Benefit Others Quotes

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Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.
Dalai Lama XIV
If I could believe in myself, why not give other improbabilities the benefit of the doubt?
David Sedaris (Holidays on Ice)
We are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them.
Anaïs Nin
The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.
Gordon B. Hinckley (Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes)
Success is... knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.
John C. Maxwell
There are other people on the Internet. It's awesome. You get all the benefits of 'other people' without the body odor and the eye contact.
Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl)
I don't pretend to be wise, but I am observing, and I see a great deal more than you'd imagine. I'm interested in other people's experiences and inconsistencies, and, though I can't explain, I remember and use them for my own benefit.
Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)
A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.
Andrew Carnegie
Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to others.
Gautama Buddha
In a world without love, this is what people are to each other: values, benefits, and liabilities, numbers and data. We weigh, we quantify, we measure, and the soul is ground to dust.
Lauren Oliver (Pandemonium (Delirium, #2))
It would hardly benefit me to hold anything back unnecessarily, when I know what I'm asking. For you to find a needle in--God, not even a haystack. A needle in a tower full of other needles.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2))
Morality was probably the invention of unattractive men. Whom else does it benefit really
Manu Joseph (The Illicit Happiness of Other People)
Do not waste what remains of your life in speculating about your neighbors, unless with a view to some mutual benefit. To wonder what so-and-so is doing and why, or what he is saying, or thinking, or scheming—in a word, anything that distracts you from fidelity to the ruler within you—means a loss of opportunity for some other task.
Marcus Aurelius
Throw a stick, and the servile dog wheezes and pants and stumbles to bring it to you. Do the same before a cat, and he will eye you with coolly polite and somewhat bored amusement. And just as inferior people prefer the inferior animal which scampers excitedly because someone else wants something, so do superior people respect the superior animal which lives its own life and knows that the puerile stick-throwings of alien bipeds are none of its business and beneath its notice. The dog barks and begs and tumbles to amuse you when you crack the whip. That pleases a meekness-loving peasant who relishes a stimulus to his self importance. The cat, on the other hand, charms you into playing for its benefit when it wishes to be amused; making you rush about the room with a paper on a string when it feels like exercise, but refusing all your attempts to make it play when it is not in the humour. That is personality and individuality and self-respect -- the calm mastery of a being whose life is its own and not yours -- and the superior person recognises and appreciates this because he too is a free soul whose position is assured, and whose only law is his own heritage and aesthetic sense.
H.P. Lovecraft
The way you treat people who are in no position to help you, further you, or benefit you reveals the true state of your heart.
Mandy Hale (The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass)
The great Sufi poet and philosopher Rumi once advised his students to write down the three things they most wanted in life. If any item on the list clashes with any other item, Rumi warned, you are destined for unhappiness. Better to live a life of single-pointed focus, he taught. But what about the benefits of living harmoniously among extremes? What if you could somehow create an expansive enough life that you could synchronize seemingly incongruous opposites into a worldview that excludes nothing?
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia)
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
Maya Angelou
Adversity, if for no other reason, is of benefit, since it is sure to bring a season of sober reflection. People see clearer at such times. Storms purify the atmosphere.
Henry Ward Beecher
But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.
Frédéric Bastiat (The Law)
Even those who do not, or cannot, avail themselves of a scientific education, choose to benefit from the technology that is made possible by the scientific education of others.
Richard Dawkins (A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love)
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97: Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine. Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you. Sing. Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss. Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself. Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements. Stretch. Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone. Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's. Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own. Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room. Read the directions, even if you don't follow them. Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out. Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth. But trust me on the sunscreen.
Mary Schmich (Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life)
I was sorry for her; I was amazed, disgusted at her heartless vanity; I wondered why so much beauty should be given to those who made so bad a use of it, and denied to some who would make it a benefit to both themselves and others. But, God knows best, I concluded. There are, I suppose, some men as vain, as selfish, and as heartless as she is, and, perhaps, such women may be useful to punish them.
Anne Brontë (Agnes Grey)
As I focus on diligent joy, I also keep remembering a simple idea my friend Darcey told me once -- that all the sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people. Not only in the big global Hitler-'n'-Stalin picture, but also on the smallest personal level. Even in my own life, I can see exactly where my episodes of unhappiness have brought suffering or distress or (at the very least) inconvenience to those around me. The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia)
Seek not to grow in knowledge chiefly for the sake of applause, and to enable you to dispute with others; but seek it for the benefit of your souls.
Jonathan Edwards
Boy bands are sent by God to aid women of all ages in their quest to avoid reality, but specifically to trick young women into believing that males think about topics other than sex.
Penny Reid (Friends Without Benefits (Knitting in the City, #2))
And why are you so firmly, so triumphantly, convinced that only the normal and the positive--in other words, only what is conducive to welfare--is for the advantage of man? Is not reason in error as regards advantage? Does not man, perhaps, love something besides well-being? Perhaps he is just as fond of suffering? Perhaps suffering is just as great a benefit to him as well-being? Man is sometimes extraordinarily, passionately, in love with suffering, and that is a fact.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was.
J.K. Rowling (Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination)
Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced.
J.K. Rowling (Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination)
You're not a book person, and now you're not an Internet person? What does that leave you?" Levi laughed. "Life. Work. Class. Other people." "Other people", Catch repeated, shaking her head and taking a sip. "There are other people on internet. It's awesome. You get all the benefits of 'other people' without the body odor and the eye contact.
Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl)
Half of the time, the Holy Ghost tries to warn us about certain people that come into our life. The other half of the time he tries to tell us that the sick feeling we get in a situation is not the other person’s fault, rather it is our own hang-ups. A life filled with bias, hatred, judgment, insecurity, fear, delusion and self-righteousness can cloud the soul of anyone you meet. Our job is never to assume,instead it is to listen, communicate, ask questions then ask more, until we know the true depth of someone’s spirit.
Shannon L. Alder
Times are difficult globally; awakening is no longer a luxury or an ideal. It's becoming critical. We don't need to add more depression, more discouragement, or more anger to what's already here. It's becoming essential that we learn how to relate sanely with difficult times. The earth seems to be beseeching us to connect with joy and discover our innermost essence. This is the best way that we can benefit others.
Pema Chödrön
Once upon a time, all children were homeschooled. They were not sent away from home each day to a place just for children but lived, learned, worked, and played in the real world, alongside adults and other children of all ages.
Rachel Gathercole (The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling)
Although once when we were talking after class, Herr Silverman told me that when someone rises up and holds himself to a higher standard, even when doing so benefits others, average people resent it, mostly because they’re not strong enough to do the same.
Matthew Quick (Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock)
Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other
Marvin J. Ashton
Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other. None of us need one more person bashing or pointing out where we have failed or fallen short. Most of us are already well aware of the areas in which we are weak. What each of us does need is family, friends, employers, and brothers and sisters who support us, who have the patience to teach us, who believe in us, and who believe we're trying to do the best we can, in spite of our weaknesses. What ever happened to giving each other the benefit of the doubt? What ever happened to hoping that another person would succeed or achieve? What ever happened to rooting for each other?
Marvin J. Ashton
One thing we should never forget is that the work of all the employees in a company depends on each other. What one does will affect another.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Civilized people must, I believe, satisfy the following criteria: 1) They respect human beings as individuals and are therefore always tolerant, gentle, courteous and amenable ... They do not create scenes over a hammer or a mislaid eraser; they do not make you feel they are conferring a great benefit on you when they live with you, and they don't make a scandal when they leave. (...) 2) They have compassion for other people besides beggars and cats. Their hearts suffer the pain of what is hidden to the naked eye. (...) 3) They respect other people's property, and therefore pay their debts. 4) They are not devious, and they fear lies as they fear fire. They don't tell lies even in the most trivial matters. To lie to someone is to insult them, and the liar is diminished in the eyes of the person he lies to. Civilized people don't put on airs; they behave in the street as they would at home, they don't show off to impress their juniors. (...) 5) They don't run themselves down in order to provoke the sympathy of others. They don't play on other people's heartstrings to be sighed over and cosseted ... that sort of thing is just cheap striving for effects, it's vulgar, old hat and false. (...) 6) They are not vain. They don't waste time with the fake jewellery of hobnobbing with celebrities, being permitted to shake the hand of a drunken [judicial orator], the exaggerated bonhomie of the first person they meet at the Salon, being the life and soul of the bar ... They regard prases like 'I am a representative of the Press!!' -- the sort of thing one only hears from [very minor journalists] -- as absurd. If they have done a brass farthing's work they don't pass it off as if it were 100 roubles' by swanking about with their portfolios, and they don't boast of being able to gain admission to places other people aren't allowed in (...) True talent always sits in the shade, mingles with the crowd, avoids the limelight ... As Krylov said, the empty barrel makes more noise than the full one. (...) 7) If they do possess talent, they value it ... They take pride in it ... they know they have a responsibility to exert a civilizing influence on [others] rather than aimlessly hanging out with them. And they are fastidious in their habits. (...) 8) They work at developing their aesthetic sensibility ... Civilized people don't simply obey their baser instincts ... they require mens sana in corpore sano. And so on. That's what civilized people are like ... Reading Pickwick and learning a speech from Faust by heart is not enough if your aim is to become a truly civilized person and not to sink below the level of your surroundings. [From a letter to Nikolay Chekhov, March 1886]
Anton Chekhov (A Life in Letters)
Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.
Ayn Rand
We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.
Dalai Lama XIV
If I could believe in myself, why not give other improbabilities the benefit of the doubt? I accepted the idea that an omniscient God had cast me in his own image and that he watched over me and guided me from one place to the next. The virgin birth, the resurrection, and the countless miracles -my heart expanded to encompass all the wonders and possibilities of the universe. A bell, though, that's fucked up.
David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)
It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people's lives simply by existing.
J.K. Rowling (Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination)
Be nice to people... maybe it'll be unappreciated, unreciprocated, or ignored, but spread the love anyway. We rise by lifting others.
Germany Kent
Being altruistic not only helps us to benefit others, but it is also the most satisfying way to live.
Matthieu Ricard (Why Meditate?: Working with Thoughts and Emotions)
1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. 2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation. 3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. 4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve. 5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing. 6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions. 7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you...
Benjamin Franklin (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin)
Some of the most unkind,judgmental people I've ever known go to church every Sunday and read the Bible. I don't know how some people are able to disassociate their own cruelty and shortcomings from their religious obligations and convictions, but many are able to do that.
Judith McNaught (Someone to Watch Over Me)
Through the reciprocation of energy, always, and every time, we will get exactly what we put out there to others. Like Karma, whatever we do will indefinitely come back to us in some way shape or form. When goodness is given, it is likely to returned. When you support someone, you will be supported. When you Love, you will be Loved. If you give someone your last dollar, someone will help you equally. This is the law of the universe. What selfless characteristics do you portray to benefit your reality? Expand.
Will Barnes (The Expansion of The Soul)
Every morning brings us news of the globe, and yet we are poor in noteworthy stories. This is because no event comes to us without being already shot through with explanation. In other words, by now almost nothing that happens benefits storytelling; almost everything benefits information. Actually, it is half the art of storytelling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it. . . . The most extraordinary things, marvelous things, are related with the greatest accuracy, but the psychological connection of the event is not forced on the reader. It is left up to him to interpret things the way he understands them, and thus the narrative achieves an amplitude that information lacks.
Walter Benjamin (Illuminations: Essays and Reflections)
Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress but they regard the things government does for others as socialism." [Address to National Press Club in Washington DC, as quoted in Freedom and Union (April 1952)]
Earl Warren
We are all woven together in the great web of humanity, and whatever we can do to benefit and uplift others will reflect in blessing upon ourselves.
Ellen G. White (Patriarchs And Prophets)
Because we are social animals, we not only lie for our own benefit, but we lie for the benefit of each other (Vrij, 2003, 3–11).
Joe Navarro (What Every Body is Saying: An FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People)
I'm going to ask you to remember the prostituted, the homeless, the battered, the raped, the tortured, the murdered, the raped-then-murdered, the murdered-then-raped; and I am going to ask you to remember the photographed, the ones that any or all of the above happened to and it was photographed and now the photographs are for sale in our free countries. I want you to think about those who have been hurt for the fun, the entertainment, the so-called speech of others; those who have been hurt for profit, for the financial benefit of pimps and entrepreneurs. I want you to remember the perpetrator and I am going to ask you to remember the victims: not just tonight but tomorrow and the next day. I want you to find a way to include them -- the perpetrators and the victims -- in what you do, how you think, how you act, what you care about, what your life means to you. Now, I know, in this room, some of you are the women I have been talking about. I know that. People around you may not. I am going to ask you to use every single thing you can remember about what was done to you -- how it was done, where, by whom, when, and, if you know -- why -- to begin to tear male dominance to pieces, to pull it apart, to vandalize it, to destabilize it, to mess it up, to get in its way, to fuck it up. I have to ask you to resist, not to comply, to destroy the power men have over women, to refuse to accept it, to abhor it and to do whatever is necessary despite its cost to you to change it.
Andrea Dworkin
In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. So we don’t. Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color “criminals” and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind. Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
A woman has to change her nature if she is to be a wife. She has to learn to curb her tongue, to suppress her desires, to moderate her thoughts and to spend her days putting another first. She has to put him first even when she longs to serve herself or her children. She has to put him first even if she longs to judge for herself. She has to put him first even when she knows best. To be a good wife is to be a woman with a will of iron that you yourself have forged into a bridle to curb your own abilities. To be a good wife is to enslave yourself to a lesser person. To be a good wife is to amputate your own power as surely as the parents of beggars hack off their children's feet for the greater benefit of the family.
Philippa Gregory (The Other Queen (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #15))
At the core, our motives are always self-serving, Kate. Altruism is a fog created by sly minds seeking to benefit from the energy and skill of others. Nothing more.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3))
And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.
J.K. Rowling (Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination)
Doormatitis: door-mat-i-tis noun; low self-worth. A learned behavior where the infected person allows others to walk all over them, blame them, treat them terribly, always giving the boundary crossers the benefit of the doubt. They make excuses for them, They will give in to guilt and intimidation and give the boundary crossers what they want again and again.
P.A. Speers (Type 1 Sociopath - When Difficult People Are More Than Just Difficult People)
We have the Noble Desire to help others and benefit the world, without expecting any return or recognition. What makes us great is not our knowledge, skill, money, or power. What makes us great is not our knowledge, skill, money, or power. What makes us truly great is this noble desire, this passion that transcends all separation, goes beyond one's limitations, and wants to hug others and embrace the whole world. This is not something that we need to learn, because we already have it. It just needs to be acknowledged and awakened.
Ilchi Lee (Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential)
One who swims with the tide and not the other side will benefit from the opportunity that flows.
