Backward People Quotes

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It's a funny thing... but people mostly have it backward. They think they live by what they want. But really, what guides them is what they're afraid of. What they don't want.
Khaled Hosseini (And the Mountains Echoed)
I am going to MURDER YOU—” “No,” he says, pointing at me as he shifts backward again. “Bad Juliette. You don’t like to kill people, remember? You’re against that, remember? You like to talk about feelings and rainbows—
Tahereh Mafi (Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3))
In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people's home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!
Woody Allen
Ever wonder about those people who spend $2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backward.
George Carlin (George Carlin Reads to You: An Audio Collection Including Recent Grammy Winners Braindroppings and Napalm & Silly Putty)
You never come back, not all the way. Always there is an odd distance between you and the people you love and the people you meet, a barrier thin as the glass of a mirror, you never come all the way out of the mirror; you stand, for the rest of your life, with one foot in this world and no one in another, where everything is upside down and backward and sad.
Marya Hornbacher (Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia)
If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of 'facts' they feel stuffed, but absolutely 'brilliant' with information. Then they'll feel they're thinking, they'll get a sense of motion without moving. And they'll be happy, because facts of that sort don't change.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
You matter as much as the things that matter to you. And I got so backwards trying to matter to him. All this time, there were real things to care about: real, good people who care about me, and this place. It's so easy to get stuck. You just get caught in being something, being special or cool or whatever, to the point where you don't even know why you need it; you just think you do.
John Green (An Abundance of Katherines)
The real marriage of true minds is for any two people to possess a sense of humor or irony pitched in exactly the same key, so that their joint glances on any subject cross like interarching searchlights.
Edith Wharton (A Backward Glance)
People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.
Edmund Burke (Reflections on the Revolution in France)
Most people I know live their lives moving in a constant forward direction, the whole time looking backward.
Charles Yu (How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe)
It would be inappropiate, undignified, at 38, to conduct friendships or love affairs with the ardour or intensity of a 22 year old. Falling in love like that? Writing poetry? Crying at pop songs? Dragging people into photobooths? Taking a whole day to make a compilation tape? Asking people if they wanted to share your bed, just for company? If you quoted Bob Dylan or TS Eliot or, god forbid, Brecht at someone these days they would smile politely and step quietly backwards, and who would blame them? Ridiculous, at 38, to expect a song or book or film to change your life.
David Nicholls (One Day)
And now I realize Lindsay's not fearless. She's terrified. She's terrified that people will find out she's faking, bullshitting her way through life, pretending to have everything together when really she's just floundering like the rest of us. Lindsay, who will bite at you if you even look in her direction the wrong way, like on of those tiny attack dogs that are always barking and snapping in the air before they're jerked backward on the chains that keep them in one place.
Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall)
Often people attempt to live their lives backwards, they try to have more things or more money in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are then do what you need to do in order to have what you want.
Margaret Young
Runaways are romantic. The girls are waiflike with dyed ratty hair and baggy pants. They usually own a stray dog of the mutt variety and drag it along by a rope, plopping down in front of storefronts to beg for money from passersby. They're a mess. It is likely they'll charm you, make you think you're their best friend and savior only to end up using you and then they'll disappear. That's why they're romantic. They're there and then they're gone. Romance is always about people appearing in a flash out of nothing or people who are there and then suddenly are not. A magic trick.
Bett Williams (Girl Walking Backwards)
When people laughed at him because he walked backward beneath the portico, he said to them: "Aren't you ashamed, you who walk backward along the whole path of existence, and blame me for walking backward along the path of the promenade?
Diogenes of Sinope
When your innocence is stripped from you, when your people are denigrated, when the family you came from is denounced and your tribal ways and rituals are pronounced backward, primitive, savage, you come to see yourself as less than human. That is hell on earth, that sense of unworthiness. That's what they inflicted on us.
Richard Wagamese (Indian Horse)
This is my theory: the people who shouldn't hate themselves, do hate themselves. And the people who should hate themselves, don't hate themselves. The world is all backwards. See, this is one of the many reasons why God and I are not good friends.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Last Night I Sang to the Monster)
I always get so overwhelmed trying to do everything perfectly. I can't do a job and not put everything I have into it. I need to be the best employee, the best co-worker, the best whatever. I need everyone to like me and I just burn out bending over backward to make that happen. Having people be mad at me is my worst fear. I can't stand it. There is this crazy fear I have of being rejected by anyone - even people I don't really care about. It's always better to leave them first, cut all ties, and disappear. They can't hurt me that way - no one can.
Nic Sheff (Tweak: Growing Up On Methamphetamines)
I think about how people use the devil as an alias for the things they fear. The cause and effect is backward. The devil doesn't make anyone do anything. People just do things and blame the devil after.
David Levithan (Every Day (Every Day, #1))
Let us people 'be' as they are, authentic, floundering on the flow of rippling moments, simmering in their juice. Why should we expect them to build up a house of cards crumbling down behind a curtain of appearances? Why keep bending backward every time, suffering unbearable torments and distressful heartbeats? Why inflame people to focus on cringy living standards with a hell's race of illusions? - Erik Pevernagie
Erik Pevernagie (The rabbit hole of Meditation: The author’s reflections selected and illustrated by his readers)
People long to go backward in their imagination as well as forward. We don't wish simply to exist forever in some future; we wish to have existed in some distant past.
Gloria Whelan (Parade of Shadows)
Children are capable of grasping complex ideas long before most people give them credit for, wrapping them in a soothing layer of nonsense and illogical logic. To be a child is to be a visitor from another world muddling your way through the strange rules of this one, where up is always up, even when it would make more sense for it to be down, or backward, or sideways.
Seanan McGuire (In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4))
I cannot emphasize enough how wrongheaded this is. Withholding criticism and ignoring differences are racism in its purest form. Yet these cultural experts fail to notice that, through their anxious avoidance of criticizing non-Western countries, they trap the people who represent these cultures in a state of backwardness. The experts may have the best of intentions, but as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam)
Where there was nature and earth, life and water, I saw a desert landscape that was unending, resembling some sort of crater, so devoid of reason and light and spirit that the mind could not grasp it on any sort of conscious level and if you came close the mind would reel backward, unable to take it in. It was a vision so clear and real and vital to me that in its purity it was almost abstract. This was what I could understand, this was how I lived my life, what I constructed my movement around, how I dealt with the tangible. This was the geography around which my reality revolved: it did not occur to me, ever, that people were good or that a man was capable of change or that the world could be a better place through one’s own taking pleasure in a feeling or a look or a gesture, of receiving another person’s love or kindness. Nothing was affirmative, the term “generosity of spirit” applied to nothing, was a cliche, was some kind of bad joke. Sex is mathematics. Individuality no longer an issue. What does intelligence signify? Define reason. Desire- meaningless. Intellect is not a cure. Justice is dead. Fear, recrimination, innocence, sympathy, guilt, waste, failure, grief, were things, emotions, that no one really felt anymore. Reflection is useless, the world is senseless. Evil is its only permanence. God is not alive. Love cannot be trusted. Surface, surface, surface, was all that anyone found meaning in…this was civilization as I saw it, colossal and jagged…
Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho)
Never presume to know a person based on the one dimensional window of the internet. A soul can’t be defined by critics, enemies or broken ties with family or friends. Neither can it be explained by posts or blogs that lack facial expressions, tone or insight into the person’s personality and intent. Until people “get that”, we will forever be a society that thinks Beautiful Mind was a spy movie and every stranger is really a friend on Facebook.
Shannon L. Alder
I have been envious of male characteristics, if not the men themselves. I'm jealous of the ease with which they seem to inhabit their professional pursuits: the lack of apologizing, of bending over backward to make sure the people around them are comfortable with what they're trying to do. The fact that they are so often free of the people-pleasing instincts I have considered to be a curse of my female existence.
Lena Dunham (Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned")
I don’t think I am like other people. I mean on some deep fundamental level. It’s not just being half a twin and reading a lot and seeing fairies. It’s not just being outside when they’re all inside. I used to be inside. I think there’s a way I stand aside and look backwards at things when they’re happening which isn’t normal.
