Wretchedness Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 44 quotes )
People are continually pointing out to me the wretchedness of white people in order to console me for the wretchedness of blacks. But an itemized account of the American failure does not console me and it should not console anyone else. That hundreds of thousands of white people are living, in effect, no better than the "niggers" is not a fact to be regarded with complacency. The social and moral bankruptcy suggested by this fact is of the bitterest, most terrifying kind.
I say, I can not identify that thing which is called happiness, that thing whose token is a laugh, or a smile, or a silent serenity on the lip. I may have been happy, but it is not in my conscious memory now. Nor do I feel a longing for it, as though I had never had it; my spirit seeks different food from happiness, for I think I have a suspicion of what it is. I have suffered wretchedness, but not because of the absence of happiness, and without praying for happiness. I pray for peace -- for motionlessness -- for the feeling of myself, as of some plant, absorbing life without seeking it, and existing without individual sensation. I feel that there can be no perfect peace in individualness. Therefore, I hope one day to feel myself drank up into the pervading spirit animating all things. I feel I am an exile here. I still go straying.
To him it seemed a miracle that we should last so much as a single day. There is no antidote, he writes, against the opium of time. The winter sun shows how soon the light fades from the ash, how soon night enfolds us. Hour upon hour is added to the sum. Time itself grows old. Pyramids, arches and obelisks are melting pillars of snow. Not even those who have found a place amidst the heavenly constellations have perpetuated their names: Nimrod is lost in Orion, and Osiris in the Dog Star. Indeed, old families last not three oaks. To set one’s name to a work gives no one a title to be remembered, for who knows how many of the best of men have gone without a trace? The iniquity of oblivion blindly scatters her poppyseed and when wretchedness falls upon us one summer’s day like snow, all we wish for is to be forgotten.
Intellectual and moral growth is no less indispensable than material improvement. Knowledge is a viaticum. Though is a prime necessity; truth is nourishment, like wheat. A reasoning faculty, deprived of knowledge and wisdom, pines away. We should feel the same pity for minds that do not eat as for stomachs. If there be anything sadder than a body perishing for want of bread, it is a mind dying of hunger for lack of light. All progress tends toward the solution. Some day, people will be amazed. As the human race ascends, the deepest layers will naturally emerge from the zone of distress. The effacement of wretchedness will be effected by a simple elevation level.
I thought of the happy life that pair had led in the cosy studio in Montmartre, Stroeve and his wife, their simplicity, kindness, and hospitality; it seemed to me cruel that it should have been broken to pieces by a ruthless chance; but the cruellest thing of all was that in fact it made no great difference. The world went on, and no one was a penny the worse for all that wretchedness. I had an idea that Dirk, a man of greater emotional reactions than depth of feeling, would soon forget; and Blanch?s life, begun with who knows what bright hopes and what dreams, might just as well have never been lived. It all seemed useless and inane.
There was a leap of joy in him, like a flame lighting up in a dark lantern. At this moment he believed it was worth it. This moment of supreme beauty was worth all the wretchedness of the journey. It was always worth it. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." It was the central truth of existence, and all men knew it, though they might not know that they knew it. Each man followed his own star through so much pain because he knew it, and at journey's end all the innumerable lights would glow into one.
Jane felt that he would write from the depths of a wretchedness that would not necessarily be insincere because its outward signs were so theatrical. Pesumably attractive men and probably woman too must always be suffering in this way; they must so often have to reject and cast aside love, and perhaps even practice did not always make them ruthless and cold-blooded enough to do it without feeling any qualms.
in general, from the violation of a few simple laws of humanity arises the wretchedness of mankind - that as a species we have in our possession the as yet unwroght elements of content - and that, even now, in the present darkness and madness of all thought on the great question of social condition, it is not impossible that man, the individual, under certain unusual and highly fortuitous conditions, my be happy
It is now expedient to give some description of Mrs. Allen, that the reader may be able to judge in what manner her actions will hereafter tend to promote the general distress of the work, and how she will, probably, contribute to reduce poor Catherine to all the desperate wretchedness of which a last volume is capable -- whether by her imprudence, vulgarity, or jealousy -- whether by intercepting her letters, ruining her character, or turning her out of doors.
