Author Topic: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things  (Read 57878 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2013, 08:35:40 AM »
“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.”

-Charles Dickens
"Competitions are for horses, not artists.” - Béla Bartók

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2013, 08:40:34 AM »
“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

-Mark Twain

Twain has some a lot of great quotes. :)
"Competitions are for horses, not artists.” - Béla Bartók

Offline Lisztianwagner

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2013, 02:16:59 PM »
"A man who drinks only water has a secret to hide from his fellow men." - Charles Baudelaire.

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." - Albert Einstein.

"Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." - Leonard Bernstein.
"Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents." - Ludwig van Beethoven

Offline Gordo

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2013, 08:13:46 PM »
Talking about quotations...

Quote
The Mirrors of Enigma
Jorge Luis Borges

The idea that the Sacred Scriptures have (aside from their literal value) a symbolic value is ancient and not irrational: it is found in Philo of Alexandria, in the Cabalists, in Swedenborg. Since the events related in the Scriptures are true (God is Truth, Truth cannot lie, etc.), we should admit that men, in acting out those events, blindly represent a secret drama determined and premeditated by God. Going from this to the thought that the history of the universe -- and in it our lives and the most tenuous details of our lives -- has an incalculable, symbolical value, is a reasonable step. Many have taken that step; no one so astonishingly as Léon Bloy. (In the psychological fragments by Novalis and in that volume of Machen's autobiography called The London Adventure there is a similar hypothesis: that the outer world -- forms, temperatures, the moon -- is a language we humans have forgotten or which we can scarcely distinguish... It is also declared by De Quincey: 'Even the articulate or brutal sounds of the globe must be all so many languages and ciphers that all have their corresponding keys -- have their own grammar and syntax; and thus the least things in the universe must be secret mirrors to the greatest.')

A verse from St Paul (I Corinthians, 13:12) inspired Léon Bloy. Videmus nunc per speculum in aegnigmate: tuc autem facie ad faciem. Nunc cognosco ex parte: tunc autem cognoscam sicut et cognitus sum. Torres Amat has miserably translated: 'At present we do not see God except as in a mirror and beneath dark images; but later we shall see him face to face. I know him now imperfectly; but later I shall know him in a clear vision, in the same way that I know myself.' 49 words do the work of 22; it is impossible to be more languid and verbose. Cipriano de Valera is more faithful: 'Now we see in a mirror, in darkness; but later we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; but later I shall know as I am known.' Torres Amat opines that the verse refers to our vision of the divinity; Cipriano de Valera (and Léon Bloy), to our general vision of things.

So far as I know, Bloy never gave his conjecture a definitive form. Throughout this fragmentary work (in which there abound, as everyone knows, lamentations and insults) there are different versions and facets. Here are a few that I have rescued from the clamorous pages of Le mendiant ingrat, Le Vieux de la Montagne and L'invendable. I do not believe I have exhausted them: I hope that some specialist in Léon Bloy (I am not one) may complete and rectify them.

The first is from June 1894. I translate it as follows: 'The statement by St Paul: Videmus nunc per speculum in aegnimate would be a skylight through which one might submerge himself in the true Abyss, which is the soul of man. The terrifying immensity of the firmament's abyss is an illusion, an external reflection of our own abysses, perceived "in a mirror." We should invert our eyes and practice a sublime astronomy in the infinitude of our hearts, for which God was willing to die...If we see the Milky Way, it is because it actually exists in our souls.'

The second is from November of the same year. 'I recall one of my oldest ideas. The Czar is the leader and spiritual father of a hundred and fifty men. An atrocious responsibility that is only apparent. Perhaps he is not responsible to God, but rather to a few human beings. If the poor of his empire are oppressed during his reign, if immense catastrophes result from that reign, who knows if the servant charges with shining his boots is not the real and sole person guilty? In the mysterious dispositions of the Profundity, who is really Czar, who is king, who can boast of being a mere servant?'

The third is from a letter written in December. 'Everything is a symbol, even the most piercing pain. We are dreamers who shout in our sleep. We do not know whether the things afflicting us are the secret beginning of our ulterior happiness or not. We now see, St Paul maintains, per speculum in aenigmate, literally: "in an enigma by means of a mirror" and we shall not see in any other way until the coming of the One who is all in flames and who must teach us all things."

The fourth is from May 1904. 'Per speculum in aenigmate, says St Paul. We see everything backwards. When we believe we give, we receive, etc. Then (a beloved, anguished soul tells me) we are in Heaven and God suffers on earth.'

The fifth is from May 1908. 'A terrifying idea of Jeanne's, about the text Per speculum. The pleasures of this world would be the torments of Hell, see backwards in a mirror.'

The sixth is from 1912. It is each of the pages of L'Âme de Napoléon, a book whose purpose is to decipher the symbol Napoleon, considered as the precursor of another hero -- man and symbol as well -- who is hidden in the future. It is sufficient for me to cite two passages. One: 'Every man is on earth to symbolize something he is ignorant of and to realize a particle or a mountain of the invisible materials that will serve to build the City of God.' The other: 'There is no human being on earth capable of declaring with certitude who he is. No one knows what he has come into this world to do, what his acts correspond to, his sentiments, his ideas, or what his real name is, his enduring Name in the register of Light... History is an immense liturgical text where the iotas and the dots are worth no less than the entire verses or chapters, but the importance of one or the other is indeterminable and profoundly hidden.'

