I am afraid of those who are too simple on the outside; for their vanities they wear upon their hearts. Better to meet a person who wears their vanities out in the open where you can see them! Than one who hides them in their hearts! For it is the stuff of the heart that is hidden; while the stuff on the outside is not. And we are all vain; the difference is where we put it! I would rather meet a person vain on the outside; while possessing the simplest of hearts.
C. JoyBell C.
The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess ... It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. 3 What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? 4 A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. 7 All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. 8 All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there a thing of which it is said, 'See, this is new'? It has been already in the ages before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.
... many other means there be, that promise the foreknowledge of things to come: besides the raising up and conjuring of ghosts departed, the conference also with familiars and spirits infernal. And all these were found out in our days, to be no better than vanities and false illusions...
Pliny the Elder
The rationalism of the creative minds was tempered by abundant fantasies, and the supreme beauty of the monuments was probably spoiled by the circumambient vanities and ugliness; in a few cases the Greeks came as close to perfection as it was possible to do, yet they were human and imperfect.
Reading was my hobby, my sport and my activity of choice. It was the prime pleasure of my days, an unfailing escape from whatever realities were distressing me, and the only source of pride I knew, other vanities lying beyond my grasp. I couldn't do anything else well, but I could do words.
I while yet a youth wrote in a quite large volume three books of magical things, which I called De occulta philosophia, in which whatever was then erroneous because of my curious youth, now, more cautious, I wish to retract by this recantation, for formerly I spent much time and goods on these vanities.
And could I look upon her without compassion, seeing her punishment in the ruin she was, in her profound unfitness for this earth on which she was placed, in the vanity of sorrow which had become a master mania, like the vanity of penitence, the vanity of remorse, the vanity of unworthiness, and other monstrous vanities that have been curses in this world?
To crave wealth and honor, to demand power, to pile up riches, to gather all those vanities which seem to make for pomp and empty display, that is our furious passion and our unbounded desire.On the other hand, we fear and abhor poverty, obscurity, and humility, and we seek to avoid them by all possible means.
There is no lasting pleasure but contemplation; all others grow flat and insipid upon frequent use; and when a man hath run through a set of vanities, in the declension of his age, he knows not what to do with himself, if he cannot think; he saunters about from one dull business to another, to wear out time; and hath no reason to value Life but because he is afraid of death.
I destroyed all my geek stuff because I didn't want to be a geek, and I regret it to this day. Consumed in the geek bonfire of the vanities was a collection of autographs and letters from Peter Cushing, Spike Milligan and Frankie Howerd, the first Doctor Whos, actual astronauts, and many more.
To say! To know how to say! To know how to exist via the written voice and the intellectual image! This is all that matters in life; the rest is men and women, imagined loves and factitious vanities, the wiles of our digestion and forgetfulness, people squirming "" like worms when a rock is lifted "" under the huge abstract boulder of the meaningless blue sky.
To say! To know how to say! To know how to exist via the written voice and the intellectual image! This is all that matters in life; the rest is men and women, imagined loves and factitious vanities, the wiles of our digestion and forgetfulness, people squirming - like worms when a rock is lifted - under the huge abstract boulder of the meaningless blue sky.
One of his private vanities was that all the garbage sorting had endowed his hands with killing strength-that he could chop a brick in half like Bruce Lee. 'So let's get a brick, ' replied a girl with whom he had once, injudiciously, shared this conviction. Abdul had bumbled away. The brick belief was something he wanted to harbor, not to test.
(John) Adams acknowledged that he had made himself obnoxious to many of his colleagues, who regarded him as a one-man bonfire of the vanities. This never troubled Adams, who in his more contrarian moods claimed that his unpopularity provided clinching evidence that his position was principled, because it was obvious that he was not courting popular opinion. His alienation, therefore, was a measure of his integrity.
Joseph J. Ellis
I Have often thought if the minds of men were laid open, we should see but little difference between that of the wise man and that of the fool. There are infinite reveries, numberless extravagances, and a perpetual train of vanities which pass through both. The great difference is, that the first knows how to pick and cull his thoughts for conversation, by suppressing some, and communicating others; whereas the other lets them all indifferently fly out in words.
