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Reality

  • Reality is unbelievably terrifying after one has done nothing but dream.

  • The people who say you are not facing reality actually mean that you are not facing their idea of reality. Reality is above all else a variable, and nobody is qualified to say that he or she knows exactly what it is. As a matter of fact, with a firm enough commitment, you can sometimes create a reality which did not exist before. Protestantism itself is proof of that.

  • How can anybody who is the head of a nation afford not to be a pragmatist?

  • I avoided reality for most of my life. But once you deal with it, it's kind of cool.

  • Does the real thing ever have the perfection of a stage performance?

  • Being a movie star was never as much fun as dreaming of being one.

    • Marilyn Monroe,
    • in Herb Boyd, Seductive Sayings: Marilyn Monroe Her Own Words ()
  • Without evading the grimness of life in much of modern Africa, one can recognize that this continent is not yet sick as our continent is sick. Most Africans remain plugged into reality. In contrast we have become disconnected from it, reduced to compulsively consuming units, taught to worship 'economic growth' — the ultimate unreality in a finite world.

  • We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.

    • Iris Murdoch,
    • in Rachel Billington, "Profile: Iris Murdoch," The London Times ()
  • Human intellectual progress, such as it has been, results from our long struggle to see things 'as they are,' or in the most universally comprehensive way, and not as projections of our own emotions. Thunder is not a tantrum in the sky, disease is not a divine punishment, and not every death or accident results from witchcraft.

  • I realize that after decades of positive thinking the notion of realism, of things as they are, may seem a little quaint. ... When the stakes are high enough and the risks obvious, we still turn to people who can be counted on to understand those risks and prepare for worst-case scenarios. A chief of state does not want to hear a general in the field say that he 'hopes' to win tomorrow's battle or that he's 'visualizing victory' ...

  • In art as in politics we must deal with people as they are not as we wish them to be. Only by working with the real can you get closer to the ideal.

  • ... just because you don't see a snake doesn't mean that it doesn't see you.

  • Surrogate experience and surrogate environments have become the American way of life. Distinctions are no longer made, or deemed necessary, between the real and the false; the edge usually goes to the latter, as an improved version with defects corrected — accessible and user-friendly ...

  • You philosophers are lucky men. You write on paper and paper is patient. Unfortunate Empress that I am, I write on the susceptible skins of living beings.

    • Catherine the Great,
    • letter to Diderot (1775), in Dominique Maroger, ed., The Memoirs of Catherine the Great ()
  • You kin polish a mule's feet an' shine his hide an' put brass all over his harness an' hitch him ter a fine cah'ige. But he a mule jes' de same. He doan fool nobody.

  • Realism, never perfection, is the key to wise choice-making.

  • What we call reality is an agreement that people have arrived at to make life more livable.

  • Fearful as reality is: it is less fearful than evasions of reality.

  • So it is useless to evade reality, because it only makes it more virulent in the end. But instead, look steadfastly into the slit, pin-pointed, malignant eyes of reality: as an old-hand trainer dominates his wild beasts. Take it by the scruff of the neck, and shake the evil intent out of it; till it rattles out harmlessly, like gall bladder stones, fossilized on the floor.

  • The contradictions the mind comes up against, these are the only realities, the criterion of the real. There is no contradiction in what is imaginary. Contradiction is the test of necessity.

  • A test of what is real is that it is hard and rough. Joys are found in it, not pleasure. What is pleasant belongs to dreams.

  • Attachment is a manufacturer of illusions and whoever wants reality ought to be detached.

  • So successful has been the camera's role in beautifying the world that photographs rather than the world, have become the standard of the beautiful.

  • ... reality has come to seem more and more like what we are shown by cameras.

  • Instead of just recording reality, photographs have become the norm for the way things appear to us, thereby changing the very idea of reality and of realism.

  • We know that the ultimate vex is the same for all: / The discrepancy / Between the vision and the reality.

  • She saw that events led nowhere, crisis was an illusion, and that passions of momentary violent reality were struck off like sparks from the spirit, only to die.

  • Was anything in life, Anne asked herself wearily, like one's imagination of it?

  • What had seemed easy in imagination was rather hard in reality.

  • Some people never seem to learn from experience. No matter how often they had seen the lion devour the lamb, they continued to cling to the hope that the nature of the beast might change. If only the lion could get to know the lamb better, they argued, or talk matters over ...

  • Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality.

    • Belva Davis,
    • in Belva Davis with Vicki Haddock, Never in My Wildest Dreams ()
  • Perception is a prism, and reality is like shot silk — depends where the light hits.

  • Nothing's real unless you want it to be, and anything can be real if you want it to enough; so real doesn't really mean anything.

  • All my air castles have melted like snow, / all my dreams have run off like water, / all that remains of what I've ever loved / is a blue sky and some pale stars.

    • Edith Södergran,
    • "Nordic Spring" (1916), in Stina Katchadourian, trans., Love and Solitude ()
  • ... the Real [is] the sole foundation of the Ideal ...

