Character Important Quotes

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Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.
Maya Angelou
Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters
Albert Einstein
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her. I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain… I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’ ‘Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, ‘the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’ What I felt like saying was, ‘I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’ But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate! I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.
J.K. Rowling
Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing 1. Never open a book with weather. 2. Avoid prologues. 3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. 4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely. 5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. 6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose." 7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. 8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters. 9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things. 10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. My most important rule is one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
Elmore Leonard
Character, I think, is the single most important thing in fiction. You might read a book once for its interesting plot—but not twice.
Diana Gabaldon
Long engagements give people the opportunity of finding out each other's character before marriage, which is never advisable.
Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
Unless today is well lived, tomorrow is not important.
Alan Sakowitz (Miles Away... Worlds Apart)
The simplicity of your character makes you exquisitely incomprehensible to me.
Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan
The most important thing for a young man is to establish a credit . . . a reputation, character.
John D. Rockefeller
LADY BRACKNELL To speak frankly, I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people the opportunity of finding out each other's character before marriage, which I think is never advisable.
Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
Usually, she considered Valgu a solid judge of character. She found it easy to concede trust to those he would call friend. But this man, and his brazen claim that he had the ability to restore her wings. Tegija seemed task oriented, and had an heir of self important pride, common traits among attractive men. Tegija was in all things the exact opposite of her private nightmare. The one where her brothers failed to retrieve her, and the House sold her off to some nervous indecisive man child. No one had even bothered to introduce them.
Andrea Luhman (Missing Wings (Aranysargas, #1))
Seriously, a thirty-something woman shouldn't be daydreaming about a fictional character in a two-hundred-year-old world to the point where it interfered with her very real and much more important life and relationships. Of course she shouldn't.
Shannon Hale
We're nothing if we're not loved. When you meet somebody who is more important to you than yourself, that has to be the most important thing in life, really. And I think we are all striving for it in different ways. I also believe very, very strongly that everybody is the hero/heroine of his/her own life. I try to make my characters kind of ordinary, somebody that anybody could be. Because we've all had loves, perhaps love and loss, people can relate to my characters
Maeve Binchy
Diversity of character is due to the unequal time given to values. Only through each other will we see the importance of the qualities we lack and our unfinished soul's potential.
Shannon L. Alder
Philosophy is a necessary activity because we, all of us, take a great number of things for granted, and many of these assumptions are of a philosophical character; we act on them in private life, in politics, in our work, and in every other sphere of our lives -- but while some of these assumptions are no doubt true, it is likely, that more are false and some are harmful. So the critical examination of our presuppositions -- which is a philosophical activity -- is morally as well as intellectually important.
Karl Popper
Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.
Maya Angelou
I lay and cried, and began to feel again, to admit I was human, vulnerable, sensitive. I began to remember how it had been before; how there was that germ of positive creativeness. Character is fate; and damn, I'd better work on my character. I had been withdrawing into a retreat of numbness: it is so much safer not to feel, not to let the world touch one. But my honest self revolted at this, hated me for doing this. Sick with conflict, destructive negative emotions, frozen into disintegration I was, refusing to articulate, to spew forth these emotions - they festered in me, growing big, distorted, like pus-bloated sores. Small problems, mentions of someone else's felicity, evidence of someone else's talents, frightened me, making me react hollowly, fighting jealousy, envy, hate. Feeling myself fall apart, decay, rot, and the laurels wither and fall away, and my past sins and omissions strike me with full punishment and import. All this, all this foul, gangrenous, sludge ate away at my insides. Silent, insidious.
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
A child whose life is full of the threat and fear of punishment is locked into babyhood. There is no way for him to grow up, to learn to take responsibility for his life and acts. Most important of all, we should not assume that having to yield to the threat of our superior force is good for the child's character. It is never good for anyone's character.
John C. Holt
My character is self-important, poorly informed, well-intentioned but an idiot, ... So we said, `Let's give him a promotion.
Stephen Colbert
...you find your genius by looking in the mirror of your life. Your visible image shows your inner truth, so when you're estimating others, what you see is what you get. It therefore becomes critically important to see generously, or you will get only what you see; to see sharply, so that you discern the mix of traits rather than a generalized lump; and to see deeply into dark shadows, or else you will be deceived.
James Hillman (The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling)
You know that the beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken....Shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales which may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their minds ideas for the most part the very opposite of those which we should wish them to have when they are grown up? We cannot....Anything received into the mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalterable; and therefore it is most important that the tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts....
Plato (The Republic)
The most important quality in the man you decide to marry should be the ability to make you laugh. Beauty fades, careers end, money comes and goes, religions change, children grow up and move away, spouses get sick, struggles happen, family members die, senility sets in when your older, but the ability to make you giggle every day is the most precious gift God can give you to get through all of it.
Shannon L. Alder (300 Questions LDS Couples Should Ask Before Marriage)
After graduation, due to special circumstances and perhaps also to my character, I began to travel throughout America, and I became acquainted with all of it. Except for Haiti and Santo Domingo, I have visited, to some extent, all the other Latin American countries. Because of the circumstances in which I traveled, first as a student and later as a doctor, I came into close contact with poverty, hunger and disease; with the inability to treat a child because of lack of money; with the stupefaction provoked by the continual hunger and punishment, to the point that a father can accept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident, as occurs often in the downtrodden classes of our American homeland. And I began to realize at that time that there were things that were almost as important to me as becoming famous for making a significant contribution to medical science: I wanted to help those people.
Ernesto Che Guevara
Some people wear their scars on the outside. Others wear them on the inside. Same difference. Your character, your heart, your essence, that’s what’s important, because that’s the real you. All the rest, our looks, the material stuff? It's just meaningless bullshit.
Kim Holden (Gus (Bright Side, #2))
It is possible to move through the drama of our lives without believing so earnestly in the character that we play. That we take ourselves so seriously, that we are so absurdly important in our own minds, is a problem for us. We feel justified in being annoyed with everything. We feel justified in denigrating ourselves or in feeling that we are more clever than other people. Self-importance hurts us, limiting us to the narrow world of our likes and dislikes. We end up bored to death with ourselves and our world. We end up never satisfied.
Pema Chödrön (The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times)
Reading fiction is important. It is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic beings. Following complex story lines stretches our brains beyond the 140 characters of sound-bite thinking, and staying within the world of a novel gives us the ability to be quiet and alone, two skills that are disappearing faster than the polar icecaps.
Ann Patchett
Arrogant men with knowledge make more noise from their mouth than making a sense from their mind.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
There is no such thing as a perfect person in this world. We all must become the main characters or the stars of our lives. We are all different and start differently. But from whatever is our circumstances, it is very important that we find the opportunities to try out what we want to do.
Goo Hye Sun
We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty—some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.
Richard P. Feynman ('What Do You Care What Other People Think?': Further Adventures of a Curious Character)
It's only just beginning to occur to me that it's important to have something going on somewhere, at work or at home, otherwise you're just clinging on. [...] You need as much ballast as possible to stop you floating away; you need people around you, things going on, otherwise life is like some film where the money ran out, and there are no sets, or locations, or supporting actors, and it's just one guy on his own staring into the camera with nothing to do and nobody to speak to, and who'd believe in this character then? I've got to get more stuff, more clutter, more detail in here, because at the moment I'm in danger of falling off the edge.
Nick Hornby (High Fidelity)
A NATION'S GREATNESS DEPENDS ON ITS LEADER To vastly improve your country and truly make it great again, start by choosing a better leader. Do not let the media or the establishment make you pick from the people they choose, but instead choose from those they do not pick. Pick a leader from among the people who is heart-driven, one who identifies with the common man on the street and understands what the country needs on every level. Do not pick a leader who is only money-driven and does not understand or identify with the common man, but only what corporations need on every level. Pick a peacemaker. One who unites, not divides. A cultured leader who supports the arts and true freedom of speech, not censorship. Pick a leader who will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes -- or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. Pick a leader who will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. Pick a leader who chooses diplomacy over war. An honest broker in foreign relations. A leader with integrity, one who says what they mean, keeps their word and does not lie to their people. Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor, and the environmentalist -- not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist. Pick a leader who will keep jobs in your country by offering companies incentives to hire only within their borders, not one who allows corporations to outsource jobs for cheaper labor when there is a national employment crisis. Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies. Most importantly, a great leader must serve the best interests of the people first, not those of multinational corporations. Human life should never be sacrificed for monetary profit. There are no exceptions. In addition, a leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands to be revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader. And lastly, pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader's greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
God is more concerned with our character than with our achievements. Achievements have importance only in the realm of time. Character is eternal. It determines what we will be through eternity.
Derek Prince
What is important is to try to develop insights and wisdom rather than mere knowledge, respect someone's character rather than his learning, and nurture men of character rather than mere talents.
Inazō Nitobe
Even men of the noblest possible moral character are extremely susceptible to the influence of the physical charms of others. Modern, no less then Ancient History, supplies us with many most painful examples of what I refer to. If it were not so, indeed, History would be quite unreadable.
Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest)
He knows that in leadership cleverness is not as important as content, that charisma and dash are not as vital as character and doctrine.
Neal A. Maxwell
Loyalty is important, one of the most important character traits we can have. But loyal love does not mean infinite and/or misplaced responsibility for another's life, nor does it mean that one forever puts up with mistreatment out of inappropriate loyalty.
Henry Cloud (Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward)
After that, all the while Millie was eating the pudding... we both tore Christopher's character to shreds. It was wonderful fun.... He drove everyone mad in Chrestomanci Castle by insisting on silk shirts and exactly the right kind of pajamas. 'And he could get them right anyway by magic,' Millie told me, 'if he wasn't too lazy to learn how.... But the thing that really annoys me is the way he never bothers to learn a person's name. If a person isn't important to him, he always forgets their name.' When Millie said this, I realized that Christopher had never once forgotten my name...
Diana Wynne Jones (Conrad's Fate (Chrestomanci, #5))
You're the main character of your life," Jacie said. "You're too important to die. That's how everybody feels.
Jodi Lynn Anderson (The Vanishing Season)
(Why flowers are so important to the main character) I need the reminder that God loves to make detailed and beautiful things, and that act of creation is itself a sufficient reason to make them. These flowers will live and die here, the majority of them never seen, even though a busy road is less than a mile away.
Dee Henderson (Danger in the Shadows (O'Malley, #0))
I take it you know my companion?" Oh,yes!" said Savage, his smile disappearing. "We know all about Ruby Journey. Please don't let her kill anyone important. Or set fire to anything." Your reputation precedes you," Random said dryly to Ruby.
Simon R. Green (Deathstalker Honor (Deathstalker, #4))
Beginnings are so important. Just finding that right moment to introduce this character, this world, it’s everything.
Aryn Kyle
It is important to understand that it is a prayer life that builds character that honors God,
Ravi Zacharias (I, Isaac, Take Thee, Rebekah: Moving from Romance to Lasting Love)
There are moments in life where you don’t get a do-over, where the true nature of your character is revealed. You either step up to the plate or lose your chance forever. These moments shape a life. These moments earn you the right to say to yourself ‘at least I got the important stuff right.
P. Dangelico (Wrecking Ball (Hard to Love #1))
Anyone can say 'I love you', however so many other sayings carry more weight in a relationship: “I understand what you went through because I went through it too.” “I believe you and in you.” “I see the pain you are going through and we will conquer this together.” “I don’t want to change you. I just want to help you become the best version of yourself.” “You matter to me, therefore I will be there for you always.” "I will never keep things from you because you have my respect and friendship. If I find out someone is putting you down, I will stand up for you. ” “Your character will always shine when I speak about you because to damage your name is to damage ours.” “I will go to the ends of the earth to save you from yourself or others.” “What you have to say is important to me because I see you’re hurting and that hurts me, so I am going to listen. Together we will solve this problem.” “I don’t care about your past. That was yesterday. Today, we are going to start over because people make mistakes, but they don’t have to pay for them for the rest of their life.” "How can I help you get through this?" “In sickness or in health...I meant it and I will search the world to find a way to keep you in it because you mean that much to me.” “I don’t want to be your parent. I want to be your best friend, lover, cheering section, playmate and fill all the important parts of your soul. Together we will fill the rest as equals.
Shannon L. Alder
The most important thing in business is a persona, Nico,' he was fond of saying. 'People want to know immediately what they're dealing with. And when they think about you, you've got to stand out in their minds--like one of those characters in a novel.
Candace Bushnell (Lipstick Jungle)
It is an emotional and an enchanted place. If the study of the conscious mind highlights the importance of reason and analysis, study of the unconscious mind highlights the importance of passions and perception.
David Brooks (The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement)
In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the established mode to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments avowed, however unequally they may be returned. It is natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could feel gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot–I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. The feelings which, you tell me, have long prevented the acknowledgment of your regard, can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation.” Mr. Darcy, who was leaning against the mantelpiece with his eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her words with no less resentment than surprise. His complexion became pale with anger, and the disturbance of his mind was visible in every feature. He was struggling for the appearance of composure, and would not open his lips till he believed himself to have attained it. The pause was to Elizabeth’s feelings dreadful. At length, with a voice of forced calmness, he said: And this is all the reply which I am to have the honour of expecting! I might, perhaps, wish to be informed why, with so little endeavour at civility, I am thus rejected. But it is of small importance.” I might as well inquire,” replied she, “why with so evident a desire of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character? Was not this some excuse for incivility, if I was uncivil?
Jane Austen
The people at the center of these stories of power couples mostly choose to see their own motives as selfless. In Elizabeth Edwards’ autobiography Resilience, she wrote of her marriage to John, U.S. senator from North Carolina, ‘We were lovers, life companions, crusaders, side by side, for a vision of what the country could be.’ When she found out he was cheating on her, the crusading together became ‘the glue’ that kept them together. ‘I grabbed hold of it. I needed to,’ Edwards wrote. ‘Although I no longer knew what I could trust between the two of us, I knew I could trust in our work together.’ She wanted ‘an intact family fighting for causes more important than any one of us.
Anne Michaud (Why They Stay: Sex Scandals, Deals, and Hidden Agendas of Eight Political Wives)
Sure, but real life’s not actually like that,” Quentin went on, fumbling after what he was sure was an important insight. “You don’t just go on fun adventures for good causes and have happy endings. You’re not going to be a character in a story, there’s nobody arranging everything for you. The real world just doesn’t work like that.
Lev Grossman (The Magicians (The Magicians, #1))
I steeled myself as best I could, and, with teeth gritted, using only one finger I typed: C U there E. I sat back, feeling a bit queasy. Illiterate communication was quicker, that was true, but not by much. I'd saved myself the trouble of typing four whole characters. Still, it was part of my new credo, trying new things. I'd tried it, and I very definitely did not like it. LOL could go and take a running jump. I wasn't made for illiteracy; it simply didn't come naturally. Although it's good to try new things and to keep an open mind, it's also extremely important to stay true to who you really are. I read that in a magazine at the hairdressers.
Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)
But none of them taught me the things I learned from Carrie White. The most important is that the writer’s original perception of a character or characters may be as erroneous as the reader’s. Running a close second was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.
Stephen King (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft)
I always start with characters rather than with a plot, which many critics would say is very obvious from the lack of plot in my films—although I think they do have plots—but the plot is not of primary importance to me, the characters are.