Jo Walton (Among Others)
Strigoi have red eyes, " I explained. "Do his eyes look red?" The boy leaned forward. "No. They're brown. " "What else do you know about Strigoi?" I asked. "They have fangs like us, " the boy replied. "Do you have fangs?" I asked Dimitri in a singsong voice. I had a feeling this was already-covered territory, but it took on a new feel when asked from a child's perspective. Dimitri smiled--a full, wonderful smile that caught me off guard. "Okay, Jonathan, " said his mother anxiously. "You asked. Let's go now. " "Strigoi are super strong, " continued Jonathan, who possibly aspired to be a future lawyer. "Nothing can hurt them. " Jonathan fixed Dimitri with a piercing gaze. "Are you super strong? Can you be hurt?" "Of course I can, " replied Dimitri. "I'm strong, but all sorts of things can still hurt me. " And then, being Rose Hathaway, I said something I really shouldn't have to the boy. "You should go punch him and find out. " Jonathan's mother screamed again, but he was a fast little bastard, eluding her grasp. He ran up to Dimitri before anyone could stop him--well, I could have--and pounded his tiny fist against Dimitri's knee. Then, with the same reflexes that allowed him to dodge enemy attacks, Dimitri immediately feinted falling backward, as though Jonathan had knocked him over. Clutching his knee, Dimitri groaned as though he were in terrible pain. Several people laughed, and by then, one of the other guardians had caught hold of Jonathan and returned him to his near-hysterical mother. As he was being dragged away, Jonathan glanced over his shoulder at Dimitri. "He doesn't seem very strong to me. I don't think he's a Strigoi. " This caused more laughter
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
You don’t need fashion designers when you are young. Have faith in your own bad taste. Buy the cheapest thing in your local thrift shop - the clothes that are freshly out of style with even the hippest people a few years older than you. Get on the fashion nerves of your peers, not your parents - that is the key to fashion leadership. Ill-fitting is always stylish. But be more creative - wear your clothes inside out, backward, upside down. Throw bleach in a load of colored laundry. Follow the exact opposite of the dry cleaning instructions inside the clothes that cost the most in your thrift shop. Don’t wear jewelry - stick Band-Aids on your wrists or make a necklace out of them. Wear Scotch tape on the side of your face like a bad face-lift attempt. Mismatch your shoes. Best yet, do as Mink Stole used to do: go to the thrift store the day after Halloween, when the children’s trick-or-treat costumes are on sale, buy one, and wear it as your uniform of defiance.
John Waters (Role Models)
Ever since people first existed, they have been doing all the things we label "codependent." They have worried themselves sick about other people. They have tried to help in ways that didn't help. They have said yes when they meant no. They have tried to make other people see things their way. They have bent over backwards avoiding hurting people's feelings and, in so doing, have hurt themselves. They have been afraid to trust their feelings. They have believed lies and then felt betrayed. They have wanted to get even and punish others. They have felt so angry they wanted to kill. They have struggled for their rights while other people said they didn't have any. They have worn sackcloth because they didn't believe they deserved silk.
Melody Beattie (Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself)
People need a moral code, to help them make decisions. All this bio-yogurt virtue and financial self-righteousness are just filling the gap in the market. But the problem is that it's all backwards. It's not that you do the right thing and hope it pays off; the morally right thing is by definition the thing that gives the biggest payoff.
Tana French (In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1))
When you focus on lack and scarcity and what you don’t have, you fuss about it with your family, you discuss it with your friends, you tell your children that you don’t have enough - “We don’t have enough for that, we can’t afford that” - then you’ll never be able to afford it, because you begin to attract more of what you don’t have. If you want abundance, if you want prosperity, then focus on abundance. Focus on prosperity. (Lisa Nichols) Many people in Western culture are striving for success. They want the great home, they want their business to work, they want all these outer things. But what we found in our research is that having these outer things does not necessarily guarantee what we really want, which is happiness. So we go for these outer things thinking they’re going to bring us happiness , but it’s backward. You need to go for the inner joy, the inner peace, the inner vision first, and then all of the outer things appear. (Marci Shimoff)
Rhonda Byrne (The Secret (The Secret, #1))
I do like him. I'm sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.... .... Listen, don't hate me because I can't remember some person immediately. Especially when they look like everybody else, and talk and dress and act like everybody else." Franny made her voice stop. It sounded to her caviling and bitchy, and she felt a wave of self-hatred that, quite literally, made her forehead begin to perspire again. But her voice picked up again, in spite of herself. "I don't mean there's anything horrible about him or anything like that. It's just that for four solid years I've kept seeing Wally Campbells wherever I go. I know when they're going to be charming, I know when they're going to start telling you some really nasty gossip about some girl that lives in your dorm, I know when they're going to ask me what I did over the summer, I know when they're going to pull up a chair and straddle it backward and start bragging in a terribly, terribly quiet voice--or name-dropping in a terribly quiet, casual voice. There's an unwritten law that people in a certain social or financial bracket can name-drop as much as they like just as long as they say something terribly disparaging about the person as soon as they've dropped his name—that he's a bastard or a nymphomaniac or takes dope all the time, or something horrible." She broke off again. She was quiet for a moment, turning the ashtray in her fingers. Franny quickly tipped her cigarette ash, then brought the ashtray an inch closer to her side of the table. "I'm sorry. I'm awful," she said. "I've just felt so destructive all week. It's awful, I'm horrible.
J.D. Salinger (Franny and Zooey)
We are kissing like crazy. Like our lives depend on it. His tongue slips inside my mouth, gentle but demanding, and it’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced, and I suddenly understand why people describe kissing as melting because every square inch of my body dissolves into his. My fingers grip his hair, pulling him closer. My veins throb and my heart explodes. I have never wanted anyone like this before. Ever. He pushes me backward and we’re lying down, making out in front of the children with their red balloons and the old men with their chess sets and the tourists with their laminated maps and I don’t care, I don’t care about any of that. All I want is Étienne. The weight of his body on top of mine is extraordinary. I feel him—all of him—pressed against me, and I inhale his shaving cream, his shampoo, and that extra scent that’s just . . . him. The most delicious smell I could ever imagine. I want to breathe him, lick him, eat him, drink him. His lips taste like honey. His face has the slightest bit of stubble and it rubs my skin but I don’t care, I don’t care at all. He feels wonderful. His hands are everywhere, and it doesn’t matter that his mouth is already on top of mine, I want him closer closer closer.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
… when people ask about the meaning of life as if it were the job of our cosmos to give meaning to our existence, they’re getting it backward: It’s not our Universe giving meaning to conscious beings, but conscious beings giving meaning to our Universe.
Max Tegmark (Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence)
Delusions are hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding insane people living in a backwards world.
Shannon L. Alder
Risks are a measure of people. People who won't take them are trying to preserve what they have. People who do take them often end up having more. Some risks have a future, and some people call them wrong. But being right may be like walking backwards proving where you've been. Being wrong isn't in the future, or in the past. Being wrong isn't anywhere but being here. Best place to be, eh?
Paul Arden (It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be)
There’s a writer for you,” he said. “Knows everything and at the same time he knows nothing.” [narrator]It was my first inkling that he was a writer. And while I like writers—because if you ask a writer anything you usually get an answer—still it belittled him in my eyes. Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person. It’s like actors, who try so pathetically not to look in mirrors. Who lean backward trying—only to see their faces in the reflecting chandeliers.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Love of the Last Tycoon)
Tina: Oh, keep him? We don't keep them! Mr. Scamander, do you know anything about the wizarding community in America? Newt: I do know a few things, actually. I know you have rather backwards laws about relations with non-magic people. That you're not meant to befriend them, that you can't marry them, which seems mildly absurd to me.
J.K. Rowling (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay)
Since the beginning of time, people have been trying to change the world so that they can be happy. This hasn’t ever worked, because it approaches the problem backward. What The Work gives us is a way to change the projector—mind—rather than the projected. It’s like when there’s a piece of lint on a projector’s lens. We think there’s a flaw on the screen, and we try to change this person and that person, whomever the flaw appears on next. But it’s futile to try to change the projected images. Once we realize where the lint is, we can clear the lens itself. This is the end of suffering, and the beginning of a little joy in paradise.
