Contemporary Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 236 quotes )
Contemporary fantasists all bow politely to Lord Tennyson and Papa Tolkien, then step around them to go back to the original texts for inspiration--and there are a lot of those texts. We have King Arthur and his gang in English; we've got Siegfried and Brunhild in German; Charlemagne and Roland in French; El Cid in Spanish; Sigurd the Volsung in Icelandic; and assorted 'myghtiest Knights on lyfe' in a half-dozen other cultures. Without shame, we pillage medieval romance for all we're worth.
In ways that certain of us are uncomfortable about, SNOOTs’ attitudes about contemporary usage resemble religious/political conservatives’ attitudes about contemporary culture. We combine a missionary zeal and a near-neural faith in our beliefs’ importance with a curmudgeonly hell-in-a-handbasket despair at the way English is routinely manhandled and corrupted by supposedly educated people. The Evil is all around us: boners and clunkers and solecistic howlers and bursts of voguish linguistic methane that make any SNOOT’s cheek twitch and forehead darken. A fellow SNOOT I know likes to say that listening to most people’s English feels like watching somebody use a Stradivarius to pound nails: We are the Few, the Proud, the Appalled at Everyone Else.
Perhaps I shouldn't call it shit. That's a bit crude. I don't really despise Christianity or even the Roman Church, and certainly not the incontrovertible glory of the Middle Ages. What I do despise is the contemporary inclination to flop to the knees and crawl back into the past, to shy from what seem like impossible problems in order to bury the head, asshole aloft and twitching, in the Sands of Time. Cowardice, I calls it. Illusion-seeking. Womb-crawling. And treason. Desertion in the face of the enemy. Strong words indeed. But I've always been rather a blunt, tough, plain-spoken type . . .
Our contemporary Western society, in spite of its material, intellectual and political progress, is increasingly less conducive to mental health, and tends to undermine the inner security, happiness, reason and the capacity for love in the individual; it tends to turn him into an automaton who pays for his human failure with increasing mental sickness, and with despair hidden under a frantic drive for work and so called pleasure.
Can I be a modern girl, if I acknowledge such thoughts? I must be modern; I live now. But like everybody else, as Hollier says, I live in a muddle of eras, and some of my ideas belong to today, and some to an ancient past, and some to periods of time that seem more relevant to my parents than to me. If I could sort them and control them I might know better where I stand, but when I most want to be contemporary the Past keeps pushing in, and when I long for the Past (like when I wish Tadeusz had not died, and were with me now to guide and explain and help me to find where I belong in life) the Present cannot be pushed away. When I hear girls I know longing to be what they call liberated, and when I hear others rejoicing in what they think of as liberation, I feel a fool, because I simply do not know where I stand.
In reality, genuine epiphanies are extremely rare. In contemporary adult life maturation & acquiescence to reality are gradual processes. Modern usage usually deploys epiphany as a metaphor. It is usually only in dramatic representations, religious iconography, and the 'magical thinking' of children that insight is compressed to a sudden blinding flash.
My dear young women, with all my heart I urge you not to look to contemporary culture for your role models and mentors. Please look to your faithful mothers for a pattern to follow. Model yourselves after them, not after celebrities whose standards are not the Lord's standards and whose values may not reflect an eternal perspective. Look to your mother.
He doesn't think of doctrines as primarily "true' or 'false', but as 'academic' or practical', 'outworn' or 'contemporary', 'conventional' or 'ruthless'. Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don't waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong, or stark, or courageous--that it is the philosophy of the future. That's the sort of thing he cares about.
I believe that all other political states are in fact variations or outgrowths of a basic state of anarchy; after all, when you mention the idea of anarchy to most people they will tell you what a bad idea it is because the biggest gang would just take over. Which is pretty much how I see contemporary society. We live in a badly developed anarchist situation in which the biggest gang has taken over and have declared that it is not an anarchist situation? that it is a capitalist or a communist situation. But I tend to think that anarchy is the most natural form of politics for a human being to actually practice.
The language of distinction ceases to be available; is no longer available. We must search CD Rom for meanings which once were clear, but now are obscure. The words are too big for the narrow column of the contemporary newspaper. We are all one-syllable people now, two at most. So we mumble and stumble into our futures. But it is still our task and our reward to scavenge through the universe , picking up the detritus of lost concepts, dusting them down, making them shine. Latin was the best polishing cloth of all, but we threw it away.
All fiction is metaphor. Science fiction is metaphor. What sets it apart from older forms of fiction seems to be its use of new metaphors, drawn from certain great dominants of our contemporary life -- science, all the sciences, and technology, and the relativistic and the historical outlook, among them. Space travel is one of these metaphors; so is an alternative society, an alternative biology; the future is another. The future, in fiction, is a metaphor. A metaphor for what? If I could have said it non-metaphorically, I would not have written all these words, this novel; and Genly Ai would never have sat down at my desk and used up my ink and typewriter ribbon in informing me, and you, rather solemnly, that the truth is a matter of the imagination.
There was no manifestation of contemporary culture that did not indicate to my grandmother how steadfast was the nation's decline, how merciless our mental and moral deterioration, how swiftly all-embracing our final decadence. I never saw her read a book again; but she referred to books often - as if they were shrines and cathedrals of learning that television had plundered and then abandoned.
I searched modern fiction and poetry for clues to how we confronted and evaded reality, how we articulated our experience and turned to language not to revel ourselves but to hide. I was as sure then as I am now that by looking at contemporary Iranian fiction I could gain access to a real understanding of political and social events. (p289)
It didn't help that I was never allowed to study anything remotely contemporary until the last year of university: there was never any sense of that leading to this. If anything, my education gave me the opposite impression, of an end to cultural history round about the time that Forster wrote A Passage to India. The quickest way to kill all love for the classics, I can see now, is to tell young people that nothing else maters, because then all they can do is look at them in a museum of literature, through glass cases. Don't touch! And don't think for a moment that they want to live in the same world as you! And so a lot of adult life -- if your hunger and curiosity haven't been squelched by your education -- is learning to join up the dots that you didn't even know were there.