Jim Jarmusch
The actions of our closest friends say a lot about our character—what we overlook, what we contribute to and what is important to us when the world doesn’t take notice.
Shannon L. Alder
...[T]he really important thing is not to live, but to live well... [a]nd to live well means the same thing as to live honourably or rightly...
Socrates (Apology, Crito and Phaedo of Socrates.)
I've come to the conclusion that liking a person we are required to have dealings with is not of paramount importance. But respect is crucial, on both sides, as is tolerance, and a depth of understanding of those influences that sculpt a character.
Jacqueline Winspear (Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs, #4))
I develop oddly deep emotional connections to people in my life that are one-sided. I may just be a passing character to them. I don't know what that is. I don't know why that is. I can have one encounter with somebody and feel very connected to them and read a lot into that. They become very important people to me, but to them I may just be like, "Oh yeah, we talked that one time, right?" To me it's a live-changing moment that bonded us; to them, it was a five-minute polite chat in passing.
Marc Maron (Attempting Normal)
I suppressed a sigh. Hungary felt increasingly like reading War and Peace: new characters came up every five minutes, with their unusual names and distinctive locutions, and you had to pay attention to them for a time, even though you might never see them again for the whole rest of the book. I would rather have talked to Ivan, the love interest, but somehow I didn’t get to decide. At the same time, I also felt that these superabundant personages weren’t irrelevant at all, but somehow the opposite, and that when Ivan had told me to make friends with the other kids, he had been telling me something important about the world, about how the fateful character in your life wasn’t the one who buried you in a rock, but the one who led you out to more people.
Elif Batuman (The Idiot)
According to Free Trait Theory, we are born and culturally endowed with certain personality traits—introversion, for example—but we can and do act out of character in the service of “core personal projects.” In other words, introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly. Free Trait Theory explains why an introvert might throw his extroverted wife a surprise party or join the PTA at his daughter’s school. It explains how it’s possible for an extroverted scientist to behave with reserve in her laboratory, for an agreeable person to act hard-nosed during a business negotiation, and for a cantankerous uncle to treat his niece tenderly when he takes her out for ice cream.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Someone who can search for something is happy. Searching gives a meaning to life. Nowadays it’s not so easy to find something you might be looking for. The most important thing, however, is the search itself, the way you take. It’s not so important where it leads. that’s why my characters are always looking for something, maybe only a cat, a sheep or a wife, but that is at least the beginning of a story.
Haruki Murakami
For many generations…they obeyed the laws and loved the divine to which they were akin…they reckoned that qualities of character were far more important than their present prosperity. So they bore the burden of their wealth and possessions lightly, and did not let their high standard of living intoxicate them or make them lose their self-control… But when the divine element in them became weakened…and their human traits became predominant, they ceased to be able to carry their prosperity with moderation.
Plato (Timaeus)
The night before brain surgery, I thought about death. I searched out my larger values, and I asked myself, if I was going to die, did I want to do it fighting and clawing or in peaceful surrender? What sort of character did I hope to show? Was I content with myself and what I had done with my life so far? I decided that I was essentially a good person, although I could have been better--but at the same time I understood that the cancer didn't care. I asked myself what I believed. I had never prayed a lot. I hoped hard, I wished hard, but I didn't pray. I had developed a certain distrust of organized religion growing up, but I felt I had the capacity to be a spiritual person, and to hold some fervent beliefs. Quite simply, I believed I had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking, and honorable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn't a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whether I believed in a certain book, or whether I'd been baptized. If there was indeed a God at the end of my days, I hoped he didn't say, 'But you were never a Christian, so you're going the other way from heaven.' If so, I was going to reply, 'You know what? You're right. Fine.' I believed, too, in the doctors and the medicine and the surgeries--I believed in that. I believed in them. A person like Dr. Einhorn [his oncologist], that's someone to believe in, I thought, a person with the mind to develop an experimental treatment 20 years ago that now could save my life. I believed in the hard currency of his intelligence and his research. Beyond that, I had no idea where to draw the line between spiritual belief and science. But I knew this much: I believed in belief, for its own shining sake. To believe in the face of utter hopelessness, every article of evidence to the contrary, to ignore apparent catastrophe--what other choice was there? We do it every day, I realized. We are so much stronger than we imagine, and belief is one of the most valiant and long-lived human characteristics. To believe, when all along we humans know that nothing can cure the briefness of this life, that there is no remedy for our basic mortality, that is a form of bravery. To continue believing in yourself, believing in the doctors, believing in the treatment, believing in whatever I chose to believe in, that was the most important thing, I decided. It had to be. Without belief, we would be left with nothing but an overwhelming doom, every single day. And it will beat you. I didn't fully see, until the cancer, how we fight every day against the creeping negatives of the world, how we struggle daily against the slow lapping of cynicism. Dispiritedness and disappointment, these were the real perils of life, not some sudden illness or cataclysmic millennium doomsday. I knew now why people fear cancer: because it is a slow and inevitable death, it is the very definition of cynicism and loss of spirit. So, I believed.
Lance Armstrong (It's Not about the Bike: My Journey Back to Life)
In this scheme of things we don’t create our lives; we are summoned by life. The important answers are not found inside, they are found outside. This perspective begins not within the autonomous self, but with the concrete circumstances in which you happen to be embedded. This perspective begins with an awareness that the world existed long before you and will last long after you, and that in the brief span of your life you have been thrown by fate, by history, by chance, by evolution, or by God into a specific place with specific problems and needs. Your job is to figure certain things out: What does this environment need in order to be made whole? What is it that needs repair? What tasks are lying around waiting to be performed? As the novelist Frederick Buechner put it, “At what points do my talents and deep gladness meet the world’s deep need?
David Brooks (The Road to Character)
All words that are important in history have been picked up and used by all kind of characters, for all kinds of reasons.
Richard D. Wolff (Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism)
Your character, your heart, your essence, that’s what’s important, because that’s the real you. All the rest, our looks, the material stuff? It's just meaningless bullshit.
Kim Holden (Gus (Bright Side, #2))
Because power corrupts, society's demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.
John Adams (Best Quotations of John Adams)
What to keep of all these reels of film, what to throw away? If we could only take 1 memory on our journey, what would we choose? At the expense of what or whom? And most importantly, how to choose among all these shadows, all these spectres, all these titans? Who are we, when all is said and done? Are we the people we once were or the people we wish we had been? Are we the pain we caused others or the pain we suffered at the hands of others? The encounters we missed or those fortuitous meetings that changed the course of our destiny? Our time behind the scenes that saved us form our vanity or the moment in the limelight that warmed us? We are all of these things, we are the whole life that we have lived, its highs and lows, its fortunes and its hardships, we are the sum of the ghosts that haunt us... we are a host of characters in one, so convincing in every role we played that it is impossible for us to tell who we really were, who we have become, who we will be.
Yasmina Khadra (What the Day Owes the Night)
If you're struggling today, remember that life is worth living and believe that the best is yet to come. Remember that you are loved, you matter, and never forget that there is always hope.
Germany Kent
One of the most dangerous of literary ventures is the little, shy, unimportant heroine whom none of the other characters value. The danger is that your readers may agree with the other characters.
C.S. Lewis (Selected Literary Essays)
If we are humble, we are open to new ideas and new ways of seeing things. Open-mindedness is a very important part of humility. We don’t know it all. There is still more we can learn. And maybe even more important, some we need to unlearn.
Bill Pittman (Drop the Rock: Removing Character Defects - Steps Six and Seven)
The older you get the more you realize that just because someone has an important job doesn't necessarily mean that they do it responsibly, or are even good at it. There are many 'D' students running around with high social status gained from their seemingly important positions. Integrity and proficiency are not a given. These qualities can only be proven over time.
Gary Hopkins
To live with integrity, it is important to know what's right and what's wrong, to be educated morally. However, merely KNOWING is not enough. Virtuous character matters more than moral knowledge. The reason is simple: like the self-confessing apostle Paul in Romans 7, most of those who do wrong know what's right but find themselves irresistibly attracted to its opposite. Faith idles when character shrivels
Miroslav Volf (A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good)
A compliment about one’s nature is more important because a person has to choose how to behave, whilst a compliment about one’s appearance doesn’t mean overly much because there is no choice involved there.
Julie Garwood (The Prize)
The pause was to Elizabeth's feelings dreadful. At length, with a voice of forced calmness, he said: "And this is all the reply which I am to have the honour of expecting! I might, perhaps, wish to be informed why, with so little endeavour at civility, I am thus rejected. But it is of small importance." "I might as well inquire," replied she, "why with so evident a desire of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character? Was not this some excuse for incivility, if I was uncivil? But I have other provocations. You know I have. Had not my feelings decided against you— had they been indifferent, or had they even been favourable, do you think that any consideration would tempt me to accept the man who has been the means of ruining, perhaps for ever, the happiness of a most beloved sister?
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
Try to think about more important things,' he said. 'Think about your soul, your character. Think about the freezer. It's a solid block of ice. It needs defrosting. There might a steak in there. Concentrate on things like that. There could be a meal in it.
Jonathan Ames (The Extra Man)
What manner of men had lived in those days...who had so eagerly surrendered their sovereignty for a lie and a delusion? Why had they been so anxious to believe that the government could solve problems for them which had been pridefully solved, many times over, by their fathers? Had their characters become so weak and debased, so craven and emasculated, that offers of government dole had become more important than their liberty and their humanity? Had they not know that power delegated to the government becomes the club of tyrants? They must have known. They had their own history to remember, and the history of five thousand years. Yet, they had willingly and knowingly, with all this knowledge, declared themselves unfit to manage their own affairs and had placed their lives, which belonged to God only, in the hands of sinister men who had long plotted to enslave them, by wars, by "directives," by "emergencies." In the name of the American people, the American people had been made captive.
Taylor Caldwell (The Devil's Advocate)
It is the present living generation that gives character and spirit to the next. Hence the paramount importance of accomplished and energetic teachers in forming the taste the manners and the character of the coming age.
Alexander Campbell
The meaning and worth of love, as a feeling, is that it really forces us, with all our being, to acknowledge for ANOTHER the same absolute central significance which, because of the power of our egoism, we are conscious of only in our own selves. Love is important not as one of our feelings, but as the transfer of all our interest in life from ourselves to another, as the shifting of the very centre of our personal life. This is characteristic of every kind of love, but predominantly of sexual love; it is distinguished from other kinds of love by greater intensity, by a more engrossing character, and by the possibility of a more complete overall reciprocity. Only this love can lead to the real and indissoluble union of two lives into one; only of it do the words of Holy Writ say: 'They shall be one flesh,' i.e., shall become one real being.
Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov (The Meaning of Love)
Every day is an important day, and every second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to demonstrate love, or to depend on God.
Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?)
Life is a test. A test of Character and Strength, experience is our study guide... so remember what you learn and more importantly-apply it.
Sarah Funkhouser
Make no mistake. You are your most important critic and your conscience your most important judge of character.
Denis Waitley
Lahiri's characters, just like people all around us, are constantly telling each other important things, but not necessarily in words.
Will Schwalbe (The End of Your Life Book Club)
The formation of Stalin’s character is particularly important because the nature of his rule was so personal.
Simon Sebag Montefiore (Young Stalin)
For an educated person, intelligence is important but character is more important.
Debasish Mridha
It is not as important to God that we understand his purposes in a particular providence as it is that we trust in his character.
Jon Bloom (Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith)
I claim that the fact that we are strongly encouraged to identify with characters for whom death is not a significant creative possibly has real costs. We the audience, and individual you over there and me right here, lose any sense of eschatology, thus of teleology, and live in a moment that is, paradoxically, both emptied of intrinsic meaning or end and quite literally ETERNAL. If we're the only animals who know in advance we're going to die, we're also probably the only animals who would submit so cheerfully to the sustained denial of this undeniable and very important truth. The danger is that, as entertainment's denials of the truth get even more effective and pervasive and seductive, we will eventually forget what they're denials OF. This is scary. Because it seems transparent to me that, if we forget how to die, we're going to forget how to live.
David Foster Wallace (Both Flesh and Not: Essays)
You take yourself too seriously, " he said slowly. "You are too damn important in your own mind. That must be changed! You are so goddamn important that you feel justified to be annoyed with everything. You're so damn important that you can afford to leave if things don't go your way. I suppose you think that shows you have character. That's nonsense! You're weak, and conceited!" - Dom Juan
Carlos Castaneda (Journey to Ixtlan)
The foreign correspondent is frequently the only means of getting an important story told, or of drawing the world's attention to disasters in the making or being covered up. Such an important role is risky in more ways than one. It can expose the correspondent to actual physical danger; but there is also the moral danger of indulging in sensationalism and dehumanizing the sufferer. This danger immediately raises the question of the character and attitude of the correspondent, because the same qualities of mind which in the past separated a Conrad from a Livingstone, or a Gainsborough from the anonymous painter of Francis Williams, are still present and active in the world today. Perhaps this difference can best be put in one phrase: the presence or absence of respect for the human person.
Chinua Achebe (The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays)
Perfect. Then imagine that you started reading the most interesting and fascinating comic book ever created. You fell in love with some characters, you hated others. Endless plots unfolded and every one was an emotional page-turner you couldn't read fast enough because you had to know what was going to happen next. You felt like the world would end if you didn't find out how the story ended. But then you get to the end and there was no end. The author didn't finish it. You don't know if good or evil won. You don't know if the guy got the girl. You don't know any of the answers to all your important questions
Karen Amanda Hooper (Taking Back Forever (The Kindrily, #2))
The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but what we are. And if our words and our actions come from superficial human relations techniques (the Personality Ethic) rather than from our own inner core (the Character Ethic), others will sense that duplicity.
Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change)
You're kind and patient and honorable, and yes, maybe those aren't flashy, magical, extraordinary traits. Maybe being all those things does make you a bit ordinary, but the ordinary things are the important things.
H.L. Burke (An Ordinary Knight: A Fairy Cursed Fable (An Ordinary Knight, #1))
That second man has his own way of looking at things; asks himself which debt must I pay first, the debt to the rich, or the debt to the poor? the debt of money, or the debt of thought to mankind, of genius to nature? For you, O broker! there is no other principle but arithmetic. For me, commerce is of trivial import; love, faith, truth of character, the aspiration of man, these are sacred; nor can I detach one duty, like you, from all other duties, and concentrate my forces mechanically on the payment of moneys. Let me live onward; you shall find that, though slower, the progress of my character will liquidate all these debts without injustice to higher claims. If a man should dedicate himself to the payment of notes, would not this be injustice? Does he owe no debt but money? And are all claims on him to be postponed to a landlord's or a banker's?
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Always I find when I begin to write there is one character who obstinately will not come alive...He never does the unexpected thing, he never surprises me, he never takes charge. Every other character helps, he only hinders. And yet one cannot do without him. I can imagine a God feeling in just that way about some of us. The saints, one would suppose, in a sense create themselves. They come alive. They are capable of the surprising act or word. The stand outside the plot, unconditioned by it. But we have to be pushed around. We have the obstinancy of non-existence. We are inextricably bound to the plot, and wearily God forces us, here and there, according to his intention, characters without poetry, without free will, whose only importance is that somewhere, at some time, we help to furnish the scene in which a living character moves and speaks, perhaps the saints with the opportunities for their free will.
