31 January 2009
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.
A frenzied passion for art is a canker that devours everything else
A sweetheart is a bottle of wine, a wife is a wine bottle
All which is beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation.
Always be a poet, even in prose.
Any healthy man can go without food for two days - but not without poetry.
Any man who does not accept the conditions of life sells his soul.
Any newspaper, from the first line to the last, is nothing but a web of horrors, I cannot understand how an innocent hand can touch a newspaper without convulsing in disgust.
Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself.
As a small child, I felt in my heart two contradictory feelings, the horror of life and the ecstasy of life.
Beauty is the sole ambition, the exclusive goal of Taste.
But a dandy can never be a vulgar man.
Common sense tells us that the things of the earth exist only a little, and that true reality is only in dreams.
Even if it were proven that God didn't exist, Religion would still be Saintly and Divine.
Even in the centuries which appear to us to be the most monstrous and foolish, the immortal appetite for beauty has always found satisfaction.
Everything considered, work is less boring than amusing oneself.
Everything for me becomes allegory.
Everything that is beautiful and noble is the product of reason and calculation.
Evil is committed without effort, naturally, fatally; goodness is always the product of some art.
Evil is done without effort, naturally, it is the working of fate; good is always the product of an art.
For each letter received from a creditor, write fifty lines on an extraterrestrial subject and you will be saved.
For the merchant, even honesty is a financial speculation.
France is not poetic; she even feels, in fact, a congenital horror of poetry. Among the writers who use verse, those whom she will always prefer are the most prosaic.
God is the only being who, in order to reign, doesn't even need to exist.
How little remains of the man I once was, save the memory of him! But remembering is only a new form of suffering.
Hypocrite reader my fellow my brother!
I am unable to understand how a man of honor could take a newspaper in his hands without a shudder of disgust.
I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no Melancholy.
I have cultivated my hysteria with pleasure and terror.
I have more memories than if I were a thousand years old.
I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws.
If the poet has pursued a moral objective, he has diminished his poetic force.
In literature as in ethics, there is danger, as well as glory, in being subtle. Aristocracy isolates us.
In order for the artist to have a world to express he must first be situated in this world, oppressed or oppressing, resigned or rebellious, a man among men.
Inspiration comes of working every day.
It is by universal misunderstanding that all agree. For if, by ill luck, people understood each other, they would never agree.
It is from the womb of art that criticism was born.
It is the hour to be drunken! to escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk. On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.
It is time to get drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk; get drunk without stopping! On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.
It would be difficult for me not to conclude that the most perfect type of masculine beauty is Satan, as portrayed by Milton.
It would perhaps be nice to be alternately the victim and the executioner.
Let us beware of common folk, of common sense, of sentiment, of inspiration, and of the obvious.
Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable.
Modernity signifies the transitory, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art of which the other half is the eternal and the immutable.
Music fathoms the sky.
Nature is a temple in which living columns sometimes emit confused words. Man approaches it through forests of symbols, which observe him with familiar glances.
Nature... is nothing but the inner voice of self-interest.
Nearly all our originality comes from the stamp that time impresses upon our sensibility.
Nothing can be done except little by little.
Our religion is itself profoundly sad - a religion of universal anguish, and one which, because of its very catholicity, grants full liberty to the individual and asks no better than to be celebrated in each man's own language - so long as he knows anguish and is a painter.
Progress, this great heresy of decay.
Sexuality is the lyricism of the masses.
The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.
The insatiable thirst for everything which lies beyond, and which life reveals, is the most living proof of our immortality.
The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects. We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvelous; but we do not notice it.
The lover of life makes the whole world into his family, just as the lover of the fair sex creates his from all the lovely women he has found, from those that could be found, and those who are impossible to find.
The man who says his evening prayer is a captain posting his sentinels. He can sleep.
The pleasure we derive from the representation of the present is due, not only to the beauty it can be clothed in, but also to its essential quality of being the present.
The poet enjoys the incomparable privilege of being able to be himself and others, as he wishes.
The priest is an immense being because he makes the crowd believe astonishing things.
The study of beauty is a duel in which the artist cries with terror before being defeated.
The unique and supreme voluptuousness of love lies in the certainty of committing evil. And men and women know from birth that in evil is found all sensual delight.
The world only goes round by misunderstanding.
There are as many kinds of beauty as there are habitual ways of seeking happiness.
There are moments of existence when time and space are more profound, and the awareness of existence is immensely heightened.
There exist only three respectable beings: the priest, the warrior, the poet. To know, to kill, and to create.
There is no dream of love, however ideal it may be, which does not end up with a fat, greedy baby hanging from the breast.
There is no more steely barb than that of the Infinite.
