Arrangement Best Quotes

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To live your best life now, you must learn to trust God’s timing, you may not think He’s working, but you can be sure that right now, behind the scenes, God is arranging all the pieces to come together to work out His plan for your life.
Joel Osteen (Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential)
You liked me best when I was like an oil painting; perfectly arranged and silent.
S.T. Gibson (A Dowry of Blood (A Dowry of Blood, #1))
You see the first thing we love is a scene. For love at first sight requires the very sign of its suddenness; and of all things, it is the scene which seems to be seen best for the first time: a curtain parts and what had not yet ever been seen is devoured by the eyes: the scene consecrates the object I am going to love. The context is the constellation of elements, harmoniously arranged that encompass the experience of the amorous subject... Love at first sight is always spoken in the past tense. The scene is perfectly adapted to this temporal phenomenon: distinct, abrupt, framed, it is already a memory (the nature of a photograph is not to represent but to memorialize)... this scene has all the magnificence of an accident: I cannot get over having had this good fortune: to meet what matches my desire. The gesture of the amorous embrace seems to fulfill, for a time, the subject's dream of total union with the loved being: The longing for consummation with the other... In this moment, everything is suspended: time, law, prohibition: nothing is exhausted, nothing is wanted: all desires are abolished, for they seem definitively fulfilled... A moment of affirmation; for a certain time, though a finite one, a deranged interval, something has been successful: I have been fulfilled (all my desires abolished by the plenitude of their satisfaction).
Roland Barthes (A Lover's Discourse: Fragments)
Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.
Charles Eames
When we are green, still half-created, we believe that our dreams are rights, that the world is disposed to act in our best interests, and that falling and dying are for quitters. We live on the innocent and monstrous assurance that we alone, of all the people ever born, have a special arrangement whereby we will be allowed to stay green forever
Tobias Wolff (This Boy's Life)
A deus ex machina will never appear in real life so you best make other arrangements.
Marisha Pessl (Special Topics in Calamity Physics)
I don't want to die” “I'll do my best to make other arrangements for you.” She closed her eyes. “Keep talking, Wraith. Don't slip away from me.” “But it's what I do best.
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
Obelisk?” “It’s my favorite word.” “Really?” “One of them, at least. Look at it.” I look. “That is one straight-up, upstanding, powerful word. Unique, original, and kind of stealthy because it doesn’t really sound like what it is. It’s a word that surprises you and makes you think, Oh. All right then. It commands respect, but it’s also modest. Not like ‘monument’ or ‘tower.’ ” He shakes his head. “Pretentious bastards.” I don’t say anything because I used to love words. I loved them and was good at arranging them. Because of this, I felt protective of all the best ones. But now all of them, good and bad, frustrate me.
Jennifer Niven (All the Bright Places)
Kessa began to cut her meat into tiny pieces. As a whole it was unmanageable, frightening; but divided and arranged, the meat could be controlled. She cut four pieces. She'd count to four between each bite.
Steven Levenkron (The Best Little Girl in the World)
It's really a very simple arrangement, little mother. He fully understands that either they get healthy, or he gets sick. That sort of encourages him to do his best.
David Eddings (The Ruby Knight (The Elenium, #2))
When one is young, one venerates and despises without that art of nuances which constitutes the best gain of life, and it is only fair that one has to pay dearly for having assaulted men and things in this manner with Yes and No. Everything is arranged so that the worst of tastes, the taste for the unconditional, should be cruelly fooled and abused until a man learns to put a little art into his feelings and rather to risk trying even what is artificial — as the real artists of life do.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
At last we heard Father's footsteps winding up the stairs. It was the best moment in every day, when he came up to tuck us in. We never fell asleep until he had arranged the balnkets in his special way and laid his hand for a moment on each head. Then we tried not to move even a toe. But that night as he stepped through the door I burst into tears. "I need you!" I sobbed. "You can't die! You can't!" Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. "Corrie," he began gently, "when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?" I sniffed a few times, considering this. "Why, just before we get on the train." "Exactly. And our wise Father in Heaven knows when we're going to need things too. Don't run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need--just in time.
Corrie ten Boom (The Hiding Place: The Triumphant True Story of Corrie Ten Boom)
We cannot count on God to arrange what happens in our lives in ways that will make us feel good.We can, however, count on God to patiently remove all the obstacles to our enjoyment of Him. He is committed to our joy, and we can depend on Him to give us enough of a taste of that joy and enough hope that the best is still ahead to keep us going in spite of how much pain continues to plague our hearts.
Larry Crabb
There's a critical insight in all this for those of us who want to learn to be more influential. The best persuaders become the best through pre-suasion - the process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it. To persuade optimally, then, it's necessary to pre-suade optimally. But how? In part, the answer involves an essential but poorly appreciated tenet of all communication: what we present first changes the way people experience what we present to them next.
Robert B. Cialdini (Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade)
I can never be anything else but an American, and I must think of the United States first, and when I think of the United States first in an arrangement like this I am thinking of what is best for the world, for if the United States fails the best hopes of mankind fail with it.
Henry Cabot Lodge
May the Saints receive me. She pressed the tip beneath her breast, between her ribs, an arrow to her heart. Then a hand gripped her wrist painfully, forcing her to drop the blade. “Not just yet, Inej.” The rasp of stone on stone. Her eyes flew open. Kaz. He bundled her into his arms and leapt down from the crates, landing roughly, his bad leg buckling. She moaned as they hit the ground. “Did we win?” “I’m here, aren’t I?” He must be running. Her body jounced painfully against his chest with every lurching step. He couldn’t carry her and use his cane. “I don’t want to die.” “I’ll do my best to make other arrangements for you.” She closed her eyes. “Keep talking, Wraith. Don’t slip away from me.” “But it’s what I do best.” He clutched her tighter. “Just make it to the schooner. Open your damn eyes, Inej.” She
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
Lucie announced she planned to read to James from her work in progress, Secret Princess Lucie Is Rescued from Her Terrible Family. James listened with a carefully arranged look of interest, even though he was subjected to endless tales of Cruel Prince James and his many awful deeds. “I think that Cruel Prince James has been somewhat boxed in by his name,” James offered at one point. Lucie informed him that she wasn’t looking for critique at this stage in the creative process. “Secret Princess Lucie only wishes to be kind, but Cruel Prince James is driven to cruelty because he simply cannot stand to see Princess Lucie best him again and again, in every domain,” said Lucie. “I’m going to go now,” said James.
Cassandra Clare (Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1))
Seeing modern health care from the other side, I can say that it is clearly not set up for the patient. It is frequently a poor arrangement for doctors as well, but that does not mitigate how little the system accounts for the patient's best interest. Just when you are at your weakest and least able to make all the phone calls, traverse the maze of insurance, and plead for health-care referrals is that one time when you have to — your life may depend on it.
Ross I. Donaldson (The Lassa Ward: One Man's Fight Against One of the World's Deadliest Diseases)
Like everyone in the history of the world who has had a crush on his or her best friend, I was too scared to tell her, because if I did I might lose her completely. And the sharp bite of losing her completely would be far worse than the one-sided romantic arrangement we had going.
Josh Sundquist (We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story)
A number of porcupines huddled together for warmth on a cold day in winter; but, as they began to prick one another with their quills, they were obliged to disperse. However the cold drove them together again, when just the same thing happened. At last, after many turns of huddling and dispersing, they discovered that they would be best off by remaining at a little distance from one another. In the same way the need of society drives the human porcupines together, only to be mutually repelled by the many prickly and disagreeable qualities of their nature. The moderate distance which they at last discover to be the only tolerable condition of intercourse, is the code of politeness and fine manners; and those who transgress it are roughly told—in the English phrase—to keep their distance. By this arrangement the mutual need of warmth is only very moderately satisfied; but then people do not get pricked. A man who has some heat in himself prefers to remain outside, where he will neither prick other people nor get pricked himself.
Arthur Schopenhauer (Parerga and Paralipomena)
The hemulen woke up slowly and recognised himself and wished he had been someone he didn't know. He felt even tireder than when he went to bed, and here it was -- another day which would go on until evening and then there would be another one and another one which would be the same as all days are when they are lived by a hemulen. He crept under the bedcover and buried his nose in the pillow, then he shifted his stomach to the edge of the bed where the sheets were cool. He took possession of the whole bed with outstretched arms and legs he was waiting for a nice dream that wouldn't come. He curled up and made himself small but it didn't help a bit. He tried being the hemulen that everybody like, he tried being the hemulen that no one liked. But however hard he tried he remained a hemulen doing his best without anything really coming off. In the end he got up and pulled on his trousers. The Hemulen didn't like getting dressed and undressed, it gave him a feeling that the days passed without anything of importance happening. Even so, he spent the whole day arranging, organising and directing things from morning till night! All around him there were people living slipshod and aimless lives, wherever he looked there was something to be put to rights and he worked his fingers to the bone trying to get them to see how they ought to live. It's as though they don't want to live well, the Hemulen thought sadly as he brushed his teeth. He looked at the photograph of himself with his boat which was been taken when the boat was launched. It was a beautiful picture but it made him feel even sadder. I ought to learn how to sail, the Hemulen thought. But I've never got enough time... Moominvalley in November Chapter 5, THE HEMULEN
Tove Jansson (Moominvalley in November (The Moomins, #9))
The qualities of character can be arranged in triads, in each of which the first and last qualities will be extremes and vices, and the middle quality a virtue or an excellence. So between cowardice and rashness is courage; between stinginess and extravagance is liberality; between sloth and greed is ambition; between humility and pride is modesty; between secrecy and loquacity, honesty; between moroseness and buffoonery, good humor; between quarrelsomeness and flattery, friendship; between Hamlet’s indecisiveness and Quixote’s impulsiveness is self-control.49 “Right,” then, in ethics or conduct, is not different from “right” in mathematics or engineering; it means correct, fit, what works best to the best result. The
Will Durant (The Story of Philosophy)
Ideas, of course, have a place in fiction, and any writer of fiction needs a mind. But ideas are not the best subject matter for fiction. They do not dramatize well. They are, rather, a by-product, something the reader himself is led to formulate after watching the story unfold. The ideas, the generalizations, ought to be implicit in the selection and arrangement of the people and places and actions. They ought to haunt a piece of fiction as a ghost flits past an attic window after dark.
Wallace Stegner (On Teaching and Writing Fiction)
I know I can be too much, but I think I’m just enough for you. I have no interest in forcing you into anything,” he continues. “But I want you to know that this past month with you has been the very best I’ve ever had. I should have told you that last night, but I was overwhelmed and nervous and everything came out wrong. Arrangement or no, everything I’ve felt with you, everything I’ve said to you—” He shakes his head slightly, that smile finally tripping from his eyes to the curve of his cheeks. I get the barest hint of a dimple before it’s gone again. “It’s been the most honest—the most real thing I’ve ever felt.
