Post a random quote from a book you're reading

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MrsPeel
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28 Dec 2018, 5:01 am

"Welcome, in other words, to the Land of Plenty. To the good life, where almost everyone is rich, safe, and healthy. Where there's only one thing we lack: a reason to get out of bed in the morning."

Rutger Bregman "Utopia for Realists"



IsabellaLinton
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31 Dec 2018, 8:00 pm

For EJP
Leonard Cohen (one of my favourite modern poems -- such sensuous imagery).

I once believed a single line
in a Chinese poem could change
forever how blossoms fell
and that the moon itself climbed on
the grief of concise weeping men
to journey over cups of wine
I thought invasions were begun for crows
to pick at a skeleton
dynasties sown and spent
to serve the language of a fine lament
I thought governors ended their lives
as sweetly drunken monks
telling time by rain and candles
instructed by an insect's pilgrimage
across the page -- all this
so one might send an exile's perfect letter
to an ancient hometown friend
I chose a lonely country
broke from love
scorned the fraternity of war
I polished my tongue against the pumice moon
floated my soul in cherry wine
a perfumed barge for Lords of Memory
to languish on to drink to whisper out
their store of strength
as if beyond the mist along the shore
their girls their power still obeyed
like clocks wound for a thousand years
I waited until my tongue was sore
Brown petals wind like fire around my poems
I aimed them at the stars but
like rainbows they were bent
before they sawed the world in half
Who can trace the canyoned paths
cattle have carved out of time
wandering from meadowlands to feasts
Layer after layer of autumn leaves
are swept away
Something forgets us perfectly


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IsabellaLinton
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10 Jan 2019, 2:07 pm

There is one just now crossing - a Lady. I will not write her name, although I know it. No history is connected with her identity. She is not one of the transcendently fair and inaccessibly sacred beings whose fates are interwoven with the highest of the high...

Charlotte Brontë, Roe Head Journal, 1831 (Age 14)


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IsabellaLinton
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10 Jan 2019, 2:28 pm

Charlotte Brontë's youth was one of bereavement, family losses, childhood confusion, and precocious understanding; there is a clear crisis between Charlottë's urgent need for expressing her knowledge while being agonisingly aware that she has, as yet, no voice.



Maier, Sarah E. "Fragments of Glass" in The Lost Manuscripts of Charlotte Brontë, edited by Ann Dinsdale et al.
The Brontë Society, 2018, p. 98.


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Prometheus18
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10 Jan 2019, 6:12 pm

Prometheus18 wrote:
Quote:
Every thought of genius, or even every earnest thought that springs up in any brain, which can never be communicated to others, even if one were to write volumes about it and were explaining one's idea for thirty-five years; there's something left which cannot be induced to emerge from your brain, and remains with you forever; and with it you will die, without communicating to anyone perhaps the most important of your ideas.

The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky.


I just realised how close this sounds to the early Ludwig Wittgenstein, who was also a devotee of Dostoyevsky.

Quote:
The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.



sidetrack
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13 Jan 2019, 1:09 am

:roll: Again not something I am reading (a book) but the review d---n well captivates me..

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/119 ... f_the_Hero

Quote:
BlackOxford rated it it was amazing · review of another edition
Shelves: biography-biographical, spanish-american
Lord of the Flies - With Guns

As a young man I attended a federal service academy in the United States for four years. So I identify with the conditions in the Peruvian equivalent that Vargas Llosa describes in excruciating detail. From the universal use of nicknames - half of them derogatory, the other half salacious - to the continuous, and often very creative, scheming to evade and outwit authority, to the intentional promotion of sadistic and vulgar brutality in the name of camaraderie, I find myself re-living the most painful, and painfully consequential, period of my life.

