The Self Quotes

Quotes tagged as "the-self" Showing 1-30 of 149
Walker Percy
“The peculiar predicament of the present-day self surely came to pass as a consequence of the disappointment of the high expectations of the self as it entered the age of science and technology. Dazzled by the overwhelming credentials of science, the beauty and elegance of the scientific method, the triumph of modern medicine over physical ailments, and the technological transformation of the very world itself, the self finds itself in the end disappointed by the failure of science and technique in those very sectors of life which had been its main source of ordinary satisfaction in past ages.

As John Cheever said, the main emotion of the adult Northeastern American who has had all the advantages of wealth, education, and culture is disappointment.

Work is disappointing. In spite of all the talk about making work more creative and self-fulfilling, most people hate their jobs, and with good reason. Most work in modern technological societies is intolerably dull and repetitive.

Marriage and family life are disappointing. Even among defenders of traditional family values, e.g., Christians and Jews, a certain dreariness must be inferred, if only from the average time of TV viewing. Dreary as TV is, it is evidently not as dreary as Mom talking to Dad or the kids talking to either.

School is disappointing. If science is exciting and art is exhilarating, the schools and universities have achieved the not inconsiderable feat of rendering both dull. As every scientist and poet knows, one discovers both vocations in spite of, not because of, school. It takes years to recover from the stupor of being taught Shakespeare in English Lit and Wheatstone's bridge in Physics.

Politics is disappointing. Most young people turn their backs on politics, not because of the lack of excitement of politics as it is practiced, but because of the shallowness, venality, and image-making as these are perceived through the media--one of the technology's greatest achievements.

The churches are disappointing, even for most believers. If Christ brings us new life, it is all the more remarkable that the church, the bearer of this good news, should be among the most dispirited institutions of the age. The alternatives to the institutional churches are even more grossly disappointing, from TV evangelists with their blown-dry hairdos to California cults led by prosperous gurus ignored in India but embraced in La Jolla.

Social life is disappointing. The very franticness of attempts to reestablish community and festival, by partying, by groups, by club, by touristy Mardi Gras, is the best evidence of the loss of true community and festival and of the loneliness of self, stranded as it is as an unspeakable consciousness in a world from which it perceives itself as somehow estranged, stranded even within its own body, with which it sees no clear connection.

But there remains the one unquestioned benefit of science: the longer and healthier life made possible by modern medicine, the shorter work-hours made possible by technology, hence what is perceived as the one certain reward of dreary life of home and the marketplace: recreation.

Recreation and good physical health appear to be the only ambivalent benefits of the technological revolution.”
Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book

Parker J. Palmer
“Self-care is never a selfish act - it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”
Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Erich Fromm
“The frightened individual seeks for somebody or something to tie his self to; he cannot bear to be his own individual self any longer, and he tries frantically to get rid of it and to feel security again by the elimination of this burden: the self.”
Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom

Timothy J. Keller
“Those dreaming of the perfect match are outnumbered by those who don't really want it at all, though perhaps they can't admit it. After all, our culture makes individual freedom, autonomy and fulfillment the very highest values, and thoughtful people know deep down that any love relationship at all means the loss of all three. You can say, 'I want someone who will accept me just as I am,' but in your heart of hearts you know that you are not perfect, that there are plenty of things about you that need to be changed, and that anyone who gets to know you up close and personal will want to change them.”
Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

Michael Ondaatje
“To rest was to receive all aspects of the world without judgment. A bath in the sea, a fuck with a soldier who never knew your name. Tenderness toward the unknown and anonymous, which was tenderness to the self.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Timothy J. Keller
“In Ephesians 5, Paul shows us that even on earth Jesus did not use his power to oppress us but sacrificed everything to bring us into union with him. And this takes us beyond the philosophical to the personal and the practical. If God had the gospel of Jesus's salvation in mind when he established marriage, then marriage only 'works' to the degree that approximates the pattern of God's self-giving love in Christ.”
Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

Geoff Ryman
“In a sense who you are has always been a story that you told to yourself. Now your self is a story that you tell to others.”
Geoff Ryman, Paradise Tales: and Other Stories

Donald Davidson
“There are three basic problems: how a mind can know the world of nature, how it is possible for one mind to know another, and how it is possible to know the contents of our own minds without resort to observation or evidence. It is a mistake, I shall urge, to suppose that these questions can be collapsed into two, or taken into isolation.”
Donald Davidson