B.K. Borison (Mixed Signals (Lovelight, #3))
Every form of government tends to perish by excess of its basic principle. Aristocracy ruins itself by limiting too narrowly the circle withing which power is confined; oligarchy ruins itself by the incautious for immediate wealth... But even democracy ruins itself by excess-of democracy. Its basic principle is the equal right of all to hold office and determine public policy. This is at first glance a delightful arrangement; it becomes disastrous because the people are not properly equipped by education to select the best rulers and the wisest courses... The upshot of such a democracy is tyranny or autocracy; the crowd so love flattery, it is so "hungry for honey," that at last the wiliest and most unscrupulous flatterer, calling himself the "protector of the people" rises to supreme power.
Will Durant (The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers)
Scientists still do not appear to understand sufficiently that all earth sciences must contribute evidence toward unveiling the state of our planet in earlier times, and that the truth of the matter can only be reached by combing all this evidence. ... It is only by combing the information furnished by all the earth sciences that we can hope to determine 'truth' here, that is to say, to find the picture that sets out all the known facts in the best arrangement and that therefore has the highest degree of probability. Further, we have to be prepared always for the possibility that each new discovery, no matter what science furnishes it, may modify the conclusions we draw.
Alfred Wegener (The Origin of Continents and Oceans (Dover Earth Science))
To think intuitively is to think in duration. Intelligence starts ordinarily from the immobile, and reconstructs movement as best it can with immobilities in juxtaposition. Intuition starts from movement, posits it, or rather perceives it as reality itself, and sees in immobility only an abstract moment, a snapshot taken by our mind, of a mobility. Intelligence ordinarily concerns itself with things, meaning by that, with the static, and makes of change an accident which is supposedly superadded. For intuition the essential is change: as for the thing, as intelligence understands it, it is a cutting which has been made out of the becoming and set up by our mind as a substitute for the whole. Thought ordinarily pictures to itself the new as a new arrangement of pre-existing elements; nothing is ever lost of it, nothing is ever created. Intuition, bound up to a duration which is growth, perceives in it an uninterrupted continuity of unforeseeable novelty; it sees, it knows that the mind draws from itself more than it has, that spirituality consists in just that, and that reality, impregnated with spirit, is creation.
Henri Bergson
We don’t accept your world your rules your wars We don’t accept your cruelty and unkindness. We don’t believe some need to suffer for others to survive or that there isn’t enough to go around or that corporations are the only and best economic arrangement. And
V (formerly Eve Ensler) (I am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World)
Wine's terrible for babies." Dorian swept into the sitting room to join me, elegantly arranging himself on a love seat that displayed his purple velvet robes to best effect. "Well of course it is. I'd never dream of giving wine to an infant! What do you take me for, a barbarian? But for you... well, it might go a long way to make you a little less jumpy. You've been positively unbearable to live around. "I can't have it either. It affects the babies in utero.
Richelle Mead (Shadow Heir (Dark Swan, #4))
Crawley, I do trust that you have rung that bell, for if I stand in this disagreeable wind you know I shall take cold, and my colds always descend upon my chest. How thoughtless it was in you to have handed me down from the chaise until the door had been opened! Ah, here is that deplorable henchman! Yes, Barrow, it is I indeed. Take my hat – no, Crawley had best take my hat, perhaps. And yet, if he does so, who is to assist me out of my greatcoat? How difficult all these arrangements are! Ah, a happy thought! You have laid my hat down, Crawley! I do not know where I should be without you. Now my coat, and pray be careful! Where is a mirror? Crawley, you cannot have been so foolish as to have packed all my hand-mirrors! No I thought not: hold it a little higher, I beg of you, and give me my comb! Yes, that will serve, Barrow, you may announce me to your mistress!
Georgette Heyer (The Reluctant Widow)
She bit her lower lip hard and blinked her eyes. There was such wistfulness and longing in his voice. Oh, she was going to give him back his eyes, or the next best thing, if it took her the rest of her life to do it.
Mary Balogh (The Arrangement (The Survivors' Club, #2))
Have you ever wondered why the keys on a typewriter are arranged in that particular order?” “No, I haven’t.” “We call it the QWERTY keyboard, because that’s the order of the letters on the first row of keys. I once wondered why it was like that, and I found the answer. The first machine was invented by Christopher Sholes, in 1873, to improve on calligraphy, but there was a problem: If a person typed very fast, the keys got stuck together and stopped the machine from working. Then Sholes designed the QWERTY keyboard, a keyboard that would oblige typists to type more slowly. ” “I don’t believe it.” “But it’s true. It so happened that Remington—which made sewing machines as well as guns at the time—used the QWERTY keyboard for its first typewriters. That meant that more people were forced to learn that particular system, and more companies started to make those keyboards, until it became the only available model. To repeat: The keyboard on typewriters and computers was designed so that people would type more slowly, not more quickly, do you understand? If you changed the letters around, you wouldn’t find anyone to buy your product.” When she saw a keyboard for the first time, Mari had wondered why the letters weren’t in alphabetical order, but she had then promptly forgotten about it. She assumed it was simply the best layout for people to type quickly.
Paulo Coelho (Veronika Decides to Die)
You cannot have qualifications without experience; and you cannot have experience without personal interest and bias. That may not be an ideal arrangement; but it is the way the world is built and we must make the best of it.
George Bernard Shaw (Dramatic Opinions and Essays, volume 1)
It may be worth while to illustrate this view of classification, by taking the case of languages. If we possessed a perfect pedigree of mankind, a genealogical arrangement of the races of man would afford the best classification of the various languages now spoken throughout the world; and if all extinct languages, and all intermediate and slowly changing dialects, were to be included, such an arrangement would be the only possible one. Yet it might be that some ancient languages had altered very little and had given rise to few new languages, whilst others had altered much owing to the spreading, isolation, and state of civilisation of the several co-descended races, and had thus given rise to many new dialects and languages. The various degrees of difference between the languages of the same stock, would have to be expressed by groups subordinate to groups; but the proper or even the only possible arrangement would still be genealogical; and this would be strictly natural, as it would connect together all languages, extinct and recent, by the closest affinities, and would give the filiation and origin of each tongue.
Charles Darwin
This was, after all, New Orleans in 1890- the Crescent City of the Gilded Age, where aliases of convenience and unconventional living arrangements were anything but out of the ordinary, at least in certain parts of town. Identities were fluid here, and names and appearances weren't always the best guide to telling who was who.
Gary Krist (Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans)
Told you to get him a bell.
Mora Early (Twisted Arrangement (Twisted, #1))
These are the best things I've ever had in my mouth!
Mora Early (Twisted Arrangement (Twisted, #1))
Human affairs are not so happily arranged that the best things please the most men. It is the proof of a bad cause when it is applauded by the mob.
James A. Michener (Iberia)
In any arrangement that hinges upon the fulcrum of trust there exists the leverage potential for crime.
Sean Terrence Best
Elites everywhere tend to worry about places where the lower orders congregate, and – though there was certainly a rough side and some rude talk – the reality of the normal bar was tamer than its reputation. For bars were not just drinking dens but an essential part of everyday life for those who had, at best, limited cooking facilities in their lodgings. As with the arrangement of apartment blocks, the Roman pattern is precisely the reverse of our own: the Roman rich, with their kitchens and multiple dining rooms, ate at home; the poor, if they wanted much more than the ancient equivalent of a sandwich, had to eat out. Roman towns were full of cheap bars and cafés, and it was here that a large number of ordinary Romans spent many hours of their non-working lives.
Mary Beard (SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome)
Let’s call it the scarcity diversion. Here’s the playbook. First, allow elites to hoard a resource like money or land. Second, pretend that arrangement is natural, unavoidable—or better yet, ignore it altogether. Third, attempt to address social problems caused by the resource hoarding only with the scarce resources left over. So instead of making the rich pay all their taxes, for instance, design a welfare state around the paltry budget you are left with when they don’t. Fourth, fail. Fail to drive down the poverty rate. Fail to build more affordable housing. Fifth, claim this is the best we can do. Preface your comments by saying, “In a world of scarce resources…” Blame government programs. Blame capitalism. Blame the other political party. Blame immigrants. Blame anyone you can except those who most deserve it. “Gaslighting” is not too strong a phrase to describe such pretense.
Matthew Desmond (Poverty, by America)
Erasure is as important as writing. Prune what is turgid, elevate what is commonplace, arrange what is disorderly, introduce rhythm where the language is harsh, modify where it is too absolute. . . . The best method of correction is to put aside for a time what we have written, so that when we come to it again it may have an aspect of novelty, as of being another man's work; in this way we may preserve ourselves from regarding our writings with the affection that we lavish upon a newborn child.
Quintilian (De Institutione Oratoria)
All these women. And Trina. Trina,” she repeated, with considerable passion as she gripped his shirt. “And gooey dessert and body things and chick-vids. All night. Slumber party. Do you know what that means?” “I’ve had many dreams of them. Will there be pillow fights?” She spun him around so his back hit the door. “Don’t. Leave. Me.” “Darling.” He kissed her brow. “I must. I must.” “No. You can bring Vegas here. Because . . . you’re you. You can do that. We’ll have Vegas here, and that’ll be good. I’ll buy you a lap dance.” “That’s so sweet. But I’m going. I’ll be back tomorrow, and lay a cool cloth on your fevered brow.” “Tomorrow?” She actually went light-headed. “You’re not coming back tonight?” “You wouldn’t be in this state now if you paid attention. I’m taking a shuttle full of men to Las Vegas late this afternoon. There will be ribaldry, and a possible need to post bond. I’ve made arrangements. I’ll bring back this same shuttle full of men—hopefully—tomorrow afternoon.” “Let me come with you.” “Let me see your penis.” “Oh, God! Can’t I just use yours?” “At any other time. Now pull yourself together, and remember that when all this is over, you’ll very likely arrest a killer who’s also a dirty cop. It’s like a twofer.” “That doesn’t make me feel better.” “Best I have.
J.D. Robb (Promises in Death (In Death, #28))
The elite gets things wrong, says Douglas Carswell in The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy, ‘because they endlessly seek to govern by design a world that is best organized spontaneously from below’. Public policy failures stem from planners’ excessive faith in deliberate design. ‘They consistently underrate the merits of spontaneous, organic arrangements, and fail to recognize that the best plan is often not to have one.
Matt Ridley (The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge)
Who is subordinate to whom in a marriage?” After all, each might reason, as people commonly do, that such an arrangement is a zero-sum game, with one winner and one loser. But a relationship does not have to be and should not be a question of one or the other as winner, or even each alternating in that status, in an approximation of fairness. Instead, the couple can decide that each and both are subordinate to a principle, a higher-order principle, which constitutes their union in the spirit of illumination and truth. That ghostly figure, the ideal union of what is best in both personalities, should be constantly regarded as the ruler of the marriage—and, indeed, as something as close to divine as might be practically approached by fallible individuals
Jordan B. Peterson (Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life)
But even democracy ruins itself by excess—of democracy. Its basic principle is the equal right of all to hold office and determine public policy. This is at first glance a delightful arrangement; it becomes disastrous because the people are not properly equipped by education to select the best rulers and the wisest courses (588). “As to the people they have no understanding, and only repeat what their rulers are pleased to tell them” (
Will Durant (The Story of Philosophy)
Life is a cracked surface at best. Fiction is a nice edifice. / every word/sentence/paragraph gives a writer an opportunity to reinforce or deliberately crack the edifice by screwing with meaning, structure, grammar, the fourth wall, etc. / different types and degrees of cracking produce different arrangements of order and chaos.