Stephen Richards (Think Your way to Success: Let Your Dreams Run Free)
Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits in the classic formulation. Now, it's long been understood very well that a society that is based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist with whatever suffering and injustice it entails as long as it's possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited: that the world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite garbage-can. At this stage of history, either one of two things is possible: either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community-interests, guided by values of solidarity and sympathy and concern for others; or, alternatively, there will be no destiny for anyone to control. As long as some specialized class is in a position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole and, by now, that means the global community. The question is whether privileged elites should dominate mass-communication, and should use this power as they tell us they must, namely, to impose necessary illusions, manipulate and deceive the stupid majority, and remove them from the public arena. The question, in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured, they may well be essential to survival.
Noam Chomsky
Love is absorbing, related to affection but stronger, full of appreciation for—and delight in—the other person, marked by a desire always to please and benefit her or him, always to smooth the loved one’s way through the roughness of the days and to do everything possible to make her or him feel profoundly valued.
Dean Koontz (Innocence)
If you do something to benefit one person, that is an absolute gain, and its relative insignificance in the wider scheme is irrelevant. Benefit two people without concomitant harm to others - or a village, tribe, city, class, nation, society or civilisation - and the benefits are scalable, arithmetic. There is no excuse beyond fatalistic self-indulgence and sheer laziness for doing nothing.
Iain Banks (Transition)
Don't be indifferent about any random idea that occurs to you, because each and every idea is for a particular purpose. it may not be beneficial to you, but can be what others are craving for
Michael Bassey Johnson
Until you become yourself," Bloom avers, "what benefit can you be to others.
Harold Bloom
I dedicate the merit of the occasion to all beings. This gesture of universal friendship has been likened to a drop of fresh spring water. If we put it on a rock in the sunshine, it will soon evaporate. If we put it in the ocean, however, it will never be lost. Thus the wish is made that we not keep the teachings to ourselves but to use them to benefit others.
Pema Chödrön (The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times)
But recently I have learned from discussions with a variety of scientists and other non-philosophers (e.g., the scientists participating with me in the Sean Carroll workshop on the future of naturalism) that they lean the other way: free will, in their view, is obviously incompatible with naturalism, with determinism, and very likely incoherent against any background, so they cheerfully insist that of course they don't have free will, couldn’t have free will, but so what? It has nothing to do with morality or the meaning of life. Their advice to me at the symposium was simple: recast my pressing question as whether naturalism (materialism, determinism, science...) has any implications for what we may call moral competence. For instance, does neuroscience show that we cannot be responsible for our choices, cannot justifiably be praised or blamed, rewarded or punished? Abandon the term 'free will' to the libertarians and other incompatibilists, who can pursue their fantasies untroubled. Note that this is not a dismissal of the important issues; it’s a proposal about which camp gets to use, and define, the term. I am beginning to appreciate the benefits of discarding the term 'free will' altogether, but that course too involves a lot of heavy lifting, if one is to avoid being misunderstood.
Daniel C. Dennett (Consciousness Explained)
He had never looked forward to the wisdom and other vaunted benefits of old age. Would he be able to die young—and if possible free of all pain? A graceful death—as a richly patterned kimono, thrown carelessly across a polished table, slides unobtrusively down into the darkness of the floor beneath. A death marked by elegance.
Yukio Mishima (Spring Snow)
Stop entertaining two faced people. You know the ones who have split personalities and untrustworthy habits. Nine times out of ten if they telling you stuff about another person, they're going to tell your business to other people. If they say, "You know I heard........." More than likely it's in their character to share false information. Beware of your box, circle, square! Whatever you want to call it.
Amaka Imani Nkosazana (Sweet Destiny)
Is it too much to ask, to live in a world where our human gifts go toward the benefit of all? Where our daily activities contribute to the healing of the biosphere and the well-being of other people?
Charles Eisenstein (The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible)
Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced. They can think themselves into other peoples’ places. Of course, this is a power like my brand of fictional magic that is morally neutral. One might use such a power to manipulate or control, just as much as to understand or sympathize. And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or peer inside cages. They can close their hearts and minds to any suffering that does not touch them personally. They can refuse to know. I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think that they have any fewer nightmares than I do.
J.K. Rowling (Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination)
So many people think that they are not gifted because they don’t have an obvious talent that people can recognize because it doesn’t fall under the creative arts category—writing, dancing, music, acting, art or singing. Sadly, they let their real talents go undeveloped, while they chase after fame. I am grateful for the people with obscure unremarked talents because they make our lives easier---inventors, organizers, planners, peacemakers, communicators, activists, scientists, and so forth. However, there is one gift that trumps all other talents—being an excellent parent. If you can successfully raise a child in this day in age to have integrity then you have left a legacy that future generations will benefit from.
Shannon L. Alder
The person who desires to leave things better than he found them, who does more than his share, who is not attached to rewards, who is always seeking to benefit others, who knows he is cared for and rewarded by the Universe for his every effort, is able to act selflessly, without expectation of a reward or a return, without thought of advantage, and of him it is said, “He is better than the best,” and, of course, he is greatly rewarded.
Wu Wei (I Ching Wisdom: More Guidance from the Book of Answers, Volume Two)
Maybe we benefit from the providence of others more often than we know.
Elizabeth Enright (Gone-Away Lake)
I don't always understand other people's motives. I will repeat that for my own benefit, if you don't mind. I don't always understand other people's motives.
Elaine Dundy (The Dud Avocado)
.. it makes sense that introverts are uniquely good at leading intiative-takers. Because of their inclination to listen to others and lack of interest in dominating social situations, introverts are more likely to hear and implement suggestions. Having benefited from the talents of their followers, they are then likely to motivate them to be even more proactive. Introverted leaders create a virtious circle of proactivity.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridor down which I ventured at the age of 18, in search of something I could not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. That is an astonishing statement and yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people’s lives simply by existing.
J.K. Rowling (Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination)
My illusions about the world caused me to think that in order to benefit by my reading I ought to possess all the knowledge the book presupposed. I was very far indeed from imagining that often the author did not possess it himself, but had extracted it from other books, as and when he needed it. This foolish conviction forced me to stop every moment, and to rush incessantly from one book to another; sometimes before coming to the tenth page of the one I was trying to read I should, by this extravagant method, have had to run through whole libraries. Nevertheless I stuck to it so persistently that I wasted infinite time, and my head became so confused that I could hardly see or take in anything.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Confessions)
I always encourage them to practice in a way that will help them go back to their own tradition and get re-rooted. If they succeed at at becoming reintegrated, they will be an important instrument in transforming and renewing their tradition. ... When we respect our blood ancestors and our spiritual ancestors, we feel rooted. If we find ways to cherish and develop our spiritual heritage, we will avoid the kind of alienation that is destroying society, and we will become whole again. ... Learning to touch deeply the jewels of our own tradition will allow us to understand and appreciate the values of other traditions, and this will benefit everyone.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Living Buddha, Living Christ)
The Trump marriage veered furthest away from my concept of the union — and surprised me most as a student of American politics. Donald and Melania seem to inhabit separate realms and to come together when necessary, when one could not move forward without the other. The presidency was one instance in which they were forced into a joint undertaking. If my choice of language sounds businesslike, that’s because that’s how I’ve come to view the Trumps. Having learned more about each partner’s history, I believe they are two highly ambitious individuals who benefit from their partnership. It’s a transaction: he gains a beautiful woman on his arm, a solid-seeming marriage, a son, and a savvy adviser. She gains wealth and international cachet.
Anne Michaud (Why They Stay: Sex Scandals, Deals, and Hidden Agendas of Eight Political Wives)
The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia)
Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame and danger that their acts would otherwise involve… But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn’t belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish that law without delay - No legal plunder; this is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony and logic.
Frédéric Bastiat (The Law)
Power is to be used in the service of others and only secondarily, if at all, for the benefit of oneself.
Duane Elmer (Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility)
There seems a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it.
David Graeber
As you take a few minutes each day to quiet your mind, you will discover a nice benefit: your everyday, "ordinary" life will begin to seem far more extraordinary. Little things that previously went unnoticed will begin to please you. You'll be more easily satisfied, and happier all around. Rather than focusing on what's wrong with your life, you'll find yourself thinking about and more fully enjoying what's right with your life. The world won't change, but your perception of it will. You'll start to notice the little acts of kindness and caring from other people rather than the negativity and anger.
Jack Canfield
Algebra applies to the clouds, the radiance of the star benefits the rose--no thinker would dare to say that the perfume of the hawthorn is useless to the constellations. Who could ever calculate the path of a molecule? How do we know that the creations of worlds are not determined by falling grains of sand? Who can understand the reciprocal ebb and flow of the infinitely great and the infinitely small, the echoing of causes in the abyss of being and the avalanches of creation? A mite has value; the small is great, the great is small. All is balanced in necessity; frightening vision for the mind. There are marvelous relations between beings and things, in this inexhaustible whole, from sun to grub, there is no scorn, each needs the other. Light does not carry terrestrial perfumes into the azure depths without knowing what it does with them; night distributes the stellar essence to the sleeping plants. Every bird that flies has the thread of the infinite in its claw. Germination includes the hatching of a meteor and the tap of a swallow's beak breaking the egg, and it guides the birth of the earthworm, and the advent of Socrates. Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has a greater view? Choose. A bit of mold is a pleiad of flowers; a nebula is an anthill of stars. The same promiscuity, and still more wonderful, between the things of the intellect and material things. Elements and principles are mingled, combined, espoused, multiplied one by another, to the point that the material world, and the moral world are brought into the same light. Phenomena are perpetually folded back on themselves. In the vast cosmic changes, universal life comes and goes in unknown quantities, rolling everything up in the invisible mystery of the emanations, using everything, losing no dream from any single sleep, sowing a microscopic animal here, crumbling a star there, oscillating and gyrating, making a force of light, and an element of thought, disseminated and indivisible dissolving all, that geometric point, the self; reducing everything to the soul-atom; making everything blossom into God; entangling from the highest to the lowest, all activities in the obscurity of a dizzying mechanism, linking the flight of an insect to the movement of the earth, subordinating--who knows, if only by the identity of the law--the evolutions of the comet in the firmament to the circling of the protozoa in the drop of water. A machine made of mind. Enormous gearing, whose first motor is the gnat, and whose last is the zodiac.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct. I need to be loved by someone who chooses to love me, who sees in me something worth loving. That kind of love requires effort and discipline. It is the choice to expend energy in an effort to benefit the other person, knowing that if his or her life is enriched by your effort, you too will find a sense of satisfaction—the satisfaction of having genuinely
Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate)
Charity is today a 'political charity.'. . . it means the transformation of a society structured to benefit a few who appropriate to themselves the value of the work of others. This transformation ought to be directed toward a radical change in the foundation of society, that is, the private ownership of the means of production.
Gustavo Gutiérrez (A Theology of Liberation)
I have not only labored solely for the benefit of others (receiving for myself a miserable pittance), but have been forced to model my thoughts at the will of men whose imbecility was evident to all but themselves
Edgar Allan Poe
Being self-sufficient is not selfish; it is a need. Harming others or yourself is not selfish because it will never benefit the self; it is just stupid.
Elizabeth Cartwright
Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about. That’s why I always give people the benefit of the doubt; it’s one of my rules to live by.
Robin Roberts (Everybody's Got Something)
It's so easy to wish that we'd made an effort in the past, so that we'd happily be enjoying the benefit now, but when now is the time when that effort must be made, as it always is, that prospect is much less inviting.
Gretchen Rubin (Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life)
Young people, Lord. Do they still call it infatuation? That magic ax that chops away the world in one blow, leaving only the couple standing there trembling? Whatever they call it, it leaps over anything, takes the biggest chair, the largest slice, rules the ground wherever it walks, from a mansion to a swamp, and its selfishness is its beauty. Before I was reduced to singsong, I saw all kinds of mating. Most are two-night stands trying to last a season. Some, the riptide ones, claim exclusive right to the real name, even though everybody drowns in its wake. People with no imagination feed it with sex—the clown of love. They don’t know the real kinds, the better kinds, where losses are cut and everybody benefits. It takes a certain intelligence to love like that—softly, without props. But the world is such a showpiece, maybe that’s why folks try to outdo it, put everything they feel onstage just to prove they can think up things too: handsome scary things like fights to the death, adultery, setting sheets afire. They fail, of course. The world outdoes them every time. While they are busy showing off, digging other people’s graves, hanging themselves on a cross, running wild in the streets, cherries are quietly turning from greed to red, oysters are suffering pearls, and children are catching rain in their mouths expecting the drops to be cold but they’re not; they are warm and smell like pineapple before they get heavier and heavier, so heavy and fast they can’t be caught one at a time. Poor swimmers head for shore while strong ones wait for lightning’s silver veins. Bottle-green clouds sweep in, pushing the rain inland where palm trees pretend to be shocked by the wind. Women scatter shielding their hair and men bend low holding the women’s shoulders against their chests. I run too, finally. I say finally because I do like a good storm. I would be one of those people in the weather channel leaning into the wind while lawmen shout in megaphones: ‘Get moving!
Toni Morrison (Love)
When something needs to be done in the world to rectify the wrongs, if one is really concerned with benefiting others, one needs to be engaged, involved. This is action out of compassion.
Dalai Lama XIV
One the one hand, our economists treat human beings as rational actors making choices to maximize their own economic benefit. On the other hand, the same companies that hire those economists also pay for advertising campaigns that use the raw materials of myth and magic to encourage people to act against their own best interests, whether it's a matter of buying overpriced fizzy sugar water or the much more serious matter of continuing to support the unthinking pursuit of business as usual in the teeth of approaching disaster.
John Michael Greer (The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age)
In America, alas, beauty has become something you drive to, and nature an either/or proposition--either you ruthlessly subjugate it, as at Tocks Dam and a million other places, or you deify it, treat it as something holy and remote, a thing apart, as along the Appalachian Trail. Seldom would it occur to anyone on either side that people and nature could coexist to their mutual benefit--that, say, a more graceful bridge across the Delaware River might actually set off the grandeur around it, or that the AT might be more interesting and rewarding if it wasn't all wilderness, if from time to time it purposely took you past grazing cows and till fields.
Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)
The choice to do or say something for the other person's benefit, that would help make them a better person, something that would enrich their lives and make their lives more meaningful for them.
Gary Chapman
The main shift, you see, is from placing self at the center of our thoughts to putting others there. It is-what do you say?-a paradox that the more we can focus our thoughts on the well-being of others, the happier we become. The first one to benefit is oneself. I call this being wisely selfish.
