Reputation

I am ignorant of how I was formed and how I was born. Through a quarter of my lifetime I was absolutely ignorant of the reasons for everything I saw and heard and felt, and was merely a parrot prompted by other parrots... When I sought to advance along that infinite course, I could neither find one single footpath or fully discover one single object, and from the upward leap I made to contemplate eternity I fell back into the abyss of my ignorance.

When the first savage saw his hut destroyed by a bolt of lightning, he fell down upon his face in terror. He had no conception of natural forces, of laws of electricity ; he saw this event as the act of an individual intelligence. To-day we read about fairies and demons, dryads and fauns and satyrs, Wotan and Thor and Vulcan, Freie and Flora and Ceres, and we think of all these as pretty fancies, play-products of the mind; losing sight of the fact that they were originally meant with entire seriousness—that not merely did ancient man believe in them, but was forced to believe in them, because the mind must have an explanation of things that happen, and an individual intelligence was the only explanation available. The story of the hero who slays the devouring dragon was not merely a symbol of day and night, of summer and winter; it was a literal explanation of the phenomena, it was the science of early times.

One should not let one’s mind to be overcome by melancholy. Melancholy or moroseness is a very bad thing. It kills (destroys) a man just as an angered serpent kills a child.

You may be sure that we are as well aware as you of the difficulty of contending against your power and fortune, unless the terms be equal. But we trust that the gods may grant us fortune as good as yours, since we are just men fighting against unjust, and that what we want in power will be made up by the alliance of the Lacedaemonians, who are bound, if only for very shame, to come to the aid of their kindred. Our confidence, therefore, after all is not so utterly irrational.

A soldier's a man, o, man's life's but a span, why then, let a soldier drink. Othello, Act ii, Scene 3

And simple truth miscalled simplicity, and captive good attending captain ill.

Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. Julius Caesar, Act iii, Scene 2

In modern eyes, precious though wars may be they must not be waged solely for the sake of the ideal harvest. Only when forced upon one, is a war now thought permissible. It was not thus in ancient times. The earlier men were hunting men, and to hunt a neighboring tribe, kill the males, loot the village and possess the females, was the most profitable, as well as the most exciting, way of living. Thus were the more martial tribes selected, and in chiefs and peoples a pure pugnacity and love of glory came to mingle with the more fundamental appetite for plunder. Modern war is so expensive that we feel trade to be a better avenue to plunder; but modern man inherits all the innate pugnacity and all the love of glory of his ancestors. Showing war's irrationality and horror is of no effect on him. The horrors make the fascination. War is the strong life; it is life in extremis; war taxes are the only ones men never hesitate to pay, as the budgets of all nations show us.

The art of putting well into play mediocre qualities often begets more reputation than true merit achieves.

The art of using moderate abilities to advantage wins praise, and often acquires more reputation than actual brilliancy.

The blindness of men is the most dangerous effect of their pride; it seems to nourish and augment it; it deprives them of knowledge of remedies which can solace their miseries and can cure their faults.

It is the veiled angel of sorrow who plucks away one thing and another that bound us here in ease and security, and, in the vanishing of these dear objects, indicates the true home of our affections and our peace.

Now examine the gentlemen of the present age. They only know thar wives must be controlled, and that the husband's rules of conduct manifesting his authority must be established. They therefore teach their boys to read books and study histories. But they do not in the least understand that husbands and masters must also be served, and that the proper relationship and the rites should be maintained. Yet only to teach men and not to teach women -- is that not ignoring the essential relation between them? According to the "Rites," it is the rule to begin to teach children to read at the age of eight years, and by the age of fifteen years they ought then to be ready for cultural training. Only why should it not be that girls' education as well as boys' be according to this principle?

On the third day after the birth of a girl the ancients observed three customs: first to place the baby below the bed; second to give her a potsherd [a piece of broken pottery] with which to play; and third to announce her birth to her ancestors by an offering. Now to lay the baby below the bed plainly indicated that she is lowly and weak, and should regard it as her primary duty to humble herself before others. To give her potsherds with which to play indubitably signified that she should practice labor and consider it her primary duty to be industrious. To announce her birth before her ancestors clearly meant that she ought to esteem as her primary duty the continuation of the observance of worship in the home.

Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living! You said I killed you — haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe — I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always — take any form — drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!

Why did you betray your own heart Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. ... You loved me - then what right had you to leave me? Because ... nothing God or satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of you own will, did it. I have not broken your heart - you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you - oh God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave? [...] I forgive what you have done to me. I love my murderer - but yours! How can I?

We hackers are a playful bunch; we'll hack anything, including language, if it looks like fun (thus our tropism for puns). Deep down, we like confusing people who are stuffier and less mentally agile than we are, especially when they're bosses. There's a little bit of the mad scientist in all hackers, ready to discombobulate the world and flip authority the finger — especially if we can do it with snazzy special effects.

I think that taking life seriously means something such as this: that whatever man does on this planet has to be done in the lived truth of the terror of creation, of the grotesque, of the rumble of panic underneath everything. Otherwise it is false. Whatever is achieved must be achieved with the full exercise of passion, of vision, of pain, of fear, and of sorrow. How do we know ... that our part of the meaning of the universe might not be a rhythm in sorrow?

And so my thoughts have lead me to believe that childless men and women lead lives more fortunate than those with sons and daughters.

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.