What it means to be a 'better person', then, must be concrete and practical - that is to say, concerned with people's political situations as a whole - rather than narrowly abstract, concerned only with the immediate interpersonal relations which can be abstracted from this concrete whole. It must be a question of political and not only of 'moral' argument: that is to say, it must be genuine moral argument, which sees the relations between individual qualities and values and our whole material conditions of existence. Political argument is not an alternative to moral preoccupations: it is those preoccupations taken seriously in their full implications.
I know well the delectable thrill of moving into a new house somewhere altogether else, in somebody else's county, where the climate is different, the food is different, the light is different, where the mundane preoccupations of life at home don't seem to apply and it is even fun to go shopping.
I feel often that we don't have the right language to talk about emotions in disasters. Everyone is on edge, of course, but it also pulls people away from a lot of trivial anxieties and past and future concerns and gratuitous preoccupations that we have, and refocuses us in a very intense way.
The reader brings to the work personality traits, memories of past events, present needs and preoccupations, a particular mood of the moment and a particular physical condition. These and many other elements in a never-to-be-duplicated combination determine his response to the text.
I think it's a false distinction to say that conversation and composition are separate. Because even as we speak, I'm seeing. Every interview is different, and I'm finding new ways to talk about ancient preoccupations. And I sometimes come on something that's immensely helpful and valuable. Plus I like the sensation of conversation.
There is a silence that matches our best possibilities when we have learned to listen to others. We can master the art of being quiet in order to be able to hear clearly what others are saying. . . . We need to cut off the garbled static of our own preoccupations to give to people who want our quiet attention.
To discover the meaning of what is called "social justice" has been one of my chief preoccupations for more than 10 years. I have failed in this endeavour or rather, have reached the conclusion that, with reference to society of free men, the phrase has no meaning whatever.
Friedrich August von Hayek
We are concerned with similar states of consciousness and relationship to the world.. ..If previous abstractions paralleled the scientific and objective preoccupations of our times, ours are finding a pictoral equivalent for man's new knowledge and consciousness of his more complex inner self.
Leaders can express the values that hold the society together. Most important, they can conceive and articulate goals that life people out of their petty preoccupations, carry them above the conflicts that tear a society apart, and unite them in the pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts.
John W. Gardner
She took kisses like so many coats of paint [... ] how long and how vainly I searched for excuses which might make her amorality if not palatable at lest understandable. I realize now the time I wasted in this way; instead of enjoying her and turning aside from these preoccupations with the thought, 'She is untrustworthy as she is beautiful. She takes love as plants do water, lightly, thoughtlessly.
The materialist theory of history, that all politics and ethics are the expression of economics, is a very simple fallacy indeed. It consists simply of confusing the necessary conditions of life with the normal preoccupations of life, that are quite a different thing. It is like saying that because a man can only walk about on two legs, therefore he never walks about except to buy shoes and stockings.
The condition of all who are preoccupied is wretched, but most wretched is the condition of those who labor at preoccupations that are not even their own, who regulate their sleep by that of another, their walk by the pace of another, who are under orders in case of the freest things in the world-loving and hating. If these wish to know how short their life is, let them reflect how small a part of it is their own.
Seneca the Younger
If you can approach the world's complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size, not all that important in the greater scheme of things.
Daniel C. Dennett
One of my basic feelings is that the mind, and the heart alike, of the photographer must be dedicated to the glory, the magic, and the mystery of light. The mystery of time, the magic of light, the enigma of reality - and their interrelationships - are my constant themes and preoccupations.
Clarence John Laughlin
Time can divorce us from the reality of people, it can separate us from people and turn them into ghosts. Or rather it is we who turn them into ghosts or demons. Some kinds of fruitless preoccupations with the past can create such simulacra, and they can exercise power, like those heroes at Troy fighting for a phantom Helen.
Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.
But without going to such extremes prudence may easily involve the loss of some of the best things in life. The worshipper of Dionysus reacts against prudence. In intoxication, physical or spiritual, he recovers an intensity of feeling which prudence had destroyed; he finds the world full of delight and beauty, and his imagination is suddenly liberated from the prison of every-day preoccupations.
