Perhaps, then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much, that I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day. After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished? The hard reality is, surely, that for the likes of you and me, there is little choice other than to leave our fate, ultimately, in the hands of those great gentlemen at the hub of this world who employ our services. What is the point of worrying oneself too much about what one could or could not have done to control the course one’s life took? Surely it is enough that the likes of you and me at least try to make a small contribution count for something true and worthy. And if some of us are prepared to sacrifice much in life in order to pursue such aspirations, surely that is in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment.
~ The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
Is it not both the first token of power and its supreme triumph to inspire in others the emotions of love, devotion and fear? Is it not the sweetest fare for our vanity to be the cause of pain or joy for someone without the least claim thereto? And what is happiness? Pride gratified. Could I consider myself better and more powerful than anyone else in the world, I should be happy; were everybody to love me, I should find in myself unending wellsprings of love. Evil begets evil; one’s first suffering awakens a realization of the pleasure of tormenting another; the idea of evil cannot take root in the mind of a man without his desiring to apply it in practice. Someone has said that ideas are organic entities: their very birth imparts them form, and this form is action. He in whose brain the most ideas are born is more active than others, and because of this a genius shackled to an office desk must either die or lose his mind, just as a man of powerful physique who leads a modest, sedentary life dies of an apoplectic stroke.
~ A Hero Of Our Time, Mikhail Lermontov
The insuperable gap between East and West that exists in some eyes is perhaps nothing more than an optical illusion. Perhaps it is only the conventional way of expressing a popular opinion based on insufficient evidence and masquerading as a universally recognized statement of fact, for which there is no justification at all, not event the plea that it contains an element of truth. During the last war ‘saving face’ was perhaps as vitally important to the British as it was to the Japanese. Perhaps it dictated the behaviour of the former, without their being aware of it, as forcibly and as fatally as it did that of the latter, and no doubt that of every other race of the world. Perhaps the conduct of each of the two enemies, superficially so dissimilar, was in fact simply a different though equally meaningless manifestation of the same spiritual reality.
~ The Bridge on the River Kwai, Pierre Boulle
You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he thought. You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?
~ The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway