Spirit

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Spirits are supernatural beings or essences — transcendent and therefore metaphysical in nature.

Sourced[edit]

  • The heart's wave would not foam up so beautifully and become spirit, if the ancient, mute rock, fate, did not stand opposed to it.
    • Friedrich Hölderlin, Hyperion, or the Hermit in Greece (1797–1799), translated by Ross Benjamin. Brooklyn, NY: Archipelago Books, 2008, p. 55
    • Variant translation: The heart's wave would never have splashed and frothed so beautifully, and become Spirit — had not the grim, old cliff of Destiny stubbornly opposed ...
      • As translated by Gerald Malsbary in Josef Pieper, Leisure, the Basis of Culture (1948). South Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine's Press, 1998, p. 129.
  • We said that the perceptive-ability of the animal, when compared with what is in plants, is a more far-reaching way of relating to things. Would not, then, the peculiarly human manner of knowing — for ages past, termed a spiritual or intellective knowing — in fact be another, further mode of putting-oneself-into-relation, a mode which transcends in principle anything which can be realized in the plant and animal worlds? And further, would this fundamentally different kind of relating power go together with a different field of relations, i.e., a world of fundamentally different dimensions? The answer to such questions can be found in the Western philosophical tradition, which has understood and even defined spiritual knowing as the power to place oneself in relation to the sum-total of existing thngs. And this is not meant as only one characteristic among others, but as the very essence and definition of the power. By its nature, spirit (or intellection) is not so much distinguished by its immateriality, as by something more primary: its ability to be in relation to the totality of being.
    • Josef Pieper, "The Philosophical Act", in Leisure, the Basis of Culture (1948), translated by Gerald Malsbary. South Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine's Press, 1998, p. 85.
  • To label Seth as a spirit guide is to limit an understanding of what he is . . . The minute I found out after my first book was published that this automatically put me in what people called the psychic field . . . I was so humiliated I could hardly hold my head up. I'm using my writing [and] my life to transform intuitive, sometimes revelationary material into art, where it can be enjoyed, understood to varying degrees, and stand free of the stupid interpretations . . . The whole psychic bit as it is, is intellectually and morally psychologically outrageous as far as I'm concerned and I want no part of it or the vocabulary or the ideas.
  • There is neither spirit nor matter in the world; the stuff of the universe is spirit-matter. No other substance but this could produce the human molecule. I know very well that this idea of spirit-matter is regarded as a hybrid monster, a verbal exorcism of a duality which remains unresolved in its terms. But I remain convinced that the objections made to it arise from the mere fact that few people can make up their minds to abandon an old point of view and take the risk of a new idea... Biologists or philosophers cannot conceive a biosphere or noosphere because they are unwilling to abandon a certain narrow conception of individuality. Nevertheless, the step must be taken. For in fact, pure spirituality is as unconceivable as pure materiality. Just as, in a sense, there is no geometrical point, but as many structurally different points as there are methods of deriving them from different figures, so every spirit derives its reality and nature from a particular type of universal synthesis.
  • One of the unfortunate consequences of the intellectualization of man's spiritual life was that the word "spirit" was lost and replaced by mind or intellect, and that the element of vitality which is present in “spirit” was separated and interpreted as an independent biological force. Man was divided into a bloodless intellect and a meaningless vitality. The middle ground between them, the spiritual soul, in which vitality and intentionality are united, was dropped.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 745-46.
  • Why, a spirit is such a little, little thing, that I have heard a man, who was a great scholar, say that he'll dance ye a hornpipe upon the point of a needle.
  • Not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
    • II Corinthians, III. 6.
  • Some who are far from atheists, may make themselves merry with that conceit of thousands of spirits dancing at once upon a needle's point.
    • Ralph Cudworth, True Intellectual System of the Universe, Volume III, p. 497. Ed. 1829. Isaac D'Israeli in Curiosities of Literature. Quodlibets, quotes from Aquinas, "How many angels can dance on the point of a very fine needle without jostling each other." The idea, not the words, are in Aquinas—Summa and Sentences. Credited also to Bernardo de Carpino and Alagona.
  • A Corpse or a Ghost—… I'd sooner be one or t'other, square and fair, than a Ghost in a Corpse, which is my feelins at present.
  • I am the spirit of the morning sea,
    I am the awakening and the glad surprise.
  • Aërial spirits, by great Jove design'd
    To be on earth the guardians of mankind:
    Invisible to mortal eyes they go,
    And mark our actions, good or bad, below:
    The immortal spies with watchful care preside,
    And thrice ten thousand round their charges glide:
    They can reward with glory or with gold,
    A power they by Divine permission hold.
    • Hesiod, Works and Days, line 164.
  • The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
    • Matthew, XXVI. 41.
  • Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
    Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep.
  • Teloque animus præstantior omni.
    • A spirit superior to every weapon.
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, III. 54.
  • Ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.
    • I Peter, III. 4.
  • Know then, unnumber'd Spirits round thee fly,
    The light Militia of the lower sky.
  • He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
    • Proverbs, XVI. 32. Mishna. Ethics of the Fathers, IV. 2.
  • A wounded spirit who can bear?
    • Proverbs, XVIII. 14.
  • After the spiritual powers, there is no thing in the world more unconquerable than the spirit of nationality…. The spirit of nationality in Ireland will persist even though the mightiest of material powers be its neighbor.
  • Black spirits and white,
    Red spirits and grey,
    Mingle, mingle, mingle,
    You that mingle may.
  • Of my own spirit let me be
    In sole though feeble mastery.
  • Boatman, come, thy fare receive;
    Thrice thy fare I gladly give,
    For unknown, unseen by thee,
    Spirits twain have crossed with me.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)[edit]

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
  • There are times in the history of men and nations, when they stand so near the vail that separates mortals from the immortals, time from eternity, and men from their God, that they can almost hear the beatings, and feel the pulsations, of the heart of the Infinite.
  • Hands of invisible spirits touch the strings
    Of that mysterious instrument, the soul,
    And play the prelude of our fate.
  • Millions of spiritual beings walk the earth unseen,
    Both when we wake, and when we sleep.
  • It may be that at this moment every battlement of heaven is alive with the redeemed. There is a sainted mother watching for her daughter. Have you no response to that long hushed voice which has prayed for you so often? And for you, young man, are there no voices there that have prayed for you? And are there none whom you promised once to meet again, if not on earth, in heaven?
  • Do we not hear voices, gentle and great, and some of them like the voices of departed friends,— do we not hear them saying to us, "Come up hither?"
  • Yes, thank God! there is rest — many an interval of saddest, sweetest rest — even here, when it seems as if evening breeze; from that other land, laden with fragrance, played upon the cheeks, and lulled the heart. There are times, even on the stormy sea, when a gentle whisper breathes softly as of heaven, and sends into the soul a dream of ecstasy which can never again wholly die, even amidst the jar and whirl of daily life. How such whispers make the blood stop and the flesh creep with a sense of mysterious communion! How singularly such moments are the epochs of life — the few points that stand out prominently in the recollection after the flood of years has buried all the rest, as all the low shore disappears, leaving only a few rock points visible at high tide.

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