Age Gaps Quotes

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They had nothing to say to each other. A five-year age gap between siblings is like a garden that needs constant attention. Even three months apart allows the weeds to grow up between you.
Zadie Smith (On Beauty)
Why do some people stop growing at age 30, just going from work to the couch and television, when others stay vibrant, curious, almost childlike into their nineties?
Jacqueline Novogratz (The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World)
Be equal to your talent, not your age. At times let the gap between them be embarrassing.
Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Myths, whether in written or visual form, serve a vital role of asking unanswerable questions and providing unquestionable answers. Most of us, most of the time, have a low tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. We want to reduce the cognitive dissonance of not knowing by filling the gaps with answers. Traditionally, religious myths have served that role, but today — the age of science — science fiction is our mythology.
Michael Shermer
Twenty-six billion dollars of fraud: no felony cases. But when the stakes are in the hundreds of dollars, we kick in 26,000 doors a year, in just one county.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
For a country founded on the idea that rights are inalienable and inherent from birth, we’ve developed a high tolerance for conditional rights and conditional citizenship.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
More and more often, we all make silent calculations about who is entitled to what rights, and who is not.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
Sometimes I think I live in a gap between two worlds, one world that I have to wake up to, be adherent of the rules and live in a place that is dictated by others. A place I sometimes feel the fear of aging and dying before I have figured out what it is I am here to do. That other world is sweet, fresh and misty, inviting adventure into the unknown, melding ancient wisdom with new discovery; the sunlight turning into moonlight and the spell of eternal life is never broken. Perhaps in that gap I should repair the forgotten bridge from one side to the other, but truth be told, I don't want to. I don't want to because I don't have the energy to fix what is broken within. I am a wild, wandering nomad, I belong everywhere and nowhere all at the same time, and in that gap between worlds, I am free.
Riitta Klint
One of the pervasive risks that we face in the information age, as I wrote in the introduction, is that even if the amount of knowledge in the world is increasing, the gap between what we know and what we think we know may be widening.
Nate Silver (The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't)
Our prison population, in fact, is now the biggest in the history of human civilization. There are more people in the United States either on parole or in jail today (around 6 million total) than there ever were at any time in Stalin’s gulags. For what it’s worth, there are also more black men in jail right now than there were in slavery at its peak.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
Obsessed with success and wealth and despising failure and poverty, our society is systematically dividing the population into winners and losers, using institutions like the courts to speed the process.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
I’m rough with your body sometimes, but I’ll always be gentle with your soul. She bruises far more easily.
Brianna Hale (Control Freak)
People are beginning to become disturbingly comfortable with a kind of official hypocrisy. Bizarrely, for instance, we’ve become numb to the idea that rights aren’t absolute but are enjoyed on a kind of sliding scale.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
As they approached the next stall, the old woman tending to it looked up at Matthias with suspicious eyes. Nina nodded encouragingly at him. Matthias smiled broadly and boomed in a singsong voice, “Hello, little friend!” The woman went from wary to baffled. Nina decided to call it an improvement. “And how are you today?” Matthias asked. “Pardon?” the woman said. “Nothing,” Nina said in Ravkan. “He was saying how beautifully the Ravkan women age.” The woman gave a gap-toothed grin and ran her eyes up and down Matthias in an appraising fashion. “Always had a taste for Fjerdans. Ask him if he wants to play Princess and Barbarian,” she said with a cackle.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
I can’t wait to fuck you again and again, leaving you sore yet begging me for more. You’ll never know when I’m going to drag you into the darkness, pumping my cock into one of your tight holes. And you’ll take every inch like a good little girl. If you don’t, there will be severe punishment.
Piper Stone (Roughneck (Rough Romance #1))
I love you and so nothing can touch you, Neve. And if you love me, it makes me immortal. The universe will move and make space for us, for this love. Believe me.
Milena McKay (A Whisper of Solace)
But as surely as the moon rises and the sun sets, depravity passes down through the ages, because there is always a gap between who we are and who we should be, and our parents, molested by regret, conceive us under the false hope that we will be better than them, and everything they do, every hug and blow, only makes certain that we never will be.
Chris Adrian (The Children's Hospital)
Perception requires imagination because the data people encounter in their lives are never complete and always equivocal. For example, most people consider that the greatest evidence of an event one can obtain is to see it with their own eyes, and in a court of law little is held in more esteem than eyewitness testimony. Yet if you asked to display for a court a video of the same quality as the unprocessed data catptured on the retina of a human eye, the judge might wonder what you were tryig to put over. For one thing, the view will have a blind spot where the optic nerve attaches to the retina. Moreover, the only part of our field of vision with good resolution is a narrow area of about 1 degree of visual angle around the retina’s center, an area the width of our thumb as it looks when held at arm’s length. Outside that region, resolution drops off sharply. To compensate, we constantly move our eyes to bring the sharper region to bear on different portions of the scene we wish to observe. And so the pattern of raw data sent to the brain is a shaky, badly pixilated picture with a hole in it. Fortunately the brain processes the data, combining input from both eyes, filling in gaps on the assumption that the visual properties of neighboring locations are similar and interpolating. The result - at least until age, injury, disease, or an excess of mai tais takes its toll - is a happy human being suffering from the compelling illusion that his or her vision is sharp and clear. We also use our imagination and take shortcuts to fill gaps in patterns of nonvisual data. As with visual input, we draw conclusions and make judgments based on uncertain and incomplete information, and we conclude, when we are done analyzing the patterns, that out “picture” is clear and accurate. But is it?
Leonard Mlodinow (The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives)
There were times when she had an inkling of a situation not being fair, but she was accustomed to rationalizing things by telling herself that she was being a generous older sibling and that she shared with her sister because they were both girls. Jiyoung’s mother would praise the girls for taking good care of their brother and not competing for her love. Jiyoung thought it must be the big age gap. The more their mother praised, the more impossible it became for Jiyoung to complain.
Cho Nam-Joo (Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982)
Too-big-to-fail, meet small-enough-to-jail.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
If we were closer in age, it would’ve been fine. That made me want to die.
Taylor Swift
What a tiny life we’d live if we fashioned ourselves to the comforts of others.
J.J. Arias (Destination You)
Money is the apogee of human tolerance. Money is more open-minded than language, state laws, cultural codes, religious beliefs and social habits. Money is the only trust system created by humans that can bridge almost any cultural gap, and that does not discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, race, age or sexual orientation.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Sexual satisfaction eases the stranglehold of materialism, since status symbols no longer look sexual, but irrelevant. Product lust weakens where emotional and sexual lust intensifies. The price we pay for artificially buoying up this market is our heart's desire. The beauty myth keeps a gap of fantasy between men and women. That gap is made with mirrors; no law of nature supports it. It keeps us spending vast sums of money and looking distractedly around us, but its smoke and reflection interfere with our freedom to be sexually ourselves.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
The grim reaper was waiting for me, scythe in hand, ready to drag me to wherever dead men go to pay for their sins. And I had sinned plenty.' Beast - Tame his Beast coming June 18th
Claire C. Riley (Tame His Beast Part 1)
Unquestionably, however, something else is at work, something that cuts deeper into the American psyche. We have a profound hatred of the weak and the poor, and a corresponding groveling terror before the rich and successful, and we’re building a bureaucracy to match those feelings.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
There were fissures and chasms in the walls and floor, and every now and then a crack would open right before their feet. The widest was more than seven feet across, and it was long before Pippin could summon enough courage to leap over the dreadful gap.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The End of the Third Age (The Lord of the Rings, Book 6))
The great nonprosecutions of Wall Street in the years since 2008, I would learn, were just symbols of this dystopian sorting process to which we’d already begun committing ourselves. The cleaving of the country into two completely different states—one a small archipelago of hyperacquisitive untouchables, the other a vast ghetto of expendables with only theoretical rights—has been in the works a long time. The Divide is a terrible story, and a crazy one. And it goes back a long, long way.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
I don't know about you, but I just can't rule out finding the love of my life simply because he's twenty four years older than me. I'm only sorry you had to wait so long for me to reach the right age to come looking for you.
