T

TALKS

[The Principles of giving Speeches…] Speeches, whether their aim is to instruct or to persuade, cannot be scientifically constructed, in so far as their nature allows of scientific treatment at all, unless the following conditions are fulfilled.  In the first place, a man must know the truth about any subject that he deals with…; he must be able to define it generically, and having defined it to divide it into its various specific kinds, until he reaches the limits of divisibility.  Next, he must analyse on the same principles the nature of soul, and discover what type of speech is suitable for each type of soul.  Finally, he must arrange and organise his speech accordingly, addressing a simple speech to a simple soul, but to those which are more complex, something of greater complexity which embraces the whole range of tones.

Plato, Phaedrus, “Recapitulation”, Walter Hamilton’s translation (Penguin Classics).

5/98

TAUTOLOGY AND CONDITIONALITY

In evolution,… that which survives, survives…. Anything that happens happens, anything that in happening causes something else to happen causes something else to happen and anything that in happening causes itself to happen again, happens again…. this is a tautology, but it’s a unique tautology in that it requires no information to go in, but an infinite amount of information comes out of it.  So I think that it is arguably therefore the prime cause of everything in the universe.

Adams, Douglas, ‘Is There an Artificial God?’ (1998 talk transcript), in The Salmon of Doubt (Pan, 2003), 129.

9/03

TEACHER see INDEPENDENCE, 5/98

TEACHING

The wisest of the Ancients consider’d what is not too Explicit as the fittest for Instruction, because it rouzes the faculties to act.

Blake.

10/01

TEARS

We need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.

Dickens, Great Expectations (Penguin), 186.

5/92

TEDIUM see TIME, SUBJECTIVE, 8/99

TELEPHONE

The telephone is a modern symbol for communications which never take place.

Durrell, Lawrence, Balthazar (Faber), 142.

12/87

TELEVISION

Television… is a very curious beast: it has huge muscles, distinctly poor eyesight and a disturbingly short attention span.

Simpson, John (BBC foreign editor), Guardian 2, 17 September 1993, 2.

9/93

TELEVISION

Television is a medium which allows millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and still be lonely.

Eliot, T S quoted in John Grigg, The Wits Dictionary (Angus and Robertson, Australia, 1984).

1/97

TELEVISION

Take away sight, and you take away one of the greatest of life’s joys; but you also take away the primary source of intellectual decay.  To spend your leisure passively absorbing a stream of doctored images, all of them exciting and none of them part of your world, is to invite atrophy of the brain.  There is no sign of this atrophy in Kuusito who, although he must read books letter by letter, has a naturally cultivated mind, finding words and thoughts to draw his reader into his sphere of experience.
After decades of inaction from our education secretaries, it is only now that the catastrophe of the schools is being addressed.  Surely David Blunkett [blind education secretary] too owes something to this blindness.
For the ‘darkness visible’ that fills our living rooms has been permanently shut out from his world, as it has from the world of Stephen Kuusito.  Mr Blunkett may have to work harder to become acquainted with the written word; but he clearly has a greater understanding of its importance, and a greater motivation than the average Member of Parliament to learn about the world beyond the veil of images.  The same is true of Kuusito; and his book, which shows how wonderful is the gift of sight, is a vivid reminder of the near-universal misuse of it.

Scruton, Roger, review of book: Planet of the Blind, Times, 5 February 1998.

2/98

TEMPTATION see SENSUALITY, 2/87

TENDERNESS see LINCOLN, 1/96

TENSIONS, PROBLEMS AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

[A fictional character’s life] is less a story of progress along the high road of life towards maturity, or towards any of the other versions of the Happy Ending that the ethic of progress holds up to us; more one of negotiating conflicting necessities…. This view is quite at odds with the assumption, now popular on both sides of the Atlantic, that personal tensions can be construed as obstacles in our path – as ‘problems’ to be resolved.  In our personal lives, tensions, I would argue, are not only unavoidable, but potentially productive.  To conceive of them within the quasi-technological rhetoric of ‘problem-solving’ is to abandon whatever purchase upon them we might initially possess.  The belief, implicit in the idea of progress, that a good life lies ahead of us – a good life that is our rightful inheritance, and that we can reach by solving our problems – seems to me a specious fiction…

Hudson, Liam, Human Beings (Cape, 1975), 181.

