Artifice Quotes

Quotes tagged as "artifice" Showing 1-27 of 27
Vera Nazarian
“There's a difference between playing and playing games. The former is an act of joy, the latter — an act.”
Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

John  Adams
“It was the general opinion of ancient nations, that the divinity alone was adequate to the important office of giving laws to men... and modern nations, in the consecrations of kings, and in several superstitious chimeras of divine rights in princes and nobles, are nearly unanimous in preserving remnants of it... Is the jealousy of power, and the envy of superiority, so strong in all men, that no considerations of public or private utility are sufficient to engage their submission to rules for their own happiness? Or is the disposition to imposture so prevalent in men of experience, that their private views of ambition and avarice can be accomplished only by artifice? — … There is nothing in which mankind have been more unanimous; yet nothing can be inferred from it more than this, that the multitude have always been credulous, and the few artful. The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature: and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or labouring in merchandize or agriculture: it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. As Copley painted Chatham, West, Wolf, and Trumbull, Warren and Montgomery; as Dwight, Barlow, Trumbull, and Humphries composed their verse, and Belknap and Ramzay history; as Godfrey invented his quadrant, and Rittenhouse his planetarium; as Boylston practised inoculation, and Franklin electricity; as Paine exposed the mistakes of Raynal, and Jefferson those of Buffon, so unphilosophically borrowed from the Recherches Philosophiques sur les Américains those despicable dreams of de Pauw — neither the people, nor their conventions, committees, or sub-committees, considered legislation in any other light than ordinary arts and sciences, only as of more importance. Called without expectation, and compelled without previous inclination, though undoubtedly at the best period of time both for England and America, to erect suddenly new systems of laws for their future government, they adopted the method of a wise architect, in erecting a new palace for the residence of his sovereign. They determined to consult Vitruvius, Palladio, and all other writers of reputation in the art; to examine the most celebrated buildings, whether they remain entire or in ruins; compare these with the principles of writers; and enquire how far both the theories and models were founded in nature, or created by fancy: and, when this should be done, as far as their circumstances would allow, to adopt the advantages, and reject the inconveniences, of all. Unembarrassed by attachments to noble families, hereditary lines and successions, or any considerations of royal blood, even the pious mystery of holy oil had no more influence than that other of holy water: the people universally were too enlightened to be imposed on by artifice; and their leaders, or more properly followers, were men of too much honour to attempt it. Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favour of the rights of mankind.

[Preface to 'A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America', 1787]”
John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America: Akashic U.S. Presidents Series

Friedrich Nietzsche
“When one is young, one venerates and despises without that art of nuances which constitutes the best gain of life, and it is only fair that one has to pay dearly for having assaulted men and things in this manner with Yes and No. Everything is arranged so that the worst of tastes, the taste for the unconditional, should be cruelly fooled and abused until a man learns to put a little art into his feelings and rather to risk trying even what is artificial — as the real artists of life do.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

“In the end, this volume should be read a s a collection of love stories, Above all, they are tales of love, not the love with which so many stories end – the love of fidelity, kindness and fertility – but the other side of love, its cruelty, sterility and duplicity. In a way, the decadents did accept Nordau's idea of the artist as monster. But in nature, the glory and panacea of romanticism, they found nothing. Theirs is an aesthetic that disavows the natural and with it the body. The truly beautiful body is dead, because it is empty. Decadent work is always morbid, but its attraction to death is through art. What they refused was the condemnation of that monster. And yet despite the decadent celebration of artifice, these stories record art's failure in the struggle against natural horror. Nature fights back and wins, and decadent writing remains a remarkable account of that failure.”
Asti Hustvedt, The Decadent Reader: Fiction, Fantasy, and Perversion from Fin-de-Siècle France

Alan Sokal
“A mode of thought does not become 'critical' simply by attributing that label to itself, but by virtue of its content.”
Alan Sokal, Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science

“All too often, we mask truth in artifice, concealing ourselves for fear of losing the ones we love or prolonging a deception for those we wish to expose. We hide behind that which brings us comfort from pain and sadness or use it to repel a truth too devastating to accept.”
Emily Thorne

