Exile Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 152 quotes )
exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted. And while it is true that literature and history contain heroic, romantic, glorious, even triumphant episodes in an exile’s life, these are no more than efforts meant to overcome the crippling sorrow of estrangement.
Probably all of us, writers and readers alike, set out into exile, or at least into a certain kind of exile, when we leave childhood behind...The immigrant, the nomad, the traveler, the sleepwalker all exist, but not the exile, since every writer becomes an exile simply by venturing into literature, and every reader becomes an exile simply by opening a book.
Only yesterday I was no different than them, yet I was saved. I am explaining to you the way of life of a people who say every sort of wicked thing about me because I sacrificed their friendship to gain my own soul. I left the dark paths of their duplicity and turned my eyes toward the light where there is salvation, truth, and justice. They have exiled me now from their society, yet I am content. Mankind only exiles the one whose large spirit rebels against injustice and tyranny. He who does not prefer exile to servility is not free in the true and necessary sense of freedom.
If they cannot forgive me my foibles, then they are not such good people, no?"..."But they do forgive your foibles. They would welcome your company, too. But if you joined them, you would not understand what they were talking about. You would not have had the experiences that bind them together. You would be an outsider, not because of any act of theirs, but because you have not passed along the road that teaches you to be one of them. You will feel like an exile from the beautiful garden, but it will be you who exiled yourself. And yet you will blame them, and call them judgmental and unforgiving, even as it is your own pain and bitter memory that condemns you, your own ignorance of virtue that makes you a stranger in the land that should have been your home.
One of the questions asked by al-Balkhi, and often repeated to this day, is this: Why do the children of Israel continue to suffer? My grandmother Dodo thought it was because the goyim were jealous. The seder for Passover (which is a shame-faced simulacrum of a Hellenic question-and-answer session, even including the wine) tells the children that it's one of those things that happens to every Jewish generation. After the Shoah or Endlsung or Holocaust, many rabbis tried to tell the survivors that the immolation had been a punishment for 'exile,' or for insufficient attention to the Covenant. This explanation was something of a flop with those whose parents or children had been the raw material for the 'proof,' so for a time the professional interpreters of god's will went decently quiet. This interval of ambivalence lasted until the war of 1967, when it was announced that the divine purpose could be discerned after all. How wrong, how foolish, to have announced its discovery prematurely! The exile and the Shoah could now both be understood, as part of a heavenly if somewhat roundabout scheme to recover the Western Wall in Jerusalem and other pieces of biblically mandated real estate. I regard it as a matter of self-respect to spit in public on rationalizations of this kind. (They are almost as repellent, in their combination of arrogance, masochism, and affected false modesty, as Edith Stein's 'offer' of her life to expiate the regrettable unbelief in Jesus of her former fellow Jews.) The sage Jews are those who have put religion behind them and become in so many societies the leaven of the secular and the atheist.
A man is a free being who is always changing into himself. This changing is never merely indifferent. We are always getting either better or worse. Our development is measured by our acts of free choice, and we make ourselves by the patterns of our desires. If our desires reach out for the things that we were created to have and to make and to become, then we will develop into what we were truly meant to be. But if our desires reach out for things that have have no meaning for the growth of our spirit, if they lose themselves in dreams or passions or illusions, we will be false to ourselves and to other men and to God. We will judge ourselves as aliens and exiles from ourselves and from God. In hell, there is no recollection. The damned are exiled not only from God and from other men, but even from themselves.
Even people whose lives have been made various by learning sometimes find it hard to keep a fast hold on their habitual views of life, on their faith in the Invisible - nay, on the sense that their past joys and sorrows are a real experience, when they are suddenly transported to a new land, where the beings around them know nothing of their history, and share none of their ideas - where their mother earth shows another lap, and human life has other forms than those on which their souls have been nourished. Minds that have been unhinged from their old faith and love have perhaps sought this Lethean influence of exile in which the past becomes dreamy because its symbols have all vanished, and the present too is dreamy because it is linked with no memories.
