There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter—the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last — the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York's high-strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion. And whether it is a farmer arriving from Italy to set up a small grocery store in a slum, or a young girl arriving from a small town in Mississippi to escape the indignity of being observed by her neighbors, or a boy arriving from the Corn Belt with a manuscript in his suitcase and a pain in his heart, it makes no difference: each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, each absorbs New York with the fresh eyes of an adventurer, each generates heat and light to dwarf the Consolidated Edison Company.- E. B. White, Here is New York
That's one thing about intellectuals — they've proved that you can be absolutely brilliant and have no idea what's going on.- Annie Hall
All the essentials of humanity's artistic treasures can be found in New York.- Claude Lévi-Strauss
Evelyn Waugh was in error when he said that in New York there was a neurosis in the air which the inhabitants mistook for energy. There was, rather, a tensile excitement in the air which made one think — made me think for many years — that time spent asleep in New York was somehow time wasted. Whether this thought has lengthened or shortened my life I shall never know, but it has certainly colored it.- Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22
Well, while I'm here, I'll do the work — and what's the work? To ease the pain of living. Everything else, drunken dumbshow.- Allen Ginsberg, Memory Gardens
Wanting to be liked, he distorted himself beyond measure.- Zelig
A designer knows that he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
When a branch of mathematics ceases to interest any but the specialists, it is very near its death, or at any rate dangerously close to a paralysis, from which it can be rescued only by being plunged back into the vivifying source of the science.- André Weil
In the same way, the world is not the sum of all the things that are in it. It is the infinitely complex network of connections among them. As in the meanings of words, things take on meaning only in relationship to each other.- Paul Auster, The Invention of Solitude
If there is one thing in mathematics that fascinates me more than anything else (and doubtless always has), it is neither "number" nor "size", but always form. And among the thousand-and-one faces whereby form chooses to reveal itself to us, the one that fascinates me more than any other and continues to fascinate me, is the structure hidden in mathematical things.- Alexander Grothendieck, Récoltes et Semailles
It feels good to act like a cad.- Johan, Scenes from a Marriage
Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.- Constantin Brancusi
A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.- Richard Avedon
Not all those who wander are lost.- J. R. R. Tolkien
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
There is a time in science when it's too early to attack a problem. The stuff has to bubble a bit more and you have to be able to have the foundation on which to stand.- Nils Nilsson
Mathematics is not the rigid and rigidity-producing schema that the layman thinks it is; rather, in it we find ourselves at that meeting point of constraint and freedom that is the very essence of human nature.- Hermann Weyl
Facts are stupid things — until brought into connection with some general law.- Louis Agassiz
Simultaneously reifying and challenging hegemonic codes of race, class, gender and regional or national identity, his characters explore the complex and changing postmodern cultural landscape.- Robert Bennett, English professor at Montana State, announcing a panel discussion about Brad Pitt
People who read Cosmopolitan magazine are very different from those who do not.- Donald Berry, Statistics: A Bayesian Perspective
Don't worry about what anybody else is going to do. The best way to predict the future is to invent it.- Alan Kay
I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.- Henry David Thoreau
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, like that of a sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trapping of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.- Bertrand Russell
A well-made cocktail may be a perilous pleasure, but it isn't the only one. More than a few people have been undone by love, but we don't abjure it. Rather, one of the central storylines in the history of civilization has been the effort to make love livable.
