Only two kinds of people can attain self-knowledge: those who are not encumbered at all with learning, that is to say, whose minds are not over-crowded with thoughts borrowed from others; and those who, after studying all the scriptures and sciences, have come to realise that they know nothing.
It rasped her, though, to have stirring about in her this brutal monster! to hear twigs cracking and feel hooves planted down in the depths of that leaf-encumbered forest, the soul; never to be content quite, or quite secure, for at any moment the brute would be stirring, this hatred...
Music is the purest form of art, and therefore the most direct expression of beauty, with a form and spirit which is one and simple, and least encumbered with anything extraneous. We seem to feel that the manifestation of the infinite in the finite forms of creation is music itself, silent and visible.
The more I see of deer, the more I admire them as mountaineers. They make their way into the heart of the roughest solitudes with smooth reserve of strength, through dense belts of brush and forest encumbered with fallen trees and boulder piles, across canons, roaring streams, and snow-fields, ever showing forth beauty and courage.
The confusion, the difficulties, the contradictions which, in consequence of a want of accurate distinctions in this particular, have up to even a recent period encumbered mathematics in all those branches involving the consideration of negative and impossible quantities, will at once occur to the reader who is at all versed in this science, and would alone suffice to justify dwelling somewhat on the point, in connexion with any subject so peculiarly fitted to give forcible illustration of it as the Analytical Engine.
If friendship is to transpire between two people, it is important that both be in a state of availability. I have often been in the company of those who complain that they have no friends. Inevitably, I have observed that this condition was due to their own lack of availability; they were too encumbered to be able to welcome another. Such unavailability may be exterior in nature; that is, people may lack the time or the emotional energy necessary for friendship.
But what will happen even if we do burn down the Jews synagogues and forbid them publicly to praise God, to pray, to teach, to utter God's name? They will still keep doing it in secret. If we know that they are doing this in secret, it is the same as if they were doing it publicly. for our knowledge of their secret doings and our toleration of them implies that they are not secret after all and thus our conscience is encumbered with it before God.
The best hopes of any community rest upon that class of its gifted young men who are not encumbered with large possessions.... I now speak of extensive scholarship and ripe culture in science and art.... It is not large possessions, it is large expectations, or rather large hopes, that stimulate the ambition of the young.
Rutherford B. Hayes
Given the final futility of our struggle, is the fleeting jolt of meaning that art gives us valuable? Or is the only value in passing the time as comfortable as possible? What should a story seek to emulate, Augustus? A ringing alarm? A call to arms? A morphine drip? Of course, like all interrogation of the universe, this line of inquiry inevitably reduces us to asking what it means to be human and whether""to borrow a phrase from the angst-encumbered sixteeen-year-olds you no doubt revile""there is a point to it all.
I would like to suggest that our minds are swamped by too much study and by too much matter just as plants are swamped by too much water or lamps by too much oil; that our minds, held fast and encumbered by so many diverse preoccupations, may well lose the means of struggling free, remaining bowed and bent under the load; except that it is quite otherwise: the more our souls are filled, the more they expand; examples drawn from far-off times show, on the contrary, that great soldiers ad statesmen were also great scholars.
Michel de Montaigne
We are all running towards a destination which doesn't exist. On our way, dogs of life keep barking at us where we respond to some and some we throw stones at. Every dog teaches a lesson we are better off without. Every knife stabs a little deeper than we deserve. Every bruise stays a lot longer than it is meant to. Encumbered by forceful lessons of life we fight for the air of elation from the breaths we take to covert them into the moments of our real existence. Everything starts with life's tyrannical dominance and ends with our impelled submissiveness. We are the puppets of external circumstances and still we believe it's all on the inside. We should be laughing at our plight, someone has framed it with such sublimity. But all we do is ache at every shred of it because that's what keeps it alive.
There are times when I long to sweep away half the things I am expected to learn; for the overtaxed mind cannot enjoy the treasure it has secured at the greatest cost... When one reads hurriedly and nervously, having in mind written tests and examinations, one's brain becomes encumbered with a lot of bric-a-brac for which there seems to be little use. At the present time my mind is so full of heterogeneous matter that I almost despair of ever being able to put it in order. Whenever I enter the region of my mind I feel like the proverbial bull in the china shop. A thousand odds and ends of knowledge come crashing about my head like hailstones, and when I try to escape them, theme goblins and college nixies of all sorts pursue me, until I wish - oh, may I be forgiven the wicked wish! - that I might smash the idols I came to worship.
