The Hindus are busy letting themselves be seen riding in Cadillacs instead of smearing themselves with sandalwood paste and bowing in front of Ganpati. The Moslems would rather miss evening prayer than the new Disney movie. The Buddhists think it's more important to take over in the name of Stalin and Progress than to meditate on the four basic sorrows. And we don't even have to mention Christianity or Judaism.
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Although I knew enough Freud to believe that the sex urge was an important mainspring of life, it still seemed to me that any conscious manifestation of sex was necessarily ludicrous. Defecation and copulation were two activities which made a human being totally ridiculous. At least the former could be conducted in private, but the latter by definition demanded a partner. I discovered, though, that whenever I ventured this opinion, people took it as a joke.
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I've always wanted to get as far as possible from the place where I was born. Far both geographically and spiritually. To leave it behind ... I feel that life is very short and the world is there to see and one should know as much about it as possible. One belongs to the whole world, not just one part of it.
Amar was made conscious in an instant of a presence in the air, something which had been there all the time, but which he had never isolated and identified. The thing was in him, he was a part of it, as was the man opposite him, and it was a part of them; it whispered to them that time was short, that the world they lived in was approaching its end, and beyond was unfathomable darkness. It was the premonition of inevitable defeat and annihilation, and it had always been there with them and in them, as intangible and as real as the night around them. Amar pulled two loose cigarettes out of his pocket and handed one to the potter. "Ah, the Moslems, the Moslems!" he sighed. "Who knows what's going to happen to them?
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When I was young' ... 'Before I was twenty, I mean, I used to think that life was a thing that kept gaining impetus, it would get richer and deeper each year. You kept learning more, getting wiser, having more insight, going further into the truth' - she hesitated. Port laughed abruptly. - 'And now you know it's not like that. Right? It's more like smoking a cigarette. The first few puffs it tasted wonderful, and you don't even think of its ever being used up. Then you begin taking it for granted. Suddenly you realize it's nearly burned down to the end. And then's when you're conscious of the bitter taste.
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You know, ' said Port, and his voice sounded unreal, as voices are likely to do after a long pause in an utterly silent spot, 'the sky here's very strange. I often have the sensation when I look at it that it's a solid thing up there, protecting us from what's behind.' Kit shuddered slightly as she said: 'From what's behind?' 'Yes.' 'But what is behind?' Her voice was very small. 'Nothing, I suppose. Just darkness. Absolute night
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Whereas the tourist generally hurries back home at the end of a few weeks or months, the traveler belonging no more to one place than to the next, moves slowly over periods of years, from one part of the earth to another. Indeed, he would have found it difficult to tell, among the many places he had lived, precisely where it was he had felt most at home.
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He awoke, opened his eye. The room meant very little to him; he was too deeply immersed in the non-being from which he had just come. If he had not the energy to ascertain his position in time and space, he also lacked the desire... In utter comfort, utter relaxation he lay absolutely still for a while, and then sank back into on the the light momentary sleeps that occur after a long, profound one.
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At some point in the night she had a dream. Or it was possible that she was partially awake, and was only remembering a dream? She was alone among the rocks on a dark coast beside the sea. The water surged upward and fell back languidly, and in the distance she heard surf breaking slowly on a sandy shore. It was comforting to be this close to the surface of the ocean and gaze at the intimate nocturnal details of its swelling and ebbing. And as she listened to the faraway breakers rolling up onto the beach, she became aware of another sound entwined with the intermittent crash of waves: a vast horizontal whisper across the bossom of the sea, carrying an ever-repeated phrase, regular as a lighthouse flashing: Dawn will be breaking soon. She listened a long time: again and again the scarcely audible words were whispered across the moving water. A great weight was being lifted slowly from her; little by little her happiness became more complete, and she awoke. Then she lay for a few minutes marveling the dream, and once again fell asleep.
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Cannabis sativa and its derivatives are strictly prohibited in Turkey, and the natural correlative of this proscription is that alcohol, far from being frowned upon as it is in other Moslem lands, is freely drunk; being a government monopoly it can be bought at any cigarette counter. This fact is no mere detail; it is of primary social importance, since the psychological effects of the two substances are diametrically opposed to each other. Alcohol blurs the personality by loosening inhibitions. The drinker feels, temporarily at least, a sense of participation. Kif abolishes no inhibitions; on the contrary it reinforces them, pushes the individual further back into the recesses of his own isolated personality, pledging him to contemplation and inaction. It is to be expected that there should be a close relationsip between the culture of a given society and the means used by its members to achieve release and euphoria. For Judaism and Christianity the means has always been alcohol; for Islam it has been hashish. The first is dynamic in its effects, the other static. If a nation wishes, however mistakenly, to Westernize itself, first let it give up hashish. The rest will follow, more or less as a manner of course. Conversely, in a Western country, if a whole segment of the population desires, for reasons of protest (as has happened in the United States), to isolate itself in a radical fashion from the society around it, the quickest and surest way is for it to replace alcohol by cannabis.
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... we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.
Often when he was not working he had come here and sat an entire afternoon, lulled by the din and music from the other rooms into a state of vague ecstasy, while he contemplated the small sheet of water outside the window. It was that happy frame of mind into which his people could project themselves so easily - the mere absence of immediate unpleasant preoccupation could start it off, and a landscape which included the sea, a river, a fountain, or anything that occupied the eye without engaging the mind, was of use in sustaining it. It was the world behind the world, where reflection precludes the necessity for action, and the calm which all things seek in death appears briefly in the guise of contentment, the spirit at last persuaded that the still waters of perfection are reachable.
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he refused to consider the Moroccans' present culture, however decadent, an established fact, an existing thing. Instead, he seemed to believe that it was something accidentally left over from bygone centuries, now in a necessary state of transition, that the people needed temporary guidance in order to progress to some better condition.
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Each time I go to a place I have not seen before I hope it will be as different as possible from the places I already know. I assume it is natural for a traveler to seek diversity, and that it is the human element that makes him most aware of difference. If people and their manner of living were alike everywhere, there would not be much point in moving from one place to another.
Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps 20. And yet it all seems limitless.
You will find yourself among people. There is no help for this nor should you want it otherwise. The passages where no one waits are dark and hard to navigate. The wet walls touch your shoulders on each side. When the trees were there I cared that they were there. And now they are gone, does it matter? The passages where no one waits go on and give no promise of an end. You will find yourself among people, Faces, clothing, teeth and hair and words, and many words When there was life, I said that life was wrong. What do I say now? You understand?
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