Sunday, March 4, 2007

Perspectives on Ideas March 4, 2007

267 A bore is simply a nonentity who resents his humble lot in life, and seeks satisfaction for his wounded ego in forcing himself upon his betters. Mencken, Minority Report.

55 When people are bored, it is primarily with their own selves that they are bored. Hoffer, The True Believer

55 The consciousness of a barren, meaningless existence is the main fountainhead of boredom. Hoffer, The True Believer

131 ...the brain they say now is just another type of more complicated feedback system. Eiseley, The Immense Journey

38 It’s easy to switch gears, to shift from the left brain of overdue bills and payroll deductions to the right brain, the old attic trunk-of-the-mind, where memories, intuitions, connections and all sorts of tattered bric-a-brac are stored away. Browning, Notes from Turtle Creek.

95 “Barney, that specimen you are looking at through your microscope is not a thin slice of a human mind; it’s a slice of brain…the brain is a vessel, a physical structure built to contain; the mind is the content: words, ideas, images, beliefs….” Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

644 Confederate spy condemned to be hanged: I desire that, if possible, one or more members of the court will come and witness my execution…the request of one who is about to be launched into eternity…see it done, and you shall at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you hung a brave man. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

933 …and if the ocean out of which it emerged should wash it [England] away, it will be remembered as an island famous for immortal laws, for the announcements of original right which make the stone tables of liberty. Emerson, English Traits.

99 ...the true English style, burying under a calmness that seemed all but indifference, the real attachment.... Austen, Emma

167 The English know how to make the best of things…so-called muddling through is simply skill at dealing with the inevitable. Mencken, Minority Report.

849 George of Cappadocia, born at Epiphania in Cilicia, was a low parasite, who got a lucrative contract to supply the army with bacon [but], a rogue and informer, he got rich…was forced to run from justice…saved his money, embraced Arianism, collected a library…got promoted by a faction to the episcopal throne of Alexandria [but] when Julian came, A.D. 361, George was dragged to prison [which was] burst open by the mob and George was lynched, as he deserved [and] this precious knave became, in good time, Saint George of England, patron of chivalry, emblem of victory and civility, and the pride of the best blood of the modern world. Emerson, English Traits.

173 One [Briton] could panic in his heart, but two together could not show it, nor a hundred in a group. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

296 Altogether, Adams’s predecessors had faithfully obeyed the unwritten law of empire that Englishmen, regardless of where they are, shall live, speak, and eat like civilized men—that is, like Englishmen. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

263 Interviewers quoting from the blurb of Angus Wilson’s volume of short stories, A Bit Off the Map: In an England where the lines of class and caste are becoming blurred and the traditional values have lost much of their force, the characters in Angus Wilson’s new stories seek—sometimes cheerfully, sometimes with desperation—to get their true bearings on the map of society. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

85 The “enlightenment” experienced by Buddha comes down to the conviction that the world is bad, that it is the source of evil and of suffering for man. Pope John Paul II, Threshold

85 The more we are liberated from these ties, the more we become indifferent to what is in the world, and the more we are freed from suffering, from the evil that has its source in the world. Pope John Paul II, Threshold

86 The fullness of such a detachment is not union with God, but what is called nirvana, a state of perfect indifference with regard to the world. Pope John Paul II, Threshold

339 Schopenhauer : Buddhism is profounder than Christianity because it makes the destruction of the will the entirety of religion, and preaches Nirvana as the goal of all personal development. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Schopenhauer.

13 Today in India the triumph of the spirit over the mind is complete, and wherever Buddhism, the great product of the Indian spirit, has prevailed, the illusoriness of all that is of this earth and the vanity of all research into its nature is the center of the faith. E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

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