I will lamely apologize for my long absence by begging off an elective surgery and painful recovery. That being the case, just now I seem curious to find what-all the world might have to say regarding pain…

Life is a progress from want to want, not from enjoyment to enjoyment.

– Samuel Johnson, Life of Johnson

Perhaps the innocence of the adult, where it is achieved, is greater than the innocence of a child, though bought at the cost of much painful awareness.

– Iain McGilchrist, The Master and His Emissary

We are burnt in the cold treasures of separation.

– Poetry world, the memory of Ghaznavi

Complete misery is always self-induced.

– Proctor Charlie

Being uncomfortable is not the same as being unsafe.

– Mike Anderer

Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.

– Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Why does full consciousness always include the mysterious capacity for misery as well as for happiness?

– Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism

When bad behaviors become habits, the worst outcomes become inevitabilities.

– Elliot Ackerman, The Fifth Act

What we often seek in perfection is freedom from the discomfort of making mistakes. In return we trade our curiosity, our flexibility, and the room to grow.

– Momen

What does a storm know of sorrow?

– Terry Pratchett, Wintersmith

We would much rather be angry than sad.

– Richard Rohr, The Gift of Tears

We who are creatures of impulse are not creatures of despair.

– Joseph Conrad, Chance

We were not born to survive, only to live.

– William Stanley Merwin, The River of Bees

We don’t tend to see the truth as something that could set us free because it means embracing pain, acknowledging our differences and conflicts, taking our real situation into account.

– Kathleen Norris, Dakota

Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell.

– G.K. Chesterton, A Piece of Chalk

Violence has a long tail.

– Elliot Ackerman, The Fifth Act

Truth tastes nasty.

– Elizabeth Tervo, Hilde and the Bad Poets

To exist is to survive unfair choices.

– Ruby Rae Spiegel, The OA Way

They breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.

– William Shakespeare, King Richard II

There was never yet philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently.

– William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.

– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There is no life without pain, just as there is no art without submitting to chaos.

– Rita Mae Brown

There are truths that can be discovered only through suffering or from the critical vantage point of extreme situations.

– Ignacio Martin-Baro

There are griefs which leave the poet without words.

– Proctor Charlie

There are always places to go further down.

– Neil Gaiman, American Gods

There [is] no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears [bear] witness that a man [has] the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.

– Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

The truth, the whole truth, tends to be complex, its contentments and joys wrestled out of doubt, pain, change.

– Kathleen Norris, Dakota

The same substances that take the edge off anxiety and pain also dull our sense of observation.

– Brene Brown, Atlas of the Heart

The only comparison which we make of ourselves to the finite is painful to us.

– Blaise Pascal, Pensees

The ocean is always incomplete, just like the sky, just like the rain, and so in all those things lie an impossible yearning.

– Umair Haque, A Book of Nights

The more our lives go on, the more the forge contained in our soul hammers out chains.

– Andreas Karkavitsas, The Archeologist

The iron forged on the anvil cannot be blamed for the hammer.

– Terry Pratchett, Dodger

The impossible is what men get from events — and often at its most unwelcome.

– A.J.P. Taylor, Trotsky

The higher the love the greater the pain.

– Mechthild of Magdeburg, The Flowing Light of the Godhead

The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain.

– Lord Byron

The energy of evil is so much more forcible than the energy of good.

– Joseph Conrad, Chance

The enemy isn’t pain; it’s fear of pain.

– Richard Rohr, What the Mystics Know

The dark past is the greatest possession you have-the key to life and happiness for others.

– Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous

The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

– J. K. Galbraith

The comic when it is human becomes quickly painful.

– Joseph Conrad, Chance

That to be fully alive you have to be willing to bear pain.

– Vandana Singh, Requiem

Suffering will only be removed by wisdom, not by drenching it in sunshine or attempting to bury it in a dark basement.

– Frank Ostaseski, The Five Invitations

Suffering opens the channel through which all of life flows and by which all creation breathes, and I still do not know why.

– Richard Rohr, Breathing Under Water

Suffering cannot wipe away the heart’s smile.

– William Paul Young, The Divine Dance (forward)

Sometimes God’s economy seems severe.

– Brother Them, Wrestling with Iggy

Screaming was no kind of kindly neighbor.

– Patrick Rothfuss, The Slow Regard of Silent Things

Reason is no match for pain.