How are you to meet the swarm of foolish attachments, triflings, and undesirable inclinations which beset you? By turning sharply away, and thoroughly renouncing such vanities, flying to the Saviour's Cross, and clasping His Crown of thorns to your heart, so that these little foxes may not spoil your vines. Beware of entering into any manner of treaty with the Enemy; do not delude yourself by listening to him while intending to reject him.
Saint Francis de Sales
Wanna make a monster? Take the parts of yourself that make you uncomfortable - your weaknesses, bad thoughts, vanities, and hungers - and pretend they're across the room. It's too ugly to be human. It's too ugly to be you. Children are afraid of the dark because they have nothing real to work with. Adults are afraid of themselves.
WORTH IT? It is no credit to our phase of civilization if it is fear rather than ambition that drives most of those who bankrupt themselves on the vanities, or who end up under the surgeon's knife. It is the fear of falling short, of being inadequate in the eyes of others, including loved ones. [... ] It is unfitting, one might say, improper, treating one's owm body as a tool rather than a part of oneself. [... ] The bottom line is that it dishonors ourselves, for we ought to think better of ourselves than that.
But the fact of it was that I liked it out there, a ruin devoid of human vanities, clean of human illusions, an empty place reclaimed by the weather where a woman plays an organ to stop the wind's whining and an old man plays ball with a dog named Duke. I could tell you that I came back because I had promises to keep, but maybe it was because nobody asked me to stay.
Do not use your energy except for a cause more noble than yourself. Such a cause cannot be found except in Almighty God Himself: to preach the truth, to defend womanhood, to repel humiliation which your Creator has not imposed upon you, to help the oppressed. Anyone who uses his energy for the sake of the vanities of the world is like someone who exchanges gemstones for gravel. There is no nobility in anyone who lacks faith. The wise man knows that the only fitting price for his soul is a place in Paradise...
It was a good answer that was made by one who when they showed him hanging in a temple a picture of those who had paid their vows as having escaped shipwreck, and would have him say whether he did not now acknowledge the power of the gods, - 'Aye, ' asked he again, 'but where are they painted that were drowned after their vows?' And such is the way of all superstition, whether in astrology, dreams, omens, divine judgments, or the like; wherein men, having a delight in such vanities, mark the events where they are fulfilled, but where they fail, though this happens much oftener, neglect and pass them by.
I would much rather fight pride than vanity, because pride has a stand-up way of fighting. You know where it is. It throws its black shadow on you, and you are not at a loss where to strike. But vanity is that delusive, that insectiferous, that multiplied feeling, and men that fight vanities are like men that fight midges and butterflies. It is easier to chase them than to hit them.
Henry Ward Beecher
So I want to identify, if I can, the most important thing that we discover in life. At least, it is the most important thing that I have discovered. I will share it with you, like a precious jewel, fit for this occasion. I refer to love. Love for one another. Love for our community. Love for others everywhere in the world. Love transcends even scholarship, cleverness and university degrees. It is greater than pride and wealth. It endures when worldly vanities fade...
Society ... is nothing more than the war of a thousand petty opposed interests, an eternal strife of all the vanities, which, turn in turn wounded and humiliated one by the other, intercross, come into collision, and on the morrow expiate the triumph of the eve in the bitterness of defeat. To live alone, to remain unjostled in this miserable struggle, where for a moment one draws the eyes of the spectators, to be crushed a moment later -- this is what is called being a nonentity, having no existence. Poor humanity!
Just like that. Gone forever. They will not grow old together. They will never live on a beach by the sea, their hair turned white, dancing in a living room to Billie Holiday or Nat Cole. They will not enter a New York club at midnight and show the poor hip-hop fools how to dance. They will not chuckle together over the endless folly of the world, its vanities and stupid ambitions. They will not hug each other in any chilly New York dawn. Oh, Mary Lou. My baby. My love.
