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The six elephants stood, roped each by the foreleg side by side in the vast thirty-foot tent put up several days since for their comfort; their trunks peacefully swaying as the cowardie scuttled back and forth with limp forkloads of hay. Small puffs of steam came from their mouths. Their breath was sweet, filling the sun-warmed, crisp air; and their hides, soothed, clean and lustrous from the water, lay calm on their great hips like the skin of the moon. Only at the end of the line the great bull stirred a little, the towering back swathed and padded and the knowing eye blurred.
That it doesn’t strike us at all when we look around us, move about in space, feel our own bodies, etc. etc., shows how natural these things are to us. We do not notice that we see space perspectivally or that our visual field is in some sense blurred towards the edges. It doesn’t strike us and never can strike us because it is the way we perceive. We never give it a thought and it’s impossible we should, since there is nothing that contrasts with the form of our world. What I wanted to say is it’s strange that those who ascribe reality only to things and not to our ideas move about so unquestioningly in the world as idea and never long to escape from it.
I am not sure whether I can make you understand it. It was something more than a prudent desire to avoid creatures alien in kind, very powerful, and very intelligent. The truth was that all I heard about them served to connect two things which one's mind tends to keep separate, and that connecting gave one sort of a shock. We tend to think about non-human intelligences in two distinct categories which we label "scientific" and "supernatural" respectively. We think, in one mood, of Mr. Wells' Martians (very unlike the real Malacandrians, by the bye), or his Selenites. In quite a different mood we let our minds loose on the possibility of angels, ghosts, fairies, and the like. But the very moment we are compelled to recognise a creature in either class as real, the distinction begins to get blurred: and when it is a creature like an eldil the distinction vanishes altogether. These things were not animals-to that extent one had to classify them with the second group; but they had some kind of material vehicle whose presence could (in principle) be scientifically verified. To that extent they belonged to the first group. The distinction between natural and supernatural, in fact, broke down; and when it had done so, one realised how great a comfort it had been-how it had eased the burden of intolerable strangeness which this universe imposes on us by dividing it into two halves and encouraging the mind never to think of both in the same context.
Charles loved her voice. It was so soft and blurred, like pastels. It made his neck tingle just to listen to her. It gave him the same delicious feeling he had as he hovered on the brink of sleep and this feeling - until now - had been the single most pleasant feeling in his life. It was the voice that coloured everything he now thought about her. It was shy and tentative and musical. Sometimes he did not manage to hear the words she said, but he did not let on about his deafness.
There is no such thing as originality. It has all been said before, suffered before. If a person knows that, is it any wonder love becomes mechanical and death just a scene to be shunned? There is no absolute knowledge to be gained from either. Just another ride on the merry-go-round, another blurred scene of faces smiling and faces grieved.
Remembering the ball became for Emma a daily occupation. Every time Wednesday came round, she told herself when she woke up: 'Ah! One week ago...two weeks ago...three weeks ago, I was there!' And, little by little, in her memory, the faces all blurred together; she forgot the tunes of the quadrilles; no longer could she so clearly picture the liveries and the rooms; some details disappeared, but the yearning remained.
Days and nights passed over this despair of flesh, but one morning he awoke, looked (with calm now) at the blurred things that lay about him, and felt, inexplicably, the way one might feel upon recognizing a melody or a voice, that all this had happened to him before and that he had faced it with fear but also with joy and hopefulness and curiosity. Then he descended into his memory, which seemed to him endless, and managed to draw up from that vertigo the lost remembrance that gleamed like a coin in the rain - perhaps because he had never really looked at it except (perhaps) in a dream.
This is the main advantage of ether: it makes you behave like the village drunkard in some early Irish novel... total loss of all basic motor skills: Blurred vision, no balance, numb tongue - severance of all connection between the body and the brain. Which is interesting, because the brain continues to function more or less normally... you can actually watch yourself behaving in the terrible way, but you can't control it.
The book I'm looking for,' says the blurred figure, who holds out a volume similar to yours, 'is the one that gives the sense of the world after the end of the world, the sense that the world is the end of everything that there is in the world, that the only thing there is in the world is the end of the world.