Dawn Sister (See You Smile)
So the only time RICO was used to fight mortgage fraud was when the criminal was a black gang member and the victims were banks. (Ironically, nobody thought to wonder how it was possible for a Lincoln Park gang member to buy 222 houses with no money down. Heading into that particular rabbit hole would have led to the larger crime, but nobody did.)
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
Chase’s was a junkie’s banking strategy, shooting speed in the morning and spending all day foraging for the cash to dope down at night, an endless quest to chase the debt dragon.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
Getting older happens suddenly. It's like swimming out to sea and realising that the shore you're making for isn't the shore where you started out.
Jeanette Winterson (The Gap of Time)
Tell me something. Do you believe in God?' Snow darted an apprehensive glance in my direction. 'What? Who still believes nowadays?' 'It isn't that simple. I don't mean the traditional God of Earth religion. I'm no expert in the history of religions, and perhaps this is nothing new--do you happen to know if there was ever a belief in an...imperfect God?' 'What do you mean by imperfect?' Snow frowned. 'In a way all the gods of the old religions were imperfect, considered that their attributes were amplified human ones. The God of the Old Testament, for instance, required humble submission and sacrifices, and and was jealous of other gods. The Greek gods had fits of sulks and family quarrels, and they were just as imperfect as mortals...' 'No,' I interrupted. 'I'm not thinking of a god whose imperfection arises out of the candor of his human creators, but one whose imperfection represents his essential characteristic: a god limited in his omniscience and power, fallible, incapable of foreseeing the consequences of his acts, and creating things that lead to horror. He is a...sick god, whose ambitions exceed his powers and who does not realize it at first. A god who has created clocks, but not the time they measure. He has created systems or mechanisms that serves specific ends but have now overstepped and betrayed them. And he has created eternity, which was to have measured his power, and which measures his unending defeat.' Snow hesitated, but his attitude no longer showed any of the wary reserve of recent weeks: 'There was Manicheanism...' 'Nothing at all to do with the principles of Good and Evil,' I broke in immediately. 'This god has no existence outside of matter. He would like to free himself from matter, but he cannot...' Snow pondered for a while: 'I don't know of any religion that answers your description. That kind of religion has never been...necessary. If i understand you, and I'm afraid I do, what you have in mind is an evolving god, who develops in the course of time, grows, and keeps increasing in power while remaining aware of his powerlessness. For your god, the divine condition is a situation without a goal. And understanding that, he despairs. But isn't this despairing god of yours mankind, Kelvin? Is it man you are talking about, and that is a fallacy, not just philosophically but also mystically speaking.' I kept on: 'No, it's nothing to do with man. man may correspond to my provisional definition from some point of view, but that is because the definition has a lot of gaps. Man does not create gods, in spite of appearances. The times, the age, impose them on him. Man can serve is age or rebel against it, but the target of his cooperation or rebellion comes to him from outside. If there was only a since human being in existence, he would apparently be able to attempt the experiment of creating his own goals in complete freedom--apparently, because a man not brought up among other human beings cannot become a man. And the being--the being I have in mind--cannot exist in the plural, you see? ...Perhaps he has already been born somewhere, in some corner of the galaxy, and soon he will have some childish enthusiasm that will set him putting out one star and lighting another. We will notice him after a while...' 'We already have,' Snow said sarcastically. 'Novas and supernovas. According to you they are candles on his altar.' 'If you're going to take what I say literally...' ...Snow asked abruptly: 'What gave you this idea of an imperfect god?' 'I don't know. It seems quite feasible to me. That is the only god I could imagine believing in, a god whose passion is not a redemption, who saves nothing, fulfills no purpose--a god who simply is.
Stanisław Lem (Solaris)
We still have real jury trials, honest judges, and free elections, all the superficial characteristics of a functional, free democracy. But underneath that surface is a florid and malevolent bureaucracy that mostly (not absolutely, but mostly) keeps the rich and the poor separate through thousands of tiny, scarcely visible inequities.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
Everywhere Frances looked there were children: children sitting gravely behind news desks, controlling traffic, running writers' festivals, taking her blood pressure, managing her taxes, and fitting her bras.
Liane Moriarty (Nine Perfect Strangers)
Our will operates in spite of our indulgence. For example, your will is already opening your gap, little by little.” “What gap are you talking about?” “There is a gap in us; like the soft spot on the head of a child which closes with age, this gap opens as one develops one’s will.
Carlos Castaneda (Separate Reality: Conversations With Don Juan)
It’s become a cliché by now, but since 2008, no high-ranking executive from any financial institution has gone to jail, not one, for any of the systemic crimes that wiped out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. Even now, after JPMorgan Chase agreed to a settlement north of $13 billion for a variety of offenses and the financial press threw itself up in arms over the government’s supposedly aggressive new approach to regulating Wall Street, the basic principle held true: Nobody went to jail. Not one person.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
A youth is susceptible to the influence of idealist notions. As a person ages, they notice a gap between their expectations and reality and they grow more pessimistic about the world and their ability to live up to the lofty notions that inspired a younger self.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
since 2008, no high-ranking executive from any financial institution has gone to jail, not one, for any of the systemic crimes that wiped out 40 percent of the world’s wealth.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
We have a profound hatred of the weak and the poor, and a corresponding groveling terror before the rich and successful, and we’re building a bureaucracy to match those feelings.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
Ironically, the very brokest people in America, Hispanic immigrants, are one of America’s last great cash crops.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
Sometimes, letting go and realizing that things will unfold as they should is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Erin Zak (The Hummingbird Sanctuary)
Most of us cherish the notion of free choice, but our choices are constrained by the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age.
Michael G. Marmot (The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World)
Aging is a puzzle to solve.
Anca Ioviţă (The Aging Gap Between Species)
Can I play with you?” She eyes my laptop eagerly. “No.” Her pretty mouth curves into a pout. “Why?” “Because.” What are we even going to do? Long division?
Ali Hazelwood (Bride)
I feel to that the gap between my new life in New York and the situation at home in Africa is stretching into a gulf, as Zimbabwe spirals downwards into a violent dictatorship. My head bulges with the effort to contain both worlds. When I am back in New York, Africa immediately seems fantastical – a wildly plumaged bird, as exotic as it is unlikely. Most of us struggle in life to maintain the illusion of control, but in Africa that illusion is almost impossible to maintain. I always have the sense there that there is no equilibrium, that everything perpetually teeters on the brink of some dramatic change, that society constantly stands poised for some spasm, some tsunami in which you can do nothing but hope to bob up to the surface and not be sucked out into a dark and hungry sea. The origin of my permanent sense of unease, my general foreboding, is probably the fact that I have lived through just such change, such a sudden and violent upending of value systems. In my part of Africa, death is never far away. With more Zimbabweans dying in their early thirties now, mortality has a seat at every table. The urgent, tugging winds themselves seem to whisper the message, memento mori, you too shall die. In Africa, you do not view death from the auditorium of life, as a spectator, but from the edge of the stage, waiting only for your cue. You feel perishable, temporary, transient. You feel mortal. Maybe that is why you seem to live more vividly in Africa. The drama of life there is amplified by its constant proximity to death. That’s what infuses it with tension. It is the essence of its tragedy too. People love harder there. Love is the way that life forgets that it is terminal. Love is life’s alibi in the face of death. For me, the illusion of control is much easier to maintain in England or America. In this temperate world, I feel more secure, as if change will only happen incrementally, in manageable, finely calibrated, bite-sized portions. There is a sense of continuity threaded through it all: the anchor of history, the tangible presence of antiquity, of buildings, of institutions. You live in the expectation of reaching old age. At least you used to. But on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, those two states of mind converge. Suddenly it feels like I am back in Africa, where things can be taken away from you at random, in a single violent stroke, as quick as the whip of a snake’s head. Where tumult is raised with an abruptness that is as breathtaking as the violence itself.