A good drink, though not without risk, can be eminently livable. Alcohol is no doubt a drug, but in moderation it is a very social one. It primes the conversational pump; it nudges the shy from the bonds of their awkwardness; it midwives romance; it concludes treaties. Firewater, like fire, can be awesomely destructive; learning to marshal the power of both is a hallmark of civilization.- Eric Felten, "The Art of Drinking Well," The Wall Street Journal, November 24 2007
To be original you must listen to the voice of your heart rather than the clamor of the world — and have the courage to teach publicly what you have learned. The source of all genius is sincerity; men would be wiser if they were more moral.- Ludwig Borne
One of the things I like about doing science, the thing that is the most fun, is coming up with something that seems ridiculous when you first hear it but finally seems obvious when you're finished.- Fischer Black
I know exactly what I want to be when I grow up. When I grow up, I want to be a little boy.- Joseph Heller
As a remedy to life in society I would suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means.- Albert Camus
An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.- Albert Camus
I was worth about a million dollars when I was twenty-three, and about ten million when I was twenty-four, and about a hundred million when I was twenty-five, but it didn't matter because I never did it for the money.- Steve Jobs
Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.- Immanuel Kant
Once I didn't know what charisma meant; I met Steve Jobs and then I knew.- Larry Tesler
An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.- Victor Hugo
There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.- Bertrand Russell
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.- Bertrand Russell
Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.- B. F. Skinner
Whoso neglects learning in his youth,
Loses the past and is dead for the future.
Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin — more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.- Bertrand Russell
One man that has a mind and knows it can always beat ten men who haven't and don't.- George Bernard Shaw
It is not worth an intelligent man's time to be in the majority. By definition, there are already enough people to do that.- G. H. Hardy
As soon as questions of will or decision or reason or choice of action arise, human science is at a loss.- Noam Chomsky
In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not the man to whom the idea first occurs.- Francis Darwin
One cannot befriend a man without obsessions, for he lacks deep emotion.- Zhang Dai
Never trust a computer you can't throw out the window.- Steve Wozniak
Design isn't just how it looks. It's how it works.- Steve Jobs
In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them.- John von Neumann
Common sense is genius in homespun.- Alfred North Whitehead
Computing science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.- Edsger Dijkstra
I don't know the secret of success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everybody.- Bill Cosby
Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon.- Alan Perlis
Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it.- Alan Perlis
How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.- Coco Chanel
The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it.- Vannevar Bush, "As We May Think," 1947
Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.- Alan Perlis
Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.- H. L. Mencken
Basically my wife was immature. I'd be at home in the bath and she'd come in and sink my boats.- Woody Allen
For every problem there is one solution which is simple, neat, and wrong.- H. L. Mencken
If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don't bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, or seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you'll get better results if you just watch him laugh. If he laughs well, he's a good man.- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Adolescent
The secret of all those who make discoveries is that they regard nothing as impossible.- Justus Liebig
Nothing determines who we will become so much as those things we choose to ignore.- Sandor Minab
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue...Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.- Rainer Maria Rilke
Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.- Roman maxim
I know nothing more noble than the contemplation of the world.- Gustave Flaubert
Literature was born the day a boy cried wolf and there was no wolf behind him.- Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Literature
The difference between sex and death is that with death you can do it alone and no one is going to make fun of you.- Woody Allen
Sex between a man and a woman can be wonderful, provided you can get between the right man and the right woman.- Woody Allen
I asked the girl if she could bring a sister for me. She did. Sister Maria Teresa. It was a very slow evening. We discussed the New Testament. We agreed that He was very well adjusted for an only child.- Woody Allen
It seemed the world was divided into good and bad people. The good ones slept better ... while the bad ones seemed to enjoy the waking hours much more.- Woody Allen, Side Effects
I took a speed reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.- Woody Allen
My one regret in life is that I am not someone else.- Woody Allen
We should forget about small efficiences, say, about 97% of the time. Premature optimization is the root of all evil.- Donald E. Knuth
The science of pure mathematics, in its modern development, may claim to be the most original creation of the human spirit.- Alfred North Whitehead
The two biggest myths about me are that I'm an intellectual, because I wear these glasses, and that I'm an artist because my films lose money. Those two myths have been prevalent for many years.- Woody Allen
For some reason I'm more appreciated in France than I am back home. The subtitles must be incredibly good.- Woody Allen
On the plus side, death is one of the few things that can be done just as easily as lying down.- Woody Allen
I don't want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it by not dying.- Woody Allen
My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son of a bitch.- Jack Nicholson
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.- Aristotle
Apple employees want someone they can respect, who understands how Apple operates but who will, at the same time, put the fear of God into them in order to drive them on. And Steve Jobs is that man.- Karen Harvey
I used to be with it, but then what it was changed, and now what I'm with isn't it anymore.- Grandpa Simpson, "The Simpsons"
One of the deep mysteries to me is our logo - the symbol of lust and knowledge, bitten into, all crossed with the colors of the rainbow in the wrong order. You couldn't dream of a more appropriate logo: lust, knowledge, hope, and anarchy.- Jean-Louis Gassee, on the original six-color Apple logo
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.- Mahatma Gandhi
An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.- Mahatma Gandhi
Childhood is short and maturity is forever.- Calvin & Hobbes
The most important thing in the programming language is the name. A language will not succeed without a good name. I have recently invented a very good name and now I am looking for a suitable language.- Donald E. Knuth, 1967
A mathematician is a system for turning coffee into theorems.- P. Erdos
Mathematicians are like Frenchmen: whenever you say something to them, they translate it into their own language, and at once it is something entirely different.- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.- Friedrich von Schiller
The world would be a better place if Larry Wall had been born in Iceland, or any other country where the native language actually has syntax.- Anon.
