Aging Well Quotes

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It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.
Gabriel García Márquez
We'll never be as young as we are tonight.
Chuck Palahniuk (Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey)
Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?", here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!
Andy Rooney
What horrifies me most is the idea of being useless: well-educated, brilliantly promising, and fading out into an indifferent middle age.
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
Somehow, we'll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be. But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.
Brandon Sanderson (The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3))
The spell. Victor said you had to want me... to care about me... for it to work." When he didn't say anything, I tried to grip his shirt, but my fingers were too weak. "Did you? Did you want me?" His words came out thickly. "Yes, Roza. I did want you. I still do. I wish... we could be together." "Then why did you lie to me?" We reached the clinic, and he managed to open the door while still holding me. As soon as he stepped inside, he began yelling for help. "Why did you lie?" I murmured again. Still holding me in his arms, he looked down at me. I could hear voices and footsteps getting closer. "Because we can't be together." "Because of the age thing, right?" I asked. "Because you're my mentor?" His fingertip gently wiped away a tear that had escaped down my cheek. "That's part of it," he said. "But also... well, you and I will both be Lissa's gaurdians someday. I need to protect her at all cost. If a pack of Strogoi come, I need to throw my body between them and her." I know that. Of course that's what you have to do." The black sparkles were dancing in front of my eyes again. I was fading out. "No. If I let myself love you, I won't throw myself in front of her. I'll throw myself in front of you.
Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1))
The difference between stupid and intelligent people – and this is true whether or not they are well-educated – is that intelligent people can handle subtlety.
Neal Stephenson (The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer)
Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, "the happiness that attends disaster." Or: "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." I'd like to show how "intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members" connects with "the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age." I'd like to have a word for "the sadness inspired by failing restaurants" as well as for "the excitement of getting a room with a minibar." I've never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I've entered my story, I need them more than ever.
Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex)
Do you know what it's like to love someone so much, that you can't see yourself without picturing her? Or what it's like to touch someone, and feel like you've come home? What we had wasn't about sex, or about being with someone just to show off what you've got, the way it was for other kids our age. We were, well, meant to be together. Some people spend their whole lives looking for that one person. I was lucky enough to have her all along.
Jodi Picoult (The Pact)
If you have the woman you love, what more do you need? Well, besides an alibi for the time of her husband’s murder.

Dark Jar Tin Zoo (Love Quotes for the Ages. Specifically Ages 19-91.)
You two are too cute,” the counter girl said, setting two cups piled with whipped cream on the counter. She had a sort of lopsided, open smile that made me think she laughed a lot. “Seriously. How long have you been going out?” Sam let go of my hands to get his wallet and took out some bills. “Six years.” I wrinkled my nose to cover a laugh. Of course he would count the time that we’d been two entirely different species. Whoa.” Counter girl nodded appreciatively. “That’s pretty amazing for a couple your age." Sam handed me my hot chocolate and didn’t answer. But his yellow eyes gazed at me possessively—I wondered if he realized that the way he looked at me was far more intimate than copping a feel could ever be. I crouched to look at the almond bark on the bottom shelf in the counter. I wasn’t quite bold enough to look at either of them when I admitted, “Well, it was love at first sight.” The girl sighed. “That is just so romantic. Do me a favor, and don’t you two ever change. The world needs more love at first sight.
Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1))
Never give all the heart, for love Will hardly seem worth thinking of To passionate women if it seem Certain, and they never dream That it fades out from kiss to kiss; For everything that's lovely is But a brief, dreamy, kind delight. O Never give the heart outright, For they, for all smooth lips can say, Have given their hearts up to the play. And who could play it well enough If deaf and dumb and blind with love? He that made this knows all the cost, For he gave all his heart and lost.
W.B. Yeats (In the Seven Woods: Being Poems Chiefly of the Irish Heroic Age)
Words are like seeds, I think, planted into our hearts at a tender age. They take root in us as we grow, settling deep into our souls. The good words plant well. They flourish and find homes in our hearts. They build trunks around our spines, steadying us when we’re feeling most flimsy; planting our feet firmly when we’re feeling most unsure. But the bad words grow poorly. Our trunks infest and spoil until we are hollow and housing the interests of others and not our own. We are forced to eat the fruit those words have borne, held hostage by the branches growing arms around our necks, suffocating us to death, one word at a time.
Tahereh Mafi (Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3))
Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth -- more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid ... Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.
Bertrand Russell (Why Men Fight)
When you're young, you always feel that life hasn't yet begun—that "life" is always scheduled to begin next week, next month, next year, after the holidays—whenever. But then suddenly you're old and the scheduled life didn't arrive. You find yourself asking, 'Well then, exactly what was it I was having—that interlude—the scrambly madness—all that time I had before?
Douglas Coupland (Life After God)
I don’t want to make love last, I want to make love second to last. The last thing we’ll do is cuddle.
Jarod Kintz (Love quotes for the ages. Specifically ages 18-81.)
And you'll sit beside me, and we'll look, not at visions, but at realities.
Edith Wharton (The Age of Innocence)
A man once asked me ... how I managed in my books to write such natural conversation between men when they were by themselves. Was I, by any chance, a member of a large, mixed family with a lot of male friends? I replied that, on the contrary, I was an only child and had practically never seen or spoken to any men of my own age till I was about twenty-five. "Well," said the man, "I shouldn't have expected a woman (meaning me) to have been able to make it so convincing." I replied that I had coped with this difficult problem by making my men talk, as far as possible, like ordinary human beings. This aspect of the matter seemed to surprise the other speaker; he said no more, but took it away to chew it over. One of these days it may quite likely occur to him that women, as well as men, when left to themselves, talk very much like human beings also.
Dorothy L. Sayers (Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society)
Note, to-day, an instructive, curious spectacle and conflict. Science, (twin, in its fields, of Democracy in its)—Science, testing absolutely all thoughts, all works, has already burst well upon the world—a sun, mounting, most illuminating, most glorious—surely never again to set. But against it, deeply entrench'd, holding possession, yet remains, (not only through the churches and schools, but by imaginative literature, and unregenerate poetry,) the fossil theology of the mythic-materialistic, superstitious, untaught and credulous, fable-loving, primitive ages of humanity.
Walt Whitman (Complete Prose Works)
She is one of those ladies who is more beautiful at sixty than she could possibly have been at twenty. (how I hope someone says that about me someday)!
Mary Ann Shaffer
But after a moment a sense of waste and ruin overcame him. There they were, close together and safe and shut in; yet so chained to their separate destinies that they might as well been half the world apart.
Edith Wharton (The Age of Innocence)
Well, I guess we all can't have epic loves at such a young age.
Jennifer E. Smith (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight)
There has to be a balance, Vin," Elend said. "Somehow, we'll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be." He sighed. "But for now," he said, nodding to the side, "we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.
Brandon Sanderson (The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3))
Well, Vin says that there's something behind all this, right? Some evil force of doom or whatever? Well, if I were said force of doom, then I certainly wouldn't have used my powers to turn the land black. It just lacks flair. Red. Now, that would be an interesting color. Think of the possibilities--if the ash were red, the rivers would run like blood. Black is so monotonous that you can forget about it, but red--you'd always be thinking, 'Why, look at that. That hill is red. That evil force of doom trying to destroy me certainly has style.
Brandon Sanderson (The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3))
I am not a perfectionist, but I like to feel that things are done well. More important than that, I feel an endless need to learn, to improve, to evolve, not only to please the coach and the fans, but also to feel satisfied with myself. It is my conviction that here are no limits to learning, and that it can never stop, no matter what our age.
Cristiano Ronaldo
We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares. But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think. What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us. This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
Anyway, back to the kids." "Well, one is a girl who looks about your age, and there's a boy." She grinned as she stood. "He's a hottie." A tiny piece of egg caught in my throat. It was seriously gross to hear Mom talking about boys my age. "Hottie? Mom that's just weird.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Obsidian (Lux, #1))
Why are you here?" "'Here' as in your bedroom, or 'here' as in the great, spiritual question of our purpose here on this planet? If you're asking me whether this is all some cosmic coincidence or if there's a greater meta-ethical purpose to life, well, that's a puzzler for the ages. I mean, modern-day reductionism is clearly a fallacious argument, but-," -"I'm going back to bed." -"I'm here because Hodge reminded me it's your birthday.
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin." The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." [From the Preface]
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
One's doing well if age improves even slightly one's capacity to hold on to that vital truism: "This too shall pass.
Alain de Botton
Those who succeed in an outstanding way seldom do so before the age of 40. More often, they do not strike their real pace until they are well beyond the age of 50.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
As we grow old...the beauty steals inward.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I ask of you your lives,” Elend said, voice echoing, “and your courage. I ask of you your faith, and your honor—your strength, and your compassion. For today, I lead you to die. I will not ask you to welcome this event. I will not insult you by calling it well, or just, or even glorious. But I will say this. “Each moment you fight is a gift to those in this cavern. Each second we fight is a second longer that thousands of people can draw breath. Each stroke of the sword, each koloss felled, each breath earned is a victory! It is a person protected for a moment longer, a life extended, an enemy frustrated!” There was a brief pause. “In the end, they will kill us,” Elend said, voice loud, ringing in the cavern. “But first, they shall fear us!
Brandon Sanderson (The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3))
You may be the only guy my age I've ever met who knows what bergamot is, much less that it's in Earl Grey tea." "Yes, well," Jace said, with a supercilious look, "I'm not like other guys. Besides," he added, flipping a book off the shelf, "at the Institute we have to take classes in basic medicinal uses for plants. It's required." "I figured all your classes were stuff like Slaughter 101 and Beheading for Beginners." Jace flipped a page. "Very funny, Fray.
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
I often find that a novel, even a well-written and compelling novel, can become a blur to me soon after I've finished reading it. I recollect perfectly the feeling of reading it, the mood I occupied, but I am less sure about the narrative details. It is almost as if the book were, as Wittgenstein said of his propositions, a ladder to be climbed and then discarded after it has served its purpose.
Sven Birkerts (The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age)
Clary: What are you doing here, anyway? Jace: 'Here' as in your bedroom or 'here' as in the great spiritual question of our purpose here on this planet? If you're asking whether it's all just a cosmic coincidence or there's a greater metaethical purpose to life, well, that's a puzzler for the ages. I mean, simple ontological reductionism is clearly a fallacious argument, but- Clary: I'm going to bed.
Cassandra Clare
So what I want to know is why it is that I can no longer find you, in my mind. You are still there, just, but you are there like a ghost, a will o' the wisp. Not long ago you burned--your heart burned--in my mind like silver fire. But after that night in the inn it became patchy and dim, and now it is not there at all." "Could it be that the heart that you seek is no longer my own? I have given my heart to another." "The boy? The one in the inn? With the unicorn?" "Yes." "You should have let me take it back then, for my sisters and me. We could have been young again, well into the next age of the world. Your boy will break it, or waste it, or lose it. They all do." "Nonetheless, he has my heart. I hope your sisters will not be too hard on you, when you return to them without it.
Neil Gaiman (Stardust)
Live well, Ichigo. Live well, age well, go bald well, and die after me. And... if you can, die smiling. (Isshin Kurosaki)
Tite Kubo
The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends on how well we know this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
We’re so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. I’m tired of this shit. I’m tired of f-ing Earth Day. I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is that there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me. The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles … hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages … And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE are! We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam … The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed. And if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice toward plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?” Plastic… asshole.
George Carlin
A great sadness welled up in Magnus at the sight of him. It was human to age and die, and Jem stood outside that humanity now, outside the light that burned so brightly and so briefly. It was cold outside that light and fire. No one had greater cause to know that cold than Magnus did.
Cassandra Clare (The Midnight Heir (The Bane Chronicles, #4))
When she was younger, she felt that he wanted to know everything about her, but she was sometimes afraid to tell too much. She was afraid he would know her too well, that he would find some weakness in her, some element that would turn him away, maybe even a quality she didn't even realize she possessed.
Michael Stein
No more tubs for me." I jumped off the bed and pulled on a pair of Pack sweats. "They make me lose all sense." Curran sprawled on the bed with a big self-satisfied smile. "Want to know a secret?" "Sure." "It's not the bathtub, baby." Well, aren't we smug. I picked up the corner of the lowest mattress and made a show of looking under it. "What are you looking for?" "A pea Your Majesty." "What?" "You heard me." I jumped back as he lunged and his fingers missed me by an inch. "Getting slow in your old age." "I thought you liked it slow." A flashback to last night mugged me and my mind executed a full stop. He laughed. "Ran out of snappy comebacks?" "Hush. I'm trying to think of one.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, #4))
AGE DIFFERENCE What if I told you that one day you will meet a girl who is unlike anyone else you've known. She will know all the right things to say, what makes you laugh, what turns you on, what drives you wild and best of all, you will do for her exactly what she does for you. "When will I meet her?" Well let's put it this way, she doesn't even exist yet.
Lang Leav
THE FOUR HEAVENLY FOUNTAINS Laugh, I tell you And you will turn back The hands of time. Smile, I tell you And you will reflect The face of the divine. Sing, I tell you And all the angels will sing with you! Cry, I tell you And the reflections found in your pool of tears - Will remind you of the lessons of today and yesterday To guide you through the fears of tomorrow.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
To begin perfect happiness at the respective ages of 26 and 18 is to do pretty well
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
Well, can you tell her that?" He looked down at his feet. "I will. I will." Guy-speak for, "I plan to keep avoiding her until she gives up.
Priya Ardis (My Merlin Awakening (My Merlin, #2))
You're sad because you're sad. It's psychic. It's the age. It's chemical. Go see a shrink or take a pill, or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll you need to sleep. Well, all children are sad but some get over it. Count your blessings. Better than that, buy a hat. Buy a coat or a pet. Take up dancing to forget.
Margaret Atwood
You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that. Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw -- but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported. Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of -- something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat's side? Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it -- tantalising glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest -- if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself -- you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say "Here at last is the thing I was made for". We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work. While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all.
C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
Oh well, perhaps when you're my age you'll know the heart is an untrustworthy beast.The mind too, but it doesn't talk about love.
Graham Greene (The Power and the Glory)
Well, here I am, you deviant bitch. Here I bloody am. The motherfucking consequence.
Pierce Brown (Dark Age (Red Rising Saga #5))
But she was waiting patiently. She no longer believed in talk. It never rescued anything. At seventy she had come to believe in time alone.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
The human body is like a piece of fabric. No matter how well one cares for it, it frays as it ages.
Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni, #1))
But clearly life took people and shook them around until finally they were unrecognizable even to those who had once known them well. Still, there was power in once having known someone.
Meg Wolitzer (The Interestings)
Once you pass a certain age, life becomes nothing more than a process of continual loss. Things that are important to your life begin to slip out of your grasp, one after another, like a come losing teeth. And the only things that come to take their place are worthless imitations. Your physical strength, your hopes, your dreams, your ideals, your convictions, all meaning, or then again, the people you love: one by one, they fade away. Some announce their departure before they leave, while others just disappear all of a sudden without warning one day. And once you lose them you can never get them back. Your search for replacements never goes well. It’s all very painful – as painful as actually being cut with a knife.
Haruki Murakami (1Q84 (1Q84, #1-3))
How can I explain to this woman—I thought—that from the age of six I've been a slave to letters and numbers, that my mood depends on the success of their combinations, that the joy of having done well is rare, unstable, that it lasts an hour, an afternoon, a night?
Elena Ferrante (Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3))
She fit her head under his chin, and he could feel her weight settle into him. He held her tight and words spilled out of him without prior composition. And this time he made no effort to clamp them off. He told her about the first time he had looked on the back of her neck as she sat in the church pew. Of the feeling that had never let go of him since. He talked to her of the great waste of years between then and now. A long time gone. And it was pointless, he said, to think how those years could have been put to better use, for he could hardly have put them to worse. There was no recovering them now. You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and the damage done therein. For the dead, and for your own lost self. But what the wisdom of the ages says is that we do well not to grieve on and on. And those old ones knew a thing or two and had some truth to tell, Inman said, for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you are. All your grief hasn't changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You're left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is go on or not. But if you go on, it's knowing you carry your scars with you. Nevertheless, over all those wasted years, he had held in his mind the wish to kiss her on the back of her neck, and now he had done it. There was a redemption of some kind, he believed, in such complete fulfillment of a desire so long deferred.
Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain)
Athena called, "Annabeth Chase, my own daughter." Annabeth squeezed my arm, then walked forward and knelt at her mother's feet. Athena smiled. "You, my daughter, have exceeded all expectations. You have used your wits, your strength, and your courage to defend this city, and our seat of power. It has come to our attention that Olympus is...well, trashed. The Titan lord did much damage that will have to be repaired. We could rebuild it by magic, of course, and make it just as it was. But the gods feel that the city could be improved. We will take this as an opportunity. And you, my daughter, will design these improvements." Annabeth looked up, stunned. "My...my lady?" Athena smiled wryly. "You are an architect, are you not? You have studied the techniques of Daedalus himself. Who better to redesign Olympus and make it a monument that will last for another eon?" "You mean...I can design whatever I want?" "As your heart desires," the goddess said. "Make us a city for the ages." "As long as you have plenty of statues of me," Apollo added. "And me," Aphrodite agreed. "Hey, and me!" Ares said. "Big statues with huge wicked swords and-" All right!" Athena interrupted. "She gets the point. Rise, my daughter, official architect of Olympus.
Rick Riordan (The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5))
I've seen a lot of movies where a kid my age finds out he's got magical powers and then gets invited to go away to some special school. Well, if I've got an invitation coming, now would be the perfect time to get it
Jeff Kinney (Cabin Fever (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #6))
We'll Go No More A-roving So, we'll go no more a-roving So late into the night, Though the heart still be as loving, And the moon still be as bright. For the sword outwears its sheath, And the soul wears out the breast, And the heart must pause to breathe, And love itself have rest. Though the night was made for loving, And the day returns too soon, Yet we'll go no more a-roving By the light of the moon.
