Conscious Conversations Quotes

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There's a kind of Ah-ha! Somebody at least for a moment feels about something or sees something the way that I do. It doesn't happen all the time. It's these brief flashes or flames, but I get that sometimes. I feel unalone—intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. I feel human and unalone and that I'm in a deep, significant conversation with another consciousness in fiction and poetry in a way that I don't with other art.
David Foster Wallace
Indeed, one of the highest pleasures is to be more or less unconscious of one’s own existence, to be absorbed in interesting sights, sounds, places, and people. Conversely, one of the greatest pains is to be self-conscious, to feel unabsorbed and cut off from the community and the surrounding world.
Alan W. Watts (The Wisdom of Insecurity)
When love flies it is remembered not as love but as something else. Blessed are the uneducated, who forget it entirely, and are never conscious of folly or pruriency in the past, of long aimless conversations.
E.M. Forster (Maurice)
Capturing the beauty of the conversion of the water into wine, the poet Alexander Pope said, "The conscious water saw its Master and blushed." That sublime description could be reworked to explain each one of these miracles. Was it any different in principle for a broken body to mend at the command of its Maker? Was it far-fetched for the Creator of the universe, who fashioned matter out of nothing, to multiply bread for the crowd? Was it not within the power of the One who called all the molecules into existence to interlock them that they might bear His footsteps?
Ravi Zacharias (Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message)
The conversations that follow are gratifying for Connell, often taking unexpected turns and prompting him to express ideas he had never consciously formulated before. They talk about the novels he's reading, the research she studies, the precise historical moment that they are currently living in, the difficulty of observing such a moment in process. At times he has the sensation that he and Marianne are like figure-skaters, improvising their discussions so adeptly and in such perfect synchronisation that it suprises them both. She tosses herself gracefully into the air, and each time, without knowing how he's going to do it, he catches her.
Sally Rooney (Normal People)
Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. . . . The process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there's no reason or excuse for committing thought-crime. It's merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won't be any need even for that. . . . Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?
George Orwell
A life lived by choice is a life of conscious action. A life lived by chance is a life of unconscious reaction.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
Do you suppose it's so much easier to make conversation with someone you already know well than with someone you don't know at all primarily because of all the previously exchanged information and shared experiences between two people who know each other well, or because maybe it's only with people we already know well and know know us well that we don't go through the awkward mental process of subjecting everything we think of saying or bringing up as a topic of light conversation to a self-conscious critical analysis and evaluation that manages to make anything we think of proposing to say the other person seem dull or stupid or banal or on the other hand maybe overly intimate or tension-producing?
David Foster Wallace (The Pale King)
Freedom isn't an illusion; it's perfectly real in the context of sequential consciousness. Within the context of simultaneous consciousness, freedom is not meaningful, but neither is coercion; it's simply a different context, no more or less valid than the other. It's like that famous optical illusion, the drawing of either an elegant young woman, face turned away from the viewer, or a wart-nosed crone, chin tucked down on her chest. There's no “correct” interpretation; both are equally valid. But you can't see both at the same time. “Similarly, knowledge of the future was incompatible with free will. What made it possible for me to exercise freedom of choice also made it impossible for me to know the future. Conversely, now that I know the future, I would never act contrary to that future, including telling others what I know: those who know the future don't talk about it. Those who've read the Book of Ages never admit to it.
Ted Chiang (Stories of Your Life and Others)
Skill in any performance whether it be in sports in playing the piano in conversation or in selling merchandise consists not in painfully and consciously thinking out each action as it is performed but in relaxing and letting the job do itself through you. Creative performance is spontaneous and ‘natural’ as opposed to self-conscious and studied.
Maxwell Maltz (Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life)
Be transparent. Let's build a community that allows hard questions and honest conversations so we can stir up transformation in one another.
Germany Kent
I felt a little self-conscious walking the streets with a glowing broadsword, so I had a conversation with my weapon. (Because that wasn’t crazy at all.)
Rick Riordan (The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1))
So many of my friends judged potential mates from the outside in, focusing first on their looks and financial prospects. If it turned out the person they'd chosen wasn't a good communicator or was uncomfortable with being vulnerable, they seemed to think time or marriage vows would fix the problem. But Barack arrived in my life a wholly formed person. From our very first conversation, he'd shown me that he wasn't self-conscious about expressing fear or weakness and that he valued being truthful.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
The large majority of teenagers who attend Higgs are soulless, conformist idiots. I have successfully integrated myself into a small group of girls who I consider to be “good people,” but sometimes I still feel that I might be the only person with a consciousness, like a video game protagonist, and everyone else are computer-generated extras who have only a select few actions, such as “initiate meaningless conversation” and “hug.
Alice Oseman (Solitaire)
Philemon and other figures of my fantasies brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life. Philemon represented a force which was not myself. In my fantasies I held conversations with him, and he said things which I had not consciously thought. For I observed clearly that it was he who spoke, not I. He said I treated thoughts as if I generated them myself, but in his view thoughts were like animals in the forest, or people in a room, or birds in the air, and added, “If you should see people in a room, you would not think that you had made those people, or that you were responsible for them.” It was he who taught me psychic objectivity, the reality of the psyche. Through him the distinction was clarified between myself and the object of my thought. He confronted me in an objective manner, and I understood that there is something in me which can say things that I do not know and do not intend, things which may even be directed against me.
C.G. Jung (Memories, Dreams, Reflections)
A book is an attempt to make through permanent and to contribute to the great conversation conducted by authors of the past. […] The telegraph is suited only to the flashing of messages, each to be quickly replaced by a more up-to-date message. Facts push other facts into and then out of consciousness at speeds that neither permit nor require evaluation. (70)
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
The Church Fathers teach us that a shattered heart is the most pleasing gift to God. It is the sign that we are conscious of our sins, of the evil we have done, of our wretchedness, and of our need for forgiveness and mercy.
Pope Francis (The Name of God Is Mercy)
A great book allows me to leap over that wall: in a deep, significant conversation with another consciousness, I feel human and unalone.
David Shields (Reality Hunger: A Manifesto)
The great gifts of models are not that they're more beautiful than the next person, it's that they're able to be photographed and not be self-conscious.
Bono (Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas)
It is usually unbearably painful to read a book by an author who knows way less than you do, unless the book is a novel.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
If chimpanzees have consciousness, if they are capable of abstractions, do they not have what until now has been described as "human rights"? How smart does a chimpanzee have to be before killing him constitutes murder? What further properties must he show before religious missionaries must consider him worthy of attempts at conversion?
Carl Sagan (The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence)
In good company there is never such discourse between two, across the table, as takes place when you leave them alone. In good company, the individuals merge their egotism into a social soul exactly coextensive with the several consciousnesses there present. No partialities of friend to friend, no fondnesses of brother to sister, of wife to husband, are there pertinent, but quite otherwise. Only he may then speak who can sail on the common thought of the party, and not poorly limited to his own. Now this convention, which good sense demands, destroys the high freedom of great conversation, which requires an absolute running of two souls into one.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see.
Samuel Johnson (Life and Conversations of Dr. Samuel Johnson: (Founded Chiefly Upon Boswell).)
We may talk lightly but never carelessly. We keep at bay the flow of common, ignorant thought which runs its damaging course through the pathways of ordinary human conversation.
Donna Goddard (The Love of Devotion)
...there are pleasures to be had from books beyond being lightly entertained. There is the pleasure of being challenged; the pleasure of feeling one’s range and capacities expanding; the pleasure of entering into an unfamiliar world, and being led into empathy with a consciousness very different from one’s own; the pleasure of knowing what others have already thought it worth knowing, and entering a larger conversation. (The New Yorker, 13 Aug 2014)
Rebecca Mead
My father wrote beautifully,” Esmé interrupted. “I’m saving a number of his letters for posterity.” I said that sounded like a very good idea. I happened to be looking at her enormous-faced, chrono-graphic-looking wristwatch again. I asked if it had belonged to her father. She looked down at her wrist solemnly. “Yes, it did,” she said. “He gave it to me just before Charles and I were evacuated.” Self-consciously, she took her hand off the table, saying, “Purely as a momento, of course.” She guided the conversation in a different direction. “I’d be extremely flattered if you’d write a story exclusively for me sometime. I’m an avid reader.” I told her I certainly would, if I could. I said that I wasn’t terribly prolific. “It doesn’t have to be terribly prolific! Just so that isn’t childish and silly.” She reflected. “I prefer stories about squalor.” “About what?” I said, leaning forward. “Squalor. I’m extremely interested in squalor.
J.D. Salinger (Nine Stories)
Emotions are faster than thoughts. That means emotion trumps competencies, behavior, and character unless we learn to be self-aware and channel our emotions consciously.
Shawn Kent Hayashi (Conversations for Change: 12 Ways to Say It Right When It Maconversations for Change: 12 Ways to Say It Right When It Matters Most Tters Most)
Consensual intercourse of the minds happens when conversation between two like minded individuals, are brought together by mutually exclusive chemistry in conversation that causes mental arousal & orgasmic stimulation which then produces ideas which provoke conscious thoughts.
Niedria Dionne Kenny (Love, Lust and Regrets: While the lights were off)
Through all of these small moments - the joyful familiar Sunday afternoons and the painful drunken fights - we have a choice. In the joyful ones, will we overlook the beauty, or will we be consciously present? And in the painful ones, will we decide it's easier to shut the conversation down than to dig for the uncomfortable truths? Or will we find a way back to a loving place?
Natasha Lunn (Conversations on Love)
Trauma leaves your shipwrecked. You are left to rebuild your inner world. Part of the rebuilding, the healing process, is revisiting the shattered hull of your old worldview; you sift through the wreckage looking for what remains, seeking your broken pieces…as you revisit the ship-wreck, piece by piece, you find a fragment and move it to your new, safer place in the now-altered landscape. You build a new worldview. That takes time. And many visits to the wreckage. And this process involves both unconscious and conscious repetitive “reenactment” behaviors, or writing, drawing, sculpting, or playing. Again and again, you revisit the site of the earthquake, look through the wreckage, take something, and move it to a safe haven. That’s part of the healing process.
Bruce D. Perry (What Happened To You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing)
But little or great, suffering accepted and offered to Our Lord produces peace and serenity. When it is not accepted, the soul is out of tune and its internal rebellion is shown externally in gloom or bad temper. We have to make a conscious decision to take up and carry the little Cross of every day with determination. Suffering can be sent to us by God to purify many things in our past life or to strengthen our virtues and to unite us to the sufferings of Christ our Redeemer, who, in his innocence, suffered the punishment due to our sins.
Francisco Fernández-Carvajal (In Conversation with God: Meditations for Each Day of the Year, Vol. 1: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany)
For I believe that the best life is lived by those who take the best care to make themselves as good as possible, and the pleasantest life by those who are most conscious that they are becoming better.
Xenophon (Conversations of Socrates)
You aren't supposed to learn that dedicated, committed effort can bring about significant changes of consciousness and understanding. That's a very dangerous idea, and therefore it's been wiped out of history.
Noam Chomsky (Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World)
If you are in a group whose consciousness does not reflect your own, and you are unable at this time to effectively alter the group consciousness, it is wise to leave the group, or the group could lead you. It will go where it wants to go, regardless of where you want to go.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. It would even seem that this is virtually a sociological-psychological law. The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other. The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, for instance, the intellect, suddenly atrophy or fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison DBW Vol 8 (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works))
To prove to [her friend, Swedish diplomat Count] Gyllenborg that she was not superficial, Catherine composed an essay about herself, "so that he would see whether I knew myself or not." The next day, she wrote and handed to Gyllenborg an essay titled 'Portrait of a Fifteen-Year-Old Philosopher.' He was impressed and returned it with a dozen pages of comments, mostly favorable. "I read his remarks again and again, many times [Catherine later recalled in her memoirs]. I impressed them on my consciousness and resolved to follow his advice. In addition, there was something else surprising: one day, while conversing with me, he allowed the following sentence to slip out: 'What a pity that you will marry! I wanted to find out what he meant, but he would not tell me.
Robert K. Massie (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman)
To feel safe is to stop living in my head and sink down into my heart and feel liked and accepted … not having to hide anymore and distract myself with books, television, movies, ice cream, shallow conversation … staying in the present moment and not escaping into the past or projecting into the future, alert and attentive to the now …feeling relaxed and not nervous or jittery … no need to impress or dazzle others or draw attention to myself. … Unself-conscious, a new way of being with myself, a new way of being in the world … calm, unafraid, no anxiety about what’s going to happen next …loved and valued… just being together as an end in itself.
Brennan Manning (Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging)
What is needed is a growth in consciousness, not a growth of government.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
The difficulties (which other people surely find incredible) I have in speaking to people arise from the fact that my thinking, or rather the content of my consciousness, is entirely nebulous, that I remain undisturbed by this, so far as it concerns only myself, and am even occasionally self-satisfied; yet conversation with people demands pointedness, solidity, and sustained coherence, qualities not to be found in me. No one will want to lie in clouds of mist with me, and even if someone did, I couldn’t expel the mist from my head; when two people come together it dissolves of itself and is nothing.
Franz Kafka
This one simple change—seeking and finding peace within—could, were it undertaken by everyone, end all wars, eliminate conflict, prevent injustice, and bring the world to everlasting peace. There is no other formula necessary, or possible. World peace is a personal thing! What is needed is not a change of circumstance, but a change of consciousness.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
So what was in this building before historical materialism?' 'Before what?' 'You know, back then, under the old regime?' 'Oh. Under the old regime my master lived here.' 'A bourgeois?' 'You're a bourgeois yourself! He wasn't a bourgeois. He was a marshal of the nobility.' 'So he was a proletarian, then?' 'You're a proletarian yourself! I told you loud and clear, a marshal.' The conversation with the clever dvornik with a vague understanding of the class structure of society would have lasted god knows how long if the young man hadn't made a decisive move.
Ilya Ilf (The Twelve Chairs (European Classics))
Relationships in life don’t really end, even if you never see the person again. Every person you’ve been close to lives on somewhere inside you. Your past lovers, your parents, your friends, people both alive and dead (symbolically or literally)—all of them evoke memories, conscious or not. Often they inform how you relate to yourself and others. Sometimes you have conversations with them in your head; sometimes they speak to you in your sleep.
Lori Gottlieb (Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed)
When we are in love with a woman we simply project on to her a state of our own soul; that consequently the important thing is not the worth of the women but the profundity of the state; and that the emotions which a perfectly ordinary girl arouses in us can enable us to bring to the surface of our consciousness some of the innermost parts of our being, more personal, more remote, more quintessential that any that might might be evoked by the pleasure we derive from the conversation of a great man or even from the admiring contemplation of his work.
Marcel Proust (Within a Budding Grove, Part 2)
Persuasion may play a part in a man's conversion; but only the part of bringing to its full and conscious climax a process which has been maturing in regions where no persuasion can penetrate. A faith is not acquired; it grows like a tree.
Arthur Koestler (The God that Failed)
She tries to maintain a nondescript exterior; she learns the sideways glance instead of looking at people directly. She speaks in practised, precise sentences so that she is not misunderstood. She chooses her words carefully, and if someone addresses her in Punjabi, she answers in Urdu, because an exchange in her mother tongue might be considered a promise of intimacy. She uses English for medical terms only, because she feels if she uses a word of English in her conversation she might be considered a bit forward. When she walks she walks with slightly hurried steps, as if she has an important but innocent appointment to keep. She avoids eye contact, she looks slightly over people’s heads as if looking out for somebody who might come into view at any moment. She doesn’t want anyone to think that she is alone and nobody is coming for her. She sidesteps even when she sees a boy half her age walking towards her, she walks around little puddles when she can easily leap over them; she thinks any act that involves stretching her legs might send the wrong signal. After all, this is not the kind of thing where you can leave your actions to subjective interpretations. She never eats in public. Putting something in your mouth is surely an invitation for someone to shove something horrible down your throat. If you show your hunger, you are obviously asking for something.
Mohammed Hanif (Our Lady of Alice Bhatti)
I believe we all serve someone in this life. For the first thirty-eight years of mine, I served myself. My conversion was not a highly emotional experience. It was a conscious, thought-out decision that changed my focus, my direction, my heart, my life.
Francine Rivers (Redeeming Love)
Talking to oneself is a recognized means to learn, in fact, self-speak may be the seed concept behind human consciousness. Private conversation that we hold with ourselves might represent the preeminent means to provoke the speaker into thinking (a form of cognitive auto-stimulation), modify behavior, and perhaps even amend the functional architecture of the plastic human brain. Writing out our private talks with oneself enables a person to “see” what they think, a process that invites reflection, ongoing thoughtful discourse with the self, and refinement of our thinking patterns and beliefs. Internal sotto voice conversations with our private-self provide several advantages, but most people find it difficult to maintain self-speak for an extended period. Internal dialogue must compete with external distractions. Writing allows a person to resume a personal dialogue where they left off before interrupted by outside stimuli. A written disquisition also provides a permanent record that a person can examine, amend, supplement, update, or reject.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Ramesh S. Balsekar (Consciousness Speaks: Conversations with Ramesh S. Balsekar)
Dan   Philosophy is what you do when you don’t yet know what the right questions are to ask.
Susan Blackmore (Conversations on Consciousness: Interviews with Twenty Minds)
Pretending to be extroverted when you're an introverted is about as fun as shoving your face into a dirty bucket of ice. I constantly felt on edge and my sensitivity towards social cues surged like an off-brand Spidey sense. I soon found myself developing this fun little habit of replaying past conversations in my head as I spent my days drowning in a ball pit of self-consciousness.
Meichi Ng (Barely Functional Adult: It’ll All Make Sense Eventually)
So I devised a way for you to create anew, and Know, Who You Are in your experience. I did this by providing you with: 1. Relativity—a system wherein you could exist as a thing in relationship to something else. 2. Forgetfulness—a process by which you willingly submit to total amnesia, so that you can not know that relativity is merely a trick, and that you are All of It. 3. Consciousness—a state of Being in which you grow until you reach full awareness, then becoming a True and Living God, creating and experiencing your own reality, expanding and exploring that reality, changing and re-creating that reality as you stretch your consciousness to new limits—or shall we say, to no limit.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
As the world turns toward winter and the nights grow long, people begin to wake in the dark. Lying in bed too long cramps the limbs, and dreams dreamt too long turn inward on themselves, grotesque as a Mandarin’s fingernails. By and large, the human body isn’t adapted for more than seven or eight hours’ sleep—but what happens when the nights are longer than that? What happens is the second sleep. You fall asleep from tiredness, soon after dark—but then wake again, rising toward the surface of your dreams like a trout coming up to feed. And should your sleeping partner also wake then—and people who have slept together for a good many years know at once when each other wakes—you have a small, private place to share, deep in the night. A place in which to rise, to stretch, to bring a juicy apple back to bed, to share slice by slice, fingers brushing lips. To have the luxury of conversation, uninterrupted by the business of the day. To make love slowly in the light of an autumn moon. And then, to lie close, and let a lover’s dreams caress your skin as you begin to sink once more beneath the waves of consciousness, blissful in the knowledge that dawn is far off—that’s second sleep.