Peter Godwin (When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa)
Maybe the conference was an inversion layer of another kind, bringing me face-to-face with old friends and old places. With cancer and the Gap and the Old Man, railing about newfangled players and spicy food. Bringing me face-to-face early with death and old age and change.
Connie Willis (The Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories)
Schools themselves aren't creating the opportunity gap: the gap is already large by the time children enter kindergarten and does not grow as children progress through school. The gaps in cognitive achievement by level of maternal education that we observe at age 18-powerful predictors of who goes to college and who does not - are mostly present at age 6when children enter school. Schooling plays only a minor role in alleviating or creating test score gaps.
Robert D. Putnam (Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis)
She looks up at me then, her eyes two blue pools. “What could we have done? We were just girls.” I know what she means—not that we were helpless by choice, but that the world forced us to be.
Kate Elizabeth Russell (My Dark Vanessa)
Well, then, she said. "You'll keep your name. You'll keep your will. You'll have your own servants to attend you— you will have everything you ask for." This couldn't be happening. "No, wait, I don't—" "Except for one thing," Mir said." Ari froze. "Don't ask me to let you do," Mir said. "Do you understand? Do not ask me.
Roslyn Sinclair (The Lily and the Crown)
fourteen-year-olds club!” He held out his hand for a high five. Sophie was too stunned to return it. “Please try not to stress, Miss Foster. Nothing has actually changed. You’re the exact same girl you were a few minutes ago. You’re simply learning the proper way of counting.” She knew he was right—but it felt so much huger than that. Especially when Biana said, “Huh, so you’re older than me.” Based on their IDs, Biana was a little more than thirteen-and-a-half. Dex was also thirteen, but he would be fourteen in a few weeks. Keefe was less than a month away from turning fifteen, and Fitz was about two months away from turning sixteen. “So, you’re kind of in the middle,” Dex said. “But you and I are still the closest in age.” He was right—though now she was six months older than him. And the gap between her and Keefe and Fitz had narrowed significantly. “Wait—was I in the wrong level in Foxfire?” Sophie asked. “Your age falls in the middle of the grade level brackets,” Mr. Forkle said. So you could’ve started as a Level Two just as easily as a Level Three. And given how behind you
Shannon Messenger (Neverseen (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #4))
Economic inequality in the country in 2007 had reached the level of the Gilded Age in the 1890s. The gap between the top 1 percent of earners in America and everyone else had grown so wide that the top 1 percent of the population owned 35 percent of the nation’s private assets and was pocketing almost a quarter of all earnings.
Jane Mayer (Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right)
There’s a more glaring giveaway that boxing and wrestling are just recreation: girls and old guys aren’t good at them. As a rule of thumb, performance aberration in a basic skill is a good way to evaluate whether it’s natural to a species. When you spot a giant ability gap between ages and genders, you know you’re looking at nurture, not nature.
Christopher McDougall (Natural Born Heroes: Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance)
I never want you to look back and feel like I took advantage of you,” I said. “I need you to be as sure as I am and even though our age difference means fuck all to me, I can’t deny that it’s a big gap. I’m a lot older than you, Angel. Like, old enough to be your father.” “Not quite,” she said sweetly. “But if you want me to, I’ll call you Daddy.
Evie Harrison (Sin's Temptation)
America isn't breaking apart at the seams. The American dream isn't dying. Our new racial and ethnic complexion hasn't triggered massive outbreaks of intolerance. Our generations aren't at each other's throats. They're living more interdependently than at any time in recent memory, because that turns out to be a good coping strategy in hard times. Our nation faces huge challenges, no doubt. So do the rest of the world's aging economic powers. If you had to pick a nation with the right stuff to ride out the coming demographic storm, you'd be crazy not to choose America, warts and all.
Pew Research Center (The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown)
For thousands of years, philosophers, thinkers and prophets have besmirched money and called it the root of all evil. Be that as it may, money is also the apogee of human tolerance. Money is more open-minded than language, state laws, cultural codes, religious beliefs and social habits. Money is the only trust system created by humans that can bridge almost any cultural gap, and that does not discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, race, age or sexual orientation. Thanks to money, even people who don’t know each other and don’t trust each other can nevertheless cooperate effectively.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Vivian Carlisle happened to her, like an avalanche or tsunami, as sudden and unforgiving as natural disaster. That was the thing about nature, though. It was frightening, dangerous, unpredictable–yes, all that. It was also inspiring. Even Beautiful.
Roslyn Sinclair (Truth and Measure)
I’ve watched it time and time again—a woman always slots into a man’s life better than he slots into hers. She will be the one who spends the most time at his flat, she will be the one who makes friends with all his friends and their girlfriends. She will be the one who sends his mother a bunch of flowers on her birthday. Women don’t like this rigmarole any more than men do, but they’re better at it—they just get on with it. This means that when a woman my age falls in love with a man, the list of priorities goes from this: Family Friends To this: Family Boyfriend Boyfriend’s family Boyfriend’s friends Girlfriends of the boyfriend’s friends Friends Which means, on average, you go from seeing your friend every weekend to once every six weekends. She becomes a baton and you’re the one at the very end of the track. You get your go for, say, your birthday or a brunch, then you have to pass her back round to the boyfriend to start the long, boring rotation again. These gaps in each other’s lives slowly but surely form a gap in the middle of your friendship. The love is still there, but the familiarity is not. Before you know it, you’re not living life together anymore. You’re living life separately with respective boyfriends then meeting up for dinner every six weekends to tell each other what living is like. I now understand why our mums cleaned the house before their best friend came round and asked them “What’s the news, then?” in a jolly, stilted way. I get how that happens. So don’t tell me when you move in with your boyfriend that nothing will change. There will be no road trip. The cycle works when it comes to holidays as well—I’ll get my buddy back for every sixth summer, unless she has a baby in which case I’ll get my road trip in eighteen years’ time. It never stops happening. Everything will change.
Dolly Alderton (Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir)
Justice by Attrition turns courthouses like this giant complex on Schermerhorn Street into huge fun houses of unreasonableness and mindless punishment, where you can peek into just about any room and find someone absolutely beside himself with disbelief over what is happening to him.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
Our prison population, in fact, is now the biggest in the history of human civilization. There are more people in the United States either on parole or in jail today (around 6 million total) than there ever were at any time in Stalin’s gulags. For what it’s worth, there are also more black men in jail right now than there were in slavery at its peak. See if this syllogism works, then. Poverty goes up; Crime goes down; Prison population doubles.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
It’s… fine. There’s nothing you can do. But it’s nice to be around you. Like I haven’t lost a decade of my life.” And despite being a wreck himself after tonight’s events, Ros still flashed Shane a little smile and winked. “If it helps, I was eleven ten years ago, so we wouldn’t have been a match.