Lord Byron (Poetical Works)
Nell," the Constable continued, indicating through his tone of voice that the lesson was concluding, "the difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people—and this is true whether or not they are well-educated—is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations—in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.
Neal Stephenson (The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer)
Jason turned to Leo. “Do you think you can fly this thing?” “Um…” Leo put his hand on the side of the helicopter, concentrating hard, as if listening to the machine. “Bell 412HP utility helicopter,” Leo said. “Composite four-blade main rotor, cruising speed twenty-two knots, service ceiling twenty-thousand feet. The tank is near full. Sure, I can fly it.” Piper smiled at the ranger again. “You din’t have a problem with an under-aged unlicensed kid borrowing your copter, do you? We’ll return it.” “I-“ The pilot nearly choked on the words, but she got them out: “I don’t have a problem with that.” Leo grinned. “Hop in kids, Uncle Leo’s gonna take you for a ride.
Rick Riordan (The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1))
Well isn’t that one thing you’re all the more wise for? Age has taught you something. It seems to me that you know the big secret. That nobody knows what’s going on
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
Great numbers of children will be born who understand electronics and atomic power as well as other forms of energy. They will grow into scientists and engineers of a new age which has the power to destroy civilization unless we learn to live by spiritual laws.
Edgar Evans Cayce
It smells terrible in here.' Well, what do you expect? The human body, when confined, produces certain odors which we tend to forget in this age of deodorants and other perversions. Actually, I find the atmosphere of this room rather comforting. Schiller needed the scent of apples rotting in his desk in order to write. I, too, have my needs. You may remember that Mark Twain preferred to lie supinely in bed while composing those rather dated and boring efforts which contemporary scholars try to prove meaningful. Veneration of Mark Twain is one of the roots of our current intellectual stalemate.
John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces)
On the surface, I was calm: in secret, without really admitting it, I was waiting for something. Her return? How could I have been waiting for that? We all know that we are material creatures, subject to the laws of physiology and physics, and not even the power of all our feelings combined can defeat those laws. All we can do is detest them. The age-old faith of lovers and poets in the power of love, stronger than death, that finis vitae sed non amoris, is a lie, useless and not even funny. So must one be resigned to being a clock that measures the passage of time, now out of order, now repaired, and whose mechanism generates despair and love as soon as its maker sets it going? Are we to grow used to the idea that every man relives ancient torments, which are all the more profound because they grow comic with repetition? That human existence should repeat itself, well and good, but that it should repeat itself like a hackneyed tune, or a record a drunkard keeps playing as he feeds coins into the jukebox... Must I go on living here then, among the objects we both had touched, in the air she had breathed? In the name of what? In the hope of her return? I hoped for nothing. And yet I lived in expectation. Since she had gone, that was all that remained. I did not know what achievements, what mockery, even what tortures still awaited me. I knew nothing, and I persisted in the faith that the time of cruel miracles was not past.
Stanisław Lem (Solaris)
Second, and far more important: tuck your chin. You're going to get hurt, so expect it and be ready. You may as well see it coming.
Elizabeth Haydon (Rhapsody: Child of Blood (Symphony of Ages, #1))
Yes, the Gorgon has dried your tears.' Well, she has opened my eyes too; it's a delusion to say she blinds people. What she does is the contrary-she fastens their eyelids open, so they're never again in the blessed darkness.
Edith Wharton (The Age of Innocence)
Well, He had known what love was-a sharp pang, a fierce experience, in the midst of whose flames he was struggling! but, through that furnace he would fight his way out into the serenity of middle age,-all the richer and more human for having known this great passion.
Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South)
Little James Herondale, age two, was in fact holding a dagger quite well. He stabbed it into a sofa cushion, sending out a burst of feathers. "Ducks," he said, pointing at the feathers.
Cassandra Clare (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy)
You hate change. I hate it too. But things can't stay the same- and that's well, for when nothing changes in your life, it's as good as being dead
Brandon Sanderson (The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3))
The dialectic case of the 'things we do', the 'things we have done' and the 'things we are going to do' has been haunting present and earlier generations. For ages people have been confronted with the soul-searching question how should I interpret the past and how do I move forward. Linguistic sayings, which were inherited from century to century, gave us a good deal of remarkable advice and moral guidance in this field : " Do what is right and let come what come may ", " Do well and fear not ", " Do well and dread no shame ". Erik Pevernagie, Never looking back again
Erik Pevernagie
It is a bad idea to live too long. Few carry it off well.
Charles Frazier (Thirteen Moons)
I am but too conscious of the fact that we are born in an age when only the dull are treated seriously, and I live in terror of not being misunderstood. Don't degrade me into the position of giving you useful information. Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
Oscar Wilde (The Artist as Critic: Critical Writings of Oscar Wilde)
Sometimes I wish we’d met when we were twenty-seven. Twenty-seven sounds like a good age to meet the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. At twenty-seven, you are still young, but hopefully you are well on your way to being the you you want to be. But
Jenny Han (Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3))
Do you know how long a year takes when it's going away?' Dunbar repeated to Clevinger. 'This long.' He snapped his fingers. 'A second ago you were stepping into college with your lungs full of fresh air. Today you're an old man.' 'Old?' asked Clevinger with surprise. 'What are you talking about?' 'Old.' 'I'm not old.' 'You're inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age? A half minute before that you were stepping into high school, and an unhooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to Paradise. Only a fifth of a second before that you were a small kid with a ten-week summer vacation that lasted a hundred thousand years and still ended too soon. Zip! They go rocketing by so fast. How the hell else are you ever going to slow down?' Dunbar was almost angry when he finished. 'Well, maybe it is true,' Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone. 'Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it's to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?' 'I do,' Dunbar told him. 'Why?' Clevinger asked. 'What else is there?
Joseph Heller (Catch-22)
Hello? This is Clary Fairchild.” “Clary? It’s me, Emma.” “Oh, Emma, hi! I haven’t heard from you in ages. My mom says thanks for the wedding flowers, by the way. She wanted to send a note but Luke whisked her away on a honeymoon to Tahiti.” “Tahiti sounds nice.” “It probably is — Jace, what are you doing with that thing? There is no way it’ll fit.” “Is this a bad time?” “What? No! Jace is trying to drag a trebuchet into the training room. Alec, stop helping him.” “What’s a trebuchet?” “It’s a huge catapult.” “What are they going to use it for?” “I have no idea. Alec, you’re enabling! You’re an enabler!” “Maybe it is a bad time.” “I doubt there’ll be a better one. Is something wrong? Is there anything I can do?” “I think we have your cat.” “What?” “Your cat. Big fuzzy Blue Persian? Always looks angry? Julian says it’s your cat. He says he saw it at the New York Institute. Well, saw him. It’s a boy cat.” “Church? You have Church? But I thought — well, we knew he was gone. We thought Brother Zachariah took him. Isabelle was annoyed, but they seemed to know each other. I’ve never seen Church actually likeanyone like that.” “I don’t know if he likes anyone here. He bit Julian twice. Oh, wait. Julian says he likes Ty. He’s asleep on Ty’s bed.” “How did you wind up with him?” “Someone rang our front doorbell. Diana, she’s our tutor, went down to see what it was. Church was in a cage on the front step with a note tied to it. It said For Emma. This is Church, a longtime friend of the Carstairs. Take care of this cat and he will take care of you. —J.” “Brother Zachariah left you a cat.” “But I don’t even really know him. And he’s not a Silent Brother any more.” “You may not know him, but he clearly knows you.” “What do you think the J stands for?” “His real name. Look, Emma, if he wants you to have Church, and you want Church, you should keep him.” “Are you sure? The Lightwoods —“ ‘They’re both standing here nodding. Well, Alec is partially trapped under a trebuchet, but he seems to be nodding.” “Jules says we’d like to keep him. We used to have a cat named Oscar, but he died, and, well, Church seems to be good for Ty’s nightmares.” “Oh, honey. I think, really, he’s Brother Zachariah’s cat. And if he wants you to have him, then you should.” “Why does Brother Zachariah want to protect me? It’s like he knows me, but I don’t know why he knows me.” “I don’t exactly know … But I know Tessa. She’s his — well, girlfriend seems not the right word for it. They’ve known each other a long, long time. I have a feeling they’re both watching over you.” “That’s good. I have a feeling we’re going to need it.” “Emma — oh my God. The trebuchet just crashed through the floor. I have to go. Call me later.” “But we can keep the cat?” “You can keep the cat.
Cassandra Clare (Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1))
Claire was just coming down the stairs, humming and thinking about how nice it was to have things getting back to normal, and how she'd tell Shane about the January thing tonight, when Myrnin sent a message through the portal. Well, more of a rock with a note tied to it, which rolled across the floor and scared Eve into a scream before the portal snapped shut. Eve kicked the rock resentfully with her thick black boots and glared at it, then at the wall. Claire gave her a "What the hell?" kind of look. "Your boss," Eve said, and reached down to grab the rock, "needs to figure out texting. Seriously. Who does this? Is he actually from the Stone Age?
Rachel Caine (Bite Club (The Morganville Vampires, #10))
A man is unlikely to be brought within earshot of women as they judge men's appearance, height, muscle tone, sexual technique, penis size, personal grooming, or taste in clothes--all of which we do. The fact is that women are able to view men just as men view women, as objects for sexual and aesthetic evaluation; we too are effortlessly able to choose the male "ideal" from a lineup and if we could have male beauty as well as everything else, most of us would not say no. But so what? Given all that, women make the choice, by and large, to take men as human beings first.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
Raffin appeared again, a floor above her, on the balconied passageway that ran past his workrooms. He leaned over the railing and called down to her. "Kat!" "What is it?" "You look lost . Have you forgotten the way to your rooms?" "I'm stalling." "How long will you be? I'd like to show you a couple of my new discoveries." "I've been told to make myself pretty for dinner." He grinned. "Well in that case, you'll be ages." His face dissolved into laughter, and she tore a button from one of her bags an hurled it at him. He squealed and dropped to the floor, and the button hit the wall right where he'd been standing. When he peeked back over the railing, she stood in the courtyard with her hands on her hips, grinning. "I missed on purpose," she said. "Show off! Come if you have time." He waved, and turned into his rooms.
Kristin Cashore (Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1))
This is ideal, you’ll see. We do everything backward. It’s just how we are. We began with an elopement. After that, we made love. Next, we’ll progress to courting. When we’re old and silver-haired, perhaps we’ll finally get around to flirtation. We’ll make fond eyes at each other over our mugs of gruel. We’ll be the envy of couples half our age.
Tessa Dare (A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
I know of no other practise which will make one more attractive in conversation than to be well-read in a variety of subjects. There is a great potential within each of us to go on learning. Regardless of our age, unless there be serious illness, we can read, study, drink in the writings of wonderful men and women. It is never too late to learn.
Gordon B. Hinckley (Stand a Little Taller)
[The Old Astronomer to His Pupil] Reach me down my Tycho Brahe, I would know him when we meet, When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet; He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how We are working to completion, working on from then to now. Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete, Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet, And remember men will scorn it, 'tis original and true, And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you. But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learned the worth of scorn, You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn, What for us are all distractions of men's fellowship and smiles; What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious smiles. You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late, But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant's fate. Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. What, my boy, you are not weeping? You should save your eyes for sight; You will need them, mine observer, yet for many another night. I leave none but you, my pupil, unto whom my plans are known. You 'have none but me,' you murmur, and I 'leave you quite alone'? Well then, kiss me, -- since my mother left her blessing on my brow, There has been a something wanting in my nature until now; I can dimly comprehend it, -- that I might have been more kind, Might have cherished you more wisely, as the one I leave behind. I 'have never failed in kindness'? No, we lived too high for strife,-- Calmest coldness was the error which has crept into our life; But your spirit is untainted, I can dedicate you still To the service of our science: you will further it? you will! There are certain calculations I should like to make with you, To be sure that your deductions will be logical and true; And remember, 'Patience, Patience,' is the watchword of a sage, Not to-day nor yet to-morrow can complete a perfect age. I have sown, like Tycho Brahe, that a greater man may reap; But if none should do my reaping, 'twill disturb me in my sleep So be careful and be faithful, though, like me, you leave no name; See, my boy, that nothing turn you to the mere pursuit of fame. I must say Good-bye, my pupil, for I cannot longer speak; Draw the curtain back for Venus, ere my vision grows too weak: It is strange the pearly planet should look red as fiery Mars,-- God will mercifully guide me on my way amongst the stars.
Sarah Williams (Twilight Hours: A Legacy of Verse)
The best armour of old age is a well spent life perfecting it.
Charles T. Munger (Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger)
Once upon a time, all children were homeschooled. They were not sent away from home each day to a place just for children but lived, learned, worked, and played in the real world, alongside adults and other children of all ages.
Rachel Gathercole (The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling)
There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters
Daniel Webster
Balm of the summer night, balm of the ordinary, imperial joy and sorrow of human existence, the dreamed as well as the lived— what could be dearer than this, given the closeness of death?
Louise Glück (The Seven Ages)
All parts of the body which have a function, if used in moderation and exercised in labors in which each is accustomed, become thereby healthy, well developed and age more slowly, but if unused they become liable to disease, defective in growth and age quickly.
Hippocrates
[G]rowing into your future with health and grace and beauty doesn’t have to take all your time. It rather requires a dedication to caring for yourself as if you were rare and precious, which you are, and regarding all life around you as equally so, which it is. (267-268)
Victoria Moran (Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body and Revitalize Your Spirit)
There's a serendipity to real life that the Internet can't duplicate. Do you use the library? For anything? Well, sometimes you end up picking up the book next to the one you were looking for, and it's that book that changes your life.
Laura Lippman (Hardly Knew Her)
I believe in aristocracy, though -- if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secreat understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for others as well as themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but power to endure, and they can take a joke.
E.M. Forster (Two Cheers for Democracy)
When Roseanne read the first script of mine that got into her hands without being edited by someone else she said, 'How can you write a middle-aged woman this well?' I said, 'If you met my mom you wouldn't ask'.
Joss Whedon
The newcomer stood well over six feet, as tall as any Warden. His hair was dark, the color of obsidian, and it reflected blue in the dim light. Lazy locks slipped over his forehead and curled just below his ears. Brows arched over golden eyes and his cheekbones were broad and high. He was attractive. Very attractive. Mind-bendingly beautiful, actually, but the sardonic twist to his full lips chilled his beauty. The black T-shirt stretched across his chest and flat stomach. A huge tattoo of a snake curled around his forearm, the tail disappearing under his sleeve and the diamond-shaped head rested on the top of his hand. He looked my age. Total crush material—if it wasn’t for the fact that he had no soul.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1))
when you're young a pair of female high-heeled shoes just sitting alone in the closet can fire your bones; when you're old it's just a pair of shoes without anybody in them and just as well.
Charles Bukowski (You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense)
Women could probably be trained quite easily to see men first as sexual things. If girls never experienced sexual violence; if a girl's only window on male sexuality were a stream of easily available, well-lit, cheap images of boys slightly older than herself, in their late teens, smiling encouragingly and revealing cuddly erect penises the color of roses or mocha, she might well look at, masturbate to, and, as an adult, "need" beauty pornography based on the bodies of men. And if those initiating penises were represented to the girl as pneumatically erectible, swerving neither left nor right, tasting of cinnamon or forest berries, innocent of random hairs, and ever ready; if they were presented alongside their measurements, length, and circumference to the quarter inch; if they seemed to be available to her with no troublesome personality attached; if her sweet pleasure seemed to be the only reason for them to exist--then a real young man would probably approach the young woman's bed with, to say the least, a failing heart.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
I told Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson, then age 105, that she was the only person over 80 who I'd ever met who never referred to her physical infirmities or health problems. To which she replied, "I have my difficulties; I do not rejoice in them.
Patricia Mulcahy (It Is Well with My Soul: The Extraordinary Life of a 106-Year-Old Woman)
Are You Ready for New Urban Fragrances? Yeah, I guess I'm ready, but listen: Perfume is a disguise. Since the middle ages, we have worn masks of fruit and flowers in order to conceal from ourselves the meaty essence of our humanity. We appreciate the sexual attractant of the rose, the ripeness of the orange, more than we honor our own ripe carnality. Now today we want to perfume our cities, as well; to replace their stinging fumes of disturbed fossils' sleep with the scent of gardens and orchards. Yet, humans are not bees any more than they are blossoms. If we must pull an olfactory hood over our urban environment, let it be of a different nature. I want to travel on a train that smells like snowflakes. I want to sip in cafes that smell like comets. Under the pressure of my step, I want the streets to emit the precise odor of a diamond necklace. I want the newspapers I read to smell like the violins left in pawnshops by weeping hobos on Christmas Eve. I want to carry luggage that reeks of the neurons in Einstein's brain. I want a city's gases to smell like the golden belly hairs of the gods. And when I gaze at a televised picture of the moon, I want to detect, from a distance of 239,000 miles, the aroma of fresh mozzarella.
Tom Robbins (Wild Ducks Flying Backward)
There have always been literate ignoramuses who have read too widely and not well. The Greeks had a name for such a mixture of learning and folly which might be applied to the bookish but poorly read of all ages. They are all sophomores.
Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)
When we think of racism we think of Governor Wallace of Alabama blocking the schoolhouse door; we think of water hoses, lynchings, racial epithets, and "whites only" signs. These images make it easy to forget that many wonderful, goodhearted white people who were generous to others, respectful of their neighbors, and even kind to their black maids, gardeners, or shoe shiners--and wished them well--nevertheless went to the polls and voted for racial segregation... Our understanding of racism is therefore shaped by the most extreme expressions of individual bigotry, not by the way in which it functions naturally, almost invisibly (and sometimes with genuinely benign intent), when it is embedded in the structure of a social system.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
Religion carries two sorts of people in two entirely opposite directions: the mild and gentle people it carries towards mercy and justice; the persecuting people it carries into fiendish sadistic cruelty. Mind you, though this may seem to justify the eighteenth-century Age of Reason in its contention that religion is nothing but an organized, gigantic fraud and a curse to the human race, nothing could be farther from the truth. It possesses these two aspects, the evil one of the two appealing to people capable of naïve hatred; but what is actually happening is that when you get natures stirred to their depths over questions which they feel to be overwhelmingly vital, you get the bad stirred up in them as well as the good; the mud as well as the water. It doesn't seem to matter much which sect you have, for both types occur in all sects....