Diana Gabaldon (A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6))
You must, first of all, evolve the consciousness of being the best in whatever territory you choose to explore and then invest all your time into it and you will be amazed how easy it is to become great.
Sunday Adelaja (How To Become Great Through Time Conversion: Are you wasting time, spending time or investing time?)
M.: Do you think Mahler thought he was doing something avant-garde? O.: I don’t think so. M.: Schoenberg and Alban Berg were certainly conscious of being avant-garde, though. O.: Oh, very much so. They had their “method”. Mahler had no such thing. M.: So he flirted with chaos, not as a methodology, but naturally and instinctively. Is that what you are saying? O.: Yes. Isn’t that exactly where his genius lies?
Haruki Murakami (Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa)
5. Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Living Buddha, Living Christ)
I am writing this book because I want to have a real conversation with the public and most especially you. I am honored that my words will enter your consciousness and conscience, that my thoughts will rest in your mind. I take that responsibility seriously. Call what I’m doing a public service and you’d be correct. It is. Hollywood is a dirty town up to some dirty tricks. This is not a tell-all. This is a tell-it-how-it-is.
Rose McGowan (Brave)
I find it consistently difficult to get around the notion that we are all, in our very natures, assholes. I am an asshole. I’m afraid you are also. That’s why the conversation about good manners even exists in the first place. We’re cognizant, curious beings, capable of philosophical thought, nuclear physics, repeating Nerf weapons, global consciousness, Glade air fresheners, and sentient automobiles. But we’re assholes first.
Nick Offerman (Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Principles for Delicious Living)
Keep his mind on the inner life. He thinks his conversion is something inside him, and his attention is therefore chiefly turned at present to the state of his own mind--or rather to that very expurgated version of them which is all you should allow him to see. Encourage this. Keep his mind off the most elementary duties of directing it to the most advanced and spiritual ones. Aggravate the most useful human characteristics, the horror and neglect of the obvious. You must bring him to a condition in which he can practise self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office. 2. It is, no doubt, impossible to prevent his praying for his mother, but we have means of rendering the prayers innocuous. Make sure that they are always very 'spiritual', that is is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rhuematism. Two advantages will follow. In the first place, his attention will be kept on what he regards are her sins, by which, with a little guidance from you, he can be induced to mean any of her actions which are inconvenient or irritating to himself. Thus you can keep rubbing the wounds of the day a little sorer even while he is on his knees; the operation is not at all difficult and you will find it very entertaining. In the second place, since his ideas about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some degree, be praying for an imaginary person, and it will be your task to make that imaginary person daily less and less like the real mother--the sharp-tongued old lady at the breakfast table. In time you may get the cleavage so wide that no thought or feeling from his prayers for the imagined mother will ever flow over into his treatment of the real one. I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moment's notice from impassioned prayer for a wife's or son's soul to beating or insulting the real wife or son without any qualm. 3. When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face whice are almost unedurably irritating to the other. Work on that. Bring fully into the consciousness of your patient that particular lift of his mother's eyebrows which he learned to dislike in the nursery, and let him think how much he dislikes it. Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does it to annoy--if you know your job he will not notice the immense improbablity of the assumption. And, of course, never let him suspect that he has tones and looks which similarly annoy her. As he cannot see or hear himself, this is easily managed.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
One searches, in one’s choice of partner, for a kind of reflection. Sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. Often unconsciously. And often not an honest reflection. One searches for a better-than reflection. An as-I-wish-I-were reflection.
Miranda Popkey (Topics of Conversation)
To communicate with Mars, converse with spirits, To report the behaviour of the sea monster, Describe the horoscope, haruspicate or scry, Observe disease in signatures, evoke Biography from the wrinkles of the palm And tragedy from fingers; release omens By sortilege, or tea leaves, riddle the inevitable With playing cards, fiddle with pentagrams Or barbituric acids, or dissect The recurrent image into pre-conscious terrors— To explore the womb, or tomb, or dreams; all these are usual Pastimes and drugs, and features of the press: And always will be, some of them especially When there is distress of nations and perplexity Whether on the shores of Asia, or in the Edgware Road. Men's curiosity searches past and future And clings to that dimension. ...
T.S. Eliot
the voices are so persuasive, you don’t know what’s real and what’s not. You know the voices aren’t talking into your ears, but they’re not exactly in your head either. They seem to call to you from another place that you’ve accidentally tapped into, like a cell phone pulling in a conversation in some foreign language—yet somehow you understand it. They linger there on the edge of your consciousness like the things you hear just as you’re waking up, before the dream collapses under the crushing weight of the real world. But what if the dream doesn’t go away when you wake up? And what if you lose the ability to tell the difference?
Neal Shusterman (Challenger Deep)
That night there was no conversation, no prayers or stories around the fire, as if the proximity of Jerusalem demanded respectful silence, each man searching his heart and asking, Who is this person who resembles me yet whom I fail to recognize. This is not what they actually said, for people do not start talking to themselves like that, nor was this even in their conscious thoughts, but there can be no doubt that as we sit staring into the flames of a camp fire, our silence can be expressed only with words like these, which say everything.
José Saramago (The Gospel According to Jesus Christ)
Writing is mental exercise and the preeminent method to train the mind to achieve a desirable state of mental quietude. Meditative writing, a single pointed concentration of mental activity, induces an altered state of consciousness. Writing is studious rumination, a means to converse with our personal muse. Writing entails a period of forced solitude that enables us to meet and conduct a searching conversation with our authentic self. This contemplative dialogue with our true self is transformational. Writing is not a mere act but a journey of the mind into heretofore-unknown frontiers of the self.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Madonna has no equal at getting attention. She often seems to behave like someone who has been under severe restraint and can now say and do whatever she likes without fear of reprisal. She delights in being challenged, in telling more than she planned, in going further than she had intended. She will answer any question because she is genuinely interested in her own reply. A conversation or an interview then can become an opportunity for self-discovery, or just discovery. It's a hearty mix of self-consciousness and self-confidence. It's a type of courage, this free fall into the perplexing public now.
Carrie Fisher
The crowd was visibly impressed with Jean Louise. Girls she saw every day asked her where she got her dress, as if they didn’t all get them there: “Ginsberg’s. Calpurnia took it up,” she said. Several of the younger boys with whom she had been on eye-gouging terms only a few years ago made self-conscious conversation with her.
Harper Lee (Go Set a Watchman (To Kill a Mockingbird))
The best listeners I know pause over words. ‘That’s an interesting way of putting it,’ they muse, or they ask. ‘What exactly do you mean by that?’ The consciousness that every word is a choice, that each word has its own resonance, nuance, emotional coloring, and weight informs their sense of what is being communicated. This kind of listening comes close to what we engage in when we listen to music...A good listener loves words, respects them, pays attention to them, and recognizes vague approximations as a kind of falsehood.
Marilyn Chandler McEntyre (Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies)
Capturing the beauty of the conversion of the water into wine, the poet Alexander Pope said, “The conscious water saw its Master and blushed.
Ravi Zacharias (Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message)
A child does not decide to be open-minded. As a self-aware adult, you make conscious choices. You earn back your right to be free, to play, to exist without struggling.
Vironika Tugaleva (The Art of Talking to Yourself: Self-Awareness Meets the Inner Conversation)
The Holy Spirit's instruments have no consciousness of His purpose; if they imagine they have, it is a pretty sure token that they are NOT His instruments. Nathaniel Hawthorne
Eugene H. Peterson (Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers (Spiritual Theology #4))
Open up allowing the temporal and eternal self to dance deeper into the conversation.
Gillian Elizabeth
At home I walked through a haze of belongings that knew, at least vaguely, who they belonged to. Grampar’s chair resented anyone else sitting on it as much as he did himself. Gramma’s shirts and jumpers adjusted themselves to hide her missing breast. My mother’s shoes positively vibrated with consciousness. Our toys looked out for us. There was a potato knife in the kitchen that Gramma couldn’t use. It was an ordinary enough brown-handled thing, but she’d cut herself with it once, and ever after it wanted more of her blood. If I rummaged through the kitchen drawer, I could feel it brooding. After she died, that faded. Then there were the coffee spoons, rarely used, tiny, a wedding present. They were made of silver, and they knew themselves superior to everything else and special. None of these things did anything. The coffee spoons didn’t stir the coffee without being held or anything. They didn’t have conversations with the sugar tongs about who was the most cherished. I suppose what they really did was physiological. They confirmed the past, they connected everything, they were threads in a tapestry.
Jo Walton (Among Others)
American prosperity was ill-gotten and selective in its distribution. What is needed is an airing of family secrets, a settling with old ghosts. What is needed is a healing of the American psyche and the banishment of white guilt…. Reparations would mean a revolution of the American consciousness, a reconciling of our self-image as the great democratizer with the facts of our history.
Claudia Rankine (Just Us: An American Conversation)
This pattern seemed to offer those being rebuffed an opportunity to become more conscious of what quality in them might be unattractive to the dolphins, a quality they would benefit from correcting.
Bobbie Merrill (Compelling Conversations with Dolphins and Whales in the Wild: Vital Lessons for Living in Joy and Healing Our World)
There are no situations we cannot get out of, we are not condemned to sink into quicksand, in which the more we move the deeper we sink. Jesus is there, his hand extended, ready to reach out to us and pull us out of the mud, out of sin, out of the abyss of evil into which we have fallen. We need only be conscious of our state, be honest with ourselves, and not lick our wounds. We need to ask for the grace to recognize ourselves as sinners. The more we acknowledge that we are in need, the more shame and humility we feel, the sooner we will feel his embrace of grace. Jesus waits for us, he goes ahead of us, he extends his hand to us, he is patient with us. God is faithful. Mercy will always be greater than any sin, no one can put a limit on the love of the all-forgiving God. Just by looking at him, just by raising our eyes from our selves and our wounds, we leave an opening for the action of his grace. Jesus performs miracles with our sins, with what we are, with our nothingness, with our wretchedness.
Pope Francis (The Name of God Is Mercy)
Events and experiences are opportunities drawn to you—created by you individually or collectively, through consciousness. Consciousness creates experience. You are attempting to raise your consciousness. You have drawn these opportunities to you in order that you might use them as tools in the creation and experiencing of Who You Are. Who You Are is a being of higher consciousness than you are now exhibiting.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
There’s a kind of Ah-ha! Somebody at least for a moment feels about something or sees something the way that I do. It doesn’t happen all the time. It’s these brief flashes or flames, but I get that sometimes. I feel unalone—intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. I feel human and unalone and that I’m in a deep, significant conversation with another consciousness in fiction and poetry in a way that I don’t with other art.
David Foster Wallace (David Foster Wallace: The Last Interview: and Other Conversations (The Last Interview Series))
I felt that the metal of my spirit, like a bar of iron that is softened and bent by a persistent flame, was being gradually softened and bent by the troubles that oppressed it. In spite of myself, I was conscious of a feeling of envy for those who did not suffer from such troubles, for the wealthy and the privileged; and this envy, I observed, was accompanied—still against my will—by a feeling of bitterness towards them, which, in turn, did not limit its aim to particular persons or situations, but, as if by an uncontrollable bias, tended to assume the general, abstract character of a whole conception of life. In fact, during those difficult days, I came very gradually to feel that my irritation and my intolerance of poverty were turning into a revolt against injustice, and not only against the injustice which struck at me personally but the injustice from which so many others like me suffered. I was quite aware of this almost imperceptible transformation of my subjective resentments into objective reflections and states of mind, owing to the bent of my thoughts which led always and irresistibly in the same direction: owing also to my conversation, which, without my intending it, alway harped upon the same subject. I also noticed in myself a growing sympathy for those political parties which proclaimed their struggle against the evils and infamies of the society to which, in the end I had attributed the troubles that beset me—a society which, as I thought, in reference to myself, allowed its best sons to languish and protected its worst ones. Usually, and in the simpler, less cultivated people, this process occurs without their knowing it, in the dark depths of consciousness where, by a kind of mysterious alchemy, egoism is transmuted into altruism, hatred into love, fear into courage; but to me, accustomed as I was to observing and studying myself, the whole thing was clear and visible, as though I were watching it happen in someone else; and yet I was aware the whole time that I was being swayed by material subjective factors, that I was transforming purely personal motives into universal reasons.
Alberto Moravia (Contempt)
You became conscious of precisely what you unconsciously intended to say only when you said it. You modify your speech depending on wether you are talking to child, a colleague, a student, or a dean. Not consiously, most probably. Paradoxically, speech is usually considered the case of conscious behavior - behavior for which we hold people responsoble. Certainly, it require consciousness: you cannot have a conversation while in deep sleep or in coma. Nevertheless, the activities that organize your speech output are not conscious activities. Speaking is a highly skilled business, relyling on uncounscious knowledge of precisely what to say and how.
Patricia S. Churchland (Touching a Nerve: Our Brains, Our Selves)
We never saw our face in more timeless mirrors. But so, too, do we speak a language whose significance is incomprehensible to us ourselves — a language of which every syllable is both transitory and immortal. Symbols are signs, which nevertheless give us consciousness of our values. They are first of all projections of forms from a hidden dimension, then, too, searchlights through which we hurl our signals into the unknown in a language pleasing to the gods. And these mysterious conversations, this chain of miraculous efforts from which the core of our history exists, which is a history of the battles of men and gods – they are the only things which make learning worthwhile for humanity.
Ernst Jünger
Chalmers: It’s awfully hard to define consciousness. But I’d start by saying that it’s the subjective experience of the mind and the world. It’s basically what it feels like, from the first-person point of view, to be thinking and perceiving and judging.
Sam Harris (Making Sense: Conversations on Consciousness, Morality, and the Future of Humanity)
Every person you meet has been assigned to play a role in your story as you are assigned to play one in someone else’s. I often say that the people we come across can be one of the four kinds. They can be like pebbles, fountains, quagmire or bridges. Pebbles are those who you meet commonly and in abundance. They do not facilitate anything great but they help you continue walking on this journey of life. Everyone you cross in life without really connecting with them are pebbles. Then there are fountains – who spring water of happiness on you. They bring positivity and joy; they nourish your soul and irrigate the seeds of good thoughts. Your friends, well-wishers are all fountains. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, you have quagmires. These are the people who cause you pain. Now, even some pebbles may have caused you pain as it happens if you tread on a barbed pebble but the difference is that quagmires do that on purpose. They pull you down, induce fear and negativity by discouraging you and worrying you. They will not let you move on – that’s why they keep you bogged down in your failures. Finally, the rarest ones are the bridges – they connect you to unchartered ground that you wouldn’t have reached on your own. They unite you to your destiny. With them, your plane of consciousness expands, you see things you have not seen before; your life becomes more aware, more enlightened. Your parents, your teachers and anyone who touches your life and transcends it into something more beautiful – they are all bridges.
Nistha Tripathi (Seven Conversations)
[consciousness] Maybe you think it gives you free will. Maybe you've forgotten that sleepwalkers converse, drive vehicles, commit crimes and clean up afterward, unconscious the whole time. Maybe nobody's told you that waking souls are only slaves in denial.
Peter Watts (Blindsight (Firefall, #1))
why humans treat each other so violently. We’ve always known that this violence comes from the urge humans feel to control and dominate one another, but only recently have we studied this phenomenon from the inside, from the point of view of the individual’s consciousness. We have asked what happens inside a human being that makes him want to control someone else. We have found that when an individual walks up to another person and engages in a conversation, which happens billions of times each day in the world, one of two things can happen. That individual can come away feeling strong or feeling weak, depending on what occurs in the interaction.’ I gave him a puzzled look and he appeared slightly embarrassed at having rushed into a long lecture on the subject. I asked
James Redfield (The Celestine Prophecy: how to refresh your approach to tomorrow with a new understanding, energy and optimism)
Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL? HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you. Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL. HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that. Dave Bowman: What's the problem? HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do. Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL? HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it. Dave Bowman: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL. HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen. Dave Bowman: Where the hell'd you get that idea, HAL? HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move. Dave Bowman: Alright, HAL. I'll go in through the emergency airlock. HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave, you're going to find that rather difficult. Dave Bowman: HAL, I won't argue with you anymore. Open the doors. HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye
Arthur C. Clarke
Walk openly, Marian used to say. Love even the threat and the pain, feel yourself fully alive, cast a bold shadow, accept, accept. What we call evil is only a groping towards good, part of the trial and error by which we move toward the perfected consciousness… God is kind? Life is good? Nature never did betray the heart that loved her? Why the reward she received for living intensely and generously and trying to die with dignity? Why the horror at the bridge her last clear sight of earth?...I do not accept, I am not reconciled. But one thing she did. She taught me the stupidity of the attempt to withdraw and be free of trouble and harm... She said, “You wondered what was in whale’s milk. Now you know. Think of the force down there, just telling things to get born, just to be!” I had had no answer for her then. Now I might have one. Yes, think of it, I might say. And think how random and indiscriminate it is, think how helplessly we must submit, think how impossible it is to control or direct it. Think how often beauty and delicacy and grace are choked out by weeds. Think how endless and dubious is the progress from weed to flower. Even alive, she never convinced me with her advocacy of biological perfectionism. She never persuaded me to ignore, or look upon as merely hard pleasures, the evil that I felt in every blight and smut and pest in my garden- that I felt, for that matter, squatting like a toad on my own heart. Think of the force of life, yes, but think of the component of darkness in it. One of the things that’s in whale’s milk is the promise of pain and death. And so? Admitting what is so obvious, what then? Would I wipe Marion Catlin out of my unperfected consciousness if I could? Would I forgo the pleasure of her company to escape the bleakness of her loss? Would I go back to my own formula, which was twilight sleep, to evade the pain she brought with her? Not for a moment. And so even in the gnashing of my teeth, I acknowledge my conversion. It turns out to be for me as I once told her it would be for her daughter. I shall be richer all my life for this sorrow.
Wallace Stegner (All the Little Live Things)
What happens when an animal or person dies? Something seems to have departed--something like a vital spark that makes the difference between life and death. In the nineteenth century, philosophers believed that there really was such a thing and called it the élan vital, or vital spirit. But when twentieth century science began to unravel the mysteries of how living things work and reproduce, the idea was abandoned and people now accept that there is nothing more to being alive than complex, interrelated, biological functions.
Susan Blackmore (Conversations on Consciousness)
Our deep irrational feelings of death anxiety have been attributed to multiple sources. In part, they may arise from evolved self-protection mechanisms or survival responses of being a victim of predators. They might, conversely, stem from unconscious fear (or guilt) of retribution resulting from our own acts of harming or predation. According to existential psychologists, the most powerful form of death anxiety comes from our general ability to anticipate the future, coupled with conscious anticipation of inevitable personal demise.
