Outset Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 54 quotes )
A learned man is a sedentary, concentrated solitary enthusiast, who searches through books to discover some particular grain of truth upon which he has set his heart. If the passion for reading conquers him, his gains dwindle and vanish between his fingers. A reader, on the other hand, must check the desire for learning at the outset; if knowledge sticks to him well and good, but to go in pursuit of it, to read on a system, to become a specialist or an authority, is very apt to kill what suits us to consider the more humane passion for pure and disinterested reading.
It is necessary to create constraints, in order to invent freely. In poetry the constraint can be imposed by meter, foot, rhyme, by what has been called the "verse according to the ear."... In fiction, the surrounding world provides the constraint. This has nothing to do with realism... A completely unreal world can be constructed, in which asses fly and princesses are restored to life by a kiss; but that world, purely possible and unrealistic, must exist according to structures defined at the outset (we have to know whether it is a world where a princess can be restored to life only by the kiss of a prince, or also by that of a witch, and whether the princess's kiss transforms only frogs into princes or also, for example, armadillos).
We do not rush toward death, we flee the catastrophe of birth, survivors struggling to forget it. Fear of death is merely the projection into the future of a fear which dates back to our first moment of life. We are reluctant, of course, to treat birth as a scourge: has it not been inculcated as the sovereign good—have we not been told that the worst came at the end, not at the outset of our lives? Yet evil, the real evil, is behind, not ahead of us. What escaped Jesus did not escape Buddha: “If three things did not exist in the world, O disciples, the Perfect One would not appear in the world. …” And ahead of old age and death he places the fact of birth, source of every infirmity, every disaster.
Humanity is not an aggregate of individuals, a community of thinkers, each of whom is guaranteed from the outset to be able to reach agreement with the others because all participate in the same thinking essence. Nor, of course, is it a single Being in which the multiplicity of individuals are dissolved and into which these individuals are destined to be reabsorbed. As a matter of principle, humanity is precarious: each person can only believe what he recognizes to be true internally and, at the same time, nobody thinks or makes up his mind without already being caught up in certain relationships with others, which leads him to opt for a particular set of opinions. Everyone is alone and yet nobody can do without other people, not just because they are useful (which is not in dispute here) but also when it comes to happiness.
But: all journeys were return journeys. The farther one traveled, the nakeder one got, until, towards the end, ceasing to be animated by any scene, one was most oneself, a man in a bed surrounded by empty bottles. The man who says, "I've got a wife and kids" is far from home; at home he speaks of Japan. But he does not know - how could he? - that the scenes changing in the train window from Victoria Station to Tokyo Central are nothing compared to the change in himself; and travel writing, which cannot but be droll at the outset, moves from journalism to fiction, arriving promptly as the Kodama Echo at autobiography. From there any further travel makes a beeline to confession, the embarrassed monologue in a deserted bazaar. The anonymous hotel room in a strange city...
I suppose even Dictators have their chummy moments, when they put their feet up and relax with the boys, but it was plain from the outset that if Roderick Spode had a sunnier side, he had not come with any idea of exhibiting it now. His manner was curt. One sensed the absence of the bonhomous note. ... Here he laid a hand on my shoulder, and I can't remember when I have experienced anything more unpleasant. Apart from what Jeeves would have called the symbolism of the action, he had a grip like the bite of a horse. "Did you say 'Oh yes?'" he asked. "Oh no," I assured him.
He meditated on the use to which he should put all the energy of youth which comes to a man only once in life. Should he devote this power, which is not the strength of intellect or heart or education, but an urge which once spent can never return, the power given to a man once only to make himself, or even? so it seems to him at the time? the universe into anything he wishes: should he devote it to art, to science, to love, or to practical activities? True, there are people who never have this urge: at the outset of life they place their necks under the first yoke that offers itself, and soberly toil away in it to the end of their days.
This has nothing to do with realism (even if it explains also realism). A completely real world can be constructed, in which asses fly and princesses are restored to life by a kiss, but that world, purely possible and unrealistic, must exist according to structures defined at the outset (we have to know whether it is a world where a princess can be restored to life only by the kiss of a prince, or also by that of a witch, and whether the princess's kiss tranforms only frogs into princes or also, for example, armadillos).
You get one experience of a thing when you look along it and another when you look at it. Which is the "true" or "valid" experience? Which tells you most about the thing? And you can hardly ask the question without noticing that for the last fifty years or so everyone has been taking the answer for granted. It has been assumed without discussion that if you want the true account of religion you must go, not to religious people, but to anthropologists; that if you want the true account of sexual love you must go, not to lovers, but to psychologists... The answer is that we must never allow the rot to begin. We must, on pain of idiocy, deny from the very outset the idea that looking at is, by its own nature, intrinsically truer or better than looking along. One must look both along and at everything.
The business man who assumes that this life is everything, and the mystic who asserts that it is nothing, fail, on this side and on that, to hit the truth. "Yes, I see, dear; it's about halfway between," Aunt Juley had hazarded in earlier years. No; truth, being alive, was not halfway between anything. It was only to be found by continuous excursions into either realm, and though proportion is the final secret, to espouse it at the outset is to ensure sterility.
Let us be clear at the outset that the liberty of individuals to carry on their business should not be abrogated unless the larger interests of the many are concerned. It is the purpose of government to see that not only the legitimate interests of the few are protected but that the welfare and rights of the many are conserved. These are the principals which must be remembered in any consideration of this question. This, I take it, is sound government-not politics.
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.
Fun is at the core of the way I like to do business and it has been key to everything I've done from the outset. More than any other element, fun is the secret of Virgin's success. I am aware that the ideas of business as being fun and creative goes right against the grain of convention, and it's certainly not how the they teach it at some of those business schools, where business means hard grind and lots of 'discounted cash flows' and net' present values'.
Intimacy requires courage because risk is inescapable. We cannot know at the outset how the relationship will affect us. Like a chemical mixture, if one of us is changed, both of us will be. Will we grow in self-actualization, or will it destroy us? The one thing we can be certain of is that if we let ourselves fully into the relationship for good or evil, we will not come out unaffected.
Everyone contributed to this legend except Phineas. At the outset, with the attempt on Hitler’s life, Finny had said, “If someone gave Leper a loaded gun and put it at Hitler’s temple, he’d miss.” There was a general shout of outrage, and then we recommended the building of Leper’s triumphal arch around Brinker’s keystone. Phineas took no part in it, and since little else was talked about in the Butt Room he soon stopped going there and stopped me from going as well—”How do you expect to be an athlete if you smoke like a forest fire?” He drew me increasingly away from the Butt Room crowd, away from Brinker and Chet and all other friends, into a world inhabited by just himself and me, where there was no war at all, just Phineas and me alone among all the people of the world, training for the Olympics of 1944.
We ought not to be in too much of a hurry here to speak piously of God’s will and guidance. It is obvious, and it should not be ignored, that it is your own very human wills that are at work here, celebrating their triumph; the course that you are taking at the outset is one that you have chosen for yourselves…