“It's the words we whisper to ourselves that make us who we are.”
Marty Rubin

Milan Kundera
“Bacon's portraits are an interrogation on the limits of the self. Up to what degree of distortion does an individual still remain himself? To what degree of distortion does a beloved person still remain a beloved person? For how long does a cherished face growing remote through illness, through madness, through hatred, through death still remain recognizable? Where is the border beyond which a self ceases to be a self?”
Milan Kundera, Encounter

“Being yourself-that means being lots of different people.”
Marty Rubin

Mary Szybist
“Lift up your head.
Time to enter yourself.
Time to make your own sorrow.”
Mary Szybist, Incarnadine: Poems

Ruth Stone
“Like flocks of small dark birds,
hidden parts of the self weep”
Ruth Stone, In the Next Galaxy

Mary Oliver
“I am, myself, three selves at least. To begin with, there is the child I was. Certainly I am not that child anymore! Yet, distantly, or sometimes not so distantly, I can hear that child's voice—I can feel its hope, or its distress. It has not vanished. Powerful, egotistical, insinuating—its presence rises, in memory, or from the steamy river of dreams. It is not gone, not by a long shot. It is with me in the present hour. It will be with me in the grave.”
Mary Oliver, Upstream: Selected Essays

Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“One of the most important facts that the vast majority of us are ignorant of is that we are each other.”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Suzy  Davies
“Readers will read into a book something of themselves. There is never just one book.”
Suzy Davies

“We reach reach the end of our lives long before we reach the end of ourselves.”
Marty Rubin

“If all you have is yourself, you're missing a lot.”
Marty Rubin

Ruth Stone
“I sometimes stood for long moments
listening to some bird telling me of the strangeness of myself”
Ruth Stone, In the Next Galaxy

Joy Harjo
“She sees Lake Michigan lapping at the shores of
herself. It is a dizzy hole of water and the rich
live in tall glass houses at the edge of it.”
Joy Harjo, She Had Some Horses

Joy Harjo
“Sometimes it is like
facing the dreamer
who knows the you
of blood and stars—”
Joy Harjo, She Had Some Horses

Roger Scruton
“The old morality, which told us that selling the body is incompatible with giving the self, touched on a truth. Sexual feeling is not a sensation that can be turned on and off at will: it is a tribute from one self to another and—at its height— an incandescent revelation of what you are. To treat it as a commodity, that can be bought and sold like any other, is to damage both present self and future other. The condemnation of prostitution was not just puritan bigotry; it was a recognition of a profound truth, which is that you and your body are not two things but one, and by selling the body you harden the soul. And that which is true of prostitution is true of pornography too. It is not a tribute to human beauty but a desecration of it.”
Roger Scruton, Beauty

“Never confuse who you are with what you've done.”
Marty Rubin

“Every drop that falls in the ocean becomes the ocean.”
Marty Rubin

“The self is a mere abstraction. To be whole, a complete human being, I have no need to know who I am.”
Marty Rubin

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
“It is here, in the secret recesses of the heart, that the relationship with the Beloved takes place. He was always here, waiting to be born into consciousness. But we need to prepare ourself for this meeting, we need to align ourself to the inner vibrations of the Self. How can you notice your invisible lover when your consciousness is filled with the outer world? How can you enter the sacred space of your own heart wearing boots muddied with the desires of the ego? Here lies the esoteric meaning of the immaculate conception. For the Beloved to be conceived as a living presence we need to go through a process of inner purification. (p. 29)”
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, The Bond with the Beloved: The Inner Relationship of the Lover and the Beloved

“As a flag stays attached and flows with the wind, stay attached to your natural Self and do what inspires you.”
Bert McCoy

Richard Powers
“They are, in fact, like nothing but themselves. They are the crowns of five white spruces laden with cones, bending in the wind as they do every day of their existence. Likeness is the sole problem of men.”
Richard Powers, The Overstory

Linda  Durham
“We may think our past is behind us. Yet, sometimes it is blatantly in our face. Moments, seemingly lost, become inextricably intertwined with consciousness in the Here and Now.”
Linda Durham, Still Moving: a memoir

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