I see you and St. John have been quarrelling, Jane, ' said Diana, 'during your walk on the moor. But go after him; he is now lingering in the passage expecting you - he will make it up.' I have not much pride under such circumstances: I would always rather be happy than dignified; and I ran after him - he stood at the foot of the stairs.
On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarrelling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind.
If Copenhagen were a person, that person would be generous, beautiful, elderly, but with a flair. A human being that has certain propensities for quarrelling, filled with imagination and with appetite for the new and with respect for the old - somebody who takes good care of things and of people.
In all matters of opinion and science ... the difference between men is ... oftener found to lie in generals than in particulars; and to be less in reality than in appearance. An explication of the terms commonly ends the controversy, and the disputants are surprised to find that they had been quarrelling, while at bottom they agreed in their judgement.
Indeed, I have observed one ingredient, somewhat necessary in a man's composition towards happiness, which people of feeling would do well to acquire; a certain respect for the follies of mankind: for there are so many fools whom the opinion of the world entitles to regard, whom accident has placed in heights of which they are unworthy, that he who cannot restrain his contempt or indignation at the sight will be too often quarrelling with the disposal of things to relish that share which is allotted to himself.
I write nothing for publication, and last of all things should it be on the subject of religion. On the dogmas of religion as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarrelling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind. Were I to enter on that arena, I should only add an unit to the number of Bedlamites. [Letter to Mathew Carey, 11 November 1816]
There are two ways of life, one leading to righteousness, which brings happiness, and the other to unrighteousness, which produces misery. One leads to kindness, mercy and sympathy, the other to hatred and cruelty; one to tolerance and the other to intolerance; one to justice and the other to injustice; one to truth and the other to error; one to peace and concord and the other to quarrelling and war; one to mental development and the other to mental contraction. One is the Secular way and the other is the Theological; one is the Democratic and the other the Despotic; one is the sane and the other the insane.
The whole is a riddle, an enigma, an inexplicable mystery. Doubt, uncertainty, suspence of judgment appear the only result of ourmost accurate scrutiny, concerning this subject. But such is the frailty of human reason, and such the irresistible contagion of opinion, that even this deliberate doubt could scarcely be upheld; did we not enlarge our view, and opposing one species of superstition to another, set them a quarrelling; while we ourselves, during their fury and contention, happily make our escape into the calm, though obscure, regions of philosophy.
You give me fresh life and vigour. Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains? Oh! what hours of transport we shall spend! And when we do return, it shall not be like other travelers, without being able to give one accurate idea of any thing. We will know where we have gone - we will recollect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations; nor when we attempt to describe any particular scene, will we begin quarrelling about its relative situation. Let our first effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality of travelers.
How I like claret!...It fills one's mouth with a gushing freshness, then goes down to cool and feverless; then, you do not feel it quarrelling with one's liver. No; 'tis rather a peace-maker, and lies as quiet as it did in the grape. Then it is as fragrant as the Queen Bee, and the more ethereal part mounts into the brain, not assaulting the cerebral apartments, like a bully looking for his trull, and hurrying from door to door, bouncing against the wainscott, but rather walks like Aladdin about his enchanted palace, so gently that you do not feel his step.
This quarrel over the messianic status of Jesus within first-century Judaism had profound effects on Christianity and prompted it towards a fateful turning point that switched the emphasis from following the way of Jesus to believing things about Jesus. Gradually a Christian came to be thought of not as one who lives and acts in a certain way, but as one who holds certain convictions or theories. The trouble with religious convictions or beliefs is that, since we can rarely prove or disprove them, we get anxious about them and start quarrelling with people whose convictions or theories differ from our own.
Why are you all quarrelling about whether certain miracles were or were not performed nineteen centuries ago in Palestine? Why must you be certain of those particular miracles, before you can believe in God? To-day, at this very moment, you are surrounded by miracles. Birth, death, sunrise, springtime, winter-are not all these miracles? You have forgotten them because you see them every day. In your silly self-conceit, you assure yourselves that all this is perfectly natural, and that science has long ago explained it all-but you forget that your science has only noted the existence of these miracles, and that their secret belongs as much as ever to the Almighty Ruler of the Universe in whom you find it so difficult to believe.
I perceive that it is far more practical to begin at the beginning and discuss theories. I see that the men who killed each other about the orthodoxy of the Homoousion were far more sensible than the people who are quarrelling about the Education Act. For the Christian dogmatists were trying to establish a reign of holiness, and trying to get defined, first of all, what was really holy. But our modern educationists are trying to bring about a religious liberty without attempting to settle what is religion or what is liberty. If the old priests forced a statement on mankind, at least they previously took some trouble to make it lucid. It has been left for the modern mobs of Anglicans and Nonconformists to persecute for a doctrine without even stating it.
Why are women so ungenerous to other women? Is it because we have been tokens for so long? Or is there a deeper animosity we owe it to ourselves to explore? A publisher... couldn't understand why women were so loath to help each other... The notion flitted through my mind that somehow, by helping... , I might be hurting my own chances for something or other - what I did not know. If there was room for only one woman poet, another space would be filled... If I still feel I am in competition with other women, how do less well-known women feel? Terrible, I have to assume. I have had to train myself to pay as much attention to women at parties as to men... I have had to force myself not to be dismissive of other women's creativity. We have been semi-slaves for so long (as Doris Lessing says) that we must cultivate freedom within ourselves. It doesn't come naturally. Not yet. In her writing about the drama of childhood developments, Alice Miller has created, among other things, a theory of freedom. in order to embrace freedom, a child must be sufficiently nurtured, sufficiently loved. Security and abundance are the grounds for freedom. She shows how abusive child-rearing is communicated from one generation to the next and how fascism profits from generations of abused children. Women have been abused for centuries, so it should surprise no one that we are so good at abusing each other. Until we learn how to stop doing that, we cannot make our revolution stick. Many women are damaged in childhood - unprotected, unrespected, and treated with dishonesty. Is it any wonder that we build up vast defences against other women since the perpetrators of childhood abuse have so often been women? Is it any wonder that we return intimidation with intimidation, or that we reserve our greatest fury for others who remind us of our own weaknesses - namely other women? Men, on the other hand, however intellectually condescending, clubbish, loutishly lewd, are rarely as calculatingly cruel as women. They tend, rather, to advance us when we are young and cute (and look like darling daughters) and ignore us when we are older and more sure of our opinions (and look like scary mothers), but they don't really know what they're doing. They are too busy bonding with other men, and creating male pecking orders, to pay attention to us. If we were skilled at compromise and alliance-building, we could transform society. The trouble is: we are not yet good at this. We are still quarrelling among ourselves. This is the crisis feminism faces today.