The written word has taught me to listen to the human voice, much as the great unchanging statues have taught me to appreciate bodily motion. On the other hand, but more slowly, life has thrown light for me on the meaning of books.
Emperors are necessarily wretched men since only their assassination can convince the public that the conspiracies against their lives are real.
For mature thought there is no mechanical substitute.
Their silence was of no ordinary kind.
Oh, who can tell? Not thou, luxurious slave!
Whose soul would sicken o’er the heaving wave;
Not thou, vain lord of wantonness and ease!
Whom slumber soothes not — pleasure cannot please —
Oh, who can tell, save he whose heart hath tried,
And danced in triumph o’er the waters wide;
The exulting sense — the pulse’s maddening play,
That thrills the wanderer of that trackless way?
If this hell’s-dance of spending and saving were to stop for a moment, what would happen? If all the advertising in the world were to shut down tomorrow, would people still go on buying more soap, eating more apples, giving their children more vitamins, roughage, milk, olive oil, scooters and laxatives, learning more languages by gramophone, hearing more virtuosos by radio, re-decorating their houses, refreshing themselves with more non-alcoholic thirst-quenchers, cooking more new, appetizing dishes, affording themselves that little extra touch which means so much? Or would the whole desperate whirligig slow down, and the exhausted public relapse upon plain grub and elbow-grease?
A citizen of London, being in the country, and hearing a horse neigh, exclaimed, Lord! how that horse laughs! A by-stander telling him that noise was called neighing, the next morning, when the cock crowed, the citizen to shew he had not forgot what was told him, cried out, Do you hear how the cock neighs? [fiat “Cockney”]
Nobody these days holds the written word in such high esteem as police states do,“ Arkadian Porphyrich says. "What statistic allows one to identify the nations where literature enjoys true consideration better than the sums appropriated for controlling it and suppressing it? Where it is the object of such attentions, literature gains an extraordinary authority, inconceivable in countries where it is allowed to vegetate as an innocuous pastime, without risks.
All the elements that make what I write recognizable as mine seem to me a cage that restricts my possibilities. If I were only a hand, a severed hand that grasps a pen and writes… Who would move this hand? The anonymous throng? The spirit of the times? The collective unconscious? I do not know. It is not in order to be the spokesman for something definable that I would like to erase myself. Only to transmit the writable that waits to be written, the tellable that nobody tells.
When he arrived at a clearing, he saw a dragon holding a lion by the tail and burning its flanks with its flaming breath. My lord Yvain did not waste time observing this marvel. He asked himself which of the two he would help. Then he determined that he would take the lion’s part, since a venomous and wicked creature deserves only harm: the dragon was venomous, and fire leapt from its mouth because it was so full of wickedness.