5/89

TERMS, DEFINITION OF

“Thought … doesn’t admit of control by strict definition of the key terms, … but the more fully one realises this the more aware will one be of the need to cultivate a vigilant responsibility in using them, and an alert consciousness of any changes of force they may incur as the argument passes from context to context”. … Stipulative definition of abstract terms is of very little value – indeed it may get in the way of deeper thinking; instead, the cultural critic cultivates and, by example and even by irritating obstructiveness, incites others to cultivate, a restless dissatisfaction with abstract terms, a mindful awareness of the reductive or Procrustean potential of all general formulations.

Collini, Stefan, ‘ Leavis v Snow: the two-cultures bust-up 50 years on’, in Guardian Review, 17/8/13. (Collini is quoting F R Leavis.)

8/13

TERROR see JOY AND DREAD, 7/98

THEOLOGY see PHILOSOPHY, 5/12

THEORY

There is… a mask of theory over the whole face of nature.  It is this mask scientists look at, rather than through: a mask of papier-mâché, pasted together from fragmentary facts that compile to features so far from those they first crudely conformed to.  It is a mask whose layers crack and peel apart when its flour-and-water reasoning dries out.

Kaplan, Robert, The Nothing That Is (Penguin, 1999), 185.

10/07

THERAPY

Most people who go into therapy [are]… saying to the therapist, “Take my pain away,” but often they’re also saying, “Don’t change me.”  The hard part is coming to accept that the pain won’t go away unless you are willing to change.  When a person actually takes that in and starts to contemplate change then they don’t necessarily feel happy, but they start to see what the pattern is…”.

Rowe, Dorothy, quoted Observer magazine, 1 September 02, 10.

9/02

THINGS

The ‘cussedness’ of things is a stupid anthropomorphism.  Because the truth is much graver than this fiction.

Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, 72.

1979

THINGS see WORDS AND THINGS, 2/01

THINKING

Could man be drunk for ever
With liquor, love, or fights,
Lief should I rouse at morning
And lief lie down of nights.//
But men at whiles are sober
And think by fits and starts,
And if they think, they fasten
Their hands upon their hearts.

Housman, A E

82

THINKING

No one can begin to think straight unless he has a passionate desire to think and an intense joy in thinking.  (p 21)

… thus all thought is a fulfilment of desire.  (p 87).

Frye, Northrop, Fearful Symmetry (Princeton University Press, 1969, 2nd edition).

6/92

THINKING

Sometimes I survey my current thoughts and wonder which of them – some of them new, with the overemphasis of outline that befits an untried idea, still not worn into shape by events, some astounded at their own effrontery – will turn out to have been the ones I should have been listening to, developing.  Which of them will seem absurd, and even pathetic, in a decade or so?

Lessing, Doris, Walking in the Shade (Harper-Collins 1997), 153.

11/98

THINKING

It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy-books and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilisation advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.

Whitehead, A N, An Introduction to Mathematics.

4/99

THINKING AND FEELING see WORLD, 8/99

THINKING see READING, 4/98

THINKING, FOOLISH see CLEAR WRITING, 1/02

THIRST

. …  Today I would not give a button for paradise; I did not believe oranges existed.  When I thought about myself, I found in me nothing but a heart squeezed dry.  I was tottering but emotionless.  I felt no distress whatever, and in a way I regretted it: misery would have seemed to me as sweet as water.  I might then have felt sorry for myself, and commiserated with myself as a friend.  But I had not a friend left on earth. …  When a young girl is disappointed in love she weeps and knows sorrow.  Sorrow is one of the vibrations that prove the fact of living.  I felt no sorrow.  I was the desert… I could no longer bring up a little saliva; neither could I any longer summon those moving visions towards which I should have loved to stretch forth arms.  The sun had dried up the spring of tears in me.  [And then St.-Exupery gets an intimation, confirmed, of rescue.]

St.-Exupery, Wind Sand and Stars (Heinemann, 1939), 212.