Farewell! I leave you, and in you the last of humankind whom these eyes will ever behold. Farewell, Frankenstein! If thou wert yet alive and yet cherished a desire of revenge against me, it would be better satiated in my life than in my destruction. But it was not so; thou didst seek my extinction, that I might not cause greater wretchedness; and if yet, in some mode unknown to me, thou hadst not ceased to think and feel, thou wouldst not desire against me a vengeance greater than that which I feel. Blasted as thou wert, my agony was still superior to thine, for the bitter sting of remorse will not cease to rankle in my wounds until death shall close them forever.
I desire nothing, seek nothing but peace, the slumber of the soul. I have tasted all the hollowness and wretchedness of life and I despise it heartily. Whoever has lived and thought cannot but, in his soul, despise humanity. Activity, cares, worries, distractions - I am sick of them all. I wish for nothing, I seek nothing. I have no aim, for one gains that which one is eager for - and sees that it is all illusion. My joyous days have passed. I have cooled to them. In the educated world, amidst human beings, I feel the disadvantages of life too strongly, but alone, far from the crowd, I turn to stone. In this trance anything can happen, I see neither others nor myself. I do nothing and do not notice the actions either of others or myself - and I am at peace, I am indifferent. There can be no happiness for me, and I will not succumb to unhappiness.
Thus ressentiment becomes the constituent principle of want of character, which from utter wretchedness tries to sneak itself a position, all the time safeguarding itself by conceding that it is less than nothing. The ressentiment which results from want of character can never understand that eminent distinction really is distinction. Neither does it understand itself by recognizing distinction negatively (as in the case of ostracism) but wants to drag it down, wants to belittle it so that it really ceases to be distinguished. And ressentiment not only defends itself against all existing forms of distinction but against that which is still to come. The ressentiment which is establishing itself is the process of levelling.
Shall each man," cried he, "find a wife for his bosom, and each beast have his mate, and I be alone? I had feelings of affection, and they were requited by detestation and scorn. Man! You may hate, but beware! Your hours will pass in dread and misery, and soon the bolt will fall which must ravish from you your happiness forever. Are you to be happy while I grovel in the intensity of my wretchedness? You can blast my other passions, but revenge remains—revenge, henceforth dearer than light or food! I may die, but first you, my tyrant and tormentor, shall curse the sun that gazes on your misery. Beware, for I am fearless and therefore powerful. I will watch with the wiliness of a snake, that I may sting with its venom. Man, you shall repent of the injuries you inflict.
I think of winter, which is nothing but a rift in the firmament through which the winds break loose, the shreds of cloud over the hilltops in the new blue of the morning -- and dew-drops, those false pearls, and frost, that beauty powder, and mankind in disarray and events out of joint, and so many spots on the sun and so many craters in the moon and so much wretchedness everywhere -- when I think of all this I can't help feeling that God is not rich. He has the appearance of riches, certainly, but I can feel his embarrassment. He gives us a revolution the way a bankrupt merchant gives a ball. We must not judge any god by appearances. I see a shoddy universe beyond that splendour of the sky. Creation itself is bankrupt, and that's why I'm a malcontent.
he shewed himself so intimately acquainted with all the tenderest songs of the one poet, and all the impassioned descriptions of hopeless agony of the other; he repeated, with such tremulous feeling, the various lines which imaged a broken heart, or a mind destroyed by wretchedness, and looked so entirely as if he meant to be understood, that she ventured to hope he did not always read only poetry; and to say, that she thought it was the misfortune of poetry, to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely; and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly, were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly...she ventured to recommend a larger allowance of prose in his daily study.
Come, then, thou regenerate man, thou extravagant prodigal, thou awakened sleeper, thou all-powerful visionary, thou invincible millionaire,--once again review thy past life of starvation and wretchedness, revisit the scenes where fate and misfortune conducted, and where despair received thee. Too many diamonds, too much gold and splendor, are now reflected by the mirror in which Monte Cristo seeks to behold Dantes. Hide thy diamonds, bury thy gold, shroud thy splendor, exchange riches for poverty, liberty for a prison, a living body for a corpse!
When forced to leave my house for an extended period of time, I take my typewriter with me, and together we endure the wretchedness of passing through the X-ray scanner. The laptops roll merrily down the belt, while I’m instructed to stand aside and open my bag. To me it seems like a normal enough thing to be carrying, but the typewriter’s declining popularity arouses suspicion and I wind up eliciting the sort of reaction one might expect when traveling with a cannon. It’s a typewriter,’ I say. ‘You use it to write angry letters to airport security.