A rather disturbing transformation takes place in high-testosterone young males when confined together, voluntarily or not, and subjected to a highly regimented daily routine that is strictly enforced. Essentially they become amoral; every unregulated flaw, neurosis, or hiatus of maturity becomes exaggerated and enlarged in their resistance to a pervasive and arbitrary authority. And this regardless of their religious or ethical background. As Vargas Llosa has one of his characters muse about himself, “Sometimes he could go for several days following a routine that made all the decisions for him, gently nudging him into actions he hardly noted.” I think the reason for this sort of demonic spiritual ennui lies in the deprivation of not simply physical freedom, but - in the case of a military academy - the insistence upon the development of an attitude of extreme social dependence. The result is a kind of hypnosis.

“This place isn’t an Academy, it’s a prison,” says one of its officers. But not even prison puts the demand of spiritual conformity on its inmates, who are only expected to obey, not to admire, the violent ethos of their organization. In the military academy one becomes a stranger not only to one’s body as it is constantly stressed by activities that are meant to be tortuous, but also a stranger to one’s mind which is the real target of military indoctrination. As one of the officers in charge of the Peruvian academy exhorts his charges,“In the army, Cadets, you’ve got to have respect for symbols, damn it.” This process of ideological ‘formation’ continues for a full year without respite until one is expected to adopt the role of ‘formateur’, and do what was done to oneself, to others.

This intensive indoctrination, which is explicitly meant to dis-inhibit whatever ethical reservations one has about military service, is direct and unambiguous. For example: if any member of a unit screws up, all suffer. And all are informed why they suffer and who is to blame. The effect of collective guilt is invariable: the weakest in the unit, those who typically screw up, are persecuted by the group until they measure up or leave. If weakness is not found, it is fabricated in order to facilitate the system. Vargas Llosa knows the routine for creating a victim: “He was normal enough when he got here to the Academy, but you and the others gave him such a hard time you made an idiot out of him.”

Both the physical and psychological therapy are carried out by those who are only slightly older and more mature than those over whom one has charge. These ‘leaders’ have only recently undergone the same regime that they are expected to execute. The only training they receive is what they have undergone as victims one or two years previously. They believe, because they are taught, that it is their duty to become figures of unpredictable and sadistic authority to those subordinate to themselves.

Not infrequently, given a lack of experience, judgement, and conscience, their sadism becomes literal and is carried beyond the merely symbolic. And since there are severe restrictions on the access of adults (experienced officers) who could supervise the application of punishments to the barracks, it is not unusual for discipline to get grossly out of hand. As one of the protagonists points out: “The officers don’t know anything about what goes on in the barracks.” They are absentee warders who prefer not to know the details of barracks life lest they be held accountable. The lunatics do run the asylum.

Vargas Llosa captures this unique and uniquely primitive sociology of barely controlled violence so accurately that it gives me flashbacks. I have no idea whether conditions have altered very much in these institutions in recent decades. I doubt, though, that its essential intimidation and post-adolescent cruelty has been questioned. To eliminate these would be to abolish its core.

After a lifetime of experience in other business, academic and social institutions, I have encountered this kind of existence no where else. Its purpose remains a mystery to me since any practice of its mores outside its walls, even in the regular military, would be met with derision and resistance. During the VietNam war, my own epoch, young, ‘motivated’ West Point graduates were taught the limits of their academy ethos by ‘fragging’ in the field, that is, the killing of an officer by his own men. In The Time if the Hero, the inadvertent ‘escape’ of the academy mores threatens to destroy the entire Peruvian military. As the secret of its deptavity becomes public, the entire institution is compromised.

My experience suggests that the ‘outing’ of the military academy is a good thing. It deserves institutional criticism and castigation. I have never perceived that the experience of the military academy regime is in any way useful in building what is typically called character. The academy is an uncivilized existence which has no points of contact with family, business, or social life. Studies have shown that success during one’s academy training are entirely uncorrelated with one’s advancement in the service, much less one’s broader success or satisfaction in life. Rather, the reason that the sociology continues to exist, to the extent that it does, is that it has existed.

