If Ideas Had Shapes

A quoteblog ranging from philosophers in bathrobes to galaxy-rises

relocating

Hello! I created this quote blog on wordpress.com several years ago, and I recently decided it’s time to unify my personal site and my blogs under one roof. The new home of this quote blog is over at arestelle.net/quotes.

I will keep If Ideas Had Shapes available here, and there are new quotes scheduled through the beginning of October 2018, which will appear on both sites, but from then on the only place new quote posts will appear is over at arestelle.net. Email subscriptions aren’t available there, yet, but there is an RSS feed you can follow.

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National Geographic (Mar. 2018)

In early spring much of the land remains bare, with soil left exposed after the harvest of quinoa that feeds an insatiable appetite for the high-protein grain in Europe and the U.S.

The timing is unfortunate. Before the year’s crops are planted, the winds off the Atacama Desert in Chile scour the empty fields, carrying twice as many tons of sediment into the lake as they did before native grasses and shrubs were cleared for quinoa production.

“Drying Lakes,” Kenneth Weiss

National Geographic (Mar. 2018)

The United Nations warned a decade ago that indigenous people would be among the first to be ravaged by climate change because so many rely on nature’s bounty as subsistence hunters and fishermen. An estimated 23.5 million people fled their homes in 2016 because of storms, floods, wildfires, extreme temperatures, and other weather-related disasters, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. That exceeded the 6.9 million newly displaced by conflict and violence that year.

In sheer numbers those fleeing “natural” calamities have outnumbered those fleeing war and conflict for decades. Still, these figures do not include people forced to abandon their homelands because of drought or gradual environmental degradation; almost two and a half billion people live in areas where human demand for water exceeds the supply. Globally the likelihood of being uprooted from one’s home has increased 60 percent compared with 40 years ago because of the combination of rapid climate change and growing populations moving into more vulnerable areas.

“Drying Lakes,” Kenneth Weiss

National Geographic (Mar. 2018)

You can call them “failed experiments” in evolution if you want, but they succeeded and flourished, within their preferred but challenging environments, for more than 30 million years. We humans should be so steadfast and lucky.

“When Life Got Complicated,” David Quammen, of Ediacarans

National Geographic (Mar. 2018)

When the massive geologic forces that have sculpted the planet are visible at a glance, the eons in which we crafted pyramids and skyscrapers become nearly indistinguishable.

“Beyond the Blue Marble,” Nadia Drake, of Samantha Cristoforetti’s vantage from ISS

Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (1847)

The housekeeper and her husband were both of that decent, phlegmatic order of people to whom one may at any time safely communicate a remarkable piece of news without incurring the danger of having one’s ears pierced by some shrill ejaculation, and subsequently stunned by a torrent of wordy wonderment.

Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (1847)

The suggestion was sensible; and yet I could not force myself to act on it. I so dreaded a reply that would crush me with despair. To prolong doubt was to prolong hope.

Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (1847)

To me, he was in reality become no longer flesh, but marble. His eye was a cold, bright, blue gem; his tongue, a speaking instrument–nothing more.

All this was torture to me–refined, lingering torture. It kept up a slow fire of indignation and a trembling trouble of grief, which harassed and crushed me altogether. I felt how, if I were his wife, this good man, pure as the deep sunless source, could soon kill me, without drawing from my veins a single drop of blood or receiving on his own crystal conscience the faintest stain of crime.

Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (1847)

“Jane, you would not repent marrying me; be certain of that; we must be married. I repeat it, there is no other way; and undoubtedly enough of love would follow upon marriage to render the union right even in your eyes.”

“I scorn your idea of love,” I could not help saying, as I rose up and stood before him, leaning my back against the rock. “I scorn the counterfeit sentiment you offer; yes, St. John, and I scorn you when you offer it.”

Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (1847)

As for me, I daily wished more to please him; but to do so, I felt daily more and more that I must disown half my nature, stifle half my faculties, wrest my tastes from their original bent, force myself to the adoption of pursuits for which I had no natural vocation.

Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (1847)

“The blaze there has thawed all the snow from your cloak; by the same token, it has streamed on to my floor, and made it like a trampled street. As you hope ever to be forgiven, Mr. Rivers, the high crime and misdemeanor of spoiling a sanded kitchen, tell me what I wish to know.”