Quotes that I resonate with
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Tracy Simmons in Climbing Parnassus:
Here is the spirit of El Dorado, the hope that riches and salvation wait around the next bend in the road. Old gospels lack the beckoning allure of the road not taken. But like explorers in the desert ever prone to mirage, we have had, along with remarkable discoveries, a few false sightings. And we are beginning to sense a certain lack of point and permanence in modern life. The new gospels have certainly delivered, but they have not saved.
Maria Negroni in Letter to Myself, via Night Journey:
...To write is a risk. One sets
out, not knowing why. Or rather, in her motionless
nomadry, from cell to cell, lost in the oscillating face of
night, the traveler pursues signs as if pursuing her own
semblance in the semblance of absence, without
recognizing her home, that dark and immense and
quiet cave standing in the depths of the self, which has
never moved. Ah, still so much pride in what I write. So
much haste, overlooking the changeless, ignoring the
need to die into learning. I, the beggar on every
journey. Constant passenger in the cage of time.
Hunter of my oldest soul, my frailest, most fertile
sentiment. I who unravel my frayed memory, goaded
by a talent for incessant questioning, an incessant
nostalgia for the invisible design. What to expect from
the cursive city? Astrologers teach it on the outskirts. It
is practiced by those who hunt for the grave of your
shadow, where loving is easier. Those who yearn for
your silence as I do, for those white horses galloping in
your night dreams, as if they belonged to us...
C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, via r/slatestarcodex:
When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and so unexpected; I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously have been worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am.
Joseph Conrad in Tradition, via Archive.org:
Work is the law. Like iron that lying idle about degenerates into a mass of useless rust, like water that in an unruffled pool sickens into a stagnant and corrupt state, so without action the spirit of men turns to a dead thing, loses its force, ceases to inspire us to leave some trace of ourselves on this earth.
From the hard work of men are born the sympathetic consciousness of a common destiny, the fidelity to right practice which makes great craftsmen, that sense of right conduct which we may call honour, the devotion to our calling and the idealism which is not a misty, winged angel without eyes, but a divine figure of terrestrial aspect with a clear glance and with its feet resting firmly on the earth on which it was born.
And work will overcome all evil, except ignorance, which is the condition of humanity and, like the ambient air, fills the space between the various sorts and conditions of men, which breeds hatred, fear, and contempt between the masses of mankind and puts on men's lips, on their innocent lips, words that are thoughtless and vain.
Carl Sagan in The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark:
Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.
The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.
Ben Jonson, learned while reading The Hugeunot Bartholomew Dupuy and his descendants:
I have no urns, no dusty monuments,
No broken images of ancestors,
Wanting an ear or nose: no forged tables
Of long descents, to boast false honours from.