Insignificant Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 179 quotes )
In the big house opposite someone was playing the piano at Dolzhikov's. It was beginning to get dark, and stars were twinkling in the sky. Here my father, in an old top-hat with wide upturned brim, walked slowly by with my sister on his arm, bowing in response to greetings."Look up," he said to my sister, pointing to the sky with the same umbrella with which he had beaten me that afternoon. "Look up at the sky! Even the tiniest stars are all worlds! How insignificant is man in comparison with the universe!"And he said this in a tone that suggested that it was particularly agreeable and flattering to him that he was so insignificant. How absolutely devoid of talent and imagination he was!
[...] but just as formerly these pursuits and ideas had seemed petty and insignificant in comparison with the darkness that overshadowed all existence, so now they seemed as petty and insignificant in comparison with the brilliant sunshine in which the future was bathed. He went on with his work but now he felt that the centre of gravity of his attention had shifted, making him look at his work quite differently and with greater clarity. Formerly this work had been an escape from life: he used to feel that without it life would be too gloomy. Now he needed it so that life might not be too uniformly bright.
why do you style yourself "your worth- less and insignificant brother"? You recognize your insignificance? . . . Recognize it before God; perhaps, too, in the presence of beauty, intel- ligence, nature, but not before men. Among men you must be conscious of your dignity. Why, you are not a rascal, you are an honest man, aren't you? Well, respect yourself as an honest man and know that an honest man is not something worthless. Don't confound "being humble" with "recognizing one's worthlessness." . . .
The person with a secular mentality feels himself to be the center of the universe. Yet he is likely to suffer from a sense of meaninglessness and insignificance because he knows h?s but one human among five billion others - all feeling themselves to be the center of things - scratching out an existence on the surface of a medium-sized planet circling a small star among countless stars in a galaxy lost among countless galaxies. The person with the sacred mentality, on the other hand, does not feel herself to be the center of the universe. She considers the Center to be elsewhere and other. Yet she is unlikely to feel lost or insignificant precisely because she draws her significance and meaning from her relationship, her connection, with that center, that Other.
Indeed, the truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers the most: and his suffering comes to him from things so little and so trivial that one can say that it is no longer objective at all. It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once the subject and the source of his pain, and his very existence and consciousness is his greatest torture.
It is from the bystanders (who are in the vast majority) that we receive the propaganda that life is not worth living, that life is drudgery, that the ambitions of youth must he laid aside for a life which is but a painful wait for death. These are the ones who squeeze what excitement they can from life out of the imaginations and experiences of others through books and movies. These are the insignificant and forgotten men who preach conformity because it is all they know. These are the men who dream at night of what could have been, but who wake at dawn to take their places at the now-familiar rut and to merely exist through another day. For them, the romance of life is long dead and they are forced to go through the years on a treadmill, cursing their existence, yet afraid to die because of the unknown which faces them after death. They lacked the only true courage: the kind which enables men to face the unknown regardless of the consequences.
How do I change? If I feel depressed I will sing. If I feel sad I will laugh. If I feel ill I will double my labor. If I feel fear I will plunge ahead. If I feel inferior I will wear new garments. If I feel uncertain I will raise my voice. If I feel poverty I will think of wealth to come. If I feel incompetent I will think of past success. If I feel insignificant I will remember my goals. Today I will be the master of my emotions.
the scientist's religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is utterly insignificant reflection. This feeling is the guiding principle of his life and work, in so far as he succeeds in keeping himself from the shackles of selfish desire. It is beyond question closely akin to that which has possessed the religious geniuses of all ages.
--you have too good a mind to throw away. I don't quite know what we're doing on this insignificant cinder spinning aay in a dark corner of the universe. That is a secret which the high gods have not confided in me. Yet one thing I believe and I believe it with every fibre of my being. A man must live by his light and do what little he can and do it as best he can. In this world goodness is destined to be defeated. But a man must go down fighting. That is the victory. To do anything less is to be less than a man.'She is right. I will say yes. I will say yes even though I do not really know what she is talking about.
