Weimar's history does show us that a society lacking consensus, a society in which no set of ideas and no group constitute hegemony, can be a dangerous place.
But for individuals like Arnold Leese intellectual consistency mattered much less than his hatred of the Jews. At one NL meeting the self-confessed animal lover and Jew-hater suddenly adopted a fullblooded Lamarckian argument to explain the difference between Swedish and British cattle. Apparently Swedish cows, secure in the knowledge that they were going to be stunned by true Aryans before they were slaughtered, were happy and friendly towards man; British cows, who might be bled to death for kosher meat, had no such guarantee and were morose and sullen as a result.
As more and more of the two traditional domestic enemies became reconciled in the cooking-pot, Gautier claimed that they seemed to grow instinctively aware of their peril: Soon the animals observed that man was regarding them in a strange manner and that, under the pretext of caressing them, his hand was feeling them like the fingers of a butcher, to ascertain the state of their embonpoint. More intellectual and more suspicious than dogs, the cats were the first to understand, and adopted the greatest prudence in their relations.
Catalonia, like the rest of the Iberian Peninsula, had also suffered a series of natural disasters. During the winter of 1627-8, in the words of a diarist, 'the earth and sky seemed made of brass', and the clergy of Barcelona led no fewer than 34 processions to pray for rain. Their prayers were answered with storms that washed away another harvest. Geoffrey Parker: Global Crisis. War, Climate Change Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century
Innumerable imperial anectodes deliberately mix up the comic and the very dangerous, a piquancy always relished by the British. There is a story from upper Egypt, in which a man on a lonely Nile station was said to have cabled to Cairo: 'POST SURROUNDED BY LIONS AND TIGERS.' Back went the reply from Cairo: 'THERE ARE NO TIGERS IN AFRICA', and back again went the Empire-builder's simple ripost: 'DELETE TIGERS.' Jan Morris: Pax Britannica. The Climax of an Empire
Definitions cannot, by their very nature, be either "true" or "false," only more useful or less so. For this reason it makes relatively little sense to argue over definitions. If, however, there are discrepancies between definitions in a given field, it makes sense to discuss their respective utility. Peter Berger: The Sacred Canopy. Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion
"You know, the sky here's strange. I often have the sensation when I look at it that it's a solid thing up there, protecting us from what's behind." Kit shuddered slightly as she said: "From what’s behind?""Yes" "But what is behind?" Her voice was very small. "Nothing, I suppose. Just darkness. Absolute night". Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
Fidel Castro's 1995 reception in France by President Mitterand was probably the high watermark of the favorable reputation he has enjoyed abroad. Mrs. Mitterand, an unabashed admirer of his (who has visited Cuba several times), believes that Castro is "nothing like a dictator" and his government accomplished the "summit of what socialism could do." Paul Hollander: Political Pilgrims. Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society Epic.
A Frenchman, an Englishman, and a German each undertook a study of the camel. The Frenchman went to the Jardin des Plantes, spent half an hour there, questioned the guard, threw bread to the camel, poked it with the point of his umbrella, and, returning home, wrote an article for his paper full of sharp and witty observations. The Englishman, taking his tea basket and a good deal of camping equipment, went to set up camp in the Orient, returning after a sojourn of two or three years with a fat volume, full of raw, disorganized, and inconclusive facts which, nevertheless, had real documentary value. As for the German, filled with disdain for the Frenchman's frivolity and the Englishman's lack of general ideas, he locked himself in his room and there he drafted a several-volume work entitled: The Idea of the Camel Derived from the Concept of the Ego.
During the interwar years, Marin's Germanophobia was legendary. Emmanuel Berl once observed that, for Louis Marin, "French diplomacy is bad by virtue of existing at all. To discuss is already a concession, a first step down the road to disaster. To listen is a second concession, more serious than the first. To reply is a third concession and tantamount to the complete surrender of national dignity." For Marin, the distinction between good and bad Germans was absurd. William Irvine: French Conservatism in Crisis. The Republican Federation of France in the 1930s
I take delight in history, even its most prosaic details, because they become poetical as they recede into the past. The poetry of history lies in the quasi-miraculous fact that once, on this earth, once, on this familiar spot of ground, walked other men and women, as actual as we are today, thinking their own thoughts, swayed by their own passions, but now all gone, one generation vanishing after another, gone as utterly as we ourselves shall shortly be gone like ghost at cock-crow. This is the most familiar and certain fact about life, but it is also the most poetical, and the knowledge of it has never ceased to entrance me, and to throw a halo of poetry around the dustiest record.George Macaulay Trevelyan, An Autobiography
Minule som toť písal o problematike generických definícií. Čo čert nechcel, o pár dní nato som začal čítať Aronove Opium of the Intellectuals. A čo tam nenájdem: Definitions are not true or false, but more or less useful or convenient. There is no such thing as an unalterable essence of revolution: the concept merely provides us with a means of grasping the significance of certain phenomena and of thinking clearly about them. A keď to Aron povedal, tak to proste musí byť pravda.
People do talk about the past - sometimes too much, often badly, but always with the inherent risk of tiring their audience. Despite persistent ignorance, therefore, the subject may often seem old hat.Henry Rousso: The Vichy Syndrome. History and Memory in France since 1944
Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it's an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day.
According to Burckhardt, there were no 'golden ages in the past or in the future.' To recognize this was to free oneself 'from foolish overvaluation of some period or other in the past, from equally foolish renunciation of the present, and from foolish hope in the future.' No one, in other words, may abdicate responsibility for making moral and political choices by adopting a pessimistic view of history as inevitably degenerative, or, alternatively, by blindly embracing an optimistic philosophy of history, in which historical success determines the rightness or otherwise of historical acts, events and movements. Lionel Gossman: The Sulking Corner of Europe: Burckhardt's Basel and the Critique of the Modern, v Zeev Sternhell (ed.): The Intellectual Revolt against Liberal Democracy, 1870-1945; International Conference in Memory of Jacob L. Talmon, s.49