Thank you for inviting me here today " I said my voice sounding nothing like me. "I'm here to testify about things I've seen and experienced myself. I'm here because the human race has become more powerful than ever. We've gone to the moon. Our crops resist diseases and pests. We can stop and restart a human heart. And we've harvested vast amounts of energy for everything from night-lights to enormous super-jets. We've even created new kinds of people, like me."But everything mankind" - I frowned - "personkind has accomplished has had a price. One that we're all gonna have to pay." I heard coughing and shifting in the audience. I looked down at my notes and all the little black words blurred together on the page. I just could not get through this. I put the speech down picked up the microphone and came out from behind the podium. "Look " I said. "There's a lot of official stuff I could quote and put up on the screen with PowerPoint. But what you need to know what the world needs to know is that we're really destroying the earth in a bigger and more catastrophic was than anyone has ever imagined."I mean I've seen a lot of the world the only world we have. There are so many awesome beautiful tings in it. Waterfalls and mountains thermal pools surrounded by sand like white sugar. Field and field of wildflowers. Places where the ocean crashes up against a mountainside like it's done for hundreds of thousands of years. "I've also seen concrete cities with hardly any green. And rivers whose pretty rainbow surfaces came from an oil leak upstream. Animals are becoming extinct right now in my lifetime. Just recently I went through one of the worst hurricanes ever recorded. It was a whole lot worse because of huge worldwide climatic changes caused by... us. We the people." .... "A more perfect union While huge corporations do whatever they want to whoever they want and other people live in subway tunnels Where's the justice of that Kids right here in America go to be hungry every night while other people get four-hundred-dollar haircuts. Promote the general welfare Where's the General welfare in strip-mining toxic pesticides industrial solvents being dumped into rivers killing everything Domestic Tranquility Ever sleep in a forest that's being clear-cut You'd be hearing chain saws in your head for weeks. The blessings of liberty Yes. I'm using one of the blessings of liberty right now my freedom of speech to tell you guys who make the laws that the very ground you stand on the house you live in the children you tuck in at night are all in immediate catastrophic danger.
Few people ask from books what books can give us. Most commonly we come to books with blurred and divided minds, asking of fiction that it shall be true, of poetry that it shall be false, of biography that it shall be flattering, of history that it shall enforce our own prejudices. If we could banish all such preconceptions when we read, that would be an admirable beginning.
Marriage is what happens "between the memorable." He said that we often look back on our marriages years later, perhaps after one spouse has died, and wall we can recall are "the vacations, and emergencies" - the high points and low points. The rest of it blends into a blurry sort of daily sameness. But it is that very blurred sameness, the poet argues, that comprises marriage. Marriage is those two thousand indistinguishable conversations, chatted over two thousand indistinguishable breakfasts, where intimacy turns like a slow wheel. How do you measure the worth of becoming that familiar to somebody- so utterly well known and so thoroughly ever-present, that you become an almost invisible necessity, like air?
Sometimes, after they'd done the shopping, they would stop, each with his or her cart, in front of a bookstore that carried the paperback edition of his book. His wife would point to it and say: you're still there. Invariably, he would nod and then they would continue browsing the mall stores. Did he know her or didn't he? He knew her, of course he did, it was just that sometimes reality, the same little reality that served to anchor reality, seemed to fade around the edges, as if the passage of time had a porous effect on things, and blurred and made more insubstantial what was itself already, by its very nature, insubstantial and satisfactory and real.
Work, then, institutionalizes homicide as a way of life. People think the Cambodians were crazy for exterminating themselves, but are we any different? The Pol Pot regime at least had a vision, however blurred, of an egalitarian society. We kill people in the six-figure range (at least) in order to sell Big Macs and Cadillacs to the survivors. Our forty or fifty thousand annual highway fatalities are victims, not martyrs. They died for nothing? or rather, they died for work. But work is nothing to die for.
Those final weeks, spanning end of summer and the beginning of another autumn, are blurred in memory, perhaps because our understanding of each other had reached that sweet depth where two people communicate more often in silence than in words: an affectionate quietness replaces the tensions, the unrelaxed chatter and chasing about that produce a friendship’s more showy, more, in the surface sense, dramatic moments.
While she strode rapidly through the ward to the door at the other end, she was able to see that every bed or cot held an infant or a small child in whom the human template had been wrenched out of pattern, sometimes horribly, sometimes slightly. A baby like a comma, great lolling head on a stalk of a body... then something like a stick insect, enormous bulging eyes among stiff fragilities that were limbs... a small girl all blurred, her flesh guttering and melting - a doll with chalky swollen limbs, its eyes wide and blank, like blue ponds, and its mouth open, showing a swollen little tongue. A lanky boy was skewed, one half of his body sliding from the other. A child seemed at first glance normal, but then Harriet saw there was no back to its head; it was all face, which seemed to scream at her.
Who are you in love with?" I said then. For a minute Marco didn't say anything, he simply opened his mouth and breathed out a blue, vaporous ring."Perfect!" he laughed. The ring widened and blurred, ghost-pale on the dark air. Then he said, "I am in love with my cousin."I felt no surprise."Why don't you marry her?"Impossible."Why?"Marco shrugged. "She's my first cousin. She's going to be a nun."Is she beautiful?"There's no one to touch her."Does she know you love her?"Of course."I paused. The obstacle seemed unreal to me."If you love her," I said, "you'll love somebody else someday.