I grew up with tarot cards and the reading of tea leaves.

— Quentin S. Crisp

The most mind-blowing Quentin S. Crisp quotes that will transform you to a better person

I don't know if Britain ever really achieved that much glamour.

We had post-war austerity rather than post-war prosperity, and our cultural products of the time include some pretty dour kitchen-sink dramas of the A Kind of Loving variety. (This kind of film seems disillusioned with the sixties before they've even really begun.)

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I like the concept of an anti-muse, though I'm not quite sure what that is.

If there is such a thing in my life, I suppose it is just this weariness, this sense that it is more fulfilling not to exist, to efface all traces, than to limit oneself to the determined expression of manifestation.

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[Someone] said that what I described as the Buddhist voice - the life-denying voice of censure and guilt - sounded to him very much like a Catholic voice. This is, indeed, a mystery, and it intrigues me, too.

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I understand that words can mean different things to different people, and, further, that people can have different relationships with complex abstract entities such as Buddhism. To me, anyway, the entity in my life that conflicts with my creativity is Buddhism.

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It would be hard to say that exactly, but antinatalism is a reality in my life, not just an interesting idea. I can feel it in the chilled and weary marrow of my bones.

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It's true that Eastern philosophy and religion were not unknown to me as a child, since my father has explored much in that area, and written books more or less in that area, too.

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We all know about the car breaking down on a deserted road scenario.

That's cliché. I'm thinking more of Cider with Rosie, as in, the dark side.

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I think I still have [commemorative coin ] somewhere.

Why was this given to me? I think every child in the country must have received one [ from Queen's Silver Jubilee]. That's the last time that I recall something of an innocent, more-or-less unquestioning monarchist patriotism in Britain.

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What I find difficult about Buddhism, though it is also one of its significant fascinations, is the focus on what is immediately and physically present. To me, this seems a denial of the imagination, and the imagination is very important to me.

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You focus on the here and now in order to escape existence forever and vanish into Nirvana. There is another religious impulse that is the opposite of this. It uses a world elsewhere in order to affirm life and give a reason to "go forth and multiply".

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People may wish to say that the thing that is in conflict with my creativity is not Buddhism - that's fine.

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My muse can take the form of a landscape, an era, a style of writing, a piece of music, and, perhaps that which I find strangest of all for a muse, a human female. Of course, she's also adept at taking the form of toothless old Japanese men or young English lads with tattoos.

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About Quentin S. Crisp

Quotes 105 sayings
Profession Rapper
Birthday 1972

The quality of that 'who I am', is what I hope comes out in the writing.

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[My muse] feels nostalgic for Japan, and, perhaps strangely, for the pioneer days of America.

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Apart from the underlying mystery of all things, there is also another possible specific mystery in this situation: Why did I become so interested in Buddhism, Zen and so on? I seem to have a Buddhist voice in my head, and someone asked me about this recently, saying he was intrigued.

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Zen is influenced by Daoism, which is not so much a nature-religion in the animistic sense as a nature-philosophy in a cosmic sense.

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The imagination is fertile. From seeds of the imagination, much is made manifest.

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I grew up in North Devon, by the sea, and feel a special affinity for the landscape there, despite a lack of actual ancestry.

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I went for a walk in the rain. Recently, whenever it rains, I feel like I want to go for a walk.

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[william] Burroughs, incidentally, took up the slogan that we are "Here to go", which contradicts the tendency in Eastern mysticism to advocate staying where you are because there's nowhere to go anyway. I feel conflicted on this one.

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I mean, in 1979 I was seven. I do remember punk, though, as a playground phenomenon, and remember that it was exciting to us. It really was, to a five- or six-year-old, quite a thrilling enticement to revolt. The anarchy sign scratched in desk tops, and so on.

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The weird thing is, I'm not entirely sure that I am meant to think that such a gift is who I am according to the philosophy underlying Vedanta. But I have long been stubborn like that, for some reason. It's a gift, as I say.

