Quotes By Point Counter Point

“I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.”


“Our vanity makes us exaggerate the importance of human life; the individual is nothing; Nature cares only for the species.”


“Our civilisation being what it is, you've got to spent eight hours out of every twenty-four as a mixture between an imbecile and a sewing machine. It's very disagreeable, I know. It's humiliating and disgusting. But there you are. You've got to do it, otherwise the whole fabric of our world will fall to bits and we'll starve. Do the job then, idiotically and mechanically; and spend your leisure hours in being a real complete man or woman.”


“Everybody strains after happiness, and the result is that nobody's happy.”


“The place is good. How good, one must have circumnavigated the globe to discover. Why not stay? Take root? But roots are chains. I have a terror of losing my freedom. Free, without ties, unpossessed by any possessions, free to do as one will, to go at a moment's notice wherever the fancy may suggest--it is good. But so is this place. Might it not be better? To gain freedom one sacrifices something [...] and all that these things and people signify. One sacrifices something--for a greater gain in knowledge, in understanding, in intensified living? I sometimes wonder.”


“Something that had been a single cell, a cluster of cells, a little sac of tissue, a kind of worm, a potential fish with gills, stirred in her womb and would one day become a man--a grown man, suffering and enjoying, loving and hating, thinking, remembering, imagining. And what had been a blob of jelly within her body would invent a god and worship; what had been a kind of fish would create, and, having created, would become the battleground of disputing good and evil; what had blindly lived in her as a parasitic worm would look at the stars, would listen to music, would read poetry.”


“An irrelevance, and your life's altered.”


“Happiness is like coke — something you get as a by-product in the process of making something else.”


“A whole population of strangers inhabited and shaped that little body, lived in that mind and controlled its wishes, dictated its thoughts...The name was an abstraction, a title arbitrarily given, like "France" or "England," to a collection, never long the same, of many individuals who were born, lived, and died within him, as the inhabitants of a country appear and disappear, but keep alive in their passage the identity of the nation to which they belong.”


“Nothing — the only perfection, the only absolute. Infinite and eternal nothing.”


“Resentment bred shame, and shame in its turn bred more resentment.”


“«Ahora me doy cuenta de que el verdadero encanto de la vida intelectual —la vida consagrada a la erudición, a las investigaciones científicas, a la filosofía, a la estética, a la crítica— es su facilidad. Es la sustitución de las complejidades de la realidad por simples esquemas intelectuales, o de los desconcertantes movimientos de la vida por la muerte formal y tranquila. Es incomparablemente más fácil saber muchas cosas, por ejemplo, acerca de la historia del arte y tener ideas profundas acerca de la metafísica y de la sociología, que saber intuitiva y personalmente algo acerca de nuestros semejantes, y llevar relaciones satisfactorias con nuestros amigos y nuestras amantes, nuestra mujer y nuestros hijos. Vivir es mucho más difícil que el sánscrito, la química o la economía política. La vida intelectual es un juego de niños; lo cual explica el que los intelectuales tiendan a convertirse en niños, y luego en imbéciles, y finalmente, como claramente de muestra la historia política e industrial de los últimos siglos, en lunáticos homicidas y bestias salvajes. Las funciones reprimidas no mueren; se deterioran, degeneran, retrogradan al estado primitivo. Pero, entretanto, es mucho más fácil ser un niño intelectual, o un lunático, o una bestia, que un hombre adulto y armonioso. He ahí por qué, entre otras razones, existe tanta demanda de educación superior. Las gentes se abalanzan hacia los libros y las universidades como hacia los cafés. Quieren ahogar su conciencia de las dificultades que presenta el vivir adecuadamente en este grotesco mundo contemporáneo: quieren olvidar su deplorable insuficiencia en el arte de la vida. Algunos ahogan sus penas en alcohol, mientras que otros, todavía más numerosos, las ahogan en los libros y en el diletantismo artístico; algunos tratan de olvidarse a sí mismos por medio de la fornicación, el baile, el cinematógrafo, la radiotelefonía; otros, por medio de conferencias y ocupaciones científicas. Los libros y las conferencias son mejores para ahogar las penas que la bebida y la fornicación: no dejan dolor de cabeza, ni aquella desesperante sensación del post coitum triste.»”