K.J. Bishop
Unfortunately, parents are increasingly opting for digital companions over living, breathing ones, but I beg you, put the tablets, game consoles, and televisions away, and arrange play dates with a variety of real, live children.
Jessica Lahey (The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed)
 'But it's all too late...my virility's gone and marriage is impossible. My life has certainly been a failure. The best thing I can do,' sighed M. Folantin, 'is to go to bed and sleep.' And as he turned back the sheets and arranged his pillows, his soul offered up a thanksgiving in celebration of the tranquilising benefits of an obliging bed.
Joris-Karl Huysmans (Downstream)
daughter of the servants.” “Gee, you must have been lonely, Judge, having nobody to play with.” “I played with Sam Westing—chess. Hour after hour I sat staring down at that chessboard. He lectured me, he insulted me, and he won every game.” The judge thought of their last game: She had been so excited about taking his queen, only to have the master checkmate her in the next move. Sam Westing had deliberately sacrificed his queen and she had fallen for it. “Stupid child, you can’t have a brain in that frizzy head to make a move like that.” Those were the last words he ever said to her. The judge continued: “I was sent to boarding school when I was twelve. My parents visited me at school when they could, but I never set foot in the Westing house again, not until two weeks ago.” “Your folks must have really worked hard,” Sandy said. “An education like that costs a fortune.” “Sam Westing paid for my education. He saw that I was accepted into the best schools, probably arranged for my first job, perhaps more, I don’t know.” “That’s the first decent thing I’ve heard about the old man.” “Hardly decent, Mr. McSouthers. It was to Sam Westing’s advantage to have a judge in his debt. Needless to say, I have excused myself from every case remotely connected with
Ellen Raskin (The Westing Game)
There’s more that we need to be liberated from: maybe a system that prizes competition and ruthlessness and short-term thinking and rugged individualism, a system that serves environmental destruction and limitless consumption so well—that arrangement you can call capitalism. It embodies the worst of machismo while it destroys what’s best on Earth. More men fit into it better, but it doesn’t really serve any of us.
Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me)
It is not by regretting what is irreparable that true work is to be done, but by making the best of what we are. It is not by complaining that we have not the right tools, but by using well the tools we have. What we are, and where we are is God's providential arrangement - God's doing, though it may be man's misdoing; and the manly and the wise way is to look your disadvantages in the face, and see what can be made our of them.
Will Schwalbe (The End of Your Life Book Club)
DeVere smiled. "A mistress is a fine thing, Ned, but a married mistress with a compacent husband is the very best bargain. They cost far less tokeep, make fewer demands, and should any inconvenient package arrive, it may easily be presented to the cuckold, an altogether neat arrangement.
Victoria Vane (A Wild Night's Bride (The Devil DeVere #1))
What most people don't get about professional-level cooking is that it is not all about the best recipe, the most innovative presentation, the most creative marriage of ingredients, flavours and textures; that, presumably, was all arranged long before you sat down to dinner. Line cooking - the real business of preparing the food you eat - is more about consistency, about mindless, unvarying repetition, the same series of tasks performed over and over and over again in exactly the same way.
Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly)
Historically one of the main defects of constitutional government has been the failure to insure the fair value of political liberty. The necessary corrective steps have not been taken, indeed, they never seem to have been seriously entertained. Disparities in the distribution of property and wealth that far exceed what is compatible with political equality have generally been tolerated by the legal system. Public resources have not been devoted to maintaining the institutions required for the fair value of political liberty. Essentially the fault lies in the fact that the democratic political process is at best regulated rivalry; it does not even in theory have the desirable properties that price theory ascribes to truly competitive markets. Moreover, the effects of injustices in the political system are much more grave and long lasting than market imperfections. Political power rapidly accumulates and becomes unequal; and making use of the coercive apparatus of the state and its law, those who gain the advantage can often assure themselves of a favored position. Thus inequities in the economic and social system may soon undermine whatever political equality might have existed under fortunate historical conditions. Universal suffrage is an insufficient counterpoise; for when parties and elections are financed not by public funds but by private contributions, the political forum is so constrained by the wishes of the dominant interests that the basic measures needed to establish just constitutional rule are seldom properly presented. These questions, however, belong to political sociology. 116 I mention them here as a way of emphasizing that our discussion is part of the theory of justice and must not be mistaken for a theory of the political system. We are in the way of describing an ideal arrangement, comparison with which defines a standard for judging actual institutions, and indicates what must be maintained to justify departures from it.
John Rawls (A Theory of Justice)
For while they'd stayed close during the absurd years of his sharp rise, having children had knocked it all into a different arrangement. The minute you had children you closed ranks. You didn't plan this in advance, but it happened. Families were like individual, discrete, moated island nations. The little group of citizens on the slab of rock gathered together instinctively, almost defensively, and everyone who was outside the walls--even if you'd once been best friends--was now just that, outsiders. Families had their ways. You took note of how other people raised their kids, even other people you loved, and it seemed all wrong. The culture and practices of one's own family were the only way, for better or worse. Who could say why a family decided to have a certain style, to tell the jokes it did, to put up its particular refrigerator magnets?
Meg Wolitzer (The Interestings)
His principle can be quite simply stated: he refuses to die while he is still alive. He seeks to remind himself, by every electric shock to the intellect, that he is still a man alive, walking on two legs about the world. For this reason he fires bullets at his best friends; for this reason he arranges ladders and collapsible chimneys to steal his own property; for this reason he goes plodding around a whole planet to get back to his own home; and for this reason he has been in the habit of taking the woman whom he loved with a permanent loyalty, and leaving her about (so to speak) at schools, boarding-houses, and places of business, so that he might recover her again and again with a raid and a romantic elopement. He seriously sought by a perpetual recapture of his bride to keep alive the sense of her perpetual value, and the perils that should be run for her sake.
G.K. Chesterton (Manalive)
Simpson, the student of divinity, it was who arranged his conclusions probably with the best, though not most scientific, appearance of order. Out there, in the heart of unreclaimed wilderness, they had surely witnessed something crudely and essentially primitive. Something that had survived somehow the advance of humanity had emerged terrifically, betraying a scale of life monstrous and immature. He envisaged it rather as a glimpse into prehistoric ages, when superstitions, gigantic and uncouth, still oppressed the hearts of men: when the forces of nature were still untamed, the Powers that may have haunted a primeval universe not yet withdrawn. To this day he thinks of what he termed years later in a sermon 'savage and formidable Potencies lurking behind the souls of men, not evil perhaps in themselves, yet instinctively hostile to humanity as it exists.' ("The Wendigo")
Algernon Blackwood (Monster Mix)
They stood together a moment; both her hands were in both of his. 'You've been my best friend,' she said. 'It was for you that I wanted — that I wanted to live. But I'm of no use to you.' Then it came over her more poignantly that she should not see him again. She could not accept that; she could not part with him that way. 'If you should send for me I'd come,' she said at last. 'Your husband won't consent to that.' 'Oh yes, I can arrange it.' 'I shall keep that for my last pleasure!' said Ralph. In answer to which she simply kissed him.
Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)
Note to self: Try to extend positive feelings associated with Scratch-Off win into all areas of life. Be bigger presence at work. Race up ladder (joyfully, w/smile on face), get raise. Get in best shape of life, start dressing nicer. Learn guitar? Make point of noticing beauty of world? Why not educate self re. birds, flowers, trees, constellations, become true citizen of natural world, walk around neighborhood w/kids, patiently teaching kids names of birds, flowers, etc. etc.? Why not take kids to Europe? Kids have never been. Have never, in Alps, had hot chocolate in mountain café, served by kindly white-haired innkeeper, who finds them so sophisticated/friendly relative to usual snotty/rich American kids (who always ignore his pretty but crippled daughter w/braids) that he shows them secret hiking path to incredible glade, kids frolic in glade, sit with crippled pretty girl on grass, later say it was most beautiful day of their lives, keep in touch with crippled girl via email, we arrange surgery here for her, surgeon so touched he agrees to do surgery for free, she is on front page of our paper, we are on front page of their paper in Alps? Ha ha. Just happy.
George Saunders (Tenth of December)
My goal is to act as a faithful interpreter, preserving as much of the original's nuances of meaning as possible without embellishment or omission. Yet a translator must also balance fidelity to the source, aptness of expression, and beauty of style. The best translations into English do not, in fact, read as if they were originally written in English. The English words are arranged in such a way that the reader sees a glimpse of another culture's patterns of thinking, hears an echo of another language's rhythms and cadences, and feels a tremor of another people's gestures and movements.
Ken Liu
What is marriage, exactly, and how could we explain it to an alien anthropologist? It’s more than just a living arrangement. Is it an endeavor, a pledge, a symbol, or an affirmation? Is it a span of shared years and shared experiences? A vessel for intimacy? Or does the old joke nail it best? ‘If love is an enchanted dream, then marriage is an alarm clock.’ ” Mostly male laughter in the congregation is shushed. “Maybe marriage is difficult to define because of its array of shapes and sizes. Marriage differs between cultures, tribes, centuries, decades even, generations, and—our alien researcher might add—planets. Marriages can be dynastic, common-law, secret, shotgun, arranged, or, as is the case with Sharon and Peter”—she beams at the bride in her dress and the groom in his morning suit—“brought into being by love and respect. Any given marriage can—and will—go through rocky patches and calmer periods. Even within a single day, a marriage can be stormy in the morning, yet by evening turn calm and blue …
David Mitchell (The Bone Clocks)
Second: them poor things well out o' this, and never no more will I interfere with Mrs. Cruncher's flopping, never no more!" "Whatever housekeeping arrangement that may be," said Miss Pross, striving to dry her eyes and compose herself, "I have no doubt it is best that Mrs. Cruncher should have it entirely under her own superintendence.—O my poor darlings!" "I go so far as to say, miss, moreover," proceeded Mr. Cruncher, with a most alarming tendency to hold forth as from a pulpit—"and let my words be took down and took to Mrs. Cruncher through yourself—that wot my opinions respectin' flopping has undergone a change, and that wot I only hope with all my heart as Mrs. Cruncher may be a flopping at the present time." "There, there, there! I hope she is, my dear man," cried the distracted Miss Pross, "and I hope she finds it answering her expectations.
