Time and the Art of Living Quotes

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Time and the Art of Living Time and the Art of Living by Robert Grudin
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Time and the Art of Living Quotes (showing 1-9 of 9)
“We are not great connoisseurs of the two twilights. We miss the dawning, exclusably enough, by sleeping through it, and are as much strangers to the shadowless welling-up of day as to the hesitant return of consciousness in our slowly waking selves. But our obliviousness to evening twilight is less understandable. Why do we almost daily ignore a spectacle (and I do not mean sunset but rather the hour, more or less, afterward) that has a thousand tonalities, that alters and extends reality, that offers, more beautifully than anything man-made, a visual metaphor or peace? To say that it catches us at busy or tired moments won't do; for in temperate latitudes it varies by hours from solstice to solstice. Instead I suspect that we shun twilight because if offers two things which, as insecurely rational beings, we would rather not appreciate: the vision of irrevocable cosmic change (indeed, change into darkness), and a sense of deep ambiguity—of objects seeming to be more, less, other than we think them to be. We are noontime and midnight people, and such devoted camp-followers of certainly that we cannot endure seeing it mocked and undermined by nature.

There is a brief period of twilight of which I am especially fond, little more than a moment, when I see what seems to be color without light, followed by another brief period of light without color. The earlier period, like a dawn of night, calls up such sights as at all other times are hidden, wistful half-formless presences neither of day nor night, that draw up with them similar presences in the mind. ”
Robert Grudin, Time and the Art of Living
“Because we believe that one moment is more or less like the next, we lose touch with the essential urgency of the present, the fact that each passing moment is the one moment for the practice of freedom.”
Robert Grudin, Time and the Art of Living
“We struggle with, agonize over and bluster heroically about the great questions of life when the answers to most of these lie hidden in our attitude toward the thousand minor details of each day.”
Robert Grudin, Time and the Art of Living
“Plans made swiftly and intuitively are likely to have flaws. Plans made carefully and comprehensively are sure to.”
Robert Grudin, Time and the Art of Living
“Few fallacies are more dangerous or easier to fall into than that by which, having read a given book, we assume that we will continue to know its contents permanently, or having mastered a discipline in the past, we assume that we control it in the present. Philosophically speaking, "to learn" is a verb with not legitimate tense.”
Robert Grudin, Time and the Art of Living
“On this subject it is striking to note how many individuals pursue, outside of their own professions and with a kind of rebellious delight, hobbies that are no more than personalized forms of work. This suggests that one of the hidden desires of humanity, provoked by the inward clamor of unused potentialities, is the dream of work in freedom.”
Robert Grudin, Time and the Art of Living
“In old magazines and newspapers we find a number of uncomfortably revealing things: the aged as young, the dead as living, forgotten people as celebrities, an array of our own barbarous and long-discarded fads and postures, and worst, visible only in this removed perspective, our own sickening pretensions to meaning and permanence.”
Robert Grudin, Time and the Art of Living
“If the estimated age of the cosmos were shortened to seventy-two years, a human life would take about ten seconds. But look at time the other way. Each day is a minor eternity of over 86,000 seconds. During each second, the number of distinct molecular functions going on within the human body is comparable to the number of seconds in the estimated age of the cosmos. A few seconds are long enough for a revolutionary idea, a startling communication, a baby's conception, a wounding insult, a sudden death. Depending on how we think of them, our lives can be infinitely long or infinitely short.”
Robert Grudin, Time and the Art of Living
“...temporal experience is neither completely recurrent (in which case it would be wholly knowable) nor completely variable (in which case it would be wholly inscrutable). In effect, it is more like a piece of complex music, a Bach fugue heard for the first time. In one sense, we are excited and surprised by the novel disposition of tones and rhythms and by the uncanny variety of the treatment. In another sense, we realize that recurring ideas and cycles are what give the work its native character, and that the variations, however stunning, have significance only in terms of their relationship to these underlying themes. Conversely, the recurrent themes are realizable in their fullest sense only through the variations upon them. The careful student of time is thus as sure that certain things will recur as he is sure that they will recur in dazzling new forms.”
Robert Grudin, Time and the Art of Living