There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about.- John von Neumann
A language that doesn't have everything is actually easier to program in than some that do.- Dennis M. Ritchie
After all, all he did was string together a lot of old, well-known quotations.- H. L. Mencken, on Shakespeare
I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam. I looked into the soul of another boy.- Woody Allen
Mankind, which in Homer's time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, now is one for itself.- Walter Benjamin
Only do what only you can do.- Edsger Dijkstra, offering advice to a researcher
The prisoner falls in love with his chains.- Edsger Dijkstra
Brainpower is by far our scarcest resource.- Edsger Dijkstra
In their capacity as a tool, computers will be but a ripple on the surface of our culture. In their capacity as intellectual challenge, they are without precedent in the cultural history of mankind.- Edsger Dijkstra
If, ten years from now, when you are doing something quick and dirty, you suddenly visualize that I am looking over your shoulders and say to yourself, "Dijkstra would not have liked this," that would be enough immortality for me.- Edsger Dijkstra
The traditional mathematician recognizes and appreciates mathematical elegance when he sees it. I propose to go one step further, and to consider elegance an essential ingredient of mathematics: if it is clumsy, it is not mathematics.- Edsger Dijkstra
Omit needless words.- Strunk & White, The Elements of Style
Most people would sooner die than think. In fact, they do.- Bertrand Russell
Some problems are better evaded than solved.- C. A. R. Hoare
If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.- John von Neumann
The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.- B. F. Skinner
No, you're not thinking, you're just being logical.- Niels Bohr
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.- Albert Einstein
Computers work. People think.- IBM Poster
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.- Albert Einstein
Never express yourself more clearly than you can think.- Niels Bohr
In science, one learns the most by studying what seems to be the least.- Marvin Minsky
I wouldn't want to be part of any club that would have me as a member.- Groucho Marx
Naturally, the common people don't want war, but after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a facist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.- Hermann Goering
What we cannot speak of, we must pass over in silence.- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
In a sense, and as in melodrama, killing yourself amounts to confessing. It is confessing that life is too much for you or that you do not understand it. Let's not go too far in such analogies, however, but rather return to everyday words. It is merely confessing that it is not worth the trouble. Living, naturally, is never easy. You continue making the gestures commanded by existence for many reasons, the first of which is habit. Dying voluntarily implies that you have recognized, even instinctively, the ridiculous nature of that habit, the absence of any profound reason for living, the insane character of that daily agitation and the uselessness of suffering.- Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.- Milton, Paradise Lost
Of Man's first disobedience and the fruit of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste first brought death into this world, and all our woe...- Milton, Paradise Lost, I.i
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.
She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.
Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, a certain initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.- Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
Thus, neither of us is alive when the reader opens this book. But while the blood still throbs through my writing hand, you are still as much part of blessed matter as I am, and I can still talk to you from here to Alaska. Be true to your Dick. Do not let other fellows touch you. Do not talk to strangers. I hope you will love your baby. I hope it will be a boy. That husband of yours, I hope, will always treat you well, because otherwise my specter shall come at him, like black smoke, like a demented giant, and pull him apart nerve by nerve. And do not pity C. Q. One had to choose between him and H. H., and one wanted H. H. to exist at least a couple months longer, so as to have him make you live in the minds of later generations. I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita.- Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport.- King Lear
Conscience doth make cowards of us all.- Shakespeare
Every why hath a wherefore.- The Comedy of Errors
For a light heart lives long.- Shakespeare, Love's Labour Lost
Having nothing, nothing he can lose.- Shakespeare, Henry VI
He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument.- Shakespeare, Love's Labour Lost
He jests at scars who never felt a wound.- Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
Hell is empty and all the devils are here.- Shakespeare, The Tempest
Lord, what fools these mortals be!- Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
O, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.- Shakespeare
Patch griefs with proverbs.- Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
Jesters may oft prove prophets.- Shakespeare, King Lear
The Devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.- Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
There are more things in heaven and earth,
Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
You may my glories and my state dispose,
But not my griefs; still am I king of those.
My third maxim was to try always to conquer myself rather than fortune, and to alter my desires rather than change the order of the world, and generally to accustom myself to believe that there is nothing entirely within our power but our own thoughts: so that after we have done our best in regard to things that are without us, our ill-success cannot possibly be failure on our part. And this alone seemed to me sufficient to prevent my desiring anything in the future beyond what I could actually obtain, hence rendering me content; for since our will does not naturally induce us to desire anything but what our understanding represents to it as in some way possible of attainment, it is certain that if we consider all good things which are outside of us as equally outside of our power, we should not have more regret in resigning those goods which appear to pertain to our birth, when we are deprived of them for no fault of our own, than we have in not possessing the kingdoms of China or Mexico. In the same way, making what is called a virtue out of a necessity, we should no more desire to be well if ill, or free, if in prison, than we now do to have our bodies formed of a substance as little corruptible as diamonds, or to have wings to fly with like birds. I allow, however, that to accustom oneself to regard all things from this point of view requires long exercise and meditation often repeated; and I believe that it is principally in this that is to be found the secret of those philosophers who, in ancient times, were able to free themselves from the empire of fortune, or, despite suffering or poverty, to rival their gods in their happiness. For, ceaselessly occupying themselves in considering the limits which were prescribed to them by nature, they persuaded themselves so completely that nothing was within their own power but their thoughts, that this conviction alone was sufficient to prevent their having any longing for other things. And they had so absolute a mastery over their thoughts that they had some reason for esteeming themselves as more rich and more powerful, and more free and more happy than other men, who however favored by nature of fortune they might be, if devoid of this philosophy, never could arrive at all at which they aim.- Descartes, Discourse on Method
If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, for you are not poet enough to call forth its riches.- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
So this is where people come to live; I would have thought it is a city to die in.- Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
These are the noises. But there is something here that is more dreadful: the silence. I imagine that during great fires such a moment of extreme tension must sometimes occur: the jets of water fall back, the firemen stop climbing the ladders, no one moves. Soundlessly a black cornice pushes forward overhead, and a high wall, with flames shooting up behind it, leans forward, soundlessly. Everyone stands and waits, with raised shoulders and faces contracted above their eyes, for the terrifying crash. The silence here is like that.- Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
