Preposterous Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 42 quotes )
In the internal decoration, if not in the external architecture of their residences, the English are supreme. The Italians have but little sentiment beyond marbles and colors. In France, meliora probant, deteriora sequuntur -- the people are too much a race of gadabouts to maintain those household proprieties of which, indeed, they have a delicate appreciation, or at least the elements of a proper sense. The Chinese and most of the Eastern races have a warm but inappropriate fancy. The Scotch are poor decorists. The Dutch have, perhaps, an indeterminate idea that a curtain is not a cabbage. In Spain, they are all curtains -- a nation of hangmen. The Russians do not furnish. The Hottentots and Kickapoos are very well in their way. The Yankees alone are preposterous.
After all, there was nothing preposterous and world-shaking in the idea that there might be events which overstepped the limited categories of space, time, and causality. Animals were known to sense beforehand storms and earthquakes. There were dreams which foresaw the death of certain persons, clocks which stopped at the moment of death, glasses which shattered at the critical moment. All these things had been taken for granted in the world of my childhood. And now I was apparently the only person who had ever heard of them. In all earnestness I asked myself what kind of world I had stumbled into. Plainly, the urban world knew nothing about the country world, the real world of mountains, woods and rivers, of animals and ‘God’s thoughts’ (plants and crystals). I found this explanation comforting. At all events, it bolstered my self-esteem.
You will find as you grow older that the first thing needful to make the world a tolerable place to live in is to recognize the inevitable selfishness of humanity. You demand unselfishness from others, which is a preposterous claim that they should sacrifice their desires to yours. Why should they? When you are reconciled to the fact that each is for himself in the world you will ask less from your fellows. They will not disappoint you, and you will look upon them more charitably. Men seek but one thing in life -- their pleasure.
All I say is that I think it is damned unlikely that anything like a central cosmic will, a spirit world, or an eternal survival of personality exist. They are the most preposterous and unjustified of all the guesses which can be made about the universe, and I am not enough of a hair-splitter to pretend that I don't regard them as arrant and negligible moonshine. In theory I am an agnostic, but pending the appearance of radical evidence I must be classed, practically and provisionally, as an atheist.
It seems to be difficult if not impossible for human beings to avoid thinking of government as mystical entity with a nature and a history all its own. It constitutes for them a creature somehow interposed between themselves and the great flow of cosmic events, and they look to it to think for them and to protect them. In democratic countries it is theoretically their agent, but there seems to be a strong tendency to convert the presumably free citizen into its agent, or at all events, its client. This exalted view of its scope, character, powers and autonomy is fundamentally false. A government at bottom is nothing more than a group of men, and as a practical matter most of them are inferior me?. Yet these nonentities, by the intellectual laziness of men in general, have come to a degree of puissance in the world that is unchallenged by that of any other group. Their fiats, however preposterous, are generally obeyed as a matter of duty, they are assumed to have a kind of wisdom that is superior to ordinary wisdom, and the lives of multitudes are willingly sacrificed in their interest.
I have met . . . every week a clever undergraduate, every quarter a dull American don, discovers for the first time what some Shakespeare play really meant. . . . The revolution in thought and sentiment which has occurred in my own lifetime is so great that I belong, mentally, to Shakespeare’s world far more than to that of these recent interpreters. I see--I feel it in my bones--I know beyond argument--that most of their interpretations are merely impossible; they involve a way of looking at things which was not known in 1914, much less in the Jacobean period. This daily confirms my suspicion of the same approach to Plato or the New Testament. The idea that any man or writer should be opaque to those who lived in the same culture, spoke the same language, shared the same habitual imagery and unconscious assumptions, and yet transparent to those who have none of these advantages, is in my opinion preposterous.
Roger stooped, picked up a stone, aimed and threw it at Henry-threw it to miss. The stone, that token of preposterous time, bounced five yards to Henry's right and fell in the water. Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. Roger was conditioned by a civilization that knew nothing of him and was in ruins.
Ever since, two summers ago, Joe Marino had begun to come into her bed, a preposterous fecundity had overtaken the staked plans, out in the side garden where the southwestern sun slanted in through the line of willows each long afternoon. The crooked little tomato branches, pulpy and pale as if made of cheap green paper, broke under the weight of so much fruit; there was something frantic in such fertility, a crying-out like that of children frantic to please. Of plants, tomatoes seemed the most human, eager and fragile and prone to rot. Picking the watery orange-red orbs, Alexandra felt she was cupping a giant lover’s testicles in her hand.
It appeared to the Elders that the people here would believe anything about themselves, no matter how preposterous, as long as it was flattering. To make sure of this, they performed an experiment. They put the idea into Earthlings' heads that the whole Universe had been created by one big animal who looked just like them. He sat on a throne with a lot of less fancy thrones all around him. When people died they got to sit on those other thrones forever because they were such close relatives of the Creator. The people down here just ate that up!
I believe that the rape-is-not-about-sex doctrine will go down in history as an example of extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds. It is preposterous on the face of it, does not deserve its sanctity, is contradicted by a mass of evidence, and is getting in the way of the only morally relevant goal surrounding rape, the effort to stamp it out.
It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig. Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me. When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic. No rhetoric, no tremolos, no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell. And of course, no theology, no metaphysics. Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling, on tiptoes and no luggage, not even a sponge bag, completely unencumbered.
To consider freedom as directly dependent on the number of man’s requirements and the extent of their immediate satisfaction shows a twisted understanding of human nature, for such an interpretation only breeds in men a multitude of senseless, stupid desires and habits and endless preposterous inventions.
No writer in a free country should be expected to bother about the exact demarcation between the sensuous and the sensual; this is preposterous; I can only admire but cannot emulate the accuracy of judgment of those who pose the fair young mammals photographed in magazines where the general neckline is just low enough to provoke a past master's chuckle and just high enough not to make a postmaster frown.
Did Owen say your grandmother was a banshee?"He said she was 'wailing like a banshee,'" I explained. Dan got out the dictionary , then; he was clucking his tongue and shaking his head, and laughing at himself saying, "That boy! What a boy! Brilliant but preposterous!" And that was the first time I learned, literally, what a banshee was--a banshee, in Irish folklore, is a female spirit whose wailing is a sign that a loved one will soon die.
Years ago I predicted that these suffragettes, tried out by victory, would turn out to be idiots. They are now hard at work proving it. Half of them devote themselves to advocating reforms, chiefly of a sexual character, so utterly preposterous that even male politicians and newspaper editors laugh at them; the other half succumb absurdly to the blandishments of the old-time male politicians, and so enroll themselves in the great political parties. A woman who joins one of these parties simply becomes an imitation man, which is to say, a donkey.
Grady knew no one she thought less attractive than Mink, or more preposterous than Winifred: yet together and around them they made a clear, lovely, light: it was as if, out of their ordinary stone, their massive unshaped selves, something precious had been set free, a figure musical and pure: she could not but pay it homage.
The most preposterous notion that Homo sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.
She turned back to me, graceful as a big cat, straight and proud, not quite smiling, her warm dark eyes as curious as if she had never seen a man before. I knew damn well I ought to say something, but what? The only thing to say was “Will you marry me?” but that wouldn’t do because the idea of her washing dishes or darning socks was preposterous.