Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Quotes: Snow. Society.

Snow flakes like tiny parachutes.
Snow 8 If you looked real close, the huge flakes seemed like tiny parachutes. Browning, Notes from Turtle Creek.

Metaphors for different kinds of snow.
Snow 9 In describing the kind of snow...I use the following categories: flour, sugar, corn, granola, mashed potatoes, soup and rock candy. Browning, Notes from Turtle Creek.

I stay away from gloomy and surly people and from subjects that I can’t discuss disinterestedly.
Social behavior 525 I flee from gloomy dispositions and from surly men…and I do not meddle with subjects that I cannot discuss disinterestedly and unexcitedly unless duty forces me to. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Everybody has their social level.
Social class 132 Mr. Elton: ...Miss Smith is a very good sort of girl; and I should be happy to see her respectably settled....I wish her extremely well: and, no doubt, there are men who might not object to--everybody has their level.... Austen, Emma

The Woodhouses were superior, from an ancient family, but the Eltons were nobody.
Social class 136 But he must know that in fortune and consequence she was greatly his superior...must know that the Woodhouses had been settled for several generations at Hartfield, the younger branch of a very ancient family--and that the Eltons were nobody. Austen, Emma

They should not arrange the way superior families visit them.
Social class 207 Emma: the Coles were very respectable in their way, but they ought to be taught that it was not for them to arrange the terms on which the superior families would visit them. Austen, Emma

Men either ride horses or, like horses, they are ridden.
Social class 35 Ann Petry: When [Richard] Rumbold mounted the scaffold in 1685 he said, according to Macaulay’s History of England: “I never could believed that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden.” Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

Is “survival of the fittest” the motive for human beings?
Social Darwinism 13 Social Darwinism: Basing itself on Darwin’s theories of evolution and natural selection, social Darwinism proclaimed the “fight for survival” and “survival of the fittest” as the motive forces of all life, individual and national. Bracher, The German Dictatorship

Social Darwinism sees man as biological, not a thinking and moral creature.
Social Darwinism 15 Social Darwinism remained a sectarian philosophy, seeing man only as a biological and not a thinking and moral being…. Bracher, The German Dictatorship

The typical social dinner gathering.
Social gathering 219 ...the rest of the dinner passed away; the dessert succeeded, the children came in, and were talked to and admired amid the usual rate of conversation; a few clever things said, a few downright silly, but by much the larger proportion neither the one nor the other--nothing worse than every day remarks, dull repetitions, old news, and heavy jokes. Austen, Emma

The nightly routine at the local pub.
Social gathering 65 …whereat the tailor would take his pipe solemnly from his mouth, and say, how that he hoped it might end well, but he very much doubted whether it would or not and couldn’t rightly tell what to make of it—a mysterious expression of opinion, delivered with a semi-prophetic air, which never failed to elicit the fullest concurrence of the assembled company; and so they would go on drinking and wondering till ten o’clock, and with it the tailor’s wife to fetch him home, when the little party broke up, to meet again in the same room, and say and do precisely the same things, on the following evening at the same hour. Dickens, Sketches by Boz.

Social introductions.
Social interaction 43 …and we sat down at a table with the two girls in yellow and three men, each one introduced to us as Mr. Mumble. Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.

Men humor everyone’s nonsense until they are despised by the people they have humored.
Social interaction 169 …men overrate the necessity for humoring everybody’s nonsense, till they get despised by the very fools they humor. George Eliot, Middlemarch.

Gloomy remarks pensively delivered, implying that she could not really say what was on her mind because of the sensitivity of her hearer.
Social interaction 705 …remarks tending to gloom, uttered with the accompaniment of pensive staring at the furniture and a manner implying that the speaker would not tell what was on her mind, from regard to the feelings of her hearer. George Eliot, Middlemarch.

On first meeting individuals we form an instant impression of them without their ever speaking a word.
Social interaction 267 We are no sooner presented to anyone we never saw before, but we are immediately struck with the idea of a proud, a reserved, an affable, or a good-natured man; and upon our first going into a company of strangers, our benevolence or aversion, awe or contempt, rises naturally toward several particular persons, before we have heard them speak a single word, or so much as know who they are. Addison, 6/8/1711. The Spectator.

If we say something nice about you, you need to say something nice about us.
Social interplay 245 Mr. Knightley: Oh! very delightful indeed; I can say nothing less, for I suppose Miss Woodhouse and Mr. Frank Churchill are hearing everything...and (raising his voice still more) I do not see why Miss Fairfax should not be mentioned too....I think Miss Fairfax dances very well; and Mrs. Weston is the very best country-dance player, without exception in England; now, if your friends have any gratitude, they will say something pretty loud about you and me in return; but I cannot stay to hear it. Austen, Emma

He was completely unresponsive to her talking.
Social interplay 367 She [Emma] had never seen Frank Churchill so silent and stupid…said nothing worth hearing—looked without seeing—admired without intelligence—listened without knowing what she said. Austen, Emma

I don’t meet many people because they are too busy cultivating their beans.
Society 453 Most men I do not meet at all, for they seem not to have time; they are busy about their beans. Thoreau, Walden.

