The general public, formerly profoundly indifferent to everything to do with building, has been shaken out of its torpor; personal interest in architecture as something that concerns every one of us in our daily lives has been very widely aroused; and the broad line of its future development are already clearly discernible.
My happiest hours are those in which I think nothing, want nothing, when I do not even dream, but lose myself in some spurious vegetable torpor, moss growing on the surface of life. Without a trace of bitterness I savour my absurd awareness of being nothing, a mere foretaste of death and extinction.
RIVETING TORPOR It is remarkable how far I am prepared to go In order to avoid doing the one thing that might Provide satisfaction, and it is remarkable to consider What I will do instead of it, purely for the pleasure Of being dissatisfied. When it is merely a matter Of sitting down for a few hours and dreaming That something of value might eventually arise From this routine of self-enforced boredom.
For hours she had lain in a kind of gentle torpor, not unlike that sweet lassitude which masters one in the hush of a midsummer noon, when the heat seems to have silenced the very birds and insects, and, lying sunk in the tasselled meadow grasses, one looks up through a level roofing of maple-leaves at the vast, shadowless, and unsuggestive blue.
She felt all right. Her heart was like a drum hanging from piano wire in her chest, slowly, slowly beaten. Her hands and feet were numb, not with cold but with a sultry torpor. Thoughts moved with a tranquil lethargy, her brain a leisurely machine imbedded in swaths of woolly packing. She felt all right.
The end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century were remarkable for the small amount of scientific movement going on in this country, especially in its more exact departments. ... Mathematics were at the last gasp, and Astronomy nearly so-I mean in those members of its frame which depend upon precise measurement and systematic calculation. The chilling torpor of routine had begun to spread itself over all those branches of Science which wanted the excitement of experimental research.
She watched him take the trumpet from its case and fit the mouthpiece. She watched as he raised it to his lips and then, so suddenly, from that tiny cup of metal against his flesh, the sound would burst out like a glorious, brilliant knife dividing the air. And the little room would reverberate and the flies, jolted out of their torpor, would buzz round and round as if riding the swirling notes.
Alexander McCall Smith
Don Quixote followed nature, and being satisfied with his first sleep, did not solicit more. As for Sancho, he never wanted a second, for the first lasted him from night to morning, indicating a sound body and a mind free from care; but his master, being unable to sleep himself awakened him, saying, "I am amazed, Sancho, at the torpor of thy soul; it seems as if thou wert made of marble or brass, insensible of emotion or sentiment!...
Miguel de Cervantes
Nothing but the cross of Christ can so startle the spiritual nature from its torpor, as to make it an effectual counterpoise to the debasing and sensual tendencies of the race. Favored by temperament and education, individuals may measurably escape; but if the race is to triumph in the conflict between the flesh and the spirit, between the lower propensities and the higher nature, they must, as Constantine is said to have done, see the cross, and on it the motto, "In hoc signo vinces." By this sign we conquer.
Only through the group, I realised - through sharing the suffering of the group - could the body reach that height of existence that the individual alone could never attain. And for the body to reach that level at which the divine might be glimpsed, a dissolution of individuality was necessary. The tragic quality of the group was also necessary, the quality that constantly raised the group out of the abandon and torpor into which it was prone to lapse, leading it to an ever-mounting shared suffering and so to death, which was the ultimate suffering. The group must be open to death - which meant, of course, that it must be a community of warriors.
I should be inclined, therefore, as I have hinted before, to consider the world and this life as the mighty process of God, not for the trial, but for the creation and formation of mind, a process necessary to awaken inert, chaotic matter into spirit, to sublimate the dust of the earth into soul, to elicit an ethereal spark from the clod of clay. And in this view of the subject, the various impressions and excitements which man receives through life may be considered as the forming hand of his Creator, acting by general laws, and awakening his sluggish existence, by the animating touches of the Divinity, into a capacity of superior enjoyment. The original sin of man is the torpor and corruption of the chaotic matter in which he may be said to be born.
Thomas Robert Malthus
You meet somebody at the seashore on a vacation and have a wonderful time together. Or in a corner at a party, while the glasses clink and somebody beats on a piano, you talk with a stranger whose mind seems to whet and sharpen your own and with whom a wonderful new vista of ideas is spied. Or you share some intense or painful experience with somebody, and discover a deep communion. Then afterward you are sure that when you meet again, the gay companion will give you the old gaiety, the brilliant stranger will stir your mind from its torpor, the sympathetic friend will solace you with the old communion of spirit. But something happens, or almost always happens, to the gaiety, the brilliance, the communion. You remember the individual words from the old language you spoke together , but you have forgotten the grammar. You remember the steps of the dance, but the music isn't playing any more. So there you are.
Robert Penn Warren
Look, de Mazel, you've known him for years - hasn't he been known to sleep for forty hours in two days?' 'Forty hours?' 'Certainly. He awoke at meal times, just to take nourishment, and afterwards fell again into his torpor. And Freneuse had a strange horror of sleep; there was some abnormal phenomenon associated with it, some lesion of the brain or neurotic depression.' 'The troublesome cerebral anaemia which results from excessive debauchery. Another myth! I've never believed, myself, in the supposed debauchery of that poor gentleman. Such a frail chap, with such a delicate complexion! Quite frankly, there was no scope in him for debauchery. 'Pooh! About as much as Lorenzaccio!' 'You associate him with the Medicis! Lorenzaccio was a Florentine impassioned by rancour, a man of energy slowly brooding over his vengeance, caressing it as he might caress the blade of a dagger! There is not the slightest comparison to be drawn between Lorenzaccio and that gall-green, liverish creature Freneuse.
Come on, Princess, " he called to the bench, and Carlotta bounced up. She was wide like the rest of them, but no man could fairly say she was too wide. The most that could be said was that she did not have much further to go before she would have to start squeezing it in and strapping it up, which she clearly did not do now. She let it hang where it was, and it did very nicely by itself. As she passed among the boys they looked her over with unconcealed envy, as though they knew she had something they didn't have but were not quite sure what it was. One thing was certain, she got more exercise than they did. The next to be noticed were her braids, they hung forward over her terrain, ignoring as much as possible her contours, like two shiny black meridianal lines demarking her longitudes as far down as the equator. It was not hard to imagine oneself spending a long lifetime on that bare little island alone, with no plan or ambition, too overcome with the heat to continue on south to the pole, far less return to the continents. Nothing productive could ever be accomplished there, but there would be comfort such as few men have known, there would be torpor. The body swelled with such thoughts, the mind shrank from them, and the longing eyes traveled finally up north, to where those meridians came together at a point above a bland white area vaguely charted, with few landmarks, no doubt sparsely inhabited. There the imagination halted.