She used to drag her mattress besider her low window and lie awake for a long while, vibrating with excitement, as a machine vibrates from speed. Life rushed in upon her through that window - or so it seemed. In reality, of course, life rushes from within, not from without. There is no work of art so big or so beautiful that is was not once all contained in some youthful body, like this one which lay on the floor in the moonlight, pulsing with ardor and anticipation.
Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.
Since every effort in our educational life seems to be directed toward making of the child a being foreign to itself, it must of necessity produce individuals foreign to one another, and in everlasting antagonism with each other.
Since the death instinct exists in the heart of everything that lives, since we suffer from trying to repress it, since everything that lives longs for rest, let us unfasten the ties that bind us to life, let us cultivate our death wish, let us develop it, water it like a plant, let it grow unhindered. Suffering and fear are born from the repression of the death wish.
So different are the colours of life, as we look forward to the future, or backward to the past and so different the opinions and sentiments which this contrariety of appearance naturally produces, that the conversation of the old and young ends generally with contempt or pity on either side.
So if it seems that some of what I'll have to say in the pages to come doesn't reflect the mellowing of age, that's only because I've never found that life and memories respond to time the way that tobacco does.
So long as faith with freedom reigns
So long as the law considers all these human beings, with beating hearts and living affections, only as so many things belonging to the master -- so long as the failure, or misfortune, or imprudence, or death of the kindest owner, may cause them any day to exchange a life of kind protection and indulgence for one of hopeless misery and toil -- so long it is impossible to make anything beautiful or desirable in the best-regulated administration of slavery.
So. The time has come for me to get my kite flying, stretch out in the sun, kick off my shoes, and speak my piece. 'The days of struggle are over,' I should be able to say. 'I can look back now and tell myself I don't have a single regret.' But I do. Many years ago a very wise man named Bernard Baruch took me aside and put his arm around my shoulder. 'Harpo, my boy,' he said, 'I'm going to give you three pieces of advice, three things you should always remember.' My heart jumped and I glowed with expectation. I was going to hear the magic password to a rich, full life from the master himself. 'Yes, sir' I said. And he told me the three things. I regret that I've forgotten what they were.
Society expects man to be a passive social animal who believes like the People of the Field in "Jurgen" that "to do what you always have done" and "what is expected of you" are the twin rules of life. This, is course, is not true. The wanton crucifixion of impulses, the unnecessary blocking and frustration of the drives and urges, are an evil that reflects itself in sophistication, ennui and boredom, dissatisfaction, melancholy, fatigue, anxiety and neurosis.