Passages

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V. S. Naipaul


In England people are very proud of being very stupid.


If ever you wish to meet intellectual frauds in quantity, go to Paris.


If a writer doesn't generate hostility, he is dead.


I'm the kind of writer that people think other people are reading.


It's very attractive to people to be a victim. Instead of having to think out the whole situation, about history and your group and what you are doing... if you begin from the point of view of being a victim, you've got it half-made. I mean intellectually.


The first 50 years of the cinema were absolutely great years. Original minds were at work establishing the ways to tell a story. And what is happening now is a copying, a pastiche-ing of what was done by great men.


An autobiography can distort; facts can be realigned. But fiction never lies: it reveals the writer totally.


One isn't born one's self. One is born with a mass of expectations, a mass of other people's ideas - and you have to work through it all.


The longer I live the more convinced I become that one of the greatest honors we can confer on other people is to see them as they are, to recognize not only that they exist, but that they exist in specific ways and have specific realities.


In England I am not English, in India I am not Indian. I am chained to the 1,000 square miles that is Trinidad; but I will evade that fate yet.


I became very interested in the Islamic question, and thought I would try to understand it from the roots, ask very simple questions and somehow make a narrative of that discovery.




Candice Bergen


Men say they love independence in a woman, but they don't waste a second demolishing it brick by brick.


I couldn't hold it together today. George Clooney asked me if I was OK, and I practically collapsed. I couldn't stop crying, I had to go off sobbing like an idiot.


Dreams are, by definition, cursed with short life spans.


Hollywood is like Picasso's bathroom.


Beauty set up distance between other people and me. It warped their behavior. People see you as an object, not as a person, and they project a set of expectations onto you. People who don't have it think beauty is a blessing, but actually it sets you apart. Though beauty gives you a weird sense of entitlement, it's rather frightening and threatening to have others ascribe such importance to something you know you're just renting for a while.


I guess I was a mom so late in life, my daughter was the greatest thing since sliced bread.


It's impossible to be more flat-chested than I am.


Were women meant to do everything - work and have babies?


Kingsley Amis


A great British prime minister once remarked that the people were divided into two nations, the rich and the poor, and in effect that these had no knowledge of each other. One might say the same, perhaps, of those who live in parts of the world where segregation by races is practised. But these barriers, or the reasons for them, belong to a part of our history which is fortunately passing away. There is one barrier, however, which no amount of progress or tolerance or legislation can ever diminish. I'm talking about the barrier between the attractive and the unattractive.


'Oh, I see,' said Jenny. 'But you're just getting these men [New Age gurus] to help you all feel better. I thought when you talked about helping people you meant other people. You know, like the blind.'

'Isn't everybody blind, in one way or another?' asked Wendy.


If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing.


He resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again.


There was no end to the ways in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones.


He was of the faith chiefly in the sense that the church he currently did not attend was Catholic.


It is no wonder that people are so horrible when they start their life as children.


Death has got something to be said for it: There’s no need to get out of bed for it; Wherever you may be, They bring it to you, free.


I sometimes feel that more lousy dishes are presented under the banner of pate than any other.


Outside every fat man there was an even fatter man trying to close in.



Jerry Lee Lewis


Either be hot or cold. If you are lukewarm, the Lord will spew you forth from His mouth.


My momma always said, ‘You and Elvis are pretty good, but y’all ain’t no Chuck Berry


Hippies? Why, I'm the original.


Carl Perkins and John Cash was telling me, ‘Man, everybody loves you, but you ought to do something a little different up there.’ I said, ‘Like what?’ ‘Just run around the piano or do something. You’d be surprised the reaction you’d get.’ I said, ‘Well, I’d have to think about it.’ Then I just kicked my stool back, knocked it over… I know I started off opening the show. And before the tour was over, I was closing the show. I never did figure that one out.


When they look back on me I want 'em to remember me not for all my wives, although I've had a few, and certainly not for any mansions or high livin' money I made and spent. I want 'em to remember me simply for my music.


Other people - they practice and they practice... these fingers of mine, they got brains in 'em. You don't tell them what to do - they do it. God given talent.


Normally, things are viewed in these little segmented boxes. There's classical, and then there's jazz; romantic, and then there's baroque. I find that very dissatisfying. I was trying to find the thread that connects one type of music - one type of musician - to another, and to follow that thread in some kind of natural, evolutionary way.