Graham Greene (The End of the Affair)
nobody is perfect. Some people wear their scars on the outside. Others wear them on the inside. Same difference. Your character, your heart, your essence, that’s what’s important, because that’s the real you. All the rest, our looks, the material stuff? It's just meaningless bullshit.
Kim Holden (Gus (Bright Side, #2))
Since the purpose of reading, of education, is to become good, our most important task is to choose the right books. Our personal set of stories, our canon, shapes our lives. I believe it is a law of the universe that we will not rise above our canon. Our canon is part of us, deeply, subconsciously. And the characters and teachings in our canon shape our characters--good, evil, mediocre, or great.
Oliver DeMille (A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century)
I have lived so long within the circle of this book and with these characters that often it seems to me that the real world does not exist but that only these characters exist, and however pretentious that remark sounds... it is an absolute fact-- so much so that their glees and woes are just exactly as important to me as what happens in life.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
One of the most memorably unexpected events I experienced in the course of doing this book came in a dissection room at the University of Nottingham in England when a professor and surgeon named Ben Ollivere (about whom much more in due course) gently incised and peeled back a sliver of skin about a millimeter thick from the arm of a cadaver. It was so thin as to be translucent. “That,” he said, “is where all your skin color is. That’s all that race is—a sliver of epidermis.” I mentioned this to Nina Jablonski when we met in her office in State College, Pennsylvania, soon afterward. She gave a nod of vigorous assent. “It is extraordinary how such a small facet of our composition is given so much importance,” she said. “People act as if skin color is a determinant of character when all it is is a reaction to sunlight. Biologically, there is actually no such thing as race—nothing in terms of skin color, facial features, hair type, bone structure, or anything else that is a defining quality among peoples. And yet look how many people have been enslaved or hated or lynched or deprived of fundamental rights through history because of the color of their skin.
Bill Bryson (The Body: A Guide for Occupants)
It's critical we examine the kind of standards we hold fictional girls to and consider how it reflects in the way we treat real girls and, most important, what kind of emotional impact that has on them. What are we saying to girls when we cannot accept difficult, hurting female characters as being worthy of love because they are difficult and hurting?
Courtney Summers (Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World)
The thrust here is that Dostoevsky wrote fiction about the stuff that's really important. He wrote fiction about identity, moral value, death, will, sexual vs. spiritual love, greed, freedom, obsession, reason, faith, suicide. And he did it without ever reducing his characters to mouthpieces or his books to tracts. His concern was always what it is to be a human being-that is, how to be an actual person, someone whose life is informed by values and principles, instead of just an especially shrewd kind of self-preserving animal.
David Foster Wallace (Consider the Lobster and Other Essays)
The people of Japan believed they had only one way of moving up: to have their children educated more than they were; that it was very important for them to move out of their peasantry to become educated. So there has been a great energy in the family to encourage the children to do well in school, and to be pushed forward. Because of this tendency to learn things all the time, new ideas from the outside would spread through the educational system very easily. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Japan has advanced so rapidly.
Richard P. Feynman (Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman: Adventures of a Curious Character as Told to Ralph Leighton)
Isolation, I was reminded again and again, is a danger. But what if one's real context is in books? Some days, going from one book to another, preoccupied with thoughts that were of no importance, I would feel a rare moment of serenity: all that could not be solved in my life was merely a trifle as long as I kept it at a distance. Between that suspended life and myself were these dead people and imagined characters. One could spend one's days among them as a child arranges a circle of stuffed animals when the darkness of night closes in.
Yiyun Li (Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life)
The willful amnesia afflicting the sciences in general contrasts sharply with the importance given to memory by the humanities. Literature, philosophy, politics, and the visual arts, including photography and filmmaking, feed on memory. Practitioners of the humanities need memory to deepen and refine their thinking.
James Hillman (The Force of Character: And the Lasting Life)
I thought Beatrice Keedsler had joined hands with other old-fashioned storytellers to make people believe that life had leading characters, minor characters, significant details, insignificant details, that it had lessons to be learned, tests to be passed, and a beginning, a middle, and an end. As I approached my fiftieth birthday, I had become more and more enraged and mystified by the idiot decisions made by my countrymen. And then I had come suddenly to pity them, for I understood how innocent and natural it was for them to behave so abominably, and with such abominable results: They were doing their best to live like people invented in story books. This was the reason Americans shot each other so often: It was a convenient literary device for ending short stories and books. Why were so many Americans treated by their government as though their lives were as disposable as paper facial tissues? Because that was the way authors customarily treated bit-part players in their madeup tales. And so on. Once I understood what was making America such a dangerous, unhappy nation of people who had nothing to do with real life, I resolved to shun storytelling. I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order, instead, which I think I have done. If all writers would do that, then perhaps citizens not in the literary trades will understand that there is no order in the world around us, that we must adapt ourselves to the requirements of chaos instead. It is hard to adapt to chaos, but it can be done. I am living proof of that: It can be done.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Breakfast of Champions)
Today it strikes me that the most important aspect of these conversations was not so much what we said as what we took for granted, and what in fact was not so at all. We were wrong about almost everything. An accurate character sketch must take these errors into account, since they expressed one kind of reality - our actual situation.
Simone de Beauvoir (Prime of Life (1929-1944))
We want a sense that an important character, like a narrator, is reliable. We want to believe that a character is not playing ages or being coy or being manipulative, but is telling the truth to the best of his or her ability...We do not wish to be crudely manipulated...We want to be massaged by a masseur, not whapped by a carpet beater.
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)
The part of the tradition that I knew best was mostly written (or rewritten for children) in England and northern Europe. The principal characters were men. If the story was heroic, the hero was a white man; most dark-skinned people were inferior or evil. If there was a woman in the story, she was a passive object of desire and rescue (a beautiful blond princess); active women (dark, witches) usually caused destruction or tragedy. Anyway, the stories weren’t about the women. They were about men, what men did, and what was important to men.
Ursula K. Le Guin (A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1))
I believe it’s incredibly important to write against [racial] stereotypes. If we give in and make sure that all black women characters are asexual, gentle, and kind we wind up with another set of stereotypes.
Justine Larbalestier
cultivation of the hard skills, while failing to develop the moral and emotional faculties down below. Children are coached on how to jump through a thousand scholastic hoops. Yet by far the most important decisions they will make are about whom to marry and whom to befriend, what to love and what to despise, and how to control impulses. On these matters, they are almost entirely on their own. We are good at talking about material incentives, but bad about talking about emotions and intuitions. We are good at teaching technical skills, but when it comes to the most important things, like character, we have almost nothing to say.
David Brooks (The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement)
To my way of thinking, whether it’s a superhero movie or a romance or a comedy or whatever, the most important thing is you’ve got to care about the characters. You’ve got to understand the characters and you’ve got to be interested. If the characters are interesting, you’re half-way home.
Stan Lee
I’ve got to get my body back. While I like wearing you, I’d rather wear you as a blanket on top of me and not the skin I’m walking around in. It has this whole Hannibal Lecter aspect that’s really creeping me out.”Jo “Hannibal Lecter?” Cadegan “It’s a TV show and book character. Not really important. Like a wombat in a blender.” Jo “I’m not sure what this blender is, but I think I should be feeling bad for that poor wombat.” Cadegan
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Son of No One (Dark-Hunter, #23; Hellchaser, #5; Were-Hunter, #8, Lords of Avalon, #4))
I think it was Alfred Hitchcock who said 90 percent of successful moviemaking is in the casting. The same is true in life. Who you are exposed to, who you choose to surround yourself with, is a unique variable in all of our experiences and it is hugely important in making us who we are. Seek out interesting characters, tough adversaries and strong mentors and your life can be rich, textured, highly entertaining and successful, like a Best Picture winner. Surround yourself with dullards, people of vanilla safety and unextraordinary ease, and you may find your life going straight to DVD.
Rob Lowe (Love Life)
The soul was not made to run on empty. But the soul doesn’t come with a gauge. The indicators of soul-fatigue are more subtle: • Things seem to bother you more than they should. Your spouse’s gum-chewing suddenly reveals to you a massive character flaw. • It’s hard to make up your mind about even a simple decision. • Impulses to eat or drink or spend or crave are harder to resist than they otherwise would be. • You are more likely to favor short-term gains in ways that leave you with high long-term costs. Israel ended up worshiping a golden calf simply because they grew tired of having to wait on Moses and God. • Your judgment is suffering. • You have less courage. “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” is a quote so ubiquitious that it has been attributed to General Patton and Vince Lombardi and Shakespeare. The same disciples who fled in fear when Jesus was crucified eventually sacrificed their lives for him. What changed was not their bodies, but their souls.
John Ortberg (Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You)
A TV show comprises many departments—Costumes, Props, Talent, Graphics, Set Dressing, Transportation. Everyone in every department wants to show off their skills and contribute creatively to the show, which is a blessing. You’re grateful to work with people who are talented and enthusiastic about their jobs. You would think that as a producer, your job would be to churn up creativity, but mostly your job is to police enthusiasm. You may have an occasion where the script calls for a bran muffin on a white plate and the Props Department shows up with a bran cake in the shape of Santa Claus sitting on a silver platter that says “Welcome to Denmark.” “We just thought it would be funny.” And you have to find a polite way to explain that the character is Jewish, so her eating Santa’s face might have negative connotations, and the silver tray, while beautiful, is giving a weird glare on camera and maybe let’s go with the bran muffin on the white plate. And then sometimes Actors have what they call “ideas.” Usually it involves them talking more, or, in the case of more experienced actors, sitting more. When Actors have ideas it’s very important to get to the core reason behind their idea.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
The third thing about witnessing, the most important part and the thing that most people don't seem to understand. is that you have to take it further than just one step back. You have to keep going with it. Its not a passive thing. like you just sit back and observe. You don't just observe your character, you deconstruct it. You have to be aggressive about it. This is a way or simulating the enlightened perspective, which would be useful to anyone who wants to wake themselves up from the dreamstate instead of just in it.
Jed McKenna (Spiritual Warfare)
Your behavior inside your home is the real indicator of your character. Not in the workplace, not in school. Sure, it's nice to look good when you leave your home, and make a bella figure. But in terms of your identity, the most important thing is who you are with your parents, with your children, with your cousins. Th most important thing is how you behave with he people who really matter.
Katherine Wilson (Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from My Italian Mother-in-Law)
At least two important conservative thinkers, Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss, were unbelievers or nonbelievers and in any case contemptuous of Christianity. I have my own differences with both of these savants, but is the Republican Party really prepared to disown such modern intellectuals as it can claim, in favor of a shallow, demagogic and above all sectarian religiosity? Perhaps one could phrase the same question in two further ways. At the last election, the GOP succeeded in increasing its vote among American Jews by an estimated five percentage points. Does it propose to welcome these new adherents or sympathizers by yelling in the tones of that great Democrat bigmouth William Jennings Bryan? By insisting that evolution is 'only a theory'? By demanding biblical literalism and by proclaiming that the Messiah has already shown himself? If so, it will deserve the punishment for hubris that is already coming its way. (The punishment, in other words, that Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson believed had struck America on Sept. 11, 2001. How can it be that such grotesque characters, calling down divine revenge on the workers in the World Trade Center, are allowed a respectful hearing, or a hearing at all, among patriotic Republicans?). [. . . And Why I'm Most Certainly Not! -- The Wall Street Journal, Commentary Column. May 5, 2005]
Christopher Hitchens
Bigfoot understood — as I came to understand — that character is far more important than skills or employment history. And he recognized character — good and bad — brilliantly. He understood, and taught me, that a guy who shows up every day on time, never calls in sick, and does what he said he was going to do, is less likely to fuck you in the end than a guy who has an incredible resume but is less than reliable about arrival time. Skills can be taught. Character you either have or don't have. Bigfoot understood that there are two types of people in the world: those who do what they say they're going to do — and everyone else.
Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly)
Then it dawned on me that men throughout the country had to know about nu shu (women's written word). How could they not? They wore it on their embroidered shoes. They saw us weaving our messages into cloth. They heard us singing our songs and showing off our third-day wedding books. Men just considered our writing beneath them. It is said men have the hearts of iron, while women are made of water. This comes through men's writing and women's writing. Men's writing has more than 50,000 characters, each uniquely different, each with deep meanings and nuances. Our women's writing has 600 characters, which we use phonetically, like babies to create about 10,000 words. Men's writing takes a lifetime to learn and understand. Women's writing is something we pick up as girls, and we rely on the context to coax meaning. Men write about the outer realm of literature, accounts, and crop yields; women write about the inner realm of children, daily chores, and emotions. The men in the Lu household were proud of their wives' fluency in nu shu and dexterity in embroidery, though these things had as much importance to survival as a pig's fart.
Lisa See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan)
As I have earlier noted, the most important things in life and in business can’t be measured. The trite bromide 'If you can measure it, you can manage it' has been a hindrance in the building a great real-world organization, just as it has been a hindrance in evaluating the real-world economy. It is character, not numbers, that make the world go ‘round. How can we possibly measure the qualities of human existence that give our lives and careers meaning? How about grace, kindness, and integrity? What value do we put on passion, devotion, and trust? How much do cheerfulness, the lilt of a human voice, and a touch of pride add to our lives? Tell me, please, if you can, how to value friendship, cooperation, dedication, and spirit. Categorically, the firm that ignores the intangible qualities that the human beings who are our colleagues bring to their careers will never build a great workforce or a great organization.
John C. Bogle (Enough.: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life)
In earlier times, one had an easier conscience about being a person than one does today. People were like cornstalks in a field, probably more violently tossed back and forth by God, hail, fire, pestilence, and war than they are today, but as a whole, as a city, a region, a field, and as to what personal movement was left to the individual stalk – all this was clearly defined and could be answered for. But today responsibility’s center of gravity is not in people but in circumstances. Have we not noticed that experiences have made themselves independent of people? They have gone on the stage, into books, into the reports of research institutes and explorers, into ideological or religious communities, which foster certain kinds of experience at the expense of others as if they are conducting a kind of social experiment, and insofar as experiences are not actually being developed, they are simply left dangling in the air. Who can say nowadays that his anger is really his own anger when so many people talk about it and claim to know more about it than he does? A world of qualities without a man has arisen, of experiences without the person who experiences them, and it almost looks as though ideally private experience is a thing of the past, and that the friendly burden of personal responsibility is to dissolve into a system of formulas of possible meanings. Probably the dissolution of the anthropocentric point of view, which for such a long time considered man to be at the center of the universe but which has been fading away for centuries, has finally arrived at the “I” itself, for the belief that the most important thing about experience is the experiencing, or of action the doing, is beginning to strike most people as naïve. There are probably people who still lead personal lives, who say “We saw the So-and-sos yesterday” or “We’ll do this or that today” and enjoy it without its needing to have any content of significance. They like everything that comes in contact with their fingers, and are purely private persons insofar as this is at all possible. In contact with such people, the world becomes a private world and shines like a rainbow. They may be very happy, but this kind of people usually seems absurd to the others, although it is still not at all clear why. And suddenly, in view of these reflections, Ulrich had to smile and admit to himself that he was, after all, a character, even without having one.
Robert Musil (The Man Without Qualities: Volume I)
A related question is where in time to begin. Should you begin far back in a character's past and move forward, or should you begin in the present and make use of flashbacks only where necessary? ... If the material with which you want to open the story is from the character's deep past, then there has to be an important relationship between what has happened in the past and what is about to happen. In other words, is the material with which you open the story an arrow pointing toward the unified effect?
