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  • #1
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    “A developed and decent man cannot be vain without a boundless exactingness towards himself and without despising himself at moments to the point of hatred.”
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead

  • #2
    Hugh of Saint-Victor
    “Learn everything. Later you will see that nothing is superfluous.”
    Hugh of Saint-Victor

  • #3
    Nikolai Gogol
    “His life had already touched upon the age when everything that breathes of impulse shrinks in a man, when a powerful bow has a fainter effect on his soul and no longer twines piercing music around his heart, when the touch of beauty no longer transforms virginal powers into fire and flame, but all the burnt-out feelings become more accessible to the sound of gold, listen more attentively to its alluring music, and little by little allow it imperceptibly to lull them completely. Fame cannot give pleasure to one who did not merit it but stole it; it produces a constant tremor only in one who is worthy of it. And therefore all his feelings and longings turn toward gold.”
    Nikolai Gogol, The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol

  • #4
    R.D. Laing
    “Even facts become fictions without adequate ways of seeing "the facts". We do not need theories so much as the experience that is the source of the theory. We are not satisfied with faith, in the sense of an implausible hypothesis irrationally held: we demand to experience the "evidence".”
    R.D. Laing

  • #5
    Nikolai Gogol
    “He who has talent in him must be purer in soul than anyone else. Another will be forgiven much, but to him it will not be forgiven. A man who leaves the house in bright, festive clothes needs only one drop of mud splashed from under a wheel, and people all surround him, point their fingers at him, and talk about his slovenliness, while the same people ignore many spots on other passers-by who are wearing everyday clothes. For on everyday clothes the spots do not show.”
    Nikolai Gogol, The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol

  • #6
    Peter Currell Brown
    “It's a long day, isn't it?' he said. 'Yes,' I replied. There are many such statements in factory conversation, to which the answer is always yes, because they are not so much statements of opinion or fact as they are expressions of a kind of unity. It might be technically correct to reply, 'Today is exactly the same length as yesterday,' or 'You cannot reasonably say that the gauge is wrong,' or 'The manager works very hard,' or 'But it would be impossible to have intercourse in the office in the lunch break' - but it would definitely not be polite. The proper answer in all cases is 'Yes, you are right,' for such is the convention, and no purpose is served by going against it. I remember, years ago, a very young man who suddenly took it into his head to refuse to say 'Good morning' to everyone in the customary way. He said that it was meaningless because everyone knew that it wasn't a good morning at all because they were all at work, and that t was hypocrisy, too, to wish people a good morning when you knew you'd be sneering and carping at them behind their backs before the teabreak had started. Of course he was technically right - but he nearly had a nervous breakdown, and finished up on his knees begging people to say good morning to him. He had to leave, and I never did hear what became of him.”
    Peter Currell Brown, Smallcreep's Day

  • #7
    Slavoj Žižek
    “On the information sheet in a New York hotel, I recently read: 'Dear guest! To guarantee that you will fully enjoy your stay with us, this hotel is totally smoke-free. For any infringement of this regulation, you will be charged $200.' The beauty of this formulation, taken literally, is that you are to be punished for refusing to fully enjoy your stay.”
    Slavoj Žižek, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

  • #8
    Peter Currell Brown
    “You do not buy freedom because you dare not. In a society of free men you would be forced to face up to the truth of what you really are. In every sense of the expression you would have to do your own dirty work, you would have to forge your very own relationships with those around you.”
    Peter Currell Brown, Smallcreep's Day

  • #9
    Slavoj Žižek
    “Word is murder of a thing, not only in the elementary sense of implying its absence - by naming a thing, we treat it as absent, as dead, although it is still present - but above all in the sense of its radical dissection: the word 'quarters' the thing, it tears it out of the embedment in its concrete context, it treats its component parts as entities with an autonomous existence: we speak about color, form, shape, etc., as if they possessed self-sufficient being.”
    Slavoj Žižek, Enjoy Your Symptom!