I think I should begin to do some work, now that I am learning to see. I am twenty-eight years old, and I have done practically nothing. To sum it up: I have written a study of Carpaccio, which is bad; a play entitled "Marriage," which tries to demonstrate a false thesis by equivocal means; and some poems. Ah, but poems amount to so little when you write them too early in your life. You ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness for a whole lifetime, and a long one if possible, and then, at the very end, you might perhaps be able to write ten good lines. For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough) — they are experiences. For the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning. You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents who you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn't pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else —); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet, restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along high overhead and went flying with all the stars, — and it is still not enough to be able to think of all that. You must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the scattered noises. And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves — only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them.- Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
I prayed to rediscover my childhood, and it has come back, and I feel that it is just as difficult as it used to be, and that growing older has served no purpose at all.- Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
But now that so much is changing, isn't it time for us to change? Couldn't we try to gradually develop and slowly take upon ourselves, little by little, our part in the great task of love? We have been spared all its trouble, and that is why it has slipped in among our distractions, as a piece of real lace will sometimes fall into a child's toy-box and please him and no longer please him, and finally it lies there among the broken and dismembered toys, more wretched than any of them. We have been spoiled by superficial pleasures like all dilettantes, and are looked upon as masteres. But what if we despised our successes? What if we started from the very outset to learn the task of love, which ahs always been done for us? What if we went ahead and became beginners, now that much is changing?- Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
Fate loves to invent designs and patterns. Its difficulty lies in complexity. But life itself is difficult because of its simplicity. It has just a few elements, of a grandeur we can never fathom.- Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
Such love doesn't need any response; it contains both call-note and answer in itself; it is its own fulfillment.- Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
Outside, much has changed. I don't know how. But inside and before you, Lord, inside before you, Spectator: aren't we without action? We discover, indeed, that we don't know our part; we look for a mirror; we want to rub off the make-up and remove everything that is artificial, and become real. But somewhere a piece of our disguise still sticks to us, which we forgot. A trace of exaggeration remains on our eyebrows; we don't notice that the corners of our mouth are twisted. And this is how we go around, a laughing-stock and a half-truth: neither real beings nor actors.- Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
To be loved means to be consumed in flames. To love is to give light with inexhaustible oil. To be loved is to pass away; to love is to endure.- Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
What does one do with the millions of facts bearing witness to the one fact that people knowingly, that is, possessing full knowledge of their own true interests, have relegated them to the background and have rushed down a different path, that of risk and chance, compelled by no one and nothing, but merely as if they didn't want to follow the beaten track, and so they stubbornly, willfully forged another way, a difficult and absurd one, searching for it almost in the darkness?- Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground
...the whole world is a work of art; ...we are parts of the work of art. Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.- Virginia Woolf, Moments of Being
...at the moment her eyes were so clear that they seemed to go round the table unveiling each of these people, and their thoughts and their feelings, without effort like a light stealing under water so that its ripples and the reeds in it and the minnows balancing themselves, and the sudden silent trout are all lit hanging, trembling.- Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
He smiled the most exquisite smile, veiled by memory, tinged by dreams.- Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
...but here, the houses falling away on both sides, they came out on the quay, and the whole bay spread before them and Mrs. Ramsay could not help exclaiming, "Oh, how beautiful!" For the great plateful of blue water was before her; the hoary Lighthouse, beautiful, austere, in the midst; and on the right, as far as the eye could see, fading and falling, in soft low pleats, the green sand dunes with the wild flowing grasses on them, which always seemed to be running away into some moon country, uninhabited of men.- Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
That for which we find words is something already dead in our hearts. There is always a kind of contempt in the act of speaking.- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Twilight of the Idols
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
The wrath of a god is hard to deal with.- Aeneas' words to Pandaros, Iliad Book 5
I love her not with my mind or my imagination, but with my whole being. Loving her I feel myself to be an integral part of all God's joyous world.- Tolstoy, The Cossacks
Man, supposing you and I, escaping this battle,
would be able to live on forever, ageless, immortal,
so neither would I myself go on fighting in the foremost
nor would I urge you into the fighting where men win glory.
But now, seeing that the spirits of death stand close about us
in their thousands, no man can turn aside nor escape them,
let us go on and win glory for ourselves, or yield it to others.