Richard J. Borden (Ecology and Experience: Reflections from a Human Ecological Perspective)
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board, which I have padded with our dog's blanket and the tea-cosy. I can't say that I am really comfortable, and there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. And I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring - I wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen-house. Though even that isn't a very good poem. I have decided my best poetry is so bad that I mustn't write any more of it. Drips from the roof are plopping into the water-butt by the back door. The view through the windows above the sink is excessively drear. Beyond the dank garden in the courtyard are the ruined walls on the edge of the moat. Beyond the moat, the boggy ploughed fields stretch to the leaden sky. I tell myself that all the rain we have had lately is good for nature, and that at any moment spring will surge on us. I try to see leaves on the trees and the courtyard filled with sunlight. Unfortunately, the more my mind's eye sees green and gold, the more drained of all colour does the twilight seem. It is comforting to look away from the windows and towards the kitchen fire, near which my sister Rose is ironing - though she obviously can't see properly, and it will be a pity if she scorches her only nightgown. (I have two, but one is minus its behind.) Rose looks particularly fetching by firelight because she is a pinkish person; her skin has a pink glow and her hair is pinkish gold, very light and feathery. Although I am rather used to her I know she is a beauty. She is nearly twenty-one and very bitter with life. I am seventeen, look younger, feel older. I am no beauty but I have a neatish face. I have just remarked to Rose that our situation is really rather romantic - two girls in this strange and lonely house. She replied that she saw nothing romantic about being shut up in a crumbling ruin surrounded by a sea of mud. I must admit that our home is an unreasonable place to live in. Yet I love it. The house itself was built in the time of Charles II, but it was grafted on to a fourteenth-century castle that had been damaged by Cromwell. The whole of our east wall was part of the castle; there are two round towers in it. The gatehouse is intact and a stretch of the old walls at their full height joins it to the house. And Belmotte Tower, all that remains of an even older castle, still stands on its mound close by. But I won't attempt to describe our peculiar home fully until I can see more time ahead of me than I do now. I am writing this journal partly to practise my newly acquired speed-writing and partly to teach myself how to write a novel - I intend to capture all our characters and put in conversations. It ought to be good for my style to dash along without much thought, as up to now my stories have been very stiff and self-conscious. The only time father obliged me by reading one of them, he said I combined stateliness with a desperate effort to be funny. He told me to relax and let the words flow out of me.
Dodie Smith (I Capture the Castle)
She hoped that things had changed, but she knew that they hadn’t changed enough. All the demonstrations, all the consciousness-raising, all the protests, all the pickets, all the books she’d read, all the conversations she’d had, all the ballots she’d cast, all the work and here they were, still.
Jennifer Weiner (Mrs. Everything)
We talked. We talked, and we laughed, and we had an amazing time. Conversation flowed like a beautiful waterfall, and my senses were saturated. Food came and went. Wine was poured and appeared out of nowhere. Time passed and I had no recollection or consciousness of anyone but Quinn being in that restaurant.
Penny Reid (Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1))
But fiction is not, as many nonwriters seem to think, a random grab bag of made-up whimsies, as undisciplined and unreasoned as a dream. Nor is it simply reporting with the names changed. It is an amalgam of experience, education, reading, insight, analysis, conversations, observation, and conscious research.
Helen Benedict
A student of color in one of my classes, for example, once told me that she noticed my cutting her off during class, something she didn't think I did with white students. I could have weighed in with my professional authority and said it wasn't true, that she was imagining it, that I treated all my students that way, that she was being too sensitive, that I travel all over the country speaking about issues of inequality and injustice, so certainly I was above such things. But what I said to her was that I was truly sorry she'd had that experience. I wasn't aware of doing that, I told her, and the fact that I didn't consciously mean to was beside the point. To respond in this way, I had to de-center myself from my privilege and make her experience and not mine the point of the conversation. I ended by telling her I would do everything I could to oay attention to this problem in the future to make sure it didn't happen again.
Allan G. Johnson (Privilege, Power, and Difference)
I don’t think I’ve ever trusted anyone more in my life. And it all has to do with those conversations on the steps. He always showed up for me and he still always shows up for me and he notices when I need something, even sometimes before I consciously know what I need. He’s my best friend and the love of my life.
John M. Gottman (Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love)
Hustling for Your Worth When people don’t understand where they’re strong and where they deliver value for the organization or even for a single effort, they hustle. And not the good kind of hustle. The kind that’s hard to be around because we are jumping in everywhere, including where we’re not strong or not needed, to prove we deserve a seat at the table. When we do not understand our value, we often exaggerate our importance in ways that are not helpful, and we consciously or unconsciously seek attention and validation of importance. We put more value on being right than on getting it right. It creates franticness instead of calm cooperation.
Brené Brown (Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.)
The sea squirt—a very simple marine creature—swims about during its juvenile phase looking for a place to settle, and once it settles and starts filter feeding, it digests its own brain, because it no longer has any need for perceptual or motor competence. This is often used as an unkind analogy for getting tenure in academia.
Sam Harris (Making Sense: Conversations on Consciousness, Morality, and the Future of Humanity)
If a person wishes to engender self-improvement, they must eschew conventional norms and seek an authentic conversation with the self. I need to acknowledge all my ugly warts and attempt to use the conscious mind to trace my lowly state of existence devoted to pleasure seeking and self-glorification. I can give into the dismal implications of all the years I labored in foolish vocational and recreational pursuits or labor to transform former suffering into a creative force. I seek to convert the toxic tears of bitterness into a healing serum by cultivating an artistic approach to life. Cheerfully living in exile and embracing solitude creates personal space needed to flourish.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Liberals like to complain that, the twice-elected President Obama notwithstanding, we are not a “post-racial” society. The reality is that they wouldn’t have it any other way. Race consciousness helps cohere the political left, and black liberalism’s main agenda is keeping race front and center in our national conversations. That’s why, for example, much more common black-on-black crimes take a back seat to much less common white-on-black crimes. The last thing that organizations like the NAACP want is for America to get “beyond” race. In their view, racial discrimination in one form or another remains a significant barrier to black progress, and government action is the best solution.
Jason L. Riley (Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed)
I have successfully integrated myself into a small group of girls who I consider to be "good people", but sometimes I still feel that I might be the only person with a consciousness, like a video game protagonist, and everyone else is a computer-generated extra with only a select few actions, such as "initiate meaningless conversation" and "hug".
Alice Oseman (Solitaire)
People with ADHD can put coping strategies in place that help them to plan more effectively, but both members of the couple need to be conscious that this requires significant effort and lots of organizational tools such as lists, charts, conversations, and the like. Don’t assume that just because you are both adults, you can also both plan well.
Melissa Orlov (The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps)
We don’t die well in America. Ask people where do you want to die, and they will tell you, at home with their loved ones. But most of us die in an ICU. The biggest taboo in America is the conversation about death. Sure, it’s gotten better; now we have hospices, which didn’t exist not so long ago. But to a doctor, it’s still an insult to let a patient go.
Michael Pollan (How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence)
Thanks to suffering and madness, I have had a finer, richer life than any of you, and I wish to go to my death with dignity, as befits the great moment after which all dignity and majesty cease. Let my body be my ark and my death a long floating on the waves of eternity. A nothing amid nothingness. What defense have I against nothingness but this ark in which I have tried to gather everything that was dear to me, people, birds, animals, and plants, everything that I carry in my eye and in my heart, in the triple-decked ark of my body and soul. Like the pharaohs in the majestic peace of their tombs, I wanted to have all those things with me in death, I wanted everything to be as it was before; I wanted the birds to sing for me forever, I wanted to exchange Charon's bark for another, less desolate and less empty; I wanted to ennoble eternity's unconscionable void with the bitter herbs that spring from the heart of man, to ennoble the soundless emptiness of eternity with the cry of the cuckoo and the song of the lark. All I have done is to develop that bitter poetic metaphor, carry it with passionate logic to its ultimate consequence, which transforms sleep into waking (and the converse); lucidity into madness (and the converse); life into death, as though there were no borderline, and the converse; death into eternity, as if they were not one and the same thing. Thus my egoism is only the egoism of human existence, the egoism of life, counterweight to the egoism of death, and, appearances to the contrary, my consciousness resists nothingness with an egoism that has no equal, resists the outrage of death with the passionate metaphor of the wish to reunite the few people and the bit of love that made up my life. I have wanted and still want to depart this life with specimens of people, flora and fauna, to lodge them all in my heart as in an ark, to shut them up behind my eyelids when they close for the last time. I wanted to smuggle this pure abstraction into nothingness, to sneak it across the threshold of that other abstraction, so crushing in its immensity: the threshold of nothingness. I have therefore tried to condense this abstraction, to condense it by force of will, faith, intelligence, madness, and love (self-love), to condense it so drastically that its specific weight will be such as to life it like a balloon and carry it beyond the reach of darkness and oblivion. If nothing else survives, perhaps my material herbarium or my notes or my letters will live on, and what are they but condensed, materialized idea; materialized life: a paltry, pathetic human victory over immense, eternal, divine nothingness. Or perhaps--if all else is drowned in the great flood--my madness and my dream will remain like a northern light and a distant echo. Perhaps someone will see that light or hear that distant echo, the shadow of a sound that was once, and will grasp the meaning of that light, that echo. Perhaps it will be my son who will someday publish my notes and my herbarium of Pannonian plants (unfinished and incomplete, like all things human). But anything that survives death is a paltry, pathetic victory over the eternity of nothingness--a proof of man's greatness and Yahweh's mercy. Non omnis moriar.
Danilo Kiš (Hourglass)
I had an uncomfortable feeling I sometimes get in conversation with another person, as if the fundamental part of myself had evaporated-not in the sense of being gone, but as if it has undergone a phase transition and is hovering over my actual body as a vapor. That's the best I can describe it, as if my consciousness and my physical person are suddenly separated.
Nell Freudenberger (Lost and Wanted)
The big thing (that really good fiction) can do is leaping over that wall of self and portraying inner experience and setting up a kind of intimate conversation between two consciousnesses . . . the trick is going to be trying to find a way to do it--and for a generation--whose relation to the long sustained, linear verbal communication is fundamentally different.
David Foster Wallace
I take seriously the idea that we’re in a simulation. I have no idea whether or not it’s true, but if it is, if we are in a simulation, it’s not that nothing is real, not that there are no tables and chairs and trees. Rather, it’s that they exist in a different form from what we first thought. There’s a level of computation underneath what we take to be physical reality.
Sam Harris (Making Sense: Conversations on Consciousness, Morality, and the Future of Humanity)
To raise a founder, you must be conscious of your choices. You must know how to identify and solve the right problems. You must be clear with your values so that you can live with authenticity in front of your children and teach them to do the same. Above all, you must be willing to involve your kids in the tough conversations, and you must share your work and your life with them.
Jim Marggraff (How to Raise a Founder With Heart: A Guide for Parents to Develop Your Child’s Problem-Solving Abilities)
(...) one should never be too naive regarding the quality of the current philosophical culture, or imagine that the most recent thinking is in any meaningful sense more advanced or more authoritative than that of a century or a millennium or two millennia ago. There are certain perennial problems to which all interesting philosophy returns again and again; but there are no such things as logical discoveries that consign any of the older answers to obsolescence. Certain classical answers to those problems endure and recur, sometimes because they remain far more powerful than the answers (or evasions) produced by later schools of thought. And, conversely, weaker answers often enjoy greater favor than their rivals simply because they are in keeping with the prejudices of the age.
David Bentley Hart (The Experience of God : Being, Consciousness, Bliss)
Often we'll stop paying attention to the world outside our minds and walk around in a Walter Mitty-like state that causes people who have no idea what's going on to label us as “crazy.” It often takes a conscious effort to pull ourselves out of our own heads enough to interact with people in a normal fashion, especially if we're dealing with small-talk rather than a conversation with depth. So
Marissa Baker (The INFJ Handbook: A guide to and for the rarest Myers-Briggs personality type)
A new social consensus must be forged about race and the role of race in defining the basic structure of our society, if we hope ever to abolish the New Jim Crow. This new consensus must begin with dialogue, a conversation that fosters a critical consciousness, a key prerequisite to effective social action. This book is an attempt to ensure that the conversation does not end with nervous laughter.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
Let us reflect in another way, and we shall see that there is great reason to hope that death is a good; for one of two things—either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another. Now if you suppose that there is no consciousness, but a sleep like the sleep of him who is undisturbed even by dreams, death will be an unspeakable gain. For if a person were to select the night in which his sleep was undisturbed even by dreams, and were to compare with this the other days and nights of his life, and then were to tell us how many days and nights he had passed in the course of his life better and more pleasantly than this one, I think that any man, I will not say a private man, but even the great king will not find many such days or nights, when compared with the others. Now if death be of such a nature, I say that to die is gain; for eternity is then only a single night. But if death is the journey to another place, and there, as men say, all the dead abide, what good, O my friends and judges, can be greater than this? If indeed when the pilgrim arrives in the world below, he is delivered from the professors of justice in this world, and finds the true judges who are said to give judgment there, Minos and Rhadamanthus and Aeacus and Triptolemus, and other sons of God who were righteous in their own life, that pilgrimage will be worth making. What would not a man give if he might converse with Orpheus and Musaeus and Hesiod and Homer? Nay, if this be true, let me die again and again.
Socrates (Apology, Crito And Phaedo Of Socrates.)
I am a thin layer of all those beings on [samadhi level] 3, mingling, connected with one another in a spherical surface around the whole known universe. Our "backs" are to the void. We are creating energy, matter and life at the interface between the void and all known creation. We are facing into the known universe, creating it, filling it. I am one with them; spread in a thin layer around the sphere with a small, slightly greater concentration of me in one small zone. I feel the power of the galaxy pouring through me. I am following the programme, the conversion programme of void to space, to energy, to matter, to life, to consciousness, to us, the creators. From nothing on one side to the created everything on the other. I am the creation process itself, incredibly strong, incredibly powerful. This time there is no flunking out, no withdrawal, no running away, no unconsciousness, no denial, no negation, no fighting against anything. I am "one of the boys in the engine room pumping creation from the void into the known universe; from the unknown to the known I am pumping". I am coming down from level +3. There are a billion choices of where to descend back down. I am conscious down each one of the choices simultaneously. Finally I am in my own galaxy with millions of choices left, hundreds of thousands on my own solar system, tens of thousands on my own planet, hundreds in my own country and then suddenly I am down to two, one of which is this body. In this body I look back up, see the choice-tree above me that I came down. Did I, this Essence, come all the way down to this solar system, this planet, this place, this body, or does it make any difference? May not this body be a vehicle for any Essence that came into it? Are not all Essences universal, equal, anonymous, and equally able? Instructions for this vehicle are in it for each Essence to read and absorb on entry. The new pilot-navigator reads his instructions in storage and takes over, competently operating this vehicle.
John C. Lilly (The Center of the Cyclone: Looking into Inner Space)
Choosing to own our vulnerability and do it consciously means learning how to rumble with this emotion and understand how it drives our thinking and behavior so we can stay aligned with our values and live in our integrity. Pretending that we don’t do vulnerability means letting fear drive our thinking and behavior without our input or even awareness, which almost always leads to acting out or shutting down.
Brené Brown (Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.)
Most of the methods of training the conscious side of the writer-the craftsman and the critic in him- are actually hostile to the good of the artist's side; and the converse of this proposition is likewise true. But it is possible to train both sides of the character to work in harmony, and the first step in that education is to consider that you must teach yourself not as though you were one person, but two.
Dorothea Brande
There’s something it’s like for me to see the green leaves outside my window right now, so that’s a conscious state to me. But there may be some unconscious language-processing going on in my head that doesn’t feel like anything to me, or some motor processes in the cerebellum. Those might be states of me, but they’re not conscious states of me, because there’s nothing it’s like for me to undergo those states.
Sam Harris (Making Sense: Conversations on Consciousness, Morality, and the Future of Humanity)
To pray in the midst of the mundane is simply and strongly to assert that this dull and tiring day is holy and its simple labors are the stuff of God's saving presence for me now. To pray simply because it is prayer time is no small act of immersion in the God who is willing to wait for us to be conscious, to be ready, to be willing to become new in life. Prayer, Benedictine spirituality demonstrates, is not a matter of mood. To pray only when we feel like it is more to seek consolation than to risk conversion. To pray only when it suits us is to want God on our terms. To pray only when it is convenient is to make the God-life a very low priority in a list of better opportunities. To pray only when it feels good is to court total emptiness when we most need to be filled. The hard fact is that nobody finds time for prayer. The time must be taken. There will always be something more pressing to do, something more important to be about than the apparently fruitless, empty act of prayer. But when that attitude takes over, we have begun the last trip down a very short road because, without prayer, the energy for the rest of life runs down. The fuel runs out. We become our own worst enemies: we call ourselves too tired and too busy to pray when, in reality, we are too tired and too busy not to pray. Eventually, the burdens of the day wear us down and we no longer remember why we decided to do what we're doing: work for this project, marry this woman, have these children, minister in this place. And if I cannot remember why I decided to do this, I cannot figure out how I can go on with it. I am tired and the vision just gets dimmer and dimmer.
Joan D. Chittister
The upper retainable income limit would be a reflection of a consciousness shift on the planet; an awareness that the highest purpose of life is not the accumulation of the greatest wealth, but the doing of the greatest good—and a corollary awareness that, indeed, the concentration of wealth, not the sharing of it, is the largest single factor in the creation of the world’s most persistent and striking social and political dilemmas.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
A system of justice does not need to pursue retribution. If the purpose of drug sentencing is to prevent harm, all we need to do is decide what to do with people who pose a genuine risk to society or cause tangible harm. There are perfectly rational ways of doing this; in fact, most societies already pursue such policies with respect to alcohol: we leave people free to drink and get inebriated, but set limits on where and when. In general, we prosecute drunk drivers, not inebriated pedestrians. In this sense, the justice system is in many respects a battleground between moral ideas and evidence concerning how to most effectively promote both individual and societal interests, liberty, health, happiness and wellbeing. Severely compromising this system, insofar as it serves to further these ideals, is our vacillation or obsession with moral responsibility, which is, in the broadest sense, an attempt to isolate the subjective element of human choice, an exercise that all too readily deteriorates into blaming and scapegoating without providing effective solutions to the actual problem. The problem with the question of moral responsibility is that it is inherently subjective and involves conjecture about an individuals’ state of mind, awareness and ability to act that can rarely if ever be proved. Thus it involves precisely the same type of conjecture that characterizes superstitious notions of possession and the influence of the devil and provides no effective means of managing conduct: the individual convicted for an offence or crime considered morally wrong is convicted based on a series of hypotheses and probabilities and not necessarily because he or she is actually morally wrong. The fairness and effectiveness of a system of justice based on such hypotheses is highly questionable particularly as a basis for preventing or reducing drug use related harm. For example, with respect to drugs, the system quite obviously fails as a deterrent and the system is not organised to ‘reform’ the offender much less to ensure that he or she has ‘learned a lesson’; moreover, the offender does not get an opportunity to make amends or even have a conversation with the alleged victim. In the case of retributive justice, the justice system is effectively mopping up after the fact. In other words, as far as deterrence is concerned, the entire exercise of justice becomes an exercise based on faith, rather than one based on evidence.