David Michie (The Dalai Lama's Cat (The Dalai Lama's Cat, #1))
If you have only education and knowledge and a lack of the other side, then you may not be a happy person, but a person of mental unrest, of frustration. Not only that, but if you combine these two, your whole life will be a constructive and happy life. And certainly you can make immense benefit for society and the betterment of humanity. That is one of my fundamental beliefs: that a good heart, a warm heart, a compassionate heart, is still teachable.
Dalai Lama XIV
We call our country home of the brave and land of the free, but it's not. We give a false portrayal of freedom. We're not free — if we were, we'd allow people their freedom. Prohibiting something doesn't make it go away. Prostitution is criminal, and bad things happen because it's run illegally by dirt-bags who are criminals. If it's legal, then the girls could have health checks, unions, benefits, anything any other worker gets, and it would be far better.
Jesse Ventura
Too often white women decide that when they feel uncomfortable, upset, or threatened, they can turn to the patriarchy for protection. Because they don't want to lose that protection (dubious as it is), they stand by when it's convenient, and challenge it only when it directly threatens them. Yet, they know they benefit from it being challenged, and thus rely on others to do the heaviest lifting. They fail to recognize the conflicted relationship they have with the patriarchy includes a certain cowardice around challenging not only it, but other women who have embraced it.
Mikki Kendall (Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot)
From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.
Greg Lukianoff (The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure)
Most business relationships either become too tense to tolerate or not tense enough to be productive after a while. Either people challenge each other to the point where they don’t like each other or they become complacent about each other’s feedback and no longer benefit from the relationship.
Ben Horowitz (The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers)
The hardest part of letting go is the "uncertainty"--when you are afraid that the moment you let go of someone you will hate yourself when you find out how close you were to winning their affection. Every time you give yourself hope you steal away a part of your time, happiness and future. However, once in a while you wake up to this realization and you have to hold on tightly to this truth because your heart will tear away the foundation of your logic, by making excuses for why this person doesn't try as much as you. The truth is this: Real love is simple. We are the ones that make it complicated. A part of disconnecting is recognizing the difference between being desired and being valued. When someone loves you they will never keep you waiting, give their attention and affection away to others, allow you to continue hurting, or ignore what you have gone through for them. On the other hand, a person that desires you can't see your pain, only what they can get from you with minimal effort in return. They let you risk everything, while they guard their heart and reap the benefits of your feelings. We make so many excuses for the people we fall in love with and they make up even more to remain one foot in the door. However, the truth is God didn't create you to be treated as an option or to be disrespected repeatedly. He wants you to close the door. If someone loves you and wants to be in your life no obstacle will keep them from you. Remember, you are royalty, not a beggar.
Shannon L. Alder
My father will pay,' [Julian] says after a beat. 'I'm valuable to the movement.' I don't say anything. In a world without love, this is what people are to each other: values, benefits and liabilities, numbers and data. We weigh, we quantify, we measure, and the soul is ground to dust.
Lauren Oliver (Pandemonium (Delirium, #2))
Thank you, Dain," she said. "I should like that very much. I've never seen a proper wrestling match before." "I daresay it will be a novel experience all round," he said, gravely eyeing her up and down. "I can't wait to see Sherburne's face when I arrive with my lady wife in tow." "There, you see?" she said, unoffended. "I told you there were other benefits to having a wife. I can come in very handy when you wish to shock your friends.
Loretta Chase (Lord of Scoundrels (Scoundrels, #3))
We resonate with one another’s sorrows because we are interconnected. Being whole and simultaneously part of a larger whole, we can change the world simply by changing ourselves. If I become a center of love and kindness in this moment, then in a perhaps small but hardly insignificant way, the world now has a nucleus of love and kindness it lacked the moment before. This benefits me and it benefits others.
Jon Kabat-Zinn (Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life)
All the perks, all the benefits and advantages you may get for the rank or position you hold, they aren’t meant for you. They are meant for the role you fill. And when you leave your role, which eventually you will, they will give the ceramic cup to the person who replaces you. Because you only ever deserved a Styrofoam cup.
Simon Sinek (Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't)
There’s a side benefit to this. We get to learn about each other, get to know each other, all over again.” His voice dropped to a husky near whisper, and he leaned close and said next to my ear, “We get to fall in love all over again, for the second time. How cool is that?
Charles Sheehan-Miles (Just Remember to Breathe (Thompson Sisters, #3))
There's that "margin of error" that you allow to exist in your mind, you want to give everything the benefit of the doubt, you want to look at another person and say "maybe we could be friends" and that's all well at first, but then you have to reach that point in your life, wherein you don't have time to live on the margins of error, and you have to say, "so what if there is a margin of error that exists? I don't think that this person and I could walk down the same path together, because she's like that, and I'm like this; I must relieve myself of fearing the error, the 'what could have been'." You know, sometimes we can be so afraid of the "what could have been" that we overlook the right here and now! And end up forsaking who we are and what makes us happy, and what we want and don't want! There is an error that takes place; when living too much for the "what could have been." There comes a time when you must give YOURSELF the benefit of the doubt! Know thyself. Color-in those margins of error with your favorite color; make them your own, make them work for you, let them be in your favor!
C. JoyBell C.
With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed. The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.
Charles Darwin (The Descent of Man)
This is what I find most magnetic about successful givers: they get to the top without cutting others down, finding ways of expanding the pie that benefit themselves and the people around them. Whereas success is zero-sum in a group of takers, in groups of givers, it may be true that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Adam Grant (Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success)
Forgetfulness is not just a vis inertiae, as superficial people believe, but is rather an active ability to suppress, positive in the strongest sense of the word, to which we owe the fact that what we simply live through, experience, take in, no more enters our consciousness during digestion (one could call it spiritual ingestion) than does the thousand-fold process which takes place with our physical consumption of food, our so-called ingestion. To shut the doors and windows of consciousness for a while; not to be bothered by the noise and battle which our underworld of serviceable organs work with and against each other;a little peace, a little tabula rasa of consciousness to make room for something new, above all for the nobler functions and functionaries, for ruling, predicting, predetermining (our organism runs along oligarchic lines, you see) - that, as I said, is the benefit of active forgetfulness, like a doorkeeper or guardian of mental order, rest and etiquette: from which can immediately see how there could be no happiness, cheerfulness, hope, pride, immediacy, without forgetfulness.
Friedrich Nietzsche (On the Genealogy of Morals / Ecce Homo)
One of the biggest contradictions in self-proclaimed open-mindedness is to say that we're all one but when a true bigot comes around tell him we're all different. It's usually the case that neither side is correct. One might have the right to do something, anything, but sure enough, that doesn't mean it's right and a benefit to other people.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
Practice that’s spaced out, interleaved with other learning, and varied produces better mastery, longer retention, and more versatility. But these benefits come at a price: when practice is spaced, interleaved, and varied, it requires more effort. You feel the increased effort, but not the benefits the effort produces. Learning feels slower from this kind of practice, and you don’t get the rapid improvements and affirmations you’re accustomed to seeing from massed practice.
Peter C. Brown (Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning)
When cells are no longer needed, they die with what can only be called great dignity. They take down all the struts and buttresses that hold them together and quietly devour their component parts. The process is known as apoptosis or programmed cell death. Every day billions of your cells die for your benefit and billions of others clean up the mess. Cells can also die violently- for instance, when infected- but mostly they die because they are told to. Indeed, if not told to live- if not given some kind of active instruction from another cell- cells automatically kill themselves. Cells need a lot of reassurance. When, as occasionally happens, a cell fails to expire in the prescribed manner, but rather begins to divide and proliferate wildly, we call the result cancer. Cancer cells are really just confused cells. Cells make this mistake fairly regularly, but the body has elaborate mechanisms for dealing with it. It is only very rarely that the process spirals out of control. On average, humans suffer one fatal malignancy for each 100 million billion cell divisions. Cancer is bad luck in every possible sense of the term.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
If we neglect Scripture in order to read only other books, we not only cut ourselves from the divine umbilical cord that feeds our souls, we also cut ourselves from the truth that makes it possible for us to benefit from the truth, goodness, and beauty in the books that we read.
Tony Reinke (Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books)
Trust me. If you do not decide where you are heading, and refuse to take the appropriate action, you will end up being shaped into what others would have you become. Then any change will not be made for your benefit but for theirs.
Chris Murray (The Extremely Successful Salesman's Club)
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.   In
Smedley D. Butler (War Is A Racket!: And Other Essential Reading)
How To Tell If Somebody Loves You: Somebody loves you if they pick an eyelash off of your face or wet a napkin and apply it to your dirty skin. You didn’t ask for these things, but this person went ahead and did it anyway. They don’t want to see you looking like a fool with eyelashes and crumbs on your face. They notice these things. They really look at you and are the first to notice if something is amiss with your beautiful visage! Somebody loves you if they assume the role of caretaker when you’re sick. Unsure if someone really gives a shit about you? Fake a case of food poisoning and text them being like, “Oh, my God, so sick. Need water.” Depending on their response, you’ll know whether or not they REALLY love you. “That’s terrible. Feel better!” earns you a stay in friendship jail; “Do you need anything? I can come over and bring you get well remedies!” gets you a cozy friendship suite. It’s easy to care about someone when they don’t need you. It’s easy to love them when they’re healthy and don’t ask you for anything beyond change for the parking meter. Being sick is different. Being sick means asking someone to hold your hair back when you vomit. Either love me with vomit in my hair or don’t love me at all. Somebody loves you if they call you out on your bullshit. They’re not passive, they don’t just let you get away with murder. They know you well enough and care about you enough to ask you to chill out, to bust your balls, to tell you to stop. They aren’t passive observers in your life, they are in the trenches. They have an opinion about your decisions and the things you say and do. They want to be a part of it; they want to be a part of you. Somebody loves you if they don’t mind the quiet. They don’t mind running errands with you or cleaning your apartment while blasting some annoying music. There’s no pressure, no need to fill the silences. You know how with some of your friends there needs to be some sort of activity for you to hang out? You don’t feel comfortable just shooting the shit and watching bad reality TV with them. You need something that will keep the both of you busy to ensure there won’t be a void. That’s not love. That’s “Hey, babe! I like you okay. Do you wanna grab lunch? I think we have enough to talk about to fill two hours!" It’s a damn dream when you find someone you can do nothing with. Whether you’re skydiving together or sitting at home and doing different things, it’s always comfortable. That is fucking love. Somebody loves you if they want you to be happy, even if that involves something that doesn’t benefit them. They realize the things you need to do in order to be content and come to terms with the fact that it might not include them. Never underestimate the gift of understanding. When there are so many people who are selfish and equate relationships as something that only must make them happy, having someone around who can take their needs out of any given situation if they need to. Somebody loves you if they can order you food without having to be told what you want. Somebody loves you if they rub your back at any given moment. Somebody loves you if they give you oral sex without expecting anything back. Somebody loves you if they don’t care about your job or how much money you make. It’s a relationship where no one is selling something to the other. No one is the prostitute. Somebody loves you if they’ll watch a movie starring Kate Hudson because you really really want to see it. Somebody loves you if they’re able to create their own separate world with you, away from the internet and your job and family and friends. Just you and them. Somebody will always love you. If you don’t think this is true, then you’re not paying close enough attention.
Ryan O'Connell
A person is strong only when he stands upon his own truth, when he speaks and acts with his deepest convictions. Then, whatever the situation he may be in, he always knows what he must say and do. He may fall, but he cannot bring shame upon himself or his cause. If we seek the liberation of the people by means of a lie, we will surely grow confused, go astray, and loose sight of our objective, and if we have any influence at all on the people we will lead them astray as well—in other words, we will be acting in the spirit of reaction and to its benefit.
Mikhail Bakunin (Statism and Anarchy)
The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror. We think that we are generous because we credit our neighbor with the possession of those virtues that are likely to be a benefit to us.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Throughout my life, until this very moment, whatever virtue I have accomplished, including any benefit that may come from this book, I dedicate to the welfare of all beings. May the roots of suffering diminish. May warfare, violence, neglect, indifference, and addiction also decrease. May the wisdom and compassion of all beings increase, now and in the future. May we clearly see all the barriers we erect between ourselves and others to be as insubstantial as our dreams. May we appreciate the great perfection of all phenomena. May we continue to open our hearts and minds, in order to work ceaselessly for the benefit of all beings. May we go to the places that scare us. May we lead the life of a warrior.
Pema Chödrön (The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times)
The Bible reminds us that we shouldn’t “let any unwholesome talk come out of [our] mouths (or fly from our typing fingertips), but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” That’s from Ephesians 4:29,
Lysa TerKeurst (The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands)
No one can match America. We have big hearts—and the courage to do what’s right. But we’re not the world’s policemen. And if we have to take on that role, we need to send a clear message that protection comes at a price. If other countries benefit from our armed forces protecting them, those countries should cover the costs. Period.
Donald J. Trump (Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again)
Racism is the norm rather than an aberration. Feedback is key to our ability to recognize and repair our inevitable and often unaware collusion. In recognition of this, I try to follow these guidelines: 1.   How, where, and when you give me feedback is irrelevant—it is the feedback I want and need. Understanding that it is hard to give, I will take it any way I can get it. From my position of social, cultural, and institutional white power and privilege, I am perfectly safe and I can handle it. If I cannot handle it, it’s on me to build my racial stamina. 2. Thank you. The above guidelines rest on the understanding that there is no face to save and the game is up; I know that I have blind spots and unconscious investments in racism. My investments are reinforced every day in mainstream society. I did not set this system up, but it does unfairly benefit me, I do use it to my advantage, and I am responsible for interrupting it. I need to work hard to change my role in this system, but I can’t do it alone. This understanding leads me to gratitude when others help me.
Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism)
On a plaque attached to the NASA deep space probe we [human beings] are described in symbols for the benefit of any aliens who might meet the spacecraft as “bilaterly symmetrical, sexually differentiated bipeds, located on one of the outer spiral arms of the Milky Way, capable of recognising the prime numbers and moved by one extraordinary quality that lasts longer than all our other urges—curiosity.
David G. Wells
When it comes to social justice, the role of the white ally is not to be a savior or a fixer. Instead, the role of the ally is to find other white people and talk to make them see that many of the benefits they’ve enjoyed in life are direct results of the fact that someone else did not have the same benefits.