– John-Henry Butterworth, Nine Perfect Strangers.

Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows.

– C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Poverty is a thing created by that which is called civilized life.

– Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice

People don’t really want to be cured. What they want is relief; a cure is painful.

– Anthony de Mello, Awareness

Pain hurts, just as greed intoxicates and lust burns.

– Neil Gaiman, American Gods

Only those who have tried breathing under water know how imporant breathing really is, and will never take it for granted again.

– Richard Rohr, Breathing Under Water

Only the living know what loss means.

– Lucy Kaplansky, Booklyn Train

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life; that word is love.

– Sophocles

No soldier was ever ashamed of his scars.

– Benjamin Paul Blood, Optimism

Misery is not inevitable.

– Arthur C. Brooks, Your Professionl Decline is Coming (much) Sooner Than You Think

Men think they are better than grass.

– William Stanley Merwin, The River of Bees

Love, Hope, and Joy, fair pleasure’s smiling train, Hate, Fear, and Grief, the family of pain; these mixed with art, and to due bounds confined, make and maintain the balance of the mind.

– Alexander Pope, Essay on Man

Love runs best when it seems to break down.

– Thomas Merton, Eighteen Poems

Life is like being at the dentist. You always think that the worst is still to come, and yet it is over already.

– Otto von Bismarck

Life is an accommodation to life in exile.

– Terry Chapman

Life is a tragedy when seen in closeup, But a comedy in longshot

– Charlie Chaplin

Letting go of a sure thing is the only way to get something better.

– Isaiah Hankel, How to Beat Fear of Failure and Take Calculated Risks

Just because we can use the noise of the world to block out the discomfort of dealing with ourselves doesn’t mean that this discomfort goes away.

– Zat Rana, The Most Important Skill Nobody Taught You

It seems to me that if you can’t ever admit to being a wretch, you haven’t been paying attention.

– Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace

It is only among humanity that we find a natural tendency toward abnormality.

– Proctor Charlie

It is most blessed for man to be taken from pain, more than pain to be taken from man.

– Julian of Norwich, Showings

It is hard to rule and wisdom can be painful.

– Neil Gaiman, Trigger Warning

Internal warfare is our normal state.

– Doug Frank, A Gentler God

If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering.

– Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

If I were dead, I don’t think I’d have this blinding headache.

– Terry Nation, Blake’s 7: Aftermath

If heartaches were commercials we’d all be on TV.

– John Prine, Come Back to Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard

I never want to be too busy for the person in pain. That goes double if I happen to be that busy person.

– Proctor Charlie

I hope when I die I start feeling good about myself.

– Tom Clayton

Hope is that virtue which implies a deficiency in strength as well as a sense of loneliness.

– Brother Them

He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.

– Samuel Johnson, Anecdotes of the RVD Percival Stockdale

He who learns must suffer.

– Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Grief is the price we pay for loving and we gladly pay the price.

– Paul Mariani, Thirty Days

God loves rock bottom.

– Anne Lamott, Hallelujah Anyway

For some reason, which I have yet to understand, beauty hurts.

– Richard Rohr, Breathing Under Water

Do I hope that if feeling disguises itself as thought that I will feel less?

– C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Donne was wrong. If we were not islands, we would be lost, drowned in each other’s tragedies.

– Neil Gaiman, American Gods

For all the senseless phenomena of our existence, and the most senseless most of all, are susceptible of investigation. Not completely, but sufficiently to spare one painful questions.

– Franz Kafka, Investigations of a Dog

For some reason we human beings seem to learn best how to love when we’re a bit broken.

– Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace

Do human beings really like being happy?

– C.S.Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Discomfort is a sign that we are being stretched into new territory.

– Christine Valters Painter, The Soul’s Slow Ripening

Delivery is only real when pain and suffering are real.

– Brother Them, Wrestling with Iggy

Bones mend. Regret stays with you forever.

– Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

Better to have pain and pleasure in some intensity than to have a lukewarm sensation between them.

– Benjamin Paul Blood, Optimism

Being able to see what’s coming doesn’t make it any less painful when it arrives.

– Brene Brown, Atlas of the Heart

And the seasons, they go round and round and the painted ponies go up and down–we’re captives on a carousel of time.

– Joni Mitchell, The Circle Game

An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.

– Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

[People] would rather be unhappy for ten years than be uncertain about their future for ten minutes.

