Few can contemplate without a sense of exhilaration the splendid achievements of practical energy and technical skill, which, from the latter part of the seventeenth century, were transforming the face of material civilization, and of which England was the daring, if not too scrupulous, pioneer.
E. F. Schumacher
Dissimulation, secretiveness, appear a necessity to the melancholic. He has complex, often veiled relations with others. These feelings of superiority, of inadequacy, of baffled feeling, of not being able to get what one wants, or even name it properly (or consistently) to oneself - these can be, it is felt they ought to be, masked by friendliness, or the most scrupulous manipulation.
Dissimulation, secretiveness, appear a necessity to the melancholic. He has complex, often veiled relations with others. These feelings of superiority, of inadequacy, of baffled feeling, of not being able to get what one wants, or even name it properly (or consistently) to oneself "" these can be, it is felt they ought to be, masked by friendliness, or the most scrupulous manipulation.
I've had some wonderful ideas for getting the dominating going. I've got some extremely subtle advertising slogans that should get the public behind us. Things like "Vote for EL Wisty and lovely nude ladies will come and dance with you." It's a complete lie, of course, but you can't afford to be too scrupulous if you're going to dominate the world.
Public money ought to be touched with the most scrupulous conscientiousness of honor. It is not the produce of riches only, but of the hard earnings of labor and poverty. It is drawn even from the bitterness of want and misery. Not a beggar passes, or perishes in the streets, whose mite is not in that mass.
She was a triumph over ugliness, so often more beguiling than real beauty, if only because it contains paradox. In this case, as opposed to the scrupulous method of good taste and scientific grooming, the trick had been worked by exaggerating defects; she'd made them ornamental by admitting them boldly.
It is easy to make light of insistence on scrupulous regard for the safeguards of civil liberties when invoked on behalf of the unworthy. History bears testimony that by such disregard are the rights of liberty extinguished, heedlessly at first, then stealthily, and brazenly in the end.
A scrupulous writer in every sentence that he writes will ask himself. . . What am I trying to say? What words will express it?...And he probably asks himself. . . Could I put it more shortly? But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing open your mind and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you
Women are told from their infancy, and taught by the example of their mothers, that a little knowledge of human weakness, justly termed cunning, softness of temper, outward obedience and a scrupulous attention to a puerile kind of propriety, will obtain for them the protection of man.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Ultimately, 'how's it going?' is the most futile and the most profound of questions. To answer it precisely, one would have to make a scrupulous inventory of one's psyche, considering each aspect in detail. No matter: we have to say 'fine' out of politeness and civility and change the subject, or else ruminate the question during our whole lives and reserve our reply for afterward.
People who have been wronged will attempt to right the wrong; they would not be people if they didn't. They can rarely afford to be scrupulous about the means they will use. They will use such means as come to hand. Neither, in the main, will they distinguish one oppressor from another, nor see through to the root principle of their oppression.
James A. Baldwin
In my personal life I'm very conservative. I've been married to the same person for nearly 50 years, I'm scrupulous about paying bills, avoiding debt. I'm very careful. But as an actor I'm pretty reckless. I've done a lot of things that, when I see myself on screen, I have to shut my eyes. And I've made a whole bunch of movies that nobody sees, including me.
Fiction, at the point of development at which it has arrived, demands from the writer a spirit of scrupulous abnegation.The only legitimate of all the irreconcilable antagonisms that make our life so enigmatic, so burdensome, so fascinating, so dangerous-so full of hope. They exist! And this is the only fundamental truth of fiction.
Women are told from their infancy, and taught by the example of their mothers, that a little knowlegde of human weakness, justly termed cunning, softness of temper; outward obedience, and a scrupulous attention to a puerile kind of proptiety, will obtain for them the protection of man; and should they be beautiful, every thing else is needless, for, at least, twenty years of their lives.
The workman mindful of success, therefore, will naturally direct his attention to the faultless preparation of his stock, and in order to achieve this result, he will find it necessary not merely to make use of the freshest and finest goods, but also to exercise the most scrupulous care in their preparation, for, in cooking, care is half the battle.