Jodi Picoult (Small Great Things)
It is the fate of great achievements, born from a way of life that sets truth before security, to be gobbled up by you and excreted in the form of shit. For centuries great, brave, lonely men have been telling you what to do. Time and again you have corrupted, diminished and demolished their teachings; time and again you have been captivated by their weakest points, taken not the great truth, but some trifling error as your guiding principal. This, little man, is what you have done with Christianity, with the doctrine of sovereign people, with socialism, with everything you touch. Why, you ask, do you do this? I don't believe you really want an answer. When you hear the truth you'll cry bloody murder, or commit it. … You had your choice between soaring to superhuman heights with Nietzsche and sinking into subhuman depths with Hitler. You shouted Heil! Heil! and chose the subhuman. You had the choice between Lenin's truly democratic constitution and Stalin's dictatorship. You chose Stalin's dictatorship. You had your choice between Freud's elucidation of the sexual core of your psychic disorders and his theory of cultural adaptation. You dropped the theory of sexuality and chose his theory of cultural adaptation, which left you hanging in mid-air. You had your choice between Jesus and his majestic simplicity and Paul with his celibacy for priests and life-long compulsory marriage for yourself. You chose the celibacy and compulsory marriage and forgot the simplicity of Jesus' mother, who bore her child for love and love alone. You had your choice between Marx's insight into the productivity of your living labor power, which alone creates the value of commodities and the idea of the state. You forgot the living energy of your labor and chose the idea of the state. In the French Revolution, you had your choice between the cruel Robespierre and the great Danton. You chose cruelty and sent greatness and goodness to the guillotine. In Germany you had your choice between Goring and Himmler on the one hand and Liebknecht, Landau, and Muhsam on the other. You made Himmler your police chief and murdered your great friends. You had your choice between Julius Streicher and Walter Rathenau. You murdered Rathenau. You had your choice between Lodge and Wilson. You murdered Wilson. You had your choice between the cruel Inquisition and Galileo's truth. You tortured and humiliated the great Galileo, from whose inventions you are still benefiting, and now, in the twentieth century, you have brought the methods of the Inquisition to a new flowering. … Every one of your acts of smallness and meanness throws light on the boundless wretchedness of the human animal. 'Why so tragic?' you ask. 'Do you feel responsible for all evil?' With remarks like that you condemn yourself. If, little man among millions, you were to shoulder the barest fraction of your responsibility, the world would be a very different place. Your great friends wouldn't perish, struck down by your smallness.
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
By acknowledging and accepting the ultimate commonality, we can naturally and voluntarily develop the attitude of compassion and benevolence toward other people, other life-forms, and all beings. We will want to live for the good of all because we know that's the way we benefit ourselves, too.
Ilchi Lee (Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential)
So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
J.K. Rowling (Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination)
What is to be done with the millions of facts that bear witness that men, consciously, that is fully understanding their real interests, have left them in the background and have rushed headlong on another path, to meet peril and danger, compelled to this course by nobody and by nothing, but, as it were, simply disliking the beaten track, and have obstinately, wilfully, struck out another difficult, absurd way, seeking it almost in the darkness. So, I suppose, this obstinacy and perversity were pleasanter to them than any advantage... The fact is, gentlemen, it seems there must really exist something that is dearer to almost every man than his greatest advantages, or (not to be illogical) there is a most advantageous advantage (the very one omitted of which we spoke just now) which is more important and more advantageous than all other advantages, for the sake of which a man if necessary is ready to act in opposition to all laws; that is, in opposition to reason, honour, peace, prosperity -- in fact, in opposition to all those excellent and useful things if only he can attain that fundamental, most advantageous advantage which is dearer to him than all. "Yes, but it's advantage all the same," you will retort. But excuse me, I'll make the point clear, and it is not a case of playing upon words. What matters is, that this advantage is remarkable from the very fact that it breaks down all our classifications, and continually shatters every system constructed by lovers of mankind for the benefit of mankind. In fact, it upsets everything... One's own free unfettered choice, one's own caprice, however wild it may be, one's own fancy worked up at times to frenzy -- is that very "most advantageous advantage" which we have overlooked, which comes under no classification and against which all systems and theories are continually being shattered to atoms. And how do these wiseacres know that man wants a normal, a virtuous choice? What has made them conceive that man must want a rationally advantageous choice? What man wants is simply independent choice, whatever that independence may cost and wherever it may lead. And choice, of course, the devil only knows what choice. Of course, this very stupid thing, this caprice of ours, may be in reality, gentlemen, more advantageous for us than anything else on earth, especially in certain cases… for in any circumstances it preserves for us what is most precious and most important -- that is, our personality, our individuality. Some, you see, maintain that this really is the most precious thing for mankind; choice can, of course, if it chooses, be in agreement with reason… It is profitable and sometimes even praiseworthy. But very often, and even most often, choice is utterly and stubbornly opposed to reason ... and ... and ... do you know that that, too, is profitable, sometimes even praiseworthy? I believe in it, I answer for it, for the whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key! …And this being so, can one help being tempted to rejoice that it has not yet come off, and that desire still depends on something we don't know? You will scream at me (that is, if you condescend to do so) that no one is touching my free will, that all they are concerned with is that my will should of itself, of its own free will, coincide with my own normal interests, with the laws of nature and arithmetic. Good heavens, gentlemen, what sort of free will is left when we come to tabulation and arithmetic, when it will all be a case of twice two make four? Twice two makes four without my will. As if free will meant that!
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
The names of virtues, with their precepts, were: 1. Temperance. Eat not do dullness; drink not to elevation. 2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation. 3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. 4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve. 5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing. 6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions. 7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly. 8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty. 9. Moderation. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve. 10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloths, or habitation. 11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable. 12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation. 13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Benjamin Franklin (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin)
Harry, life isn't simple. There is such a thing as black and white. Right and wrong. But when you're in the thick of things, sometimes it's hard for us to tell. You didn't do what you did for your own benefit. You did it so that you could protect others. That doesn't make it right - but it doesn't make you a monster, either. You still have free will. You still get to choose what you will do and what you will be and what you will become.
Jim Butcher (Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, #7))
Adults have the benefit of experience and know the trick will work as long as the technique is correct. When we “grow up” we gain this experience and knowledge, but we lose our innocence and sense of wonder. In other words, the price we pay for growing up is a permanent sense of loss.
Alberto Alvaro Ríos (The Iguana Killer: Twelve Stories Of The Heart)
Like most music that affects me deeply, I would never listen to it while others were around, just as I would not pass on a book that I especially loved to another. I am embarrassed to admit this, knowing that it reveals some essential lack or selfishness in my nature, and aware that it runs contrary to the instincts of most, whose passion for something leads them to want to share it, to ignite a similar passion in others, and that without the benefit of such enthusiasm I would still be ignorant of many of the books and much of the music I love most... But rather than an expansion, I've always felt a diminishment of my own pleasure when I've invited someone else to take part in it, a rupture in the intimacy I felt with the work, an invasion of privacy. It is worst when someone else picks up the copy of a book I've just been enthralled by and begins casually to thumb through the pages.
Nicole Krauss (Great House)
In life all must choose at times. Sometimes, two possibilities are good; neither is evil. Usually, however, one is of greater import than the other. When in doubt, each must choose that which concerns the good of others - the greater law - rather than that which chiefly benefits ourselves - the lesser law. The greater must be chosen whether it be law or thing. That was the choice made in Eden.
John A. Widtsoe
I don't view it as mystic. I believe that God is our father. He created us. He is powerful because he knows everything. Therefore everything I learn that is true makes me more like my father in heaven. When science seems to contradict religion, then one, the other, or both are wrong, or incomplete. Truth is not incompatible with itself. When I benefit from science it's actually not correct for me to say it resulted from science and not from God. They work in concert.
Clayton M. Christensen
The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror. We think that we are generous because we credit our neighbour with the possession of those virtues that are likely to be a benefit to us. We praise the banker that we may overdraw our account, and find good qualities in the highwayman in the hope that he may spare our pockets. I mean everything that I have said. I have the greatest contempt for optimism.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Besides justifying the transfer of wealth to kleptocrats, institutionalized religion brings two other important benefits to centralized societies. First, shared ideology or religion helps solve the problem of how unrelated individuals are to live together without killing each other—by providing them with a bond not based on kinship. Second, it gives people a motive, other than genetic self-interest, for sacrificing their lives on behalf of others.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs And Steel)
All the various types of teachings and spiritual paths are related to the different capacities of understanding that different individuals have. There does not exist, from an absolute point of view, any teaching which is more perfect or effective than another. A teaching's value lies solely in the inner awakening which an individual can arrive at through it. If a person benefits from a given teaching, for that person that teaching is the supreme path, because it is suited to his or her nature and capacities. There's no sense in trying to judge it as more or less elevated in relation to other paths to realization.
Namkhai Norbu (Dzogchen: The Self-Perfected State)
But I want to extol not the sweetness nor the placidity of the dog, but the wilderness out of which he cannot step entirely, and from which we benefit. For wilderness is our first home too, and in our wild ride into modernity with all its concerns and problems we need also all the good attachments to that origin that we can keep or restore. Dog is one of the messengers of that rich and still magical first world. The dog would remind us of the pleasures of the body with its graceful physicality, and the acuity and rapture of the senses, and the beauty of forest and ocean and rain and our own breath. There is not a dog that romps and runs but we learn from him. The other dog—the one that all its life walks leashed and obedient down the sidewalk—is what a chair is to a tree. It is a possession only, the ornament of a human life. Such dogs can remind us of nothing large or noble or mysterious or lost. They cannot make us sweeter or more kind. Only unleashed dogs can do that. They are a kind of poetry themselves when they are devoted not only to us but to the wet night, to the moon and the rabbit-smell in the grass and their own bodies leaping forward.
Mary Oliver (Dog Songs)
I have calculated the total number of hours we spend sleeping beside each other in a week and I wanted to tell you it could be considered a full-time job. We could be eligible for healthcare benefits, could probably even pay for a mortgage by now. I remind myself of this, in daylight, when I miss you and cannot reach across the bed for the comforting filling and refilling of your chest. Such a strange affair we are having on each other; these hours that I have not lost but do not remember. This cannot be the best of love: to drool on someone’s collarbone or inhale an elbow to the jaw or be woken by the most ungraceful sounds of the body. But what is it if not the softening of grips? A letting go of. Your heart finally slowly that stubborn, lonely march.
Sierra DeMulder
This was my wake-up call. I opened my eyes to the depressing fact that there are other forces at work in medicine besides science. The U.S. health care system runs on a fee-for-service model in which doctors get paid for the pills and procedures they prescribe, rewarding quantity over quality. We don’t get reimbursed for time spent counseling our patients about the benefits of healthy eating. If doctors were instead paid for performance, there would be a financial incentive to treat the lifestyle causes of disease. Until the model of reimbursement changes, I don’t expect great changes in medical care or medical education.5
Michael Greger (How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease)
Subhuti, someone might fill innumerable worlds with the seven treasures and give all away in gifts of alms, but if any good man or any good woman awakens the thought of Enlightenment and takes even only four lines from this Discourse, reciting, using, receiving, retaining and spreading them abroad and explaining them for the benefit of others, it will be far more meritorious. Now in what manner may he explain them to others? By detachment from appearances-abiding in Real Truth. -So I tell you- Thus shall you think of all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream; A flash of lightening in a summer cloud, A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream. When Buddha finished this Discourse the venerable Subhuti, together with the bhikshus, bhikshunis, lay-brothers and sisters, and the whole realms of Gods, Men and Titans, were filled with joy by His teaching, and, taking it sincerely to heart they went their ways.
Gautama Buddha (Diamond Sutra)
Terrifying, that the loss of intimacy with one person results in the freezing over of the world, and the loss of oneself! And terrifying that the terms of love are so rigorous, its checks and liberties so tightly bound together… Their relationship depended on her restraint… The premise of their affair, or the basis of their comedy, was that they were two independent people, who needed each other for a time, who would always be friends, but who, probably, would not always be lovers. Such a premise forbids the intrusion of the future, or too vivid an exhibition of need.
James Baldwin (Another Country)
The only dream I ever had was the dream of New York itself, and for me, from the minute I touched down in this city, that was enough. It became the best teacher I ever had. If your mother is anything like mine, after all, there are a lot of important things she probably didn't teach you: how to use a vibrator; how to go to a loan shark and pull a loan at 17 percent that's due in thirty days; how to hire your first divorce attorney; what to look for in a doula (a birth coach) should you find yourself alone and pregnant. My mother never taught me how to date three people at the same time or how to interview a nanny or what to wear in an ashram in India or how to meditate. She also failed to mention crotchless underwear, how to make my first down payment on an apartment, the benefits of renting verses owning, and the difference between a slant-6 engine and a V-8 (in case I wanted to get a muscle car), not to mention how to employ a team of people to help me with my life, from trainers to hair colorists to nutritionists to shrinks. (Luckily, New York became one of many other moms I am to have in my lifetime.) So many mothers say they want their daughters to be independent, but what they really hope is that they'll find a well-compensated banker or lawyer and settle down between the ages of twenty-five and twenty-eight in Greenwich, Darien, or That Town, USA, to raise babies, do the grocery shopping, and work out in relative comfort for the rest of their lives. I know this because I employ their daughters. They raise us to think they want us to have careers, and they send us to college, but even they don't really believe women can be autonomous and take care of themselves.
Kelly Cutrone (If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You)
We are the wealthiest species alive today. We want for nothing. Without us, there would be no tunnels, no ambi, no galactic map. But we achieved these things through subjugation. Violence. We destroyed entire worlds - entire species. It took a galactic war to stop us. We learned. We apologized. We changed. But we can't give back the things we took. We're still benefiting from them, and others are still suffering from actions centuries old. So, are we worthy? We, who give so much only because we took so much?
Becky Chambers (Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers, #3))
Don’t put people, or anything else, on pedestals, not even your children. Avoid global labels such as genius or weirdo. Realize those closest get the benefit of the doubt and so do the most beautiful and radiant among us. Know the halo effect causes you to see a nice person as temporarily angry and an angry person as temporarily nice. Know that one good quality, or a memory of several, can keep in your life people who may be doing you more harm than good. Pay attention to the fact that when someone seems nice and upbeat, the words coming out of his or her mouth will change in meaning, and if that same person were depressive, arrogant, or foul in some other way, your perceptions of those same exact words would change along with the person’s other features.
David McRaney (You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself)
Imagine if for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them? And you looked at it in a way that entirely benefited them and not you. The cumulative effect this would have over time would be profound: You’d learn a great deal by solving diverse problems. You’d develop a reputation for being indispensable. You’d have countless new relationships. You’d have an enormous bank of favors to call upon down the road. That’s what the canvas strategy is about—helping yourself by helping others.
