Reconstruction Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 90 quotes )
Modern Orientalism embodies a systematic discipline of accumulation. Far from this being exclusively an intellectual or theoretical feature, it made Orientalism tend fatally towards the systematic accumulation of human beings and territories. To reconstruct a dead or lost Oriental language meant ultimately to reconstruct a dead or neglected Orient; it also meant that reconstructive precision, science, even imagination could prepare the way for what armies, administrators, and bureaucracies would later do on the ground.
What we see, we seeand seeing is changingthe light that shrivels a mountainand leaves a man alive. Heartbeat of the pulsarheart sweating through my body. The radio impulsepouring in from Taurus I am bombarded yet I stand. I have been standing all my life in thedirect path of a battery of signalsthe most accurately transmitted mostuntranslatable language of the universe. I am a galactic cloud so deep so invo-luted that a light wave could take 15years to travel through me And hastaken I am an instrument in the shapeof a woman trying to translate pulsationsinto images for the relief of the bodyand the reconstruction of the mind.
I became aware that our love was doomed; love had turned into a love affair with a beginning and an end. I could name the very moment when it had begun, and one day I knew I should be able to name the final hour. When she left the house I couldn't settle to work. I would reconstruct what we had said to each other; I would fan myself into anger or remorse. And all the time I knew I was forcing the pace. I was pushing, pushing the only thing I loved out of my life. As long as I could make believe that love lasted I was happy; I think I was even good to live with, and so love did last. But if love had to die, I wanted it to die quickly. It was as though our love were a small creature caught in a trap and bleeding to death; I had to shut my eyes and wring its neck.
It is an absolutely vain endeavor to attempt to reconstruct or even comprehend the nature of a human being by simply knowing the forces which have acted upon him. However deeply we should like to penetrate, however close we seem to be drawing to truth, one unknown quantity eludes us: man's primordial energy, his original self, that personality which was given him with the gift of life itself. On it rests man's true freedom; it alone determines his real character.
Cesar is not a philosophical man. His life has been one long flight from reflection. At least he is clever enough not to expose the poverty of his general ideas; he never permits the conversation to move toward philosophical principles. Men of his type so dread all deliberation that they glory in the practice of the instantaneous decision. They think they are saving themselves from irresolution; in reality they are sparing themselves the contemplation of all the consequences of their acts. Moreover, in this way they can rejoice in the illusion of never having made a mistake; for act follows so swiftly on act that it is impossible to reconstruct the past and say that an alternative decision would have been better. They can pretend that every act was forced on them under emergency and that every decision was mothered by necessity
When I get out of here, if I'm ever able to set this down, in any form, even in the form of one voice to another, it will be a reconstruction then too, yet another remove. It's impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too may parts, sides, crosscurrents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too many shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half-colors, too many. But if you happen to be a man, sometime in the future, and you've made it this far, please remember: you will never be subject to the temptation or feeling you must forgive, a man, as a woman. It's difficult to resist, believe me. But remember that forgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withhold it or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest.Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it isn't really about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death. Maybe it isn't about who can sit and who has to kneel or stand or lie down, legs spread open. Maybe it's about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing.
Recall, then, some event that has left a distinct impression on you---how at the corner of the street, perhaps, you passed two people talking. A tree shook; an electric light danced; the tone of the talk was comic, but also tragic; a whole vision, an entire conception, seemed contained in that moment. But when you attempt to reconstruct it in words, you will find that it breaks into a thousand conflicting impressions.
I'm talking about equalizing the pressure between outer actions and events which are shattering and devastating to us and then the place where we recompose and reconstruct ourselves, where we finally achieve what Jung called the second birth. The second birth is the one that you can make, and the discovery of that to me was always a great relief. As long as we expect the changes to come only from the outside or from action outside or from political systems, then we are bound to feel helpless, to feel sometimes that reality is bigger and stronger than we are. But if suddenly we begin to feel that there is one person we can change, simultaneously we change many people around us. And as a writer I suddenly discovered the enormous radius of influence that one person can have.
From the place by the railing at the edge of the tracks on the summer evening I return across the city to my own room. I am vividly aware of my own life that escaped the winter on the boat. How many such lives I have lived. Then I only made a dollar and a half a day and now I sometimes make more than that in a few minutes. How wonderful to be able to write words. ... Again I begin the endless game of reconstructing my own life, jerking it out of the shell that dies, striving to breathe into it beauty and meaning. ... I wonder why my life, why all lives, are not more beautiful.
