Let us have no ranting tragedies. Too many charactersNot a tolerable woman's part in the play.jane austen: 1814 Mansfield Park, ch.14.
There are only two kinds of government, the scarcely tolerable and the absolutely unbearable.JohnW Dafoe: Characteristic remark, quoted in Murray Donnelly Dafoe of the Free Press (1968).
" I have often thought, if it was not for this tyranny which custom usurps over us, that men of any tolerable good-nature could never be reconcil'd to the killing of so many animals for their daily food.Bernard Mandeville, On The Fable of the Bees
"Go to the meat-market of a Saturday night and see the crowds of live bipeds staring up at the long rows of dead quadrupeds. Does not that sight take a tooth out of the cannibal’s jaw? Cannibals? who is not a cannibal? I tell you it will be more tolerable for the Fejee that salted down a lean missionary in his cellar against a coming famine; it will be more tolerable for that provident Fejee, I say, in the day of judgment than for thee, civilized and enlightened gourmand, who nailest geese to the ground and feasted on their bloated livers in thy pate-de-foie-gras."Herman Melville, Moby Dick, chapter 65
It is only religion, the great bond of love and duty to God, that makes any existence valuable or even tolerable. Without this, to live were only to graze.… Without this, the beauties of the world are but splendid gewgaws , the stars of heaven glittering orbs of ice, and, what is yet far worse and colder, the trials of existence profitless and unadulterated miseries.Horace Bushnell, Sermons for the New Life (1859) ch. XI, "Obligation a Privilege" pp. 221-222.
Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable sub-human who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house.Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love (1973), and again in The Notebooks of Lazarus Long (1978)
Unos principios de crédito sirven de despertar la curiosidad, no de empeñar el objecto. Mejor sale quando la realidad excede al concepto y es más de lo que se creyó. Faltará esta regla en lo malo, pues le ayuda la mesma exageración; desmiéntela con aplauso, y aun llega a parecer tolerable lo que se temió extremo de ruin.baltasar gracián: Honorable beginnings should serve to awaken curiosity, not to heighten people's expectations. We are much better off when reality surpasses our expectations, and something turns out better than we thought it would. This rule does not hold true for bad things: when an evil has been exaggerated, its reality makes people applaud. What was feared as ruinous comes to seem tolerable.
I rather doubt if man really has much to gain by substituting peace for strife, as you and Jesus Christ recommend. Sic notus Ulixes? do you think you can outwit the resourceful malevolence of Nature? God is not mocked, as St. Paul long ago warned the Galatians. When man gets rid of a great trouble he is easier for a while, but not for long: Nature instantly sets to work to weaken his power of sustaining trouble, and very soon seven pounds is as heavy as fourteen pounds used to be. Last Easter Monday a young woman threw herself in the Lea because her dress looked so shabby amongst the holiday crowd: in other times and countries women have been ravished by half-a-dozen dragoons and taken it less to heart. It looks to me as if the state of mankind always had been and always would be a state of just tolerable discomfort.a. e. housman: "Letter to Gilbert Murray" (April 23, 1900).
You have spoken divers things as we have been informed very prejudicial to the honour of the churches and ministers thereof, and you have maintained a meeting and an assembly in your house that hath been condemned by the general assembly as a thing not tolerable nor comely in the sight of God nor fitting for your sex...anne hutchinson: Governor John Winthrop, beginning the interrogation at her trial.
Though the Negroes are fed, clothed, and housed, and though the Irish peasant is starved, naked, and roofless, the bare name of freemen—the lordship over his own person, the power to choose and will—are blessings beyond food, raiment, or shelter; possessing which, the want of every comfort of life is yet more tolerable than their fullest enjoyment without them.fanny kemble: Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839, ch. 1 (1863).
The central drama of our age is how the Western nations and the Asian peoples are to find a tolerable basis of co-existence.walter lippmann: "Asia and the West", New York Herald Tribune (European edition; September 15, 1965), p. 4
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.Francis Pharcellus Church in "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus".
