L’esprit de l’escalier or L’esprit d’escalier (literally, staircase wit) is a French term used in English that describes the predicament of thinking of the right comeback too late.
This name for the phenomenon comes from French encyclopedist and philosopher Denis Diderot's description of such a situation in his Paradoxe sur le comédien. During a dinner at the home of statesman Jacques Necker, a remark was made to Diderot which left him speechless at the time, because, he explains, “l’homme sensible, comme moi, tout entier à ce qu’on lui objecte, perd la tête et ne se retrouve qu’au bas de l’escalier" ("a sensitive man, such as myself, overwhelmed by the argument levelled against him, becomes confused and can only think clearly again [when he reaches] the bottom of the stairs").
“Only two hundred years ago it was physically impossible to see yourself doing something you had done yesterday, that is, to see it in three dimensions, speaking and moving. It’s a miracle! It’s really unprecedented. The ancient myths thought that if we stared at ourselves in this way too long we’d fall in the water and drown. The myth preceded the technological reality (as seems to happen), but now we’re really here, relating to ourselves as objects. My daughter takes it completely for granted that the day after we go to the park I can show her a video of herself in the park. Two hundred years ago she would have thought she was having a dream, or losing her mind. Four hundred years ago she would have screamed and wept, denounced me to the elders of the village as a witch and dedicated herself to the Lord …”—Zadie Smithputs the pace of technology in perspective (via explore-blog)
“If there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it walls, and we will furnish it with soft, red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweller’s felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn’t exist, and I have tried everything that does.”—Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated (via bookmania)
“People think of all kinds of things at three a.m. We all do. That’s why we each have to figure out our own way of fighting it off.”—“New York Mining Disaster,” Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami (via knotsueme)
“ahh! the feeling of happiness that i can write again. the smile in my face i can not get rid. i feel like floating while listening to coastal brake by tycho. that sudden cold brush of the wind from the monsoon rain starting outside. fuck, i’m high.”—
“if one has a problem that seems to be unsolvable, then one shouldnt try to solve it, one should accept it. god gave you the serenity to accept things you cannot change, courage to things you can and wisdom to know the difference.”—saving grace