Postmodernism is, almost by definition, a transitional cusp of social, cultural, economic and ideological history when modernism's high-minded principles and preoccupations have ceased to function, but before they have been replaced with a totally new system of values. It represents a moment of suspension before the batteries are recharged for the new millennium, an acknowledgment that preceding the future is a strange and hybrid interregnum that might be called the last gasp of the past.
I have observed that male writers tend to get asked what they think and women what they feel. In my experience, and that of a lot of other women writers, all of the questions coming at them from interviewers tend to be about how lucky they are to be where they are "" about luck and identity and how the idea struck them. The interviews much more seldom engage with the woman as a serious thinker, a philosopher, as a person with preoccupations that are going to sustain them for their lifetime.
Marx was troubled by the question of why ancient Greek art retained an 'eternal charm', even though the social conditions which produced it had long passed; but how do we know that it will remain 'eternally' charming, since history has not yet ended? Let us imagine that by dint of some deft archaeological research we discovered a great deal more about what ancient Greek tragedy actually meant to its original audiences, recognized that these concerns were utterly remote from our own, and began to read the plays again in the light of this deepened knowledge. One result might be that we stopped enjoying them. We might come to see that we had enjoyed them previously because we were unwittingly reading them in the light of our own preoccupations; once this became less possible, the drama might cease to speak at all significantly to us. The fact that we always interpret literary works to some extent in the light of our own concerns - indeed that in one sense of 'our own concerns' we are incapable of doing anything else - might be one reason why certain works of literature seem to retain their value across the centuries. It may be, of course, that we still share many preoccupations with the work itself; but it may also be that people have not actually been valuing the 'same' work at all, even though they may think they have. 'Our' Homer is not identical with the Homer of the Middle Ages, nor 'our' Shakespeare with that of his contemporaries; it is rather that different historical periods have constructed a 'different' Homer and Shakespeare for their own purposes, and found in these texts elements to value or devalue, though not necessarily the same ones. All literary works, in other words, are 'rewritten', if only unconsciously, by the societies which read them; indeed there is no reading of a work which is not also a 're-writing'. No work, and no current evaluation of it, can simply be extended to new groups of people without being changed, perhaps almost unrecognizably, in the process; and this is one reason why what counts as literature is a notably unstable affair.
The holiday season promotes a heightened sense of community. It draws our chins up and helps us look above and over the limiting fence of our own events, activities and preoccupations. The opportunity for a heroic gesture can tap you quietly on the shoulder in the midst of a holiday bustle. If you are attentive, you will notice the gentle touch and will be able to respond. Remember... There are no small acts of kindness. Every compassionate act makes large the world.
Mary Anne Radmacher
When the mind is kept away from its preoccupations, it becomes quiet. If you do not disturb this quiet and stay in it, you find that it is permeated with a light and a love you have never known; and yet you recognise it at once as your own nature. Once you have passed through this experience, you will never be the same man again; the unruly mind may break its peace and obliterate its vision; but it is bound to return, provided the effort is sustained; until the day when all bonds are broken, delusions and attachments end and life becomes supremely concentrated in the present.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
The genetic stage of a gene pool can be identified by the personality characteristics of the local God. Jehovah of Genesis is a low-level barbarian macho punk God. He boastfully claims to have created the heaven and the stars and the world, but provides no technical details or replicable blueprints. His preoccupations, whims, anxieties, jealousies, rules and hatred of women are primitive mammalian brain. His petty prides are primate.
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
A detective novel should contain no long descriptive passages, no literary dallying with side-issues, no subtly worked-out character analyses, no 'atmospheric' preoccupations. Such matters have no vital place in a record of crime and deduction. They hold up the action and introduce issues irrelevant to the main purpose, which is to state a problem, analyze it, and bring it to a successful conclusion. To be sure, there must be a sufficient descriptiveness and character delineation to give the novel verisimilitude.