– Isaiah Hankel, How to Beat Fear of Failure and Take Calculated Risks

If you have read all the way down to here, I hope you are feeling a little less pain.


The deepest impressions are left in the softest snow. The dusty footprints are blown away. The muddy footprints are washed away. Who will not want their footprint to be fossilized. Let those who walk behind find their footprints melting away with the dawning spring. When a soul is left behind in the unity of Spirit what mark will it leave in the soft or hard Earth? Can a soft soul impress the hard earth?


An old saying comes down to us from the Bajan people of Barbados: “There is no magical place called ‘Away'”. The Bajans have some credibility on the subject since most came from someplace else and most have also since dispersed elsewhere.

Bajan fusion band Cover Drive

Well we will be testing the theory ourselves this week as we will be escaping “Away” off the grid. Whether or not we return any more magical than we already are remains to be seen.

We so much appreciate all who have contributed tidbits of wisdom over the past few months using our submit a suggestion form. We have now amassed over 4,800 such tidbits which we can now draw from as we expand our conversation past the 700 – odd items already linked together on the prototype. You can also use that third free text field on the submit a suggestion form to help us improve what we already have. Some things to look for:

  • misspellings
  • mis-attributed wisdom
  • links which take you back to the page you were just on, or were very recently on
  • anything else which tempts you to snort and declare, “What kind of bozos do the Proctor Charlie Collective think they are?”

Enjoy the spring or autumn weather from wherever in the world you are and we will be back in mid-May.

One last item: we have also been busy in recent weeks creating specs for a very simple iOS and Android app in hopes to spread the literary wisdom wealth further yet. If you or someone you know may want to earn a few bucks helping us crank that out let us know. Where? On the submit a suggestion form of course.

Even the Proctor Charlie Collective can get a little bit political…

A wise man does not try to hurry history.

— Adlai E. Stevenson

Bandits and governments ’ave so much in common that they might be interchangeable anywhere in the world…

— Terry Pratchett

Division is how evil operates.

— Lenny Duncan

Fear of finding oneself in bad company is not an expression of political purity; it is an expression of a lack of self-confidence.

— Arthur Koestler

For forms of government let fools contest, that which is best administered is best.

— Alexander Pope

Great reforms offend great interests.

— Winston Churchill

Ignorance and design are difficult to combat.

— George Washington

In politics the influence of imponderables is often greater than that of either military power or money.

Politics is the art of the possible.

— Otto von Bismarck

It is not power that corrupts but fear.

— Aung San Suu Kyi

It seems part of the human condition to always simplify in rhetoric while complicating in practice.

Political systems remain in flux because the dedicated moderate must always give way, eventually, to the passionate extremist.

— Proctor Charlie

Memory is inherently contentious and partisan: one man’s acknowledgment is another’s omission.

— Tony Judt

Never build a dungeon you wouldn’t be happy to spend the night in yourself.

— Terry Pratchett

People have a need for the externalization of evil. They have the need to think that there is somewhere an enemy boundlessly evil because this makes them feel boundlessly good.

Writing history is the common refuge of those who find themselves helpless in the face of the present.

— George Kennan

Politics brought forth, if not the worst in men, at least the worst in what people said about men.

— Benjamin Franklin

Politics is a smooth file, which cuts gradually, and attains its end by a slow progression.

— Charles de Montesquieu

Some people are worried about the difference between right and wrong. I’m worried about the difference between wrong and fun.

What this country needs is fewer people who know what this country needs.

Politics is one more way to achieve power without merit or risk.

— P.J. O’Rourke (Editorial note: so is journalism – PC)

The best politics is right action.

— Mahatma Gandhi

The punishment of wise men who refuse to take part in the affairs of government is to live under the government of unwise men.

— Plato

The really dangerous people believe that they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.

— Neil Gaiman

The spirit of place has an undeniable effect upon all of the ideas, as well as art and literature of a people.

— D. H. Lawrence

There is a great deal to be said for the status quo but this isn’t a position we could take publicly.

— John Foster Dulles

There is some danger in public life from stupid politicians; there is even more from politicians who are too clever.

— A.J.P. Taylor

Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

— George Bernard Shaw

To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman.

— George Santayana

Truth tellers transcend partisan affiliations.

— Andrew J. Bacevich

War cannot be divorced from politics for a single moment.

