The experience of past ages may inform us, that when the circumstances of a people render them distressed, their rulers generally recur to severe, cruel, and oppressive measures. Instead of endeavoring to establish their authority in the affection of their subjects, they think they have no security but in their fear.
To be sure, not all moments are equally fleeting. Some moments last longer than others. And certain events do reoccur more than once and even recur repeatedly. Sometimes you do get more than one chance. Sometimes you don't. It helps to know how long a window of opportunity you have and if you'll get another chance.
John Paul Caponigro
It may be observed, that provinces amid the vicissitudes to which they are subject, pass from order into confusion, and afterward recur to a state of order again; for the nature of mundane affairs not allowing them to continue in an even course, when they have arrived at their greatest perfection, they soon begin to decline.
When the mind is full of any one subject, that subject seems to recur with extraordinary frequency - it appears to pursue or to meet us at every turn: in every conversation that we hear in every book we open, in every newspaper we take up, the reigning idea recurs; and then we are surprised, and exclaim at these wonderful coincidences.
Avoid all refined speculations; confine yourself to simple reflections, and recur to them frequently. Those who pass too rapidly from one truth to another feed their curiosity and restlessness; they even distract their intellect with too great a multiplicity of views. Give every truth time to send down deep root into the heart.
Forgotten tones of love recur to us, and kind glances shine out of the past--oh so bright and clear!--oh so longed after!--because they are out of reach; as holiday music from within a prison wall--or sunshine seen through the bars; more prized because unattainable--more bright because of the contrast of present darkness and solitude, whence there is no escape.
William Makepeace Thackeray
Consensual paranoia - the pathology of the normal person who is a member of a war-justifying society - forms the template from which all the images of the enemy are created. By studying the logic of paranoia, we can see why certain archetypes of the enemy must necessarily recur, no matter what the historical circumstances.
The great advantage of our system of government over all others, is, that we have a written constitution, defining its limits, and prescribing its authorities; and that, however, for a time, faction may convulse the nation, and passion and party prejudice sway its functionaries, the season of reflection will recur, when calmly retracing their deeds, all aberrations from fundamental principle will be corrected.
No doubt other writers have often put a thing more brilliantly, more subtly than even a very cunning artist in words can hope to emulate, a supreme phrase being a bit of luck that only happens now and then. And inasmuch as the condiments and secret travail of human nature are always the same, and that certain psychological moments must ever and ever recur, what more tempting than to pin down such a moment with the blow of a borrowed hammer?
Human beings are naturally flawed when it comes to time and memory. The past is forgotten, or it is believed bad things will not recur, and people become bound in their current problems. That which afflicted the grandfathers of their grandfathers is a distant, dim thing, and not as important as present concerns, no matter how trivial.
It is saying less than the truth to affirm that an excellent book (and the remark holds almost equally good of a Raphael as of a Milton) is like a well-chosen and well-tended fruit tree. Its fruits are not of one season only. With the due and natural intervals, we may recur to it year after year, and it will supply the same nourishment and the same gratification, if only we ourselves return to it with the same healthful appetite.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
This fundamental discovery that all bodies owe their origin to arrangements of single initial corpuscular type is the beacon that lights the history of the universe to our eyes. In its own way, matter obeyed from the beginning that great law of biology to which we shall have to recur time and time again, the law of "complexification."
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
The Gothic idea that we were to look backwards instead of forwards for the improvement of the human mind, and to recur to the annals of our ancestors for what is most perfect in government, in religion and in learning, is worthy of those bigots in religion and government by whom it has been recommended, and whose purposes it would answer. But it is not an idea which this country will endure.
In our civilization, there are permanent forms which are part of every epoch and every culture. They are not especially difficult to detect. A minimal knowledge of physics, astrophysics, and perhaps mathematics, brings to light certain patterns that make these subjects easier to understand. It is striking to see the extreme similarity between these scientific propositions and the forms that recur in all times, places and civilizations.
