How mysterious in this human life, with all its diversities of contrast and compensation; this web of checkered destinies,; this sphere of manifold allotment, where man lives in his greatness and grossness, a little lower than the angels, a little higher than the brutes.
Nothing serves better to illustrate a man’s character than the things which he finds ridiculous. the ridiculous arises from a moral contrast which is innocently placed before the senses. The sensual man will often laugh when there is nothing to laugh at. Whatever it may be that moves him, he will always reveal the fact that he is pleased with himself.
I have often seen individuals who simply outgrow a problem which had destroyed others. This ‘outgrowing’, revealed itself on further experience to be the raising of the level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest arose on the person’s horizon, and through the widening of his view, the insoluble problem, lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out in contrast to a new and strong life-tendency. It was not repressed and made unconscious, but merely appeared in a different light, and so became different itself. What, on a lower level, had led the wildest conflicts and emotions full of panic, viewed from the higher level of the personality, now seemed like a storm in the valley seen from a high mountain top. This does not mean that the thunderstorm is robbed of its reality; it means that instead of being in it, one is now above it.
One of the favorite maxims of my father was the distinction between the two sorts of truths, profound truths recognized by the fact that the opposite is also a profound truth, in contrast to trivialities where opposites are obviously absurd.
The more a man desirous to pass at a value above his worth, and can, by dignified silence, contrast with the garrulity of trivial minds, the more will the world give him credit for the wealth he does not possess.
It is impossible to conceive any contrast more entire and absolute than that which exists between a heart glowing with love to God, and a heart in which the love of money has cashiered all sense of God - His love, His presence, His glory; and which is no sooner relieved from the mockery of a tedious round of religious formalism than it reverts to the sanctuaries where its wealth is invested, with an intenseness of homage surpassing that of the most devout Israelite who ever, from a foreign land, turned his longing eyes toward Jerusalem.
Humor results from the contrast between a thing as it is and a thing smashed out of shape, as it ought not to be.
The sphere of poetry does not lie outside the world as a fantastic impossibility spawned by a poet’s brain: it desires to be just the opposite, the unvarnished expression of the truth, and must precisely for that reason discard the mendacious finery of that alleged reality of the man of culture. The contrast between this real truth of nature and the lie of culture that poses as if it were the only reality is similar to that between the eternal core of things, the thing-in-itself, and the whole world of appearances.
In its purest form music is not a representational but rather a nonobjective, nonverbal world, it is a world of its own, almost a creatio ex hihilo, an occasion for immediacy of experience, a nonreducible mode of beauty, of contrast and resolution, of order and ecstasy flowing through and beyond the order. Order, and ecstasy rooted in order: that sounds like the relation between law and love, law and gospel.
So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes, to increase luxury and make sharper the contrast between the House of Have and the House of Want, progress is not real and cannot be permanent. The reaction must come. The tower leans from its foundation, and every new story but hastens the final catastrophe.
For the seeker, contrast is the mother of clarity.
The divine in the creation is only adequately represented when the whole of the time-process is gathered up into its final meaning and purpose, when, in fact, the mode of becoming is united with the mode of being. This I conceive to be the eternal world – not a world of immobility in contrast with a world of change, but a world in which the antinomy of becoming and being, of motion and rest, is transcended.
What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.
In contrast to symbiotic union, mature love is union under the condition of preserving one's integrity, one's individuality. Love is an active power in man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow men, which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity. In love, the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.
stands in the sharpest possible contrast to freedom,
A race preserves its vigor so long as it harbors a real contrast between what has been and what may be, and so long as it nerved by the vigor to adventure beyond the safeties of the past. Without adventure, civilization is in full decay.
A race preserves its vigor so long as it harbors a real contrast between what has been and what may be, and so long as it is nerved by the vigor to adventure beyond the safeties of the past. Without adventure, civilization is in full decay.
The whole record of civilization is a record of the failure of money as a higher incentive. The enormous majority of men never make any serious effort to get rich. The few who are sordid enough to do so easily become millionaires with a little luck, and astonish the others by the contrast between their riches and their stupidity... The belief in money as an incentive is founded on the observation that people will do for money what they will not do for anything else.
The notion that there is and can be but one time, and that half of it is always intrinsically past and the other half always intrinsically future, belongs to the normal pathology of an animal mind: it marks the egoistical outlook of an active being endowed with imagination. Such a being will project the moral contrast produced by his momentary absorption in action upon the conditions and history of that action, and upon the universe at large. A perspective of hope and one of reminiscence divide for him a specious eternity; and for him the dramatic centre of existence, though always a different point in physical time, will always be precisely in himself.
Creative people have always felt separated from their societies. It’s as if they see too well the contrast between what is and what could be.