Sunday 6 June 2021

Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow

“Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.”
Oscar Wilde

"There are three things extremely hard - steel, a diamond, and to know one's self."
Benjamin Franklin

"Only the shallow know themselves."
Oscar Wilde

"The first thing to be decided about a script is whether it is a winning one or a losing one. This can often be discovered very quickly by listening to the person talk. A winner says things like "I made a mistake, but it won't happen again.” A loser says “If only... I should've... Yes, but.”"
Eric Berne

“There was never any lockdown – there were just middle-class people hiding, while working-class people brought them things.”
JJ Charlesworth, quoted without naming him by Julie Birchall

"But, to me, the most poignant disparity was between those of us who have had their fun (and by fun I mean career, love and money as well as the obvious) and those waiting for their lives to begin. We punks snarled petulantly of having “No Future” in 1977, but most of my spitting cohort went on to have gorgeous careers in music and media. These days, it’s the kids I feel sorry for. As a child I sat in my room, impatient for my life to begin, but knowing at least I could escape at 16. Not so for Generation Grounded."
Julie Birchall

"The story must not be neglected by any modern, who may think in error that the East has finally fallen before the West, that Islam is now enslaved — to our political and economic power at any rate if not to our philosophy. It is not so. Islam essentially survives, and Islam would not have survived had the Crusade made good its hold upon the essential point of Damascus. Islam survives. Its religion is intact; therefore its material strength may return. Our religion is in peril, and who can be confident in the continued skill, let alone the continued obedience, of those who make and work our machines? ... There is with us a complete chaos in religious doctrine.... We worship ourselves, we worship the nation; or we worship (some few of us) a particular economic arrangement believed to be the satisfaction of social justice.... Islam has not suffered this spiritual decline; and in the contrast between the religious certitudes still strong throughout the Mohammedan world—as lively in India as in Morocco, active throughout North Africa and Egypt, even inflamed through contrast and the feeling of repression in Syria (more particularly in Palestine)—lies our peril."
Hilaire Belloc, The Crusades

"But has the civilization of machines improved man? Have they made man more human? I could abstain from answering, but I think it more convenient to make my thought more explicit. In all probability, machines have changed nothing in man's basic wickedness—up until how, in any event; but they have exercised this wickedness, making it grow strong, and they have revealed to man the power of his wickedness, the fact that the exercise of this power in a certain sense has no boundaries."
Georges Bernanos, quoted in Hans Urs von Balthasar, Bernanos: An Ecclesial Existence

Did you know? While we forget most of our early childhood ('childhood amnesia'), we tend to over-remember things that happened to us ages ~16-25. It's called the 'reminiscence bump' and it's robust across studies and cultures.

"Literature takes a habit of mind that has disappeared. It requires silence, a form of isolation, and sustained concentration in the presence of an enigmatic thing."
Philip Roth

"My advice to myself: Be yourself; there is no other you. Don't perform and achieve in order to accept and be happy with yourself. Accept and be happy with yourself and let your performance flow out of that self-acceptance and happiness. Don't hold yourself to an imaginary standard; the standard is you."
Michael Rectenwald

"The end of all opposition is negation; and negation is nothing. If I call bad bad, what do I gain? But if I call good bad, I do a great deal of mischief. He who will work aright must never rail, must not trouble himself at all about what is ill done, but only to do well himself. For the great point is, not to pull down, but to build up, and in this humanity finds pure joy."
Goethe, Conversations with Eckermann

Whenever I read the word “debunked” in a mainstream news article now I’m inclined to assume the opposite is true


  1. When it was all over, the publisher said they had sold 400 or more books — this, even though they had hoped to hit fifty. I have never in all my years writing books sold so many at an event. The only thing close to that was 187 at a Dallas event for 'The Little Way of Ruthie Leming'. The publishers discovered that people came from all over Romania to hear me.

    What I Saw In Bucharest
    Rod Dreher

    1. Thank you very much. I am a big fan of his, even though he left the Catholic Church (from disgust about sex scandals) and has did a terrible thing in attacking the Covington schoolboy for his innocent and polite smile to that vexatious Indian who was setting him up. I know some people can't forgive him because of equivocations like that. There have been others. But I am a big fan. Among many other things I was very shocked by what he told us about homosexual networks among bishops in America going back generations to and probably before Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York from 1939 to 1967, who Mr Dreher says "was widely known in clerical circles for his active homosexuality. A personal friend of mine attended a gay party at the archbishop’s mansion on Fifth Avenue, and was given a tour of the place by His Eminence."

  2. I suppose he has left town. I'd love to meet him.