Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Indifference

"What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who only has eyes, if he is a painter, or ears if he is a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he is a poet, or even, if he is a boxer, just his muscles? Far from it: at the same time he is also a political being, constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people, and with a cool indifference to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly? No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war. " - Pablo Picasso, fully Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso

"No one can ever heap enough insults upon me to suit my taste. I think we all really thrive on hostility, because it's the most intense kind of massage the ego can undergo. Other people's indifference is the only horror." - Paul Bowles

"In any activity, we have to know what to expect, how to reach our objectives and what capacity we possess for the proposed task. The only people who can say they have renounced the fruit are those who, thus equipped, feel no desire for the results of the conquest, and remain absorbed in combat. You can renounce the fruit, but this renunciation does not mean indifference toward the result." - Paulo Coelho

" The variety of life in nature can be compared to a vast library of unread books, and the plundering of nature is comparable to the random discarding of whole volumes without having opened them, and learned from them. Our critical dependence on the great variety of nature for the progress we have already made has been amply documented. Indifference to the loss of species is, in effect, indifference to the future, and therefore a shameful carelessness about our children." - Peter Matthiessen

"Against Nature's silence I use action. In the vast indifference I invent a meaning. I don't watch unmoved I intervene and say that this and this are wrong and I work to alter them and improve them. The important thing is to pull yourself up by your own hair to turn yourself inside out and see the whole world with fresh eyes. " - Peter Weiss, fully Peter Ulrich Weiss

"In general, people have not realized that one can express our very essence through neutral constructive elements; that is to say, we can express the essence of art. The essence of art of course in not often sought. As a rule, individualist human nature is so predominant, that the expression of the essence of art through a rhythm of lines, colors, and relationships appears insufficient. Recently, even a great artist has declared that ‘complete indifference to the subject leads to an incomplete form of art.’ But everybody agrees that art is only a problem of plastics. What good then is a subject? It is to be understand that one would need a subject to expound something named ‘Spiritual riches, human sentiments and thoughts.’ Obviously, all this is individual and needs particular forms. But at the root of these sentiments and thoughts there is one thought and one sentiment: those do not easily define themselves and have no need of analogous forms in which to express themselves. It is here that neutral plastic means are demanded. For pure art then, the subject can never be an additional value, it is the line, the color, and their relations which must ‘bring into play the whole sensual and intellectual register of the inner life…,’ not the subject. Both in abstract art and in naturalistic art color expresses itself ‘in accordance with the form by which it is determined,’ and in all art it is the artists task to make forms and colors living and capable of arousing emotion. If he makes art into an ‘algebraic equation’ that is no argument against the art, it only proves that he is not an artist." - Piet Mondrian, fully Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian

"He who arrives at the state of indifference without experiencing interest in life is incomplete and apt to be tempted by interest at any moment; but he who arrives at the state of indifference by going through interest really attains the blessed state." - Inayat Khan, aka Hazrat Inayat Khan, fully Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

"The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men [the wicked]." - Plato NULL

"Together we all sense our duty to preach. Faced with problems and disappointments, many people will try to escape from their responsibility: escape in selfishness, escape in sexual pleasure, escape in drugs, escape in violence, escape in indifference and cynical attitudes. But today, I propose to you the option of love, which is the opposite of escape. Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth- in a word, to know himself- so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves. " - Pope John Paul II, born Karol Józef Wojtyła, aka Saint John Paul the Great NULL

"Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be, nor in the theoretical or practical indifference towards the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being. . . True, Jesus has loved us with an immense, infinite love, and He came on earth to suffer and die so that, gathered around Him in justice and love, motivated by the same sentiments of mutual charity, all men might live in peace and happiness. But for the realization of this temporal and eternal happiness, He has laid down with supreme authority the condition that we must belong to His Flock, that we must accept His doctrine, that we must practice virtue, and that we must accept the teaching and guidance of Peter and his successors… He was as strong as he was gentle. He reproved, threatened, chastised, knowing, and teaching us that fear is the beginning of wisdom, and that it is sometimes proper for a man to cut off an offending limb to save his body. Finally, He did not announce for future society the reign of an ideal happiness from which suffering would be banished; but, by His lessons and by His example, He traced the path of the happiness which is possible on earth and of the perfect happiness in heaven… something quite different from an inconsistent and impotent humanitarianism." - Pope Pius X, aka Saint Pope Pius X and Pope of the Eucharist, born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto NULL