Byron Katie
I am, and always have been - first, last, and always - a child of America. You raised me. I grew up in the pastures and hills of Texas, but I had been to thirty-four states before I learned how to drive. When I caught the stomach flu in the fifth grade, my mother sent a note to school written on the back of a holiday memo from Vice President Biden. Sorry, sir—we were in a rush, and it was the only paper she had on hand. I spoke to you for the first time when I was eighteen, on the stage of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, when I introduced my mother as the nominee for president. You cheered for me. I was young and full of hope, and you let me embody the American dream: that a boy who grew up speaking two languages, whose family was blended and beautiful and enduring, could make a home for himself in the White House. You pinned the flag to my lapel and said, “We’re rooting for you.” As I stand before you today, my hope is that I have not let you down. Years ago, I met a prince. And though I didn’t realize it at the time, his country had raised him too. The truth is, Henry and I have been together since the beginning of this year. The truth is, as many of you have read, we have both struggled every day with what this means for our families, our countries, and our futures. The truth is, we have both had to make compromises that cost us sleep at night in order to afford us enough time to share our relationship with the world on our own terms. We were not afforded that liberty. But the truth is, also, simply this: love is indomitable. America has always believed this. And so, I am not ashamed to stand here today where presidents have stood and say that I love him, the same as Jack loved Jackie, the same as Lyndon loved Lady Bird. Every person who bears a legacy makes the choice of a partner with whom they will share it, whom the American people will “hold beside them in hearts and memories and history books. America: He is my choice. Like countless other Americans, I was afraid to say this out loud because of what the consequences might be. To you, specifically, I say: I see you. I am one of you. As long as I have a place in this White House, so will you. I am the First Son of the United States, and I’m bisexual. History will remember us. If I can ask only one thing of the American people, it’s this: Please, do not let my actions influence your decision in November. The decision you will make this year is so much bigger than anything I could ever say or do, and it will determine the fate of this country for years to come. My mother, your president, is the warrior and the champion that each and every American deserves for four more years of growth, progress, and prosperity. Please, don’t let my actions send us backward. I ask the media not to focus on me or on Henry, but on the campaign, on policy, on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans at stake in this election. And finally, I hope America will remember that I am still the son you raised. My blood still runs from Lometa, Texas, and San Diego, California, and Mexico City. I still remember the sound of your voices from that stage in Philadelphia. I wake up every morning thinking of your hometowns, of the families I’ve met at rallies in Idaho and Oregon and South Carolina. I have never hoped to be anything other than what I was to you then, and what I am to you now—the First Son, yours in actions and words. And I hope when Inauguration Day comes again in January, I will continue to be.
Casey McQuiston (Red, White & Royal Blue)
Dearie, I’m not going to speak for other people.” Megan manoeuvred her lips into a smile, but her eyes stayed cold. “Now. What else would you like to see me about?” “Do you think things will go backwards if the Rowlands push for change?” “It’s not my place to judge that, but I’ll tell you this for nothing. The Rowlands aren’t the only ones with a vested interest in everything around here. They might own it on paper, but folks make their living here, and if the Rowlands threaten that, they’ll get more than they bargained for.” Something in Megan’s tone caused Saskia to tense. The smile that Megan continued to hold on her lips seemed now an image of threat.
Miriam Verbeek (The Forest: A new Saskia van Essen crime mystery thriller (Saskia van Essen mysteries))
I need to learn not to bend over backwards to be nice to faith-heads. Give these people an inch and they take a league. I think, as I did when I wrote The God Delusion, that the Roman Catholic Church is a disgusting institution, the second most evil religion in the world.
Richard Dawkins
No, this, she felt, was real life and if she wasn’t as curious or passionate as she had once been, that was only to be expected. It would be inappropriate, undignified, at thirty-eight, to conduct friendships or love affairs with the ardour and intensity of a twenty-two-year-old. Falling in love like that? Writing poetry, crying at pop songs? Dragging people into photo-booths, taking a whole day to make a compilation tape, asking people if they wanted to share your bed, just for company? If you quoted Bob Dylan or T.S. Eliot or, God forbid, Brecht at someone these days they would smile politely and step quietly backwards, and who would blame them? Ridiculous, at thirty-eight, to expect a song or book or film to change your life. No, everything had evened out and settled down and life was lived against a general background hum of comfort, satisfaction and familiarity. There would be no more of these nerve-jangling highs and lows. The friends they had now would be the friends they had in five, ten, twenty years’ time. They expected to get neither dramatically richer or poorer; they expected to stay healthy for a little while yet. Caught in the middle; middle class, middle-aged; happy in that they were not overly happy. Finally, she loved someone and felt fairly confident that she was loved in return. If someone asked Emma, as they sometimes did at parties, how she and her husband had met, she told them: ‘We grew up together.
David Nicholls (One Day)
Some people think that a simulation can’t be conscious and only a physical system can. But they got it completely backward: a physical system cannot be conscious. Only a simulation can be conscious. Consciousness is a simulated property of the simulated self.
Joscha Bach
He poked his finger into my chest again. “Well, I have something to tell you: don’t let the sun set on you in this county, because…” I grabbed his wrist and yanked him forward, tripping him with my foot. He went down back first and I caught him by his throat, three feet above the ground, lifted him up a bit and bent down to his face. My eyes glowed with murderous red. My voice turned rough with an animal growl. “Listen well, because I won’t be repeating myself, you racist prick. If you make any trouble for me or my people, I’ll hunt you down like the pig you are and carve a second mouth across your gut. They’ll find you hanging by your own intestines. The next time you hear something laugh and howl in the night, hug your family, because you won’t see the sunrise.” I opened my fingers. He crashed on the ground, his face white as a sheet. He scrambled backward, rolled to his feet, and took off. The three shapeshifters stared at me, openmouthed. “That’s how you intimidate people. No witnesses and not a mark on him. Get your asses to the car.
Ilona Andrews (Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels, #5.5;World of Kate Daniels, #6 & #6.5; Andrea Nash, #1))
At the time of this writing, Donald Trump seeks the Republican nomination supported largely by a bunch of angry white people who sense where history is going and DO NOT LIKE IT AT ALL and are therefore hoping that if they punch and shove enough brown people, it will fix it. Perhaps when you read this, Donald Trump will be president or maybe superking. But even if that happens, he shall pass. Time does not go backward.
Phoebe Robinson (You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain)
It's a funny thing, Markos, but people mostly have it backward. They think they live by what they want. But really what guides them is what they're afraid of. What they don't want.
Khaled Hosseini (And the Mountains Echoed)
It would seem no matter how progressive we get there are always those few who are backwards in their ways.
Solange nicole
It's always best to look ahead and not backwards. Possessions are not important. Think of those beautiful porcelain pieces I had. Before they came to me, they had all passed through the hands of many people, surviving wars and natural disasters. I got them only because someone else lost them. While I had them, I enjoyed them; now some other people will enjoy them. Life itself is transitory. Possessions are not important.
Nien Cheng (Life and Death in Shanghai)
I've always said that you were too smart to have a profession. Smart people are hopeless in the face of anything actual. They are terrible cooks. They cannot dress themselves. They are children who need guidance and protecting.
Heidi Julavits (The Effect of Living Backwards)
Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want. MARGARET YOUNG
Julia Cameron (The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity)
When people really hate one another, the tension within them can sometimes make itself felt throughout a room, like atmospheric waves, first hot, then cold, wafted backwards and forwards as if in an invisible process of air conditioning, creating a pervasive physical disturbance.
Anthony Powell (The Valley of Bones (A Dance to the Music of Time, #7))
We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and we have to advance almost constantly under their fire. We have combined, by a freely adopted decision, for the purpose of fighting the enemy, and not of retreating into the neighbouring marsh, the inhabitants of which, from the very outset, have reproached us with having separated ourselves into an exclusive group and with having chosen the path of struggle instead of the path of conciliation. And now some among us begin to cry out: Let us go into the marsh! And when we begin to shame them, they retort: What backward people you are! Are you not ashamed to deny us the liberty to invite you to take a better road! Oh, yes, gentlemen! You are free not only to invite us, but to go yourselves wherever you will, even into the marsh. In fact, we think that the marsh is your proper place, and we are prepared to render you every assistance to get there. Only let go of our hands, don't clutch at us and don't besmirch the grand word freedom, for we too are "free" to go where we please, free to fight not only against the marsh, but also against those who are turning towards the marsh!
