I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allen Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms.I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fibre and liquidsand Imight even be said to possess a mind.I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imaginationindeed, everything and anything except me.RalphWaldo Ellison: 1952 Invisible Man, prologue.
Earlier, I have cautioned you against an outright pragmatist approach. Now I am cautioning you against an outright populist approach. Sometimes a populist decision is, in the long run, not beneficial to the masses. Neither pragmatism nor populism are fundamental political and socio-economic doctrines. Nor do I say that you should play it by ear. I have made this melancholy analysis in anguish. My jail surroundings have not influenced my objectivity. I do not want to see the whole world in a death-cell merely because I am in a death cell. I do not say that the High Court has pronounced a death sentence on the world because a law court has pronounced a perverse death sentence on me. I would be the happiest man if the gloomy winter of mankind were to give way to a shaft of sunlight and to coloured flowers. The world is very beautiful. "A thing of beauty is a joy forever". There is the beauty of the landscape, of the tall mountain, the green plains, the humped deserts. There is the beauty of the flowers and the forests, of the azure oceans and the meandering rivers. There is the splendour of architecture, the magnificence of music, and the sparkle of the dance. Above all, there is the beauty of man and woman, the most perfect creations of God.zulfikar ali bhutto: p. 78 - 79 (Letter to his daughter (1978))
When you put the corset on it gives you a glimpse into what those women's lives must have been like, a little bit. Just the fact that they did that to themselves to look a certain way gives you an idea of how important it was to be a proper young lady in those times, to kind of fit the mold of what they were trying to accomplish socially. The director, Jay Russell told me to use the corset as a device to remind myself that not only physically, but emotionally, she was trapped in her surroundings and wanted desperately to get out. It was definitely a reminder because the thing is so tight!alexis bledel: About the film Tuck Everlasting
From oppressive and crippling surroundings, George Washington Carver lifted his searching, creative mind to the ordinary peanut, and found therein extraordinary possibilities for goods and products unthinkable by minds of the past.george washington carver: Martin Luther King Jr., 23 September 1959, during his Address at Public Meeting of the Southern Christian Ministers Conference of Mississippi.
In New Mexico he always awoke a young man...Beautiful surroundings, the society of learned men, the charm of noble women, the graces of art, could not make up to him for the loss of those light-hearted mornings of the desert, for that wind that made one a boy again. He had noticed that this peculiar quality in the air of new countries vanished after they were tamed by man and made to bear harvests... That air would disappear from the whole earth in time, perhaps; but long after his day. He did not know just when it had become so necessary to him, but he had come back to die in exile for the sake of it. Something soft and wild and free, something that whispered to the ear on the pillow, lightened the heart, softly, softly picked the lock, slid the bolts, and released the prisoned spirit of man into the wind, into the blue and gold, into the morning, into the morning!willa cather: Book IX, Ch. 3
Without any doubt the great works of Constable were done at the point when his desire to be a "natural" painter and his need to express his restless, passionate character overlap. Through his violence of feeling, concealed under a conventional exterior, he was able to revolutionise our own feelings about our surroundings. The conviction that open spaces and areas of rural scenery must be saved for the refreshment of our spirits owes more to Constable than to any other artist. While Turner, with greater gifts, was transforming the "beauty spots" of Europe, Constable was teaching us all to realise that our own countryside could be taken exactly as it is, and and yet become more precious to us.john constable: Kenneth Clark, The Romantic Rebellion (Harper & Row, 1973, ISBN 06-10802-9), ch. 11: Constable (p. 283)
If you are receptive and humble, mathematics will lead you by the hand. Again and again, when I have been at a loss how to proceed, I have just had to wait until I have felt the mathematics led me by the hand. It has led me along an unexpected path, a path where new vistas open up, a path leading to new territory, where one can set up a base of operations, from which one can survey the surroundings and plan future progress.paul dirac: As quoted in The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom (2009) by Graham Farmelo, p. 435
For the most part, these are not new lessons, but lessons learned in different circumstances and surroundings. The fact that they are not new is of course a lesson in itself — we must continually strive to benefit from past experiences and structure our management so that past related experience can be brought to bear on current problems.john h. disher: "Skylab Lessons Learned" (22 September 1975) at NASA Office of Logic Design
I am so used to plunging into the unknown that any other surroundings and form of existence strike me as exotic and unsuitable for human beings.werner herzog: 31 May 1981 diary entry (pg. 248 of Herzog's book Conquest of the Useless)
