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  • #1
    James Joyce
    “A day of dappled seaborne clouds.

    The phrase and the day and the scene harmonised in a chord. Words. Was it their colours? He allowed them to glow and fade, hue after hue: sunrise gold, the russet and green of apple orchards, azure of waves, the greyfringed fleece of clouds. No, it was not their colours: it was the poise and balance of the period itself. Did he then love the rhythmic rise and fall of words better than their associations of legend and colour? Or was it that, being as weak of sight as he was shy of mind, he drew less pleasure from the reflection of the glowing sensible world through the prism of a language manycoloured and richly storied than from the contemplation of an inner world of individual emotions mirrored perfectly in a lucid supple periodic prose?”
    James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

  • #2
    George Eliot
    “If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.”
    George Eliot, Middlemarch

  • #3
    George Eliot
    “But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”
    George Eliot, Middlemarch

  • #4
    N.T. Wright
    “The point of the resurrection…is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die…What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it…What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God's future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether (as the hymn so mistakenly puts it…). They are part of what we may call building for God's kingdom.”
    N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

  • #5
    N.T. Wright
    “We could cope—the world could cope—with a Jesus who ultimately remains a wonderful idea inside his disciples' minds and hearts. The world cannot cope with a Jesus who comes out of the tomb, who inaugurates God's new creation right in the middle of the old one.”
    N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

  • #6
    Ali Smith
    “And it was always the stories that needed the telling that gave us the rope we could cross any river with. They balanced us high above any crevasse. They made us be natural acrobats. They made us brave. They met us well. They changed us. It was in their nature to.”
    Ali Smith, Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis

  • #7
    Ali Smith
    “remember you must live.
    remember you most love.
    remainder you mist leaf.”
    Ali Smith, Hotel World

  • #8
    Ali Smith
    “The proper word for me," Robin Goodman says, "is me.”
    Ali Smith, Girl Meets Boy

  • #9
    Ali Smith
    “The thing about trees is that they know what to do. When a leaf loses its colour, it's not because its time is up and it's dying, it's because the tree is taking back into itself the nutrients the leaf's been holding in reserve for it, out there on the twig, and why leaves change colour in autumn is because the tree is preparing for winter, it's filling itself with its own stored health so it can withstand the season. Then, clever tree, it literally pushes the used leaf off with the growth that's coming behind it. But because that growth has to protect itself through winter too, the tree fills the little wound in its branch or twig where the leaf was with a protective corky stuff which seals it against cold and bacteria.

    Otherwise every leaf lost would be an open wound on a tree and a single tree would be covered in thousands of little wounds.

    Clever trees.”
    Ali Smith, Artful

  • #10
    Ludwig Wittgenstein
    “A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.”
    Ludwig Wittgenstein

  • #11
    Ludwig Wittgenstein
    “The real question of life after death isn't whether or not it exists, but even if it does what problem this really solves.”
    Ludwig Wittgenstein

  • #12
    Jacques Derrida
    “To pretend, I actually do the thing: I have therefore only pretended to pretend.”
    Jacques Derrida

  • #13
    Jürgen Moltmann
    “God weeps with us so that we may one day laugh with him.”
    Jurgen Moltmann

  • #14
    Jürgen Moltmann
    “The knowledge of the cross brings a conflict of interest between God who has become man and man who wishes to become God.”
    Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology

  • #15
    Jürgen Moltmann
    “When God becomes man in Jesus of Nazareth, he not only enters into the finitude of man, but in his death on the cross also enters into the situation of man's godforsakenness. In Jesus he does not die the natural death of a finite being, but the violent death of the criminal on the cross, the death of complete abandonment by God. The suffering in the passion of Jesus is abandonment, rejection by God, his Father. God does not become a religion, so that man participates in him by corresponding religious thoughts and feelings. God does not become a law, so that man participates in him through obedience to a law. God does not become an ideal, so that man achieves community with him through constant striving. He humbles himself and takes upon himself the eternal death of the godless and the godforsaken, so that all the godless and the godforsaken can experience communion with him.”
    Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology

  • #16
    Jürgen Moltmann
    “The motive that impels modern reason to know must be described as the desire to conquer and dominate. For the Greek philosophers and the Fathers of the church, knowing meant something different: it meant knowing in wonder. By knowing or perceiving one participates in the life of the other. Here knowing does not transform the counterpart into the property of the knower; the knower does not appropriate what he knows. On the contrary, he is transformed through sympathy, becoming a participant in what he perceives.”
    Jurgen Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom

  • #17
    Jürgen Moltmann
    “Jesus' healings are not supernatural miracles in a natural world. They are the only truly 'natural' things in a world that is unnatural, demonized and wounded.”
    Jurgen Moltmann

  • #18
    Jürgen Moltmann
    “That is why faith, wherever it develops into hope, causes not rest but unrest, not patience but impatience. It does not calm the unquiet heart, but is itself this unquiet heart in man. Those who hope in Christ can no longer put up with reality as it is, but begin to suffer under it, to contradict it. Peace with God means conflict with the world, for the goad of the promised future stabs inexorably into the flesh of every unfulfilled present.”
    Jürgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope

  • #19
    Sergio de la Pava
    “Intellectual discourse and investigation is admittedly great fun but only truly meaningful when conducted in the service of others.”
    Sergio De La Pava, A Naked Singularity

  • #20
    Sergio de la Pava
    “Vote? What's so fun about voting? You should never vote, everyone knows that. If you vote and your guy wins you can't later complain because you helped put him there. That's why I never vote, so I can later complain.”
    Sergio De La Pava, A Naked Singularity

  • #21
    Sergio de la Pava
    “The relevant question is not whether back then a few extraordinary individuals could overcome a system strongly weighted against them or whether today an admittedly far greater number requiring far less talent can succeed. The real question is whether it's harder for the people in this audience to succeed be they extraordinary, average, or below average. If it is, and I think it obvious that it is, then that's untenable in a country that purports to provide equal opportunity for all. Now of course you'll dispute my claim that it is more difficult to succeed for them. You say the battle's over. I say not only is it not over but you yourself are stationed on the frontline of the battle and have been all these years. This room and the criminal justice system as a whole is the frontline. This is where modern-day segregation lives on.”
    Sergio De La Pava, A Naked Singularity

  • #22
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    “I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world's finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, for all the blood that they've shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened.”
    Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

  • #23
    David Foster Wallace
    “The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
    David Foster Wallace

  • #24
    David Foster Wallace
    “The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”
    David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

  • #25
    David Foster Wallace
    “The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.”
    David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life

  • #26
    David Foster Wallace
    “If what's always distinguished bad writing--flat characters, a narrative world that's clichéd and not recognizably human, etc.--is also a description of today's world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world. If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then [Bret] Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it.

    Postmodern irony and cynicism's become an end in itself, a measure of hip sophistication and literary savvy. Few artists dare to try to talk about ways of working toward redeeming what's wrong, because they'll look sentimental and naive to all the weary ironists. Irony's gone from liberating to enslaving. There's some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who's come to love his cage… The postmodern founders' patricidal work was great, but patricide produces orphans, and no amount of revelry can make up for the fact that writers my age have been literary orphans throughout our formative years.

    We enter a spiritual puberty where we snap to the fact that the great transcendent horror is loneliness, excluded encagement in the self. Once we’ve hit this age, we will now give or take anything, wear any mask, to fit, be part-of, not be Alone, we young. The U.S. arts are our guide to inclusion. A how-to. We are shown how to fashion masks of ennui and jaded irony at a young age where the face is fictile enough to assume the shape of whatever it wears. And then it’s stuck there, the weary cynicism that saves us from gooey sentiment and unsophisticated naïveté. Sentiment equals naïveté on this continent.

    You burn with hunger for food that does not exist.