4/85

THIRST see WATER, 3/85

THOUGHT

No one can think a thought for me in the way no one can don my hat for me.
[And] I ought to be no more than a mirror, in which my reader can see his own thinking with all its deformities so that, helped in this way, he can put it right.
[And] Ambition is the death of thought.

Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, 2e, 17-18 and 77e.

1979

THOUGHT

… Would it have seemed to you still beautiful, this world?
Or from that other state
Do you discern a darkness in our light,
The cloud of blood that veils our skies,
And in the labouring wings of hungry gulls
The weight of death?  If it be so,
Dear love, I would not call you back
To bear again the heaviness of earth
Upon the impulse of your joy,
Locked in a living skull your thought,
Your vision, shut with human eyes.

Raine, Kathleen, from “Crossing the sound I summoned you in thought”.

7/88

THOUGHT

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth, more than ruin, more even than death. …Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.

Russell, Bertrand, from Selected Papers.

3/99

THOUGHT

These thoughts did not come in any verbal formulation. I rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterward.

Einstein, In H Eves, Mathematical Circles Adieu (Prindle, Weber and Schmidt, Boston, 1977).

4/99

THOUGHT

Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.

Shaw, G B, in Great Quotations (Readers Digest, 1978), 54.

8/99

THOUGHT AND ART

Thought is an eternal simplification — a seeing out, beyond the things of the eye; the attempt to construct a world of pure intelligence.  But you craftsmen take the most perishable of all things to your hearts, and, in their very transience and corruption, you herald the meaning of the world.  You never look beyond or above it, you give yourselves up to it, and yet, by your very devotion, you change it into the highest of all, till it seems the epitome of eternity.

Hesse, Herman, Narziss and Goldmund (Penguin, 1971, Geoffrey Dunlop translation), 280.

10/05

THOUGHT AND FEELING

Ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels; that’s tingling enough for mortal man!  to think’s audacity.  God only has that right and privilege.  Thinking is, or ought to be, a coolness and a calmness; and our poor hearts throb, and our poor brains beat too much for that.  And yet, I’ve sometimes thought my brain was very calm – frozen calm, this old skull cracks so, like a glass in which the contents turn to ice, and shiver it.  [Ahab is speaking.]

Melville, Moby Dick (Penguin), 673.

6/90

THOUGHT AS ACT see ACTS, 12/87

THOUGHT AS SECRETION see MATERIALISM, 5/87

THOUGHT see IDEAL, 8/87; ACTION AND THOUGHT, 4/98; IDEAS, 4/99; SPEECH CONCEALS THOUGHTS, 2/05

THOUGHT, COMMUNITY OF

O how sweet it is to hear one’s own opinion uttered by a stranger tongue!  We are never properly ourselves until another thinks entirely as we do.

Goethe, Wilhelm Meister (Carlyle’s translation, Collier, New York, 1962), 403.

10/93

THOUGHT, LIVING

it will come again
the living thought
certain as those wings
that catch the light
and exacted in its loveliness
certain as those wings
and
exacted in its loveliness
the living thought
it will come again. [Arrangement of lines lost].

White, Kenneth, from ‘Walking the Coast’, in The Bird Path (Mainstream, Edinburgh, 1989), 51.

11/01

THOUGHTS

A thought is simply a little blip of energy, but we add to the thought our conditioned beliefs, and we try to hold onto them.  When we look at our thoughts with impersonal awareness, they disappear.  When we look at a person, however, does she disappear?  No, she remains.  And that’s the difference between reality and the illusory view of reality that we have when we live in thoughts: when truly looked at, one remains, and one vanishes.  The personal version of life just dissolves.

Beck, Charlotte Joko, Nothing Special (Harper Collins, 1994), 151.

1/10

THOUGHTS AND ACTS

The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors; that which it loves, and also that which it fears; it reaches the height of its cherished aspirations; it falls to the level of its unchastened desires.
Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruit of opportunity and circumstance. Good thoughts bear good fruit; bad thoughts, bad fruit.
The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought, and both pleasant and unpleasant external conditions are factors which make for the ultimate good of the individual. As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both by suffering and bliss.

