He wouldn't write a letter because he couldn't without beginning it 'Dear Sylvia' and ending it 'Yours sincerely' or 'truly' or 'affectionately.' He's that sort of precise imbecile. I tell you he's so formal he can't do without all the conventions there are and so truthful he can't use half of them.
Ford Madox Ford
What a chimaera then is man, what a novelty, what a monster, what chaos, what a subject of contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, yet an imbecile earthworm; depository of truth, yet a sewer of uncertainty and error; pride and refuse of the universe. Who shall resolve this tangle?
What do you think an artist is An imbecile who has only his eyes if he is a painter, or his ears if he is a musician, or a lyre at every level of his heart if he is a poet, or, if he is merely a boxer, only his muscle On the contrary, he is at the same time a political being, constantly alert to the heartrending, burning, or happy events in the world, molding himself in their likeness.
The dogmatism of science has become a new orthodoxy, disseminated by the Media and a State educational system with a thoroughness and subtlety far exceeding anything of the kind achieved by the Inquisition; to the point that to believe today in a miraculous happening like the Virgin Birth is to appear a kind of imbecile....
Once, the world was full of mysteries, some of them frightening, some of them wonderful, some of them merely fascinating. Now, it can be a banal and predictable place, the tracks of daily life so well-beaten and defined, our culture awash with the imbecile obvious, our existence suffocating in safety. But mysteries remain.
As soon as I find myself in the presence of a rich man, I cannot help looking upon him as an exceptional and beautiful being, as a sort of marvellous divinity, and, in spite of myself, surmounting my will and my reason, I feel rising, from the depths of my being, toward this rich man, who is very often an imbecile, and sometimes a murderer, something like an incense of admiration. Is it not stupid? And why? Why?
Will is the measure of power. To a great genius there must be a great will. If the thought is not a lamp to the will, does not proceed to an act, the wise are imbecile. He alone is strong and happy who has a will. The rest are herds. He uses; they are used. He is of the Maker; they are of the Made. Will is always miraculous, being the presence of God to men. When it appears in a man he is a hero, and all metaphysics are at fault.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Our civilisation being what it is, you've got to spent eight hours out of every twenty-four as a mixture between an imbecile and a sewing machine. It's very disagreeable, I know. It's humiliating and disgusting. But there you are. You've got to do it, otherwise the whole fabric of our world will fall to bits and we'll starve. Do the job then, idiotically and mechanically; and spend your leisure hours in being a real complete man or woman.
Chimerical and empty being, your name alone has caused more blood to flow on the face of the earth than any political war ever will. Return to the nothingness from which the mad hope and ridiculous fright of men dared call you forth to their misfortune. You only appeared as a torment for the human race. What crimes would have been spared the world, if they had choked the first imbecile who thought of speaking of you.
Marquis de Sade
You mean to say that when an imbecile walks into a church, office, day care center, or school, stumbling about, almost zombie-like, with gun-filled hands at his side, blabbering incoherently to his next victim, the reaction of grown men and women is to run, cry, whimper, and hide under a desk or pew? The sheeping of America is nearly complete.
And there it is! Bravo! I knew it was only a matter of time before Byron realized he had an audience. That man is simply incapable of keeping his shirt on when there are spectators. One Christmas Eve, he stripped his shirt off right in the middle of the choir's rendition of Oh Child of Bethlehem. Coincidentally, the next song was Come Let Us Adore Him and the imbecile actually launched into some interpretive dance.
Kirt J. Boyd
The truth is he spends thirty minutes of every hour suspecting he has missed some essential clue about himself. And not only himself-he has a recurring fantasy that one night, while he was asleep, the entire world was transformed into an alien planet, but no one bothered to tell him, and he didn't have the instinct to figure it out, and here he is now on a wild new Earth, walking around like an imbecile, as if everything he knows hasn't fallen away behind him like a river plummeting over a precipice.
Life without sex might be safer but it would be unbearably dull. It is the sex instinct which makes women seem beautiful, which they are once in a blue moon, and men seem wise and brave, which they never are at all. Throttle it, denaturalize it, take it away, and human existence would be reduced to the prosaic, laborious, boresome, imbecile level of life in an anthill.
H. L. Mencken
Whatever characterization one may choose to place on Satan, "imbecile message maker" doesn't fit. This was no third-ranking demon out there in the wilderness throwing lines at Christ. This was the manic master who understood the power of words. He spun what he hoped would be a strike. He failed; Christ succeeded. They both used words.
William E. Jefferson
The word 'ivory' rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it. A taint of imbecile rapacity blew through it all, like a whiff from some corpse. By Jove! I've never seen anything so unreal in my life. And outside, the silent wilderness surrounding this cleared speck on the earth struck me as something great and invincible, like evil or truth, waiting patiently for the passing away of this fantastic invasion.