— Mao Tse-tung

Washington is a place where politicians don’t know which way is up and taxes don’t know which way is down.

— Robert Orben


Never let it be said that Proctor Charlie was too proud to post a kitten picture. And with that, enjoy all that Proctor Charlie has found about a subject he knows so little of…

Chastity is a wealth that comes from abundance of love.

The great earth makes herself hospitable with the help of the grass.

The Great walks with the Small without fear. The Middling keeps aloof.

The meaning of the bee’s hum in the ear of the early jasmine has escaped the learned, but the poet knows.

The sparrow is sorry for the peacock at the burden of its tail.

The stars are not afraid to appear like fireflies.

We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.

We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us.

— Rabindranath Tagore

Everybody in this world is some kind of weakling, and if he thinks he is not, then pride is his weakness, and that is the greatest weakness of all.

— Dr. Samuel Shoemaker

Humility — a quality that disappears the moment you think you have it.

— E.D. Hulse

Humility alone designs those short but admirable lines, by which, ungirt and unconstrained, things greater are in less contained.

— Andrew Marvell

Humility and intellect could be compatible, provided we placed humility first.

I don’t want to capitalize on humility.

True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly.

— Bill Wilson

I am no more than an idler in the garden of humanity, like a botanist out on a walk who picks a little bunch of flowers, a mere token of the inexhaustible richness of nature which escapes him.

People are always much more sensitive than we believe them to be.

— Paul Tournier

Humility is reality.

— Yvon Lauzon

I will show some respect for the eternal fitness of things.

Imagination labors best in distant fields.

We do not embellish the general desolation of a desert much.

— Mark Twain

A man cannot enjoy himself and continue to enjoy anything else.

Can it be that a man who begins with violent visions is humble?

Humility is not merely too good for this world; it is too practical for this world; I had almost said it is too worldly for this world.

Humility is so practical a virtue that men think it must be a vice.

Humility is so successful that it is mistaken for pride.

It is always the humble man who talks too much; the proud man watches himself too closely.

It is not only true that humility is a much wiser and more vigorous thing than pride. It is also true that vanity is a much wiser and more vigorous thing than pride.

It is the humble man who does the big things. It is the humble man who does the bold things.

Self-consciousness of necessity destroys self-revelation.

The things which are truly human are the useless ones.

— G.K. Chesterton

If I can find an acceptable way to do my own will I will do it.

When a proud man thinks he is humble his case is hopeless.

Perfect humility and perfect integrity coincide.

How can you be humble if you’re always paying attention to yourself?

A humble man is not afraid of failure.

Humility is the surest sign of strength.

— Thomas Merton

In matters of failure and forgiveness, the son is often the teacher of the father.

— Belden C. Lane

Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?

— Confucius

It is only as one is at home in oneself that one may be truly hospitable to others.

We hide our humanity behind the sacred idol of efficiency.

— Kathleen Norris

It is the powerful, demanding, and punitive things that we admire or fear, but the small things that we love.

— Doug Frank

It was hard to teach someone who wouldn’t admit that there was anything she didn’t know.

We are small people. It ain’t wise to come to the attention of the gods.

— Terry Pratchett

Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; wisdom is humble that he knows no more.

— William Cowper

Listen to the stories people want to tell, not the stories you want to hear.

— Jeanette M. Olson

Logic is the art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human understanding.

— Ambrose Bierce

Looking beautiful all day is easy, but I stay beautiful because I have integrity, honesty and a warm sense of humor.

— Barbara Borst-Folger

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

— Stephen Covey

My ego does not do well with simple.

When the sea roars, with all that is in it, does it fear being too loud?

— Anonymous

My humility can kick your humility’s butt.

We have to harvest humility.

— Anne Lamott

Other people’s shoes smell like other people’s feet.

— Jenna Lamia

Religion in its humility restores man to his only dignity, the courage to live by grace.

To substitute faith for knowledge might mean to teach the intellect humility,

— George Santayana

She knew better than to force the world to bend to her desire.

— Patrick Rothfuss

The dead should have charity.

— Neil Gaiman

The genuine salt of humility cannot be used in excess.

— C.H. Spurgeon

The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.

— Wilhelm Stekel

The noblest sacrifice of all is to endure humiliation, and noblest endurance of humiliation is in preparing to resist.

— Lao She

The value of words depends on the people who say them.