Allen, James, As a Man Thinketh, Ch. 2.

2/99

THOUGHTS AND ACTS

Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.

Bergson, Henri (unsourced).

3/99

THOUGHTS AND ACTS

Every thought that arises in the mind, in its rising, aims to pass out of the mind into act; just as every plant, in the moment of germination, struggles up to light. Thought is the seed of action.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, “Thought on Art”, The Dial, I, Jan. 1841

4/99

THOUGHTS AND CHARACTER

Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.

Aurelius, Marcus, Meditations.

4/99

THOUGHTS MADE SENSE OF BY LANGUAGE see LANGUAGE, 5/86

THOUGHTS, MIRROR OF

“The earth is literally a mirror of thoughts. Objects themselves are embodied thoughts. Death is the dark backing that a mirror needs if we are to see anything.” This is the sublime Saul Bellow in Humboldt’s Gift. The thoughts are partially ironised – they belong to the novel’s narrator, who is struggling to summarise a range of impenetrable philosophical works – but nevertheless contain immense truth and beauty. However, it is by working through and beyond that initial intervening “literally” that he gets to the pure metaphor of the last sentence. And it is in that last sentence that we hit the heights of genius.

Masters, Ben, The Guardian (Blogpost) , 29/1/2012

2/12

TIME

… the writer I was becoming was learning at last to inhabit those deserted spaces which time misses – beginning to live between the ticks of the clock, so to speak.  The continuous present, which is the real history of that collective anecdote, the human mind; when the past is dead and the future represented only by desire and fear, what of that adventive moment which can’t be measured, can’t be dismissed?  For most of us the so-called Present is snatched away like some sumptuous repast, conjured up by fairies – before one can touch a mouthful.  [Darley speaking]

Durrell, Lawrence, Clea (Faber), 14.

12/87

TIME

Before clocks were invented, frustration had a different shape.  Time then was not made of little pieces, of hours and minutes, needing to be saved and accounted for, but was like a huge cloud enveloping the earth, and humanity was waiting for it to clear.  The past was a part of the present; individuals lived surrounded, in their imagination, by their ancestors and their mythical heroes, who seemed as alive as themselves; they often did not know exactly how old they were, being more preoccupied with death than with time, which was only a music announcing another life that would last for ever.
… But then the Jews invented a new idea of time, which has been adopted by all modern societies: they separated the past clearly from the present.  Having made a contract with God, they looked forward to its implementation in the future, not in heaven, but in this world. …

Zeldin, Theodore, An Intimate History of Humanity (Minerva, 1995), 350.

4/99

TIME

Time comes from the future, which does not exist, into the present, which has no duration, and goes into the past, which has ceased to exist.

Augustine, quoted in Alec Guinness, A Commonplace Book (Hamish Hamilton, 2001), 76.

9/04

TIME

Such is time: everything passes, it alone remains; everything remains, it alone passes. And how swiftly and noiselessly it passes. Only yesterday you were sure of yourself, strong and cheerful, a son of the time. But now another time has come – and you don’t even know it.

Grossman, Vasily, Life and Fate (R Chandler (trs), Vintage, 2006), 35.

6/13

TIME AND CHANGE

What is time? A mystery, a figment and all-powerful. It conditions the exterior world, it is motion married to and mingled with the existence of bodies in space, and with the motion of these. Would there be no time if there was no motion? No motion if no time? We fondly ask. Is time a function of space? Or space of time? Or are they identical? Echo answers. Time is functional, it can be referred to as action; we say a thing is ‘brought about’ by time. What sort of thing? Change! Now is not then, here not there, for between them lies motion. But the motion by which one measures time is circular, is in a closed circle; and might almost equally well be described as rest, as cessation of movement – for the there repeats itself constantly in the here, the past in the present.  [Then discusses infinite & eternal.]

Mann, Thomas, The Magic Mountain (Penguin, 1960, Lowe-Porter trans., 1st ed. 1924), 344.

