In a last intuition, before the animal blackness closed in utterly, Gummitch realized that the spirit, alas, is not the same thing as the consciousness, and that one may lose—sacrifice—the first and still be burdened with the second.
I said good morning to Mama Patton, who was cooking breakfast for her husband, Pops, a seventy- year-old retired factory worker. I washed my face, grabbed a slice of cornbread, and headed outside into a breezy, brisk March morning.
Just another day in the ghetto.
Just another day as an outsider looking at life from the inside. That's what this book is about.
It always struck me how everything seemed larger in scale on Summit Street: the double-storied houses, their smooth lawns sloping down to the sidewalks like golf greens; elm trees with high, thick branches — the sort of branches from which I imagined fathers suspending long-roped swings for daughters in white dresses. The leaves, once golden and red, were turning brown, dark orange. The rain had stopped. I don't know why, but we walked in the middle of the road, dark asphalt gleaming beneath the slick, pasted leaves like the back of a whale.
C’est cela que je voudrais : peindre la lumière, la lumière pure, seule, sans objet. Je voudrais la saisir sur les vieux murs, ou bien dans les étincelles de la mer, ou encore sur la carlingue d’aluminium d’un avion très haut dans le ciel. Je voudrais la prendre, comme une pensée absolue qui vibrerait éternellement dans l’éther. La seule monnaie que je voudrais avoir : les étincelles blanches, sur la mer.
I don't regret the years I put into my work. Perhaps I regret the fact that I was not two men, one who could live a full life apart from writing; and one who lived in art, exploring all he had to experience and know how to make his work right; yet not regretting that he had put his life into the art of perfecting the work.
You park your expensive car in a dangerous part of town and leave it unlocked, with the keys in the ignition. It gets stolen. Who’s to blame? The thief who took your car or you for having given him the opportunity to steal it? Ethically, of course, the thief is to blame. But try going to the local police station to report your car stolen and tell them you left it unattended in a dodgy neighbourhood with the keys in plain sight. If they’re polite they’ll wait until you’ve left before exploding into a belly laugh. The assumption is that there will always be someone willing to steal your car. Italians take the “real world” with them on to the football pitch at youth level. And because it’s real, the rewards go to the winners, not the nice guys or those who play by the rules.
I don't believe any of these stories as accounts of a critical gulf between us and other creatures. Some of the things we think they can't do, they can. And some of the things we think we can do, we can't. As for the rest, well, it's mostly a matter of degree rather than kind. Instead, our uniqueness lies simply in the fact that we tell these stories - and, what's more, we can actually get ourselves to believe them. If I wanted a one sentence definition of human beings, this one would do: humans are the animals who actually believe the stories they tell about themselves. Humans are credulous animals.
Florence suspected that there was something profoundly wrong with her, that she had always been different, and that at last she was about to be exposed. Her problem, she thought, was greater, deeper, than straightforward physical disgust; her whole being was in revolt against a prospect of entanglement and flesh; her composure and essential happiness were about to be violated. She simply did not want to be “entered” or “penetrated.” Sex with Edward could not be the summation of her joy, but was the price she must pay for it.