Ryan Holiday (Ego Is the Enemy)
It was the American middle class. No one's house cost more than two or three year's salary, and I doubt the spread in annual wages (except for the osteopath) exceeded more than five thousand dollars. And other than the doctor (who made house calls), the store managers, the minister, the salesman, and the banker, everyone belonged to a union. That meant they worked a forty-hour week, had the entire weekend off (plus two to four weeks' paid vacation in the summer), comprehensive medical benefits, and job security. In return for all that, the country became the most productive in the world and in our little neighborhood it meant your furnace was always working, your kids could be dropped off at the neighbors without notice, you could run next door anytime to borrow a half-dozen eggs, and the doors to all the homes were never locked -- because who would need to steal anything if they already had all that they needed?
Michael Moore (Here Comes Trouble)
You can’t have it all. You can’t get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry. You can’t continue sending our jobs to China while millions are looking for work. You can’t hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens while there are massive unmet needs on every corner of this nation. Your greed has got to end. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America if you refuse to accept your responsibilities.
Bernie Sanders (Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In)
I like to live always at the beginnings of life, not at their end. We all lose some of our faith under the oppression of mad leaders, insane history, pathologic cruelties of daily life. I am by nature always beginning and believing and so I find your company more fruitful than that of, say, Edmund Wilson, who asserts his opinions, beliefs, and knowledge as the ultimate verity. Older people fall into rigid patterns. Curiosity, risk, exploration are forgotten by them. You have not yet discovered that you have a lot to give, and that the more you give the more riches you will find in yourself. It amazed me that you felt that each time you write a story you gave away one of your dreams and you felt the poorer for it. But then you have not thought that this dream is planted in others, others begin to live it too, it is shared, it is the beginning of friendship and love. […] You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and into writing. Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them. If it seems to you that I move in a world of certitudes, you, par contre, must benefit from the great privilege of youth, which is that you move in a world of mysteries. But both must be ruled by faith.
Anaïs Nin
The only question is this: Do you have enough empathy and yearning and desperation to connect to others outside yourself and scream into the void in four-part harmony? Enough brainpower and fine motor control and aesthetic ideation to look at feathers and stones and stuff that comes out of a worm’s more unpleasant holes and see gowns, veils, platform heels? Enough sheer style and excess energy to do something that provides no direct, material benefit to your personal survival, that might even mark you out from the pack as shiny, glittery prey, to do it for no other reason than that it rocks?
Catherynne M. Valente (Space Opera (Space Opera, #1))
Well,” he abruptly broke the protracted silence. “Where can I kiss you?” What? “What?” He lifted his fingers to my face, tucked a few loose strands of hair behind my ears. “Where can I kiss you goodbye?” My stomach did a backflip, and I responded stupidly, “In the hall. . .?” “No, Elizabeth. That’s not what I meant. Where—on your body—am I allowed to kiss you? Where do your other friends kiss you?
Penny Reid (Friends Without Benefits (Knitting in the City, #2))
I don't know what will happen with us," he said softly. "I can't predict the future. If things don't work out between us, yeah, there's a chance you'll hate my guts. To me, losing you as a friend is a pretty big risk. Do you think I'd take that big a risk for a few nights of sex?" He shook his head. "I was having freakin' nightmares about you with those other guys. What you were doing." He buried his face in her hair. "Kerri, I don't want you to see other guys. Just me.
Kelly Jamieson (Friends with Benefits)
the extrovert assumption is so woven into the fabric of our culture that an employee may suffer reprimands for keeping his door closed (that is, if he is one of the lucky ones who has a door), for not lunching with other staff members, or for missing the weekend golf game or any number of supposedly morale-boosting celebrations. Half. More than half of us don’t want to play. We don’t see the point. For us, an office potluck will not provide satisfying human contact—we’d much rather meet a friend for an intimate conversation (even if that friend is a coworker). For us, the gathering will not boost morale — and will probably leave us resentful that we stayed an extra hour to eat stale cookies and make small talk. For us, talking with coworkers does not benefit our work—it sidetracks us.
Laurie A. Helgoe (Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength)
One more comment from the heart: I’m old fashioned and think that reading books is the most glorious pastime that humankind has yet devised. Homo Ludens dances, sings, produces meaningful gestures, strikes poses, dresses up, revels and performs elaborate rituals. I don’t wish to diminish the significance of these distractions-without them human life would pass in unimaginable monotony and possibly dispersion and defeat. But these are group activities above which drifts a more or less perceptible whiff of collective gymnastics. Homo Ludens with a book is free. At least as free as he’s capable of being. He himself makes up the rules of the game, which are subject only to his own curiosity. He’s permitted to read intelligent books, from which he will benefit, as well as stupid ones, from which he may also learn something. He can stop before finishing one book, if he wishes, while starting another at the end and working his way back to the beginning. He may laugh in the wrong places or stop short at words he’ll keep for a life time. And finally, he’s free-and no other hobby can promise this-to eavesdrop on Montaigne’s arguments or take a quick dip in the Mesozoic.
Wisława Szymborska (Nonrequired Reading)
INEZ: To forget about the others? How utterly absurd! I feel you there, in every pore.Your silence clamours in my ears. You can nail up your mouth, cut your tongue out - but you can't prevent your being there. Can you stop your thoughts? I hear them ticking away like a clock, tick-tock, tick-tock, and I'm certain you hear mine. It's all very well skulking on your sofa, but you're everywhere, and every sound comes to me soiled because you've intercepted it on its way. Why, you've even stolen my face; you know it and I don't ! And what about her, about Estelle? You've stolen her from me, too; if she and I were alone do you suppose she'd treat me as she does? No, take your hands from your face, I won't leave you in peace - that would suit your book too well. You'd go on sitting there, in a sort of trance, like a yogi, and even if I didn't see her I'd feel it in my bones - that she was making every sound, even the rustle of her dress, for your benefit, throwing you smiles you didn't see... Well, I won't stand for that, I prefer to choose my hell; I prefer to look you in the eyes and fight it out face to face.
Jean-Paul Sartre (No Exit)
So poorly did you know yourself that you were always surprised at how you looked in photographs or how you sounded on voice mail. In this way, much of your existence took place in the eyes, ears, and fingertips of others. And now that you’ve left the Earth, you are stored in scattered heads around the globe. Here in this Purgatory, all the people with whom you’ve ever come in contact are gathered. The scattered bits of you are collected, pooled, and unified. The mirrors are held up in front of you. Without the benefit of filtration, you see yourself clearly for the first time. And that is what finally kills you.
David Eagleman (Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives)
I can't wait to tell him how much of a revelation it has been to do something like this - standing on a mountaintop for no reason other than the sake of the experience. This moment is an investment in myself. I'm giving myself permission to make a memory that benefits no one but me. I love being a mother, and I love being a wife. I even love being a daughter and a granddaughter. But as I stand here on the mountaintop, I'm not any of those things. I am simply Alice, and for one breathtaking moment, I'm completely present.
Kelly Rimmer (The Things We Cannot Say)
I am in this same river. I can't much help it. I admit it: I'm racist. The other night I saw a group (or maybe a pack?) or white teenagers standing in a vacant lot, clustered around a 4x4, and I crossed the street to avoid them; had they been black, I probably would have taken another street entirely. And I'm misogynistic. I admit that, too. I'm a shitty cook, and a worse house cleaner, probably in great measure because I've internalized the notion that these are woman's work. Of course, I never admit that's why I don't do them: I always say I just don't much enjoy those activities (which is true enough; and it's true enough also that many women don't enjoy them either), and in any case, I've got better things to do, like write books and teach classes where I feel morally superior to pimps. And naturally I value money over life. Why else would I own a computer with a hard drive put together in Thailand by women dying of job-induced cancer? Why else would I own shirts mad in a sweatshop in Bangladesh, and shoes put together in Mexico? The truth is that, although many of my best friends are people of color (as the cliche goes), and other of my best friends are women, I am part of this river: I benefit from the exploitation of others, and I do not much want to sacrifice this privilege. I am, after all, civilized, and have gained a taste for "comforts and elegancies" which can be gained only through the coercion of slavery. The truth is that like most others who benefit from this deep and broad river, I would probably rather die (and maybe even kill, or better, have someone kill for me) than trade places with the men, women, and children who made my computer, my shirt, my shoes.
Derrick Jensen (The Culture of Make Believe)
One additional unit of income can do a hundred times as much to the benefit the extreme poor as it can to benefit you or I [earning the typical US wage of $28,000 or ‎£18,000 per year]. [I]t's not often you have two options, one of which is a hundred times better than the other. Imagine a happy hour where you could either buy yourself a beet for $5 or buy someone else a beer for 5¢. If that were the case, we'd probably be pretty generous – next round's on me! But that's effectively the situation we're in all the time. It's like a 99% off sale, or buy one, get ninety-nine free. It might be the most amazing deal you'll see in your life.
William MacAskill (Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference)
Falling in love: how does it work? Over the years we gather the odd clue, but nothing adds up. We’d like to think we have a picture of our future partner projected in our mind, all their qualities recorded as if on film, and we just search the planet for that person until we find them, sitting in Casablanca waiting to be recognised. But in reality our love lives are blown around by career and coincidence, not to mention lack of nerve on given occasions, and we never have respectable reasons for anything until we have to make them up afterwards for the benefit of our curious friends.
Michel Faber (Some Rain Must Fall: And Other Stories)
It is natural to want to employ your friends when you find yourself in times of need. The world is a harsh place, and your friends soften the harshness. Besides, you know them. Why depend on a stranger when you have a friend at hand? Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit, because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure. TACITUS, c. A.D. 55-120 The problem is that you often do not know your friends as well as you imagine. Friends often agree on things in order to avoid an argument. They cover up their unpleasant qualities so as to not offend each other. They laugh extra hard at each other’s jokes. Since honesty rarely strengthens friendship, you may never know how a friend truly feels. Friends will say that they love your poetry, adore your music, envy your taste in clothes—maybe they mean it, often they do not. When you decide to hire a friend, you gradually discover the qualities he or she has kept hidden. Strangely enough, it is your act of kindness that unbalances everything. People want to feel they deserve their good fortune. The receipt of a favor can become oppressive: It means you have been chosen because you are a friend, not necessarily because you are deserving. There is almost a touch of condescension in the act of hiring friends that secretly afflicts them. The injury will come out slowly: A little more honesty, flashes of resentment and envy here and there, and before you know it your friendship fades. The more favors and gifts you supply to revive the friendship, the less gratitude you receive. Ingratitude has a long and deep history. It has demonstrated its powers for so many centuries, that it is truly amazing that people continue to underestimate them. Better to be wary. If you never expect gratitude from a friend, you will be pleasantly surprised when they do prove grateful. The problem with using or hiring friends is that it will inevitably limit your power. The friend is rarely the one who is most able to help you; and in the end, skill and competence are far more important than friendly feelings.
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
In modern life, people think that their body belongs to them and they can do anything they want to it. When they make such a determination, the law supports them. This is one of the manifestations of individualism. But, according to the teachings of emptiness, non-self, and interbeing, your body is not yours alone. It also belongs to your ancestors, your parents, future generations, and all other living beings. Everything, even the trees and the clouds, has come together to bring about the presence of your body. Keeping your body healthy is the best way to express your gratitude to the whole cosmos, to all ancestors, and also not to betray future generations. You practice this precept for everyone. If you are healthy, everyone can benefit from it. When you are able to get out of the shell of your small self, you will see that you are interrelated to everyone and everything, that your every act is linked with the whole of humankind and the whole cosmos. To keep yourself healthy in body and mind is to be kind to all beings. The Fifth Precept is about health and healing.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Living Buddha, Living Christ)
Covenant love is conscious love. It is intentional love. It is commitment to love no matter what. It requires thought and action. It does not wait for the encouragement of warm emotions but chooses to look out for the interest of the other party because you are committed to the other's well-being. Covenant love requires two factors: knowledge of the nature of love and the will to love. Understanding the 5 love languages will give you the information you need to have a successful long term covenant love relationship. Hopefully, as you see the benefits of covenant love, you will also find the will to love.
Gary Chapman
Faith is always coveted most and needed most urgently where will is lacking; for will, as the affect of command, is the decisive sign of sovereignty and strength. In other words, the less one knows how to command, the more urgently one covets someone who commands, who commands severely—a god, prince, class, physician, father confessor, dogma, or party conscience. From this one might perhaps gather that the two world religions, Buddhism and Christianity, may have owed their origin and above all their sudden spread to a tremendous collapse and disease of the will. And that is what actually happened: both religions encountered a situation in which the will had become diseased, giving rise to a demand that had become utterly desperate for some "thou shalt." Both religions taught fanaticism in ages in which the will had become exhausted, and thus they offered innumerable people some support, a new possibility of willing, some delight in willing. For fanaticism is the only "strength of the will" that even the weak and insecure can be brought to attain, being a sort of hypnotism of the whole system of the senses and the intellect for the benefit of an excessive nourishment (hypertrophy) of a single point of view and feeling that henceforth becomes dominant— which the Christian calls his faith. Once a human being reaches the fundamental conviction that he must be commanded, he becomes "a believer." Conversely, one could conceive of such a pleasure and power of self-determination, such a freedom of the will [ This conception of "freedom of the will" ( alias, autonomy) does not involve any belief in what Nietzsche called "the superstition of free will" in section 345 ( alias, the exemption of human actions from an otherwise universal determinism).] that the spirit would take leave of all faith and every wish for certainty, being practiced in maintaining himself on insubstantial ropes and possibilities and dancing even near abysses. Such a spirit would be the free spirit par excellence.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science)
Never having experienced inequality, therefore, the majority of straight white men will be absolutely oblivious to their own advantages – not because they must necessarily be insensitive, sexist, racist, homophobic or unaware of the principles of equality; but because they have been told, over and over again, that there is no inequality left for them – or anyone else – to experience – and everything they have experienced up to that point will only have proved them right. Let the impact of that sink in for a moment. By teaching children and teenagers that equality already exists, we are actively blinding the group that most benefits from inequality – straight white men – to the prospect that it doesn’t. Privilege to them feels indistinguishable from equality, because they’ve been raised to believe that this is how the world behaves for everyone. And because the majority of our popular culture is straight-white-male-dominated, stories that should be windows into empathy for other, less privileged experiences have instead become mirrors, reflecting back at them the one thing they already know: that their lives both are important and free from discrimination. And this hurts men. It hurts them by making them unconsciously perpetrate biases they’ve been actively taught to despise. It hurts them by making them complicit in the distress of others. It hurts them by shoehorning them into a restrictive definition masculinity from which any and all deviation is harshly punished. It hurts them by saying they will always be inferior parents and caregivers, that they must always be active and aggressive even when they long for passivity and quietude, that they must enjoy certain things like sports and beer and cars or else be deemed morally suspect. It hurts them through a process of indoctrination so subtle and pervasive that they never even knew it was happening , and when you’ve been raised to hate inequality, discovering that you’ve actually been its primary beneficiary is horrifying – like learning that the family fortune comes from blood money. Blog post 4/12/2012: Why Teaching Equality Hurts Men
Foz Meadows
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. [...] 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 mad by the survivors, not the dead. "It's non of their business what happens to them whey the 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.
