How the holy and the profane mix in the light of day and at the end of life is sometimes the most beautiful thing in this world and a compassionate entry into the next. After failure and defeat, a concentration upon certain beauties, though forever lost and unretrievable, can lift the wounded past roundedness and the dying past dying, protecting them with an image, still and bright, that will ride with them on their long ride, never to fade and never to retreat.
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A lot of people hate heroes. I was criticized for portraying people who are brave, honest, loving, intelligent. That was called weak and sentimental. People who dismiss all real emotion as sentimentality are cowards. They're afraid to commit themselves, and so they remain 'cool' for the rest of their lives, until they're dead""then they're really cool.
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Lonely people have enthusiasms which cannot always be explained. When something strikes them as funny, the intensity and length of their laughter mirrors the depth of their loneliness, and they are capable of laughing like hyenas. When something touches their emotions, it runs through them like Paul Revere, awakening feelings that gather into great armies.
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and even when I was broken the way sometimes one can be broken, and even though I had fallen, I found upon arising that I was stronger than before, that the glories, if I may call them that, which I had loved so much and that had been darkened in my fall, were shinning even brighter and nearly everytime subsequently I have fallen and darkness has come over me, they have obstinately arisen, not as they were, but brighter.
Winter then in its early and clear stages, was a purifying engine that ran unhindered over city and country, alerting the stars to sparkle violently and shower their silver light into the arms of bare upreaching trees. It was a mad and beautiful thing that scoured raw the souls of animals and man, driving them before it until they loved to run. And what it did to Northern forests can hardly be described, considering that it iced the branches of the sycamores on Chrystie Street and swept them back and forth until they rang like ranks of bells.
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We launch our souls from the cannons of art and discipline, and on any one night, hovering over the chimney tops of Europe, halfway to the stars, there are armies of brightly spinning spirits that have risen like fireworks, tethered to the souls of those men and women who, by reflection, mortification, and devotion, effortlessly outdazzle kings.
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Reason excludes faith, " Alessandro responded, watching the blood-red mite as it made a dash for the rim. "It's deliberately limited. It won't function with the materials of religion. You can come close to proving the existence of God by reason, but you can't do it absolutely. That's because you can't do anything absolutely by reason. That's because reason depends on postulates. Postulates defy proof and yet they are essential to reason. God is a postulate. I don't think God is interested in the verification of His existence, and, therefore, neither am I. Anyway, I have professional reasons to believe. Nature and art pivot faithfully around God. Even dogs know that.
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Why do people resist [engines, bridges, and cities] so? They are symbols and products of the imagination, which is the force that ensures justice and historical momentum in an imperfect world, because without imagination we would not have the wherewithal to challenge certainty, and we could never rise above ourselves.
The ones who are always on your side, or so they think, are the ones who keep you down. Everything they do keeps you down. They'll forgive you for anything. Rob, rape, pillage, and kill, and they'll defend you to yourself. They understand all outrages, and all your failings and faults, too. Perfect! You can go on that way forever. What do they care? Excuse me: they do care. They want it that way. How would they make a living, these servants of the poor, if there were no poor? What enabled me to rise above all the people who don't know enough to come in out of the rain is that one day I looked face to face at a man who hated half of everything I was and had the courage to tell me so. I remember his very words. He said, 'What you're doing is hideous-a perfect way to die young. Unless you want to live sweetly only in the hereafter, you ought to learn how to do the right thing.'" The doctor stopped what he was doing, dropped his hand to his sides, and looked directly at Peter Lake. "I hate the poor. Look what they do to themselves. How could you not hate them, unless you thought that they should be like this.
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As long as you have life and breath, believe. Believe for those who cannot. Believe even if you have stopped believing. Believe for the sake of the dead, for love, to keep your heart beating, believe. Never give up, never despair, let no mystery confound you into the conclusion that mystery cannot be yours.