As the people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived, it seems strictly consonant to the republican theory, to recur to the same original authority, not only whenever it may be necessary to enlarge, diminish, or new-model the powers of the government, but also whenever any one of the departments may commit encroachments on the chartered authorities of the others.
My second thoughts condemn And wonder how I dare To look you in the eye. What right have I to swear Even at one a.m. To love you till I die? Earth meets too many crimes For fibs to interest her; If I can give my word, Forgiveness can recur Any number of times In Time. Which is absurd. Tempus fugit. Quite. So finish up your drink. All flesh is grass. It is. But who on earth can think With heavy heart or light Of what will come of this?
According to which principle or hypothesis all the objections against the universality of Christ's death are easily solved; neither is it needful to recur to the ministry of angels, and those other miraculous means which they say God useth to manifest the doctrine and history of Christ's passion unto such, who, living in the places of the world where the outward preaching of the Gospel is unknown, have well improved the first and common grace.
But what the working-class can do, when once they grow into a solidified organization, is to show the possessing class, through a sudden cessation of all work, that the whole social structure rests on them; that the possessions of the others are absolutely worthless to them without the workers' activity; that such protests, such strikes, are inherent in the system of property and will continually recur until the whole thing is abolished -- and having shown that effectively, proceed to expropriate.
Voltairine de Cleyre
We really can't boil a man's life down to seasonal divisions of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Seasons cycle perennially, and we enjoy them because they recur. We should understand a man's life this way too. An elderly person may yet see new springs and summers. On the other hand, some young people never escape winter. Others become ensnared by their own private autumns.
There may be an art to conversation, and some are better at it than others, but conversation's virtue lies in randomness and possibility: people, without a plan, could speak a spontaneous, unexpected truth, because revelation rules. Telling words recur in this smart, generous conversation between Stephen Andrews and Gregg Bordowitz: patience, responsibility, feminism, ethics, cosmology, AIDS, gift, freedom, mortality.
To my mind's eye, my buried memories of Brandham Hall are like effects of chiaroscuro, patches of light and dark: it is only with effort that I see them in terms of colour. There are things I know, though I don't know how I know them, and things that I remember. Certain things are established in my mind as facts, but no picture attaches to them; on the other hand there are pictures unverified by any fact which recur obsessively, like the landscape of a dream.
Because finally, 'the equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his religion according to the dictates of conscience' is held by the same tenure with all his other rights. If we recur to its origin, it is equally the gift of nature; if we weigh its importance, it cannot be less dear to us; if we consider the 'Declaration of those rights which pertain to the good people of Virginia, as the basis and foundation of government,' it is enumerated with equal solemnity, or rather studied emphasis.
Perhaps the excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare or abstruse sentiment, as in the comprehension of some obvious and useful truth in a few words. We frequently fall into error and folly, not because the true principles of action are not known, but because, for a time, they are not remembered; and he may therefore be justly numbered among the benefactors of mankind who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences, that may be easily impressed on the memory, and taught by frequent recollection to recur habitually to the mind.
No one seeing a beautifully elaborated lyre with its harmonious, orderly arrangement, and hearing the lyre's music will fail to form a notion of its craftsman-player, to recur to him in thought though ignorant of him by sight. In this way the creative power, which moves and safeguards its objects, is clear to us, though it be not grasped by the understanding. Anyone who refuses to progress this far in following instinctive proofs must be wanting in judgment. But still, whatever we imagined or figured to ourselves or reason delineated is not the reality of God.
Gregory of Nazianzus
If the book is finished""published and on the shelf""I do not think of revising it. But if I'm not finished psychologically with characters, they will recur, either as themselves or as new, slightly altered manifestations, and their same issues will reappear. It's a matter of the subject and emotional investment and my own obsessive thinking about various issues It's an unconscious process. To say that a single story is not done isn't quite true. A story can be finished and judged successful or not by somebody else, but if the issue is not done for me, I can count on its reappearance.
Both group effort and individual testimony flow from conviction as to the role of people on earth. In stewardship of the common heritage, a few simple beliefs recur: that all are indeed members of the same human family, that all share in responsibility for the others, that each is capable of responding directly to divine guidance. To seek to translate these into practical action with regard to soil or petroleum or the fish of the sea is not necessarily to do what is directly effective in changing society.