People in committees always expect a speech from somebody.
Society 584 [Men] are all on a committee of arrangements, and hourly expect a speech from somebody. Thoreau, Walden.

Our lives are defined in popular tunes.
Society 151 For Daisy was young and her artificial world was redolent of orchids and pleasant, cheerful snobbery and orchestras which set the rhythm of the year, summing up the sadness and suggestiveness of life in new tunes. Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.

People should find satisfactory company in themselves.
Society 32 A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself. E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

We are going out to hear what has been said yesterday and will be said again tomorrow; we would be better off staying home.
Society 113 Mr. John Knightley: are we setting forward to spend five dull hours in another man’s house, with nothing to say or to hear that was not said and heard yesterday, and said and heard again tomorrow; going in dismal weather, to return in probably worse;--four horses and four servants taken out for nothing but to convey five idle, shivering creatures into colder rooms and worse company than they might have had at home. Austen, Emma

Everyone else is forgotten in the popular topic of the moment.
Society 267 There was hardly time to talk over the first letter from Enscombe [from Mr. Frank Churchill] before “Mr. Elton and his bride” was in everybody’s mouth, and Frank Churchill was forgotten. Austen, Emma.

Everyone wanted to find out whether Mrs. Elton was very pretty, rather pretty or not pretty.
Society 270 …must be left for the visits…which were then to be paid [by Mr. and Mrs. Elton], to settle whether she were very pretty indeed, or only rather pretty, or not pretty at all. Austen, Emma

She was disliked while she was alive, but forgiven now that she was dead.
Society 387 Mrs. Churchill [suddenly dead], after being disliked at least twenty-five years, was now spoken of with compassionate allowances. Austen, Emma

They talked of the child and her mother’s alarm for her health the previous evening.
Society 479 The others had been talking of the child, Mrs. Weston giving an account of a little alarm she had been under, the evening before, from the infant’s appearing not quite well. Austen, Emma

“Delighted to see you” he told the person who had dropped in while wishing that he had dropped into the Thames instead.
Society 432 “Delighted to see you, I’m sure,” said Mr. Watkins Tottle, wishing internally that his visitor had “dropped in” to the Thames at the bottom of the street, instead of dropping into his parlor.

Individualism leads to separation [and isolation?] of people.
Society 275 …this terrible individualism must inevitably have an end, and all will understand how unnaturally they are separated from one another. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Is the cause of a decaying society our cynicism and exhaustion of intellect and imagination?
Society 628 Is it our cynicism, is it the premature exhaustion of intellect and imagination in a society that is sinking into decay…. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

He was opposed to civic duty, a complete and malignant individualist.
Society 630 He [Fyodor Karamazov] was an example of everything that is opposed to civic duty, of the most complete and malignant individualism. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

On a beautiful day in Bath everybody walks out to tell everybody else what a beautiful day it is.
Society 35 …for a fine Sunday in Bath empties every house of its inhabitant, and all the world appears on such an occasion to walk about and tell their acquaintance what a charming day it is. Austen, Northanger Abbey.

Communities of obedience are stable societies; communities of will are nomads.
Society 159 H. G. Wells once made a distinction between communities of obedience and communities of will; he thought that the first produced the stable societies like Egypt and Mesopotamia, the original homes of civilization, and that the second produced the nomads of the earth. Clark, Civilization.

We will suffer the consequences of bad people and from the silence of good people.
Society 24 Martin Luther King: “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of bad people, but for the silence of good people.” Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Hereditary privilege comes from some violent conquest in the past.
Society 286 Kant…traces all hereditary privilege to some violent conquest in the past. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Kant.

Two different societies: militant (war) and industrial (work). [The Nazis combined both societies.]
Society 380 Spencer: …the great dividing line [in societies] is that which separates militant from industrial societies, nations that live by war from those that live by work. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

Production prospers only when initiative is free.
Society 380 Spencer: Since production can prosper only where initiative is free, an industrial society breaks down those traditions of authority, hierarchy and caste, which flourish in military states…. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

Two types of societies: the individual exists for the state; the state exists for the benefit of the individual.
Society 381 Spencer: The contrast between the militant and the industrial types of society is indicated by “inversion of the belief that individuals exist for the benefit of the state into the belief that the state exists for the benefit of the individuals.” Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

Socialism involves centralization of government power, loss of initiative and subordination of the individual.
Society 382 Spencer: Like militarism, socialism involves the development of centralization, the extension of governmental power, the decay of initiative, and the subordination of the individual. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

