Famous Quotes & Sayings

Iain Pears Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 76 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Iain Pears.

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Famous Quotes By Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1119065

Manlius ... took care in his invitations, actively sought to exclude from his circle crude and vulgar men like Caius Valerius. But they were all around; it was Manlius who lived in a dream world, and his bubble of civility was becoming smaller and smaller. Caius Valerius, powerful member of a powerful family, had never even heard of Plato. A hundred, even fifty years before, such an absurdity would have been inconceivable. Now it was surprising if such a man did know anything of philosophy, and even if it was explained, he would not wish to understand. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1654354

For men are held above their fellows by the gossamer of reputation, which is so soft and fragile a breath can blow it away. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1037984

Considering he was neither priest nor scholar, the young man gave sensible, thoughtful replies
the more so, perhaps, for being untrained, for he had not learned what he should believe or should not believe. Present a statement to him in flagrant contradiction to all Christian doctrine and he could be persuaded to agree on its good sense, unless he remembered it was the sort of thing of which pyres are made for the incautious. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1015575

I went to the meeting with some trepidation for, although I might have met a wizard before, I had never encountered an Irishman. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 260799

It is a machine which I invented, designed and built. It is a way of gaining access to a variety of realities. As I say, at the moment it leads to a world created from Henry's imagination.' 'Does he know?' 'No, and I'd prefer it if you didn't tell him. He might be offended.' 'What do you mean by variety of realities?' 'It means that for any given state of the universe, there are an infinite number of other possibilities. For example, we came to this restaurant and you ordered chicken. You could have ordered fish. A universe where you did order fish is a viable alternative to this one. One where you ordered roast Brontosaurus is more distant and more difficult to access.' Rosie's — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 140729

It is easy to imagine a world where not only can few people read, few need to or want to. Serious reading can become the preserve of a s mall group of specialists, just as shoe-making or farming is for us. Think how much time would be saved. We send children to school and they spend most of their time learning to read and then, when they leave, they never pick up another book for the rest of their lives. Reading is only important if there is something worthwhile to read. Most of it is ephemeral. That means an oral culture of tales told and remembered. People can be immensely sophisticated in thought and understanding without much writing. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 812792

She was looking for something I could never give her." Again his dark eyes bored into Julia's mind. "You have something of the same about you, young woman. Take my advice: Don't think you will find it in another person. You won't. It's not there. You must find it in yourself. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 646586

It was, for the time being, an empty threat, and he must have sensed it also, for he laughed easily and with contempt. You will do what your masters tell you to do, doctor. As do we all. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 277822

Who you are is less important than what you seem. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1319228

Besides, it was all very well to criticise the works of others, but in fact it was quite hard, he discovered, to tell a story. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1851663

Mr. Milton set out in his great poem to justify the ways of God to men, as he says. He has not considered one question, however: perhaps God has forbidden men to know His ways, for if they did know the full extent of His goodness, and the magnitude of our rejection of it, they would be so disheartened they would abandon all hope of redemption, and die of grief. I — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1976325

Shame, I do believe, is the most powerful emotion known to man; most discoveries and journeys of importance have been accomplished because of the ignominy that would be the result if the attempt was abandoned. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 95721

Every cataclysm is welcomed by somebody; there is always someone to rejoice at disaster and see in it the prospect of a new beginning and a better world. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 554108

[Men] prefer the foolish belief and the passions of the earth [to the enlightenment of their souls]. They believe the absurd and shrink from the truth."
"No, they do not. They are afraid, that is all. And they must remain on earth until they come to the way of leaving it."
"And how do they leave? How is the ascent made? Must one learn virtue?"
Here she laughs. "You have read too much, and learned too little. Virtue is a road, not a destination. Man cannot be virtuous. Understanding is the goal. When that is achieved, the soul can take wing. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1379740

Many of you know little about storytelling. Before I begin, let me explain. The Story is the story of us all. If understood properly, it is of immense power. It tells you who you are, what you might expect from this life. Some believe it can foretell the future. Mastery of the Story gives you mastery over life itself. It contains precious, holy relics of the age of giants which preceded us. It tells of our rise, our glories and our occasional disgraces. It tells of our fathers and grandfathers, of the animals and the trees and the spirits, containing all the knowledge you need to please them so they will help rather than punish you. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 519263

