Quotes
Compiled by David L.Gilles-Thomas

    
    
      Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large: I contain multitudes. - Walt Whitman If you think you can grasp me, think again: my story flows in more than one direction, a delta springing from the river bed with its five fingers spread. - Adrienne Rich My commitment is to truth, not to consistency. - Mahatma Gandhi My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But, ah, my foes, and, oh, my friends -- It gives a lovely light. - Edna St. Vincent Millay You are almost always capable of being the craziest person in the room, even a very large room. - James DeRossitt Commit to the next thing that occurs to you. - Ted Scarlett If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted. - Francis Bacon Now here's a thought to consider. Every twenty minutes on the Appalachian Trail, Katz and I walked farther than the average American walks in a week. For 93 percent of all trips outside the home, for whatever distance or whatever purpose, Americans now get in a car. On average the total walking of an American these days -- that's walking of all types: from car to office, from office to car, around the supermarket and shopping malls -- adds up to 1.4 miles a week, barely 350 yards a day. That's ridiculous. - Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods In the woods, too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period so ever of life is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth. - Ralph Waldo Emerson Consider a birdcage. If you look very closely at just one wire in the cage, you cannot see the other wires. If your conception of what is before you is determined by this myopic focus, you could look at that one wire, up and down the length of it, and be unable to see why a bird would not just fly around the wire any time it wanted to go somewhere. . . . There is no physical property of any one wire, nothing that the closest scrutiny could rediscover, that will reveal how a bird could be inhibited or harmed by it except in the most accidental way. It is only when you step back, stop looking at the wires one by one, microscopically, and take a macroscopic view of the whole cage, that you can see why the bird does not go anywhere; and then you will see it in a moment. It will require no great subtlety of mental powers. It is perfectly obvious that the bird is surrounded by a network of systematically related barriers, no one of which would be the least hindrance to its flight, but which, by their relations to each other, are as confining as the solid walls of a dungeon. -Marilyn Frye One thing I've learned in hanging around Tomorrowland is that, if you wait long enough, the future never gets here. It's something to look forward to. - seen in Newsweek magazine, March 29 1982 The way to do is to be -Laotzu Existence is beyond the power of words to define. Terms may be used but are none of them absolute. -Laotzu Mine is a stiff and woodenish mind unable to vault from groove to groove. -Arthur Ransome We cannot perceive unless we anticipate, but we must not see only what we anticipate. -U. Neisser, 1976 Right now you're just browsing through time. Choose the things you'll be proud of, the things that last... -from the film Peggy Sue Gets Married In an environment with much pressure to avoid all mistakes, one ends up doing everything wrong. -O. Ivar Lovaas, 1989 There is always a risk in being alive, and if you are more alive there is more risk. -Ibsen Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood. -Henry Miller Confusion is the state of promise, the fertile void where surprise is possible again. Confusion is in fact the state we are in, and we should be wise to cultivate it. -Paul Goodman One who knows his lot to be the lot of all men is a safe man to guide them, one who recognizes all men as members of his own body is a sound man to guard them. - Laotzu He who feels punctured must once have been a bubble, he who feels unarmed must have carried arms, he who feels belittled must have been consequential, he who feels deprived must have had privilege, whereas a man with insight knows that to keep under is to endure. What happens to a fish pulled out of a pond? Or an implement of state pulled out of a scabbard? Unseen, they survive. - Laotzu The way to use life is to do nothing through acting, the way to use life is to do everything through being. When a leader knows this, his land naturally goes straight. And the world's passion to stray from straightness is checked at the core by the simple unnameable cleanness through which men cease from coveting, and to a land where men cease from coveting peace comes of course. - Laotzu As the soft yield of water cleaves obstinate stone, so to yield with life solves the insoluble: to yield, I have learned, is to come back again. But this unworded lesson, this easy example, is lost upon men. - Laotzu Laotzu is one of our chief weapons against tanks, artillery and bombs. - H. Maurer Even though the Ship may go down, the Journey goes on. - Margaret Mead To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wildflower: Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour. -William Blake To walk we have to lean forward, lose our balance, and begin to fall. We let go, constantly, of the previous stability, falling, all the time, trusting that we will find a succession of new stabilities with each step. The fullest living is a constant dying of the past, enjoying the present fully, but holding it lightly; letting go without clinging and moving freely into new experiences. Our experience of the past and of those dear to us is not lost at all, but remains richly within us. - Robin Skynner The surest test if a man be sane is if he accepts life whole, as it is, without needing by measure or touch to understand the measureless untouchable source of its images, the measureless untouchable source of its substances, the source which, while it