Vladimir Lenin (What Is to Be Done?)
Because that happened to me when I was little, this is how I will now treat other people"; "Because so and so beat me up and hurt me a long time ago, that gives me the right to treat people the way I treat them, today"; "Because life was hard on me, life should be hard on everyone else around me"— does this sound/ look familiar? It's called victim mentality. When people choose to be the direct product of everything that happened to them, the direct product of every single pair of hands that hurt them. And the world, to these people, must bend over backwards in order to accommodate their wounds. Some people don't want to be loved; they just want to make the world pay.
C. JoyBell C.
For the sake of “job creation,” in Kentucky, and in other backward states, we have lavished public money on corporations that come in and stay only so long as they can exploit people here more cheaply than elsewhere. The general purpose of the present economy is to exploit, not to foster or conserve. (from 'Compromise, Hell!' published in the November/December 2004 issue of ORION magazine)
Wendell Berry
I hope to god that you have faith in knowing the people around you will always love you like I do. That they will be there unconditionally for you, and that they would bend over backwards to see your happiness. no matter what past, present or future
s lane
It's never over. Not really. Not when you stay down there as long as I did, not when you've lived in the netherworld longer than you've lived in this material one, where things are very bright and large and make such strange noises. You never come back, not all the way. Always, there is an odd distance between you and the people you love and the people you meet, a barrier, thin as the glass of a mirror. You never come all the way out of the mirror; you stand, for the rest of your life, with one foot in this world and one in another, where everything is upside down and backward and sad. It is the distance of marred memory, of a twisted and shape-shifting past. When people talk about their childhood, their adolescence, their college days, I laugh along and try not to think: that was when I was throwing up in my elementary school bathroom, that was when I was sleeping with strangers to show off the sharp tips of my bones, that was when I lost sight of my soul and died. And it is the distance of the present, as well - the distance that lies between people in general because of the different lives we have lived. I don't know who I would be, now, if I had not lived the life I have, and so I cannot alter my need for distance - nor can I lessen the low and omnipresent pain that that distance creates. The entirety of my life is overshadowed by one singular and near-fatal obsession.
Marya Hornbacher (Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia)
All these years I thought a piece of my life was missing. But it was there all along. It was there when I sat beside you in your car and you began to drive. It was there when I sang backwards and you laughed or I made a picnic and you ate every crumb. It was there when you told me you liked my brown suit, when you opened the door for me, when you asked once if I would like to take the long road home. It came later in my garden. When I looked at the sun and saw it glow on my hands. When a rosebud appeared where there had not been one before. It was in the people who stopped and talked of this and that over the garden wall. And just when I thought my life was done, it came time and time again at the hospice. It has been everywhere, my happiness – when my mother sang for me to dance, when my father took my hand to keep me safe – but it was such a small, plain thing that I mistook it for something ordinary and failed to see. We expect our happiness to come with a sign and bells, but it doesn’t.
Rachel Joyce (The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy (Harold Fry, #2))
Every time our people take two steps forward, it seems that we take a step and a half backward. Things are changing for the better, but when you wear your difference on your face, when the color of your skin defines who you are to others, change doesn’t come easy…
Mark M. Bello (Betrayal In Black (Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, #4))
People want the world to be simple. But gender isn’t simple, much as some might want it to be. The fact that it’s complicated—that there’s a whole spectrum of ways of being in the world—is what makes it a blessing. Surely nature—or god, or the universe—is full of miracles and wild invention and things way beyond our understanding, no matter how hard we try. We aren’t here on earth in order to bend over backwards to resemble everybody else. We are here to be ourselves, in our gnarly brilliance”.
Jodi Picoult (Mad Honey)
Last night he spent an hour and a half lying on the floor of his room, because he was too tired to complete the journey from his en suite back to his bed. There was the en suite, behind him, and there was the bed, in front of him, both well within view, but somehow it was impossible to move either forward or backward, only downward, onto the floor, until his body was arranged motionless on the carpet. Well, here I am on the floor, he thought. Is life so much worse here than it would be on the bed, or even in a totally different location? No, life is exactly the same. Life is the thing you bring with you inside your own head. I might as well be lying here, breathing the vile dust of the carpet into my lungs, gradually feeling my right arm go numb under the weight of my body, because it’s essentially the same as every other possible experience.
Sally Rooney (Normal People)
He says you don't often find angels in places like happy homes and rich people's backyard parties. He says that angels flock to places like hospitals and homelss shelters and jails, because those people realize they need help. And do they are able to believe in strange phenomena. Funny how the world is backward. The really comfortable people don't always see much supernaturally, and to the ones who have to struggle, it's, like, breathing in their faces. The first are last... and the last are first.
Carol Plum-Ucci (What Happened to Lani Garver)
After you are here, I will try not to become one of those parents who brag incessantly about their children, who force them to recite the alphabet backward or sing the Lord's Prayer in German to horrified dinner guests. One of those parents who tell people who aren't interested and haven't askd what their progeny's grade-point average is, what school they go to, how handsome and brilliant and psychic they are. If something goes awry and I do become one of those parents, you have my permission to sneak into my bedroom while I am sleeping and pinch my nostrils shut.
Suzanne Finnamore (The Zygote Chronicles)
All across the multiverse there are backward tribes* who distrust mirrors and images because, they say, they steal a bit of a person's soul and there's only so much of a person to go around. And the people who wear more clothes say this is just superstition, despite the fact that other people who spend their lives appearing in images of one sort or another seem to develop a thin quality. It's put down to over-work and, tellingly, over-exposure instead. *Considered backward, that is, by people who wear more clothes than they do.
Terry Pratchett (Witches Abroad (Discworld, #12; Witches, #3))
If ever there was a bloke at the very mention of whose name it would be excusable for people to tremble like aspens, that bloke is Sir Roderick Glossop. He has an enormous bald head, all the hair which ought to be on it seeming to have run into his eyebrows, and his eyes go through you like a couple of Death Rays. "How are you, how are you, how are you?" I said, overcoming a slight desire to leap backwards out of the window.
P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves (Jeeves, #3))
That’s what I was thinking about before you came. I was thinking about your mattering business. I feel like, like, how you matter is defined by the things that matter to you. You matter as much as the things that matter to you do. And I got so backwards, trying to make myself matter to him. All this time, there were real things to care about: real, good people who care about me, and this place. It’s so easy to get stuck. You just get caught in being something, being special or cool or whatever, to the point where you don’t even know why you need it; you just think you do.” “You don’t even know why you need to be world-famous; you just think you do.
John Green (An Abundance of Katherines)
Over a billion people believe in Allah without truly knowing what Allah supposedly stands for or what he really demands of them. And the minority that do understand continue to be Moslems because they have redefined their morality and ethics to fit within the teachings of Islam, which are floridly lacking in morality. They therefore redefine what is good and evil in order to fit their lives into what is preached by Islam, instead of examining Islam to see if it fits within the good life. Backwards thinking, imposed by a backward religion.
Bertrand Russell
Trippers and askers surround me, People I meet, the effect upon me of my early life or the ward and city I live in, or the nation, The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors old and new, My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues, The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love, The sickness of one of my folks or of myself, or ill-doing or loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations, Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news, the fitful events; These come to me days and nights and go from me again, But they are not the Me myself. Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am, Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary, Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest, Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next, Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it. Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with linguists and contenders, I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait.
Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
It struck me that perhaps a lot of the people you see walking about are dead. We say that a man's dead when his heart stops and not before. It seems a bit arbitrary. After all, parts of your body don't stop working -hair goes on growing for years, for instance. Perhaps a man really dies when his brain stops, when he loses the power to take in a new idea. Old Porteous is like that. Wonderfully learned, wonderfully good taste - but he's not capable of change. Just says the same things and thinks the same thoughts over and over again. There are a lot of people like that. Dead minds, stopped inside. Just keep moving backwards and forwards on the same little track, getting fainter all the time, like ghosts.