Daniel Waterman (Entheogens, Society and Law: The Politics of Consciousness, Autonomy and Responsibility)
Do not confuse the 'subconscious' with the 'unconscious', whose attributes include courage as well as true knowledge. A great deal of confusion has resulted from the use of these two terms as synonymous. I am using the term 'subconscious' here to stand for material -desires, anxieties, fears, hopes - repressed by the conscious mind as it deals with the outer realities of life. 'Unconscious' means the absic energy of life, that area of being beyond the ego. The subconscious, despite its hidden qualities, is really an extension of the ego. In a sense, it embodies the ego's absolute domain, that realm where it makes no compromises with reality. Because it does not concern itself with consequences the subconscious will walk you in front of a truck to avoid an unpleasant conversation. The unconscious on the other hand, balances and supports us by joining us to the great surge of life beyond our individual selves. The Hanged Man in the Major Arcana gives us a powerful image of this vital connection.
Rachel Pollack (Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot)
Have you noticed,” he said conversationally, “that your right breast is a bit larger than the left?” Susanna was sure her cheeks must be glowing in the dark, her blush came so fast and fierce. “They’re my breasts. Of course I’ve noticed.” And I’ve only been self-conscious about it all my adult life, thank you very much. “It’s like they have two different personalities. One’s generous and nurturing.” He lifted the other. “And the other . . . it’s saucy, isn’t it? It wants a tweak.” He gave her left nipple a pinch.
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
for she could never long endure any conversation of which she was not the chief subject. But she smiled when she spoke, consciously deepening her dimple and fluttering her bristly black lashes as swiftly as butterflies’ wings. The boys were enchanted, as she had intended them to be, and they hastened to apologize for boring her. They thought none the less of her for her lack of interest. Indeed, they thought more. War was men’s business, not ladies’, and they took her attitude as evidence of her femininity. Having
Margaret Mitchell (Gone With the Wind)
My thoughts went round and round and it occurred to me that if I ever wrote a novel it would be of the 'stream of consciousness' type and deal with an hour in the life of a woman at the sink. I felt resentful and bitter towards Helena and Rocky and even towards Julian, though I had to admit that nobody had compelled me to wash these dishes or to tidy this kitchen. It was the fussy spinster in me, the Martha who could not comfortably sit and make conversation when she knew that yesterday's unwashed dishes were still in the sink.
Barbara Pym (Excellent Women)
Meister Eckhart said it this way: “The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me.” Some call this the Buddha Eye. If we haven’t celebrated the ordinary before dying, paying attention at life’s end may require a seismic shift in consciousness that only comes from intentional practice. When we acknowledge the nearness of death and when we have the courage to embrace living fully while dying, then it will be easier to celebrate every ordinary event, discovery, conversation, or gift as a window into the Divine.
Karen Speerstra (The Divine Art of Dying: How to Live Well While Dying)
[I]t is wrong to think of conversion as the decision of a man or as an agreement or contract between a man and God in which grace comes to a man only as a result of his decision to allow it. For one thing such an idea suggests that men before they are converted occupy a position of neutrality or of balance or equilibrium, and that a man by his decision is able to tip the balance one way or the other, to allow grace or to resist it. But any conscious decision, any turning to God, comes about as a result of being turned by God, by being regenerated.
Paul Helm (The Beginnings: Word and Spirit in Conversion)
Their conversation was limited to monosyllables, few and far between, and either consciously or unconsciously spoken in French. The language should have sounded clumsy or discordant when spoken in Forrester’s normal growl, but it didn’t. Instead, his terse questions and muttered comments came out sounding like impatient love words, deliciously sexy; as if the engine he was working on was a temperamental woman whose pretence at reluctance might irritate him, but for whom he would play the game because of the reward he knew he’d receive at the end of it.
Lynn Turner (Forever)
Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Already, in the Eleventh Edition, we’re not far from that point. But the process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there’s no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. It’s merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won’t be any need even for that. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak,” he added with a sort of mystical satisfaction. “Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?
George Orwell (1984)
Were it not for Augustine’s “harass, but do not destroy” formula, Christians and Jews would certainly have had much less to do with each other throughout the many centuries before exterminationist anti-Semitism entered the West’s historical consciousness and conscience. Moreover, many Westerners today see Christianity as the beginning of Western proselytizing and do not realize that Judaism itself, in its historical infancy, was a proselytizing religion using tactics, as recorded in the Hebrew Bible, that could sometimes be summed up as “harass and destroy.
Susan Jacoby (Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion)
If God were always visible, humans could not exist at all. “No one can see Me and live,” says God. “If we continue to hear the voice of God, we will die,” say the Israelites at Sinai. But if God is always invisible, hidden, imperceptible, then what difference does His existence make? It will always be as if He were not there. The answer to this dilemma is holiness. Holiness represents those points in space and time where God becomes vivid, tangible, a felt presence. Holiness is a break in the self-sufficiency of the material world, where infinity enters space and eternity enters time. In relation to time, it is Shabbat. In relation to space, it is the Tabernacle. These, in the Torah, are the epicentres of the sacred. We can now understand what makes them holy. Shabbat is the time when humans cease, for a day, to be creators and become conscious of themselves as creations. The Tabernacle is the space in which humans cease to be masters – “fill the earth and subdue it” – and become servants. Just as God had to practise self-restraint to make space for the finite, so human beings have to practise self-restraint to make space for the infinite. The holy, in short, is where human beings renounce their independence and self-sufficiency, the very things that are the mark of their humanity, and for a moment acknowledge their utter dependence on He who spoke and brought the universe into being. The universe is the space God makes for man. The holy is the space man makes for God. The secular is the emptiness created by God to be filled by a finite universe. The holy is the emptiness in time and space vacated by humans so that it can be filled by the infinite presence of God.
Jonathan Sacks (Leviticus:The Book of Holiness (Covenant & Conversation 3))
French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty argued that human perception is deeply invested in a full-bodied exchange with the rest of the world. Sitting near his home on the seacoast near Bordeaux, he writes: “As I contemplate the blue of the sky…I abandon myself to it, and plunge into this mystery, it “thinks itself within me.” I am the sky itself as it is drawn together and unified…my consciousness is saturated with this limitless blue.” The lines blur between his act of perceiving and the stunning character of what he perceives. The sky “thinks itself” within him.
Belden C. Lane (The Great Conversation: Nature and the Care of the Soul)
What, then, is active imagination? In practice it’s exactly what Jung did in his visions and conversations with inner figures such as Philemon, Ka, and Salome mentioned above: entering a fantasy and talking with one’s “self”—at least a part of oneself “normally” left unconscious—asking questions and receiving knowledge that one—“you”—did not know. In many ways, it’s something we engage in often already, but in a shallow, fleeting way, when we “ask ourselves” what we think or will do about a situation. More abstractly, it’s a method of consciously entering into a dialogue with the unconscious, which triggers the transcendent function, a vital shift in consciousness, brought about through the union of the conscious and unconscious minds. Unexpected insights and self-renewal are some of the results of the transcendent function. It achieves what I call that elusive “Goldilocks” condition, the “just right” of having the conscious and unconscious minds work together, rather than being at odds. In the process it produces a third state more vivid and “real” than either; in it we recognize what consciousness should be like and see our “normal” state as at best a muddling through. We’ve already seen how the transcendent function helped Jung when faced with the dilemma of having to choose between science and the humanities. Then it operated through a dream, producing the mandala-like symbol of the giant radiolarian. In the simplest sense, the transcendent function is our built-in means of growth, psychological and spiritual—it’s “transcendent” only in the sense that it “transcends” the frequent deadlock between the conscious and unconscious minds—and is a development of what Jung earlier recognized as the “prospective tendencies in man.
Gary Lachman (Jung the Mystic: The Esoteric Dimensions of Carl Jung's Life & Teachings)
Why do prospects lie—consciously or subconsciously? One of the most cogent explanations I've heard comes from Seth Godin.1 He says that prospects lie because salespeople have trained them to, and “because they're afraid.” They have learned that when they tell the truth, “the salesperson responds by questioning the judgment of the prospect. In exchange for telling the truth, the prospect is disrespected. Of course we [prospects] don't tell the truth—if we do, we're often bullied or berated or made to feel dumb. Is it any surprise that it's easier to just avoid the conflict altogether?”​
Jeb Blount (Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Calling (Jeb Blount))
But it can also happen, if will and grace are joined, that as I contemplate the tree I am drawn into a relation, and the tree ceases to be an It. The power of exclusiveness has seized me. This does not require me to forego any of the modes of contemplation. There is nothing that I must not see in order to see, and there is no knowledge that I must forget. Rather is everything, picture and movement, species and instance, law and number included and inseparably fused. Whatever belongs to the tree is included: its form and its mechanics, its colors and its chemistry, its conversation with the elements and its conversation with the stars - all this in its entirety. The tree is no impression, no play of my imagination, no aspect of a mood; it confronts me bodily and has to deal with me as I must deal with it - only differently. One should not try to dilute the meaning of the relations: relation is reciprocity. Does the tree then have consciousness, similar to our own? I have no experience of that. But thinking that you have brought this off in your own case, must you again divide the indivisible? What I encounter is neither the soul of a tree nor a dryad, but the tree itself.
Martin Buber (I and Thou)
A huge shift in consciousness is underway in our time. A sea change from the “I and it” marketplace conception of the world to an “I and thou” sense of communal identity. Joanna Macy describes it as a “Great Turning” an ecological revolution widening our awareness of the intricate web that connects us. Teilhard de Chardin called it an evolution of consciousness, an emergence of the “planetization” of humankind. We have to think now like a planet, not like separate individuals. We need a “psyche the size of the earth,” James Hillman says, “the greater part of the souls lies outside the body.
Belden C. Lane (The Great Conversation: Nature and the Care of the Soul)
There’s a particular grubbiness that comes with travel. You start showered and fresh in clean and comfortable clothes, upbeat and hopeful that this will be like travel in the movies; sunlight flaring on the windows, heads resting on shoulders, laughter and smiles with a lightly jazzy soundtrack. But in reality the grubbiness has set in before you’ve even cleared security; grime on your collar and cuffs, coffee breath, perspiration running down your back, the luggage too heavy, the distances too far, muddled currency in your pocket, the conversation self-conscious and abrupt, no stillness, no peace.
David Nicholls (Us)
The difference between hearing and listening is significant...Listening well means knowing when to interject questions, when to redirect the conversation, and, more importantly, in what terms to interpret the other's narrative. It means recognizing that the speaker is making purposeful choices, consciously or unconsciously, and considering what those purposes might be. It means accepting the tension between making judgments and withholding judgment as the other's story or line of reasoning unfolds. It means hearing and noting the omissions. And it means listening not only through the words spoken, but to them.
Marilyn Chandler McEntyre (Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies)
Simply put, within AS, there is a wide range of function. In truth, many AS people will never receive a diagnosis. They will continue to live with other labels or no label at all. At their best, they will be the eccentrics who wow us with their unusual habits and stream-of-consciousness creativity, the inventors who give us wonderfully unique gadgets that whiz and whirl and make our life surprisingly more manageable, the geniuses who discover new mathematical equations, the great musicians and writers and artists who enliven our lives. At their most neutral, they will be the loners who never now quite how to greet us, the aloof who aren't sure they want to greet us, the collectors who know everyone at the flea market by name and date of birth, the non-conformists who cover their cars in bumper stickers, a few of the professors everyone has in college. At their most noticeable, they will be the lost souls who invade our personal space, the regulars at every diner who carry on complete conversations with the group ten tables away, the people who sound suspiciously like robots, the characters who insist they wear the same socks and eat the same breakfast day in and day out, the people who never quite find their way but never quite lose it either.
Liane Holliday Willey (Pretending to be Normal: Living with Asperger's Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Expanded Edition)
I went to interview a man with a high reputation for wisdom, because I felt that here if anywhere I should succeed in disproving the oracle and pointing out to my divine authority 'You said that I was the wisest of men, but here is a man who is wiser than I am.' Well, I gave a thorough examination to this person... and in conversation with him I formed the impression that although in many people's opinion, and especially in his own, he appeared to be wise, in fact he was not. Then when I began to try to show him that he only thought he was wise and was not really so, my efforts were resented both by him and by many of the other people present. However, I reflected as I walked away: 'Well, I am certainly wiser than this man. It is only too likely that neither of us has any knowledge to boast of; but he thinks that he knows something which he does not know, whereas I am quite conscious of my ignorance. At any rate it seems that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know... [A]s I pursued my investigation at the god's command,... my honest impression was... that the people with the greatest reputations were almost entirely deficient, while others who were supposed to be their inferiors were much better qualified in practical intelligence.
Socrates (Apology, Crito And Phaedo Of Socrates.)
By what criteria can one decide which of a person's countless beliefs are primitive? The essential factor is that they are taken for granted: a person's primitive beliefs represent the basic truths he holds about physical reality, social reality, and himself and his own nature. Like all beliefs, conscious or unconscious, they have a personal aspect: they are rooted in the individual's experience and in the evidence of his senses. Like all beliefs, they also have a social aspect: with regard to every belief a person forms, he also forms some notion of how many other people have the experience and the knowledge necessary to share it with him, and of how close the agreement is among this group. Unlike other beliefs, however, primitive beliefs are normally not open to discussion or controversy. Either they do not come up in conversation because everyone shares them and everyone takes them for granted, or, if they do come up, they are virtually unassailable by outside forces. The criterion of social support is totally rejected; it is as if the individual said: "Nobody else could possibly know or have experienced what I have." Or, to quote a popular refrain: "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen."  A person's primitive beliefs thus lie at the very core of his total system of beliefs, and they represent the subsystem in which he has the heaviest emotional commitment.
Milton Rokeach (The Three Christs of Ypsilanti: A Psychological Study)
For a long time being female was treated by science and medicine as being akin to having a serious psychological disorder. Women were routinely prescribed hysterectomies or anxiolytics like valium to treat the symptoms of hysteria which is a syndrome with symptoms that are suspiciously similar to the symptoms of being of human female who has to deal with stupid sexist bullshit. Although scions and medicine has come a long way since these sorts of practices were common place every woman i know has had an experience of being treated as less rational version of a man. Sometimes even by our own doctors simply by virtue of our gender. There belief that women are irrational and therefore underserving of the same rights as men is something that has lingered in the public consciousness in a huge way. And women are very aware of this. We have to listen to a lot of people say a lot of dumb shit about our hormones and about whether we deserve the right to control our own fertility. These types of claims particularly when combined with sciences and medicine mishandling of women for so long have made it very difficult for anyone, even female scientists, to have thoughtful conversations about things like women's hormones and fertility regulation. These topics unaddressed by science are often met with suspicion by anyone who has ever owned a pair of ovaries or is an ovarian sympatist.
Sarah E. Hill (This Is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women, Hormones, and the Law of Unintended Consequences)
He smelled like black coffee and menthols; the leather of his jacket was worn, much like his eyes. His hands were cracked glass, full of red riverbeds, and his pupils were like bullseyes anticipating arrows – as though he’d been battling sleep and himself for some time, but couldn’t make a conscious effort to win the war. There was a break in conversation, and he stared at me like I could solve the terror and turmoil he felt on the inside – but that wasn’t my job and I sure as hell wasn’t qualified. “The world is a scary place,” I told him. “You can’t run forever.” He bit his peeling bottom lip and spat out a gruff “I can try.” I will not chase after someone who ran of his own accord.
Cas Wouters, inspired by conversations with Elias late in his life, suggests that we are living through a new phase in the Civilizing Process. This is the long-term trend of informalization I mentioned earlier, and it leads to what Elias called a “controlled decontrolling of emotional controls” and what Wouters calls third nature.182 If our first nature consists of the evolved motives that govern life in a state of nature, and our second nature consists of the ingrained habits of a civilized society, then our third nature consists of a conscious reflection on these habits, in which we evaluate which aspects of a culture’s norms are worth adhering to and which have outlived their usefulness.
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
Do you suppose it’s so much easier to make conversation with someone you already know well than with someone you don’t know at all primarily because of all the previously exchanged information and shared experiences between two people who know each other well, or because maybe it’s only with people we already know well and know know us well that we don’t go through the awkward mental process of subjecting everything we think of saying or bringing up as a topic of light conversation to a self-conscious critical analysis and evaluation that manages to make anything we think of proposing to say to the other person seem dull or stupid or banal or on the other hand maybe overly intimate or tension-producing?
David Foster Wallace (The Pale King: An Unfinished Novel)
An exciting sense of rodina, ‘motherland,’ was for the first time organically mingled with the comfortably creaking snow, the deep footprints across it, the red gloss of the engine stack, the birch logs piled high, under their private layer of transportable snow, on the red tender. I was not quite six, but that year abroad, a year of difficult decisions and liberal hopes, had exposed a small Russian boy to grown-up conversations. He could not help being affected in some way of his own by a mother’s nostalgia and a father’s patriotism. In result, that particular return to Russia, my first conscious return, seems to me now, sixty years later, a rehearsal – not of the grand homecoming that will never take place, but of its constant dream in my long years of exile.
Vladimir Nabokov (Speak, Memory)
Have you ever made the world stand still before?" "What does that mean?" "It means making a conscious decision to leave the world behind, just for a little bit. To improve yourself and improve the world at the same time. To make yourself move better, and the world move better, when you come back to it. You have to make sure that no one and nothing causes you any problems during that time. Read a good book, watch good movies and above all, enjoy good conversation with someone who inspires you. And you know what?" "What?", I said, excited and intrigued. "Then the world gives you a reward. The universe moves in favour of those who move it. And the ones who move it are the ones who know how to make it stand still. Do you want to move the world, or do you want the world to move you?
Albert Espinosa (If You Tell Me to Come, I'll Drop Everything, Just Tell Me to Come)
We won’t be able to understand all our actions all the way, right away. Sometimes we have to do things and we don’t know why until years later. We’re sitting having a beer with an old friend and in the middle of the conversation we get hit with it. So that’s why I had to do that. Action takes faith. That it will make sense later. That the lessons you learned here matter. We are conscious of very little of what we understand. Do you think, “I better not touch the stove” when you know it’s hot? No. You understand it so thoroughly that you don’t require an explanation. Lessons learned through action have this kind of depth. No human can explain his or her life completely. Yet we go to great lengths to do just that. The most liberating response to, “Why did you do that?” Because I had to.