Mary Roach (Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers)
We live in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, but that reality means little because almost all of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals. There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much as the bottom 90 percent, and when 99 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent. There is something profoundly wrong when one family owns more wealth than the bottom 130 million Americans. This type of immoral, unsustainable economy is not what America is supposed to be about. This has got to change, and together we will change it. The change begins when we say to the billionaire class: “You can’t have it all. You can’t get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry. You can’t continue sending our jobs to China while millions are looking for work. You can’t hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens, while there are massive unmet needs in every corner of this nation. Your greed has got to end. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America if you refuse to accept your responsibilities as Americans.
Bernie Sanders (Outsider in the White House)
There are spiritual laws at work that most people know nothing about. So when others hurt us, our tendency is to strike back because we assume that we must defend ourselves, defend our name, our honor, our career, and so on. In reality we strike back at ourselves. ... What we consider as justifiable defense of our rights may in reality plunge us into a vicious cycle that can undermine our very spiritual foundation. By reacting to aggression with aggression we lose the opportunity to spiritually benefit from the experience. this law also explains why saints, when hit, often would literally turn the other cheek. (Fr. Maximos)
Kyriacos C. Markides (The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality)
The disorders that psychology associates with the dissonance between what parents say to children and what children know to be reality - from deep insecurities to chronic anxiety to depression - are not to be found among the hunter-gatherers I have known. This is not to claim that they are people who know nothing of mental illness. Rather, it is to look at the absence of a particular kind of illness, one that in my own society is somewhere between common and the norm. The apparent sturdiness of the hunter-gatherer personality, the virtual universality of self-confidence and equanimity, the absence of anxiety disorders and most depressive illnesses - these may well be the benefits of using words to tell the truth.
Hugh Brody (The Other Side of Eden: Hunters, Farmers, and the Shaping of the World)
A genuine apology focuses on the feelings of the other rather than on how the one who is apologizing is going to benefit in the end. It seeks to acknowledge full responsibility for an act, and does not use self-serving language to justify the behavior of the person asking forgiveness. A sincere apology does not seek to erase what was done. No amount of words can undo past wrongs. Nothing can ever reverse injustices committed against others. But an apology pronounced in the context of horrible acts has the potential for transformation. It clears or ‘settles’ the air in order to begin reconstructing the broken connections between two human beings.
Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela (A Human Being Died That Night)
Because women tend to turn their anger inward and blame themselves, they tend to become depressed and their self-esteem is lowered. This, in turn, causes them to become more dependent and less willing to risk rejection or abandonment if they were to stand up for themselves by asserting their will, their opinions, or their needs. Men often defend themselves against hurt by putting up a wall of nonchalant indifference. This appearance of independence often adds to a woman's fear of rejection, causing her to want to reach out to achieve comfort and reconciliation. Giving in, taking the blame, and losing herself more in the relationship seem to be a small price to pay for the acceptance and love of her partner. As you can see, both extremes anger in and anger out-create potential problems. While neither sex is wrong in the way they deal with their anger, each could benefit from observing how the other sex copes with their anger. Most men, especially abusive ones, could benefit from learning to contain their anger more instead of automatically striking back, and could use the rather female ability to empathise with others and seek diplomatic resolutions to problems. Many women, on the other hand, could benefit from acknowledging their anger and giving themselves permission to act it out in constructive ways instead of automatically talking themselves out of it, blaming themselves, or allowing a man to blame them. Instead of giving in to keep the peace, it would be far healthier for most women to stand up for their needs, their opinions, and their beliefs.
Beverly Engel (The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing)
Five years ago, I said vows. And I believe in vows. I meant them, and not just when I said them out loud for an audience to hear but as a motto and a life choice. For as long as we both shall live. I hadn't anticipated the sandy flow of feeling, the yin-yang of love and dread, or the residual buildup of grievances and the slow draining of the benefit of doubt. In good times and in bad. Yes, sure, but in my naivete, I interpreted this as external; we would support each other when the world imposed and intruded. No one tells you that it's the internal that's the real challenge: those moments of decisiveness equal to taking a vow, when you feel the clawing grip of your pormises.
Julie Buxbaum (After You)
By revealing to Tomas her dream about jabbing needles under her fingernails, Tereza unwittingly revealed that she had gone through his desk. If Tereza had been any other woman, Tomas would never have spoken to her again. Aware of that, Tereza said to him, Throw me out! But instead of throwing her out, he seized her hand and kissed the tips of her fingers, because at that moment he himself felt the pain under her fingernails as surely as if the nerves of her fingers led straight to his own brain. Anyone who has failed to benefit from the Devil’s gift of compassion (co-feeling) will condemn Tereza coldly for her deed, because privacy is sacred and drawers containing intimate correspondence are not to be opened. But because compassion was Tomas’s fate (or curse), he felt that he himself had knelt before the open desk drawer, unable to tear his eyes from Sabina’s letter. He understood Tereza, and not only was he incapable of being angry with her, he loved her all the more.
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
Since you always lived inside your own head, you were much better at seeing the truth about others than you ever were at seeing yourself. So you navigated your life with the help of others who held up mirrors for you. People praised your good qualities and criticized your bad habits, and these perspectives - often surprising to you - helped you to guide your life. So poorly did you know yourself that you were always surprised at how you looked in photographs or how you sounded on voice mail. In this way, much of your existence took place in the eyes, ears, and fingertips of others. And now that you’ve left the Earth, you are stored in scattered heads around the globe. Here in this Purgatory, all the people with whom you’ve ever come in contact are gathered. The scattered bits of you are collected, pooled, and unified. The mirrors are held up in front of you. Without the benefit of filtration, you see yourself clearly for the first time. And that is what finally kills you.
David Eagleman
So many of us know the moment when a love connection is over, but few of us stop then. I am not talking about reactive endings. I am talking about the deep intuitive knowing that it is time to move on. Yet we are either too afraid, or too stubborn, or too concerned about the other’s feelings to make our move. But it is perilous to delay, both because we suffer in the wrong connection, and because we hold two souls back from finding the next step on their individual paths. Whether there is another love waiting around the next corner, or whether it is simply time to be alone, no one benefits by staying in an outgrown union. We have to notice the moment of ending and take it to heart. Everyone’s expansion depends on it.
Jeff Brown (Love It Forward)
Have you ever stopped to think that maybe you were wrong? Maybe, you only saw your point of view and you never once put yourself in the other person's shoes. Maybe, walking away from the senseless drama and spiteful criticism isn't the best thing to do. Maybe, for just once in your life you could wear another person's confusion, pain or misunderstanding. Maybe, your future doesn't require explaining yourself or offering an explanation for your indifference, but your character and reputation does. What if one day you find out that you didn't have all the information you thought you did? What if you find out that your presence was needed for healing? What if you only knew half of it and the other half was just your fear and anger translating everything you experienced? What if you were wrong? What if the same thing happened to you?
Shannon L. Alder
This one phrase, "It is my life, I will do what I want," has done more damage than good. People choose to ignore the spirit and derive the meaning that is convenient to them. Such people have tied this phrase to selfishness and I'm sure that was not the intent. These people forget that we don't live in isolation. What you do affects me and what I do affects you. We are connected. We have to realize that we are sharing this planet and we must learn to behave responsibly. There are two kinds of people in this world--takers and givers. Takers eat well and givers sleep well. Givers have high self-esteem, a positive attitude, and they serve society. By serving society, I do not mean a run-of-the-mill pseudo leader-turned- politician who serves himself by pretending to serve others. As human beings, we all have the need to receive and take. But a healthy personality with high self-esteem is one that not only has its need to take but also to give.
Shiv Khera (You Can Win: A Step by Step Tool for Top Achievers)
As attentive readers may have noted, the standard narrative of heterosexual interaction boils down to prostitution: a woman exchanges her sexual services for access to resources. Maybe mythic resonance explains part of the huge box-office appeal of a film like Pretty Woman, where Richard Gere's character trades access to his wealth in exchange for what Julia Roberts's character has to offer (she plays a hooker with a heart of gold, if you missed it). Please note that what she's got to offer is limited to the aforementioned heart of gold, a smile as big as Texas, a pair of long, lovely legs, and the solemn promise that they'll open only for him from now on. The genius of Pretty Woman lies in making explicit what's been implicit in hundreds of films and books. According to this theory, women have evolved to unthinkingly and unashamedly exchange erotic pleasure for access to a man's wealth, protection, status, and other treasures likely to benefit her and her children.
Christopher Ryan (Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality)
A final irony has to do with the idea of political responsibility. Christians are urged to vote and become involved in politics as an expression of their civic duty and public responsibility. This is a credible argument and good advice up to a point. Yet in our day, given the size of the state and the expectations that people place on it to solve so many problems, politics can also be a way of saying, in effect, that the problems should be solved by others besides myself and by institutions other than the church. It is, after all, much easier to vote for a politician who champions child welfare than to adopt a baby born in poverty, to vote for a referendum that would expand health care benefits for seniors than to care for an elderly and infirmed parent, and to rally for racial harmony than to get to know someone of a different race than yours. True responsibility invariably costs. Political participation, then, can and often does amount to an avoidance of responsibility.
James Davison Hunter (To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World)
The relations one has with a woman one loves (and that can apply also to love for a youth) can remain platonic for other reasons than the chastity of the woman or the unsensual nature of the love she inspires. The reason may be that the lover is too impatient and by the very excess of his love is unable to await the moment when he will obtain his desires by sufficient pretence of indifference. Continually, he returns to the charge, he never ceases writing to her whom he loves, he is always trying to see her, she refuses herself, he becomes desperate. From that time she knows, if she grants him her company, her friendship, that these benefits will seem so considerable to one who believed he was going to be deprived of them, that she need grant nothing more and that she can take advantage of the moment when he can no longer bear being unable to see her and when, at all costs, he must put an end to the struggle by accepting a truce which will impose upon him a platonic relationship as its preliminary condition. Moreover, during all the time that preceded this truce, the lover, in a constant state of anxiety, ceaselessly hoping for a letter, a glance, has long ceased thinking of the physical desire which at first tormented him but which has been exhausted by waiting and has been replaced by another order of longings more painful still if left unsatisfied. The pleasure formerly anticipated from caresses will later be accorded but transmuted into friendly words and promises of intercourse which brings delicious moments after the strain of uncertainty or after a look impregnated with such coldness that it seemed to remove the loved one beyond hope of his ever seeing her again. Women divine all this and know they can afford the luxury of never yielding to those who, from the first, have betrayed their inextinguishable desire. A woman is enchanted if, without giving anything, she can receive more than she generally gets when she does give herself.
Marcel Proust (In Search of Lost Time [volumes 1 to 7])
When I look closely at dairy, I see the hurtful exploitation of specifically female bodies so that some people can enjoy sensual pleasures of consumption while others enjoy the psychological pleasure of collecting profits from the exertions of somebody else's body. Cows are forcibly impregnated, dispossessed of their children, and then painfully robbed of the milk produced by their bodies for those children. No wonder I didn't want to see my complicity! Most women don't consciously perceive the everyday violence against girls and women that permeates and structures our society. How much harder it is, then, to see the gendered violence against nonhuman animals behind the everyday items on the grocery store shelf. When we, as women, partake of that violence, we participate in sexism even as we enjoy the illusory benefits of speciesism. No wonder a glimpse of the sexist violence behind my breakfast cereal left me dizzy.
pattrice jones
Young people have a marvelous faculty of either dying or adapting themselves to circumstances. Even if they are unhappy - very unhappy - it is astonishing how easily they can be prevented from finding it out, or at any rate from attributing it to any other cause than their own sinfulness. To parents who wish to lead a quiet life I would say: Tell your children that they are naughty - much naughtier than most children. Point to the young people of some acquaintances as models of perfection and impress your own children with a deep sense of their own inferiority. You carry so many more guns than they do that they cannot fight you. This is called moral influence, and it will enable you to bounce them as much as you please. They think you know and they will not have yet caught you lying often enough to suspect that you are not the unworldly and scrupulously truthful person which you represent yourself to be; nor yet will they know how great a coward you are, nor how soon you will run away if they fight you with persistency and judgment. You keep the dice and throw them both for your children and yourself. Load them then, for you can easily manage to stop your children from examining them. Tell them how singularly indulgent you are; insist on the incalculable benefit you conferred upon them, firstly in bringing them into the world at all, but more particularly in bringing them into it as your own children rather than anyone else's... You hold all the trump cards, or if you do not you can filch them; if you play them with anything like judgment you will find yourselves heads of happy, united, God-fearing families... True, your children will probably find out all about it some day, but not until too late to be of much service to them or inconvenience to yourself.
Samuel Butler (The Way of All Flesh)
People always talk about the health benefits of Japanese food,’ he said, ‘but I’m fascinated by other aspects of the Japanese dining experience. Like the whole system of serving food at a counter like this, with the customers all facing the same direction, instead of each other. It’s strange when you think about it. At a sushi bar, for example, everyone’s facing the itamae-san, and you discuss the things you’re eating – what type of squid this is, and where they’re caught, and how this is the season for them but they’ll only be at their best for another couple of weeks, and so on. Discussing the food with the chef even as you eat it – that’s a peculiar system.’ ‘I suppose it is, isn’t it? I don’t go to sushi restaurants very often – they’re so expensive – and I could probably count the number of times I’ve sat at the counter, but I know what you mean. There’s something about that atmosphere.’ ‘At its worst, it’s almost an atmosphere of collusion.’ ‘Collusion?’ ‘Everyone at the counter becomes a member of the group. In some sushi bars, all the customers are regulars and they all know each other. As an outsider, you need courage to walk into a place like that and take a seat. It’s a tight-knit little community, and harmony is of the utmost importance. Nobody’s confronting anyone else individually. The conversation all proceeds through the chef, who’s like a moderator or a master of ceremonies. You couldn’t spend some quiet time with a lover, for example, in a place like that, because you’d be isolating yourselves from the others and spoiling the atmosphere for everyone.
Ryū Murakami (Audition)
We have made mistakes. We haven’t always used our power wisely. We have abused it sometimes and we’ve been arrogant. But, as often as not, we recognized those wrongs, debated them openly, and tried to do better. And the good we have done for humanity surpasses the damage caused by our errors. We have sought to make the world more stable and secure, not just our own society. We have advanced norms and rules of international relations that have benefited all. We have stood up to tyrants for mistreating their people even when they didn’t threaten us, not always, but often. We don’t steal other people’s wealth. We don’t take their land. We don’t build walls to freedom and opportunity. We tear them down. To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is unpatriotic. American nationalism isn’t the same as in other countries. It isn’t nativist or imperial or xenophobic, or it shouldn’t be. Those attachments belong with other tired dogmas that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history. We live in a land made from ideals, not blood and soil. We are custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad.