K.A. Merikan (Scum (Wrong Side of the Tracks, #1))
A conversation between a person of my age and one of hers is like a map of a maze: There are things that each of us knows, and that each of us knows the other knows, that can be talked about. But there are things that each of us knows that the other doesn't know we know, which must not be spoken of, no matter what. Because of our ages, and for reasons of decency, there are what Daffy would refer to as taboos: forbidden topics which we may stroll among like islands of horse dung in the road that, although perfectly evident to both of us, must not be mentioned or kicked at any cost. It's a strange world when you come right down to it.
Alan Bradley (As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce, #7))
I'm fifty; all I know is that people nineteen years old will do anything, and that the only thing which makes the adult world at all safe from them is the fact that they are so preconceived of success that the simple desire and will are the finished accomplishment, that they pay no attention to mere dull mechanical details.
William Faulkner (Knight's Gambit)
Even if we ourselves are not personally scandalized by the notion of other animals as close relatives, even if our age has accommodated to the idea, the passionate resistance of so many of us, in so many epochs and cultures, and by so many distinguished scholars, must say something important about us. What can we learn about ourselves from an apparent error so widespread, propagated by so many leading philosophers and scientists, both ancient and modern, with such assurance and self-satisfaction? One of several possible answers: A sharp distinction between humans and "animals" is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them--without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. With untroubled consciences, we can render whole species extinct--for our perceived short-term benefit, or even through simple carelessness. Their loss is of little import: Those beings, we tell ourselves, are not like us. An unbridgeable gap gas thus a practical role to play beyond the mere stroking of human egos. Darwin's formulation of this answer was: "Animals whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equals.
Carl Sagan (Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors)
They thought they were employing an economy-saving doctrine of situational leniency, but they somehow failed to understand that by coming up with a calculus to determine who was big enough and important enough to command jurisprudential mercy, they were simultaneously making a calculation about who was small enough and unimportant enough not to qualify.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
through internships to work at our test sites in Africa. The work they do there benefits the local communities and the students themselves. Together we can fight hunger and the abject poverty that blights these regions. “But in this age of technological evolution, as the first world races ahead, widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots, it’s
E.L. James (Grey (Fifty Shades as Told by Christian, #1))
costs further down the line. CIOs need to act now to close the gap. And it is not just an act of self-preservation; having
Ian Cox (Disrupt IT: A new model for IT in the digital age)
Jesus is the true and better Adam, who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us (1 Corinthians 15). Jesus is the true and better Abel, who, though innocently slain, has blood that cries out for our acquittal, not our condemnation (Hebrews 12:24). Jesus is the true and better Abraham, who answered the call of God to leave the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void “not knowing whither he went” to create a new people of God. Jesus is the true and better Isaac, who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us all. God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me, because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love, from me.” Now we can say to God, “Now we know that you love us, because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love, from us.” Jesus is the true and better Jacob, who wrestled with God and took the blow of justice we deserved so that we, like Jacob, receive only the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us. Jesus is the true and better Joseph, who at the right hand of the King forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them. Jesus is the true and better Moses, who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant (Hebrews 3). Jesus is the true and better rock of Moses, who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert. Jesus is the true and better Job—the truly innocent sufferer—who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends (Job 42). Jesus is the true and better David, whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves. Jesus is the true and better Esther, who didn’t just risk losing an earthly palace but lost the ultimate heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life but gave his life—to save his people. Jesus is the true and better Jonah, who was cast out into the storm so we could be brought in.
Timothy J. Keller (Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism)
A wall-to-wall Instagram reel of flirtatious young women doing selfies and documenting the gaps in their thighs isn’t a zoetrope of inconsequential self-involvement, so much as a reclamation of the lens: The young and bewildered women who blinked innocently from the dark corners of the early web are holding the camera now, controlling their own images, setting the terms of engagement.
Leigh Alexander (Breathing Machine: Growing Up in the Digital Age)
But even though nobody from the government ever says anything out loud about a lack of evidence being the real reason nobody from these companies goes to jail, we’re all—including reporters who cover this stuff—still supposed to accept that as the real explanation. It’s a particular feature of modern American government officials, particularly Democratic Party types, that they often expect the press and the public to give them credit for their unspoken excuses. They’ll vote yea on the Iraq war and the Patriot Act and nay for a public option or an end to torture or a bill to break up the banks. Then they’ll cozy up to you privately and whisper that of course they’re with you in spirit on those issues, but politically it just wasn’t possible to vote that way. And then they start giving you their reasons.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
With her, it is rain and words, paragraphs and storm. She is shelter and lightning. In her, there is warmth and light, distant trails of thunder. Her touch is a flash flood of sensation, a mirror to my own desires. She is danger and exhilaration, promise and impossibility. She is the very hurricane I've dreamed of, the one full of tempestuous destruction and irresistible pull. I never loved the rain until I learned the beauty of the storm.
Kat Jackson (The Roads Left Behind Us)
She seems fragile in a way I wasn’t able to see before, not when she and I were in the coffee shop or in any of the stuff she posts online. I see now what should have been obvious, that she was lost and looking for a way to understand it all—him, herself, what he did, and why it still means so much despite it being so seemingly small. I can hear Strane asking, impatient and impenitent, the question that must still ring through her head: When are you going to get over this? All I did was touch your leg.
Kate Elizabeth Russell (My Dark Vanessa)
For thousands of years, civilization did not lend itself to peaceful equalization. Across a wide range of societies and different levels of development, stability favored economic inequality. This was as true of Pharaonic Egypt as it was of Victorian England, as true of the Roman Empire as of the United States. Violent shocks were of paramount importance in disrupting the established order, in compressing the distribution of income and wealth, in narrowing the gap between rich and poor. Throughout recorded history, the most powerful leveling invariably resulted from the most powerful shocks. Four different kinds of violent ruptures have flattened inequality: mass mobilization warfare, transformative revolution, state failure, and lethal pandemics. I call these the Four Horsemen of Leveling. Just like their biblical counterparts, they went forth to “take peace from the earth” and “kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” Sometimes acting individually and sometimes in concert with one another, they produced outcomes that to contemporaries often seemed nothing short of apocalyptic. Hundreds of millions perished in their wake. And by the time the dust had settled, the gap between the haves and the have-nots had shrunk, sometimes dramatically.
Walter Scheidel (The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World, 114))
Similarly, the fact that another person believes in cowry shells, or dollars, or electronic data, is enough to strengthen our own belief in them, even if that person is otherwise hated, despised or ridiculed by us. Christians and Muslims who could not agree on religious beliefs could nevertheless agree on a monetary belief, because whereas religion asks us to believe in something, money asks us to believe that other people believe in something. For thousands of years, philosophers, thinkers and prophets have besmirched money and called it the root of all evil. Be that as it may, money is also the apogee of human tolerance. Money is more open-minded than language, state laws, cultural codes, religious beliefs and social habits. Money is the only trust system created by humans that can bridge almost any cultural gap, and that does not discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, race, age or sexual orientation. Thanks to money, even people who don’t know each other and don’t trust each other can nevertheless cooperate effectively. The
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Raimon Panikkar said that when theology is divorced from cosmology, we no longer have a living God but an idea of God. God becomes a thought that can be accepted or rejected rather than the experience of divine ultimacy. Because theology has not developed in tandem with science (or science in tandem with theology) since the Middle Ages, we have an enormous gap between the transcendent dimension of human existence (the religious dimension) and the meaning of physical reality as science understands it (the material dimension).
