Verily, a polluted stream is man. One must actually be a sea to take in a polluted stream without becoming impure. Behold, I teach you the superman: he is the this sea, in him can your great contempt go under.
(Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 4, p. 15, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Zarathustra, in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, First Part, "Prologue," section 3 (1883).)
There isn't any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The shark are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know.
(Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), U.S. author. letter, Sept. 13, 1952, to the critic Bernard Berenson. Selected Letters, ed. Carlos Baker (1981).
Of The Old Man and the Sea published that year.)
In tremendous extremities human souls are like drowning men; well enough they know they are in peril; well enough they know the causes of that peril;Mnevertheless, the sea is the sea, and these drowning men do drown.
(Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Pierre (1852), bk. XXII, The Writings of Herman Melville, vol. 7, eds. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (1971).)
To be rich is to have a ticket of admission to the masterworks and chief men of each race. It is to have the sea, by voyaging; to visit the mountains, Niagara, the Nile, the desert, Rome, Paris, Constantinople: to see galleries, libraries, arsenals, manufactories.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Wealth," The Conduct of Life (1860).)
The most advanced nations are always those who navigate the most. The power which the sea requires in the sailor makes a man of him very fast, and the change of shores and population clears his head of much nonsense of his wigwam.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Civilization," Society and Solitude (1870).)
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.")