Capable Related Quotes

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Yes, you know enough of my frankness to believe me capable of that. After abusing you so abominably to your face, I could have no scruple in abusing you to all your relations.” -Elizabeth Bennet
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
The only type of sexual relations possible are those with someone who is as advanced and capable as oneself.
G.I. Gurdjieff
The world that I should wish to see would be one freed from the virulence of group hostilities and capable of realizing that happiness for all is to be derived rather from co-operation than from strife. I should wish to see a world in which education aimed at mental freedom rather than imprisoning the minds of the young in rigid armor of dogma calculated to protect them through life against the shafts of impartial evidence.
Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects)
If a man we don't know phones us up one day and talks a little, makes no suggestions, says nothing special, but nevertheless pays us the kind of attention we rarely receive, we're quite capable of going to bed with him that night, feeling relatively in love. That's what we women are like, and there's nothing wrong with that - it's the nature of the female to open herself to love easily.
Paulo Coelho
You are not an ugly person all the time; you are not an ugly person ordinarily; you are not an ugly person day to day. From day to day, you are a nice person. From day to day, all the people who are supposed to love you on the whole do. From day to day, as you walk down a busy street in the large and modern and prosperous city in which you work and lie, dismayed and puzzled at how alone you can feel in this crowd, how awful it is to go unnoticed, how awful it is to go unloved, even as you are surrounded by more people than you could possibly get to know in a lifetime that lasted for millennia and then out of the corner of your eye you see someone looking at you and absolute pleasure is written all over the person's face, and then you realize that you are not as revolting a presence as you think you are. And so, ordinarily, you are a nice person, an attractive person, a person capable of drawing to yourself the affection of other people, a person at home in your own skin: a person at home in your own house, with its nice backyard, at home on your street, your church, in community activities, your job, at home with your family, your relatives, your friends - you are a whole person.
Jamaica Kincaid (A Small Place)
. . . [O]nce we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and from our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives." "The erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feeling." "Of course, women so empowered are dangerous. So we are taught to separate the erotic from most vital areas of our lives other than sex.
Audre Lorde
My dear young friends, I want to invite you to "dare to love". Do not desire anything less for your life than a love that is strong and beautiful and that is capable of making the whole of your existence a joyful undertaking of giving yourselves as a gift to God and your brothers and sisters, in imitation of the One who vanquished hatred and death for ever through love (cf. Rev 5:13). Love is the only force capable of changing the heart of the human person and of all humanity, by making fruitful the relations between men and women, between rich and poor, between cultures and civilizations. (Message for the 22nd World Youth Day: Palm Sunday, 1 April 2007)
Pope Benedict XVI
At the very best, a mind enclosed in language is in prison. It is limited to the number of relations which words can make simultaneously present to it; and remains in ignorance of thoughts which involve the combination of a greater number. These thoughts are outside language, they are unformulable, although they are perfectly rigorous and clear and although every one of the relations they involve is capable of precise expression in words. So the mind moves in a closed space of partial truth, which may be larger or smaller, without ever being able so much as to glance at what is outside.
Simone Weil
only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of the other person—without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not give by the other.
Osho (Being in Love: How to Love with Awareness and Relate Without Fear)
But the poetry of that kiss, the wonder of it, the magic that there was in life for hours after it--who can describe that? It is so easy for an Englishman to sneer at these chance collisions of human beings. To the insular cynic and the insular moralist they offer an equal opportunity. It is so easy to talk of "passing emotion," and how to forget how vivid the emotion was ere it passed. Our impulse to sneer, to forget, is at root a good one. We recognize that emotion is not enough, and that men and women are personalities capable of sustained relations, not mere opportunities for an electrical discharge. Yet we rate the impulse too highly. We do not admit that by collisions of this trivial sort the doors of heaven may be shaken open.
E.M. Forster (Howards End)
The ISS would not be the incredibly capable orbiting research facility it is today without either Russians or Americans, just as it couldn't have been built without the Canadian arm used in its construction.
Ron Garan (The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles)
The gravitational waves of the first detection were generated by a collision of black holes in a galaxy 1.3 billion light-years away, and at a time when Earth was teeming with simple, single-celled organisms. While the ripple moved through space in all directions, Earth would, after another 800 million years, evolve complex life, including flowers and dinosaurs and flying creatures, as well as a branch of vertebrates called mammals. Among the mammals, a sub-branch would evolve frontal lobes and complex thought to accompany them. We call them primates. A single branch of these primates would develop a genetic mutation that allowed speech, and that branch—Homo Sapiens—would invent agriculture and civilization and philosophy and art and science. All in the last ten thousand years. Ultimately, one of its twentieth-century scientists would invent relativity out of his head, and predict the existence of gravitational waves. A century later, technology capable of seeing these waves would finally catch up with the prediction, just days before that gravity wave, which had been traveling for 1.3 billion years, washed over Earth and was detected. Yes, Einstein was a badass.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry)
Our minds are capable of imagining concertos and cities and the theory of relativity into existence, and yet apparently incapable of deciding which type of crisps we want to buy at the shop without five minutes’ painful deliberation.
Tom Phillips (Humans: A Brief History of How We F*cked It All Up)
Every idea that is a true idea has a form, and is capable of many forms. The variety of forms of which it is capable determines the value of the idea. So by way of ideas, and your mastery of them in relation to what you are doing, will come your value as an architect to your society and future. That's where you go to school. You can't get it in a university, you can't get it here, you can't get it anywhere except as you love it, love the feeling of it, desire and pursue it. And it doesn't come when you are very young, I think. I believe it comes faster with each experience, and the next is very simple, or more simple, until it becomes quite natural to you to become master of the idea you would express. "Idea and Essence" September 7, 1958
Frank Lloyd Wright
Modern fiction brings out the evil in domestic lives, ordinary relations, people like you and me -- Reader! Bruder! as Humbert said. Evil in Austen, as in most great fiction, lies in the inability to "see" others, hence to empathize with them. What is frightening is that this blindness can exist in the best of us (Eliza Bennet) as well as the worst (Humbert). We are all capable of becoming the blind censor, or imposing our visions and desires on others.
Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books)
Heh. I think you made your point, Atticus. Gods Below, Oberon, that was horrendous! You just violated the Schwarzenegger Pun Reduction Treaty of 2010. What? No, that didn't qualify! Yes, it did. Any pun related to a weapon's destructive capabilities or final disposition of a victim's body is a Schwarzenegger pun, by definition. That's negative twenty sausages according to the sanctions outlined in Section Four, Paragraph Two. My hound whined. No! Not twenty sausages! Twenty succulent sausages I'll never snarf? You can't do that - it's cruelty to animals! You can't argue with this. Your pawprint is on the treaty, and you agreed that Schwarzenegger puns are heinous abominations of language that deserve food-related punishments for purposes of correction and deterrence. Auggh! I still say it's your fault for renting Commando in the first place! You started it!
Kevin Hearne
Thus if we know a child has had sufficient opportunity to observe and acquire a behavioral sequence, and we know he is physically capable of performing the act but does not do so, then it is reasonable to assume that it is motivation which is lacking. The appropriate countermeasure then involves increasing the subjective value of the desired act relative to any competing response tendencies he might have, rather than having the model senselessly repeat an already redundant sequence of behavior.
Urie Bronfenbrenner (Two Worlds of Childhood: U.S. and U.S.S.R.)
If power is a thing to be had, it must be capable of possession. But power is not any discrete size or weight. Power is continuous. Power is parabolic. Say you are given some power, which then increases your capacity to accumulate more power. Your capacity for power increases exponentially in relation to the actual power you have gained. Thus, to gain power is to be increasingly powerless. If the more power one has, the less one has, then is it the thing or are you?
Olivie Blake (The Atlas Paradox (The Atlas, #2))
Good listeners have negative capability. They are able to cope with contradictory ideas and gray areas. Good listeners know there is usually more to the story than first appears and are not so eager for tidy reasoning and immediate answers, which is perhaps the opposite to being narrow-minded...In the psychological literature, negative capability is known as cognitive complexity, which research shows is positively related to self-compassion and negatively related to dogmatism.
Kate Murphy (You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters)
Some years ago I had a conversation with a man who thought that writing and editing fantasy books was a rather frivolous job for a grown woman like me. He wasn’t trying to be contentious, but he himself was a probation officer, working with troubled kids from the Indian reservation where he’d been raised. Day in, day out, he dealt in a concrete way with very concrete problems, well aware that his words and deeds could change young lives for good or ill. I argued that certain stories are also capable of changing lives, addressing some of the same problems and issues he confronted in his daily work: problems of poverty, violence, and alienation, issues of culture, race, gender, and class... “Stories aren’t real,” he told me shortly. “They don’t feed a kid left home in an empty house. Or keep an abusive relative at bay. Or prevent an unloved child from finding ‘family’ in the nearest gang.” Sometimes they do, I tried to argue. The right stories, read at the right time, can be as important as shelter or food. They can help us to escape calamity, and heal us in its aftermath. He frowned, dismissing this foolishness, but his wife was more conciliatory. “Write down the names of some books,” she said. “Maybe we’ll read them.” I wrote some titles on a scrap of paper, and the top three were by Charles de lint – for these are precisely the kind of tales that Charles tells better than anyone. The vital, necessary stories. The ones that can change and heal young lives. Stories that use the power of myth to speak truth to the human heart. Charles de Lint creates a magical world that’s not off in a distant Neverland but here and now and accessible, formed by the “magic” of friendship, art, community, and social activism. Although most of his books have not been published specifically for adolescents and young adults, nonetheless young readers find them and embrace them with particular passion. I’ve long lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people from troubled backgrounds say that books by Charles saved them in their youth, and kept them going. Recently I saw that parole officer again, and I asked after his work. “Gets harder every year,” he said. “Or maybe I’m just getting old.” He stopped me as I turned to go. “That writer? That Charles de Lint? My wife got me to read them books…. Sometimes I pass them to the kids.” “Do they like them?” I asked him curiously. “If I can get them to read, they do. I tell them: Stories are important.” And then he looked at me and smiled.
Terri Windling
We have such a theory now; we can solve any moral problem, on any level. Self-interest, love of family, duty to country, responsibility toward the human race—we are even developing an exact ethic for extra-human relations. But all moral problems can be illustrated by one misquotation: ‘Greater love hath no man than a mother cat dying to defend her kittens.’ Once you understand the problem facing that cat and how she solved it, you will then be ready to examine yourself and learn how high up the moral ladder you are capable of climbing.
Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers)
There are species that retain their characteristics even in conditions that are relatively different from their natural ones; other species in similar circumstances instead become extinct; otherwise what takes place is racial mixing with other elements in which no assimilation or real evolution occurs. The result of this interbreeding closely resembles Mendel’s laws concerning heredity: once it disappears in the phenotype, the primitive element survives in the form of a separated, latent heredity that is capable of cropping up in sporadic apparitions, even though it is always endowed with a character of heterogeneity in regard to the superior type.
Julius Evola (Revolt Against the Modern World)
Having escaped the Dark Ages in which animals were mere stimulus-response machines, we are free to contemplate their mental lives. It is a great leap forward, the one that Griffin fought for. But now that animal cognition is an increasingly popular topic, we are still facing the mindset that animal cognition can be only a poor substitute of what we humans have. It can’t be truly deep and amazing. Toward the end of a long career, many a scholar cannot resist shining a light on human talents by listing all the things we are capable of and animals not. From the human perspective, these conjectures may make a satisfactory read, but for anyone interested, as I am, in the full spectrum of cognitions on our planet, they come across as a colossal waste of time. What a bizarre animal we are that the only question we can ask in relation to our place in nature is “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the smartest of them all?
Frans de Waal (Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?)
Every unique thing in nature is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole. Each particle is a microcosm, and faithfully renders the likeness of the world. In geometric harmony of the cosmos there are ways that resemble, there are universal patterns, from blood vessels, to winter trees or to a river delta, from nautilus shell to spiral galaxy, from neurons in the brain to the cosmic web. A whole universe of connections is in your mind – a universe within a universe – and one capable of reaching out to the other that gave rise to it. Billions of neurons touching billions of stars – surely spiritual.