And there will be no waste, I promise you," he went on, waving his finger in the air as he got into his stride.
"You see, the trouble with the professor is that, once he stops for lunch, he tends to lose interest. He drinks a good deal, you know," he confided. "What's left over gets thrown away or gnawed by rats in the basement. Whereas I will pickle you ... "
"I beg your pardon?" Prestcott said weakly.
"Pickle you," Lower replied enthusiastically. "It is the very latest technique. If we joint you and pop you into a vat of spirits, you will keep for very much longer. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1771646

I did not like Ravenscliff by instinct, but I was beginning to find him fascinating. A book-reading, socialist-sympathising, child-begetting capitalist fraud. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 653028

She had lost herself in this old work, her personality dissolving into it, so that she had been set free. The immortality of the soul lies in its dissolution; this was the cryptic comment that so frustrated Olivier and which Julien had only ever grasped as evidence for the history of a particular school of thought. He had known all about its history, but Julia knew what it meant. He found the realization strangely reassuring. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 137502

People make the mistake of assuming far too many things about armies,' Lefevre told me one evening. 'They assume, for a start, that generals know what they are doing and know what is going on. They assume that orders pass down from top to bottom in a smooth and regulated fashion. And above all they assume that wars start only when people decide to start them.' 'You are going to tell me that is not the case?' 'Wars begin when they are ready, when humanity needs a bloodletting. Kings and politicians and generals have little say in it. You can feel it in the air when one is brewing. There is a tension and nervousness on the face of the least soldier. They can smell it coming in a way politicians cannot. The desire to hurt and destroy spreads over a region and over the troops. And then the generals can only hope to have the vaguest notion of what they are doing. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 874434

Clearly, in an infinite universe every possibility must exist, including Balzac's. Imagining Cousin Bette called her into beaing, although only potentially. The universe is merely a quantity of information; imagining a fictional character does not add to that quantity
it cannot do so by definition
but does reorganize it slightly. The Bette-ish universe has not material existence, but the initial idea in Balzac's brandy-soaked brain then spreads outwards: not only to those who read his books, but also, by implication, backwards and forwards. Imagining Cousin Bette also creates, in potential, her ancestors and descendants, friends, enemies, acquaintances, her thoughts and actions and those of everybody else in her universe. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1206544

The point of civilization is to be civilized; the purpose of action is to perpetuate society, for only in society can philosophy truly take place. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 799168

Olivier took a deep breath, then turned and bowed in farewell. Gersonides nodded in return, then thought of something.
"The manuscript you brought me, by that bishop. It argues that understanding is more important than movement. That action is virtuous only if it reflects pure comprehension, and that virtue comes from the comprehension, not the action."
Olivier frowned. "So?"
"Dear boy, I must tell you a secret."
"I do believe it is wrong. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1002780

Civilization depends on continually making the effort, of never giving in. It needs to be cared for by men of goodwill, protected from the dark. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 356018

When an experiment was to begin, all women were excluded for fear their irrational natures would influence the result, and an air of fervent concentration descended. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1595891

We are the civilized world, you and I. A few dozen people, with our learning. As long as we continue to stroll through my garden arm in arm, civilization will continue. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1896907

Diplomacy and virtue do not make easy companions. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 352749

Rouvier was the Finance Minister; I knew him by sight, although I had not yet met him. He was not widely liked. Apart from the whiff of indecency that Lucien referred to, he was also rumoured to be less than straightforward in his dealings with his fellow men. To put it another way, he was devious even by the standards of politicians; a long and successful career awaited him. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1644395

Philosophy cannot be extinguished, though men will try ... The spirit seeks the light, that is its nature. It wishes to return to its origin, and must forever try to reach enlightenment. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1643669

Rosie digested the information, but not the cake. Her mother was strict about eating between meals. 'A fat girl will never find a good man, Rosie,' was her view, handed down to her by Great-aunt Jessie, a woman of many cliches. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1384553