John McCain (The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations)
Despues pinto un poco. Hay tranquilidad y silencio en estos dias y aprovecho que puedo concentrarme. La soledad. Quizas uno escribe y pinta no solo para crear un espacio de libertad alrededor, sino tambien para sentirse acompaNado. No exactamente para romper la soledad. No se trata de eso. La soledad siempre estA ahI. La siento, la toco, hablo con ella. Forma parte de mi vida. La soledad es inevitable. Y ayuda. Me concentro mas. Soy mas yo cuando convivimos bien apretaditos: la soledad y yo. Nos adoramos. No podria vivi sin la soledad. my translation: Later I paint a little bit. There's tranquility and silence in these days and I benefit from being able to concentrate. Loneliness. Maybe one writes and paints not only to create a space of freedom, but rather also to feel accompanied. Not exactly to break loneliness. It's not about that. Loneliness is always there. I feel it. I touch it. I talk with it. It forms part of my life. Loneliness is inevitable. And it helps. I concentrate more. I'm more me when we live pushed together: loneliness and me. We worship each other. I couldn't live with out loneliness.
Pedro Juan Gutiérrez (Animal tropical)
Don’t strive to be a well-rounded leader. Instead, discover your zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else. Admitting a weakness is a sign of strength. Acknowledging weakness doesn’t make a leader less effective. Everybody in your organization benefits when you delegate responsibilities that fall outside your core competency. Thoughtful delegation will allow someone else in your organization to shine. Your weakness is someone’s opportunity. Leadership is not always about getting things done “right.” Leadership is about getting things done through other people. The people who follow us are exactly where we have led them. If there is no one to whom we can delegate, it is our own fault. As a leader, gifted by God to do a few things well, it is not right for you to attempt to do everything. Upgrade your performance by playing to your strengths and delegating your weaknesses. There are many things I can do, but I have to narrow it down to the one thing I must do. The secret of concentration is elimination. Devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing. My competence in these areas defines my success as a pastor. A sixty-hour workweek will not compensate for a poorly delivered sermon. People don’t show up on Sunday morning because I am a good pastor (leader, shepherd, counselor). In my world, it is my communication skills that make the difference. So that is where I focus my time. To develop a competent team, help the leaders in your organization discover their leadership competencies and delegate accordingly. Once you step outside your zone, don’t attempt to lead. Follow. The less you do, the more you will accomplish. Only those leaders who act boldly in times of crisis and change are willingly followed. Accepting the status quo is the equivalent of accepting a death sentence. Where there’s no progress, there’s no growth. If there’s no growth, there’s no life. Environments void of change are eventually void of life. So leaders find themselves in the precarious and often career-jeopardizing position of being the one to draw attention to the need for change. Consequently, courage is a nonnegotiable quality for the next generation leader. The leader is the one who has the courage to act on what he sees. A leader is someone who has the courage to say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. It is not his insight that sets the leader apart from the crowd. It is his courage to act on what he sees, to speak up when everyone else is silent. Next generation leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price than remain silent and die on the inside. The first person to step out in a new direction is viewed as the leader. And being the first to step out requires courage. In this way, courage establishes leadership. Leadership requires the courage to walk in the dark. The darkness is the uncertainty that always accompanies change. The mystery of whether or not a new enterprise will pan out. The reservation everyone initially feels when a new idea is introduced. The risk of being wrong. Many who lack the courage to forge ahead alone yearn for someone to take the first step, to go first, to show the way. It could be argued that the dark provides the optimal context for leadership. After all, if the pathway to the future were well lit, it would be crowded. Fear has kept many would-be leaders on the sidelines, while good opportunities paraded by. They didn’t lack insight. They lacked courage. Leaders are not always the first to see the need for change, but they are the first to act. Leadership is about moving boldly into the future in spite of uncertainty and risk. You can’t lead without taking risk. You won’t take risk without courage. Courage is essential to leadership.
Andy Stanley (Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future)
What packages we were allowed to receive from our families often contained handkerchiefs, scarves, and other clothing items. For some time, Mike had been taking little scraps of red and white cloth, and with a needle he had fashioned from a piece of bamboo he laboriously sewed an American flag onto the inside of his blue prisoner's shirt. Every afternoon, before we ate our soup, we would hang Mike's flag on the wall of our cell and together recite the Pledge of Allegiance. No other event of the day had as much meaning to us. "The guards discovered Mike's flag one afternoon during a routine inspection and confiscated it. They returned that evening and took Mike outside. For our benefit as much as Mike's they beat him severely, just outside our cell, puncturing his eardrum and breaking several of his ribs. When they had finished, they dragged him bleeding and nearly senseless back into our cell, and we helped him crawl to his place on the sleeping platform. After things quieted down, we all lay down to go to sleep. Before drifting off, I happened to look toward a corner of the room, where one of the four naked lightbulbs that were always illuminated in our cell cast a dim light on Mike Christian. He had crawled there quietly when he thought the rest of us were sleeping. With his eyes nearly swollen shut from the beating, he had quietly picked up his needle and begun sewing a new flag.
John McCain (Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir)
The situation is established not only to provoke defensiveness but to sidetrack the reformer into answering the wrong questions.... In this, the pattern of discourse resembles that of dinnertime conversations about feminism in the early 1970s. Questions of definition often predominate. Whereas feminists were parlaying questions which trivialized feminism such as "Are you one of those bra burners?" vegetarians must define themselves against the trivializations of "Are you one of those health nuts?" or "Are you one of those animal lovers?" While feminists encountered the response that "men need liberation too," vegetarians are greeted by the postulate that "plants have life too." Or to make the issue appear more ridiculous, the position is forwarded this way: "But what of the lettuce and tomato you are eating; they have feelings too!" The attempt to create defensiveness through trivialization is the first conversational gambit which greets threatening reforms. This pre-establishes the perimeters of discourse. One must explain that no bras were burned at the Miss America pageant, or the symbolic nature of the action of that time, or that this question fails to regard with seriousness questions such as equal pay for equal work. Similarly, a vegetarian, thinking that answering these questions will provide enlightenment, may patiently explain that if plants have life, then why not be responsible solely for the plants one eats at the table rather than for the larger quantities of plants consumed by the herbivorous animals before they become meat? In each case a more radical answer could be forwarded: "Men need first to acknowledge how they benefit from male dominance," "Can anyone really argue that the suffering of this lettuce equals that of a sentient cow who must be bled out before being butchered?" But if the feminist or vegetarian responds this way they will be put back on the defensive by the accusation that they are being aggressive. What to a vegetarian or a feminist is of political, personal, existential, and ethical importance, becomes for others only an entertainment during dinnertime.
Carol J. Adams (The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory)
If you don’t drink coffee, you should think about two to four cups a day. It can make you more alert, happier, and more productive. It might even make you live longer. Coffee can also make you more likely to exercise, and it contains beneficial antioxidants and other substances associated with decreased risk of stroke (especially in women), Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. Coffee is also associated with decreased risk of abnormal heart rhythms, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.12, 13 Any one of those benefits of coffee would be persuasive, but cumulatively they’re a no-brainer. An hour ago I considered doing some writing for this book, but I didn’t have the necessary energy or focus to sit down and start working. I did, however, have enough energy to fix myself a cup of coffee. A few sips into it, I was happier to be working than I would have been doing whatever lazy thing was my alternative. Coffee literally makes me enjoy work. No willpower needed. Coffee also allows you to manage your energy levels so you have the most when you need it. My experience is that coffee drinkers have higher highs and lower lows, energywise, than non–coffee drinkers, but that trade-off works. I can guarantee that my best thinking goes into my job, while saving my dull-brain hours for household chores and other simple tasks. The biggest downside of coffee is that once you get addicted to caffeine, you can get a “coffee headache” if you go too long without a cup. Luckily, coffee is one of the most abundant beverages on earth, so you rarely have to worry about being without it. Coffee costs money, takes time, gives you coffee breath, and makes you pee too often. It can also make you jittery and nervous if you have too much. But if success is your dream and operating at peak mental performance is something you want, coffee is a good bet. I highly recommend it. In fact, I recommend it so strongly that I literally feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t developed the habit.
Scott Adams (How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life)
Even if you are not a religious person by nature or training—even if you are an out-and-out skeptic—prayer can help you much more than you believe, for it is a practical thing. What do I mean, practical? I mean that prayer fulfills these three very basic psychological needs which all people share, whether they believe in God or not: 1. Prayer helps us to put into words exactly what is troubling us. We saw in Chapter 4 that it is almost impossible to deal with a problem while it remains vague and nebulous. Praying, in a way, is very much like writing our problems down on paper. If we ask help for a problem—even from God—we must put it into words. 2. Prayer gives us a sense of sharing our burdens, of not being alone. Few of us are so strong that we can bear our heaviest burdens, our most agonizing troubles, all by ourselves. Sometimes our worries are of so ultimate a nature that we cannot discuss them even with our closest relatives or friends. Then prayer is the answer. Any psychiatrist will tell us that when we are pent-up and tense, and in an agony of spirit, it is therapeutically good to tell someone our troubles. When we can’t tell anyone else—we can always tell God. 3. Prayer puts into force an active principle of doing. It’s a first step toward action. I doubt if anyone can pray for some fulfillment, day after day, without benefiting from it—in other words, without taking some steps to bring it to pass. The world-famous scientist, Dr. Alexis Carrel, said: “Prayer is the most powerful form of energy one can generate.” So why not make use of it? Call it God or Allah or Spirit—why quarrel with definitions as long as the mysterious powers of nature take us in hand?
Dale Carnegie (How to Stop Worrying and Start Living)
A Swedish minister having assembled the chiefs of the Susquehanna Indians, made a sermon to them, acquainting them with the principal historical facts on which our religion is founded — such as the fall of our first parents by eating an apple, the coming of Christ to repair the mischief, his miracles and suffering, etc. When he had finished an Indian orator stood up to thank him. ‘What you have told us,’ says he, ‘is all very good. It is indeed bad to eat apples. It is better to make them all into cider. We are much obliged by your kindness in coming so far to tell us those things which you have heard from your mothers. In return, I will tell you some of those we have heard from ours. ‘In the beginning, our fathers had only the flesh of animals to subsist on, and if their hunting was unsuccessful they were starving. Two of our young hunters, having killed a deer, made a fire in the woods to boil some parts of it. When they were about to satisfy their hunger, they beheld a beautiful young woman descend from the clouds and seat herself on that hill which you see yonder among the Blue Mountains. ‘They said to each other, “It is a spirit that perhaps has smelt our broiling venison and wishes to eat of it; let us offer some to her.” They presented her with the tongue; she was pleased with the taste of it and said: “Your kindness shall be rewarded; come to this place after thirteen moons, and you will find something that will be of great benefit in nourishing you and your children to the latest generations.” They did so, and to their surprise found plants they had never seen before, but which from that ancient time have been constantly cultivated among us to our great advantage. Where her right hand had touched the ground they found maize; where her left had touched it they found kidney-beans; and where her backside had sat on it they found tobacco.’ The good missionary, disgusted with this idle tale, said: ‘What I delivered to you were sacred truths; but what you tell me is mere fable, fiction, and falsehood.’ The Indian, offended, replied: ‘My brother, it seems your friends have not done you justice in your education; they have not well instructed you in the rules of common civility. You saw that we, who understand and practise those rules, believed all your stories; why do you refuse to believe ours?
Benjamin Franklin (Remarks Concerning the Savages)
All languages that derive fromLatin form the word 'compassion' by combining the prefix meaning 'with' (com-) and the root meaning 'suffering' (Late Latin, passio). In other languages- Czech, Polish, German, and Swedish, for instance- this word is translated by a noun formed of an equivalent prefixcombined with the word that means 'feeling' (Czech, sou-cit; Polish, wsspół-czucie; German, Mit-gefühl; Swedish, medkänsla). In languages that derive from Latin, 'compassion' means: we cannot look on coolly as others suffer; or, we sympathize with those who suffer. Another word with approximately the same meaning, 'pity' (French, pitié; Italian, pietà; etc.), connotes a certain condescension towards the sufferer. 'To take pity on a woman' means that we are better off than she, that we stoop to her level, lower ourselves. That is why the word 'compassion' generally inspires suspicion; it designates what is considered an inferior, second-rate sentiment that has little to do with love. To love someone out of compassion means not really to love. In languages that form the word 'compassion' not from the root 'suffering' but from the root 'feeling', the word is used in approximately the same way, but to contend that it designates a bad or inferior sentiment is difficult. The secret strength of its etymology floods the word with another light and gives it a broader meaning: to have compassion (co-feeling) means not only to be able to live with the other's misfortune but also to feel with him any emotion- joy, anxiety, happiness, pain. This kind of compassion (in the sense of soucit, współczucie, Mitgefühl, medkänsla) therefore signifies the maximal capacity of affective imagination, the art of emotional telepathy. In the hierarchy of sentiments, then, it is supreme. By revealing to Tomas her dream about jabbing needles under her fingernails, Tereza unwittingly revealed that she had gone through his desk. If Tereza had been any other woman, Tomas would never have spoken to her again. Aware of that, Tereza said to him, 'Throw me out!' But instead of throwing her out, he seized her and kissed the tips of her fingers, because at that moment he himself felt the pain under her fingernails as surely as if the nerves of her fingers led straight to his own brain. Anyone who has failed to benefit from the the Devil's gift of compassion (co-feeling) will condemn Tereza coldly for her deed, because privacy is sacred and drawers containing intimate correspondence are not to be opened. But because compassion was Tomas's fate (or curse), he felt that he himself had knelt before the open desk drawer, unable to tear his eyes from Sabina's letter. He understood Tereza, and not only was he incapable of being angry with her, he loved her all the more.