Alejandro Mos Riera
Another important way in which the erotic connection functions is the open and fearless underlining of my capacity for joy, in the way my body stretches to music and opens into response, harkening to its deepest rhythms so every level upon which I sense also opens to the erotically satisfying experience whether it is dancing, building a bookcase, writing a poem, or examining an idea. That self-connection shared is a measure of the joy which I know myself to be capable of feeling, a reminder of my capacity for feeling. And that deep and irreplaceable knowledge of my capacity for joy comes to demand from all of my life that it be lived within the knowledge that such satisfaction is possible, and does not have to be called marriage, nor god, nor an afterlife. This is one reason why the erotic is so feared, and so often relegated to the bedroom alone, when it is recognized at all. For once we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and from our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives. And this is a grave responsibility, projected from within each of us, not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected, nor the merely safe.
Audre Lorde
A child's readiness for school depends on the most basic of all knowledge, how to learn. The report lists the seven key ingredients of this crucial capacity—all related to emotional intelligence:6 1. Confidence. A sense of control and mastery of one's body, behavior, and world; the child's sense that he is more likely than not to succeed at what he undertakes, and that adults will be helpful. 2. Curiosity. The sense that finding out about things is positive and leads to pleasure. 3. Intentionality. The wish and capacity to have an impact, and to act upon that with persistence. This is related to a sense of competence, of being effective. 4. Self-control. The ability to modulate and control one's own actions in age-appropriate ways; a sense of inner control. 5. Relatedness. The ability to engage with others based on the sense of being understood by and understanding others. 6. Capacity to communicate. The wish and ability to verbally exchange ideas, feelings, and concepts with others. This is related to a sense of trust in others and of pleasure in engaging with others, including adults. 7. Cooperativeness. The ability to balance one's own needs with those of others in group activity. Whether or not a child arrives at school on the first day of kindergarten with these capabilities depends greatly on how much her parents—and preschool teachers—have given her the kind of care that amounts to a "Heart Start," the emotional equivalent of the Head Start programs.
Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ)
The ultimate reality from which the path of this becoming could start off again will no longer rest on a ground of 'causa sui.' in any case the sense of a God who would alone be capable of giving an account of self. It is rather from the human and from what the human most irreducibly is that it is a question of starting off again. From the human as it objectively is before it starts to construct a language and a thinking which help to distance it from its beginning, from its prematureness without thinking it in the totality of its being.
Luce Irigaray (The Way of Love)
To be born at all is to be situated in a network of relations with other people, and furthermore to find oneself forcibly inserted into linguistic categories that might seem natural and inevitable but are socially constructed and rigorously policed. We’re all stuck in our bodies, meaning stuck inside a grid of conflicting ideas about what those bodies mean, what they’re capable of and what they’re allowed or forbidden to do. We’re not just individuals, hungry and mortal, but also representative types, subject to expectations, demands, prohibitions and punishments that vary enormously according to the kind of body we find ourselves inhabiting. Freedom isn’t simply a matter of indulging all material cravings, Sade-style. It’s also about finding ways to live without being hampered, hobbled, damaged or actively destroyed by a constant reinforcement of ideas about what is permitted for the category of body to which you’ve been assigned.
Olivia Laing (Everybody: A Book about Freedom)
Or rather, it made him into two people. He was by nature a cheerful almost irrepressible person with a great zest for life. He loved good talk and physical activity. He had a deep sense of humour and a great capacity for making friends. But from now onwards there was to be a second side, more private but predominant in his diaries and letters. This side of him was capable of bouts of profound despair. More precisely, and more closely related to his mother's death, when he was in this mood he had a deep sense of impending loss. Nothing was safe. Nothing would last. No battle would be won for ever.
Humphrey Carpenter (J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography)
A human being is capable of taking in very few things at one time; we see only what is happening in front of us, here and now. Visualizing a simultaneous multiplicity of processes, however they may be interconnected, however they may complement one another, is beyond us. We experience this even with relatively simple phenomena. The fate of a single person can mean many things, the fate of several hundred is hard to encompass; but the history of thousands, millions, means essentially nothing at all.
Stanisław Lem (Solaris)
It must be recognized that man in his limited and relative earthly life is capable of bringing about the beautiful and the valuable only when he believes in another life, unlimited, absolute, eternal. That is a law of his being. A contact with this mortal life exclusive of any other ends in the wearing-away of effective energy and a self-satisfaction that makes one useless and superficial. Only the spiritual man, striking his roots deep in infinite and eternal life, can be a true creator. But Humanism denied the spiritual man, handed over the eternal to the temporal, and took its stand by the natural man within the limited confines of the earth.
Nikolai A. Berdyaev
I had to first overcome the nightmares: my dreams were populated by menaces, shadows, murderous persecutions, disgusting events and objects, ambiguous sexual relations that excited me while also making me feel guilty. Here, I was a character inferior to my level of consciousness in the real world, capable of misdeeds that I would never have allowed myself to perpetrate while awake. I repeated many times, like a litany, “It is I who dream, just as it is I who am awake, and not a perverse and vulnerable child. The dreams happen in me; they are part of me. All that appears is myself. These monsters are aspects of me that have not been resolved. They are not my enemies. The subconscious is my ally. I must confront the terrible images and transform them.” I often had the same nightmare: I was in a desert, and a psychic entity determined to destroy me would come from the horizon as a huge cloud of negativity. I would wake up screaming and soaked in sweat. Now, tired of this undignified flight, I decided to offer myself in sacrifice. At the climax of the dream, in a state of lucid terror, I said, “Enough, I will stop wanting to wake up! Abomination, destroy me!” The entity approached threateningly. I stood still, calm. Then, the immense threat dissolved. I woke up for a few seconds, then peacefully went back to sleep. I realized it was I myself who had fed my terrors. I now knew that what terrifies us loses all its power in the moment that we stop fighting it. I began a long period during which whenever I had dreams, instead of running I would face my enemies and ask them what they wanted to tell me. Gradually, the images transformed before me and began to offer me presents: sometimes a ring, other times a golden sphere or a pair of keys. I now understood that just as every devil is a fallen angel, every angel is also a demon that has risen.
Alejandro Jodorowsky (The Dance of Reality: A Psychomagical Autobiography)
16 Over the footbridge.— In our relations with people who are bashful about their feelings, we must be capable of dissimulation; they feel a sudden hatred against anyone who catches them in a tender, enthusiastic, or elevated feeling, as if he had seen their secrets. If you want to make them feel good at such moments, you have to make them laugh or voice some cold but witty sarcasm; then their feeling freezes and they regain power over themselves. But I am giving you the moral before telling the story. There was a time in our lives when we were so close that nothing seemed to obstruct our friendship and brotherhood, and only a small footbridge separated us. Just as you were about to step on it, I asked you: “Do you want to cross the footbridge to me?” —Immediately, you did not want to any more; and when I asked you again, you remained silent. Since then mountains and torrential rivers and whatever separates and alienates have been cast between us, and even if we wanted to get together, we couldn’t. But when you now think of that little footbridge, words fail you and you sob and marvel.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science with a Prelude in Rhymes & an Appendix of Songs)
To the extent that propaganda is based on current news, it cannot permit time for thought or reflection. A man caught up in the news must remain on the surface of the event; he is carried along in the current, and can at no time take a respite to judge and appreciate; he can never stop to reflect. There is never any awareness -- of himself, of his condition, of his society -- for the man who lives by current events. Such a man never stops to investigate any one point, any more than he will tie together a series of news events. We already have mentioned man's inability to consider several facts or events simultaneously and to make a synthesis of them in order to face or to oppose them. One thought drives away another; old facts are chased by new ones. Under these conditions there can be no thought. And, in fact, modern man does not think about current problems; he feels them. He reacts, but be does not understand them any more than he takes responsibility for them. He is even less capable of spotting any inconsistency between successive facts; man's capacity to forget is unlimited. This is one of the most important and useful points for the propagandist, who can always be sure that a particular propaganda theme, statement, or event will be forgotten within a few weeks. Moreover, there is a spontaneous defensive reaction in the individual against an excess of information and -- to the extent that he clings (unconsciously) to the unity of his own person -- against inconsistencies. The best defense here is to forget the preceding event. In so doing, man denies his own continuity; to the same extent that he lives on the surface of events and makes today's events his life by obliterating yesterday's news, he refuses to see the contradictions in his own life and condemns himself to a life of successive moments, discontinuous and fragmented. This situation makes the "current-events man" a ready target for propaganda. Indeed, such a man is highly sensitive to the influence of present-day currents; lacking landmarks, he follows all currents. He is unstable because he runs after what happened today; he relates to the event, and therefore cannot resist any impulse coming from that event. Because he is immersed in current affairs, this man has a psychological weakness that puts him at the mercy of the propagandist. No confrontation ever occurs between the event and the truth; no relationship ever exists between the event and the person. Real information never concerns such a person. What could be more striking, more distressing, more decisive than the splitting of the atom, apart from the bomb itself? And yet this great development is kept in the background, behind the fleeting and spectacular result of some catastrophe or sports event because that is the superficial news the average man wants. Propaganda addresses itself to that man; like him, it can relate only to the most superficial aspect of a spectacular event, which alone can interest man and lead him to make a certain decision or adopt a certain attitude. But here we must make an important qualification. The news event may be a real fact, existing objectively, or it may be only an item of information, the dissemination of a supposed fact. What makes it news is its dissemination, not its objective reality.
Jacques Ellul (Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes)
As ordering operators and image formers in this world of symbolic images, the archetypes thus function as the sought-for bridge between the sense perceptions and the ideas and are, accordingly, a necessary presupposition even for evolving a scientific theory of nature. However, one must guard against transferring this a priori of knowledge into the conscious mind and relating it to definite ideas capable of rational formulation.
Wolfgang Pauli (The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche: The Work of Carl Jung and Wolfgang Pauli)
12. Each symbol, moreover, admits of interpretation upon the different planes, and through its astrological associations can be related to the gods of any pantheon, thus opening up vast new fields of implication in which the mind ranges endlessly, symbol leading on to symbol in an unbroken chain of associations; symbol confirming symbol as the many-branching threads gather themselves together into a synthetic glyph once more, and each symbol capable of interpretation in terms of whatever plane the mind may be functioning upon. 13. This mighty, all-embracing glyph of the soul of man and of the universe, by virtue of its logical association of symbols, evokes images in the mind; but these images are not randomly evolved, but follow along well-defined association-tracks in the Universal Mind. The symbol of the Tree is to the Universal Mind what the dream is to the individual ego; it is a glyph synthesized from subconsciousness to represent the hidden forces.
Dion Fortune (The Mystical Qabalah)
In demonstrating this, the Buddha was making an important example for the ages. For almost no one is exempt from trauma. While some people have it in a much more pronounced way than others, the unpredictable and unstable nature of things makes life inherently traumatic. What the Buddha revealed through his dreams was that, true as this may be, the mind, by its very nature, is capable of holding trauma much the way a mother naturally relates to a baby. One does not have to be helpless and fearful, nor does one have to be hostile and self-referential. The mind knows intuitively how to find a middle path. Its implicit relational capacity is hardwired.
Mark Epstein (The Trauma of Everyday Life)
It taught me to hope,” said he, “as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before. I knew enough of your disposition to be certain that, had you been absolutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have acknowledged it to Lady Catherine, frankly and openly.” Elizabeth coloured and laughed as she replied, “Yes, you know enough of my frankness to believe me capable of that. After abusing you so abominably to your face, I could have no scruple in abusing you to all your relations.