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
Imperialism as an arrangement, however, has remained largely invisible to the discipline of economics, even to its best practitioners and even in the colonial period. No less a person than John Maynard Keynes, in his classic work The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919), where he talks of the ‘economic Eldorado’ that prewar Europe represented, fails to mention that this Eldorado rested upon an elaborate framework of imperialism. Europe’s accessing of food from the ‘new world’, an important aspect of this Eldorado, would not have been possible if this food had not been paid for, through an intricate arrangement, by Britain’s appropriation gratis of a part of the surplus of its colonies and semi-colonies (‘drain of wealth’), and by its export of manufactured goods to its colonies and semi-colonies at the expense of their local producers (‘de-industrialization’).
Prabhat Patnaik (The Veins of the South Are Still Open: Debates Around the Imperialism of Our Time)
He very soon acquired the reputation of being the best public speaker of his time. He had taken pains to master the art, approaching it with scientific precision. On the morning of a day on which he was giving a speech, he once told Wilkie Collins, he would take a long walk during which he would establish the various headings to be dealt with. Then, in his mind’s eye, he would arrange them as on a cart wheel, with himself as the hub and each heading a spoke. As he dealt with a subject, the relevant imaginary spoke would drop out. When there were no more spokes, the speech was at an end. Close observers of Dickens noticed that while he was speaking he would make a quick action of the finger at the end of each topic, as if he were knocking the spoke away.
Simon Callow (Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World)
He couldn’t be— Oh, Lord. He was. He was going to kiss her. “Wait.” Panicked, Maddie put both hands on his chest, holding him off. “Your men, my servants … they could be watching us.” “I’m certain they’re watching us. That’s why we’re going to kiss.” “But I don’t know how. You know I don’t know how.” His lips quirked. “I know how.” Those three little words, spoken in that low, devastating Scottish burr, did absolutely nothing to ease Maddie’s concerns. Thankfully, she had a reprieve. He pulled back and peered at her hair. He looked like a boy marveling at clockwork, wondering how it all worked. After a few moments, she felt him grasp the pencil holding her chignon. With one long, slow tug, he eased it loose and cast it aside. It landed in the loch with a splash. His fingers sifted through her hair, teasing the locks free of their haphazard knot and arranging them about her shoulders. Tenderly. Like she’d always imagined a lover would. Sparks of sensation danced from her scalp to her toes. “That was my best drawing pencil,” she said. “It’s just a pencil.” “It came from London. I have a limited supply.” His thumb caressed her cheek. “It almost put out my eye. I’ve a limited supply of those, too. And it’s better this way.” “But—” Her breath caught. “Oh.” He bracketed her cheeks with his hands, tilting her face to his. Her pulse thundered in her ears. She stared at his mouth. A wave of inevitability washed over her. She whispered, “This is really happening, isn’t it?” In answer, he pressed his lips to hers.
Tessa Dare (When a Scot Ties the Knot (Castles Ever After, #3))
New York November 10, 1958 Dear Thom: We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers. First—if you are in love—that’s a good thing—that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you. Second—There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had. You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply—of course it isn’t puppy love. But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it—and that I can tell you. Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it. The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it. If you love someone—there is no possible harm in saying so—only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration. Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also. It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another—but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good. Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it. We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can. And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens—The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away. Love, Fa
John Steinbeck
There’s twenty-six letters in the alphabet that can be arranged to express an infinity of emotions.” I shake my head. “But not mine, not for you. There are no words to express the way my whole world falls at your feet, staring up in awe at my best friend, my lover … my forever. The river of love for you that runs through me is deep and all consuming. I came alive for you. With the soft stroke of your brush, you painted my life a million shades of amazing and now my heart finds its rhythm from your love … our love … forever. So be my husband, Trick. Let our story be the only one that matters.
Jewel E. Ann (Only Trick)
There is a story that Simonides was dining at the house of a wealthy nobleman named Scopas at Crannon in Thessaly, and chanted a lyric poem which he had composed in honor of his host, in which he followed the custom of the poets by including for decorative purposes a long passage referring to Castor and Pollux; whereupon Scopas with excessive meanness told him he would pay him half the fee agreed on for the poem, and if he liked he might apply for the balance to his sons of Tyndaraus, as they had gone halves in the panegyric. The story runs that a little later a message was brought to Simonides to go outside, as two young men were standing at the door who earnestly requested him to come out; so he rose from his seat and went out, and could not see anybody; but in the interval of his absence the roof of the hall where Scopas was giving the banquet fell in, crushing Scopas himself and his relations underneath the ruins and killing them; and when their friends wanted to bury them but were altogether unable to know them apart as they had been completely crushed, the story goes that Simonides was enabled by his recollection of the place in which each of them had been reclining at table to identify them for separate interment; and that this circumstance suggested to him the discovery of the truth that the best aid to clearness of memory consists in orderly arrangement. He inferred that persons desiring to train this faculty must select localities and form mental images of the facts they wish to remember and store those images in the localities, with the result that the arrangement of the localities will preserve the order of the facts, and the images of the facts will designate the facts themselves, and we shall employ the localities and images respectively as a wax writing tablet and the letters written on it.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
There is a certain climax in life, at which, notwithstanding all our freedom, and however much we may have denied all directing reason and goodness in the beautiful chaos of existence, we are once more in great danger of intellectual bondage, and have to face our hardest test. For now the thought of a personal Providence first presents itself before us with its most persuasive force, and has the best of advocates, apparentness, in its favor, now when it is obvious that all and everything that happens to us always turns out for the best. (...) We want to leave the Gods alone and (...) wish to content ourselves with the assumption that our own practical and theoretical skillfulness in explaining and suitably arranging events has now reached its highest point. (...) We do not want either to think too highly of this dexterity of our wisdom, when the wonderful harmony which results from playing on our instrument sometimes surprises us too much: a harmony which sounds too well for us to dare to ascribe it to ourselves. In fact, now and then there is one who plays with us beloved Chance: he leads our hand occasionally, and even the all wisest Providence could not devise any finer music than that of which our foolish hand is then capable.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs)
DURING the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was; but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me—upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain—upon the bleak walls—upon the vacant eye-like windows—upon a few rank sedges—and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees—with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveler upon opium—the bitter lapse into every-day life—the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart—an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was it—I paused to think—what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the House of Usher? It was a mystery all insoluble; nor could I grapple with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered. I was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory conclusion that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the analysis of this power lies among considerations beyond our depth. It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression; and, acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled luster by the dwelling, and gazed down—but with a shudder even more thrilling than before—upon the remodeled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly tree stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.
Edgar Allan Poe (The Best Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe)
CLARITIES OF FAITH Not that there are no clarities in the life of faith. There are. Vast, soaring harmonies; deep, satisfying meanings; rich, textured experiences. But these clarities develop from within. They cannot be imposed from without. They cannot be hurried. It is not a matter of hurriedly arranging "dead things into a dead mosaic, but of living forces into a great equilibrium."' The clarities of faith are organic and personal, not mechanical and institutional. Faith invades the muddle; it does not eliminate it. Peace develops in the midst of chaos. Harmony is achieved slowly, quietly, unobtrusively-like the effects of salt and light. Such clarities result from a courageous commitment to God, not from controlling or being controlled by others. Such clarities come from adventuring deep into the mysteries of God's will and love, not by cautiously managing and moralizing in ways that minimize risk and guarantee self-importance. These clarities can only be experienced in acts of faith and only recognized with the eyes of faith. Jeremiah's life was brilliantly supplied with such clarities, but they were always surrounded by hopeless disarray. Sometimes devout and sometimes despairing, Jeremiah doubted himself and God. But these internal agonies never seemed to have interfered with his vocation and his commitment. He argued with God but he did not abandon him. He was clear
Eugene H. Peterson (Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best)
She begins to strip like a roommate and climb into bed. They have fallen asleep. Dean wakes first, in the early afternoon. He unfastens her stockings and slowly rolls them off. Her skirt is next and then her underpants. She opens her eyes. The garter belt he leaves on, to confirm her nakedness. He rests his head there. Her hand touches his chest and begins to fall in excruciating slow designs. He lies still as a dog beneath it, still as an idiot. The next morning she is recovered. His prick is hard. She takes it in her hand. They always sleep naked. Their flesh is innocent and warm. In the end she is arranged across the pillows, a ritual she accepts without a word. It is half an hour before they fall apart, spent, and call for breakfast. She eats both her rolls and one of his. “There was a lot,” she says. She glistens with it. The inside of her thighs is wet. “How long does it take to make again?” she asks. Dean tries to think. He is remembering biology. “Two or three days,” he guesses. “Non, non!” she cries. That is not what she meant. She begins to make him hard again. In a few minutes he rolls her over and puts it in as if the intermission were ended. This time she is wild. The great bed begins creaking. Her breath becomes short. Dean has to brace his hands on the wall. He hooks his knees outside her legs and drives himself deeper. “Oh,” she breathes, “that’s the best.
James Salter (A Sport and a Pastime)
She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city. (by Roman Payne, from “The Wanderess.” How this quote became so popular, I have no idea. I wrote it about one woman: The heroine of “The Wanderess,” Saskia; yet I wrote these lines to describe Saskia at her best—praising the qualities of a heroine that all women should strive to have, or keep if they have them. I wrote these lines to make Saskia be like a statue of Psyche or Demeter. The masculine sculptor doesn’t see rock when he carves Aphrodite. He sees before him the carving of the perfect feminine creature. I was creating my ‘perfect feminine creature’ when I wrote about Saskia. She is completely wild and fearless in her dramatic performance of life. She knows that she may only have one life to live and that most people in her society wish to see her fail in her dream of living a fulfilled life. For if a woman acts and lives exactly as society wants her to live, she will never be truly happy, never fulfilled. For societies do not want girls and women to wander. I am surprised that this quote became so famous, since I didn’t spend more than a few seconds writing it. It was written merely as three sentences in a novel. I didn’t write it to be a solitary poem. This quote that touches so many people is no more than an arrangement of twenty-four words in a book of three-hundred pages. What touches me the most is when fans send me photos of tattoos they’ve had done of this quote—either a few words from it or the whole quote. The fact that these wonderful souls are willing to guard words that I’ve written on their precious skin for the rest of their lives makes me feel that what I am writing is worth something and not nothing. When I get depressed and feel the despair that haunts me from time to time, and cripples me, I look at these photos of these tattoos, and it helps me to think that what I am doing is important to some people, and it helps me to start writing again. Am I a masculine version of the wanderess in this quote? Of course I am! I am wild and fearless, I am a wanderer who belongs to no city and to nobody; I am a drop of free water. I am—to cite one of my other quotes—“free as a bird. King of the world and laughing!