A Belgian journalist, struggling to describe the scene, had said that it resembled a cross between a permanent mass wake, an ongoing grad night for at least a dozen subcultures unheard of before the disaster, the black market cafes of occupied Paris, and Goya's idea of a dance party (assuming Goya had been Japanese and smoked freebase methamphetamine, which along with endless quantities of alcohol was clearly the Western World's substance of choice). It was, the Belgian said, as though the city, in its convolsion and grief, had spontaneously and necessarily generated this hidden pocket universe of the soul, its few unbroken windows painted over with black rubber aquarium paint. There would be no view of the ruptured city. As the reconstruction began around it, it had already become a benchmark in Tokyo's psychic history, an open secret, an urban legend.
In the dull twilight of the winter afternoon she came to the end of a long road which had begun the night Atlanta fell. She had set her feet upon that road a spoiled, selfish and untried girl, full of youth, warm of emotion, easily bewildered by life. Now, at the end of the road, there was nothing left of that girl. Hunger and hard labor, fear and constant strain, the terrors of war and the terrors of Reconstruction had taken away all warmth and youth and softness. About the core of her being, a shell of hardness had formed and, little by little, layer by layer, the shell had thickened during the endless months.
We will never cease our critique of those persons who distort the past, rewrite it, falsify it, who exaggerate the importance of one event and fail to mention some other; such a critique is proper (it cannot fail to be), but it doesn't count for much unless a more basic critique precedes it: a critique of human memory as such. For after all, what can memory actually do, the poor thing? It is only capable of retaining a paltry little scrap of the past, and no one knows why just this scrap and not some other one, since in each of us the choice occurs mysteriously, outside our will or our interests. We won't understand a thing about human life if we persist in avoiding the most obvious fact: that a reality no longer is what it was when it was; it cannot be reconstructed. Even the most voluminous archives cannot help.
However good we are, however correctly we seek to lead our lives, tragedies do occur. We can blame others, look for justification, imagine how our lives would have been different without them. But none of that matters: they have happened, and that is that. From this point on, it is necessary that we review our own lives, overcome fear, and begin the process of reconstruction.
In their choice of lovers both the male and the female reveal their essential nature. The type of human being we prefer reveals the contours of our heart. Love is an impulse which springs from the most profound depths of our beings, and upon reaching the visible surface of life carries with it an alluvium of shells and seaweed from the inner abyss. A skilled naturalist, by filing these materials, can reconstruct the oceanic depths from which they have been uprooted.
History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. What is the worth of all this? The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honor.
Most often, our water is shut off because of some reconstruction project, either in our village or in the next one over. A hole is dug, a pipe is replaced, and within a few hours things are back to normal. The mystery is that it's so perfectly timed to my schedule. That is to say that the tap dries up at the exact moment I roll out of bed, which is usually between 10:00 and 10:30. For me this is early, but for Hugh and most of our neighbors it's something closer to midday. What they do at 6:00 a. m. is anyone's guess. I only know that they're incredibly self-righteous about it and talk about the dawn as if it's a personal reward, bestowed on account of their great virtue.
The lightning bugs are back. They fly low to the ground as the lawn dissolves from green to black in the dusk. Seeing them, I can reconstruct a childhood: a hot night under tall trees; the Good Humor man, in his square white truck, the freezer smoky when he reaches inside for an ice cream. The lightning bugs trapped in empty jars with holes on top. "Let them out," our mother said, "or they will die in there." We were careless. We alwaysforgot to open the jars. The bugs would be there in the morning, their yellow tails dim in the white light of the summer sun, pathetic as they lay ontheir backs. We were always horrified by what we had done. As night fell we shook them out and caught more. I relive the magic of the yellow light without the bright white of hindsight. The little flares in the darkness, a distillation of the kind of life we think we had, we wish we had, we want again.
protected businesses never, never become competitive ... Halliburton, Bechtel, Parsons, KPMG, RTI, Blackwater and all other U.S. corporations that were in Iraq to take advantage of the reconstruction were part of a vast protectionist racket whereby the U.S. government had created their markets with war, barred their competitors from even entering the race, then paid them to do the work, while guaranteeing them a profit to boot - all at taxpayer expense.
By the time the think-tank lifers arrived in Baghdad, the crucial roles in the reconstruction had already been outsourced to Halliburton and KPMG. THeir job as the public servants was simply to administer the petty cash, which in Iraq took the form of handling shrink-wrapped bricks of hundred-dollar bills to contractors. It was a graphic glimpse into the acceptable role of government in a corporatist state - to act as a conveyor belt for getting public money into private hands, a job for which ideological commitment is far more relevant than elaborate field experience.
The question is very understandable, but no one has found a satisfactory answer to it so far. Yes, why do they make still more gigantic planes, still heavier bombs and, at the same time, prefabricated houses for reconstruction? Why should millions be spent daily on the war and yet there's not a penny available for medical services, artists, or for poor people? Why do some people have to starve, while there are surpluses rotting in other parts of the world? Oh, why are people so crazy?