Alfred North Whitehead (Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead)
The difference between stupid and intelligent people -- and this is true whether or not they are well-educated -- is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambigous or even contradictory situations -- in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.
Neal Stephenson (The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer)
Should she stick with the nice, sensitive guy who treats her well (Ben Stiller), or should she roll the dice with the frustrating boho bozo who treats her like crap (Ethan Hawk)? Winona made the kind of romantic decision most people my age would have made in 1994: She pursued a path that was difficult and depressing, and she did so because it showed the slightest potential for transcendence.
Chuck Klosterman (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto)
Ren's scent was everywhere. The smoke of aged wood lingering beneath a chilled autumn sky, the smooth burn of well-worn leather, the seductive ribbon of sandalwood. I closed my eyes, letting his scent pour over me, filling me with memories.
Andrea Cremer (Bloodrose (Nightshade, #3; Nightshade World, #6))
It is a well-known fact that very often, putting the period of boyhood out of the argument, the older we grow the more cynical and hardened we become; indeed, many of us are only saved by timely death from moral petrification, if not from moral corruption.
H. Rider Haggard (She: A History of Adventure (She, #1))
Where there is to be creative action, it is quite beside the point to discuss what we should or should not do in order to be right or good. A mind that is single and sincere is not interested in being good, in conducting relations with other people so as to live up to a rule. Nor, on the other hand, is it interested in being free, in acting perversely just to prove its independence. Its interest is not in itself, but in the people and problems of which it is aware; these are “itself.” It acts, not according to the rules, but according to the circumstances of the moment, and the “well” it wishes to others is not security but liberty.
Alan W. Watts (The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety)
Maybe they're out doing the tango and drinking tequila shots." He sent Eve a grin. "As we will be when we reach their age. After which we'll come home and have mad sex." "For God's sake. This is on the record." "Yes, I know." He stepped off with her on Var's floor. "I wanted those future plans to be official as well.
J.D. Robb (Fantasy in Death (In Death, #30))
…. by the time they have reached the middle of their life’s journey, few people remember how they have managed to arrive at themselves, at their amusements, their point of view, their wife, character, occupation and successes, but they cannot help feeling that not much is likely to change anymore. It might even be asserted that they have been cheated, for one can nowhere discover any sufficient reason for everything’s coming about as it has. It might just have well as turned out differently. The events of people’s lives have, after all, only to the last degree originated in them, having generally depended on all sorts of circumstances such as the moods, the life or death of quite different people, and have, as it were, only at the given point of time come hurrying towards them
Robert Musil (The Man Without Qualities: Volume I)
What’s true? What’s false? In case you haven’t noticed, the world has pretty much given up on the old Enlightenment idea of piecing together the truth based on observed data. Reality is too complicated and scary for that. Instead, it’s way easier to ignore all data that doesn’t fit your preconceptions and believe all data that does. I believe what I believe, and you believe what you believe, and we’ll agree to disagree. It’s liberal tolerance meets dark ages denialism. It’s very hip right now.
Nathan Hill (The Nix)
You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars: and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you. Till you can sing and rejoice and delight in God, as misers do in gold, and Kings in sceptres, you never enjoy the world. Till your spirit filleth the whole world, and the stars are your jewels; till you are as familiar with the ways of God in all Ages as with your walk and table: till you are intimately acquainted with that shady nothing out of which the world was made: till you love men so as to desire their happiness, with a thirst equal to the zeal of your own: till you delight in God for being good to all: you never enjoy the world.
Thomas Traherne (Centuries of Meditations)
Attitude Is Everything We live in a culture that is blind to betrayal and intolerant of emotional pain. In New Age crowds here on the West Coast, where your attitude is considered the sole determinant of the impact an event has on you, it gets even worse.In these New Thought circles, no matter what happens to you, it is assumed that you have created your own reality. Not only have you chosen the event, no matter how horrible, for your personal growth. You also chose how you interpret what happened—as if there are no interpersonal facts, only interpretations. The upshot of this perspective is that your suffering would vanish if only you adopted a more evolved perspective and stopped feeling aggrieved. I was often kindly reminded (and believed it myself), “there are no victims.” How can you be a victim when you are responsible for your circumstances? When you most need validation and support to get through the worst pain of your life, to be confronted with the well-meaning, but quasi-religious fervor of these insidious half-truths can be deeply demoralizing. This kind of advice feeds guilt and shame, inhibits grieving, encourages grandiosity and can drive you to be alone to shield your vulnerability.
Sandra Lee Dennis
The contemporary climate is therapeutic, not religious. People today hunger not for personal salvation, let alone for the restoration of an earlier golden age, but for the feeling, the momentary illusion, of personal well-being, health, and psychic security.
Christopher Lasch (The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations)
OK, now let’s have some fun. Let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about women. Freud said he didn’t know what women wanted. I know what women want. They want a whole lot of people to talk to. What do they want to talk about? They want to talk about everything. What do men want? They want a lot of pals, and they wish people wouldn’t get so mad at them. Why are so many people getting divorced today? It’s because most of us don’t have extended families anymore. It used to be that when a man and a woman got married, the bride got a lot more people to talk to about everything. The groom got a lot more pals to tell dumb jokes to. A few Americans, but very few, still have extended families. The Navahos. The Kennedys. But most of us, if we get married nowadays, are just one more person for the other person. The groom gets one more pal, but it’s a woman. The woman gets one more person to talk to about everything, but it’s a man. When a couple has an argument, they may think it’s about money or power or sex, or how to raise the kids, or whatever. What they’re really saying to each other, though, without realizing it, is this: “You are not enough people!” I met a man in Nigeria one time, an Ibo who has six hundred relatives he knew quite well. His wife had just had a baby, the best possible news in any extended family. They were going to take it to meet all its relatives, Ibos of all ages and sizes and shapes. It would even meet other babies, cousins not much older than it was. Everybody who was big enough and steady enough was going to get to hold it, cuddle it, gurgle to it, and say how pretty it was, or handsome. Wouldn't you have loved to be that baby?
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian)
At all ages, if [fantasy and myth] is used well by the author and meets the right reader, it has the same power: to generalize while remaining concrete, to present in palpable form not concepts or even experiences but whole classes of experience, and to throw off irrelevancies. Bat at its best it can do more; it can give us experiences we have never had and thus, instead of 'commenting on life,' can add to it.
C.S. Lewis
Not too long ago thousands spent their lives as recluses to find spiritual vision in the solitude of nature. Modern man need not become a hermit to achieve this goal, for it is neither ecstasy nor world-estranged mysticism his era demands, but a balance between quantitative and qualitative reality. Modern man, with his reduced capacity for intuitive perception, is unlikely to benefit from the contemplative life of a hermit in the wilderness. But what he can do is to give undivided attention, at times, to a natural phenomenon, observing it in detail, and recalling all the scientific facts about it he may remember. Gradually, however, he must silence his thoughts and, for moments at least, forget all his personal cares and desires, until nothing remains in his soul but awe for the miracle before him. Such efforts are like journeys beyond the boundaries of narrow self-love and, although the process of intuitive awakening is laborious and slow, its rewards are noticeable from the very first. If pursued through the course of years, something will begin to stir in the human soul, a sense of kinship with the forces of life consciousness which rule the world of plants and animals, and with the powers which determine the laws of matter. While analytical intellect may well be called the most precious fruit of the Modern Age, it must not be allowed to rule supreme in matters of cognition. If science is to bring happiness and real progress to the world, it needs the warmth of man's heart just as much as the cold inquisitiveness of his brain.
Franz Winkler
I don't believe in God. Can you understand that? Look around you man. Cant you see? The clamor and din of those in torment has to be the sound most pleasing to his ear. And I loathe these discussions. The argument of the village atheist whose single passion is to revile endlessly that which he denies the existence of in the first place. Your fellowship is a fellowship of pain and nothing more. And if that pain were actually collective instead of simply reiterative then the sheer weight of it would drag the world from the walls of the universe and send it crashing and burning through whatever night it might yet be capable of engendering until it was not even ash. And justice? Brotherhood? Eternal life? Good god, man. Show me a religion that prepares one for death. For nothingness. There's a church I might enter. Yours prepares one only for more life. For dreams and illusions and lies. If you could banish the fear of death from men's hearts they wouldnt live a day. Who would want this nightmare if not for fear of the next? The shadow of the axe hangs over every joy. Every road ends in death. Or worse. Every friendship. Every love. Torment, betrayal, loss, suffering, pain, age, indignity, and hideous lingering illness. All with a single conclusion. For you and for every one and everything that you have chosen to care for. There's the true brotherhood. The true fellowship. And everyone is a member for life. You tell me that my brother is my salvation? My salvation? Well then damn him. Damn him in every shape and form and guise. Do I see myself in him? Yes. I do. And what I see sickens me. Do you understand me? Can you understand me?
Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
Well, I’ve been a musician my whole life. When I was two, I would sing the theme from Star Wars in my crib; my mom taped it for proof. Then, when I was five, I asked for a violin. No one knew why I would want one, but my wish was granted and I ended up a classically trained fiddler by age 12. The only problem with that was, when you’re a classical violinist, everybody expects you to be satisfied with playing Tchaikovsky for the rest of your life, and saying you want to play jazz, rock, write songs, sing your songs, hook up your fiddle to a guitar amp, sleep with your 4-track recorder, mess around with synths, dress like Tinkerbell in combat boots, AND play Tchaikovsky is equivalent to spitting on the Pope.
Emilie Autumn
Please do it your own way. Do it in the mornings when your mind is cold Do it in the evenings when everything is sold. Do it in the springtime when springtime isn't there Do it in the winter We know winter well Do it on very hot days Try doing it in hell. Trade bed for a pencil Trade sorrow for a page No work it out your own way Have good luck at your age.
Ernest Hemingway (88 Poems)
Delirium: You use that word so much. Responsibilities. Do you ever think about what that means? I mean, what does it mean to you? In your head? Dream: Well, I use it to refer that area of existence over which I exert a certain amount of control or influence. In my case, the realm and action of dreaming. Delirium: Hump. It's more than that. The things we do make echoes. S'pose, f'rinstance, you stop on a street corner and admire a brilliant fork of lightning--ZAP! Well for ages after people and things will stop on that very same corner, stare up at the sky. They wouldn't even know what they were looking for. Some of them might see a ghost bolt of lightning in the street. Some of them might even be killed by it. Our existence deforms the universe. THAT'S responsibility.
Neil Gaiman (The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones)
Every road ends in death. Or worse. Every friendship. Every love. Torment, betrayal, loss, suffering, pain, age, indignity, and hideous lingering illness. All with a single conclusion. For you and for every one and every thing that you have chosen to care for. There's the true brotherhood. The true fellowship. And everyone is a member for life. You tell me that my brother is my salvation? My salvation? Well then damn him. Damn him in every shape and form and guise. Do I see myself in him? Yes. I do. And what I see sickens me. Do you understand me? Can you understand me?
Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
In America, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and it is certainly useful to have a few when a pollster shows up. But these are opinions of a quite different roder from eighteenth- or nineteenth-century opinions. It is probably more accurate to call them emotions rather than opinions, which would account for the fact that they change from week to week, as the pollsters tell us. What is happening here is that television is altering the meaning of 'being informed' by creating a species of information that might properly be called disinformation. I am using this world almost in the precise sense in which it is used by spies in the CIA or KGB. Disinformation does not mean false information. It means misleading information--misplace, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information--information that creates the illusion of knowing something but which in fact leads one away from knowing. In saying this, I do not mean to imply that television news deliberately aims to deprive Americans of a coherent, contextual understanding of their world. I mean to say that when news is packaged as entertainment, that is the inevitable result. And in saying that the television news show entertains but does not inform, I am saying something far more serious than that we are being deprived of authentic information. I am saying we are losing our sense of what it means to be well informed. Ignorance is always correctable. But what shall we do if we take ignorance to be knowledge?
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
He was a man of very few words, and as it was impossible to talk, one had to keep silent. It’s hard work talking to some people, most often males. I have a Theory about it. With age, many men come down with testosterone autism, the symptoms of which are a gradual decline in social intelligence and capacity for interpersonal communication, as well as a reduced ability to formulate thoughts. The Person beset by this Ailment becomes taciturn and appears to be lost in contemplation. He develops an interest in various Tools and machinery, and he’s drawn to the Second World War and the biographies of famous people, mainly politicians and villains. His capacity to read novels almost entirely vanishes; testosterone autism disturbs the character’s psychological understanding.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Being proper and sweet and nice and pleasing is a fucking nightmare. It’s exhausting. As women, we get the message about how to be a good girl – how to be a good, pretty girl – from such an early age. Then, at the same time, we’re told that well-behaved girls won’t change the world or ever make a splash. So it’s sort of like, well, what the fuck am I supposed to be? I’m supposed to be a really polite revolutionary?” Phoebe Waller-Bridge spreads her arms and starts to laugh. “It’s impossible.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge
I have a special pair of poop shoes under my desk. Whenever I need to drop a deuce, I slip them on and scurry to the restroom, and no one ever knows it's me. Like, if I'm wearing Louboutins that day, and my producer sees Earth shoes in the stall....well, you get the idea. It was truly a lightbulb moment when that came to me.
Oprah Winfrey
When I speak of life and love as expanding with age, sex seems the least important thing. At any age we grow by the enlarging of consciousness, by learning a new language, or a new art or craft (gardening?) that implies a new way of looking at the universe. Love is one of the great enlargers of the person because it requires us to "take in" the stranger and to understand him, and to exercise restraint and tolerance as well as imagination to make the relationship work.
May Sarton (Journal of a Solitude)
The look he gave me was pitying. “In age only. I told you that you didn’t know the half of what Madigan had done. Well, she’s the half.” “She’s more than half,” Denise replied dourly. “That little girl snapped my neck as soon as she saw me, then cut my throat when I got up after that, and then impaled me with a pipe she ripped off the wall when I got up after that! Needless to say, after that last one, I stayed down until Homicidal Goldilocks left.
Jeaniene Frost (Up from the Grave (Night Huntress, #7))
The World "You know the saddest thing," she said. "The saddest thing is that we're you." I said nothing. "In your fantasies," she said, "my people are just like you. Only better. We don't die or age or suffer from pain or cold or thirst. We're snappier dressers. We possess the wisdom of the ages. And if we crave blood, well, it is no more than the way you people crave food or affection or sunlight - and besides, it gets us out of the house. Crypt. Coffin. Whatever." "And the truth is?" I ask her. "We're you," she said. "We're you with all your fuckups and all the things that make you human - all your fears and lonelinesses and confusions... none of that gets better. "But we're colder than you are. Deader. I miss daylight and food and knowing how it feels to touch someone and care. I remember life, and meeting people as people and not just as things to feed on or control, and I remember what it was to feel something, anything, happy or sad or anything..." And then she stopped. "Are you crying?" I asked. "We don't cry," she told me. Like I said, the woman was a liar." Fifteen Painted Cards From A Vampire Tarot
Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders)
I do not mean to imply that television news deliberately aims to deprive Americans of a coherent, contextual understanding of their world. I mean to say that when news is packaged as entertainment, that is the inevitable result. And in saying that the television news show entertains but does not inform, I am saying something far more serious than that we are being deprived of authentic information. I am saying we are losing our sense of what it means to be well informed.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
We love men because they can never fake orgasms, even if they wanted to. Because they write poems, songs, and books in our honor. Because they never understand us, but they never give up. Because they can see beauty in women when women have long ceased to see any beauty in themselves. Because they come from little boys. Because they can churn out long, intricate, Machiavellian, or incredibly complex mathematics and physics equations, but they can be comparably clueless when it comes to women. Because they are incredible lovers and never rest until we’re happy. Because they elevate sports to religion. Because they’re never afraid of the dark. Because they don’t care how they look or if they age. Because they persevere in making and repairing things beyond their abilities, with the naïve self-assurance of the teenage boy who knew everything. Because they never wear or dream of wearing high heels. Because they’re always ready for sex. Because they’re like pomegranates: lots of inedible parts, but the juicy seeds are incredibly tasty and succulent and usually exceed your expectations. Because they’re afraid to go bald. Because you always know what they think and they always mean what they say. Because they love machines, tools, and implements with the same ferocity women love jewelry. Because they go to great lengths to hide, unsuccessfully, that they are frail and human. Because they either speak too much or not at all to that end. Because they always finish the food on their plate. Because they are brave in front of insects and mice. Because a well-spoken four-year old girl can reduce them to silence, and a beautiful 25-year old can reduce them to slobbering idiots. Because they want to be either omnivorous or ascetic, warriors or lovers, artists or generals, but nothing in-between. Because for them there’s no such thing as too much adrenaline. Because when all is said and done, they can’t live without us, no matter how hard they try. Because they’re truly as simple as they claim to be. Because they love extremes and when they go to extremes, we’re there to catch them. Because they are tender they when they cry, and how seldom they do it. Because what they lack in talk, they tend to make up for in action. Because they make excellent companions when driving through rough neighborhoods or walking past dark alleys. Because they really love their moms, and they remind us of our dads. Because they never care what their horoscope, their mother-in-law, nor the neighbors say. Because they don’t lie about their age, their weight, or their clothing size. Because they have an uncanny ability to look deeply into our eyes and connect with our heart, even when we don’t want them to. Because when we say “I love you” they ask for an explanation.
