Vital Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 539 quotes )
What happens when an animal or person dies? Something seems to have departed--something like a vital spark that makes the difference between life and death. In the nineteenth century, philosophers believed that there really was such a thing and called it the lan vital, or vital spirit. But when twentieth century science began to unravel the mysteries of how living things work and reproduce, the idea was abandoned and people now accept that there is nothing more to being alive than complex, interrelated, biological functions.
Someone knocked me down; I pushed Brinker over a small slope; someone was trying to tackle me from behind. Everywhere there was the smell of vitality in clothes, the vital something in wool and flannel and corduroy which spring releases. I had forgotten that this existed, this smell which instead of the first robin, or the first bud or leaf, means to me that spring has come. I had always welcomed vitality and energy and warmth radiating from thick and sturdy winter clothes. It made me happy, but I kept wondering about next spring, about whether khaki, or suntans or whatever the uniform of the season was, had this aura of promise in it. I felt fairly sure it didn't.
You must be life for me to the very end," so he writes. "That is the only way in which to sustain my idea of you. Because you have gotten, as you see, tied up with something so vital to me, I do not think I shall ever shake you off. Nor do I wish to. I want you to live more vitally every day, as I am dead. That is why, when I speak of you to others, I am just a bit ashamed. It's hard to talk of one's self so intimately
To make someone an icon is to make him an abstraction, and abstractions are incapable of vital communication with living people.1010 One has only to spend a term trying to teach college literature to realize that the quickest way to kill an author's vitality for potential readers is to present that author ahead of his time as "great" or "classic." Because then the author becomes for the students like medicine or vegetables, something the authorities have declared "good for them" that they "ought to like," at which point the students' nictitating membranes come down, and everyone just goes through the requisite motions of criticism and paper-writing without feeling one real or relevant thing. It's like removing all oxygen from the room before trying to start a fire.
Therefore, as always, make of this voice what you choose to make of it. Make of me what you choose to make of me, but recognize within yourselves the vitality of your being. And look to no man or no idea or no woman or no dogma, but the vitality of your own being, and trust it. And that which offends your soul, turn away from, but trust yourself.
Unspoiled by education, frank and unsuspecting as young an8imals, they came up to school from their meadows, their games, and their dreams. The simple law of life was alone valid for them; the most vital, the most forceful among them was leader; the rest followed him. But little by little, with the weekly portions of tuition, another, artificial set of values was foisted upon them: he who knew his lesson best was termed excellent and ranked foremost, and the rest must emulate him. Little wonder, indeed, if the more vital of them resist it! But they have to knuckle under, for the ideal of the school is the good scholar.--But what an ideal! What ever came of the good scholars in the world?--In the hothouse of the school they do enjoy a short semblance of life, but only the more surely to sink back afterward into mediocrity and insignificance. The world has been bettered only by the bad scholars.
I'm told my father cemented a number of profitable deals in this room." Alan eased down beside her. Shelby opened her eyes to slits. "I imagine he did. By the time he was through, he could've reduced most normally built men to puddbles." Idly the trailed a fingertip down Alan's thigh. "Do you ever use saunas for vital government intrigue, Senator?""I'm inclined to think of other things in small hot rooms." Bending, he brushed his lips over her bare shoudler-the touch of a tongue, the quick pressure of teeth. "Vital, certainly, but more personal.""Mmm." Shelby tilted her head as he trailed his lips closer to her throat. "How personal?""Highly confidential.
How long your closet held a whiff of you, Long after hangers hung austere and bare. I would walk in and suddenly the true. Sharp sweet sweat scent controlled the air. And life was in that small still living breath. Where are you? since so much of you is here, Your unique odour quite ignoring death. My hands reach out to touch, to hold what's dear. And vital in my longing empty arms. But other clothes fill up the space, your space, And scent on scent send out strange false alarms. Not of your odour there is not a trace. But something unexpected still breaks through. The goneness to the presentness of you.
If you limit the search for truth and forbid men anywhere, in any way, to seek knowledge, you paralyze the vital force of truth itself. In the best sense of the word, Jesus was a radical. His religion has been so long identified with conservation -- often with conservatism of the obstinate and unyielding sort -- that it is almost startling for us sometimes to remember that all of the conservatism of his own times was against him; that it was the young, free, restless, sanguine, progressive part of the people who flocked to him.
Now what is history? It is the centuries of systematic explorations of the riddle of death, with a view to overcoming death. That's why people discover mathematical infinity and electromagnetic waves, that's why they write symphonies. Now, you can't advance in this direction without a certain faith. You can't make such discoveries without spiritual equipment. And the basic elements of this equipment are in the Gospels. What are they? To begin with, love of one's neighbor, which is the supreme form of vital energy. Once it fills the heart of man it has to overflow and spend itself. And then the two basic ideals of modern man—without them he is unthinkable—the idea of free personality and the idea of life as sacrifice.
Mr. Constant," he said, "right now you’re as easy for the Bureau of Internal Revenue to watch as a man on a street corner selling apples and pears. But just imagine how hard you would be to watch if you had a whole office building jammed to the rafters with industrial bureaucrats—men who lose things and use the wrong forms and create new forms and demand everything in quintuplicate, and who understand perhaps a third of what is said to them; who habitually give misleading answers in order to gain time in which to think, who make decisions only when forced to, and who then cover their tracks; who make perfectly honest mistakes in addition and subtraction, who call meetings whenever they feel lonely, who write memos whenever they feel unloved; men who never throw anything away unless they think it could get them fired. A single industrial bureaucrat, if he is sufficiently vital and nervous, should be able to create a ton of meaningless papers a year for the Bureau of Internal Revenue to examine.
Liberty is lost through complacency and a subservient mindset. When we accept or even welcome automobile checkpoints, random searches, mandatory identification cards, and paramilitary police in our streets, we have lost a vital part of our American heritage. America was born of protest, revolution, and mistrust of government. Subservient societies neither maintain nor deserve freedom for long.
It seems to me that we do live in two worlds... there is this physical one, which is coherant, and there is the spiritual one, which to the average man with his flashes of religious experience, is very often incoherant. This experience of having two worlds to live in all the time, or not all the time, is a vital one, and is what living is like.
Reading fiction is important. It is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic beings. Following complex story lines stretches our brains beyond the 140 characters of sound-bite thinking, and staying within the world of a novel gives us the ability to be quiet and alone, two skills that are disappearing faster than the polar icecaps.
He mused on this village of his, which had sprung up in this place, amid the stones, like the gnarled undergrowth of the valley. All Artaud's inhabitants were inter-related, all bearing the same surname to such an extent that they used double-barrelled names from the cradle up, to distinguish one from another. At some antecedent date an ancestral Artaud had come like an outcast, to establish himself in this waste land. His family had grown with the savage vitality of the vegetation, drawing nourishment from this stone till it had become a tribe, then the tribe turned to a community, till they could not sort out their cousinage, going back for generations. They inter-married with unblushing promiscuity.
Still I can't get it out of my mind what a discrepancy there is between ideas and living. A permanent dislocation, though we try to cover the two with a bright awning. And it won't go. Ideas have to be wedded to action; if there is no sex, no vitality in them, there is no action. Ideas cannot exist alone in the vacuum of the mind. Ideas are related to living: liver ideas, kidney ideas, interstitial ideas, etc. If it were only for the sake of an idea Copernicus would have smashed the existent macrocosm and Columbus would have foundered in the Sargasso Sea. The aesthetics of the idea breeds flowerpots and flowerpots you put on the window sill. But if there be no rain or sun of what use putting flowerpots outside the window?