I see no justice in that plan." "Who said, " lashed out Isaac Penn, "that you, a man, can always perceive justice? Who said that justice is what you imagine? Can you be sure that you know it when you see it, that you will live long enough to recognize the decisive thunder of its occurrence, that it can be manifest within a generation, within ten generations, within the entire span of human existence? What you are talking about is common sense, not justice. Justice is higher and not as easy to understand - until it presents itself in unmistakable splendor. The design of which I speak is far above our understanding. But we can sometimes feel its presence. "No choreographer, no architect, engineer, or painter could plan more thoroughly and subtly. Every action and every scene has its purpose. And the less power one has, the closer he is to the great waves that sweep through all things, patiently preparing them for the approach of a future signified not by simple human equity (a child could think of that), but by luminous and surprising connections that we have not imagined, by illustrations terrifying and benevolent - a golden age that will show not what we wish, but some bare awkward truth upon which rests everything that ever was and everything that ever will be. There is justice in the world, Peter Lake, but it cannot be had without mystery.
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No one ever said that you would live to see the repercussions of everything you do, or that you have guarantees, or that you are not obliged to wander in the dark, or that everything will be proved to you and neatly verified like something in science. Nothing is: at least nothing that is worthwhile. I didn't bring you up only to move across sure ground. I didn't teach you to think that everything must be within our control or understanding. Did I? For, if I did, I was wrong. I fyou won't take a chance, then the powers you refuse because you cannot explain them, will, as they say, make a monkey out of you.
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Mr. de Pinto, the dog who protects sheep quickly learns how to direct them, and it becomes a habit. The people have been trained by their 'watchmen' to jump, and to trample what the 'watchmen' want trampled. "I have found, that those who would guard the people are their governors. The government admits that it is a government. The press pretends that it is not. But what a pretense! You orchestrate entire populations. And who elected you? No one. You are self-appointed, you speak for no one, and therefore you have no right to question me as if you represent the common good.
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I don't want these. They're mud and they've got no color. Or at least the color is different from what I'm used to. Take any American city, in autumn, or in winter, when the light makes the colors dance and flow, and look at it from a distant hill or from a boat in the bay or on the river, and you will see in any section of the view far better paintings than in this lentil soup that you people have to pedigree in order to love. I may be a thief, but I know color when I see it in the flash of heaven or in the Devil's opposing tricks, and I know mud. Mr. Knoedler, you needn't worry about your paintings anymore. I'm not going to steal them. I don't like them. Sincerely yours, P. Soames
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Young Bindo Altovini, looking out from time, made a perfect coalition with the mountains, the sky, and the tall redheaded woman who had bent over just slightly to examine a raging battle that was long over. Alessandro imagined that Bindo Altovini was saying, half with longing, half with delight, "These are the things in which I was so helplessly caught up, the waves that took me, what I loved. When light filled my eyes and I was restless and could move, I knew not what all the color was about, but only that I had a passion to see. And now that I am still, I pass on to you my liveliness and my life, for you will be taken, as once I was, and although you must fight beyond your capacity to fight and feel beyond your capacity to feel, remember that it ends in perfect peace, and you will be as still and content as am I, for whom centuries are not even seconds." In the eyes of Bindo Altoviti, Alessandro saw wisdom and amusement, and he knew why the subjects of paintings and photographs seemed to look from the past as if with clairvoyance. Even brutal and impatient men, when frozen in time, assumed expressions of extraordinary compassion, as if they had reflected the essence of their redemption back into the photograph. In a sense they were still living.
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Then, just at the peak of complacency, when it was assumed that the climate of the world had changed forever, when the conductor of the philharmonic played Vivaldi's Four Seasons and left out an entire movement, and when to children of a young age stories of winter were told as if they were fairy tales, New York was hit by a cataclysmic freeze, and, once again, people huddled together to talk fearfully of the millennium.