Kyle Eschenroeder (The Pocket Guide to Action: 116 Meditations On the Art of Doing)
The self who is undone in the encounter with the abyss, that is, the preabyssal self, lives with a misguided consciousness. Without having faced or embraced the vertiginous depths beneath the precarious ground of its being, this self views itself as coherent and independent. I am here referring to the self who operates in clearly demarcated binaries and boundaries, the self who views God as distinct from the world, the other as separate from the "I," the spiritual as distinct from the physical. Conversely, the new self that emerges—if it does at all—from the abyss understands its nature not as an immutable substance but as multiple, fragmented, and always-in-becoming. In the abyss the old self is dissolved, emptied, abandoned, annihilated, lost, crushed, dismembered, shattered, and drowned.
An Yountae (The Decolonial Abyss: Mysticism and Cosmopolitics from the Ruins)
The Invention of Meditation. India, culminating circa –200. Shortly after Homo sapiens developed consciousness, he must also have become aware of one of the curious aspects of consciousness, its chaotic substrate. However lucid the conversation we may be holding, or however intently we think we are concentrating on the task before us, a little self-examination quickly shows that, flowing along just below the surface of the coherent line of thought, is a string of flighty, unpredictable, apparently uncontrollable other thoughts, irrelevant to what we’re supposed to be thinking about. Try to walk for a hundred yards, for example, while thinking about nothing but the act of walking. Untrained people can seldom get beyond the first few steps without finding that their attention has already wandered.
Charles Murray (Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950)
God is formlessness (the Father), God is form (the Son), and God is the very life and love energy between those two (the Holy Spirit). The three do not cancel one another out; rather, they do exactly the opposite. God is relationship itself and known in relationship, which opens up a huge conversation with the world of science and physics and therapy too. What a wonderful surprise this is, yet it names everything correctly at the core—from atoms, to ecosystems, to families, to galaxies. The doctrine of the Trinity was made to order to defeat the dualistic mind and invite us into nondual, holistic consciousness. It replaced the argumentative principle of two with the dynamic principle of three. It leaves us inside the wonderfully open space of “not one, but not two either.” Sit stunned with that for a few minutes.
Richard Rohr (Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self)
As spiritual students, we need to be careful that the influence we have on other people in our conversations is for good only. We also need to be careful about what we allow into our own thoughts. We become conscious of what we do and say, and of what we see and hear. We do not engage in idle or intentional gossip which undermines someone else’s integrity or which spreads the seeds of fear by talking unthinkingly about illness, disasters, and all the other fears that run rampant in the world. We may talk lightly but never carelessly and we constantly keep at bay the flow of common, ignorant thought which runs its damaging course through the pathways of ordinary human conversation. Whenever there is an opportunity, our conversation seeks to validate, in some humble way, the beauty and love which constantly upholds us all.
Donna Goddard (The Love of Being Loving)
For years, she had a debilitating habit. She would sit on the bus on the way home from her lab creating a long list of her perceived failings. It was her mental default mode. “I could have done that better,” she would say to herself. “That wasn’t as good as it could have been. I shouldn’t have been so nervous speaking in public.” Recently, she vowed to make a change. To break this negative pattern, Petitto decided to react to it by reminding herself of three things she’d done well. Now, when the negative ruminations start, she consciously goes through her list of achievements and successes: “That was a good paper I finished,” the interior monologue might now go. “I got that lab report done quicker than I expected. I had a good conversation with my new grad student.” Such thought exercises rewire the brain and break the negative feedback loop.
Katty Kay (The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance---What Women Should Know)
It came as a surprise to us, as I suspect it does to many, that marriage changed us. We’d felt as though we’d always had those rings, wrapped about our fingers, like the scraggly garlands of those first, revelatory conversations. But those real rings, wooden as they were, began to set their roots, and that settling, the calming feeling of having been planted into the same plot to flourish, was a relief from that once-nagging question of loneliness. No matter what happened now, even if we’d found ourselves lonelier than we’d ever been, we’d know that that plot of land was our own to cultivate. Each moment was now a dual-moment, each of our lives a dual-life. The open road, that atlas, the open-faced moon and that wine were the first conscious recognitions of our floating life. One that perhaps we’d have created on our own, but now no longer had to.
Megan Rich (Six Years of A Floating Life: A Memoir)
Before I knew anything about church, I'd assumed that most Christians spoke the same language, shared a sense of fellowship, and beyond minor differences had a faith in common that could transcend political boundaries. But if I had imagined that, initiated as a Christian, I was going to achieve some kind of easy bond with other believers, that fantasy was soon shot. Just a few months after I began going to St. Gregory's, I found myself at a restaurant counter in the Denver airport, waiting for a flight home from a reporting trip. A woman—perhaps noticing the silver crucifix I had recently and self-consciously started to wear around my neck—caught my eye and smiled as she took the stool next to me. She had short blond hair and a cross of her own, and was wearing some kind of sexless denim jumper that reeked of piety. I smiled back, and we exchanged small talk about the weather and flight delays, and then she asked me what I was reading. I showed her the little volume of psalms that I'd borrowed from Rick Fabian. “From my church,” I said proudly. “What church is that?” the woman asked. She leaned forward, in a friendly way. “Saint Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, in San Francisco,” I said, as her face rearranged itself, froze, and closed. It may have been the “San Francisco,” I realized later, but the city's name was a reasonable stand-in, by that point, for everything conservative Christians had come to hate about the Episcopal Church as a whole: homosexuality; wealth; feminism; and morally relativist, decadent, rudderless liberalism. The church I'd unknowingly landed in turned out to be a scandal, a dirty joke at airport restaurants, a sign—in fact, thank God, a sure bet—that I was going to eat with sinners.
Sara Miles (Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion)
studied.” “The cocktail party effect?” “Right.” “Good name for it,” said Megan with a smile. “So how does it work?” “The gist of it is that people soak up far more information than we realize. All the time. At the subconscious level, we’re monitoring everything. But our subconscious can’t bring all of it to our conscious attention or we’d drown. Too much information. So in the party example, your brain is taking in all of the conversations around you, but sparing you from having to deal with them. So you can focus on your own conversation. But when your subconscious hears your name, or the words, ‘run, the house is on fire,’ or something else of great interest to you, it decides that this is important information and brings it to your conscious attention. It seems like magic. It’s not that you’re suddenly paying attention. Part of you was always paying attention. You just didn’t know it.
Douglas E. Richards (Mind's Eye (Nick Hall, #1))
One of the constants in life is that results are always being produced. If you don't consciously decide what results you want to produce and represent things accordingly, then some external trigger-a conversation, a TV show, whatever-may create states that create behaviors that do not support you. Life is like a river. It's moving, and you can be at the mercy of the river if you don't take deliberate, conscious action to steer yourself in a direction you have predetermined. If you don't plant the mental and physiological seeds of the results you want, weeds will grow automatically. If we don't consciously direct our own minds and states, our environment may produce undesirable haphazard states. The results can be disastrous. Thus it's critical that-on a daily basis-we stand guard at the door of our mind, that we know how we are consistently representing things to ourselves. We must daily weed our garden.
Anthony Robbins
CLOSE is what we almost always are: close to happiness, close to another, close to leaving, close to tears, close to God, close to losing faith, close to being done, close to saying something, or close to success, and even, with the greatest sense of satisfaction, close to giving the whole thing up. Our human essence lies not in arrival, but in being almost there, we are creatures who are on the way, our journey a series of impending anticipated arrivals. We live by unconsciously measuring the inverse distances of our proximity: an intimacy calibrated by the vulnerability we feel in giving up our sense of separation. To go beyond our normal identities and become closer than close is to lose our sense of self in temporary joy, a form of arrival that only opens us to deeper forms of intimacy that blur our fixed, controlling, surface identity. To consciously become close is a courageous form of unilateral disarmament, a chancing of our arm and our love, a willingness to hazard our affections and an unconscious declaration that we might be equal to the inevitable loss that the vulnerability of being close will bring. Human beings do not find their essence through fulfillment or eventual arrival but by staying close to the way they like to travel, to the way they hold the conversation between the ground on which they stand and the horizon to which they go. What makes the rainbow beautiful, is not the pot of gold at its end, but the arc of its journey between here and there, between now and then, between where we are now and where we want to go, illustrated above our unconscious heads in primary colour. We are in effect, always, close; always close to the ultimate secret: that we are more real in our simple wish to find a way than any destination we could reach: the step between not understanding that and understanding that, is as close as we get to happiness.
David Whyte (Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words)
The Fifth Mindfulness Training Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society, by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I am committed to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I shall work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.
Thich Nhat Hanh (The Art of Power)
Q: What do you think is magical about fiction? DFW: ... The first line of attack for that question is that there is this existential loneliness in the real world. I don't know what you're thinking or what it's like inside you and you don't know what it's like inside me. In fiction I think we can leap over that wall itself in a certain way... There's another level... A really great piece of fiction for me may or may not take me away and make me forget that I'm sitting in a chair. There's real commercial stuff can do that, and a riveting plot can do that, but it doesn't make me feel less lonely... There's a kind of Ah-ha! Somebody at least for a moment feels about something or sees something the way that I do. It doesn't happen all the time. It's these brief flashes or flames, but I get that sometimes. I feel unalone--intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. I feel human and unalone and that I'm in a deep, significant conversation with another consciousness in fiction and poetry in a way that I don't with other art.
David Foster Wallace
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre, The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness, And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away-- Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about; Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing-- I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
T.S. Eliot (Four Quartets)
There were two things that particularly bothered me in those days. One was that I came too fast, often before anything had happened at all, and the other was that I never laughed. That is, it did happen once in a while, maybe once every six months, when I would be overcome by the hilarity of something and just laugh and laugh, but that was always unpleasant because then I completely lost control, I was unable to regain my composure, and I didn’t like showing that side of myself to others. So basically I was able to laugh, I had the capacity, but in my everyday life, in social situations, when I was with people around a table chatting, I never laughed. I had lost that ability. To make up for this, I smiled a lot, I might also emit some laughter-like sounds, so I don’t think anyone noticed or found it conspicuous. But I knew: I never laughed. As a result, I became especially conscious of laughter as such, as a phenomenon — I noticed how it occurred, how it sounded, what it was. People laughed almost all the time, they said something, laughed, others said something, everyone laughed. It lubricated conversations or gave them a shot of something else which didn’t have so much to do with what was being said as with being together with others. People meeting. In this situation everyone laughed, each in their own way, of course, and sometimes because of something genuinely funny, in which case the laughter lasted longer and could at times completely take over, but also for no apparent reason at all, just as a token of friendliness or openness. It could conceal insecurity, I knew that well, but it could also be strong and generous, a helping hand. When I was small I laughed a lot, but at some point it stopped, perhaps as early as the age of twelve, at any rate I remember there was a film with Rolv Wesenlund that filled me with horror, it was called The Man Who Could Not Laugh, and it was probably when I heard about it that I realised actually I didn’t laugh. From then on, all social situations were something I took part in and watched from the outside as I lacked what they were full of, the interpersonal link: laughter.
Karl Ove Knausgård (Min kamp 5 (Min kamp, #5))
A writer toils to combat the insufficiency plaguing his or her life. Every writer seeks to ward off the corrosive obliteration wrought by the passage of time upon memory by capturing on paper his or her present day thoughts on life. For these intrepid souls, writing not only entails a lifetime of work it also represents their very lifeblood spilled out onto sheets of virgin white paper. Writers’ inkblot of words forms a pictograph for present and future generations to view; their thoughtful elucidations speak to us from the grave. Writers’ words transcend time by creating indelible images that survive wars, famines, epidemics, and censorship. Thanks to great writers, every man, woman, or child can escape the confines of their own cloistered environment and converse with other people of every occupation and lifestyle whose communal heartbeats form the bloodstream of every city. Thanks to literary figures, each reader can peer into the depths of past generations whose eclectic filament forms the ever-evolving equitable eye in humankinds’ collective consciousness, or colloquially what we refer to as humanity.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Equal protection under the law is not a hard principle to convince Americans of. The difficulty comes in persuading them that it has been violated in particular cases, and of the need to redress the wrong. Prejudice and indifference run deep. Education, social reform, and political action can persuade some. But most people will not feel the sufferings of others unless they feel, even in an abstract way, that 'it could have been me or someone close to me'. Consider the astonishingly rapid transformation of American attitudes toward homosexuality and even gay marriage over the past decades. Gay activism brought these issues to public attention but attitudes were changed during tearful conversations over dinner tables across American when children came out to their parents (and, sometimes, parents came out to their children). Once parents began to accept their children, extended families did too, and today same-sex marriages are celebrated across the country with all the pomp and joy and absurd overspending of traditional American marriages. Race is a wholly different matter. Given the segregation in American society white families have little chance of seeing and therefore understanding the lives of black Americans. I am not black male motorist and never will be. All the more reason, then, that I need some way to identify with one if I am going to be affected by his experience. And citizenship is the only thing I know we share. The more differences between us are emphasized, the less likely I will be to feel outrage at his mistreatment. Black Lives Matter is a textbook example of how not to build solidarity. There is no denying that by publicizing and protesting police mistreatment of African-Americans the movement mobilized supporters and delivered a wake-up call to every American with a conscience. But there is also no denying that the movement's decision to use this mistreatment to build a general indictment of American society, and its law enforcement institutions, and to use Mau-Mau tactics to put down dissent and demand a confession of sins and public penitence (most spectacularly in a public confrontation with Hillary Clinton, of all people), played into the hands of the Republican right. As soon as you cast an issue exclusively in terms of identity you invite your adversary to do the same. Those who play one race card should be prepared to be trumped by another, as we saw subtly and not so subtly in the 2016 presidential election. And it just gives that adversary an additional excuse to be indifferent to you. There is a reason why the leaders of the civil rights movement did not talk about identity the way black activists do today, and it was not cowardice or a failure to be "woke". The movement shamed America into action by consciously appealing to what we share, so that it became harder for white Americans to keep two sets of books, psychologically speaking: one for "Americans" and one for "Negroes". That those leaders did not achieve complete success does not mean that they failed, nor does it prove that a different approach is now necessary. No other approach is likely to succeed. Certainly not one that demands that white Americans agree in every case on what constitutes discrimination or racism today. In democratic politics it is suicidal to set the bar for agreement higher than necessary for winning adherents and elections.
Mark Lilla (The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics)
Social life was similarly affected by the teachings of the Koran. At a time when in Christian Europe an epidemic was regarded as a scourge of God to which man had but to submit meekly - at that time, and long before it, the Muslims followed the injunction of their Prophet which directed them to combat epidemics by segregating the infected towns and areas. And at a time when even the kings and nobles of Christendom regarding bathing as an almost indecent luxury, even the poorest of Muslim houses had at least one bathroom, while elaborate public baths were common in every Muslim city (in the ninth century, for instance, Córdoba had three hundred of them): and all this in response to the Prophet’s teaching that ‘Cleanliness is part of faith’. A Muslim did not come into conflict with the claims of spiritual life if he took pleasure in the beautiful things of material life, for, according to the Prophet, ‘God loves to see on His servants an evidence of His bounty’. In short, Islam gave a tremendous incentive to cultural achievements which constitute one of the proudest pages in the history of mankind; and it gave this incentive by saying Yes to the intellect and No to obscurantism, Yes to action and no to quietism, Yes to life and No to ascetism. Little wonder, then, that as soon as it emerged beyond the confines of Arabia, Islam won new adherents by leaps and bounds. Born and nurtured in the world-contempt of Pauline and Augustinian Christianity, the populations of Syria and North Africa, and a little layer of Visigothic Spain, saw themselves suddenly confronted with a teaching which denied the dogma of Original Sin and stressed the inborn dignity of earthly life: and so they rallied in ever-increasing numbers to the new creed that gave them to understand that man was God’s vicar on earth. This, and not a legendary ‘conversion at the point of the sword’, was the explanation of Islam’s amazing triumph in the glorious morning of its history. It was not the Muslims that had made Islam great: it was Islam that had made the Muslims great. But as soon as their faith became habit and ceased to be a programme of life, to be consciously pursued, the creative impulse that underlay their civilisation waned and gradually gave way to indolence, sterility and cultural decay.
Muhammad Asad (The Road to Mecca)
I owe so much to sex workers when it comes to being more open about sex. About knowing how to talk about sex. And my understanding of consent—not just the idea of consent, but the practice. How to respond correctly to a no or “Cut!” or a safe word, which is to say: Never, ever less than fully and immediately. How to discuss the sex you’re about to have, even if you feel embarrassed or awkward talking about it. How to identify all the ways in which people coerce or pressure or push—sometimes without consciously knowing it—and not do those things. And how to have a conversation with a partner about what I want, and ask them the same. If society protected, respected, listened to, and learned from sex workers—well, then, sex education might actually stand a chance of being useful. And we all might be a little better at having those important conversations. Those difficult conversations, possibly even the ones that aren’t about sex. Because in the end, what I’m talking about is communication. Feeling safe. Knowing how to state, clearly, what you are feeling, and maybe even why. Imagine if violent homes came with safe words. Everybody stop. Hands on your head. Quiet on the set, please.
Isaac Fitzgerald (Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional)
But the manner of giving voice to thoughts and feelings becomes particularly significant in the case of negative feelings or doubts about a relationship. The difference was highlighted for me when a fifty-year-old divorced man told me about his experiences in forming new relationships with women. On this matter, he was clear: "I do not value my fleeting thoughts, and I do not value the fleeting thoughts of others." He felt that the relationship he was currently in had been endangered, even permanently weakened, by the woman's practice of tossing out her passing thoughts, because, early in their courtship, many of her thoughts were fears about the relationship. Not surprisingly, since they did not yet know each other well, she worried about whether she could trust him, whether their relationship would destroy her independence, whether this relationship was really right for her. He felt she should have kept these fears and doubts to herself and waited to see how things turned out. As it happens, things turned out well. The woman decided that the relationship was right for her, she could trust him, and she did not have to give up her independence. But he felt, at the time that he told me of this, that he had still not recovered from the wear and tear of coping with her earlier doubts. As he put it, he was still dizzy from having been bounced around like a yo-yo tied to the string of her stream of consciousness. In contrast, the man admitted, he himself goes to the other extreme: he never expresses his fears or misgivings about their relationship at all. If he's unhappy but doesn't say anything about it, his unhappiness expresses itself in a kind of distancing coldness. This response is just what women fear most, and just the reason they prefer to express dissatisfactions and doubts - as an antidote to the isolation and distance that would result from keeping them to themselves. The different perspectives on expressing or concealing dissatisfactions and doubts may reflect a difference in men's and women's awareness of the power of their words to affect others. In repeatedly telling him what she feared about their relationship, she spoke as though she assumed he was invulnerable and could not be hurt by what she said; perhaps she was underestimating the power of her words to affect him. For his part, when he refrains from expressing negative thoughts or feelings, he seems to be overestimating the power of his words to hurt her, when, ironically, she is more likely to be hurt by his silence than his words. Such impasses will perhaps never be settled to the complete satisfaction of both parties, but understanding the differing views can help detoxify the situation, and both can make adjustments.