I become more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of Hussein, the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers and his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle.
The wise screen writer is he who wears his second-best suit, artistically speaking, and doesn't take things too much to heart. He should have a touch of cynicism, but only a touch. The complete cynic is as useless to Hollywood as he is to himself. He should do the best he can without straining at it. He should be scrupulously honest about his work, but he should not expect scrupulous honesty in return. He won't get it. And when he has had enough, he should say goodbye with a smile, because for all he knows he may want to go back.
Perhaps myself the first, at some expense of popularity, to unfold the true character of Jefferson, it is too late for me to become his apologist. Nor can I have any disposition to do it. I admit that his politics are tinctured with fanaticism, that he is too much in earnest in his democracy, that he has been a mischievous enemy to the principle measures of our past administration, that he is crafty & persevering in his objects, that he is not scrupulous about the means of success, nor very mindful of truth, and that he is a contemptible hypocrite.
The lucidity of the battle narratives, the vigor of the prose, the strong feeling for the men from generals to privates who did the fighting, are all controlled by a constant sense of how it happened and what it was all about. Foote has the novelist's feeling for character and situation, without losing the historian's scrupulous regard for recorded fact. The Civil War is likely to stand unequalled.
Respect for the word - to employ it with scrupulous care and an incorruptible heartfelt love of truth - is essential if there is to be any growth in a society or in the human race.To misuse the word is to show contempt for man. It undermines the bridges and poisons the wells. It causes Man to regress down the long path of his evolution.
The education of youth should be watched with the most scrupulous attention. [I]t is much easier to introduce and establish an effectual system ... than to correct by penal statutes the ill effects of a bad system. ... The education of youth ... lays the foundations on which both law and gospel rest for success.
In the early forties and fifties almost everybody "had about enough to live on," and young ladies dressed well on a hundred dollars a year. The daughters of the richest man in Boston were dressed with scrupulous plainness, and the wife and mother owned one brocade, which did service for several years. Display was considered vulgar. Now, alas! only Queen Victoria dares to go shabby.
M. E. W. Sherwood
Religion! Is what you hear at church religion? Is that which can bend and turn, and descend and ascend, to fit every crooked phase of selfish, worldly society, religion? Is that religion which is less scrupulous, less generous, less just, less considerate for man, than even my own ungodly, worldly, blinded nature? No! When I look for religion, I must look for something above me, and not something beneath.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
The movie, like the book before it, is an expertly built machine for the mass production of tears. Directed by Josh Boone ('Stuck in Love') with scrupulous respect for John Green's best-selling young-adult novel, the film sets out to make you weep -- not just sniffle or choke up a little, but sob until your nose runs and your face turns blotchy. It succeeds.
A. O. Scott
It is an uneasy lot at best, to be what we call highly taught and yet not to enjoy: to be present at this great spectacle of life and never to be liberated from a small hungry shivering self-never to be fully possessed by the glory we behold, never to have our consciousness rapturously transformed into the vividness of a thought, the ardor of passion, the energy of an action, but always to be scholarly and uninspired, ambitious and timid, scrupulous and dimsighted.
Giese was an unemotional man, but then in the study of Solaris emotion is a hindrance to the explorer. Imagination and premature theorizing are positive disadvantages in approaching a planet where-as has become clear-anything is possible... The fact is that in spite of his cautious nature the scrupulous Giese more than once jumped to premature conclusions. Even when on their guard, human beings inevitably theorize.
For my part I am very sorry for him. It is an uneasy lot at best, to be what we call highly taught and yet not to enjoy: to be present at this great spectacle of life and never to be liberated from a small hungry shivering self--never to be fully possessed by the glory we behold, never to have our consciousness rapturously transformed into the vividness of a thought, the ardour of a passion, the energy of an action, but always to be scholarly and uninspired, ambitious and timid, scrupulous and dimsighted.
