The good works that really matter require the help of heaven. And the help of heaven requires working past the point of fatigue so far that only the meek and lowly will keep going long enough. The Lord doesn't put us through this test just to give us a grade; he does it because the process will change us.
All who say the same things do not possess them in the same manner; and hence the incomparable author of the Art of Conversation pauses with so much care to make it understood that we must not judge of the capacity of a man by the excellence of a happy remark that we heard him make. ...let us penetrate, says he, the mind from which it proceeds... it will oftenest be seen that he will be made to disavow it on the spot, and will be drawn very far from this better thought in which he does not believe, to... Read more »
I have to keep reminding myself: If you give your life to God, he doesn't promise you happiness and that everything will go well. But he does promise you peace. You can have peace and joy, even in bad circumstances.
Having financial independence does not increase one's chances of independent, artistic creation whatsoever. Our conditioned behavior toward mimicry for the sake of market forces is an amazing syndrome. The watchtowers guide us well.
If literature is to transcend political interference and return to being a testimony of man and his existential predicament, it needs first to break away from ideology. To be without "isms," is to return to the individual and to return to viewing the world through the eyes of the writer, an individual who relies on his own perceptions and does not act as a spokesman for the people. The people already have rulers and election campaigners speaking in their name.
That low man seeks a little thing to do, Sees it and does it: This high man, with a great thing to pursue, Dies ere he knows it. That low man goes on adding one to one, His hundred's soon hit: This high man, aiming at a million, Misses an unit. That, has the world here-should he need the next, Let the world mind him! This, throws himself on God, and unperplext Seeking shall find Him.
No one can understand Paris and its history who does not understand that its fierceness is the balance and justification of its frivolity. It is called a city of pleasure; but it may also very specially be called a city of pain. The crown of roses is also a crown of thorns. Its people are too prone to hurt others, but quite ready also to hurt themselves. They are martyrs for religion, they are martyrs for irreligion; they are even martyrs for immorality.
There's so much going on in Andrei [Bolkonsky]. He's wrangling with these big existential conundrums, and he tries out different routes to fulfillment. He tries falling in love, that doesn't work. He goes to war and searches for military glory, that doesn't work. He does the quiet life of a farmer. He's always active. That's what I loved about him, he's always looking, searching. He's really inquisitive.