Roman Payne (The Wanderess)
Did we win?” “I’m here, aren’t I?” He must be running. Her body jounced painfully against his chest with every lurching step. He needed his cane. “I don’t want to die.” “I’ll do my best to make other arrangements for you.” She closed her eyes. “Keep talking, Wraith. Don’t slip away from me.” “But it’s what I do best.” He clutched her tighter. “Just make it to the schooner. Open your damn eyes, Inej.” She tried. Her vision was blurring, but she could make out a pale, shiny scar on Kaz’s neck, right beneath his jaw. She remembered the first time she’d seen him at the Menagerie. He paid Tante Heleen for information – stock tips, political pillow talk, anything the Menagerie’s clients blabbed about when drunk or giddy on bliss. He never visited Heleen’s girls, though plenty would have been happy to take him up to their rooms. They claimed he gave them the shivers, that his hands were permanently stained with blood beneath those black gloves, but she’d recognised the eagerness in their voices and the way they tracked him with their eyes. One night, as he’d passed her in the parlour, she’d done a foolish thing, a reckless thing. “I can help you,” she’d whispered. He’d glanced at her, then proceeded on his way as if she’d said nothing at all. The next morning, she’d been called to Tante Heleen’s parlour. She’d been sure another beating was coming or worse, but instead Kaz Brekker had been standing there, leaning on his crow-head cane, waiting to change her life. “I can help you,” she said now. “Help me with what?” She couldn’t remember. There was something she was supposed to tell him. It didn’t matter any more. “Talk to me, Wraith.” “You came back for me.” “I protect my investments.” Investments. “I’m glad I’m bleeding all over your shirt.” “I’ll put it on your tab.” Now she remembered. He owed her an apology. “Say you’re sorry.” “For what?” “Just say it.” She didn’t hear his reply.
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
When a place gets crowded enough to require ID’s, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere. A woman is not property, and husbands who think otherwise are living in a dreamworld. The second best thing about space travel is that the distances involved make war very difficult, usually impractical, and almost always unnecessary. This is probably a loss for most people, since war is our race’s most popular diversion, one which gives purpose and color to dull and stupid lives. But it is a great boon to the intelligent man who fights only when he must—never for sport. A zygote is a gamete’s way of producing more gametes. This may be the purpose of the universe. There are hidden contradictions in the minds of people who “love Nature” while deploring the “artificialities” with which “Man has spoiled ‘Nature.’ ” The obvious contradiction lies in their choice of words, which imply that Man and his artifacts are not part of “Nature”—but beavers and their dams are. But the contradictions go deeper than this prima-facie absurdity. In declaring his love for a beaver dam (erected by beavers for beavers’ purposes) and his hatred for dams erected by men (for the purposes of men) the “Naturist” reveals his hatred for his own race—i.e., his own self-hatred. In the case of “Naturists” such self-hatred is understandable; they are such a sorry lot. But hatred is too strong an emotion to feel toward them; pity and contempt are the most they rate. As for me, willy-nilly I am a man, not a beaver, and H. sapiens is the only race I have or can have. Fortunately for me, I like being part of a race made up of men and women—it strikes me as a fine arrangement and perfectly “natural.” Believe it or not, there were “Naturists” who opposed the first flight to old Earth’s Moon as being “unnatural” and a “despoiling of Nature.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love)
The man whose public spirit is prompted altogether by humanity and benevolence, will respect the established powers and privileges even of individuals, and still more those of the great orders and societies, into which the state is divided. Though he should consider some of them as in some measure abusive, he will content himself with moderating what he often cannot annihilate without great violence. When he cannot conquer the rooted prejudices of the people by reason and persuasion, he will not attempt to subdue them by force; but will religiously observe what, by Cicero, is justly called the divine maxim of Plato, never to use violence to his country no more than to his parents. He will accommodate, as well as he can, his public arrangements to the confirmed habits and prejudices of the people; and will remedy, as well as he can, the inconveniencies which may flow from the want of those regulations which the people are averse to submit to. When he cannot establish the right, he will not disdain to ameliorate the wrong; but like Solon, when he cannot establish the best system of laws, he will try to establish the best that the people can bear.
Adam Smith (The Theory of Moral Sentiments)
Depression goes through stages, but if left unchecked and not treated, this elevator ride will eventually go all the way to the bottom floor. And finally you find yourself bereft of choices, unable to figure out a way up or out, and pretty soon one overarching impulse begins winning the battle for your mind: “Kill yourself.” And once you get over the shock of those words in your head, the horror of it, it begins to start sounding appealing, even possessing a strange resolve, logic. In fact, it’s the only thing you have left that is logical. It becomes the only road to relief. As if just the planning of it provides the first solace you’ve felt that you can remember. And you become comfortable with it. You begin to plan it and contemplate the details of how best to do it, as if you were planning travel arrangements for a vacation. You just have to get out. O-U-T. You see the white space behind the letter O? You just want to crawl through that O and be out of this inescapable hurt that is this thing they call clinical depression. “How am I going to do this?” becomes the only tape playing. And if you are really, really, really depressed and you’re really there, you’re gonna find a way. I found a way. I had a way. And I did it. I made sure Opal was out of the house and on a business trip. My planning took a few weeks. I knew exactly how I was going to do it: I didn’t want to make too much of a mess. There was gonna be no blood, no drama. There was just going to be, “Now you see me, now you don’t.” That’s what it was going to be. So I did it. And it was over. Or so I thought. About twenty-four hours later I woke up. I was groggy; zoned out to the point at which I couldn’t put a sentence together for the next couple of days. But I was semifunctional, and as these drugs and shit that I took began to wear off slowly but surely, I realized, “Okay, I fucked up. I didn’t make it.” I thought I did all the right stuff, left no room for error, but something happened. And this perfect, flawless plan was thwarted. As if some force rebuked me and said, “Not yet. You’re not going anywhere.” The only reason I could have made it, after the amount of pills and alcohol and shit I took, was that somebody or something decided it wasn’t my time. It certainly wasn’t me making that call. It was something external. And when you’re infused with the presence of this positive external force, which is so much greater than all of your efforts to the contrary, that’s about as empowering a moment as you can have in your life. These days we have a plethora of drugs one can take to ameliorate the intensity of this lack of hope, lack of direction, lack of choice. So fuck it and don’t be embarrassed or feel like you can handle it yourself, because lemme tell ya something: you can’t. Get fuckin’ help. The negative demon is strong, and you may not be as fortunate as I was. My brother wasn’t. For me, despair eventually gave way to resolve, and resolve gave way to hope, and hope gave way to “Holy shit. I feel better than I’ve ever felt right now.” Having actually gone right up to the white light, looked right at it, and some force in the universe turned me around, I found, with apologies to Mr. Dylan, my direction home. I felt more alive than I’ve ever felt. I’m not exaggerating when I say for the next six months I felt like Superman. Like I’m gonna fucking go through walls. That’s how strong I felt. I had this positive force in me. I was saved. I was protected. I was like the only guy who survived and walked away from a major plane crash. I was here to do something big. What started as the darkest moment in my life became this surge of focus, direction, energy, and empowerment.
Ron Perlman (Easy Street: The Hard Way)
When I heard about the ease with which the Four had been removed, I felt a wave of sadness. How could such a small group of second-rate tyrants ravage 900 million people for so long? But my main feeling was joy. The last tyrants of the Cultural Revolution were finally gone. My rapture was widely shared. Like many of my countrymen, I went out to buy the best liquors for a celebration with my family and friends, only to find the shops out of stock there was so much spontaneous rejoicing. There were official celebrations as well exactly the same kinds of rallies as during the Cultural Revolution, which infuriated me. I was particularly angered by the fact that in my department, the political supervisors and the student officials were now arranging the whole show, with unperturbed self-righteousness. The new leadership was headed by Mao's chosen successor, Hua Guofeng, whose only qualification, I believed, was his mediocrity. One of his first acts was to announce the construction of a huge mausoleum for Mao on Tiananmen Square. I was outraged: hundreds of thousands of people were still homeless after the earthquake in Tangshan, living in temporary shacks on the pavements. With her experience, my mother had immediately seen that a new era was beginning. On the day after Mao's death she had reported for work at her depas'uuent. She had been at home for five years, and now she wanted to put her energy to use again. She was given a job as the number seven deputy director in her department, of which she had been the director before the Cultural Revolution. But she did not mind. To me in my impatient mood, things seemed to go on as before. In January 1977, my university course came to an end. We were given neither examinations nor degrees. Although Mao and the Gang of Four were gone, Mao's rule that we had to return to where we had come from still applied. For me, this meant the machinery factory. The idea that a university education should make a difference to one's job had been condemned by Mao as 'training spiritual aristocrats.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
Curran lunged through the window He was huge, neither a man, nor a lion. Curran’s usual warrior form stood upright. This creature moved on all fours. Enormous, bulging with muscle under a gray pelt striped with whip marks of darker gray, six hundred pounds at least. His head was lion, his eyes were human, and his fangs were monster. So that’s what the Beast Lord with no brakes looked like. He landed on the floor of my living room. Muscles twisted and crawled, stretching and snapping. The gray fur melted, fading into human skin, and Curran stood on my carpet, nude and pissed off, his eyes glowing gold. His voice was a deep snarl. “I know he’s here. I can smell him.” I felt an irresistible urge to brain him with something heavy. “Did you lose your sense of smell? Saiman’s scent is two hours old.” Golden eyes burned me. “Where is he?” “Under my bed.” The bed went airborne. It flew across the living room and slammed into the wall with a thud. That was just about enough of that. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” “Saving you from whatever mess you got yourself into this time.” Why me? “There is no mess! It’s a professional arrangement.” “He’s paying you?” Curran snarled. “No. I’m paying him.” He roared. His mouth was human, but the blast of sound that shot out of it was like thunder. “Ran out of words, Your Majesty?” “Why him?” he growled. “Of all the men you could have, why would you hire him for that?” “Because he has the best equipment in the city and he knows how to use it!” As soon as I said it, I realized how he would take it. The beginnings of another thundering roar died in Curran’s throat. He stared at me, mute. Oh, this was too good. I threw my hands up. “The lab! I’m talking about his lab, not his dick, you idiot.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, #4))
Here’s the other thing I think about. It makes little sense to try to control what happens to your remains when you are no longer around to reap the joys or benefits of that control. People who make elaborate requests concerning disposition of their bodies are probably people who have trouble with the concept of not existing. Leaving a note requesting that your family and friends travel to the Ganges or ship your body to a plastination lab in Michigan is a way of exerting influence after you’re gone—of still being there, in a sense. I imagine it is a symptom of the fear, the dread, of being gone, of the refusal to accept that you no longer control, or even participate in, anything that happens on earth. I spoke about this with funeral director Kevin McCabe, who believes that decisions concerning the disposition of a body should be made by the survivors, not the dead. “It’s none of their business what happens to them when they die,” he said to me. While I wouldn’t go that far, I do understand what he was getting at: that the survivors shouldn’t have to do something they’re uncomfortable with or ethically opposed to. Mourning and moving on are hard enough. Why add to the burden? If someone wants to arrange a balloon launch of the deceased’s ashes into inner space, that’s fine. But if it is burdensome or troubling for any reason, then perhaps they shouldn’t have to. McCabe’s policy is to honor the wishes of the family over the wishes of the dead. Willed body program coordinators feel similarly. “I’ve had kids object to their dad’s wishes [to donate],” says Ronn Wade, director of the Anatomical Services Division of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “I tell them, ‘Do what’s best for you. You’re the one who has to live with it.
