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Favorite Quotes from Favorite Books

PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:45 pm
by Daywhite
Talking with a friend about John Steinbeck got me to thinking of particular parts of certain books that I love. Add yours, any book, any author. Below is quite possibly my favorite couple of paragraphs from anything I've ever read.

John Steinbeck -- East of Eden

"Our species...has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.

And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what i am and what i am about. I can see why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for that is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost."

Re: Favorite Quotes from Favorite Books

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:20 pm
by mirjana
Very good topic, Daywhite. I was wondering what could be my favorite quote. Then I realized that after so many books and remembered and after that forgotten quotes, how to remember the one that expresses that what touches the deepest part of my being.
Then, it happens today (synchronicity at work), that I came to Paul Watson's book "Seal Wars". I cannot say that this book belongs to one of my favorite, although I love it as I am a huge admirer of him and of the idea he stands for. But, that what he said at the end of that book absolutely corresponds to that what I have always stood for and I do the same today and I realize that this quote expresses many other realizations I have had in a different way from other books read before.
I posted it under another topic in Civil Courage.
But here it is for this topic too.

From "Seal Wars" by Paul Watson

"When I first took up the challenge of fighting the seal hunt, I was twenty-four and full of optimism that we could shut it down and bring an end to the killing. Now, at fifty-one, I am beginning to accept that the killing will most likely not end in my lifetime. The masacre of the seals had been renewed with a vengeance. The slaughter of the whales has escalated. Fish populations are crashing worldwide. It is the revelation of my own helplessness that hurts me now. What difference did it all make? Perhaps, I should have just become like the peole I've been fighting all my life- the uncaring, materialistic, what's-in-it-for-me types.
But then, closing my eyes, I hear the words I heard in a vision so many years before:" You do what you must because it is the only thing you can do. It is the right thing to do, the just thing to do. You are a warrior for the Earth. You will live the life of a warrior and you will die a warrior's death"
This cause is bigger and more important than any of its participants. It is in fact an epic struggle - a clasic clash between right and wrong, between good and evil. It is a crusade to defend kotik, the Lamb of God.
And thus I have been a shepherd, and I have tried to be a good shepherd and to defend as many of my flock as I can".

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Re: Favorite Quotes from Favorite Books

PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 3:55 pm
by Sabina
From A Confession, by Leo Tolstoy
At twenty-six years of age I returned to Petersburg after the war, and met the writers. They received me as one of themselves and flattered me. And before I had time to look round I had adopted the views on life of the set of authors I had come among, and these views completely obliterated all my former strivings to improve--they furnished a theory which justified the dissoluteness of my life.

The view of life of these people, my comrades in authorship, consisted in this: that life in general goes on developing, and in this development we--men of thought--have the chief part; and among men of thought it is we - artists and poets - who have the greatest influence.

Our vocation is to teach mankind. And lest the simple question should suggest itself: What do I know, and what can I teach? it was explained in this theory that this need not be known, and that the artist and poet teach unconsciously. I was considered an admirable artist and poet, and therefore it was very natural for me to adopt this theory. I, artist and poet, wrote and taught without myself knowing what. For this I was paid money; I had excellent food, lodging, women, and society; and I had fame, which showed that what I taught was very good.

This faith in the meaning of poetry and in the development of life was a religion, and I was one of its priests. To be its priest was very pleasant and profitable. And I lived a considerable time in this faith without doubting its validity. But in the second and still more in the third year of this life I began to doubt the infallibility of this religion and to examine it. My first cause of doubt was that I began to notice that the priests of this religion were not all in accord among themselves. Some said: We are the best and most useful teachers; we teach what is needed, but the others teach wrongly. Others said: No! we are the real teachers, and you teach wrongly. and they disputed, quarrelled, abused, cheated, and tricked one another. There were also many among us who did not care who was right and who was wrong, but were simply bent on attaining their covetous aims by means of this activity of ours. All this obliged me to doubt the validity of our creed.

Moreover, having begun to doubt the truth of the authors' creed itself, I also began to observe its priests more attentively, and I became convinced that almost all the priests of that religion, the writers, were immoral, and for the most part men of bad, worthless character, much inferior to those whom I had met in my former dissipated and military life; but they were self-confident and self-satisfied as only those can be who are quite holy or who do not know what holiness is. These people revolted me, I became revolting to myself, and I realized that that faith was a fraud.

But strange to say, though I understood this fraud and renounced it, yet I did not renounce the rank these people gave me: the rank of artist, poet, and teacher. I naively imagined that I was a poet and artist and could teach everybody without myself knowing what I was teaching, and I acted accordingly.

From my intimacy with these men I acquired a new vice: abnormally developed pride and an insane assurance that it was my vocation to teach men, without knowing what.

Re: Favorite Quotes from Favorite Books

PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 6:09 pm
by tcm2164
From: The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
[A book written by a foot-soldier about the Viet Nam war]

They carried all the emotional baggage of men would might die. Grief, terror, love, longing - these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own weight. They carried shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice barely restrained, the instinct to run or freeze or hide, and in many respects this was the heaviest burden of all, for it could never be put down, it required perfect balance and perfect posture. They carried their reputations. They carried the soldier's greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed no to. It was what brought them to the war in the first place, nothing positive, no dreams of glory or honor, just to avoid the blush of dishonor. They died so as not to die of embarrassment.

Re: Favorite Quotes from Favorite Books

PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 6:23 pm
by tcm2164
A quote from the book, Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Page 1 -
Our age is retrospective. It builds on the sepulchres [tombs] of our fathers....The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their [our forefathers] eyes. Why should we not enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?....Why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines today also. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.

Re: Favorite Quotes from Favorite Books

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:07 am
by Sabina

From Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist"

The only things that concerned the sheep were food and water. As long as the boy knew how to find the best pastures in Andalusia , they would be his friends. Yes, their days were all the same, with the seemingly endless hours between sunrise and dusk; and they had never read a book in their young lives, and didn't understand when the boy told them about the sights of the cities. They were content with just food and water, and, in exchange, they generously gave of their wool, their company, and—once in a while—their meat.

If I became a monster today, and decided to kill them, one by one, they would become aware only after most of the flock had been slaughtered, thought the boy. They trust me, and they've forgotten how to rely on their own instincts, because I lead them to nourishment.

(More quotes from the same book to follow.)