“Passion, you see, can be destroyed by a doctor. It cannot be created.”
“The Normal is the good smile in a child's eyes:-alright. It is also the dead stare in a million adults. It both sustains and kills-like a god. It is the Ordinary made beautiful: it is also the Average made lethal. The Normal is the indispensable, murderous God of Health, and I am his priest. My tools are very delicate. My compassion is honest. I have honestly assisted children in this room. I have talked away terrors and relieved many agonies. But also-beyond question-I have cut from the parts of individuality repugnant to this god, in both his aspects. Parts sacred to rarer and more wonderful gods. And at what length...Sacrifices to Zeus took at the most, surely, sixty seconds each. Sacrifices to the Normal can take as long as sixty months.”
“He'll be delivered from madness. What then? He'll feel himself acceptable! What then? Do you think feelings like his can be simply re-attached, like plasters? Stuck on to other objects we select? Look at him! ... My desire might be to make this boy an ardent husband - a caring citizen - a worshipper of abstract and unifying God. My achievement, however, is more likely to make a ghost!”
“What the eye does not see, the heart does not grieve over, does it?”
“Look... to go through life and call it yours - your life - you first have to get your own pain. Pain that's unique to you. You can't just dip into the common bin and say 'That's enough!'...”
“You have your words, and I have mine.”
“Can you think of anything worse one can do to anybody than take away their worship?”
“Worship isn't destructive, Martin. I know that.
I don't. I only know it's the core of his life. What else has he got? He can hardly read. He knows no physics or engineering to make to world real for him. No paintings to show him how others have enjoyed it. No music except television jingles. No history except tales from a desperate mother. No friends. Not one kid to give him a joke, or make him know himself more moderately. He's a modern citizen for whom society doesn't exist.”
“All reined up in old language and old assumptions, straining to jump clean-hoofed on to a whole new track of being I only suspect is there. I can't see it, because my educated, average head is being held at the wrong angle. I can't jump because the bit forbids it, and my own basic force - my horsepower, if you like - is too little.”
“There is now, in my mouth, this sharp chain. And it never comes out.”
“In an ultimate sense I cannot know what I do in this place - yet I do ultimate things. Essentially I cannot know what I do - yet I do essential things. Irreversible, terminal things. I stand in the dark with a pick in my hand, striking at heads! I need - more desperately than my children need me - a way of seeing in the dark.”
“Look, life is only comprehensible through a thousand local gods... spirits of certain trees, of certain curves of brick walls, of certain fish and chip shops if you like. And slate roofs, and frowns in people, and slouches... I'd say to them, "Worship all you can see, and more will appear...”
“What did I expect of him? Very little, I promise you. One more dented little face. One more adolescent freak. The usual unusual. One great thing about being in the adjustment business: you're never short of customers.”
“Do you know what it's like for two people to live in the same house as if they were in different parts of the world?”
“The Normal is the good smile in a child’s eyes - all right. It is also the dead stare in a million adults.”
“The Devil isn’t made by what Mommy says, or what Daddy says. The Devil is there.”
“A child is born into a world of phenomena all equal in their power to enslave.”
“I'll give him the good Normal world where we're tethered beside them - blinking our nights away in a non-stop drench of cathode-ray over our shrivelling heads!”
“A child is born into a world of phenomena all equal in their power to enslave. It sniffs - it sucks - it strokes its eyes over the whole uncomfortable range. Suddenly one strikes. Why? Moments snap together like magnets, forging a chain of shackles.”
“Look! Life is only comprehensible through a thousand local gods.”
“He knows no physics or engineering to make the world real to him… no paintings to show him how others have enjoyed it… no music except television jingles… no history except tales from a desperate mother… no friends to give him a joke or make him know himself more moderately. He’s a modern citizen for whom society doesn’t exist.”
“Look...to go through life and call it yours - your life - you first have to get your own pain. Pain that's unique to you. You can't just dip into the common bin and say "That's enough!"... He's done that. All right, he's sick. He's full of misery and fear. He was dangerous, and could be again, though I doubt it. But that boy has know a passion more ferocious that I have felt in any second of my life. And let me tell you something: I envy it. Don't you see? That's the accusation! That's what his stare has been saying to me all this time. "At least I galloped! When did you?”
“I use that word endlessly: "primitive." "Oh, the primitive world," I say. "What instinctive truths were lost with it!" And while I sit there, baiting a poor, unimaginative woman with the word that freaky boy tries to conjure the reality! I sit looking at pages of centaurs trampling the soil of Argos - and outside my window he is trying to become one, in a Hampshire field! ... I watch that woman knitting, night after night - a woman I haven't kissed in six years - and he stands in the dark for an hour, sucking the sweat of his God's hairy cheek! Then in the morning, I put away my books on the cultural shelf, close up the Kodachrome snaps of Mount Olympus, touch my reproduction statue of Dionysus for luck - and go off to hospital to treat him for insanity. Do you see?”
“To go through life and call it yours - your life - you first have to get your own pain. Pain that's unique to you. You can't just dip into the common bin and say 'That's enough!”
“Look ... to go through life and call it yours -- your life -- you first have to get your own pain. Pain that's unique to you. You can't just dip into the common bin and say 'That's enough!”
“There should be more natural disasters. I like those because you can't blame anyone. You can't put an earthquake on trial. You can't send a flood to the chair. Look at the fucking zoo I live in. All these bent up little players running around through the ruins saying, "Isn't this groovy and decadent? Cool!" Looking like Death and thinking they're something. I would like to help. I really would. I wonder if the guy at the gun store would give me a discount on the bullets I'll need if I told him what I was up to.”
“Of course it would cost something, but he was an expert in cutting corners; and when there were no more corners left he would make circles rounder.”
“There was no more meaningless phrase in all of language than “Cheer up!”
“Until writing was invented, man lived in an acoustic space: boundless, directionless, horizonless, in the dark of the mind, in the world of emotion, by primordial intuition, by terror. Speech is a social chart of this bog.
The goose quill put an end to talk. It abolished mystery; it gave architecture and towns; it brought roads and armies, bureaucracy. It was the basic metaphor with which the cycle of civilization began, the step from the dark into the light of the mind. The hand that filled the parchment page built a city.
Whence did the wond'rous mystic art arise,
Of painting SPEECH, and speaking to the eyes?
That we by tracing magic lines are taught,
How to embody, and to colour THOUGHT?”
“and for the company to which he owed everything. But events took a couple”
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