— Andreas Karkavitsas

There are many things in the world and you are one of them. Many things keep happening and you are one of them.

— W.H. Auden

There are on earth no actors too humble and obscure not to have a gallery.

— Joseph Conrad

This world needs its tinkerers as much as it needs its theoreticians.

— Jim Bell

To understand what he is, one man must first understand all this mysterious humanity, consisting of people such as himself who do not understand one another.

— Leo Tolstoy

You are not the voice that all things utter, nor is there eternal silence in the places where you cannot come.

— C.S.Lewis

You can’t become wise without becoming small.

— Gareth Higgins

You only need to be good enough for you.

— Neil Ostrom

Blessed are they that can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused.

— Terri Garey

Humble pie is most easily digested when salted with a dash of character.

Humility may be a virtue, but ’tis vanity which fuels the engines of commerce.

Humility is a heavenly deodorant.

I have heard many a preacher claim to be a humble loving person, but I have heard very few bonafide saints make the same claim.

Invest in humility, for the return on vanity will never exceed its depreciation.

Rather than a million adoring fans, give me a few good friends who all think well of themselves.

The first human instinct is to love. All other human instincts are borrowed from the beasts.

The noblest end of human reason is to find its own limits and thus to teach itself humility.

What human being who has survived adolescence has not experienced an embarrassment that felt worse than death?

— Proctor Charlie

Silence Wisdom

A finely tempered nature longs to escape from his noisy cramped surroundings into the silence of the high mountains where the eye ranges freely through the still pure air and fondly traces out the restful contours apparently built for eternity.

— Albert Einstein

Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death.

— Jean-Jacques Rousseau

After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

— Aldous Huxley

Aloneness, silence, darkness, sleep and death touch us too deeply to allow us to forget the mystery of the absolute.

— Edward J. Farrell, Surprised by the Spirit

Am I afraid that if I look too closely I will see ordinary human beings? 

— Dan Bar-On, Legacy of Silence

Answer sides with ideas, but answer the person with the person. Then often the heart’s true response is silence.

— Paul Tournier, The Meaning of Persons

Are we filling up our moments and our days and our lives with constant activity and stimulation in order to avoid the challenges of silence and stillness?

— Chuang Tzu, The Tale of the Useless Old Tree

Do not smother this moment under vain words.

— Rabindranath Tagore, Vaishnava Songs

Don’t be sorry. Be quiet.

— James Follett, Blake’s 7: Stardrive

Even a silent wild goose keeps to the flock.

— Lao She, Rickshaw Boy

Everybody’s silence is different

Babe Simple, Everybody’s Silence is Different

I know there is sadness in silence, but can I also find comfort?

— Brother Them

If you think my silence is weakness, you mistake me.

— Terry Nation, Blake’s 7: Deliverance

In her silence you were welcome and belonged. All you had to bring was a silence of your own.

— Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men

In reality, silence is almost nonexistent.

— Robert Lawrence Smith, A Quaker Book of Wisdom

Silence is as common as the air we breathe.

— Robert Lawrence Smith, A Quaker Book of Wisdom

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

— Martin Luther King Jr

Is not most talking a crazed defense of a crumbling fort?

— Hafiz, Silence

It is said that the opposite of noise is silence. This isn’t true. Silence is only the absence of noise. 

— Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

It is silence that makes listening possible.

— Kathleen Norris, Dakota

Let your speech be better than silence, or be silent.

— Dionysus The Elder

Listening is surely a prerequisite for silence. 

— Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace

Nothing’s louder than the end of a song that’s always been there.

— Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men

Our aversion to solitude is really an aversion to boredom.

— Zat Rana, The Most Important Skill Nobody Taught You

Out of the cleansing silence so much begins.

— Robert Lawrence Smith, A Quaker Book of Wisdom

People seek to exorcise silence.

— Andrei Makine, Dreams of my Russian Summers

Seldom those who are silent make mistakes.

— Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

Sex is a mystery, like faith, or love, and deserves to have the glow of silence around it.

— Kathleen Norris, Dakota

Silence can mean so many things.

— Vandana Singh, Sailing the Antarsa

Silence is always silence.

— Joe Gabaef

Silence is an answer that begs three more questions.

— Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum

Silence is God’s gift to our minds.

— Robert Lawrence Smith, A Quaker Book of Wisdom

Silence is not passive.

— Kathleen Norris, Dakota

People speak because they are afraid of silence.