Like some homeopathic cure, our very sense of imprisonment can be a step toward liberation. We need not rebel against our temporally determined roles. Merely to recognize them is to limit their power over us. The liberation implied by such awareness is threefold. To understand one's own temporal determinism is to establish, above and beyond what one says and does, an analytic posture toward the present as history; it is to achieve, amid the earnest vanities of contemporary society, an easing humility; it is to mark off, as territory precious and imperiled, the moments and pursuits that are left to our choice.
Consider... the university professor. What is his function? Simply to pass on to fresh generations of numskulls a body of so-called knowledge that is fragmentary, unimportant, and, in large part, untrue. His whole professional activity is circumscribed by the prejudices, vanities and avarices of his university trustees, i.e., a committee of soap-boilers, nail manufacturers, bank-directors and politicians. The moment he offends these vermin he is undone. He cannot so much as think aloud without running a risk of having them fan his pantaloons.
H. L. Mencken
I am not poor, I am not rich; nihil est, nihil deest, I have little, I want nothing: all my treasure is in Minerva's tower... I live still a collegiate student... and lead a monastic life, ipse mihi theatrum [sufficient entertainment to myself], sequestered from those tumults and troubles of the world... aulae vanitatem, fori ambitionem, ridere mecum soleo [I laugh to myself at the vanities of the court, the intrigues of public life], I laugh at all.
We have looked first at man with his vanities and greed and his problems of a day or a year; and then only, and from this biased point of view, we have looked outward at the earth he has inhabited so briefly and at the universe in which our earth is so minute a part. Yet these are the great realities, and against them we see our human problems in a different perspective. Perhaps if we reversed the telescope and looked at man down these long vistas, we should find less time and inclination to plan for our own destruction.
To understand a child we have to watch him at play, study him in his different moods; we cannot project upon him our own prejudices, hopes and fears, or mould him to fit the pattern of our desires. If we are constantly judging the child according to our personal likes and dislikes, we are bound to create barriers and hindrances in our relationship with him and in his relationships with the world. Unfortunately, most of us desire to shape the child in a way that is gratifying to our own vanities and idiosyncrasies; we find varying degrees of comfort and satisfaction in exclusive ownership and domination.
Certainly the most obvious . . . example of the strictly infantile essence of America's all-conquering mentality greets our eyes daily, anywhere and everywhere, in the guise of the tabloid newspaper. The tabloid newspaper actually means to the typical American of the era what the Bible is popularly supposed to have meant to the typical Pilgrim Father: viz. a very present help in times of trouble, plus a means of keeping out of trouble via harmless, since vicarious, indulgence in the pomps and vanities of this wicked world.
e. e. cummings
Once upon a time all the men of mind and genius in the world became of one belief- that is to say, of no belief. But it wearied them to think that within a few years after their death many cults and systems and prognostications would be ascribed to them which they had never... intended. So they said to one another: "Let's join together and make a great book that will last forever that will mock the credulity of man... We'll include all the most preposterous old wives' tales now current. We'll choose the keenest satirist alive to compile a deity from all the deities worshipped by mankind, a deity who will be more magnificent than any of them, yet so weakly human that he'll become a byword for laughter the world over- and we'll ascribe to him all sorts of jokes and vanities and rages, in which he'll be supposed to indulge for his own diversion, so that the people will read our book and ponder it, and there'll be no more nonsense in the world.
F Scott Fitzgerald
When I think of the years when I had no faith, what I am struck by, first of all, is how little this lack disrupted my conscious life. I lived not without God, nor wish his absence, but in a mild abeyance of belief, drifting through the days on a tide of tiny vanities - a publication, a flirtation, a strong case made for some weak nihilism - nights all adagios and alcohol as my mind tore luxuriously into itself. I can see now how deeply God's absence affected my unconscious life, how under me always there was this long fall that pride and fear and self-live at once protected me from and subjected me to. Was the fall into belief or into unbelief? Both. For if grace woke me to God's presence in the world and in my heart, it also woke me to his absence. I never truly felt the pain of unbelief until I began to believe.