  • #10
    Ian Parker
    “Democracy in contemporary society is a fake, predicated on an illusion that we are together making choices about how best to manage ourselves, an illusion that functions to obscure the fact that we vote for different individuals to exercise power in a state apparatus that is still dedicated to the efficient management of the capitalist economy. The imperatives of capitalism must always undermine democratic decision-making, and the term ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ serves to indicate that the hollow democracy of the ‘dictatorship of the bourgeoisie’ must be replaced by a socialist democracy that realises the full potential of open collective self-management.”
    Ian Parker, Slavoj Žižek: A Critical Introduction

  • #11
    Slavoj Žižek
    “True universalists are not those who preach global tolerance of differences and all-encompassing unity, but those who engage in a passionate struggle for the assertion of the Truth which compels them.”
    Slavoj Žižek

  • #12
    Leo Tolstoy
    “But it seems to me that a man cannot and ought not to say that he loves, he said. Why not? I asked. Because it will always be a lie. As though it were a strange sort of discovery that someone is in love! Just as if, as soon as he said that, something went snap-bang - he loves. Just as if, when he utters that word, something extraordinary is bound to happen, with signs and portents, and all the cannons firing at once. It seems to me, he went on, that people who solemnly utter those words, 'I love you,' either deceive themselves, or what's still worse, deceive others.”
    Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych And Other Stories
    tags: love

  • #13
    Arthur Schopenhauer
    “Truth is no harlot who throws her arms round the neck of him who does not desire her; on the contrary, she is so coy a beauty that even the man who sacrifices everything to her can still not be certain of her favors.”
    Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1

  • #14
    Leo Tolstoy
    “Come, what did I say, repeat it? he would ask. But I could never repeat anything, so ludicrous it seemed that he should talk to me, not of himself or me, but of something else, as though it mattered what happened outside us. Only much later I began to have some slight understanding of his cares and to be interested in them.”
    Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych And Other Stories
    tags: love

  • #15
    Leo Tolstoy
    “He was much changed and grown even thinner since Pyotr Ivanovich had last seen him, but, as is always the case with the dead, his face was handsomer and above all more dignified than than when he was alive.”
    Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych And Other Stories

  • #16
    Leo Tolstoy
    “When the examination was over, the doctor looked at his watch, and then Praskovya Fyodorovna informed Ivan Ilyich that it must of course be as he liked, but she had sent today for a celebrated doctor, and that he would examine him, and have a consultation with Mihail Danilovich (that was the name of his regular doctor). 'Don't oppose it now, please. This I'm doing entirely for my own sake,' she said ironically, meaning it to be understood that she was doing it all for his sake, and was only saying this to give him no right to refuse her request. He lay silent, knitting his brows. He felt that he was hemmed in by such a tangle of falsity that it was hard to disentangle anything from it. Everything she did for him was entirely for her own sake, and she told him she was doing for her own sake what she actually was doing for her own sake as something so incredible that he would take it as meaning the opposite.”
    Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych

  • #17
    John N. Gray
    “Most people today think they belong to a species that can be master of its destiny. This is faith, not science. We do not speak of a time when whales or gorillas will be masters of their destinies. Why then humans?”
    John Gray, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

  • #18
    John N. Gray
    “We think our actions express our decisions. But in nearly all of our life, willing decides nothing. We cannot wake up or fall asleep, remember or forget our dreams, summon or banish our thoughts, by deciding to do so. When we greet someone on the street we just act, and there is no actor standing behind what we do. Our acts are end points in long sequences of unconscious responses. They arise from a structure of habits and skills that is almost infinitely complicated. Most of our life in enacted without conscious awareness. Nor can it be made conscious. No degree of self-awareness can make us self-transparent.”
    John Gray, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

  • #19
    John N. Gray
    “Today, for the mass of humanity, science and technology embody 'miracle, mystery, and authority'. Science promises that the most ancient human fantasies will at last be realized. Sickness and ageing will be abolished; scarcity and poverty will be no more; the species will become immortal. Like Christianity in the past, the modern cult of science lives on the hope of miracles. But to think that science can transform the human lot is to believe in magic. Time retorts to the illusions of humanism with the reality: frail, deranged, undelivered humanity. Even as it enables poverty to be diminished and sickness to be alleviated, science will be used to refine tyranny and perfect the art of war.”
    John Gray, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

  • #20
    Leo Tolstoy
    “Both salvation and punishment for man lie in the fact that if he lives wrongly he can befog himself so as not to see the misery of his position.”
    Leo Tolstoy

  • #21
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    “Nastasha Filippovna,' said Myshkin softly and as it were with compassion, 'I told you just now that I would take your consent as an honor, and that you are doing me an honor, not I you. You smiled at those words, and I heard people laughing about us. I may have expressed myself very absurdly and have been absurd myself, but I thought all the time that I... understood the meaning of honor, and I am sure I spoke the truth. You wanted to ruin yourself just now irrevocably; for you'd never have forgiven yourself for it afterwards. But you are not to blame for anything. Your life cannot be altogether ruined. What does it matter that Rogozhin did come to you and Gavril Ardalionovitch tried to deceive you? Why will you go on dwelling on it? Few people would do what you have done, I tell you that again. As for your meaning to go with Rogozhin, you were ill when you meant to do it. You are ill now, and you had much better go to bed. You would have gone off to be a washerwoman next day; you wouldn't have stayed with Rogozhin. You are proud, Nastasha Filippovna; but perhaps you are so unhappy as really to think yourself to blame. You want a lot of looking after, Nastasha Filippovna. I will look after you. I saw your portrait this morning and I felt as though I recognized a face that I knew. I felt as though you had called to me already... I shall respect you all my life Nastasha Filippovna.”
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot

  • #22
    Alan W. Watts
    “A successful college president once complained to me, I'm so busy that I'm going to have to get a helicopter! Well, I answered, you'll be ahead so long as you're the only president who has one. But don't get it. Everyone will expect more out of you.”
    Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

  • #23
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    “But now, all of a sudden, there appeared before me the absurd, loathsomely spiderish notion of debauchery, which, without love, crudely and shamelessly begins straight off with that which is the crown of true love.”
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead

  • #24
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    “That's just the point: an honest and sensitive man opens his heart, and the man of business goes on eating - and then he eats you up.”
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

  • #25
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    “Where was it that I read about a man condemned to death saying or thinking, an hour before his death, that if he had to live somewhere high up on a cliffside, on a ledge so narrow that there was room only for his two feet - and with the abyss, the ocean, eternal darkness, eternal solitude, eternal storm all around him - and had to stay like that, on a square foot of space, an entire lifetime, a thousand years, an eternity - it would be better to live so than die right now! Only to live, to live, to live! To live, no matter how - only to live! ...How true! Lord, how true! Man is a scoundrel! And he's a scoundrel who calls him a scoundrel for that.”
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

  • #26
    Philip Pullman
    “Creation, whether it's writing, painting or whatever, is essentially despotic and autocratic in nature, because it's the work of one mind and one mind alone which has absolute power of life or death over this sentence, or that phrase or whatever it is. It brooks no interference and can only work if it's the one mind doing it. Reading, on the other hand, interpretation, is inherently, intrinsically democratic, because it is fundamentally a process of negotiation between the mind and the text, between the expectations you bring to it and the satisfactions and disappointments you take away from it.”
    Philip Pullman

  • #27
    Nikolai Gogol
    “What grief is not taken away by time? What passion will survive an unequal battle with it? I knew a man in the bloom of his still youthful powers, filled with true nobility and virtue, I knew him when he was in love, tenderly, passionately, furiously, boldly, modestly, and before me, almost before my eyes, the object of his passion - tender, beautiful as an angel - was struck down by insatiable death. I never saw such terrible fits of inner suffering, such furious scorching anguish, such devouring despair as shook the unfortunate lover. I never thought a man could create such a hell for himself, in which there would be no shadow, no image, nothing in the least resembling hope... They tried to keep an eye on him; they hid all instruments he might have used to take his own life. Two weeks later he suddenly mastered himself: he began to laugh, to joke; freedom was granted him, and the first thing he did was buy a pistol. One day his family was terribly frightened by the sudden sound of a shot. They ran into the room and saw him lying with his brains blown out. A doctor who happened to be there, whose skill was on everyone's lips, saw signs of life in him, found that the wound was not quite mortal, and the man, to everyone's amazement, was healed. The watch on him was increased still more. Even at the table they did not give him a knife to and tried to take away from him anything that he might strike himself with; but a short while later he found a new occasion and threw himself under the wheels of a passing carriage. His arms and legs were crushed; but again they saved him. A year later I saw him in a crowded room; he sat at the card table gaily saying 'Petite ouverte,' keeping one card turned down, and behind him, leaning on the back of his chair, stood his young wife, who was sorting through his chips.”
    Nikolai Gogol, The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol

  • #28
    Nikolai Gogol
    “Man is such a wondrous being that it is never possible to count up all his merits at once. The more you study him, the more new particulars appear, and their description would be endless.”
    Nikolai Gogol, The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol

  • #29
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    “I got entangled in my own data, and my conclusion directly contradicts the original idea from which I start. Starting from unlimited freedom, I conclude with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that apart from my solution of the social formula, there can be no other.”
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons

  • #30
    Nikolai Gogol
    “The fair-haired man was one of those people in whose character there is at first sight a certain obstinacy. Before you can open your mouth, they are already prepared to argue and, it seems, will never agree to anything that is clearly contrary to their way of thinking, will never call a stupid thing smart, and in particular will never dance to another man's tune; but it always ends up that there is a certain softness in their character, that they will agree precisely to what they had rejected, will call a stupid thing smart, and will then go off dancing their best to another man's tune - in short, starts out well, ends in hell.”
    Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls



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