Every moment in your life is a turning and every one a choosing. Somewhere you made a choice. All followed to this. The accounting is scrupulous. The shape is drawn. No line can be erased. I had no belief in your ability to move a coin to your bidding. How could you? A person's path through the world seldom changes and even more seldom will it change abruptly. And the shape of your path was visible from the beginning.
We rarely quote nowadays to appeal to authority... though we quote sometimes to display our sapience and erudition. Some authors we quote against. Some we quote not at all, offering them our scrupulous avoidance, and so make them part of our "white mythology." Other authors we constantly invoke, chanting their names in cerebral rituals of propitiation or ancestor worship.
The genuflection toward 'fairness' is a familiar newsroom piety, in practice the excuse for a good deal of autopilot reporting and lazy thinking but in theory a benign ideal. In Washington, however, a community in which the management of news has become the single overriding preoccupation of the core industry, what 'fairness' has often come to mean is a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured.
Faithfulness to the truth of history involves far more than a research, however patient and scrupulous, into special facts. Such facts may be detailed with the most minute exactness, and yet the narrative, taken as a whole, may be unmeaning or untrue. The narrator must seek to imbue himself with the life and spirit of the time. He must study events in their bearings near and remote; in the character, habits, and manners of those who took part in them. He must himself be, as it were, a sharer or a spectator of the action he describes.
To generate any appreciable degree of long-term affluence requires scrupulous honesty and the willingness to honor long-term agreements with employers, suppliers, partners, and especially customers. The flimflam artist may generate a few quick bucks through fraud or misrepresentation, but no successful and lasting business enterprise was ever founded on such principles.
He would be guilty of mortal sin, because he exposes himself to the danger of grievously offending God. Hence, before he acts he must lay aside the doubt; and if he has not hitherto done so, he must confess it, at least, as it is before God. But the scrupulous, who have doubts about everything, must follow another rule: they must obey their confessor. When he tells them to conquer their doubts, and to act against scruples, they should obey with exactness; otherwise they will render themselves unable and unfit to perform any spiritual exercise.
Poets are not so scrupulous as you are. They know how useful passion is for publication. Nowadays a broken heart will run to many editions." "I hate them for it, " cried Hallward. "An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them. We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty. Some day I will show the world what is it; and for that the world shall never see my portrait of Dorian Gray.
Poets are not so scrupulous as you are. They know how useful passion is for publication. Nowadays a broken heart will run to many editions." "I hate them for it," cried Hallward. "An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them. We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty. Some day I will show the world what is it; and for that the world shall never see my portrait of Dorian Gray.
My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis. I have tried to present it to the indifferent public under four of its aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life. The stories are arranged in this order. I have written it for the most part in a style of scrupulous meanness and with the conviction that he is a very bold man who dares to alter in the presentment, still more to deform, whatever he has seen and heard.
I could wish there were a treaty made between the French and the English theatres, in which both parties should make considerableconcessions. The English ought to give up their notorious violations of the unities, and all their massacres, racks, dead bodies, and mangled carcasses, which they so frequently exhibit upon their stage. The French should engage to have more action, and less declamation, and not to cram and to crowd things together to almost a degree of impossibility from a too scrupulous adherence to the unities.
If we set out with... a scrupulous regard to the Constitution, the government will acquire a spirit and a tone productive of permanent blessings to the community. If on the contrary,... the Constitution is slighted, or explained away, upon every frivolous pretext, the future of government will be feeble, distracted and arbitrary. The rights of the subjects will be the sport of every party vicissitude. There will be no settled rule of conduct, but everything will fluctuate with the alternate prevalency of contending factions.
Sadists of Mlle Vinteuil's sort are creatures so purely sentimental, so naturally virtuous, that even sensual pleasure appears to them as something bad, the prerogative of the wicked. And when they allow themselves for a moment to enjoy it they endeavour to impersonate, to identify with, the wicked, and to make their partners do likewise, in order to gain the momentary illusion of having escaped beyond the control of their own gentle and scrupulous natures into the inhuman world of pleasure.
