"At a certain age, we have already been struck by love; it no longer develops alone, according to its own mysteries and fateful laws while our hearts stand by startled and passive. We come to its assistance ... Recognizing one of its symptoms, we recall, we bring back to life the others. Since we possess its song engraved in its totality within us, we do not need for a woman to tell us the beginning--filled with admiration inspired by beauty--to find the continuation."
"And yet we constantly reclaim some part of that primal spontaneity through the youngest among us, not only through their sorrow and anger but simply through everyday discoveries, life unwrapped. To see a child touch the piano keys for the first time, to watch a small body slice through the surface of the water in a clean dive, is to experience the shock, not of the new, but of the familiar revisited as though it were strange and wonderful."
"The totality of our so-called knowledge or beliefs, from the most casual matters of geography and history to the profoundest lawsof atomic physics or even of pure mathematics and logic, is a man-made fabric which impinges on experience only along the edges. Or, to change the figure, total science is like a field of force whose boundary conditions are experience."
"What brings enlightenment is experience, in the sad sense of this word--the pressure of hard facts and unintelligible troubles, making a man rub his eyes in his waking dream, and put two and two together. Enlightenment is cold water."
"Experience is a mere whiff or rumble, produced by enormously complex and ill-deciphered causes of experience; and in the other direction, experience is a mere peephole through which glimpses come down to us of eternal things."
"... should one sit down to paint the scenes among which he has grown, he will find that the facts creep in upon him. Those brilliant phases and shapes which the imagination sees in far-off lands are not for him to portray. Sadly he must squeeze the colour from his brush, and dip it into the grey pigments around him. He must paint what lies before him."
"But my mother was in love and she had known about life for a long time, with her two bastard girls like two earrings; and she knewthat most often one must pull out one's entrails and fill one's stomach with straw if one wants to have a little piece of the sun."
"My trade and my art is living. He who forbids me to speak about it according to my sense, experience, and practice, let him orderthe architect to speak of buildings not according to himself but according to his neighbor; according to another man's knowledge, not according to his own."
"I, who travel most often for my pleasure, do not direct myself so badly. If it looks ugly on the right, I take the left; if I findmyself unfit to ride my horse, I stop.... Have I left something unseen behind me? I go back; it is still on my road. I trace no fixed line, either straight or crooked."
"The advantage of living is not measured by length, but by use; some people have lived long, and lived little; attend to it while you are in it. It lies in your will, not in the number of years, for you to have lived enough."
"Strong emotional experiences are for the most part impersonal. Anyone who has hated another person so much that only chance standsbetween that person and death knows this, as does whoever has fallen into the catastrophe of a deep depression, anyone who has loved a woman to the dregs, anyone who has beaten others bloody or ever come up behind another person with muscles trembling. "Losing one's head," language calls it. Emotional experience is, in itself, poor in qualities; qualities are brought to it by the person who has the experience."