"The first thing the intellect does with an object is to class it along with something else. But any object that is infinitely important to us and awakens our devotion feels to us also as if it must be sui generis and unique. Probably a crab would be filled with a sense of personal outrage if it could hear us class it without ado or apology as a crustacean, and thus dispose of it. 'I am no such thing,' it would say; 'I am MYSELF, MYSELF alone.'"
"To understand a thing rightly we need to see it both out of its environment and in it, and to have acquaintance with the whole range of its variations."
"Religion, therefore, as I now ask you arbitrarily to take it, shall mean for us THE FEELINGS, ACTS, AND EXPERIENCES OF INDIVIDUAL MEN IN THEIR SOLITUDE, SO FAR AS THEY APPREHEND THEMSELVES TO STAND IN RELATION TO WHATEVER THEY MAY CONSIDER DIVINE."
"There are two lives, the natural and the spiritual, and we must lose the one before we can participate in the other."
"The difference here 'twixt simple and witty folk, if the truth be known, is that your plain man cares much for what stand ye take and not a fart for why ye take it, while your smart wight leaves ye whate'er stand ye will, sobeit ye defend it cleverly."
"As I went down the hill along the wall
There was a gate I had leaned at for the view
And had just turned from when I first saw you
As you came up the hill. We met. But all
We did that day was mingle great and small
Footprints in summer dust as if we drew
The figure of our being less than two
But more than one as yet."
Excerpt from "The Sound of the Trees"
"I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone."
"'O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on: that cuckold lives in bliss
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;
But O, what damned minutes tells he o'er
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!'"
"'To the felt absence now I feel a cause:
Is't come to this?'"
"Any fact becomes important when it's connected to another."
"Incredulity doesn't kill curiosity; it encourages it. Though distrustful of logical chains of ideas, I loved the polyphony of ideas. As long as you don't believe in them, the collision of two ideas — both false — can create a pleasing interval, a kind of diabolus in musica. I had no respect for some ideas people were willing to stake their lives on, but two or three ideas that I did not respect might still make a nice melody. Or have a good beat, and if it was jazz, all the better."
"It isn't enough to have understood, if others refuse and continue to interrogate."
"'There are four kinds of people in this world: cretins, fools, morons, and lunatics.'"
"Gormenghast, that is, the main massing of the original stone, taken by itself would have displayed a certain ponderous architectural quality were it possible to have ignored the circumfusion of those mean dwellings that swarmed like an epidemic around its outer walls. They sprawled over the sloping arch, each one half way over its neighbour until, held back by the castle ramparts, the innermost of these hovels laid hold on the great walls, clamping themselves thereto like limpets to a rock. These dwellings, by ancient law, were granted this chill intimacy with the stronghold that loomed above them. Over their irregular roofs would fall throughout the seasons, the shadows of time-eaten buttresses, of broken and lofty turrets, and, most enormous of all, the shadow of the Tower of Flints. This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven. At night the owls made of it an echoing throat; by day it stood voiceless and cast its long shadow."
"I marked all kindred Powers the heart finds fair:--
Truth, with awed lips; and Hope, with eyes upcast;
And Fame, whose loud wings fan the ashen Past
To signal-fires, Oblivion's flight to scare;
And Youth, with still some single golden hair
Unto his shoulder clinging, since the last
Embrace wherein two sweet arms held him fast;
And Life, still wreathing flowers for Death to wear.
Love's throne was not with these; but far above
All passionate wind of welcome and farewell."
Excerpt from "The Kiss"
"I was a child beneath her touch,--a man
When breast to breast we clung, even I and she,--
A spirit when her spirit looked through me,--
A god when all our life-breath met to fan
Our life-blood, till love's emulous ardours ran,
Fire within fire, desire in deity."
"'The world is my idea:'--this is a truth which holds good for everything that lives and knows, though man alone can bring it into reflective and abstract consciousness. If he really does this, he has attained to philosophical wisdom. It then becomes clear and certain to him that what he knows is not a sun and an earth, but only an eye that sees a sun, a hand that feels an earth; that the world which surrounds him is there only as idea, i.e., only in relation to something else, the consciousness, which is himself."
