Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea, reason seeks to cross
the infinite sea, and so make it finite...To accept everything is an exercise,
to understand everything a strain. The poet only desires exaltation and expansion,
a world to stretch himself in. The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens.
It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.
The madman is not the man who has lost his reason.
The madman is the man who has lost everything but his reason.
As if there were any inconsistency between having a love for humanity
and having a hatred for humanity!
Oscar Wilde said that sunsets were not valued because we could not pay for sunsets.
But Oscar Wilde was wrong; we can pay for sunsets.
We can pay for them by not being Oscar Wilde.
We have all read in in scientific books, and, indeed, in all romances, the story of the man
who has forgotten his name. This man walks about the streets and can see and appreciate
everything; only he cannot remember who he is. Well, every man is that man in the story.
Every man has forgotten who he is. One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego;
the self is more distant than any star. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God; but thou shalt not
know thyself. We all are under the same mental calamity; we have all forgotten our names.
We have all forgotten what we really are. All that we call common sense and rationality and
practicality only means that for certain dead levels of our life we forget that we have forgotten.
All that we call spirit and art and ecstasy only means that for one awful instant we remember
that we forget.
Men spoke much in my boyhood of restricted or ruined men of genius:
and it was common to say that many a man was a Great Might-Have-Been.
To me it is a more solid and startling fact that any man in the street is a
The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism, and modern cosmic religion is really in this proposition:
that Nature is our mother. Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover that she is a
step-mother. The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister.
We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have
to admire, but not to imitate. This gives to the typically Christian pleasure in this earth a strange touch
of lightness that is almost frivolity. Nature was a solemn mother to the worshippers of Isis and Cybele.
Nature was a solemn mother to Wordsworth or to Emerson. But Nature is not solemn to Francis of Assisi.
To St. Francis, Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved.
Seriousness is not a virtue. It would be a heresy, but a much more sensible heresy,
to say that seriousness is a vice. It is really a natural trend or lapse into taking one's
self gravely, because it is the easiest thing to do...For solemnity flows out of men
naturally; but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.
Satan fell by the force of gravity.
The great and very obvious merit of the English aristocracy
is that nobody could possibly take it seriously.
All creation is separation. Birth is as solemn a parting as death.