Stick to journalism, Mr Cort, where you never have to understand anything. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1640420

Politics bores you?" Bronsen said.
Julien smiled. "It does. Apologies, sir, and it is not that I haven't tried to be fascinated. But careful and meticulous research has suggested the hypothesis that all politicians are liars, fools, and tricksters, and I have as yet come across no evidence to the contrary. They can do great damage, and rarely any good. It is the job of the sensible man to try and protect civilization from their depradations. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1621692

God forbid that I should ever suffer the shame of publishing a book for money, or of having one of my family so demean themselves. How can one tell who might read it? No worthy book has ever been written for gain, I think; — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 76556

The devil himself can become beauty, so we are told, to corrupt mankind.
(Marco) — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1685034

I (John Stone) have never had any great desire to abolish poverty or save fallen women; I am, and always have been, deeply suspicious of those who wish to do these things. They normally cause more harm than good and, in my experience, their desire for power, to control others, is very much greater than that of any businessman. p 455 Stone's Fall — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 2260750

I have brought peace to this land, and security," he began.
"And what of your soul, when you use the cleverness of argument to cloak such acts? Do you think that the peace of a thousand cancels out the unjust death of one single person? It may be desirable, it may win you praise from those who have happily survived you and prospered from your deeds, but you have committed ignoble acts, and have been too proud to own them. I have waited patiently here, hoping that you would come to me, for if you understood, then some of your acts would be mitigated. But instead you send me this manuscript, proud, magisterial, and demonstrating only that you have understood nothing at all."
"I returned to public life on your advice, madam," he said stiffly.
"Yes; I advised it. I said if learning must die it should do so with a friend by its bedside. Not an assassin. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 2254201

And a more foolish notion can scarcely be imagined, it being obvious that the reader is only informed of what the writer wishes him to know, and is thus seduced into believing almost anything. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 2239774

Do you know, the only people I can have a conversation with are the Jews? At least when they quote scripture at you they are not merely repeating something some priest has babbled in their ear. They have the great merit of disagreeing with nearly everything I say. In fact, they disagree with almost everything they say themselves. And most importantly, they don't think that shouting strengthens their argument. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1683371

He had volunteered early, rather than waiting to be conscripted, for he felt a duty and an obligation to serve, and believed that ... being willing to fight for his country and the liberty it represented, would make some small difference ... His idealism was one of the casualties of the carnage [of Verdun]. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 2160537

A hundred francs! Oh, dear me! It is worth millions of francs, my child. But my
here tells me that in fact a picture is worth only what someone will give for it. How much money do you have?"
Julia took out her purse and counted. "Four francs and twenty sous," she said, looking up at him sadly.
"Is that all the money you have in the world?"
She nodded.
"Then four francs and twenty sous it is. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1778919

When all this is over, people will try to blame the Germans alone, and the Germans will try to blame the Nazis alone, and the Nazis will try to blame Hitler alone. They will make him bear the sins of the world. But it's not true. You suspected what was happening, and so did I. It was already too late over a year ago. I caused a reporter to lose his job because you told me to. He was deported. The day I did that I made my little contribution to civilization, the only one that matters. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1796157

[T]he concern of man is not his future but his present, not the world but his soul. We must be just, we must strive, we must engage ourselves with the business of the world for our own sake, because through that, and through contemplation in equal measure, our soul is purified and brought closer to the divine ... Thought and deed conjoined are crucial ... The attempt must be made; the outcome is irrelevant. Right action is a pale material reflection of the divine, but reflection it is, nonetheless. Define your goal and exert reason to accomplish it by virtuous action; successs or failure is secondary. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 2184401

And here was the moment. The end of it all, for civilization was merely another name for friendship, and friendship was coming to an end. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1823612

[H]e initially conceived of Olivier as a man of the greatest promise destroyed by a fatal flaw, the unreasoning passion for a woman dissolving into violence, desperately weakening everything he tried to do. For how could learning and poetry be defended when it produced such dreadful results and was advanced by such imperfect creatures? At least Julien did not see the desperate fate of the ruined lover as a nineteenth-century novelist or a poet might have done, recasting the tale to create some appealing romantic hero, dashed to pieces against the unyielding society that produced him. Rather, his initial opinion
held almost to the last
was of Olivier as a failure, ruined by a terible weakness. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1846209