The foregoing paragraphs will perhaps seem to the reader mere gratuities by Bloy. So far as I know, he never took care to reason them out. I venture to judge them verisimilar and perhaps inevitable in the Christian doctrine. Bloy (I repeat) did no more than apply to the whole of Creation the method which the Jewish Cabalists applied to the Scriptures. They thought that a work dictated by the Holy Spirit was an absolute text: in other words, a text in which the collaboration of a chance wa calculable as zero. This portentous premise of a book impenetrable to contingency, of a book which is a mechanism of infinite purposes, moved them to permute the scriptural words, add up the numerical value of the letters, consider their form, observe the small letters and capitals, seek acrostics and anagrams, and perform other exegetical rigours which it is not difficult to ridicule. Their excuse is that nothing can be contingent in the work of an infinite mind. Léon Bloy postulates this hieroglyphical character -- this character of a divine writing, an angelic cryptography -- at all moments and in all beings on earth. The superstitious person believes he can decipher this organic writing: thirteen guests form the symbol of death; a yellow opal, that of misfortune.

It is doubtful that the world has a meaning; it is even more doubtful that it has a double or triple meaning, the unbeliever will observe. I understand that the hieroglyphic world postulated by Léon Bloy is the one which best befits the dignity of the theologian's intellectual God.

No man knows who he is, affirmed Léon Bloy. No one could illustrate that intimate ignorance better than he. He believed himself a rigorous Catholic and he was a continuer of the Cabalists, a secret brother of Swedenborg and Blake: heresiarchs.

Translated by James E. Irby
From Labyrinths, Penguin: Harmondworth, 1964
Isn't it funny? The truth just sounds different.
-- Penny Lane, Almost Famous (2000)

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2013, 08:35:50 PM »
Talking about quotations...

Was Leon Bloy a real person, or simply another individual in the Borges omniverse?

Anyway,  since the Bible apparently has a longer heritage of translation in English, Anglophones can call on the Authorized (King James) Version,  which should in this passage should be poetical enough to satisfy anyone, although where the AV uses "charity" here, modern English would use "love".    The whole chapter is certainly one of the best known ones in the New Testament.


I Corinthians 13

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
 

Offline Gordo

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2013, 09:21:26 PM »
Was Leon Bloy a real person, or simply another individual in the Borges omniverse?

Totally real and and quite annoying for many of his contemporaries, as he was a sort of professional of the insult.

I have nine or ten books by him, including several volumes of his diaries, maybe one the most important part of his output.  :)

Isn't it funny? The truth just sounds different.
-- Penny Lane, Almost Famous (2000)

Offline Gordo

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2013, 10:29:19 PM »
Just tonight:

Quote
Wyatt Earp: Mac, you ever been in love?
Mac: No, I've been a bartender all me life.

-- My Darling Clementine (1946)

Isn't it funny? The truth just sounds different.
-- Penny Lane, Almost Famous (2000)

Offline The new erato

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2013, 08:01:38 AM »
-- Dazed and Confused (1993)
"Been dazed and confused for so long, it's not true
 Wanted a woman, never bargained for you"
-- Dazed and Confused (1969)
 

Offline Gordo

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2013, 09:09:13 AM »
"Been dazed and confused for so long, it's not true
 Wanted a woman, never bargained for you"
-- Dazed and Confused (1969)

It makes you want to listen to that disc.  :)
Isn't it funny? The truth just sounds different.
-- Penny Lane, Almost Famous (2000)

Offline The new erato

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2013, 09:13:14 AM »
I saw the reunion concert on the telly last night, including Dazed and Confused. An awesome track.

Offline Geo Dude

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2013, 10:02:37 AM »
"Been dazed and confused for so long, it's not true
 Wanted a woman, never bargained for you"
-- Dazed and Confused (1969)
 

:D


"What are the facts? Again and again--what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget "what the stars foretell," avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable "verdict of history"--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue.

-- Robert Heinlein

I love this Heinlein quote.

I also love this quote from a John Wayne movie.  It's a great re-write of the golden rule.

"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them."

-- John B. Books

Offline Florestan

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2013, 11:50:13 AM »
Speaking of John Wayne, this is attributed to him:

Life is hard but if you're stupid it's even harder;D

Now a few gems from Kenneth Clark

Meanwhile the average man has become progressively less able to recognize the subjects or understand the meaning of the artworks of the past. Few people have read the classics of Greek and Roman literature, and even fewer people have read the Bible, with the same diligence as their parents. It comes as a shock to an elderly man to find how many biblical references have become completely incomprehensible to the present generation.

Opera, next to Gothic architecture, is one of the strangest inventions of western man. It could not have been foreseen by any logical process.

