Quote of the Week Selections, Fourth Quarter, 2001
prior quotes

011221: Best of 2001

A purely subjective assortment from thirty six passages posted to this website in 2001. Click on the cover image to view the quote.

011213: Quote #237
Living Questioning Lives

Robert W. Fuller, Breaking Ranks: In Pursuit of Individual Dignity, an online publication, pp. 46.

 In those places where we're most alive, we are questions, not answers. These questions change as we age. One has to listen carefully, again and again, to detect new questions, which may announce themselves in a whisper. At any age, the questions we're asking define our growing edge. So long as we've got even a single question, we're not dead. If all we have are answers, we might as well be.

011204: Quote #236
What A Nobody Knows

Robert Grudin , The Most Amazing Thing, pp. 34 - 35, knOwhere Press, 2002.

 I said, I'm a Nobody from Nowhere who does nothing. Up ahead the overcast had relaxed into broken clouds, and the low sun was making sly remarks from the southwest.

 Mara laughed mockingly and said, "That can't be. It takes more than a nobody to pull a solo job like this."

 I told her I hadn't planned the job. I asked, How could I have? That made her think a minute. I looked up, and she looked different, like somebody who'd just read a letter.

 I told her I taught wood shop and sometimes built furniture. All of a sudden it welled up in me to tell her more, to share the joys of working wood, to tell her how there's no fresher smell on earth than a fresh milled Doug fir two-by-four, and what a turn-on it is to look at a stack of new-bought lumber and see the table on it, or the bed or what-have-you, that I'm about to make, or to strip the cloudy varnish off an old piece that looks like junk and bleach out the stains and patch the veneer and sand it down and finish it til it looks like new. It welled up in me to tell her I had an instinct for the way things worked ans sometimes could even see into the hearts of things from their outsides, and how I loved listening and talking to people, and how the whole seeable and touchable world, the lakes, plants, rocks, machines and people, made me mad keen to know everything about it, and how I would never, could never, forget a fact I'd learned. I burned to tell her how strange it was, wasn't it, that a guy with my looks and arm-strength and know-how and pure amusability could never, would never, learn a profession or keep a steady job or support a family. Sort of a mystery, right? Something a doctor might study.

011114: Quote #235
Forward Into Fresh Realities

Ancient stars in their death throes spat out atoms like iron which this universe had never known. The novel tidbits of debris were sucked up by infant suns which, in turn, created yet more atoms when their race was run. Now the iron of old nova coughings vivifies the redness of our blood. Deep ecologists and fundamentalists urge that our faces point backward and that our eyes turn down to contemplate a man-made hell. If stars step constantly upward, why should the global interlace of humans, microbes, plants, and animals not move upward steadily as well? The horizons toward which we can soar are within us, anxious to break free, to emerge from our imaginings, then to beckon us forward into fresh realities. We have a mission to create, for we are evolution incarnate. We are her self-awareness, her frontal lobes and fingertips. We are second-generation star stuff come alive. We are parts of something 3.5 billion years old, but pubertal in cosmic time. We are neurons of this planet's interspecies mind.

011109: Quote #234
Breakthrough is a process, not an event.

Jim Collins, Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap ... And Others Don't, pp. 165, 168, HarperCollins, 2001.

... No matter how dramatic the end result, the good-to-great transformations never happened in one fell swoop. There was no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no wrenching revolution.

... We kept thinking that we'd find "the one big thing," the miracle moment that defined breakthrough. We even pushed for it in our interviews. But the good-to-great executives simply could not pinpoint a single key event or moment in time that exemplified the transition. Frequently, they chafed against the whole idea of allocating points and prioritizing factors. In every good-to-great company, at least one of the interviewees gave an unprompted admonishment, saying something along the lines of, "Look, you can't dissect this thing into a series of nice little boxes and factors, or identify the moment of 'Aha!' or the 'one big thing.' It was a whole bunch of interlocking pieces that built one upon another."

011025: Quote #233
Beginning At The End: The Shape of Transition

William Bridges , The Way of Transition, pp. 201-202, Perseus Publishing, 2001.


 Inanimate things start and then they stop, but in the dynamic through which organisms grow and become, endings come first and beginnings come last....
 In transition, whatever comes next holds sway over what went before it. Transition is a great game of stone-paper-and-scissors, where whatever comes next—whatever succeeds, as we were saying before—automatically wins. The new thing carries the day, spring supplants winter, the new year sends the old year packing. But there is no antagonism in this. Just succession. As long as our transitions continue, we are success-ful.

011009: Quote #232:
Furious Swirls of Fundamental Opposites

Michael Ventura , Shadow Dancing in the USA, p. 195, Tarcher Books, 1985.


If this only involved a clash of opposites we wouldn't be so confused. We'd just take sides and have at it. In fact, it involves so many sets of fundamental opposites whirling around each other in so many furious swirls, at so many purposes and cross-purposes, with so many conscious and unconscious intentions, at such speed, with such force, that words like "political" and "psychological" and "economic" and "religious" and "scientific" and "artistic" grow every day more pitifully inadequate, more obviously limited, and we grope staggering toward a worldview that could include all the words without being classified and confined by any of them.


© MG Taylor Corporation, 1995 - 2002

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