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I can't imagine anyone ever again being able to make a film like, say, Summer Holiday, for instance, to give a British example, actually. And there will never be another Annette Funicello. I suppose it's the slight starchiness of the innocence that makes it unrepeatable.

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This is the strange thing about existing in time.

As [Philip] Larkin puts it, "truly, though our element is time, we are not used to the strange perspectives open at each moment of our lives" - something like that.

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The research reading I did for Fascination and Liberation included some Jung, and I noticed that he had a similar impression of Buddhism to myself, that, if it weren't for certain qualifying clauses, the philosophy would be downright suicidal.

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I seem to be less depressed but also less hopeful now in my thirties.

My widow's peak bothers me. I think a lot about the end of the human race. And so on.

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If there is innocence on Earth again, I tend to imagine it in more [Henry David]Thoreau sort of terms.

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[My muse] is, in fact, a woman of the world, and precisely because of this, hopes that a diversity of cultures will endure, and that one bland monoculture does not swamp everything.

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I did not understand the differences between Catholic and Protestant until I was an adult.

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I have a bit of a struggle with some aspects of or forms of Buddhism, but Zen I find to be mainly congenial.

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To me the seventies represent normality, and, of course, it is a normality that is now anachronistic.

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I think the seventies caught the last red rays of the dying sun of this innocence, but were already a little cold and drab.

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I think [imagination] very austere element of Buddhism is also linked with a strong antinatalist strain in the philosophy. The Buddha was enlightened when he destroyed the house of body and soul into which he would otherwise have been forever reborn. This is clearly antinatalism.

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I was born in the seventies, age of bad haircuts and grainy colour photos.

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There's a possible qualification I can make here about a non-pantheist god that is in some way tenable, and that is the idea of a god that has in some way discharged the universe from its own substance (I associate this with the word 'tzimtzum'), possibly even by a form of suicide - a suicide that might have been the Big Bang.

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I feel like the seventies was a decade where things ran out, and where other things set in. There was just a lurking graininess and seediness about the decade, a slight grogginess of the hangover from the sixties.

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Another part of the rejection I mention was the realisation that Buddhism quite simply ignores or dismisses a whole hemisphere of human experience that finds expression in and is enshrined by the mystery religions.

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Perhaps I can also add something about the rural setting of Remember You're a One-Ball! The countryside is a place - in mythological and perhaps in very real terms - of mixed innocence and sin. It is seen by townsfolk as idyllic, lazy, free of urban crime and social problems. But those who grow up in the country can tell stories that often surprise those who grow up in the towns.

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I don't believe in sexual love.

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I don't want to give too much away, but something horrible happens in 1977.

That was also the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee. I remember this jubilee. I remember receiving a commemorative coin from the school. I think it was a fifty pence piece. That was its monetary value, but it was not a normal fifty pence piece, and it would have been strange to try and use it in a shop.

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I went on a meditation retreat. In 10 or so days, I spent about a hundred hours meditating, observing 'noble silence' the whole time, and so on. This was an interesting experience, which has had some beneficial effects for me.

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I also remember a line from a song by Smog [Bill Callahan], which seems to describe the experience of a town-dweller moving to the country: "I was raised in a pit of snakes/Blink your eyes - I was raised on cake."

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I think I'm probably too close to the seventies to be able to analyse them (it?) effectively.

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This is part of the fundamental character of Buddhism that I find problematic - that it is not interested in anything. Hence the 'Fascination' in the title of the essay, the fascination of art and creativity, stands in opposition to what is called 'Liberation'.

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Lots of things were there [in the seventies], in the social experience, but not quite named, lurking like a stranger on the edge of the playground.

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Non-pantheist models for god seem almost completely untenable to me, though not without interest.

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This strong sense of who I am that I've always had, since I was very young, is what makes me write.

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It's interesting, the sense of pastoral utopia that exists in so much fantasy - in [Edward ] Dunsany, [John R.R.] Tolkien and so on.

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I do have a muse. I am not sure how to describe her. She can be very elusive. She was born in England but has Mediterranean ancestry.

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