This metropolitan world, then, is a world where flesh and blood is less real than paper and ink and celluloid. It is a world where the great masses of people, unable to have direct contact with more satisfying means of living, take life vicariously, as readers, spectators, passive observers: a world where people watch shadow-heroes and heroines in order to forget their own clumsiness or coldness in love, where they behold brutal men crushing out life in a strike riot, a wrestling ring or a military assault, while they lack the nerve even to resist the petty tyranny of their immediate boss: where they hysterically cheer the flag of their political state, and in their neighborhood, their trades union, their church, fail to perform the most elementary duties of citizenship.Living thus, year in and year out, at second hand, remote from the nature that is outside them and no less remote from the nature within, handicapped as lovers and as parents by the routine of the metropolis and by the constant specter of insecurity and death that hovers over its bold towers and shadowed streets - living thus the mass of inhabitants remain in a state bordering on the pathological. They become victims of phantasms, fears, obsessions, which bind them to ancestral patterns of behavior.
It is my trade," he said. "I work for the bean family, and every day there are deaths among the beans, mostly from thirst. They shrivel and die, they go blind in their one black eye, and I put them in one of these tiny coffins. Beans, you know, are beautifully shaped, like a new church, like modern architecture, like a planned city
In my own shire, if I was sadHomely comforters I had:The earth, because my heart was sore,Sorrowed for the son she bore;And standing hills, long to remain,Shared their short-lived comrade's pain.And bound for the same bourn as I,On every road I wandered by,Trod beside me, close and dear,The beautiful and death-struck year:Whether in the woodland brownI heard the beechnut rustle down,And saw the purple crocus paleFlower about the autumn dale;Or littering far the fields of MayLady-smocks a-bleaching lay,And like a skylit water stoodThe bluebells in the azured wood. Yonder, lightening other loads,The season range the country roads,But here in London streets I kenNo such helpmates, only men;And these are not in plight to bear,If they would, another's care.They have enough as 'tis: I seeIn many an eye that measures meThe mortal sickness of a mindToo unhappy to be kind.Undone with misery, all they canIs to hate their fellow man;And till they drop they needs must stillLook at you and wish you ill.
An age-old city is like a pond. With its colours and reflections. Its chills and murk. Its ferment, its sorcery, its hidden life.A city is like a woman, with a woman’s desires and dislikes. Her abandon and restraint. Her reserve - above all, her reserve.To get to the heart of a city, to learn its most subtle secrets, takes infinite tenderness, and patience sometimes to the point of despair. It calls for an artlessly delicate touch, a more or less unconditional love. Over centuries.Time works for those who place themselves beyond time.You’re no true Parisian, you do not know your city, if you haven’t experienced its ghosts. To become imbued with shades of grey, to blend into the drab obscurity of blind spots, to join the clammy crowd that emerges, or seeps, at certain times of day from the metros, railway stations, cinemas or churches, to feel a silent and distant brotherhood with the lonely wanderer, the dreamer in his shy solitude, the crank, the beggar, even the drunk - all this entails a long and difficult apprenticeship, a knowledge of people and places that only years of patient observation can confer.
She turned and walked down the musty, dimly-lighted corridor, along a strip of carpeting that still clung together only out of sheer stubbornness of skeletal weave. Doors, dark, oblivious, inscrutable, sidling by; enough to give you the creeps just to look at them. All hope gone from them, and from those who passed in and out through them. Just one more row of stopped-up orifices in this giant honeycomb that was the city. Human beings shouldn't have to enter such doors, shouldn't have to stay behind them. No moon ever entered there, no stars, no anything at all. They were worse than the grave, for in the grave is absence of consciousness. And God, she reflected, ordered the grave, for all of us; but God didn't order such burrows in a third-class New York City hotel.
There isn’t any room,” said Joshua. “You travel back along the line of time and you don’t find the past, but another world, another bracket of consciousness. The earth would be the same, you see, or almost the same. Same trees, same rivers, same hills, but it wouldn’t be the world we know. Because it has lived a different life, it has developed differently. The second back of us is not the second back of us at all, but another second, a totally separate sector of time. We live in the same second all the time. We move along within the bracket of that second, that tiny bit of time that has been allotted to our particular world.” “The way we keep time was to blame,” said Ichabod. “It was the thing that kept us from thinking of it in the way it really was. For we thought all the time that we were passing through time when we really weren’t, when we never have. We’ve just been moving along with time. We said, there’s another second gone, there’s another minute and another hour and another day, when, as a matter of fact the second or the minute or the hour was never gone. It was the same one all the time. It had just moved along and we had moved with it.” Jenkins nodded. “I see. Like driftwood on the river. Chips moving with the river. And the scene changes along the river bank, but the water is the same.” “That’s roughly it,” said Joshua. “Except that time is a rigid stream and the different worlds are more firmly fixed in place than the driftwood on the river.
The need of one human being for the approval of his fellow humans, the need for a certain cult of fellowship - a psychological, almost physiological need for approval of one's thought and action. A force that kept men from going off at unsocial tangents, a force that made for social security and human solidarity, for the working together of the human family. Men died for that approval, sacrificed for that approval, lived lives they loathed for that approval. For without it man was on his own, an outcast, an animal that had been driven from the pack. It had led to terrible things, of course - to mob psychology, to racial persecution, to mass atrocities in the name of patriotism or religion. But likewise it had been the sizing that held the race together, the thing that from the very start had made human society possible. And Joe didn't have it. Joe didn't give a damn. He didn't care what anyone thought of him. He didn't care whether anyone approved or not.