Paulo Coelho
The best Armour of Old Age is a well spent life preceding it; a Life employed in the Pursuit of useful Knowledge, in honourable Actions and the Practice of Virtue; in which he who labours to improve himself from his Youth, will in Age reap the happiest Fruits of them; not only because these never leave a Man, not even in the extremest Old Age; but because a Conscience bearing Witness that our Life was well-spent, together with the Remembrance of past good Actions, yields an unspeakable Comfort to the Soul
Marcus Tullius Cicero
As I age in the world it will rise and spread, and be for this place horizon and orison, the voice of its winds. I have made myself a dream to dream of its rising, that has gentled my nights. Let me desire and wish well the life these trees may live when I no longer rise in the mornings to be pleased with the green of them shining, and their shadows on the ground, and the sound of the wind in them.
Wendell Berry
A kind of second childhood falls on so many men. They trade their violence for the promise of a small increase of life span. In effect, the head of the house becomes the youngest child. And I have searched myself for this possibility with a kind of horror. For I have always lived violently, drunk hugely, eaten too much or not at all, slept around the clock or missed two nights of sleeping, worked too hard and too long in glory, or slobbed for a time in utter laziness. I've lifted, pulled, chopped, climbed, made love with joy and taken my hangovers as a consequence, not as a punishment. I did not want to surrender fierceness for a small gain in yardage. My wife married a man; I saw no reason why she should inherit a baby.
John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley: In Search of America)
i mean talk about decadence," he declared, "how decadent can a society get? Look at it this way. This country's probably the psychiatric, psychoanalytical capital of the world. Old Freud himself could never've dreamed up a more devoted bunch of disciples than the population of the United States - isn't that right? Our whole damn culture is geared to it; it's the new religion; it's everybody's intellectual and spiritual sugar-tit. And for all that, look what happens when a man really does blow his top. Call the Troopers, get him out of sight quick, hustle him off and lock him up before he wakes the neighbors. Christ's sake, when it comes to any kind of showdown we're still in the Middle Ages. It's as if everybody'd made this tacit agreement to live in a state of total self-deception. The hell with reality! Let's have a whole bunch of cute little winding roads and cute little houses painted white and pink and baby blue; let's all be good consumers and have a lot of Togetherness and bring our children up in a bath of sentimentality -- and if old reality ever does pop out and say Boo we'll all get busy and pretend it never happened.
Richard Yates (Revolutionary Road)
I don’t ever remember being afraid of “oldness”. There are things I miss about being younger - chiefly the ability to pull all-nighters and keep working and working well; and being smiled at by girls I didn’t know who thought I was cute; and I wish I had the eyesight I had even five years ago… but that stuff feels pretty trivial. I’m happier than I’ve been at any time in my life these days. I have a wonderful wife whom I adore, watched three amazing kids grow into two delightful adults and my favourite teenager, an astonishing number of grand life experiences, I’ve made art I’m proud of, I have real, true, glorious friends, and I’ve been able to do real good for things I care about, like freedom of speech, like libraries. Sometimes I’ll do something like An Evening With Neil and Amanda, or the 8 in 8 project, and completely surprise myself. I miss friends who have died, but then, I’m glad that time gave them to me, to befriend, even for a while, and that I was alive to know them. I knew Douglas Adams, and I knew Roger Zelazny, and I knew John M Ford, and I knew Diana Wynne Jones… do you know how lucky that makes me? Ah, I’m rabbiting on, and I sound a bit more Pollyannaish than I’m intending to sound: I know the downside of age and the downside of time, and I am sure that the view from age 51 is not the view from age 71. I wish the time hadn’t gone so fast, though. And sometimes I wish I’d enjoyed it more on the way, and worried about it less.
Neil Gaiman
A million zeros joined together do not, unfortunately, add up to one. Ultimately everything depends on the quality of the individual, but our fatally shortsighted age thinks only in terms of large numbers and mass organizations, though one would think that the world had seen more than enough of what a well-disciplined mob can do in the hands of a single madman. Unfortunately, this realization does not seem to have penetrated very far - and our blindness is extremely dangerous.
C.G. Jung (The Essential Jung: Selected Writings)
And it was pointless...to think how those years could have been put to better use, for he could hardly have put them to worse. There was no recovering them now. You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and for the damage done therein. For the dead, and for your own lost self. But what the wisdom of the ages says is that we do well not to grieve on and on. And those old ones knew a thing or two and had some truth to tell...for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you were. All your grief hasn't changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You're left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is to go on or not. But if you go on, it's knowing you carry your scars with you.
Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain)
Elend shook his head. "We can survive this. But, the only way that will happen is if our people don't give up. They need leaders who laugh, leaders who feel that this fight can be won. So, this is what I ask of you. I don't care if you're an optimist or a pessimist—I don't care if secretly, you think we'll all be dead before the month ends. On the outside, I want to see you smiling. Do it in defiance, if you have to. If the end does come, I want this group to meet that end smiling. As the Survivor taught us.
Brandon Sanderson (The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3))
Animals walk around in a state of permanent religious intoxication. This is the natural condition of the mind and intellect, the moment-to-moment perception, of man as well. I heard some computer fool say that religion is the 'older virtual reality' experience, to justify his scam industry. No, the denuded state of the spirit and intellect, where you walk around 'demystified' and 'disenchanted' is the virtual reality condition, and a terrible condition at that.
Bronze Age Pervert (Bronze Age Mindset)
How are you coming with your home library? Do you need some good ammunition on why it's so important to read? The last time I checked the statistics...I think they indicated that only four percent of the adults in this country have bought a book within the past year. That's dangerous. It's extremely important that we keep ourselves in the top five or six percent. In one of the Monthly Letters from the Royal Bank of Canada it was pointed out that reading good books is not something to be indulged in as a luxury. It is a necessity for anyone who intends to give his life and work a touch of quality. The most real wealth is not what we put into our piggy banks but what we develop in our heads. Books instruct us without anger, threats and harsh discipline. They do not sneer at our ignorance or grumble at our mistakes. They ask only that we spend some time in the company of greatness so that we may absorb some of its attributes. You do not read a book for the book's sake, but for your own. You may read because in your high-pressure life, studded with problems and emergencies, you need periods of relief and yet recognize that peace of mind does not mean numbness of mind. You may read because you never had an opportunity to go to college, and books give you a chance to get something you missed. You may read because your job is routine, and books give you a feeling of depth in life. You may read because you did go to college. You may read because you see social, economic and philosophical problems which need solution, and you believe that the best thinking of all past ages may be useful in your age, too. You may read because you are tired of the shallowness of contemporary life, bored by the current conversational commonplaces, and wearied of shop talk and gossip about people. Whatever your dominant personal reason, you will find that reading gives knowledge, creative power, satisfaction and relaxation. It cultivates your mind by calling its faculties into exercise. Books are a source of pleasure - the purest and the most lasting. They enhance your sensation of the interestingness of life. Reading them is not a violent pleasure like the gross enjoyment of an uncultivated mind, but a subtle delight. Reading dispels prejudices which hem our minds within narrow spaces. One of the things that will surprise you as you read good books from all over the world and from all times of man is that human nature is much the same today as it has been ever since writing began to tell us about it. Some people act as if it were demeaning to their manhood to wish to be well-read but you can no more be a healthy person mentally without reading substantial books than you can be a vigorous person physically without eating solid food. Books should be chosen, not for their freedom from evil, but for their possession of good. Dr. Johnson said: "Whilst you stand deliberating which book your son shall read first, another boy has read both.
Earl Nightingale
The good folks mostly win, courage usually triumphs over fear, the family dog hardly ever contracts rabies: these are things I knew at twenty-five, and things I still know now, at the age of 25 x 2. But I know something else as well: there's a place in most of us where the rain is pretty much constant, the shadows are always long, and the woods are full of monsters. It is good to have a voice in which the terrors of such a place can be articulated and its geography partially described, without denying the sunshine and clarity that fill so much of our ordinary lives. (viii)
Stephen King (The Long Walk)
War has changed. It's no longer about nations, ideologies, or ethnicity. It's an endless series of proxy battles, fought by mercenaries and machines. War--and it's consumption of life--has become a well-oiled machine. War has changed. ID-tagged soldiers carry ID-tagged weapons, use ID-tagged gear. Nanomachines inside their bodies enhance and regulate their abilities. Genetic control, information control, emotion control, battlefield control…everything is monitored and kept under control. War…has changed. The age of deterrence has become the age of control, all in the name of averting catastrophe from weapons of mass destruction, and he who controls the battlefield, controls history. War…has changed. When the battlefield is under total control, war becomes routine.
David Hayter
Naturally, society has an indisputable right to protect itself against arrant subjectivisms, but, in so far as society is itself composed of de-individualized human beings, it is completely at the mercy of ruthless individualists. Let it band together into groups and organizations as much as it likes – it is just this banding together and the resultant extinction of the individual personality that makes it succumb so readily to a dictator. A million zeros joined together do not, unfortunately, add up to one. Ultimately everything depends on the quality of the individual, but our fatally short-sighted age thinks only in terms of large numbers and mass organizations, though one would think that the world had seen more than enough of what a well-disciplined mob can do in the hand of a single madman.
C.G. Jung (The Undiscovered Self)
The criers of the Mysteries speak again, bidding all men welcome to the House of Light. The great institution of materiality has failed. The false civilization built by man has turned, and like the monster of Frankenstein, is destroying its creator. Religion wanders aimlessly in the maze of theological speculation. Science batters itself impotently against the barriers of the unknown. Only transcendental philosophy knows the path. Only the illumined reason can carry the understanding part of man upward to the light. Only philosophy can teach man to be born well, to live well, to die well, and in perfect measure be born again. Into this band of the elect--those who have chosen the life of knowledge, of virtue, and of utility--the philosophers of the ages invite YOU.
Manly P. Hall (The Secret Teachings of All Ages)
People think of education as something that they can finish. And what’s more, when they finish, it’s a rite of passage. You’re finished with school. You’re no more a child, and therefore anything that reminds you of school - reading books, having ideas, asking questions - that’s kid’s stuff. Now you’re an adult, you don’t do that sort of thing any more. You have everybody looking forward to no longer learning, and you make them ashamed afterward of going back to learning. If you have a system of education using computers, then anyone, any age, can learn by himself, can continue to be interested. If you enjoy learning, there’s no reason why you should stop at a given age. People don’t stop things they enjoy doing just because they reach a certain age. What’s exciting is the actual process of broadening yourself, of knowing there’s now a little extra facet of the universe you know about and can think about and can understand. It seems to me that when it’s time to die, there would be a certain pleasure in thinking that you had utilized your life well, learned as much as you could, gathered in as much as possible of the universe, and enjoyed it. There’s only this one universe and only this one lifetime to try to grasp it. And while it is inconceivable that anyone can grasp more than a tiny portion of it, at least you can do that much. What a tragedy just to pass through and get nothing out of it.
Isaac Asimov
Gulls wheel through spokes of sunlight over gracious roofs and dowdy thatch, snatching entrails at the marketplace and escaping over cloistered gardens, spike topped walls and treble-bolted doors. Gulls alight on whitewashed gables, creaking pagodas and dung-ripe stables; circle over towers and cavernous bells and over hidden squares where urns of urine sit by covered wells, watched by mule-drivers, mules and wolf-snouted dogs, ignored by hunch-backed makers of clogs; gather speed up the stoned-in Nakashima River and fly beneath the arches of its bridges, glimpsed form kitchen doors, watched by farmers walking high, stony ridges. Gulls fly through clouds of steam from laundries' vats; over kites unthreading corpses of cats; over scholars glimpsing truth in fragile patterns; over bath-house adulterers, heartbroken slatterns; fishwives dismembering lobsters and crabs; their husbands gutting mackerel on slabs; woodcutters' sons sharpening axes; candle-makers, rolling waxes; flint-eyed officials milking taxes; etiolated lacquerers; mottle-skinned dyers; imprecise soothsayers; unblinking liars; weavers of mats; cutters of rushes; ink-lipped calligraphers dipping brushes; booksellers ruined by unsold books; ladies-in-waiting; tasters; dressers; filching page-boys; runny-nosed cooks; sunless attic nooks where seamstresses prick calloused fingers; limping malingerers; swineherds; swindlers; lip-chewed debtors rich in excuses; heard-it-all creditors tightening nooses; prisoners haunted by happier lives and ageing rakes by other men's wives; skeletal tutors goaded to fits; firemen-turned-looters when occasion permits; tongue-tied witnesses; purchased judges; mothers-in-law nurturing briars and grudges; apothecaries grinding powders with mortars; palanquins carrying not-yet-wed daughters; silent nuns; nine-year-old whores; the once-were-beautiful gnawed by sores; statues of Jizo anointed with posies; syphilitics sneezing through rotted-off noses; potters; barbers; hawkers of oil; tanners; cutlers; carters of night-soil; gate-keepers; bee-keepers; blacksmiths and drapers; torturers; wet-nurses; perjurers; cut-purses; the newborn; the growing; the strong-willed and pliant; the ailing; the dying; the weak and defiant; over the roof of a painter withdrawn first from the world, then his family, and down into a masterpiece that has, in the end, withdrawn from its creator; and around again, where their flight began, over the balcony of the Room of Last Chrysanthemum, where a puddle from last night's rain is evaporating; a puddle in which Magistrate Shiroyama observes the blurred reflections of gulls wheeling through spokes of sunlight. This world, he thinks, contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself.
David Mitchell (The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet)
I'm a licensed private investigator and have been for quite a while. I'm a lone wolf, unmarried, getting middle-aged, and not rich. I've been in jail more than once and I don't do divorce business. I like liquor and women and chess and a few other things. The cops don't like me too well, but I know a couple I get along with. I'm a native son, born in Santa Rosa, both parents dead, no brothers or sisters, and when I get knocked off in a dark alley sometime, if it happens, as it could to anyone in my business, nobody will feel that the bottom has dropped out of his or her life.
Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye (Philip Marlowe, #6))
Can't you understand? That if you take a law like evolution and you make it a crime to teach it in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers. And then you may turn Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the mind of man. If you can do one, you can do the other. Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we'll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind -Henry Drummond, a character in Inherit The Wind
Jerome Lawrence
Old paint on a canvas, as it ages, sometimes becomes transparent. When that happens it is possible, in some pictures, to see the original lines: a tree will show through a woman's dress, a child makes way for a dog, a large boat is no longer on an open sea. That is called pentimento because the painter "repented," changed his mind. Perhaps it would be as well to say that the old conception, replaced by a later choice, is a way of seeing and then seeing again. That is all I mean about the people in this book. The paint has aged and I wanted to see what was there for me once, what is there for me now.
Lillian Hellman (Pentimento)
Every culture has a myth of decline from some golden age, and almost all peoples throughout history have been pessimists. Even today pessimism still dominates huge parts of the world. An indefinite pessimist looks out onto a bleak future, but he has no idea what to do about it. This describes Europe since the early 1970s, when the continent succumbed to undirected bureaucratic drift. Today the whole Eurozone is in slow-motion crisis, and nobody is in charge. The European Central Bank doesn’t stand for anything but improvisation: the U.S. Treasury prints “In God We Trust” on the dollar; the ECB might as well print “Kick the Can Down the Road” on the euro. Europeans just react to events as they happen and hope things don’t get worse.
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)
A man lives not only his personal life, as an individual, but also, consciously or unconsciously, the life of his epoch and his contemporaries. He may regard the general, impersonal foundations of his existence as definitely settled and taken for granted, and be as far from assuming a critical attitude towards them as our good Hans Castorp really was; yet it is quite conceivable that he may none the less be vaguely conscious of the deficiencies of his epoch and find them prejudicial to his own moral well-being. All sorts of personal aims, hopes, ends, prospects, hover before the eyes of the individual, and out of these he derives the impulse to ambition and achievement. Now, if the life about him, if his own time seems, however outwardly stimulating, to be at bottom empty of such food for his aspirations; if he privately recognises it to be hopeless, viewless, helpless, opposing only a hollow silence to all the questions man puts, consciously or unconsciously, yet somehow puts, as to the final, absolute, and abstract meaning in all his efforts and activities; then, in such a case, a certain laming of the personality is bound to occur, the more inevitably the more upright the character in question; a sort of palsy, as it were, which may extend from his spiritual and moral over into his physical and organic part. In an age that affords no satisfying answer to the eternal question of 'Why?' 'To what end?' a man who is capable of achievement over and above the expected modicum must be equipped either with a moral remoteness and single-mindedness which is rare indeed and of heroic mould, or else with an exceptionally robust vitality. Hans Castorp had neither one nor the other of these; and thus he must be considered mediocre, though in an entirely honourable sense.
Thomas Mann (The Magic Mountain)
I have lived for four centures," he said. "Perhaps I am still a youth, in that all of us are, compared to the timeless age of the Wheel itself. That said, I am one of the oldest people in existence." Moiraine smiled. "Very nice. Does that work on the others?" He hesitated. Then, oddly, he found himself grinning. "It worked pretty well on Cadsuane." Moiraine sniffed. "That one...Well, knowing her, I doubt you fooled her as well as you assume. You may have the memories of a man four centuries old, Rand al'Thor, but that does not make you ancient. Otherwise, Matrim Cauthon would be the patriarch of us all." "Mat? Why Mat?" "It is nothing," Moiraine said. "Something I am not supposed to know. You are still a die-eyed sheepherder at heart.
