Moment is a word which most often refers to an ambiguously short length of time, but also signifies in mathematics a quantitative measure of the shape of a set of points, and in physics relates to the perpendicular distance from a point to a line or a surface. Most of the quotes on this page will likely refer primarily to moments in reference to time, but others are permissible, especially when there are ambiguities in their usage which are likely deliberate.
- "I exist" does not follow from "there is a thought now." The fact that a thought occurs at a given moment does not entail that any other thought has occurred at any other moment, still less that there has occurred a series of thoughts sufficient to constitute a single self. As Hume conclusively showed, no one event intrinsically points to any other. We infer the existence of events which we are not actually observing, with the help of general principle. But these principles must be obtained inductively. By mere deduction from what is immediately given we cannot advance a single step beyond. And, consequently, any attempt to base a deductive system on propositions which describe what is immediately given is bound to be a failure.
- There was no pain when I awoke,
No pain at all. Rest, like a goad,
Spurred my eyes open — and light broke
Upon them like a million swords:
And she was there. There are no words.
- Stephen Vincent Benét, in "The Quality of Courage", in Young Adventure (1918)
- What one needs to do at every moment of one's life is to put an end to the old world and to begin a new world.
- Nikolai Berdyaev, in The Beginning and the End (1947)
- The Now, that indivisible point which studs the length of infinite line
Whose ends are nowhere, is thine all, the puny all thou callest thine.
- No one's ever needed to do it, as much as you do. This is your moment. Believe in yourself.
- If you aren’t in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret.
- He was by himself always. Remote, detached, aloof. Seeing past everyone and everything — that is, until all at once something clicked and he momentarily rephased, reentered their world briefly.
- Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
- I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker...
- But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
- The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies,
For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been.
- For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts.
- I will make many people amazed at thee, and their kings shall be horribly afraid for thee, when I shall brandish my sword before them; and they shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall.
- Ezekiel 32:10
- Minor things can become moments of great revelation when encountered for the very first time.
- Margot Fonteyn, in Margot Fonteyn : Autobiography (1975), p. 9
- In truth there is no such thing in man's nature as a settled and full resolve either for good or evil, except at the very moment of execution.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne, Twice-Told Tales (1842), Fancy's Show Box
- You read the face of the sky and of the earth, but you have not recognized the one who is before you, and you do not know how to read this moment.
- O servant, where dost thou seek Me?
Lo! I am beside thee.
I am neither in temple nor in mosque: I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash:
Neither am I in rites and ceremonies, nor in Yoga and renunciation.
If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt at once see Me: thou shalt meet Me in a moment of time.
- Kabir, as translated by Rabindranath Tagore, in Songs of Kabîr (1915)
- Variant translation: Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
you will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine
rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding
around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but
When you really look for me, you will see me
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
- As paraphrased by Robert Bly in The Kabir Book (1977)
- The doctrine of the Second Coming teaches us that we do not and cannot know when the world drama will end. The curtain may be rung down at any moment: say, before you have finished reading this paragraph.
- C. S. Lewis, in The World's Last Night (1952)
- The doctrine of the Second Coming has failed, so far as we are concerned, if it does not make us realize that at every moment of every year in our lives Donne's question "What if this present were the world's last night?" is equally relevant.
- C. S. Lewis, in The World's Last Night (1952)
- The devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
- Look upon this moment. Savor it! Rejoice with great gladness! Great gladness! Remember it always, for you are joined by it. You are One, under the stars. Remember it well, then... this night, this great victory. So that in the years ahead, you can say, "I was there that night, with Arthur, the King!" For it is the doom of men that they forget.
- The Moment is coming. The Moment is me. You have to decide.
- It strikes me that self, not just my self, but all self, the phenomenon of self, is perhaps one field, one consciousness – perhaps there is only one ‘I’, perhaps our brains, our selves, our entire identity is little more than a label on a waveband. We are only us when we are here. At this particular moment in space and time, this particular locus, the overall awareness of the entire continuum happens to believe it is Alan Moore. Over there – [he points to another table in the pizza restaurant] – it happens to believe it is something else.
I get the sense that if you can pull back from this particular locus, this web-site if you like, then you could be the whole net. All of us could be. That there is only one awareness here, that is trying out different patterns. We are going to have to come to some resolution about a lot of things in the next twenty years time, our notions of time, space, identity.
- Alan Moore, in "Alan Moore Interview" by Matthew De Abaitua (1998), later published in Alan Moore: Conversations (2011) edited by Eric L. Berlatsky
- Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments.
- I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
- All things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
- In the most deeply significant of the legends concerning Jesus, we are told how the devil took him up into a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time; and the devil said unto him: "All this power will I give unto thee, and the glory of them, for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will, I give it. If thou, therefore, wilt worship me, all shall be thine." Jesus, as we know, answered and said "Get thee behind me, Satan!" And he really meant it; he would have nothing to do with worldly glory, with "temporal power;" he chose the career of a revolutionary agitator, and died the death of a disturber of the peace.
- Upton Sinclair, in The Profits of Religion : An Essay in Economic Interpretation (1918), Book Seven : The Church of the Social Revolution, "Christ and Caesar"
- Oh, if life were made of moments,
Even now and then a bad one!
But if life were only moments,
Then you'd never know you had one.
- The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.
- Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
- It must be obvious... that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity.
- Alan Watts, in The Wisdom of Insecurity (1951)
- "Is," "is." "is" — the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don't know what anything "is"; I only know how it seems to me at this moment.
- Robert Anton Wilson inThe Historical Illuminatus Chronicles
- Throwing down your own sword is also an art of war. If you have attained mastery of swordlessness, you will never lack for a sword. The opponent's sword is your sword. This is acting at the vanguard of the moment.
- Yagyū Munenori, as quoted in Soul of the Samurai (2005) by Thomas Cleary, p. 28
- Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. … If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so. I like to think I am a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me. … Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
- Life moved ever outward into infinite possibilities and yet all things were perfect and finished in every single moment, their end attained.
- David Zindell, in Neverness (1988)
- The elite of the universal religions have always substituted belief in the Infinite for the experience of it. We all need God — but only in small and measured doses. Who can look upon the burning bush and not be destroyed in its flames? Who can bear the heaven and hell of each moment blazing in time? Who can shine like a star?
- David Zindell, in War in Heaven (1998)