Julie Checkoway (Creating Fiction: Instruction and Insights from Teachers of the Associated Writing Programs)
Partially undermining the manufacturer's ability to assert that its work constituted a meaningful contribution to mankind was the frivolous way in which it went about marketing its products. Grief was the only rational response to the news that an employee had spent three months devising a supermarket promotion based on an offer of free stickers of cartoon characters called the Fimbles. Why had the grown-ups so churlishly abdicated their responsibilities? Were there not more important ambitions to be met before Death showed himself on the horizon in his hooded black cloak, his scythe slung over his shoulder?
Alain de Botton (The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work)
I remembered the moment I read a novel for the first time. The texture of the soft paper touching my fingertips. The black letters blooming on a white field. The texture of the page I folded with my hands. 「 It isn’t important to read the letters. The important thing is where the letters lead you. 」 My mother, who loved books, used to say this. At least for me, it wasn’t just a saying. The gaps in the black print. My own little snow garden lay in between the letters. This space, which was too small for someone to go into, was a perfect place for a child who liked to hide. Every time a pleasant sound was heard, the letters stacked up like snow. In it, I became a hero. I had adventures, loved and dreamt. Thus, I read, read and read again. I remembered the first time I was about to finish a book. It was like being deprived of the world. The protagonist and supporting characters walked off with the sentence ‘They lived happily ever after’ and I was left alone at the end of the story. In my vanity and sense of betrayal, my young self struggled because I couldn’t stand the loneliness. 「This… is the end? 」 Perhaps it was similar to learning about death. For the first time, I realized that something was finite.
Singshong (Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint Volume 1)
Teenage Turn-Ons As played by Robert Pattinson in the Twilight Saga movies, Edward has a certain physical sex appeal thanks in part to the the actor's handsome features. but the appeal in both the movies and the novels has nothing to do with a bad-boy energy that so often translates into sexiness because, really, even when he's full-out vamp, there isn't that much of a bad boy to be found in his character. Curiously, the sexiness of the vampire Edward comes from his safeness. He is the ultimate fantasy man. Described in overly ripe prose, his physical perfection is glorious. He might be a little cool to the touch-but gosh! Look at him! He's youthful, with a perfect body, or the sort of man found in the pages of a million romance novels. And most important, he will do what ever it takes to keep his beloved Bella safe, whether the danger comes from the world or himself.
Laura Enright (Vampires' Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Bloodthirsty Biters, Stake-wielding Slayers, and Other Undead Oddities)
[Author's Note:] When I was sixteen, two of my cousins were brutally raped by four strangers and thrown off a bridge in St. Louis, Missouri. My brother was beaten and also forced off the bridge. I wrote about that horrible crime in my first book, my memoir, A Rip in Heaven. Because that crime and the subsequent writing of the book were both formative experience in my life, I became a person who is always, automatically, more interested in stories about victims than perpetrators. I'm interested in characters who suffer inconceivable hardship, in people who manage to triumph over extraordinary trauma. Characters like Lydia and Soledad. I'm less interested in the violent, macho stories of gangsters and law enforcement. Or in any case, I think the world has enough stories like those. Some fiction set in the world of the cartels and narcotraficantes is compelling and important - I read much of it during my early research. Those novels provide readers with an understanding of the origins of the some of the violence to our south. But the depiction of that violence can feed into some of the worst stereotypes about Mexico. So I saw an opening for a novel that would press a little more intimately into those stories, to imagine people on the flip side of that prevailing narrative. Regular people like me. How would I manage if I lived in a place that began to collapse around me? If my children were in danger, how far would I go to save them? I wanted to write about women, whose stories are often overlooked.
Jeanine Cummins (American Dirt)
The little girl’s sense of secrecy that developed at prepuberty only grows in importance. She closes herself up in fierce solitude: she refuses to reveal to those around her the hidden self that she considers to be her real self and that is in fact an imaginary character: she plays at being a dancer like Tolstoy’s Natasha, or a saint like Marie Leneru, or simply the singular wonder that is herself. There is still an enormous difference between this heroine and the objective face that her parents and friends recognise in her. She is also convinced that she is misunderstood: her relationship with herself becomes even more passionate: she becomes intoxicated with her isolation, feels different, superior, exceptional: she promises that the future will take revenge on the mediocrity of her present life. From this narrow and petty existence she escapes by dreams.
Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex)
It must not be forgotten that it is especially dangerous to enslave men in the minor details of life. For my own part, I should be inclined to think freedom less necessary in great things than in little ones, if it were possible to be secure of the one without possessing the other. Subjection in minor affairs breaks out every day and is felt by the whole community indiscriminately. It does not drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till they are led to surrender the exercise of their own will. Thus their spirit is gradually broken and their character enervated; whereas that obedience which is exacted on a few important but rare occasions only exhibits servitude at certain intervals and throws the burden of it upon a small number of men. It is in vain to summon a people who have been rendered so dependent on the central power to choose from time to time the representatives of that power; this rare and brief exercise of their free choice, however important it may be, will not prevent them from gradually losing the faculties of thinking, feeling, and acting for themselves, and thus gradually falling below the level of humanity.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
You take yourself too seriously, " he said slowly. "You are too damn important in your own mind. That must be changed! You are so goddamn important that you feel justified to be annoyed with everything. You're so damn important that you can afford to leave if things don't go your way. I suppose you think that shows you have character. That's nonsense! You're weak, and conceited!" - Dom Juan
Carlos Castaneda (Journey to Ixtlan)
Whom, then, do I call educated, since I exclude the arts and sciences and specialties? First, those who manage well the circumstances which they encounter day by day, and who possess a judgement which is accurate in meeting occasions as they arise and rarely misses the expedient course of action; next, those who are decent and honorable in their intercourse with all with whom they associate, tolerating easily and good-naturedly what is unpleasant or offensive in others and being themselves as agreeable and reasonable to their associates as it is possible to be; furthermore, those who hold their pleasures always under control and are not unduly overcome by their misfortunes, bearing up under them bravely and in a manner worthy of our common nature; finally, and most important of all, those who are not spoiled by successes and do not desert their true selves and become arrogant, but hold their ground steadfastly as intelligent men, not rejoicing in the good things which have come to them through chance rather than in those which through their own nature and intelligence are theirs from their birth. Those who have a character which is in accord, not with one of these things, but with all of them—these, I contend, are wise and complete men, possessed of all the virtues.
Isocrates
When we encounter a friend who's depressed or afraid, we automatically try to take that distress away and to cheer the person up. While we may be operating with the best of intentions, this Band-Aid approach only reinforces the condition. Unless people experience their pain completely and begin to undrstand it, they will not only fail to overcome it, they'll also lose the opportunity of using it to advance their own growth. Pain can get you somewhere, and that somewhere can be a life-enhancing experience. We all tend to forget that pain can signal change. Alleviating the symptoms of pain in someone, without helping them to get at its underlying source, robs them of an important to for self-exploration. It's also a way of placating that reinforces the person'S need to cave in and succumb to another. This attitude undermines healthy character development and contributes to psychospiritual, moral, and ultimately social decay.
Adele von Rust McCormick (Horse Sense and the Human Heart)
Wealth, power and possessions can easily numb us to our need for God and make us overlook the needs of others. The wealthy must be concerned for the poor. Eating gourmet meals when others have nothing to eat should cause us to reflect a bit. Pursuing pleasure in a world with so much pain creates uneasiness in those who follow Jesus. God is not against fine food or having fun, but we ought to think deeply about our decisions—what and how much we buy, what is truly important— because we live in a world of great disparity.
James Bryan Smith (The Good and Beautiful Life: Putting on the Character of Christ (The Apprentice Series))
As mamas, papas, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers we have a responsibility to protect these little earth warriors. It's our job to protect and nurture their love, their innocence, their spirits, their imagination, their gifts, their health and wellbeing, their spirituality, their confidence, their character, their freedom of thought, their instincts, their wildness, and their magic! There is nothing we can do in this lifetime that will compare to the importance of this work. These little ones are our future. Guard them well!!
Brooke Hampton
She thought, in touching innocence, that in Miles Calverleigh she had found a friend, and a better one by far than any other, because his mind moved swiftly, because he could make her laugh even when she was out of charity with him, and because of a dozen other attributes which were quite frivolous – hardly attributes at all, in fact – but which added up to a charming total, outweighing the more important faults in his character.
Georgette Heyer (Black Sheep)
To some perhaps it may appear a little strained to place this last-mentioned form of attachment on a level of importance with the others, and such persons may be inclined to deny to the homogenic [...] or homosexual love that intense, that penetrating, and at times overmastering character which would entitle it to rank as a great human passion. But in truth this view, when entertained, arises from a want of acquaintance with the actual facts.
Edward Carpenter (The Intermediate Sex: A Study Of Some Transitional Types Of Men And Women)
Akin to the idea that time is money is the concept, less spoken by as commonly assumed, that we may be adequately represented by money. The giving of money has thus become our characteristic virtue. But to give is not to do. The money is given in lieu of action, thought, care, time. And it is no remedy for the fragmentation of character and consciousness that is the consequence of specialization. At the simplest, most practical level, it would be difficult for most of us to give enough in donations to good causes to compensate for, much less remedy, the damage done by the money that is taken from us and used destructively by various agencies of the government and by the corporations that hold us in captive dependence on their products. Most important, even if we could give enough to overbalance the official and corporate misuse of our money, we would still not solve the problem: the willingness to be represented by money involves a submission to the modern divisions of character and community. The remedy safeguards the disease.
Wendell Berry (The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture)
In my opinion it is not the writer's job to solve such problems as God, pessimism, etc; his job is merely to record who, under what conditions, said or thought what about God or pessimism. The artist is not meant to be a judge of his characters and what they say; his only job is to be an impartial witness. I heard two Russians in a muddled conversation about pessimism, a conversation that solved nothing; all I am bound to do is reproduce that conversation exactly as I heard it. Drawing conclusions is up to the jury, that is, the readers. My only job is to be talented, that is, to know how to distinguish important testimony from unimportant, to place my characters in the proper light and speak their language.
Anton Chekhov
That’s because, in a way different from what you meant by it, you can’t trust anybody.” Major Kimura lit a new cigar and, smiling, continued in tones that were almost exultantly cheerful. “It is important—even necessary—for us to become acutely aware of the fact that we can’t trust ourselves. The only ones you can trust to some extent are people who really know that. We had better get this straight. Otherwise, our own characters’ heads could fall off like Xiao-er’s at any time.
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories)
Many people define who they are, based upon what the world sees when it looks at them. They build themselves with their foundation set upon the perceptions of others. Do others think they are good, kind, smart, loving? But I define who I am, based upon the person who looks back at me in the mirror. If you were the only person on Earth, with nobody to see you, know your name, or ever be aware of your existence; what kind of person would you be? Live for the person who looks back at you in the mirror and be that person even if you are the last human being on Earth. Too many people live for what the world will think and will see; too few people live for their own soul. Are you smart, successful, got lots of super ideas? But those are not important questions. This is the most important question: do you know how to love? I do not care if nobody on Earth were to know my name; do I know my own soul? Do I know how to love? These are the questions I ask myself.
C. JoyBell C.
In honoring the Wright Brothers, it is customary and proper to recognize their contribution to scientific progress. But I believe it is equally important to emphasize the qualities in their pioneering life and the character in man that such a life produced. The Wright Brothers balanced success with modesty, science with simplicity. At Kitty Hawk their intellects and senses worked in mutual support. They represented man in balance, and from that balance came wings to lift a world.
Charles A. Lindbergh
Good writers may “tell” about almost anything in fiction except the characters’ feelings. One may tell the reader that the character went to a private school (one need not show a scene at the private school if the scene has no importance for the rest of the narrative), or one may tell the reader that the character hates spaghetti; but with rare exceptions the characters’ feelings must be demonstrated: fear, love, excitement, doubt, embarrassment, despair become real only when they take the form of events—action (or gesture), dialogue, or physical reaction to setting. Detail is the lifeblood of fiction.
John Gardner (On Becoming a Novelist)
First, relax. ... And my second helpful hint is that you should not try to memorize anything you read in this book. ... My two words of advice are exemplified in what I call the Russian Novel Phenomenon. Every reader must have experienced that depressing moment about fifty pages into a Russian novel when we realize that we have lost track of all the characters, the variety of names by which they are known, their family relationships and relative ranks in the civil service. At this point we can give in to our anxiety, and start again to read more carefully, trying to memorize all the details on the offchance that some may prove to be important. If such a course is followed, the second reading is almost certain to be more incomprehensible than the first. The probable result: one Russian novel lost forever. But there is another alternative: to read faster, to push ahead, to make sense of what we can and to enjoy whatever we make sense of. And suddenly the book becomes readable, the story makes sense, and we find that we can remember all the important characters and events simply because we know what is important. Any re-reading we then have to do is bound to make sense, because at least we comprehend what is going on and what we are looking for.
Frank Smith
I first read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit when I was eighteen. It felt as though the author had taken every element I'd ever want in a story and woven them into one huge, seamless narrative; but more important, for me, Tolkien had created a place, a vast, beautiful, awesome landscape, which remained a resource long after the protagonists had finished their battles and gone their separate ways. In illustrating The Lord of the Rings I allowed the landscapes to predominate. In some of the scenes the characters are so small they are barely discernible. This suited my own inclinations and my wish to avoid, as much as possible, interfering with the pictures being built up in the reader's mind, which tends to be more closely focussed on characters and their inter-relationships. I felt my task lay in shadowing the heroes on their epic quest, often at a distance, closing in on them at times of heightened emotion but avoiding trying to re-create the dramatic highpoints of the text. With The Hobbit, however, it didn't seem appropriate to keep such a distance, particularly from the hero himself. I don't think I've ever seen a drawing of a Hobbit which quite convinced me, and I don't know whether I've gotten any closer myself with my depictions of Bilbo. I'm fairly happy with the picture of him standing outside Bag End, before Gandalf arrives and turns his world upside-down, but I've come to the conclusion that one of the reasons Hobbits are so quiet and elusive is to avoid the prying eyes of illustrators.
Alan Lee
And if someone were to ask, Noah, what’s the most important aspect of story? I would most likely answer, character, but I’m not sure that’s true, because my favorite books contain my favorite places. I do not say, I love Harry Potter, or I love Frodo Baggins; I say, I love Hogwarts, and I love Middle-earth. Thoreau’s Walden is less about the book, more about the pond. The woods. And so setting, I think, is the secret weapon of storytelling. I always want to meet new people until I’ve met them. I think if I spend enough time with a person so we get woven together like an old basket, eventually we’ll think in similar patterns until our various histories are apples and oranges spilling over the edge of the basket, and I think this kind of shared history is dangerous. I think it’s okay to recognize a thing’s faults and still like that thing. Because apples and oranges spilling from a basket can be beautiful too. I think I’m whatever personality hates personality tests. I think nostalgia is just a soul’s way of missing a thing, and like long-distance love, nostalgia grows deeper with time until the reality of what a thing actually was gets blurred to the point you miss the idea of the thing more than the thing itself. I like the idea of hot cocoa more than drinking
David Arnold (The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik)
Dreams are important to me because they are so irrational. I’m attracted to things which seem to fit together but don’t in fact make any sense. Dreams didn’t really have a lot to do with the novel whereas “The Adventuress,” which was my first visual book, is almost entirely based on dreams. I had ten more or less random drawings and then I thought well, I’ll make a plot that connects all of them. “The Three Incestuous Sisters” was kind of the same. The three characters appeared in a dream and I knew who they were.