Robert Jordan (A Memory of Light (The Wheel of Time, #14))
Youth was the time for happiness, its only season; young people, leading a lazy, carefree life, partially occupied by scarcely absorbing studies, were able to devote themselves unlimitedly to the liberated exultation of their bodies. They could play, dance, love, and multiply their pleasures. They could leave a party, in the early hours of the morning, in the company of sexual partners they had chosen, and contemplate the dreary line of employees going to work. They were the salt of the earth, and everything was given to them, everything was permitted for them, everything was possible. Later on, having started a family, having entered the adult world, they would be introduced to worry, work, responsibility, and the difficulties of existence; they would have to pay taxes, submit themselves to administrative formalities while ceaselessly bearing witness--powerless and shame-filled--to the irreversible degradation of their own bodies, which would be slow at first, then increasingly rapid; above all, they would have to look after children, mortal enemies, in their own homes, they would have to pamper them, feed them, worry about their illnesses, provide the means for their education and their pleasure, and unlike in the world of animals, this would last not just for a season, they would remain slaves of their offspring always, the time of joy was well and truly over for them, they would have to continue to suffer until the end, in pain and with increasing health problems, until they were no longer good for anything and were definitively thrown into the rubbish heap, cumbersome and useless. In return, their children would not be at all grateful, on the contrary their efforts, however strenuous, would never be considered enough, they would, until the bitter end, be considered guilty because of the simple fact of being parents. From this sad life, marked by shame, all joy would be pitilessly banished. When they wanted to draw near to young people's bodies, they would be chased away, rejected, ridiculed, insulted, and, more and more often nowadays, imprisoned. The physical bodies of young people, the only desirable possession the world has ever produced, were reserved for the exclusive use of the young, and the fate of the old was to work and to suffer. This was the true meaning of solidarity between generations; it was a pure and simple holocaust of each generation in favor of the one that replaced it, a cruel, prolonged holocaust that brought with it no consolation, no comfort, nor any material or emotional compensation.
Michel Houellebecq (The Possibility of an Island)
From the earliest age, we must learn to say good-bye to friends and family. We see our parents and siblings off at the station; we visit cousins, attend schools, join the regiment; we marry, or travel abroad. It is part of the human experience that we are constantly gripping a good fellow by the shoulders and wishing him well, taking comfort from the notion that we will hear word of him soon enough. But experience is less likely to teach us how to bid our dearest possessions adieu. And if it were to? We wouldn’t welcome the education. For eventually, we come to hold our dearest possessions more closely than we hold our friends. We carry them from place to place, often at considerable expense and inconvenience; we dust and polish their surfaces and reprimand children for playing too roughly in their vicinity—all the while, allowing memories to invest them with greater and greater importance. This armoire, we are prone to recall, is the very one in which we hid as a boy; and it was these silver candelabra that lined our table on Christmas Eve; and it was with this handkerchief that she once dried her tears, et cetera, et cetera. Until we imagine that these carefully preserved possessions might give us genuine solace in the face of a lost companion.
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
Karma has been a pop culture term for ages. But really, what the heck is it? Karma is not an inviolate engine of cosmic punishment. Rather, it is a neutral sequence of acts, results, and consequences. Receiving misfortune does not necessarily indicate that one has committed evil. But it is a sufficient indicator of something else. And that something else can be anything, as long as it is a logical consequence of what has come before. Consider: if you fall into a well, you are not a bad person who deserves to suffer—you are merely someone who took a wrong step. Or someone who had one drink too many. Or got a head rush due to poor circulation. Or forgot to wear your glasses. Or— The reasons are plentiful, and all plausible. But the chain of cause and effect goes way, way back into the deepest hoariest recesses of your personal past. So never rule out retribution. But never expect it.
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
Isn't it sad, growing up? You start off like my Charlie. You start off thinking you can kill all the baddies and save the world. Then you get a little bit older, maybe Little Bee's age, and you realize that some of the world's badness is inside you, that maybe you're a part of it. And then you get a bit older still, and a bit more comfortable, and you start wondering whether that badness you've seen in yourself is really all that bad at all. You start talking about ten per cent." Maybe that's just developing as a person, Sarah." I sighed and looked out at Little Bee Well," I said, "maybe this is a developing world.
Chris Cleave
The dogs left with us and we walked. I sobbed the whole way home, still heartbroken. My mom had no time for my whining. “Why are you crying?!” “Because Fufi loves another boy.” “So? Why would that hurt you? It didn’t cost you anything. Fufi’s here. She still loves you. She’s still your dog. So get over it.” Fufi was my first heartbreak. No one has ever betrayed me more than Fufi. It was a valuable lesson to me. The hard thing was understanding that Fufi wasn’t cheating on me with another boy. She was merely living her life to the fullest. Until I knew that she was going out on her own during the day, her other relationship hadn’t affected me at all. Fufi had no malicious intent. I believed that Fufi was my dog, but of course that wasn’t true. Fufi was a dog. I was a boy. We got along well. She happened to live in my house. That experience shaped what I’ve felt about relationships for the rest of my life: You do not own the thing that you love. I was lucky to learn that lesson at such a young age. I have so many friends who still, as adults, wrestle with feelings of betrayal. They’ll come to me angry and crying and talking about how they’ve been cheated on and lied to, and I feel for them. I understand what they’re going through. I sit with them and buy them a drink and I say, “Friend, let me tell you the story of Fufi.
Trevor Noah (Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood)
It is, I suppose, the common grief of children at having to protect their parents from reality. It is bitter for the young to see what awful innocence adults grow into, that terrible vulnerability that must be sheltered from the rodent mire of childhood. Can we blame the child for resenting the fantasy of largeness? Big, soft arms and deep voices in the dark saying, "Tell Papa, tell Mama, and we'll make it right." The child, screaming for refuge, senses how feeble a shelter the twig hut of grown-up awareness is. They claim strength, these parents, and complete sanctuary. The weeping earth itself knows how desperate is the child's need for exactly that sanctuary. How deep and sticky is the darkness of childhood, how rigid the blades of infant evil, which is unadulterated, unrestrained by the convenient cushions of age and its civilizing anesthesia. Grownups can deal with scraped knees, dropped ice-cream cones, and lost dollies, but if they suspected the real reasons we cry they would fling us out of their arms in horrified revulsion. Yet we are small and as terrified as we are terrifying in our ferocious appetites. We need that warm adult stupidity. Even knowing the illusion, we cry and hide in their laps, speaking only of defiled lollipops or lost bears, and getting lollipop or a toy bear'd worth of comfort. We make do with it rather than face alone the cavernous reaches of our skull for which there is no remedy, no safety, no comfort at all. We survive until, by sheer stamina, we escape into the dim innocence of our own adulthood and its forgetfulness.
Katherine Dunn (Geek Love)
At the end of his life, the great picture book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak said on the NPR show Fresh Air, 'I cry a lot because I miss people. I cry a lot because they die, and I can't stop them. They leave me, and I love them more.' He said, 'I'm finding out as I'm aging that I'm in love with the world.' It has taken me all my life up to now to fall in love with the world, but I've started to feel it the last couple of years. To fall in love with the world isn't to ignore or overlook suffering, both human and otherwise. For me anyway, to fall in love with the world is to look up at the night sky and feel your mind swim before the beauty and the distance of the stars. It is to hold your children while they cry, to watch as the sycamore trees leaf out in June. When my breastbone starts to hurt, and my throat tightens, and tears well in my eyes, I want to look away from the feeling. I want to deflect with irony, or anything else that will keep me from feeling directly. We all know how loving ends. But I want to fall in love with the world anyway, to let it crack me open. I want to feel what there is to feel while I am here.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed)
Fear is the oldest and strongest emotion known to man, something deeply inscribed in our nervous system and subconscious. Over time, however, something strange began to happen. The actual terrors that we faced began to lessen in intensity as we gained increasing control over our environment. But instead of our fears lessening a well, they began to multiply in number. We started to worry about our status in society- whether people liked us, or how we fit into the group. We became anxious for our livelihoods, the future of our families and children, our personal health, and the aging process. Instead of a simple, intense fear of something powerful and real, we developed a kind of generalized anxiety. 
Robert Greene (The 50th Law)
Fundamentalist Christianity: fascinating. These people actually believe that the world is twelve thousand years old. Swear to God. Based on what? I asked them. "Well, we looked at all the people in the Bible and we added 'em up all the way back to Adam and Eve, their ages? Twelve thousand years." "Well, how fucking scientific, OK. I didn't know that you'd gone to so much trouble there. That's good. You believe the world's twelve thousand years old?" "That's right." "OK, I got one word to ask you, a one word question, ready?" "Uh huh." "Dinosaurs." You know, the world's twelve thousand years old and dinosaurs existed, and existed in that time, you'd think it would been mentioned in the fucking Bible at some point: And O, Jesus and the disciples walked to Nazareth. But the trail was blocked by a giant brontosaurus... with a splinter in its paw. And the disciples did run a-screamin'. "What a big fucking lizard, Lord!" "I'm sure gonna mention this in my book," Luke said. "Well, I'm sure gonna mention it in my book," Matthew said. But Jesus was unafraid. And he took the splinter from the brontosaurus paw, and the brontosaurus became his friend. And Jesus sent him to Scotland where he lived in a loch, O so many years, attracting fat American families with their fat fuckin' dollars to look for the Loch Ness Monster. And O the Scots did praise the Lord: "Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!" Twelve thousand years old. But I actually asked this guy, "OK, dinosaur fossils-- how does that fit into your scheme of life? What's the deal?" He goes: "God put those here to test our faith." "I think God put you here to test my faith, dude. I think I've figured this out." Does that-- That's what this guy said. Does that bother anyone here? The idea that God might be fucking with our heads? Anyone have trouble sleeping restfully with that thought in their head? God's running around burying fossils: "Ho ho! We'll see who believes in me now, ha ha! I'm a prankster God. I am killing me, ho ho ho!" You know? You die, you go to St. Peter: "Did you believe in dinosaurs?" "Well, yeah. There were fossils everywhere. (trapdoor opens) Aaaaarhhh!" "You fuckin' idiot! Flying lizards? You're a moron. God was fuckin' with you!" "It seemed so plausible, aaaaaahh!" "Enjoy the lake of fire, fucker!" They believe this. But you ever notice how people who believe in Creationism usually look pretty unevolved. Eyes really close together, big furry hands and feet? "I believe God created me in one day." Yeah, looks like he rushed it. Such a weird belief. Lots of Christians wear crosses around their necks. You think when Jesus comes back he's gonna want to see a fucking cross, man? "Ow." Might be why he hasn't shown up yet. "Man, they're still wearing crosses. Fuck it, I'm not goin' back, Dad. No, they totally missed the point. When they start wearing fishes, I might show up again, but... let me bury fossils with you, Dad. Fuck 'em, let's fuck with 'em! Hand me that brontosaurus head, Dad.
Bill Hicks (Love All the People: Letters, Lyrics, Routines)
I have lost years that I will never get back. Only now am I just beginning to live, on the verge of old age. It is painful and unfair. But today I have a different attitude to life: it can't be constructed from superficial things, no matter how attractive they may appear. Neither wealth not appearances have any importance now. Pain gave me new life. It took a long time for me to die as Malika, General Oufkir's eldest daughter, the child of a powerful figure, of a past. I've gained an identity. My own identity. And that is priceless. If there had not been all that waste, all that horror...I'd almost venture to say that my suffering made me grow. In any case, it changed me. for the better. It's as well to make the best of things.
Malika Oufkir (Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail)
Dear Son, I would call you by name, but I’m waiting for your mother to decide. I only hope she is joking when she calls you Albert Dalbert. For weeks now I have watched your mother zealously gather her tokens for this box. She’s so afraid of you not knowing anything about her, and it bothers me greatly that you’ll never know her strength firsthand. I’m sure by the time you read this, you’ll know everything I do about her. But you’ll never know her for yourself and that pains me most of all. I wish you could see the look on her face whenever she talks to you. The sadness she tries so hard to hide. Every time I see it, it cuts through me. She love you so much. You’re all she talks about. I have so many orders from her for you. I’m not allowed to make you crazy the way I do your Uncle Chris. I’m not allowed to call the doctors every time you sneeze and you are to be allowed to tussle with your friends without me having a conniption that someone might bruise you. Nor am I to bully you about getting married or having kids. Ever. Most of all, you are allowed to pick your own car at sixteen. I’m not supposed to put you in a tank. We’ll see about that one. I refuse to promise her this last item until I know more about you. Not to mention, I’ve seen how other people drive on the roads. So if you have a tank, sorry. There’s only so much changing man my age can do. I don’t know what our futures will hold. I only hope that when all is said and done, you are more like your mother than you are like me. She’s a good woman. A kind woman. Full of love and compassion even though her life has been hard and full of grief. She bears her scars with a grace, dignity, and humor that I lack. Most of all, she has courage the likes of which I haven’t witnessed in centuries. I hope with every part of me that you inherit all her best traits and none of my bad ones. I don’t really know what more to say. I just thought you should have something of me in here too. Love, Your father (Wulf)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Kiss of the Night (Dark-Hunter, #4))
Graham Chapman, co-author of the "Parrot Sketch", is no more. He has ceased to be. Bereft of life, he rests in peace. He's kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to meet the great Head of Light Entertainment in the sky. And I guess that we're all thinking how sad it is that a man of such talent, of such capability for kindness, of such unusual intelligence, should now so suddenly be spirited away at the age of only forty-eight, before he'd achieved many of the things of which he was capable, and before he'd had enough fun. Well, I feel that I should say: nonsense. Good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard, I hope he fries. And the reason I feel I should say this is he would never forgive me if I didn't, if I threw away this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf. Anything for him but mindless good taste. (He paused, then claimed that Chapman had whipered in his ear while he was writing the speech): All right, Cleese. You say you're very proud of being the very first person ever to say 'shit' on British television. If this service is really for me, just for starters, I want you to become the first person ever at a British memorial service to say 'fuck'.
John Cleese
From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me the chance to prove that this is no lie.
Katsushika Hokusai
Everyone who has ever been to school knows that school is prison, but almost nobody beyond school age says it is. It's not polite. We all tiptoe around the truth because admitting it would make us seem cruel and would point a finger at well-intentioned people doing what they believe to be essential. . . . A prison, according to the common, general definition, is any place of involuntary confinement and restriction of liberty. In school, as in adult prisons, the inmates are told exactly what they must do and are punished for failure to comply. Actually, students in school must spend more time doing exactly what they are told than is true of adults in penal institutions. Another difference, of course, is that we put adults in prison because they have committed a crime, while we put children in school because of their age.
Peter O. Gray (Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life)
If my twelve-year-old self, of whom I had grown rather fond, thinking about him, were to reproach me: 'Why have you grown up such a dull dog, when I gave you such a good start? Why have you spent your time in dusty libraries, catologuing other people's books instead of writing your own? What had become of the Ram, the Bull and the Lion, the example I gave you to emulate? Where above all is the Virgin, with her shining face and curling tresses, whom I entrusted to you'- what should I say? I should have an answer ready. 'Well, it was you who let me down, and I will tell you how. You flew too near to the sun, and you were scorched. This cindery creature is what you made me.' To which he might reply: 'But you have had half a century to get over it! Half a century, half the twentieth century, that glorious epoch, that golden age that I bequeathed to you!' 'Has the twentieth century,' I should ask, 'done so much better than I have? When you leave this room, which I admit is dull and cheerless, and take the last bus to your home in the past, if you haven't missed it - ask yourself whether you found everything so radiant as you imagined it. Ask yourself whether it has fulfilled your hopes. You were vanquished, Colston, you were vanquished, and so was your century, your precious century that you hoped so much of.
L.P. Hartley (The Go-Between)
It is worth saying something about the social position of beggars, for when one has consorted with them, and found that they are ordinary human beings, one cannot help being struck by the curious attitude that society takes towards them. People seem to feel that there is some essential difference between beggars and ordinary 'working' men. They are a race apart--outcasts, like criminals and prostitutes. Working men 'work', beggars do not 'work'; they are parasites, worthless in their very nature. It is taken for granted that a beggar does not 'earn' his living, as a bricklayer or a literary critic 'earns' his. He is a mere social excrescence, tolerated because we live in a humane age, but essentially despicable. Yet if one looks closely one sees that there is no ESSENTIAL difference between a beggar's livelihood and that of numberless respectable people. Beggars do not work, it is said; but, then, what is WORK? A navvy works by swinging a pick. An accountant works by adding up figures. A beggar works by standing out of doors in all weathers and getting varicose veins, chronic bronchitis, etc. It is a trade like any other; quite useless, of course--but, then, many reputable trades are quite useless. And as a social type a beggar compares well with scores of others. He is honest compared with the sellers of most patent medicines, high-minded compared with a Sunday newspaper proprietor, amiable compared with a hire-purchase tout--in short, a parasite, but a fairly harmless parasite. He seldom extracts more than a bare living from the community, and, what should justify him according to our ethical ideas, he pays for it over and over in suffering. I do not think there is anything about a beggar that sets him in a different class from other people, or gives most modern men the right to despise him. Then the question arises, Why are beggars despised?--for they are despised, universally. I believe it is for the simple reason that they fail to earn a decent living. In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable. In all the modem talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except 'Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it'? Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggars fail, and for this they are despised. If one could earn even ten pounds a week at begging, it would become a respectable profession immediately. A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a businessman, getting his living, like other businessmen, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modem people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich.
George Orwell (Down and Out in Paris and London)
As I grow in age, I value women who are over forty most of all. Here are just a few reasons why: A woman over forty will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, “What are you thinking?” She doesn’t care what you think. If a woman over forty doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it’s usually something more interesting. A woman over forty knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of forty give a hoot what you might think about her or what she’s doing. Women over forty are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it. Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it’s like to be unappreciated. A woman over forty has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn’t trust the guy with other women. Women over forty couldn’t care less if you’re attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won’t betray her. Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over forty. They always know. A woman over forty looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over forty is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Older women are forthright and honest. They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one! You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her. Yes, we praise women over forty for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed hot woman of forty-plus, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some twenty-two-year-old waitress. Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,” here’s an update for you. Now 80 percent of women are against marriage, why? Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire pig, just to get a little sausage.