Mary Roach (Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers)
I was thrown together with Florence, or 'Florawns' as she was called, a pert girl of nineteen who worked in our kitchen and was sent out to help me. First, I followed her to a butcher where fat sausages hung from the ceiling like aldermen's chains, and I could choose the best of plump ducks, sides of beef, and chops standing guard like sentries on parade. Once the deal was done Florence paid him, gave me a wink and cast a trickle of coins into her apron pocket. So it seemed that serving girls will pay themselves the whole world over. The size of the Paris market made Covent Garden look like a tinker's tray. And I never before saw such neatness; the cakes arranged in pinks and yellows and greens like an embroidery, and the cheeses even prettier, some as tiny as thimbles and others great solid cartwheels. As for the King Cakes the French made for Twelfth Night, the scents of almond and caramelled sugar were to me far sweeter than any perfumed waters.
Martine Bailey (An Appetite for Violets)
To discover that the Universe is some 8 to 15 billion and not 6 to 12 thousand years old* improves our appreciation of its sweep and grandeur; to entertain the notion that we are a particularly complex arrangement of atoms, and not some breath of divinity, at the very least enhances our respect for atoms; to discover, as now seems probable, that our planet is one of billions of other worlds in the Milky Way Galaxy and that our galaxy is one of billions more, majestically expands the arena of what is possible; to find that our ancestors were also the ancestors of apes ties us to the rest of life and makes possible important—if occasionally rueful—reflections on human nature. Plainly there is no way back. Like it or not, we are stuck with science. We had better make the best of it. When we finally come to terms with it and fully recognize its beauty and its power, we will find, in spiritual as well as in practical matters, that we have made a bargain strongly in our favor.
Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
But even democracy ruins itself by excess—of democracy. Its basic principle is the equal right of all to hold office and determine public policy. This is at first glance a delightful arrangement; it becomes disastrous because the people are not properly equipped by education to select the best rulers 6nd the wisest courses (588). "As to the people they have no understanding, and only repeat what their rulers are pleased to tell them" (Protagoras, 317); to get a doctrine accepted or rejected it is only necessary to have it praised or ridiculed in a popular play (a hit, no doubt, at Aristophanes, whose comedies attacked almost every new idea). Mob-rule is a rough sea for the ship of state to ride; every wind of oratory stirs up the waters and deflects the course. The upshot of such a democracy is tyranny or autocracy; the crowd do loves flattery, it is so "hungry for honey," that at last the wiliest and most unscrupulous flatterer, calling himself the "protector of the people" rises to supreme power
Will Durant (The Story of Philosophy)
In the physical constitution of an organized being, that is, a being adapted suitably to the purposes of life, we assume it as a fundamental principle that no organ for any purpose will be found but what is also the fittest and best adapted for that purpose. Now in a being which has reason and a will, if the proper object of nature were its conservation, its welfare, in a word, its happiness, then nature would have hit upon a very bad arrangement in selecting the reason of the creature to carry out this purpose. For all the actions which the creature has to perform with a view to this purpose, and the whole rule of its conduct, would be far more surely prescribed to it by instinct, and that end would have been attained thereby much more certainly that it ever can be by reason. Should reason have been communicated to this favored creature over and above, it must only have served it to contemplate the happy constitution of its nature, to admire it, to congratulate itself thereon, and to feel thankful for it to the beneficent cause, but not that it should subject its desires to that weak and delusive guidance, and meddle bunglingly with the purpose of nature. In a word, nature would have taken care that reason should not break forth into practical exercise, nor have the presumption, with its weak insight, to think out for itself the plan of happiness and the means of attaining it. Nature would not only have taken on herself the choice of the ends but also of the means, and with wise foresight would have entrusted both to instinct.
Immanuel Kant (Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals)
All he had ever wanted was to tell—in the best possible words, arranged in the best possible order—the stories inside him. He had been more than willing to do the apprenticeship and the work. He had been humble with his teachers and respectful of his peers. He had acceded to the editorial notes of his agent (when he’d had one) and bowed to the red pencil of his editor (when he’d had one) without complaint. He had supported the other writers he’d known and admired (even the ones he hadn’t particularly admired) by attending their readings and actually purchasing their books (in hardcover! at independent bookstores!) and he had acquitted himself as the best teacher, mentor, cheerleader, and editor that he’d known how to be, despite the (to be frank) utter hopelessness of most of the writing he was given to work with. And where had he arrived, for all of that? He was a deck attendant on the Titanic, moving the chairs around with fifteen ungifted prose writers while somehow persuading them that additional work would help them improve.
Jean Hanff Korelitz (The Plot)
Be bigger presence at work. Race up ladder (joyfully, w/smile on face), get raise. Get in best shape of life, start dressing nicer. Learn guitar? Make point of noticing beauty of world? Why not educate self re. birds, flowers, trees, constellations, become true citizen of natural world, walk around neighborhood w/kids, patiently teaching kids names of birds, flowers, etc. etc.? Why not take kids to Europe? Kids have never been. Have never, in Alps, had hot chocolate in mountain café, served by kindly white- haired innkeeper, who finds them so sophisticated/friendly relative to usual snotty/rich American kids (who always ignore his pretty but crippled daughter w/braids) that he shows them secret hiking path to incredible glade, kids frolic in glade, sit with crippled pretty girl on grass, later say it was most beautiful day of their lives, keep in touch with crippled girl via email, we arrange surgery here for her, surgeon so touched he agrees to do surgery for free, she is on front page of our paper, we are on front page of their paper in Alps? Ha ha.
George Saunders
HINT 3: ONLY WORK FOR AN 80/20 BOSS What is an 80/20 boss? Someone who consciously or unconsciously follows the principle. By their works you shall know them: They focus on very few things—the ones that make a BIG difference to their customers, and, if they still have them, their bosses (hopefully a temporary arrangement—the best 80/20 bosses are not themselves constrained by a boss). They are going places fast. They are rarely short of time, and never flustered. They are usually relaxed and happy, not workaholics. They look to their people for a few valuable outputs. They pay no attention to inputs such as time and sweat. They take the time to explain to you what they are doing, and why. They encourage you to focus on what delivers the greatest results with the least effort. They praise you when you deliver great results, but are constructively critical when you don’t—and suggest that you either stop doing something unimportant or do something important in a more effective way. When they trust you, they leave you alone and encourage you to come to them when you need guidance.
Richard Koch (The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less)
Have you swallowed all that war stuff?" "No, of course I--" I was so committed to refuting him that I had half-denied the charge before I understood it; now my eyes swung back to his face. "All what war stuff?" "All that stuff about there being a war." "I don't think I get what you mean." "Do you really think that the United States of America is in a state of war with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan?" "Do I really think..." My voice trailed off. He stood up, his weight on the good leg, the other resting lightly on the floor in front of him. "Don't be a sap," he gazed with cool self-possession at me, "there isn't any war." "I know why you're talking like this," I said, struggling to keep up with him. "Now I understand. You're still under the influence of some medicinal drug." "No, you are. Everybody is." He pivoted so that he was facing directly at me. "That's what this whole war story is. A medicinal drug. Listen, did you ever hear of the 'Roaring Twenties'?" I nodded very slowly and cautiously. "When they all drank bathtub gin and everybody who was young did just was they wanted?" "Yes." "Well, what happened was that they didn't like that, the preachers and the old ladies and all the stuffed shirts. So then they tried Prohibition and everybody just got drunker, so then they really got desperate and arranged the Depression. That kept the people who were young in the thirties in their places. But they couldn't use that trick forever, so for us in the forties they've cooked up this war fake." "Who are 'they' anyway?" "The fat old men who don't want us crowding them out of their jobs. They've made it all up. There isn't any real food shortage, for instance. The men have all the best steaks delivered to their clubs now. You've noticed how they've been getting fatter lately, haven't you?
John Knowles (A Separate Peace)
ESTABLISHING A DAILY MEDITATION First select a suitable space for your regular meditation. It can be wherever you can sit easily with minimal disturbance: a corner of your bedroom or any other quiet spot in your home. Place a meditation cushion or chair there for your use. Arrange what is around so that you are reminded of your meditative purpose, so that it feels like a sacred and peaceful space. You may wish to make a simple altar with a flower or sacred image, or place your favorite spiritual books there for a few moments of inspiring reading. Let yourself enjoy creating this space for yourself. Then select a regular time for practice that suits your schedule and temperament. If you are a morning person, experiment with a sitting before breakfast. If evening fits your temperament or schedule better, try that first. Begin with sitting ten or twenty minutes at a time. Later you can sit longer or more frequently. Daily meditation can become like bathing or toothbrushing. It can bring a regular cleansing and calming to your heart and mind. Find a posture on the chair or cushion in which you can easily sit erect without being rigid. Let your body be firmly planted on the earth, your hands resting easily, your heart soft, your eyes closed gently. At first feel your body and consciously soften any obvious tension. Let go of any habitual thoughts or plans. Bring your attention to feel the sensations of your breathing. Take a few deep breaths to sense where you can feel the breath most easily, as coolness or tingling in the nostrils or throat, as movement of the chest, or rise and fall of the belly. Then let your breath be natural. Feel the sensations of your natural breathing very carefully, relaxing into each breath as you feel it, noticing how the soft sensations of breathing come and go with the changing breath. After a few breaths your mind will probably wander. When you notice this, no matter how long or short a time you have been away, simply come back to the next breath. Before you return, you can mindfully acknowledge where you have gone with a soft word in the back of your mind, such as “thinking,” “wandering,” “hearing,” “itching.” After softly and silently naming to yourself where your attention has been, gently and directly return to feel the next breath. Later on in your meditation you will be able to work with the places your mind wanders to, but for initial training, one word of acknowledgment and a simple return to the breath is best. As you sit, let the breath change rhythms naturally, allowing it to be short, long, fast, slow, rough, or easy. Calm yourself by relaxing into the breath. When your breath becomes soft, let your attention become gentle and careful, as soft as the breath itself. Like training a puppy, gently bring yourself back a thousand times. Over weeks and months of this practice you will gradually learn to calm and center yourself using the breath. There will be many cycles in this process, stormy days alternating with clear days. Just stay with it. As you do, listening deeply, you will find the breath helping to connect and quiet your whole body and mind. Working with the breath is an excellent foundation for the other meditations presented in this book. After developing some calm and skills, and connecting with your breath, you can then extend your range of meditation to include healing and awareness of all the levels of your body and mind. You will discover how awareness of your breath can serve as a steady basis for all you do.