Audrey Niffenegger
Before I start a film or a play, I try to build a world in my mind. An imaginative world which the character lives in; and I create that with novels, with painting, with music, with films. I try and understand tone. Tone is so important. Is this a thriller, is this a Gothic romance, is this an action film, is this a love story? Then, once I understand that, I just jump into it. This might be like an incomplete way of describing it, but it's like I build a swimming pool, then I just dive in. Do you know what I mean?
Tom Hiddleston
The acquisition of knowledge from books provides an experience different from the Internet. Reading is relatively time-consuming; to ease the process, style is important. Because it is not possible to read all books on a given subject, much less the totality of all books, or to organize easily everything one has read, learning from books places a premium on conceptual thinking—the ability to recognize comparable data and events and project patterns into the future. And style propels the reader into a relationship with the author, or with the subject matter, by fusing substance and aesthetics. Traditionally, another way of acquiring knowledge has been through personal conversations. The discussion and exchange of ideas has for millennia provided an emotional and psychological dimension in addition to the factual content of the information exchanged. It supplies intangibles of conviction and personality. Now the culture of texting produces a curious reluctance to engage in face-to-face interaction, especially on a one-to-one basis.
Henry Kissinger (World Order: Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History)
It wasn’t just movies that couldn’t contain the full cast of characters — it was us. We had to winnow life down so we knew where to put our tenderness and attention; and that was a good, sweet thing. But together or alone, we were still embedded in a kaleidoscope, ruthlessly varied and continuous, until the end of the end. I knew I would forget this within the hour, and then remember, and forget, and remember. Each time I remembered it would be a tiny miracle, and forgetting was just as important — I had to believe in my own story.
Miranda July (It Chooses You)
Though actually I think that being in one's twenties is in itself to be restricted. At that age one's vigour is great, and one looks ahead, keeps one's eyes fixed on things to come, and of the things found in one's surroundings the most important are always those that hold the most promise. At the same time, and this is the cruelty of it, this forward-looking gaze is constantly confronted with the limitations of one's character, constantly coming up against a sense of stagnation - hence the youthful fear of stagnating intellectually.
Karl Ove Knausgård (Autumn (Seasons Quartet, #1))
There is one final point, the point that separates a true multivolume work from a short story, a novel, or a series. The ending of the final volume should leave the reader with the feeling that he has gone through the defining circumstances of Main Character's life. The leading character in a series can wander off into another book and a new adventure better even than this one. Main Character cannot, at the end of your multivolume work. (Or at least, it should seem so.) His life may continue, and in most cases it will. He may or may not live happily ever after. But the problems he will face in the future will not be as important to him or to us, nor the summers as golden.
Gene Wolfe (Shadows of the New Sun)
If you do not allow yourself to rush into falling for someone that you have not become friends with first, you will be more sure when you let yourself go to the next step. Certainly you might find yourself having all sorts of feelings. Enjoy them. But do not believe them. Only believe your experience of getting to know a person and seeing if you can share at a deep level. See if you find that he or she is a person of the kind of character you would trust as a friend. And as important as all of that, see if that person is a person that you would like spending time with if there were no romance at all. That is the one true measure of a friend, a person with whom you like to spend time, having no regard to how you are spending it. “Hanging out” is fulfilling in and of itself. And that, long-term, requires character, and in the deepest of friendships, shared values as well. You would want your best friends to be honest, faithful, deep, spiritual, responsible, connecting, growing, loving, and the like. Make sure that those qualities are also present in the person you are falling in love with.
Henry Cloud (Boundaries in Dating)
This was during a period in my reading life when I was given to understand that "relating" to the fictional characters or situation was of prime importance, and so I read, I'm sorry to say, narrowly, frugally, unadventurously, as though I had no interest in the greater world and no desire to experience other cycles of thinking and being. This idea of "relating", or identifying, was encouraged by my teachers and even, I believe, by the critical theories of the day. Naive as it may sound, one read fiction in order to confirm the reality of one's experience.
Carol Shields
Because of the way human beings relate to narrative, we tend to identify with those characters we find appealing. We try to see ourselves in them. The same I.D.-relation, however, also means that we try to see them in ourselves. When everybody we seek to identify with for six hours a day is pretty, it naturally becomes more important to us to be pretty, to be viewed as pretty. Because prettiness becomes a priority for us, the pretty people on TV become all the more attractive, a cycle which is obviously great for TV. But it’s less great for us civilians, who tend to own mirrors, and who also tend not to be anywhere near as pretty as the TV-images we want to identify with. Not only does this cause some angst personally, but the angst increases because, nationally, everybody else is absorbing six-hour doses and identifying with pretty people and valuing prettiness more, too. This very personal anxiety about our prettiness has become a national phenomenon with national consequences.
David Foster Wallace (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments)
Dear friends & fellow characters, you all know the importance we attach to the power of collective prayer in this our desperate struggle for survival. Some of us have more existence than others, at various times according to fashion. But even this is becoming extremely shadowy & precarious, for we are not read, & when read , we are read badly, we are not lived as we used to be, we are not identified with & fantasized, we are rapidly forgotten. Those of us who have the good fortune to be read by teachers, scholars, & students are not read as we used to be read, but analyzed as schemata, structures, functions within structures, logical & mathematical formulae, aporia, psychic movements, social significances & so forth.
Christine Brooke-Rose (Textermination)
The fundamental metaphor of National Socialism as it related to the world around it was the garden, not the wild forest. One of the most important Nazi ideologists, R.W. Darré, made clear the relationship between gardening and genocide: “He who leaves the plants in a garden to themselves will soon find to his surprise that the garden is overgrown by weeds and that even the basic character of the plants has changed. If therefore the garden is to remain the breeding ground for the plants, if, in other words, it is to lift itself above the harsh rule of natural forces, then the forming will of a gardener is necessary, a gardener who, by providing suitable conditions for growing, or by keeping harmful influences away, or by both together, carefully tends what needs tending and ruthlessly eliminates the weeds which would deprive the better plants of nutrition, air, light, and sun. . . . Thus we are facing the realization that questions of breeding are not trivial for political thought, but that they have to be at the center of all considerations, and that their answers must follow from the spiritual, from the ideological attitude of a people. We must even assert that a people can only reach spiritual and moral equilibrium if a well-conceived breeding plan stands at the very center of its culture.
Derrick Jensen (The Culture of Make Believe)
You don’t need money to be generous. You don’t need education to be wise. You don’t need fame to be important. You don’t need charisma to be influential. You don’t need titles to be honorable. You don’t need awards to be special. You don’t need medals to be extraordinary. You don’t need consent to be yourself. You don’t need approval to be unique. You don’t need a license to be creative. You don’t need authorization to dream. You don’t need acceptance to be gifted. You don’t need youth to be a champion. You don’t need old age to be a hero. You need skill, not temper, to be a warrior. You need love, not rage, to be an activist. You need compassion, not robes, to be a priest. You need confidence, not ego, to be a politician. You need integrity, not charm, to be a leader. You need wisdom, not theories, to be a master. You need character, not size, to be a champion.
Matshona Dhliwayo
What are the things that make adults depressed? The master list is too comprehensive to quantify (plane crashes, unemployment, killer bees, impotence, Stringer Bell's murder, gambling addictions, crib death, the music of Bon Iver, et al.) But whenever people talk about their personal bouts of depression in the abstract, there are two obstructions I hear more than any other. The possibility that one's life is not important, and the mundane predictability of day-to-day existence. Talk to a depressed person (particularly one who's nearing midlife), and one (or both) of these problems will inevitably be described. Since the end of World War II, every generation of American children has been endlessly conditioned to believe that their lives are supposed to be great -- a meaningful life is not just possible, but required. Part of the reason forward-thinking media networks like Twitter succeed is because people want to believe that every immaterial thing they do is pertinent by default; it's interesting because it happened to them, which translates as interesting to all. At the same time, we concede that a compelling life is supposed to be spontaneous and unpredictable-- any artistic depiction of someone who does the same thing every day portrays that character as tragically imprisoned (January Jones on Mad Men, Ron Livingston in Office Space, the lyrics to "Eleanor Rigby," all novels set in affluent suburbs, pretty much every project Sam Mendes has ever conceived, etc.) If you know exactly what's going to happen tomorrow, the voltage of that experience is immediately mitigated. Yet most lives are the same, 95 percent of the time. And most lives aren't extrinsically meaningful, unless you're delusionally self-absorbed or authentically Born Again. So here's where we find the creeping melancholy of modernity: The one thing all people are supposed to inherently deserve- a daily subsistence that's both meaningful and unpredictable-- tends to be an incredibly rare commodity. If it's not already there, we cannot manufacture it.
Chuck Klosterman (Eating the Dinosaur)
In his short story “Funes the Memorious,” Jorge Luis Borges describes a fictional version of S, a man with an infallible memory who is crippled by an inability to forget. He can’t distinguish between the trivial and the important. Borges’s character Funes can’t prioritize, can’t generalize. He is “virtually incapable of general, platonic ideas.” Like S, his memory was too good. Perhaps, as Borges concludes in his story, it is forgetting, not remembering, that is the essence of what makes us human. To make sense of the world, we must filter it. “To think,” Borges writes, “is to forget.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
What fascinates me in dreams is the idea that they emanate from our subconscious. I think that there are many possibilities to interpret dreams but a great deal of mystery always remains. When a dream is explained to us, it’s necessary to know the personal context of the subject. For example, what his childhood was like, his adolescence, his interpersonal relations. You’ve got to understand all these elements in order to tally up the dream and to decode it. At the cinema, that can’t happen because the approach demands the introduction of too many elements. In order for viewers to identify with this dream, I chose a parade which makes one think automatically of other common dreams and unconscious states. There are very old characters like objects that are discarded by people today or religious symbols that people have forgotten. I think that even nowadays, people have forgotten the importance of dreams.
Satoshi Kon
The objective of learning is not necessarily to remember. It may even be salutary to forget. It is only when we forget the early pains and struggles of forming letters that we acquire the capacity for writing. The adult does not remember all the history s/he learned but s/he may hope to have acquired a standard of character and conduct, a sense of affairs and a feeling of change and development in culture. Naturally there is nothing against having a well-stocked mind provided it does not prevent the development of other capacities. But it is still more important to allow knowledge to sink into one in such a way that it becomes fruitful for life; this best done when we feel deeply all we learn. For the life of feeling is less conscious, more dream-like, than intellectual activity and leads to the subconscious life of will where the deep creative capacities of humanity have their being. It is from this sphere that knowledge can emerge again as something deeply significant for life. It is not what we remember exactly, but what we transform which is of real value to our lives. In this transformation the process of forgetting, of allowing subjects to sink into the unconscious before "re-membering" them is an important element.
Henning Hansmann (Education for Special Needs: Principles and Practice in Camphill Schools)
The news is supposed to be a mirror held up to the world, but the world is far too vast to fit in our mirror. The fundamental thing the media does all day, every day, is decide what to cover — decide, that is, what is newsworthy. Here’s the dilemma: to decide what to cover is to become the shaper of the news rather than a mirror held up to the news. It makes journalists actors rather than observers. It annihilates our fundamental conception of ourselves. And yet it’s the most important decision we make. If we decide to give more coverage to Hillary Clinton’s emails than to her policy proposals — which is what we did — then we make her emails more important to the public’s understanding of her character and potential presidency than her policy proposals. In doing so, we shape not just the news but the election, and thus the country. While I’m critical of the specific decision my industry made in that case, this problem is inescapable. The news media isn’t just an actor in politics. It’s arguably the most powerful actor in politics. It’s the primary intermediary between what politicians do and what the public knows. The way we try to get around this is by conceptually outsourcing the decisions about what we cover to the idea of newsworthiness. If we simply cover what’s newsworthy, then we’re not the ones making those decisions — it’s the neutral, external judgment of news worthiness that bears responsibility. The problem is that no one, anywhere, has a rigorous definition of newsworthiness, much less a definition that they actually follow.
Ezra Klein (Why We're Polarized)
Here it comes,” I say gleefully. “The levelheaded reason for why they stay in the house.” “Watch, the ghost won’t let them leave,” Logan guesses. He guesses wrong. On the screen, the characters argue about whether they should go, and one of the girls announces, “We’re doing important work here, guys! We’re proving the existence of paranormal entities! Science needs this. Science needs us.” I burst out laughing, shuddering against Logan’s rock-hard chest. “Did you hear that, Johnny? Science needs them.” “I fucking hate you,” he grumbles. “Five bucks…” I say in a singsong voice. His hand slides down to pinch my butt, making me squeak in surprise. “Go ahead and gloat. You win the battle by getting five bucks out of me, but I win the war.” I sit up. “How do you figure?” “Because you still have to sit through the rest of this movie, and you’re going to hate every second of it. I, on the other hand, am enjoying it immensely.” The jerk is absolutely right. Unless…
Elle Kennedy (The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2))
All that has been said of the importance of individuality of character, and diversity in opinions and modes of conduct, involves, as of the same unspeakable importance, diversity of education. A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another: and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body. An education established and controlled by the State should only exist, if it exist at all, as one among many competing experiments, carried on for the purpose of example and stimulus, to keep the others up to a certain standard of excellence.
