Occurrence Quotes (displaying: 1 - 10 of 64 quotes )
The occurrence of an event is not the same thing as knowing what it is that one has lived through. Most people had not lived -- nor could it, for that matter, be said that they had died-- through any of their terrible events. They had simply been stunned by the hammer. They passed their lives thereafter in a kind of limbo of denied and unexamined pain. The great question that faced him this morning was whether or not had had ever, really, been present at his life.
As one reads history, not in the expurgated editions written for schoolboys and passmen, but in the original authorities of each time, one is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted; and a community is infinitely more brutalized by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime.
But in the meantime, as a temporary measure, I hold what I call the doctrine of the jig-saw puzzle. That is: this remarkable occurrence, and that, and the other may be, and usually are, of no significance. Coincidence and chance and unsearchable causes will now and again make clouds that are undeniable fiery dragons, and potatoes that resemble eminent statesmen exactly and minutely in every feature, and rocks that are like eagles and lions. All this is nothing; it is when you get your set of odd shapes and find that they fit into one another, and at last that they are but parts of a large design; it is then that research grows interesting and indeed amazing, it is then that one queer form confirms the other, that the whole plan displayed justifies, corroborates, explains each separate piece.
The most common occurrence in this world of ours, in these days of stumbling blindly forward, is to come across men and women mature in years and ripe in prosperity, who, at eighteen, were not just beaming beacons of style, but also, and perhaps above all, bold revolutionaries determined to bring down the system supported by their parents and to replace it, at last, with a fraternal paradise, but who are now equally firmly attached to convictions and practices which, having warmed up and flexed their muscles on any of the many available versions of moderate conservatism, become, in time, pure egotism of the most obscene and reactionary kind. Put less respectfully, these men and these women, standing before the mirror of their life, spit every day in the face of what they were with the sputum of what they are.
There is titillating pleasure in looking back at the past and asking oneself, 'What would have happened if...' and substituting one chance occurrence for another, , observing how, from a gray, barren, humdrum moment in one’s life, there grows forth a marvelous rosy even that in reality had failed to flower. A mysterious thing, this branching structure of life: one senses in every past instant a parting of ways, a 'thus' and an 'otherwise', with innumerable dazzling zigzags bifurcating and trifurcating against the dark background of the past.
The effectiveness of an inspired bishop, adviser, or teacher has very little to do with the outward trappings of power or an abundance of this world’s goods. The leaders who have the most influence are usually those who set hearts afire with devotion to the truth, who make obedience to duty seem the essence of manhood, who transform some ordinary routine occurrence so that it becomes a vista where we see the person we aspire to be.
If anyone says that the best life of all is to sail the sea, and then adds that I must not sail upon a sea where shipwrecks are a common occurrence and there are often sudden storms that sweep the helmsman in an adverse direction, I conclude that this man, although he lauds navigation, really forbids me to launch my ship.