  • ... reality is something you rise above.

    • Liza Minnelli,
    • in George Mair, Under the Rainbow: The Real Liza Minnelli ()
  • At every step the child should be allowed to meet the real experiences of life; the thorns should never be plucked from his roses.

  • ... reality can easily become the current fantasy ...

  • Reality has changed chameleonlike before my eyes so many times that I have learned, or am learning, to trust almost anything except what appears to be so.

    • Maya Angelou,
    • in Mari Evans, ed., Black Women Writers (1950-1980) ()
  • Making reality real is art's responsibility.

  • Wisdom never kicks at the iron walls it can't bring down.

  • Doubtless almost any intense emotion may open our 'inward eye' to the beauty of reality. Falling in love appears to do it for some people. The beauties of nature or the exhilaration of artistic creation does it for others. Probably any high experience may momentarily stretch our souls up on tiptoe, so that we catch a glimpse of that marvelous beauty which is always there, but which we are not often tall enough to perceive.

  • When you have once gained sight, it is impossible to feign blindness.

  • I want to touch you in real time / not find you on YouTube, / I want to walk next to you in the mountains / not friend you on Facebook. / Give me one thing I can believe in / that isn't a brand name.

  • Do we call the star lost that is hidden / In the great light of morn?

    • Phoebe Cary,
    • "My Friend," Poems of Faith, Hope, and Love ()
  • ... reality is the completion of experience ...

  • Satire is people as they are; romanticism, people as they would like to be; realism, people as they seem with their insides left out.

    • Dawn Powell,
    • in Richard Lingeman, "She Took a Village," The Nation ()
  • To meet in imagination is pretty much like dining in imagination, and I like the one as little as the other. I intend, therefore, to come and see you in good earnest ...

    • Eugénie de Guérin,
    • letter (1843), in Guillaume S. Trébutien, ed., Letters of Eugénie de Guérin ()
  • Reality is the only place you can deal from. If you're still worrying about the way things should be, you haven't even approached the starting line.

  • ... I wrestled with reality for forty years, and I am happy to state that I finally won out over it.

  • ... reality can be magnificent even when life is not.

  • It is immediately apparent, however, that this sense-world, this seemingly real external universe — though it may be useful and valid in other respects — cannot be the external world, but only the Self's projected picture of it ... The evidence of the senses, then, cannot be accepted as evidence of the nature of ultimate reality; useful servants, they are dangerous guides.

  • Solid flesh can never live up to the bright shadow cast by its absence.

  • I've always wondered why if people want to be happy they're escapists, but if they go around looking for trouble they're realists.

  • ... Mrs. Wiggs was a philosopher, and the sum and substance of her philosophy lay in keeping the dust off her rose-colored spectacles.

  • ... There's only one real sin, and that is to persuade oneself that the second-best is anything but the second-best.

  • The unnamed should not be mistaken for the nonexistent.

  • ... the absence of evidence does not mean the evidence of absence.

  • There is an automatic assumption that negative is realistic and positive is unrealistic.

  • ... I've found that people who look at things as they are, and not as they wish them to be, are the ones who succeed.

  • Knowing reality is knowing that you can't lose it.

  • My father was eccentric, peculiar, and unprepared for reality. This worked out fine, because reality and my father were rarely on speaking terms. ... For my father it was a private war, a cause to be won, and he fought it on a grand scale. And because he fought alone, he was both the victor and the casualty.

  • Reality is as thin as paper and betrays with all its cracks its imitative character.

  • ... the days of our lives vanish utterly, more insubstantial than if they had been invented. Fiction can seem more enduring than reality.

  • You were courted and got married in the magic world, but you had your baby in the real one.

  • Reality has actually very little to do with truth; there is no necessary connection between the two.

  • Whenever hope and illusion become the source of the will to live, all knowledge of reality becomes highly threatening, since at any time a new piece of information might remove the grounds for this hope. This is exactly the case now. When life is motivated by hope for improvement, denial of reality is necessarily renewed and fortified.

  • Reality is a crutch for people who can't cope with drugs.

  • I made some studies, and reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it. I can take it in small doses, but as a lifestyle I found it too confining.

  • ... what is reality anyway? Nothin' but a collective hunch.

  • Whenever people say, 'We mustn't be sentimental,' you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, 'We must be realistic,' they mean they are going to make money out of it.

  • Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.

  • My greatest enemy is reality. I have fought it successfully for thirty years.

  • Real is what everyone agrees about. True is what you somehow know inside yourself.

  • People say we can't do anything about the way the world is; they say it's set in stone. I say it looks like stone, but it's mostly paint and cardboard.

  • ... my attachment to the world as it should be prevented me from a deeper understanding and acceptance of the world as it is.

    • Marci Laughlin,
    • in Christina Henry de Tessan, ed., Expat: Women's True Tales of Life Abroad ()
  • If your feet are firmly planted on the ground, you'll never be able to dance.