We are saddled with a culture that hasn't advanced as far as science. Scientific man is already on the moon, and yet we are still living with the moral concepts of Homer. Hence this upset, this disequilibrium that makes weaker people anxious and apprehensive, that makes it so difficult for them to adapt to the mechanism of modern life. ... We live in a society that compels us to go on using these concepts, and we no longer know what they mean. In the future — not soon, perhaps by the twenty-fifth century — these concepts will have lost their relevance. I can never understand how we have been able to follow these worn-out tracks, which have been laid down by panic in the face of nature. When man becomes reconciled to nature, when space becomes his true background, these words and concepts will have lost their meaning, and we will no longer have to use them.

Today's comics use four-letter words as a shortcut to thinking. They're shooting for that big laugh and it becomes a panic thing, using four-letter words to shock people.

We're entering a whole new era now. America has suffered a terrorist attack of historic proportions, and now we're going to go after the perpetrators. Cyber-attacks may be inevitable... Physical and cyber-attacks in conjunction could cause panic across a whole economic sector.

If you say that a good reputation serves to benefit the neighbor more, I admit that. However, since it should be based on a good life, it is, therefore, preserved by the practice of virtue and not by human intrigue.

A woman's dream of taking it away, like a tiger cub to take away.

It takes heroic humility to be yourself.

When we are alone on a starlit night, when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children, when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet, Basho, we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash - at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the newness, the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, all these provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.

The day, a compunctious Sunday after a week of blizzards, had been part jewel, part mud. In the midst of my usual afternoon stroll through the small hilly town attached to the girls' college where I taught French literature, I had stopped to watch a family of brilliant icicles drip-dripping from the eaves of a frame house. So clear-cut were their pointed shadows on the white boards behind them that I was sure the shadows of the falling drops should be visible too. But they were not. (The Vane Sisters)

Turning one's novel into a movie script is rather like making a series of sketches for a painting that has long ago been finished and framed.

While the scientist sees everything that happens in one point of space, the poet feels everything that happens in one point of time.

Give these people money, let them play, and they'll come up with something.

You take one bomber and deploy him in Baghdad, and another is manufactured in Riyadh the next day. It’s exactly like when you take the toy off the shelf at Wal-Mart and another is made in Shen Zhen the next day.

I became one of those annoying people who always say Ciao! Only I was extra annoying, since I would always explain where the word ciao comes from. (If you must know, it's an abbreviation of a phrase used by medieval Venetians as an intimate salutation: Sono il suo schiavo! Meaning: I am your slave!) Just speaking these words made me feel sexy and happy. My divorce lawyer told me not to worry; she said she had one client (Korean by heritage) who, after a yucky divorce, legally changed her name to something Italian, just to feel sexy and happy again.

If we put this whole progression in terms of our discussion of the possibilities of heroism, it goes like this: Man breaks through the bounds of merely cultural heroism; he destroys the character lie that had him perform as a hero in the everyday social scheme of things; and by doing so he opens himself up to infinity, to the pos­sibility of cosmic heroism, to the very service of God. His life thereby acquires ultimate value in place of merely social and cul­tural, historical value. He links his secret inner self, his authentic talent, his deepest feelings of uniqueness, his inner yearning for absolute significance, to the very ground of creation. Out of the ruins of the broken cultural self there remains the mystery of the private, invisible, inner self which yearned for ultimate significance, for cosmic heroism. This invisible mystery at the heart of every creature now attains cosmic significance by affirming its connection with the invisible mystery at the heart of creation. This is the meaning of faith. At the same time it is the meaning of the merger of psychology and religion in Kierkegaard's thought. The truly open person, the one who has shed his character armor, the vital lie of his cultural conditioning, is beyond the help of any mere "science," of any merely social standard of health. He is absolutely alone and trembling on the brink of oblivion—which is at the same time the brink of infinity. To give him the new support that he needs, the "courage to renounce dread without any dread . . . only faith is capable of," says Kierkegaard. Not that this is an easy out for man, or a cure-all for the human condition—Kierkegaard is never facile. He gives a strikingly beautiful idea:

Any form of betrayal can be final. Dishonesty can be final. Selling out is final. But you are just talking now. Death is what is really final.

Then he was sorry for the great fish... How many people will he feed?.. But are they worthy to eat him? No, of course, not. There is no one worthy of eating him from the manner of his behavior and his great dignity.