Everything tends to make us believe that there exists a certain point of the mind at which life and death, the real and the imagined, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low, cease to be perceived as contradictions.
(André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. repr. In Manifestos of Surrealism (1969). "Second Manifesto of Surrealism," (1930).)
We have all heard of Young America. He is the most current youth of the age.
Some think him conceited, and arrogant; but has he not reason to entertain a rather extensive opinion of himself? Is he not the inventor and owner of the present, and sole hope of the future?
(Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. second lecture on discoveries and inventions, Feb. 11, 1859. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 3, p. 356, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).)
It is the time we have now, and all our wasted time sinks into the sea and is swallowed up without a trace. The past is dust and ashes, and this incommensurably wide way leads to the pragmatic and kinetic future.
(John Ashbery (b. 1927), U.S. poet, critic. "The System.")
[With the Union saved] its form of government is saved to the world; its beloved history, and cherished memories, are vindicated; and its happy future fully assured, and rendered inconceivably grand.
(Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. Appeal to border state representatives to favor compensated emancipation, July 12, 1862. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 5, p. 319, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).)
The past is only so heroic as we see it. It is the canvas on which our idea of heroism is painted, and so, in one sense, the dim prospectus of our future field.
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, pp. 310-311, Houghton Mifflin (1906).)
I embrace the common, I explore and sit at the feet of the familiar, the low. Give me insight into to-day, and you may have the antique and future worlds.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Oration, August 31, 1837, delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Cambridge, Massachusetts. "The American Scholar," repr. In Emerson: Essays and Lectures, ed. Joel Porte (1983).)