Jane Austen (Pride And Prejudice)
The personality is seldom, in the beginning, what it will be later on. For this reason the possibility of enlarging it exists, at least during the first half of life. The enlargement may be effected through an accretion from without, by new vital contents finding their way into the personality from outside and being assimilated. In this way a considerable increase of personality may be experienced. We therefore tend to assume that this increase comes only from without, thus justifying the prejudice that one becomes a personality by stuffing into oneself as much as possible from outside. But the more assiduously we follow this recipe, and the more stubbornly we believe that all increase has to come from without, the greater becomes our inner poverty. Therefore, if some great idea takes hold of us from outside, we must understand that it takes hold of us only because something in us responds to it and goes out to meet it. Richness of mind consists in mental receptivity, not in the accumulation of possessions. What comes to us from outside, and, for that matter, everything that rises up from within, can only be made our own if we are capable of an inner amplitude equal to that of the incoming content. Real increase of personality means consciousness of an enlargement that flows from inner sources. Without psychic depth we can never be adequately related to the magnitude of our object. It has therefore been said quite truly that a man grows with the greatness of his task. But he must have within himself the capacity to grow; otherwise even the most difficult task is of no benefit to him. More likely he will be shattered by it…
C.G. Jung
But there is an unbounded pleasure to be had in the possession of a young, newly blossoming soul! It is like a flower, from which the best aroma evaporates when meeting the first ray of the sun; you must pluck it at that minute, breathing it in until you’re satisfied, and then throw it onto the road: perhaps someone will pick it up! I feel this insatiable greed, which swallows everything it meets on its way. I look at the suffering and joy of others only in their relation to me, as though it is food that supports the strength of my soul. I myself am not capable of going mad under the influence of passion. My ambition is stifled by circumstances, but it has manifested itself in another way, for ambition is nothing other than a thirst for power, and my best pleasure is to subject everyone around me to my will, to arouse feelings of love, devotion and fear of me—is this not the first sign and the greatest triumph of power? Being someone’s reason for suffering while not being in any position to claim the right—isn’t this the sweetest nourishment for our pride? And what is happiness? Sated pride. If I considered myself to be better, more powerful than everyone in the world, I would be happy. If everyone loved me, I would find endless sources of love within myself. Evil spawns evil. The first experience of torture gives an understanding of the pleasure in tormenting others. An evil idea cannot enter a person’s head without his wanting to bring it into reality: ideas are organic creations, someone once said. Their birth gives them form immediately, and this form is an action. The person in whom most ideas are born is the person who acts most. Hence a genius, riveted to his office desk, must die or lose his mind, just as a man with a powerful build who has a sedentary life and modest behavior will die from an apoplectic fit. Passions are nothing other than the first developments of an idea: they are a characteristic of the heart’s youth, and whoever thinks to worry about them his whole life long is a fool: many calm rivers begin with a noisy waterfall, but not one of them jumps and froths until the very sea. And this calm is often the sign of great, though hidden, strength. The fullness and depth of both feeling and thought will not tolerate violent upsurges. The soul, suffering and taking pleasure, takes strict account of everything and is always convinced that this is how things should be. It knows that without storms, the constant sultriness of the sun would wither it. It is infused with its own life—it fosters and punishes itself, like a child. And it is only in this higher state of self-knowledge that a person can estimate the value of divine justice.
Mikhail Lermontov (A Hero of Our Time)
The intelligence we will create from the reverse-engineering of the brain will have access to its own source code and will be able to rapidly improve itself in an accelerating iterative design cycle. Although there is considerable plasticity in the biological human brain, as we have seen, it does have a relatively fixed architecture, which cannot be significantly modified, as well as a limited capacity. We are unable to increase its 300 million pattern recognizers to, say, 400 million unless we do so nonbiologically. Once we can achieve that, there will be no reason to stop at a particular level of capability. We can go on to make it a billion pattern recognizers, or a trillion.
Ray Kurzweil
What finally turned me back toward the older traditions of my own [Chickasaw] and other Native peoples was the inhumanity of the Western world, the places--both inside and out--where the culture's knowledge and language don't go, and the despair, even desperation, it has spawned. We live, I see now, by different stories, the Western mind and the indigenous. In the older, more mature cultures where people still live within the kinship circles of animals and human beings there is a connection with animals, not only as food, but as 'powers,' a word which can be taken to mean states of being, gifts, or capabilities. I've found, too, that the ancient intellectual traditions are not merely about belief, as some would say. Belief is not a strong enough word. They are more than that: They are part of lived experience, the on-going experience of people rooted in centuries-old knowledge that is held deep and strong, knowledge about the natural laws of Earth, from the beginning of creation, and the magnificent terrestrial intelligence still at work, an intelligence now newly called ecology by the Western science that tells us what our oldest tribal stories maintain--the human animal is a relatively new creation here; animal and plant presences were here before us; and we are truly the younger sisters and brothers of the other animal species, not quite as well developed as we thought we were. It is through our relationships with animals and plants that we maintain a way of living, a cultural ethics shaped from an ancient understanding of the world, and this is remembered in stories that are the deepest reflections of our shared lives on Earth. That we held, and still hold, treaties with the animals and plant species is a known part of tribal culture. The relationship between human people and animals is still alive and resonant in the world, the ancient tellings carried on by a constellation of stories, songs, and ceremonies, all shaped by lived knowledge of the world and its many interwoven, unending relationships. These stories and ceremonies keep open the bridge between one kind of intelligence and another, one species and another. (from her essay "First People")
Linda Hogan (Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals)
Children are capable, of course, of literary belief, when the story-maker's art is good enough to produce it. That state of mind has been called 'willing suspension of disbelief'. But this does not seem to me a good description of what happens. What really happens is that the story-maker proves a successful 'sub-creator'. He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is 'true': it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside. The moment disbelief arises, the spell is broken; the magic, or rather art, has failed. You are then out in the Primary World again, looking at the little abortive Secondary World from outside. If you are obliged, by kindliness or circumstance, to stay, then disbelief must be suspended (or stifled), otherwise listening and looking would become intolerable. But this suspension of disbelief is a substitute for the genuine thing, a subterfuge we use when condescending to games or make-believe, or when trying (more or less willingly) to find what virtue we can in the work of an art that has for us failed.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays)
Some alters are what Dr Ross describes in Multiple Personality Disorder as 'fragments', which are 'relatively limited psychic states that express only one feeling, hold one memory or carry out a limited task in the person's life. A fragment might be a frightened child who holds the memory of one particular abuse incident.' In complex multiples, Dr Ross continues, the `personalities are relatively full-bodied, complete states capable of a rang of emotions and behaviours.' The alters will have `executive control some substantial amount of time over the person life'. He stresses, and I repeat his emphasis, 'Complex MPD with over 15 alter personalities and complicated amnesic barriers are associated with 100 percent frequency of childhood physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
I am in doubt as to the propriety of making my first meditations in the place above mentioned matter of discourse; for these are so metaphysical, and so uncommon, as not, perhaps, to be acceptable to every one. And yet, that it may be determined whether the foundations that I have laid are sufficiently secure, I find myself in a measure constrained to advert to them. I had long before remarked that, in relation to practice, it is sometimes necessary to adopt, as if above doubt, opinions which we discern to be highly uncertain, as has been already said; but as I then desired to give my attention solely to the search after truth, I thought that a procedure exactly the opposite was called for, and that I ought to reject as absolutely false all opinions in regard to which I could suppose the least ground for doubt, in order to ascertain whether after that there remained aught in my belief that was wholly indubitable. Accordingly, seeing that our senses sometimes deceive us, I was willing to suppose that there existed nothing really such as they presented to us; and because some men err in reasoning, and fall into paralogisms, even on the simplest matters of geometry, I, convinced that I was as open to error as any other, rejected as false all the reasonings I had hitherto taken for demonstrations; and finally, when I considered that the very same thoughts (presentations) which we experience when awake may also be experienced when we are asleep, while there is at that time not one of them true, I supposed that all the objects (presentations) that had ever entered into my mind when awake, had in them no more truth than the illusions of my dreams. But immediately upon this I observed that, whilst I thus wished to think that all was false, it was absolutely necessary that I, who thus thought, should be somewhat; and as I observed that this truth, I think, therefore I am ["cogito ergo sum"], was so certain and of such evidence that no ground of doubt, however extravagant, could be alleged by the sceptics capable of shaking it, I concluded that I might, without scruple, accept it as the first principle of the philosophy of which I was in search
René Descartes (Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy)
Every concept in our conscious mind, in short, has its own psychic associations. While such associations may vary in intensity (according to relative importance of the concept to our whole personality, or according to the other ideas and even complexes to which it is associated in our unconscious), they are capable of changing the "normal" character of that concept. It may even become something quite different as it drifts below the level of consciousness. These subliminal aspects of everything that happens to us may seem to play very little part in our daily lives. But in dream analysis, where the psychologist is dealing with expressions of the unconscious, they are very relevant, for they are the almost invisible roots of our conscious thoughts. That is why commonplace objects or ideas can assume such powerful psychic significance in a dream that we may awake seriously disturbed, in spite of having dreamed of nothing worse than a locked room or a missed train. The images produced in dreams are much more picturesque and vivid than the concepts and experiences that are their waking counterparts. One of the reasons for this is that, in a dream, such concepts can express their unconscious meaning. In our conscious thoughts, we restrain ourselves within the limits of rational statements-statements that are much less colorful because we have stripped them of most of their psychic associations.
C.G. Jung (Man and His Symbols)
My mother relates to the world through a permeable membrane. She can imagine herself in a different life and has recast herself many times. As I have. It is a way to move through the world driven equally by hope and fear. We who fear abandonment are often the most capable of leaving. We build lives out of moveable pieces. Out of ourselves. It is a creative way to live, both variable and resilient, if sometimes lonely.
Melissa Febos (Abandon Me: Memoirs)
Their Policy in this is very wise, and has nothing Barbarous in it. For, since their preservation depends upon their union, and since it is hardly possible that among peoples where license reigns with all impunity -- and, above all, among young people -- there should not happen some event capable of causing a rupture, and disuniting their minds, -- for these reasons, they hold every year a general assembly in Onnontaé. There all the Deputies from the different Nations are present, to make their complaints and receive the necessary satisfaction in mutual gifts, -- by means of which they maintain a good understanding with one another
Reuben Gold Thwaites (The Jesuit relations and allied documents [microform]: travels and explorations of the Jesuit missionaries in New France, 1610-1791)
What ‘relations of production’ in capitalist society represented for Karl Marx, ‘relations of definition’ represent for risk society. Both concern relations of domination (Beck 2002; Goldblatt 1996). Among the relations of definition are the rules, institutions and capabilities which specify how risks are to be identified in particular contexts (for example, within nation-states, but also in relations between them). They form at the legal, epistemological and cultural power matrix in which risk politics is organized (see chapters 9 and 10). Relations of definition power can accordingly be explored through four clusters of questions:
Ulrich Beck (World at Risk)
Might not certain vices have the same relation to character that the rigidity of a fixed idea as to intellect? Whether as a moral kink or a crooked twist given to the will, vice has often the appearance of a curvature for the soul. Doubtless there are vices into which the soul plunges deeply with all its pregnant potency, which it rejuvenates and drags along with it into a moving circle of reincarnations. Those are tragic vices. But the vice capable of making us comic is, on the contrary, that which is brought from without, like a ready-made frame into which we are to step. It lends us its own rigidity instead of borrowing from us our flexibility. We do not render it more complicated; on the contrary, it simplifies us. Here, as we shall see later in the concluding section of this study, lies the essential difference between comedy and drama. A drama, even when portraying passions or vices that bear a name, so completely incorporates them that the person is forgotten, their general characteristics effaced, and we no longer think of them at all, but rather of the person in whom they are assimilated; hence, the title of a drama can seldom be anything else than a proper noun. On the other hand, many comedies have a common noun as their title: L'Avare, Le Joueur etc.
Henri Bergson (Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic)
Seventy is the natural life span for human beings. And if things move in this natural course then one dies with tremendous joy, with great ecstasy, feeling immensely blessed that life has not been meaningless, that at least one has found his home. And because of this richness, this fulfillment, one is capable of blessing the whole of existence. Just to be near such a person at the time of death is a great opportunity. You will feel, as the person leaves the body, as if some invisible flowers are falling upon you. Although you cannot see them, you can feel them. It is sheer joy, so pure that even to have a little taste of it is enough to transform your whole life.
Osho (Being in Love: How to Love with Awareness and Relate Without Fear)
I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me--This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
Neil Pasricha (The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything)
wherever they live, travel, hike, swim, fish, dive, kayak, or trek, they risk being confronted by something capable of doing them in with tooth, fang, claw, jaw, or stinger, and yet there is no public clamor to eradicate any animal because of the peril it poses to the human population. australians have learned to coexist in relative peace with nearly everything, and when occasionally a human life is lost to an animal, the public usually reacts philosophically.
Peter Benchley (Shark Trouble)
In general, people accumulate knowledge gradually over a long period of time. However, there are extraordinary people all around us, who are capable of accumulating impressive amounts of knowledge within a relatively short period of time. Nevertheless, even the greatest genius possesses only a small fraction of all knowledge known by mankind. Finally, the following question arises: how large is all the existing knowledge in comparison to the space of ignorance?