Gilbert F. White
Innocent amusements are such as excite moderately, and such as produce a cheerful frame of mind, not boisterous mirth; such as refresh, instead of exhausting, the system; such as recur frequently, rather than continue long; such as send us back to our daily duties invigorated in body and spirit; such as we can partake of in the presence and society of respectable friends; such as consist with and are favorable to a grateful piety; such as are chastened by self-respect, and are accompanied with the consciousness that life has a higher end than to be amused.
William Ellery Channing
At some point in this course, perhaps even tonight, you will read something difficult, something you only partially understand, and your verdict will be this is stupid. Will I argue when you advance that opinion in class the next day? Why would I do such a useless ting? My time with you in short, only thirty-four weeks of classes, and I will not waste it arguing about the merits of this short story or that poem. Why would I, when all such opinions are subjective, and no final resolution can ever be reached?' Some of the kids - Gloria was one of them - now looked lost, but Pete understood exactly what Mr. Ricker, aka Ricky the Hippie, was talking about... 'Time is the answer, " Mr Ricker said on the first day of Pete's sophomore year. He strode back and forth, antique bellbottoms swishing, occasionally waving his arms. "Yes! Time mercilessly culls away the is-stupid from the not-stupid."... "It will occur for you, young ladies and gentlemen, although I will be in your rear-view mirror by the time it happens. Shall I tell you how it happens? You will read something - perhaps 'Dulce et Decorum Est, ' by Wilfred Owen. Shall we use that as an example? Why not?' Then, in a deeper voice that sent chills up Pete's back and tightened his throat, Mr. Ricker cried, " 'Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge... ' And son on. Cetra-cetra. Some of you will say, This is stupid."... 'And yet!" Up went the finger. "Time will pass! Tempus will fugit! Owen's poem may fall away from your mind, in which case your verdict of is-stupid will have turned out to be correct. For you, at least. But for some of you, it will recur. And recur. Each time it does, the steady march of your maturity will deepen its resonance. Each time that poem sneaks back into your mind, it will seem a little less stupid and a little more vital. A little more important. Until it shines, young ladies and gentlemen. Until it shines.
And when children begin to use their reason, fathers and mothers should take great pains to fill their hearts with the fear of God. This the good Queen Blanche did most earnestly by St. Louis, her son: witness her oft-repeated words, "My son, I would sooner see you die than guilty of a mortal sin;" words which sank so deeply into the saintly monarch's heart, that he himself said there was no day on which they did not recur to his mind, and strengthen him in treading God's ways.
Saint Francis de Sales
The music of all the different media of life-memories, images, feeling-tones, poetic-musical connotations of phrasing-is kaleidoscopic and doesn't repeat itself or recur. -People who think they are trapped in a river of regularized and ever-repeating time are merely the victims of their own ordinarizing minds that have elaborated for them a prison-cell of everydayness. The fountains of time, history, life, inspiration, etc. are fresh every instant, if one knows how to grasp them with some finesse: every instant within natural, historical, and personal time is unique.
Shriveled apple cores stood side by side on the window sill, a long row of them with their seed chambers bitten open and the pointed sees scattered on the floor. The brown, discolored remnants of their flesh bore the imprint of his grandfather's teeth. That was the image This was left with, the one that ever since was the first to recur when he thought of his dead grandfather: shriveled apple cores on the sill of a window that looked out onto an overgrown garden.
Nevertheless, the potential and actual importance of fantastic literature lies in such psychic links: what appears to be the result of an overweening imagination, boldly and arbitrarily defying the laws of time, space and ordered causality, is closely connected with, and structured by, the categories of the subconscious, the inner impulses of man's nature. At first glance the scope of fantastic literature, free as it is from the restrictions of natural law, appears to be unlimited. A closer look, however, will show that a few dominant themes and motifs constantly recur: deals with the Devil; returns from the grave for revenge or atonement; invisible creatures; vampires; werewolves; golems; animated puppets or automatons; witchcraft and sorcery; human organs operating as separate entities, and so on. Fantastic literature is a kind of fiction that always leads us back to ourselves, however exotic the presentation; and the objects and events, however bizarre they seem, are simply externalizations of inner psychic states. This may often be mere mummery, but on occasion it seems to touch the heart in its inmost depths and become great literature.