— Andrei Makine, Dreams of my Russian Summers

Silence is the lie of the good man or the coward.

— Kent Nerburn, Neither Wolf nor Dog

Silence is the perfectest heralt of joy; I were but little happy, if I could say how much!

— William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Silence is the virtue of a fool.

— Sir Francis Bacon

Silence reminds me to take my soul wherever I go. 

— a North Dakota grade school girl, Amazing Grace

Silence. Even speaking the word seems to violate it’s meaning.

— Robert Lawrence Smith, A Quaker Book of Wisdom

Solitude is a good place to visit but a poor place to stay.

— Josh Billings

Sometimes my greatest accomplishment is just keeping my mouth shut.

— A.A. Milne

Sometimes silence is the only sound.

— Nickel Creek, Hanging by a Thread

Sustained silence is too much to bear.

— Belden C. Lane, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes

That which is most worth shouting from the rooftops must be tested by inner silence first.

— Gareth Higgins, The Porch #78

The “code of silence” is not a sign of confidence, but of despair. 

— Doug Frank, A Gentler God

The day, with the noise of this little earth, drowns the silence of all worlds.

— Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

The language of truth can often be heard in silence if only we know how to listen.

— Robert Lawrence Smith, A Quaker Book of Wisdom

The rampart of silence is not the surest means of self-defense.

— Rabindranath Tagore, The Fugitive Gold

The silence between the notes is what makes the music.

— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence.

— Franz Kafka

The spoken word is silver but the unspoken is golden.

— Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

The stillness will ripen its own music in the dark.

— Rabindranath Tagore, Vaishnava Songs

The true can afford to be quiet, and finds silence to be its wisdom.

— C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

The wildest, most dangerous trails are always the ones within. 

— Belden C. Lane, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls.

— Paul Simon, The Sounds of Silence

There is harmony in the silence.

— Chris B

To live communally in silence is to admit a new power into your life.

— Kathleen Norris, Dakota

True friendship comes when silence between two people is comfortable.

— Dave Tyson Gentry

Wash thy soul with silence.

— Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

We can in some degree be conscious of [God] in silence, but we cannot in discourse unfold Him as He is.

— Novatian, The Trinity

We turned silence into something to share.

— Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men

We were stained by dew, and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars.

— T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

What shape is your silence?

— Brother Them

What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.

— Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractacus Logico-Philosophicus

When something important is going on, silence is a lie.

— A.M. Rosenthal, NY Times 10/8/91 RE: AIDS

When you are lonely, make a friend of loneliness.

— Vandana Singh, RefSailing the Antarsaerence

Who we really are is found in the silence.

— Marshall Davis, Meeting God in the Pandemic

Why bother to make music when the silence and wind are so much larger?

— Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

Wisdom begins in silence.

— Robert Lawrence Smith, A Quaker Book of Wisdom

Wisdom’s self oft seeks to sweet retired solitude, Where, with her best nurse Contemplation, She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings.

— John Milton, Comus

Without silence words lose their meaning.

— Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude

You are not the voice that all things utter, nor is there eternal silence in the places where you cannot come.

— C.S.Lewis, Perelandra

C.S. Lewis on Gender and Myth

At the risk of exciting displeasure from the folks at Simon & Schuster, I have decided to invite the widely loved and often controversial, or even loathed, scholar, writer, and Christian apologist as my guest blogger. This excerpt is from Perelandra Chapter 16, first published in England amongst the clamor of conflict between the Battle of Britain and Victory in Europe as the second book of his science fiction trilogy which began with Out of the Silent Planet and concluded with That Hideous Strength.

