Skyscraper Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 34 quotes )
There is nothing more poetic and terrible than the skyscrapers' battle with the heavens that cover them. Snow, rain, and mist highlight, drench, or conceal the vast towers, but those towers, hostile to mystery and blind to any sort of play, shear off the rain's tresses and shine their three thousand swords through the soft swan of the fog.
Lay me on an anvil, O God. Beat me and hammer me into a crowbar. Let me pry loose old walls. Let me lift and loosen old foundations. Lay me on an anvil, O God. Beat me and hammer me into a steel spike. Drive me into the girders that hold a skyscraper together. Take red-hot rivets and fasten me into the central girders. Let me be the great nail holding a skyscraper through blue nights into white stars.
It's interesting to speculate on the reasons that make men so anxious to debase themselves. As in that idea of feeling small before nature. It's not a bromide, it's practically an institution. Have you noticed how self-righteous a man sounds when he tells you about it? Look, he seems to say, I'm so glad to be a pygmy, that's how virtuous I am. Have you heard with what delight people quote some great celebrity who's proclaimed that he's not so great when he looks at Niagara Falls? It's as if they were smacking their lips in sheer glee that their best is dust before the brute force of an earthquake. As if they were sprawling on all fours, rubbing their foreheads in the mud to the majesty of a hurricane. But that's not the spirit that leashed fire, steam, electricity, that crossed oceans in sailing sloops, that built airplanes and dams...and skyscrapers. What is it they fear? What is they hate so much, those who love to crawl? And why?
Creating a new theory is not like destroying an old barn and erecting a skyscraper in its place. It is rather like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views, discovering unexpected connections between our starting points and its rich environment. But the point from which we started out still exists and can be seen, although it appears smaller and forms a tiny part of our broad view gained by the mastery of the obstacles on our adventurous way up.
New York! The white prisons, the sidewalks swarming with maggots, the breadlines, the opium joints that are built like palaces, the kikes that are there, the lepers, the thugs, and above all, the ennui, the monotony of faces, streets, legs, houses, skyscrapers, meals, posters, jobs, crimes, loves... A whole city erected over a hollow pit of nothingness. Meaningless. Absolute meaningless.
It was a dark afternoon, threatening rain and the end of the world, and done in that particularly gloomy gray in which only New York afternoons indulge. A breeze was crying down the streets, whisking along battered newspapers and pieces of things, and little lights were pricking out all the windows- it was so desolate that one was sorry for the tops of sky-scrapers lost up there in the dark green and gray heaven.
We wanted to blast the world free of history.... picture yourself planting radishes and seed potatoes on the fifteenth green of a forgotten golf course. You'll hunt elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center, and dig clams next to the skeleton of the Space Needle leaning at a forty-five degree angle. We'll paint the skyscrapers with huge totem faces and goblin tikis, and every evening what's left of mankind will retreat to empty zoos and lock itself in cages as protection against the bears and big cats and wolves that pace and watch us from outside the cage bars at night.
Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. man had no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons - a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and we have comes from a single attribute of man -the function of his reasoning mind.
These cities grew in approximately the same places as our cities do now, however different the shape of the continents was. There was even a New York that in some way resembled the New York familiar to all of you, but was much newer, or, rather, more awash with new products, new toothbrushes, a New York with its own Manhattan that stretched out dense with skyscrapers gleaming like the nylon bristles of a brand-new toothbrush.
Why would anybody be intimidated by mere words? I mean, neither I nor any other athiest that I know ever threatens violence. We never threaten to fly planes into skyscrapers. We never threaten suicide bombs. We are very gentle people. All we do is use words to talk about things like the cosmos, the origin of the universe, evolution, the origin of life. What's there to be frightened of? It's just an opinion.
I don't know. Maybe we're all chaos theorists. Lovers of pattern and predictability, we're scared shitless of explosive change. But we're fascinated by it, too. Drawn to it. Travelers tap their brakes to ogle the mutilation and mangled metal on the side of the interstate, and the traffic backs up for miles. Hijacked planes crash into skyscrapers, breached levees drown a city, and CNN and the networks rush to the scene so that we can all sit in front of our TVs and feast on the footage. Stare, stunned, at the pandemonium--the devils let loose from their cages.
Our world is so complex that we take for granted engineering processes that would dwarf any of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World; we ride railroad tracks that do not follow faithfully the curvature of the earth, for the train would jump the tracks if they were level. We pass skyscrapers whose stress and strain are figured to the millionth of an inch, yet take for granted that the Empire State Building actually sways constantly many feet. If we are religiously inclined, we take going to the church of our choice for granted; if we are non believers, we give no second thought to the fact that we do not have to attend religious services if we do not choose. Yet the very privilege of non-belief represents the victory of philosophy; otherwise the non-churchgoer would still face the lions or the stake.
College feminists made fun of skyscrapers, saying they were phallic symbols. They said the same thing about space rockets, even though, if you stopped to think about it, rockets were shaped the way they were not because of phallocentrism but because of aerodynamics. Would a vagina-shaped Apollo 11 have made it to the moon? Evolution had created the penis. It was a useful structure for getting certain things done. And if it worked for the pistils of flowers as well as the inseminatory organs of Homo sapiens, whose fault was that but Biology's? But no--anything large or grand in design, any long novel, big sculpture, or towering building, became, in the opinion of the "women" Mitchell knew at college, manifestations of male insecurity about the size of their penises.
Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil? a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. Tolerance applies only to persons? never to truth. Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error? Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory. Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability.
So time passed on. And the two skyscrapers decided to have a child. And they decided when their child came it should be a *free* child. "It must be a free child," they said to each other. "It must not be a child standing still all its life on a street corner. Yes, if we have a child she mist be free to run across the prairie, to the mountains, to the sea. Yes, it must be a free child."So time passed on. Their child came. It was a railroad train, the Golden Spike Limited, the fastest long distance train in the Rootabaga Country. It ran across the prairie, to the mountains, to the sea.