George Orwell (Coming up for Air)
It struck me that such analyses had it backward. It’s the American public for whom the Iraq War is often no more real than a video game. Five years into this war, I am not always confident most Americans fully appreciate the caliber of the people fighting for them, the sacrifices they have made, and the sacrifices they continue to make. After the Vietnam War ended, the onus of shame largely fell on the veterans. This time around, if shame is to be had when the Iraq conflict ends - and all indications are there will be plenty of it - the veterans are the last people in America to deserve it. When it comes to apportioning shame my vote goes to the American people who sent them to war in a surge of emotion but quickly lost the will to either win it or end it. The young troops I profiled in Generation Kill, as well as the other men and women in uniform I’ve encountered in combat zones throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, are among the finest people of their generation. We misuse them at our own peril.
Evan Wright (Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War)
where there was nature and earth, life and water, I saw a desert landscape that was unending, resembling some sort of crater, so devoid of reason and light and spirit that the mind could not grasp it on any sort of conscious level and if you came close the mind would reel backward, unable to take it in. It was a vision so clear and real and vital to me that in its purity it was almost abstract. This was what I could understand, this was how I lived my life, what I contructed my movement around, how I dealt with the tangible. This was the geography around which my reality resolved: it did not occur to me, ever, that people were good or that a man was capable of change or that the world could be a better place through one’s taking pleasure in a feel or a look or a gesture, of receiving another person’s love or kindness. Nothing was affirmative, the term “generosity of spirit” applied to nothing, was a cliche, was some kind of bad joke.
Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho)
Ruth once told me when I went to visit her at HMP Highpoint that it is surprising how much of what you imagine to be your innate sense of self actually comes from things that aren't one's self at all: people's reactions to the blouse you wear, the respectfulness of your family, the attentiveness of your friends, their approval of the pictures in your living room, the neatness of your lawn, the way people whisper your name. It is these exhibitions of yourself, as reflected in the people whom you meet, which give you comfort and your identity. Take them away, be put in a tiny room, and called by a number, and you begin to vanish.
Alexander Masters (Stuart: A Life Backwards)
I had written short stories that were thought worthy of preservation! Was it the same insignificant I that I had always known? Any one walking along the streets might go into any bookshop, and say: 'Please give me Edith Wharton's book'; and the clerk, without bursting into incredulous laughter, would produce it, and be paid for it, and the purchaser would walk home with it and read it, and talk of it, and pass it on to other people to read!
Edith Wharton (A Backward Glance)
I think that we live in a very timid age, and a part of our timidity arises from our unwillingness to offend people. And as a result there are whole tribes of people now who define themselves by their offendedness. I mean, who are you if you are not offended by anything? You're kind of nobody or even worse, you are a liberal. And I just think that whole business defining yourself by anger is very problematic. And then the fact that we all kind of bend over backwards not to induce that anger becomes very often also a problem and a kind of cowardice, if you like. And I think we just need to live in a more robust society in which people say things that other people don't like and the answer to that is not to throw a bomb at them, but to say "I don't like that much" and then get on with the next business.
Salman Rushdie
People, he had said, were always being looked at as points, and they ought to be looked at as lines. There weren't any points, it was false to assume that a person ever was anything. He was always becoming something, always changing, always continuous and moving, like the wiggly line on a machine used to measure earthquake shocks. He was always what he was in the beginning, but never quite exactly what he was; he moved along a line dictated by his heritage and his environment, but he was subject to every sort of variation within the narrow limits of his capabilities. ... She shut her mind on that too. There was danger in looking at people as lines. The past spread backward and you saw things in perspective that you hadn't seen then, and that made the future ominous, more ominous than if you just looked at the point, at the moment. There might be truth in what Bruce said, but there was not much comfort.
Wallace Stegner (The Big Rock Candy Mountain)
There is a great deal to be said in favour of reading a novel backwards. The last page is as a rule the most interesting, and when one begins with the catastrophe or the dénouement one feels on pleasant terms of equality with the author. It is like going behind the scenes of a theatre. One is no longer taken in, and the hair-breadth escapes of the hero and the wild agonies of the heroine leave one absolutely unmoved. One knows the jealously guarded secret, and one can afford to smile at the quite unnecessary anxiety that the puppets of fiction always consider it their duty to display.
Oscar Wilde (Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast)
So this book is a sidewalk strewn with junk, trash which I throw over my shoulders as I travel in time back to November eleventh, nineteen hundred and twenty-two. I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Breakfast of Champions)
The old adage that people only want what they can’t have or what they can’t tame— is totally primitive. A being of higher origins will know instinctively that life on earth is a series of chances, moments and concepts. That’s really all that you have. So when you find one of these things and it makes you burn, or it makes you feel peace inside, or it makes you look forwards and backwards and here all at the same time— that’s when you know to hold onto it. And you hold onto it with every fiber of your being. Because it’s in the holding on of these chances and moments and concepts that life is lived. Every other kind of living is only in vitro. I don’t care what psychologists say today about how the human mind works. Because one day they will reach this pinnacle and they will see what I see and they will look upon the old ways as primitive. As long and gone. We do not wish to have what we can’t have. We wish to burn in whatever flame we have stepped into.
C. JoyBell C.
Billy looked at the clock on the gas stove. He had an hour to kill before the saucer came. He went into the living room, swinging the bottle like a dinner bell, turned on the television. He came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this: American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation. The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new. When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground., to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again. The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby, Billy Pilgrim supposed. That wasn't in the movie. Billy was extrapolating. Everybody turned into a baby, and all humanity, without exception, conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve, he supposed.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
I love you, and it's driving me crazy to see you so upset. I want to fix it, and I know I can't. But what I want to do is rewrite this whole world so you can fix it. I want to come up with a story that all the world will choose to celebrate, and in it, the people we love will never get sick, and the people we love will never be sad for long, and there would be unlimited frozen hot chocolate. Maybe if it were up to me I wouldn't have the whole world collectively believe in Santa Claus, but I would definitely have them collectively believe in something, because there is a messed-up kind of beauty in the way we can bend over backward to make life seem magical when we want to. In other words, after giving it some thought , I think that reality has the distinct potential to complete suck, and the way to get around that is to step out of reality with someone you completely, unadulteratedly enjoy. In my life, that's you. And if it takes dressing up like Santa to get that across to you, then so be it.
David Levithan (The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily (Dash & Lily, #2))
Jim waited for us at the Gold Gate. His teeth were bared. “What happened to barely winning?” “You said sloppy! Look, I didn’t even use my sword; I hit him with my head like a moron.” “A man with a sword attacked you and you disarmed him and knocked him out cold in under two seconds.” He turned to Curran. The Beast Lord shrugged. “It’s not my fault that he didn’t know how to fall.” Jim’s gaze slid from Curran to Dali. “What the hell was that?” “Crimson Jaws of Death.” “And were you planning on letting me know that you can turn people’s elbows backwards?” “I told you I did curses.” “You said they don’t work!” “I said they don’t always work. This one worked apparently.” Dali wrinkled her forehead. “It’s not like I ever get to use them against live opponents anyway. It was an accident.” Jim looked at us. The clipboard snapped in his hands. He turned around and very deliberately walked away. “I think we hurt his feelings.” Dali looked at his retreating back, sighed, and went after him. Curran looked at me. “What the hell was I supposed to do, catch the werebison as he was falling?
Ilona Andrews (Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3))
Are you super strong? Can you be hurt?" "Of course I can," replied Dimitri. "I'm strong, but all sorts of things can still hurt me." And then being Rose Hathaway, I said something I really shouldn't have to the boy. "You should go punch him and find out." Jonathan's mother screamed again, but he was a fast little bastard, eluding her grasp. He ran up to Dimitri before anyone could stop him-well, I could have-and pounded his tiny fist against Dimitri's knee. Then, which the same reflexes that allowed him to dodge enemy attacks, Dimitri immediately feinted falling backward, as though Jonathan had knocked him over. Clutching his knee, Dimitri groaned as though he were in terrible pain. Several people laughed, and by then, one of the other guardians had caught hold of Jonathan and returned him to his near-hysterical mother. As he was being dragged away, Jonathan glanced over his shoulder at Dimitri. "He doesn't seem very strong to me. I don't think he's a Strigoi.