They took each other's advice, opened one book, went over to another, then did not know what to decide when opinions diverged so widely.- Gustave Flaubert, Bouvard et Pecuchet
Habitualization devours work, clothes, furniture, one's wife, and the fear of war. "If the whole complex lives of many people go on unconsciously, then such lives are as if they had never been." And art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony . The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects "unfamiliar," to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important.- Viktor Shklovsky, Art as Technique
My own experience is that the more we study art, the less we care for nature. What art really reveals to us is nature's lack of design, her curious crudities, her extraordinary monotony, her absolutely unfinished condition. Nature has good intentions, of course, but as Aristotle said, she cannot carry them out. When I look at a landscape I cannot help seeing all its defects. It is fortunate for us, however, that nature is so imperfect, as otherwise we should have had no art at all. Art is our spirited protest, our gallant attempt to teach nature her proper place.- Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying
What seems beautiful to me, what I should like to write, is a book about nothing, a book dependent on nothing external, which would be held together by the strength of its style, just as the earth, suspended in the void, depends on nothing external for its support; a book which would have almost no subject, or at least in which the subject would be almost invisible, if such a thing is possible. The finest works are those that contain the least matter; the closer expression comes to thought, the closer language comes to coinciding and merging with it, the finer the result. I believe that the future of Art lies in this direction. I see it, as it has developed from its beginnings, growing progressively more ethereal, from the Egyptian pylons to Gothic lancets, from the 20,000-line Hindu poems to the effusions of Byron. Form, as it is mastered, becomes attenuated; it becomes dissociated from any liturgy, rule, yardstick; the epic is discarded in favor of the novel, verse in favor of prose; there is no longer any orthodoxy, and form is as free as the will of its creator. This emancipation from matter can be observed everywhere: governments have gone through similar evolution, from the oriental despotisms to the socialisms of the future.
It is for this reason that there are no noble subjects or ignoble subjects; from the standpoint of pure Art one might almost establish the axiom that there is no such thing as subject, style in itself being an absolute manner of seeing things.- Gustave Flaubert, Correspondance
If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself, lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who.- Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle
Suddenly from out on the sidewalk came a noise of heavy wooden shoes and the scraping of a stick, and a voice rose up, a raucous voice singing:
A clear day's warmth will often move
A lass to stray in dreams of love
Emma sat up like a galvanized corpse, her hair streaming, her eyes fixed and gaping.
To gather up the stalks of wheat
The swinging scythe keeps laying by,
Nanette goes stooping in the heat
Along the furrow where they lie.
"The blind man!" she cried.
Emma began to laugh - a horrible, frantic, desperate laugh - fancying she saw the beggar's hideous face, a figure of terror looming up in the darkness of eternity.
The wind blew very hard that day
And snatched her petticoat away!
A spasm flung her down on the mattress. Everyone drew close. She had ceased to exist.- Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
He had had such things said to him so many times that none of them had any freshness for him. Emma was like all his other mistresses; and as the charm of novelty gradually slipped from her like a piece of her clothing, he saw revealed in all its nakedness the eternal monotony of passion, which always assumes the same forms and always speaks the same language. He had no perception - this man of such vast experience - of the dissimilarity of feeling that might underlie similarities of expression. Since he had heard those same words uttered by loose women or prostitutes, he had little belief in their sincerity when he heard them now: the more flowery a person's speech, he thought, the more suspect the feelings, or lack of feelings, it concealed. Whereas the truth is that fullness of soul can sometimes overflow in utter vapidity of language, for none of us can ever express the exact measure of his needs or his thoughts or his sorrows; and human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.- Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
The law would say that to be patient under calamity is best, and that we should not give way to impatience, as the good and evil in such things are not clear, and nothing is gained by impatience; also, because no human thing is of serious importance, and grief stands in the way of that which at the moment is most required.
What is most required? he asked.
That we should take counsel about what has happened, and when the dice have been thrown, according to their fall, order our affairs in the way which reason deems best; not, like children who have had a fall, keeping hold of the part struck and wasting time in setting up a howl, but always accustoming the soul forthwith to apply a remedy, raising up that which is sickly and fallen, banishing the cry of sorrow by the healing art.- Plato, The Republic, Book X
Remember — the backflip is 90% confidence.- Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock
Love is very deep. Sex only has to go a few inches.- Bullets over Broadway
Cosmo Kramer: It's a write-off for them.
Jerry: How is it a write-off?
Cosmo Kramer: They just write it off.
Jerry: You don't even know what a write-off is.
Cosmo Kramer: Do you?
Jerry: No, I don't.
Cosmo Kramer: But they do, and they're the ones writing it off.
Doris: You have no values. Your whole life, it's nihilism, cynicism, sarcasm, orgasm!
Harry: In France I could run on that slogan and win.