Eraldo Banovac
It doesn’t matter that Cathy was what I would have called a monster. Perhaps we can’t understand Cathy, but on the other hand we are capable of many things in all directions, of great virtues and great sins. And who in his mind has not probed the black water? Maybe we all have in us a secret pond where evil and ugly things germinate and grow strong. But this culture is fenced, and the swimming brood climbs up only to fall back. Might it not be that in the dark pools of some men the evil grows strong enough to wriggle over the fence and swim free? Would not such a man be our monster, and are we not related to him in our own hidden water? It would be absurd if we did not understand both angels and devils, since we invented them.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
Some alters are what Dr Ross describes in Multiple Personality Disorder as 'fragments'. which are 'relatively limited psychic states that express only one feeling, hold one memory, or carry out a limited task in the person's life. A fragment might be a frightened child who holds the memory of one particular abuse incident.' In complex multiples, Dr Ross continues, the 'personalities are relatively full-bodied, complete states capable of a range of emotions and behaviours.' The alters will have 'executive control some substantial amount of time over the person's life'. He stresses, and I repeat his emphasis, 'Complex MPD with over 15 alter personalities and complicated amnesia barriers are associated with 100 percent frequency of childhood physical, sexual and emotional abuse.' Did I imagine the castle, the dungeon, the ritual orgies and violations? Did Lucy, Billy, Samuel, Eliza, Shirley and Kato make it all up? I went back to the industrial estate and found the castle. It was an old factory that had burned to the ground, but the charred ruins of the basement remained. I closed my eyes and could see the black candles, the dancing shadows, the inverted pentagram, the people chanting through hooded robes. I could see myself among other children being abused in ways that defy imagination. I have no doubt now that the cult of devil worshippers was nothing more than a ring of paedophiles, the satanic paraphernalia a cover for their true lusts: the innocent bodies of young children.
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
Fear (...) that has no relation to capabilities or even to reality is epidemic among women today. Fear of being independent (that could mean we'd end up alone and uncared for); fear of being dependent (that could mean we'd be swallowed by some dominating "other"); fear of being competent and good at what we do (that could mean we'd have to keep on being good at what we do); fear of being incompetent (that could mean we'd have to keep on feeling shlumpy, depressed, and second class). (...) Phobia has so thoroughly infiltrated the feminine experience it is like a secret plague. It has been built up over long years by social conditioning and is all the more insidious for being so thoroughly acculturated we do not even recognize what has happened to us. Women will not become free until they stop being afraid. We will not begin to experience real change in our lives, real emancipation, until we begin the process - almost a de-brainwashing - of working through the anxieties that prevent us from feeling competent and whole.
Colette Dowling (The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence)
When we meet someone new, we quickly answer two questions: “Can I trust this person?” and “Can I respect this person?” In our research, my colleagues and I have referred to these dimensions as warmth and competence respectively. Usually we think that a person we’ve just met is either more warm than competent or more competent than warm, but not both in equal measure. We like our distinctions to be clear—it’s a human bias. So we classify new acquaintances into types. Tiziana Casciaro, in her research into organizations, refers to these types as lovable fools or competent jerks.2 Occasionally we see people as incompetent and cold—foolish jerks—or as warm and competent—lovable stars. The latter is the golden quadrant, because receiving trust and respect from other people allows you to interact well and get things done. But we don’t value the two traits equally. First we judge warmth or trustworthiness, which we consider to be the more important of the two dimensions. Oscar Ybarra and his colleagues found, for instance, that people process words related to warmth and morality (friendly, honest, and others) faster than words related to competence (creative, skillful, and others).3 Why do we prioritize warmth over competence? Because from an evolutionary perspective, it is more crucial to our survival to know whether a person deserves our trust. If he doesn’t, we’d better keep our distance, because he’s potentially dangerous, especially if he’s competent. We do value people who are capable, especially in circumstances where that trait is necessary, but we only notice that after we’ve judged their trustworthiness. Recalling
Amy Cuddy (Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges)
The capacities that develop in the earliest years may be harder to measure on tests of kindergarten readiness than abilities like number and letter recognition, but they are precisely the skills, closely related to executive functions, that researchers have recently determined to be so valuable in kindergarten and beyond: the ability to focus on a single activity for an extended period, the ability to understand and follow directions, the ability to cope with disappointment and frustration, the ability to interact capably with other students.
Paul Tough (Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why)
Here we want to return to the dynamic space beyond fixed norms on the one hand, and “anything goes” relativism on the other. Outside this false dichotomy is the domain of relationships that are alive, responsive, and make people capable of new things together, without imposing this on everyone else. It is in this space where values like openness, curiosity, trust, and responsibility can really flourish, not as fixed ways of being to be applied everywhere but as ways of relating that can only be kept alive by cultivating careful, selective, and fierce boundaries. For joy to flourish, it needs sharp edges.
Nick Montgomery (Joyful Militancy: Building Thriving Resistance in Toxic Times (Anarchist Interventions))
According to Massimo Maffei from the University of Turin, plants-and that includes trees-are perfectly capable of distinguishing their own roots from the roots of other species and even from the roots of related individuals. But why are trees such social beings? Why do they share food with their own species and sometimes even go so far as to nourish their competitors? The reasons are the same as for human communities: there are advantages to working together. A tree is not a forest. On its own, a tree cannot establish a consistent local climate. It is at the mercy of wind and weather. But together, many trees create an ecosystem that moderates extremes of heat and cold, stores a great deal of water, and generates a great deal of humidity. And in this protected environment, trees can live to be very old. To get to this point, the community must remain intact no matter what. If every tree were looking out only for itself, then quite a few of them would never reach old age. Regular fatalities would result in many large gaps in the tree canopy, which would make it easier for storms to get inside the forest and uproot more trees. The heat of summer would reach teh forest floor and dry it out. Every tree would suffer.
Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World)
...when today as believers in our age we hear it said, a little enviously perhaps, that in the Middle Ages everyone without exception in our lands was a believer, it is a good thing to cast a glance behind the scenes, as we can today, thanks to historical research. This will tell us that even in those days there was the great mass of nominal believers and a relatively small number of people who had really entered into the inner movement of belief. It will show us that for many belief was only a ready-made mode of life, by which for them the exciting adventure really signified by the word credo was at least as much concealed as disclosed. This is simply because there is an infinite gulf between God and man; because man is fashioned in such a way that his eyes are only capable of seeing what is not God, and thus for man God is and always will be the essentially invisible, something lying outside his field of vision. ...
Pope Benedict XVI (Introduction to Christianity)
raw state militias patrolling the west with seasoned troops better capable of confronting the Indians of the Great Plains. South of the Arkansas, this meant eradicating the Kiowa and the Comanche, who were blocking movement along the Santa Fe Trail into New Mexico. North of the Platte, it meant killing Red Cloud and Sitting Bull. General Ulysses S. Grant, the Army’s commander in chief, had long planned such a moment. The previous November, the day after the Sand Creek massacre, Grant summoned Major General John Pope to his Virginia headquarters to put such plans in motion. Despite his relative youth, the forty-three-year-old Pope was an old-school West Pointer and a topographical engineer-surveyor whose star had risen with several early successes on western fronts in the Civil War. It had dimmed just as rapidly when Lincoln placed him in command of the eastern forces; Pope was thoroughly outfoxed by Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Pope had been effectively exiled to St. Paul, Minnesota, until Grant recalled him to consolidate under one command a confusing array of bureaucratic Army “departments” and “districts” west of St. Louis. Grant named Pope the commanding general of a new Division of the Missouri,
Bob Drury (The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend)
My mother’s problem is that she can’t submit to any authority. She lost her parents years ago, and she lost her husband. She takes no account of her relatives’ views—she never has—and especially not her children’s. There’s no human or spiritual discipline to which she’ll subject her will. She just has her own opinions, and they’re the only tribunal that’s permitted to judge her when she makes a mistake. Can you imagine what you would be like if you didn’t have anyone close who was capable of influencing you? Anyone to point out your flaws, to confront you when you went too far, to correct you when you did something wrong?” Miss
Natalia Sanmartín Fenollera (The Awakening of Miss Prim)
To be born at all is to be situated in a network of relations with other people, and furthermore to find oneself forcibly inserted into linguistic categories that might seem natural and inevitable but are socially constructed and rigorously policed. We’re all stuck in our bodies, meaning stuck inside a grid of conflicting ideas about what those bodies mean, what they’re capable of and what they’re allowed or forbidden to do. We’re not just individuals, hungry and mortal, but also representative types, subject to expectations, demands, prohibitions and punishments that vary enormously according to the kind of body we find ourselves inhabiting.
Olivia Laing (Everybody: A Book about Freedom)
You perform at your highest potential only when you are focusing on the most valuable use of your time. This is the key to personal and business success. It is the central issue in personal efficiency and time management. You must always be asking yourself, What is the most valuable use of my time right now? Discipline yourself to work exclusively on the one task that, at any given time, is the answer to this question. Keep yourself on track and focused on your most important responsibilities by asking yourself, over and over, What is the most valuable use of my time right now? How you can apply this law immediately: 1. Remember that you can do only one thing at a time. Stop and think before you begin. Be sure that the task you do is the highest-value use of your time. Remind yourself that anything else you do while your most important task remains undone is a relative waste of time. 2. Be clear about the most valuable work that you do for your organization. Whatever it is, resolve to concentrate on doing that specific task before anything else. Why are you on the payroll? What specific, tangible, measurable results are expected of you? And of all the different results you are capable of achieving, which are the most important to your career at this moment? Whatever the answer, this is where you must focus your energies, and nowhere else.
Brian Tracy (The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success)
My laboratory is a place where I write. I have become proficient at producing a rare species of prose capable of distilling ten years of work by five people into six published pages, written in a language that very few people can read and that no one ever speaks. This writing relates the details of my work with the precision of a laser scalpel, but its streamlined beauty is a type of artifice, a size-zero mannequin designed to showcase the glory of a dress that would be much less perfect on any real person. My papers do not display the footnotes that they have earned, the table of data that required painstaking months to redo when a graduate student quit, sneering on her way out that she didn’t want a life like mine. The paragraph that took five hours to write while riding on a plane, stunned with grief, flying to a funeral that I couldn’t believe was happening. The early draft that my toddler covered in crayon and applesauce while it was still warm from the printer. Although my publications contain meticulous details of the plants that did grow, the runs that went smoothly, and the data that materialized, they perpetrate a disrespectful amnesia against the entire gardens that rotted in fungus and dismay, the electrical signals that refused to stabilize, and the printer ink cartridges that we secured late at night through nefarious means. I
Hope Jahren (Lab Girl)
What you describe is parasitism, not love. When you require another individual for your survival, you are a parasite on that individual. There is no choice, no freedom involved in your relationship. It is a matter of necessity rather than love. Love is the free exercise of choice. Two people love each other only when they are quite capable of living without each other but choose to live with each other. We all-each and every one of us-even if we try to pretend to others and to ourselves that we don't have dependency needs and feelings, all of us have desires to be babied, to be nurtured without effort on our parts, to be cared for by persons stronger than us who have our interests truly at heart. No matter how strong we are, no matter how caring and responsible and adult, if we look clearly into ourselves we will find the wish to be taken care of for a change. Each one of us, no matter how old and mature, looks for and would like to have in his or her life a satisfying mother figure and father figure. But for most of us these desires or feelings do not rule our lives; they are not the predominant theme of our existence. When they do rule our lives and dictate the quality of our existence, then we have something more than just dependency needs or feelings; we are dependent. Specifically, one whose life is ruled and dictated by dependency needs suffers from a psychiatric disorder to which we ascribe the diagnostic name "passive dependent personality disorder." It is perhaps the most common of all psychiatric disorders. People with this disorder, passive dependent people, are so busy seeking to be loved that they have no energy left to love…..This rapid changeability is characteristic of passive dependent individuals. It is as if it does not matter whom they are dependent upon as long as there is just someone. It does not matter what their identity is as long as there is someone to give it to them. Consequently their relationships, although seemingly dramatic in their intensity, are actually extremely shallow. Because of the strength of their sense of inner emptiness and the hunger to fill it, passive dependent people will brook no delay in gratifying their need for others. If being loved is your goal, you will fail to achieve it. The only way to be assured of being loved is to be a person worthy of love, and you cannot be a person worthy of love when your primary goal in life is to passively be loved. Passive dependency has its genesis in lack of love. The inner feeling of emptiness from which passive dependent people suffer is the direct result of their parents' failure to fulfill their needs for affection, attention and care during their childhood. It was mentioned in the first section that children who are loved and cared for with relative consistency throughout childhood enter adulthood with a deep seated feeling that they are lovable and valuable and therefore will be loved and cared for as long as they remain true to themselves. Children growing up in an atmosphere in which love and care are lacking or given with gross inconsistency enter adulthood with no such sense of inner security. Rather, they have an inner sense of insecurity, a feeling of "I don't have enough" and a sense that the world is unpredictable and ungiving, as well as a sense of themselves as being questionably lovable and valuable. It is no wonder, then, that they feel the need to scramble for love, care and attention wherever they can find it, and once having found it, cling to it with a desperation that leads them to unloving, manipulative, Machiavellian behavior that destroys the very relationships they seek to preserve. In summary, dependency may appear to be love because it is a force that causes people to fiercely attach themselves to one another. But in actuality it is not love; it is a form of antilove. Ultimately it destroys rather than builds relationships, and it destroys rather than builds people.
M. Scott Peck
Strategy can seem mystical and mysterious. It isn't. It is easily defined. It is a set of choices about winning. Again, it is an integrated set of choices that uniquely positions the firm in its industry so as to create sustainable advantage and superior value relative to the competition. Specifically, strategy is the answer to these five interrelated questions: 1. What is your winning aspiration? The purpose of your enterprise, its motivating aspiration. 2. Where will you play? A playing field where you can achieve that aspiration. 3. How will you win? The way you will win on the chosen playing field. 4. What capabilities must be in place? The set and configuration of capabilities required to win in the chosen way. 5. What management systems are required? The systems and measures that enable the capabilities and support the choices. These choices and the relationship between them can be understood as a reinforcing cascade, with the choices at the top of the cascade setting the context for the choices below, and choices at the bottom influencing and refining the choices above.
A.G. Lafley (Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works)
Qui veut être assassin, de nos jours, doit être un homme de science. Non, non, je n'étais ni l'un ni l'autre. Mesdames et messieurs les jurés, la majorité des pervers sexuels qui brûlent d'avoir avec une gamine quelque relation physique palpitante capable de les faire gémir de plaisir, sans aller nécessairement jusqu'au coït, sont des êtres insignifiants, inadéquats, passifs, timorés, qui demandent seulement à la société de leur permettre de poursuivre leur activités pratiquement inoffensives, prétendument aberrantes, de se livrer en toute intimité à leurs petites perversions sexuelles brûlantes et moites sans que la police et la société ne leur tombent dessus. Nous ne sommes pas des monstres sexuels! Nous ne violons pas comme le font ces braves soldats. Nous sommes des hommes infortunés et doux, aux yeux de chien battu, suffisamment intégrés socialement pour maîtriser nos pulsions en présence des adultes, mais prêts à sacrifier des années et des années de notre vie pour pouvoir toucher une nymphette ne serait-ce qu'une seule fois. Nous ne sommes pas des tueurs, assurément. Les poètes ne tuent point.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
Experts say that the nervous system needs to be reprogrammed to allow for greater happiness, fulfillment, and relational connectedness. The good news is that the nervous system is highly receptive to new programming. In fact, it is somewhat capable of reprogramming itself if we provide support. To create the space and allow the nervous system to develop this new capacity, we encourage leaders to integrate just after they experience a new high. For example, you close the deal you never thought you’d be able to close; you get the promotion you’ve always wanted; you have a great weekend away with your partner and experience a new level of closeness. At these moments, we suggest leaders integrate by doing things that are grounding, ordinary, mindless, soothing, mundane, and/or repetitive. This could be going for a walk, mowing the lawn, sweeping the floor, washing the car, making a meal, flipping through a favorite hobby magazine, or taking a little longer shower. This allows for the gentle raising of old Upper Limits (the reprogramming of the nervous system), without forcefully blowing past them in a way that actually causes a big crash.
Jim Dethmer (The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success)
We know, however, that the mind is capable of understanding these matters in all their complexity and in all their simplicity. A ball flying through the air is responding to the force and direction with which it was thrown, the action of gravity, the friction of the air which it must expend its energy on overcoming, the turbulence of the air around its surface, and the rate and direction of the ball's spin. And yet, someone who might have difficulty consciously trying to work out what 3 x 4 x 5 comes to would have no trouble in doing differential calculus and a whole host of related calculations so astoundingly fast that they can actually catch a flying ball. People who call this "instinct" are merely giving the phenomenon a name, not explaining anything. I think that the closest that human beings come to expressing our understanding of these natural complexities is in music. It is the most abstract of the arts - it has no meaning or purpose other than to be itself. Every single aspect of a piece of music can be represented by numbers. From the organization of movements in a whole symphony, down through the patterns of pitch and rhythm that make up the melodies and harmonies, the dynamics that shape the performance, all the way down to the timbres of the notes themselves, their harmonics, the way they change over time, in short, all the elements of a noise that distinguish between the sound of one person piping on a piccolo and another one thumping a drum - all of these things can be expressed by patterns and hierarchies of numbers. And in my experience the more internal relationships there are between the patterns of numbers at different levels of the hierarchy, however complex and subtle those relationships may be, the more satisfying and, well, whole, the music will seem to be. In fact the more subtle and complex those relationships, and the further they are beyond the grasp of the conscious mind, the more the instinctive part of your mind - by which I mean that part of your mind that can do differential calculus so astoundingly fast that it will put your hand in the right place to catch a flying ball- the more that part of your brain revels in it. Music of any complexity (and even "Three Blind Mice" is complex in its way by the time someone has actually performed it on an instrument with its own individual timbre and articulation) passes beyond your conscious mind into the arms of your own private mathematical genius who dwells in your unconscious responding to all the inner complexities and relationships and proportions that we think we know nothing about. Some people object to such a view of music, saying that if you reduce music to mathematics, where does the emotion come into it? I would say that it's never been out of it.
Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently, #1))
Our sin is our resistance to going along with God's initiative in making suffering reparative. We are deeply drawn towards God, but we also sense how following him will dislocate and transform beyond recognition the forms which have made life tolerable for us. We often react with fear, dismay, hostility. We are at war with ourselves, and responding differently to this inner conflict, we end up at war with each other. So it is undoubtedly true that the result of sin is much suffering. But this is by no means distributed according to desert. Many who are relatively innocent are swept up in this suffering, and some of the worse offenders get off lightly. The proper response to all this is not retrospective book-keeping, but making ourselves capable of responding to God's initiative. But now if that's what sin is, then one can sympathize with a lot of the modern critique of a religion which focuses on the evil tendencies of human nature, and the need for renunciation and sacrifice. This is not because humans are in fact angelic, or there is no point to sacrifice. It's just that focusing on how bad human beings can be, even if it's to refute the often over-rosy views of secular humanists with their reliance on human malleability and therapy, can only strengthen misanthropy, which certainly won’t bring you closer to God; and propounding sacrifice and renunciation for themselves takes you away from the main points, which is following God's initiative. That this can involve sacrifice, we well know from the charter act in this initiative, but renunciation is not is point.
Charles Taylor (A Secular Age)
Wisdom is not in a book, it has no secret source. You will find the real very near; it is in yourself. But to discover it there must be the activity of constant alertness. When thought is passively aware, watching and following, then the map of self-knowledge unfolds itself. Self-knowledge is not by the study of the self in isolation, for there is no isolation. To live is to be related, and isolation is merely escape. If thought is alertly passive, watching its own movements and flutters, then when sleep comes the conscious mind is capable of receiving the hints and intimations of the hidden consciousness. He who desires to discover the real, the eternal, must put aside every book, every system, every guru, for that which is can be uncovered only through self-knowledge. From: Fifth Talk in Madras
J. Krishnamurti
I see before me a person who is sacrificial, honest, and courageous; a good friend and family member, not cynical, not egotistical, but empathetic and good-hearted, who feels responsibility, is attentive, and is capable of keeping secrets, who does not misuse their power, does not gossip, and can master their ambition, who is just, demands quality, an internationalist and not envious, who generally behaves in a friendly way and does not judge others easily, who is persistent, has initiative, conscious of duty, critical, self-critical and conscientious, who relates well to learning or ignorance, and who is capable of self-education (self-perfection), who has self-control, who is sincere and strives for freedom for themself and others, whose ethics are at a similarly high level, who is modest, able to love others, who has solidarity, tolerance and politeness, has a healthy competitiveness, is helpful, peaceful, and well-intentioned, who shows respect to those who merit it, etc. This kind of person is definitely an exemplary moral authority. Whoever has in themselves all of the qualities above to a high level is a moral genius, even if they never become a hero, and even if those around them never consider them to be one.
László Polgár (Bring Up Genius! (Nevelj zsenit!))
This may mean that the responsible, intellectual liberal, who uses birth control, can perceive cause and effect, and produces resources while acquiring wealth, is a dying breed. As long as resource availability is sufficient to support unlimited population growth, this will result in an ever increasing ideological divide within our populace. The K-selected individuals will remain relatively similar, though more advanced. However it is likely that the r-selected contingent of the populace will gradually become less industrious, less intelligent, less capable of controlling behavior to alter life outcomes, more envious, more prolific, and more entitled. Given how this is trending, the liberal of today may one day appear to be a trustworthy, responsible, and reasonable intellectual when compared to this future model.
Anonymous Conservative (The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics: How Conservatism and Liberalism Evolved Within Humans)
The “IQ fundamentalist” Arthur Jensen put it thusly in his 1980 book Bias in Mental Testing (p. 113): “The four socially and personally most important threshold regions on the IQ scale are those that differentiate with high probability between persons who, because of their level of general mental ability, can or cannot attend a regular school (about IQ 50), can or cannot master the traditional subject matter of elementary school (about IQ 75), can or cannot succeed in the academic or college preparatory curriculum through high school (about IQ 105), can or cannot graduate from an accredited four-year college with grades that would qualify for admission to a professional or graduate school (about IQ 115). Beyond this, the IQ level becomes relatively unimportant in terms of ordinary occupational aspirations and criteria of success. That is not to say that there are not real differences between the intellectual capabilities represented by IQs of 115 and 150 or even between IQs of 150 and 180. But IQ differences in this upper part of the scale have far less personal implications than the thresholds just described and are generally of lesser importance for success in the popular sense than are certain traits of personality and character.
Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success)
Leonie Barrow's voice was quiet but clear. With Marechal's eyes on her, she said, "Cabal is more dangerous then you can believe, Count. Both the angels and the devils fear him. He's a monster, but an evenhanded one. I know he is capable of the most appalling acts of evil." Her glance moved to Cabal, who was listening dispassionately. "I believe he is also capable of great good. But to predict which he will do next isn't easy or safe." Marechal grimaced. "What is your association with this man? Public relations or something?" "I loathe him," she said with sudden venom. The, more quietly, "And I admire him. You're right; he didn't have to come back. He's taken a big risk, but I know he's taken bigger. I can't tell you whether he's a monster or playing the hero right now, but I know one thing. You made the biggest mistake of your life when you made an enemy of him.
Jonathan L. Howard (Johannes Cabal the Detective (Johannes Cabal, #2))
Recall the metaphor I used in chapter 4 relating the random movements of molecules in a gas to the random movements of evolutionary change. Molecules in a gas move randomly with no apparent sense of direction. Despite this, virtually every molecule in a gas in a beaker, given sufficient time, will leave the beaker. I noted that this provides a perspective on an important question concerning the evolution of intelligence. Like molecules in a gas, evolutionary changes also move every which way with no apparent direction. Yet we nonetheless see a movement toward greater complexity and greater intelligence, indeed to evolution’s supreme achievement of evolving a neocortex capable of hierarchical thinking. So we are able to gain an insight into how an apparently purposeless and directionless process can achieve an apparently purposeful result in one field (biological evolution) by looking at another field (thermodynamics).