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
I like to say that although we're called the Moving On Circle, none of us move on without a backward look. We move on always carrying with us those we have lost. What we aim to do in our little group is ensure that carrying them is not a burden, something that feels impossible to bear, a weight keeping us stuck in the same place. We want their presence to feel like a gift. And what we learn through sharing our memories and our sadness and our little victories with one another is thta it's okay to feel sad. Or lost. Or angry. It's okay to feel a whole host of things that other people might not understand, and often for a long time. Everyone has his or her own journey. We don't judge. ... And that as impossible as it may feel at first, we will each get to a point where we can rejoice in the fact that every person we have discussed and mourned and grieved over was here, walking among us, and whether they were taken after six months or sixty years, we were lucky to have them.
Jojo Moyes (After You (Me Before You, #2))
Swearing on the Bible, you understand that shit? They tell you to raise your right hand and put your left hand on the Bible. Does this stuff really matter, which hand? Does God really give a fuck about details like this? Suppose you put your right hand on the Bible and you raise your left hand. Would that count? Or would God say, 'Sorry, wrong hand, try again'? And why does one hand have to be raised? [...] But let's get back to the Bible, America's favorite national theatrical prop. Suppose the Bible they hand you to swear on is upside down, or backward, or both, and you swear to tell the truth on an upside-down backward Bible. Would that count? Suppose the Bible they hand you is an old Bible and half the pages are missing. Suppose all they have is a Chinese Bible. In an American court. Or a Braille Bible, and you're not blind. Suppose they hand you an upside-down, backward, Chinese, Braille Bible with half the pages missing. At what point does all of this stuff just break down and become just a lot of stupid shit that somebody made up? They fuckin' made it up, folks, it's make-believe! It's make-believe [...] Bible or no Bible, God or no God, if it suits their purposes, people are going to lie in court.
George Carlin
It is now established by verifiable evidence that religion stultifies the brain and is the great obstacle in the path of intellectual progress. The more religious a person is, the more he is steeped in ignorance and superstition, the less is his sense of moral responsibility. The more intelligent a person, the less religious he is. There is an old saying that 'where there are three scientists, there are two atheists.' The countries whose governments are dominated by religion and religious institutions are the most backward. By the same token, the countries whose people are the most enlightened, and whose governments are based upon the principle of secularism—the separation of church and state—are the most progressive. And let me tell you: When man is intellectually free, the progress he will make is beyond calculation.
Joseph Lewis (An Atheist Manifesto)
indeed it can be argued that the major component in European culture is precisely what made that culture hegemonic both in and outside Europe: the idea of European identity as a superior one in comparison with all the non-European peoples and cultures. There is in addition the hegemony of European ideas about the Orient, themselves reiterating European superiority over Oriental backwardness, usually overriding the possibility that a more independent, or more skeptical, thinker might have had different views on the matter. In a quite constant way, Orientalism depends for its strategy on this flexible positional superiority, which puts the Westerner in a whole series of possible relationships with the Orient without ever losing him the relative upper hand.
Edward W. Said (Orientalism)
I'm stuck on this planet with you. And honestly, I'm glad. I've been exposed to a lot of awful people in the last few months, but I've met so many more that are amazing, thoughtful, generous, and kind. I honestly believe that is the human condition. And if the Carls are testing us, this final test is the hardest to accomplish. If you pay attention, there is only one story that makes sense, and that is one in which humanity works together more and more since we took over this planet. Yeah, we fuck it up all the time, yeah, there have been some massive steps backward, but look at us! We are one species now more than we have ever been. People fight against that, and they probably always will, but could there be any time in history when what Carl is asking would be more possible?
Hank Green (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (The Carls, #1))
True, hundreds of millions may nevertheless go on believing in Islam, Christianity or Hinduism. But numbers alone don’t count for much in history. History is often shaped by small groups of forward-looking innovators rather than by the backward-looking masses. Ten thousand years ago most people were hunter-gatherers and only a few pioneers in the Middle East were farmers. Yet the future belonged to the farmers. In 1850 more than 90 per cent of humans were peasants, and in the small villages along the Ganges, the Nile and the Yangtze nobody knew anything about steam engines, railroads or telegraph lines. Yet the fate of those peasants had already been sealed in Manchester and Birmingham by the handful of engineers, politicians and financiers who spearheaded the Industrial Revolution. Steam engines, railroads and telegraphs transformed the production of food, textiles, vehicles and weapons, giving industrial powers a decisive edge over traditional agricultural societies.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
Can you read this word, Peter?' ...'It says GOD.' 'Yes, that's right. Now write it backward and see what you find.' ...'DOG! Mamma! It says DOG!' 'Yes. It says dog.' The sadness in her voice quenched Peter's excitement at once. His mother pointed from GOD to DOG. 'These are the two natures of man,' she said. 'Never forget them... Our preachers say that our natures are partly of God and partly of Old Man Splitfoot... But there are few devils outside of made-up stories, Pete -- most bad people are more like dogs than devils. Dogs are friendly and stupid, and that's the way most men and women are when they are drunk. When dogs are excited and confused, they may bite; when men are excited and confused, they may fight. Dogs are great pets because they are loyal, but if a pet is all a man is, he is a bad man, I think. Dogs can be brave, but they may also be cowards that will howl in the dark or run away with their tails between their legs. A dog is just as eager to lick the hand of a bad master as he is to lick the hand of a good one, because dogs don't know the difference between good and bad.
Stephen King (The Eyes of the Dragon)
...where there was nature and earth, life and water, I saw a desert landscape that was unending, resembling some sort of crater, so devoid of reason and light and spirit that the mind could not grasp it on any sort of conscious level and if you came close the mind would reel backward, unable to take it in. It was a vision so clear and real and vital to me that in its purity it was almost abstract. This was what I could understand, this was how I lived my life, what I constructed my movement around, how I dealt with the tangible. This was the geography around which my reality revolved: it did not occur to me, ever, that people were good or that a man was capable of change or that the world could be a better place through one's taking pleasure in a feeling or a look or a gesture, of receiving another person's love or kindness. Nothing was affirmative, the term "generosity of spirit" applied to nothing, was a cliche, was some kind of bad joke. Sex is mathematics. Individuality no longer an issue. What does intelligence signify? Define reason. Desire - meaningless. Intellect is not a cure. Justice is dead. Fear, recrimination, innocence, sympathy, guilt, waste, failure, grief, were things, emotions, that no one really felt anymore. Reflection is useless, the world is senseless. Evil is its only permanence. God is not alive. Love cannot be trusted. Surface, surface, surface was all that anyone found meaning in... this was civilization as I saw it, colossal and jagged...
Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho)
We take it for granted that life moves forward. You build memories; you build momentum.You move as a rower moves: facing backwards. You can see where you've been, but not where you’re going. And your boat is steered by a younger version of you. It's hard not to wonder what life would be like facing the other way. Avenoir. You'd see your memories approaching for years, and watch as they slowly become real. You’d know which friendships will last, which days are important, and prepare for upcoming mistakes. You'd go to school, and learn to forget. One by one you'd patch things up with old friends, enjoying one last conversation before you meet and go your separate ways. And then your life would expand into epic drama. The colors would get sharper, the world would feel bigger. You'd become nothing other than yourself, reveling in your own weirdness. You'd fall out of old habits until you could picture yourself becoming almost anything. Your family would drift slowly together, finding each other again. You wouldn't have to wonder how much time you had left with people, or how their lives would turn out. You'd know from the start which week was the happiest you’ll ever be, so you could relive it again and again. You'd remember what home feels like, and decide to move there for good. You'd grow smaller as the years pass, as if trying to give away everything you had before leaving. You'd try everything one last time, until it all felt new again. And then the world would finally earn your trust, until you’d think nothing of jumping freely into things, into the arms of other people. You'd start to notice that each summer feels longer than the last. Until you reach the long coasting retirement of childhood. You'd become generous, and give everything back. Pretty soon you’d run out of things to give, things to say, things to see. By then you'll have found someone perfect; and she'll become your world. And you will have left this world just as you found it. Nothing left to remember, nothing left to regret, with your whole life laid out in front of you, and your whole life left behind.