Jiddu Krishnamurti


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.


I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect.


All ideologies are idiotic, whether religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word, which has so unfortunately divided man.


The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.


If we can really understand the problem, the answer will come out of it, because the answer is not separate from the problem.


If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.


We all want to be famous people, and the moment we want to be something we are no longer free.


Freedom from the desire for an answer is essential to the understanding of a problem.


Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.


A man who is not afraid is not aggressive, a man who has no sense of fear of any kind is really a free, a peaceful man.


Annie Besant


A note on the subject:— Annie Besant, née Wood was a British socialist, theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule.


A myth is far truer than a history, for a history only gives a story of the shadows, whereas a myth gives a story of the substances that cast the shadows.


Quick condemnation of all that is not ours, of views with which we disagree, of ideas that do not attract us, is the sign of a narrow mind, of an uncultivated intelligence. Bigotry is always ignorant, and the wise boy, who will become the wise man, tries to understand and to see the truth in ideas with which he does not agree.


No philosophy, no religion, has ever brought so glad a message to the world as this good news of Atheism.


Refusal to believe until proof is given is a rational position; denial of all outside of our own limited experience is absurd.


For centuries the leaders of Christian thought spoke of women as a necessary evil, and the greatest saints of the Church are those who despise women the most.


'Easter' is a movable event, calculated by the relative positions of sun and moon, an impossible way of fixing year by year the anniversary of a historical event, but a very natural and indeed inevitable way of calculating a solar festival. These changing dates do not point to the history of a man, but to the hero of a solar myth.



Nasreddin


A note the subject: Nasreddin (variously Nasrudin, Nasrettin, etc.) is a legendary folk character in the Middle East and Central Asia, portrayed as a wise fool, clever simpleton, or instructive prankster.

Nothing is conclusively known about the person who originally inspired the stories, but popular tradition considers him a minor cleric from Anatolia in the 13th or early 14th century. The oldest surviving manuscripts containing tales of Nasreddin date from 16th century, and are Turkish. By the 19th century, tales of the older Arabic trickster character Juha became amalgamated into the lore of Nasreddin.


"Nasrudin, your donkey has been lost."

"Thank goodness I was not on the donkey at the time, or I would be lost too."


Nasrudin walked into a house and exclaimed, "The moon is more useful than the sun."

"Why?" he was asked.

"Because at night we need the light more."


Nesretten Hoca's Wife: In our society, they treat us as if women have no names of their own—you are always so-and-so's wife. I mentioned this to my husband once—and, believe me, I didn't do it to blame or scold anyone. He was deeply touched and saddened. He said to me: "You are right, my dear wife. From now on, whenever they ask me what my name is, I'll say 'I'm the husband of the wife of Nasrettin Hoca.' "


Nasrudin used to take a donkey across a frontier every day, with the panniers loaded with straw. Since he admitted to being a smuggler when he trudged home every night, the frontier guards searched him again and again. They searched his person, staffed the straw, steeped it in water, even burned it from time to time. [...] One of the customs officers met him years later.

"You can tell me now, Nasrudin," he said. "Whatever was it that you were smuggling, when we could never catch you out?"

"Donkeys," said Nasrudin.


"I can see in the dark."

"That may be so, Mulla. But if it is true, why do you sometimes carry a candle at night?"

"To prevent other people from bumping into me."




Lionel Trilling


A note on the subject: Lionel Mordecai Trilling was an American literary critic, short story writer, essayist, and teacher. He was one of the leading U.S. critics of the 20th century who traced the contemporary cultural, social, and political implications of literature.


Immature artists imitate. Mature artists steal.


Where misunderstanding serves others as an advantage, one is helpless to make oneself understood.


It is now life and not art that requires the willing suspension of disbelief.


Literature is the human activity that takes the fullest and most precise account of variousness, possibility, complexity, and difficulty.


Being a Jew is like walking in the wind or swimming: you are touched at all points and conscious everywhere.


The poet... may be used as a barometer, but let us not forget that he is also part of the weather.


We who are liberal and progressive know that the poor are our equals in every sense except that of being equal to us.


In the American metaphysic, reality is always material reality, hard, resistant, unformed, impenetrable, and unpleasant.


Probably it is impossible for humor to be ever a revolutionary weapon. Candide can do little more than generate irony.