There are experiences that most of us are hesitant to speak about, because they do not conform to everyday reality and defy rational explanation. These are not particular external occurrences, but rather events of our inner lives, which are generally dismissed as figments of the imagination and barred from our memory. Suddenly, the familiar view of our surroundings is transformed in a strange, delightful, or alarming way: it appears to us in a new light, takes on a special meaning. Such an experience can be as light and fleeting as a breath of air, or it can imprint itself deeply upon our minds.One enchantment of that kind, which I experienced in childhood, has remained remarkably vivid in my memory ever since. It happened on a May morning — I have forgotten the year — but I can still point to the exact spot where it occurred, on a forest path on Martinsberg above Baden, Switzerland. As I strolled through the freshly greened woods filled with bird song and lit up by the morning sun, all at once everything appeared in an uncommonly clear light. Was this something I had simply failed to notice before? Was I suddenly discovering the spring forest as it actually looked? It shone with the most beautiful radiance, speaking to the heart, as though it wanted to encompass me in its majesty. I was filled with an indescribable sensation of joy, oneness, and blissful security.I have no idea how long I stood there spellbound. But I recall the anxious concern I felt as the radiance slowly dissolved and I hiked on: how could a vision that was so real and convincing, so directly and deeply felt — how could it end so soon? And how could I tell anyone about it, as my overflowing joy compelled me to do, since I knew there were no words to describe what I had seen? It seemed strange that I, as a child, had seen something so marvelous, something that adults obviously did not perceive — for I had never heard them mention it.While still a child, I experienced several more of these deeply euphoric moments on my rambles through forest and meadow. It was these experiences that shaped the main outlines of my world view and convinced me of the existence of a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality that was hidden from everyday sight.albert hofmann: Foreword
For the most part we inherit our opinions. We are the heirs of habits and mental customs. Our beliefs, like the fashion of our garments, depend on where we were born. We are molded and fashioned by our surroundings.robert g. ingersoll: "Why I Am an Agnostic." (1896)
It seems as though the goal of my work has always been to dissolve myself completely into the sensations of the surroundings in order to then integrate this into a coherent painterly form.ernst ludwig kirchner: Letter to K.E. Osthaus, 23 December 1917; as quoted in “Kirchner and the berlin street”’, ed. Deborah Wye, Moma, New York, 2008, p. 36
Māhavīra proclaimed a profound truth for all times to come when he said: "One who neglects or disregards the existence of earth, air, fire, water and vegetation disregards his own existence which is entwined with them." Jain cosmology recognizes the fundamental natural phenomenon of symbiosis or mutual dependence, which forms the basis of the modern day science of ecology. It is relevant to recall that the term "ecology" was coined in the latter half of the nineteenth century from the Greek word oikos , meaning "home", a place to which one returns. Ecology is the branch of biology which deals with the relations of organisms to their surroundings and to other organisms. The ancient Jain scriptural aphorism Parasparopagraho Jīvānām (All life is bound together by mutual support and interdependence) is refreshingly contemporary in its premise and perspective. It defines the scope of modern ecology while extending it further to a more spacious "home". It means that all aspects of nature belong together and are bound in a physical as well as a metaphysical relationship. Life is viewed as a gift of togetherness, accommodation and assistance in a universe teeming with interdependent constituents.Laxmi Mall Singhvi, in "Jain Declaration of Nature" in Jainism and Ecology : Nonviolence in the Web of Life (2006) by Christopher Key Chapple, p. 217
Every observer has noted that the younger the child, the less sense he has of his own ego. From the intellectual point of view, he does not distinguish between external and internal, subjective and objective. From the point of view of action, he yields to every suggestion, and if he does oppose to other people's wills a certain negativism which has been called "the spirit of contradiction" this only points to his real defenselessness against his surroundings. A strong personality can maintain itself without the help of this particular weapon.Jean Piaget, in The Moral Judgment of the Child (1932), Ch. 1 : The Rules of the Game, § 8 : Conclusions : Motor Rules and the Two Kinds of Respect
One musn’t be misled by the amiable, bumbling persona. He is a toughly intelligent man moving confidently in any kind of surroundings from Windsor Castle to Birdland.humphrey lyttelton: Philip Larkin 
For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but its surroundings bring it to life – the air and the light, which vary continually.Claude Monet: Claude Monet, (ca. 1891); Quoted in: Discovering Art, – The life time and work of the World’s greatest Artists - 'MONET', K.E. Sullivan, Brockhamptonpress, London 2004, p. 56
I rejoiced in my progress, mourned my weaknesses, and commiserated the universal instability of human conduct. I had well-nigh forgotten where I was and our object in coming; but at last I dismissed my anxieties, which were better suited to other surroundings, and resolved to look about me and see what we had come to see. The sinking sun and the lengthening shadows of the mountain were already warning us that the time was near at hand when we must go. As if suddenly wakened from sleep, I turned about and gazed toward the west. I was unable to discern the summits of the Pyrenees, which form the barrier between France and Spain; not because of any intervening obstacle that I know of but owing simply to the insufficiency of our mortal vision.petrarch: Letter to Dionigi di Borgo San Sepolcro (26 April 1336), as translated by James Harvey Robinson (1898)
