Distinctly Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 634 quotes )
I am not sure whether I can make you understand it. It was something more than a prudent desire to avoid creatures alien in kind, very powerful, and very intelligent. The truth was that all I heard about them served to connect two things which one's mind tends to keep separate, and that connecting gave one sort of a shock. We tend to think about non-human intelligences in two distinct categories which we label "scientific" and "supernatural" respectively. We think, in one mood, of Mr. Wells' Martians (very unlike the real Malacandrians, by the bye), or his Selenites. In quite a different mood we let our minds loose on the possibility of angels, ghosts, fairies, and the like. But the very moment we are compelled to recognise a creature in either class as real, the distinction begins to get blurred: and when it is a creature like an eldil the distinction vanishes altogether. These things were not animals-to that extent one had to classify them with the second group; but they had some kind of material vehicle whose presence could (in principle) be scientifically verified. To that extent they belonged to the first group. The distinction between natural and supernatural, in fact, broke down; and when it had done so, one realised how great a comfort it had been-how it had eased the burden of intolerable strangeness which this universe imposes on us by dividing it into two halves and encouraging the mind never to think of both in the same context.
But there is another and greater distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is the distinction of men into kings and subjects. Male and female are the distinctions of nature, good and band, the distinctions of heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind.
Thus ressentiment becomes the constituent principle of want of character, which from utter wretchedness tries to sneak itself a position, all the time safeguarding itself by conceding that it is less than nothing. The ressentiment which results from want of character can never understand that eminent distinction really is distinction. Neither does it understand itself by recognizing distinction negatively (as in the case of ostracism) but wants to drag it down, wants to belittle it so that it really ceases to be distinguished. And ressentiment not only defends itself against all existing forms of distinction but against that which is still to come. The ressentiment which is establishing itself is the process of levelling.
It is not for nothing that you are named Ransom,” said the Voice... The whole distinction between things accidental and things designed, like the distinction between fact and myth, was purely terrestrial. The pattern is so large that within the little frame of earthly experience there appear pieces of it between which we can see no connection, and other pieces between which we can. Hence we rightly, for our sue, distinguish the accidental from the essential. But step outside that frame and the distinction drops down into the void, fluttering useless wings. He had been forced out of the frame, caught up into the larger pattern… “My name also is Ransom,” said the Voice.
There is an old-fashioned distinction between the novel of character and the novel of incident, which must have cost many a smile to the intending romancer who was keen about his work. It appears to me as little to the point as the equally celebrated distinction between the novel and the romance- to answer as little to any reality. There are bad novels and good novels, as there are bad pictures and good pictures; but that is the only distinction in which I see any meaning, and I can as little imagine speaking of a novel of character as I can imagine speaking of a picture of character. When one says picture, one says of character, when one says novel, one says of incident, and the terms may be transposed. What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character? What is a picture or a novel that is not of character? What else do we seek in it and find in it?
Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.
Humans are often credited with having real foresight, in distinction to the rest of biology which does not. For example, Dawkins compares the 'blind watchmaker' of natural selection with the real human one. 'A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs and springs, and plans their interconnections, with a future purpose in his mind's eye. Natural selection . . . has no purpose in mind'.I think this distinction is wrong. There is no denying that the human watchmaker is different from the natural one. We humans, by virtue of having memes, can think about cogs, and wheels, and keeping time, in a way that animals cannot. Memes are the mind tools with which we do it. But what memetics shows us is that the processes underlying the two kinds of design are essentially the same. They are both evolutionary processes that give rise to design through selection, and in the process they produce what looks like foresight.
We talk about our assholes. We talk about our cocks. We talk about who we fucked last night, or who we’re gonna fuck tomorrow…Everyone tells one’s friends about that, right? So the question is, what happens when you make a distinction between what you tell your friends and what you tell your muse? The trick is to break down that distinction, to approach your muse as frankly as you would talk to yourself, or to your friends. It’s the ability to commit to writing, to write the same way you are.
This result could have been achieved either by his [God] endowing my intellect with a clear and distinct perception of everything about which I would ever deliberate, or simply by impressing the following rule so firmly upon my memory that I could never forget it: I should never judge anything that I do not clearly and distinctly understand.
My selfbeing, my consciousness and feeling of myself, that taste of myself, of *I* and *me* above and in all things . . . is more distinctive than the taste of ale or alum, more distinctive than the smell of walnutleaf or camphor, and is incommunicable by any means to another man (as when I was a child I used to ask myself: What must it be to be someone else?).
If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose--because it contains all the distinctions of the others--the fact that they were the people who created the phrase "to make money". No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity--to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality.
Long since on Mars and more strongly since he came to Perelandra, Ransom had been perceiving that the triple distinction of truth from myth and both from fact was purely terrestrial-was part and parcel of that unhappy distinction between soul and body which resulted from the fall. Even on earth the sacraments existed as a permanent reminder that the division was neither wholesome nor final. The Incarnation had been the beginning of its disappearance. In Perelandra it would have no meaning at all.
Major Major had been born too late and too mediocre. Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.
The human mind is generally far more eager to praise and dispraise than to describe and define. It wants to make every distinction a distinction of value; hence those fatal critics who can never point out the differing quality of two poets without putting them in an order of preference as if they were candidates for a prize.
If then, Moses so distinctly announces that there is in us not only a faculty, but also a facility for keeping all commandments, why are we sweating so much? ... What need is there now of Christ or of Spirit? We have found a passage that asserts freedom of choice, but also distinctly teaches that the keeping of the commandments is easy.
Maggots in corpses. He'd seen. Whitely churning, in the mouths of dead soldiers, where their noses had been, their ears and blasted-away jaws. Most of the soldiers had been men as young as he himself had been. Italians fallen after the Austrian offensive of 1918. You do not forget such sights. You do not un-see such sights. He himself had been wounded, but he had not died. The distinction was profound. Between what lived and what died the distinction was profound. Yet it remained mysterious, elusive. You did not wish to speak of it. Especially you did not wish to pray about it, to beg God to spare you. For it disgusted him to think of God. It disgusted him to think of prayers to such a god. Fumbling his big, bare toe against the trigger of the shotgun he was damned if he would think, in his last quivering moment of his life, of God.