Sébastien Japrisot
Bellatrix was still fighting too, fifty yards away from Voldemort, and like her master she dueled three at once: Hermione, Ginny, and Luna, all battling their hardest, but Bellatrix was equal to them, and Harry’s attention was diverted as a Killing Curse shot so close to Ginny that she missed death by an inch — He changed course, running at Bellatrix rather than Voldemort, but before he had gone a few steps he was knocked sideways. “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” Mrs. Weasley threw off her cloak as she ran, freeing her arms. Bellatrix spun on the spot, roaring with laughter at the sight of her new challenger. “OUT OF MY WAY!” shouted Mrs. Weasley to the three girls, and with a swipe of her wand she began to duel. Harry watched with terror and elation as Molly Weasley’s wand slashed and twirled, and Bellatrix Lestrange’s smile faltered and became a snarl. Jets of light flew from both wands, the floor around the witches’ feet became hot and cracked; both women were fighting to kill. “No!” Mrs. Weasley cried as a few students ran forward, trying to come to her aid. “Get back! Get back! She is mine!” Hundreds of people now lined the walls, watching the two fights, Voldemort and his three opponents, Bellatrix and Molly, and Harry stood, invisible, torn between both, wanting to attack and yet to protect, unable to be sure that he would not hit the innocent. “What will happen to your children when I’ve killed you?” taunted Bellatrix, as mad as her master, capering as Molly’s curses danced around her. “When Mummy’s gone the same way as Freddie?” “You — will — never — touch — our — children — again!” screamed Mrs. Weasley. Bellatrix laughed, the same exhilarated laugh her cousin Sirius had given as he toppled backward through the veil, and suddenly Harry knew what was going to happen before it did. Molly’s curse soared beneath Bellatrix’s outstretched arm and hit her squarely in the chest, directly over her heart. Bellatrix’s gloating smile froze, her eyes seemed to bulge: For the tiniest space of time she knew what had happened, and then she toppled, and the watching crowd roared, and Voldemort screamed.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
Perhaps there are events and things that work as a doorway into a mythical world, the world of first people, all the way back to the creation of the universe and the small quickenings of earth, the first stirrings of human beings at the beginnings of time. Our elders believe this to be so, that it is possible to wind a way backwards to the start of things, and in doing so find a form of sacred reason, different from ordinary reason, that is linked to forces of nature. In this kind of mind, like in the feather, is the power of sky and thunder and sun, and many have had alliances and partnerships with it, a way of thought older than measured time, less primitive than the rational present. Others have tried for centuries to understand the world by science and intellect but have not yet done so, not yet understood animals, finite earth, or even their own minds and behavior. The more they seek to learn the world, the closer they come to the spiritual, the magical origins of creation. There is a still place, a gap between the worlds, spoken by the tribal knowings of thousands of years. In it are silent flyings that stand aside from human struggles and the designs of our own makings. At times, when we are silent enough, still enough, we take a step into such mystery, the place of spirit, and mystery, we must remember, by its very nature does not wish to be known.
Linda Hogan (Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World)
I have to go," I said, resting my head against Archer's chest. It occurred to me that my cheek was probably right over his tattoo. Without thinking, I lifted my face and tugged at the neckline of his T-shirt. This time, the stark black-and-gold mark wasn't hidden. No need for that spell anymore, I guess. Still, I covered it with my palm. Archer's hands clutched reflexively on my waist. Our eyes met. "It doesn't burn this time," I whispered. His breathing was ragged. "Beg to differ, Mercer." Magic was rushing through me, and when Archer covered my hand with his own, there was a little blue spark. Slowly, he moved my hand off his chest, then gripped both my shoulders. I thought he was going to kiss me again-and with the way we were feeling, there was a chance we might set the whole mill on fire-but instead, he gingerly pushed me away. "Okay," he said, closing his eyes. "If you don't go now, we're...You should go now." Once we were several feet apart, he lust-fog cleared a little. "We still have no idea what we're going to go." Archer opened his eyes and took a couple of steps backward. "Right now, you're going to go back to Thorne and check in with your dad. I'm going to go back to my people and do the same. Then tomorrow night, we'll meet here. You'll stand over there"-he pointed at a corner-"and I'll stand over there"-the complete opposite corner-"and there will be no physical contact until we've figured something out. Deal?" I smiled,even as I shoved my hands in my pockets to keep from grabbing him again. "Deal.Midnight?" "Perfect.So." That grin again. "See ya, Mercer." Happiness flooded through me as warm and bright as sunlight. "See ya, Cross.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
Do you even feel anything, Chad? Will you for once stop walking around, all in control and f'ing calm? Do you have any idea what you all have done. I lost everything, Chad. Everything, when Kyle died. I lost myself. I had finally begun to build a new life with new friends. With people I thought cared about me. I have started to be just a little bit happy again. Was it too much to ask? Did I ask for too much by just wanting to have a little bit of a life again? Now, it’s all screwed up again and you walk around here like you don’t feel anything about what’s happened.” Chad spun around, and for only the second time since she’d known him, she saw the flash of anger so fierce her breath caught in her throat and she took an involuntary step back, away from him. Jennie knew Chad would never hurt her on purpose, but the anger rolling off of him was palpable. It seemed to force her backwards as if it had a life of its own, a power of its own. “Not feel anything, Jennie? Are you f'ing kidding me? I walk around here every day and I ache every f'ing minute I’m with you. I’m so twisted up with loving you and hating you, I can’t breathe. I can’t keep my hands off you, but I can’t let myself kiss you because I might lose myself in you. I can’t make love to you because I’m afraid you’ll pretend I’m him. I know you want his arms around you, not mine. I know you want it to be his baby inside you, not mine. And I know you can’t love me back, no matter what I do, because you’re still so in love with your husband, you can’t even begin to see me.” Chad didn’t stop and Jennie didn’t try to stop him. “And every day, I have to sit here and wonder how I’ll be a part of my baby’s life. I wonder if you’ll let me be in the delivery room, if you’ll let me help you name the baby. I wonder how much money I’d have to offer the people who live across the street from you to get them to sell me their house, just so I can see my child grow up. If you’ll let me...” Chad stopped as if he’d run out of steam. They stood in uneasy silence for a long time before Chad spoke again. He sounded worn out and bitter and angry, mirroring Jennie’s chaos of emotions. “Am I feeling anything? Yeah. I’m feeling some f'ing sh**, Jen.
Lori Ryan (Negotiation Tactics (Sutton Capital #3))
Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly: "I seek God! I seek God!"—As there were many people standing about who did not believe in God, he caused a great deal of amusement. Why! is he lost? said one. Has he strayed away like a child? said another. Or does he keep himself hidden? Is he afraid of us? Has he taken a sea-voyage? Has he emigrated?—the people cried out laughingly, all in a hubbub. The insane man jumped into their midst and transfixed them with his glances. "Where is God gone?" he called out. "I mean to tell you! We have killed him,—you and I! We are all his murderers! But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? Away from all suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Back-wards, sideways, forewards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray, as through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker? Shall we not have to light lanterns in the morning? Do we not hear the noise of the grave-diggers who are burying God? Do we not smell the divine putrefaction?—for even Gods putrefy! God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we console ourselves, the most murderous of all murderers? The holiest and the mightiest that the world has hitherto possessed, has bled to death under our knife,—who will wipe the blood from us? With what water could we cleanse ourselves? What lustrums, what sacred games shall we have to devise? Is not the magnitude of this deed too great for us? Shall we not ourselves have to become Gods, merely to seem worthy of it? There never was a greater event,—and on account of it, all who are born after us belong to a higher history than any history hitherto!"—Here the madman was silent and looked again at his hearers; they also were silent and looked at him in surprise. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, so that it broke in pieces and was extinguished. "I come too early," he then said, "I am not yet at the right time. This prodigious event is still on its way, and is travelling,—it has not yet reached men's ears. Lightning and thunder need time, the light of the stars needs time, deeds need time, even after they are done, to be seen and heard. This deed is as yet further from them than the furthest star,—and yet they have done it!"—It is further stated that the madman made his way into different churches on the same day, and there intoned his Requiem æternam deo. When led out and called to account, he always gave the reply: "What are these churches now, if they are not the tombs and monuments of God?
