"Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly." – G. K. Chesterton

To follow the instructions literally, I would have to pack the post with Chesterton quotes.  Since I post so many Chesterton quotes already, I’ll instead offer up some from my other favorite authors.  Without further ado, here they are:

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Urbanized men and women experience not life but the abstraction of life, on ever higher levels of refinement and dislocation from reality.  They become professors of ideas, and have evolved such esoteric occupations as the critic, the critic who criticizes criticism, and even the critic who criticizes criticism of criticism.  It is a very sad misuse of human talent and energy.

– Jack Vance, The Book of Dreams

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Of course it is often possible to gain the accolades of Society even while one is arrogantly flouting and demeaning the most sacred dogmas which are its very soul!  In this respect, Society is like a great cringing animal; the more you abuse it, the more affection it lavishes upon you.  Ah well, too late now to worry about these nicities of conduct.

– Jack Vance, Ecce and Old Earth

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We have no maps of Klepsis,” the girl spoke as if I were out of my mind.  “We are on Klepsis.  Are you somehow confused about where you are?  Why would anyone want maps of Klepsis when they are on Klepsis itself.  One original is worth ten thousand imitations, as the proverb says.  A map is only a formalized picture.  Why should you look at a picture of thing, rather than at the thing itself?  If you were out with a girl, would you be looking at the girl herself, or would you rather be looking at a picture of the girl?  Why do you want maps of Klepsis?”

– R. A. Lafferty, The Annals of Klepsis

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The music of the spheres, when analyzed, has proven to be the same sound as the tinkle of ice in a glass, heard faintly and hardly recognized.

– R. A. Lafferty, The Devil is Dead

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For every one tastemaker programmed for pessimism, there are a hundred middle-class suburbanites who could not care less what intellectuals say at the sherry hour.

-Gregg Easterbrook, The Progress Paradox

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Human beings have the potential to rise above their baser instincts, while chimpanzees do not.

– Jane Goodall, Reason for Hope

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Mathematicians who are only mathematicians have exact minds, provided all things are explained to them by means of definitions and axioms; otherwise they are inaccurate and insufferable, for they are only right when the principles are quite clear.

-Blaise Pascal, Pensees

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The greater intellect one has, the more originality one finds in men.  Ordinary persons find no differences between men.

-Blaise Pascal, Pensees

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Those who must despise men, and put them on a level with the brutes, yet wish to be admired and believe by men, and contradict themselves by their own feelings; their nature, which is stronger than all, convinces them of the greatness of man more forcibly than reason convinces them of their baseness.

-Blaise Pascal, Pensees

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The greatness of man is so evident that it is even proved by his wretchedness.  For what in animals is nature, we call in man wretchedness; by which we recognize that, his nature being now like that of animals, he has fallen from a better nature which once was his.  For who is unhappy at not being a king, except a deposed king?  Was Paulus Emilis unhappy at being no longer consul?  On the contrary, everybody thought him happy in having been consul, because the office could only be held for a time.  But men thought Perseus so unhappy in being no longer king, because the condition of kingship implied his being always king, that they thought it strange that he endured life.  Who is unhappy at only having one mouth?  And who is not unhappy at having only one eye?  Probably no man ever ventured to mourn at not having three eyes.  But any one is inconsolable at having none.

-Blaise Pascal, Pensees

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The saints are not resigned, at least in the sense that the world thinks.  If they suffer in silence those injustices which upset the mediocre, it is in order better to turn against injustice, against its face of brass, all the strength of their great souls.  Angers, daughters of despair, creep and twist like worms.  Prayer is, all things considered, the only form of revolt that stays standing up.

– George Bernanos

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I don’t know how it will be in the years to come.  There are monstrous changes taking place in the world, forces shaping a future whose face we do not know.  Some of these forces seem evil to us, perhaps not in themselves but because their tendency is to eliminate other things we hold good.  It is true that two men can lift a bigger stone than one man.  A group can build automobiles quicker and better than one man, and bread from a huge factory is cheaper and more uniform.  When our food and clothing and housing all are born in the complication of mass production, mass method is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate all other thinking.  In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics, and even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God.  This in my time is the danger.  There is great tension in the world, tension towards a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused.  At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions.  What do I believe in?  What must I fight for and what must I fight against?  Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man.  Nothing was ever created by two men.  There are good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy.  Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything.  The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.

John Steinbeck, East of Eden

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They had a tool or a weapon that is also nearly gone, or perhaps it is only dormant for a while.  It is argued that because they believed thoroughly in a just, moral God they could put their faith there and let the smaller securities take care of themselves.  But I think that because they trusted themselves and respected themselves as individuals, because they knew beyond doubt that they were valuable and potentially moral units–because of this they could give God their own courage and dignity and then receive it back.  Such things have disappeared because men do not trust themselves any more, and when that happens there is nothing left except perhaps to find some strong, sure man, even though he may be wrong, and to dangle from his coattails.

– John Steinbeck, East of Eden

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