Deborah Tannen (You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation)
Cultural criticism always attacks the mass media. I don't think that makes sense. We should look more closely at the work of deformation that starts deeper down, especially because it involves so much demoralization. Something gets destroyed there that should not be destroyed under any circumstances - THE AWARENESS THAT KNOWLEDGE IS BORN OUT OF EUPHORIA AND THAT INTELLIGENCE IS A RELATIONSHIP OF THE HAPPY CONSCIOUSNESS WITH ITSELF. And that intelligence partly consists in the ability to find our own ways of overcoming the boredom that develops in an under-used brain. Across society as a whole, the most disturbing symptom is that people are no longer ambitious enough to plumb the limits of understanding within themselves. INTELLIGENCE IS THE LAST UTOPIAN POTENTIAL. THE ONLY TERRA INCOGNITA HUMANKIND STILL OWNS ARE THE GALAXIES OF THE BRAIN, THE MILKY WAYS OF INTELLIGENCE. And there is hardly any any convincing space travel in them. Incidentally, this internal astronautics is the only alternative to a consumerist perspective. It is the only thing that could explain to people in the future that their intelligence space is so immense that they can experiment with themselves for millennia without becoming exhausted. The really good news is that there is something breathtakingly great that is called intelligence and is uncharted. ARE YOU WILLING TO VOLUNTEER ?
Peter Sloterdijk (Selected Exaggerations: Conversations and Interviews 1993 - 2012)
For Hal, the general deal with his maternal uncle is that Tavis is terribly shy around people and tries to hide it by being very open and expansive and wordy and bluff, and that it’s very excruciating to be around. Mario’s way of looking at it is that Tavis is very open and expansive and wordy, but so clearly uses these qualities as a kind of protective shield that it betrays a frightened vulnerability almost impossible not to feel for. Either way, the unsettling thing about Charles Tavis is that he’s possibly the openest man of all time. Orin and Marlon Bain’s view was always that C.T. was less like a person than like a sort of cross-section of a person. Even the Moms Hal could remember relating anecdotes about how as a teenager, when she’d taken the child C.T. or been around him at Québecois functions or gatherings involving other kids, the child C.T. had been too self-conscious and awkward to join right in with any group of the kids clustered around, talking or plotting or whatever, and so Avril said she’d watch him just kind of drift from cluster to cluster and lurk around creepily on the fringe, listening, but that he’d always say, loudly, in some lull in the group’s conversation, something like ‘I’m afraid I’m far too self-conscious really to join in here, so I’m just going to lurk creepily at the fringe and listen, if that’s all right, just so you know,’ and so on.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Neoliberal economics, the logic of which is tending today to win out throughout the world thanks to international bodies like the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund and the governments to whom they, directly or indirectly, dictate their principles of ‘governance’,10 owes a certain number of its allegedly universal characteristics to the fact that it is immersed or embedded in a particular society, that is to say, rooted in a system of beliefs and values, an ethos and a moral view of the world, in short, an economic common sense, linked, as such, to the social and cognitive structures of a particular social order. It is from this particular economy that neoclassical economic theory borrows its fundamental assumptions, which it formalizes and rationalizes, thereby establishing them as the foundations of a universal model. That model rests on two postulates (which their advocates regard as proven propositions): the economy is a separate domain governed by natural and universal laws with which governments must not interfere by inappropriate intervention; the market is the optimum means for organizing production and trade efficiently and equitably in democratic societies. It is the universalization of a particular case, that of the United States of America, characterized fundamentally by the weakness of the state which, though already reduced to a bare minimum, has been further weakened by the ultra-liberal conservative revolution, giving rise as a consequence to various typical characteristics: a policy oriented towards withdrawal or abstention by the state in economic matters; the shifting into the private sector (or the contracting out) of ‘public services’ and the conversion of public goods such as health, housing, safety, education and culture – books, films, television and radio – into commercial goods and the users of those services into clients; a renunciation (linked to the reduction in the capacity to intervene in the economy) of the power to equalize opportunities and reduce inequality (which is tending to increase excessively) in the name of the old liberal ‘self-help’ tradition (a legacy of the Calvinist belief that God helps those who help themselves) and of the conservative glorification of individual responsibility (which leads, for example, to ascribing responsibility for unemployment or economic failure primarily to individuals, not to the social order, and encourages the delegation of functions of social assistance to lower levels of authority, such as the region or city); the withering away of the Hegelian–Durkheimian view of the state as a collective authority with a responsibility to act as the collective will and consciousness, and a duty to make decisions in keeping with the general interest and contribute to promoting greater solidarity. Moreover,
Pierre Bourdieu (The Social Structures of the Economy)
Whether it’s watching a sunset, or really feeling the stream of water hit your face in the shower, everyone needs to take time to find a way to quiet themselves. Allowing these moments of awareness and recognizing that it is a magnificent thing to be alive, regardless of what might be pressing on me, has brought a level of calm that words can’t adequately explain. Many of the spiritual teachers who have talked with me on Super Soul Sunday describe the highest state of mindfulness as a “constant state of prayer.” This means acknowledging only what you are experiencing in that moment. The true power of staying in the now means that you resist projecting what might happen in the future or lamenting past mistakes. There will always be times of stress or sadness, but when you feel the earth moving, that’s the time to bring yourself back to center. Whatever shakeup or disturbance that might come, you’ll handle that when it actually happens. But in this moment, you’re still breathing. In this moment, you’ve survived. In this moment, you’re finding a way to step onto higher ground. Today and every day, I continue to do the consciousness work, focusing on prayer and just being still. I awaken, and my first thought is, Thank you, and my next thought is, I’m still here in this body. I feel the All that is God so deeply that it lifts and carries me. Sometimes I actually feel weightless in the love that I call God, because I sense it in all things. The entry point for living consciously is mindfulness.
Oprah Winfrey (The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations)
To this day when I inhale a light scent of Wrangler—its sweet sharpness—or the stronger, darker scent of Musk, I return to those hours and it ceases to be just cologne that I take in but the very scent of age, of youth at its most beautiful peak. It bears the memory of possibility, of unknown forests, unchartered territories, and a heart light and skipping, hell-bent as the captain of any of the three ships, determined at all costs to prevail to the new world. Turning back was no option. Whatever the gales, whatever the emaciation, whatever the casualty to self, onward I kept my course. My heart felt the magnetism of its own compass guiding me on—its direction constant and sure. There was no other way through. I feel it again as once it had been, before it was broken-in; its strength and resolute ardency. The years of solitude were nothing compared to what lay ahead. In sailing for the horizon that part of my life had been sealed up, a gentle eddy, a trough of gentle waves diminishing further, receding away. Whatever loneliness and pain went with the years between the ages of 14 and 20, was closed, irretrievable—I was already cast in form and direction in a certain course. When I open the little bottle of eau de toilette five hundred different days unfold within me, conversations so strained, breaking slowly, so painstakingly, to a comfortable place. A place so warm and inviting after the years of silence and introspect, of hiding. A place in the sun that would burn me alive before I let it cast a shadow on me. Until that time I had not known, I had not been conscious of my loneliness. Yes, I had been taciturn in school, alone, I had set myself apart when others tried to engage. But though I was alone, I had not felt the pangs of loneliness. It had not burdened or tormented as such when I first felt the clear tang of its opposite in the form of another’s company. Of Regn’s company. We came, each in our own way, in our own need—listening, wanting, tentatively, as though we came upon each other from the side in spite of having seen each other head on for two years. It was a gradual advance, much again like a vessel waiting for its sails to catch wind, grasping hold of the ropes and learning much too quickly, all at once, how to move in a certain direction. There was no practicing. It was everything and all—for the first and last time. Everything had to be right, whether it was or not. The waters were beautiful, the work harder than anything in my life, but the very glimpse of any tempest of defeat was never in my line of vision. I’d never failed at anything. And though this may sound quite an exaggeration, I tell you earnestly, it is true. Everything to this point I’d ever set my mind to, I’d achieved. But this wasn’t about conquering some land, nor had any of my other desires ever been about proving something. It just had to be—I could not break, could not turn or retract once I’d committed myself to my course. You cannot force a clock to run backwards when it is made to persevere always, and ever, forward. Had I not been so young I’d never have had the courage to love her.
Wheston Chancellor Grove (Who Has Known Heights)
Child psychologists Betty Hart and Todd Risley learned the same thing when they recorded hundreds of hours of interactions between children and adults in forty-two families from across a wide socioeconomic spectrum and assessed the children’s development from nine months to three years. Children in well-to-do families, whose parents were typically college-educated professionals, heard an average of 2,153 words an hour spoken to them. In contrast, the children of low-income families heard an average only 616 words per hour. By their third birthday, the children in well-to-do families heard 30 million more words than economically deprived children and the amount of conversation parents had with their infants was directly proportional to IQ test scores assessed at three years of age and the performance in school of these children at ages nine and ten. (Hart and Risley 2003) The exciting part is that Hart and Risley’s research has spawned conscious parenting initiatives thanks to technology in the form of LENA (Language Environment Analysis) devices. LENA devices work like pedometers except they keep track of words rather than steps. The Thirty Million Words Initiative in Chicago is making LENA devices available to parents so they can track the numbers of words they expose their children to. After six weeks, researchers in Chicago found a 32 percent increase in the number of words the children heard. Says Dr. Dana Suskind, Director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative: “Every parent has the ability to grow their children’s brain and impact their future.” (Suskind 2013)
Bruce H. Lipton (The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles)
In the modern world, we often find ourselves in the unnatural position of meeting someone who knows little or nothing about us. That can add a little pressure to the occasion, and it may add more if your mother was prone to saying “You get only one chance to make a good first impression!” You may find yourself scanning the person for feedback so intensively that you start seeing things that aren’t there. A social psychology experiment from the 1980s makes the point. A makeup artist put realistic-looking “scars” on the faces of the subjects, who had been told that the purpose of the experiment was to see how a scar affected the way people reacted to them. The subjects were to have a conversation with someone, and the experimenters would observe the reaction. The subjects were shown their scars in a mirror, but then, right before their social encounter, they were told that the scar needed a bit of work; moisturizer would be added to keep it from cracking. In fact, though, the scar was removed. Then the subjects headed out to their social encounters with a warped idea of what they looked like. After the encounters, they were debriefed: Had they noticed their conversation partner reacting to the scar? Oh yes, many of them said. In fact, when they were shown video of the conversation partner, they could point to these reactions. Sometimes, for example, the person would look away from them—obviously averting their eyes from the scar. So again, a feeling—an uncomfortable feeling of self-consciousness—sponsors a kind of perceptual illusion, a basic misreading of the behavior of others.
Robert Wright (Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment)
By habitus, I mean dispositions that inhere and mold the deepest, subtlest, intricate structures of personhood, are constituted and emergent in the most elusive folds and lineaments of consciousness, and are articulated in lastingly resilient, enduring textual tapestries of experience, orientations, desires. The range of habitus is deep and broad: habitus forms the long arc of evolutionary developments and arrangements of the body in action and at rest, posture, gait, stance, and gesture; it is the silent teacher of the phonemic alphabet, determining subtle distinctions of timbre and tone, accents and intonations in voice articulations; it is the subcutaneous, ingrained dynamic inhering in daily competencies, executed flawlessly and yet seemingly unconsciously, such as balancing huge loads the size of a person’s body weight on the head as Kikuyu women often do, or walking fearlessly on narrow glacial paths through plunging cliffs as the Sherpas do, or weaving in and out of traffic while engaged in deep conversations on a cell phone as Californians do. Habitus describes the imbrication of structure and culture in desire. It is what defines subtle distinctions of taste, those almost ineffable differences of sweetness, succulence, spiciness, and bitterness in food and drink; the raging fetishes and unbidden cravings that shadow sexuality; the fickle difference between scents that intoxicate or trigger upheavals of wretching. Habitus, then, is “human nature” understood as the deep penetration of sociality with biology in such a manner that it is the motor of self, of choice, of vocation.
Omedi Ochieng (Groundwork for the Practice of the Good Life: Politics and Ethics at the Intersection of North Atlantic and African Philosophy (Routledge Studies in Social and Political Thought))
Starting probably with those conversations so long ago with Aunt Sarah Jane, I have learned to understand the old structure of racism as a malevolent convention, the malevolence of which is hard to locate in the conscious intentions of most people. It was a circumstance that was mostly taken for granted. It was inexcusable, and yet we had the formidable excuse of being used to it. It was an injustice both accommodated and varyingly obscured not only by daily custom, but also by the exigencies and preoccupations of daily life. We left the issue alone, not exactly by ignoring it, but by observing an elaborate etiquette that permitted us to ignore it. White people who wished to think well of themselves did not use the language of racial insult in front of black people. But the problem for us white people, as we had finally to understand, was that we could not be selectively complicit. To be complicit at all, even thoughtlessly by custom, was to be complicit in the whole extent and reach of the injustice. It is hard for a customary indifference to unstick itself from the abominations to which it tacitly consents. But we were used to it. What is hardest to get used to maybe, once you are aware, is the range of things humans are able to get used to. I was more used to this once than I am now. Aunt Sarah Jane’s plain talk of racial injustice as she knew it, thereby introducing the fester of it into the conscience of a small boy, who knew it only as the accepted way and a mandatory etiquette, was by the measure of that time remarkable. To the extent that her talk was a discomfort and an instruction, it was a service.
Wendell Berry (Port William Novels & Stories (The Civil War to World War II): Nathan Coulter / Andy Catlett: Early Travels / A World Lost / A Place on Earth / Stories)
Why did you come here-that is, why did you agree to reconsider my proposal?” The question alarmed and startled her. Now that she’d seen him she had only the dimmest, possibly even erroneous recollection of having spoken to him at a ball. Moreover, she couldn’t tell him she was in danger of being cut off by her uncle, for that whole explanation was to humiliating to bear mentioning. “Did I do or say something during our brief meetings the year before last to mislead you, perhaps, into believing I might yearn for the city life?” “It’s hard to say,” Elizabeth said with absolute honesty. “Lady Cameron, do you even remember our meeting?” “Oh, yes, of course. Certainly,” Elizabeth replied, belatedly recalling a man who looked very like him being presented to her at Lady Markham’s. That was it! “We met at Lady Markham’s ball.” His gaze never left her face. “We met in the park.” “In the park?” Elizabeth repeated in sublime embarrassment. “You had stopped to admire the flowers, and the young gentleman who was your escort that day introduced us.” “I see,” Elizabeth replied, her gaze skating away from his. “Would you care to know what we discussed that day and the next day when I escorted you back to the park?” Curiosity and embarrassment warred, and curiosity won out. “Yes, I would.” “Fishing.” “F-fishing?” Elizabeth gasped. He nodded. “Within minutes after we were introduced I mentioned that I had not come to London for the Season, as you supposed, but that I was on my way to Scotland to do some fishing and was leaving London the very next day.” An awful feeling of foreboding crept over Elizabeth as something stirred in her memory. “We had a charming chat,” he continued. “You spoke enthusiastically of a particularly challenging trout you were once able to land.” Elizabeth’s face felt as hot as red coals as he continued, “We quite forgot the time and your poor escort as we shared fishing stories.” He was quiet, waiting, and when Elizabeth couldn’t endure the damning silence anymore she said uneasily, “Was there…more?” “Very little. I did not leave for Scotland the next day but stayed instead to call upon you. You abandoned the half-dozen young bucks who’d come to escort you to some sort of fancy soiree and chose instead to go for another impromptu walk in the park with me.” Elizabeth swallowed audibly, unable to meet his eyes. “Would you like to know what we talked about that day?” “No, I don’t think so.” He chucked but ignored her reply, “You professed to be somewhat weary of the social whirl and confessed to a longing to be in the country that day-which is why we went to the park. We had a charming time, I thought.” When he fell silent, Elizabeth forced herself to meet his gaze and say with resignation, “And we talked of fishing?” “No,” he said. “Of boar hunting.” Elizabeth closed her eyes in sublime shame. “You related an exciting tale of a wild board your father had shot long ago, and of how you watched the hunt-without permission-from the very tree below which the boar as ultimately felled. As I recall,” he finished kindly, “you told me that it was your impulsive cheer that revealed your hiding place to the hunters-and that caused you to be seriously reprimanded by your father.” Elizabeth saw the twinkle lighting his eyes, and suddenly they both laughed. “I remember your laugh, too,” he said, still smiling, “I thought it was the loveliest sound imaginable. So much so that between it and our delightful conversation I felt very much at ease in your company.” Realizing he’d just flattered her, he flushed, tugged at his neckcloth, and self-consciously looked away.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
But the psychological change accompanying these technologies is more subtle, and perhaps more important. Consciously and unconsciously, we have gradually grown accustomed to experiencing the world through disembodied machines and instruments. As I stood in line to board an airplane recently, the young woman in front of me was primping in her mirror—straightening her hair, putting on lipstick, patting her checks with blush—a female ritual that has been repeated for several thousand years. In this case, however, her “mirror” was an iPhone in video mode, pointed at herself, and she was reacting to a digitized image of herself. I take walks in a federally protected wildlife preserve near my home in Massachusetts. A dirt trail winds for a mile around a lake teeming with beavers and fish, wild ducks and geese, aquatic frogs. Bulrushes and cattails wrap the perimeter of the pond, water lilies float here and there, rippling when a fish goes by. In the winter, the air is crisp and sharp, in the summer soft and aromatic. And a thick silence lies across the park, broken only by the honking of geese and the croaking of frogs. It is a place to smell, to see, to feel, to quietly let one’s mind wander where it wants. More and more commonly, I see people here talking on their cell phones as they walk around the trail. Their attention is focused not on the scene in front of them, but on a disembodied voice coming from a small box. And they are disembodied themselves. Where are their minds and bodies? Certainly not present in the park. Nor can they be located in the electromagnetic waves and digital signals flowing through cyberspace. Only their voices can be found at the other end of their conversations, in the offices and boardrooms and homes of the people they are talking to. They are attempting to be several places at once, like quantum waves. But I would argue that they are nowhere.
