Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Hodgepodge 276/365 - John Steinbeck

This afternoon we headed over to Salinas for, yes, a little geocaching. One of the hunts took us to John Steinbeck's grave. I liked it that people leave pens and pencils on his marker. I don't understand the pine cones or guitar pick, though.

Meanwhile, here are a few quotes that are worth considering:
And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for it is the one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost. (East of Eden, 1952)

But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—"Thou mayest"— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if "Thou mayest"—it is also true that "Thou mayest not." (East of Eden)

It has always seemed strange to me. . . . The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understand-ing and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second. (Cannery Row, 1945)

You've seen the sun flatten and take strange shapes just before it sinks in the ocean. Do you have to tell yourself every time that it's an illusion caused by atmospheric dust and light distorted by the sea, or do you simply enjoy the beauty of it? (Sweet Thursday, 1954)

I have always lived violently, drunk hugely, eaten too much or not at all, slept around the clock or missed two nights of sleeping, worked too hard and too long in glory, or slobbed for a time in utter laziness. I've lifted, pulled, chopped, climbed, made love with joy and taken my hangovers as a consequence, not as a punishment. (Travels with Charley: In Search of America, 1962)

I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil. . . . There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well—or ill? (East of Eden)

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