Ilio Delio (The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love)
Two literary figures bridge the gap between the mediaeval age and the Renaissance. They are Sir Thomas Malory, the author of Le Morte D'Arthur, and the first 'poet-laureate', John Skelton. In their entirely separate ways, they made distinctive contributions to the history of literature and to the growth of English as a literary language. ........ Le Morte D'Arthur is, in a way, the climax of a tradition of writing, bringing together myth and history, with an emphasis on chivalry as a kind of moral code of honour. The supernatural and fantastic aspects of the story, as in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, are played down, and the more political aspects, of firm government and virtue, emphasised. It was a book for the times. The Wars of the Roses ended in the same year as Le Morte D'Arthur was published. Its values were to influence a wide readership for many years to come. There is sadness, rather than heroism, in Arthur's final battle.. ...... John Skelton is one of the unjustly neglected figures of literature. His reputation suffered at the hands of one of the earliest critics of poetry, George Puttenham, and he is not easily categorised in terms of historical period, since he falls between clearly identified periods like 'mediaeval' and 'Renaissance'. He does not fit in easily either because of the kinds of poetry he wrote. But he is one of the great experimenters, and one of the funniest poets in English.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
The water rippled when he leaned in; he studied what he saw. Against a background of blue sky, there was his face, broad of forehead and overly long, and he was surprised at the new look of age on him. To everybody else, I must look ten years beyond twenty-seven, he thought, and it made him glad. Even had begun to fear gaps and what they might mean. Wide-spanning spaces between age and its weight of language and ability had begun to feel like easy reasons for saying good-bye. He saw inside the calm reflection a gull flying low over his head, braced by clouds drifting east toward Runnelstown. Turning back, he walked north around moss-based trees and finally found her digging wild onions growing thick next to fern. With her back to him she said, "Tired does one of two things-either builds the soul or breaks the heart. Can't decide which it is right now. All I know is I'm tired.
Melinda Haynes (Mother of Pearl)
What this means is that the entire business model for something like Chase’s credit card business is not much more than a gigantic welfare fraud scheme. These companies borrow hundreds of billions of dollars from the Fed at rock-bottom rates, then turn around and lend it out to the world at 5, 10, 15, 20 percent, as credit cards and mortgages, boat loans and aircraft loans, and so on. If you pay it back, great, it’s a 500 percent or 1,000 percent or 4,000 percent profit for the bank. If you don’t pay it back, the company can put your name in the hopper to be sued. A $5,000 debt on a credit card for the now-defunct Circuit City, which was actually a Chase card, became a $13,000 or $14,000 debt by the time the bank finished applying fees and penalties. Just like a welfare application, you have to read the fine print. “They make more on lawsuits than they make on credit interest,” says Linda.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
Hirschi was convinced that people who were usefully busy didn’t commit crimes. “The child playing ping-pong, swimming in the community pool, or doing his homework,” he said, “is not committing delinquent acts.” Hirschi didn’t spend a whole lot of time looking at people who had good jobs and became criminals anyway, completely ignoring in this way a whole class of crime. White-collar crime by its very nature involves a high degree of self-control and planning. It’s committed almost overwhelmingly by people who had enough self-mastery to make it through high school and college and hold down good jobs.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
According to Massimo Maffei from the University of Turin, plants-and that includes trees-are perfectly capable of distinguishing their own roots from the roots of other species and even from the roots of related individuals. But why are trees such social beings? Why do they share food with their own species and sometimes even go so far as to nourish their competitors? The reasons are the same as for human communities: there are advantages to working together. A tree is not a forest. On its own, a tree cannot establish a consistent local climate. It is at the mercy of wind and weather. But together, many trees create an ecosystem that moderates extremes of heat and cold, stores a great deal of water, and generates a great deal of humidity. And in this protected environment, trees can live to be very old. To get to this point, the community must remain intact no matter what. If every tree were looking out only for itself, then quite a few of them would never reach old age. Regular fatalities would result in many large gaps in the tree canopy, which would make it easier for storms to get inside the forest and uproot more trees. The heat of summer would reach teh forest floor and dry it out. Every tree would suffer.
Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World)
We’re indignant that men get paid more than women for doing the same work, and that white Americans earn more than black Americans. But even the 150% racial income gap of the 1930s pales in comparison to the injustices inflicted by our borders. A Mexican citizen living and working in the U.S. earns more than twice as much as a compatriot still living in Mexico. An American earns nearly three times as much for the same work as a Bolivian, even when they are of the same skill level, age, and sex. With a comparable Nigerian, the difference is a factor of 8.5 – and that’s adjusted for purchasing power in the two countries.
Rutger Bregman (Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There)
In a mass society where obtaining credit is as easy as it is, there’s probably no way to efficiently collect on delinquent accounts by writing real affidavits, filing legitimate, error-free lawsuits, and serving legitimate summonses in each and every individual case. Without the shortcuts, it doesn’t work. So techniques like robo-signing and sewer service are essential to the profitability of the business. Plenty of people—consumers and merchants both—are probably glad that so much credit is available, but they don’t realize that systematic fraud is part of what makes it available. Legally, there’s absolutely no difference between a woman on welfare who falsely declares that her boyfriend no longer lives in the home and a bank that uses a robo-signer to cook up a document swearing that he has kept regular records of your credit card account. But morally and politically, they’re worlds apart. When the state brings a fraud case against a welfare mom, it brings it with disgust, with rage, because in addition to committing the legal crime, she’s committed the political crime of being needy and an eyesore. Banks commit the legal crime of fraud wholesale; they do so out in the open, have entire departments committed to it, and have employees who’ve spent years literally doing nothing but commit, over and over again, the same legal crime that some welfare mothers go to jail for doing once. But they’re not charged, because there’s no political crime. The system is not disgusted by the organized, mechanized search for profit. It’s more like it’s impressed by it.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
We’re creating a dystopia, where the mania of the state isn’t secrecy or censorship but unfairness. Obsessed with success and wealth and despising failure and poverty, our society is systematically dividing the population into winners and losers, using institutions like the courts to speed the process. Winners get rich and get off. Losers go broke and go to jail. It isn’t just that some clever crook on Wall Street can steal a billion dollars and never see the inside of a courtroom; it’s that, plus the fact that some black teenager a few miles away can go to jail just for standing on a street corner, that makes the whole picture complete.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
The history of black workers in the United States illustrates the point. As already noted, from the late nineteenth-century on through the middle of the twentieth century, the labor force participation rate of American blacks was slightly higher than that of American whites. In other words, blacks were just as employable at the wages they received as whites were at their very different wages. The minimum wage law changed that. Before federal minimum wage laws were instituted in the 1930s, the black unemployment rate was slightly lower than the white unemployment rate in 1930. But then followed the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938—all of which imposed government-mandated minimum wages, either on a particular sector or more broadly. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which promoted unionization, also tended to price black workers out of jobs, in addition to union rules that kept blacks from jobs by barring them from union membership. The National Industrial Recovery Act raised wage rates in the Southern textile industry by 70 percent in just five months and its impact nationwide was estimated to have cost blacks half a million jobs. While this Act was later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was upheld by the High Court and became the major force establishing a national minimum wage. As already noted, the inflation of the 1940s largely nullified the effect of the Fair Labor Standards Act, until it was amended in 1950 to raise minimum wages to a level that would have some actual effect on current wages. By 1954, black unemployment rates were double those of whites and have continued to be at that level or higher. Those particularly hard hit by the resulting unemployment have been black teenage males. Even though 1949—the year before a series of minimum wage escalations began—was a recession year, black teenage male unemployment that year was lower than it was to be at any time during the later boom years of the 1960s. The wide gap between the unemployment rates of black and white teenagers dates from the escalation of the minimum wage and the spread of its coverage in the 1950s. The usual explanations of high unemployment among black teenagers—inexperience, less education, lack of skills, racism—cannot explain their rising unemployment, since all these things were worse during the earlier period when black teenage unemployment was much lower. Taking the more normal year of 1948 as a basis for comparison, black male teenage unemployment then was less than half of what it would be at any time during the decade of the 1960s and less than one-third of what it would be in the 1970s. Unemployment among 16 and 17-year-old black males was no higher than among white males of the same age in 1948. It was only after a series of minimum wage escalations began that black male teenage unemployment not only skyrocketed but became more than double the unemployment rates among white male teenagers. In the early twenty-first century, the unemployment rate for black teenagers exceeded 30 percent. After the American economy turned down in the wake of the housing and financial crises, unemployment among black teenagers reached 40 percent.