S. S. Van Dine
Writing is mysterious, and it's supposed to be...any path that gets you there is a good path in the end. But one true thing among all these paths is the need to tap a deep vein of connection between our own uncontrollable interior preoccupations and what we're most concerned about in the world around us. We write in response to that world; we write in response to what we read and learn; and in the end we write out of our deepest selves, the live, breathing, bleeding place where the picture forms, and where it all begins.
In truth, philosophy is the mode of thought shaped by the most radical form of prejudice: the passion of being-in-the-world. With the sole exception of specialists in the field, virtually everyone senses that anything which offers less than this passion play remains philosophically trivial. Cultural anthropologists suggest the appealing term 'deep play' for the comprehensively absorbing preoccupations of human beings. From the perspective of a theory of the practising life we would add: the deep plays are those which are moved by the heights.
But now, our daily monkeyshines are such, our preoccupations are so low, our language has be come so debased, the words so blunted and damaged, we've said such stupid and dull things, the the higher beings hear only babbling and grunting and TV commercials - the dog-food level of things. This says nothing to them. What pleasure can these higher beings take in this kind of materialism, devoid of higher thought or poetry? As a result, all that we can hear in sleep is matter creaking and hissing and washing, the rustling of plants, and air conditioning. So we are incomprehensible to the higher beings. They can't influence us and they themselves suffer a corresponding privation.
Wise Blood was written by an author congenitally innocent of theory, but one with certain preoccupations. That belief in Christ is to some a matter of life and death has been a stumbling block for readers who would prefer to think it a matter of no great consequence. For them Hazel Motes' integrity lies in his trying with such vigor to get rid of the ragged figure who moves from tree to tree in the back of his mind. For the author Hazel's integrity lies in his not being able to. Does one's integrity ever lie in what he is not able to do? I think that usually it does, for free will does not mean one will, but many wills conflicting in one man. Freedom cannot be conceived simply. It is a mystery and one which a novel, even a comic novel, can only be asked to deepen.
What is needed is this, and this alone: solitude, great inner loneliness. Going into oneself and not meeting anyone for hours - that is what one must arrive at. Loneliness of the kind one knew as a child, when the grown-ups went back and forth bound up in things which seemed grave and weighty because they looked so busy, and because one had no idea what they were up to. And when one day you realise that their preoccupations are meagre, their professions barren and no longer connected to life, why not continue to look on them like a child, as if on something alien, drawing on the depths of your own world, on the expanse of your own solitude, which itself is work and achievement and a vocation? Why wish to exchange a child's wise incomprehension for rejection and contempt, when incomprehension is solitude, whereas rejection and contempt are ways of participating in what, by precisely these means, you want to sever yourself from?
Rainer Maria Rilke
Eliot's own reflections on the primitive mind as a model for nondualistic thinking and on the nature and consequences of different modes of consciousness were informed by an excellent education in the social sciences and philosophy. As a prelude to our guided tour of the text of The Waste Land, we now turn to a brief survey of some of his intellectual preoccupations in the decade before he wrote it, preoccupations which in our view are enormously helpful in understanding the form of the poem. Eliot entered Harvard as a freshman in 1906 and finished his doctoral dissertation in 1916, with one of the academic years spent at the Sorbonne and one at Oxford. At Harvard and Oxford, he had as teachers some of modern philosophy's most distinguished individuals, including George Santayana, Josiah Royce, Bertrand Russell, and Harold Joachim; and while at the Sorbonne, he attended the lectures of Henri Bergson, a philosophic star in Paris in 1910-11. Under the supervision of Royce, Eliot wrote his dissertation on the epistemology of F. H. Bradley, a major voice in the late-nineteenth-, early-twentieth-century crisis in philosophy. Eliot extended this period of concentration on philosophical problems by devoting much of his time between 1915 and the early twenties to book reviewing. His education and early book reviewing occurred during the period of epistemological disorientation described in our first chapter, the period of "betweenness" described by Heidegger and Ortega y Gasset, the period of the revolt against dualism described by Lovejoy. 2 Eliot's personal awareness of the contemporary epistemological crisis was intensified by the fact that while he was writing his dissertation on Bradley he and his new wife were actually living with Bertrand Russell. Russell as the representative of neorealism and Bradley as the representative of neoidealism were perhaps the leading expositors of opposite responses to the crisis discussed in our first chapter. Eliot's situation was extraordinary. He was a close student of both Bradley and Russell; he had studied with Bradley's friend and disciple Harold Joachim and with Russell himself. And in 1915-16, while writing a dissertation explaining and in general defending Bradley against Russell, Eliot found himself face to face with Russell across the breakfast table. Moreover, as the husband of a fragile wife to whom both men (each in his own way) were devoted, Eliot must have found life to be a kaleidoscope of brilliant and fluctuating patterns.
