I think we are in need of an open thread. As I have nothing particularly interesting to say myself, I'll just cite some quotes that I love.
"Are we all living like this? Two lives, the ideal outer life and the inner imaginative life where we keep our secrets? ...
The Buddhists say there are 149 ways to God. I'm not looking for God, only for myself, and that is far more complicated. God has had a great deal written about Him; nothing has been written about me. God is bigger, like my mother, and easier to find, even in the dark. I could be anywhere, and since I can't describe myself I can't ask for help. ...
I have met a great many pilgrims on their way towards God and I wonder why they have chosen to look for him rather than themselves. Perhaps I'm missing the point -- perhaps while looking for someone else you might come across yourself unexpectedly, in a garden somewhere or on a mountain watching the rain. But they don't seem to care about who they are. Some of them have told me that the very point of searching for God is to forget about oneself, to lose oneself for ever. But it is not difficult to lose oneself, or is it the ego they are talking about, the hollow screaming cadaver that has no spirit within it?
I think that cadaver is only the ideal self run mad, and if the other life, the secret life, could be found and brought home, then a person might live in peace and have no need of God. After all, He has no need for us, being complete."
Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry
"Will not a tiny speck very close to our vision blot out the glory of the world, and leave only a margin by which we see the blot? I know no speck so troublesome as self."
George Eliot, Middlemarch
"Our lifetimes have seen the opening of abysses before which the mind quails. But it seems to me there are a few things everyone can humbly try to hold onto: love and mercy (and humor) in day-to-day living; the quest for exact truth in language and affairs of the intellect; self-recollection or prayer; and the peace, the composed energy, of art."
"I am tired of innocence and its uselessness."
And, lest this all get too lofty, one more:
Robert Conquest: When his history of Stalin's purges, The Great Terror, was republished after the fall of communism, his American publisher asked him to suggest a new title. He came up with "I told you so, you f*cking fools".