    A U. S. of modern A. where the State is not a team or a code, but a sort of sloppy intersection of desires and fears, where the only public consensus a boy must surrender to is the acknowledged primacy of straight-line pursuing this flat and short-sighted idea of personal happiness.”
    David Foster Wallace

  • #27
    David Foster Wallace
    “The next suitable person you’re in light conversation with, you stop suddenly in the middle of the conversation and look at the person closely and say, “What’s wrong?” You say it in a concerned way. He’ll say, “What do you mean?” You say, “Something’s wrong. I can tell. What is it?” And he’ll look stunned and say, “How did you know?” He doesn’t realize something’s always wrong, with everybody. Often more than one thing. He doesn’t know everybody’s always going around all the time with something wrong and believing they’re exerting great willpower and control to keep other people, for whom they think nothing’s ever wrong, from seeing it.”
    David Foster Wallace, The Pale King

  • #28
    David Foster Wallace
    “The truth is you already know what it's like. You already know the difference between the size and speed of everything that flashes through you and the tiny inadequate bit of it all you can ever let anyone know. As though inside you is this enormous room full of what seems like everything in the whole universe at one time or another and yet the only parts that get out have to somehow squeeze out through one of those tiny keyholes you see under the knob in older doors. As if we are all trying to see each other through these tiny keyholes.

    But it does have a knob, the door can open. But not in the way you think...The truth is you've already heard this. That this is what it's like. That it's what makes room for the universes inside you, all the endless inbent fractals of connection and symphonies of different voices, the infinities you can never show another soul. And you think it makes you a fraud, the tiny fraction anyone else ever sees? Of course you're a fraud, of course what people see is never you. And of course you know this, and of course you try to manage what part they see if you know it's only a part. Who wouldn't? It's called free will, Sherlock. But at the same time it's why it feels so good to break down and cry in front of others, or to laugh, or speak in tongues, or chant in Bengali--it's not English anymore, it's not getting squeezed through any hole.

    So cry all you want, I won't tell anybody.”
    David Foster Wallace, Oblivion

  • #29
    David Foster Wallace
    “And I was -- this is just how I was afraid you'd take it. I knew it, that you'd think this means you were right to be afraid all the time and never feel secure or trust me. I knew it'd be 'See, you're leaving after all when you promised you wouldn't.' I knew it but I'm trying to explain anyway, okay? And I know you probably won't understand this either, but --wait-- just try to listen and maybe absorb this, okay? Ready? Me leaving is not the confirmation of all your fears about me. It is not. It's because of them. Okay? Can you see that? It's your fear I can't take. It's your distrust and fear I've been trying to fight. And I can't anymore. I'm out of gas on it. If I loved you even a little less maybe I could take it. But this is killing me, this constant feeling that I am always scaring you and never making you feel secure. Can you see that?”
    David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

  • #30
    David Foster Wallace
    “Irony and cynicism were just what the U.S. hypocrisy of the fifties and sixties called for. That’s what made the early postmodernists great artists. The great thing about irony is that it splits things apart, gets up above them so we can see the flaws and hypocrisies and duplicates. The virtuous always triumph? Ward Cleaver is the prototypical fifties father? "Sure." Sarcasm, parody, absurdism and irony are great ways to strip off stuff’s mask and show the unpleasant reality behind it. The problem is that once the rules of art are debunked, and once the unpleasant realities the irony diagnoses are revealed and diagnosed, "then" what do we do? Irony’s useful for debunking illusions, but most of the illusion-debunking in the U.S. has now been done and redone. Once everybody knows that equality of opportunity is bunk and Mike Brady’s bunk and Just Say No is bunk, now what do we do? All we seem to want to do is keep ridiculing the stuff. Postmodern irony and cynicism’s become an end in itself, a measure of hip sophistication and literary savvy. Few artists dare to try to talk about ways of working toward redeeming what’s wrong, because they’ll look sentimental and naive to all the weary ironists. Irony’s gone from liberating to enslaving. There’s some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who’s come to love his cage.”
    David Foster Wallace



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