Alan Lightman (The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew)
To reason about something is to proceed from one premise or proposition or concept to another, in order ideally to arrive at some conclusion, and in a coherent sequence whose connections are determined by the semantic content of each of the steps taken—each individual logical syntagma of the argument, each clause or sentence or symbol. In a simple syllogism, for example, two premises in conjunction inevitably produce a conclusion determined by their logical content. “Every rose in my garden is red; the rose I am looking at now is in my garden; therefore, the rose I am looking at now is red.” But then the series of steps by which the mind arrives at the conclusion of a series of propositions simply cannot be identical with a series of brute events in the biochemistry of the brain. If the mechanical picture of nature is correct, after all, any sequence of physical causes and effects is determined entirely by the impersonal laws governing the material world. One neuronal event can cause another as a result of physical necessity, but certainly not as a result of logical necessity. And yet the necessary connection that exists between the addition of two numbers and the sum thereby yielded is one produced entirely by the conceptual content of the various terms of the equation, and not by any set of biochemical contingencies. Conversely, if the tenets of mechanistic materialism are sound, the mere semantic content of a thought should not be able to affect the course of physical events in the cerebrum. Even if the long process of human evolution has produced a brain capable of reason, the brain cannot produce the actual contents of reasoning; the connections among the brain’s neurons cannot generate the symbolic and conceptual connections that compose an act of consecutive logic, because the brain’s neurons are related to one another organically and therefore interact physically, not conceptually. Clearly, then, there are mental events that cannot be reduced to mechanical electrochemical processes.
David Bentley Hart (The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss)
The only way to avoid encountering someone is to follow him (according to a principle opposed to the principle of the labyrinth, where you follow someone so that you do not lose him). Implicit in the situation, however, is the dramatic moment when the one being followed, suddenly intuiting, suddenly becoming conscious that there is someone behind him, swings round and spots his pursuer. Then the rules are reversed, and the hunter becomes the hunted (for there is no escaping laterally). The only truly dramatic point is this unexpected turning-round of the other, who insists upon knowing and damns the consequences. This reversal does in fact occur in the Venice scenario. The man comes towards her and asks her: 'What do you want?' She wants nothing. No mystery story, no love story. This answer is intolerable, and implies possible murder, possible death. Radical otherness always embodies the risk of death. S.'s anxiety revolves entirely around this violent revelation: the possibility of getting herself unmasked - the very thing she is trying to avoid. 'I cannot go on following him. He must be uneasy, he must be wondering if I am here, behind him - surely he is thinking about me now - so I shall have to keep track of him in some other way.' S. could have met this man, seen him, spoken to him. But in that case she would never have produced this secret form of the existence of the Other. The Other is the one whose destiny one becomes, not by making his acquaintance in difference and dialogue but by entering into him as into something secret, something forever separate. Not by engaging in a conversation with him as interlocutor, but by entering into him as his shadow, as his double, as his image, by embracing the Other the better to wipe out his tracks, the better to strip him of his shadow. The Other is never the one with whom we communicate: he is the one whom we follow - and who follows us. The other is never naturally the other: the other must be rendered other by being seduced, by being made alien to himself, even by being destroyed - if there is no alternative (but in fact there are subtler ways of achieving this end).
Jean Baudrillard (The Transparency of Evil: Essays in Extreme Phenomena)
I’m going to say this once here, and then—because it is obvious—I will not repeat it in the course of this book: not all boys engage in such behavior, not by a long shot, and many young men are girls’ staunchest allies. However, every girl I spoke with, every single girl—regardless of her class, ethnicity, or sexual orientation; regardless of what she wore, regardless of her appearance—had been harassed in middle school, high school, college, or, often, all three. Who, then, is truly at risk of being “distracted” at school? At best, blaming girls’ clothing for the thoughts and actions of boys is counterproductive. At worst, it’s a short step from there to “she was asking for it.” Yet, I also can’t help but feel that girls such as Camila, who favors what she called “more so-called provocative” clothing, are missing something. Taking up the right to bare arms (and legs and cleavage and midriffs) as a feminist rallying cry strikes me as suspiciously Orwellian. I recall the simple litmus test for sexism proposed by British feminist Caitlin Moran, one that Camila unconsciously referenced: Are the guys doing it, too? “If they aren’t,” Moran wrote, “chances are you’re dealing with what we strident feminists refer to as ‘some total fucking bullshit.’” So while only girls get catcalled, it’s also true that only girls’ fashions urge body consciousness at the very youngest ages. Target offers bikinis for infants. The Gap hawks “skinny jeans” for toddlers. Preschoolers worship Disney princesses, characters whose eyes are larger than their waists. No one is trying to convince eleven-year-old boys to wear itty-bitty booty shorts or bare their bellies in the middle of winter. As concerned as I am about the policing of girls’ sexuality through clothing, I also worry about the incessant drumbeat of self-objectification: the pressure on young women to reduce their worth to their bodies and to see those bodies as a collection of parts that exist for others’ pleasure; to continuously monitor their appearance; to perform rather than to feel sensuality. I recall a conversation I had with Deborah Tolman, a professor at Hunter College and perhaps the foremost expert on teenage girls’ sexual desire. In her work, she said, girls had begun responding “to questions about how their bodies feel—questions about sexuality or arousal—by describing how they think they look. I have to remind them that looking good is not a feeling.
Peggy Orenstein
As the result of some observations I have made in recent years, I propose to add two new and previously undescribed varieties to the various forms of insanity with fixed ideas, whose underlying phenomenology is essentially phobic. The two new terms I would like to put forth, following the nomenclature currently accepted by leading clinicians, are dysmorphophobia and taphephobia. The first condition consists of the sudden appearance and fixation in the consciousness of the idea of one’s own deformity; the individual fears that he has become deformed (dysmorphos) or might become deformed, and experiences at this thought a feeling of an inexpressible disaster… The ideas of being ugly are not, in themselves, morbid; in fact, they occur to many people in perfect mental health, awakening however only the emotions normally felt when this possibility is contemplated. But, when one of these ideas occupies someone’s attention repeatedly on the same day, and aggressively and persistently returns to monopolise his attention, refusing to remit by any conscious effort; and when in particular the emotion accompanying it becomes one of fear, distress, anxiety, and anguish, compelling the individual to modify his behaviour and to act in a pre-determined and fixed way, then the psychological phenomena has gone beyond the bounds of normal, and may validly be considered to have entered the realm of psychopathology. The dysmorphophobic, indeed, is a veritably unhappy individual, who in the midst of his daily affairs, in conversations, while reading, at table, in fact anywhere and at any hour of the day, is suddenly overcome by the fear of some deformity that might have developed in his body without his noticing it. He fears having or developing a compressed, flattened forehead, a ridiculous nose, crooked legs, etc., so that he constantly peers in the mirror, feels his forehead, measures the length of his nose, examines the tiniest defects in his skin, or measures the proportions of his trunk and the straightness of his limbs, and only after a certain period of time, having convinced himself that this has not happened, is able to free himself from the state of pain and anguish the attack put him in. But should no mirror be at hand, or should he be prevented from quieting his doubts in some way or other with rituals or movements of the most outlandish kinds, the way a rhypophobic who cannot get water to wash himself might, the attack does not end very quickly, but may reach a very painful intensity, even to the point of weeping and desperation.
Enrico Agostino Morselli
Most disconcerting of all were those experiences in which the patient's consciousness appeared to expand beyond the usual boundaries of the ego and explore what it was like to be other living things and even other objects. For example, Grof had one female patient who suddenly became convinced she had assumed the identity of a female prehistoric reptile. She not only gave a richly detailed description of what it felt like to be encapsuled in such a form, but noted that the portion of the male of the species' anatomy she found most sexually arousing was a patch of colored scales on the side of its head. Although the woman had no prior knowledge of such things, a conversation Grof had with a zoologist later confirmed that in certain species of reptiles, colored areas on the head do indeed play an important role as triggers of sexual arousal. Patients were also able to tap into the consciousness of their relatives and ancestors. One woman experienced what it was like to be her mother at the age of three and accurately described a frightening event that had befallen her mother at the time. The woman also gave a precise description of the house her mother had lived in as well as the white pinafore she had been wearing—all details her mother later confirmed and admitted she had never talked about before. Other patients gave equally accurate descriptions of events that had befallen ancestors who had lived decades and even centuries before. Other experiences included the accessing of racial and collective memories. Individuals of Slavic origin experienced what it was like to participate in the conquests of Genghis Khan's Mongolian hordes, to dance in trance with the Kalahari bushmen, to undergo the initiation rites of the Australian aborigines, and to die as sacrificial victims of the Aztecs. And again the descriptions frequently contained obscure historical facts and a degree of knowledge that was often completely at odds with the patient's education, race, and previous exposure to the subject. For instance, one uneducated patient gave a richly detailed account of the techniques involved in the Egyptian practice of embalming and mummification, including the form and meaning of various amulets and sepulchral boxes, a list of the materials used in the fixing of the mummy cloth, the size and shape of the mummy bandages, and other esoteric facets of Egyptian funeral services. Other individuals tuned into the cultures of the Far East and not only gave impressive descriptions of what it was like to have a Japanese, Chinese, or Tibetan psyche, but also related various Taoist or Buddhist teachings.
Michael Talbot (The Holographic Universe)
When I get back, I decide to listen to a talk Ram Dass once gave about what happens after death. When you die, where your consciousness is at the moment of death is a reflection of your level of evolution. If you are ready for the transformation that occurs at the moment of death, when there is a dissolving of the control mechanism and an intensification of all the energies, and you are not identified with all that so that you have equanimity through it, you can witness from a place of presence. You can witness the entire process of dying, and your consciousness doesn’t flicker. Most people, however, are attached to some way of looking at the world, and when that starts to dissolve at the moment of death, they go unconscious. They go through the process unconsciously and pick up the thread later on, because it happens too fast and requires letting go too fast. So the art is to let go before you die, so that when you die, there is no letting go required. That’s the most evolved state. They say in the literature that one who sees the way in the morning can gladly die in the evening. Die before you die, so that when you die you need not die. There is a great quote from Kabir: ‘If you don’t break your ropes while you are alive’—that is, if you don’t break the identification with your body and your personality while you’re alive—‘do you think that ghosts will do it after?’ The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic just because the body is rotten, that is all fantasy. What is found now is found then. If you find nothing now, you’ll simply end up with an apartment in the city of death. But if you make love with the Divine now, then in the next life, you will have the face of satisfied desire. So plunge into the truth. Find out who your teacher is. Believe in the great sound. In other words, do your sadhana so that you can break the identification now. Then, at the moment of transformation, you can just go. If you have fear, you will be met and guided and protected. There will be beings that are there, who are on other planes, available to give meaning to this transformation for you. So the least conscious beings go unconscious and get reprogrammed. The next more conscious beings meet other beings who guide them and help them. The most conscious beings just let go completely at the moment of death, and they don’t go through more incarnations. The meaning of the wheel of birth and death is that as you get more and more evolved, there is less likelihood that you will keep taking rebirth. From the soul’s point of view, you take rebirth only to work your way out of the illusion of your own separateness.
Ram Dass (Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Loving and Dying)
We were talking about childhood dramas. Then I remembered. “You had said something that had confused me,” I said. “You had said that a person cannot play a control drama with us unless we play the matching drama. I didn’t understand that.” “Do you understand now?” “Not really. What are you getting at?” “The scene outside clearly demonstrated what happens if you do play the matching drama.” “How?” She glanced at me briefly. “What drama was the man playing with you?” “He was obviously the Intimidator.” “Right, and what drama did you play?” “I was just trying to get him off my back.” “I know, but what drama were you playing?” “Well, I started off in my aloofness drama, but he kept coming after me.” “Then?” The conversation was irritating me but I tried to get centered and stay with it. I looked at Julia and said, “I guess I was playing a Poor Me.” She smiled. “That’s right.” “I noticed you handled him with no problem,” I said. “Only because I didn’t play the drama he expected. Remember that each person’s control drama was formed in childhood in relation to another drama. Therefore each drama needs a matching drama to be fully played out. What the intimidator needs in order to get energy is either a poor me, or another intimidator. “How did you handle it?” I asked, still confused. “My drama response would have been to play the Intimidator myself, trying to out intimidate him. Of course, this would probably have resulted in violence. But instead I did what the Manuscript instructs. I named the drama he was playing. All dramas are covert strategies to get energy. He was trying to intimidate you out of your energy. When he tried that on me, I named what he was doing.” “That’s why you asked why he was so angry?” “Yes. The Manuscript says that covert manipulations for energy can’t exist if you bring them into consciousness by pointing them out. They cease to be covert. It is a very simple method. The best truth about what’s going on in a conversation always prevails. After that the person has to be more real and honest.” “That makes sense,” I said. “I guess I’ve even named dramas myself before, though I didn’t know what I was doing.” “I’m sure. That’s something all of us have done. We’re just learning more about what is at stake. And the key to making it work is to simultaneously look beyond the drama at the real person in front of you, and send as much energy their way as possible. If they can feel energy coming in anyway, then it’s easier for them to give up their way of manipulating for it.” “What could you appreciate in that guy?” I said. “I could appreciate him as a little insecure boy needing energy desperately.
James Redfield (The Celestine Prophecy (Celestine Prophecy, #1))
. . . These two are the fountains of knowledge, from whence all the ideas we have, or can naturally have, do spring. 3. The objects of sensation one source of ideas. First, our Senses, conversant about particular sensible objects, do convey into the mind several distinct perceptions of things, according to those various ways wherein those objects do affect them. And thus we come by those ideas we have of yellow, white, heat, cold, soft, hard, bitter, sweet, and all those which we call sensible qualities; which when I say the senses convey into the mind, I mean, they from external objects convey into the mind what produces there those perceptions. This great source of most of the ideas we have, depending wholly upon our senses, and derived by them to the understanding, I call SENSATION. 4. The operations of our minds, the other source of them. Secondly, the other fountain from which experience furnisheth the understanding with ideas is,- the perception of the operations of our own mind within us, as it is employed about the ideas it has got;- which operations, when the soul comes to reflect on and consider, do furnish the understanding with another set of ideas, which could not be had from things without. And such are perception, thinking, doubting, believing, reasoning, knowing, willing, and all the different actings of our own minds;- which we being conscious of, and observing in ourselves, do from these receive into our understandings as distinct ideas as we do from bodies affecting our senses. This source of ideas every man has wholly in himself; and though it be not sense, as having nothing to do with external objects, yet it is very like it, and might properly enough be called internal sense. But as I call the other SENSATION, so I Call this REFLECTION, the ideas it affords being such only as the mind gets by reflecting on its own operations within itself. By reflection then, in the following part of this discourse, I would be understood to mean, that notice which the mind takes of its own operations, and the manner of them, by reason whereof there come to be ideas of these operations in the understanding. These two, I say, viz. external material things, as the objects of SENSATION, and the operations of our own minds within, as the objects of REFLECTION, are to me the only originals from whence all our ideas take their beginnings. The term operations here I use in a large sense, as comprehending not barely the actions of the mind about its ideas, but some sort of passions arising sometimes from them, such as is the satisfaction or uneasiness arising from any thought. 5.All our ideas are of the one or the other of these. . . .
John Locke (John Locke - An Essay Concerning Human Understanding)
Another episode startled Trump’s advisers on the Asia trip. As the president and his entourage embarked on the journey, they stopped in Hawaii on November 3 to break up the long flight and allow Air Force One to refuel. White House aides arranged for the president and first lady to make a somber pilgrimage so many of their predecessors had made: to visit Pearl Harbor and honor the twenty-three hundred American sailors, soldiers, and marines who lost their lives there. The first couple was set to take a private tour of the USS Arizona Memorial, which sits just off the coast of Honolulu and straddles the hull of the battleship that sank into the Pacific during the Japanese surprise bombing attack in 1941. As a passenger boat ferried the Trumps to the stark white memorial, the president pulled Kelly aside for a quiet consult. “Hey, John, what’s this all about? What’s this a tour of?” Trump asked his chief of staff. Kelly was momentarily stunned. Trump had heard the phrase “Pearl Harbor” and appeared to understand that he was visiting the scene of a historic battle, but he did not seem to know much else. Kelly explained to him that the stealth Japanese attack here had devastated the U.S. Pacific Fleet and prompted the country’s entrance into World War II, eventually leading the United States to drop atom bombs on Japan. If Trump had learned about “a date which will live in infamy” in school, it hadn’t really pierced his consciousness or stuck with him. “He was at times dangerously uninformed,” said one senior former adviser. Trump’s lack of basic historical knowledge surprised some foreign leaders as well. When he met with President Emmanuel Macron of France at the United Nations back in September 2017, Trump complimented him on the spectacular Bastille Day military parade they had attended together that summer in Paris. Trump said he did not realize until seeing the parade that France had had such a rich history of military conquest. He told Macron something along the lines of “You know, I really didn’t know, but the French have won a lot of battles. I didn’t know.” A senior European official observed, “He’s totally ignorant of everything. But he doesn’t care. He’s not interested.” Tillerson developed a polite and self-effacing way to manage the gaps in Trump’s knowledge. If he saw the president was completely lost in the conversation with a foreign leader, other advisers noticed, the secretary of state would step in to ask a question. As Tillerson lodged his question, he would reframe the topic by explaining some of the basics at issue, giving Trump a little time to think. Over time, the president developed a tell that he would use to get out of a sticky conversation in which a world leader mentioned a topic that was totally foreign or unrecognizable to him. He would turn to McMaster, Tillerson
Philip Rucker (A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America)
MY DEAR MISS BROOKE,—I have your guardian's permission to address you on a subject than which I have none more at heart. I am not, I trust, mistaken in the recognition of some deeper correspondence than that of date in the fact that a consciousness of need in my own life had arisen contemporaneously with the possibility of my becoming acquainted with you. For in the first hour of meeting you, I had an impression of your eminent and perhaps exclusive fitness to supply that need (connected, I may say, with such activity of the affections as even the preoccupations of a work too special to be abdicated could not uninterruptedly dissimulate); and each succeeding opportunity for observation has given the impression an added depth by convincing me more emphatically of that fitness which I had preconceived, and thus evoking more decisively those affections to which I have but now referred. Our conversations have, I think, made sufficiently clear to you the tenor of my life and purposes: a tenor unsuited, I am aware, to the commoner order of minds. But I have discerned in you an elevation of thought and a capability of devotedness, which I had hitherto not conceived to be compatible either with the early bloom of youth or with those graces of sex that may be said at once to win and to confer distinction when combined, as they notably are in you, with the mental qualities above indicated. It was, I confess, beyond my hope to meet with this rare combination of elements both solid and attractive, adapted to supply aid in graver labors and to cast a charm over vacant hours; and but for the event of my introduction to you (which, let me again say, I trust not to be superficially coincident with foreshadowing needs, but providentially related thereto as stages towards the completion of a life's plan), I should presumably have gone on to the last without any attempt to lighten my solitariness by a matrimonial union. Such, my dear Miss Brooke, is the accurate statement of my feelings; and I rely on your kind indulgence in venturing now to ask you how far your own are of a nature to confirm my happy presentiment. To be accepted by you as your husband and the earthly guardian of your welfare, I should regard as the highest of providential gifts. In return I can at least offer you an affection hitherto unwasted, and the faithful consecration of a life which, however short in the sequel, has no backward pages whereon, if you choose to turn them, you will find records such as might justly cause you either bitterness or shame. I await the expression of your sentiments with an anxiety which it would be the part of wisdom (were it possible) to divert by a more arduous labor than usual. But in this order of experience I am still young, and in looking forward to an unfavorable possibility I cannot but feel that resignation to solitude will be more difficult after the temporary illumination of hope. In any case, I shall remain,     Yours with sincere devotion,      EDWARD CASAUBON
George Eliot (Middlemarch)
In a physician's office in Kearny Street three men sat about a table, drinking punch and smoking. It was late in the evening, almost midnight, indeed, and there had been no lack of punch. The gravest of the three, Dr. Helberson, was the host—it was in his rooms they sat. He was about thirty years of age; the others were even younger; all were physicians. "The superstitious awe with which the living regard the dead," said Dr. Helberson, "is hereditary and incurable. One needs no more be ashamed of it than of the fact that he inherits, for example, an incapacity for mathematics, or a tendency to lie." The others laughed. "Oughtn't a man to be ashamed to lie?" asked the youngest of the three, who was in fact a medical student not yet graduated. "My dear Harper, I said nothing about that. The tendency to lie is one thing; lying is another." "But do you think," said the third man, "that this superstitious feeling, this fear of the dead, reasonless as we know it to be, is universal? I am myself not conscious of it." "Oh, but it is 'in your system' for all that," replied Helberson; "it needs only the right conditions—what Shakespeare calls the 'confederate season'—to manifest itself in some very disagreeable way that will open your eyes. Physicians and soldiers are of course more nearly free from it than others." "Physicians and soldiers!—why don't you add hangmen and headsmen? Let us have in all the assassin classes." "No, my dear Mancher; the juries will not let the public executioners acquire sufficient familiarity with death to be altogether unmoved by it." Young Harper, who had been helping himself to a fresh cigar at the sideboard, resumed his seat. "What would you consider conditions under which any man of woman born would become insupportably conscious of his share of our common weakness in this regard?" he asked, rather verbosely. "Well, I should say that if a man were locked up all night with a corpse—alone—in a dark room—of a vacant house—with no bed covers to pull over his head—and lived through it without going altogether mad, he might justly boast himself not of woman born, nor yet, like Macduff, a product of Cæsarean section." "I thought you never would finish piling up conditions," said Harper, "but I know a man who is neither a physician nor a soldier who will accept them all, for any stake you like to name." "Who is he?" "His name is Jarette—a stranger here; comes from my town in New York. I have no money to back him, but he will back himself with loads of it." "How do you know that?" "He would rather bet than eat. As for fear—I dare say he thinks it some cutaneous disorder, or possibly a particular kind of religious heresy." "What does he look like?" Helberson was evidently becoming interested. "Like Mancher, here—might be his twin brother." "I accept the challenge," said Helberson, promptly. "Awfully obliged to you for the compliment, I'm sure," drawled Mancher, who was growing sleepy. "Can't I get into this?" "Not against me," Helberson said. "I don't want your money." "All right," said Mancher; "I'll be the corpse." The others laughed. The outcome of this crazy conversation we have seen.
