Men are like plants; the goodness and flavor of the fruit proceeds from the peculiar soil and exposition in which they grow. We are nothing but what we derive from the air we breathe, the climate we inhabit, the government we obey, the system of religion we profess, and the nature of our employment.
(Michel Guillaume Jean De Crevecoeur (1735-1813), French-born U.S. author, agriculturist. Letters from an American Farmer, letter 3, "What Is an American?" (1782).)
The hatred of the youth culture for adult society is not a disinterested judgment but a terror-ridden refusal to be hooked into the, if you will, ecological chain of breathing, growing, and dying. It is the demand, in other words, to remain children.
(Midge Decter (b. 1927), U.S. author, editor, social critic. The New Chastity and Other Arguments Against Women's Liberation, ch. 1 (1972).)
The cayote is a living, breathing allegory of Want. He is always hungry. He is always poor, out of luck and friendless. The meanest creatures despise him, and even the fleas would desert him for a velocipede.
(Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. Roughing It, ch. 5, American Publishing Company (1871).)
Success and failure on the public level never mattered much to me, in fact I feel more at home with the latter, having breathed deep of its vivifying air all my writing life up to the last couple of years.
(Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), Irish dramatist, novelist. "Beckett's Letters on Endgame," p. 183, The Village Voice Reader, Doubleday (1962).
From a letter to Alan Schneider dated January 11, 1956.)
I can no more think of my own life without thinking of wine and wines and where they grew for me and why I drank them when I did and why I picked the grapes and where I opened the oldest procurable bottles, and all that, than I can remember living before I breathed.
(M.F.K. Fisher (1908-1992), U.S. culinary writer and autobiographer. The Book of California Wine, Preface (1984).)
Manners are of more importance than laws.... Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in.
(Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish philosopher, statesman. Letters on a Regicide Peace, letter 1 (1796).)
One must not forget that recovery is brought about not by the physician, but by the sick man himself. He heals himself, by his own power, exactly as he walks by means of his own power, or eats, or thinks, breathes or sleeps.
(Georg Groddeck (1866-1934), German psychoanalyst. The Book of the It, letter 32 (1923).)