We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.
We require from buildings, as from men, two kinds of goodness: first, the doing their practical duty well: then that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it; which last is itself another form of duty.
To be a man is to be responsible: to be ashamed of miseries you did not cause; to be proud of your comrades’ victories; to be aware, when setting one stone, that you are building a world.
Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Epigraph from True Notebooks: A Writer’s Year at Juvenile Hall, Mark Salzman
In fact, your thoughts often have much more to do with how you feel than what is actually happening in your life.
This isn’t a new idea. Nearly two thousand years ago the Greek philosopher, Epictetus, stated that people are disturbed “not by things, but by the views we take of them.” In the Book of Proverbs (23: 7) in the Old Testament you can find this passage: “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” And even Shakespeare expressed a similar idea when he said: “for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2).
Burns M.D., David D.. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
Every human being is tried this way in the active service of expectancy. Now comes the fulfillment and relieves him, but soon he is again placed on reconnaissance for expectancy; then he is again relieved, but as long as there is any future for him, he has not yet finished his service. And while human life goes on this way in very diverse expectancy, expecting very different things according to different times and occasions and in different frames of mind, all life is again one nightwatch of expectancy.
Søren Kierkegaard, Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses: “Patience in Expectancy”
related post, William James on Expectation
from September 21’s selection:
Tolstoy, Leo. A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul
Not sure of the provenance of this quote, but it was the epigraph of the book, On Grief and Reason, by Joseph Brodsky.
The tears shed by the audience at a Victorian melodrama come under the heading of a good cry. They might be called the poor man’s catharsis, and as such have a better claim to be the main objective of popular melodrama than its notorious moral pretensions. Besides referring to superficial emotion, the phrase “having a good cry” implies feeling sorry for oneself. The pity is self-pity. But, for all its notorious demerits, self-pity has its uses. E. M. Forster even says it is the only thing that makes bearable the feeling of growing old—in other words, that it is a weapon in the struggle for existence. Self-pity is a very present help in time of trouble, and all times are times of trouble.
Once we have seen that our modern antagonism to self-pity and sentiment goes far beyond the rational objections that may be found to them, we realize that even the natural objections are in some measure mere rationalization. Attacks on false emotion often mask a fear of emotion as such. Ours is, after all, a thin-lipped, thin-blooded culture. Consider how, in the past half-century, the prestige of dry irony has risen, while that of surging emotion has fallen. This is a cultural climate in which a minor writer like Jules Laforgue can rate higher than a major one like Victor Hugo. Or think of our changed attitude to death. Would any age but this receive the death of admired persons “with quiet understatement”? We may think that Mr. Auden pours his heart out in his good poem on the death of Yeats, but just compare Mr. Auden’s poem with the product of more old-fashioned culture, say, with Garcia Lorca’s “Lament for the Death of Ignacio Mejias”! Would even Lorca’s title be possible in English? Is lamenting something we can imagine ourselves doing? On the contrary we modernize the Greek tragedies by deleting all variants of “woe is me.” If Christ and Alexander the Great came back to life, we would teach them to restrain their tears.
Once I did see death done justice to. An Italian actor came on stage to announce the death of a colleague. He did indeed lament. He shook, he wept, he produced streams of passionate rhetoric, until the audience shook, and wept, and lamented with him. Now that is self-pity, certainly. One is not sorry for a corpse; one is sorry for oneself, deprived; and in the background is the fear of one’s own death. But so much the better for self-pity. The experience was had, not refused.
The Life of the Drama, Eric Bentley
Lloyd Christmas: [addressing Mary] I’m crazy about you. I’ve never felt this way about anybody.
Lloyd Christmas: [laughs nervously] Listen to me! I feel like a schoolboy again. A schoolboy who desperately wants to make sweet, sweet love to you.
Mary Swanson: [Mary comes into the room, making it clear to viewers that Lloyd’s previous words were just a rehearsal] I thought I heard you talking to someone.
Lloyd Christmas: [now extremely nervous] Mary… I… I desperately want to make love to a schoolboy.
check out more at IMDB
1 Corinthians 13:12
King James Bible
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
New American Standard Bible
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
As courage and intelligence are the two qualities best worth a good man’s cultivation, so it is the first part of intelligence to recognise our precarious estate in life, and the first part of courage to be not at all abashed before the fact. A frank and somewhat headlong carriage, not looking too anxiously before, not dallying in maudlin regret over the past, stamps the man who is well armoured for this world.
And not only well armoured for himself, but a good friend and a good citizen to boot. We do not go to cowards for tender dealing; there is nothing so cruel as panic; the man who has least fear for his own carcass, has most time to consider others.
Excerpt from the essay, Aes Triplex, by Robert Louis Stevenson. Check out the whole thing at Project Gutenberg
“No experience is in itself a cause of success or failure,” he wrote in his 1931 book, What Life Could Mean to You. “We are not determined by our experiences, but are self-determined by the meaning we give to them; and when we take particular experiences as the basis for our future life, we are almost certain to be misguided to some degree. Meanings are not determined by situations. We determine ourselves by the meanings we ascribe to situations.”
A Psychology of Change, Gina Stepp
WHAT’S GREAT ABOUT THIS COUNTRY IS THAT AMERICA STARTED THE TRADITION WHERE THE RICHEST CONSUMERS BUY ESSENTIALLY THE SAME THINGS AS THE POOREST. YOU CAN BE WATCHING TV AND SEE COCA-COLA, AND YOU CAN KNOW THAT THE PRESIDENT DRINKS COKE, LIZ TAYLOR DRINKS COKE AND, JUST THINK, YOU CAN DRINK COKE TOO. A COKE IS A COKE, AND NO AMOUNT OF MONEY CAN GET YOU A BETTER COKE THAN THE ONE THE BUM ON THE CORNER IS DRINKING. ALL THE COKES ARE THE SAME AND ALL THE COKES ARE GOOD. LIZ TAYLOR KNOWS IT, THE PRESIDENT KNOWS IT, THE BUM KNOWS IT, AND YOU KNOW IT.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF ANDY WARHOL: From A to B and Back Again
(found in The Readers Catalog)
The sight of a pleasant arbour puts it in our minds to sit there. One place suggests work, another idleness, a third early rising and long rambles in the dew. The effect of night, of any flowing water, of lighted cities, of the peep of day, of ships, of the open ocean, calls up in the mind an army of anonymous desires and pleasures. Something, we feel, should happen; we know not what, yet we proceed in quest of it. And many of the happiest hours of life fleet by us in this vain attendance on the genius of the place and moment.
A Gossip on Romance, Robert Louis Stevenson
“If the madman could for an instant become careless, he would become sane. Every one who has had the misfortune to talk with people in the heart or on the edge of mental disorder, knows that their most sinister quality is a horrible clarity of detail; a connecting of one thing with another in a map more elaborate than a maze. If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment. He is not hampered by a sense of humour or by charity, or by the dumb certainties of experience. He is the more logical for losing certain sane affections. Indeed, the common phrase for insanity is in this respect a misleading one. The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.”
Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton