Tag: Quote

Faith and Self Acceptance – Thumbsucker Quote

Justin Cobb: I just came here for a checkup.

Dr. Perry Lyman: Really? Justin, I’m sorry if I contributed to any feelings of shame you may have about your thumb. I’ve been reading up on it. Medically, psychologically, there’s nothing really wrong with thumb sucking.

Justin Cobb: I don’t think I can agree with that.

Dr. Perry Lyman: No, really. Look. Justin… there was nothing wrong with you.

Justin Cobb: It felt like everything was wrong with me.

Dr. Perry Lyman: That’s ’cause we all wanna be problemless. To fix ourselves. We look for some magic solution to make us all better, but none of us really know what we’re doing. And why is that so bad? That’s all we humans can do. Guess. Try. Hope. But, Justin, just pray you don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ve got the answer. Because that’s bullshit. The trick is living without an answer. I think.

[both chuckle and laugh]

Dr. Perry Lyman: [Dr. Perry chuckles and lights another cigarette] I think.


Some Epigraphs Recently Encountered

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place.”
– Often attributed to George Bernhard Shaw. Although its doubtful he ever said it.

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?
Alan Alda

There is no intellectual exercise that is not ultimately pointless.
– J.L. Borges, in “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote

A Student’s Guide to Analytical Mechanics
John L. Bohn

This morning I met a woman with a golden nose. She was riding in a Cadillac with a monkey in her arms. Her driver stopped and she asked me, “Are you Fellini?” With this metallic voice she continued, “Why is it that in your movies, there is not even one normal person?”
— Federico Fellini

The Promise
Damon Galgut

Definition of epigraph
1: an engraved inscription
2: a quotation set at the beginning of a literary work or one of its divisions to suggest its theme

Car as Status – Two References

Thunderbirds had been out for only a year now, since ‘55, and because they were new and there weren’t that many of them they were considered somewhat cooler than Corvettes. It was early evening. The Thunderbird was idling before a red light at the intersection, and from our perch behind the parapet we could hear the song on the radio – “Over the Mountains and across the Seas” – and hear too, just below the music, the full-throated purr of the engine. The black body glistened like obsidian. Blue smoke chugged from the twin exhausts. The top was rolled back. We could see the red leather upholstery and the blond man in the dinner jacket sitting in the driver’s seat. He was young and handsome and fresh. You could almost smell the Listerine on his breath, the Mennen on his cheeks. We were looking right down at him. With the palm of his left hand he kept the beat of the song against the steering wheel. His right arm rested on the back of the empty seat beside him, which would not remain empty for long. He was on his way to pick someone up.

We held no conference. One look was enough to see that he was everything we were not, his life a progress of satisfactions we had no hope of attaining in any future we could seriously propose for ourselves.

The first egg hit the street beside him. The second egg hit the front fender. The third egg hit the trunk and splattered his shoulders and neck and hair. We looked down just long enough to tally the damage before pulling our heads back. A moment passed. Then a howl rose skyward. No words – just one solitary soul cry of disbelief. We could still hear the music coming from his radio. The light must have changed, because a horn honked, and honked again, and someone yelled something, and another voice answered harshly, and the song was suddenly lost in the noise of engines.

This Boy’s Life
Tobias Wolff

I said, What’re you gonna do, man? Get a job up at the mall? Yeah, right, Chappie. The mall. The line forms at the end, man. They got fucking college graduates up there flipping Big Macs and carrying out the garbage. Forget it, man.

Well maybe you could sell your Camaro. You could get eight, nine hundred bucks easy for it. More maybe.

You bet your ass more. A grand and a half easy. But no fucking way, man. That car’s all I got between me and total nothingness.

Rule of the Bone
Russell Banks

March 9 – Calendar of Wisdom Quote, Tolstoy

War and Christianity are not compatible.

War is one of the worst, most terrible things in this world.

War in this world can be stopped not by the ruling establishment, but by those who suffer from the war. They will do the most natural thing: stop obeying orders.

The armed world and the wars it wages will be destroyed one day, but not by the kings or the rulers of this world. War is profitable for them. War will stop the moment the people who suffer from war fully understand that it is evil.

A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul, Written and Selected from the World’s Sacred Texts
Leo Tolstoy

“The thoughts of pure mathematics are true, not approximate or doubtful; they may not be the most interesting or important of God’s thoughts, but they are the only ones that we know exactly.” – Hilda Hudson

Her 1925 essay, “Mathematics and Eternity,” is a remarkable document of an intellectual world in which faith and science each felt some need to justify themselves to the other. “We can practice the presence of God in an algebra class,” she writes, “better than in Brother Lawrence’s Kitchen; and in the utter loneliness of an unfashionable corner of research work, better than on a mountain top.” Every mathematician, religious or not, will understand what she means in this should-be-famous epigram:

[T]he thoughts of pure mathematics are true, not approximate or doubtful; they may not be the most interesting or important of God’s thoughts, but they are the only ones that we know exactly.

Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else
Jordan Ellberg


In Praise of Bad Music – Proust Quote

Detest bad music if you will, but don’t hold it in contempt. As it is played and sung much more often and much more passionately than good music, so much more than the latter has it gradually been filled with the dreams and tears of mankind. For that reason you should venerate it. Its place, insignificant in the history of art, is huge in the sentimental history of societies. Respect for – I do not say love for – bad music is not merely a form of what might be called the charity of good taste or its scepticism, it is, more than that, the awareness of the importance of the social role of music. How many melodies, worthless in the eyes of an artist, become the confidants chosen by a whole host of romantic young men and of women in love.

Pleasures and Days
Marcel Proust

Halloween / Spooky Quote – The Willows, Algernon Blackwood

He lowered his voice at once to reply, leaning forward a little over the fire, an indefinable change in his face that made me avoid his eyes and look down upon the ground.

“All my life,” he said, “I have been strangely, vividly conscious of another region—not far removed from our own world in one sense, yet wholly different in kind—where great things go on unceasingly, where immense and terrible personalities hurry by, intent on vast purposes compared to which earthly affairs, the rise and fall of nations, the destinies of empires, the fate of armies and continents, are all as dust in the balance; vast purposes, I mean, that deal directly with the soul, and not indirectly with mere expressions of the soul—”

“I suggest just now—” I began, seeking to stop him, feeling as though I was face to face with a madman. But he instantly overbore me with his torrent that had to come.

“You think,” he said, “it is the spirit of the elements, and I thought perhaps it was the old gods. But I tell you now it is—neither. These would be comprehensible entities, for they have relations with men, depending upon them for worship or sacrifice, whereas these beings who are now about us have absolutely nothing to do with mankind, and it is mere chance that their space happens just at this spot to touch our own.”

The Willow
Algernon Blackwood

Remembering Youth from a Distance – Proust Quote

But for a little while now, I have begun to hear again very clearly, if I take care to listen, the sobs that I was strong enough to contain in front of my father and that broke out only when I found myself alone again with Mama. They have never really stopped; and it is only because life is now becoming quieter around me that I can hear them again, like those convent bells covered so well by the clamor of the town during the day that one would think they had ceased altogether but which begin sounding again in the silence of the evening.

Swann’s Way
Marcel Proust