Philip Kitcher has composed the most formidable defense of the secular view of life since Dewey. Unlike almost all of contemporary atheism, Life After Faith is utterly devoid of cartoons and caricatures of religion. It is, instead, a sober and soulful book, an exemplary practice of philosophical reflection. Scrupulous in its argument, elegant in its style, humane in its spirit, it is animated by a stirring aspiration to wisdom. Even as I quarrel with it I admire it.
Executives run organizations. In business, we need executives who have clarity, people who are in touch with themselves. Then, in leadership and management positions, they can be good role models and leaders. The people I know who have really moved their organizations are scrupulous role models. They are so clear about honesty, integrity, openness, mutual self-respect, dignity for the individual, and creativity, that they don't deviate from these principles at all in their behavior.
With guilt there arises indeed a sort of demand which can be called scrupulosity and whose ambiguous character is extremely interesting. A scrupulous consciousness is a delicate consciousness, a precise consciousness, enamored of increasing perfection... This atomization of the law into a multitude of commandments entails an endless 'juridization' of action and a quasi-obsessional ritualization of daily life... With it we enter into the hell of guilt, such as St. Paul described it: the law itself becomes a source of sin.
A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the highest virtues of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means.
Henri-Georges Clouzot's cool, clammy, twisty 1955 thriller Diabolique is an almost perfect movie about a very nearly perfect murder, a film in which the artist's methods and the killers' are ideally matched, equal in cunning and in ruthlessness. The screenplay, adapted by Clouzot and three other writers from a novel by the crack French crime-fiction team of Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, is a fantastically elaborate piece of contrivance, but the scrupulous realism of the direction makes the unnatural tale somehow feel entirely likely.
The more he saw, the more he doubted. He watched men narrowly, and saw how, beneath the surface, courage was often rashness; and prudence, cowardice; generosity, a clever piece of calculation; justice, a wrong; delicacy, pusillanimity; honesty, a modus vivendi; and by some strange dispensation of fate, he must see that those who at heart were really honest, scrupulous, just, generous, prudent or brave were held cheaply by their fellow-men. 'What a cold-blooded jest!' said he to himself. 'It was not devised by a God.' From that time forth he renounced a better world, and never uncovered himself when a Name was pronounced, and for him the carven saints in the churches became works of art
Honore de Balzac
It can certainly be misleading to take the attributes of a movement, or the anxieties and contradictions of a moment, and to personalize or 'objectify' them in the figure of one individual. Yet ordinary discourse would be unfeasible without the use of portmanteau terms-like 'Stalinism, ' say-just as the most scrupulous insistence on historical forces will often have to concede to the sheer personality of a Napoleon or a Hitler. I thought then, and I think now, that Osama bin Laden was a near-flawless personification of the mentality of a real force: the force of Islamic jihad. And I also thought, and think now, that this force absolutely deserves to be called evil, and that the recent decapitation of its most notorious demagogue and organizer is to be welcomed without reserve. Osama bin Laden's writings and actions constitute a direct negation of human liberty, and vent an undisguised hatred and contempt for life itself.
I remember the very day, sometime during the first two weeks of my five-year amorous sojourn in Brutland, when I was made privy to one of the most arcane of their utterings. The time was ripe for that major epiphany, my initiation into the sacred knowledge-or should I say gnosis?-of that all-important, quintessentially Brutish slang term, the word that endless hours of scholastic education by renowned mentors, plus years of scrupulous scrutiny into scrofulous texts, had disappointingly failed to impart to me, leaving me with that deep sense of emptiness begotten by hemimathy; the time was finally ripe for me to be transported by the velvety feel of the unvoiced palato-alveolar fricative, the elan of the unpronounceable and masochistically hedonistic front open-rounded vowel, and, last but not least, the (admittedly short) ejaculatory quality of the voiced velar stop: all three of them combined together to form that miraculous lexical item, the word shag.