And in this, that philosophy begins in wonder [Plato, Theaetetus 155d], lies the, so to speak, non-bourgeois character of philosophy; for to feel astonishment and wonder is something non-bourgeois (if we can be allowed, for a moment, to use this all-too-easy terminology). For what does it mean to become bourgeois in the intellectual sense? More than anything else, it means that someone takes one's immediate surroundings (the world determined by the immediate purposes of life) so "tightly" and "densely," as if bearing an ultimate value, that the things of experience no longer become transparent. The greater, deeper, more real, and (at first) invisible world of essences is no longer even suspected to exist; the "wonder" is no longer there, it has no place to come from; the human being can no longer feel wonder. The commonplace mind, rendered deaf-mute, finds everything self-explanatory. But what really is self-explanatory? Is it self-explanatory, then, that we exist? Is it self-explanatory that there is such a thing as "seeing"? These are questions that someone who is locked into the daily world cannot ask; and that is so because such a person has not succeeded, as anyone whose senses (like a deaf person) are simply not functioning — has not managed even for once to forget the immediate needs of life, whereas the one who experiences wonder is one who, astounded by the deeper aspect of the world, cannot hear the immediate demands of life — if even for a moment, that moment when he gazes on the astounding vision of the world.josef pieper: pp. 101–102
In the final analysis you find spiritual truth through your own higher nature. Your higher nature is a drop in the ocean of God - and has access to the ocean. Sometimes your higher nature is awakened through the inspiration of beautiful surroundings or beautiful music, bringing you insights of truth. Sometimes you see the truth written or hear the truth spoken, and your higher nature confirms it. Or you directly perceive the truth from the inside through an awakening of the higher nature, which is my way. All the inspired writing came from the inner source, and you too can receive from that source. Be still and know.peace pilgrim: p. 145 (Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words (1982))
He stands alone in unapproachable grandeur. Nineteen centuries roll away, and His character so lives that He inspires, millions of men with impassioned love. Other men may seem to be children of their surroundings; He became what He was despite His surroundings, and is the only one who can say in truth and holiness, "Do as I have done." He, the ideal, the perfect one of our race, appears in an age when such an ideal could not have been developed in act — could not have been conceived in thought. In the theory of development the perfection of humanity is the final result of man's history ages hence. Christ therefore is the great miracle which more than any other establishes the fact of miracles. Christ Himself is proof of His own miracles.richard reynolds: Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 57.
To see is one thing; to picture or visualise is another. A person can see things, only when his eyes are open, and when his surroundings are illuminated; but he can have pictures in his mind’s eye, when his eyes are shut and when the world is dark.Gilbert Ryle: Ch. VIII: Imagination, (2) Picturing and Seeing
It would be simpler to say that the more you limit yourself the more normal you are and the more you expand yourself the more special you are. Here the implication of the word expansion goes beyond one’s own body and immediate family, say, maybe, expanding till your neighbourhood, colony, city, country, world... the entire creation. Expansion is directly proportional to your level of evolution — the more evolved you are, the more expanded you are and the more you will care about your surroundings. Satya Sai Baba was one such evolved, expanded human being... A person who is in vairagya, which is called one of the finalities in Sanatan Kriya, is least concerned about critics or acclaims. He just moves on the chosen path. It’s of no consequence to him who is saying what about him... good or bad. It’s his mission which is important and of utmost concern to him. No matter who says what, no matter what the circumstance, no matter what the occasion, he finds some way to put his point across and that too very effectively.sathya sai baba: Yogi Ashwini, Spiritual Guide, Dhyan Foundation (From the article 'Satya Sai: A born legend', Deccan Chronicle, April 28, 2011, Article available at , Accessed on October 25, 2011).
Do the identifications with fictions, the inner, tidal motions of pathos and libido which the novel, the film, the painting, the symphony unleash within us somehow immunize us against the humbler, less formed, but actual claims of suffering and of need in our surroundings? Does the cry in the tragic play muffle, even blot out, the cry in the street?George Steiner: Ch. 1 (p. 144)
A person influenced by circumstances can become viciously envious or affectionately kind. Our company and our surroundings have a crucial effect on our consciousness. How important it is to be an instrument to bring out the inherent good of each other rather than the worst.radhanath swami: (?)
When I talk of reality, I am always thinking of essentials. Profundity is not located in some remote, inaccessible region. It is rooted in everyday life. That is what great thinkers have taught me, above all the philosophers of the Far East, for whom true wisdom — which I am far from achieving — is the conjunction of samsara (the ordinary world) and nirvana (profound reality). To achieve contact with reality is not to transport oneself elsewhere, it is not transcendence but thorough immersion in one's surroundings. A reality which is neither purely physical nor metaphysical, but both at once.antoni tàpies: As quoted in "Antoni Tapies" by Serafin Garcia Ibanez in the UNESCO Courier (June 1994)