appears dark emptiness, brims with a quick force farthest away and yet nearest at hand from oldest time unto this day, what more need I know of the origin than this? - Laotzu The world, indeed, is like a dream and the treasures of the world are an alluring mirage. Like the apparent distances in a picture, things have no reality in themselves but are like the haze of heat. - Buddha AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS: (I) I walk, down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost...I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out. (II) I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in the same place. But, it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out. (III) I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in...it's a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately. (IV) I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. (V) I walk down another street. - Portia Nelson One is free from depression when self-esteem is based on the authenticity of one's own feelings and not on the possession of certain qualities. - Alice Miller Public controversy deals in stereotypes, never in subtleties. - Lee J. Cronbach After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. - Aldous Huxley If some of our thoughts, feelings are unacceptable to us, we want to disown them but only at the cost of disowning valuable parts of ourselves. Your ability to cope with the world becomes less and less. - Fritz Perls What is like to be a dreamed person when the alarm rings? - (unknown) An intelligence that is not humane is the most dangerous thing in the world. - Ashley Montagu The perfect way is without difficulty, Save that it avoids picking and choosing... If you want to get the plain truth, Be not concerned with right and wrong. The conflict between right and wrong Is the sickness of the mind. - Seng-Ts'an I would warn you that I do not attribute to nature either beauty or deformity, order or confusion. Only in relation to our imagination can things be called beautiful or ugly, well-ordered or confused. - Spinoza When there is no wind, row. - Portuguese Proverb A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing. - Oscar Wilde Some things have to be believed to be seen. - Ralph Hodgson All things, to give light, must endure burning. - Goethe One moon shows in every pool; in every pool, the one moon. - Zen Forest Saying Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. - Leonard Cohen My little stomach is my world, my head is my eternity, and my hands, two wonderful suns. My legs are time's pendulums, and my dirty feet are two splendid starting points for my philosophy. Everything is worth precisely as much as a belch, the only difference being that a belch is more satisfying. - Jons (the Knight's squire) [from "The Seventh Seal" by Ingmar Bergman]. [When asked if he had but a single gift to bequeath to the next generation, Ray Bradbury replied:] ...The gift to see that not all Republicans are evil, that not all Democrats are evil, that not all Communists are evil, that not all Negroes are evil, that not all anything is evil. The ability to see the paradox in every person. - Ray Bradbury The measure of a man's spiritual evolution is his acceptance of the unacceptable. - Dalai Lama When geometric diagrams and digits are no longer the keys to living things, when people who go about singing or kissing know deeper things than the great scholars, when society is returned once more to unimprisoned life, and to the universe, and when light and darkness mate once more and make something entirely transparent, and people see in poems and fairy tales the true history of the world, then our entire twisted nature will turn and run when a single secret word is spoken. - Novalis (1800) (translated by Robert Bly) There are no ethical truths; there are just clarifications of particular ethical problems. Take advantage of these clarifications and work out your own existence. You are mistaken to think that anyone ever had the answers. There are no answers. Be brave and face up to it. - Donald Kalish Loneliness can be conquered only by those who can bear solitude. - Paul Tillich Ready, fire, aim. - T.Peters & R.Waterman ("In Search of Excellence") Life is not a flow chart, it is a cobweb. - unknown Reality is "an endless instant" - Octavio Paz We are what we pretend to be - Kurt Vonnegut We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are. - The Talmud All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed. - Sean O'Casey If a therapist doesn't dive down to meet the Wild Man or Wild Woman, he or she will try to heal words. The healing energy stored in waterfalls, trees, clay, horses, dogs, porcupines, llamas, otters belong to the domain of the Wild People. Therapists will have understood this when they insist on doing therapy with a cow in the room. - Robert Bly Beyond our innocent shores, it is understood that the past is not always knowable and never recuperable, that there is sometimes nothing to be done, and that reality conforms neither to our desires nor to our schemes, psychic or material. There is chance, and fate, and tragedy...That is the splendor and misery of being an adult, a condition from which we should not want to and, more to the point, cannot recover. - David Rieff Mediocrity requires aloofness to preserve its dignity. - unknown The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us. - Paul Vale'ry, 1895 I take on about 50 times more than anyone can do, and I work at about 2 percent efficiency. So every day I'm fighting a factor of 2,500, and every day I fall eight years more behind... - Murray Gell-Mann (particle physicist and Nobel laureate) The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in time of great crisis, maintain their neutrality. - Dante Where change takes place and where the earth is replenished we find volcanoes. And the lava which flows from volcanoes becomes a rich soil where