Irksome Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Marvel comes quickly, cloaked in the mundane. It's the woman waking to the smell of smoke as fire spreads, miles away, through her brother's house. It's the sharp flash of recognition as a young man glimpses, in the ordinary hubbub, the stranger with whom he will share his life. It's a mother's dream of her baby, blue in the cold store, six months before he comes, stillborn, into the world. Even the Church Fathers admitted the category of marvelous- or mirabilis, as they knew it. For them it was an irksome classification. A grey area. Compare the marvel with it's less troublesome metaphysical kin. In the thirteenth century, the miracle reflected the steady-handed authorship of the divine- truth made manifest. Similarly magic, or magicus, demonstrated with tell-tale showmanship the desperate guile of the devil. The marvel, however, was of poor performance and tended, therefore, towards ambiguity. It took shape in the merely mortal sphere. It seemed to lack the requisite supernatural chutzpah. Here, the clergy were typically surplus to requirements. Yet, if less outwardly compelling, the marvel was also less easily contained than either the miraculous or the magical. It remained more elusive. More stubborn. And if finally reducible in time, with the erosions of memory, to rationalization, anecdote, drinking tale or woman's lore, the marvel also rarely failed to leave behind a certain residual uncertainty. A discomfiting sense of possibility. Or, on bolder occasions, an appetite for wonder.

Alison MacLeod
My mother delayed my enrollment in the Fascist scouts, the Balilla, as long as possible, firstly because she did not want me to learn how to handle weapons, but also because the meetings that were then held on Sunday mornings (before the Fascist Saturday was instituted) consisted mostly of a Mass in the scouts' chapel. When I had to be enrolled as part of my school duties, she asked that I be excused from the Mass; this was impossible for disciplinary reasons, but my mother saw to it that the chaplain and the commander were aware that I was not a Catholic and that I should not be asked to perform any external acts of devotion in church. In short, I often found myself in situations different from others, looked on as if I were some strange animal. I do not think this harmed me: one gets used to persisting in one's habits, to finding oneself isolated for good reasons, to putting up with the discomfort that this causes, to finding the right way to hold on to positions which are not shared by the majority. But above all I grew up tolerant of others' opinions, particularly in the field of religion, remembering how irksome it was to hear myself mocked because I did not follow the majority's beliefs. And at the same time I have remained totally devoid of that taste for anticlericalism which is so common in those who are educated surrounded by religion. I have insisted on setting down these memories because I see that many non-believing friends let their children have a religious education 'so as not to give them complexes', 'so that they don't feel different from the others.' I believe that this behavior displays a lack of courage which is totally damaging pedagogically. Why should a young child not begin to understand that you can face a small amount of discomfort in order to stay faithful to an idea? And in any case, who said that young people should not have complexes? Complexes arise through a natural attrition with the reality that surrounds us, and when you have complexes you try to overcome them. Life is in fact nothing but this triumphing over one's own complexes, without which the formation of a character and personality does not happen.

Italo Calvino
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