John Stuart Mill (On Liberty)
The Idiot. I have read it once, and find that I don't remember the events of the book very well--or even all the principal characters. But mostly the 'portrait of a truly beautiful person' that dostoevsky supposedly set out to write in that book. And I remember how Myshkin seemed so simple when I began the book, but by the end, I realized how I didn't understand him at all. the things he did. Maybe when I read it again it will be different. But the plot of these dostoevsky books can hold such twists and turns for the first-time reader-- I guess that's b/c he was writing most of these books as serials that had to have cliffhangers and such. But I make marks in my books, mostly at parts where I see the author's philosophical points standing in the most stark relief. My copy of Moby Dick is positively full of these marks. The Idiot, I find has a few... Part 3, Section 5. The sickly Ippolit is reading from his 'Explanation' or whatever its called. He says his convictions are not tied to him being condemned to death. It's important for him to describe, of happiness: "you may be sure that Columbus was happy not when he had discovered America, but when he was discovering it." That it's the process of life--not the end or accomplished goals in it--that matter. Well. Easier said than lived! Part 3, Section 6. more of Ippolit talking--about a christian mindset. He references Jesus's parable of The Word as seeds that grow in men, couched in a description of how people are interrelated over time; its a picture of a multiplicity. Later in this section, he relates looking at a painting of Christ being taken down from the cross, at Rogozhin's house. The painting produced in him an intricate metaphor of despair over death "in the form of a huge machine of the most modern construction which, dull and insensible, has aimlessly clutched, crushed, and swallowed up a great priceless Being, a Being worth all nature and its laws, worth the whole earth, which was created perhaps solely for the sake of the advent of this Being." The way Ippolit's ideas are configured, here, reminds me of the writings of Gilles Deleuze. And the phrasing just sort of remidns me of the way everyone feels--many people feel crushed by the incomprehensible machine, in life. Many people feel martyred in their very minor ways. And it makes me think of the concept that a narrative religion like Christianity uniquely allows for a kind of socialized or externalized, shared experience of subjectivity. Like, we all know the story of this man--and it feels like our own stories at the same time. Part 4, Section 7. Myshkin's excitement (leading to a seizure) among the Epanchin's dignitary guests when he talks about what the nobility needs to become ("servants in order to be leaders"). I'm drawn to things like this because it's affirming, I guess, for me: "it really is true that we're absurd, that we're shallow, have bad habits, that we're bored, that we don't know how to look at things, that we can't understand; we're all like that." And of course he finds a way to make that into a good thing. which, it's pointed out by scholars, is very important to Dostoevsky philosophy--don't deny the earthly passions and problems in yourself, but accept them and incorporate them into your whole person. Me, I'm still working on that one.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
I'm sorry I was short with him--but I don't like a man to approach me telling me it for my sake. "Maybe it was," said Wylie "It's poor technique." "I'd all for it," said Wylie. "I'm vain as a woman. If anybody pretends to be interested in me, I'll ask for more. I like advice." Stahr shook his head distastefully. Wylie kept on ribbing him--he was one of those to whom this privilege was permitted. "You fall for some kinds of flattery," he said. "this 'little Napoleon stuff.'" "It makes me sick," said Stahr, "but it's not as bad as some man trying to help you." "If you don't like advice, why do you pay me?" "That's a question of merchandise," said Stahr. "I'm a merchant. I want to buy what's in your mind." "You're no merchant," said Wylie. "I knew a lot of them when I was a publicity man, and I agree with Charles Francis Adams." "What did he say?" "He knew them all--Gould, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Astor--and he said there wasn't one he'd care to meet again in the hereafter. Well--they haven't improved since then, and that's why I say you're no merchant." "Adams was probably a sourbelly," said Stahr. "He wanted to be head man himself, but he didn't have the judgement or else the character." "He had brains," said Wylie rather tartly. "It takes more than brains. You writers and artists poop out and get all mixed up, and somebody has to come in and straighten you out." He shrugged his shoulders. "You seem to take things so personally, hating people and worshipping them--always thinking people are so important-especially yourselves. You just ask to be kicked around. I like people and I like them to like me, but I wear my heart where God put it--on the inside.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Last Tycoon)
You will encounter resentful, sneering non-readers who will look at you from their beery, leery eyes, as they might some form of sub-hominid anomaly, bookimus maximus. You will encounter redditters, youtubers, blogspotters, wordpressers, twitterers, and facebookers with wired-open eyes who will shout at from you from their crazy hectoring mouths about the liberal poison of literature. You will encounter the gamers with their twitching fingers who will look upon you as a character to lock crosshairs on and blow to smithereens. You will encounter the stoners and pill-poppers who will ignore you, and ask you if you have read Jack Keroauc’s On the Road, and if you haven’t, will lecture you for two hours on that novel and refuse to acknowledge any other books written by anyone ever. You will encounter the provincial retirees, who have spent a year reading War & Peace, who strike the attitude that completing that novel is a greater achievement than the thousands of books you have read, even though they lost themselves constantly throughout the book and hated the whole experience. You will encounter the self-obsessed students whose radical interpretations of Agnes Grey and The Idiot are the most important utterance anyone anywhere has ever made with their mouths, while ignoring the thousands of novels you have read. You will encounter the parents and siblings who take every literary reference you make back to the several books they enjoyed reading as a child, and then redirect the conversation to what TV shows they have been watching. You will encounter the teachers and lecturers, for whom any text not on their syllabus is a waste of time, and look upon you as a wayward student in need of their salvation. You will encounter the travellers and backpackers who will take pity on you for wasting your life, then tell you about the Paulo Coelho they read while hostelling across Europe en route to their spiritual pilgrimage to New Delhi. You will encounter the hard-working moaners who will tell you they are too busy working for a living to sit and read all day, and when they come home from a hard day’s toil, they don’t want to sit and read pretentious rubbish. You will encounter the voracious readers who loathe competition, and who will challenge you to a literary duel, rather than engage you in friendly conversation about your latest reading. You will encounter the slack intellectuals who will immediately ask you if you have read Finnegans Wake, and when you say you have, will ask if you if you understood every line, and when you say of course not, will make some point that generally alludes to you being a halfwit. Fuck those fuckers.
M.J. Nicholls (The 1002nd Book to Read Before You Die)
When The Matrix debuted in 1999, it was a huge box-office success. It was also well received by critics, most of whom focused on one of two qualities—the technological (it mainstreamed the digital technique of three-dimensional “bullet time,” where the on-screen action would freeze while the camera continued to revolve around the participants) or the philosophical (it served as a trippy entry point for the notion that we already live in a simulated world, directly quoting philosopher Jean Baudrillard’s 1981 reality-rejecting book Simulacra and Simulation). If you talk about The Matrix right now, these are still the two things you likely discuss. But what will still be interesting about this film once the technology becomes ancient and the philosophy becomes standard? I suspect it might be this: The Matrix was written and directed by “the Wachowski siblings.” In 1999, this designation meant two brothers; as I write today, it means two sisters. In the years following the release of The Matrix, the older Wachowski (Larry, now Lana) completed her transition from male to female. The younger Wachowski (Andy, now Lilly) publicly announced her transition in the spring of 2016. These events occurred during a period when the social view of transgender issues radically evolved, more rapidly than any other component of modern society. In 1999, it was almost impossible to find any example of a trans person within any realm of popular culture; by 2014, a TV series devoted exclusively to the notion won the Golden Globe for Best Television Series. In the fifteen-year window from 1999 to 2014, no aspect of interpersonal civilization changed more, to the point where Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner attracted more Twitter followers than the president (and the importance of this shift will amplify as the decades pass—soon, the notion of a transgender US president will not seem remotely implausible). So think how this might alter the memory of The Matrix: In some protracted reality, film historians will reinvestigate an extremely commercial action movie made by people who (unbeknownst to the audience) would eventually transition from male to female. Suddenly, the symbolic meaning of a universe with two worlds—one false and constructed, the other genuine and hidden—takes on an entirely new meaning. The idea of a character choosing between swallowing a blue pill that allows him to remain a false placeholder and a red pill that forces him to confront who he truly is becomes a much different metaphor. Considered from this speculative vantage point, The Matrix may seem like a breakthrough of a far different kind. It would feel more reflective than entertaining, which is precisely why certain things get remembered while certain others get lost.
Chuck Klosterman (But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past)
YA stories feature a young adult protagonist or protagonists and usually focus on that character’s journey toward maturity (the tradition of the Bildungsroman.). Learning about love / relationships is an important part of that stage in our lives, so it’s not surprising so many writers are building strong romantic elements into their YA stories. I don’t remember quite such an emphasis on romance in the books my children read as young adults, so I do think the approach has changed. Within my genre of fantasy, there’s been an upsurge of paranormal romance, partly generated by the Twilight books, but also reflecting the popularity of this sub-genre with adult readers. There are far more female fantasy writers (and female fantasy readers) than there were, say, twenty years ago, and perhaps female writers are more confident about including a good love story in a fantasy novel. (2012 Interview by Helen Lowe: The Supernatural Underground: An Interview with Juliet Marillier Discussing "Shadowfell".)
Juliet Marillier
There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ's moral character, and that is that He believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment... ... There are other things of less importance. There is the instance of the Gadarene swine where it certainly was not very kind to the pigs to put devils into them and make them rush down the hill to the sea. You must remember that He was omnipotent, and He could have made the devils simply go away; but he chooses to send them into the pigs. Then there is the curious story of the fig-tree, which always rather puzzled me. You remember what happened about the fig-tree. 'He was hungry; and seeing a fig-tree afar off having leaves, He came if haply He might find anything thereon; and when He came to it He found nothing but leaves, for the time for figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it: "No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever,"...and Peter... saith unto Him: "Master, behold the fig-tree which thou cursedst is withered away".' This is a very curious story, because it was not the right time of year for figs, and you really could not blame the tree. I cannot myself feel that either in matter of wisdom or in matter of virtue Christ stands quite as high as some other people known to history. I think I should put Buddha and Socrates above Him in those respects.
Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects)
Epicurus founded a school of philosophy which placed great emphasis on the importance of pleasure. "Pleasure is the beginning and the goal of a happy life," he asserted, confirming what many had long thought, but philosophers had rarely accepted. Vulgar opinion at once imagined that the pleasure Epicurus had in mind involved a lot of money, sex, drink and debauchery (associations that survive in our use of the word 'Epicurean'). But true Epicureanism was more subtle. Epicurus led a very simple life, because after rational analysis, he had come to some striking conclusions about what actually made life pleasurable - and fortunately for those lacking a large income, it seemed that the essential ingredients of pleasure, however elusive, were not very expensive. The first ingredient was friendship. 'Of all the things that wisdom provides to help one live one's entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship,' he wrote. So he bought a house near Athens where he lived in the company of congenial souls. The desire for riches should perhaps not always be understood as a simple hunger for a luxurious life, a more important motive might be the wish to be appreciated and treated nicely. We may seek a fortune for no greater reason than to secure the respect and attention of people who would otherwise look straight through us. Epicurus, discerning our underlying need, recognised that a handful of true friends could deliver the love and respect that even a fortune may not. Epicurus and his friends located a second secret of happiness: freedom. In order not to have to work for people they didn't like and answer to potentially humiliating whims, they removed themselves from employment in the commercial world of Athens ('We must free ourselves from the prison of everyday affairs and politics'), and began what could best have been described as a commune, accepting a simpler way of life in exchange for independence. They would have less money, but would never again have to follow the commands of odious superiors. The third ingredient of happiness was, in Epicurus's view, to lead an examined life. Epicurus was concerned that he and his friends learn to analyse their anxieties about money, illness, death and the supernatural. There are few better remedies for anxiety than thought. In writing a problem down or airing it in conversation we let its essential aspects emerge. And by knowing its character, we remove, if not the problem itself, then its secondary, aggravating characteristics: confusion, displacement, surprise. Wealth is of course unlikely ever to make anyone miserable. But the crux of Epicurus's argument is that if we have money without friends, freedom and an analysed life, we will never be truly happy. And if we have them, but are missing the fortune, we will never be unhappy.
Alain de Botton
The rain began to fall harder, and it distracted him, but he tried to pull himself back because he felt on the verge of understanding something large and important. It seemed to him that this moment—the light and wind, the sweep of fields, the falling rain, the lowing cows, Leah’s form as it twisted to one side and then another—captured a sort of life that he longed for, a life of order and harsh beauty, and although this was his farm and his vision, it did not seem to be his life. It seemed instead to be the thing for which he must daily give up his life, an act of submission to something he could not name and only rarely, in moments such as these, have a sense of. Life during these moments seemed neither lost nor ruined but a power to be shared, as the grass shares its power with the living things that devour it.
Robert Boswell (Mystery Ride)
Aristotle tells us that the high-pitched voice of the female is one evidence of her evil disposition, for creatures who are brave or just (like lions, bulls, roosters and the human male) have large deep voices…. High vocal pitch goes together with talkativeness to characterize a person who is deviant from or deficient in the masculine ideal of self-control. Women, catamites, eunuchs and androgynes fall into this category. Their sounds are bad to hear and make men uncomfortable…. Putting a door on the female mouth has been an important project of patriarchal culture from antiquity to the present day. Its chief tactic is an ideological association of female sound with monstrosity, disorder and death…. Woman is that creature who puts the inside on the outside. By projections and leakages of all kinds—somatic, vocal, emotional, sexual—females expose or expend what should be kept in…. [As Plutarch comments,] “…she should as modestly guard against exposing her voice to outsiders as she would guard against stripping off her clothes. For in her voice as she is blabbering away can be read her emotions, her character and her physical condition.”… Every sound we make is a bit of autobiography. It has a totally private interior yet its trajectory is public. A piece of inside projected to the outside. The censorship of such projections is a task of patriarchal culture that (as we have seen) divides humanity into two species: those who can censor themselves and those who cannot…. It is an axiom of ancient Greek and Roman medical theory and anatomical discussion that a woman has two mouths. The orifice through which vocal activity takes place and the orifice through which sexual activity takes place are both denoted by the wordstoma in Greek (os in Latin) with the addition of adverbs ano and kato to differentiate upper mouth from lower mouth. Both the vocal and the genital mouth are connected to the body by the neck (auchen in Greek, cervix in Latin). Both mouths provide access to a hollow cavity which is guarded by lips that are best kept closed.
Anne Carson (Glass, Irony and God)
... apart from its function as communication, human language also often functions as a defense. The spoken word conceals the expressive language of the biological core. In many cases, the function of speech has deteriorated to such a degree that the words express nothing whatever and merely represent a continuous, hollow activity on the part of the musculature of the neck and the organs of speech. On the basis of repeated experiences, it is my opinion that in many psychoanalyses which have gone on for years the treatment has become stuck in this pathological use of language. This clinical experience can, indeed has to be applied to the social sphere. Endless numbers of speeches, publications, political debates do not have the function of getting at the root of important questions of life but of drowning them in verbiage.
Wilhelm Reich (Character Analysis)
In the novel Fight Club, the character Jack’s apartment is blown up. All of his possessions—“every stick of furniture,” which he pathetically loved—were lost. Later it turns out that Jack blew it up himself. He had multiple personalities, and “Tyler Durden” orchestrated the explosion to shock Jack from the sad stupor he was afraid to do anything about. The result was a journey into an entirely different and rather dark part of his life. In Greek mythology, characters often experience katabasis—or “a going down.” They’re forced to retreat, they experience a depression, or in some cases literally descend into the underworld. When they emerge, it’s with heightened knowledge and understanding. Today, we’d call that hell—and on occasion we all spend some time there. We surround ourselves with bullshit. With distractions. With lies about what makes us happy and what’s important. We become people we shouldn’t become and engage in destructive, awful behaviors. This unhealthy and ego-derived state hardens and becomes almost permanent. Until katabasis forces us to face it. Duris dura franguntur. Hard things are broken by hard things. The bigger the ego the harder the fall. It would be nice if it didn’t have to be that way. If we could nicely be nudged to correct our ways, if a quiet admonishment was what it took to shoo away illusions, if we could manage to circumvent ego on our own. But it is just not so. The Reverend William A. Sutton observed some 120 years ago that “we cannot be humble except by enduring humiliations.” How much better it would be to spare ourselves these experiences, but sometimes it’s the only way the blind can be made to see.
Ryan Holiday (Ego Is the Enemy)
To understand this is to realize that we are not the authors of our thoughts and actions in the way that people generally suppose. Of course, this insight does not make social and political freedom any less important. The freedom to do what one intends, and not to do otherwise, is no less valuable than it ever was. Having a gun to your head is still a problem worth rectifying, wherever intentions come from. But the idea that we, as conscious beings, are deeply responsible for the character of our mental lives and subsequent behavior is simply impossible to map onto reality. Consider what it would take to actually have free will. You would need to be aware of all the factors that determine your thoughts and actions, and you would need to have complete control over those factors. But there is a paradox here that vitiates the very notion of freedom—for what would influence the influences? More influences? None of these adventitious mental states are the real you. You are not controlling the storm, and you are not lost in it. You are the storm.
