15. “sense attractions”

The downward spiral to one’s ruin consists of the following process: Brooding on (or merely thinking about) worldly attractions develops attachments to them. From attachments to sense objects come selfish desires. Thwarted desires cause anger to erupt. From anger arises delusion. This causes confusion of the mind and makes one forget the lessons of experience. Forgotten lessons of experience cloud the reason, which results in loss of discrimination (between Truth and non-Truth, Real and not-Real). Finally, losing the faculty of discrimination makes one veer from life’s only purpose, achieving union with the Divinity within. Then, unfortunately, one’s life itself is wasted. But when you can move about in a world that surrounds you with sense attractions, and yet be free of either attachment or aversion to them, tranquility comes and sits in your heart – and you are absorbed in the peace and wisdom of the Self within. Serenity, Arjuna, is the point at which all sorrow ends!

– Bhagavad Gita: ‘The Path of Knowledge’

If one sits motionless but with one’s mind ever thinking of sense attractions, that too is engaging in action. If you think that merely being motionless is being actionless, you are being a hypocrite and deluding yourself.

– Bhagavad Gita: ‘The Path of Action’


20. “vision beyond vision”

“Squinting so, did you not feel you were on the track of some ultimate vision beyond vision itself, where what was seen (but with no physical eye) could make all views, and the viewings, combine, in their likenesses and their differences, to make sense.”

– Albert Upton: ‘Design for Thinking, A First Book in Semantics’, Stanford University Press, 1963

25. “Awareness of hidden things”

Now the doctrine we are taught here is as follows. Our initial withdrawal from wrong and erroneous ideas of God is a transition from darkness to light. Next comes a clear awareness of hidden things, and by this the soul is guided through sense phenomena to the world of the invisible.

– Gregory of Nyssa: ‘Homilies on the Song of Songs’


45. “Bottomless doubt”

We get the sense of sweet relief at the words ‘shuffled off this mortal coil’ but mixed with the bottomless doubt about what may follow then.

– C. S. Lewis: ‘Hamlet, The Prince or The Poem’, 1942


49. “Sense of an ending, paradigm of apocalypse”

And of course we have it now, the sense of an ending. It has not diminished, and is as endemic to what we call modernism as apocalyptic utopianism is to political revolution. When we live in the mood of end-dominated crisis, certain now-familiar patterns of assumption become evident. Yeats will help me to illustrate them.

– Frank Kermode: ‘Sense of An Ending’, Oxford University Press, 1967

Indeed, Kermode argues that our apocalyptic views of disorder, of crisis and perpetual transition in the contemporary world are contemporary ways of making sense of the world, of giving it an intelligible order. They are variations on a paradigm of sense-making statements which are constant in human history.

– Leo Bersani: ‘Variations On a Paradigm’, New York Times, 11 June 1967


53. “Make sense of their span fictive concords with origins and ends”

Men like poets, rush ‘into the middest’, in medias res, when they are born; they also die in media rebus, and to make sense of their span they need fictive concords with origins and ends, such as give meaning to lives and to poems. The End they imagine will reflect their irreducibly intermediary preoccupations.

– Frank Kermode: ‘Sense of An Ending’, Oxford University Press, 1967