Herein lives wisdom, beauty and increase;
Without this, Folly, age and cold decay…
Shakespeare, from Sonnet XI.
One cannot pursue that study [of literature] with the object of arriving at value judgements, because the only possible goal of study is knowledge. The sense of value is an… incommunicable [etc.]… reaction to knowledge.
Frye, Northrop “On Value Judgements”, in The Stubborn Structure (Methuen, 1970), 66.
Man first implanted values into things to maintain himself – he created the meaning of things, a human meaning! Therefore, he calls himself: ‘Man’, that is, the evaluator.
Evaluation is creation: hear it, you creative men! Valuating is itself the value and jewel of all valued things.
Nietzsche, Zarathustra, “Of the Thousand and One Goals “.
VALUES see ART, 12/87; NATIONALISM, 5/98; GOLD, 5/98; BEAUTY AND MYSTERY, 7/2000
VALUES, LACK OF see AMORALITY, 12/87
Nothing we can do can be defended absolutely and finally. But only by reference to something else that is not questioned. I.e. no reason can be given why you should act (or should have acted) like this, except that by doing so you bring about such and such a situation, which again has to be an aim you accept.
Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, 16e.
Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? Or, having it, is satisfied? – Come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out. [Concluding lines.]
Thackeray, William, Vanity Fair (Nelson Classics ed., 1848), 784.
With heart compact as truth the cabbage stands,
With trickling gems bedropt in twinkling play;
There nodding onions rang’d like marshall’d bands.
The sluggard carrot sleeps his days in bed;
The crippled pea alone that cannot stand;
With vegetable marrow, rich and grand.
Bidlake, John, from “The Country Parson”, in Wyndham Lewis’s The Stuffed Owl.
VENICE, PERCEPTION IN see PERCEPTION, 5/98
A Vindication Of Moral Liberty
Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property.
Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another.
Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property.
In vices, the very essence of crime — that is, the design to injure the person or property of another — is wanting.
It is a maxim of the law that there can be no crime without a criminal intent; that is, without the intent to invade the person or property of another. But no one ever practises a vice with any such criminal intent. He practises his vice for his own happiness solely, and not from any malice toward others.
Unless this clear distinction between vices and crimes be made and recognized by the laws, there can be on earth no such thing as individual right, liberty, or property; no such things as the right of one man to the control of his own person and property, and the corresponding and coequal rights of another man to the control of his own person and property.
For a government to declare a vice to be a crime, and to punish it as such, is an attempt to falsify the very nature of things. It is as absurd as it would be to declare truth to be falsehood, or falsehood truth.
Spooner, Lysander, Vices Are Not Crimes, http://www.lysanderspooner.org/VicesAreNotCrimes.htm.
VICE see AUBREY, 9/97; IGNORANCE AS VICE, 3/03
The Victorians … with their characteristic cocktail of sanctity and sado-masochism.
Knight, Stephen, in ‘Gendering Robin Hood’, on http://www.boldoutlaw.com/robint/rhgend.html
Realism is just one of the arbitrary views man takes of man. It sees us all as little ant-like creatures toiling against the odds of circumstance, and doomed to misery. It is a kind of aeroplane view. It became the popular outlook, and so today we actually are, millions of us, little ant-like creatures toiling against the odds of circumstance, and doomed to misery; until we take a different view of ourselves. For man always becomes what he passionately thinks he is; since he is capable of becoming almost anything.
Lawrence, D H, Introduction to Giovanni Verga’s Mastro-don Gesualdo.
VIEWS see BELIEFS, 1/93; BACON’S IDOLS, 6/2000, CLICHÉ, 8/13
VIEWS, FIXED, see CLICHÉ, 8/13
VIEWS, THICKET OF
Others apart sat on a hill retir’d,
In thoughts more elevate, and reason’d high
Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate,
Fixed Fate, free will, Foreknowledge absolute,
And found no end in wandering mazes lost,
Of good and evil much they argued then,
Of happiness and final misery,
Passion and Apathie, and glory and shame,
Vain wisdom all, and false Philosophie:
Yet with a pleasing sorcery could charm
Pain for a while or anguish, and excite
Fallacious hope, or arm th’obdured breast
With stubborn patience as with triple steel…
Milton, Paradise Lost, II, 557.
[What Yeats was indicating when he said] “the heart fed on fantasy, grown brutal from the fare”, was the power of mythology in the shaping of the terrorist’s consciousness. [To be capable of sustaining a savage war,] it is necessary to narrow the mind, make it subject to a very limited range of ideas and influences.
Keane, Fergal, quoted Guardian Review, 24 Aug 02, 6.
VIOLENCE, KARMIC CONSEQUENCES see KARMA, 8/98
A man cannot be really virtuous until he has known temptation.
Niall, Ian, The New Poacher’s Handbook (Futura, 1979, first ed. 1960), 155.
VIRTUE TESTED IN ADVERSITY
I cannot praise a fugitive and cloister’d virtue, unexercis’d and unbreath’d, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.
Milton, Areopagicita, quoted in Bridges, The Spirit of Man, 393.
VIRTUES see GOLD, 5/98
[The need for sympathy to see things.] Bodily eyes see bodies, see flesh. Looking at the moon, and sun, we see matter earth or fire, as if it were people walking in the street. [(Who, if we could but see them properly, have thoughts playing about them in subtle currents of substance.) Everything, alive or dead, has its own consciousness.] The consciousness that sees that face, that body, those hands, feet, is not inside the same scale of time. … A creature looking at its image… sees a dance of matter and time. But what sees this dance has memory and expectation, and memory itself is on another plane of time. So each one of us… is at least two scales of time, wrapped together like the yolk and white of an egg. [When a child, an adult waking up, someone in love, someone confronting death, asks: ‘what am I’ etc., then the answer is:] that which asks the question is out of the world’s time.
