Isolating Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 439 quotes )
The spiritual differs from the religious in being able to endure isolation. The rank of a spiritual person is proportionate to his strength for enduring isolation, whereas we religious people are constantly in need of ‘the others,’ the herd. We religious folks die, or despair, if we are not reassured by being in the assembly, of the same opinion as the congregation, and so on. But the Christianity of the New Testament is precisely related to the isolation of the spiritual man.
A father acts on behalf of his children by working, providing, intervening, struggling, and suffering for them. In so doing, he really stands in their place. He is not an isolated individual, but incorporates the selves of several people in his own self. Every attempt to live as if he were alone is a denial of the fact that he is actually responsible. He cannot escape the responsibility, which is his because he is a father. This reality refutes the fictitious notion that the isolated individual is the agent of all ethical behavior. It is not the isolated individual but the responsible person who is the proper agent to be considered in ethical reflection.
Every isolated passion, is, in isolation, insane; sanity may be defined as synthesis of insanities. Every dominant passion generates a dominant fear, the fear of its non-fulfillment. Every dominant fear generates a nightmare, sometimes in form of explicit and conscious fanaticism, sometimes in paralyzing timidity, sometimes in an unconscious or subconscious terror which finds expression only in dreams. The man who wishes to preserve sanity in a dangerous world should summon in his own mind a parliament of fears, in which each in turn is voted absurd by all the others.
Our stereotyping societies force us to feel more alone. They stamp masks on us and isolate out real selves. We all live in two worlds: the old comfortable man-centred world of absolutes and the harsh real world of relatives. The latter, the relativity reality, terrifies us; and isolates and dwarfs us all.
With the passage of days in this godly isolation [desert], my heart grew calm. It seemed to fill with answers. I did not ask questions any more; I was certain. Everything - where we came from, where we are going, what our purpose is on earth - struck me as extremely sure and simple in this God-trodden isolation. Little by little my blood took on the godly rhythm. Matins, Divine Liturgy, vespers, psalmodies, the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening, the constellations suspended like chandeliers each night over the monastery: all came and went, came and went in obedience to eternal laws, and drew the blood of man into the same placid rhythm. I saw the world as a tree, a gigantic poplar, and myself as a green leaf clinging to a branch with my slender stalk. When God's wind blew, I hopped and danced, together with the entire tree.
For I say to you in all the sadness of conviction, that to think great thoughts you must be heroes as well as idealists. Only when you have worked alone? when you have felt around you a black gulf of solitude more isolating than that which surrounds the dying man, and in hope and in despair have trusted to your own unshaken will? then only will you have achieved. Thus only can you gain the secret isolated joy of the thinker, who knows that, a hundred years after he is dead and forgotten, men who have never heard of him will be moving to the measure of his thought? the subtle rapture of a postponed power, which the world knows not because it has no external trappings, but which to his prophetic vision is more real than that which commands an army.
It is true that many creative people fail to make mature personal relationships, and soem are extremely isolated. It is also true that, in some instances, trauma, in the shape of early separation or bereavement, has steered the potentially creative person toward developing aspects of his personality which can find fulfillment in comparative isolation. But this does not mean that solitary, creative pursuits are themselves pathological....[A]voidance behavior is a response designed to protect the infant from behavioural disorganization. If we transfer this concept to adult life, we can see that an avoidant infant might very well develop into a person whose principal need was to find some kind of meaning and order in life was not entirely, or even cheifly, dependent upon interpersonal relationships.
Human life, distinct from juridical existence, existing as it does on a globe isolated in celestial space, from night to day and from one country to another—human life cannot in any way be limited to the closed systems assigned to it by reasonable conceptions. The immense travail of recklessness, discharge, and upheaval that constitutes life could be expressed by stating that life starts with the deficit of these systems; at least what it allows in the way of order and reserve has meaning only from the moment when the ordered and reserved forces liberate and lose themselves for ends that cannot be subordinated to any thing one can account for. It is only by such insubordination—even if it is impoverished—that the human race ceases to be isolated in the unconditional splendor of material things.
Mother, monogamy, romance. High spurts the fountain; fierce and foamy the wild jet. The urge has but a single outlet. My love, my baby. No wonder those poor pre-moderns were mad and wicked and miserable. Their world didn’t allow them to take things easily, didn’t allow them to be sane, virtuous, happy. What with mothers and lovers, what with the prohibitions they were not conditioned to obey, what with the temptations and the lonely remorses, what with all the diseases and the endless isolating pain, what with the uncertainties and the poverty—they were forced to feel strongly. And feeling strongly (and strongly, what was more, in solitude, in hopelessly individual isolation), how could they be stable?
Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is... One of the deepest forms of poverty a person can experience is isolation... Poverty is often produced by a rejection of God's love, by man's basic and tragic tendency to close in on himself, thinking himself to be self-sufficient or merely an insignificant and ephemeral fact, a "stranger" in a random universe...The human being develops when ... his soul comes to know itself and the truths that God has implanted deep within, when he enters into dialogue with himself and his Creator... It is not by isolation that man establishes his worth, but by placing himself in relation with others and with God.
As the connections have been broken by the fragmentation and isolation of work, they can be restored by restoring the wholeness of work. There is work that is isolating, harsh, destructive, specialized or trivialized into meaninglessness. And there is work that is restorative, convivial, dignified and dignifying, and pleasing. Good work is not just the maintenance of connections - as one is now said to work "for a living" or "to support a family" - but the enactment of connections. It is living, and a way of living; it is not support for a family in the sense of an exterior brace or prop, but is one of the forms and acts of love. (pg. 133, The Body and the Earth)
In general, one's memories of any period must necessarily weaken as one moves away from it. One is constantly learning new facts, and old ones have to drop out to make way for them. At twenty I could have written the history of my schooldays with an accuracy which would be quite impossible now. But it can also happen that one's memories grow sharper after a long lapse of time, because one is looking at the past with fresh eyes and can isolate and, as it were, notice facts which previously existed undifferentiated among a mass of others.
By the time dusk fell, he was back in his room. The last of the daylight lay like fine ashes on the roof-tops. He did not light his lamp, but sat by the fireplace in the dark, seeking in the far distance of his past some vague memory of a love-affair, some recollection of a friendship, with which to soften the hard tyranny of isolation.
If this was the true self it was marvelous and what’s more it seemed never to change but always to pick up from the last stop, to continue in the same vein, a vein I had struck when I was a child and went down in the street for the first time alone and there frozen into the dirty ice of the gutter lay a dead cat, the first time I had looked at death and grasped it. From that moment I knew what it was to be isolated: every object, every living thing and every dead thing led its independent existence. My thoughts too led to an independent existence.
He said to himself, that this child had a right to know life before renouncing it, that to deprive her in advance, and in some sort without consulting her, of all joys, under the pretext of saving her from all trials, to take advantage of her ignorance of her isolation, in order to make an artificial vocation germinate in her, was to rob a human creature of its nature and to lie to God.
And so I ask myself: 'Where are your dreams?' And I shake my head and mutter: 'How the years go by!' And I ask myself again: 'What have you done with those years? Where have you buried your best moments? Have you really lived? Look,' I say to myself, 'how cold it is becoming all over the world!' And more years will pass and behind them will creep grim isolation. Tottering senility will come hobbling, leaning on a crutch, and behind these will come unrelieved boredom and despair. The world of fancies will fade, dreams will wilt and die and fall like autumn leaves from the trees. . . .