Thomas Sowell (Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy)
When we’re young, everyone over the age of thirty looks middle-aged, everyone over fifty antique. And time, as it goes by, confirms that we weren’t that wrong. Those little age differentials, so crucial and so gross when we are young, erode. We end up all belonging to the same category, that of the non-young. I’ve never much minded this myself. But there are exceptions to the rule. For some people, the time differentials established in youth never really disappear: the elder remains the elder, even when both are dribbling greybeards. For some people, a gap of, say, five months means that one will perversely always think of himself – herself – as wiser and more knowledgeable than the other, whatever the evidence to the contrary. Or perhaps I should say because of the evidence to the contrary. Because it is perfectly clear to any objective observer that the balance has shifted to the marginally younger person, the other one maintains the assumption of superiority all the more rigorously. All the more neurotically.
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
Bill Clinton’s political formula for seizing the presidency was simple. He made money tight in the ghettos and let it flow free on Wall Street. He showered the projects with cops and bean counters and pulled the cops off the beat in the financial services sector. And in one place he created vast new mountain ranges of paperwork, while in another, paperwork simply vanished.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
In Darwin's work, time moves at two speeds: there is the vast abyss of time in which generations change and animals mutate and evolve; and then there is the gnat's-breath, hummingbird-heart time of creaturely existence, where our children are born and grow and, sometimes, die before us...The space between the tiny but heartfelt time of human life and the limitless time of Nature became Darwin's implicit subject. Religion had always reconciled quick time and deep time by pretending that the one was in some way a prelude to the other - a prelude or a porlogue or a trial or a treatment. Artists of the Romantic period, in an increasingly secularized age, thought that through some vague kind of transcendence they could bridge the gap. They couldn't. Nothing could. The tragedy of life is not that there is no God but that the generations through which it progresses are too tiny to count very much. There isn't a special providence in the fall of a sparrow, but try telling that to the sparrows. The human challenge that Darwin felt, and that his work still presents, is to see both times truly - not to attempt to humanize deep time, or to dismiss quick time, but to make enough of both without overlooking either.
Adam Gopnik
It was at that moment that Markisha decided to apply for CalWORKs. She’d rented a room in an apartment she shared with a barber in her neighborhood, and she needed some help paying for it. CalWORKs meant three hundred dollars a month, plus food stamps. So she went to the local welfare office—a “Family Resource Center,” known as an FRC—and walked inside. She was barely sober, emotionally a wreck, literally penniless, and her entire ambition in life was to keep and maintain a room and a half in a rundown section of west San Diego without having to sell her body to pay the rent. This is the kind of person at whom the weight of the state’s financial fraud prosecution apparatus tends to be trained in America. Markisha entered the financial fraud patrol zone when she walked through those doors at the FRC. For three hundred dollars a month, she was about to become more heavily scrutinized by the state than any twelve Wall Street bankers put together. The amounts of money spent in these kinds of welfare programs are very small, but the levels of political capital involved are mountainous. You can always score political points banging on black welfare moms on meth. And the bureaucracy she was about to enter reflects that intense, bitterly contemptuous interest.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
The sudden introduction of these magic mortgage bonds into the marketplace pushed most every major institutional investor in the world to suddenly become consumed with the desire to lend money to American home borrowers, even if they didn’t know to whom exactly they were lending or how exactly these borrowers were qualifying for their home loans. As a result of this lunatic process, houses in middle- and lower-income neighborhoods from Fresno to the Jersey Shore became jammed full of new home borrowers, millions and millions of them, who in many cases were not equal to the task of making their monthly payments. The situation was tenable so long as housing prices kept rising and these teeming new populations of home borrowers could keep their heads above water, selling or refinancing their way out of trouble if need be. But the instant the arrow began tilting downward, this rapidly expanding death-balloon of phony real estate value inevitably had to—and did—explode.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
Relationships are measured in dog years,” Boomer said. “Excuse me?” I asked. “It’s a theory I came up with,” he continued. “Just take how long you’ve been together and multiply it by seven, and that’s how old your relationship feels. The first year? You’re toddlers and then young kids, enjoying things and also slowly figuring them out. Then you get to where we are, around the second year? Adolescence, man. It’s awkward, there’s rebellion, and most of all you’re just trying to figure out the relationship’s identity, right? Then around years three and four you get your jobs, you start to really work it. Hit year seven, middle age kicks in. But if you keep going, get to year ten—you’ve made it to old age. Maturity. And the cool thing is, you don’t even die when you get to year fourteen or fifteen—no, when your relationship really works, it can live until you’re hundreds of years old. Couples who’ve been together fifty or sixty years? They’re Yoda, Dash. They’re totally Yoda.
Rachel Cohn (Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily (Dash & Lily, #3))
The key thing, the one thing that almost every current and former federal prosecutor who lived through this period talks about, is that in the early years of the Obama administration, a huge premium was placed on not losing. Breuer and Holder acted like the corporate stewards they were and gravitated toward a bottom-line strategy of prosecution. They became attracted to a cost-benefit-analysis vision of law enforcement, where the key questions weren’t Who did what? and What the hell should we do about it? but Will we win? and How badly will the press screw us if we lose?
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
What, then, can Shakespearean tragedy, on this brief view, tell us about human time in an eternal world? It offers imagery of crisis, of futures equivocally offered, by prediction and by action, as actualities; as a confrontation of human time with other orders, and the disastrous attempt to impose limited designs upon the time of the world. What emerges from Hamlet is--after much futile, illusory action--the need of patience and readiness. The 'bloody period' of Othello is the end of a life ruined by unseasonable curiosity. The millennial ending of Macbeth, the broken apocalypse of Lear, are false endings, human periods in an eternal world. They are researches into death in an age too late for apocalypse, too critical for prophecy; an age more aware that its fictions are themselves models of the human design on the world. But it was still an age which felt the human need for ends consonant with the past, the kind of end Othello tries to achieve by his final speech; complete, concordant. As usual, Shakespeare allows him his tock; but he will not pretend that the clock does not go forward. The human perpetuity which Spenser set against our imagery of the end is represented here also by the kingly announcements of Malcolm, the election of Fortinbras, the bleak resolution of Edgar. In apocalypse there are two orders of time, and the earthly runs to a stop; the cry of woe to the inhabitants of the earth means the end of their time; henceforth 'time shall be no more.' In tragedy the cry of woe does not end succession; the great crises and ends of human life do not stop time. And if we want them to serve our needs as we stand in the middest we must give them patterns, understood relations as Macbeth calls them, that defy time. The concords of past, present, and future towards which the soul extends itself are out of time, and belong to the duration which was invented for angels when it seemed difficult to deny that the world in which men suffer their ends is dissonant in being eternal. To close that great gap we use fictions of complementarity. They may now be novels or philosophical poems, as they once were tragedies, and before that, angels. What the gap looked like in more modern times, and how more modern men have closed it, is the preoccupation of the second half of this series.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
To understand where things went wrong, we have to go back 15,000 years, to the end of the last ice age. Up until then, the planet had been sparsely populated and people banded together to stave off the cold. Rather than a struggle for survival, it was a snuggle for survival, in which we kept each other warm.22 Then the climate changed, turning the area between the Nile in the west and the Tigris in the east into a land of milk and honey. Here, survival no longer depended on banding together against the elements. With food in such plentiful supply, it made sense to stay put. Huts and temples were built, towns and villages took shape and the population grew.23 More importantly, people’s possessions grew. What was it Rousseau had to say about this? ‘The first man, who, after enclosing a piece of ground, took it into his head to say, “This is mine”’–that’s where it all started to go wrong. It couldn’t have been easy to convince people that land or animals–or even other human beings–could now belong to someone. After all, foragers had shared just about everything.24 And this new practice of ownership meant inequality started to grow. When someone died, their possessions even got passed on to the next generation. Once this kind of inheritance came into play, the gap between rich and poor opened wide.
Rutger Bregman (Humankind: A Hopeful History)
The same thing, notes Brynjolfsson, happened 120 years ago, in the Second Industrial Revolution, when electrification—the supernova of its day—was introduced. Old factories did not just have to be electrified to achieve the productivity boosts; they had to be redesigned, along with all business processes. It took thirty years for one generation of managers and workers to retire and for a new generation to emerge to get the full productivity benefits of that new power source. A December 2015 study by the McKinsey Global Institute on American industry found a “considerable gap between the most digitized sectors and the rest of the economy over time and [found] that despite a massive rush of adoption, most sectors have barely closed that gap over the past decade … Because the less digitized sectors are some of the largest in terms of GDP contribution and employment, we [found] that the US economy as a whole is only reaching 18 percent of its digital potential … The United States will need to adapt its institutions and training pathways to help workers acquire relevant skills and navigate this period of transition and churn.” The supernova is a new power source, and it will take some time for society to reconfigure itself to absorb its full potential. As that happens, I believe that Brynjolfsson will be proved right and we will start to see the benefits—a broad range of new discoveries around health, learning, urban planning, transportation, innovation, and commerce—that will drive growth. That debate is for economists, though, and beyond the scope of this book, but I will be eager to see how it plays out. What is absolutely clear right now is that while the supernova may not have made our economies measurably more productive yet, it is clearly making all forms of technology, and therefore individuals, companies, ideas, machines, and groups, more powerful—more able to shape the world around them in unprecedented ways with less effort than ever before. If you want to be a maker, a starter-upper, an inventor, or an innovator, this is your time. By leveraging the supernova you can do so much more now with so little. As Tom Goodwin, senior vice president of strategy and innovation at Havas Media, observed in a March 3, 2015, essay on “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.
Thomas L. Friedman (Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations)
All of this goes back to Bill Clinton. It’s not a coincidence that radical welfare reform took place on the same watch that also saw a radical deregulation of the financial services industry. Clinton was a man born with a keen nose for two things: women with low self-esteem and political opportunity. When he was in the middle of a tough primary fight in 1992 and came out with a speech promising to “end welfare as we know it,” he could immediately smell the political possibilities, and it wasn’t long before this was a major plank in his convention speech (and soon in his first State of the Union address). Clinton understood that putting the Democrats back in the business of banging on black dependency would allow his party to reseize the political middle that Democrats had lost when Lyndon Johnson threw the weight of the White House behind the civil rights effort and the War on Poverty.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
You will tell me that there always exists a chasm between the world depicted in novels and films and the world that people actually live in. It is the chasm between the world mediated by art and the world unmediated by art, formless and drab. You are absolutely right. The gap that my mother felt was not necessarily any deeper than the gap felt by a European girl who loved books and films. Yet there is one critical difference. For in my mother's case, the chasm between the world of art and real life also symbolized something more: the asymmetrical relationship I mentioned earlier—the asymmetrical relationship between those who live only in a universal temporality and those who live in both a universal and a particular one. To make this discussion a little more concrete, let me introduce a character named Francoise. Francoise is a young Parisienne living before World War II. Like my mother, she loves reading books and watching films. Also like my mother, she lives in a small apartment with her mother, who is old, shabby looking, and illiterate. One day Francoise, full of artistic aspirations, writes an autobiographical novel. It is the tale of her life torn between the world of art and the world of reality. (Not an original tale, I must say.) The novel is well received in France. Several hundred Japanese living in Japan read this novel in French, and one of them decides to translate it into Japanese. My mother reads the novel. She identifies with the heroine and says to herself, "This girl is just like me!" Moved, my mother, also full of artistic aspirations, writes her own autobiography. That novel is well received in Japan but is not translated into French—or any other European language, for that matter. The number of Europeans who read Japanese is just too small. Therefore, only Japanese readers can share the plight of my mother's life. For other readers in the world, it's as if her novel never existed. It's as if she herself never existed. Even if my mother had written her novel first, Francoise would never have read it and been moved by it.
Minae Mizumura (The Fall of Language in the Age of English)
Fathers and sons, probably one of the most emotionally deep, human relationships. Probably one of the most intense human equations. Words alone cannot describe what a father and son feel for each other, simply because there are such few words in this relationship. So much is left unsaid between the two of them. Communication, or rather a lack of it, always broadens the gap between the two of them. There’s always a gap between a father and son, always a gap between a name and a surname. I’ve always asked myself and today I address this question to all of you sons out there: Why did you stop hugging your father after a certain age? Why did you stop expressing, and being affectionate to your father after a certain age? Why is there this inexplicable awkwardness between a father and son? Why are all your emotions, your innermost thoughts, your tears, always reserved for your mother, your sister and then your wife? Why? Because you then become a father, and then you bottle up, just like your father did, and this vicious circle continues. Who is going to break this vicious circle? I realized, and I’m sure this applies to all of you as well, that, like everybody else, I too had issues, minor issues with my father, like every other son. You could call it a generation gap, you could call it a difference of opinion, you could call it anything. But what I also realized was that I was subconsciously being the man my father is. I was talking like him, feeling like him, loving like him—I was just being him. I then realized that a father not only gives his son his name, he also gives him his personality. So somewhere, if you have a problem with your father, you actually have a problem with yourself. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve had this realization and this opportunity to express myself, and I wish with all my heart, that one day you do too. My father is my conscience, my father is my strength, my father is my support, my father is my hero. I don’t say it often enough to you, Dad, but what better than this global platform to say, I love you. I love you very, very, very much. And I wish I could love you as much as you love me, but I don’t think I’m capable of such unconditional love. I love you. You are my world. And then Amit uncle, who was there, said: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I think whatever needed to be said about Mr Yash Johar, his son Karan has very ably done.