The poet is in command of his fantasy, while it is exactly the mark of the neurotic that he is possessed by his fantasy.


Peter Dinklage


I like animals, all animals. I wouldn't hurt a cat or a dog - or a chicken or a cow. And I wouldn't ask someone else to hurt them for me. That's why I'm a vegetarian.


When people are infected by my charm, they don't see my size. My piercing deep blue eyes are distracting.


My favourite superhero? I have a soft spot for Batman, because he doesn't have any super powers - he's just a person. And he's pretty dark.


It's a shame how a lot of actors use theater as a stepping stone to film and television work; I think it shouldn't be treated that way. Maybe it's narcissism or something. I think we should always go back to it. I try and do a play a year, and I think that's really helped me.


I was a sullen kid who smoked cigarettes and wore black every day, and I went to a school that was lacrosse players and Izods.


I spend my nights just sitting and reading a book and drinking my tea and walking my dog. That's about as exciting as my life gets.


I never know where women are coming from.


We, as Americans, at least - I mean, I love my country - but we're so self-righteous sometimes, in terms of, like, our nationality, our country. But we're people from somewhere else; the true 'Americans' are the original peoples. It's funny, but we're a very territorial species.


Tyrion Lannister


“Never forget what you are, the rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.”


“I have to disagree. Death is so final, yet life is full of possibilities.”


“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.”


“I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.”


“We’ve had vicious kings and we’ve had idiot kings, but I don’t know if we’ve ever been cursed with a vicious idiot boy king!”


“It’s hard to put a leash on a dog once you’ve put a crown on its head.”


“Of course we are. Just because I pay you for your services doesn’t diminish our friendship.”


“I try to know as many people as I can. You never know which one you’ll need.”


“Drinking and lust. No man can match me in these things. I am the god of tits and wine… I shall build a shrine to myself at the next brothel I visit.”


“Oh, “monster.” Perhaps you should speak to me more softly then. Monsters are dangerous and, just now, kings are dying like flies.”


“It’s not easy being drunk all the time. If it were easy, everyone would do it.”


“Every time we deal with an enemy, we create two more.”


“Of course it’s a joke, just not a very funny one.”


“In my experience eloquent men are right every bit as often as imbeciles.”


“It’s easy to confuse ‘what is’ with ‘what ought to be,’ especially when ‘what is’ has worked out in your favor.”



Rupert Sheldrake


The sciences are being held back by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas, maintained by powerful taboos. I believe that the sciences will be regenerated when they are set free.


The idea is that there is a kind of memory in nature. Each kind of thing has a collective memory. So, take a squirrel living in New York now. That squirrel is being influenced by all past squirrels.


Bad religion is arrogant, self-righteous, dogmatic and intolerant. And so is bad science. But unlike religious fundamentalists, scientific fundamentalists do not realize that their opinions are based on faith. They think they know the truth.


Contemporary science is based on the philosophy of materialism, which claims that all reality is material or physical.


For more than 200 years, materialists have promised that science will eventually explain everything in terms of physics and chemistry. Believers are sustained by the faith that scientific discoveries will justify their beliefs.


I have been a scientist for more than 40 years, having studied at Cambridge and Harvard. I researched and taught at Cambridge University, was a research fellow of the Royal Society, and have more than 80 publications in peer-reviewed journals. I am strongly pro-science.


Søren Kierkegaard


Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.


Not just in commerce but in the world of ideas too our age is putting on a veritable clearance sale. Everything can be had so dirt cheap that one begins to wonder whether in the end anyone will want to make a bid.


Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.


The truth is a snare: you cannot have it, without being caught. You cannot have the truth in such a way that


People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.


What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music.


Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.


The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.


To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.


Old age realizes the dreams of youth: look at Dean Swift; in his youth he built an asylum for the insane, in his old age he was himself an inmate.


Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.


Lyndon B. Johnson


Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.


What did you expect? I don't know why we're so surprised. When you put your foot on a man's neck and hold him down for three hundred years, and then you let him up, what's he going to do? He's going to knock your block off.