"I tell young people: Do not think of yourself, think of others. Think of the future that awaits you, think about what you can do and do not fear anything. Do not fear the difficulties: I've had many in the past and I crossed without fear, with total indifference for myself." - Rita Levi-Montalcini

"There is a manifest want of spiritual influence on the ministry of the present day. I feel it in my own case and I see it in that of others. I am afraid there is too much of a low, managing, contriving, maneuvering temper of mind among us. We are laying ourselves out more than is expedient to meet one man's taste and another man's prejudices. The ministry is a grand and holy affair, and it should find in us a simple habit of spirit and a holy but humble indifference to all consequences. A leading defect in Christian ministers is want of a devotional habit." - Richard Cecil

"The depreciation of Christianity by indifference is a more insidious and less curable evil than infidelity itself." - Richard Whately

"The liberality of some men is but indifference clad in the garb of candor." - Richard Whately

"Love gratified is love satisfied, and love satisfied is indifference begun." -

"Love gratified is love satisfied, and love satisfied is indifference begun." -

"I see that you are not sure of what you should do. You must remain steadfast, Monsieur. It would be a great wrong for you to leave and an irreparable scandal to the town and the Company. If you were to abandon the house, I do not think people would ever be willing to welcome us back. Fear not; calm will follow the storm, and perhaps soon." - Saint Vincent de Paul

"It is a dangerous policy to claim that we are acting improperly because of destiny or fate." - Shrimad Bhagavatam, or the Bhâgavata Purâna, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, or Bhāgavata NULL

"I was guilty of judging capitalism by its operations and socialism by its hopes and aspirations; capitalism by its works and socialism by its literature." - Sidney Hook

"It might be said of psychoanalysis that if you give it your little finger it will soon have your whole hand." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"That is why there is no hope for the vagrant as he stands before the magistrate. Even if, through his stammerings, he should utter a cry to pierce the soul, neither the magistrate nor the public will hear it. His cry is mute. And the afflicted are nearly always equally deaf to one another; and each of them, constrained by the general indifference, strives by means of self-delusion or forgetfulness to become deaf to his own self." - Simone Weil

"He held up the lantern, and his hand shook until the circles of light flickered and wavered all round us. Miss Morstan seized my wrist, and we all stood with thumping hearts, straining our ears. From the great black house there sounded through the silent night the saddest and most pitiful of sounds--the shrill, broken whimpering of a frightened woman." - Arthur Conan Doyle, fully Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

"Take a stress pill and think things over-- HAL in 2001" - Stanley Kubrick

"The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle." - Stanley Kubrick

"The whole idea of god is absurd. If anything, '2001' shows that what some people call 'god' is simply an acceptable term for their ignorance. What they don't understand, they call 'god' -Stanley Kubrick, interview, 1963" - Stanley Kubrick

"Offensiveness is distressing neglect of person." - Theophrastus NULL

"May our heart's garden of awakening bloom with hundreds of flowers." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"She was of the stuff of which great men's mothers are made. She was indispensable to high generation, hated at tea parties, feared in shops, and loved at crises." - Thomas Hardy

"In the use of force, one simplifies the situation by assuming that the evil to be overcome is clear-cut, definite, and irreversible. Hence there remains but one thing: to eliminate it. Any dialogue with the sinner, any question of the irreversibility of his act, only means faltering and failure. Failure to eliminate evil is itself a defeat. Anything that even remotely risks such defeat is in itself capitulation to evil. The irreversibility of evil then reaches out to contaminate even the tolerant thought of the hesitant crusader who, momentarily, doubts the total evil of the enemy he is about to eliminate." - Thomas Merton

"Funeral Blues - Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let aeropanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead. Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods; For nothing now can ever come to any good" - W. H. Auden, fully Wystan Hugh Auden

"Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding, no sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them, no more modest than immodest. Unscrew the locks from the doors! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs! Whoever degrades another degrades me, and whatever is done or said returns at last to me. Through me the afflatus surging and surging, through me the current and index." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"Without some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible. In order to conduct propaganda there must be some barrier between the public and the event." - Walter Lippmann

"Literature is the effort of man to indemnify himself for the wrongs of his condition." - Walter Savage Landor

"We must love one another or die." - W. H. Auden, fully Wystan Hugh Auden

"The Heart Center is a transpersonal dimension or level. The Initiation forces are conducted in the dimension of Sacred Space, not in time and space, so we enter another dimension to access those forces. Through the daily attunement to the Heart Center there is a long-term transformation of the ego which then begins not only to orient to the Transcendent, to be responsive to the Transcendent, but there is also a birth into the dedicated ego, which is a transcendent kind of development which is neither the vast Deity itself, nor is it the ego-self – it is someplace in between, and has access to all the richness of compassion and healing." - W. Brugh Joy, fully William Brugh Joy

"That scrawny cry—it was a chorister whose C preceded the choir. It was part of the colossal sun, surrounded by its choral rings, still far away. It was like a new knowledge of reality." - Wallace Stevens

"Nothing in life is trivial. Life is whole wherever and whenever we touch it, and one moment or event is not less sacred than another." - Vimala Thakar

"There is much unexplored potential in each human being. We are not just flesh and bone or an amalgamation of conditionings. If this were so, our future on this planet would not be very bright. But there is infinitely more to life, and each passionate being who dares to explore beyond the fragmentary and superficial into the mystery of totality helps all humanity perceive what it is to be fully human. Revolution, total revolution, implies experimenting with the impossible. And when an individual takes a step in the direction of the new, the impossible, the whole human race travels through that individual." - Vimala Thakar

"But one only woke people if one knew what one wanted to say to them. And she wanted to say not one thing, but everything. Little words that broke up the thought and dismembered it said nothing. 'About life, about death; about Mrs. Ramsay' – no, she thought, one could say nothing to nobody." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"I do not want to be admired. I want to give, to be given, and solitude in which to unfold my possessions." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"If I have accomplished anything good, then it's mainly because I've been driven by the need to know whether I can accomplish things I'm not sure I have the capacity for." - Václav Havel

"Power is, therefore, a word which we may use both in an active and in a passive signification; and in psychology we may apply it both to the active faculty and to the passive capacity of the mind." - William Hamilton, fully Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet

"When a teacher of the future comes to point out to the youth of America how the highest rewards of intellect and devotion can be gained, he may say to them, not by subtlety and intrigue not by wire pulling and demagoguery not by the arts of popularity not by skill and shiftiness in following expediency but by being firm in devotion to the principles of manhood and the application of morals and the courage of righteousness in the public life of our country by being a man without guile and without fear, without selfishness, and with devotion to duty, devotion to his country." - Elihu Root

"To-day the houses seemed taller and farther apart; the street wider and full of bright, clear light that cast no shadows and was never sunshine. Under archways and between the houses the distances had a curious transparency, as though they had been painted upon glass. Against the luminous and indeterminate sky the Abbey tower rose distinct and delicate." - Elizabeth Bowen, Full name Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen

"Each time I think of the essential, I seem to glimpse it in silence or explosion, in stupor or exclamation. Never in speech." - Emil M. Cioran

"My love for the alphabet, which endures, grew out of reciting it but, before that, out of seeing the letters on the page. In my own story books, before I could read them for myself I fell in love with various winding, enchanted-looking initials drawn by Walter Crane at the head of fairy tales. In Once upon a time, an o had a rabbit running it as a treadmill, his feet upon flowers. When the day came years later for me to see the Book of Kells, all the wizardry of letter, initial, and word swept over me a thousand times, and the illumination, the gold, seemed a part of the world's beauty and holiness that had been there from the start." - Eudora Welty

"I fell, giving the arm at least a million stairs | and now you're not there is a vacuum at each step ." - Eugenio Montale