Ray Kurzweil (How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed)
These waves, predicted by Einstein, are ripples moving at the speed of light across the fabric of space-time, and are generated by severe gravitational disturbances, such as the collision of two black holes. And that’s exactly what was observed. The gravitational waves of the first detection were generated by a collision of black holes in a galaxy 1.3 billion light-years away, and at a time when Earth was teeming with simple, single-celled organisms. While the ripple moved through space in all directions, Earth would, after another 800 million years, evolve complex life, including flowers and dinosaurs and flying creatures, as well as a branch of vertebrates called mammals. Among the mammals, a sub-branch would evolve frontal lobes and complex thought to accompany them. We call them primates. A single branch of these primates would develop a genetic mutation that allowed speech, and that branch—Homo sapiens—would invent agriculture and civilization and philosophy and art and science. All in the last ten thousand years. Ultimately, one of its twentieth-century scientists would invent relativity out of his head, and predict the existence of gravitational waves. A century later, technology capable of seeing these waves would finally catch up with the prediction, just days before that gravity wave, which had been traveling for 1.3 billion years, washed over Earth and was detected. Yes, Einstein was a badass.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Series))
Experiential versus the God eye! Possessing ‘ego vision’, a person’s view through her/his physical eyes is quite versatile; able to discern wide and varied vistas over huge distances or scrutinizing the minutest of details. Ego’s very nature: capable of relatively expansive, detailed, and yet individualistic perspective is crucial. Separating itself out from the God Force, ego extracts infinite unique experiences, integral to humanity’s process of spiritualizing matter. Incarnating on the earth, achieving individualism is therefore critical for attainment of divinity. Individualism may cause momentary estrangement from the God Self. However, this person has forgotten that they are everything in the mirror, the ‘sliver’ and the ‘ball of light’,” continues Kuan Yin. During this complex passage Lena was inundated by infinite rapid-fire visuals: emanations from the God Mind. “Further and unfortunately, wrong assumptions are made about suffering. Some individuals even believe that it is required, that suffering brings one closer to salvation. Quite the contrary,” disputes Kuan Yin, “the God Force likes to play. Therefore, if all individuals could unite creating a real sense of community many problems could be healed. The God Force is separate and not separate, whole and not whole at the same time. Really, it is not ‘sliceable’, not reducible. Even when it is sliced into individual energies, it does not diminish the total God Force or the power of the individual. Each of you has the potential for the God Force potency. However, no individual can overcome the God Force. There is a misinterpretation, (by some) that Satan is as powerful as God. Limited energy cannot live on its own. Every experience must exist and yet they (the limiting forces) can never exist on their own. Limited energy, then, is the experience of the absence of the God Force. Therefore, there is no need to fear it. Those choosing such experiences have a need to understand how it feels to believe evil powers exist. Again, I say those who pursue this route are taking it too personally. They believe the story they’ve made up about themselves. It is similar to a person going into an ice cream store and only choosing one flavor from many. Preoccupied with tasting that flavor for a very long time, they are probably quite sick and tired of it. Still, they don’t want to believe there are any other flavors available. The ‘agreement’, then, is to continue to believe in that particular flavor. Here’s where reincarnation and its opportunity for experiencing a vast array of perspectives, “agreements”, enters in. Another life offers another opportunity, a chance to ‘switch flavors’ so to speak. Taking oneself too personally, however, can cause a soul to get caught up, stuck in redundancy: in a particular (and perhaps unfortunate) flavor. In such instances, the individual is forgetting one has the ability to choose his or her flavors, lives,” contends Kuan Yin.
Hope Bradford (Oracle of Compassion: The Living Word of Kuan Yin)
In the play of living we engage in three fundamental forms of action. We begin things, we continue to be engaged in things, and we bring things to an end. We are each obligated to be capable of fulfilling these three forms of action relative to every condition in our experience. To suffer disability relative to any of these three forms of action relative to any condition in our experience is to accumulate a tendency relative to that condition. Such is the way we develop our conventional "karmas." By virtue of such accumulations we are obliged to suffer repetitions of circumstances, in this life and from life to life, until we overcome the liability in our active relationship to each condition that binds us. In the manifest process of existence, we and all other functions in the play are under the same lawful obligation to create, sustain, and destroy conditions or patterns that arise. The inhibition or suppression of the ability to create conditions (or to realize that conditions are your creation and responsibility) is reflected as "tamas," or rigidity, inertia, indolence, and laziness. The inhibition or suppression of the ability to sustain (or to realize that the maintenance of conditions is your responsibility) is reflected as "rajas," or unsteadiness of life and attention, and negative and random excitation or emotion. The inhibition or suppression of the ability to destroy or become free of conditions (or to realize that the cessation of conditions is your responsibility) is reflected as artificial "sattwa," sentimentality, romance, sorrow, bondage to subjectivity, and no comprehension of the mystery of death.
Adi Da Samraj (The Eating Gorilla Comes in Peace: The Transcendental Principle of Life Applied to Diet and the Regenerative Discipline of True Health)
On New Year's Eve, when the children had gone up the hill to be with their father, I went to a Mensa party in San Francisco, but returned home relatively early, wanting to face the first few hours of the new year away from the noise and lurching of people who had drunk too much. I stood outside on the deck, in darkness, looking up at the star-frosted sky, letting myself feel without censoring the ache and hope that belonged to that night, and I sent out prayer for connection with someone who would be --finally -- the person I'd needed to be with all my life, someone who would have gone through his own changes and wars of the spirit and emerged a true adult. A grown-up man. Who wouldn't mind my being a grandmother, for Pete's sake. A man somewhat like Shura Borodin -- or what Shura seemed to be. I cried a bit because the wanting was so very intense and the clear night sky so very indifferent, and everything I was in body and soul might yet grow old without a lover and friend who could be to me what I was capable of being to him. I toasted myself, hope, the new year and the magnificent cold stars with a bit of wine, then went to bed.
Ann Shulgin (Pihkal: A Chemical Love Story)
The concept of happiness is not one which man abstracts more or less from his instincts and so derives from his animal nature. It is, on the contrary, a mere idea of a state, and one to which he seeks to make his actual state of being adequate under purely empirical conditions--an impossible task. He projects this idea himself, and, thanks to his intellect, and its complicated relations with imagination and sense, projects it in such different ways, and even alters his concept so often, that were nature a complete slave to his elective will, it would nevertheless be utterly unable to adopt any definite, universal and fixed law by which to accommodate itself to this fluctuating concept and so bring itself into accord with the end that each individual arbitrarily sets before himself. But even if we sought to reduce this concept to the level of the true wants of nature in which our species is in complete and fundamental accord, or, trying the other alternative, sought to increase to the highest level man's skill in reaching his imagined ends, nevertheless what man means by happiness, and what in fact constitutes his peculiar ultimate physical end, as opposed to the end of freedom, would never be attained by him. For his own nature is not so constituted as to rest or be satisfied in any possession or enjoyment whatever. Also external nature is far from having made a particular favorite of man or from having preferred him to all other animals as the object of its beneficence. For we see that in its destructive operations--plague, famine, flood, cold, attacks from animals great and small, and all such things--it has as little spared him as any other animal. But, besides all this, the discord of inner natural tendencies betrays man into further misfortunes of his own invention, and reduces other members of his species, through the oppression of lordly power, the barbarism of wars, and the like, to such misery, while he himself does all he can to work ruin to his race, that, even with the utmost goodwill on the part of external nature, its end, supposing it were directed to the happiness of our species, would never be attained in a system of terrestrial nature, because our own nature is not capable of it. Man, therefore, is ever but a link in the chain of nature's ends.
Immanuel Kant (Critique of Judgment)
In the course of an extended investigation into the nature of inflammation, and the healthy and morbid conditions of the blood in relation to it, I arrived several years ago at the conclusion that the essential cause of suppuration in wounds is decomposition brought about by the influence of the atmosphere upon blood or serum retained within them, and, in the case of contused wounds, upon portions of tissue destroyed by the violence of the injury. To prevent the occurrence of suppuration with all its attendant risks was an object manifestly desirable, but till lately apparently unattainable, since it seemed hopeless to attempt to exclude the oxygen which was universally regarded as the agent by which putrefaction was effected. But when it had been shown by the researches of Pasteur that the septic properties of the atmosphere depended not on the oxygen, or any gaseous constituent, but on minute organisms suspended in it, which owed their energy to their vitality, it occurred to me that decomposition in the injured part might be avoided without excluding the air, by applying as a dressing some material capable of destroying the life of the floating particles.
Joseph Lister (On the Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery)
A capitalist society is ruled by egoism which sets the interests of the community against those of individuals, and places the interests of individuals above those of the community. Egoism inevitably results in social inequality and an increasing imbalance between rich and poor, and it produces conflicting relations among people. Egoism conflicts with the intrinsic nature of man as a social being. Because he is a social being capable of shaping his destiny only within the social community, man has an intrinsic need for collectivism. The Juche idea has made clear that the masses, and not an individual, are the driving force of the revolution and that collectivism, and not egoism, is an intrinsic requirement of man. The basic requirement of collectivism is that the interests of the collective should be placed above those of individuals, that the two types of interests should be harmonized and that the interests of individuals should be realized through the realization of those of the collective. That which is contrary to collectivism is not the individual interests themselves but egoism which seeks to satisfy only individual interests at the expense of collective interests.
Kim Jong Il (Our Socialism Centered on the Masses Shall Not Perish)
But often one hears nothing when one listens for the first time to a piece of music that is at all complicated. [...] And so it is not wrong to speak of hearing a thing for the first time. If one has indeed, as one supposes, received no impression from the first hearing, the second, the third would be equally "first hearings" and there would be no reason why one should understand it any better after the tenth. Probably what is wanting, the first time, is not comprehension but memory. For our memory, relatively to the complexity of the impressions which it has to face while we are listening, is infinitesimal, as brief as the memory of a man who in his sleep thinks of a thousand things and at once forgets them, or as that of a man in his second childhood who cannot recall a minute afterwards what one has just said to him. Of these multiple impressions our memory is not capable of furnishing us with an immediate picture. But that picture gradually takes shape in the memory, and, with regard to works we have heard more than once, we are like the schoolboy who has read several times over before going to sleep a lesson which he supposed himself not to know, and finds that he can repeat it by heart next morning.
Marcel Proust (In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower)
So far from a political ideology being the quasi-divine parent of political activity, it turns out to be its earthly stepchild. Instead of an independently premeditated scheme of ends to be pursued, it is a system of ideas abstracted from the manner in which people have been accustomed to go about the business of attending to the arrangements of their societies. The pedigree of every political ideology shows it to be the creature, not of premeditation in advance of political activity, but of meditation upon a manner of politics. In short, political activity comes first and a political ideology follows after; and the understanding of politics we are investigating has the disadvantage of being, in the strict sense, preposterous. Let us consider the matter first in relation to scientific hypothesis, which I have taken to play a role in scientific activity in some respects similar to that of an ideology in politics. If a scientific hypothesis were a self-generated bright idea which owed nothing to scientific activity, then empiricism governed by hypothesis could be considered to compose a self-contained manner of activity; but this certainly is not its character. The truth is that only a man who is already a scientist can formulate a scientific hypothesis; that is, an hypothesis is not an independent invention capable of guiding scientific inquiry, but a dependent supposition which arises as an abstraction from within already existing scientific activity. Moreover, even when the specific hypothesis has in this manner been formulated, it is inoperative as a guide to research without constant reference to the traditions of scientific inquiry from which it was abstracted. The concrete situation does not appear until the specific hypothesis, which is the occasion of empiricism being set to work, is recognized as itself the creature of owing how to conduct a scientific inquiry. Or consider the example of cookery. It might be supposed that an ignorant man, some edible materials, and a cookery book compose together the necessities of a self-moved (or concrete) activity called cooking. But nothing is further from the truth. The cookery book is not an independently generated beginning from which cooking can spring; it is nothing more than an abstract of somebody's knowledge of how to cook: it is the stepchild, not the parent of the activity. The book, in its tum, may help to set a man on to dressing a dinner, but if it were his sole guide he could never, in fact, begin: the book speaks only to those who know already the kind of thing to expect from it and consequently bow to interpret it. Now, just as a cookery book presupposes somebody who knows how to cook, and its use presupposes somebody who already knows how to use it, and just as a scientific hypothesis springs from a knowledge of how to conduct a scientific investigation and separated from that knowledge is powerless to set empiricism profitably to work, so a political ideology must be understood, not as an independently premeditated beginning for political activity, but as knowledge (abstract and generalized) of a concrete manner of attending to the arrangements of a society. The catechism which sets out the purposes to be pursued merely abridges a concrete manner of behaviour in which those purposes are already hidden. It does not exist in advance of political activity, and by itself it is always an insufficient guide. Political enterprises, the ends to be pursued, the arrangements to be established (all the normal ingredients of a political ideology), cannot be premeditated in advance of a manner of attending to the arrangements of a society; what we do, and moreover what we want to do, is the creature of how we are accustomed to conduct our affairs. Indeed, it often reflects no more than a dis­covered ability to do something which is then translated into an authority to do it.