Jewel Spears Brooker
Part of the apparently conventional nature of our relationships is the threat of separation and death. This body dies. That body dies. We can rejuvenate, feel better, live longer, but, even so, in this world everybody dies. That is why we do spiritual practice, because we are conscious of the destiny of our separation. We are willing to fulfill the law of love, but on the other hand what we love dies. That is why this is one of the realms of suffering. This world is not a heaven. This is not a place of fulfillment. Thus, we must yield to the true Condition. We must not become dependent upon the conventional aspect of our relations. We must recognize our relations. We must identify with the Condition of the loved one. You must become established in the real Condition, or you will never be satisfied. You will be driven to all kinds of preoccupations and great schemes, trying to become victorious or immortal, for immortality's own sake, simply because you cannot deal with the fact of death. But death is an absolute message in this realm. It obligates us to recognize or identify one another in Truth, and we are not relieved of that obligation in this place.
Adi Da Samraj
The Bloomsbury Group has been characterised as a liberal, pacifist, and at times libertine, intellectual enclave of Cambridge-based privilege. The Cambridge men of the group (Bell, Forster, Fry, Keynes, Strachey, Sydney-Turner) were members of the elite and secret society of Cambridge Apostles. Woolf's aesthetic understanding, and broader philosophy, were in part shaped by, and at first primarily interpreted in terms of, (male) Bloomsbury's dominant aesthetic and philosophical preoccupations, rooted in the work of G. E. Moore (a central influence on the Apostles), and culminating in Fry's and Clive Bell's differing brands of pioneering aesthetic formalism. 'The main things which Moore instilled deep into our minds and characters, ' Leonard Woolf recalls, 'were his peculiar passion for truth, for clarity and common sense, and a passionate belief in certain values.' Increasing awareness of Woolf's feminism, however, and of the influence on her work of other women artists, writers and thinkers has meant that these Moorean and male points of reference, though of importance, are no longer considered adequate in approaching Woolf's work, and her intellectual development under the tutelage of women, together with her involvement with feminist thinkers and activists, is also now acknowledged.
And no matter how much the gray people in power despise knowledge, they can't do anything about historical objectivity; they can slow it down, but they can't stop it. Despising and fearing knowledge, they will nonetheless inevitably decide to promote it in order to survive. Sooner or later they will be forced to allow universities and scientific societies, to create research centers, observatories, and laboratories, and thus to create a cadre of people of thought and knowledge: people who are completely beyond their control, people with a completely different psychology and with completely different needs. And these people cannot exist and certainly cannot function in the former atmosphere of low self-interest, banal preoccupations, dull self-satisfaction, and purely carnal needs. They need a new atmosphere- an atmosphere of comprehensive and inclusive learning, permeated with creative tension; they need writers, artists, composers- and the gray people in power are forced to make this concession too. The obstinate ones will be swept aside by their more cunning opponents in the struggle for power, but those who make this concession are, inevitably and paradoxically, digging their own graves against their will. For fatal to the ignorant egoists and fanatics is the growth of a full range of culture in the people- from research in the natural sciences to the ability to marvel at great music. And then comes the associated process of the broad intellectualization of society: an era in which grayness fights its last battles with a brutality that takes humanity back to the middle ages, loses these battles, and forever disappears as an actual force.