Don’t laugh at a youth for his affectations; he is only trying on one face after another to find his own.
A child does not thrive on what he is prevented from doing, but on what he actually does.
In this day and age, some turn eighteen and think they’re a man or a woman and that’s it, but that’s just not true. You have to establish your manhood or your womanhood with actions.
To have lived long does not necessarily imply the gathering of much wisdom and experience. A man who has pedaled twenty-five thousand miles on a stationary bicycle has not circled the globe. He has only garnered weariness.
You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.
The fifteen-year-old daughter of a friend once addressed the old Carl Jung as follows: “Herr Professor, you are so clever. Could you please tell me the shortest path to my life’s goal?” Without a moment’s hesitation Jung replied, “The detour!”
Too many people grow up. They forget. They don’t remember what it’s like to be twelve years old. They patronize; they treat children as inferiors. Well, I won’t do that.
Even very recently, the elders could say [to the youths]: “You know, I have been young and you never have been old.” But today’s young people can reply: “You never have been young in the world I am young in, and you never can be.” . . . This break between generations is wholly new: it is planetary and universal.
When a child first catches adults out — when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just — his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child’s world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.
Our parents got divorced when we were kids, and it was kind of cool. We got to go to divorce court with them. It was like a game show. My mom won the house and car. We were all excited. My dad got some luggage.
What did we care . . . where we sat or how we lived, when youth throbbed hot in our veins, and our souls were all aflame with the possibilities of life?
You wake up one day and say, “You know what, I don’t think I ever need to sleep or have sex again.” Congratulations, you’re ready to have children.
Some people change when they see the light, others when they feel the heat.
A person is always startled when he hears himself seriously called an old man for the first time.
If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character . . . would you slow down? Or speed up?
It is not the conscious changes made in their lives by men and women — a new job, a new town, a divorce — which really shape them, like the chapter headings in a biography, but a long, slow mutation of emotion, hidden, all-penetrative; something by which they may be so taken up that the practical outward changes of their lives in the world, noted with surprise, scandal, or envy by others, pass almost unnoticed by themselves.
Beyond a certain point, the whole universe becomes a continuous process of initiation.
The end is nothing, the road is all.