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To be mad is to feel with excruciating intensity the sadness and joy of a time which has not arrived or has already been. And to protect their delicate vision of that other time, madmen will justify their condition with touching loyalty, and surround it with a thousand distractive schemes. These schemes, in turn, drive them deeper and deeper into the darkness and light (which is their mortification and their reward), and confront them with a choice. They may either slacken and fall back, accepting the relief of a rational view and the approval of others, or they may push on, and, by falling, arise. When and if by their unforgivable stubbornness they finally burst through to worlds upon worlds of motionless light, they are no longer called afflicted or insane. They are called saints.
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Rigel, Betelgeuse, and Orion. There was no finer church, no finer choir, than the stars speaking in silence to the many consumptives silently condemned, a legion upon the dark rooftops. The wind came down from the north like a runner in lacrosse, violent and hard, to batter every living thing. They were there, each one alone in conversation with the stars, mining ephemeral love from cold and distant light.
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But you won't abdicate." Of course not. It's my duty to go on, to maintain the line. I can't possibly fail in that. It's as if you and I were throwing a ball back and forth to establish a record, and had been doing so for a millennium. You cannot drop a ball that has remained airborne through good effort for most of a thousand years. You cannot stop an unlikely heart that has been beating for so long. I would rather die than betray continuity, for its own sake if for nothing else. And Britain needs a king, just as it needs motormen and cooks and a prime minister. Just as it needs soldiers who will die for it if they must. It's my job, or it will be, but you should know that I've never wanted it. I was only born to it, as if with a deformity, to which I hope I can respond with grace." Fredericka had been running her finger over the carpet, tracing a pattern in the way children do when they have learnt something overwhelming and are moved, but cannot say so. Freddy expected her to look up, with tears, and that in this moment she might have begun the long and arduous process of becoming a queen. She was so beautiful. To embrace her now, with high emotion flowing from her physical majesty, was all he wanted in the world. Her finger stopped moving, and she turned her eyes to him. Freddy?" Yes?" he answered. What's raw egg? I read a recipe in She that called for a cup of raw egg. What is that?" After a long silence, Freddy asked, "Which part of the formulation escapes you? Egg? Raw? The link between the two?" The two what?" Fredericka?" Yes, Freddy?" Would you like to go dancing?" Oh, yes Freddy!" Come then. We will.
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But little else could deter Craig Binky, for he believed that everything about him was destined to be triumphal. Harry Penn was certain that in his nearly one hundred years he had never encountered a soul more intensely marinated in self-satisfaction. Craig Binky's pomposity was often relieved, for others, by what Harry Penn generously termed "Mr. Binky's somewhat inexact intelligence.
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I work with a great deal of discipline, although I usually take on more than I can handle and often have to extend due dates. I have always been appalled by bohemianism because of its laziness, disorder, and moral weakness. I understand that this way of living is a response to the fact of human frailty, but it leans too far in one direction. Being a little more buttoned up doesn't mean that you'll get so brittle that you'll break. Nor does it mean that you don't understand tragedy, loss, and, most of all, human limitation. I am more than well aware of those things and I feel very strongly, but on the other hand I like to run ten miles and return to a spotless well-ordered room, and I like my shirts heavily starched. When I used to go on a long run on Sunday morning when I lived on the Upper West Side, I would pass thousands and thousands of people in restaurants eating... (I won't say this word, because I hate it so much, but it rhymes with hunch, and it's a disgusting meal that is supposed to be both breakfast and lunch). There they were-having slept for five hours while I was doing calisthenics and running-unshaven (the women too), bleary eyed, surrounded by newspapers scattered as if in a hamster cage, smoking noxious French cigarettes, and drinking Bloody Marys while they ate huge quantities of fat. They looked to me like a movie version of South American bandits. I would never want to be like that. I prefer to live like a British soldier.
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You can't expect anyone to trust revelation if he hasn't experienced it himself. Those who haven't only know reason. And since revelation is a thing apart, and cannot be accounted for reasonably, they never will believe you. This is the great division of the world and always has been. When reason and revelation run together, why, then you have something great, a great age.