8/99

TIME AND ETERNITY

Now at thy soft recalling voice I rise
Where thought is lord o’er Time’s complete estate,
Like as a dove from out the gray sedge flies
To tree tops green where coos his heavenly mate.
From these clear coverts high and cool I see
How every time with every time is knit,
And each to all is mortised cunningly,
And none is sole or whole yet all are fit.
Thus if this age but as a comma show
Twixt weightier clauses of large-worded years,
My calmer soul scorns not the mark: I know
This crooked point time’s complex sentence clears.
Yet more I learn while, Friend!  I sit by thee:
Who sees all time sees all eternity.

Lanier, Sydney, “Acknowledgement II” (in Bridges, The Spirit of Man, No 143).

7/87

TIME AND LANGUAGE

Philosophers who say ‘after death a timeless state begins’… and do not notice that they have used the words ‘after’… and ‘begins’ in a temporal sense, and that temporality is embedded in their grammar.

Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, 32.

1979

TIME see CHOICE, 12/87; SPACE AND TIME, 7/98; CHANGE, 4/99

TIME, ETERNAL MOMENT IN see IMAGINATION, THE MOMENT OF, 11/2000

TIME, NARRATION AND MUSIC

Narration resembles music in this, that it fills up the time. … For time is the medium of narration, as it is the medium of life. … Similarly, time is the medium of music; music divides, measures, articulates time, and can shorten it, yet enhance its value, both at once.  Thus music and narration are alike, in that they can only present themselves as a flowing, as a succession in time, as one thing after another; and both differ from the plastic arts, which are complete in the present, and unrelated to time save as all bodies are…
We also have a difference to deal with.  For the time element in music is single.  Into a section of mortal time music pours itself, thereby inexpressibly enhancing and ennobling what it fills.  But a narrative must have two kinds of time: first its own, like music, actual time, conditioning its presentation and course; and second, the time of its content, which is relative, so extremely relative that the imaginary time of the narrative can either coincide nearly or completely with the actual, or musical, time, or can be a world away.

Mann, Thomas, The Magic Mountain (Penguin, 1960, Lowe-Porter trans., 1st ed. 1924), 541.

8/99

TIME, OPPRESSION OF see DRUNK, 4/97

TIME, SUBJECTIVE

…the perception of time tends, through periods of unbroken uniformity, to fall away; the perception of time, so closely bound up with the consciousness of life that the one may not be weakened without the other suffering a sensible impairment. … Vacuity and monotony have, indeed, the property of lingering out the moment and the hour and of making them tiresome. But they are capable of contracting and dissipating the larger, the very large time-units, to the point of reducing them to nothing at all. And, conversely, a full and interesting content can put wings to the hour and the day; yet it will lend to the general passage of time a weightiness, a breadth and solidity which cause the eventful years to flow far more slowly than those poor, bare, empty ones over which the wind passes and they are gone. Thus what we call tedium is rather an abnormal shortening of time consequent upon monotony.  … which explains why young years pass slowly, while later life flings itself faster and faster upon its course. [etc…]

Mann, Thomas, The Magic Mountain (Penguin, 1960, Lowe-Porter trans., 1st ed. 1924), 104.

8/99

TIME, SUBJECTIVE

After dancing all night at a New Year’s ball, a girl will be unable to say whether the time passed quickly or slowly. Similarly, a man who has done twenty-five years in the Schlusselburg Prison will say: ‘I seem to have been a whole eternity in this fortress, and at the same time I only seem to have been here a few weeks.’
The night at the ball is full of looks, smiles, caresses, snatches of music, each of which takes place so swiftly as to leave no sense of duration in the girl’s consciousness. Taken together, however, these moments engender the sense of a long interval of time that contains all the joys of human existence.
For the prisoner it is the exact opposite: his twenty-five years are composed of discrete intervals of time – from morning roll-call to evening roll-call, from breakfast to lunchtime – each of which seems unbearably long. But the twilight monotony of the months and years engenders a sense that time itself has contracted, has shrunk. And all this gives rise to the same sense of simultaneous quickness and endlessness felt by the girl at the ball.

Grossman, Vasily, Life and Fate (R Chandler (trs), Vintage, 2006), 32.