Andy Rooney
Claire was just coming down the stairs, humming and thinking about how nice it was to have things getting back to normal, and how she'd tell Shane about the January thing tonight, when Myrnin sent a message through the portal--well, more of a rock with a note tied to it, which rolled across the floor and scared Eve into a scream before the portal snapped shut. Eve kicked the rock resentfully with her thick black boots and glared at it, then at the wall. Claire, who was coming down the steps, gave her a "What the hell?" kind of look. "Your boss," Eve said, and reached down the grab the rock, "needs to figure out texting. Seriously. Who does this? Is he actually from the Stone Age? And you need to figure out how to put something here that we can lock. What if this thing opens when I'm naked?" "Why would you be naked down here?" "Well--" Eve didn't have an answer for that one. She handed over the rock. "Okay, bad example. But I don't like it that he can just drop in any damn time he wants. Or throw rocks at us.
Rachel Caine (Bite Club (The Morganville Vampires, #10))
About suffering they were never wrong, The Old Masters; how well, they understood Its human position; how it takes place While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along; How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting For the miraculous birth, there always must be Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating On a pond at the edge of the wood: They never forgot That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse Scratches its innocent behind on a tree. In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
W.H. Auden
The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple. A good example of a simple technology with profound historical consequences is hay. Nobody knows who invented hay, the idea of cutting grass in the autumn and storing it in large enough quantities to keep horses and cows alive through the winter. All we know is that the technology of hay was unknown to the Roman Empire but was known to every village of medieval Europe. Like many other crucially important technologies, hay emerged anonymously during the so-called Dark Ages. According to the Hay Theory of History, the invention of hay was the decisive event which moved the center of gravity of urban civilization from the Mediterranean basin to Northern and Western Europe. The Roman Empire did not need hay because in a Mediterranean climate the grass grows well enough in winter for animals to graze. North of the Alps, great cities dependent on horses and oxen for motive power could not exist without hay. So it was hay that allowed populations to grow and civilizations to flourish among the forests of Northern Europe. Hay moved the greatness of Rome to Paris and London, and later to Berlin and Moscow and New York.
Freeman Dyson (Infinite in All Directions)
Stil snorted. “I am not in love with Angelique. I’m in love with you,” he said, scooting closer. Gemma pushed her chair away. “Well, that’s not proper.” “Why not?” Stil asked, butting his chair up against Gemma’s. “Because of the age difference.” “Age difference?” “Of course. Surely you can’t be a day younger than fifty or sixty,” Gemma said in surprise. Stil’s jaw dropped. “You think I’m an OLD MAN?!” Stil thundered. “Most magic users are not the age they physically appear to be,” Gemma said.“And it is well known that they age much more slowly.” “You think I’m an OLD MAN?!” he repeated, his voice even louder. “I’m not even twenty-five yet, you mean-spirited mule, and my clothes are fashionable among mages!” Stil said. “This whole time you’ve thought I am OLD?” “I get the impression that offends you.” “IT DOES.” Gemma only lifted her eyebrows. “Aren’t you going to apologize?” Stil asked. “For what?” “For thinking I’m OLD!” Gemma shrugged. “It seems you have only yourself to blame for that misunderstanding.” Stil glowered
K.M. Shea (Rumpelstiltskin (Timeless Fairy Tales, #4))
ON THE DAY I DIE On the day I die, when I'm being carried toward the grave, don't weep. Don't say, He's gone! He's gone. Death has nothing to do with going away. The sun sets and the moon sets, but they're not gone. Death is a coming together. The tomb looks like a prison, but it's really release into union. The human seed goes down in the ground like a bucket into the well where Joseph is. It grows and comes up full of some unimagined beauty. Your mouth closes here, and immediately opens with a shout of joy there. --------------------------------- One who does what the Friend wants done will never need a friend. There's a bankruptcy that's pure gain. The moon stays bright when it doesn't avoid the night. A rose's rarest essence lives in the thorn. ---------------------------------- Childhood, youth, and maturity, and now old age. Every guest agrees to stay three days, no more. Master, you told me to remind you. Time to go. ----------------------------------- The angel of death arrives, and I spring joyfully up. No one knows what comes over me when I and that messenger speak! ------------------------------------- When you come back inside my chest no matter how far I've wandered off, I look around and see the way. At the end of my life, with just one breath left, if you come then, I'll sit up and sing. -------------------------------------- Last night things flowed between us that cannot now be said or written. Only as I'm being carried out and down the road, as the folds of my shroud open in the wind, will anyone be able to read, as on the petal-pages of a turning bud, what passed through us last night. ------------------------------------- I placed one foot on the wide plain of death, and some grand immensity sounded on the emptiness. I have felt nothing ever like the wild wonder of that moment. Longing is the core of mystery. Longing itself brings the cure. The only rule is, Suffer the pain. Your desire must be disciplined, and what you want to happen in time, sacrificed.
Rumi (The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems)
I can not remember telling my parents that I was studying classics, they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all the subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard-put to name one less useful in Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys of an executive bathroom. Now I would like to make it clear in parenthesis, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date for blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction. The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I can not criticize my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor. And I quite agree with them, that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty, entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression, It means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is something by which to pride yourself, but poverty itself, is romanticized only by fools. But I feared at your age was not poverty, but failure... Now, I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted, and well educated, that you have never known heartbreak, hardship, or heartache. Talent and intelligence, never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the fates... ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure.
J.K. Rowling (Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination)
I have always been interested in this man. My father had a set of Tom Paine's books on the shelf at home. I must have opened the covers about the time I was 13. And I can still remember the flash of enlightenment which shone from his pages. It was a revelation, indeed, to encounter his views on political and religious matters, so different from the views of many people around us. Of course I did not understand him very well, but his sincerity and ardor made an impression upon me that nothing has ever served to lessen. I have heard it said that Paine borrowed from Montesquieu and Rousseau. Maybe he had read them both and learned something from each. I do not know. But I doubt that Paine ever borrowed a line from any man... Many a person who could not comprehend Rousseau, and would be puzzled by Montesquieu, could understand Paine as an open book. He wrote with a clarity, a sharpness of outline and exactness of speech that even a schoolboy should be able to grasp. There is nothing false, little that is subtle, and an impressive lack of the negative in Paine. He literally cried to his reader for a comprehending hour, and then filled that hour with such sagacious reasoning as we find surpassed nowhere else in American letters - seldom in any school of writing. Paine would have been the last to look upon himself as a man of letters. Liberty was the dear companion of his heart; truth in all things his object. ...we, perhaps, remember him best for his declaration: 'The world is my country; to do good my religion.' Again we see the spontaneous genius at work in 'The Rights of Man', and that genius busy at his favorite task - liberty. Written hurriedly and in the heat of controversy, 'The Rights of Man' yet compares favorably with classical models, and in some places rises to vaulting heights. Its appearance outmatched events attending Burke's effort in his 'Reflections'. Instantly the English public caught hold of this new contribution. It was more than a defense of liberty; it was a world declaration of what Paine had declared before in the Colonies. His reasoning was so cogent, his command of the subject so broad, that his legion of enemies found it hard to answer him. 'Tom Paine is quite right,' said Pitt, the Prime Minister, 'but if I were to encourage his views we should have a bloody revolution.' Here we see the progressive quality of Paine's genius at its best. 'The Rights of Man' amplified and reasserted what already had been said in 'Common Sense', with now a greater force and the power of a maturing mind. Just when Paine was at the height of his renown, an indictment for treason confronted him. About the same time he was elected a member of the Revolutionary Assembly and escaped to France. So little did he know of the French tongue that addresses to his constituents had to be translated by an interpreter. But he sat in the assembly. Shrinking from the guillotine, he encountered Robespierre's enmity, and presently found himself in prison, facing that dread instrument. But his imprisonment was fertile. Already he had written the first part of 'The Age of Reason' and now turned his time to the latter part. Presently his second escape cheated Robespierre of vengeance, and in the course of events 'The Age of Reason' appeared. Instantly it became a source of contention which still endures. Paine returned to the United States a little broken, and went to live at his home in New Rochelle - a public gift. Many of his old companions in the struggle for liberty avoided him, and he was publicly condemned by the unthinking. {The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}
Thomas A. Edison (Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)
What - what - what are you doing?" he demanded. "I am almost six hundred years old," Magnus claimed, and Ragnor snorted, since Magnus changed his age to suit himself every few weeks. Magnus swept on. "It does seem about time to learn a musical instrument." He flourished his new prize, a little stringed instrument that looked like a cousin of the lute that the lute was embarrassed to be related to. "It's called a charango. I am planning to become a charanguista!" "I wouldn't call that an instrument of music," Ragnor observed sourly. "An instrument of torture, perhaps." Magnus cradled the charango in his arms as if it were an easily offended baby. "It's a beautiful and very unique instrument! The sound box is made from an armadillo. Well, a dried armadillo shell." "That explains the sound you're making," said Ragnor. "Like a lost, hungry armadillo." "You are just jealous," Magnus remarked calmly. "Because you do not have the soul of a true artiste like myself." "Oh, I am positively green with envy," Ragnor snapped. "Come now, Ragnor. That's not fair," said Magnus. "You know I love it when you make jokes about your complexion." Magnus refused to be affected by Ragnor's cruel judgments. He regarded his fellow warlock with a lofty stare of superb indifference, raised his charango, and began to play again his defiant, beautiful tune. They both heard the staccato thump of frantically running feet from within the house, the swish of skirts, and then Catarina came rushing out into the courtyard. Her white hair was falling loose about her shoulders, and her face was the picture of alarm. "Magnus, Ragnor, I heard a cat making a most unearthly noise," she exclaimed. "From the sound of it, the poor creature must be direly sick. You have to help me find it!" Ragnor immediately collapsed with hysterical laughter on his windowsill. Magnus stared at Catarina for a moment, until he saw her lips twitch. "You are conspiring against me and my art," he declared. "You are a pack of conspirators." He began to play again. Catarina stopped him by putting a hand on his arm. "No, but seriously, Magnus," she said. "That noise is appalling." Magnus sighed. "Every warlock's a critic." "Why are you doing this?" "I have already explained myself to Ragnor. I wish to become proficient with a musical instrument. I have decided to devote myself to the art of the charanguista, and I wish to hear no more petty objections." "If we are all making lists of things we wish to hear no more . . . ," Ragnor murmured. Catarina, however, was smiling. "I see," she said. "Madam, you do not see." "I do. I see it all most clearly," Catarina assured him. "What is her name?" "I resent your implication," Magnus said. "There is no woman in the case. I am married to my music!" "Oh, all right," Catarina said. "What's his name, then?" His name was Imasu Morales, and he was gorgeous.
Cassandra Clare (The Bane Chronicles)
The decline of geography in academia is easy to understand: we live in an age of ever-increasing specialization, and geography is a generalist's discipline. Imagine the poor geographer trying to explain to someone at a campus cocktail party (or even to an unsympathetic adminitrator) exactly what it is he or she studies. "Geography is Greek for 'writing about the earth.' We study the Earth." "Right, like geologists." "Well, yes, but we're interested in the whole world, not just the rocky bits. Geographers also study oceans, lakes, the water cycle..." "So, it's like oceanography or hydrology." "And the atmosphere." "Meteorology, climatology..." "It's broader than just physical geography. We're also interested in how humans relate to their planet." "How is that different from ecology or environmental science?" "Well, it encompasses them. Aspects of them. But we also study the social and economic and cultural and geopolitical sides of--" "Sociology, economics, cultural studies, poli sci." "Some geographers specialize in different world regions." "Ah, right, we have Asian and African and Latin American studies programs here. But I didn't know they were part of the geography department." "They're not." (Long pause.) "So, uh, what is it that do study then?
Ken Jennings
You will not remember much from school. School is designed to teach you how to respond and listen to authority figures in the event of an emergency. Like if there's a bomb in a mall or a fire in an office. It can, apparently, take you more than a decade to learn this. These are not the best days of your life. They are still ahead of you. You will fall in love and have your heart broken in many different, new and interesting ways in college or university (if you go) and you will actually learn things, as at this point, people will believe you have a good chance of obeying authority and surviving, in the event of an emergency. If, in your chosen career path, there are award shows that give out more than ten awards in one night or you have to pay someone to actually take the award home to put on your mantlepiece, then those awards are more than likely designed to make young people in their 20's work very late, for free, for other people. Those people will do their best to convince you that they have value. They don't. Only the things you do have real, lasting value, not the things you get for the things you do. You will, at some point, realise that no trophy loves you as much as you love it, that it cannot pay your bills (even if it increases your salary slightly) and that it won't hold your hand tightly as you say your last words on your deathbed. Only people who love you can do that. If you make art to feel better, make sure it eventually makes you feel better. If it doesn't, stop making it. You will love someone differently, as time passes. If you always expect to feel the same kind of love you felt when you first met someone, you will always be looking for new people to love. Love doesn't fade. It just changes as it grows. It would be boring if it didn't. There is no truly "right" way of writing, painting, being or thinking, only things which have happened before. People who tell you differently are assholes, petrified of change, who should be violently ignored. No philosophy, mantra or piece of advice will hold true for every conceivable situation. "The early bird catches the worm" does not apply to minefields. Perfection only exists in poetry and movies, everyone fights occasionally and no sane person is ever completely sure of anything. Nothing is wrong with any of this. Wisdom does not come from age, wisdom comes from doing things. Be very, very careful of people who call themselves wise, artists, poets or gurus. If you eat well, exercise often and drink enough water, you have a good chance of living a long and happy life. The only time you can really be happy, is right now. There is no other moment that exists that is more important than this one. Do not sacrifice this moment in the hopes of a better one. It is easy to remember all these things when they are being said, it is much harder to remember them when you are stuck in traffic or lying in bed worrying about the next day. If you want to move people, simply tell them the truth. Today, it is rarer than it's ever been. (People will write things like this on posters (some of the words will be bigger than others) or speak them softly over music as art (pause for effect). The reason this happens is because as a society, we need to self-medicate against apathy and the slow, gradual death that can happen to anyone, should they confuse life with actually living.)
pleasefindthis
The only dream I ever had was the dream of New York itself, and for me, from the minute I touched down in this city, that was enough. It became the best teacher I ever had. If your mother is anything like mine, after all, there are a lot of important things she probably didn't teach you: how to use a vibrator; how to go to a loan shark and pull a loan at 17 percent that's due in thirty days; how to hire your first divorce attorney; what to look for in a doula (a birth coach) should you find yourself alone and pregnant. My mother never taught me how to date three people at the same time or how to interview a nanny or what to wear in an ashram in India or how to meditate. She also failed to mention crotchless underwear, how to make my first down payment on an apartment, the benefits of renting verses owning, and the difference between a slant-6 engine and a V-8 (in case I wanted to get a muscle car), not to mention how to employ a team of people to help me with my life, from trainers to hair colorists to nutritionists to shrinks. (Luckily, New York became one of many other moms I am to have in my lifetime.) So many mothers say they want their daughters to be independent, but what they really hope is that they'll find a well-compensated banker or lawyer and settle down between the ages of twenty-five and twenty-eight in Greenwich, Darien, or That Town, USA, to raise babies, do the grocery shopping, and work out in relative comfort for the rest of their lives. I know this because I employ their daughters. They raise us to think they want us to have careers, and they send us to college, but even they don't really believe women can be autonomous and take care of themselves.
Kelly Cutrone (If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You)
Gwen was kind of amazed. A mother with several degrees and a prestigious position at an Ivy League college did not ensure that she’d be any less embarrassing to her child than a mother who became a nurse through night school. Gwen knew this when Alla launched into her “unfortunate changes in my vagina after the birth of Lachlan” discussion. “No. It was his shoulders. He’s always had very large shoulders. I mean look at him. Even as a baby they were freakishly long.” “Freakishly?” Lock snapped. “They stretched me right out.” “Mom!” Brody shrugged and reached for more moo goo gai pork. “I didn’t mind.” “Dad!” “Well, darling, you were always quite large, so it made things a little easier for both of us when it came to sex.” “Mom!” Alla shook her head. “I don’t know what happened to you, Lachlan MacRyrie.” She turned to Gwen. “I’ve always insisted on being quite open about human bodies when talking to my children. There’s no shame in a woman’s body. And like everything else in the world, it ages. So while you still have the exquisite body you’ve been blessed with, Gwen dear, and that prebirth vagina— enjoy it.” “Is there any way to get you to stop?” Lock begged.
Shelly Laurenston (The Mane Squeeze (Pride, #4))
Saint Bartleby's School for Young Gentlemen Annual Report Student: Artemis Fowl II Year: First Fees: Paid Tutor: Dr Po Language Arts As far as I can tell, Artemis has made absolutely no progress since the beginning of the year. This is because his abilities are beyond the scope of my experience. He memorizes and understands Shakespeare after a single reading. He finds mistakes in every exercise I administer, and has taken to chuckling gently when I attempt to explain some of the more complex texts. Next year I intend to grant his request and give him a library pass during my class. Mathematics Artemis is an infuriating boy. One day he answers all my questions correctly, and the next every answer is wrong. He calls this an example of the chaos theory, and says that he is only trying to prepare me for the real world. He says the notion of infinity is ridiculous. Frankly, I am not trained to deal with a boy like Artemis. Most of my pupils have trouble counting without the aid of their fingers. I am sorry to say, there is nothing I can teach Artemis about mathematics, but someone should teach him some manners. Social Studies Artemis distrusts all history texts, because he says history was written by the victors. He prefers living history, where survivors of certain events can actually be interviewed. Obviously this makes studying the Middle Ages somewhat difficult. Artemis has asked for permission to build a time machine next year during double periods so that the entire class may view Medieval Ireland for ourselves. I have granted his wish and would not be at all surprised if he succeeded in his goal. Science Artemis does not see himself as a student, rather as a foil for the theories of science. He insists that the periodic table is a few elements short and that the theory of relativity is all very well on paper but would not hold up in the real world, because space will disintegrate before lime. I made the mistake of arguing once, and young Artemis reduced me to near tears in seconds. Artemis has asked for permission to conduct failure analysis tests on the school next term. I must grant his request, as I fear there is nothing he can learn from me. Social & Personal Development Artemis is quite perceptive and extremely intellectual. He can answer the questions on any psychological profile perfectly, but this is only because he knows the perfect answer. I fear that Artemis feels that the other boys are too childish. He refuses to socialize, preferring to work on his various projects during free periods. The more he works alone, the more isolated he becomes, and if he does not change his habits soon, he may isolate himself completely from anyone wishing to be his friend, and, ultimately, his family. Must try harder.
