Friday, February 14, 2014

Weekly Quotes 2014 #6

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

[W]ork out your anxieties on paper.  (284)

When you make the mistake yourself, you at least got the benefit of some education.  (285)

There’s an esthetic to doing things that are unfamiliar and another esthetic to doing things that are familiar.  (285)

When cleaning I do it the way people go to church—not so much to discover anything new, although I’m alert for new things, but mainly to reacquaint myself with the familiar.  It’s nice sometimes to go over familiar paths.  (286)

When the Zen monk Joshu was asked whether a dog had Buddha nature he said “Mu, meaning that if he answered either way he was answering incorrectly.  The Buddha nature cannot be captured by yes or no questions.  (289)

All they look for now is a good death. (334)

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. . . . The man who never dies lives only one.  (452)

A little brother may live to be a hundred, but he will always be a little brother.  (557)

When the choice is debt or death, best borrow.  (588)

If there are gods to listen, they are monstrous gods who torment us for their sport.  Who else would make a world like this, so full of bondage, blood, and pain?  (764)

Non-Jews believed that they were descended from monkeys and so every generation forward was better than the last, but we knew that our ancestors had received the Torah from God, so every new generation was reduced in holiness.  (7)

Shame can be fantastic at inducing amnesia.  One does not really forget, but the humiliation of remembering is so great, one can maintain a careful ignorance of the past, handicapping one’s brain from reaching logical conclusions.  (92)

I felt disfigured by my past . . . which had left me old and weary in some ways, and as ignorant as a baby in others. (166)

We now understand identity as relative, constructed in response to what it is not.  Miss Anne’s mere presence in Harlem helped make that relativity visible.  Hence, by simply showing up, she helped construct what blackness and whiteness both meant at an especially volatile moment in the country’s racial history.  Miss Anne complicated her culture’s notions of identity, in other words, whether she set out to do so or not.  (xxvi)

These women were struggling with some of the most vexing problems of their day.  Each was there upsetting the apple cart for her own reasons.  But together they gave expression to many of the social ideas most salient now:  the understanding that race is a social construction and not an essential aspect of our being; the notion that identity is malleable and contingent; the theory of whiteness as social privilege; and the awareness that blackness and whiteness, as social categories, are not constructed identically or even symmetrically but demand different analyses. (xxvi)

Miss Anne’s situation was so unique that it would have been almost impossible for her not to develop original ideas, such as her simultaneous rejection of racial essentialism and “color-blindness.”  Her insistence that race is a constructed idea, but one we cannot afford to ignore, is an important double insight, one that we could stand more of today.  (xxvii)

White women were not, by and large, allowed into men’s colleges and were denied classical educations.  Teaching at a black college, with a classical curriculum, was also a route to self-education for some of the women who stayed.  Their isolation in black colleges proved lonely, but it also provided an escape from the strictures of femininity they were raised with.  (?)

[L]ife should be lived toward greatness, not mediocrity.  (157)

Wasn’t that what art was after all?  Desperate artists, telling stories, drawing images, in order to keep some part of the goddess alive and close?  (136)


  1. Replies
    1. Glad my typing them out and sharing them is appreciated by others. I never really know what will and will not click. :)