“Being cared for when one is dead is less satisfactory than being cared for when one is alive.”


“The question for the man of sense is: Do we or do we not want to go to hell? And his answer is: No, we don't. And if that's his answer, then he won't have anything to do with any of the politicians. Because they all want to land us in hell.”


“Work, the gospel of work, the sanctity of work, laborare est orare - all that tripe and nonsense. 'Work!' he once broke out contemptuously against the reasonable expostulations of Philip Quarles, 'work is no more respectable than alcohol, and it serves exactly the same purpose: it just distracts the mind, makes a man forget himself. Work's simply a drug, that's all. It's humiliating that men shouldn't be able to live without drugs, soberly; it's humiliating that they shouldn't have the courage to see the world and themselves as they really are. They must intoxicate themselves with work. It's stupid. The gospel of work's just a gospel of stupidity and funk. Work may be prayer; but it's also hiding one's head in the sand, it's also making such a din and a dust that a man can't hear himself speak or see his own hand before his face. It's hiding yourself from yourself. No wonder the Samuel Smileses and the big business men are such enthusiasts for work. Work gives them the comforting illusion of existing, even of being important. If they stopped working, they'd realize that they simply weren't there at all, most of them. Just holes in the air, that's all. Holes with perhaps a rather nasty smell in them. Most Smilesian souls must smell rather nasty, I should think. No wonder they daren't stop working. They might find out what they really are, or rather aren't. It's a risk they haven't the courage to take.”


“If I’m no real good, I prefer to be just frankly no good. I don’t want to disguise myself as a man of learning. I don’t want to be the representative of a hobby. I want to be what nature made me—no good.”


“In the street he drew a deep breath. He was free. Free from recollection and anticipation. Free, for an hour or two, to refuse to admit the existence of the past or future. Free to live only now and here, in the place where his body happened at each instant to be. Free -- but the boast was idle; he went on remembering. Escape was not so easy a matter.”


“Habit is as fatal to a sense of wrongdoing as to active enjoyment.”


“Encendió un cigarrillo para desinfectar la memoria.”


“Nature is monstrously unjust. There is no substitute for talent. Industry and all the virtues are of no avail.”


“Unmentioned, what is can become as though it were not.”


“Still, hell or no hell, it was satisfactory, it was even exciting in those early days to know that one was doing something bad and wrong. But there is in debauchery something so intrinsically dull, something so absolutely and hopelessly dismal, that it is only the rarest beings, gifted with much less than the usual amount of intelligence and much more than the usual intensity of appetite, who can go on actively enjoying a regular course of vice or continue actively to believe in its wickedness. Most habitual debauchees are debauchees not because they enjoy debauchery, but because they are uncomfortable when deprived of it. Habit converts luxurious enjoyments into dull and daily necessities. The man who has formed a habit of women or gin, of opium-smoking or flagellation, finds it as difficult to live without his vice as to live without bread and water, even though the actual practice of the vice may have become in itself as unexciting as eating a crust or drinking a glass from the kitchen tap. Habit is as fatal to a sense of wrong-doing as to active enjoyment. After a few years the converted or sceptical Jew, the Westernized Hindu, can eat their pork and beef with an equanimity which to their still-believing brothers seems brutally cynical. It is the same with the habitual debauchee. Actions which at first seemed thrilling in their intrinsic wickedness become after a certain number of repetitions morally neutral. A little disgusting, perhaps; for the practice of most vices is followed by depressing physiological reactions; but no longer wicked, because so ordinary. It is difficult for a routine to seem wicked.”


“They do not sweat and whine about their condition. They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins.'' [...] To be a perfect animal and a perfect human - that was the ideal.”


“... sva ta težnja ljudi da budu viÅ¡e nego ljudski. Idiotska zato Å¡to nikada ne uspijeva. NastojiÅ¡ biti viÅ¡e nego ljudski, a uspijevaÅ¡ postati samo manje nego ljudski... Hodamo po zemlji i nisu nam potrebna krila...”