Eoin Colfer
There is nothing wrong with entertainment. As some psychiatrist once put it, we all build castles in the air. The problems come when we try to live in them. The communications media of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with telegraphy and photography at their center, called the peek-a-boo world into existence, but we did not come to live there until television. Television gave the epistemological biases of the telegraph and the photograph their most potent expression, raising the interplay of image and instancy to an exquisite and dangerous perfection. And it brought them into the home. We are by now well into a second generation of children for whom television has been their first and most accessible teacher and, for many, their most reliable companion and friend. To put it plainly, television is the command center of the new epistemology. There is no audience so young that it is barred from television. There is no poverty so abject that it must forgo television. There is no education so exalted that it is not modified by television. And most important of all, there is no subject of public interest—politics, news, education, religion, science, sports—that does not find its way to television. Which means that all public understanding of these subjects is shaped by the biases of television.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
I am sorry for your girl, Ned. Truly. About the wolf, I mean. My son was lying, I’d stake my soul on it. My son … you love your children, don’t you?” “With all my heart,” Ned said. “Let me tell you a secret, Ned. More than once, I have dreamed of giving up the crown. Take ship for the Free Cities with my horse and my hammer, spend my time warring and whoring, that’s what I was made for. The sellsword king, how the singers would love me. You know what stops me? The thought of Joffrey on the throne, with Cersei standing behind him whispering in his ear. My son. How could I have made a son like that, Ned?” “He’s only a boy,” Ned said awkwardly. He had small liking for Prince Joffrey, but he could hear the pain in Robert’s voice. “Have you forgotten how wild you were at his age?” “It would not trouble me if the boy was wild, Ned. You don’t know him as I do.” He sighed and shook his head. “Ah, perhaps you are right. Jon despaired of me often enough, yet I grew into a good king.” Robert looked at Ned and scowled at his silence. “You might speak up and agree now, you know.” “Your Grace …” Ned began, carefully. Robert slapped Ned on the back. “Ah, say that I’m a better king than Aerys and be done with it. You never could lie for love nor honor, Ned Stark. I’m still young, and now that you’re here with me, things will be different. We’ll make this a reign to sing of, and damn the Lannisters to seven hells.
George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1))
I have met only a very few people - and most of these were not Americans - who had any real desire to be free. Freedom is hard to bear. It can be objected that I am speaking of political freedom in spiritual terms, but the political institutions of any nation are always menaced and are ultimately controlled by the spiritual state of that nation. We are controlled here by our confusion, far more than we know, and the American dream has therefore become something much more closely resembling a nightmare, on the private, domestic, and international levels. Privately, we cannot stand our lives and dare not examine them; domestically, we take no responsibility for (and no pride in) what goes on in our country; and, internationally, for many millions of people, we are an unmitigated disaster. Whoever doubts this last statement has only to open his ears, his heart, his mind, to the testimony of - for example - any Cuban peasant or any Spanish poet, and ask himself what he would feel about us if he were the victim of our performance in pre-Castro Cuba or in Spain. We defend our curious role in Spain by referring to the Russian menace and the necessity of protecting the free world. It has not occurred to us that we have simply been mesmerized by Russia, and that the only real advantage Russia has in what we think of as a struggle between the East and the West is the moral history of the Western world. Russia's secret weapon is the bewilderment and despair and hunger of millions of people of whose existence we are scarecely aware. The Russian Communists are not in the least concerned about these people. But our ignorance and indecision have had the effect, if not of delivering them into Russian hands, of plunging them very deeply in the Russian shadow, for which effect - and it is hard to blame them - the most articulate among them, and the most oppressed as well, distrust us all the more... We are capable of bearing a great burden, once we discover that the burden is reality and arrive where reality is. Anyway, the point here is that we are living in an age of revolution, whether we will or no, and that America is the only Western nation with both the power, and, as I hope to suggest, the experience that may help to make these revolutions real and minimize the human damage.
James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time)
I dont believe in God. Can you understand that? Look around you man. Cant you see? The clamour and din of those in torment has to be the sound most pleasing to his ear. And I loathe these discussions. The argument of the village atheist whose single passion is to revile endlessly that which he denies the existence of in the first place. Your fellowship is a fellowship of pain and nothing more. And if that pain were actually collective instead of simply reiterative then the sheer weight of it would drag the world from the walls of the universe and send it crashing and burning through whatever night it might yet be capable of engendering until it was not even ash. And justice? Brotherhood? Eternal life? Good god, man. Show me a religion that prepares one for death. For nothingness. There's a church I might enter. Yours prepares one only for more life. For dreams and illusions and lies. If you could banish the fear of death from men's hearts they wouldnt live a day. Who would want this nightmare if not for fear of the next? The shadow of the axe hangs over every joy. Every road ends in death. Or worse. Every friendship. Every love. Torment, betrayal, loss, suffering, pain, age, indignity, and hideous lingering illness. All with a single conclusion. For you and for every one and every thing that you have chosen to care for. There's the true brotherhood. The true fellowship. And everyone is a member for life. You tell me that my brother is my salvation? My salvation? Well then damn him. Damn him in every shape and form and guise. Do I see myself in him? Yes, I do. And what I see sickens me. Do you understand me? Can you understand me?
Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
I know your race. It is made up of sheep. It is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong; but no matter, the crowd follows it. The vast majority of the race, whether savage or civilized, are secretly kind-hearted and shrink from inflicting pain, but in the presence of the aggressive and pitiless minority they don't dare to assert themselves. Think of it! One kind-hearted creature spies upon another, and sees to it that he loyally helps in iniquities which revolt both of them. Speaking as an expert, I know that ninety- nine out of a hundred of your race were strongly against the killing of witches when that foolishness was first agitated by a handful of pious lunatics in the long ago. And I know that even to-day, after ages of transmitted prejudice and silly teaching, only one person in twenty puts any real heart into the harrying of a witch. And yet apparently everybody hates witches and wants them killed. Some day a handful will rise up on the other side and make the most noise--perhaps even a single daring man with a big voice and a determined front will do it--and in a week all the sheep will wheel and follow him, and witch-hunting will come to a sudden end. Monarchies, aristocracies, and religions are all based upon that large defect in your race--the individual's distrust of his neighbor, and his desire, for safety's or comfort's sake, to stand well in his neighbor's eye. These institutions will always remain, and always flourish, and always oppress you, affront you, and degrade you, because you will always be and remain slaves of minorities. There was never a country where the majority of the people were in their secret hearts loyal to any of these institutions.
Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger)
Dunbar loved shooting skeet because he hated every minute of it and the time passed so slowly. He had figured out that a single hour on the skeet-shooting range with people like Havermeyer and Appleby could be worth as much as eleven-times-seventeen years. “I think you’re crazy,” was the way Clevinger had responded to Dunbar’s discovery. “Who wants to know?” Dunbar answered. “I mean it,” Clevinger insisted. “Who cares?” Dunbar answered. “I really do. I’ll even go as far as to concede that life seems longer i—“ “—is longer i—“ “—is longer—IS longer? All right, is longer if it’s filled with periods of boredom and discomfort, b—“ “Guess how fast?” Dunbar said suddenly. “Huh?” “They go,” Dunbar explained. “Who?” “Years.” “Years?” “Years,” said Dunbar. “Years, years, years.” “Do you know how long a year takes when it’s going away?” Dunbar asked Clevinger. “This long.” He snapped his fingers. “A second ago you were stepping into college with your lungs full of fresh air. Today you’re an old man.” “Old?” asked Clevinger with surprise. “What are you talking about?” “Old.” “I’m not old.” “You’re inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age? A half minute before that you were stepping into high school, and an unhooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to Paradise. Only a fifth of a second before that you were a small kid with a ten-week summer vacation that lasted a hundred thousand years and still ended too soon. Zip! They go rocketing by so fast. How the hell else are you ever going to slow time down?” Dunbar was almost angry when he finished. “Well, maybe it is true,” Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone. Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it’s to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?” “I do,” Dunbar told him. “Why?” Clevinger asked. “What else is there?
Joseph Heller (Catch-22)
We live in an extraordinary age. These are times of stunning changes in social organization, economic well-being, moral and ethical precepts, philosophical and religious perspectives, and human self-knowledge, as well as in our understanding of that vast universe in which we are imbedded like a grain of sand in a cosmic ocean. As long as there have been human beings, we have posed the deep and fundamental questions, which evoke wonder and stir us into at least a tentative and trembling awareness, questions on the origins of consciousness; life on our planet; the beginnings of the Earth; the formation of the Sun; the possibility of intelligent beings somewhere up there in the depths of the sky; as well as, the grandest inquiry of all - on the advent, nature and ultimate destiny of the universe. For all but the last instant of human history these issues have been the exclusive province of philosophers and poets, shamans and theologians. The diverse and mutually contradictory answers offered demonstrate that few of the proposed solutions have been correct. But today, as a result of knowledge painfully extracted from nature, through generations of careful thinking, observing, and experimenting, we are on the verge of glimpsing at least preliminary answers to many of these questions. ...If we do not destroy ourselves, most of us will be around for the answers. Had we been born fifty years earlier, we could have wondered, pondered, speculated about these issues, but we could have done nothing about them. Had we been born fifty years later, the answers would, I think, already have been in. Our children will have been taught the answers before most of them will have had the opportunity to even formulate the questions. By far the most exciting, satisfying and exhilarating time to be alive is the time in which we pass from ignorance to knowledge on these fundamental issues; the age where we begin in wonder and end in understanding. In all of the four-billion-year history of the human family, there is only one generation priveleged to live through that unique transitional moment: that generation is ours.
Carl Sagan
Do not despise your inner world. That is the first and most general piece of advice I would offer… Our society is very outward-looking, very taken up with the latest new object, the latest piece of gossip, the latest opportunity for self-assertion and status. But we all begin our lives as helpless babies, dependent on others for comfort, food, and survival itself. And even though we develop a degree of mastery and independence, we always remain alarmingly weak and incomplete, dependent on others and on an uncertain world for whatever we are able to achieve. As we grow, we all develop a wide range of emotions responding to this predicament: fear that bad things will happen and that we will be powerless to ward them off; love for those who help and support us; grief when a loved one is lost; hope for good things in the future; anger when someone else damages something we care about. Our emotional life maps our incompleteness: A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger. But for that very reason we are often ashamed of our emotions, and of the relations of need and dependency bound up with them. Perhaps males, in our society, are especially likely to be ashamed of being incomplete and dependent, because a dominant image of masculinity tells them that they should be self-sufficient and dominant. So people flee from their inner world of feeling, and from articulate mastery of their own emotional experiences. The current psychological literature on the life of boys in America indicates that a large proportion of boys are quite unable to talk about how they feel and how others feel — because they have learned to be ashamed of feelings and needs, and to push them underground. But that means that they don’t know how to deal with their own emotions, or to communicate them to others. When they are frightened, they don’t know how to say it, or even to become fully aware of it. Often they turn their own fear into aggression. Often, too, this lack of a rich inner life catapults them into depression in later life. We are all going to encounter illness, loss, and aging, and we’re not well prepared for these inevitable events by a culture that directs us to think of externals only, and to measure ourselves in terms of our possessions of externals. What is the remedy of these ills? A kind of self-love that does not shrink from the needy and incomplete parts of the self, but accepts those with interest and curiosity, and tries to develop a language with which to talk about needs and feelings. Storytelling plays a big role in the process of development. As we tell stories about the lives of others, we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events. At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves. As we grow older, we encounter more and more complex stories — in literature, film, visual art, music — that give us a richer and more subtle grasp of human emotions and of our own inner world. So my second piece of advice, closely related to the first, is: Read a lot of stories, listen to a lot of music, and think about what the stories you encounter mean for your own life and lives of those you love. In that way, you will not be alone with an empty self; you will have a newly rich life with yourself, and enhanced possibilities of real communication with others.
Martha C. Nussbaum
We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end …'" Mustapha Mond paused, put down the first book and, picking up the other, turned over the pages. "Take this, for example," he said, and in his deep voice once more began to read: "'A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false–a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses.'" Mustapha Mond shut the book and leaned back in his chair. "One of the numerous things in heaven and earth that these philosophers didn't dream about was this" (he waved his hand), "us, the modern world. 'You can only be independent of God while you've got youth and prosperity; independence won't take you safely to the end.' Well, we've now got youth and prosperity right up to the end. What follows? Evidently, that we can be independent of God. 'The religious sentiment will compensate us for all our losses.' But there aren't any losses for us to compensate; religious sentiment is superfluous. And why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires, when youthful desires never fail? A substitute for distractions, when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last? What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity? of consolation, when we have soma? of something immovable, when there is the social order?
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
On the first day of November last year, sacred to many religious calendars but especially the Celtic, I went for a walk among bare oaks and birch. Nothing much was going on. Scarlet sumac had passed and the bees were dead. The pond had slicked overnight into that shiny and deceptive glaze of delusion, first ice. It made me remember sakes and conjure a vision of myself skimming backward on one foot, the other extended; the arms become wings. Minnesota girls know that this is not a difficult maneuver if one's limber and practices even a little after school before the boys claim the rink for hockey. I think I can still do it - one thinks many foolish things when November's bright sun skips over the entrancing first freeze. A flock of sparrows reels through the air looking more like a flying net than seventy conscious birds, a black veil thrown on the wind. When one sparrow dodges, the whole net swerves, dips: one mind. Am I part of anything like that? Maybe not. The last few years of my life have been characterized by stripping away, one by one, loves and communities that sustain the soul. A young colleague, new to my English department, recently asked me who I hang around with at school. "Nobody," I had to say, feeling briefly ashamed. This solitude is one of the surprises of middle age, especially if one's youth has been rich in love and friendship and children. If you do your job right, children leave home; few communities can stand an individual's most pitiful, amateur truth telling. So the soul must stand in her own meager feathers and learn to fly - or simply take hopeful jumps into the wind. In the Christian calendar, November 1 is the Feast of All Saints, a day honoring not only those who are known and recognized as enlightened souls, but more especially the unknowns, saints who walk beside us unrecognized down the millennia. In Buddhism, we honor the bodhisattvas - saints - who refuse enlightenment and return willingly to the wheel of karma to help other beings. Similarly, in Judaism, anonymous holy men pray the world from its well-merited destruction. We never know who is walking beside us, who is our spiritual teacher. That one - who annoys you so - pretends for a day that he's the one, your personal Obi Wan Kenobi. The first of November is a splendid, subversive holiday. Imagine a hectic procession of revelers - the half-mad bag lady; a mumbling, scarred janitor whose ravaged face made the children turn away; the austere, unsmiling mother superior who seemed with great focus and clarity to do harm; a haunted music teacher, survivor of Auschwitz. I bring them before my mind's eye, these old firends of my soul, awakening to dance their day. Crazy saints; but who knows what was home in the heart? This is the feast of those who tried to take the path, so clumsily that no one knew or notice, the feast, indeed, of most of us. It's an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: "nothing special," as Buddhists say, meaning "everything." Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral. All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.
Mary Rose O'Reilley (The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd)
At this stage of the game, I don’t have the time for patience and tolerance. Ten years ago, even five years ago, I would have listened to people ask their questions, explained to them, mollified them. No more. That time is past. Now, as Norman Mailer said in Naked and the Dead, ‘I hate everything which is not in myself.’ If it doesn’t have a direct bearing on what I’m advocating, if it doesn’t augment or stimulate my life and thinking, I don’t want to hear it. It has to add something to my life. There’s no more time for explaining and being ecumenical anymore. No more time. That’s a characteristic I share with the new generation of Satanists, which might best be termed, and has labeled itself in many ways, an ‘Apocalypse culture.’ Not that they believe in the biblical Apocalypse—the ultimate war between good and evil. Quite the contrary. But that there is an urgency, a need to get on with things and stop wailing and if it ends tomorrow, at least we’ll know we’ve lived today. It’s a ‘fiddle while Rome burns’ philosophy. It’s the Satanic philosophy. If the generation born in the 50’s grew up in the shadow of The Bomb and had to assimilate the possibility of imminent self destruction of the entire planet at any time, those born in the 60’s have had to reconcile the inevitability of our own destruction, not through the bomb but through mindless, uncontrolled overpopulation. And somehow resolve in themselves, looking at what history has taught us, that no amount of yelling, protesting, placard waving, marching, wailing—or even more constructive avenues like running for government office or trying to write books to wake people up—is going to do a damn bit of good. The majority of humans have an inborn death wish—they want to destroy themselves and everything beautiful. To finally realize that we’re living in a world after the zenith of creativity, and that we can see so clearly the mechanics of our own destruction, is a terrible realization. Most people can’t face it. They’d rather retreat to the comfort of New Age mysticism. That’s all right. All we want, those few of us who have the strength to realize what’s going on, is the freedom to create and entertain and share with each other, to preserve and cherish what we can while we can, and to build our own little citadels away from the insensitivity of the rest of the world.
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey)
The character of Moses, as stated in the Bible, is the most horrid that can be imagined. If those accounts be true, he was the wretch that first began and carried on wars on the score or on the pretence of religion; and under that mask, or that infatuation, committed the most unexampled atrocities that are to be found in the history of any nation. Of which I will state only one instance: When the Jewish army returned from one of their plundering and murdering excursions, the account goes on as follows (Numbers xxxi. 13): 'And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp; and Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle; and Moses said unto them, 'Have ye saved all the women alive?' behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord. Now therefore, 'kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him; but all the women- children that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for Yourselves.' Among the detestable villains that in any period of the world have disgraced the name of man, it is impossible to find a greater than Moses, if this account be true. Here is an order to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers, and debauch the daughters. Let any mother put herself in the situation of those mothers, one child murdered, another destined to violation, and herself in the hands of an executioner: let any daughter put herself in the situation of those daughters, destined as a prey to the murderers of a mother and a brother, and what will be their feelings? In short, the matters contained in this chapter, as well as in many other parts of the Bible, are too horrid for humanity to read, or for decency to hear.
Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)
They said of him, about the city that night, that it was the peacefullest man's face ever beheld there. Many added that he looked sublime and prophetic. One of the most remarkable sufferers by the same axe---a woman---had asked at the foot of the same scaffold, not long before, to be allowed to write down the thoughts that were inspiring her. If he had given an utterance to his, and they were prophetic, they would have been these: "I see Barsad, and Cly, Defarge, The Vengeance, the Juryman, the Judge, long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the destruction of the old, perishing by this retributive instrument, before it shall cease out of its present use. I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out. "I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy, in that England which I shall see no more. I see Her with a child upon her bosom, who bears my name. I see her father, aged and bent, but otherwise restored, and faithful to all men in his healing office, and at peace. I see the good old man, so long their friend, in ten years' time enriching them with all he has, and passing tranquilly to his reward. "I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. I see her, an old woman weeping for me on the anniversary of this day. I see her and her husband, their course done, lying side by side in their last earthly bed, and I know that each was not more honoured and held sacred in the other's soul, than I was in the souls of both. "I see that child who lay upon her bosom and who bore my name, a man winning his way up in that path of life which once was mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious there by the light of his. I see the blots I threw upon it, faded away. I see him, foremost of just judges and honoured men, brining a boy of my name, with a forehead that I know and golden hair, to this place---then fair to look upon, with not a trace of this day's disfigurement---and I hear him tell the child my story, with a tender and faltering voice. "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
I’M LOSING FAITH IN MY FAVORITE COUNTRY Throughout my life, the United States has been my favorite country, save and except for Canada, where I was born, raised, educated, and still live for six months each year. As a child growing up in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, I aggressively bought and saved baseball cards of American and National League players, spent hours watching snowy images of American baseball and football games on black and white television and longed for the day when I could travel to that great country. Every Saturday afternoon, me and the boys would pay twelve cents to go the show and watch U.S. made movies, and particularly, the Superman serial. Then I got my chance. My father, who worked for B.F. Goodrich, took my brother and me to watch the Cleveland Indians play baseball in the Mistake on the Lake in Cleveland. At last I had made it to the big time. I thought it was an amazing stadium and it was certainly not a mistake. Amazingly, the Americans thought we were Americans. I loved the United States, and everything about the country: its people, its movies, its comic books, its sports, and a great deal more. The country was alive and growing. No, exploding. It was the golden age of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The American dream was alive and well, but demanded hard work, honesty, and frugality. Everyone understood that. Even the politicians. Then everything changed. Partly because of its proximity to the United States and a shared heritage, Canadians also aspired to what was commonly referred to as the American dream. I fall neatly into that category. For as long as I can remember I wanted a better life, but because I was born with a cardboard spoon in my mouth, and wasn’t a member of the golden gene club, I knew I would have to make it the old fashioned way: work hard and save. After university graduation I spent the first half of my career working for the two largest oil companies in the world: Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell. The second half was spent with one of the smallest oil companies in the world: my own. Then I sold my company and retired into obscurity. In my case obscurity was spending summers in our cottage on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka, Ontario, and winters in our home in Port St. Lucie, Florida. My wife, Ann, and I, (and our three sons when they can find the time), have been enjoying that “obscurity” for a long time. During that long time we have been fortunate to meet and befriend a large number of Americans, many from Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation.” One was a military policeman in Tokyo in 1945. After a very successful business carer in the U.S. he’s retired and living the dream. Another American friend, also a member of the “Greatest Generation”, survived The Battle of the Bulge and lived to drink Hitler’s booze at Berchtesgaden in 1945. He too is happily retired and living the dream. Both of these individuals got to where they are by working hard, saving, and living within their means. Both also remember when their Federal Government did the same thing. One of my younger American friends recently sent me a You Tube video, featuring an impassioned speech by Marco Rubio, Republican senator from Florida. In the speech, Rubio blasts the spending habits of his Federal Government and deeply laments his country’s future. He is outraged that the U.S. Government spends three hundred billion dollars, each and every month. He is even more outraged that one hundred and twenty billion of that three hundred billion dollars is borrowed. In other words, Rubio states that for every dollar the U.S. Government spends, forty cents is borrowed. I don’t blame him for being upset. If I had run my business using that arithmetic, I would be in the soup kitchens. If individual American families had applied that arithmetic to their finances, none of them would be in a position to pay a thin dime of taxes.
Stephen Douglass
I think we're the only ones in the building," he says. "Then no one will mind when I do this!" I jump onto the desk and parade back and forth. St. Clair belts out a song, and I shimmy to the sound of his voice. When he finishes,I bow with a grand flourish. "Quick!" he says. "What?" I hop off the desk. Is Nate here? Did he see? But St. Clair runs to the stairwell. He throws open the door and screams. The ehco makes us both jump, and then together we scream again at the top of our lungs. It's exhilarating. St. Clair chases me to the elevator,and we ride it to the rooftop. He hangs back but laughs as I spit off the side, trying to hit a lingerie advertisement. The wind is fierce,and my aim is off,so I race back down two flights of stairs. Our staircase is wide and steady, so he's only a few feet behind me. We reach his floor. "Well," he says. Our conversation halts for the first time in hours. I look past him. "Um.Good night." "See you tomorrow? Late breakfast at the creperie?" "That'd be nice." "Unless-" he cuts himself off. Unless what? He's hesitant, changed his mind. The moment passes. I give him one more questioning look, but he turns away. "Okay." It's hard to keep the disappointment out of my voice. "See you in the morning." I take the steps down and glance back.He's staring at me. I lift my hand and wave. He's oddly statuesque. I push through the door to my floor,shaking my head. I don't understand why things always go from perfect to weird with us. It's like we're incapable of normal human interaction. Forget about it,Anna. The stairwell door bursts open. My heart stops. St. Clair looks nervous. "It's been a good day. This was the first good day I've had in ages." He walks slowly toward me. "I don't want it to end. I don't want to be alone right now." "Uh." I can't breathe. He stops before me,scanning my face. "Would it be okay if I stayed with you? I don't want to make you uncomfortable-" "No! I mean..." My head swims. I can hardly think straight. "Yes. Yes, of course,it's okay." St. Clair is still for a moment. And then he nods. I pull off my necklace and insert my key into the lock. He waits behind me. My hand shakes as I open the door.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Imagination is not, as some poets have thought, simply synonymous with good. It may be either good or evil. As long as art remained primarily mimetic, the evil which imagination could do was limited by nature. Again, as long as it was treated as an amusement, the evil which it could do was limited in scope. But in an age when the connection between imagination and figuration is beginning to be dimly realized, when the fact of the directionally creator relation is beginning to break through into consciousness, both the good and the evil latent in the working of imagination begin to appear unlimited. We have seen in the Romantic movement an instance of the way in which the making of images may react upon the collective representations. It is a fairly rudimentary instance, but even so it has already gone beyond the dreams and responses of a leisured few. The economic and social structure of Switzerland is noticeably affected by its tourist industry, and that is due only in part to increased facilities of travel. It is due not less to the condition that (whatever may be said about their ‘particles’) the mountains which twentieth-century man sees are not the mountains which eighteenth-century man saw. It may be objected that this is a very small matter, and that it will be a long time before the imagination of man substantially alters those appearances of nature with which his figuration supplies him. But then I am taking the long view. Even so, we need not be too confident. Even if the pace of change remained the same, one who is really sensitive to (for example) the difference between the medieval collective representations and our own will be aware that, without traveling any greater distance than we have come since the fourteenth century, we could very well move forward into a chaotically empty or fantastically hideous world. But the pace of change has not remained the same. It has accelerated and is accelerating. We should remember this, when appraising the aberrations of the formally representational arts. Of course, in so far as these are due to affectation, they are of no importance. But in so far as they are genuine, they are genuine because the artist has in some way or other experienced the world he represents. And in so far as they are appreciated, they are appreciated by those who are themselves willing to make a move towards seeing the world in that way, and, ultimately therefore, seeing that kind of world. We should remember this, when we see pictures of a dog with six legs emerging from a vegetable marrow or a woman with a motorbicycle substituted for her left breast.
Owen Barfield
Poetic Terrorism WEIRD DANCING IN ALL-NIGHT computer-banking lobbies. Unauthorized pyrotechnic displays. Land-art, earth-works as bizarre alien artifacts strewn in State Parks. Burglarize houses but instead of stealing, leave Poetic-Terrorist objects. Kidnap someone & make them happy. Pick someone at random & convince them they're the heir to an enormous, useless & amazing fortune--say 5000 square miles of Antarctica, or an aging circus elephant, or an orphanage in Bombay, or a collection of alchemical mss. ... Bolt up brass commemorative plaques in places (public or private) where you have experienced a revelation or had a particularly fulfilling sexual experience, etc. Go naked for a sign. Organize a strike in your school or workplace on the grounds that it does not satisfy your need for indolence & spiritual beauty. Graffiti-art loaned some grace to ugly subways & rigid public monuments--PT-art can also be created for public places: poems scrawled in courthouse lavatories, small fetishes abandoned in parks & restaurants, Xerox-art under windshield-wipers of parked cars, Big Character Slogans pasted on playground walls, anonymous letters mailed to random or chosen recipients (mail fraud), pirate radio transmissions, wet cement... The audience reaction or aesthetic-shock produced by PT ought to be at least as strong as the emotion of terror-- powerful disgust, sexual arousal, superstitious awe, sudden intuitive breakthrough, dada-esque angst--no matter whether the PT is aimed at one person or many, no matter whether it is "signed" or anonymous, if it does not change someone's life (aside from the artist) it fails. PT is an act in a Theater of Cruelty which has no stage, no rows of seats, no tickets & no walls. In order to work at all, PT must categorically be divorced from all conventional structures for art consumption (galleries, publications, media). Even the guerilla Situationist tactics of street theater are perhaps too well known & expected now. An exquisite seduction carried out not only in the cause of mutual satisfaction but also as a conscious act in a deliberately beautiful life--may be the ultimate PT. The PTerrorist behaves like a confidence-trickster whose aim is not money but CHANGE. Don't do PT for other artists, do it for people who will not realize (at least for a few moments) that what you have done is art. Avoid recognizable art-categories, avoid politics, don't stick around to argue, don't be sentimental; be ruthless, take risks, vandalize only what must be defaced, do something children will remember all their lives--but don't be spontaneous unless the PT Muse has possessed you. Dress up. Leave a false name. Be legendary. The best PT is against the law, but don't get caught. Art as crime; crime as art.
Hakim Bey (TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone (New Autonomy))
It was she made me acquainted with love. She went by the peaceful name of Ruth I think, but I can't say for certain. Perhaps the name was Edith. She had a hole between her legs, oh not the bunghole I had always imagined, but a slit, and in this I put, or rather she put, my so-called virile member, not without difficulty, and I toiled and moiled until I discharged or gave up trying or was begged by her to stop. A mug's game in my opinion and tiring on top of that, in the long run. But I lent myself to it with a good enough grace, knowing it was love, for she had told me so. She bent over the couch, because of her rheumatism, and in I went from behind. It was the only position she could bear, because of her lumbago. It seemed all right to me, for I had seen dogs, and I was astonished when she confided that you could go about it differently. I wonder what she meant exactly. Perhaps after all she put me in her rectum. A matter of complete indifference to me, I needn't tell you. But is it true love, in the rectum? That's what bothers me sometimes. Have I never known true love, after all? She too was an eminently flat woman and she moved with short stiff steps, leaning on an ebony stick. Perhaps she too was a man, yet another of them. But in that case surely our testicles would have collided, while we writhed. Perhaps she held hers tight in her hand, on purpose to avoid it. She favoured voluminous tempestuous shifts and petticoats and other undergarments whose names I forget. They welled up all frothing and swishing and then, congress achieved, broke over us in slow cascades. And all I could see was her taut yellow nape which every now and then I set my teeth in, forgetting I had none, such is the power of instinct. We met in a rubbish dump, unlike any other, and yet they are all alike, rubbish dumps. I don't know what she was doing there. I was limply poking about in the garbage saying probably, for at that age I must still have been capable of general ideas, This is life. She had no time to lose, I had nothing to lose, I would have made love with a goat, to know what love was. She had a dainty flat, no, not dainty, it made you want to lie down in a corner and never get up again. I liked it. It was full of dainty furniture, under our desperate strokes the couch moved forward on its castors, the whole place fell about our ears, it was pandemonium. Our commerce was not without tenderness, with trembling hands she cut my toe-nails and I rubbed her rump with winter cream. This idyll was of short duration. Poor Edith, I hastened her end perhaps. Anyway it was she who started it, in the rubbish dump, when she laid her hand upon my fly. More precisely, I was bent double over a heap of muck, in the hope of finding something to disgust me for ever with eating, when she, undertaking me from behind, thrust her stick between my legs and began to titillate my privates. She gave me money after each session, to me who would have consented to know love, and probe it to the bottom, without charge. But she was an idealist. I would have preferred it seems to me an orifice less arid and roomy, that would have given me a higher opinion of love it seems to me. However. Twixt finger and thumb tis heaven in comparison. But love is no doubt above such contingencies. And not when you are comfortable, but when your frantic member casts about for a rubbing-place, and the unction of a little mucous membrane, and meeting with none does not beat in retreat, but retains its tumefaction, it is then no doubt that true love comes to pass, and wings away, high above the tight fit and the loose.
Samuel Beckett (Molloy / Malone Dies / The Unnamable)
and if a rainy morning deprived them of other enjoyments, they were still resolute in meeting in defiance of wet and dirt, and shut themselves up, to read novels together. Yes, novels; for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel–writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding — joining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages with disgust. Alas! If the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I cannot approve of it. Let us leave it to the reviewers to abuse such effusions of fancy at their leisure, and over every new novel to talk in threadbare strains of the trash with which the press now groans. Let us not desert one another; we are an injured body. Although our productions have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers. And while the abilities of the nine–hundredth abridger of the History of England, or of the man who collects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton, Pope, and Prior, with a paper from the Spectator, and a chapter from Sterne, are eulogized by a thousand pens — there seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them. “I am no novel–reader — I seldom look into novels — Do not imagine that I often read novels — It is really very well for a novel.” Such is the common cant. “And what are you reading, Miss — ?” “Oh! It is only a novel!” replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. “It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda”; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best–chosen language. Now, had the same young lady been engaged with a volume of the Spectator, instead of such a work, how proudly would she have produced the book, and told its name; though the chances must be against her being occupied by any part of that voluminous publication, of which either the matter or manner would not disgust a young person of taste: the substance of its papers so often consisting in the statement of improbable circumstances, unnatural characters, and topics of conversation which no longer concern anyone living; and their language, too, frequently so coarse as to give no very favourable idea of the age that could endure it.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
I first met Winston Churchill in the early summer of 1906 at a dinner party to which I went as a very young girl. Our hostess was Lady Wemyss and I remember that Arthur Balfour, George Wyndman, Hilaire Belloc and Charles Whibley were among the guests… I found myself sitting next to this young man who seemed to me quite different from any other young man I had ever met. For a long time he seemed sunk in abstraction. Then he appeared to become suddenly aware of my existence. He turned on me a lowering gaze and asked me abruptly how old I was. I replied that I was nineteen. “And I,” he said despairingly, “am thirty-two already. Younger than anyone else who counts, though, “he added, as if to comfort himself. Then savagely: “Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is this allotted span for all we must cram into it!” And he burst forth into an eloquent diatribe on the shortness of human life, the immensity of possible human accomplishment—a theme so well exploited by the poets, prophets, and philosophers of all ages that it might seem difficult to invest it with new and startling significance. Yet for me he did so, in a torrent of magnificent language which appeared to be both effortless and inexhaustible and ended up with the words I shall always remember: “We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow worm.” By this time I was convinced of it—and my conviction remained unshaken throughout the years that followed. Later he asked me whether I thought that words had a magic and music quite independent of their meaning. I said I certainly thought so, and I quoted as a classic though familiar instance the first lines that came into my head. Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. His eyes blazed with excitement. “Say that again,” he said, “say it again—it is marvelous!” “But I objected, “You know these lines. You know the ‘Ode to a Nightengale.’ ” He had apparently never read or heard of it before (I must, however, add that next time I met him he had not learned not merely this but all of the odes to Keats by heart—and he recited them quite mercilessly from start to finish, not sparing me a syllable). Finding that he liked poetry, I quoted to him from one of my own favorite poets, Blake. He listened avidly, repeating some lines to himself with varying emphases and stresses, then added meditatively: “I never knew that old Admiral had found so much time to write such good poetry.” I was astounded that he, with his acute susceptibility to words and power of using them, should have left such tracts of English literature entirely unexplored. But however it happened he had lost nothing by it, when he approached books it was “with a hungry, empty mind and with fairly srong jaws, and what I got I *bit*.” And his ear for the beauty of language needed no tuning fork. Until the end of dinner I listened to him spellbound. I can remember thinking: This is what people mean when they talk of seeing stars. That is what I am doing now. I do not to this day know who was on my other side. Good manners, social obligation, duty—all had gone with the wind. I was transfixed, transported into a new element. I knew only that I had seen a great light. I recognized it as the light of genius… I cannot attempt to analyze, still less transmit, the light of genius. But I will try to set down, as I remember them, some of the differences which struck me between him and all the others, young and old, whom I have known. First and foremost he was incalculable. He ran true to no form. There lurked in his every thought and world the ambush of the unexpected. I felt also that the impact of life, ideas and even words upon his mind, was not only vivid and immediate, but direct. Between him and them there was no shock absorber of vicarious thought or precedent gleaned either from books or other minds. His relationship wit
Violet Bonham Carter