Michael Oakeshott (Rationalism in Politics and other essays)
To make good choices, you need to make sense of the complexity of your environment. The strategy logic flow can point you to the key areas of analysis necessary to generate sustainable competitive advantage. First, look to understand the industry in which you play (or will play), its distinct segments and their relative attractiveness. Without this step, it is all too easy to assume that your map of the world is the only possible map, that the world is unchanging, and that no better possibilities exist. Next, turn to customers. What do channel and end consumers truly want, need, and value-and how do those needs fit with your current or potential offerings? To answer this question, you will have to dig deep-engaging in joint value creation with channel partners and seeking a new understanding of end consumers. After customers, the lens turns inward: what are your capabilities and costs relative to the competition? Can you be a differentiator or a cost leader? If not, you will need to rethink your choices. Finally, consider competition; what will your competitors do in the face of your actions? Throughout the thinking process, be open to recasting previous analyses in light of what you learn in a subsequent box. The basic direction of the process is from left to right, but it also has interdependencies that require a more flexible path through it.
A.G. Lafley (Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works)
There is yet another reason why peer-oriented kids are insatiable. In order to reach the turning point, a child must not only be fulfilled, but this fulfillment must sink in. It has to register somehow in the child's brain that the longing for closeness and connectedness is being met. This registration is not cognitive or even conscious, but deeply emotional. It is emotion that moves the child and shifts the energy from one developmental agenda to another, from attachment to individuation. The problem is that, for fulfillment to sink in, the child must be able to feel deeply and vulnerably — an experience most peer-oriented kids will be defended against. Peer-oriented children cannot permit themselves to feel their vulnerability. It may seem strange that feelings of fulfillment would require openness to feelings of vulnerability. There is no hurt or pain in fulfillment — quite the opposite. Yet there is an underlying emotional logic to this phenomenon. For the child to feel full he must first feel empty, to feel helped the child must first feel in need of help, to feel complete he must have felt incomplete. To experience the joy of reunion one must first experience the ache of loss, to be comforted one must first have felt hurt. Satiation may be a very pleasant experience, but the prerequisite is to be able to feel vulnerability. When a child loses the ability to feel her attachment voids, the child also loses the ability to feel nurtured and fulfilled. One of the first things I check for in my assessment of children is the existence of feelings of missing and loss. It is indicative of emotional health for children to be able to sense what is missing and to know what the emptiness is about. As soon as they are able to articulate, they should be able to say things like “I miss daddy,” “It hurt me that grandma didn't notice me,” “It didn't seem like you were interested in my story,” “I don't think so and so likes me.” Many children today are too defended, too emotionally closed, to experience such vulnerable emotions. Children are affected by what is missing whether they feel it or not, but only when they can feel and know what is missing can they be released from their pursuit of attachment. Parents of such children are not able to take them to the turning point or bring them to a place of rest. If a child becomes defended against vulnerability as a result of peer orientation, he is made insatiable in relation to the parents as well. That is the tragedy of peer orientation — it renders our love and affection so useless and unfulfilling. For children who are insatiable, nothing is ever enough. No matter what one does, how much one tries to make things work, how much attention and approval is given, the turning point is never reached. For parents this is extremely discouraging and exhausting. Nothing is as satisfying to a parent as the sense of being the source of fulfillment for a child. Millions of parents are cheated of such an experience because their children are either looking elsewhere for nurturance or are too defended against vulnerability to be capable of satiation. Insatiability keeps our children stuck in first gear developmentally, stuck in immaturity, unable to transcend basic instincts. They are thwarted from ever finding rest and remain ever dependent on someone or something outside themselves for satisfaction. Neither the discipline imposed by parents nor the love felt by them can cure this condition. The only hope is to bring children back into the attachment fold where they belong and then soften them up to where our love can actually penetrate and nurture.
Gabor Maté (Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers)
Low inhibition and anxiety “There was no fear, no worry, no sense of reputation and competition, no envy, none of these things which in varying degrees have always been present in my work.” “A lowered sense of personal danger; I don’t feel threatened anymore, and there is no feeling of my reputation being at stake.” “Although doing well on these problems would be fine, failure to get ahead on them would have been threatening. However, as it turned out, on this afternoon the normal blocks in the way of progress seemed to be absent.” 2. Capacity to restructure problem in a larger context “Looking at the same problem with [psychedelic] materials, I was able to consider it in a much more basic way, because I could form and keep in mind a much broader picture.” “I could handle two or three different ideas at the same time and keep track of each.” “Normally I would overlook many more trivial points for the sake of expediency, but under the drug, time seemed unimportant. I faced every possible questionable issue square in the face.” “Ability to start from the broadest general basis in the beginning.” “I returned to the original problem…. I tried, I think consciously, to think of the problem in its totality, rather than through the devices I had used before.” 3. Enhanced fluency and flexibility of ideation “I began to work fast, almost feverishly, to keep up with the flow of ideas.” “I began to draw …my senses could not keep up with my images …my hand was not fast enough …my eyes were not keen enough…. I was impatient to record the picture (it has not faded one particle). I worked at a pace I would not have thought I was capable of.” “I was very impressed with the ease with which ideas appeared (it was virtually as if the world is made of ideas, and so it is only necessary to examine any part of the world to get an idea). I also got the feeling that creativity is an active process in which you limit yourself and have an objective, so there is a focus about which ideas can cluster and relate.” “I dismissed the original idea entirely, and started to approach the graphic problem in a radically different way. That was when things started to happen. All kinds of different possibilities came to mind….” “And the feeling during this period of profuse production was one of joy and exuberance…. It was the pure fun of doing, inventing, creating, and playing.
James Fadiman (The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys)
A modern example of this stunning knowledge of nature that Einstein has gifted us, comes from 2016, when gravitational waves were discovered by a specially designed observatory tuned for just this purpose.† These waves, predicted by Einstein, are ripples moving at the speed of light across the fabric of space-time, and are generated by severe gravitational disturbances, such as the collision of two black holes. And that’s exactly what was observed. The gravitational waves of the first detection were generated by a collision of black holes in a galaxy 1.3 billion light-years away, and at a time when Earth was teeming with simple, single-celled organisms. While the ripple moved through space in all directions, Earth would, after another 800 million years, evolve complex life, including flowers and dinosaurs and flying creatures, as well as a branch of vertebrates called mammals. Among the mammals, a sub-branch would evolve frontal lobes and complex thought to accompany them. We call them primates. A single branch of these primates would develop a genetic mutation that allowed speech, and that branch—Homo sapiens—would invent agriculture and civilization and philosophy and art and science. All in the last ten thousand years. Ultimately, one of its twentieth-century scientists would invent relativity out of his head, and predict the existence of gravitational waves. A century later, technology capable of seeing these waves would finally catch up with the prediction, just days before that gravity wave, which had been traveling for 1.3 billion years, washed over Earth and was detected. Yes, Einstein was a badass.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Series))
And yet to possess a young soul that has barely developed is a source of very deep delight. It is like a flower whose richest perfume goes out to meet the first ray of the sun. One must pluck it at that very moment and, after inhaling its perfume to one's heart's content, discard it along the wayside on the chance that someone will pick it up. I sense in myself that insatiable avidity that devours everything in its path. And I regard the sufferings and joys of others merely in relation to myself, as food to sustain my spiritual strength. Passion is no longer capable of robbing me of my sanity. My ambition has been crushed by circumstances, but it has manifested itself in a new form, for ambition is nothing but lust for power, and my greatest pleasure I derive from subordinating everything around me to my will. Is it not both the first token of power and its supreme triumph to inspire in others the emotions of love, devotion and fear? Is it not the sweetest fare for our vanity to be the cause of pain or joy for someone without the least claim thereto? And what is happiness? Pride gratified. Could I consider myself better and more powerful than anyone else in the world, I would be happy. Were everybody to love me, I'd find in myself unending wellsprings of love. Evil begets evil; one's first suffering awakens a realization of the pleasure of tormenting another. The idea of evil cannot take root in the mind of man without his desiring to apply it in practice. Someone has said that ideas are organic entities: their very birth imparts them form, and this form is action. He in whose brain the most ideas are born is more active than others, and because of this a genius shackled to an office desk must either die or lose his mind, just as a man with a powerful body who leads a modest, sedentary life dies from an apoplectic stroke
Mikhail Lermontov
Why don't you make everybody an Alpha Double Plus while you're about it?" Mustapha Mond laughed. "Because we have no wish to have our throats cut," he answered. "We believe in happiness and stability. A society of Alphas couldn't fail to be unstable and miserable. Imagine a factory staffed by Alphas–that is to say by separate and unrelated individuals of good heredity and conditioned so as to be capable (within limits) of making a free choice and assuming responsibilities. Imagine it!" he repeated. The Savage tried to imagine it, not very successfully. "It's an absurdity. An Alpha-decanted, Alpha-conditioned man would go mad if he had to do Epsilon Semi-Moron work–go mad, or start smashing things up. Alphas can be completely socialized–but only on condition that you make them do Alpha work. Only an Epsilon can be expected to make Epsilon sacrifices, for the good reason that for him they aren't sacrifices; they're the line of least resistance. His conditioning has laid down rails along which he's got to run. He can't help himself; he's foredoomed. Even after decanting, he's still inside a bottle–an invisible bottle of infantile and embryonic fixations. Each one of us, of course," the Controller meditatively continued, "goes through life inside a bottle. But if we happen to be Alphas, our bottles are, relatively speaking, enormous. We should suffer acutely if we were confined in a narrower space. You cannot pour upper-caste champagne-surrogate into lower-caste bottles. It's obvious theoretically. But it has also been proved in actual practice. The result of the Cyprus experiment was convincing." "What was that?" asked the Savage. Mustapha Mond smiled. "Well, you can call it an experiment in rebottling if you like. It began in A.F. 473. The Controllers had the island of Cyprus cleared of all its existing inhabitants and re-colonized with a specially prepared batch of twenty-two thousand Alphas. All agricultural and industrial equipment was handed over to them and they were left to manage their own affairs. The result exactly fulfilled all the theoretical predictions. The land wasn't properly worked; there were strikes in all the factories; the laws were set at naught, orders disobeyed; all the people detailed for a spell of low-grade work were perpetually intriguing for high-grade jobs, and all the people with high-grade jobs were counter-intriguing at all costs to stay where they were. Within six years they were having a first-class civil war. When nineteen out of the twenty-two thousand had been killed, the survivors unanimously petitioned the World Controllers to resume the government of the island. Which they did. And that was the end of the only society of Alphas that the world has ever seen." The Savage sighed, profoundly. "The optimum population," said Mustapha Mond, "is modelled on the iceberg–eight-ninths below the water line, one-ninth above." "And they're happy below the water line?" "Happier than above it.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
In fact, there did not seem to be any limit to what Grof's LSD subjects could tap into. They seemed capable of knowing what it was like to be every animal, and even plant, on the tree of evolution. They could experience what it was like to be a blood cell, an atom, a thermonuclear process inside the sun, the consciousness of the entire planet, and even the consciousness of the entire cosmos. More than that, they displayed the ability to transcend space and time, and occasionally they related uncannily accurate precognitive information. In an even stranger vein they sometimes encountered nonhuman intelligences during their cerebral travels, discarnate beings, spirit guides from "higher planes of consciousness, " and other suprahuman entities. On occasion subjects also traveled to what appeared to be other universes and other levels of reality. In one particularly unnerving session a young man suffering from depression found himself in what seemed to be another dimension. It had an eerie luminescence, and although he could not see anyone he sensed that it was crowded with discarnate beings. Suddenly he sensed a presence very close to him, and to his surprise it began to communicate with him telepathically. It asked him to please contact a couple who lived in the Moravian city of Kromeriz and let them know that their son Ladislav was well taken care of and doing all right. It then gave him the couple's name, street address, and telephone number. The information meant nothing to either Grof or the young man and seemed totally unrelated to the young man's problems and treatment. Still, Grof could not put it out of his mind. "After some hesitation and with mixed feelings, I finally decided to do what certainly would have made me the target of my colleagues' jokes, had they found out, " says Grof. "I went to the telephone, dialed the number in Kromeriz, and asked if I could speak with Ladislav. To my astonishment, the woman on the other side of the line started to cry. When she calmed down, she told me with a broken voice: 'Our son is not with us any more; he passed away, we lost him three weeks ago.