"Only through the union of space and time do we reach matter, and matter is the possibility of co-existence, and, through that, of permanence; through permanence again matter is the possibility of the persistence of substance in the change of its states."
"Will is the thing-in-itself, the inner content, the essence of the world. Life, the visible world, the phenomenon, is only the mirror of the will."
"Your heart's desire is to be told some mystery. The mystery is that there is no mystery."
"Suppose two men at cards with nothing to wager save their lives. Who has not heard such a tale? A turn of the card. The whole universe for such a player has labored clanking to his moment which will tell if he is to die at that man’s hand or that man at his. What more certain validation of a man’s worth could there be? This enhancement of the game to its ultimate state admits no argument concerning the notion of fate. The selection of one man over another is a preference absolute and irrevocable and it is a dull man indeed who could reckon so profound a decision without agency or significance either one. In such games as have for their stake the annihilation of the defeated the decisions are quite clear. This man holding this particular arrangement of cards in his hand is thereby removed from existence. This is the nature of war, whose stake is at once the game and the authority and the justification. Seen so, war is the truest form of divination. It is the testing of one’s will and the will of another within that larger will which because it binds them is therefore forced to select. War is the ultimate game because war is at last a forcing of the unity of existence. War is god."
"Books lie, he said.
God dont lie.
No, said the judge. He does not. And these are his words.
He held up a chunk of rock.
He speaks in stones and trees, the bones of things.
The squatters in their rags nodded among themselves and were soon reckoning him correct, this man of learning, in all his speculations, and this the judge encouraged until they were right proselytes of the new order whereupon he laughed at them for fools."
"THE FEELING OF q KNOWS WHATEVER REALITY IT RESEMBLES, AND EITHER DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY OPERATES ON. If it resemble without operating, it is a dream; if it operate without resembling, it is an error."
"All feeling is for the sake of action, all feeling results in action,--to-day no argument is needed to prove these truths. But by a most singular disposition of nature which we may conceive to have been different, MY FEELINGS ACT UPON THE REALITIES WITHIN MY CRITIC'S WORLD. Unless, then, my critic can prove that my feeling does not 'point to' those realities which it acts upon, how can he continue to doubt that he and I are alike cognizant of one and the same real world? If the action is performed in one world, that must be the world the feeling intends; if in another world, THAT is the world the feeling has in mind. If your feeling bear no fruits in my world, I call it utterly detached from my world; I call it a solipsism, and call its world a dream-world.
If your toothache do not prompt you to ACT as if I had a toothache, nor even as if I had a separate existence; if you neither say to me, 'I know know how you must suffer!' nor tell me of a remedy, I deny that your feeling, however it may resemble mine, is really cognizant of mine. It gives no SIGN of being cognizant, and such a sign is absolutely necessary to my admission that it is."
"Truth is essentially a relation between two things, an idea, on the one hand, and a reality outside of the idea, on the other."
"Ares always reemerges from the chaos. It will never go away. Athenian civilization defends itself from the forces of Ares with metis, or technology. Technology is built on science. Science is like the alchemists' uroburos, continually eating its own tail. The process of science doesn't work unless young scientists have the freedom to attack and tear down old dogmas, to engage in an ongoing Titanomachia. Science flourishes where art and free speech flourish."
"When the shadow of the sash appeared on the curtains it was between seven and eight oclock and then I was in time again, hearing the watch. It was Grandfather's and when Father gave it to me he said I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it’s rather excrutiating-ly apt that you will use it to gain the reducto absurdum of all human experience which can fit your individual needs no better than it fitted his or his father’s. I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools."
"A man is the sum of his misfortunes. One day you'd think misfortune would get tired but then time is your misfortune."
"We must know the truth; and we must avoid error,--these are our first and great commandments as would-be knowers; but they are not two ways of stating an identical commandment, they are two separable laws. Although it may indeed happen that when we believe the truth A, we escape as an incidental consequence from believing the falsehood B, it hardly ever happens that by merely disbelieving B we necessarily believe A. We may in escaping B fall into believing other falsehoods, C or D, just as bad as B; or we may escape B by not believing anything at all, not even A."
"Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road."
"There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars."