Instruction in world history in the so-called high schools is even today in a very sorry condition. Few teachers understand that the study of history can never be to learn historical dates and events by heart and recite them by rote; that what matters is not whether the child knows exactly when this battle or that was fought, when a general was born, or even when a monarch (usually a very insignificant one) came into the crown of his forefathers. No, by the living God, this is very unimportant. To 'learn' history means to seek and find the forces which are the causes leading to those effects which we subsequently perceive as historical events.
What I'm thinking is: here I am, lying under a haystack ... The tiny little place I occupy is so small in relation to the rest of space where I am not and where it's none of my business; and the amount of time which I'll succeed in living is so insignificant by comparison with the eternity where I haven't been and never will be ... And yet in this atom, in this mathematical point, the blood circulates, the brain works and even desires something as well .. What sheer ugliness! What sheer nonsense!
Well, yes, yes, to be enslaved to you is a pleasure. There is, there is pleasure in the ultimate degree of humiliation and insignificance!" I went on raving. "Devil knows, maybe there is in the knout, too, when the knout comes down on your back and tears your flesh to pieces...But maybe I want to try other pleasures as well.
The photograph is literally an emanation of the referent. From a real body, which was there, proceed radiations which ultimately touch me, who am here; the duration of the transmission is insignificant; the photograph of the missing being, as Sontag says, will touch me like the delayed rays of a star.
In a spirit of mutinous resistance, she climbed the steep grassy slope to the bridge, and qhen she stood on the driveway, she decided she would stay there and wait until something significant happened to her. This was the challenge she was putting to existence? she would not stir, not for dinner, not ever for her mother calling her in. She would simply wait on the bridge, calm and obstinate, until events, real events, not her own fantasies, rose to her challenge, and dispelled her insignificance.
The sun sliced through the windshield, sealing me in light. I closed my eyes and felt the warmth on my eyelids. Sunlight traveled a long distance to reach this planet; an infinitesimal portion of that sunlight was enough to warm my eyelids. I was moved. That something as insignificant as an eyelid had its place in the workings on the universe, that the cosmic order did not overlook this momentary fact.
When you are young, you think that the old lament the deterioration of life because this makes it easier for them to die without regret. When you are old, you become impatient with the way in which the young applaud the most insignificant improvements … while remaining heedless of the world’s barbarism. I don’t say things have got worse; I merely say the young wouldn’t notice if they had. The old times were good because then we were young, and ignorant of how ignorant the young can be.
I was so much in the habit of having Albertine with me, and now I suddenly saw a new aspect of Habit. Hitherto I had regarded it chiefly as an annihilating force which suppresses the originality and even the awareness of one's perceptions; now I saw it as a dread deity, so riveted to one's being, its insignificant face so incrusted in one's heart, that if it detaches itself, if it turns away from one, this deity that one had barely distinguished inflicts on one sufferings more terrible than any other and is then as cruel as death itself.
Whereas I think: ?m lying here in a haystack... The tiny space I occupy is so infinitesimal in comparison with the rest of space, which I do?t occupy and which has no relation to me. And the period of time in which ?m fated to live is so insignificant beside the eternity in which I have?t existed and wo?t exist... And yet in this atom, this mathematical point, blood is circulating, a brain is working, desiring something... What chaos! What a farce!
In fact, the sickness I was suffering from was that I had been driven out of the paradise of childhood and had not found my place in the world of adults. I had set myself up in the absolute in order to gaze down upon this world which was rejecting me; now, if I wanted to act, to write a book, to express myself, I would have to go back down there: but my contempt had annihilated it, and I could see nothing but emptiness. The fact is that I had not yet put my hand to the plow. Love, action, literary work: all I did was to roll these ideas round in my head; I was fighting in an abstract fashion against abstract possibilities, and I had come to the conclusion that reality was of the most pitiful insignificance. I was hoping to hold fast to something, and misled by the violence of this indefinite desire, I was confusing it with the desire for the infinite.