“The physician had asked the patient to read aloud a paragraph from the statutes of Trinity College, Dublin. ‘It shall be in the power of the College to examine or not examine every Licentiate, previous to his admission to a fellowship, as they shall think fit.’ What the patient actually read was: ‘An the bee-what in the tee-mother of the trothodoodoo, to majoram or that emidrate, eni eni krastei, mestreit to ketra totombreidei, to ra from treido a that kekritest.’ Marvellous! Philip said to himself as he copied down the last word. What style! What majestic beauty! The richness and sonority of the opening phrase! ‘An the bee-what in the tee-mother of the trothodoodoo.’ He repeated it to himself. ‘I shall print it on the title page of my next novel,’ he wrote in his notebook.”


“if animals can get more than they actually require to subsist, they take it, don’t they? If there’s been a battle or a plague, the hyenas and vultures take advantage of the abundance to overeat. Isn’t it the same with us? Forests died in great quantities some millions of years ago. Man has unearthed their corpses, finds he can use them and is giving himself the luxury of a real good guzzle while the carrion lasts. When the supplies are exhausted, he’ll go back to short rations, as the hyenas do in the intervals between wars and epidemics.’ Illidge spoke with gusto. Talking about human beings as though they were indistinguishable from maggots filled him with a peculiar satisfaction. ‘A coal field’s discovered; oil’s struck. Towns spring up, railways are built, ships come and go. To a long-lived observer on the moon, the swarming and crawling must look like the pullulation of ants and flies round a dead dog. Chilean nitre, Mexican oil, Tunisian phosphates—at every discovery another scurrying of insects. One can imagine the comments of the lunar astronomers. “These creatures have a remarkable and perhaps unique tropism towards fossilized carrion.”’ ‘Like”


“It was about half-past one—‘only half-past one,’ Lucy complained—when she and Walter and Spandrell left the restaurant. ‘Still young,’ was Spandrell’s comment on the night. ‘Young and rather insipid. Nights are like human beings—never interesting till they’re grown up. Round about midnight they reach puberty. At a little after one they come of age. Their prime is from two to half-past. An hour later they’re growing rather desperate, like those man-eating women and waning middle-aged men who hop around twice as violently as they ever did in the hope of persuading themselves that they’re not old. After four they’re in full decay. And their death is horrible. Really horrible at sunrise, when the bottles are empty and people look like corpses and desire’s exhausted itself into disgust. I have rather a weakness for the deathbed scenes, I must confess,’ Spandrell added. ‘I’m”


“You hate the very source of your life, it’s ultimate basis—for there’s no denying it, ‘sex is fundamental. And you hate it, hate it.’ ‘Me?’ It was a novel accusation. Spandrell was accustomed to hearing himself blamed for his excessive love of women and the sensual pleasures. ‘Not only you. All these people.’ With a jerk of his head he indicated the other diners. ‘And all the respectable ones too. Practically everyone. It’s the disease of modern man. I call it Jesus’s disease on the analogy of Bright’s disease. Or rather Jesus’s and Newton’s disease; for the scientists are as much responsible as the Christians. So are the big business men, for that matter. It’s Jesus’s and Newton’s and Henry Ford’s disease. Between them, the three have pretty well killed us. Ripped the life out of our bodies and stuffed us with hatred.’ Rampion”


“He’s a permanent adolescent. Bothering his head about all the things that preoccupy adolescents. Not being able to live, because he’s too busy thinking about death and God and truth and mysticism and all the rest of it; too busy thinking about sins and trying to commit them and being disappointed because he’s not succeeding. It’s deplorable. The man’s a sort of Peter Pan—much worse even than Barrie’s disgusting little abortion, because he’s got stuck at a sillier age. He’s Peter Pan à la Dostoevsky-cum-de Musset-cum-the-Nineties-cum-Bunyan-cum-Byron and the Marquis de Sade. Really deplorable. The more so as he’s potentially a very decent human being.’ Mary”