Wisdom and Ignorance

“That would indeed be shocking, and then I might really with justice be summoned to court for not believing in the gods, and disobeying the oracle, and being afraid of death, and thinking that I am wise when I am not. For let me tell you, gentlemen, that to be afraid of death is only another form of thinking that one is wise when one is not; it is to think that one knows what one does not know. No one knows with regard to death whether it is not really the greatest blessing that can happen to a man; but people dread it as though they were certain that it is the greatest evil; and this is ignorance, which thinks that it knows what it does not, must surely be ignorance most culpable.”

– The Last Days of Socrates by Plato.

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The Most Important Story

“All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult? (…) When authors write novels, they usually act as if they were God and could completely survey and comprehend some person’s history and present it as if God were telling it to Himself, totally unveiled, in its essence at all points. I can’t, any more than those authors can. But my story is more important to me than any author’s is to him, because it’s my own; it’s the story of a human being—not an invented, potential, ideal, or otherwise nonexistent person, but a real, unique, living one.”

– Demian by Herman Hesse.

The Instantaneous Decay Of Passion.

“No matter! She was not happy, had never been so. Where did it come from, this feeling of deprivation, this instantaneous decay of the things in which she put her trust?… But, if there were somewhere a strong and beautiful creature, a valiant nature full of passion and delicacy in equal measure, the heart of a poet in the figure of an angel, a lyre with strings of steel, sounding to the skies the elegiac epithalamia, why should she not, fortuitously, find such a one? What an impossibility! Nothing, anyway, was worth the great quest; it was all lies! Every smile concealed the yawn of boredom, every joy a malediction, every satisfaction brought its nausea, and even the most perfect kisses only leave upon the lips a fantastical craving for the supreme.”

– Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. 

A Writer’s Muse.

“One day he will find you. He will touch you and you will feel a lifetime of indifference— of apathy melt away in a single moment. And you will ache for him. You will love him, in the way you walk a tightrope— in the way people learn to fall asleep in a war zone. You will bleed for him until the day he is gone. You will bleed for him every day after that. The time will pass and you will feel robbed— and you will grow bitter. You will ask why, but you won’t get an answer. And that is when the words will come.”

 – Memories by Lang Leav.

Numbers.

“And it wasn’t my choice to love you but it was mine to leave. I don’t think the moon ever meant to be a satellite, kept in loving orbit, locked in hopeless inertia, destined to repeat the same pattern over and over— to meet in eclipse with the sun— only when the numbers allowed.”

 – Memories by Lang Leav.

Stowaway.

“I love the way he looks at me. Shy and half-cocked as though he is caught off guard, like he is retracing his steps to remember all the ways to make me smile. He brings me flowers every Sunday and tells me stories about mermaids and sirens with their sharp claws and beguiling lips. He says I remind him of the sea and attaches me to a metaphor I’ve never heard before, when I thought I must have heard them all. I think someone broke his heart once and now he can’t bear to be apart from the ocean. He said it’s strange how the smallest things can wreck a ship. Like a rock, or a wave, or a hairline crack in the hull. He calls me his little stowaway and he says it sadly, tenderly, as though I can sink him.”

 – Memories by Lang Leav.

The Ways of a Woman. 

“One of the men of the manor leans forward now. “What was it like to kiss such a lass?” There is a longing in his voice. This is more than lechery – those gathered here yearn for the touch of a woman tender and soft. I see in their faces an aching hunger for a woman’s grace, all her winsome ways.” 

 – Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes. 

The Days Pile Up.

“Down in her soul, the while, she was waiting for something to happen. Like a shipwrecked sailor, she perused her solitary world with hopeless eyes, searching for some white sail far away where the horizon turns to mist. She didn’t know what her luck might bring, what wind would blow it her way, what shore it would take her to, whether it was a sloop or a three-mastered schooner, laden with anguish or crammed to the portholes with happiness. But, every morning, when she awoke, she hoped it would happen that day, and she listened to every sound, jumping to her feet, surprised when nothing came; then, as the day came to its end, with an ever greater sadness, she was longing for the morrow.”

 – Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Love in real life.

“Before her wedding day, she had thought she was in love; but since she lacked the happiness that should have come from that love, she must have been mistaken, she fancied. And Emma sought to find out exactly what was meant in real life by the words felicity, passion and rapture, which had seemed so fine on the pages of books.”

 – Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.

Antigone against the world.

“I would not order you; and if you change your mind now, I would not have you do it with me. Be whatever you want, and I will bury him. It seems fair for me to die doing it. I will lie dear to him, with one dear to me, a holy outlaw, since I must please those below a longer time than people here, for I shall lie there forever. You, though, dishonor the gods’ commands, if you wish.”

 – Antigone by Sophocles.