Society / Culture / Humanity

Society / Culture / Humanity

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The emptiness of man, though it resembles
fullness, and seems all of a piece, actually
is made of nothings, bits of emptiness

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And his fame lasts how long? It is permissible even for a dying hero to think before he dies how men will speak of him hereafter. His fame lasts perhaps two thousand years. And what are two thousand years? (asked Mr. Ramsay ironically, staring at the hedge). What, indeed, if you look from a mountain top down the long wastes of the ages? The very stone one kicks with one’s boot will outlast Shakespeare.

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… if you train a dog to eat potatoes and then afterwards put a piece of meat in front of him, he’ll snap at it, it’s his nature. And if you give a man a little bit of authority he behaves just the same way, he snaps at it too. The things are precisely the same. In himself man is essentially a beast, only he butters it over like a slice of bread with a little decorum.

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She looked up as the train passed, and I was almost near enough to catch her eye. She had a round, pale face, the usual exhausted face of the slum girl who is twenty-five and looks forty, thanks to miscarriages and drudgery; and it wore, for the second I saw it, the most desolate, hopeless expression I have ever seen. It struck me then that we are mistaken when we say that ‘It isn’t the same for them as it would be for us’, and that people bred in the slums can imagine nothing but the slums. For what I saw in her face was not the ignorant suffering of an animal.

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Youth is like having a big plate of candy. Sentimentalists think they want to be in the pure, simple state they were in before they ate the candy. They don’t. They just want the fun of eating it all over again. The matron doesn’t want to repeat her girlhood – she wants to repeat her honeymoon. I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.

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Where else? I belong to a lost generation and am comfortable only in the company of others who are lost and lonely.

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It is altogether curious, your first contact with poverty. You have thought so much about poverty – it is the thing you have feared all your life, the thing you knew would happen to you sooner or later; and it is all so utterly and prosaically different. You thought it would be simple; it is extraordinarily complicated.

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