6/13

TOLERANCE see DEMOCRACY, 6/98

TORTOISE see INTERFERENCE, 2/92

TRADITION see BOOKS, 8/99

TRAGEDY

The true aristocracy and the true proletariat of the world are both in understanding with tragedy.  To them it is the fundamental principle of God, and the key — the minor key — to existence.  They differ in this way from the bourgeoisie of all classes, who deny tragedy, who will not tolerate it, and to whom the word tragedy means in itself unpleasantness.

Blixen, Karen, Out Of Africa (Penguin, 1984, first edition 1937), 146.

8/01

TRAGEDY see ART, AS IMITATION, 3/99; DRAMATIC POETRY, 3/99

TRANSCENDENCE, see SELF-TRANSCENDENCE

TRANSCENDENTAL, HIDDEN

What is eternal and important is often hidden from a man by an impenetrable veil. … The veil reflects the daylight.

Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, 80.

1979

TRANSFORMATION THROUGH TRAVEL see TRAVEL, 5/98

TRANSFORMATIONS

When I came back from Lyonnesse
With magic in my eyes,
All marked with mute surmise,
My radiance rare and fathomless,
When I came back from Lyonnesse
With magic in my eyes!

Hardy, Thomas from “When I set out for Lyonnesse”, in The Rattle Bag.

5/98

TRANSIENCE THEREFORE MEANINGLESSNESS

Life is short,//
And asks little of us.  How soon the bright
Days of our youth and beauty end, and age
Puts paid to love and ease and the small gift
Of going out like a light.//
The wildflowers of spring will not inherit
The earth for ever nor the moon shine like this.
Why do you weary yourself?  Why do you worry
The infinite question with your finite spirit?

Horace, from Ode II.11, translated by Eavan Boland, Guardian Review, 2/11/02, 37.

11/02

TRANSIENT JOY

… He mourns that day so soon has glided by,
Even like the passage of an angel’s tear
That falls through the clear ether silently.

Keats, sonnet, 1817.

7/87

TRANSIENT JOY

… in the very temple of Delight
Veil’d Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Tho’ seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue

Can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine.

Keats, from “Ode to Melancholy”.

8/87

TRAVEL

Nothing, above all, is comparable to the new life that a reflective person experiences when he observes a new country.  Though I am still always myself, I believe I have been changed to the very marrow of my bones.

Goethe, Italian Journey, W H Auden And E Mayer translation (Penguin), December 2.

5/98

TRAVEL see ROME, 5/98

TRESPASSING, FEAR OF see FEAR, 7/98

TRIALS OF LIFE see SUFFERING, PHYSICAL, 2/03

TROUBLEMAKING

Religion and redress of grievances,
Two names that always cheat and always please.

Dryden, John, “Absalom and Achitophel”, lines 747-748.

10/86

TROUSERS

One should never put on one’s best trousers to go out to battle for freedom and truth.

Ibsen, An Enemy of the People, act V.

11/89

TRUTH

The truth can be spoken only by someone who is already at home in it; not by someone who still lives in falsehood and reaches out from falsehood towards truth on just one occasion.
[Later] You can’t be reluctant to give up your lie, and still tell the truth.
[Later] Someone who knows too much finds it hard not to lie.

Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, 41e, 44e, 64e.

1979

TRUTH

Man with his burning soul
Has but an hour of breath
To build a ship of truth
In which his soul must sail –
Sail on the sea of death,
For death takes toll
Of beauty, courage, youth,
Of all but truth…

Masefield, John, “Truth”, in Philip the King.

8/87

TRUTH

… our religions and moralities have been trimmed to flatter us, till they are all emasculate and sentimentalised, and only please and weaken.  Truth is of a rougher strain…

Stevenson, R L, Pulvis et umbra, in Bridges, The Spirit of Man, No 326.

9/87

TRUTH

Truth is a matter of direct apprehension – you can’t climb a ladder of mental concepts to it.  [p 119. Pombal speaking.]
[and] Truth is always halved by utterance.  (p 204)

Durrell, Lawrence, Balthazar.

11/87

TRUTH

Truth comes more easily from error than from confusion.  It is the business of imagination to force all falsehood into a denial of truth, to show error as error… [first sentence attributed to Bacon.]