What on earth has given opera its prestige in western civilisation — a prestige that has outlasted so many different fashions and ways of thought? Why are people prepared to sit silently for three hours listening to a performance of which they do not understand a word and of which they very seldom know the plot? Why do quite small towns all over Germany and Italy still devote a large portion of their budgets to this irrational entertainment? Partly, of course, because it is a display of skill, like a football match. But chiefly, I think, because it is irrational. "What is too silly to be said may be sung" — well, yes; but what is too subtle to be said, or too deeply felt, or too revealing or too mysterious — these things can also be sung and can only be sung.

We are so much accustomed to the humanitarian outlook that we forget how little it counted in earlier ages of civilisation. Ask any decent person in England or America what he thinks matters most in human conduct: five to one his answer will be "kindness." It's not a word that would have crossed the lips of any of the earlier heroes of this series. If you had asked St. Francis what mattered in life, he would, we know, have answered "chastity, obedience and poverty"; if you had asked Dante or Michelangelo, they might have answered "disdain of baseness and injustice"; if you had asked Goethe, he would have said "to live in the whole and the beautiful." But kindness, never. Our ancestors didn't use the word, and they did not greatly value the quality — except perhaps insofar as they valued compassion.

Bright-minded young people think poorly of existing institutions and want to abolish them. Well, one doesn't need to be young to dislike institutions. But the dreary fact remains that, even in the darkest ages, it was institutions that made society work, and if civilisation is to survive society must somehow be made to work. At this point I reveal myself in my true colours, as a stick-in-the-mud. I hold a number of beliefs that have been repudiated by the liveliest intellects of our time. I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven't changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must still try to learn from history. History is ourselves.

It is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills a civilisation. We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs.

« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 11:55:32 AM by Florestan »
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.Victor Hugo

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2013, 06:40:33 PM »
Florestan, thanks for providing me with a new signature line!

Offline Florestan

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #33 on: January 21, 2013, 12:44:46 AM »
Florestan, thanks for providing me with a new signature line!

My pleasure, Jeff!  :)
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.Victor Hugo

Offline The new erato

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2013, 02:04:18 AM »
Florestan, thanks for providing me with a new signature line!
I would have chosen: "Life is hard but if you're stupid it's even harder".

Offline Geo Dude

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2013, 06:54:51 AM »
I would have chosen: "Life is hard but if you're stupid it's even harder".

:D

I've seen this attributed to him before but it was phrased somewhat differently:  "Life's hard.  It's harder if you're stupid."  Personally, I prefer that phrasing.

Here is a quote from my favorite writer, Edward Abbey:

"God help me, I will never sacrifice a friend to an ideal.  I will never betray a friend for the sake of any cause.  I will never reject a friend in order to stand by an institution.  Great nations may fall in rusty ruin before I will sell a friend to save them.  I pray to the God within me to give me the power to live by that design."

This quote is often shortened to "I will never sacrifice a friend to an ideal."  It's one of my favorite quotes not only because it's a statement of what Cactus Ed would have called 'practical anarchism' but because it's a statement I try to live by, in particular when I find myself caught in a heated political argument with someone I care about.

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2013, 07:13:22 AM »
:D

I've seen this attributed to him before but it was phrased somewhat differently:  "Life's hard.  It's harder if you're stupid."  Personally, I prefer that phrasing.

Here is a quote from my favorite writer, Edward Abbey:

"God help me, I will never sacrifice a friend to an ideal.  I will never betray a friend for the sake of any cause.  I will never reject a friend in order to stand by an institution.  Great nations may fall in rusty ruin before I will sell a friend to save them.  I pray to the God within me to give me the power to live by that design."

This quote is often shortened to "I will never sacrifice a friend to an ideal."  It's one of my favorite quotes not only because it's a statement of what Cactus Ed would have called 'practical anarchism' but because it's a statement I try to live by, in particular when I find myself caught in a heated political argument with someone I care about.
What if your friend is a crook?
Offenbach gets a raw deal in recordings considering his talent! For a discussion of this outstanding composer too little recorded: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5572.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2013, 09:46:08 AM »
Here is a quote from my favorite writer, Edward Abbey:

"God help me, I will never sacrifice a friend to an ideal."

Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas. --- (atributted to) Aristotle

 ;D
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.Victor Hugo

Offline Geo Dude

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #38 on: January 22, 2013, 11:17:55 AM »
What if your friend is a crook?

That depends on what kind of crookery said friend is engaging in. :P

More seriously, though, if the friend is doing actual and serious harm I would be sacrificing them for something practical, not an ideal.

Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas. --- (atributted to) Aristotle

 ;D

Delightful quote, but to be fair I'm pretty sure 'truth' wasn't the kind of ideal Abbey was talking about. :P
« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 11:22:24 AM by Geo Dude »

Offline Gordo

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Re: Insights, Snippets, Quotes, Epiphanies & All That Sort of Things
« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2013, 03:29:18 PM »
Attributed by Borges to "some writer":

Quote
Les idées naissent douces et vieillissent féroces.

Ideas are born sweet and get old ferocious.
Isn't it funny? The truth just sounds different.
-- Penny Lane, Almost Famous (2000)

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