Although of course I am aware that it changes colour in a jar. But we know why, surely? The heavier melancholic elements in the blood sink, making the top lighter and the bottom darker."
"Not so," I said firmly. "Cover the jar, and the colour does not change. And I can find no explanation of how such separation could occur in the lungs. But when it emerges from the lungs - at least, this is the case in cats - it is very much lighter in colour than when it goes in, indicating that some darkness is withdrawn from it."
"I must cut up a cat and see for myself. A live cat, was it?"
"It was for a while. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1901509

For what are we but our past? If that is lost, we become nothing. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 2004467

Comrade Kropotkin has argued in the past that Darwinism is but a reflection of capitalism because it emphasises competition and struggle over cooperation and coexistence. It justifies the exploitation of man by man, and strengthens the class ideology of the oppressors." "Excellent. So what will be new today? — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 2030887

In a world of chemically induced sanity, a little lunacy confers immense advantages. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 2095046

Felix had gone to live in a lotus land of his imagination. Where what is desired is dreamed of as already happened, where obstacles dissolve under the weight of desire, and where reality has vanished entirely. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 612517

For, in his opinion, to study nature was a form of worship. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 109779

Virtue comes through contemplation of the divine, and the exercise of philosophy. But it also comes through public service. The one is incomplete without the other. Power without wisdom is tyranny; wisdom without power is pointless. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 181716

This is a perfectly good picture. And if I didn't know you, I would be impressed and charmed. But I do know you."
He thought some more, wondering whether he dared say precisely what he felt, for he knew he could never explain exactly why the idea came to him. "It's the painting of a dutiful daughter," he said eventually, looking at her cautiously to see her reaction. "You want to please. You are always aware of what the person looking at this picture will think of it. Because of that you've missed something important. Does that make sense?"
She thought, then nodded. "All right," she said grudgingly and with just a touch of despair in her voice. "You win."
Julien grunted. "Have another go, then. I shall come back and come back until you figure it out."
"And you'll know?"
"You'll know. I will merely get the benefit of it. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 182534

Generally speaking, our minds impose an entirely artificial order on the world. It is the only way that such an inadequate instrument as our brain can function. It cannot deal with the complexity of reality, so simplifies everything until it can, putting events into an artificial order so they can be dealt with one at a time, rather than all at once as they should be. Such a way of interpreting existence is learnt, rather in the way that our brain has to turn the images which hit our retinas upside down in order to make sense of them. Children — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 224955

In my small way, I preserved and catalogued, and dipped into the vast ocean of learning that awaited, knowing all the time that the life of one man was insufficient for even the smallest part of the wonders that lay within. It is cruel that we are granted the desire to know, but denied the time to do so properly. We all die frustrated; it is the greatest lesson we have to learn. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 333236

[Pope] Clement waved his hands in irritation as if to dismiss the very idea. The world is crumbling into ruin. Armies are marching. Men and women are dying everywhere, in huge numbers. Fields are abandoned and towns deserted. The wrath of the Lord is upon us and He may be intending to destroy the whole of creation. People are without leaders and direction. They want to be given a reason for this, so they can be reassured, so they will return to their prayers and their obiediences. All this is going on, and you are concerned about the safety of two Jews? — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 341781

The world needs only a few geniuses; civilization is maintained and extended by those lesser souls who corral the men of greatness, tie them down with explanations and footnotes and annotated editions, explain what they meant when they didn't know themselves, show their true place in the awesome progression of mankind. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 388784

Men reacted as they always did; some with an extreme of generosity, giving what little they could spare to strangers; others behaved with an equal and opposite extreme of harshness, demanding outrageous things in exchange. Honest men became thieves, honest women prostitutes, criminals became saints, all driven onward by an idea of what they were leaving behind. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 430317

His idleness was his refuge, and in this he was like many others in [occupied] France in that period; laziness became political. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 489338

He who profits by villainy, has perpetrated it. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 525285