Michael Talbot (The Holographic Universe)
Now to picture the mechanism of this process of construction and not merely its progressive extension, we must note that each level is characterized by a new co-ordination of the elements provided—already existing in the form of wholes, though of a lower order—by the processes of the previous level. The sensori-motor schema, the characteristic unit of the system of pre-symbolic intelligence, thus assimilates perceptual schemata and the schemata relating to learned action (these schemata of perception and habit being of the same lower order, since the first concerns the present state of the object and the second only elementary changes of state). The symbolic schema assimilates sensori-motor schemata with differentiation of function; imitative accommodation is extended into imaginal significants and assimilation determines the significates. The intuitive schema is both a co-ordination and a differentiation of imaginal schemata. The concrete operational schema is a grouping of intuitive schemata, which are promoted, by the very fact of their being grouped, to the rank of reversible operations. Finally, the formal schema is simply a system of second-degree operations, and therefore a grouping operating on concrete groupings. Each of the transitions from one of these levels to the next is therefore characterized both by a new co-ordination and by a differentiation of the systems constituting the unit of the preceding level. Now these successive differentiations, in their turn, throw light on the undifferentiated nature of the initial mechanisms, and thus we can conceive both of a genealogy of operational groupings as progressive differentiations, and of an explanation of the pre-operational levels as a failure to differentiate the processes involved. Thus, as we have seen (Chap. 4), sensori-motor intelligence arrives at a kind of empirical grouping of bodily movements, characterized psychologically by actions capable of reversals and detours, and geometrically by what Poincaré called the (experimental) group of displacement. But it goes without saying that, at this elementary level, which precedes all thought, we cannot regard this grouping as an operational system, since it is a system of responses actually effected; the fact is therefore that it is undifferentiated, the displacements in question being at the same time and in every case responses directed towards a goal serving some practical purpose. We might therefore say that at this level spatio-temporal, logico-arithmetical and practical (means and ends) groupings form a global whole and that, in the absence of differentiation, this complex system is incapable of constituting an operational mechanism. At the end of this period and at the beginning of representative thought, on the other hand, the appearance of the symbol makes possible the first form of differentiation: practical groupings (means and ends) on the one hand, and representation on the other. But this latter is still undifferentiated, logico-arithmetical operations not being distinguished from spatio-temporal operations. In fact, at the intuitive level there are no genuine classes or relations because both are still spatial collections as well as spatio-temporal relationships: hence their intuitive and pre-operational character. At 7–8 years, however, the appearance of operational groupings is characterized precisely by a clear differentiation between logico-arithmetical operations that have become independent (classes, relations and despatialized numbers) and spatio-temporal or infra-logical operations. Lastly, the level of formal operations marks a final differentiation between operations tied to real action and hypothetico-deductive operations concerning pure implications from propositions stated as postulates.
Jean Piaget (The Psychology of Intelligence)
was dog-tired when, a little before dawn, the boatswain sounded his pipe and the crew began to man the capstan-bars. I might have been twice as weary, yet I would not have left the deck, all was so new and interesting to me—the brief commands, the shrill note of the whistle, the men bustling to their places in the glimmer of the ship's lanterns. "Now, Barbecue, tip us a stave," cried one voice. "The old one," cried another. "Aye, aye, mates," said Long John, who was standing by, with his crutch under his arm, and at once broke out in the air and words I knew so well: "Fifteen men on the dead man's chest—" And then the whole crew bore chorus:— "Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!" And at the third "Ho!" drove the bars before them with a will. Even at that exciting moment it carried me back to the old Admiral Benbow in a second, and I seemed to hear the voice of the captain piping in the chorus. But soon the anchor was short up; soon it was hanging dripping at the bows; soon the sails began to draw, and the land and shipping to flit by on either side; and before I could lie down to snatch an hour of slumber the HISPANIOLA had begun her voyage to the Isle of Treasure. I am not going to relate that voyage in detail. It was fairly prosperous. The ship proved to be a good ship, the crew were capable seamen, and the captain thoroughly understood his business. But before we came the length of Treasure Island, two or three things had happened which require to be known. Mr. Arrow, first of all, turned out even worse than the captain had feared. He had no command among the men, and people did what they pleased with him. But that was by no means the worst of it, for after a day or two at sea he began to appear on deck with hazy eye, red cheeks, stuttering tongue, and other marks of drunkenness. Time after time he was ordered below in disgrace. Sometimes he fell and cut himself; sometimes he lay all day long in his little bunk at one side of the companion; sometimes for a day or two he would be almost sober and attend to his work at least passably. In the meantime, we could never make out where he got the drink. That was the ship's mystery. Watch him as we pleased, we could do nothing to solve it; and when we asked him to his face, he would only laugh if he were drunk, and if he were sober deny solemnly that he ever tasted anything but water. He was not only useless as an officer and a bad influence amongst the men, but it was plain that at this rate he must soon kill himself outright, so nobody was much surprised, nor very sorry, when one dark night, with a head sea, he disappeared entirely and was seen no more. "Overboard!" said the captain. "Well, gentlemen, that saves the trouble of putting him in irons." But there we were, without a mate; and it was necessary, of course, to advance one of the men. The boatswain, Job Anderson, was the likeliest man aboard, and though he kept his old title,
Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island)
The story of Adam and Eve, as used by the Eastern church to account for our inherited weakness to withstand temptation as an effect of Adam and Eve's sin, can fruitfully be understood today without a historical Adam and Eve but instead with an evolutionary and social understanding of human beings. In the course of biological and social evolution, any group of creatures capable of any degree of relationship to God that fails to be properly related to God commensurate with their stage of development-any such group will have some network or other of social relations that are not as God intends. People born into a particular social group inherit that social network and act more or less in accord with it, and so inherit the effects of its sin. By being formed and shaped by the inherited social network, each individual is "weakened" in its ability to wrestle with the temptations to which its ontological nature as finite creature is subject. When a fall occurred, when a prepeople or people did not live up to the intentions of God in their common life commensurate to their stage of development, it was probably not at any one specific time; it may have occurred at different times for different groups until failure to be properly related to God was universal in all societies. But by historic times, human development is at a stage that the story of Adam and Eve is a fitting type or model of our situation in relation to God: human beings seeking to provide for themselves apart from God and God's purposes. This ancient understanding of original sin and evil seems to me both illuminating and, with the evolutionary understanding that I have added to it, thoroughly defensible. I can easily apply it to myself and also use it to understand other people, as I have done in presenting Pascal's analysis of our condition. Some theologians are willing to grant that the story of an actual Adam and Eve is not necessary for Christian theology, but they still hold that there had to have been a historical situation of original righteousness or innocence and an actual fall from this state. Otherwise, God, not human beings, would be responsible for our condition, and the goodness of creation would be fatally compromised.' My account does have a temporal dimension. All of us are born without an awareness of God in our lives. God is near us as our creator, generating us each moment of time; but it is as if God is, so to speak, behind us, and we, by looking only in front of us, do not perceive God in our world at all. So we do not take God into account in our lives. This is when distortion in our hearts, minds, and desires begins to occur. Our de facto personality, with our self at the center of all reality, is innocent when we are an infant but ceases to be innocent as it is reinforced by society's way of life, encouraging us to walk away from God and so into evil. We walk away from God by pursuing earthly goods and in
Diogenes Allen (Theology for a Troubled Believer: An Introduction to the Christian Faith)
In 1969 the Khmer Rouge numbered only about 4,000. By 1975 their numbers were enough to defeat the government forces. Their victory was greatly helped by the American attack on Cambodia, which was carried out as an extension of the Vietnam War. In 1970 a military coup led by Lon Nol, possibly with American support, overthrew the government of Prince Sihanouk, and American and South Vietnamese troops entered Cambodia. One estimate is that 600,000 people, nearly 10 per cent of the Cambodian population, were killed in this extension of the war. Another estimate puts the deaths from the American bombing at 1000,000 peasants. From 1972 to 1973, the quantity of bombs dropped on Cambodia was well over three times that dropped on Japan in the Second World War. The decision to bomb was taken by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger and was originally justified on the grounds that North Vietnamese bases had been set up in Cambodia. The intention (according to a later defence by Kissinger’s aide, Peter W. Rodman) was to target only places with few Cambodians: ‘From the Joint Chiefs’ memorandum of April 9, 1969, the White House selected as targets only six base areas minimally populated by civilians. The target areas were given the codenames BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER, SUPPER, SNACK, and DESSERT; the overall programme was given the name MENU.’ Rodman makes the point that SUPPER, for instance, had troop concentrations, anti-aircraft, artillery, rocket and mortar positions, together with other military targets. Even if relatively few Cambodians were killed by the unpleasantly names items on the MENU, each of them was a person leading a life in a country not at war with the United States. And, as the bombing continued, these relative restraints were loosened. To these political decisions, physical and psychological distance made their familiar contribution. Roger Morris, a member of Kissinger’s staff, later described the deadened human responses: Though they spoke of terrible human suffering reality was sealed off by their trite, lifeless vernacular: 'capabilities', 'objectives', 'our chips', 'giveaway'. It was a matter, too, of culture and style. They spoke with the cool, deliberate detachment of men who believe the banishment of feeling renders them wise and, more important, credible to other men… They neither understood the foreign policy they were dealing with, nor were deeply moved by the bloodshed and suffering they administered to their stereo-types. On the ground the stereotypes were replaced by people. In the villages hit by bombs and napalm, peasants were wounded or killed, often being burnt to death. Those who left alive took refuge in the forests. One Western ob-server commented, ‘it is difficult to imagine the intensity of their hatred to-wards those who are destroying their villages and property’. A raid killed twenty people in the village of Chalong. Afterwards seventy people from Chalong joined the Khmer Rouge. Prince Sihanouk said that Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger created the Khmer Rouge by expanding the war into Cambodia.
Jonathan Glover (Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century)
...he [Perry Hildebrandt] broached the subject of goodness and its relation to intelligence. He'd come to the reception for selfless reasons, but he now saw that he might get not only a free buzz but free advise from, as it were, two professionals. 'I suppose what I'm asking,' he said, 'is whether goodness can ever truly be its own reward, or whether, consciously or not, it always serves some personal instrumentality.' Reverend Walsh [Trinity Lutheran] and the rabbi [Meyer] exchanged glances in which Perry detected pleasant surprise. It gratified him to upset their expectations of a fifteen-year-old. 'Adam may have a different answer,' the rabbi said, but in the Jewish faith there is really only one measure of righteousness: Do you celebrate God and obey His commandments?' 'That would suggest,' Perry said, 'that goodness and God are essentially synonymous.' 'That's the idea,' the rabbi said. 'In biblical times, when God manifested Himself more directly. He could seem like quite the hard-ass--striking people blind for trivial offenses, telling Abraham to kill his son. But the essence of the Jewish faith is that God does what He does, and we obey Him.' 'So, in other words, it doesn't matter what a righteous person's private thoughts are, so long as he obeys the letter of God's commandments?' 'And worships Him, yes. Of course, at the level of folk wisdom, a man can be righteous without being a -mensch.- I'm sure you see this, too, Adam--the pious man who makes everyone around him miserable. That might be what Perry is asking about.' 'My question,' Perry said, 'is whether we can ever escape our selfishness. Even if you bring in God, and make him the measure of goodness, the person who worships and obeys Him still wants something for himself. He enjoys the feeling of being righteous, or he wants eternal life, or what have you. If you're smart enough to think about it, there's always some selfish angle.' The rabbi smiled. 'There may be no way around it, when you put it like that. But we "bring in God," as you say--for the believer, of course, it's God who brought -us- in--to establish a moral order in which your question becomes irrelevant. When obedience is the defining principle, we don't need to police every little private thought we might have.' 'I think there's more to Perry's question, though,' Reverend Walsh said. 'I think he is pointing to sinfulness, which is our fundamental condition. In Christian faith, only one man has ever exemplified perfect goodness, and he was the Son of God. The rest of us can only hope for glimmers of what it's like to be truly good. When we perform an act of charity, or forgive an enemy, we feel the goodness of Christ in our hearts. We all have an innate capability to recognize true goodness, but we're also full of sin, and those two parts of us are constantly at war.' 'Exactly,' Perry said. 'How do I know if I'm really being good or if I'm just pursuing a sinful advantage?' 'The answer, I would say, is by listening to your heart. Only your heart can tell you what your true motive is--whether it partakes of Christ. I think my position is similar to Rabbi Meyer's. The reason we need faith--in our case, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ--is that it gives us a rock-solid basis for evaluating our actions. Only through faith in the perfection of our Savior, only by comparing our actions to his example, only by experiencing his living presence in our hearts, can we hope to be forgiven for the more selfish thoughts we might have. Only faith in Christ redeems us. Without him, we're lost in a sea of second-guessing our motives.
Jonathan Franzen (Crossroads)