Fraction Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 85 quotes )
It takes years to marry completely two hearts, even of the most loving and well-assorted. A happy wedlock is a long falling in love. Men and women marry fractionally, now a small and then a larger fraction... Such a long and sweet fruit needs a long summer to ripen in and a long winter to season in. But real and happy marriage is one of those things so handsome that if the sun were, as the Greek poets fabled it, a god, he might stop the world and hold it still now and then to feast his eyes on such a spectacle.
It had begun to dawn on him that this same sweet pretty little head was a “good head for figures.” In fact, a much better one than his own and the knowledge was disquieting. He was thunderstruck to discover that she could swiftly add a long column of figures in her head when he needed a pencil and paper for more than three figures. And fractions presented no difficulties to her at all. He felt there was something unbecoming about a woman understanding fractions and business matters and he believed that, should a woman be so unfortunate as to have such unladylike comprehension, she should pretend not to. Now he disliked talking business with her as much as he had enjoyed it before they were married. Then he had thought it all beyond her mental grasp and it had been pleasant to explain things to her. Now he saw that she understood entirely too well and he felt the usual masculine indignation at the duplicity of women. Added to it was the usual masculine disillusionment in discovering that a woman has a brain.
Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make; you can destroy your life every time you choose. But maybe you won't know for twenty years. And you'll never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce. And they say there is no fate, but there is: it's what you create. Even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes or it seems to but doesn't really. And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope for something good to come along. Something to make you feel connected, to make you feel whole, to make you feel loved.
He felt like a young student again, confronted with all the art and knowledge of mankind. The experience was both exhilarating and depressing; a whole universe lay at his fingertips, but the fraction of it he could explore in an entire lifetime was so negligible that he was sometimes overwhelmed with despair.
If I'm reading something I happen to know and gets it wrong, I just don't trust the book any more. What I ask of a novel I'm reading is that it should know a fraction more about the things I know than I do. When I'm writing...I ask myself: would I be convinced by this if I read it? If I knocked against this bit of scenery, would it feel solid?
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.
Without any wind blowing, the sheer weight of a raindrop, shining in parasitic luxury on a cordate leaf, caused its tip to dip, and what looked like a globule of quicksilver performed a sudden glissando down the centre vein, and then, having shed its bright load, the relieved leaf unbent. Tip, leaf, dip, relief - the instant it all took to happen seemed to me not so much a fraction of time as a fissure in it, a missed heartbeat, which was refunded at once by a patter of rhymes: I say 'patter' intentionally, for when a gust of wind did come, the trees would briskly start to drip all together in as crude an imitation of the recent downpour as the stanza I was already muttering resembled the shock of wonder I had experienced when for a moment heart and leaf had been one.
It was a cruel world though. More than half of all children died before they could reach maturity, thanks to chronic epidemics and malnutrition. People dropped like flies from polio and tuberculosis and smallpox and measles. There probably weren't many people who lived past forty. Women bore so many children, they became toothless old hags by the time they were in their thirties. People often had to resort to violence to survive. Tiny children were forced to do such heavy labor that their bones became deformed, and little girls were forced to become prostitutes on a daily basis. Little boys too, I suspect. Most people led minimal lives in worlds that had nothing to do with richness of perception or spirit. City streets were full of cripples and beggars and criminals. Only a small fraction of the population could gaze at the moon with deep feeling or enjoy a Shakespeare play or listen to the beautiful music of Dowland.
At the very moment that humans discovered the scale of the universe and found that their most unconstrained fancies were in fact dwarfed by the true dimensions of even the Milky Way Galaxy, they took steps that ensured that their descendants would be unable to see the stars at all. For a million years humans had grown up with a personal daily knowledge of the vault of heaven. In the last few thousand years they began building and emigrating to the cities. In the last few decades, a major fraction of the human population has abandoned a rustic way of life. As technology developed and the cities were polluted, the nights became starless. New generations grew to maturity wholly ignorant of the sky that had transfixed their ancestors and that had stimulated the modern age of science and technology. Without even noticing, just as astronomy entered a golden age most people cut themselves off from the sky, a cosmic isolationism that ended only with the dawn of space exploration.
