"It is a marvelous thing how full of illusion is the notion that beauty is an advantage. A beautiful woman says all sorts of foolishness, you listen and you do not hear any foolishness, but what you hear seems to you wisdom itself. She says and does vulgar things, and to you it seems lovely. Even when she does not say stupid or vulgar things, but it simply beautiful, you are convinced that she is miraculously wise and moral"
- 163. Kreutzer Sonata. The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories. Tolstoy.
"Depravity does not lie in anything physical; depravity does not imply any physical deformity; depravity, genuine depravity, consist in freeing oneself from the moral relations to women with whom you enter into physical relations. And this emancipation I arrogated to myself as a virtue."
- 158. Kreutzer Sonata. The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories. Tolstoy.
"‘No, I am speaking about the same thing, about the preference that one man or one woman has for one person above all others, and I simply ask, ‘How long is this preference to last?”
‘How long? why, sometimes it lasts a whole lifetime,’ said the lady, shrugging her shoulders.
‘Yes, but that is true only in novels, but never in real life. In real life this preference for one person rather than another may occasionally last for a year, more frequently it is measured by months, or even by weeks or days or hours,’ said he, evidently knowing that he was surprising every one by his opinion, and well satisfied with it. …
‘Yes, I know,’ … ‘You are speaking of what is supposed to exist, but I am speaking of what does exist. For every man feels for every pretty woman what you call love."
- 154. Kreutzer Sonata. The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories. Tolstoy.
"In the morning we were cheerful, at dinner polite, in the evening tender. ‘Good!…’ I said to myself, ‘that’s all very well, to do good and lead an upright life, as he says, but we’ve plenty of time for that, and there is something else for which I only have the energy now.’ That was not what I needed, I needed strife; I wanted feeling to guide us in life, and not life to be the guide to feeling. I longed to go with him to the edge of a precipice and to say ‘Another step, and I fling myself down! another movement and I am lost!’ and for him, pale at the edge of the abyss, to snatch me up in his strong arms, hold me over it, so that my heart would stand still, and bear me away whither he would."
- 51. Family Happiness. The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories. Tolstoy.
"We all watch the same television programs,” the mouth says. “We all hear the same things on the radio, we all repeat the same talk to each other. There are no surprises left. There’s just more of the same. Reruns.”
Inside the hole, the red lips say, “We all grew up with the same television shows. It’s like we all have the same artificial memory implants. We remember almost none of our real childhoods, but we remember everything that happened to sitcom families. We have the same basic goals. We all have the same fears.
“The big question people ask isn’t ‘What’s the nature of existence?’” the mouth says. “The big question people ask is ‘What’s that from?"
"The agent’s yelling that no matter how great you look, your body is just something you wear to accept your academy award.
Your hand is just so you can hold your Nobel Prize.
Your lips are only there for you to air-kiss a talk show host.
And you might as well look great."