Baffling Quotes (displaying: 1 - 10 of 83 quotes )
Positively, the delinquent behavior seems to speak clearly enough. It asks for what we can’t give, but it is in this direction we must go. It asks for manly opportunities to work, make a little money, and have self-esteem; to have some space to bang around in, that is not always somebody’s property; to have better schools to open for them horizons of interest; to have more and better sex without fear or shame; to share somehow in the symbolic goods (like the cars) that are made so much of; to have a community and a country to be loyal to; to claim attention and have a voice. These are not outlandish demands. Certainly they cannot be satisfied directly in our present system; they are baffling. That is why the problem is baffling, and the final recourse is to a curfew, to ordinances against carrying knives, to threatening the parents, to reformatories with newfangled names, and to 1,100 more police on the street.
The eyes themselves were of that baffling protean gray which is never twice the same; which runs through many shades and colorings like intershot silk in sunshine; which is gray, dark and light, and greenish gray, and sometimes of the clear azure of the deep sea. They were eyes that masked the soul with a thousand guises, and that sometimes opened, at rare moments, and allowed it to rush up as though it were about to fare forth nakedly into the world on some wonderful adventure -- eyes that could brood with the hopeless somberness of leaden skies; that could snap and crackle points of fire like those that sparkle from a whirling sword; that could grow chill as an arctic landscape, and yet again, that could warm and soften and be all adance with love-lights, intense and masculine, luring and compelling, which at the same time fascinate and dominate women till they surrender in a gladness of joy and of relief and sacrifice.
The days that followed passed slowly. I lay in my hotel room and watched the kind of strange European TV that would probably make perfect sense if I understood the language, but because I didn’t, the programs just seemed dreamlike and baffling. In one studio show a group of Scandinavian academics watched as one of them poured liquid plastic into a bucket of cold water. It solidified, they pulled it out, handed it around the circle, and, as far as I could tell, intellectualized on its random misshapenness. I phoned home but my wife didn’t answer. It crossed my mind that she might be dead. I panicked. Then it turned out that she wasn’t dead. She had just been at the shops.
The problem with the religious solution [for mysteries such as consciousness and moral judgments] was stated by Mencken when he wrote, "Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing." For anyone with a persistent intellectual curiosity, religious explanations are not worth knowing because they pile equally baffling enigmas on top of the original ones. What gave God a mind, free will, knowledge, certainty about right and wrong? How does he infuse them into a universe that seems to run just fine according to physical laws? How does he get ghostly souls to interact with hard matter? And most perplexing of all, if the world unfolds according to a wise and merciful plan, why does it contain so much suffering? As the Yiddish expression says, If God lived on earth, people would break his window.
...God knows, when spring comes to Paris the humbles mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise....it [is] the the intimacy with which his eye rests upon the scene. It [is] his Paris. A man does not need to be rich, nor even a citizen, to feel this way about Paris. Paris is filled with poor people - the proudest and filthiest lot of beggars that ever walked the earth... And yet they give the illusion of being at home. It is that which distinguishes the Parisian from all other metropolitan souls. When I think of New York I have a very different feeling. New York makes even a rich man feel his unimportance. New York is cold, glisttering, malign. The buildings dominate. There is a sort of atomic frenzy to the activity going on; the more furious the pace, the more diminished the spirit...Nobody knows what it's all about. Nobody directs the energy. Stupendous. Bizarre. Baffling. A tremendous reactive urge, but absolutely uncoordinated.
He was a thundering paradox of a man, noble and ignoble, inspiring and outrageous, arrogant and shy, the best of me and the worst of men, the most protean, most ridiculous, and most sublime. No more baffling, exasperating soldier ever wore a uniform. Flamboyant, imperious, and apocalyptic, he carried the plumage of a flamingo, could not acknowledge errors, and tried to cover up his mistakes with sly, childish tricks. Yet he was also endowed with great personal charm, a will of iron, and a soaring intellect. Unquestionably he was the most gifted man-at arms- this nation has produced. -William Manchester on Douglas MacArthur