Clear-Cut Quotes (displaying: 1 - 26 of 26 quotes )
Where does a story truly begin? In life, there are seldom clear-cut beginnings, those moments when we can, in looking back, say that everything started. Yet there are moments when fate intersects with our daily lives, setting in motion a sequence of events whose outcome we could never have foreseen.
In the use of force, one simplifies the situation by assuming that the evil to be overcome is clear-cut, definite, and irreversible. Hence there remains but one thing: to eliminate it. Any dialogue with the sinner, any question of the irreversibility of his act, only means faltering and failure. Failure to eliminate evil is itself a defeat. Anything that even remotely risks such defeat is in itself capitulation to evil. The irreversibility of evil then reaches out to contaminate even the tolerant thought of the hesitant crusader who, momentarily, doubts the total evil of the enemy he is about to eliminate. p. 21
In clear-cutting, he said, you clear away the natural forest, or what the industrial forester calls "weed trees," and plant all one species of tree in neat straight functional rows like corn, sorghum, sugar beets or any other practical farm crop. You then dump on chemical fertilizers to replace the washed-away humus, inject the seedlings with growth-forcing hormones, surround your plot with deer repellants and raise a uniform crop of trees, all identical. When the trees reach a certain prespecified height (not maturity; that takes too long) you send in a fleet of tree-harvesting machines and cut the fuckers down. All of them. Then burn the slash, and harrow, seed, fertilize all over again, round and round and round again, faster and faster, tighter and tighter until, like the fabled Malaysian Concentric Bird which flies in ever-smaller circles, you disappear up your own asshole.
But in real life things don't go so smoothly. At certain points in our lives, when we really need a clear-cut solution, the person who knocks at our door is more likely than not, a messenger bearing bad news...The messenger touches his hand to his cap and looks apologetic, but that does nothing to improve the contents of the message. It isn't the messenger's fault, no good to grab him by the collar and shake him. The messenger is just conscientiously doing the job his boss assigned him. And this boss? That would none other than our old friend Reality.
Immortality is often ridiculous or cruel: few of us would have chosen to be Og or Ananias or Gallio. Even in mathematics, history sometimes plays strange tricks; Rolle figures in the textbooks of elementary calculus as if he had been a mathematician like Newton; Farey is immortal because he failed to understand a theorem which Haros had proved perfectly fourteen years before; the names of five worthy Norwegians still stand in Abel’s Life, just for one act of conscientious imbecility, dutifully performed at the expense of their country’s greatest man. But on the whole the history of science is fair, and this is particularly true in mathematics. No other subject has such clear-cut or unanimously accepted standards, and the men who are remembered are almost always the men who merit it. Mathematical fame, if you have the cash to pay for it, is one of the soundest and steadiest of investments.
Even when I ran my bar I followed the same policy. A lot of customers came to the bar. If one in ten enjoyed the place and said he'd come again, that was enough. If one out of ten was a repeat customer, then the business would survive. To put it another way, it didn't matter if nine out of ten didn't like my bar. This realization lifted a weight off my shoulders. Still, I had to make sure that the one person who did like the place really liked it. In order to make sure he did, I had to make my philosophy and stance clear-cut, and patiently maintain that stance no matter what. This is what I learned through running a business.
Thank you for inviting me here today " I said my voice sounding nothing like me. "I'm here to testify about things I've seen and experienced myself. I'm here because the human race has become more powerful than ever. We've gone to the moon. Our crops resist diseases and pests. We can stop and restart a human heart. And we've harvested vast amounts of energy for everything from night-lights to enormous super-jets. We've even created new kinds of people, like me."But everything mankind" - I frowned - "personkind has accomplished has had a price. One that we're all gonna have to pay." I heard coughing and shifting in the audience. I looked down at my notes and all the little black words blurred together on the page. I just could not get through this. I put the speech down picked up the microphone and came out from behind the podium. "Look " I said. "There's a lot of official stuff I could quote and put up on the screen with PowerPoint. But what you need to know what the world needs to know is that we're really destroying the earth in a bigger and more catastrophic was than anyone has ever imagined."I mean I've seen a lot of the world the only world we have. There are so many awesome beautiful tings in it. Waterfalls and mountains thermal pools surrounded by sand like white sugar. Field and field of wildflowers. Places where the ocean crashes up against a mountainside like it's done for hundreds of thousands of years. "I've also seen concrete cities with hardly any green. And rivers whose pretty rainbow surfaces came from an oil leak upstream. Animals are becoming extinct right now in my lifetime. Just recently I went through one of the worst hurricanes ever recorded. It was a whole lot worse because of huge worldwide climatic changes caused by... us. We the people." .... "A more perfect union While huge corporations do whatever they want to whoever they want and other people live in subway tunnels Where's the justice of that Kids right here in America go to be hungry every night while other people get four-hundred-dollar haircuts. Promote the general welfare Where's the General welfare in strip-mining toxic pesticides industrial solvents being dumped into rivers killing everything Domestic Tranquility Ever sleep in a forest that's being clear-cut You'd be hearing chain saws in your head for weeks. The blessings of liberty Yes. I'm using one of the blessings of liberty right now my freedom of speech to tell you guys who make the laws that the very ground you stand on the house you live in the children you tuck in at night are all in immediate catastrophic danger.
The day, a compunctious Sunday after a week of blizzards, had been part jewel, part mud. In the midst of my usual afternoon stroll through the small hilly town attached to the girls' college where I taught French literature, I had stopped to watch a family of brilliant icicles drip-dripping from the eaves of a frame house. So clear-cut were their pointed shadows on the white boards behind them that I was sure the shadows of the falling drops should be visible too. But they were not. ("The Vane Sisters")
Here in the trees it was much easier to believe the absurdities that embarrassed me indoors. Nothing had changed in this forest for thousands of years, and all the myths and legends of a hundred different lands seemed much more likely in this green haze than they had in my clear-cut bedroom. Bella SwanStephenie Meyer
No matter how clear things might become in the forest of story, there was never a clear-cut solution, as there was in math. The role of a story was, in the broadest terms, to transpose a problem into another form. Depending on the nature and the direction of the problem, a solution might be suggested in the narrative. Tengo would return to the real world with that solution in hand. It was like a piece of paper bearing the indecipherable text of a magic spell. It served no immediate practical purpose, but it contained a possibility.
Our life is a short time in expectation, a time in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment. There is a quality of sadness that pervades all the moments of our lives. It seems that there is no such thing as a clear-cut pure joy, but that even in the most happy moments of our existence we sense a tinge of sadness. In every satisfaction, there is an awareness of limitations. In every success, there is the fear of jealousy. Behind every smile, there is a tear. In every embrace, there is loneliness. In every friendship, distance. And in all forms of light, there is the knowledge of surrounding darkness . . . But this intimate experience in which every bit of life is touched by a bit of death can point us beyond the limits of our existence. It can do so by making us look forward in expectation to the day when our hearts will be filled with perfect joy, a joy that no one shall take away from us.