""Dear girl," continued Bob advancing with an imbecile grin upon his countenance, which he imagined no doubt to be a seductive smile, "fly with me! Be mine! Share with me the wild free life of a barrister! Say that you return the love which consumes my heart - oh, say it!" Here Bob put his hand over a hole in his waistcoat and struck a dramatic attitude.
Arthur Conan Doyle
I don't care very much for literary shrines and hauntsI knew a woman in London who boasted that she had lodgings from the windows of which she could throw a stone into Carlyle's yard. And when I said, "Why throw a stone into Carlyle's yard?" she looked at me as if I were an imbecile and changed the subject.
Wealth brings with it its own checks and balances. The basis of political economy is noninterference. The only safe rule is found in the self-adjusting meter of demand and supply. Open the doors of opportunity to talent and virtue and they will do themselves justice, and property will not be in bad hands. In a free and just commonwealth, property rushes from the idle and imbecile to the industrious, brave and persevering.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Cette encombrante enveloppe qu'il lui fallait laver, remplir, rechauffer au coin du feu ou sous la toison d'une beªte morte, coucher le soir comme un enfant ou comme un vieillard imbecile, servait contre lui d'otage e la nature entie¨re et, pis encore, e la societe des hommes. (L'abe®me)
I am a Jane Austenite, and therefore slightly imbecile about Jane Austen. My fatuous expression, and airs of personal immunity-how ill they sit on the face, say,of a Stevensonian! But Jane Austen is so different. She is my favourite author! I read and reread, the mouth open and the mind closed. Shut up in measureless content, I greet her by the name of most kind hostess, while criticism slumbers.
E. M. Forster
Given that there are seven billion people living on this earth, there is a consistent quantity of imbecile or idiot, okay. Previously, these people could express themselves only with their friends or at the bar after two or three glasses of something, and they said every silliness, and people laughed. Now they have the possibility to show up on the internet. And so, on the internet, along with the messages of a lot of interesting and important people - even the Pope is writing on Twitter - we have a great quantity of idiots.
What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who only has eyes, if he is a painter, or ears if he is a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he is a poet, or even, if he is a boxer, just his muscles? Far from it: at the same time he is also a political being, constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people, and with a cool indifference to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly? No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.
Men have always been a prey to distractions, which arethe original sins of the mind; but never before today has an attempt been made to organize and exploit distractions, to make of them, because of their economic importance, the core and vital center of human life, to idealize them as the highest manifestations of mental activity. Ours is an age of systematized irrelevances, and the imbecile within us has become one of the Titans, upon whose shoulders rests the weight of the social and economic system
With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
So, cutting the lashing of the waterproof match keg, after many failures Starbuck contrived to ignite the lamp in the lantern; then stretching it on a waif pole, handed it to Queequeg as the standard-bearer of this forlorn hope. There, then, he sat, holding up that imbecile candle in the heart of that almighty forlornness. There, then, he sat, the sign and symbol of a man without faith, hopelessly holding up hope in the midst of despair.
There are plenty of good reasons for fighting...but no good reason to ever hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty hates with you, too. Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side. It's that part of every man that finds all kinds of ugliness so attractive....it's that part of an imbecile that punishes and vilifies and makes war gladly.
In the midst of this utopia, which only your fellow lone voyagers would perceive, you used to transgress society's rules unknowingly, and no one would hold you accountable for it. You would mistakenly enter private residences, go to concerts to which you had not been invited, eat at community banquets where you could only guess the community's identity when they started giving speeches. Had you behaved like this in your own country, you would have been taken for a liar or a fool. But the improbable ways of a foreigner are accepted. Far from your home, you used to taste the pleasure of being mad without being alienated, of being an imbecile without renouncing your intelligence, of being an impostor without culpability.
There are plenty of good reason for fighting, " I said, "but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you, too. Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side. It's that part of every man that finds all kinds of ugliness so attractive. "It's that part of an imbecile, " I said, "that punishes and vilifies and makes war.
The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed, that the society will run itself quite nicely until they - at some distant point in the future - will take over the reigns. Yet the fact is that the society is not running itself nicely... because the rest of us need all the energy, brains, imagination and talent that young people can bring to bear down on our difficulties. For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people is imbecile.
I am thinking of one woman and the rest is blotto. I say I am thinking of her, but the truth is I am dying a stellar death. I am lying there like a sick star waiting for the light to go out. Years ago I lay on this same bed and I waited and waited to be born. Nothing happened. Except that my mother, in her Lutheran rage, threw a bucket of water over me. My mother, poor imbecile that she was, thought I was lazy. She didn't know that I had gotten caught in the stellar drift, that I was being pulverized to a black extinction out there in the farthest rim of the universe.
