Reaction Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 462 quotes )
Pyscho-history dealt not with man, but with man-masses. It was the science of mobs; mobs in their billions. It could forecast reactions to stimuli with something of the accuracy that a lesser science could bring to the forecast of a rebound of a billiard ball. The reaction of one man could be forecast by no known mathematics; the reaction of a billion is something else again.
They had been pathetically eager to have the wedding in the family church. Their reaction though, as far as she could estimate the reactions of people who were now so remote from her, was less elated glee than a quiet, rather smug satisfaction, as though their fears about the effects of her university education, never stated but aways apparent, had been calmed at last. They had probably been worried she would turn into a high-school teacher or a maiden aunt or a dope addict or a female executive, or that she would undergo some shocking physical transformation, like developing muscles and a deep voice or growing moss.
I often have the feeling that even at the best of times literary criticism is fraudulent, since in the absence of any accepted standards whatever -- any external reference which can give meaning to the statement that such and such a book is "good" or "bad" -- every literary judgement consists in trumping up a set of rules to justify an instinctive preference. One's real reaction to a book, when one has a reaction at all, is usually "I like this book" or "I don't like it" and what follows is a rationalisation.
There are some authors who contend that meanings and values are "nothing but defense mechanisms, reaction formations and sublimations." But as for myself, I would not be willing to live merely for the sake of my "defense mechanisms," nor would I be ready to die merely for the sake of my "reaction formations.
Theirs is the customary human reaction when confronted with innovation: to flounder about attempting to adapt old responses to new situations or to simply condemn or ignore the harbingers of change--a practice refined by the Chinese emperors, who used to execute messengers bringing bad news. The new technological environments generate the most pain among those least prepared to alter their old value structures. The literati find the new electronic environment far more threatening than do those less committed to literacy as a way of life. When an individual or social group feels that its whole identity is jeopardized by social or psychic change, its natural reaction is to lash out in defensive fury. But for all their lamentations, the revolution has already taken place.
For in spite of itself any movement that thinks and acts in terms of an ‘ism becomes so involved in reaction against other ‘isms that it is unwittingly controlled by them. For it then forms its principles by reaction against them instead of by a comprehensive, constructive survey of actual needs, problems, and possibilities.
This has been her problem all her life: picturing other people's responses. She's too good at it. She can picture the response of anyone--other people's reactions, their emotions, their criticisms, their demands--but somehow they don't reciprocate. Maybe they can't. Maybe they lack the gift, if it is one.
Why should a man marry and have children, study and build a career; why should he invent new techniques, build new institutions, and develop new ideas--when he doubts if there will be a tomorrow which can guarantee the value of human effort? Crucial here for nuclear man is the lack of a sense of continuity, which is so vital for a creative life. He finds himself part of a nonhistory in which only the sharp moment of the here and now is valuable. For nuclear man life easily becomes a bow whose string is broken and from which no arrow can fly. In his dislocated state he becomes paralyzed. His reactions are not anxiety and joy, which were so much a part of existential man, but apathy and boredom.
We seldomrealize, for example, that our most private thoughts and emotions arenot actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and imageswhich we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society. Wecopy emotional reactions from our parents, learning from them thatexcrement is supposed to have a disgusting smell and that vomiting issupposed to be an unpleasant sensation. The dread of death is alsolearned from their anxieties about sickness and from their attitudes tofunerals and corpses. Our social environment has this power justbecause we do not exist apart from a society. Society is our extendedmind and body. Yet the very society from which the individual is inseparable is usingits whole irresistible force to persuade the individual that he is indeedseparate! Society as we now know it is therefore playing a game withself-contradictory rules.
We know of no spectacle more ridiculous—or more contemptible—than that of the religious reactionaries who dare to re-write the history of our republic. Or who try to do so. Is it possible that, in their vanity and stupidity, they suppose that they can erase the name of Thomas Jefferson and replace it with the name of some faith-based mediocrity whose name is already obscure? If so, we cheerfully resolve to mock them, and to give them the lie in their teeth.
If hatred strikes you, if you get accused, thrown to the lions, you can expect one of two reactions from people who know you: some of them will join in the kill, the others will discreetly pretend to know nothing, hear nothing, so you can go right on seeing them and talking to them. That second category, discreet and tactful, those are your friends. 'Friends' in the modern sense of the term. Listen, Jean-Marc, I've known that forever.
Those are the only to verbalizations usually that we make in movies—either to scream or to laugh—because those two reactions are rather close. Most things we laugh at are things that are really horrible, when you think about them. It’s funny and you don’t scream, as long as it’s not you. If it’s somebody else you can laugh.
The tree in the field is to be treated with respect. It is not to be romanticized as the old lady romanticizes her cat (that is, she reads human reactions into it). . . . But while we should not romanticize the tree, we must realize that God made it and it deserves respect because he made it as a tree. Christians who do not believe in the complete evolutionary scale have reason to respect nature as the total evolutionist never can, because we believe that God made these things specifically in their own areas. So if we are going to argue against evolutionists intellectually, we should show the results of our beliefs in our attitudes. The Christian is a man who has a reason for dealing with each created thing on a high level of respect.