Milan Kundera
The next time you drive into a Walmart parking lot, pause for a second to note that this Walmart—like the more than five thousand other Walmarts across the country—costs taxpayers about $1 million in direct subsidies to the employees who don’t earn enough money to pay for an apartment, buy food, or get even the most basic health care for their children. In total, Walmart benefits from more than $7 billion in subsidies each year from taxpayers like you. Those “low, low prices” are made possible by low, low wages—and by the taxes you pay to keep those workers alive on their low, low pay. As I said earlier, I don’t think that anyone who works full-time should live in poverty. I also don’t think that bazillion-dollar companies like Walmart ought to funnel profits to shareholders while paying such low wages that taxpayers must pick up the ticket for their employees’ food, shelter, and medical care. I listen to right-wing loudmouths sound off about what an outrage welfare is and I think, “Yeah, it stinks that Walmart has been sucking up so much government assistance for so long.” But somehow I suspect that these guys aren’t talking about Walmart the Welfare Queen. Walmart isn’t alone. Every year, employers like retailers and fast-food outlets pay wages that are so low that the rest of America ponies up a collective $153 billion to subsidize their workers. That’s $153 billion every year. Anyone want to guess what we could do with that mountain of money? We could make every public college tuition-free and pay for preschool for every child—and still have tens of billions left over. We could almost double the amount we spend on services for veterans, such as disability, long-term care, and ending homelessness. We could double all federal research and development—everything: medical, scientific, engineering, climate science, behavioral health, chemistry, brain mapping, drug addiction, even defense research. Or we could more than double federal spending on transportation and water infrastructure—roads, bridges, airports, mass transit, dams and levees, water treatment plants, safe new water pipes. Yeah, the point I’m making is blindingly obvious. America could do a lot with the money taxpayers spend to keep afloat people who are working full-time but whose employers don’t pay a living wage. Of course, giant corporations know they have a sweet deal—and they plan to keep it, thank you very much. They have deployed armies of lobbyists and lawyers to fight off any efforts to give workers a chance to organize or fight for a higher wage. Giant corporations have used their mouthpiece, the national Chamber of Commerce, to oppose any increase in the minimum wage, calling it a “distraction” and a “cynical effort” to increase union membership. Lobbyists grow rich making sure that people like Gina don’t get paid more. The
Elizabeth Warren (This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class)
From the line, watching, three things are striking: (a) what on TV is a brisk crack is here a whooming roar that apparently is what a shotgun really sounds like; (b) trapshooting looks comparatively easy, because now the stocky older guy who's replaced the trim bearded guy at the rail is also blowing these little fluorescent plates away one after the other, so that a steady rain of lumpy orange crud is falling into the Nadir's wake; (c) a clay pigeon, when shot, undergoes a frighteningly familiar-looking midflight peripeteia -- erupting material, changing vector, and plummeting seaward in a corkscrewy way that all eerily recalls footage of the 1986 Challenger disaster. All the shooters who precede me seem to fire with a kind of casual scorn, and all get eight out of ten or above. But it turns out that, of these six guys, three have military-combat backgrounds, another two are L. L. Bean-model-type brothers who spend weeks every year hunting various fast-flying species with their "Papa" in southern Canada, and the last has got not only his own earmuffs, plus his own shotgun in a special crushed-velvet-lined case, but also his own trapshooting range in his backyard (31) in North Carolina. When it's finally my turn, the earmuffs they give me have somebody else's ear-oil on them and don't fit my head very well. The gun itself is shockingly heavy and stinks of what I'm told is cordite, small pubic spirals of which are still exiting the barrel from the Korea-vet who preceded me and is tied for first with 10/10. The two brothers are the only entrants even near my age; both got scores of 9/10 and are now appraising me coolly from identical prep-school-slouch positions against the starboard rail. The Greek NCOs seem extremely bored. I am handed the heavy gun and told to "be bracing a hip" against the aft rail and then to place the stock of the weapon against, no, not the shoulder of my hold-the-gun arm but the shoulder of my pull-the-trigger arm. (My initial error in this latter regard results in a severely distorted aim that makes the Greek by the catapult do a rather neat drop-and-roll.) Let's not spend a lot of time drawing this whole incident out. Let me simply say that, yes, my own trapshooting score was noticeably lower than the other entrants' scores, then simply make a few disinterested observations for the benefit of any novice contemplating trapshooting from a 7NC Megaship, and then we'll move on: (1) A certain level of displayed ineptitude with a firearm will cause everyone who knows anything about firearms to converge on you all at the same time with cautions and advice and handy tips. (2) A lot of the advice in (1) boils down to exhortations to "lead" the launched pigeon, but nobody explains whether this means that the gun's barrel should move across the sky with the pigeon or should instead sort of lie in static ambush along some point in the pigeon's projected path. (3) Whatever a "hair trigger" is, a shotgun does not have one. (4) If you've never fired a gun before, the urge to close your eyes at the precise moment of concussion is, for all practical purposes, irresistible. (5) The well-known "kick" of a fired shotgun is no misnomer; it knocks you back several steps with your arms pinwheeling wildly for balance, which when you're holding a still-loaded gun results in mass screaming and ducking and then on the next shot a conspicuous thinning of the crowd in the 9-Aft gallery above. Finally, (6), know that an unshot discus's movement against the vast lapis lazuli dome of the open ocean's sky is sun-like -- i.e., orange and parabolic and right-to-left -- and that its disappearance into the sea is edge-first and splashless and sad.
David Foster Wallace (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments)
The work I do is not exactly respectable. But I want to explain how it works without any of the negatives associated with my infamous clients. I’ll show how I manipulated the media for a good cause. A friend of mine recently used some of my advice on trading up the chain for the benefit of the charity he runs. This friend needed to raise money to cover the costs of a community art project, and chose to do it through Kickstarter, the crowdsourced fund-raising platform. With just a few days’ work, he turned an obscure cause into a popular Internet meme and raised nearly ten thousand dollars to expand the charity internationally. Following my instructions, he made a YouTube video for the Kickstarter page showing off his charity’s work. Not a video of the charity’s best work, or even its most important work, but the work that exaggerated certain elements aimed at helping the video spread. (In this case, two or three examples in exotic locations that actually had the least amount of community benefit.) Next, he wrote a short article for a small local blog in Brooklyn and embedded the video. This site was chosen because its stories were often used or picked up by the New York section of the Huffington Post. As expected, the Huffington Post did bite, and ultimately featured the story as local news in both New York City and Los Angeles. Following my advice, he sent an e-mail from a fake address with these links to a reporter at CBS in Los Angeles, who then did a television piece on it—using mostly clips from my friend’s heavily edited video. In anticipation of all of this he’d been active on a channel of the social news site Reddit (where users vote on stories and topics they like) during the weeks leading up to his campaign launch in order to build up some connections on the site. When the CBS News piece came out and the video was up, he was ready to post it all on Reddit. It made the front page almost immediately. This score on Reddit (now bolstered by other press as well) put the story on the radar of what I call the major “cool stuff” blogs—sites like BoingBoing, Laughing Squid, FFFFOUND!, and others—since they get post ideas from Reddit. From this final burst of coverage, money began pouring in, as did volunteers, recognition, and new ideas. With no advertising budget, no publicist, and no experience, his little video did nearly a half million views, and funded his project for the next two years. It went from nothing to something. This may have all been for charity, but it still raises a critical question: What exactly happened? How was it so easy for him to manipulate the media, even for a good cause? He turned one exaggerated amateur video into a news story that was written about independently by dozens of outlets in dozens of markets and did millions of media impressions. It even registered nationally. He had created and then manipulated this attention entirely by himself.
Ryan Holiday (Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator)
I was extremely curious about the alternatives to the kind of life I had been leading, and my friends and I exchanged rumors and scraps of information we dug from official publications. I was struck less by the West's technological developments and high living standards than by the absence of political witch-hunts, the lack of consuming suspicion, the dignity of the individual, and the incredible amount of liberty. To me, the ultimate proof of freedom in the West was that there seemed to be so many people there attacking the West and praising China. Almost every other day the front page of Reference, the newspaper which carded foreign press items, would feature some eulogy of Mao and the Cultural Revolution. At first I was angered by these, but they soon made me see how tolerant another society could be. I realized that this was the kind of society I wanted to live in: where people were allowed to hold different, even outrageous views. I began to see that it was the very tolerance of oppositions, of protesters, that kept the West progressing. Still, I could not help being irritated by some observations. Once I read an article by a Westerner who came to China to see some old friends, university professors, who told him cheerfully how they had enjoyed being denounced and sent to the back end of beyond, and how much they had relished being reformed. The author concluded that Mao had indeed made the Chinese into 'new people' who would regard what was misery to a Westerner as pleasure. I was aghast. Did he not know that repression was at its worst when there was no complaint? A hundred times more so when the victim actually presented a smiling face? Could he not see to what a pathetic condition these professors had been reduced, and what horror must have been involved to degrade them so? I did not realize that the acting that the Chinese were putting on was something to which Westerners were unaccustomed, and which they could not always decode. I did not appreciate either that information about China was not easily available, or was largely misunderstood, in the West, and that people with no experience of a regime like China's could take its propaganda and rhetoric at face value. As a result, I assumed that these eulogies were dishonest. My friends and I would joke that they had been bought by our government's 'hospitality." When foreigners were allowed into certain restricted places in China following Nixon's visit, wherever they went the authorities immediately cordoned off enclaves even within these enclaves. The best transport facilities, shops, restaurants, guest houses and scenic spots were reserved for them, with signs reading "For Foreign Guests Only." Mao-tai, the most sought-after liquor, was totally unavailable to ordinary Chinese, but freely available to foreigners. The best food was saved for foreigners. The newspapers proudly reported that Henry Kissinger had said his waistline had expanded as a result of the many twelve-course banquets he enjoyed during his visits to China. This was at a time when in Sichuan, "Heaven's Granary," our meat ration was half a pound per month, and the streets of Chengdu were full of homeless peasants who had fled there from famine in the north, and were living as beggars. There was great resentment among the population about how the foreigners were treated like lords. My friends and I began saying among ourselves: "Why do we attack the Kuomintang for allowing signs saying "No Chinese or Dogs" aren't we doing the same? Getting hold of information became an obsession. I benefited enormously from my ability to read English, as although the university library had been looted during the Cultural Revolution, most of the books it had lost had been in Chinese. Its extensive English-language collection had been turned upside down, but was still largely intact.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
The point is that you have here a direct, unmistakable assault on sanity and decency; and even - since some of Dali’s pictures would tend to poison the imagination like a pornographic postcard - on life itself. What Dali has done and what he has imagined is debatable, but in his outlook, his character, the bedrock decency of a human being does not exist. He is as anti-social as a flea. Clearly, such people are undesirable, and a society in which they can flourish has something wrong with it. Now, if you showed this book, with its illustrations, to Lord Elton, to Mr. Alfred Noyes, to The Times leader writers who exult over the “eclipse of the highbrow” - in fact, to any “sensible” art-hating English person - it is easy to imagine what kind of response you would get. They would flatly refuse to see any merit in Dali whatever. Such people are not only unable to admit that what is morally degraded can be æsthetically right, but their real demand of every artist is that he shall pat them on the back and tell them that thought is unnecessary. And they can be especially dangerous at a time like the present, when the Ministry of Information and the British Council put power into their hands. For their impulse is not only to crush every new talent as it appears, but to castrate the past as well. Witness the renewed highbrow-baiting that is now going on in this country and America, with its outcry not only against Joyce, Proust and Lawrence, but even against T. S. Eliot. But if you talk to the kind of person who can see Dali’s merits, the response that you get is not as a rule very much better. If you say that Dali, though a brilliant draughtsman, is a dirty little scoundrel, you are looked upon as a savage. If you say that you don’t like rotting corpses, and that people who do like rotting corpses are mentally diseased, it is assumed that you lack the æsthetic sense. Since “Mannequin rotting in a taxicab” is a good composition. And between these two fallacies there is no middle position, but we seldom hear much about it. On the one side Kulturbolschewismus: on the other (though the phrase itself is out of fashion) “Art for Art’s sake.” Obscenity is a very difficult question to discuss honestly. People are too frightened either of seeming to be shocked or of seeming not to be shocked, to be able to define the relationship between art and morals. It will be seen that what the defenders of Dali are claiming is a kind of benefit of clergy. The artist is to be exempt from the moral laws that are binding on ordinary people. Just pronounce the magic word “Art,” and everything is O.K.
George Orwell (Dickens, Dali and Others)
The unexamined life is surely worth living, but is the unloved life worth examining? It seems a strange question until one realizes how much of our so-called mental life is about the lives we are not living, the lives we are missing out on, the lives we could be leading but for some reason are not. What we fantasize about, what we long for, are the experiences, the things and the people that are absent. It is the absence of what we need that makes us think, that makes us cross and sad. We have to be aware of what is missing in our lives - even if this often obscures both what we already have and what is actually available - because we can survive only if our appetites more or less work for us. Indeed, we have to survive our appetites by making people cooperate with our wanting. We pressurize the world to be there for our benefit. And yet we quickly notice as children - it is, perhaps, the first thing we do notice - that our needs, like our wishes, are always potentially unmet. Because we are always shadowed by the possibility of not getting what we want, we lean, at best, to ironize our wishes - that is, to call our wants wishes: a wish is only a wish until, as we say, it comes true - and, at worst, to hate our needs. But we also learn to live somewhere between the lives we have and the lives we would like.(…) There is always what will turn out to be the life we led, and the life that accompanied it, the parallel life (or lives) that never actually happened, that we lived in our minds, the wished-for life (or lives): the risks untaken and the opportunities avoided or unprovided. We refer to them as our unloved lives because somewhere we believe that they were open to us; but for some reason - and we might spend a great deal of our lived lives trying to find and give the reason - they were not possible. And what was not possible all too easily becomes the story of our lives. Indeed, our lived lives might become a protracted mourning for, or an endless tantrum about, the lives we were unable to live. But the exemptions we suffer, whether forced or chosen, make us who we are. As we know more now than ever before about the kinds of lives it is possible to live - and affluence has allowed more people than ever before to think of their lives in terms of choices and options - we are always haunted by the myth of our potential, of what we might have it in ourselves to be or do. So when we are not thinking, like the character in Randall Jarrell's poem, that "The ways we miss our lives is life", we are grieving or regretting or resenting our failure to be ourselves as we imagine we could be. We share our lives with the people we have failed to be. We discover these unloved lives most obviously in our envy of other people, and in the conscious 9and unconscious) demands we make on our children to become something that was beyond us. And, of course, in our daily frustrations. Our lives become an elegy to needs unmet and desires sacrificed, to possibilities refused, to roads not taken. The myth of our potential can make of our lives a perpetual falling-short, a continual and continuing loss, a sustained and sometimes sustaining rage; though at its best it lures us into the future, but without letting us wonder why such lures are required (we become promising through the promises made to us). The myth of potential makes mourning and complaining feel like the realest things we eve do; and makes of our frustration a secret life of grudges. Even if we set aside the inevitable questions - How would we know if we had realized our potential? If we don't have potential what do we have? - we can't imagine our lives without the unloved lives they contain. We have an abiding sense, however obscure and obscured, that the lives we do lead are informed by the lives that escape us. That our lives are defined by loss, but loss of what might have been; loss, that is, of things never experienced.
Adam Phillips (Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life)