My warnings over the last six years had been so numerous, so detailed, and were now so terribly vindicated, that no one could gainsay me. I could not be reproached either for making the war or with want of preparation for it. I thought I knew a good deal about it all, and I was sure I should not fail. Therefore, although impatient for the morning, I slept soundly and had no need for cheering dreams. Facts are better than dreams.
Winston Churchill
It’s the sound of failure: so much of modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them.
To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.
Igor Stravinsky
You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars: and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you.
Thomas Traherne

Mas sabe El Diablo por viejo que por Diablo.

The Devil is not wise because he’s the Devil. The Devil is wise because he’s old.

Spanish proverb, via Daniel Willingham.
I know of nothing better than the Appassionata and could listen to it every day. What astonishing, superhuman music! It always makes me proud, perhaps with a childish naivety, to think that people can work such miracles. But I can’t listen to music very often. It affects my nerves. I want to say sweet, silly things, and pat the little heads of people who, living in a filthy hell, can create such beauty.
It was as a performer that he fastened on the theatrical, ritualistic, ceremonial side of life - the side of life that liberalism is least good at understanding or promoting. The original sin of modern liberalism lies in the idea of social life as a contract, a deal. Life is too short and horrible for us to imagine it governed by something as meagre as a contract; we want it to be governed by a covenant. The difference between a contract and a covenant may, in the cash value of action, be almost purely verbal. That’s its point. The sound is the significance. When the irrational is slighted, the unreasonable takes its place.
Adam Gopnik (on Burke)
Many are willing to suffer for their art. Few are willing to learn to draw.
Simon Munnery
Modern equivalents are less common, but you may remember a line in Auden which began as a misprint: “The ports have names for the sea.” What Auden had written was: “The poets have names for the sea.” But when he saw “The ports have names for the sea,” he liked it better than his own line, and so let it stand.
Saying that cultural objects have value is like saying that telephones have conversations.
Brian Eno