Such a thing as the child left alone to die in the hallway was unknown on the marsh. But here, in the dawn, was mortality itself. In the city were places to fall from which one could never emerge -- dark dreams and slow death, the death of children, suffering without grace or redemption, ultimate and eternal loss. The memory of the child stayed with him. But that was not to be the end of it, for reality went around in a twisting ring. Even the irredeemable would be redeemed, and there was a balance for everything. There had to be.
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Perhaps passing through the gates of death is like passing quietly through the gate in a pasture fence. On the other side, you keep walking, without the need to look back. No shock, no drama, just the lifting of a plank or two in a simple wooden gate in a clearing. Neither pain, nor floods of light, nor great voices, but just the silent crossing of a meadow.
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Why do you think great leaders and great orations are coincident with wars, revolutions, and the founding or ending of governments and states? Common interests then are so clear that speeches are effortlessly drawn, but at present neither the facts nor the consequences are sufficiently clear to make oratory legitimate. This is the kind of war that will wind on and make fools of its partisans and opponents both.
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'Freeing' a literary work into the public domain is less a public benefit than a transfer of wealth from the families of American writers to the executives and stockholders of various businesses who will continue to profit from, for example, 'The Garden Party,' while the descendants of Katherine Mansfield will not.
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She died on a windy gray day in March when the sky was full of darting crows and the world lay prostrate and defeated after winter. Peter Lake was at her side and it ruined him forever. It broke him as he had not ever imagined he could have been broken. He would never again be young, or able to remember what it was like to be young. What he had once taken to be pleasures would appear to him in his defeat as hideous and deserved punishments for reckless vanity.
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He knew very well that love could be like the most beautiful singing, that it could make death inconsequential, that it existed in forms so pure and strong that it was capable of reordering the universe. He knew this, and that he lacked it, and yet as he stood in the courtyard of the Palazzo Venezia, watching diplomats file quietly out the gate, he was content, for he suspected that to command the profoundest love might in the end be far less beautiful a thing than to suffer its absence.
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My father ran London Films. He made films like 'The Red Shoes,' 'The Third Man.' And he had had a long career in the film business, which was bifurcated with a career in intelligence. He had to deal with gangsters, and sometimes he would take me with him. Also, I went to school with their children.
You'll join me sooner than you know in a place with . . . no illusions, where the truth is the only architecture, the only color, the only sound--where that which we sense merely on occasion, and which takes us up and gives us the rare and beautiful glimpses of the things we truly love, flows in deep rivers and tumbles about like clouds in the sky.
Perhaps things are most beautiful when they are not quite real; when you look upon a scene as an outsider, and come to possess it in its entirety and forever; when you live in the present with the lucidity and feeling of memory; when, for want of connection, the world deepens and becomes art.
No one ever said that you would live to see the repercussions of everything you do, or that you have guarantees, or that you are not obliged to wander in the dark, or that everything will be proved to you and neatly verified like something in science. Nothing is: at least nothing that is worthwhile.
Who said that justice is what you imagine? Can you be sure that you know it when you see it, that you will live long enough to recognize the decisive thunder of its occurrence, that it can be manifest within a generation, within ten generations, within the entire span of human existence? What you are talking about is common sense, not justice. Justice is higher and not as easy to understand - until it presents itself in unmistakable splendor. The design of which I speak is far above our understanding. But we can sometimes feel its presence.
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New technologies will always demand and deserve careful navigation and difficult readjustments. But the weakening or de facto abolition of copyright will not merely roil the seas, it will drain them dry. Those who would pirate what you produce have developed an elaborate sophistry to convince you that they are your victim. They aren't. Fight back.
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My father was famous for his photographic memory. He was in the OSS. They trained him to be captured on purpose and to read upside down and backwards and commit to memory every document in Germany he saw as he was being interrogated - every schedule on every wall. So, that photographic memory somehow made its way to me when I was young.