"So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars'll be out, and don't you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty, I think of Dean Moriarty."
"Nothing is loathsomer than the self-loathing of a self one loathes."
"Studentdom, he felt, must pass its own Examinations and define its own Commencement--a slow, most painful process, made the more anguishing by bloody intelligences like the Bonifacists of Siegfrieder College. Yet however it seemed at times that men got nowhere, but only repeated class by class the mistakes of their predecessors, two crucial facts about them were at once their hope and the limitation of their possibility, so he believed. One was their historicity: the campus was young, the student race even younger, and by contrast with the whole of past time, the great collegiate cultures had been born only yesterday. The other had to do with comparative cyclology, a field of systematic speculation he could not review for me just then, but whose present relevance lay in the correspondency he held to obtain between the life-history of individuals and the history of studentdom in general. As the embryologists maintained that ontogeny repeats phylogeny, so, Max claimed, the race itself--and on a smaller scale, West-Campus culture--followed demonstrably--in capital letters, as it were, or slow motion--the life-pattern of its least new freshman. This was the basis of Spielman's Law--ontogeny repeats cosmogeny--and there was much more to it and to the science of cyclology whereof it was first principle. The important thing for now was that, by his calculations, West-Campus as a whole was in mid-adolescence...
'Look how we been acting,' he invited me, referring to intercollegiate political squabbles; 'the colleges are spoilt kids, and the whole University a mindless baby, ja? Okay: so weren't we all once, Enos Enoch too? And we got to admit that the University's a precocious kid. If the history of life on campus hadn't been so childish, we couldn't hope it'll reach maturity.' Studentdom had passed already, he asserted, from a disorganized, pre-literate infancy (of which Croaker was a modern representative, nothing ever being entirely lost) through a rather brilliant early childhood ('...ancient Lykeion, Remus, T'ang...') which formed its basic and somewhat contradictory character; it had undergone a period of naive general faith in parental authority (by which he meant early Founderism) and survived critical spells of disillusionment, skepticism, rationalism, willfulness, self-criticism, violence, disorientation, despair, and the like--all characteristic of pre-adolescence and adolescence, at least in their West-Campus form. I even recognized some of those stages in my own recent past; indeed, Max's description of the present state of West-Campus studentdom reminded me uncomfortably of my behavior in the Lady-Creamhair period: capricious, at odds with itself, perverse, hard to live with. Its schisms, as manifested in the Quiet Riot, had been aggravated and rendered dangerous by the access of unwonted power--as when, in the space of a few semesters, a boy finds himself suddenly muscular, deep-voiced, aware of his failings, proud of his strengths, capable of truly potent love and hatred--and on his own. What hope there was that such an adolescent would reach maturity (not to say Commencement) without destroying himself was precisely the hope of the University."
"'...innocence is ignorance; ignorance is illusion; and Commencement, while it certainly is a metaphor, is no illusion. Commencement's for the disillusioned, not for the innocent.'"
"'...remember that there's always another way of seeing things: that's the beginning of wisdom.'"
"Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else. Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it."
"Industrial tourism is a threat to the national parks. But the chief victims of the system are the motorized tourists. They are being robbed and robbing themselves. So long as they are unwilling to crawl out of their cars they will not discover the treasures of the national parks and will never escape the stress and turmoil of the urban-suburban complexes which they had hoped, presumably, to leave behind for a while."
"No more cars in national parks. Let the people walk. Or ride horses, bicycles, mules, wild pigs--anything--but keep the automobiles and the motorcycles and all their motorized relatives out. We have agreed not to drive our automobiles into cathedrals, concert halls, art museums, legislative assemblies, private bedrooms and the other sanctums of our culture; we should treat our national parks with the same deference, for they, too, are holy places. An increasingly pagan and hedonistic people (thank God!), we are learning finally that the forests and mountains and desert canyons are holier than our churches. Therefore let us behave accordingly."
"A man could be a lover and defender of the wilderness without ever in his lifetime leaving the boundaries of asphalt, powerlines, and right-angled surfaces. We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need a refuge even though we may never need to set foot in it. We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope; without it the life of the cities would drive all men into crime or drugs or psychoanalysis."