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
I and most Australians want our immigration policy radically reviewed and that of multiculturalism abolished. I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. Between 1984 and 1995, 40 per cent of all migrants coming into this country were of Asian origin. They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate.
In school, your curiosity is swamped by the overwhelming study of numbers, letters and other objective information. Rich and enlightening life experiences, however, require that your curiosity be enhanced by the creation and organization of new emotional and spiritual inner landscapes.
Tom Erik Green
there i was in late middle age, cut loose in a thoroughly looted, bankrupt nation whose assets had been sold off to foreigners, a nation swamped by unchecked plagues and superstition and illiteracy and hypnotic tv, with virtually no health services for the poor. where to go? what to do?
I have seen mad people, and I have known some who were quite intelligent, lucid, even clear-sighted in every concern of life, except on one point. They could speak clearly, readily, profoundly on everything; till their thoughts were caught in the breakers of their delusions and went to pieces there, were dispersed and swamped in that furious and terrible sea of fogs and squalls which is called MADNESS.
Guy de Maupassant
I've felt that I was trying to row a heavily loaded boat in a storm. I've had so much trouble just trying to keep afloat that I couldn't be bothered about things that didn't matter, things I could part with easily and not miss, like good manners and-well, things like that. I've been too afraid my boat would be swamped and so I've dumped overboard the things that seemed least important.
And then, just like that, my heart broke. My face crumpled, my composure went and I held him tightly and I stopped caring that he could feel the shudder of my sobbing body because grief swamped me. It overwhelmed me and tore at my heart and my stomach and my head and it pulled me under, and I couldn't bear it. I honestly thought I couldn't bear it.
We live in a supermarket of ideas, faiths, practices, theories, ideologies, and much else besides. Never in human history have there been so many movements and ideas struggling to attract our attention. Added to this, the Western world is swamped by material goods and the Western mind is dominated by the goal of material success. In all this confusion, Zen stands out as a voice of sanity. It represents a different way of seeing the world, one based upon the rediscovery of who we really are and have always been, through revealing to us our true nature.
Careless of waste, wallowing in refuse, exterminating the enemies . . . despising age, denying human natural history, fabricating pseudotraditions, swamped in the repeated personal crises of the aging preadolescent; all are familiar images of American society. They are signs of private nightmares of incoherence and disorder in broken climaxes where technologies in pursuit of mastery create ever-worsening problems - private nightmares expanded to a social level.
Giving the tortoise a little wave, I kind of felt stupid afterward for doing so. It just stuck its head back in its green and brown shell. "That's a very interesting pet." "And those are very interesting shorts." His gaze dropped. "What are they?" Leaning forward his eyes narrowed and I stiffened. "Pizza slices?" Heat swamped my cheeks. "They're ice cream cones." "Huh. I like them." Straightening, his gaze drifted up me slowly, leaving an unfamiliar wake of heat behind. "A lot.
The ideological are individuals ultimately swamped by the complexities of modern life and political and economic relations; they have deliberately attached themselves to some caricatural maven like Falwell or Limbaugh who speaks to their manipulable pathos. The gulf between such individuals' education or intellectual competence or information and the actual issues of our times is simply too great. They were bred to be culture-media for false consciousness, junkies who crawl on their bellies across broken glass for another hit of "clarifying wisdom" from some ideological Pope.
I love the imagery of struggle. I sometimes wish I were suffering in a good cause, or risking my life for the good of others, instead of just being a gravely endangered patient. Allow me to inform you, though, that when you sit in a room with a set of other finalists, and kindly people bring a huge transparent bag of poison and plug it into your arm, and you either read or don't read a book while the venom sack gradually empties itself into your system, the image of the ardent solider is the very last one that will occur to you. You feel swamped with passivity and impotence: dissolving in powerlessness like a sugar lump in water.
The thing is, work has simply swamped my whole existence. Slowly but surely it's robbed me of my mother, my wife, and everything that meant anything to me. It's like a germ planted in the skull that devours the brain, spreads to the trunk and the limbs, and destroys the entire body in time. No sooner am I out of bed in the morning than work clamps down on me and pins me to my desk before I've even had a breath of fresh air. It follows me to lunch and I find myself chewing over sentences as I'm chewing my food. It goes with me when I go out, eats out of my plate at dinner and shares my pillow in bed at night. It's so extremely merciless that once the process of creation is started, it's impossible for me to stop it, and it goes on growing and working even when I'm asleep... Outside that, nothing, nobody exists.
Body of a woman, white hills, white thighs, you look like a world, lying in surrender. My rough peasant's body digs in you and makes the son leap from the depth of the earth. I was lone like a tunnel. The birds fled from me, and nigh swamped me with its crushing invasion. To survive myself I forged you like a weapon, like an arrow in my bow, a stone in my sling. But the hour of vengeance falls, and I love you. Body of skin, of moss, of eager and firm milk. Oh the goblets of the breast! Oh the eyes of absence! Oh the roses of the pubis! Oh your voice, slow and sad! Body of my woman, I will persist in your grace. My thirst, my boundless desire, my shifting road! Dark river-beds where the eternal thirst flows and weariness follows, and the infinite ache.
This, not incidentally, is another perfect setting for deindividuation: on one side, the functionary behind a wall of security glass following a script laid out with the intention that it should be applied no matter what the specific human story may be, told to remain emotionally disinvested as far as possible so as to avoid preferential treatment of one person over another - and needing to follow that advice to avoid being swamped by empathy for fellow human beings in distress. The functionary becomes a mixture of Zimbardo's prison guards and the experimenter himself, under siege from without while at the same time following an inflexible rubric set down by those higher up the hierarchical chain, people whose job description makes them responsible, but who in turn see themselves as serving the general public as a non-specific entity and believe or have been told that only strict adherence to a system can produce impartial fairness. Fairness is supposed to be vested in the code: no human can or should make the system fairer by exercising judgement. In other words, the whole thing creates a collective responsibility culminating in a blameless loop. Everyone assumes that it's not their place to take direct personal responsibility for what happens; that level of vested individual power is part of the previous almost feudal version of responsibility. The deindividuation is actually to a certain extent the desired outcome, though its negative consequences are not.
It is said that one of his acquaintances - an old school-friend and a painter as highly-valued and as fashionable as himself - became an idiot in less than two years as a result of frequenting Claudius' studio. Certain cigarettes prepared by Ethal are said to provoke the worst debauchery; and it is said that the young Duchess of Searley was dead in six months, by virtue of having breathed the scent of certain strange and heady flowers in his home, whose peculiar property is to make the skin lustrous and the eyes delectably hollow. According to Tairamond, dangerous elixirs of beauty are offered by Claudius to those who pose for him. The Marchioness of Beacoscome might have died too, if she had not been ordered by her doctors to suspend her sittings. These marvellous flowers which generate pallors and shadowed eyes contain within their perfume, it seems, the germ of consumption. For love of beauty, in his fervour for delicate flesh-tints and expressions swamped with languor, Claudius Ethal would poison his models! Tairamond also asked me if I had seen Ethal wearing a certain emerald mounted in a ring, whose green depths contain a poison so powerful that a single drop on the lips of a man would suffice to strike him down. Ethal has allegedly tested that frightful glaucous death two or three times, before witnesses, on dogs. Cantharidian cigarettes, opium pipes, venomous flowers, Far-Eastern poisons and murderous rings... I knew nothing about any of this. Ethal has never breathed a word of it to me. The tales which Tairamond told gave me entry into a fearful and dismal legend. The corrupter and perverter of ideas that I already knew him to be was overtaken by a new image: he was, definitively, a poisoner: an impish master of every kind of venom.