Calamity Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 77 quotes )
If mankind is to advance there must be installed permanently at the head of its columns proud instances of courage. Acts of daring light the pages of history and the soul of man. The sunrise is an act of daring. To venture, to defy, to persevere, to be true to one's self, to grapple with destiny, to dismay calamity by not being afraid of it, to challenge now unrighteous powers and now victory run wild, to stand fast and hold firm - these are the examples that the peoples need, the spark that electrifies them.
He would never want to diminish that event, that blow. It was nothing less than a calamity. It has shrunk his world, turned him into a prisoner. But escaping death ought to have shaken him up, opened windows inside him, renewed his sense of the preciousness of life. It has done nothing of the sort. He is trapped with the same old self as before , only greyer and drearier. Enough to drive one to drink.
If the empire had been afflicted by any recent calamity, by a plague, a famine, or an unsuccessful war; if the Tiber had, or if the Nile had not, risen beyond its banks; if the earth had shaken, or if the temperate order of the seasons had been interrupted, the superstitious Pagans were convinced that the crimes and the impiety of the Christians, who were spared by the excessive lenity of the government, had at length provoked the divine justice.
Have I mentioned that I expect death around every turn, that every blue sky has a safe sailing out of it, that every bus runs me over, that every low, mean syllable uttered in my direction seems to intimate the violence of murder, that every family seems like an opportunity for ruin and every marriage a ceremony into which calamity will fall and hearts will be broken and lives destroyed and people branded by the mortifications of love?
Insomnia is a variant of Tourette's--the waking brain races, sampling the world after the world has turned away, touching it everywhere, refusing to settle, to join the collective nod. The insomniac brain is a sort of conspiracy theorist as well, believing too much in its own paranoiac importance--as though if it were to blink, then doze, the world might be overrun by some encroaching calamity, which its obsessive musings are somehow fending off.
And yet, just as our body would burst asunder if the pressure of the atmosphere were removed from it, so would the arrogance of men expand, if not to the point of bursting then to that of the most unbridled folly, indeed madness, if the pressure of want, toil, calamity and frustration were removed from their life. One can even say that we require at all times a certain quantity of care or sorrow or want, as a ship requires ballast, in order to keep on a straight course.
And those they love have forgotten them because all their energies are devoted to making schemes and taking steps to get them out of the camp. And by dint of always thinking about these schemes and steps they have ceased thinking about those whose release they’re trying to secure. And that, too, is natural enough. In fact, it comes to this: nobody is capable of really thinking about anyone, even in the worst calamity. For really to think about someone means thinking about that person every minute of the day, without letting one’s thoughts be diverted by anything - by meals, by a fly that settles on one’s cheek, by household duties, or by a sudden itch somewhere. But there are always flies and itches. That’s why life is difficult to live.
This is how people behave when their dailiness is destroyed, when for a few moments they see, plain and unadorned, one of the great shaping forces of life. Calamity fixes them with her mesmeric eye, and they begin to scoop and paw at the rubble of their days, trying to pluck the memory of the quotidian - a toy, a book, a garment, even a photograph - from the garbage heaps of the irretrievable, of their overwhelming loss.
I review all I know, but can synthesize no meaning. When I doze, the Fact, the certain accomplished calamity, wakes me roughly like a brutal nurse. I see it crouching inflexibly in a corner of the ceiling. It comes down in geometrical diagonal like lightning. It says, I remain, I AM, I shall never cease to be: your memory will grow a deathly glaze: you will forget, you will fade out, but I cannot be undone. Thus every quarter hour it puts the taste of death in my mouth, and shows me, but not gently, how I go whoring after oblivion.
In fact, it comes to this: nobody is capable of really thinking about anyone, even in the worst calamity. For really to think about someone means thinking about that person every minute of the day, without letting one’s thoughts be diverted by anything- by meals, by a fly that settles on one’s cheek, by household duties, or by a sudden itch somewhere. But there are always flies and itches. That’s why life is difficult to live.
We are all members of the same flawed species. Putting our moral vision into practice means imposing our will on others. The human lust for power and esteem, coupled with its vulnerability to self-deception and self-righteousness, makes that an invitation to a calamity, all the worse when the power is directed at a goal as quixotic as eradicating human self-interest.