Great paintings-people flock to see them, they draw crowds, they're reproduced endlessly on coffee mugs and mouse pads and anything-you-like. And, I count myself in the following, you can have a lifetime of perfectly sincere museum-going where you traipse around enjoying everything and then go out and have some lunch. But if a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see, and think, and feel, you don't think, 'oh, I love this picture because it's universal.' 'I love this painting because it speaks to all mankind.' That's not the reason anyone loves a piece of art. It's a secret whisper from an alleyway. Psst, you. Hey kid. Yes you. An individual heart-shock. Your dream, Welty's dream, Vermeer's dream. You see one painting, I see another, the art book puts it at another remove still, the lady buying the greeting card at the museum gift shop sees something else entire, and that's not even to mention the people separated from us by time-four hundred years before us, four hundred years after we're gone-it'll never strike anybody the same way and the great majority of people it'll never strike in any deep way at all but-a really great painting is fluid enough to work its way into the mind and heart through all kinds of different angles, in ways that are unique and very particular. Yours, yours. I was painted for you. And-oh, I don't know, stop me if I'm rambling... but Welty himself used to talk about fateful objects. Every dealer and antiquaire recognizes them. The pieces that occur and recur. Maybe for someone else, not a dealer, it wouldn't be an object. It'd be a city, a color, a time of day. The nail where your fate is liable to catch and snag.
Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the country, sea-shores, and mountains; and thou too art wont to desire such things very much. But this is altogether a mark of the most common sort of men, for it is in thy power whenever thou shalt choose to retire into thyself. For nowhere either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble does a man retire than into his own soul, particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately in perfect tranquility; and I affirm that tranquility is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind. Constantly then give to thyself this retreat, and renew thyself; and let thy principles be brief and fundamental, which, as soon as thou shalt recur to them, will be sufficient to cleanse the soul completely, and to send thee back free from all discontent with the things to which thou returnest. For with what art thou discontented? With the badness of men? Recall to thy mind this conclusion, that rational animals exist for one another, and that to endure is a part of justice, and that men do wrong involuntarily; and consider how many already, after mutual enmity, suspicion, hatred, and fighting, have been stretched dead, reduced to ashes; and be quiet at last.- But perhaps thou art dissatisfied with that which is assigned to thee out of the universe.- Recall to thy recollection this alternative; either there is providence or atoms, fortuitous concurrence of things; or remember the arguments by which it has been proved that the world is a kind of political community, and be quiet at last.- But perhaps corporeal things will still fasten upon thee.- Consider then further that the mind mingles not with the breath, whether moving gently or violently, when it has once drawn itself apart and discovered its own power, and think also of all that thou hast heard and assented to about pain and pleasure, and be quiet at last.- But perhaps the desire of the thing called fame will torment thee.- See how soon everything is forgotten, and look at the chaos of infinite time on each side of the present, and the emptiness of applause, and the changeableness and want of judgement in those who pretend to give praise, and the narrowness of the space within which it is circumscribed, and be quiet at last. For the whole earth is a point, and how small a nook in it is this thy dwelling, and how few are there in it, and what kind of people are they who will praise thee.
4. Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place, divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty & singularity of opinion... shake off all the fears & servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine first, the religion of your own country. Read the Bible, then as you would read Livy or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course of nature, you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy and Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor, in one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature, does not weigh against them. But those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from God. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong, as that its falsehood would be more improbable than a change in the laws of nature, in the case he relates. For example in the book of Joshua we are told the sun stood still several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, beasts, &c. But it is said that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine therefore candidly what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body revolving on its axis as the earth does, should have stopped, should not by that sudden stoppage have prostrated animals, trees, buildings, and should after a certain time have resumed its revolution, & that without a second general prostration. Is this arrest of the earth's motion, or the evidence which affirms it, most within the law of probabilities? You will next read the New Testament. It is the history of a personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the opposite pretensions: 1, of those who say he was begotten by God, born of a virgin, suspended & reversed the laws of nature at will, & ascended bodily into heaven; and 2, of those who say he was a man of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions to divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition, by being gibbeted, according to the Roman law, which punished the first commission of that offence by whipping, & the second by exile, or death in furee¢... Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you... In fine, I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it... I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be Pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists. Because these Pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those ecclesiastics. Most of these are lost... [Letter to his nephew, Peter Carr, advising him in matters of religion, 1787]
We are all poor; but there is a difference between what Mrs. Spark intends by speaking of 'slender means', and what Stevens called our poverty or Sartre our need, besoin. The poet finds his brief, fortuitous concords, it is true: not merely 'what will suffice, ' but 'the freshness of transformation, ' the 'reality of decreation, ' the 'gaiety of language.' The novelist accepts need, the difficulty of relating one's fictions to what one knows about the nature of reality, as his donnee. It is because no one has said more about this situation, or given such an idea of its complexity, that I want to devote most of this talk to Sartre and the most relevant of his novels, La Nausee. As things go now it isn't of course very modern; Robbe-Grillet treats it with amused reverence as a valuable antique. But it will still serve for my purposes. This book is doubtless very well known to you; I can't undertake to tell you much about it, especially as it has often been regarded as standing in an unusually close relation to a body of philosophy which I am incompetent to expound. Perhaps you will be charitable if I explain that I shall be using it and other works of Sartre merely as examples. What I have to do is simply to show that La Nausee represents, in the work of one extremely important and representative figure, a kind of crisis in the relation between fiction and reality, the tension or dissonance between paradigmatic form and contingent reality. That the mood of Sartre has sometimes been appropriate to the modern demythologized apocalypse is something I shall take for granted; his is a philosophy of crisis, but his world has no beginning and no end. The absurd dishonesty of all prefabricated patterns is cardinal to his beliefs; to cover reality over with eidetic images-illusions persisting from past acts of perception, as some abnormal children 'see' the page or object that is no longer before them -to do this is to sink into mauvaise foi. This expression covers all comfortable denials of the undeniable-freedom -by myths of necessity, nature, or things as they are. Are all the paradigms of fiction eidetic? Is the unavoidable, insidious, comfortable enemy of all novelists mauvaise foi? Sartre has recently, in his first instalment of autobiography, talked with extraordinary vivacity about the roleplaying of his youth, of the falsities imposed upon him by the fictive power of words. At the beginning of the Great War he began a novel about a French private who captured the Kaiser, defeated him in single combat, and so ended the war and recovered Alsace. But everything went wrong. The Kaiser, hissed by the poilus, no match for the superbly fit Private Perrin, spat upon and insulted, became 'somehow heroic.' Worse still, the peace, which should instantly have followed in the real world if this fiction had a genuine correspondence with reality, failed to occur. 'I very nearly renounced literature, ' says Sartre. Roquentin, in a subtler but basically similar situation, has the same reaction. Later Sartre would find again that the hero, however assiduously you use the pitchfork, will recur, and that gaps, less gross perhaps, between fiction and reality will open in the most close-knit pattern of words. Again, the young Sartre would sometimes, when most identified with his friends at the lycee, feel himself to be 'freed at last from the sin of existing'-this is also an expression of Roquentin's, but Roquentin says it feels like being a character in a novel. How can novels, by telling lies, convert existence into being? We see Roquentin waver between the horror of contingency and the fiction of aventures. In Les Mots Sartre very engagingly tells us that he was Roquentin, certainly, but that he was Sartre also, 'the elect, the chronicler of hells' to whom the whole novel of which he now speaks so derisively was a sort of aventure, though what was represented within it was 'the unjustified, brackish existence of my fellow-creatures.