Astounding Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 84 quotes )
I'm astounded whenever I finish something. Astounded and distressed. My perfectionist instinct should inhibit me from finishing: it should inhibit me from even beginning. But I get distracted and start doing something. What I achieve is not the product of an act of my will but of my will's surrender. I begin because I don't have the strength to think; I finish because I don't have the courage to quit. This book is my cowardice.
But the forces of evil have not abdicated. The malevolent ghosts of hatred are resurgent with a fury and a boldness that are as astounding as they are nauseating: ethnic conflicts, religious riots, anti-Semitic incidents here, there, and everywhere. What is wrong with these morally degenerate people that they abuse their freedom, so recently won?
Daniel was slow to take up the cheer. But when he did, he meant it. This was politics. It was ugly, it was irrational, but it was preferable to war. Roger was being cheered because he had won. What did it mean to win? It meant being cheered. So Daniel huzzahed, as lustily as his dry pipes and creaky ribs would permit, and was astounded to see the way people came a-running: not only the Quality from their town-houses, but hooligans and Vagabonds from bonfire-strewn fields to the north, to throng around Roger and cheer him. Not because they agreed with his positions, or even knew who he was, but because he was plainly enough the man of the hour.
The life so brief, the art so long in the learning, the attempt so hard, the conquest so sharp, the fearful joy that ever slips away so quickly - by all this I mean love, which so sorely astounds my feeling with its wondrous operation, that when I think upon it I scarce know whether I wake or sleep.
A good deed, "said the prophet Mohammed, "is one that brings a smile of joy to the face of another." Why will doing a good deed every day produce such astounding efforts on the doer? Because trying to please others will cause us to stop thinking of ourselves: the very thing that produces worry and fear and melancholia.
Take a moment from time to time to remember that you are alive. I know this sounds a trifle obvious, but it is amazing how little time we take to remark upon this singular and gratifying fact. By the most astounding stroke of luck an infinitesimal portion of all the matter in the universe came together to create you and for the tiniest moment in the great span of eternity you have the incomparable privilege to exist.
From jygging vaines of riming mother wits, And such conceits as clownage keepes in pay, Weele leade you to the stately tent of War: Where you shall heare the Scythian Tamburlaine, Threatning the world with high astounding tearms. And scourging kingdoms with his conquering sword. View but his picture in this tragicke glasse, And then applaud his fortunes if you please.
You know, when one's in love,' I said, 'and things go all wrong, one's terribly unhappy and one thinks one won't ever get over it. But you'll be astounded to learn what the sea will do.' What do you mean?' she smiled. Well, love isn't a good sailor and it languishes on a sea voyage. You'll be surprised when you have the Atlantic between you and Larry to find how slight the pang is that before you sailed seemed intolerable.
At that time, he was satisfying a sensual curiosity by experiencing the pleasures of people who live for love. He had believed he could stop there, that he would not be obliged to learn their sorrows; how small a thing her charm was for him now compared with the astounding terror that extended out from it like a murky halo, the immense anguish of not knowing at every moment what she had been doing, of not possessing her everywhere and always!
Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life's quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result -- eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly -- in you.
My grandfather used to say: Life is astoundingly short. To me, looking back over it, life seems so foreshortened that I scarcely understand, for instance, how a young man can decide to ride over to the next village without being afraid that -not to mention accidents- even the span of a normal happy life may fall far short of the time needed for such a journey.
Three times a day Petrovich showed up at the nurse’s office for his injections, always using the hypodermic needle himself like the most craven of junkies, though after shooting up he would play the concert piano in the auditorium with astounding artistry, as though insulin were the elixir of genius.
If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal- that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality. Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated by man to man. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.
She has never been a pretty crier. She sobbed the way she did everything else - with passion and excess. That she had managed to keep it inside her this long was astounding to James. He thought of pushing open the half-closed door and kneeling before his wife, wrapping his arms around her shoulders and helping her upstairs. He raised his hand, stroking the wood of the door, planning to say something to calm her. But what wisdom could he offer Gus, when he could not even heed it himself? James walked upstairs again, got into bed, covered his head with a pillow. And hours later, when Gus crept beneath the sheets, he tried to pretend that he did not feel the weight of her grief, lying between them like a fitful child, so solid that he could not reach past it to touch her.
There are always more questions. Science as a process is never complete. It is not a foot race, with a finish line.... People will always be waiting at a particular finish line: journalists with their cameras, impatient crowds eager to call the race, astounded to see the scientists approach, pass the mark, and keep running. It's a common misunderstanding, he said. They conclude there was no race. As long as we won't commit to knowing everything, the presumption is we know nothing.
Reading, therefore, is a co-production between writer and reader. The simplicity of this tool is astounding. So little, yet out of it whole worlds, eras, characters, continents, people never encountered before, people you wouldn’t care to sit next to in a train, people that don’t exist, places you’ve never visited, enigmatic fates, all come to life in the mind, painted into existence by the reader’s creative powers. In this way the creativity of the writer calls up the creativity of the reader. Reading is never passive.
Marrying cousins was astoundingly common into the nineteenth century, and nowhere is this better illustrated than with the Darwins and their cousins the Wedgwoods (of pottery fame). Charles married his first cousin Emma Wedgwood, daughter of his beloved Uncle Josiah. Darwin's sister Caroline, meanwhile, married Josiah Wedgwood III, Emma's brother and the Darwin siblings' joint first cousin. Another of Emma's brothers, Henry, married not a Darwin but a first cousin from another branch of his own Wedgwood family, adding another strand to the family's wondrously convoluted genetics. Finally, Charles Langton, who was not related to either family, first married Charlotte Wedgwood, another daughter of Josiah and cousin of Charles, and then upon Charlotte's death married Darwin's sister Emily, thus becoming, it seems, his sister-in-law's sister-in-law's husband and raising the possibility that any children of the union would be their own first cousins.
He did. He researched her. Someone told him that she had a special interest in John Milton. It did not take long to discover the century to which this man belonged. A third-year literature student in Bear?s college who owed him a favor (for procuring tickets to a Cream concert) gave him an hour on Milton, what to read, what to think. He read?Comu? and was astounded by its silliness. He read through?Lycidas??Samson Agonistes? and?Il Penseros? stilted and rather prissy in parts, he thought. He fared better with?Paradise Los? and, like many before him, preferred Sata?s party to Go?s. He, Beard, that is, memorized passages that appeared to him intelligent and especially sonorous. He read a biography, and four essays that he had been told were pivotal. The reading took him one long week. He came close to being thrown out of an antiquarian bookshop in the Turl when he casually asked for a first edition of?Paradise Lost? He tracked down a kindly tutor who knew about buying old books and confided to him that he wanted to impress a girl with a certain kind of present, and was directed to a bookshop in Covent Garden where he spent half a ter?s money on an eighteenth-century edition of?Areopagitica? When he speed-read it on the train back to Oxford, one of the pages cracked in two. He repaired it with Sellotape.
Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth’s mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stuck fast, untimely wounded or otherwise deflected from its life’s quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result - eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly - in you.