Two types of societies: compulsory cooperation and voluntary cooperation.
Society 384 Spencer: the transition from the compulsory cooperation of militancy to the voluntary cooperation of industrialism…. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

Two types of societies: life is for work and work is for life.
Society 384 As the contrast between the militant and the industrial types [of society] is indicated by the inversion of the belief that individuals exist for the benefit of the state into the belief that the state exists for the benefit of individuals; so the contrast between the industrial type and the type likely to be evolved from it is indicated by inversion of the belief that life is for work into the belief that work is for life. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

What we do in actual life is different from what we say we do.
Society 387 Spencer: It is notorious that the principles which we apply in our actual living are largely opposite to those which we preach in our churches and our books. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

We profess pacifistic Christianity, but we are actually militaristic.
Society 387 Spencer: The professed ethic of Europe and America is a pacifistic Christianity; the actual ethic is the militaristic code of the marauding Teutons…. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

A country with maximum opportunity to develop our talents and to respect the talents of others.
Society 204 RP Warren: I’d like a country in which there was a maximum of opportunity for any individual to discover his talents and develop his capacities…and by so doing learn to respect other selves a little. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

The people on top are sure that their values are the right ones.
Society 245 N. Algren: …but you write out of—well, I wouldn’t call it indignation, but a kind of irritability that these people on top should be so contented, so absolutely unaware of these other people, and so sure that their values are the right ones. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

As soon as a stranger enters the room everyone wants to know what he does for a living.
Society 989 As soon as a stranger is introduced into any company one of the first questions which all wish to have answered, is, How does that man get his living? Emerson, The Conduct of Life: Wealth.

A man of the world is without pretension.
Society 1025 The mark of the man of the world is absence of pretension. Emerson, The Conduct of Life: Culture. Emerson, The Conduct of Life: Culture.

Civility means tolerance of each other.
Society 1038 …but ‘tis the beginning of civility—to make us…endurable to each other. Emerson, The Conduct of Life: Behavior.

Every time people meet they take measure of each other.
Society 1048 Men take each other’s measure, when they meet for the first time—and every time they meet. Emerson, The Conduct of Life: Behavior.

Directness is a characteristic of superior people.
Society 1049 In all the superior people I have met, I notice directness…. Emerson, The Conduct of Life: Behavior.

Once we know their limitations, we are no longer interested in other people.
Society 406 Men cease to interest us when we find their limitations. Emerson, Circles.

People who are considered sane do what their neighbors do.
Society 11 Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them. George Eliot, Middlemarch.

What is conjectured soon becomes more certain than actual knowledge.
Society 687 Everybody liked better to conjecture how the thing was, than simply to know it; for conjecture soon became more confident than knowledge…. George Eliot, Middlemarch.

People’s lives consist of continuous ceremony.
Society 186 We are nothing but ceremony. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Society controls the behavior of the individual.
Society 496 He who walks in the crowd must swerve, keep his elbows in, retire or advance, and quit the straight way according to what he encounters: He must live not so much according to himself as according to others, not according to what he proposes to himself but according to what is proposed to him, according to the time, according to the men, according to the business. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

To what degree do “great” personalities influence the behavior of the common people?
Society 72 Could common people be made to work for their own interests only if they had a great personality as their symbol? Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

The purpose of society if to achieve tranquility, order and the security to provide freedom for individuals to develop their personalities to the fullest within their limitations.
Society 208 …the end of social life [was]…to them…tranquility and order…to me…freedom of the individual to develop his own personality to the fullest within his personal limitations, and the security to make that possible. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

Always be in good humor when imposing yourself on your friends.
Society 423 Let people reason themselves into good humor, before they impose themselves upon their friends. Steele, 8/10/1711. The Spectator.

We are suspicious of collective organizations that behave like organisms.
Society 12 We do not like the notion that there can be collective societies with the capacity to behave like organisms. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

Our fractious society destroys the sense of community, mission and purpose.
Society 88 “Our society is too fractious…carried too far…destroys a sense of community and a sense of mission and a sense of purpose.” Justice Anthony Kennedy. Jeffrey Rosen, “Annals of Law: The Agonizer.” The New Yorker, November 1996.

The goal of a communal experiment: union of intellectual and manual labor that would be more wholesome than our competitive institutions.
Society competitive life 178 The goals of Ripley’s Brook Farm: “ ensure a more natural union between intellectual and manual labor...; to combine the thinker and the the same individual...; to prepare a society of liberal, intelligent and cultivated persons, whose relations with each other would permit a more wholesome and simple life than can be led amidst the pressures of our competitive institutions.” Mellow, Hawthore In His times.

As society develops, we assume the equal development of individuals and are therefore horrified by the mass movements of terror in the twentieth and twenty-first century.
Society individual 284 As society improves physically, we assume the improvement of the individual and are all the more horrified at those mass movements of terror which have so typified the first half of the twentieth century. Eiseley, The Star Thrower.

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