Sam Harris (Free Will)
This, then, is the appropriate region of human liberty. It comprises, first, the inward domain of consciousness; demanding liberty of conscience, in the most comprehensive sense; liberty of thought and feeling; absolute freedom of opinion and sentiment on all subjects, practical or speculative, scientific, moral, or theological. The liberty of expressing and publishing opinions may seem to fall under a different principle, since it belongs to that part of the conduct of an individual which concerns other people; but, being almost of as much importance as the liberty of thought itself, and resting in great part on the same reasons, is practically inseparable from it. Secondly, the principle requires liberty of tastes and pursuits; of framing the plan of our life to suit our own character; of doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow: without impediment from our fellow-creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them, even though they should think our conduct foolish, perverse, or wrong. Thirdly, from this liberty of each individual, follows the liberty, within the same limits, of combination among individuals; freedom to unite, for any purpose not involving harm to others: the persons combining being supposed to be of full age, and not forced or deceived. No society in which these liberties are not, on the whole, respected, is free, whatever may be its form of government; and none is completely free in which they do not exist absolute and unqualified. The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.
John Stuart Mill (On Liberty)
The west you talk about doesn’t exist. It’s a fairytale, a fantasy you sell yourself because the alternative is to admit that you are the least important character in your own story. You invent an entire world because your conscience demands it, you invent good people and bad people and you draw a neat line between them because your simplistic morality demands it. But the two kinds of people in this world are not good and bad, they are engines and fuel. Go ahead, change your country, change your name, change your accent, pull the skin right off your bones, but in their eyes they will always be the engines and you will always, always be fuel.
Omar El Akkad (What Strange Paradise)
female superhero, Marston insisted, was the best answer to the critics, since “the comics’ worst offense was their bloodcurdling masculinity.” He explained, A male hero, at best, lacks the qualities of maternal love and tenderness which are as essential to a normal child as the breath of life. Suppose your child’s ideal becomes a superman who uses his extraordinary power to help the weak. The most important ingredient in the human happiness recipe still is missing—love. It’s smart to be strong. It’s big to be generous. But it’s sissified, according to exclusively masculine rules, to be tender, loving, affectionate, and alluring. “Aw, that’s girl’s stuff!” snorts our young comics reader. “Who wants to be a girl?” And that’s the point; not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, power. Not wanting to be girls they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peaceloving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weak ones. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.14
Jill Lepore (The Secret History of Wonder Woman)
This intensification of inner life helped the prisoner find a refuge from the emptiness, desolation and spiritual poverty of his existence, by letting him escape into the past. When given free rein, his imagination played with past events, often not important ones, but minor happenings and trifling things. His nostalgic memory glorified them and they assumed a strange character. Their world and their existence seemed very distant and the spirit reached out for them longingly: In my mind I took bus rides, unlocked the front door of my apartment, answered my telephone, switched on the electric lights. Our thoughts often centered on such details, and these memories could move one to tears.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
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)
A CRUNCHY CON MANIFESTO 1. We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly. 2. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character. 3. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government. 4. Culture is more important than politics and economics. 5. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship—especially of the natural world—is not fundamentally conservative. 6. Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract. 7. Beauty is more important than efficiency. 8. The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom. 9. We share Russell Kirk's conviction that "the institution most essential to conserve is the family.
Rod Dreher (Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-Loving Organic Gardeners, Evangelical Free-Range Farmers, Hip Homeschooling Mamas, Right-Wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan to Save America (or at Least the Re...)
I do not know where Viktor and Rudolf were taken. I cannot find the records. I never Elisabeth or Iggie. It is possible that they were taken to the Hotel Metropole, which has been sequestered as the headquarters of the Gestapo. There are many other lock-ups for this flood of Jews. They are beaten, of course; but they are also forbidden to shave or wash so that they look even more degenerate. This because it is important to address the old affront of Jews not looking like Jews. This processing of stripping away your respectability, taking away your watch-chain, or your shoes or your belt, so that you stumble to hold up your trousers with one hand, is a way of returning everyone to the shtetl, stripping you back to your essential character - wandering, unshaven, bowed with your possessions on your back. You are supposed to end up looking like a cartoon from Der Stuermer, Streicher's tabloid that is now sold on the streets of Vienna. They take away your reading glasses.
Edmund de Waal (The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss)
This present universe is only one element in the kingdom of God. But it is a very wonderful and important one. And within it the Logos, the now risen Son of man, is currently preparing for us to join him (John 14:2–4). We will see him in the stunning surroundings that he had with the Father before the beginning of the created cosmos (17:24). And we will actively participate in the future governance of the universe. We will not sit around looking at one another or at God for eternity but will join the eternal Logos, “reign with him,” in the endlessly ongoing creative work of God. It is for this that we were each individually intended, as both kings and priests (Exod. 19:6; Rev. 5:10). Thus, our faithfulness over a “few things” in the present phase of our life develops the kind of character that can be entrusted with “many things.” We are, accordingly, permitted to “enter into the joy of our Lord” (Matt. 25:21). That “joy” is, of course, the creation and care of what is good, in all its dimensions. A place in God’s creative order has been reserved for each one of us from before the beginnings of cosmic existence. His plan is for us to develop, as apprentices to Jesus, to the point where we can take our place in the ongoing creativity of the universe.
Dallas Willard (The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God)
I have often wondered if the majority of mankind ever pause to reflect upon the occasionally titanic significance of dreams, and of the obscure world to which they belong. Whilst the greater number of our nocturnal visions are perhaps no more than faint and fantastic reflections of our waking experiences—Freud to the contrary with his puerile symbolism—there are still a certain remainder whose immundane and ethereal character permit of no ordinary interpretation, and whose vaguely exciting and disquieting effect suggests possible minute glimpses into a sphere of mental existence no less important than physical life, yet separated from that life by an all but impassable barrier. From my experience I cannot doubt but that man, when lost to terrestrial consciousness, is indeed sojourning in another and uncorporeal life of far different nature from the life we know, and of which only the slightest and most indistinct memories linger after waking. From those blurred and fragmentary memories we may infer much, yet prove little. We may guess that in dreams life, matter, and vitality, as the earth knows such things, are not necessarily constant; and that time and space do not exist as our waking selves comprehend them. Sometimes I believe that this less material life is our truer life, and that our vain presence on the terraqueous globe is itself the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon.
H.P. Lovecraft (Beyond the Wall of Sleep)
Writers have come to master nearly every trade. They are inventors and entrepreneurs of character, plot, and dialogue. They are the eager scientists that can’t wait to try out their new experiment. They are the maestros of the symphony that plays in their head, conducting what happens, where, and at what precise moment. They are engineers and architects that design the structure of their piece so it stands the test of time and continues to fire on all cylinders. They play mechanics and doctors in their revisions, hoping they prescribe the correct diagnosis to fix the piece’s 'boo boos'. They are salesmen who pitch not an idea or a product, but themselves, to editors, publishers, and more importantly, their readers. They are teachers who through their craft, preach to pupils about what works and what doesn’t work and why. Writers can make you feel, can make you think, can make you wonder, but they can also grab your hand and guide you through their maze. Similar to what Emerson stated in 'The Poet,' writers possess a unique view on life, and with their revolving eye, they attempt to encompass all. I am a writer.
Garrett Dennert
As we were wrapping up the book, I sat down and thought about all the lessons I’d learned over the past two years. I couldn’t list them all, but here are a few: Never complain about the price of a gift from your spouse--accept it with love and gratitude. You can’t put a price on romance. Take lots of videos, even of the mundane. You will forget the sound of your children’s voices and you will miss your youth as much as theirs. Celebrate every wedding anniversary. Make time for dates. Hug your spouse every single morning. And always, ALWAYS, say “I love you.” Believe in your partner. When you hit hard times as a couple, take a weekend away or at least a night out. The times that you least feel like doing it are likely the times that you need it the most. Write love notes to your spouse, your children, and keep the ones they give you. Don’t expect a miniature pig to be an “easy” pet. Live life looking forward with a goal of no regrets, so you can look back without them. Be the friend you will need some day. Often the most important thing you can do for another person is just showing up. Question less and listen more. Don’t get too tied up in your plans for the future. No one really knows their future anyway. Laugh at yourself, and with life. People don’t change their core character. Be humble, genuine, and gracious. Before you get into business with someone, look at their history. Expect them to be with you for the long haul, even if you don’t think they will be. If they aren’t someone you could take a road trip across the country with, don’t do business with them in the first place. Real families and real sacrifices live in the fabric of the Red, White, and Blue; stand for the national anthem.
Taya Kyle (American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal)
A mood of constructive criticism being upon me, I propose forthwith that the method of choosing legislators now prevailing in the United States be abandoned and that the method used in choosing juries be substituted. That is to say, I propose that the men who make our laws be chosen by chance and against their will, instead of by fraud and against the will of all the rest of us, as now... ...that the names of all the men eligible in each assembly district be put into a hat (or, if no hat can be found that is large enough, into a bathtub), and that a blind moron, preferably of tender years, be delegated to draw out one... The advantages that this system would offer are so vast and obvious that I hesitate to venture into the banality of rehearsing them. It would in the first place, save the commonwealth the present excessive cost of elections, and make political campaigns unnecessary. It would in the second place, get rid of all the heart-burnings that now flow out of every contest at the polls, and block the reprisals and charges of fraud that now issue from the heart-burnings. It would, in the third place, fill all the State Legislatures with men of a peculiar and unprecedented cast of mind – men actually convinced that public service is a public burden, and not merely a private snap. And it would, in the fourth and most important place, completely dispose of the present degrading knee-bending and trading in votes, for nine-tenths of the legislators, having got into office unwillingly, would be eager only to finish their duties and go home, and even those who acquired a taste for the life would be unable to increase the probability, even by one chance in a million, of their reelection. The disadvantages of the plan are very few, and most of them, I believe, yield readily to analysis. Do I hear argument that a miscellaneous gang of tin-roofers, delicatessen dealers and retired bookkeepers, chosen by hazard, would lack the vast knowledge of public affairs needed by makers of laws? Then I can only answer (a) that no such knowledge is actually necessary, and (b) that few, if any, of the existing legislators possess it... Would that be a disservice to the state? Certainly not. On the contrary, it would be a service of the first magnitude, for the worst curse of democracy, as we suffer under it today, is that it makes public office a monopoly of a palpably inferior and ignoble group of men. They have to abase themselves to get it, and they have to keep on abasing themselves in order to hold it. The fact reflects in their general character, which is obviously low. They are men congenitally capable of cringing and dishonorable acts, else they would not have got into public life at all. There are, of course, exceptions to that rule among them, but how many? What I contend is simply that the number of such exceptions is bound to be smaller in the class of professional job-seekers than it is in any other class, or in the population in general. What I contend, second, is that choosing legislators from that populations, by chance, would reduce immensely the proportion of such slimy men in the halls of legislation, and that the effects would be instantly visible in a great improvement in the justice and reasonableness of the laws.
H.L. Mencken (A Mencken Chrestomathy)
The art of fiction has not changed much since prehistoric times. The formula for telling a powerful story has remained the same: create a strong character, a person of great strengths, capable of deep emotions and decisive action. Give him a weakness. Set him in conflict with another powerful character -- or perhaps with nature. Let his exterior conflict be the mirror of the protagonist's own interior conflict, the clash of his desires, his own strength against his own weakness. And there you have a story. Whether it's Abraham offering his only son to God, or Paris bringing ruin to Troy over a woman, or Hamlet and Claudius playing their deadly game, Faust seeking the world's knowledge and power -- the stories that stand out in the minds of the reader are those whose characters are unforgettable. To show other worlds, to describe possible future societies and the problems lurking ahead, is not enough. The writer of science fiction must show how these worlds and these futures affect human beings. And something much more important: he must show how human beings can and do literally create these future worlds. For our future is largely in our own hands. It doesn't come blindly rolling out of the heavens; it is the joint product of the actions of billions of human beings. This is a point that's easily forgotten in the rush of headlines and the hectic badgering of everyday life. But it's a point that science fiction makes constantly: the future belongs to us -- whatever it is. We make it, our actions shape tomorrow. We have the brains and guts to build paradise (or at least try). Tragedy is when we fail, and the greatest crime of all is when we fail even to try. Thus science fiction stands as a bridge between science and art, between the engineers of technology and the poets of humanity.
Ben Bova
It is arguable […] that a further effect of our partiality for members of our own species is a tendency to decreased sensitivity to the lives and well-being of those sentient beings that are not members of our species. One can discern an analogous phenomenon in the case of nationalism. It frequently happens that the sense of solidarity among the members of a nation motivates them to do for one another all that—and perhaps even more than—they are required to do by impartial considerations. But the powerful sense of collective identity within a nation is often achieved by contrasting an idealized conception of the national character with caricatures of other nations, whose members are regarded as less important or worthy or, in many cases, are dehumanized and despised as inferior or even odious. When nationalist solidarity is maintained. in this way—as it has been in recent years in such places as Yugoslavia and its former provinces—the result is often brutality and atrocity on an enormous scale. Thus, while nationalist sentiment may have beneficial effects within the nation, these are greatly outweighed from an impartial point of view by the dreadful effects that it has on relations between nations.
Jeff McMahan (The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life)
One of the saddest tendencies in our present culture is an indignant intolerance for the basic humanity of being human. People of the past are harshly judged by the standards of the present (which their own difficult lives helped establish), and people of the present are harshly judged by impossible (and hypocritical, in the full context of any judger’s life) standards of uniform perfection across all regions of private and public existence. And yet the eternal test of character — our great moral triumph — is the ability to face our own imperfections with composure, reflecting on them with lucid and luminous determination to do better — an essential form of moral courage all the more difficult, and all the more important, amid a cultural atmosphere that mistakes self-righteousness for morality and suffocates the basic impulse toward betterment with punitive intolerance for human foible. Maria Popova : “Resolutions for a Life Worth Living
Maria Popova
7. Character is built in the course of your inner confrontation. Character is a set of dispositions, desires, and habits that are slowly engraved during the struggle against your own weakness. You become more disciplined, considerate, and loving through a thousand small acts of self-control, sharing, service, friendship, and refined enjoyment. If you make disciplined, caring choices, you are slowly engraving certain tendencies into your mind. You are making it more likely that you will desire the right things and execute the right actions. If you make selfish, cruel, or disorganized choices, then you are slowly turning this core thing inside yourself into something that is degraded, inconstant, or fragmented. You can do harm to this core thing with nothing more than ignoble thoughts, even if you are not harming anyone else. You can elevate this core thing with an act of restraint nobody sees. If you don’t develop a coherent character in this way, life will fall to pieces sooner or later. You will become a slave to your passions. But if you do behave with habitual self-discipline, you will become constant and dependable. 8. The things that lead us astray are short term—lust, fear, vanity, gluttony. The things we call character endure over the long term—courage, honesty, humility. People with character are capable of a long obedience in the same direction, of staying attached to people and causes and callings consistently through thick and thin. People with character also have scope. They are not infinitely flexible, free-floating, and solitary. They are anchored by permanent attachments to important things. In the realm of the intellect, they have a set of permanent convictions about fundamental truths. In the realm of emotion, they are enmeshed in a web of unconditional loves. In the realm of action, they have a permanent commitment to tasks that cannot be completed in a single lifetime.