We all want notoriety; our desires on this point, as upon others, are not noble, but the human is very despicable vermin and only tolerable when it tends to the brute, and away from the evangelical.George Moore: Ch. 16. (Confessions of a Young Man (1886))
At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life....[P]eople have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail…. We conclude the line should be drawn at viability, so that, before that time, the woman has a right to choose to terminate her pregnancy....[T]here is no line other than viability which is more workable. To be sure, as we have said, there may be some medical developments that affect the precise point of viability, but this is an imprecision within tolerable limits....A husband has no enforceable right to require a wife to advise him before she exercises her personal choices.Anthony Kennedy, U.S. Supreme Court, speaking for the Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992) (joint opinion coauthored with Justices Souter and O’Connor).
"The Siege of the Warwick Hotel." I was left alone with a substantial supply of speed. I started having strange, convulsive behavior. I was shooting up every half-hour . . . thinking that with each fresh shot I'd knock this nonsense out of my system. I'd entertain myself hanging on to the bathroom sink with my hind feet stopped up against the door, trying to hold myself steady enough so I wouldn't crack my stupid skull open. I entertained myself by making a tape . . . a really fabulous tape in which I made up five different personalities. I realized that I had to get barbiturates in order to stop the convulsions, which lasted either hours. Something was spinning in my head. . . . I just kept thinking that if I could pop enough speed I'd knock the daylights out of my system and none of this nonsense would go on. None of this flailing around and moaning, sweating like a pig, and whew! It was a heavy scene. When I finally cooled down to what I thought was pretty good shape, I slipped on a little muumuu, ran down the stairs of the Warwick, barefoot to the lobby. My eye caught a mailman's jacket and a sack of mail hanging across the back of a chair in the hall way entrance, and before I knew what I was doing, I whipped on the jacket, flipped the bag over my shoulder, and flew out the door, whistling a happy tune. Suddenly I thought: "My God! This is a federal offense. Fooling around with the mail." So I turned around and rushed back and BAM! the manager was waiting for me. He ordered me into the back office. They telephoned an ambulance from Bellevue and packed me into it. Five policemen. I was back into convulsions again, which was really a drag, and I tried to tell the doctors and the nurses and the student interns that I'd run out of barbiturates and overshot speed. . . . I could speak sanely, but all my motor nerves were going crazy wild. It looked like I was out of my mind. If you had seen me, you wouldn't have bothered to listen, and none of them did. Oh, God, it was a nightmare. Finally six big spade attendants came and held me down on a stretcher. They terrified me . . . their force against mine. I got twice as bad. I just flipped. I told them if they'd just let go of me, I would calm down and stop kicking and fighting. But they wouldn't listen and they started to tell each other what stages of hallucinations I was in . . . how I imagined myself an animal. All these things totally unreal to my mind and just guessed on their part. Oh, it was insane. Then they plunged a great needle into my butt and BAM! out I went for two whole days. When I woke up, wow! Rats all over the floor, wailing and screaming. We ate potatoes with spoons. The doctors at Bellevue finally contacted my private physician, and after five days he came and got me out. They sent me back to Gracie Square, a private mental hospital that cost a thousand dollars a week. I was there for five months. Then I ran away with a patient and we went to an apartment in the Seventies somewhere which belonged to another patient in the hospital, who gave us the keys. The guy I ran away with was twenty, but he'd been a junkie since the age of nine, so he was pretty emotionally retarded and something of a drag. I didn't have any pills, so, kind of ravaging around, I went to see a gynecologist and a pretty well-off one. He asked me if I would like to shoot up some acid with him. I hadn't much experience with acid, but I wasn't afraid. He closed his office at five, and we took off in his Aston Martin and drove up the coast . . . no, what's the name of that river? The Hudson. We stopped at a motel and he gave me three ampules of liquid Sandoz acid, intravenously, mainlining, and he gave himself the same amount and he completely flipped, I was hallucinating and trying to tell him what I was seeing. I'd say, "I see rich, embroidered curtains, and I see people moving in the background. It's the Middle Ages and I am a princess, " and I told him he was some sort of royalty. We made love from eight in the evening until seven in the morning with ecstatic climax after climax, just going insane with it, until he realized it was seven and he had to get back to