He was changed as completely as Amory Blaine could ever be changed. Amory plus Beatrice plus two years in Minneapolis - these had been his ingredients when he entered St. Regis'. But the Minneapolis years were not a thick enough overlay to conceal the "Amory plus Beatrice" from the ferreting eyes of a boarding school, so St. Regis' had very painfully drilled Beatrice out of him and begun to lay down new and more conventional planking on the fundamental Amory. But both St. Regis' and Amory were unconscious of the fact that this fundamental Amory had not in himself changed. Those qualities for which he had suffered: his moodiness, his tendency to pose, his laziness, and his love of playing the fool, were now taken as a matter of course, recognized eccentricities in a star quarter-back, a clever actor, and the editor of the "St. Regis' Tattler"; it puzzled him to see impressionable small boys imitating the very vanities that had not long ago been contemptible weaknesses.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Had I catalogued the downsides of parenthood, "son might turn out to be a killer" would never have turned up on the list. Rather, it might have looked something like this: 1. Hassle. 2. Less time just the two of us. (Try no time just the two of us.) 3. Other people. (PTA meetings. Ballet teachers. The kid's insufferable friends and their insufferable parents.) 4. Turing into a cow. (I was slight, and preferred to stay that way. My sister-in-law had developed bulging varicose veins in her legs during pregnancy that never retreated, and the prospect of calves branched in blue tree roots mortified me more than I could say. So I didn't say. I am vain, or once was, and one of my vanities was to feign that I was not.) 5. Unnatural altruism: being forced to make decisions in accordance with what was best for someone else. (I'm a pig.) 6. Curtailment of my traveling. (Note curtailment. Not conclusion.) 7. Dementing boredom. (I found small children brutally dull. I did, even at the outset, admit this to myself.) 8. Worthless social life. (I had never had a decent conversation with a friend's five-year-old in the room.) 9. Social demotion. (I was a respected entrepreneur. Once I had a toddler in tow, every man I knew-every woman, too, which is depressing-would take me less seriously.) 10. Paying the piper. (Parenthood repays a debt. But who wants to pay a debt she can escape? Apparently, the childless get away with something sneaky. Besides, what good is repaying a debt to the wrong party? Only the most warped mother would feel rewarded for her trouble by the fact that at last her daughter's life is hideous, too.)
Most people are afflicted with an inability to say what they see or think. They say there's nothing more difficult than to define a spiral in words; they claim it is necessary to use the unliterary hand, twirling it in a steadily upward direction, so that human eyes will perceive the abstract figure immanent in wire spring and a certain type of staircase. But if we remember that to say is to renew, we will have no trouble defining a spiral; it's a circle that rises without ever closing. I realize that most people would never dare to define it this way, for they suppose that defining is to say what others want us to say rather than what's required for the definition. I'll say it more accurately: a spiral is a potential circle that winds round as it rises, without ever completing itself. But no, the definition is still abstract. I'll resort to the concrete, and all will become clear: a spiral is a snake without a snake, vertically wound around nothing. All literature is an attempt to make life real. All of us know, even when we act on what we don't know, life is absolutely unreal in its directly real form; the country, the city and our ideas are absolutely fictitious things, the offspring of our complex sensation of our own selves. Impressions are incommunicable unless we make them literary. Children are particularly literary, for they say what they feel not what someone has taught them to feel. Once I heard a child, who wished to say that he was on the verge of tears, say not 'I feel like crying', which is what an adult, i.e., an idiot, would say but rather, ' I feel like tears.' And this phrase -so literary it would seem affected in a well-known poet, if he could ever invent it - decisively refers to the warm presence of tears about to burst from eyelids that feel the liquid bitterness. 'I feel like tears'! The small child aptly defined his spiral. To say! To know how to say! To know how to exist via the written voice and the intellectual image! This is all that matters in life; the rest is men and women, imagined loves and factitious vanities, the wiles of our digestion and forgetfulness, people squirming- like worms when a rock is lifted - under the huge abstract boulder of the meaningless blue sky.