There is no such thing as a long piece of work, except one that you dare not start.
This life is a hospital in which every patient is possessed with a desire to change his bed.
Those men get along best with women who can get along best without them.
To be a great man and a saint for oneself, that is the only important thing.
To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.
To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art - that is, intimacy, spirituality, color, aspiration towards the infinite, expressed by every means available to the arts.
Two fundamental literary qualities: supernaturalism and irony.
We are all born marked for evil.
We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of Time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose.
What is art? Prostitution.
What is exhilarating in bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of giving offense.
Whether you come from heaven or hell, what does it matter, O Beauty!
Who would dare assign to art the sterile function of imitating nature?
A bad manner spoils everything, even reason and justice; a good one supplies everything, gilds a No, sweetens a truth, and adds a touch of beauty to old age itself.
A beautiful woman should break her mirror early.
A man of honour should never forget what he is because he sees what others are.
A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.
A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.
Advice is sometimes transmitted more successfully through a joke than grave teaching.
Always leave something to wish for; otherwise you will be miserable from your very happiness.
Aspire rather to be a hero than merely appear one.
At 20 a man is a peacock, at 30 a lion, at 40 a camel, at 50 a serpent, at 60 a dog, at 70 an ape, and at 80 nothing.
At twenty a man is a peacock, at thirty a lion, at forty a camel, at fifty a serpent, at sixty a dog, at seventy an ape, at eighty a nothing at all.
Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed.
Be content to act, and leave the talking to others.
Begin with another's to end with your own.
Better mad with the rest of the world than wise alone.
Don't show off every day, or you'll stop surprising people. There must always be some novelty left over. The person who displays a little more of it each day keeps up expectations, and no one ever discovers the limits of his talent.
Don't take the wrong side of an argument just because your opponent has taken the right side.
Dreams will get you nowhere, a good kick in the pants will take you a long way.
Even knowledge has to be in the fashion, and where it is not, it is wise to affect ignorance.
Evil report carries further than any applause.
Fortunate people often have very favorable beginnings and very tragic endings. What matters isn't being applauded when you arrive - for that is common - but being missed when you leave.
Fortune pays you sometimes for the intensity of her favors by the shortness of their duration. She soon tires of carrying any one long on her shoulders.
Friendship multiplies the good of life and divides the evil.
Great ability develops and reveals itself increasingly with every new assignment.
Have friends. 'Tis a second existence.
He that can live alone resembles the brute beast in nothing, the sage in much, and God in everything.
He that communicates his secret to another makes himself that other's slave.
He that has satisfied his thirst turns his back on the well.
Hope has a good memory, gratitude a bad one.
Hope is a great falsifier. Let good judgment keep her in check.
I strive to be brief, and I become obscure.
It is a great piece of skill to know how to guide your luck even while waiting for it.
It is better to have too much courtesy than too little, provided you are not equally courteous to all, for that would be injustice.
It is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterwards.
It is good to vary in order that you may frustrate the curious, especially those who envy you.
Know or listen to those who know.
Let him that hath no power of patience retire within himself, though even there he will have to put up with himself.
Let the first impulse pass, wait for the second.
Little said is soon amended. There is always time to add a word, never to withdraw one.
Luck can be assisted. It is not all chance with the wise.
Many have had their greatness made for them by their enemies.
Nature scarcely ever gives us the very best; for that we must have recourse to art.
Never contend with a man who has nothing to lose.
Never do anything when you are in a temper, for you will do everything wrong.
Never have a companion that casts you in the shade.
Never open the door to a lesser evil, for other and greater ones invariably slink in after it.
One must pass through the circumference of time before arriving at the center of opportunity.
Quit while you're ahead. All the best gamblers do.
Respect yourself if you would have others respect you.
The envious die not once, but as oft as the envied win applause.
The things we remember best are those better forgotten.
The wise does at once what the fool does at last.
There is always time to add a word, never to withdraw one.
There is none who cannot teach somebody something, and there is none so excellent but he is excelled.
Things do not pass for what they are, but for what they seem. Most things are judged by their jackets.
Those who insist on the dignity of their office show they have not deserved it.
To be at ease is better than to be at business. Nothing really belongs to us but time, which even he has who has nothing else.
To equal a predecessor, one must have twice they worth.
To oblige persons often costs little and helps much.
True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island... to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.
True knowledge lies in knowing how to live.
We often have to put up with most from those on whom we most depend.
When desire dies, fear is born.
Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit.
Work is the price which is paid for reputation.
24 January 2009
This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.
17 January 2009
If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd finger-paint more and point the finger less.
I'd do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I'd run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd teach less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.
And I, too, felt ready to start life all over again. It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe. To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I’d been happy, and that I was happy still. For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear