Patriotism, n. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name. In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit it is the first.
Our native susceptibilities and acquired tastes determine which of the many qualities in an object shall most impress us, and be most clearly recalled. One man remembers the combustible properties of a substance, which to another is memorable for its polarising property; to one man a stream is so much water-power, to another a rendezvous for lovers.
George Henry Lewes
Genius, as we tend to talk about it today, is some sort of mysterious and combustible substance that burns brightly and burns out. It's the strange gift of poets and pop stars that allows them to produce one wonderful work in their early twenties and then nothing. It is mysterious. It is there. It is gone.
Cram them full of non-combustible data, chock them so damned full of 'facts' they feel stuffed, but absolutely 'brilliant' with information. Then they'll feel they're thinking, they'll get a sense of motion without moving. And they'll be happy, because facts of that sort don't change. Don't give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy.
The physiological combustion theory takes as its starting point the fundamental principle that the amount of heat that arises from the combustion of a given substance is an invariable quantity-i.e., one independent of the circumstances accompanying the combustion-from which it is more specifically concluded that the chemical effect of the combustible materials undergoes no quantitative change even as a result of the vital process, or that the living organism, with all its mysteries and marvels, is not capable of generating heat out of nothing.
war with poison and chemicals was not so rare in the ancient world ... An astounding panoply of toxic substances, venomous creatures, poison plants, animals and insects, deleterious environments, virulent pathogens, infectious agents, noxious gases, and combustible chemicals were marshalled to defeat foes - and panoply is an apt term here, because it is the ancient Greek word for 'all weapons.
[Coleridge] selected an instance of what was called the sublime, in DARWIN, who imagined the creation of the universe to have taken place in a moment, by the explosion of a mass of matter in the womb, or centre of space. In one and the same instant of time, suns and planets shot into systems in every direction, and filled and spangled the illimitable void! He asserted this to be an intolerable degradation -referring, as it were, all the beauty and harmony of nature to something like the bursting of a barrel of gunpowder! that spit its combustible materials into a pock-freckled creation!
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don't want your D*** lemons, what the h*** am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life's manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! With the lemons! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!
If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none... Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of non-combustible data, chock them so damned full of 'facts' they feel stuffed, but absolutely 'brilliant' with information. Then they'll feel they're thinking, they'll get a sense of motion without moving. And they'll be happy, because facts of that sort don't change. Don't give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy.
The world was in truth made of jackstraws. The world was very combustible, the human body was partible in ways heretofore unimagined. What held the civilized world together was the thinnest tissue of nothing but human will. Civilization was not in the natural order but was some wort of willed invention held taut like a fabric or a sail against the chaos of the winds. And why we had invented it, or how we knew to invent it, was beyond him. Newmann had seen some truth that was completely out of his power to put into words. But he had come away knowing that even though the world of civilization was made of straw and lantern slides, he must live in it as if it were solid. Even when the heat of the lantern itself burnt away the illusions and a black hole appeared in the middle of the slide.