This is known as tradition, ‘we do it to them because it was done to us’. Tradition, from the Latin root tradere, a word connoting simultaneously ‘passing on’ and ‘betrayal’. Both Vargas Llosa and I have little doubt about which interpretation is more appropriate. Tradition is simply a rationalization for continuing abuse. I note with considerable dismay how many of my colleagues from those long-gone days support the kind of systematic political bullying of the current White House. Finally, they appear to believe, they have a Commander-in-Chief worthy of their own training and civic ideals. The effects of indoctrination are indeed penetrating and long-lived.

Vargas Llosa’s epigram from Jean-Paul Sartre neatly summarizes our common experience of the institution of the military academy and its consequences for the society that harbors it: “We play the part of heroes because we’re cowards, the part of saints because we’re wicked: we play the killer’s role because we’re dying to murder our fellow man: we play at being because we’re liars from the moment we’re born.” Perhaps the academy is, as Vargas Llosa implies in the way he presents his narrative alternately inside and outside its walls, merely a more intense, a concentrated version, as it were, of the male-dominated society that moulds it. (less)


:D ...it's like someone found the basis of the kyriarchic d---baggery I experience and dread in a book and actually made it to expressing about it!.

I mean isn't this stuff like bane of every autistic, male or not?.



Kraichgauer
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13 Jan 2019, 1:40 am

Do not disturb. I wish to sleep a long time.


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IsabellaLinton
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13 Jan 2019, 7:55 pm

"I read the Brontës as a story of sisterly solidarity. Gaskell, who also longed for sisters, did the same. She wrote that 'the affection among all three was stronger than either life or death', and even described 'the one heart of the three sisters', which makes them sound less lovingly connected than alarmingly conjoined". :P

Ellis, Samantha. Take Courage : Anne Brontë and the Art of Life. London: Chatto & Windus, 2017, p. 123.


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PatrickJane
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26 Jan 2019, 6:04 am

“Beauty belongs to the sphere of the simple, the ordinary, whilst ugliness is something extraordinary, and there is no question but that every ardent imagination prefers in lubricity, the extraordinary to the commonplace”


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IsabellaLinton
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09 Feb 2019, 12:59 pm

Is that Marquis de Sade? ^

I'm reading Charlotte Brontë, so I could quote nearly every sentence. This one caught my eye:

"Time brings us on to the brink of the grave and Dissolution flings us in - a rag eaten through and through with disease, wrung together with pain, stamped into the churchyard sod by the inexorable heel of Despair".
~The Professor, p. 133

There's nothing quite so wretched as a heartbreak scene written by Charlotte! :wink:


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IsabellaLinton
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14 Feb 2019, 5:48 pm

“I believe in some blending of hope and sunshine sweetening the worst lots. I believe that this life is not all, neither the beginning nor the end. I believe while I tremble; I trust while I weep.”

Charlotte Brontë, Villette (1853)


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sidetrack
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23 Feb 2019, 12:10 am

I forget from which Franz Metcalf book and page this was from..

Quote:
What would Buddha do about hypocrisy?

I think someone who calls on Amida Buddha when he’s gambling and doing other immoral things is trying totake advantage of Amida.

Zen Teacher Bankei

There are few things as disgusting as exhibitions of false piety. This is true no matter what the particular brand of piety—Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, New Age, 12-Step, whatever. People (or organizations) who make public displays of their religiosity or spirituality while their private behaviour is decadent and debauched are just fooling themselves (even if they aren’t fooling anyone else!). They certainly aren’t fooling whatever deity they worship. Amida is a celestial Buddha who particularly aids those too debauched to help themselves, but only if they’re sincere. Amida is not going to send grace to hypocrites. No—hypocrites will reap what they what they sow, not to worry. That’s the power of karma; trust it. Just make sure the hypocrite isn’t you.”



sidetrack
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01 Mar 2019, 11:23 am

Again not from a book..but I think this review on 'The conspiracy against the human race' by Thomas Ligotti (which I listened to as an audiobook) is unique and excellent enough to share..

