Immemorial Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 30 quotes )
But though, to landsmen in general, the native inhabitants of the seas have ever regarded with emotions unspeakably unsocial and repelling; though we know the sea to be an everlasting terra incognita, so that Columbus sailed over numberless unknown worlds to discover his one superficial western one; though, by vast odds, the most terrific of all mortal disasters have immemorially and indiscriminately befallen tens and hundreds of thousands of those who have gone upon the waters; though but a moment’s consideration will teach that, however baby man may brag of his science and skill, and however much, in a flattering future, that science and skill may augment; yet for ever and for ever, to the crack of doom, the sea will insult and murder him, and pulverize the stateliest, stiffest frigate he can make; nevertheless, by the continual repetition of these very impressions, man has lost that sense of the full awfulness of the sea which aboriginally belongs to it.
Of course we would all like to "believe" in something, like to assuage our private guilts in public causes, like to lose our tiresome selves; like, perhaps, to transform the white flag of defeat at home into the brave white banner of battle away from home. And of course it is all right to do that; that is how, immemorially, thing have gotten done. But I think it is all right only so long as we do not delude ourselves about what we are doing, and why. It is all right only so long as we remember that all the ad hoc committees, all the picket lines, all the brave signatures in The New York Times, all the tools of agitprop straight across the spectrum, do not confer upon anyone any ipso facto virtue. It is all right only so long as we recognize that the end may or may not be expedient, may or may not be a good idea, but in any case has nothing to do with "morality." Because when we start deceiving ourselves into thinking not that we want something or need something, not that it is a pragmatic necessity for us to have it, but that it is a moral imperative that we have it, then is when we join the fashionable madmen, and then is when the thin whine of hysteria is heard in the land, and then is when we are in bad trouble. And I suspect we are already there.
Gormenghast. Withdrawn and ruinous it broods in umbra: the immemorial masonry: the towers, the tracts. Is all corroding? No. Through an avenue of spires a zephyr floats; a bird whistles; a freshet beats away from a choked river. Deep in a fist of stone a doll's hand wriggles, warm rebellious on the frozen palm. A shadow shifts its length. A spider stirs... And darkness winds between the characters.- Gormenghast
Of course we have a Tomorrow on the map…located east of Today and west of Yesterday…and we have no end of "times" in fairyland. Spring-time, long time, short time, new-moon time, good-night time, next time…but no last time, because that is too sad a time for fairyland; old time, young time…because if there is an old time there ought to be a young time, too; mountain time…because that has such a fascinating sound; night-time and day-time…but no bed-time or school-time; Christmas-time; no only time, because that also is too sad…but lost time, because it is so nice to find it; some time, good time, fast time, slow time, half-past kissing-time, going-home time, and time immemorial…which is one of the most beautiful phrases in the world.
Talk of world peace is heard today only among the white peoples, and not among the much more numerous coloured races. This is a perilous state of affairs. When individual thinkers and idealists talk of peace, as they have done since time immemorial, the effect is negligible. But when whole peoples become pacifistic it is a symptom of senility. Strong and unspent races are not pacifistic. To adopt such a position is to abandon the future, for the pacifist ideal is a terminal condition that is contrary to the basic facts of existence. As long as man continues to evolve, there will be wars...
I went to interview some of these early Jewish colonial zealots—written off in those days as mere 'fringe' elements—and found that they called themselves Gush Emunim or—it sounded just as bad in English—'The Bloc of the Faithful.' Why not just say 'Party of God' and have done with it? At least they didn't have the nerve to say that they stole other people's land because their own home in Poland or Belarus had been taken from them. They said they took the land because god had given it to them from time immemorial. In the noisome town of Hebron, where all of life is focused on a supposedly sacred boneyard in a dank local cave, one of the world's less pretty sights is that of supposed yeshivah students toting submachine guns and humbling the Arab inhabitants. When I asked one of these charmers where he got his legal authority to be a squatter, he flung his hand, index finger outstretched, toward the sky.
Because beyond their practical function, all gestures have a meaning that exceeds the intention of those who make them; when people in bathing suits fling themselves into the water, it is joy itself that shows in the gesture, notwithstanding any sadness the divers may actually feel. When someone jumps into the water fully clothed, it is another thing entirely: the only person who jumps into the water fully clothed is a person trying to drown; and a person trying to drown does not dive headfirst; he lets himself fall: thus speaks the immemorial language of gestures.
All the practical principles behind the Innovator's case for posterity, or society, or the species, are there from time immemorial in the Tao. But they are nowhere else. Unless you accept these without question as being to the world of action what axioms are to the world of theory, you can have no practical principles whatsoever. You cannot reach them as conclusions: they are premises. (...) If nothing is self-evident, nothing can be proved. Similarly, if nothing is obligatory for its own sake, nothing is obligatory at all.
...the priests of all these cults, the singers, shouters, prayers and exhorters of Bootstrap-lifting have as their distinguishing characteristic that they do very little lifting at their own bootstraps, and less at any other man's. Now and then you may see one bend and give a delicate tug, of a purely symbolical character: as when the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Bootstrap-lifters comes once a year to wash the feet of the poor; or when the Sunday-school Superintendent of the Baptist Bootstrap-lifters shakes the hand of one of his Colorado mine-slaves. But for the most part the priests and preachers of Bootstrap-lifting walk haughtily erect, many of them being so swollen with prosperity that they could not reach their bootstraps if they wanted to. Their role in life is to exhort other men to more vigorous efforts at self-elevation, that the agents of the Wholesale Pickpockets' Association may ply their immemorial role with less chance of interference.
The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types -- the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.
Weeding the peony hedge I hear the windfalls in the orchard; hear them strike the ground, hear them strike against branches as they fall to the ground. The immemorial smell of apples, old as the sea. Mary makes jelly. Up from the kitchen, up the stairs and into all the rooms comes the smell of apples.
Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.
Not only have you been lucky enough to be attached since time immemorial to a favored evolutionary line, but you have also been extremely- make that miraculously- fortunate in your personal ancestry. Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth's mountains and rivers and oceans, everyone of your forbears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from it's life quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result - evetually, astoundingly, and all to briefly- in you.
But all over-expression, whether by journalists, poets, novelists, or clergymen, is bad for the language, bad for the mind; and by over-expression, I mean the use of words running beyond the sincere feeling of writer or speaker or beyond what the event will sanely carry. From time to time a crusade is preached against it from the text: ‘The cat was on the mat.’ Some Victorian scribe, we must suppose, once wrote: ‘Stretching herself with feline grace and emitting those sounds immemorially connected with satisfaction, Grimalkin lay on a rug whose richly variegated pattern spoke eloquently of the Orient and all the wonders of the Arabian Nights.’ And an exasperated reader annotated the margin with the shorter version of the absorbing event. How the late Georgian scribe will express the occurrence we do not yet know. Thus, perhaps: ‘What there is of cat is cat is what of cat there lying cat is what on what of mat laying cat.’ The reader will probably the margin with ‘Some cat!
The Thing cannot be described - there is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy, such eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order. A mountain walked or stumbled. If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful.
...I is another. If the brass wakes the trumpet, it’s not its fault. That’s obvious to me: I witness the unfolding of my own thought: I watch it, I hear it: I make a stroke with the bow: the symphony begins in the depths, or springs with a bound onto the stage. If the old imbeciles hadn’t discovered only the false significance of Self, we wouldn’t have to now sweep away those millions of skeletons which have been piling up the products of their one-eyed intellect since time immemorial, and claiming themselves to be their authors!