luxuriant forests grow. - Susan Griffin I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute. - Rebecca West, 1913 Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see each other whole against the sky. - Rainer Rilke It's opener there in the wide open air. - Theodor S. Geisel (Dr. Suess) A theory that is not tested fails to develop. - ? You aren't anyone really, you never were. Oh, you thought you were when your head was too small for your illusions; but illusions aren't important now. You don't have to be anything, even yourself, because yourself was just something you had to make up. And then you thought you had to carry it around with you. What a relief to lay it down and walk away and forget it. Just to be part of what's around you is enough. - Gordon Bok My work always tried to unite the truth with the beautiful; but when I had to choose one or the other, I usually chose the beautiful. - Hermann Weyl A dissertation is like pregnancy...You have to go through with it, and if you don't, then you stay pregnant all your life. - Joan Rodman, Ph.D. To understand recursion, you must first understand recursion. - unknown "...Go through the motions, Adam." "What motions?" "Act out being alive, like a play. And after a while, a long while, it will be true." "Why should I?" Adam asked. "You're going to pass something down no matter what you do or if you do nothing. Even if you let yourself go fallow, the weeds will grow and the brambles. Something will grow." - John Steinbeck, "East of Eden" "Now, there are many millions in their sects and churches who feel the order, 'Do thou,' and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination in 'Thou shalt.' Nothing they do can interfere with what will be. But 'Thou mayest'! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win. ... 'Thou mayest' -- that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if 'Thou mayest' -- it is also true that "Thou mayest not.' Don't you see?" - John Steinbeck, "East of Eden" "You have described only too well," replied the Master, "where the difficulty lies. Do you know why you cannot wait for the shot and why you get out of breath before it has come? The right shot at the right moment does not come because you do not let go of yourself. You do not wait for fulfillment, but brace yourself for failure." - Eugen Herrigel, "Zen in the Art of Archery" A wise person hears one word, but understands two. - a Yiddish proverb Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. - Soren Kierkegaard If you can walk, you can dance If you can talk, you can sing - traditional African saying Life is short and the task is great... You are not expected to complete the task, But you are also not free to ignore it. - Rabbinic quote Oh, the comfort the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, Having neither to weigh thoughts, Nor measure words but pouring them All right out just as they are Chaff and grain together Certain that a faithful hand will Take and sift them Keep what is worth keeping And with the breath of kindness Blow the rest away. - Dinah Maria Mulock Craik To "see the light" too often has meant rejecting the treasures found in darkness. - Adrienne Rich The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. - Muriel Rukeyser One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. - Niestzsche Thinking of the stars night after night I begin to realize "The stars are words" and all the innumerable worlds in the Milky Way are words, and so is this world too. And I realize that no matter where I am, whether in a little room full of thought, or in this endless universe of stars and mountains, it's all in my mind. - Jack Kerouac When I dare to be powerful--to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid. - Audre Lorde Of course I am afraid, because the transformation of silence into language in action is an act of self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger. But my daughter, when I told her of our topic and my difficulty with it, said, "Tell them about how you're never really a whole person if you remain silent, because there's always that one little piece inside you that wants to be spoken out, and if you keep ignoring it, it gets madder and madder and hotter and hotter, and if you don't speak it out, one day it will just up and punch you in the mouth from the inside." - Audre Lorde Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important thing I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life, because almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. - Steve Jobs' Stanford commencement speech Mental health doesn't mean making the pains go away. I don't believe they ever go away. I do believe that nearly every person...has the same warped impulses, the same scarlet id as the wobbliest of borderlines, the most florid of psychotics. Only the muscles to hold things in check - to channel and funnel - are stronger. I have not healed so much as learned to sit still and wait while the pain does its dancing work, trying not to panic or twist in ways that make the blades tear deeper, finally infecting the wounds. - Lauren Slater One of the greatest dividends of darkness is an increased sensitivity to the light. - Martha Manning Since it is all too clear, it takes time to grasp it. - Wu-men Anger and tenderness: my selves. And now I can believe they breathe in me as angels, not polarities. Anger and tenderness: the spider's genius to spin and weave in the same action from her own body, anywhere -- even from a broken web - Adrienne Rich It is marvelous to have the sense that all living and moving is dropping, or going along with gravity. Afterall - the earth is falling around the sun, and, in turn, the sun is falling around some other star. For energy is precisely a taking of the line of least resistance. Energy is mass. The power of water is in following its own weight. All comes to him who weights. - Alan Watts


    © David L. Gilles-Thomas