Jack Kornfield (A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life)
I am sure you understand," Father began, looking past Violet at the wall, "that I cannot allow you back into my house after what you have done. I have arranged for you to be taken to a finishing school in Scotland. You will stay there for two years, and after that I will decide what is to be done with you." Violet heard Graham clear his throat. "No," she said, before her brother could open his mouth to speak. "That won't be acceptable, I'm afraid, Father." His jowls slackened with shock. He looked as if she had slapped him. "I beg your pardon?" "I won't be going to Scotland. In fact, I won't be going anywhere. I'm staying right here." As she spoke, Violet became aware of a strange simmering sensation, as though electricity was humming beneath her skin. Images flashed in her mind---a crow cutting through the air, wings glittered with snow; the spokes of a wheel spinning. Briefly, she closed her eyes, focusing on the feeling until she could almost see it, glinting gold inside her. "That is not for you to decide," said Father. The window was open, and a bee flitted about the room, wings a silver blur. It flew near Father's cheek and he jerked away from it. "It's been decided." She stood up straight, her dark eyes boring into Father's watery ones. He blinked. The bee hovered about his face, dancing away from his hands, and she saw sweat break out on his nose. Soon it was joined by another, and then another and another, until it seemed like Father---shouting and swearing---had been engulfed in a cloud of tawny, glistening bodies. "I think it would be best if you left now, Father," said Violet softly. "After all, as you said, I'm my mother's daughter.
Emilia Hart (Weyward)
In 1976, a doctoral student at the University of Nottingham in England demonstrated that randomizing letters in the middle of words had no effect on the ability of readers to understand sentences. In tihs setncene, for emalxpe, ervey scarbelmd wrod rmenias bcilasaly leibgle. Why? Because we are deeply accustomed to seeing letters arranged in certain patterns. Because the eye is in a rush, and the brain, eager to locate meaning, makes assumptions. This is true of phrases, too. An author writes “crack of dawn” or “sidelong glance” or “crystal clear” and the reader’s eye continues on, at ease with combinations of words it has encountered innumerable times before. But does the reader, or the writer, actually expend the energy to see what is cracking at dawn or what is clear about a crystal? The mind craves ease; it encourages the senses to recognize symbols, to gloss. It makes maps of our kitchen drawers and neighborhood streets; it fashions a sort of algebra out of life. And this is useful, even essential—X is the route to work, Y is the heft and feel of a nickel between your fingers. Without habit, the beauty of the world would overwhelm us. We’d pass out every time we saw—actually saw—a flower. Imagine if we only got to see a cumulonimbus cloud or Cassiopeia or a snowfall once a century: there’d be pandemonium in the streets. People would lie by the thousands in the fields on their backs. We need habit to get through a day, to get to work, to feed our children. But habit is dangerous, too. The act of seeing can quickly become unconscious and automatic. The eye sees something—gray-brown bark, say, fissured into broad, vertical plates—and the brain spits out tree trunk and the eye moves on. But did I really take the time to see the tree? I glimpse hazel hair, high cheekbones, a field of freckles, and I think Shauna. But did I take the time to see my wife? “Habitualization,” a Russian army-commissar-turned-literary-critic named Viktor Shklovsky wrote in 1917, “devours works, clothes, furniture, one’s wife, and the fear of war.” What he argued is that, over time, we stop perceiving familiar things—words, friends, apartments—as they truly are. To eat a banana for the thousandth time is nothing like eating a banana for the first time. To have sex with somebody for the thousandth time is nothing like having sex with that person for the first time. The easier an experience, or the more entrenched, or the more familiar, the fainter our sensation of it becomes. This is true of chocolate and marriages and hometowns and narrative structures. Complexities wane, miracles become unremarkable, and if we’re not careful, pretty soon we’re gazing out at our lives as if through a burlap sack. In the Tom Andrews Studio I open my journal and stare out at the trunk of the umbrella pine and do my best to fight off the atrophy that comes from seeing things too frequently. I try to shape a few sentences around this tiny corner of Rome; I try to force my eye to slow down. A good journal entry—like a good song, or sketch, or photograph—ought to break up the habitual and lift away the film that forms over the eye, the finger, the tongue, the heart. A good journal entry ought be a love letter to the world. Leave home, leave the country, leave the familiar. Only then can routine experience—buying bread, eating vegetables, even saying hello—become new all over again.
Anthony Doerr (Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World)
History Eraser I got drunk and fell asleep atop the sheets but luckily i left the heater on. And in my dreams i wrote the best song that i've ever written...can't remember how it goes. I stayed drunk and fell awake and i was cycling on a plane and far away i heard you say you liked me. We drifted to a party -- cool. The people went to arty school. They made their paints by mixing acid wash and lemonade In my brain I re-arrange the letters on the page to spell your name I found an ezra pound and made a bet that if i found a cigarette i'd drop it all and marry you. Just then a song comes on: "you can't always get what you want" -- the rolling stones, oh woe is we, the irony! The stones became the moss and once all inhibitions lost, the hipsters made a mission to the farm. We drove by tractor there, the yellow straw replaced our hair, we laced the dairy river with the cream of sweet vermouth. In my brain I re-arrange the letters on the page to spell your name You said "we only live once" so we touched a little tongue, and instantly i wanted to... I lost my train of thought and jumped aboard the Epping as the doors were slowly closing on the world. I touched on and off and rubbed my arm up against yours and still the inspector inspected me. The lady in the roof was living proof that nothing really ever is exactly as it seems. In my brain I re-arrange the letters on the page to spell your name We caught the river boat downstream and ended up beside a team of angry footballers. I fed the ducks some krill then we were sucked against our will into the welcome doors of the casino. We drank green margaritas, danced with sweet senoritas, and we all went home as winners of a kind. You said "i guarantee we'll have more fun, drink till the moon becomes the sun, and in the taxi home i'll sing you a triffids song!" In my brain I re-arrange the letters on the page to spell your name
Courtney Barnett
RUNNING THE RACE The marathon is one of the most strenuous athletic events in sport. The Boston Marathon attracts the best runners in the world. The winner is automatically placed among the great athletes of our time. In the spring of 1980, Rosie Ruiz was the first woman to cross the finish line. She had the laurel wreath placed on her head in a blaze of lights and cheering. She was completely unknown in the world of running. An incredible feat! Her first race a victory in the prestigious Boston Marathon! Then someone noticed her legs—loose flesh, cellulite. Questions were asked. No one had seen her along the 26.2-mile course. The truth came out: she had jumped into the race during the last mile. There was immediate and widespread interest in Rosie. Why would she do that when it was certain that she would be found out? Athletic performance cannot be faked. But she never admitted her fraud. She repeatedly said that she would run another marathon to validate her ability. Somehow she never did. People interviewed her, searching for a clue to her personality. One interviewer concluded that she really believed that she had run the complete Boston Marathon and won. She was analyzed as a sociopath. She lied convincingly and naturally with no sense of conscience, no sense of reality in terms of right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable behavior. She appeared bright, normal and intelligent. But there was no moral sense to give coherence to her social actions. In reading about Rosie I thought of all the people I know who want to get in on the finish but who cleverly arrange not to run the race. They appear in church on Sunday wreathed in smiles, entering into the celebration, but there is no personal life that leads up to it or out from it. Occasionally they engage in spectacular acts of love and compassion in public. We are impressed, but surprised, for they were never known to do that before.
Eugene H. Peterson (Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best)
Fritz.” The butler rushed over from the crudité arrangement he was working on. “Yes, master! I am eager to be of aid.” “Take this.” iAm peeled the cat off himself, prying both of its front claws out of his fleece. “And do whatever it is you do with it.” As he turned away, he felt like glancing back and making sure G*dd*mn was okay. But why the fuck would he do that? He had to get to Sal’s and check on his staff. Usually he hit the restaurant in the early afternoon, but shit had not been “usual,” what with that migraine: Every time his brother had one, they both got a headache. Now, though, with Trez rebounding and no doubt soon to be on the grind with that Chosen, it was time to get back on his own track. If only to keep himself from going psychotic. Jesus Christ, Trez was now going to fuck that female. And God only knew where that was going to land them all. Just as he hit the exit, he called out over his shoulder, “Fritz.” Through the din of First Meal prep, the doggen answered back, “Yes, master?” “I never find any seafood in this place. Why is that?” “The King does not favor any manner of fin.” “Would he allow it in here?” “Oh, yes, master. Just not upon his table, and certainly never upon his plate.” iAm stared at the panels of the door in front of him. “I want you to get some fresh salmon and poach it. Tonight.” “But of course. I will not have it ready afore First Meal for you—” “Not for me. I hate fish. It’s for G*dd*mn Cat. I want him served that regularly.” He pushed the door open. “And get him some fresh veggies. What kind of cat food does he eat?” “Only the best. Hill’s Science Diet.” “Find out what is in his food—and then I want everything hand-prepared. Nothing out of the bag for him from now on.” Approval bloomed in the old doggen’s voice: “I’m sure Master Boo will appreciate your special interest.” “I’m not interested in that bag of fur.” -iAm, Fritz, & Boo
J.R. Ward (The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #12))
Once he traveled to a village to purchase a large rice harvest, but when he arrived the rice had already been sold to another tradesman. Nevertheless, Siddhartha remained in this village for several days; he arranged a feast for the peasants, distributed copper coins among their children, helped celebrate a marriage, and returned from his trip in the best of spirits. Kamaswami reproached him for not having returned home at once, saying he had wasted money and time. Siddhartha answered, "Do not scold me, dear friend! Never has anything been achieved by scolding. If there are losses, let me bear them. I am very pleased with this journey I made the acquaintance of many different people, a Brahmin befriended me, children rode on my knees, peasants showed me their fields, and no one took me for a tradesman." "How very lovely!" Kamaswami cried out indignantly. "But in fact a tradesman is just what you are! Or did you undertake this journey solely for your own pleasure?" "Certainly." Siddhartha laughed. "Certainly I undertook the journey for my pleasure. Why else? I got to know new people and regions, enjoyed kindness and trust, found friendship. You see, dear friend, had I been Kamaswami, I'd have hurried home in bad spirits the moment I saw my purchase foiled, and indeed money and time would have been lost. But by staying on as I did, I had some agreeable days, learned things, and enjoyed pleasures, harming neither myself nor others with haste and bad spirits. And if ever I should return to this place, perhaps to buy some future harvest or for whatever other purpose, I shall be greeted happily and in friendship by friendly people and I shall praise myself for not having displayed haste and displeasure on my first visit. So be content, friend, and do not harm yourself by scolding! When the day arrives when you see that this Siddhartha is bringing you harm, just say the word and Siddhartha will be on his way. But until that day, let us be satisfied with each other.
Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha)
Pointsman is the only one here maintaining his calm. He appears unruffled and strong. His lab coats have even begun lately to take on a Savile Row serenity, suppressed waist, flaring vents, finer material, rather rakishly notched lapels. In this parched and fallow time, he gushes affluence. After the baying has quieted down at last, he speaks, soothing: “There’s no danger.” “No danger?” screams Aaron Throwster, and the lot of them are off again muttering and growling. “Slothrop’s knocked out Dodson-Truck and the girl in one day!” “The whole thing’s falling apart, Pointsman!” “Since Sir Stephen came back, Fitzmaurice House has dropped out of our scheme, and there’ve been embarrassing inquires down from Duncan Sandys—“ “That’s the P.M.’s son-in-law, Pointsman, not good, not good!” “We’ve already begun to run into a deficit—“ “Funding,” IF you can keep your head, “is available, and will be coming in before long… certainly before we run into any serious trouble. Sir Stephen, far from being ‘knocked out,’ is quite happily at work at Fitzmaurice House, and is At Home there should any of you wish to confirm. Miss Borgesius is still active in the program, and Mr. Duncan Sandys is having all his questions answered. But best of all, we are budgeted well into fiscal ’46 before anything like a deficit begins to rear its head.” “Your Interested Parties again?” sez Rollo Groast. “Ah, I noticed Clive Mossmoon from Imperial Chemicals closeted with you day before yesterday,” Edwin Treacle mentions now. “Clive Mossmoon and I took an organic chemistry course or two together back at Manchester. Is ICI one of our, ah, sponsors, Pointsman?” “No,” smoothly, “Mossmoon, actually, is working out of Malet Street these days. I’m afraid we were up to nothing more sinister than a bit of routine coordination over the Schwarzkommando business.” “The hell you were. I happen to know Clive’s at ICI, managing some sort of polymer research.” They stare at each other. One is lying, or bluffing, or both are, or all of the above. But whatever it is Pointsman has a slight advantage. By facing squarely the extinction of his program, he has gained a great of bit of Wisdom: that if there is a life force operating in Nature, still there is nothing so analogous in a bureaucracy. Nothing so mystical. It all comes down, as it must, to the desires of men. Oh, and women too of course, bless their empty little heads. But survival depends on having strong enough desires—on knowing the System better than the other chap, and how to use it. It’s work, that’s all it is, and there’s no room for any extrahuman anxieties—they only weaken, effeminize the will: a man either indulges them, or fights to win, und so weiter. “I do wish ICI would finance part of this,” Pointsman smiles. “Lame, lame,” mutters the younger Dr. Groast. “What’s it matter?” cries Aaron Throwster. “If the old man gets moody at the wrong time this whole show can prang.” “Brigadier Pudding will not go back on any of his commitments,” Pointsman very steady, calm, “we have made arrangements with him. The details aren’t important.” They never are, in these meetings of his.
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity’s Rainbow)
Jason, it’s a pleasure.” Instead of being in awe or “fangirling” over one of the best catchers in the country, my dad acts normal and doesn’t even mention the fact that Jason is a major league baseball player. “Going up north with my daughter?” “Yes, sir.” Jason sticks his hands in his back pockets and all I can focus on is the way his pecs press against the soft fabric of his shirt. “A-plus driver here in case you were wondering. No tickets, I enjoy a comfortable position of ten and two on the steering wheel, and I already established the rule in the car that it’s my playlist we’re listening to so there’s no fighting over music. Also, since it’s my off season, I took a siesta earlier today so I was fresh and alive for the drive tonight. I packed snacks, the tank is full, and there is water in reusable water bottles in the center console for each of us. Oh, and gum, in case I need something to chew if this one falls asleep.” He thumbs toward me. “I know how to use my fists if a bear comes near us, but I’m also not an idiot and know if it’s brown, hit the ground, if it’s black, fight that bastard back.” Oh my God, why is he so adorable? “I plan on teaching your daughter how to cook a proper meal this weekend, something she can make for you and your wife when you’re in town.” “Now this I like.” My dad chuckles. Chuckles. At Jason. I think I’m in an alternate universe. “I saw this great place that serves apparently the best pancakes in Illinois, so Sunday morning, I’d like to go there. I’d also like to hike, and when it comes to the sleeping arrangements, I was informed there are two bedrooms, and I plan on using one of them alone. No worries there.” Oh, I’m worried . . . that he plans on using the other one. “Well, looks like you’ve covered everything. This is a solid gentleman, Dottie.” I know. I really know. “Are you good? Am I allowed to leave now?” “I don’t know.” My dad scratches the side of his jaw. “Just from how charismatic this man is and his plans, I’m thinking I should take your place instead.” “I’m up for a bro weekend,” Jason says, his banter and decorum so easy. No wonder he’s loved so much. “Then I wouldn’t have to see the deep eye-roll your daughter gives me on a constant basis.” My dad leans in and says, “She gets that from me, but I will say this, I can’t possibly see myself eye-rolling with you. Do you have extra clothes packed for me?” “Do you mind sharing underwear with another man? Because I’m game.” My dad’s head falls back as he laughs. “I’ve never rubbed another man’s underwear on my junk, but never say never.” “Ohhh-kay, you two are done.” I reach up and press a kiss to my dad’s cheek. “We are leaving.” I take Jason by the arm and direct him back to the car. From over his shoulder, he mouths to my dad to call him, which my dad replies with a thumbs up. Ridiculous. Hilarious. When we’re saddled up in the car, I let out a long breath and shift my head to the side so I can look at him. Sincerely I say, “Sorry about that.” With the biggest smile on his face, his hand lands on my thigh. He gives it a good squeeze and says, “Don’t apologize, that was fucking awesome.
Meghan Quinn (The Lineup)
A common problem plagues people who try to design institutions without accounting for hidden motives. First they identify the key goals that the institution “should” achieve. Then they search for a design that best achieves these goals, given all the constraints that the institution must deal with. This task can be challenging enough, but even when the designers apparently succeed, they’re frequently puzzled and frustrated when others show little interest in adopting their solution. Often this is because they mistook professed motives for real motives, and thus solved the wrong problems. Savvy institution designers must therefore identify both the surface goals to which people give lip service and the hidden goals that people are also trying to achieve. Designers can then search for arrangements that actually achieve the deeper goals while also serving the surface goals—or at least giving the appearance of doing so. Unsurprisingly, this is a much harder design problem. But if we can learn to do it well, our solutions will less often meet the fate of puzzling disinterest. We should take a similar approach when reforming a preexisting institution by first asking ourselves, “What are this institution’s hidden functions, and how important are they?” Take education, for example. We may wish for schools that focus more on teaching than on testing. And yet, some amount of testing is vital to the economy, since employers need to know which workers to hire. So if we tried to cut too much from school’s testing function, we could be blindsided by resistance we don’t understand—because those who resist may not tell us the real reasons for their opposition. It’s only by understanding where the resistance is coming from that we have any hope of overcoming it. Not all hidden institutional functions are worth facilitating, however. Some involve quite wasteful signaling expenditures, and we might be better off if these institutions performed only their official, stated functions. Take medicine, for example. To the extent that we use medical spending to show how much we care (and are cared for), there are very few positive externalities. The caring function is mostly competitive and zero-sum, and—perhaps surprisingly—we could therefore improve collective welfare by taxing extraneous medical spending, or at least refusing to subsidize it. Don’t expect any politician to start pushing for healthcare taxes or cutbacks, of course, because for lawmakers, as for laypeople, the caring signals are what makes medicine so attractive. These kinds of hidden incentives, alongside traditional vested interests, are what often make large institutions so hard to reform. Thus there’s an element of hubris in any reform effort, but at least by taking accurate stock of an institution’s purposes, both overt and covert, we can hope to avoid common mistakes. “The curious task of economics,” wrote Friedrich Hayek, “is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”8
Kevin Simler (The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life)
TIO TITO’S SUBLIME LIME BAR COOKIES Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., rack in the middle position. ½ cup finely-chopped coconut (measure after chopping—pack it down when you measure it) 1 cup cold salted butter (2 sticks, 8 ounces, ½ pound) ½ cup powdered (confectioners) sugar (no need to sift unless it’s got big lumps) 2 cups all-purpose flour (pack it down when you measure it)   4 beaten eggs (just whip them up with a fork) 2 cups white (granulated) sugar cup lime juice (freshly squeezed is best) cup vodka (I used Tito’s Handmade Vodka) ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ cup all-purpose flour (pack it down when you measure it) Powdered (confectioners) sugar to sprinkle on top Coconut Crust: To get your half-cup of finely-chopped coconut, you will need to put approximately ¾ cup of shredded coconut in the bowl of a food processor. (The coconut will pack down more when it’s finely-chopped so you’ll need more of the stuff out of the package to get the half-cup you need for this recipe.) Chop the shredded coconut up finely with the steel blade. Pour it out into a bowl and measure out ½ cup, packing it down when you measure it. Return the half-cup of finely chopped coconut to the food processor. (You can also do this by spreading out the shredded coconut on a cutting board and chopping it finely by hand.) Cut each stick of butter into eight pieces and arrange them in the bowl of the food processor on top of the chopped coconut. Sprinkle the powdered sugar and the flour on top of that. Zoop it all up with an on-and-off motion of the steel blade until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Prepare a 9-inch by 13-inch rectangular cake pan by spraying it with Pam or another nonstick cooking spray. Alternatively, for even easier removal, line the cake pan with heavy-duty foil and spray that with Pam. (Then all you have to do is lift the bar cookies out when they’re cool, peel off the foil, and cut them up into pieces.) Sprinkle the crust mixture into the prepared cake pan and spread it out with your fingers. Pat it down with a large spatula or with the palms of your impeccably clean hands. Hannah’s 1st Note: If your butter is a bit too soft, you may end up with a mass that balls up and clings to the food processor bowl. That’s okay. Just scoop it up and spread it out in the bottom of your prepared pan. (You can also do this in a bowl with a fork or a pie crust blender if you prefer.) Hannah’s 2nd Note: Don’t wash your food processor quite yet. You’ll need it to make the lime layer. (The same applies to your bowl and fork if you make the crust by hand.) Bake your coconut crust at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes. While your crust is baking, prepare the lime layer. Lime Layer: Combine the eggs with the white sugar. (You can use your food processor and the steel blade to do this, or you can do it by hand in a bowl.) Add the lime juice, vodka, salt, and baking powder. Mix thoroughly. Add the flour and mix until everything is incorporated. (This mixture will be runny—it’s supposed to be.) When your crust has baked for 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and set it on a cold stovetop burner or a wire rack. Don’t shut off the oven! Just leave it on at 350 degrees F. Pour the lime layer mixture on top of the crust you just baked. Use potholders to pick up the pan and return it to the oven. Bake your Sublime Lime Bar Cookies for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool your lime bars in the pan on a cold stovetop burner or a wire rack. When the pan has cooled to room temperature, cover it with foil and refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve. Cut the bars into brownie-sized pieces, place them on a pretty platter, and sprinkle them lightly with powdered sugar. Yum! Hannah’s 3rd Note: If you would prefer not to use alcohol in these bar cookies, simply substitute whole milk for the vodka. This recipe works both ways and I can honestly tell you that I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like my Sublime Lime Bar Cookies!
Joanne Fluke (Blackberry Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #17))