Lapse Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 67 quotes )
I know positively - yes Rieux I can say I know the world inside out as no one on earth is free from it. And I know too that we must keep endless watch on ourselves lest in careless moment we breathe in somebody's face and fasten the infection on him. What's natural is the microbe. All the rest- health integrity purity if you like - is a product of the human will of vigilance that must never falter. The good man the man who infects hardly anyone is the man who has the fewest lapses of attention. And it needs tremendous will-power a never ending tension of the mind to avoid such lapses. Yes Rieux it's a wearying business being plague-stricken. But it's still more wearying to refuse to be it. That's why everybody in the world today looks so tired everyone is more or less sick of plague. But that is also why some of us who want to get the plague out of their systems feel such desperate weariness a weariness from which nothing remains to set us free except death.
The sense of security more frequently springs from habit than from conviction, and for this reason it oftensubsists after such a change in the conditions as might have been expected to suggest alarm. The lapse of time during which a given event has not happened, is, in this logic of habit, constantly alleged as a reason why the event should never happen, even when the lapse of time is precisely the added condition which makes the event imminent.
In general, one's memories of any period must necessarily weaken as one moves away from it. One is constantly learning new facts, and old ones have to drop out to make way for them. At twenty I could have written the history of my schooldays with an accuracy which would be quite impossible now. But it can also happen that one's memories grow sharper after a long lapse of time, because one is looking at the past with fresh eyes and can isolate and, as it were, notice facts which previously existed undifferentiated among a mass of others.
All things belonging to the earth will never change-the leaf, the blade, the flower, the wind that cries and sleeps and wakes again, the trees whose stiff arms clash and tremble in the dark, and the dust of lovers long since buried in the earth-all things proceeding from the earth to seasons, all things that lapse and change and come again upon the earth-these things will always be the same, for they come up from the earth that never changes, they go back into the earth that lasts forever. Only the earth endures, but it endures forever.
The diabolical thing about melancholy is not that it makes you ill but that it makes you conceited and shortsighted; yes almost arrogant. You lapse into bad taste, thinking of yourself as Heine's Atlas, whose shoulders support all the world's puzzles and agonies, as if thousands, lost in the same maze, did not endure the same agonies.
Oh God how subtle he would have to be, how cunning... No paragraph, no phrase even of the thousands the book must contain could strike a discordant note, be less than fully imagined, an entire novel's worth of thought would have to be expended on each one. His attention had only to lapse for a moment, between preposition and object, colophon and chapter heading, for dead spots to appear like gangrene that would rot the whole. Silkworms didn't work as finely or as patiently as he must, and yet boldness was all, the large stroke, the end contained in and prophesied by the beginning, the stains of his clouds infinitely various but all signifying sunrise. Unity in diversity, all that guff. An enormous weariness flew over him. The trouble with drink, he had long known, wasn't that it started up these large things but that it belittled the awful difficulties of their execution. ("Novelty")
We who survived the Camps are not true witnesses. This is an uncomfortable notion which I have gradually come to accept by reading what other survivors have written, including myself, when I re-read my writings after a lapse of years. We, the survivors, are not only a tiny but also an anomalous minority. We are those who, through prevarication, skill or luck, never touched bottom. Those who have, and who have seen the face of the Gorgon, did not return, or returned wordless.
You were baptized?""My sister told me that yes, Father baptized me shortly after birth. My mother was a Protestant of a faith that deplored infant baptism, so they had a quarrel about it." The Bishop held out his hand to lift the Speaker to his feet. The Speaker chuckled. "Imagine. A closet Catholic and a lapsed Mormon, quarreling over religious procedures that they both claimed not to believe in.
I lapsed into my pathetic cut-off period. Often with humans, both good and bad, my senses simply shut off, they get tired, I give up. I am polite. I nod. I pretend to understand because I don’t want anybody to be hurt. That is the one weakness that has lead me into the most trouble. Trying to be kind to others I often get my soul shredded into a kind of spiritual pasta. No matter. My brain shuts off. I listen. I respond. And they are too dumb to know that I am not there.
If any person wants to see clearly just how much she has changed - whether for better or worse - let her revisit after some lapse of time any place where she has ones lived. She will meet her former self at every turn, with every familiar face, in every old recollection ... She will see how much she has gained in some respects, how much she has lost - irretrievably lost - in others.
The Saint whose water can light lamps, the clairvoyant whose lapse in recall is the breath of God, the true paranoid for whom all is organized in spheres joyful or threatening about the central pulse of himself, the dreamer whose puns probe ancient fetid shafts and tunnels of truth all act in the same special relevance to the word, or whatever it is the word is there, buffering, to protect us from. The act of metaphor than was a thrust at truth and a lie, depending where you were: inside, safe or outside, lost.
All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity, that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut. Whether this be the case with my history or not, I am hardly competent to judge. I sometimes think it might prove useful to some, and entertaining to others; but the world may judge for itself. Shielded by my own obscurity, and by the lapse of years, and a few fictitious names, I do not fear to venture; and will candidly lay before the public what I would not disclose to the most intimate friend.
Vianello had the knack of getting people to talk. Especially if they were Venetians, the people he interviewed invariably warmed to this large, sweet-tempered man who gave every appearance of speaking Italian reluctantly, who was only too glad to lapse into their common dialect, a linguistic change that often carried its speakers along to unconscious revelation.
In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime. But all these times and places and occasions are now and here. God himself culminates in the present moment and will never be more divine in the lapse of the ages. Time is but a stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it, but when I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away but eternity remains.
Pride is the downward drag of all things into an easy solemnity. One "settles down" into a sort of selfish seriousness; but one has to rise to a gay self-forgetfulness... Seriousness is not a virtue. It would be a heresy, but a much more sensible heresy, to say that seriousness is a vice. It is really a natural trend or lapse into taking one's self gravely, because it is the easiest thing to do... For solemnity flows out of men naturally; but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.
Only through the group, I realised? through sharing the suffering of the group? could the body reach that height of existence that the individual alone could never attain. And for the body to reach that level at which the divine might be glimpsed, a dissolution of individuality was necessary. The tragic quality of the group was also necessary, the quality that constantly raised the group out of the abandon and torpor into which it was prone to lapse, leading it to an ever-mounting shared suffering and so to death, which was the ultimate suffering. The group must be open to death? which meant, of course, that it must be a community of warriors.
...the darkness does not lift but becomes yet heavier as I think how little we can hold in mind, how everything is constantly lapsing into oblivion with every extinguished life, how the world is, as it were, draining itself, in that the history of countless places and objects which themselves have no power or memory is never heard, never described or passed on.