Lessing, Doris, Briefing for a Descent into Hell, 57.
For the absolute good is the cause and source of all beauty, just as the sun is the source of all daylight, and it cannot therefore be spoken or written; yet we speak and write of it, in order to start and escort ourselves on the way, and arouse our minds to vision: like as when one showeth a pilgrim on his way to some shrine that he would visit: for the teaching is only of whither and how to go, the vision itself is the work of him who hath willed to see.
Plotinus, Enneads, vi, 9, 14.
He who has frequent moments of complete existence, is a hero, though not laurelled; is crowned, and without crowns, a king: he only who has enjoyed immortal moments can reproduce them. [In art. Blake adds: ‘O that men would seek immortal moments!’]
Lavater, Aphorism 507.
The perceived forms of the eternal world are those which are constantly perceived in this one, and it is not in the grandiose or exceptional experience that ‘the types and symbols of Eternity’ [Wordsworth] are to be found.
Frye, Northrop, Fearful Symmetry (Princeton, 1947), 45.
To know is not to prove, not to explain. It is to accede to vision.
St.-Exupery, Flight to Arras, 37.
It is not with our feet that we must flee, [but we must] shut our eyes, change this gaze for another, and reawaken that vision which all possess but so few exercise.
Plotinus (?), quoted by Lilar, Susanne, Aspects of Love (Panther, 1967, French edition 1963), 244, n34.
Keep true to the dreams of thy youth. [A note glued to his desk. According to Richard Holmes, Kipling carved something like ‘keep faith with the dreams of one’s youth’ on the underside of his roll-top desk. Introduction to Kipling’s Something of Myself, Penguin, 1977, 23.]
Melville, Herman, quoted in the introduction to Moby Dick (Penguin), 13.
Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Bible, Proverbs, XXIX:18.
Voici mon secret. Il est très simple : on ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.
(It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.)
St.-Exupery, The Little Prince.
VISION OF CHAOS, AND POETRY
The essential quality of poetry is that it makes a new effort of attention, and “discovers” a new world within the known world. Man, and the animals, and the flowers, all live within a strange and for ever surging chaos. … But man cannot live in chaos. … Man must wrap himself in a vision, make a house of apparent form and stability, fixity. In his terror of chaos he begins by putting up an umbrella between himself and the everlasting whirl. Then he paints the under-side of his umbrella like a firmament. Then he parades around, lives and dies under his umbrella. Bequeathed to his descendants, the umbrella becomes a dome, a vault, and men at last begin to feel that something is wrong.
Man fixes some wonderful erection of his own between himself and the wild chaos, and gradually goes bleached and stifled under his parasol. Then comes a poet, enemy of convention, and makes a slit in the umbrella; and lo! the glimpse of chaos is a vision, a window to the sun. But after a while, getting used to the vision, and not liking the genuine draught from chaos, commonplace man daubs a simulacrum of the window that opens on to chaos, and patches the umbrella with the painted patch of the simulacrum. That is, he has got used to the vision; it is part of his house-decoration. So that the umbrella at last looks like a glowing open firmament, of many aspects. But alas! it is all simulacrum, in innumerable patches.
Lawrence, D H, from ‘Chaos in Poetry’.
VISION see DHYANA, 6/98; HISTORY, 4/99
So much the rather thou celestial light
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight… [he is regretting his blindness].
Milton, Paradise Lost, III, 45.
VISION, INWARD see RUPALOKA, 7/87
VISION, LOSS OF
Far off, like a perfect pearl, one can see the city of God. It is so wonderful that it seems as if a child could reach it in a summer’s day. And so a child could. But with me and such as I am it is different. One can realise a thing in a single moment, but one loses it in the long hours that follow.
Wilde, Oscar, De Profundis
VISION, PREPARATION FOR
No single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born. It would be a bit too easy if we could go about borrowing ready made souls.
It is true that a sudden illumination may now and then light up a destiny and impel a man in a new direction. But illumination is a vision, suddenly granted the spirit, at the end of a long and gradual preparation. Bit by bit I learnt my grammar. I was taught my syntax. My sentiments were awakened. And now suddenly a poem strikes me in the heart.
St.-Exupery, Flight to Arras, 47-8.
Error is created. Truth is eternal. Error, or Creation, will be burned up, and then, and not till then, Truth or Eternity will appear. It is burnt up the moment men cease to behold it. I assert for myself that I do not behold the outward Creation and that to me it is hindrance and not action; it is as the dirt upon my feet, no part of me. ‘What,’ it will be question’d, ‘when the sun rises, do you not see a round disc of fire somewhat like a guinea?’ O no, no, I see an innumerable company of the Heavenly Host crying, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.’ I question not my corporeal or vegetative eye any more than I would question a window concerning a sight. I look thro’ it and not with it.
Blake, William, In Geoffrey Grigson, O Rare Mankind (Phoenix House Ltd, London, 1963)
I have the feeling that this torrent of visions is sweeping me away to a tranquil dream: so rivers cease their turbulence in the embrace of the sea.
St.-Exupery, Wind Sand and Stars (Heinemann, 1939), 208.
VISUALISATION — “FISH LEAPING” see GRIEF, 2/93
VISUALISATION see PERCEPTION AND REALITY, 12/2002
Vocations which we wanted to pursue but didn’t bleed like colours on the whole of our existence.
Balzac, quoted by ‘Pythiae’, Independent, 31 December 1992.
As I sat opposite the Treasury Bench the ministers reminded me of one of those marine landscapes, not very unusual on the coasts of South America. You behold a range of exhausted volcanoes.
Disraeli, Isaac, speech, 1872.