Ingenuity Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 86 quotes )
Modern civilization has made woman a little wiser, but it has increased her suffering because of man's covetousness. The woman of yesterday was a happy wife, but the woman of today is a miserable mistress. In the past she walked blindly in the light, but now she walks open-eyed in the dark. She was beautiful in her ignorance, virtuous in her simplicity, and strong in her weakness. Today she has become ugly in her ingenuity, superficial and heartless in her knowledge. Will the day ever come when beauty and knowledge, ingenuity and virtue, and weakness of body and strength of spirit will be united in a woman?
How often the priest had heard the same confession--Man was so limited: he hadn't even the ingenuity to invent a new vice: the animals knew as much. It was for this world that Christ had died: the more evil you saw and heard about you, the greater the glory lay around the death; it was too easy to die for what was good or beautiful, for home or children or civilization--it needed a God to die for the half-hearted and the corrupt.
The correspondent wondered ingenuously how in the name of all that was sane could there be people who thought it amusing to row a boat. It was not an amusement; it was a diabolical punishment, and even a genius of mental aberrations could never conclude that it was anything but a horror to the muscles and a crime against the back.
Who wouldn’t love this jargon we dress common sense in: "formal innovation is no longer transformative, having been co-opted by the forces of stabilization and post-industrial inertia," blah, blah. But this co-optation might actually be a good thing if it helped keep younger writers from being able to treat mere formal ingenuity as an end in itself. MTV-type co-optation could end up a great prophylactic against cleveritis—you know, the dreaded grad-school syndrome of like "Watch me use seventeen different points of view in this scene of a guy eating a Saltine." The real point of that shit is "Like me because I’m clever"—which of course is itself derived from commercial art’s axiom about audience-affection determining art’s value.
I see this as the central issue of our time: how to find a substitute for war in human ingenuity, imagination, courage, sacrifice, patience...War is not inevitable, however persistent it is, however long a history it has in human affairs. It does not come out of some instinctive human need. It is manufactured by political leaders, who then must make a tremendous effort--by enticement, by propaganda, by coercion--to mobilize a normally reluctant population to go to war.
The supposed great misery of our century is the lack of time; our sense of that, not a disinterested love of science, and certainly not wisdom, is why we devote such a huge proportion of the ingenuity and income of our societies to finding faster ways of doing things - as if the final aim of mankind was to grow closer not to a perfect humanity, but to a perfect lightning-flash.
It is in this way that a war is disastrous. If it does not kill, it transmits to some an energy alien to their own resources; to others it permits what the law forbids and accustoms them to short cuts. It artificially glorifies ingenuity, pity, daring. A whole younger generation believes itself to be sublime and collapses when it has to draw on itself for patriotism and fate.
Wha?s precious about somebody like Bill Vollmann is that, even though ther?s a great deal of formal innovation in his fictions, it rarely seems to exist for just its own sake. I?s almost always deployed to make some point (Vollman?s the most editorial young novelist going right now, and h?s great at using formal ingenuity to make the editorializing a component of his narrative instead of an interruption) or to create an effect tha?s internal to the text. His narrato?s always weirdly effaced, the writing unself-conscious, despite all the "By-the-way-Dear-reader" intrusions. In a way i?s sad that Vollman?s integrity is so remarkable. Its remarkability means i?s rare
A baby is God's opinion that life should go on. A book that does nothing to you is dead. A baby, whether it does anything to you, represents life. If a bad fire should break out in this house and I had my choice of saving the library or the babies, I would save what is alive. Never will a time come when the most marvelous recent invention is as marvelous as a newborn baby. The finest of our precision watches, the most super-colossal of our supercargo plants, don't compare with a newborn baby in the number and ingenuity of coils and springs, in the flow and change of chemical solutions, in timing devices and interrelated parts that are irreplaceable. A baby is very modern. Yet it is also the oldest of the ancients. A baby doesn't know he is a hoary and venerable antique? but he is. Before man learned how to make an alphabet, how to make a wheel, how to make a fire, he knew how to make a baby? with the great help of woman, and his God and Maker.
Because of that she had never had enough energy to be herself, a person who, like everyone else in the world, needed other people in order to be happy. But other people were so difficult. They reacted in unpredictable ways, they surrounded themselves with defensive walls, they behaved just as she did, pretending they didn't care about anything. When someone more open to life appeared, they either rejected them outright or made them suffer, consigning them to being inferior, ingenuous.
They’re like little boys, men. Sometimes of course they’re rather naughty and you have to pretend to be angry with them. They attach so much importance to such entirely unimportant things that it’s really touching. And they’re so helpless. Have you never nursed a man when he’s ill? It wrings your heart. It’s just like a dog or a horse. They haven’t got the sense to come in out of the rain, poor darlings. They have all the charming qualities that accompany general incompetence. They’re sweet and good and silly, and tiresome and selfish. You can’t help liking them, they’re so ingenuous, and so simple. They have no complexity or finesse. I think they’re sweet, but it’s absurd to take them seriously.
What is certain is that the world has got beyond the stage at which one may affect modesty and maidenly shame, and I think that the world is too old a duffer to assume to be childish and maidenly without becoming ridiculous. Since its marriage to civilization society has forfeited its right to be ingenuous and prudish. There is a blush which beseems the bride as she is being bedded, which would be out of place on the morrow; for the young wife mayhap remembers no more what it is to be a girl, or, if she does remember it, it is very indecent, and seriously compromises the reputation of the husband.
She watched the tunnels as they flowed past: bare walls of concrete, a net of pipes and wires, a web of rails that went off into black holes where green and red lights hung as distant drops of color. There was nothing else to dilute it, so that one could admire naked purpose and the ingenuity that had achieved it.