Frye, Northrop, Fearful Symmetry (Princeton University Press, 1969, 2nd edition), 61.

6/92

TRUTH

No man thoroughly understands a truth until he has contended against it.

Emerson, The Conduct of Life, quoted Daily Telegraph, 4 January 1997, A3.

1/97

TRUTH

I cannot lead thee where of a certainty thou mayest always find it; but I will tell thee what it is. Truth is a point; the subtilest and finest; harder than adamant, never to be broken, worn away, or blunted. Its only bad quality is, that it is sure to hurt those who touch it; and likely to draw blood, perhaps the life-blood, of those who press earnestly upon it.

Landor, Walter Savage, In Geoffrey Grigson, 0 Rare Mankind (Phoenix House Ltd, London, 1963)

10/98

TRUTH

The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate, is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real.

Pierce, C S, quoted by Rosemary Dinnage, New York Review of Books, 20 January 2000, 46.

1/2000

TRUTH

Truth and the Graces best when naked are.

Jonson, Ben, from ‘An Epistle to Master John Selden’ (1614).

2/01

TRUTH

Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but usually manages to pick himself up, walk over or around it, and carry on.

Churchill, Winston, quoted Nature, 1996, Vol. 379, 412.

1/03

TRUTH

Truth lies within ourselves: it takes no rise
From outward things, whatever you may believe.
There is an inmost center in us all,
Where truth abides in fullness and to know
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without.

Browning, Robert ‘Paracelsus’.

7/03

TRUTH AND BEAUTY

… I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of the heart’s affections, and the truth of Imagination.  What the Imagination seizes as Beauty must be Truth… The Imagination may be compared to Adam’s dream; – he awoke and found it truth. …

Keats, Letters, 22 November 1817.

7/87

TRUTH IS AT HOME

I laugh when I hear that the fish in the water is thirsty,
Perceivest thou not how the god is in thine own house, that thou wander from forest to forest so listlessly?
In thy home is the Truth.  Go where thou wilt, to Benares or to Mathura;
If thy soul is a stranger to thee, the whole world is unhomely.

Kabir, I, 82.  In Bridges, The Spirit of Man, 399.

9/87

TRUTH see TRANSCENDENTAL, HIDDEN, 1979; IMAGINATION, 2/85; BEAUTY, 12/87; FINGER-POINTING, 12/87; TROUSERS, 11/89; PILGRIMAGE, 6/2000; KNOWING AND TRUTH, 4/03; AUTOBIOGRAPHY, 9/06

TRUTH, DISCOVERY OF see DISCOVERY OF TRUTH, 4/99

TRUTH, INDIRECT COMMUNICATION OF see COMMUNICATION, 6/97

TRUTH, LANGUAGE AND

Literature, like mathematics, is a language, and a language in itself represents no truth, though it may provide the means for expressing any number of them.

Frye, Northrop, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton University Press, 1957),. 354.

10/2000

TRUTH, OBJECTIVE

[There is an objective truth – which she might call historical fact as opposed to historical interpretation.  And you have to reach for it:] There is in my work the feeling that the most important thing any human being can do is to be as objective as possible about the past, that this is the only thing on which a secure identity – individual or society – can be based.  And linked to this is the feeling that doing it is a virtual impossibility.  Because the moment you try, all the forces of delusion, self- aggrandisement, guilt, brain washing by public perceptions, conspire to distort the past almost as soon as it has happened.  [Part in square brackets is by the interviewer.]

Barker, Pat, interview in The Guardian, October 1998, quoted in New York Review of Books, 20 May, 1999, 30.

8/99

TRUTH, PRAGMATIC

Any idea that will carry us prosperously from one part of our experience to any other part, linking things satisfactorily, working securely, saving labour, is true so much, is true instrumentally.

James, William, quoted in Frank Thilly, A History of Philosophy (Holt, New York, 1914).

7/2000

TWO CATEGORIES

The world is divided into people who divide the world into two categories, and those who do not.

Rothman, Tony, Scientific American, May 1989.

4/91

TYRANNY see DESIRE, 5/2000

Advertisements