Speech at the University of Michigan (1964):—

The challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to use that wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of our American civilization….
The Great Society rests on abundance and liberty for all. It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice, to which we are totally committed in our time. But that is just the beginning.
The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents. It is a place where leisure is a welcome chance to build and reflect, not a feared cause of boredom and restlessness. It is a place where the city of man serves not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community.
It is a place where man can renew contact with nature. It is a place which honors creation for its own sake and for what it adds to the understanding of the race. It is a place where men are more concerned with the quality of their goals than the quantity of their goods.
But most of all, the Great Society is not a safe harbor, a resting place, a final objective, a finished work. It is a challenge constantly renewed, beckoning us toward a destiny where the meaning of our lives matches the marvelous products of our labor.


If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: "President Can't Swim.".


Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time.


I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. First, let her think she's having her own way. And second, let her have it.


The noblest search is the search for excellence.


There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.


Every man has a right to a Saturday night bath.


I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask for your help - and God's.


We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.


Poverty must not be a bar to learning and learning must offer an escape from poverty.


Anatoly Karpov


Anatoly Karpov (born 1951) is a Russian and Soviet former world chess champion.


Even a dickhead would do a better job than Ilyumzhinov [head of FIDE, the International Chess Body]. The chaos in the chess world is caused by “leaders” who are unable to do their job properly.


This whole fuss did not only damage Fischer's image, but that of the USA as well. The way the Americans treated one of their most popular citizens did not make a positive impression worldwide.


If you want to become a World Champion you should avoid playing in Open tournaments.


Seville never had a rich chess tradition. Valencia is entirely different, it is enough to say that one of the city squares is named after me.


Children can take lessons in that school via the Internet and can score extra points like e.g. in Geography or History. That sounds very promising and is a fantastic basis for future steps.


People knew about 110 years of chess history. Nowadays, nobody is able to tell you the name of the world champion of 2000.


My relations with Korchnoi depend on whether he has slept well. If he had bad dreams, he speaks a lot of rubbish.


To be a champion requires more than simply being a strong player; one has to be a strong human being as well.


Putin needs strong moves to keep the country as one. There is some criticism that he is centralizing power, but in Russia, if you don't centralize power, you have the risk of losing the country.


James Baldwin


American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.


It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.


I have not written about being a Negro at such length because I do not expect that to be my only subject, but only because it was the gate I had to unlock before I could hope to write about anything else.


To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.


I conceive of God, in fact, as a means of liberation and not a means to control others.


Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring forth, one clings to what one knew, or dreamed that one possessed. Yet, it is only when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a dream he has long cherished or a privilege he has long possessed that he is set free — he has set himself free — for higher dreams, for greater privileges.


I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.


Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.


People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.


Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.


Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.



Lech Wałęsa


It is hardly possible to build anything if frustration, bitterness and a mood of helplessness prevail.

— Walesa, Lech. "Nobel Lecture" 1983 Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance (11 December 1983)


I'm lazy. But it's the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn't like walking or carrying things.


We hold our heads high, despite the price we have paid, because freedom is priceless.


He who puts out his hand to stop the wheel of history will have his fingers crushed.


The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being.


I must tell you that the supply of words on the world market is plentiful, but the demand is falling.


Our national history has so often filled us with bitterness and the feeling of helplessness.


You have riches and freedom here but I feel no sense of faith or direction. You have so many computers, why don't you use them in the search for love?


I got politics and economics moving and then others took over.


Henning Mankell


Police work wouldn't be possible without coffee," Wallander said.

"No work would be possible without coffee."

They pondered the importance of coffee in silence.


To grow up is to wonder about things; to be grown up is to slowly forget the things you wondered about as a child.


It was a clear, starry night, dead calm. Whenever I see a sky like that, I wish I could write music.


Society had grown cruel. People who felt they were unwanted or unwelcome in their own country, reacted with aggression. There was no such thing as meaningless violence. Every violent act had a meaning for the person who committed it. Only when you dared accept this truth could you hope to turn society in another direction.


We’re always being made promises,’ she said. ‘You make them yourself and you listen to others giving theirs. Politicians are always going on about providing a better quality of life for people as they get older,

and a health service in which nobody ever gets bedsores. Banks promise you high interest rates, some food promises to make you lose weight if you eat it, and body creams guarantee old age with fewer wrinkles. Life is quite simply a matter of cruising along in your own little boat through

a constantly changing but never-ending stream of promises. And how many do we remember? We forget the ones we would like to remember, and we remember the ones we’d prefer to forget.


Anaïs Nin


Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.


I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.


How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?


We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.


There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.


And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.


Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.


I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.