E.A. Bucchianeri
“... the lofty mind of man can be imprisoned by the artifices of its own making.”
E.A. Bucchianeri, Faust: My Soul Be Damned for the World: Volume I

Olga Tokarczuk
“Your memory creates postcard images, but it doesn't really comprehend the world at all. That's why a landscape is so affected by the mood of the person looking at it. In it a person sees his own inner, transitory moments. Wherever he looks, he sees nothing but himself.”
Olga Tokarczuk, House of Day, House of Night

Milan Kundera
“What does it mean to demonstrate in the streets, what is the significance of that collective activity so symptomatic of the twentieth century? In stupefaction Ulrich watches the demonstrators from the window; as they reach the foot of the palace, their faces turn up, turn furious, the men brandish their walking sticks, but “a few steps farther, at a bend where the demonstration seemed to scatter into the wings, most of them were already dropping their greasepaint: it would be absurd to keep up the menacing looks where there were no more spectators.” In the light of that metaphor, the demonstrators are not men in a rage; they are actors performing rage! As soon as the performance is over they are quick to drop their greasepaint! Later, in the 1960s, philosophers would talk about the modern world in which everything had turned into spectacle: demonstrations, wars, and even love; through this “quick and sagacious penetration” (Fielding), Musil had already long ago discerned the “society of spectacle.”
Milan Kundera, The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts

Milan Kundera
“She knew only too well that the song was a beautiful lie. As soon as kitsch is recognized for the lie it is, it moves into the context of non-kitsch, thus losing its authoritarian power and becoming as touching as any other human weakness. For none among us is superman enough to escape kitsch completely. No matter how we scorn it, kitsch is an integral part of the human condition.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Thomas Mann
“He completely lacked any ardent interest that might have occupied his mind. His interior life was impoverished, had undergone a deterioration so severe that it was like the almost constant burden of some vague grief. And bound up with it all was an implacable sense of personal duty and the grim determination to present himself at his best, to conceal his frailties by any means possible, and to keep up appearances. It had all contributed to making his existence what it was: artificial, self-conscious, and forced—until every word, every gesture, the slightest deed in the presence of others had become a taxing and grueling part in a play.”
Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family

Terry Pratchett
“...if we wanted people to fly, we would have given them wings."
"You gave me wings when you showed me birds.”
Terry Pratchett, The Last Hero

Giacomo Casanova
“The source of love, as I learned later, is a curiosity which, combined with the inclination which nature is obliged to give us in order to preserve itself. […] Hence women make no mistake in taking such pains over their person and their clothing, for it is only by these that they can arouse a curiosity to read them in those whom nature at their birth declared worthy of something better than blindness. […] As time goes on a man who has loved many women, all of them beautiful, reaches the point of feeling curious about ugly women if they are new to him. He sees a painted woman. The paint is obvious to him, but it does not put him off. His passion, which has become a vice, is ready with the fraudulent title page. ‘It is quite possible,’ he tells himself, ‘that the book is not as bad as all that; indeed, it may have no need of this absurd artifice.’ He decides to scan it, he tries to turn over the pages—but no! the living book objects; it insists on being read properly, and the ‘egnomaniac’ becomes a victim of coquetry, the monstrous persecutor of all men who ply the trade of love.

You, Sir, who are a man of intelligence and have read these least twenty lines, which Apollo drew from my pen, permit me to tell you that if they fail to disillusion you, you are lost—that is, you will be the victim of the fair sex to the last moment of your life. If that prospect pleases you, I congratulate you”
Giacomo Casanova, History of My Life, Vols. I & II

Abū al-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī
“Good men's actions are natural
While a scoundrel's charity
Is carefully planned to please.”
Abu al-Ala al-Ma'arri, Birds Through a Ceiling of Alabaster: Three Abbasid Poets

“We're living amid an artificial reality, persuaded to believe it's real by astroturf engineered to look like grassroots.”
Sharyl Attkisson, The Smear: How the Secret Art of Character Assassination Controls What You Think, What You Read, and How You Vote