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs)
Thank you," he said. "Welcome. Welcome especially to Mr. Coyle Mathis and the other men and women of Forster Hollow who are going to be employed at this rather strikingly energy-inefficient plant. It's a long way from Forster Hollow, isn't it?" "So, yes, welcome," he said. "Welcome to the middle class! That's what I want to say. Although, quickly, before I go any further, I also want to say to Mr. Mathis here in the front row: I know you don't like me. And I don't like you. But, you know, back when you were refusing to have anything to do with us, I respected that. I didn't like it, but I had respect for your position. For your independence. You see, because I actually came from a place a little bit like Forster Hollow myself, before I joined the middle class. And, now you're middle-class, too, and I want to welcome you all, because it's a wonderful thing, our American middle class. It's the mainstay of economies all around the globe!" "And now that you've got these jobs at this body-armor plant," he continued, "You're going to be able to participate in those economies. You, too, can help denude every last scrap of native habitat in Asia, Africa, and South America! You, too, can buy six-foot-wide plasma TV screens that consume unbelievable amounts of energy, even when they're not turned on! But that's OK, because that's why we threw you out of your homes in the first places, so we could strip-mine your ancestral hills and feed the coal-fired generators that are the number-one cause of global warming and other excellent things like acid rain. It's a perfect world, isn't it? It's a perfect system, because as long as you've got your six-foot-wide plasma TV, and the electricity to run it, you don't have to think about any of the ugly consequences. You can watch Survivor: Indonesia till there's no more Indonesia!" "Just quickly, here," he continued, "because I want to keep my remarks brief. Just a few more remarks about this perfect world. I want to mention those big new eight-miles-per-gallon vehicles you're going to be able to buy and drive as much as you want, now that you've joined me as a member of the middle class. The reason this country needs so much body armor is that certain people in certain parts of the world don't want us stealing all their oil to run your vehicles. And so the more you drive your vehicles, the more secure your jobs at this body-armor plant are going to be! Isn't that perfect?" "Just a couple more things!" Walter cried, wresting the mike from its holder and dancing away with it. "I want to welcome you all to working for one of the most corrupt and savage corporations in the world! Do you hear me? LBI doesn't give a shit about your sons and daughters bleeding in Iraq, as long as they get their thousand-percent profit! I know this for a fact! I have the facts to prove it! That's part of the perfect middle-class world you're joining! Now that you're working for LBI, you can finally make enough money to keep your kids from joining the Army and dying in LBI's broken-down trucks and shoddy body armor!" The mike had gone dead, and Walter skittered backwards, away from the mob that was forming. "And MEANWHILE," he shouted, "WE ARE ADDING THIRTEEN MILLION HUMAN BEINGS TO THE POPULATION EVERY MONTH! THIRTEEN MILLION MORE PEOPLE TO KILL EACH OTHER IN COMPETITION OVER FINITE RESOURCES! AND WIPE OUT EVERY OTHER LIVING THING ALONG THE WAY! IT IS A PERFECT FUCKING WORLD AS LONG AS YOU DON'T COUNT EVERY OTHER SPECIES IN IT! WE ARE A CANCER ON THE PLANT! A CANCER ON THE PLANET!
Jonathan Franzen (Freedom)
We entered the cool cave of the practice space with all the long-haired, goateed boys stoned on clouds of pot and playing with power tools. I tossed my fluffy coat into the hollow of my bass drum and lay on the carpet with my worn newspaper. A shirtless boy came in and told us he had to cut the power for a minute, and I thought about being along in the cool black room with Joey. Let's go smoke, she said, and I grabbed the cigarettes off the amp. She started talking to me about Wonder Woman. I feel like something big is happening, but I don't know what to do about it. With The Straight Girl? I asked in the blankest voice possible. With everything. Back in the sun we walked to the edge of the parking lot where a black Impala convertible sat, rusted and rotting, looking like it just got dredged from a swamp. Rainwater pooling on the floor. We climbed up onto it and sat our butts backward on the edge of the windshield, feet stretched into the front seat. Before she even joined the band, I would think of her each time I passed the car, the little round medallions with the red and black racing flags affixed to the dash. On the rusting Chevy, Joey told me about her date the other night with a girl she used to like who she maybe liked again. How her heart was shut off and it felt pretty good. How she just wanted to play around with this girl and that girl and this girl and I smoked my cigarette and went Uh-Huh. The sun made me feel like a restless country girl even though I'd never been on a farm. I knew what I stood for, even if nobody else did. I knew the piece of me on the inside, truer than all the rest, that never comes out. Doesn't everyone have one? Some kind of grand inner princess waiting to toss her hair down, forever waiting at the tower window. Some jungle animal so noble and fierce you had to crawl on your belly through dangerous grasses to get a glimpse. I gave Joey my cigarette so I could unlace the ratty green laces of my boots, pull them off, tug the linty wool tights off my legs. I stretched them pale over the car, the hair springing like weeds and my big toenail looking cracked and ugly. I knew exactly who I was when the sun came back and the air turned warm. Joey climbed over the hood of the car, dusty black, and said Let's lie down, I love lying in the sun, but there wasn't any sun there. We moved across the street onto the shining white sidewalk and she stretched out, eyes closed. I smoked my cigarette, tossed it into the gutter and lay down beside her. She said she was sick of all the people who thought she felt too much, who wanted her to be calm and contained. Who? I asked. All the flowers, the superheroes. I thought about how she had kissed me the other night, quick and hard, before taking off on a date in her leather chaps, hankies flying, and I sat on the couch and cried at everything she didn't know about how much I liked her, and someone put an arm around me and said, You're feeling things, that's good. Yeah, I said to Joey on the sidewalk, I Feel Like I Could Calm Down Some. Awww, you're perfect. She flipped her hand over and touched my head. Listen, we're barely here at all, I wanted to tell her, rolling over, looking into her face, we're barely here at all and everything goes so fast can't you just kiss me? My eyes were shut and the cars sounded close when they passed. The sun was weak but it baked the grime on my skin and made it smell delicious. A little kid smell. We sat up to pop some candy into our mouths, and then Joey lay her head on my lap, spent from sugar and coffee. Her arm curled back around me and my fingers fell into her slippery hair. On the February sidewalk that felt like spring.
Michelle Tea
New Rule: Death isn’t always sad. This week, the Reverend Jerry Falwell died, and millions of Americans asked, “Why? Why, God? Why…didn’t you take Pat Robertson with him?” I don’t want to say Jerry was disliked by the gay community, but tonight in New York City, at exactly eight o’clock, Broadway theaters along the Great White Way turned their lights up for two minutes. I know you’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but I think we can make an exception, because speaking ill of the dead was kind of Jerry Falwell’s hobby. He’s the guy who said AIDS was God’s punishment for homosexuality and that 9/11 was brought on by pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, and the ACLU—or, as I like to call them, my studio audience. It was surreal watching people on the news praise Falwell, followed by a clip package of what he actually said—things like: "Homosexuals are part of a vile and satanic system that will be utterly annihilated." "If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being." "Feminists just need a man in the house." "There is no separation of church and state." And, of course, everyone’s favorite: "The purple Teletubby is gay." Jerry Falwell found out you could launder your hate through the cover of “God’s will”—he didn’t hate gays, God does. All Falwell’s power came from name-dropping God, and gay people should steal that trick. Don’t say you want something because it’s your right as a human being—say you want it because it’s your religion. Gay men have been going at things backward. Forget civil right, and just make gayness a religion. I mean, you’re kneeling anyway. And it’s easy to start a religion. Watch, I’ll do it for you. I had a vision last night. The Blessed Virgin Mary came to me—I don’t know how she got past the guards—and she told me it’s time to take the high ground from the Seventh-day Adventists and give it to the twenty-four-hour party people. And that what happens in the confessional stays in the confessional. Gay men, don’t say you’re life partners. Say you’re a nunnery of two. “We weren’t having sex,officer. I was performing a very private mass.Here in my car. I was letting my rod and my staff comfort him.” One can only hope that as Jerry Falwell now approaches the pearly gates, he is met there by God Himself, wearing a Fire Island muscle shirt and nut-hugger shorts, saying to Jerry in a mighty lisp, “I’m not talking to you.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)