his office to open it at eight-thirty. He gave me a shot to calm me down, and because I couldn't come down, I took about fourteen Placidyls. On the way back something very strange happened. I didn't realize I was going to say it, but I said out loud, "I wish I was dead" . . . the love and the beauty and the ecstasy of the whole experience I'd just gone through were really so alien. I didn't even know the man . . . it had been a one-night jag . . . he was married and had children . . . and I just felt lost. It hardly seemed worth living any more because once again I was alone. He dropped me off at the apartment where I was staying with the runaway patient. I had a little Bloody Mary when I got there, and dropped a few more Placidyls. With my tolerance, nothing should have happened, but I suddenly went into a coma. My eyes rolled back in my head. It was lucky . . . I had called an aide, Jimmy, at the hospital - he had been a good friend - I had called him anonymously and asked him to come and visit us. He happened to turn up just as I went into the coma. He and the heroin addict tried to wake me up. They slapped me and pumped my chest and they put me in a bathtub full of really cold water. Jimmy began to call hospitals - not psychiatric but medical - and one of them actually told them to let me sleep it off. But Jimmy just flipped. He knew I was dying, and he was right. He called Lenox Hill Hospital, and the police finally came. Jimmy and the heroin addict were taken into custody, and I was rushed to the hospital. I was actually declared dead. My mother was called . . . and then BAM! I started breathing again. I was pretty shaken up by what happened because I didn't understand how I could have almost gone out on just fifteen Placidyls when I used to live on thirty-five three-grain Tunials a day, plus alcohol. They released Jimmy and the junkie, but of course I was still in the trap. I thought I was fine and that I could leave. But a psychiatrist came to interview me and I was put in the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital - committed on the grounds of unintentional, unconscious suicide. It was a pretty devastating experience. They put me on eight hundred milligrams of Thorazine four times a day plus six hundred milligrams at bedtime - an ugly-tasting liquid, but it took quick effect and you couldn't hide the pills or spit them out later. I had all kinds of bad reactions from it - I'd get bad tremors and all itchy and wormy. I said I wasn't going to take the stuff any more, no matter what, so they finally took me off it one day. I had a seizure, vomited all over the floor, and I couldn't get tremendous dosages of Thorazine, but they accused me of importing drugs and taking them there in the hospital. My doctor was young . . . a resident . . . and I just told him, "You think I've taken drugs. There's no point in even reasoning with you. I'll just go to some other hospital." I expected to go to some plush, tolerable hospital, but I was not accepted in any private hospital with the record they gave me. They committed me to Manhattan State on Ward's Island, in the middle of the East River, next to the prison. It was one of the most unpleasant experiences I've ever been through. Really terrifying. I lived in a big dormitory on a ward with about sixty to eighty women. We did all the mopping, cleaning, making beds, scrubbing toilets. And the people there were just so awful. Really pathetic. Some of them were mean. The staff completely ignored you except to administer medication. I thought it was never going to end. In Manhattan State, even in there, there were pushers. One girl who lived in a smaller dormitory - there were two with about ten beds in them - was pushing speed and heroin. And because I'd been warned that if ever you were caught using drugs in a state hospital you'd be criminally punished, I didn't touch any drugs during the three months I was there.edie sedgwick: On her near death experience and final days in New York.
A man must be perfectly crazy who, where there is tolerable security, does not employ all the stock which he commands,...Adam Smith: Chapter I, p. 313 (see opportunity cost)
Men and boys are learning all kinds of trades but how to make men of themselves. They learn to make houses; but they are not so well housed, they are not so contented in their houses, as the woodchucks in their holes. What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on? — If you cannot tolerate the planet that it is on? Grade the ground first. If a man believes and expects great things of himself, it makes no odds where you put him, or what you show him ... he will be surrounded by grandeur. He is in the condition of a healthy and hungry man, who says to himself, — How sweet this crust is!Henry David Thoreau: Letter to Harrison Blake (20 May 1860); published in Familiar Letters (1865)
Fire is the most tolerable third party.Henry David Thoreau: January 2, 1853
Prior restraints on speech and publication are the most serious and least tolerable infringement on First Amendment Rights.Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States (Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart, 1976).
