"What, anyway, was that sticky infusion, that rank flavor of blood, that poetry, by which I lived?"
Rest In Peace
"I don’t recognize the distinction between nature poetry and, what would be the other thing? Human civilization poetry? We are creatures of the earth who build our elaborate cities and beavers are creatures of the earth who build their elaborate lodges and canal operations and dams, just as we do..."
"People with self-respect exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of moral nerve; they display what was once called 'character,' a quality which, although approved in the abstract, sometimes loses ground to other, more instantly negotiable virtues... Nonetheless, character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life — is the source from which self-respect springs."
"Everything we do has significance. Every action, every thought leaves an imprint — not only on the self, but on the world, on the others, and even on time, on all who come after us! This implies a responsibility for one's thoughts and actions that should be taken most seriously! And yet one feels helpless, a hapless victim of circumstances beyond one's control, as if one's behavior and thoughts did not originate in the self, but were a product, an accumulation of imprints from the world, from our ancestors, from the people around us. It behooves one to take responsibility, to take the power to decide how one will act, and even how one will think! Not only for the betterment of one's self, but for the betterment of the world, all the others, and all who will come after us!"
"He was free, free in every way, free to behave like a fool or a machine, free to accept, free to refuse, free to equivocate; to marry, to give up the game, to drag this death weight about with him for years to come. He could do what he liked, no one had the right to advise him, there would be for him no Good or Evil unless he thought them into being."
"When I was very young, I admired hardened criminals locked behind prison doors; I visited inns and taverns they frequented; with their eyes, I saw the blue sky and the blossoming work of the fields; I tracked their scent through cities. They were more powerful than saints, more prudent than explorers — and they, they alone, were witnesses to glory and reason!"