Action is the activity of the rational soul, which abhors irrationality and must combat it or be corrupted by it. When it sees the irrationality of others, it must seek to correct it, and can do this either by teaching or engaging in public affairs itself, correcting through its practice. And the purpose of action is to enable philosophy to continue, for if men are reduced to the material alone, they become no more than beasts. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 529301

The world was full of such madmen in those days. Imprisonment is not the way to deal with such people; half measures merely feed their pride. Leave 'em alone or hang 'em, in my opinion. Or better still, pack them off to the Americas, and let them starve. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 574186

A company is a moral imbecile. It has no sense of right or wrong. Any restraints have to come from the outside, from laws and customs which forbid it from doing certain things of which we disapprove. But it is a restraint that reduces profits. Which is why all companies will strain forever to break the bounds of the law, to act unfettered in their pursuit of advantage. That is the only way they can survive because the more powerful will devour the weak. And because it is the nature of capital, which is wild, longs to be free and chafes at each and every restriction imposed upon it. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 580990

I learned that I' have to be detached if I was ever to achieve anything at all. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1353630

An in experienced traveler would imagine that their land contains the finest buildings, the biggest towns, the richest, best-fed, happiest people in the world. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 651489

Odd, don't you think? I have seen war, and invasions and riots. I have heard of massacres and brutalities beyond imagining, and I have kept my faith in the power of civilization to bring men back from the brink. And yet one women writes a letter, and my whole world falls to pieces.
You see, she is an ordinary woman. A good one, even. That's the point ... Nothing [a recognizably bad person does] can surprise or shock me, or worry me. But she denounced Julia and sent her to her death because she resented her, and because Julia is a Jew.
I thought in this simple contrast between the civilized and the barbaric, but I was wrong. It is the civilized who are the truly barbaric, and the [Nazi] Germans are merely the supreme expression of it. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 675928

For the first time, she did want more. She did not know what she wanted, knew that it was dangerous and that she should rest content with what she had, but she knew an emptiness deep inside her, which began to ache. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 700323

The simple fact that something has not been done, is no proof that it cannot be. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 708353

I knew salesmen, they made good murderers. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 720235

I have a theory that too much learning unbalances the mind. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 848209

although individuals and small events did affect the course of historical development, the influence of even major figures was strictly limited. In — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 888865

As in most obituaries, the author said little about the man; they rarely do. But the reticence here was greater than usual. It mentioned that Ravenscliff left a wife, but did not say when they married. It said nothing at all about his life, nor where he lived. There were not even any of the usual phrases to give a slight hint: 'a natural raconteur' (loved the sound of his own voice); 'Noted for his generosity to friends' (profligate); 'a formidable enemy . . .' (a brute); 'a severe but fair employer . . .' (a slave-driver); 'devoted to the turf' (never read a book in his life); 'a life-long bachelor' (vice); 'a collector of flowers' (this meant a great womaniser. Why it came to mean such a thing I do not know.) More browsing — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 929644

Like the aristocracy, you can tell a reporter's status by his clothes and manners. The worse they are, the higher up they are, — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 932377

The evil done by men of goodwill is the worst of all ... We have done terrible things, for the best of reasons, and that makes it worse. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 941424

The next day was a dream of such perfection that I have never approached the like again. It was, of course, all illusion, but I like to think of it still in isolation from what came after,as a moment of bliss, one of those days when on is no longer oneself, but becomes bigger, and better, able to overcome the normal preoccupations of life and breathe more freely. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1033999

Caius was one of those who gloried in his ignorance, called his lack of letters purity, scorned any subtlety of thought or expression. A man for his time, indeed. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1060210

Was not Hypatia the greatest philosopher of Alexandria, and a true martyr to the old values of learning? She was torn to pieces by a mob of incensed Christians not because she was a woman, but because her learning was so profound, her skills at dialectic so extensive that she reduced all who queried her to embarrassed silence. They could not argue with her, so they murdered her. — Iain Pears

Iain Pears Quotes 1279568

He (William Cort) had some desire to be successful, but it did not burn so strongly in him that he was prepared to overcome his character to achieve it. — Iain Pears