I say, I can not identify that thing which is called happiness, that thing whose token is a laugh, or a smile, or a silent serenity on the lip. I may have been happy, but it is not in my conscious memory now. Nor do I feel a longing for it, as though I had never had it; my spirit seeks different food from happiness, for I think I have a suspicion of what it is. I have suffered wretchedness, but not because of the absence of happiness, and without praying for happiness. I pray for peace -- for motionlessness -- for the feeling of myself, as of some plant, absorbing life without seeking it, and existing without individual sensation. I feel that there can be no perfect peace in individualness. Therefore, I hope one day to feel myself drank up into the pervading spirit animating all things. I feel I am an exile here. I still go straying.
Shukhov enjoyed it. He liked people pointing at him? see that man? He's nearly done his time? but he didn't let himself get excited about it. Those who'd come to the end of their time during the war had all been kept in, "pending further orders"? till '46. So those originally sentenced to three years did five altogether. They could twist the law any way they liked. When your ten years were up, they could say good, have another ten. Or pack you off to some godforsaken place of exile.
. . . a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; a stone, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten faces. Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb we did not know our mother's face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father's heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone? O waste of lost, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this weary, unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When? O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.
One of the juiciest pleasures of life is to be able to salute and embrace, as elected leaders and honored representatives, people whom you first met when they were on the run or in exile or (like Adam) in and out of jail. I was to have this experience again, and I hope to have it many more times in the future: it sometimes allows me to feel that life is full of point.
They are constantly colonists and emigrants ; they have the name of being at home in every country. But they are in exile in their own country. They are torn between love of home and love of something else; of which the sea may be the explanation or may be only the symbol. It is also found in a nameless nursery rhyme which is the finest line in English literature and the dumb refrain of all English poems, 'Over the hills and far away.
Somewhere beyond the battening, urged sweep of three-bedroom houses rushing by their thousands across all the dark beige hills, somehow implicit in an arrogance or bite to the smog the more inland somnolence of San Narciso did lack, lurked the sea, the unimaginable Pacific, the one to which all surfers, beach pads, sewage disposal schemes, tourist incursions, sunned homosexuality, chartered fishing are irrelevant, the hole left by the moon’s tearing-free and monument to her exile; you could not hear or even smell this but it was there, something tidal began to reach feelers in past eyes and eardrums, perhaps to arouse fractions of brain current your most gossamer microelectrode is yet too gross for finding.
I believe in the pursuit of happiness. Not its attainment, nor its final definition, but its pursuit. I believe in the journey, not the arrival; in conversation, not monologues; in multiple questions rather than any single answer. I believe in the struggle to remake ourselves and challenge each other in the spirit of eternal forgiveness, in the awareness that none of us knows for sure what happiness truly is, but each of us knows the imperative to keep searching. I believe in the possibility of surprising joy, of serenity through pain, of homecoming through exile.
My father is deceast, come Gaveston,'And share the kingdom with thy deerest friend.'Ah words that make me surfet with delight:What greater blisse can hap to Gaveston,Then live and be the favorit of a king?Sweete prince I come, these these thy amorous lines,Might have enforst me to have swum from France,And like Leander gaspt upon the sande,So thou wouldst smile and take me in thy armes.The sight of London to my exiled eyes,Is as Elizium to a new come soule.Not that I love the citie or the men,But that it harbors him I hold so deare,The king, upon whose bosome let me die,And with the world be still at enmitie:What neede the artick people love star-light,To whom the sunne shines both by day and night.Farewell base stooping to the lordly peeres,My knee shall bowe to none but to the king.As for the multitude that are but sparkes,Rakt up in embers of their povertie,Tanti: Ile fawne first on the winde,That glaunceth at my lips and flieth away: ....
All the same, we ought to point out that if the kinds of poetry and representation which are designed merely to give pleasure can come up with a rational argument for their inclusion in a well-governed community, we'd be delighted -- short of compromising the truth as we see it, which wouldn't be right -- to bring them back from exile: after all, we know from our own experience all about their spell. I mean haven't you ever fallen under the spell of poetry, Glaucon, especially when the spectacle is provided by Homer?