic ideal would be to enthrone privilege in one of its grossest, crudest, most dishonest, most harmful and most unjust forms.

— Theodore Roosevelt, 1908

Justice

10 May 2017 /


The Blindness and the Wretchedness of Man

8 May 2017 /
Blaise Pascal

When I see the blindness and the wretchedness of man, when I regard the whole silent universe, and man without light, left to himself, and, as it were, lost in this corner of the universe, without knowing who has put him there, what he has come to do, what will become of him at death, and incapable of all knowledge, I become terrified, like a man who should be carried in his sleep to a dreadful desert island, and should awake without knowing where he is, and without means of escape. And thereupon I wonder how people in a condition so wretched do not fall into despair. I see other persons around me in conditions of a like nature. I ask them if they are better informed than I am. They tell me that they are not. And thereupon these wretched and lost beings, having looked around them, and seen some pleasing objects, have given and attached themselves to them. For my own part, I have not been able to attach myself to them, and, considering how strongly it appears that there is something else than what I see, I have examined whether this God has not left some sign of Himself.

— Pascal, Pensées

Defend your right to think. Thinking wrongly is better than not thinking at all. — Hypatia of Alexandria, murdered by a Christian mob in the year 415


The Things We Have That Go

10 Mar 2017 /
Sara Teasdale

It was a spring that never came;
But we have lived enough to know
That what we never have, remains;
It is the things we have that go.

— Sara Teasdale, St. Louis poetess, who drowned herself many years ago, circa 1933

Or as Jesus used to say, “For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.”


Keep the Channel Open

6 Mar 2017 /
Martha Graham

Martha Graham, 1948

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urge that motivates you.

Keep the channel open.


Nothing Can Bring You Peace But Yourself

3 Mar 2017 /
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or some other favorable event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”

Life is like stepping onto a boat which is about to sail out to sea and sink. — Shunryu Suzuki

 

When Was That? I Missed It.

7 Aug 2016 /

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.

— Romans 8:28

A Net For My Steps

31 Jul 2016 /

They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.

 

The Man in the Arena

27 Jul 2016 /
Col. Theodore Roosevelt

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

— Theodore Roosevelt, from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic,” delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on April 23, 1910

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