Sergio de la Pava
“There's a manner of speaking you use while lawyering. A manner as affected and rife with artifice as your average campaign speech, with a similar fear of offending.”
Sergio De La Pava, A Naked Singularity

Cornell Woolrich
“The sightseers would have been disappointed, as the real thing always makes a poorer show than the fake. ("I'm Dangerous Tonight")”
Cornell Woolrich, The Fantastic Stories of Cornell Woolrich

Ruth Wind
“He hadn't lied. He honestly liked her house, for the same reasons he was drawn to the woman. There was no artifice about either one.”
Ruth Wind, Light of Day

Julian Barnes
“Naturalness onstage is just as much an artifice as naturalism in the novel”
Julian Barnes, Levels of Life

Ali Smith
“Above the keyhole the door has a latch. It is pretending to be an authentic old latch. The door is pretending to be an authentic old door. Maybe everything there is isn't authentic any more. Maybe everything there is is a kind of pretending.”
Ali Smith, The Accidental

Laura   Gentile
“How she would push her identity further down into a cacophony of fiend-infested darkness where she couldn't hear her proper voice anymore, just pleasing those who demanded a distorted version of her.”
Laura Gentile, Within Paravent Walls

“Adornment, exoticism, affectation are all willed decadent strategies meant to pervert the texts they made. Decadent texts often live in their descriptive excursions, in their evocation of dreams, mysterious places and states of mind, in their excess of words, not events. The surface of the texts, the sound of the words, point to themselves as manufactured, as illusion. The decadents attempted to create texts that announced themselves as artifice.”
Asti Hustvedt, The Decadent Reader: Fiction, Fantasy, and Perversion from Fin-de-Siècle France

Joseph J. Thorndike Jr.
“…and yet, at the end of it all, a few very broad lines did seem to stick out, like the primary colors in a painting that explain all the confusing blends. And once I had understood my artificial convention, as one understands a convention of the theatre, it was surprising how many adventures did, with a squeeze, fit in their compartments- provided that I chuckled as I did the squeezing and reminded myself that it was all a game anyway.”
Joseph J. Thorndike Jr.

Hannah Arendt
“The modern age, with its growing world-alienation, has led to a situation where man, wherever he goes, encounters only himself. All the processes of the earth and the universe have revealed themselves either as man-made or as potentially man-made. These processes, after having devoured, as it were, the solid objectivity of the given, ended by rendering meaningless the one over-all process which originally was conceived in order to give meaning to them, and to act, so to speak, as the eternal time-space into which they could all flow and thus be rid of their mutual conflicts and exclusiveness. This is what happened to our concept of history, as it happened to our concept of nature. In the situation of the radical world-alienation, neither history nor nature is at all conceivable. This twofold loss of the world— the loss of nature and the loss of human artifice in the widest sense, which would include all history, has left behind it a society of men who, without a common world which would at once relate and separate them, either live in desperate lonely separation or are pressed together into a mass. For a mass-society is nothing more than that kind of organized living which automatically establishes itself among human beings who are still related to one another but have lost the world once common to all of them.”
Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future

“Actually, no. I won't ever go digital. I work with thirty-five or large format. I like the hand-jobs, you know. And I still do most of my own printing. I've developed such a profound distaste for touch-up and modern artifice—comes from snapping too many derelicts and detritus, perhaps, but I love it. Photo bloody Shop can go stuff it. A picture should be honest, even if the subject is contrived on the ground, you know; not dolled-up for advertising punch or sex appeal.”
Pansy Schneider-Horst

Kristen Henderson
“The outfit, tight in places,
and loose in some, says as much
in the buttons as it does in cuffs.”
Kristen Henderson, Of My Maiden Smoking

“.. almost every face and every voice and scrap of language in this world rises up through a screen or wire like something coming to the surface from the bottom of a lake, or on the other side of some mirrored glass where you can’t quite touch it.”
Susan Neville, The Town of Whispering Dolls: Stories