David Brooks (The Road to Character)
Manifest in this trade (commercial sale of indulgences via bankers) at the same time was a pernicious tendency in the Roman Catholic system, for the trade in indulgences was not an excess or an abuse but the direct consequence of the nomistic degradation of the gospel. That the Reformation started with Luther’s protest against this traffic in indulgences proves its religious origin and evangelical character. At issue here was nothing less than the essential character of the gospel, the core of Christianity, the nature of true piety. And Luther was the man who, guided by experience in the life of his own soul, again made people understand the original and true meaning of the gospel of Christ. Like the “righteousness of God,” so the term “penitence” had been for him one of the most bitter words of Holy Scripture. But when from Romans 1:17 he learned to know a “righteousness by faith,” he also learned “the true manner of penitence.” He then understood that the repentance demanded in Matthew 4:17 had nothing to do with the works of satisfaction required in the Roman institution of confession, but consisted in “a change of mind in true interior contrition” and with all its benefits was itself a fruit of grace. In the first seven of his ninety-five theses and further in his sermon on “Indulgences and Grace” (February 1518), the sermon on “Penitence” (March 1518), and the sermon on the “Sacrament of Penance” (1519), he set forth this meaning of repentance or conversion and developed the glorious thought that the most important part of penitence consists not in private confession (which cannot be found in Scripture) nor in satisfaction (for God forgives sins freely) but in true sorrow over sin, in a solemn resolve to bear the cross of Christ, in a new life, and in the word of absolution, that is, the word of the grace of God in Christ. The penitent arrives at forgiveness of sins, not by making amends (satisfaction) and priestly absolution, but by trusting the word of God, by believing in God’s grace. It is not the sacrament but faith that justifies. In that way Luther came to again put sin and grace in the center of the Christian doctrine of salvation. The forgiveness of sins, that is, justification, does not depend on repentance, which always remains incomplete, but rests in God’s promise and becomes ours by faith alone.
Herman Bavinck
Now that his children had grown into their lives, their own children too, there was no one who needed more than the idea of him, and he thought maybe that was why he had this nagging feeling, this sense that there were things he had to know for himself, only for himself. He knew, of course he knew, that a life wasn't anything like one of those novels Jenny read, that it stumbled along, bouncing off one thing, then another, until it just stopped, nothing wrapped up neatly. He remembered his children's distress at different times, failing an exam or losing a race, a girlfriend. Knowing that they couldn't believe him but still trying to tell them that it would pass, that they would be amazed, looking back, to think it had mattered at all. He thought of himself, thought of things that had seemed so important, so full of meaning when he was twenty, or forty, and he thought maybe it was like Jenny's books after all. Red herrings and misdirection, all the characters and observations that seemed so central, so significant while the story was unfolding. But then at the end you realized that the crucial thing was really something else. Something buried in a conversation, a description - you realized that all along it had been a different answer, another person glimpsed but passed over, who was the key to everything. Whatever everything was. And if you went back, as Jenny sometimes did, they were there, the clues you'd missed while you were reading, caught up in the need to move forward. All quietly there.
Mary Swan
Parent and Teacher Actions: 1. Ask children what their role models would do. Children feel free to take initiative when they look at problems through the eyes of originals. Ask children what they would like to improve in their family or school. Then have them identify a real person or fictional character they admire for being unusually creative and inventive. What would that person do in this situation? 2. Link good behaviors to moral character. Many parents and teachers praise helpful actions, but children are more generous when they’re commended for being helpful people—it becomes part of their identity. If you see a child do something good, try saying, “You’re a good person because you ___.” Children are also more ethical when they’re asked to be moral people—they want to earn the identity. If you want a child to share a toy, instead of asking, “Will you share?” ask, “Will you be a sharer?” 3. Explain how bad behaviors have consequences for others. When children misbehave, help them see how their actions hurt other people. “How do you think this made her feel?” As they consider the negative impact on others, children begin to feel empathy and guilt, which strengthens their motivation to right the wrong—and to avoid the action in the future. 4. Emphasize values over rules. Rules set limits that teach children to adopt a fixed view of the world. Values encourage children to internalize principles for themselves. When you talk about standards, like the parents of the Holocaust rescuers, describe why certain ideals matter to you and ask children why they’re important. 5. Create novel niches for children to pursue. Just as laterborns sought out more original niches when conventional ones were closed to them, there are ways to help children carve out niches. One of my favorite techniques is the Jigsaw Classroom: bring students together for a group project, and assign each of them a unique part. For example, when writing a book report on Eleanor Roosevelt’s life, one student worked on her childhood, another on her teenage years, and a third on her role in the women’s movement. Research shows that this reduces prejudice—children learn to value each other’s distinctive strengths. It can also give them the space to consider original ideas instead of falling victim to groupthink. To further enhance the opportunity for novel thinking, ask children to consider a different frame of reference. How would Roosevelt’s childhood have been different if she grew up in China? What battles would she have chosen to fight there?
Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World)
People who create successful strategic relationships demonstrate 10 essential character traits:    1. Authentic. They are genuine, honest, and transparent. They are cognizant of (and willing to admit to) their strengths and weaknesses.    2. Trustworthy. They build relationships on mutual trust. They have a good reputation based on real results. They have integrity: their word is their bond. People must know, like, and trust you before sharing their valuable social capital.    3. Respectful. They are appreciative of the time and efforts of others. They treat subordinates with the same level of respect as they do supervisors.    4. Caring. They like to help others succeed. They’re a source of mutual support and encouragement. They pay attention to the feelings of others and have good hearts.    5. Listening. They ask good questions, and they are eager to learn about others—what’s important to them, what they’re working on, what they’re looking for, and what they need—so they can be of help.    6. Engaged. They are active participants in life. They are interesting and passionate about what they do. They are solution minded, and they have great “gut” instincts.    7. Patient. They recognize that relationships need to be cultivated over time. They invest time in maintaining their relationships with others.    8. Intelligent. They are intelligent in the help they offer. They pass along opportunities at every chance possible, and they make thoughtful, useful introductions. They’re not ego driven. They don’t criticize others or burn bridges in relationships.    9. Sociable. They are nice, likeable, and helpful. They enjoy being with people, and they are happy to connect with others from all walks of life, social strata, political persuasions, religions, and diverse backgrounds. They are sources of positive energy.   10. Connected. They are part of their own network of excellent strategic relationships.
Judy Robinett (How to Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits)
While some of our deepest wounds come from feeling abandoned by others, it is surprising to see how often we abandon ourselves through the way we view life. It’s natural to perceive through a lens of blame at the moment of emotional impact, but each stage of surrender offers us time and space to regroup and open our viewpoints for our highest evolutionary benefit. It’s okay to feel wronged by people or traumatized by circumstances. This reveals anger as a faithful guardian reminding us how overwhelmed we are by the outcomes at hand. While we will inevitably use each trauma as a catalyst for our deepest growth, such anger informs us when the highest importance is being attentive to our own experiences like a faithful companion. As waves of emotion begin to settle, we may ask ourselves, “Although I feel wronged, what am I going to do about it?” Will we allow experiences of disappointment or even cruelty to inspire our most courageous decisions and willingness to evolve? When viewing others as characters who have wronged us, a moment of personal abandonment occurs. Instead of remaining present to the sheer devastation we feel, a need to align with ego can occur through the blaming of others. While it seems nearly instinctive to see life as the comings and goings of how people treat us, when focused on cultivating our most Divine qualities, pain often confirms how quickly we are shifting from ego to soul. From the soul’s perspective, pain represents the initial steps out of the identity and reference points of an old reality as we make our way into a brand new paradigm of being. The more this process is attempted to be rushed, the more insufferable it becomes. To end the agony of personal abandonment, we enter the first stage of surrender by asking the following question: Am I seeing this moment in a way that helps or hurts me? From the standpoint of ego, life is a play of me versus you or us versus them. But from the soul’s perspective, characters are like instruments that help develop and uncover the melody of our highest vibration. Even when the friction of conflict seems to divide people, as souls we are working together to play out the exact roles to clear, activate, and awaken our true radiance. The more aligned in Source energy we become, the easier each moment of transformation tends to feel. This doesn’t mean we are immune to disappointment, heartbreak, or devastation. Instead, we are keenly aware of how often life is giving us the chance to grow and expand. A willingness to be stretched and re-created into a more refined form is a testament to the fiercely liberated nature of our soul. To the ego, the soul’s willingness to grow under the threat of any circumstance seems foolish, shortsighted, and insane. This is because the ego can only interpret that reality as worry, anticipation, and regret.
Matt Kahn (Everything Is Here to Help You: A Loving Guide to Your Soul's Evolution)
A bare two years after Vasco da Gama’s voyage a Portuguese fleet led by Pedro Alvarez Cabral arrived on the Malabar coast. Cabral delivered a letter from the king of Portugal to the Samudri (Samudra-raja or Sea-king), the Hindu ruler of the city-state of Calicut, demanding that he expel all Muslims from his kingdom as they were enemies of the ‘Holy Faith’. He met with a blank refusal; then afterwards the Samudra steadfastly maintained that Calicut had always been open to everyone who wished to trade there… During those early years the people who had traditionally participated in the Indian Ocean trade were taken completely by surprise. In all the centuries in which it had flourished and grown, no state or kings or ruling power had ever before tried to gain control of the Indian Ocean trade by force of arms. The territorial and dynastic ambitions that were pursued with such determination on land were generally not allowed to spill over into the sea. Within the Western historiographical record the unarmed character of the Indian Ocean trade is often represented as a lack, or failure, one that invited the intervention of Europe, with its increasing proficiency in war. When a defeat is as complete as was that of the trading cultures of the Indian Ocean, it is hard to allow the vanquished the dignity of nuances of choice and preference. Yet it is worth allowing for the possibility that the peaceful traditions of the oceanic trade may have been, in a quiet and inarticulate way, the product of a rare cultural choice — one that may have owed a great deal to the pacifist customs and beliefs of the Gujarati Jains and Vanias who played such an important part in it. At the time, at least one European was moved to bewilderment by the unfamiliar mores of the region; a response more honest perhaps than the trust in historical inevitability that has supplanted it since. ‘The heathen [of Gujarat]’, wrote Tomé Pires, early in the sixteenth century, ‘held that they must never kill anyone, nor must they have armed men in their company. If they were captured and [their captors] wanted to kill them all, they did not resist. This is the Gujarat law among the heathen.’ It was because of those singular traditions, perhaps, that the rulers of the Indian Ocean ports were utterly confounded by the demands and actions of the Portuguese. Having long been accustomed to the tradesmen’s rules of bargaining and compromise they tried time and time again to reach an understanding with the Europeans — only to discover, as one historian has put it, that the choice was ‘between resistance and submission; co-operation was not offered.’ Unable to compete in the Indian Ocean trade by purely commercial means, the Europeans were bent on taking control of it by aggression, pure and distilled, by unleashing violence on a scale unprecedented on those shores.
Amitav Ghosh (In an Antique Land)
What an extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man that age was which came to an end in August 1914! The greater part of the population, it is true, worked hard and lived at a low standard of comfort, yet were, to all appearances, reasonably contented with this lot. But escape was possible, for any man of capacity or character at all exceeding the average, into the middle and upper classes, for whom life offered, at a low cost and with the least trouble, conveniences, comforts, and amenities beyond the compass of the richest and most powerful monarchs of other ages. The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, in such quantity as he might see fit, and reasonably expect their early delivery upon his doorstep; he could at the same moment and by the same means adventure his wealth in the natural resources and new enterprises of any quarter of the world, and share, without exertion or even trouble, in their prospective fruits and advantages; or he could decide to couple the security of his fortunes with the good faith of the townspeople of any substantial municipality in any continent that fancy or information might recommend. He could secure forthwith, if he wished it, cheap and comfortable means of transit to any country or climate without passport or other formality, could despatch his servant to the neighbouring office of a bank for such supply of the precious metals as might seem convenient, and could then proceed abroad to foreign quarters, without knowledge of their religion, language, or customs, bearing coined wealth upon his person, and would consider himself greatly aggrieved and much surprised at the least interference. But, most important of all, he regarded this state of affairs as normal, certain, and permanent, except in the direction of further improvement, and any deviation from it as aberrant, scandalous, and avoidable. The projects and politics of militarism and imperialism, of racial and cultural rivalries, of monopolies, restrictions, and exclusion, which were to play the serpent to this paradise, were little more than the amusements of his daily newspaper, and appeared to exercise almost no influence at all on the ordinary course of social and economic life, the internationalisation of which was nearly complete in practice.
John Maynard Keynes (The Economic Consequences of the Peace)
1. Choose to love each other even in those moments when you struggle to like each other. Love is a commitment, not a feeling. 2. Always answer the phone when your husband/wife is calling and, when possible, try to keep your phone off when you’re together with your spouse. 3. Make time together a priority. Budget for a consistent date night. Time is the currency of relationships, so consistently invest time in your marriage. 4. Surround yourself with friends who will strengthen your marriage, and remove yourself from people who may tempt you to compromise your character. 5. Make laughter the soundtrack of your marriage. Share moments of joy, and even in the hard times find reasons to laugh. 6. In every argument, remember that there won’t be a winner and a loser. You are partners in everything, so you’ll either win together or lose together. Work together to find a solution. 7. Remember that a strong marriage rarely has two strong people at the same time. It’s usually a husband and wife taking turns being strong for each other in the moments when the other feels weak. 8. Prioritize what happens in the bedroom. It takes more than sex to build a strong marriage, but it’s nearly impossible to build a strong marriage without it. 9. Remember that marriage isn’t 50–50; divorce is 50–50. Marriage has to be 100–100. It’s not splitting everything in half but both partners giving everything they’ve got. 10. Give your best to each other, not your leftovers after you’ve given your best to everyone else. 11. Learn from other people, but don’t feel the need to compare your life or your marriage to anyone else’s. God’s plan for your life is masterfully unique. 12. Don’t put your marriage on hold while you’re raising your kids, or else you’ll end up with an empty nest and an empty marriage. 13. Never keep secrets from each other. Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy. 14. Never lie to each other. Lies break trust, and trust is the foundation of a strong marriage. 15. When you’ve made a mistake, admit it and humbly seek forgiveness. You should be quick to say, “I was wrong. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” 16. When your husband/wife breaks your trust, give them your forgiveness instantly, which will promote healing and create the opportunity for trust to be rebuilt. You should be quick to say, “I love you. I forgive you. Let’s move forward.” 17. Be patient with each other. Your spouse is always more important than your schedule. 18. Model the kind of marriage that will make your sons want to grow up to be good husbands and your daughters want to grow up to be good wives. 19. Be your spouse’s biggest encourager, not his/her biggest critic. Be the one who wipes away your spouse’s tears, not the one who causes them. 20. Never talk badly about your spouse to other people or vent about them online. Protect your spouse at all times and in all places. 21. Always wear your wedding ring. It will remind you that you’re always connected to your spouse, and it will remind the rest of the world that you’re off limits. 22. Connect with a community of faith. A good church can make a world of difference in your marriage and family. 23. Pray together. Every marriage is stronger with God in the middle of it. 24. When you have to choose between saying nothing or saying something mean to your spouse, say nothing every time. 25. Never consider divorce as an option. Remember that a perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other. FINAL
Dave Willis (The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships)