Surprisingly Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 65 quotes )
We hang on to our values, even if they seem at times tarnished and worn; even if, as a nation and in our own lives, we have betrayed them more often that we care to remember. What else is there to guide us? Those values are our inheritance, what makes us who we are as a people. And although we recognize that they are subject to challenge, can be poked and prodded and debunked and turned inside out bu intellectuals and cultural critics, they have proven to be both surprisingly durable and surprisingly constant across classes, and races, and faiths, and generations. We can make claims on their behalf, so long as we understand that our values must be tested against fact and experience, so long as we recall that they demand deeds and not just words.
After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn't it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked -- as I am surprisingly often -- why I bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn't it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?
I do not mean to say that I viewed those desires of mine that deviated from accepted standards as normal and orthodox; nor do I mean that I labored under the mistaken impression that my friends possessed the same desires. Surprisingly enough, I was so engrossed in tales of romance that I devoted all my elegant dreams to thoughts of love between man and maid, and to marriage, exactly as though I were a young girl who knew nothing of the world. I tossed my love for Omi onto the rubbish heap of neglected riddles, never once searching deeply for its meaning. Now when I write the word love, when I write affection, my meaning is totally different from my understanding of the words at that time. I never even dreamed that such desires as I had felt toward Omi might have a significant connection with the realities of my "life.
This kind of thing doesn't seem to bother most people. Given the chance, people are surprisingly frank when they talk about themselves. "I'm honest and open to a ridiculous degree," they'll say, or "I'm thin-skinned and not the type who gets along easily in the world." Or "I am very good at sensing others' true feelings." But any number of times I've seen people who say they're easily hurt hurt other people for no apparent reason. Self-styled honest and open people, without realizing what they're doing, blithely use some self-serving excuse to get what they want. And those "good at sensing others' true feelings" are duped by the most transparent flattery. It's enough to make me ask the question: How well do we really know ourselves?
I won't even mention the swift, transitory reward of lemon spray wax. Danielle Westerman and I have discussed the matter of housework. Not surprisingly, she, always looking a little drisoire, believes that women have been enslaved by their possessions. Acquiring and then tending--these eat up a woman's creativity, anyone's creativity. But I've been watching the ways she arranges articles on a shelf, and how carefully she sets a table, even with it is just me coming into Toronto to have lunch in her sunroom.
The rat turned his glowing eyes on him, and Gregor was shocked by what he saw there. The intelligence, the deadliness, and, most surprisingly, the pain. This rat was not like Fangor and Shed. He was much more complicated and much more dangerous. For the first time in the Underland, Gregor felt completely out of his league. If he fought this rat, he wouldn't stand a change. He would lose. He would be dead.
That was close,"he said, helping himself to coffee. Yeah, you almost opened the door to Morelli."I wasn't talking about Morelli. I was talking about us."That too," I said. Ranger sliced a bagel and looked for the toaster. It's broken,"I told him. He truned the boiler on and slid the bagel into the oven. That's surprisingly domestic for a man of mystery," I said to him. He looked at me over the rim of his coffee mug. "I like things hot.
The music was more than music- at least what we are used to hearing. The music was feeling itself. The sound connected instantly with something deep and joyous. Those powerful moments of true knowledge that we have to paper over with daily life. The music tapped the back of our terrors, too. Things we'd lived through and didn't want to ever repeat. Shredded imaginings, unadmitted longings, fear and also surprisingly pleasures. No, we can't live at that pitch. But every so often something shatters like ice and we are in the river of our existence. We are aware. And this realization was in the music, somehow, or in the way Shamengwa played it.
All the rabbit in us is to disappear-the worried, conscientious, ethical rabbit as well as the cowardly and sensual rabbit. We shall bleed and squeal as the handfuls of fur come out; and then, surprisingly, we shall find underneath it a thing we have never yet imagined: a real Man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy.
Sometimes I run fast when I feel like it, but if I increase the pace I shorten the amount of time I run, the point being to let the exhilaration I feel at the end of each run carry over to the next day. This is the same sort of tack I find necessary when writing a novel. I stop every day right at the point where I feel I can write more. Do that, and the next day's work goes surprisingly smoothly. I think Ernest Hemingway did something like that. To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm. This is the important thing for long-term projects. Once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed-and to get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you can manage.
Famines are easy to prevent if there is a serious effort to do so, and a democratic government, facing elections and criticisms from opposition parties and independent newspapers, cannot help but make such an effort. Not surprisingly, while India continued to have famines under British rule right up to independence? they disappeared suddenly with the establishment of a multiparty democracy and a free press.? a free press and an active political opposition constitute the best early-warning system a country threaten by famines can have
Studies show that the IQ range of most creative people is surprisingly narrow, around 120 to 130. Higher IQs can perform certain kinds of tasks better--logic, feats of memory, and so on. But if the IQ is much higher or lower than that, the window of creativity closes. Nonetheless, for some reason we believe more is better, so people yearn for tip-top IQs, and that calls for bigger memories. A fast, retentive memory is handy, but no skeleton key for survival.
(My greatest human flaw and strength, not surprisingly, is that I can always imagine anything--a marriage, a conversation, a government--as being different from how it is, a trait that might make one a top-notch trial lawyer or novelist or realtor, but that also seems to produce a somewhat less than reliable and morally feasible human being.)