Against Fate Hey, Fate! When you fail a man, you spend all your time digging a well to trap him. Then you untie the well's wheel rope so that it can roll. And you keep the poor mortal struggling up, only to fall back. You show him a bushel of means and say "This is it. Worry about it, and dream." Meanwhile you spin the wheel of fortune and fill the house of the wicked with jewels, while you force the just and scrupulous to sweep up the pieces. And the man who should not even tend pigs rides a horse as a cavalier. And without a shovel, you scoop ruin onto the house of the honorable and the just. Fate, if I speak evil of you, you'll claim the man is jealous and confused But why do you look crossly at the learned and make the ignorant the landlord? Hey, why toss the bread of the wise so far down the valley? And why should I believe in your justice When you don't serve it to anyone important? Not that you keep either oath or bargain, treacherous one. Whomever you love today and who is raised to a golden throne, tomorrow may be sitting in ashes. How can such a fraudulent judge make a just decision? Fate, friend of the deceitful and devious, you are harsh to the honest. What more can I say except that someday I expect you to mix up sky and earth and sea.
Hester Lipp had written Where the Sidewalk Starts, an inexplicably acclaimed book of memoir, recounting - in severe language and strange, striking imagery - Lipp's childhood and adolescence on a leafy suburban street in Burlington. Her house was large and well-kept, her schooling uneventful, her family - the members of which she described in scrupulous detail - uniformly decent and supportive. Sidewalk was blurbed as a devastatingly honest account of what it meant to grow up middle class in America. Amy, who forced herself to read the whole thing, thought the book devastatingly unnecessary. The New York Times had assigned it to her for a review, and she stomped on it with both feet. Amy's review of Sidewalk was the only mean-spirited review she ever wrote. She had allowed herself to do this, not because she was tired of memoirs, baffled by their popularity, resentful that somehow, in the past twenty years, fiction had taken a backseat to them, so that in order to sell clever, thoroughly imagined novels, writers had been browbeaten by their agents into marketing them as fact. All this annoyed her, but then Amy was annoyed by just about everything. She beat up on Hester Lipp because the woman could write up a storm and yet squandered her powers on the minutiae of a beige conflict-free life. In her review, Amy had begun by praising what there was to praise about Hester's sharp sentences and word-painting talents and then slipped, in three paragraphs, into a full-scale rant about the tyranny of fact and the great advantages, to both writer and reader, of making things up. She ended by saying that reading Where the Sidewalk Starts was like "being frog-marched through your own backyard.
In his book Real Presences, George Steiner asks us to "imagine a society in which all talk about the arts, music and literature is prohibited." In such a society there would be no more essays on whether Hamlet was mad or only pretending to be, no reviews of the latest exhibitions or novels, no profiles of writers or artists. There would be no secondary, or parasitic, discussion - let alone tertiary: commentary on commentary. We would have, instead, a "republic for writers and readers" with no cushion of professional opinion-makers to come between creators and audience. While the Sunday papers presently serve as a substitute for the experiencing of the actual exhibition or book, in Steiner's imagined republic the review pages would be turned into listings:catalogues and guides to what is about to open, be published, or be released. What would this republic be like? Would the arts suffer from the obliteration of this ozone of comment? Certainly not, says Steiner, for each performance of a Mahler symphony is also a critique of that symphony. Unlike the reviewer, however, the performer "invests his own being in the process of interpretation." Such interpretation is automatically responsible because the performer is answerable to the work in a way that even the most scrupulous reviewer is not. Although, most obviously, it is not only the case for drama and music; all art is also criticism. This is most clearly so when a writer or composer quotes or reworks material from another writer or composer. All literature, music, and art "embody an expository reflection which they pertain". In other words it is not only in their letters, essays, or conversation that writers like Henry James reveal themselves also to be the best critics; rather, The Portrait of a Lady is itself, among other things, a commentary on and a critique of Middlemarch. "The best readings of art are art." No sooner has Steiner summoned this imaginary republic into existence than he sighs, "The fantasy I have sketched is only that." Well, it is not. It is a real place and for much of the century it has provided a global home for millions of people. It is a republic with a simple name: jazz.