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/852 ... human-race

Quote:
A remarkable if sometimes exasperating work of philosophy. Let me begin by saying that I agree with essentially all of the core assumptions of this book. As a Buddhist practitioner, I was especially moved by his treatment of suffering and of the Buddhist tradition, which I feel is mostly very perceptive, even if far from the platitudes of contemporary Buddhism. Further, the book spoke very directly to the sense of profundity I have occasionally experienced in the horror genre (HP Lovecraft and Ligotti's own fiction come to mind), particularly in it's exploration of the uncanny, which I have often felt is a much overlooked mind state in the Buddhist tradition.

I do not disagree with the facts of life as Mr. Ligotti has posed them. Samsara (the Buddhist name for the world) is indeed a thin and unsatisfactory veneer spread over a canyon filled with bones. However, I simply do not agree with the implications he has drawn from them. If we abandon all illusions, why die? Why would you want to die? It seems to me there is a fear lingering here, an attachment, a clinging to the negative space created by the removal of illusions.

Ligotti seems to appreciate that while he has made short work of so many of the commonplaces of life and the illusions of religion, Buddhism requires a different tack. His argument against the Buddhist conception of emptiness comes down to 1) most of the Buddhist tradition is consolation or at worst sort of a confidence game, 2) the realization of emptiness (enlightenment) is exceptionally rare and 3) the realization of emptiness is not directly produced, in a causal sense, by the practices of Buddhism. I disagree with none of the ideas, but fail to see how they constitute a refutation of the Buddhist understanding of and path towards emptiness. Ultimately, at the risk of being reductionist, my experience of the book is that it's many deep and dark insights are afflicted by a fearful and subtle attachment to negativity that drives it from unblinking realism to an overstated pessimism.

Altogether, a haunting, brilliant and brave book. If it is not perfect, it is still more true than almost everything else. I will do doubt return to it again and again.

___

I still stand by what I said once in a read about Ligotti and (I don't know if it was mentioned before) but I felt aghast and disappointed in a way by how many on this site like him and his work, which I found majorly repugnant esp. given the questionably irresponsible mentions of euthanasia in the work.



IsabellaLinton
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03 Mar 2019, 1:54 pm

From the personal journals of Charlotte Brontë. Age 27.

~ First entry 29 May, 1843 written by Charlotte to her sister Emily Brontë.
~ Second entry 20 February, 1844 written by Charlotte to her best friend (possible lover), Ellen Nussey.

He does not like me - why, I can't tell, nor do I think he himself has any definite reason for the aversion; but for one thing he cannot comprehend why I do not make intimate friends of Mesdames Blanche, Sophie and Haussé. He disapproves very much of my unamiable want of sociability. He has already given me a brief lecture on universal bienveillance, and, perceiving that I do not improve in consequence, I fancy he has taken to considering me as a person to be left alone - left to the error of her ways; and consequently he has in great measure withdrawn the light of his countenance, and I get on from day to day in a Robinson-Crusoe-like condition -- very lonely.

:(

I spent a week at Hunsworth not very pleasantly; headache, sickliness, and flatness of spirits made me a poor companion, a sad drag on the vivacious and loquacious gaiety of all the other inmates of the house. I never was fortunate enough to be able to rally, for so much as a single hour, while I was there. I am sure all, with the exception perhaps of Mary, were very glad when I took my departure. I began to perceive that I have too little life in me, nowadays, to be fit company for any except very quiet people. Is it age, or what else, that changes one so?


The Brontës: A Life in Letters, Ed. Juliet Barker, 2016.


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03 Mar 2019, 8:55 pm

The end is near. I hear a noise at the door, as of some immense slippery body lumbering against it. It shall not find me. God, that hand! The window! The window!

H. P. Lovecraft, Dagon.


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IsabellaLinton
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09 Mar 2019, 1:21 pm

I know only that it is time for me to be something when I am nothing. That I shall then have a constitution so strong that it will keep me years in torture and despair when I should every hour pray that I might die.

Branwell Brontë to J.B. Leyland; Haworth, 24 January 1847


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