“What Ransom saw at that moment was the real meaning of gender. Everyone must sometimes have wondered why in nearly all tongues certain inanimate objects are masculine and others feminine. What is masculine about a mountain or feminine about certain trees? Ransom has cured me of believing that this is a purely morphological phenomenon, depending on the form of the word. Still less is gender an imaginative extension of sex. Our ancestors did not make mountains masculine because they projected male characteristics into them. The real process is the reverse. Gender is a reality, and a more fundamental reality than sex. Sex is, in fact, merely a more fundamental reality than sex. Sex is, in fact, merely the adaptation to organic life of a fundamental polarity which divides all created beings. Female sex is simply one of the things that have feminine gender; there are many others, and Masculine and Feminine meet us on planes of reality where male and female would be simply meaningless. Masculine is not attenuated male, nor feminine attenuated female. On the contrary, the male and female of organic creatures are rather faint and blurred reflections of masculine and feminine. Their reproductive functions, their differences in strength and size, partly exhibit, but partly also confuse and misrepresent, the real polarity… When and from whom had the children of Adam learned that Ares was a man of war and Aphrodite rose from the sea foam? … How then do we know of them? It comes, they told him, a long way round and through many stages. There is an environment of minds as well as of space. The universe is one – a spider’s web wherein each mind lives along every line, a vast whispering gallery where, though no news travels unchanged, yet no secret can be rigorously kept… in the very matter of our world, the traces of the celestial commonwealth are not quite lost. Memory passes through the womb and hovers in the air. The Muse is a real thing. A faint breath, as Virgil says, reaches even the late generations. Our mythology is based on a solider reality than we dream: but it is also at an almost infinite distance from that base. And when they told him this, Ransom at last understood why mythology was what it was – gleams of celestial strength and beauty falling on a jungle of filth and imbecility.”


We have a few suggestions to help you get the most out of each Proctor Charlie conversation. These suggestions may also be applied to any conversation you may engage most anywhere…

  1. Proctor Charlie conversations, and maybe many other conversations, are an opportunity for you to engage in a meditative experience. We suggest taking a deep breath before beginning to read (or beginning to listen).
  2. Read (or listen) slowly and deliberately. Consider any possible implications of the statement. (Note that Proctor Charlie may or may not agree with a given statement, but he has always found something of interest in the words or they would not be here.)
  3. Go back and read the words again, this time considering any implications implied by each hyperlinked word or phrase. (Note here that you are being encouraged to take someone’s words out of context. The fact is that Proctor Charlie only looks for very short but interesting bits of language. Most short bits of language are, in one way or another, out of context, which is exactly what can often make them so very interesting.)
  4. Now consider each hyperlinked word or phrase and ask yourself which might be the most interesting direction to take the conversation from here.
  5. Click away and then start over with Suggestion 1 above on the next little port of call on the unique conversational voyage which you have embarked upon. BUT FIRST consider contributing to the conversation. How would YOU have responded? OR you may have a favorite bit of wisdom you have heard or read that would contribute a different perspective. Any time you have such a notion, submit a suggestion. The Proctor Charlie Collective looks forward to enjoying your perspective.

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Out of Context

We apologize for being out of the loop, with a couple of small exceptions, for the past year while we complete the first complete draft of our online “conversation through the ages”. The project eventually ran to more than 700 pages and we are still cleaning up errors and inconsistencies, but the site is at least now fully functional. Do read on here for some musings on the nature of the Conversation and click on a hyperlink to join in on the fun and fascination. If you do happen upon anything in error, or if you happen to be kind enough to provide constructive feedback you can use the “submit your own pieces of conversation” hyperlink for that purpose as well.

Why do I title this “Out of Context”? Consider this little parenthesis from the Suggestion Page: Proctor Charlie only looks for very short but interesting bits of language. Most short bits of language are, in one way or another, out of context, which is exactly what can often make them so very interesting.

For all we know for certain, our entire lives may be lived “out of context”. That may just be a notion to keep in mind as you go about today’s business…

Arguably, every utterance is a response. Whatever those very first human utterances were responding to, whether it might’ve been screaming before a charging sabre tooth, or maybe gasping in amazement at first beholding the world through newly aware eyes, or even clicking the tongue against the teeth in hopes of attracting the attention of a likely mate, or, as many may choose to believe, some worshipful word in some strange new tongue in response to a Creator Deity, whatever that first conscious utterance was, responding utterances were sure to follow out of the ever expanding chorus of the voices of creation.

Some such utterances and responses echo down through the ages, prompting ever more responses, some interesting, some amazing, some that leave us wondering what sort of strange universe such an idea could have sprung from.

The Proctor Charlie Collective attempts to connect significant utterances of all types across continents, cultures and time. We invite you to return to the home page and pick a place to start your conversation. It may take you in hundreds of directions. You may even wish to join in. You may just find your way home.

Note that this conversation is always under construction. You may use this link to offer corrections and criticisms or submit your own pieces of conversation for the editors to consider. When browsing the conversation you may simply scroll down on any page and select one of the default hyperlinks at the bottom.