Friday, December 11, 2009


This blog will resume on Monday, January 4, 2010. It consists of unfamiliar quotes from mostly unfamiliar books. RayS.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quotes: Religion (5).

Religion 532 "An idea that you must be somehow satisfied as well as mortified before entering repose goes deep into the [Buddhist] system, and perhaps into human life." Sir William Empson. “The Faces of Buddha.” 1936. Gross, ed. Essays.

Religion 53 "The drooping eyelids of the great creatures [statues of the Buddha] are heavy with patience and suffering, and the subtle irony which offends us in their raised eyebrows… [conveys to us] that it is odd that we let our desires subject us to so much torment in the world." Sir William Empson. “The Faces of Buddha.” 1936. Gross, ed. Essays. The problem with life is our unsatisfied desires. A Buddhist idea.

Religion 298 "Robert on his brother Edward, who expects to become a clergyman: …laughed most immoderately; the idea of Edward’s being a clergyman, and living in a small parsonage-house, diverted him beyond measure;--and when to that was added the fanciful imagery of Edward reading prayers in a white surplice, and publishing the banns of marriage between John Smith and Mary Brown, he could conceive nothing more ridiculous." Austen, Sense and Sensibility.

Religion 229 "…in Ireland there used to be some old women who, having ascertained from Scripture that the hairs of their heads were all numbered by the Almighty, expected to have to account for them at the Day of Judgment." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

Religion 417 "The god Dionysus or Bacchus is best known to us as the personification of the vine and of the exhilaration produced by the juice of the grape…ecstatic worship, characterized by wild dances, thrilling music, and tipsy excess, appears to have originated among the rude tribes of Thrace, who were notoriously addicted to drunkenness." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Quotes: Religion (4).

Religion 329 "Religion is not got rid of by eliminating superstition." Cicero. Latin. Dictionary of Foreign Terms. There is something deeper than superstition in religion.

Religion 268 " ...daily the trained parrot in the pulpit gravely delivers himself of these ironies [the religious code of conduct applicable to people, not to God], which he has acquired at second-hand and adopted without examination, to a trained congregation which accepts them without examination.... " Mark Twain. “Thoughts of God.” 1890s. Gross, ed. Essays.

Religion 313 "...divines reducing life to the dimensions of a mere funeral procession...." Robert Louis Stevenson, “Aes Triplex.” 1878. Gross, ed. Essays. Life is only a means to an end. Joy cannot exist in life. Joy can be found only in the after-life. What really matters is the after-life.

Religion 386 "Anglicanism [the English church] has never produced--never could produce--a St. Teresa." Lytton Strachey. “Creighton.” 1925. Gross, ed. Essays.

Religion 532 "The Buddha has delivered himself from the world and may well look superior to it, but he is telling you that you can do the same; also he could not achieve this apparently selfish aim without first learning complete unselfishness." Sir William Empson. “The Faces of Buddha.” 1936. Gross, ed. Essays. Apparent contradictions in Buddha's Teaching.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Quotes: Religion (3).

Religion 119 "God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable; they find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos; He will set them above their betters." H. L. Mencken. Portable Curmudgeon. Another piece of half-truth cynicism from HL Mencken.

Religion 234 "Since the whole affair had become one of religion, the vanquished were of course exterminated." Voltaire.

13. Religion 234 "Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat." John Morley. If it is worshiped in a religion, it cannot be analyzed.

Religion 235 "The cosmos is a gigantic fly-wheel making 10,0000 revolutions a minute; man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it; religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him the ride." H. L. Mencken.. One view of man's pusillanimity in a gigantic universe.

Religion 94 "The cowl does not make the monk." Latin. Dictionary of Foreign Terms. I.e., it is the heart that makes the monk.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quotes: Religion (2).

Religion 16 "I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching." Emerson. 1841. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Religion 19 "Religion consists of believing that everything that happens is extraordinarily important." Cesare Pavese. 1935-50. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Religion 19 "Archbishop defined: A Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to that attained by Christ." H. L. Mencken. Portable Curmudgeon. You can expect that kind of cynicism from Mencken. He's probably half right.

Religion 66 "Organized Christianity has probably done more to retard the ideals that were its founder’s than any other agency in the world." Richard Le Gallienne. Portable Curmudgeon.

Religion 66 "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton. Portable Curmudgeon.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Quotes: Religion (1)

Religion 803 "Each sect surrounds its own righteousness with a hedge of thorns." Hawthorne: "The Procession of Life" i.e., sin?

Religion 807 " …Death levels us all into one great brotherhood, and that another state of being will surely rectify the wrong of this." Hawthorne: "The Procession of Life." assumption without foundation.

Religion 14 "All religions correspond to the same human needs…." Henry de Montherlant. 1930-44 Which are? .

Religion 14 "All religions promise a reward for excellences of the will or heart, but none for the excellences of the head or understanding." Schopenhauer. 1819. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Something to think about.

Religion 16 "A religion, even if it calls itself the religion of love, must be hard and unloving to those who do not belong to it." Freud. 1921. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Even a cursory reading of history supports this statement.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Quote: Relative.

Relative 236 The true Main Streetite defines a relative as a person to whose house you go uninvited, to stay as long as you like. Sinclair Lewis, Main Street. Instead of "relative," I would say neighbor.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quotes: Relationship (2)

Relationship 264 "He [Edmund] was gone as he spoke; and Fanny remained to tranquilize herself as she could." Austen,

Relationship 464 "She [Maria] had hoped to marry him [Crawford], and they continued together till she was obliged to be convinced that such hope was vain, and till the disappointment and wretchedness arising from the conviction, rendered her temper so bad, and her feelings for him so like hatred, as to make them for a while each other’s punishment, and then induce a voluntary separation." Austen, Mansfield Park. A woman's hopes blighted by a blighter.

Relationship 464 She [Maria] had lived with him to be reproached as the ruin of all his happiness in Fanny, and carried away no better consolation in leaving him, than that she had divided them; what can exceed the misery of such a mind in such a situation? Austen, Mansfield Park. If I can't have him, then I'll make sure that he can't have the one he wants either.

Relationship 465 "…it may be reasonably supposed that their tempers became their mutual punishment." Austen, Mansfield Park.

Relationship 468 " He [Crawford] was entangled [with Maria] by his own vanity." Austen, Mansfield Park.

Relationship 97 " …we form limited involvement relationships with most of the people around us…rather than entangling ourselves with the whole man, we plug into a module of his personality." Toffler, Future Shock. This one really set me thinking.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Quotes: Relationship (1)

Relationship 1265 "When the stranger conversed, it was…in such a way that Philemon felt irresistibly moved to tell him everything which he had most at heart…always the feeling that people have, when they meet with any one wise enough to comprehend all their good and evil, and to despise not a tittle of it." “The Miraculous Pitcher” Hawthorne’s The Wonder Book for Boys and Girls

Relationship 233 "Almost all of our relationships begin and most of them continue as forms of mutual exploitation…." W. H. Auden. That's cynical.

Relationship 27 "For the first time she tolerated him rather than encouraged him." Sinclair Lewis, Main Street.

Relationship 151 "Carol’s hero-worship dwindled to polite nodding, and the nodding dwindled to a desire to escape, and she went home with a headache." Sinclair Lewis, Main Street.

Relationship 297 "Babbitt was frightened, but he had an agonized instinct that if he yielded in this he would yield in everything." Lewis, Babbitt.