Karan Johar (Unsuitable Boy)
Bohr is really doing what the Stoic allegorists did to close the gap between their world and Homer's, or what St. Augustine did when he explained, against the evidence, the concord of the canonical scriptures. The dissonances as well as the harmonies have to be made concordant by means of some ultimate complementarity. Later biblical scholarship has sought different explanations, and more sophisticated concords; but the motive is the same, however the methods may differ. An epoch, as Einstein remarked, is the instruments of its research. Stoic physics, biblical typology, Copenhagen quantum theory, are all different, but all use concord-fictions and assert complementarities. Such fictions meet a need. They seem to do what Bacon said poetry could: 'give some show of satisfaction to the mind, wherein the nature of things doth seem to deny it.' Literary fictions ( Bacon's 'poetry') do likewise. One consequence is that they change, for the same reason that patristic allegory is not the same thing, though it may be essentially the same kind of thing, as the physicists' Principle of Complementarity. The show of satisfaction will only serve when there seems to be a degree of real compliance with reality as we, from time to time, imagine it. Thus we might imagine a constant value for the irreconcileable observations of the reason and the imagination, the one immersed in chronos, the other in kairos; but the proportions vary indeterminably. Or, when we find 'what will suffice,' the element of what I have called the paradigmatic will vary. We measure and order time with our fictions; but time seems, in reality, to be ever more diverse and less and less subject to any uniform system of measurement. Thus we think of the past in very different timescales, according to what we are doing; the time of the art-historian is different from that of the geologist, that of the football coach from the anthropologist's. There is a time of clocks, a time of radioactive carbon, a time even of linguistic change, as in lexicostatics. None of these is the same as the 'structural' or 'family' time of sociology. George Kubler in his book The Shape of Time distinguished between 'absolute' and 'systematic' age, a hierarchy of durations from that of the coral reef to that of the solar year. Our ways of filling the interval between the tick and tock must grow more difficult and more selfcritical, as well as more various; the need we continue to feel is a need of concord, and we supply it by increasingly varied concord-fictions. They change as the reality from which we, in the middest, seek a show of satisfaction, changes; because 'times change.' The fictions by which we seek to find 'what will suffice' change also. They change because we no longer live in a world with an historical tick which will certainly be consummated by a definitive tock. And among all the other changing fictions, literary fictions take their place. They find out about the changing world on our behalf; they arrange our complementarities. They do this, for some of us, perhaps better than history, perhaps better than theology, largely because they are consciously false; but the way to understand their development is to see how they are related to those other fictional systems. It is not that we are connoisseurs of chaos, but that we are surrounded by it, and equipped for coexistence with it only by our fictive powers. This may, in the absence of a supreme fiction-or the possibility of it, be a hard fate; which is why the poet of that fiction is compelled to say From this the poem springs: that we live in a place That is not our own, and much more, nor ourselves And hard it is, in spite of blazoned days.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
In North America, there is no nostalgia for the postwar period, quite simply because the Trente Glorieuses never existed there: per capita output grew at roughly the same rate of 1.5–2 percent per year throughout the period 1820–2012. To be sure, growth slowed a bit between 1930 and 1950 to just over 1.5 percent, then increased again to just over 2 percent between 1950 and 1970, and then slowed to less than 1.5 percent between 1990 and 2012. In Western Europe, which suffered much more from the two world wars, the variations are considerably greater: per capita output stagnated between 1913 and 1950 (with a growth rate of just over 0.5 percent) and then leapt ahead to more than 4 percent from 1950 to 1970, before falling sharply to just slightly above US levels (a little more than 2 percent) in the period 1970–1990 and to barely 1.5 percent between 1990 and 2012. Western Europe experienced a golden age of growth between 1950 and 1970, only to see its growth rate diminish to one-half or even one-third of its peak level during the decades that followed. [...] If we looked only at continental Europe, we would find an average per capita output growth rate of 5 percent between 1950 and 1970—a level well beyond that achieved in other advanced countries over the past two centuries. These very different collective experiences of growth in the twentieth century largely explain why public opinion in different countries varies so widely in regard to commercial and financial globalization and indeed to capitalism in general. In continental Europe and especially France, people quite naturally continue to look on the first three postwar decades—a period of strong state intervention in the economy—as a period blessed with rapid growth, and many regard the liberalization of the economy that began around 1980 as the cause of a slowdown. In Great Britain and the United States, postwar history is interpreted quite differently. Between 1950 and 1980, the gap between the English-speaking countries and the countries that had lost the war closed rapidly. By the late 1970s, US magazine covers often denounced the decline of the United States and the success of German and Japanese industry. In Britain, GDP per capita fell below the level of Germany, France, Japan, and even Italy. It may even be the case that this sense of being rivaled (or even overtaken in the case of Britain) played an important part in the “conservative revolution.” Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Ronald Reagan in the United States promised to “roll back the welfare state” that had allegedly sapped the animal spirits of Anglo-Saxon entrepreneurs and thus to return to pure nineteenth-century capitalism, which would allow the United States and Britain to regain the upper hand. Even today, many people in both countries believe that the conservative revolution was remarkably successful, because their growth rates once again matched continental European and Japanese levels. In fact, neither the economic liberalization that began around 1980 nor the state interventionism that began in 1945 deserves such praise or blame. France, Germany, and Japan would very likely have caught up with Britain and the United States following their collapse of 1914–1945 regardless of what policies they had adopted (I say this with only slight exaggeration). The most one can say is that state intervention did no harm. Similarly, once these countries had attained the global technological frontier, it is hardly surprising that they ceased to grow more rapidly than Britain and the United States or that growth rates in all of these wealthy countries more or less equalized [...] Broadly speaking, the US and British policies of economic liberalization appear to have had little effect on this simple reality, since they neither increased growth nor decreased it.
Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty First Century)
We cannot provide a definition of those products from which the age takes it name, the feuilletons. They seem to have formed an uncommonly popular section of the daily newspapers, were produced by the millions, and were a major source of mental pabulum for the reader in want of culture. They reported on, or rather "chatted" about, a thousand-and-one items of knowledge. The cleverer writers poked fun at their own work. Many such pieces are so incomprehensible that they can only be viewed as self-persiflage on the part of the authors. In some periods interviews with well-known personalities on current problems were particularly popular. Noted chemists or piano virtuosos would be queried about politics, for example, or popular actors, dancers, gymnasts, aviators, or even poets would be drawn out on the benefits and drawbacks of being a bachelor, or on the presumptive causes of financial crises, and so on. All that mattered in these pieces was to link a well-known name with a subject of current topical interest. It is very hard indeed for us to put ourselves in the place of those people so that we can truly understand them. But the great majority, who seem to have been strikingly fond of reading, must have accepted all these grotesque things with credulous earnestness. If a famous painting changed owners, if a precious manuscript was sold at auction, if an old palace burned down, the readers of many thousands of feature articles at once learned the facts. What is more, on that same day or by the next day at the latest they received an additional dose of anecdotal, historical, psychological, erotic, and other stuff on the catchword of the moment. A torrent of zealous scribbling poured out over every ephemeral incident, and in quality, assortment, and phraseology all this material bore the mark of mass goods rapidly and irresponsibly turned out. Incidentally, there appear to have been certain games which were regular concomitants of the feature article. The readers themselves took the active role in these games, which put to use some of their glut of information fodder. Thousands upon thousands spent their leisure hours sitting over squares and crosses made of letters of the alphabet, filling in the gaps according to certain rules. But let us be wary of seeing only the absurd or insane aspect of this, and let us abstain from ridiculing it. For these people with their childish puzzle games and their cultural feature articles were by no means innocuous children or playful Phaeacians. Rather, they dwelt anxiously among political, economic, and moral ferments and earthquakes, waged a number of frightful wars and civil wars, and their little cultural games were not just charming, meaningless childishness. These games sprang from their deep need to close their eyes and flee from unsolved problems and anxious forebodings of doom into an imaginary world as innocuous as possible. They assiduously learned to drive automobiles, to play difficult card games and lose themselves in crossword puzzles--for they faced death, fear, pain, and hunger almost without defenses, could no longer accept the consolations of the churches, and could obtain no useful advice from Reason. These people who read so many articles and listened to so many lectures did not take the time and trouble to strengthen themselves against fear, to combat the dread of death within themselves; they moved spasmodically on through life and had no belief in a tomorrow.
Hermann Hesse