You talk a great deal about building a better world for your children, but when you are young you can no more envision a world inherited by your children than you can conceive of dying. The society you mold, you mold for yourself. It was this way with my generation. We were unhappy with what we inherited and we tried to reshape it in ways that would make it more tolerable to us. You were not uppermost in our thoughts. Now, in middle age, some of us are trying to rewrite history. Some of us tell you, "We labored and dared and sacrificed all for you yet we hear no thanks." You will not be unduly moved, I hope, by these laments. They are sentimental cries from persons so attached to the society they have rebuilt that they cannot bear the thought of seeing it overhauled by new proprietors.russell baker: "The Becoming Looseness of Doom" (p.79)
Imprecision is tolerable and verisimilar in literature, because we always tend towards it in life.jorge luis borges: "The Postulation of Reality" ["La postulación de la realidad"] (1931)
Until last year, although this town was barely fifty miles from Denver, the road had been bad and only a handful of visitors had chanced on it. The increasing tendency for people to take mountain vacations, however, since the sea had become too filthy to be tolerable, could not be ignored. The road now was excellent and the area had exploded.john brunner: January “SNOW JOB”
There is a valid distinction between knowledge which is objective and impersonal, and thinking which is subjective and personal. In one sense, knowledge is that which we take for granted. It is that which is settled, disposed of, established, under control. What we fully know, we do not need to think about. In common phrase, it is certain, assured. And this does not mean a mere feeling of certainty. It denotes not a sentiment, but a practical attitude, a readiness to act without reserve or quibble. Of course we may be mistaken. What is taken for knowledge for fact and truth at a given time may not be such. But everything which is assumed without question, which is taken for granted in our intercourse with one another and nature is what, at the given time, is called knowledge. Thinking on the contrary, starts, as we have seen, from doubt or uncertainty. It marks an inquiring, hunting, searching attitude, instead of one of mastery and possession. Through its critical process true knowledge is revised and extended, and our convictions as to the state of things reorganized. Clearly the last few centuries have been typically a period of revision and reorganization of beliefs. Men did not really throw away all transmitted beliefs concerning the realities of existence, and start afresh upon the basis of their private, exclusive sensations and ideas. They could not have done so if they had wished to, and if it had been possible general imbecility would have been the only outcome. Men set out from what had passed as knowledge, and critically investigated the grounds upon which it rested; they noted exceptions; they used new mechanical appliances to bring to light data inconsistent with what had been believed; they used their imaginations to conceive a world different from that in which their forefathers had put their trust. The work was a piecemeal, a retail, business. One problem was tackled at a time. The net results of all the revisions amounted, however, to a revolution of prior conceptions of the world. What occurred was a reorganization of prior intellectual habitudes, infinitely more efficient than a cutting loose from all connections would have been. This state of affairs suggests a definition of the role of the individual, or the self, in knowledge; namely, the redirection, or reconstruction of accepted beliefs. Every new idea, every conception of things differing from that authorized by current belief, must have its origin in an individual. New ideas are doubtless always sprouting, but a society governed by custom does not encourage their development. On the contrary, it tends to suppress them, just because they are deviations from what is current. The man who looks at things differently from others is in such a community a suspect character; for him to persist is generally fatal. Even when social censorship of beliefs is not so strict, social conditions may fail to provide the appliances which are requisite if new ideas are to be adequately elaborated; or they may fail to provide any material support and reward to those who entertain them. Hence they remain mere fancies, romantic castles in the air, or aimless speculations. The freedom of observation and imagination involved in the modern scientific revolution were not easily secured; they had to be fought for, many suffered for their intellectual independence. But, upon the whole, modern European society first permitted, and then, in some fields at least, deliberately encouraged the individual reactions which deviate from what custom prescribes. Discovery, research, inquiry in new lines, inventions, finally came to be either the social fashion, or in some degree tolerable.john dewey: Individual Mind as the Agent of Reorganization
The right to dissent is the only thing that makes life tolerable for a judge of an appellate court... the affairs of government could not be conducted by democratic standards without it.william o. douglas: America Challenged (1960).