Strange to say, the luminous world is the invisible world; the luminous world is that which we do not see. Our eyes of flesh see only night.
(Victor Hugo (1802-1885), French poet, novelist, playwright, essayist. Trans. by Lorenzo O'Rourke. "Life and Death," Postscriptum de ma vie, in Victor Hugo's Intellectual Autobiography, Funk and Wagnalls (1907).)
Man is not only a contributory creature, but a total creature; he does not only make one, but he is all; he is not a piece of the world, but the world itself; and next to the glory of God, the reason why there is a world.
(John Donne (c. 1572-1631), British divine, metaphysical poet. Sermons, no. 35 (1625).)
...one of my motivating forces has been to recreate the world I know into a world I wish I could be in. Hence my optimism and happy endings. But I've never dreamed I could actually reshape the real world.
(Kristin Hunter (b. 1931), African American author. Black Women Writers at Work, ch. 6, by Claudia Tate (1983).)
Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art. Even more. It is the revenge of the intellect upon the world. To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the worldin order to set up a shadow world of "meanings."
(Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. repr. In Against Interpretation (1966). "Against Interpretation," sect. 4, Evergreen Review (December 1964).)
How do you know what the world is like? Do you know the world is a foul sty? Do you know if you rip the fronts off houses you'd find swine? The world is a hell. What does it matter what happens in it?
(Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), U.S. playwright, screenwriter, Sally Benson (1900-1972), Alma Reville (1900-1982), British screenwriter, and Alfred Hitchcock. Charles Oakley (Joseph Cotten), Shadow of a Doubt (1942).
To his niece Charlie (Teresa Wright).)
There is nothing besides a spiritual world; what we call the world of the senses is the Evil in the spiritual world, and what we call Evil is only the necessity of a moment in our eternal evolution.
(Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Prague German Jewish author, novelist. The Third Notebook, December 8, 1917. The Blue Octavo Notebooks, ed. Max Brod, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins. Exact Change, Cambridge, MA (1991). Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins, New York, Schocken Books (1954).)
If we cannot accept the importance of the world, which considers itself important, if in the midst of that world our laughter finds no echo, we have but one choice: to take the world as a whole and make it the object of our game; to turn it into a toy.
[Children] do not yet lie to themselves and therefore have not entered upon that important tacit agreement which marks admission into the adult world, to wit, that I will respect your lies if you will agree to let mine alone. That unwritten contract is one of the clear dividing lines between the world of childhood and the world of adulthood.
(Leontine Young (20th century), U.S. social worker and author. Life Among the Giants, ch. 2 (1965).)
The world is ... the natural setting of, and field for, all my thoughts and all my explicit perceptions. Truth does not "inhabit" only "the inner man," or more accurately, there is no inner man, man is in the world, and only in the world does he know himself.
(Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1907-1961), French philosopher. Phenomenology of Perception, preface (1945).)