It seems to us that in intelligence there is a fundamental faculty, the alteration or the lack of which, is of the utmost importance for practical life. This faculty is judgment, otherwise called good sense, practical sense, initiative, the faculty of adapting one's self to circumstances. A person may be a moron or an imbecile if he is lacking in judgment; but with good judgment he can never be either. Indeed the rest of the intellectual faculties seem of little importance in comparison with judgment
The worst illiterate is the political illiterate. He hears nothing, sees nothing, takes no part in political life. He doesn't seem to know that the cost of living, the price of beans, of flour, of rent, of medicines all depend on political decisions. He even prides himself on his political ignorance, sticks out his chest and says he hates politics. He doesn't know, the imbecile, that from his political non-participation comes the prostitute, the abandoned child, the robber and, worst of all, corrupt officials, the lackeys of exploitative multinational corporations.
The terms "idiot" and "lunatic" were acceptable diagnostic terms in England up until 1959. "Imbecile" and "feeble-minded person" were, likewise, listed as official categories in the 1913 Mental Deficiency Act. England has always lagged a bit behind in discarding outdated terms for the disadvantaged. When I was there in 1980, it was still possible to shop for used clothing at the local Spastic Shop. That is, compared to the United States, where it takes, oh, about twenty-five minutes for a diagnostic euphemism to become a conversational faux pas.
An imbecile habit has arisen in modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age but cannot be held in another. Some dogma, we are told, was credible in the twelfth century, but is not credible in the twentieth. You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays. You might as well say of a view of the cosmos that it was suitable to half-past three, but not suitable to half-past four. What a man can believe depends upon his philosophy, not upon the clock or the century.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don't know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, 'You can't do a thing'. The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerizes some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of 'you can't' once and for all.
Vincent Van Gogh
IMBECILE!" the chef shouted. "Next time why don't you just put your whole HAND in the food, hey? Yes, your whole hand, or maybe your FACE! I arrange the food on plates with care, are you understanding what I am telling you? It is part of the art form of cooking, yes? A lovely plate of food is a thing of beauty! And then you, NUMBSKULL, come along and put your fat greasy FINGERS all over my plate, and SHAKE the plate, and move my food all around the plate until it looks like pigs' vomit!" "Chef Vlad!" I cried out in delight.
Extreme civilization robs crime of its frightful poetry, and prevents the writer from restoring it. That would be too dreadful, say those good souls who want everything to be prettified, even the horrible. In the name of philanthropy, imbecile criminologists reduce the punishment, and inept moralists the crime, and what is more they reduce the crime only in order to reduce the punishment. Yet the crimes of extreme civilization are undoubtedly more atrocious than those of extreme barbarism, by virtue of their refinement, of the corruption they imply and of their superior degree of intellectualism. ("A Woman's Vengeance")
Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly
The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn't hear, doesn't speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn't know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn't know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies.
Your god, sir, is the World. In my eyes, you, too, if not an infidel, are an idolater. I conceive that you ignorantly worship: in all things you appear to me too superstitious. Sir, your god, your great Bel, your fish-tailed Dagon, rises before me as a demon. You, and such as you, have raised him to a throne, put on him a crown, given him a sceptre. Behold how hideously he governs! See him busied at the work he likes best - making marriages. He binds the young to the old, the strong to the imbecile. He stretches out the arm of Mezentius and fetters the dead to the living. In his realm there is hatred - secret hatred: there is disgust - unspoken disgust: there is treachery - family treachery: there is vice - deep, deadly, domestic vice. In his dominions, children grow unloving between parents who have never loved: infants are nursed on deception from their very birth: they are reared in an atmosphere corrupt with lies... All that surrounds him hastens to decay: all declines and degenerates under his sceptre. Your god is a masked Death.
Then she understood that what she needed was the motion to a purpose, no matter how small or in what form, the sense of an activity going step by step to some chosen end across a span of time. The work of cooking a meal was like a closed circle, completed and gone, leading nowhere. But the work of building a path was a living sum, so that no day was left to die behind her, but each day contained all those that preceded it, each day acquired its immortality on every succeeding tomorrow. A circle, she thought, is the movement proper to physical nature, they say that there's nothing but circular motion in the inanimate universe around us, but the straight line is the badge of man, the straight line of a geometrical abstraction that makes roads, rails and bridges, the straight line that cuts the curving aimlessness of nature by a purposeful motion from a start to an end. The cooking of meals, she thought, is like the feeding of coal to an engine for the sake of a great run, but what would be the imbecile torture of coaling an engine that had no run to make? It is not proper for man's life to be a circle, she thought, or a string of circles dropping off like zeros behind him-man's life must be a straight line of motion from goal to farther goal, each leading to the next and to a single growing sum, like a journey down the track of a railroad, from station to station to-oh, stop it!