The Unquiet Grave - by Cyril Connolly

My desire is for wisdom, not for the exercise of the will. 'The will is the strong blind man who carries on his shoulders the lame man who can see.' -- Schopenhauer

A Rune for the very bored: When very bored recite: 'It was during the next twenty minutes that there occurred one of those tiny incidents which revolutionize the whole course of our life and alter the face of history. Truly we are the playthings of enormous fates.'

Those who are consumed with curiosity about other people but who do not love them should write maxims, for no one can become a novelist unless he love his fellow-men. Being myself contaminated by oriental philosophy, I cannot take people seriously, (Sabba dukka! 'In those countries human life is but a weed.') They all seem replaceable except for the few who carry away sections of ourselves which cannot be replaced.

Our memories are card-indexes consulted and then returned in disorder by authorities whom we do not control.

Birthday resolution: From now on to specialize; never again make any concession to the ninety-nine parts of you which are like everybody else at the expense of the one which is unique. Never listen to the False Self talking.

A child, left to play alone, says of quite an easy thing, 'Now I am going to do something very difficult'. Soon, out of vanity, fear and emptiness, he builds up a world of custom, convention and myth in which everything must be just so; certain doors are one-way streets, certain trees sacred, certain paths taboo. Then along comes a grown-up or a more robust child; they kick over the imaginary wall, climb the forbidden tree, regard the difficult as easy and the private world is destroyed. The instinct to create myth, to colonize reality with the emotions, remains. The myths become tyrannies until they are swept away, when we invent new tyrannies to hide our suddenly perceived nakedness. Like caddis-worms or like those crabs which dress themselves with seaweed, we wear belief and custom.