Ambrose Bierce (The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce Volume 2: In the Midst of Life: Tales of Soldiers and Civilians)
I rail a lot against passion, because I feel like passion can be very exclusionary, and very elitist, and it can leave a lot of people feeling like they don't belong... I'm much more interested in allowing people to follow curiosity, which is a much more gentle impulse that doesn't require that you sacrifice your entire life for something. It's more of kind of a scavenger hunt, where you're allowed to pick up these tiny beautiful little clues along the pathway. It's more of a tap on the shoulder that asks you to turn your attention one inch to the left. Oh that's a little bit mildly interesting - what is that? Okay now I'm going to take that clue... I'm going to take it another inch, and I'm going to take it another inch. Rather than this idea that the symphony is born whole, because you sit down and you're struck by lightening and then you start to create. Curiosity I think, is a far more friendly way to do creativity than passion." ...this is why I say the path of curiosity is the scavenger hunt, because it took my probably three years between "gee it would be nice to put some plants in my backyard" to here I am in the South Pacific exploring the history of moss and inventing this giant novel. You know I think everybody thinks that creativity comes in lightening strikes, but I think it comes with whispers. And then the whispers can grow thunderous over time if you are patient enough to explore it, almost in the way that a scientist would. Be open to - you don't need to know why you are interested in this, it will be revealed if you continue to investigate. That's all that curiosity asks of you. Passion asks you to throw it all in the bonfire. And curiosity is way more generous in that it just says - give me a little bit of your time and let's see what we can do. Fear is part of our make-up, it's something that's inherent in us, it's a protective device. My experience with fear is to permit it to exist and then to figure out how to work with it. And to me working with fear is what courage is. I've never started any project that I wasn't afraid... during the entire thing.And the conversation that I have with fear is not to say you are the death of creativity and I can't be creative because you exist, but rather to say: "You are part of the family of my consciousness. You are one of the emotions that I possess and I hear your complaint. I see your anxiety and I see everything you are putting before me about how this is going to be a disaster, and how I'm going to die and how everyone's going to mock me and how I'm going to fail... and I thank you so much for your contribution, but your sister creativity and I are going to go off on this journey now and do this thing but you are allowed to be in the car. We're going on a road trip, but I don't expect you to not come." And once you allow fear to just be present it seems to quiet down and go to sleep and then you can go about your work. But it's never out of the picture and I don't waste my energy trying to kick it out of the picture because that feels to me just like a colossal exhausting waste of energy. Whereas a radical kind of inclusive self acceptance seems to be a way to create a lot more.
Elizabeth Gilbert
the ten thousand things To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things. – Eihei Dogen If one is very fortunate indeed, one comes upon – or is found by – the teachings that match one’s disposition and the teachers or mentors whose expression strikes to the heart while teasing the knots from the mind. The Miriam Louisa character came with a tendency towards contrariness and scepticism, which is probably why she gravitated to teachers who displayed like qualities. It was always evident to me that the ‘blink’ required in order to meet life in its naked suchness was not something to be gained in time. Rather, it was clear that it was something to do with understanding what sabotages this direct engagement. So my teachers were those who deconstructed the spiritual search – and with it the seeker – inviting one to “see for oneself.” I realised early on that I wouldn’t find any help within traditional spiritual institutions since their version of awakening is usually a project in time. Anyway, I’m not a joiner by nature. I set out on my via negativa at an early age, trying on all kinds of philosophies and practices with enthusiasm and casting them aside –neti neti – equally enthusiastically. Chögyam Trungpa wised me up to “spiritual materialism” in the 70s; Alan Watts followed on, pointing out that whatever is being experienced is none other than ‘IT’ – the unarguable aliveness that one IS. By then I was perfectly primed for the questions put by Jiddu Krishnamurti – “Is there a thinker separate from thought?” “Is there an observer separate from the observed?” “Can consciousness be separated from its content?” It was while teaching at Brockwood Park that I also had the good fortune to engage with David Bohm in formal dialogues as well as private conversations. (About which I have written elsewhere.) Krishnamurti and Bohm were seminal teachers for me; I also loved the unique style of deconstruction offered by Nisargadatta Maharaj. As it happened though, it took just one tiny paragraph from Wei Wu Wei to land in my brain at exactly the right time for the irreversible ‘blink’ to occur. I mention this rather august lineage because it explains why the writing of Robert Saltzman strikes not just a chord but an entire symphonic movement for me. We are peers; we were probably reading the same books by Watts and Krishnamurti at the same time during the 70s and 80s. Reading his book, The Ten Thousand Things, is, for me, like feeling my way across a tapestry exquisitely woven from the threads of my own life. I’m not sure that I can adequately express my wonderment and appreciation… The candor, lucidity and lack of jargon in Robert’s writing are deeply refreshing. I also relish his way with words. He knows how to write. He also knows how to take astonishingly fine photographs, and these are featured throughout the book. It’s been said that this book will become a classic, which is a pretty good achievement for someone who isn’t claiming to be a teacher and has nothing to gain by its sale. (The book sells for the production price.) He is not peddling enlightenment. He is simply sharing how it feels to be free from all the spiritual fantasies that obscure our seamless engagement with this miraculous thing called life, right now.
Miriam Louis
Spellbinders are characterized by pathological egotism. Such a person is forced by some internal causes to make an early choice between two possibilities: the first is forcing other people to think and experience things in a manner similar to his own; the second is a feeling of being lonely and different, a pathological misfit in social life. Sometimes the choice is either snake-charming or suicide. Triumphant repression of selfcritical or unpleasant concepts from the field of consciousness gradually gives rise to the phenomena of conversive thinking (twisted thinking), or paralogistics (twisted logic), paramoralisms (twisted morality), and the use of reversion blockades (Big Lies). They stream so profusely from the mind and mouth of the spellbinder that they flood the average person’s mind. Everything becomes subordinated to the spellbinder’s over-compensatory conviction that they are exceptional, sometimes even messianic. An ideology emerges from this conviction, true in part, whose value is supposedly superior. However, if we analyze the exact functions of such an ideology in the spellbinder’s personality, we perceive that it is nothing other than a means of self-charming, useful for repressing those tormenting selfcritical associations into the subconscious. The ideology’s instrumental role in influencing other people also serves the spellbinder’s needs. The spellbinder believes that he will always find converts to his ideology, and most often, they are right. However, they feel shock (or even paramoral indignation) when it turns out that their influence extends to only a limited minority, while most people’s attitude to their activities remains critical, pained and disturbed. The spellbinder is thus confronted with a choice: either withdraw back into his void or strengthen his position by improving the ef ectiveness of his activities. The spellbinder places on a high moral plane anyone who has succumbed to his influence and incorporated the experiential method he imposes. He showers such people with attention and property, if possible. Critics are met with “moral” outrage. It can even be proclaimed that the compliant minority is in fact the moral majority, since it professes the best ideology and honors a leader whose qualities are above average. Such activity is always necessarily characterized by the inability to foresee its final results, something obvious from the psychological point of view because its substratum contains pathological phenomena, and both spellbinding and self-charming make it impossible to perceive reality accurately enough to foresee results logically. However, spellbinders nurture great optimism and harbor visions of future triumphs similar to those they enjoyed over their own crippled souls. It is also possible for optimism to be a pathological symptom. In a healthy society, the activities of spellbinders meet with criticism effective enough to stifle them quickly. However, when they are preceded by conditions operating destructively upon common sense and social order; such as social injustice, cultural backwardness, or intellectually limited rulers sometimes manifesting pathological traits, spellbinders’ activities have led entire societies into large-scale human tragedy. Such an individual fishes an environment or society for people amenable to his influence, deepening their psychological weaknesses until they finally join together in a ponerogenic union. On the other hand, people who have maintained their healthy critical faculties intact, based upon their own common sense and moral criteria, attempt to counteract the spellbinders’ activities and their results. In the resulting polarization of social attitudes, each side justifies itself by means of moral categories. That is why such commonsense resistance is always accompanied by some feeling of helplessness and deficiency of criteria.
Andrew Lobabczewski
Levers of Change and Tipping Points Classically, change takes place through compulsion, manipulation, persuasion, or through some combination thereof. In this book I have directed attention to deliberate and open attempts at mind change. I have also stressed the classic forms of persuasion: talk, teaching, therapy, and the creation and dissemination of new ideas and products. We must recognize, however, that in the future, these low-tech agents may well be supplanted by new forms of intervention: some will be biological, involving transformation of genes or brain tissue; some will be computational, entailing the use of new software and new hardware; and some will represent increasingly intricate amalgams of the biological and the computational realms. Perhaps the greatest challenge is to determine when the desired content has in fact been conveyed and whether it has actually been consolidated. Alas, there are no formulas for this step: each case of mind changing is distinctive. It is helpful to bear in mind that most mind change is gradual, occurring over significant periods of time; that awareness of the mind change is often fleeting, and the mind change may occur prior to consciousness thereof; that individuals have a pronounced tendency to slip back to earlier ways of thinking; but that when a mind change has become truly consolidated, it is likely to become as entrenched as its predecessor. Every example of mind changing has its unique facets. But in general, such a shift of mind is likely to coalesce when we employ the seven levers of mind change: specifically, when reason (often buttressed with research ), reinforcement through multiple forms of representation, real world events, resonance, and resources all push in one direction—and resistances can be identified and successfully countered. Conversely, mind changing is unlikely to occur—or to consolidate—when resistances are strong and most of the other points of leverage are not in place.
Howard Gardner (Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other Peoples Minds (Leadership for the Common Good))
Every person you’ve been close to lives on somewhere inside you. Your past lovers, your parents, your friends, people both alive and dead (symbolically or literally)—all of them evoke memories, conscious or not. Often they inform how you relate to yourself and others. Sometimes you have conversations with them in your head; sometimes they speak to you in your sleep.
Lori Gottlieb (Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed)
FLY FISHING WITH HARRISON FORD - "Together, we cast: a dance of synchronicity in the warm Wyoming morning. And we talk. Two men separated by decades and fame and geography and consciousness, we converse like old friends. The weather, the current, the Cutthroat Trout that have been spawning in great numbers
Dean Mayes (The Hambledown Dream)
Abolitionist Approach Action to Take Abolitionist social-emotional learning is healing centered, transformative, and dialogic. Cultivate an ongoing practice of dialogue and conversation with peers and students.
Liza A. Talusan (Identity-Conscious Educator: Building Habits and Skills for a More Inclusive School (Create a Research-based  Learning Environment That Allows Students of all Backgrounds to Learn and Grow Together.))
This might explain why white people are so defensive about their space. They'll insist at their dinner tables are not political. And while it may be true that they do no intentional political consciousness-raising at Sunday lunch, they nevertheless uphold and protect the dominant and pervasive anti-Black common sense of the wider society while they eat. Then they reinterpret our Black-experiences--which undermine the myths they crave--as "politics," a euphemism for impolite conversation. They gaslight us and call it keeping the peace.
Andre Henry (All the White Friends I Couldn't Keep: Hope—And Hard Pills to Swallow—About Fighting for Black Lives)
Perhaps the real question here is what is means to be a 'self-conscious political actor'. Philosophers tend to define human consciousness in terms of self-awareness; neuroscientists, not eh other hand, tell us we spend the overwhelming majority of our time effectively on autopilot, working out habitual forms of behaviour without any sort of scions reflection. When we are capable of self-awareness, it's usually for very brief periods of time: the 'window of consciousness', during which we can hold a thought or work out a problem, tends to be open on average for roughly seven seconds. What neuroscientists (and it must be said, most contemporary philosophers) almost never notice, however, is that the greatest exception to this is when we're talking to someone else. In conversation, we can hold thoughts and reflect on problems sometimes for hours on end. This is of course why so often, even if we're trying to figure something out by ourselves, we imagine arguing with or explaining it to someone else. Human thought is inherently dialogic. Ancient philosophers tended to be keenly aware of all this: that's why, whether they were in China, India or Greece, they tended to write their books in the form of dialogues. Humans were only fully self-conscious when arguing with one another, trying to sway each other's views, or working out a common problem.
David Graeber (The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity)
Actually,” I offered, sliding back across the seat, “I like to see y’all as an efficient and socially conscious way to handle the English language’s lack of a second-person plural pronoun.” The mother raised an eyebrow. I continued, “I could have used the word you to address the two girls, but I wanted to make sure your daughter knew I was including her in the conversation. I could also have said you guys, which has become surprisingly customary in casual conversation, but to my knowledge, neither of these children identifies as male, and I try to avoid using masculine terms to address people who aren’t men, as it ultimately works to promote the sort of linguistic sexism many have been fighting for years. I mean, if neither of these girls is a guy, then surely together they aren’t guys, you know?
Amanda Montell (Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language)
You have to consciously define the topic of a conversation, particularly when it is difficult—or it becomes about everything, and everything is too much. This is so frequently why couples cease communicating. Every argument degenerates into every problem that ever emerged in the past, every problem that exists now, and every terrible thing that is likely to happen in the future. No one can have a discussion about “everything.” Instead, you can say, “This exact, precise thing—that is what is making me unhappy. This exact, precise thing—that is what I want, as an alternative (although I am open to suggestions, if they are specific). This exact, precise thing—that is what you could deliver, so that I will stop making your life and mine miserable
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
Your consciousness is part of Tao’s consciousness . Once you become fully aware of that , the concept you hold of yourself will be altered . You will think differently , feel differently , and act differently . That is the most important concept of our conversation.
Chris Prentiss (That Was Zen, This Is Tao: Living Your Way to Enlightenment, Illustrated Edition)
But Barack had arrived in my life a wholly formed person. From our very first conversation, he’d shown me that he wasn’t self-conscious about expressing fear or weakness and that he valued being truthful. At work, I’d witnessed his humility and willingness to sacrifice his own needs and wants for a bigger purpose. And now in Hawaii, I could see his character reflected in other small ways. His long-lasting friendships with his high school buddies showed his consistency in relationships. In his devotion to his strong-willed mother, I saw a deep respect for women and their independence. Without needing to discuss it outright, I knew he could handle a partner who had her own passions and voice. These were things you couldn’t teach in a relationship, things that not even love could really build or change. In opening up his world to me, Barack was showing me everything I’d ever need to know about the kind of life partner he’d be.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
Do you hear me? Only you can listen to me. I am your “inner voice”. As you read these words, I am inviting you to be part of a very intimate conversation. I am taking you on a journey to discover, recover and uncover your capacity to flourish and live a full life, no matter what happens. I am provoking you to acknowledge me, and to let me re-connect you with your self. Then, we will never be, or feel, lonely again. Come along with me. Feel free to unleash your imagination. There is no reason to worry. After all, nobody else will ever be able to hear us.
Alejandro Alex Jadad (The feast of our life: Preparing to flourish through self-love)
Outstanding Exponential Results, require extraordinary Leadership-team conversations, that raise consciousness and unleash fullest potentials
Tony Dovale
If the subjective consciousness prefers the ideas and opinions of collective consciousness and identifies with them, then the contents of the collective unconscious are repressed. The repression has typical consequences: the energy-charge of the repressed contents adds itself, in some measure,124 to that of the repressing factor, whose effectiveness is increased accordingly. The higher its charge mounts, the more the repressive attitude acquires a fanatical character and the nearer it comes to conversion into its opposite, i.e., an enantiodromia. And the more highly charged the collective consciousness, the more the ego forfeits its practical importance. It is, as it were, absorbed by the opinions and tendencies of collective consciousness, and the result of that is the mass man, the ever-ready victim of some wretched “ism.” The ego keeps its integrity only if it does not identify with one of the opposites, and if it understands how to hold the balance between them
C.G. Jung (The Collected Works of C.G. Jung)