Ghostly Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 51 quotes )
I could hear and indescribable seething roar which wasn't which wasn't in my ear but everywhere and had nothing to do with sounds. I realised that I had died and reborn numberless times but just didn't remember especially because the transitions from life to death and back to life are so ghostly eas, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it. I realised it was only because of the stability of the intrinsic Mind that these ripples of birth and death took place, like the action of wind on a sheet of pure, serene, mirror-like water. I felt sweet, swinging bliss, like a big shot of heroin in the mainline vein, like a gulp of wine late in the afternoon and it makes you shudder; my feet tingled. I thought I was going to die the very next moment.
Nature has many tricks wherewith she convinces man of his finity, - the ceaseless flow of the tides, the fury of storm, the shock of the earthquake, the long roll of heavens artillery, - but the most tremendous, the most stupefying of all, is the passive phase of the White Silence. All movement ceases, the sky clears, the heavens are as brass; the slightest whisper seems sacrilege, and man becomes timid, affrighted at the sound of his own voice. Sole speck of life journeying across the ghostly wastes of a dead world, he trembles at his audacity, realizes that his is a maggots life, nothing more. Strange thoughts arise unsummoned, and the mystery of all things strives for utterance. And the fear od death, of God, of the universe, comes over him, - the hope of the Resurrection and the life, the yearning for immortality, the vain striving of the imprisoned essence, - it is then, if ever, man walks alone with God.- The White Silence
There is scarcely any great author in European literature, old or new, who has not distinguished himself in his treatment of the supernatural. In English literature, I believe there is no exception from the time of the Anglo-Saxon poets to Shakespeare, and from Shakespeare to our own day. And this introduces us to the consideration of a general and remarkable fact, a fact that I do not remember to have seen in any books, but which is of very great philosophical importance: there is something ghostly in all great art, whether of literature, music, sculpture, or architecture. It touches something within us that relates to infinity
When all by myself, I can think of all kinds of clever remarks, quick comebacks to what no one said, and flashes of witty sociability with nobody. But all of this vanishes when I face someone in the flesh: I lose my intelligence, I can no longer speak, and after half an hour I just feel tired. Talking to people makes me feel like sleeping. Only my ghostly and imaginary friends, only the conversations I have in my dreams, are genuinely real and substantial.
Yet he looks--and doesn't he know it--better than nearly all of his age-mates at this gym. Not because they're in such bad shape--they are healthy enough specimens. What's wrong with them is their fatalistic acceptance of middle age, their ignoble resignation to grandfatherhood, impending retirement and golf. George is different from them because, in some sense which can't quite be defined but which is immediately apparent when you see him naked, he hasn't given up. He is still a contender, and they aren't. Maybe it's nothing more mysterious than vanity which gives him this air of a withered boy? Yes, despite his wrinkles, his slipped flesh, his graying hair, his grim-lipped, strutting spryness, you catch occasional glimpses of a ghostly someone else, soft-faced, boyish, pretty. The combination is bizarre, it is older than middle age itself, but it is there.
I realized that I had died and been reborn numberless times but just didn't remember especially because the transitions from life to death and back to life are so ghostly easy, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it.
The problem with the religious solution [for mysteries such as consciousness and moral judgments] was stated by Mencken when he wrote, "Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing." For anyone with a persistent intellectual curiosity, religious explanations are not worth knowing because they pile equally baffling enigmas on top of the original ones. What gave God a mind, free will, knowledge, certainty about right and wrong? How does he infuse them into a universe that seems to run just fine according to physical laws? How does he get ghostly souls to interact with hard matter? And most perplexing of all, if the world unfolds according to a wise and merciful plan, why does it contain so much suffering? As the Yiddish expression says, If God lived on earth, people would break his window.
And still on a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees, When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, When the road is a gypsy's ribbon looping the purple moor, The highwayman comes riding-- Riding--riding-- The highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door. Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard, He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred, He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there But the landlord's black-eyed daughter-- Bess, the landlord's daughter-- Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.
Reality is a very subjective affair. I can only define it as a kind of gradual accumulation of information; and as specialization. If we take a lily, for instance, or any other kind of natural object, a lily is more real to a naturalist than it is to an ordinary person. But it is still more real to a botanist. And yet another stage of reality is reached with that botanist who is a specialist in lilies. You can get nearer and nearer, so to speak, to reality; but you never get near enough because reality is an infinite succession of steps, levels of perception, false bottoms, and hence unquenchable, unattainable. You can know more and more about one thing but you can never know everything about one thing: it’s hopeless. So that we live surrounded by more or less ghostly objects— that machine, there, for instance. It’s a complete ghost to me— I don’t understand a thing about it and, well, it’s a mystery to me, as much of a mystery as it would be to Lord Byron.
Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon whe Daisy tumbled short of his dreams? not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.
There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams -- not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.
After all, let a man take what pains he may to hush it down, a human soul is an awful ghostly, unquiet possession, for a bad man to have. Who knows the metes and bounds of it? Who knows all it's awful perhapses, -those shudderings and temblings, which it can no more live down than it can outlive its own eternity! What a fool is he who locks his door to keep out spirits, who has in his own bosom a spirit he dares not meet alone, -whose voice, smothered far down, and piled over with mountains of earthiness, is yet like the forewarning trumpet of doom!
They pointed at each other, with starlight burning in their limbs like daggers and icicles and fireflies, and then fell to judging their limbs again, each finding himself intact, hot, excited, stunned, awed, and the other, ah yes, that other over there, unreal, a ghostly prism flashing the accumulated light of distant worlds…. … Now Tomas laughed. “You’re blind!” “I see very well. You are the one who does not see.
Buried how long?The answer was always the same:?Almost eighteen years?You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?Long ago?You know that you are recalled to life?They tell me so?I hope that you care to live?I ca?t say?Shall I show her to you? Will you come and see her?The answers to this question were various and contradictory. Sometimes the broken reply was,?Wait! It would kill me if I saw her too soon? Sometimes it was given in a tender rain of tears, and then it was,?Take me to her? Sometimes it was staring and bewildered, and then it was,?I do?t know her. I do?t understand?After such imaginary discourse, the passenger in his fancy would dig, and dig, dig? to dig this wretched creature out. Got out at last, with earth hanging about his face and hair, he would suddenly fall away to dust. The passenger would then start to himself, and lower the window, to get the reality of mist and rain on his cheek.Yet even when his eyes were opened on the mist and rain, on the moving patch of light from the lamps, and the hedge of the roadside retreating by jerks, the night shadows outside the coach would fall into the train of night shadows within. Out of the midst in them, a ghostly face would rise, and he would accost it again.Buried how long?Almost eighteen years?I hope you care to live?I ca?t say?Dig? dig? dig? until an impatient movement from one of the two passengers would admonish him to pull up the window, draw his arm securely through the leather strap, and speculate on the two slumbering life forms, until his mind lost hold of them, and they again slid away into the bank and the grave.Buried how long?Almost eighteen years?You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?Long ago?The words were still in his hearing just as spoken? distinctly in his hearing as ever spoken words had been in his life? when the weary passenger started to the consciousness of daylight, and found that the shadows of night were gone.
so that the monotonous fall of the waves on the beach, which for the most part beat a measured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts seemed consolingly to repeat over and over again as she sat with the children the words of some old cradle song, murmured by nature, ‘I am guarding you—I am your support," but at other times suddenly and unexpectedly, especially when her mind raised itself slightly from the task actually in hand, had no such kindly meaning, but like a ghostly roll of drums remorsely beat the measure of life, made one think of the destruction of the island and its engulfment in the sea, and warned her whose day had slipped past in one quick doing after another that it was all ephemeral as a rainbow—this sound which had been obscured and concealed under the other sounds suddenly thundered hollow in her ears and made her look up with an impulse of terror.
That immense framework and planking of concepts to which the needy man clings his whole life long in order to preserve himself is nothing but a scaffolding and toy for the most audacious feats of the liberated intellect. And when it smashes this framework to pieces, throws it into confusion, and puts it back together in an ironic fashion, pairing the most alien things and separating the closest, it is demonstrating that it has no need of these makeshifts of indigence and that it will now be guided by intuitions rather than by concepts. There is no regular path which leads from these intuitions into the land of ghostly schemata, the land of abstractions. There exists no word for these intuitions; when man sees them he grows dumb, or else he speaks only in forbidden metaphors and in unheard? of combinations of concepts. He does this so that by shattering and mocking the old conceptual barriers he may at least correspond creatively to the impression of the powerful present intuition.
Seances occur only in darkened rooms, where the ghostly visitors can be seen dimly at best. If we turn up the lights a little, so we have a chance to see what’s going on, the spirits vanish. They’re shy, we’re told, and some of us believe it. In twentieth-century parapsychology laboratories, there is the ‘observer effect’: those described as gifted psychics find that their powers diminish markedly whenever sceptics arrive, and disappear altogether in the presence of a conjuror as skilled as James Randi. What they need is darkness and gullibility.
The line of gray along the horizon is brighter now, and with the coming light I feel a certainty: that there is, despite our wild imaginings, only one life. The ghostly others, no matter how real they seem, no matter how badly we need them, are phantoms. The one life we're left with is sufficient to fill and refill our imperfect hearts with joy, and then to shatter them. And it never, ever lets up.