Central to Me¶ser's view of the human world was "honor, " a notion that was as important to corporatist society as the notion of dignity would be for the more individualistic society that succeeded it. In Me¶ser's view, a person acquired his identity from his place in the institutional structure of society, a society in which economic, social, and political institutions were not distinguished from one another. His status (as a guildsman, noble landowner, serf, or independent peasant cottager) determined not only how he earned his living, but his sense of who he was, of what his duties and obligations were, of those to whom he ought to defer and those who ought to defer to him. (In the language of modern sociology, Me¶ser's society was one in which almost all of the individual's roles derived from a single status.) Who one was was largely a continuation of what one's forebears had been. For Me¶ser the real self was the socially encumbered self, the self based on status, on historical and regional particularity, and on property. It was a self whose prime virtue was honor. Status and the honor that attached to it were inherited, although they could be lost if one failed to live up to the duties of one's rank.
Jerry Z. Muller
Thee, my serenity, one can not bear, Seeing thee befuddled, bereaved, Dimmed like the midnight, secluded, darkened, Thee, my serenity, A window to my eyes, A window to laughter, and peace of mind, Thee, my serenity, one can not bear, Seeing thee wail, whine, cry, Like a gloomy, mourning brume, Thee, my serenity, Soared through fervor and delight, To the crown of heavens, the Almighty Myth, One can not bear, Seeing thee prostrate, razed, demure, Upon the dimmed streets, crawling, for a sight of the lune, Thee, my birdy in love, What befall to thy song, The very chant of my life, Cut short, stopped, along with all I gasp, Thee, my serenity, one can not bear, Seeing thee, caged in thy own night, Encumbered, through thy own heart, Lean on my shoulders now, My beautiful, wonderful Lily, That thee shall not fear, the sorrow of, Of being lonely, apart, not having a peer, As I promise, to my most dear, The girl to my heart, always near, Come what may, don't age a year, That I will be, forever here,
My Serinity, Thee, my serenity, one can not bear, Seeing thee befuddled, bereaved, Dimmed like the midnight, secluded, darkened, Thee, my serenity, A window to my eyes, A window to laughter, and peace of mind, Thee, my serenity, one can not bear, Seeing thee wail, whine, cry, Like a gloomy, mourning brume, Thee, my serenity, Soared through fervor and delight, To the crown of heavens, the Almighty Myth, One can not bear, Seeing thee prostrate, razed, demure, Upon the dimmed streets, crawling, for a sight of the lune, Thee, my birdy in love, What befall to thy song, The very chant of my life, Cut short, stopped, along with all I gasp, Thee, my serenity, one can not bear, Seeing thee, caged in thy own night, Encumbered, through thy own heart, Lean on my shoulders now, My beautiful, wonderful Lily, That thee shall not fear, the sorrow of, Of being lonely, apart, not having a peer, As I promise, to my most dear, The girl to my heart, always near, Come what may, don't age a year, That I will be, forever here,
In the beginning was the Word'. I have taken as my text this evening the almighty Word itself. Now get this: 'There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.' Amen, brothers and sisters, Amen. And the riddle of the Word, 'In the beginning was the Word... ' Now what do you suppose old John meant by that? That cat was a preacher, and, well, you know how it is with preachers; he had something big on his mind. Oh my, it was big; it was the Truth, and it was heavy, and old John hurried to set it down. And in his hurry he said too much. 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' It was the Truth, all right, but it was more than the Truth. The Truth was overgrown with fat, and the fat was God. The fat was John's God, and God stood between John and the Truth. Old John, see, he got up one morning and caught sight of the Truth. It must have been like a bolt of lightning, and the sight of it made him blind. And for a moment the vision burned on the back of his eyes, and he knew what it was. In that instant he saw something he had never seen before and would never see again. That was the instant of revelation, inspiration, Truth. And old John, he must have fallen down on his knees. Man, he must have been shaking and laughing and crying and yelling and praying - all at the same time - and he must have been drunk and delirious with the Truth. You see, he had lived all his life waiting for that one moment, and it came, and it took him by surprise, and it was gone. And he said, 'In the beginning was the Word... ' And man, right then and there he should have stopped. There was nothing more to say, but he went on. He had said all there was to say, everything, but he went on. 'In the beginning was the Word... ' Brothers and sisters, that was the Truth, the whole of it, the essential and eternal Truth, the bone and blood and muscle of the Truth. But he went on, old John, because he was a preacher. The perfect vision faded from his mind, and he went on. The instant passed, and then he had nothing but a memory. He was desperate and confused, and in his confusion he stumbled and went on. 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' He went on to talk about Jews and Jerusalem, Levites and Pharisees, Moses and Philip and Andrew and Peter. Don't you see? Old John had to go on. That cat had a whole lot at stake. He couldn't let the Truth alone. He couldn't see that he had come to the end of the Truth, and he went on. He tried to make it bigger and better than it was, but instead he only demeaned and encumbered it. He made it soft and big with fat. He was a preacher, and he made a complex sentence of the Truth, two sentences, three, a paragraph. He made a sermon and theology of the Truth. He imposed his idea of God upon the everlasting Truth. 'In the beginning was the Word... ' And that is all there was, and it was enough.
N. Scott Momaday