Petty Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 149 quotes )
[...] but just as formerly these pursuits and ideas had seemed petty and insignificant in comparison with the darkness that overshadowed all existence, so now they seemed as petty and insignificant in comparison with the brilliant sunshine in which the future was bathed. He went on with his work but now he felt that the centre of gravity of his attention had shifted, making him look at his work quite differently and with greater clarity. Formerly this work had been an escape from life: he used to feel that without it life would be too gloomy. Now he needed it so that life might not be too uniformly bright.
There are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the 'rat race' - the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
When a fixed code of laws, which must be observed to the letter, leaves no further care to the judge than to examine the acts of citizens and to decide whether or not they conform to the law as written; then the standard of the just or the unjust, which is to be the norm of conduct for the ignorant as well as for the philosophic citizen, is not a matter of controversy but of fact; then only are citizens not subject to the petty tyrannies of the many which are the more cruel as the distance between the oppressed and the oppressor is less, and which are far more fatal than those of a single man, for the despotism of many can only be corrected by the despotism of one; the cruelty of a single despot is proportioned, not to his might, but to the obstacles he encounters.
...and with a burning pain in my heart I realized how unnecessary, how petty, and how deceptive all that had hindered us from loving was. I understood that when you love you must either, in your reasonings about that love, start from what is highest, from what is more important than happiness or unhappiness, sin or virtue in their accepted meaning, or you must not reason at all.
We've already had Malthus, the friend of humanity. But the friend of humanity with shaky moral principles is the devourer of humanity, to say nothing of his conceit; for, wound the vanity of any one of these numerous friends of humanity, and he's ready to set fire to the world out of petty revenge - like all the rest of us, though, in that, to be fair; like myself, vilest of all, for I might well be the first to bring the fuel and run away myself.
I've taped a list to my bathroom mirror. It's my Most Violated List. . . Anger. I gave the finger to an ATM. You see, the ATM charged me a $1.75 fee for withdrawl. A dollar seventy-five? That's bananas. So I flipped off the screen. As Julie tells me, when you start making rude gestures to inanimate objects, it's time to work on your anger issues. Mine is not the shouting, pulsing-vein-in-the forehead rage. Like my dad, I rarely raise my voice. My anger problem is more one of long-lasting resentment. It's a heap of real or perceived slights that eventually build up into a mountain of bitterness. . . get some perspective. . . I ask myself the question God asked Jonah. 'Do you do well to be angry?'. . .The world will not end. . . Mute your petty resentment.
How sweet the morning air is! See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo. Now the red rim of the sun pushes itself over the London cloud-bank. It shines on a good many folk, but on none, I dare bet, who are on a stranger errand than you and I. How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!
Under the sad end-of-days spell of the smoky dusk and the waning year, of the moon and its ostentatious superiority to the trashy, petty claptrap of his sublunar existence, why does he even hesitate? The Kamizakis are your enemies whether you do or not, so you might as well do it. Yes, yes, if you can still do something, you must do it - that is the golden rule of sublunar existence, whether you are a worm cut in two or a man with a prostate like a billiard ball. If you can still do something, then you must do it! Anything living can figure that out.
He was one of that countless and multifarious legion of vulgar persons, sickly abortions and half-educated petty tyrants who like a flash attach themselves to the current ideas that are most fashionable in order, again like a flash, to vulgarize them, caricaturing the very cause they seek to serve, sometimes with great genuineness.
Only in love can I find you, my God. In love the gates of my soul spring open, allowing me to breathe a new air of freedom and forget my own petty self. In love my whole being streams forth out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion, which make me a prisoner of my own poverty emptiness. In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward you, wanting never more to return, but to lose themselves completely in you, since by your love you are the inmost center of my heart, closer to me than I am to myself.
This metropolitan world, then, is a world where flesh and blood is less real than paper and ink and celluloid. It is a world where the great masses of people, unable to have direct contact with more satisfying means of living, take life vicariously, as readers, spectators, passive observers: a world where people watch shadow-heroes and heroines in order to forget their own clumsiness or coldness in love, where they behold brutal men crushing out life in a strike riot, a wrestling ring or a military assault, while they lack the nerve even to resist the petty tyranny of their immediate boss: where they hysterically cheer the flag of their political state, and in their neighborhood, their trades union, their church, fail to perform the most elementary duties of citizenship.Living thus, year in and year out, at second hand, remote from the nature that is outside them and no less remote from the nature within, handicapped as lovers and as parents by the routine of the metropolis and by the constant specter of insecurity and death that hovers over its bold towers and shadowed streets - living thus the mass of inhabitants remain in a state bordering on the pathological. They become victims of phantasms, fears, obsessions, which bind them to ancestral patterns of behavior.
That evening, before he went to bed, he said again: "Let us never fear robbers nor murderers. Those are dangers from without, petty dangers. Let us fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices are the real murderers. The great dangers lie within ourselves. What matters it what threatens our head or our purse! Let us think only of that which threatens our soul.
Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now; Now, while the world is bent my deeds to cross, Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow, And do not drop in for an after-loss: Ah, do not, when my heart hath 'scoped this sorrow, Come in the rearward of a conquer'd woe; Give not a windy night a rainy morrow, To linger out a purposed overthrow. If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last, When other petty griefs have done their spite. But in the onset come; so shall I taste. At first the very worst of fortune's might, And other strains of woe, which now seem woe, Compared with loss of thee will not seem so.
Can it be, thought I, that my sole mission on earth is to destroy the hopes of others? Ever since I began to live and act, fate has somehow associated me with the last act of other people's tragedies, as if without me no one could either die or give way to despair! I have been the inevitable character who comes in at the final act, involuntarily playing the detestable role of the hangman or the traitor. What has been fate's object in all this? Has it destined me to be the author of middle-class tragedies and family romances--or a purveyor of tales for, say, the Reader's Library? Who knows? Are there not many who begin life by aspiring to end it like Alexander the Great, or Lord Byron, and yet remain petty civil servants all their lives?
They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles, and self-pitying, all of which are indications of weakness, which lead, just as surely as deliberately planned sins (though by a different route), to failure, unhappiness, and loss, for weakness cannot persist in a power evolving universe.