You'll want all your strength for the wedding night. I cannot think why I should need strength, she said, ignoring a host of spine-tingling images rising in her mind's eye. All I have to do is lie there. Naked, he said grimly. Truly? She shot him a glance from under her lashes. Well, if I must, I must, for you have the advantage of experience in these matters. Still, I do wish you'd told me sooner. I should not have put the modiste to so much trouble about the negligee. The what? It was ghastly expensive, she said, but the silk is as fine as gossamer and the eyelet work about the neckline is exquisite. Aunt Louisa was horrified. She said only Cyprians wear such things and it leaves nothing to the imagination. Jessica heard him suck in his breath, felt the muscular thigh tense against hers. But if it were left to Aunt Louisa, she went on,I should be covered from my chin to my toes in thick cotton ruffled with monstrosities with little bows and rosebuds. Which is absurd, when an evening gown reveals far more, not to mention-- What color? he asked. His low voice had roughened. Wine red, she said, With narrow black ribbons threaded through the neckline. Here. She traced a plunging U over her bosom. And there's the loveliest openwork over my...well, here. She drew her finger over the curve of her breast a bare inch above the nipple. And openwork on the right side of the skirt. From here --she pointed to her hip--down to the hem. And I bought--- Jess. Her name was a strangled whisper. --slippers to match, she continued. Black mules with-- Jess. In one furious flurry of motion he threw down the reins and hauled her into his lap.
Loretta Chase
The differences between religions are reflected very clearly in the different forms of sacred art: compared with Gothic art, above all in its flamboyant style, Islamic art is contemplative rather than volitive: it is intellectual and not dramatic and it opposes the cold beauty of geometrical design to the mystical heroism of cathedrals. Islam is the perspective of omnipresence (God is everywhere), which coincides with that of simultaneity (Truth has always been); it aims at avoiding any particularization or condensation, any unique fact in time and space, although as a religion it necessarily includes an aspect of unique fact, without which it would be ineffective or even absurd. In other words Islam aims at what is everywhere center and this is why, symbolically speaking, it replaces the cross with the cube or the woven fabric: it decentralizes and universalizes to the greatest possible extent, in the realm of art as in that of doctrine; it is opposed to any individualist mode and hence to any personalist mysticism. To express ourselves in geometrical terms, we could say that a point which seeks to be unique and which thus becomes an absolute center, appears to Islam—in art as in theology—as a usurpation of the divine absoluteness and therefore as an association (shirk); there is only one single center, God, whence the prohibition against centralizing images, especially statues; even the Prophet, the human center of the tradition, has no right to a Christic uniqueness and is decentralized by the series of other Prophets; the same is true of Islam—or the Koran—which is similarly integrated in a universal fabric and a cosmic rhythm, having been preceded by other religions—or other Books—which it merely restores. The Kaaba, center of the Muslim world, becomes space as soon as one is inside the building: the ritual direction of prayer is then projected toward the four cardinal points.If Christianity is like a central fire, Islam on the contrary resembles a blanket of snow, at once unifying and leveling and having its center everywhere.
Frithjof Schuon
Some Christian lawyers—some eminent and stupid judges—have said and still say, that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of all law.Nothing could be more absurd. Long before these commandments were given there were codes of laws in India and Egypt—laws against murder, perjury, larceny, adultery and fraud. Such laws are as old as human society; as old as the love of life; as old as industry; as the idea of prosperity; as old as human love.All of the Ten Commandments that are good were old; all that were new are foolish. If Jehovah had been civilized he would have left out the commandment about keeping the Sabbath and in its place would have said: 'Thou shalt not enslave thy fellow-men.' He would have omitted the one about swearing and said: 'The man shall have but one wife and the woman but one husband.' He would have left out the one about graven images and in its stead would have said: 'Thou shalt not wage wars of extermination and thou shalt not unsheathe the sword except in self-defence.'If Jehovah had been civilized, how much grander the Ten Commandments would have been.All that we call progress—the enfranchisement of man, of labor, the substitution of imprisonment for death, of fine for imprisonment, the destruction of polygamy, the establishing of free speech, of the rights of conscience; in short, all that has tended to the development and civilization of man; all the results of investigation, observation, experience and free thought; all that man has accomplished for the benefit of man since the close of the Dark Ages—has been done in spite of the Old Testament.
Robert G. Ingersoll
The part of thinking that’s easy to handle is the part that works by analogy with speech. Thinking in words, speaking our thoughts internally, projects an auditorium inside our skulls. Dark or bright, a shadow theater or a stage scorched by klieg lights, here we try out voices, including the voice we have settled on as the familiar sound of our identity, although it may not be what other people hear when we speak aloud. But that is the topmost of the linguistic processes going on in the mind. Beneath the auditorium runs a continuous river of thought that not only is soundless but is not ordered so it can be spoken. For obvious reasons, describing it is difficult. If I dip experimentally into the wordless flow and then try to recall the sensations of it, I have the impression of a state in which grammar is present – for when I think like this I am certainly construing lucid relationships between different kinds of meaning and making sense of the world by distinguishing between (for a start) objects and actions – but thought there are so to speak nounlike and verblike concentrations in the flow, I do not solidify them, I do not break them off into word-sized units. Are there pictures? Yes, but I am not watching a slide show, the images do not come in units either. Sometimes there’s a visual turbulence – rapid, tumbling, propelled – that doesn’t resolve into anything like the outlines of separate images. Sometimes one image, like a key, will hold steady while a whole train of wordless thoughts flows from its start to its finish. A mountain. A closed box. A rusty hinge.
Francis Spufford