Religion is not a fractional thing that can be doled out in fixed weekly or daily measures as one among various subjects in the school syllabus. It is the truth of our complete being, the consciousness of our personal relationship with the infinite; it is the true center of gravity of our life. This we can attain during our childhood by daily living in a place where the truth of the spiritual world is not obscured by a crowd of necessities assuming artificial importance; where life is simple, surrounded by fullness of leisure, by ample space and pure air and profound peace of nature; and where men live with a perfect faith in the eternal life before them.
People? People are chaotic quiddities living in one cave each. They pass the hours in amorous grudge and playback and thought experiment. At the campfire they put the usual fraction on exhibit, and listen to their own silent gibber about how they're feeling and how they're going down. We've been there. Death helps. Death gives us something to do. Because it's a fulltime job looking the other way.
I wrote these letters in the mornings before work, in the library, during my sessions of prolonged loitering in Commons, where I remained every evening until asked to leave by the janitor. It seemed my whole life was composed of these disjointed fractions of time, hanging around in one public place and then another, as if I were waiting for trains that never came. And, like one of those ghosts who are said to linger around depots late at night, asking passersby for the timetable of the Midnight Express that derailed twenty years before, I wandered from light to light until that dreaded hour when all the doors closed and, stepping from the world of warmth and people and conversation overheard, I felt the old familiar cold twist through my bones again and then it was all forgotten, the warmth, the lights; I had never been warm in my life, ever.
Some Americans appear to believe that there would be no arts in America were it not for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), an institution created in 1965. They cannot imagine things being done any other way, even though they were done another way throughout our country's existence, and throughout most of mankind's history. While the government requested $121 million for the NEA in 2006, private donations to the arts totaled $2.5 billion that year, dwarfing the NEA budget. The NEA represents a tiny fraction of all arts funding, a fact few Americans realize. Freedom works after all. And that money is almost certainly better spent than government money: NEA funds go not necessarily to the best artists, but to people who happen to be good at filling out government grant applications. I have my doubts that the same people populate both categories.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
This is the pre-verbal language that linguists call Mentalese. Hardly a language, more a matrix of shifting patterns, consolidating and compressing meaning in fractions of a second, and blending it inseparably with its distinctive emotional hue. ... So that when a flash of red streaks in across his left peripheral vision ... it already has the quality of an idea ... unexpected and dangerous, but entirely his, and not of the world beyond himself.
Symmetry is only a property of dead things. Did you ever see a tree or a mountain that was symmetrical? It’s fine for buildings, but if you ever see a symmetrical human face, you will have the impression that you ought to think it beautiful, but that in fact you find it cold. The human heart likes a little disorder in its geometry, Kyria Pelagia. Look at your face in a mirror, Signorina, and you will see that one eyebrow is a little higher than the other, that the set of the lid of your left eye is such that the eye is a fraction more open that the other. It is these things that make you both attractive and beautiful, whereas…otherwise you would be a statue. Symmetry is for God, not for us.
There is nothing in the world more difficult than candor, and nothing easier than flattery. If there is a hundredth of a fraction of a false note to candor, it immediately produces dissonance, and as a result, exposure. But in flattery, even if everything is false down to the last note, it is still pleasant, and people will listen not without pleasure; with coarse pleasure, perhaps, but pleasure nevertheless.
The whole universe was stilled as if listening for a voice. For the space of one heartbeat there was peace on earth. For one fraction of a moment there was no deed of violence wrought on earth, no hatred, no fire, no whirlwind, no pain, no fear. Existence rested against the heart of God, then sighed and journeyed again.
All over the world there are enormous numbers of smart, even gifted, people who harbor a passion for science. But that passion is unrequited. Surveys suggest that some 95 percent of Americans are “scientifically illiterate.” That’s just the same fraction as those African Americans, almost all of them slaves, who were illiterate just before the Civil War—when severe penalties were in force for anyone who taught a slave to read. Of course there’s a degree of arbitrariness about any determination of illiteracy, whether it applies to language or to science. But anything like 95 percent illiteracy is extremely serious.