Consistent Action Quotes

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In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.
Anthony Robbins
It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
Solid character will reflect itself in consistent behavior, while poor character will seek to hide behind deceptive words and actions.
Myles Munroe (Waiting and Dating: A Sensible Guide to a Fulfilling Love Relationship)
I'm a great poet. I don't put my poems on paper: they consist of actions and feelings.
Honoré de Balzac (Père Goriot)
[M]ost of our daily news is inert, consisting of information that gives us something to talk about but cannot lead to any meaningful action. (68).
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
Our culture says that feelings of love are the basis for actions of love. And of course that can be true. But it is truer to say that actions of love can lead consistently to feelings of love.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
What is trust, sidhe-seer, but expectation that another will behave in a certain fashion, consistent with prior actions?
Karen Marie Moning (Bloodfever (Fever, #2))
Words lie; actions can lie too. Consistency speaks the truth.
Lilly Singh (How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life)
He forced my soul back into innocent belief, not by empty words or false promises but by consistent action that never failed. He was safe.
Rachel Higginson (Fearless Magic (Star-Crossed, #3))
The essence in obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view himself as an instrument for carrying out another person's wishes and he therefore no longer regards himself as responsible for his actions.
Stanley Milgram (Obedience to Authority)
If climate drives business results, what drives climate? 50-70% of how employees perceive their organization’s climate corresponds to the actions of one person: their manager.
Raymond Wheeler (Lift: Five Practices Great Managers Do Consistently: Raise Performance and Morale - See Your Employees Thrive)
Understand: people judge you by appearances, the image you project through your actions, words, and style. If you do not take control of this process, then people will see and define you the way they want to, often to your detriment. You might think that being consistent with this image will make others respect and trust you, but in fact it is the opposite—over time you seem predictable and weak. Consistency is an illusion anyway—each passing day brings changes within you. You must not be afraid to express these evolutions. The powerful learn early in life that they have the freedom to mold their image, fitting the needs and moods of the moment. In this way, they keep others off balance and maintain an air of mystery. You must follow this path and find great pleasure in reinventing yourself, as if you were the author writing your own drama
50 Cent (The 50th Law)
I believed I would never trust another person for as long as I lived. Yet, I couldn't help but trust him; the decision was made before I even realized what was happening. He forced my soul back into innocent belief, not by empty words or false promises but by consistent action that never failed. He was safe.
Rachel Higginson (Fearless Magic (Star-Crossed, #3))
The word 'jihad' has nowhere been used in the Qur'an to mean war in the sense of launching an offensive. It is used rather to mean 'struggle'. the action most consistently called for in the Qur'an is the exercise of patience. (p. 7-8)
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (The True Jihad: The Concept of Peace, Tolerance and Non Violence in Islam)
A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth-that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which a man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of human is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for the brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when a man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way-an honorable way-in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words,"The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning)
We need not be paranoiac but let us follow our path, with consistency and common sense, and avoid being run over by the steamroller of social media through loose-tongued prattle and unthoughtful actions. We must be aware that loose lips sink ships. (“Juicy rumors”)
Erik Pevernagie
Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world, after all. He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it -- namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. And this would help him to understand why constructing artificial flowers or performing on a tread-mill is work, while rolling ten-pins or climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement. There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service, that would turn it into work and then they would resign.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)
Your passion is measured by the difference between your willingness to take actions and your desire to quit. When your desire to quit outweighs your willingness to persist, you are ripe for failure!
Israelmore Ayivor (The Great Hand Book of Quotes)
There is no simple explanation for anything important any of us do, and the human tragedy, or the human irony, consists in the necessity of living with the consequences of actions performed under the pressure of compulsions so obscure we do not and cannot understand them.
Hugh MacLennan (The Watch that Ends the Night)
Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things. Thus death is nothing terrible, else it would have appeared so to Socrates. But the terror consists in our notion of death, that it is terrible. When, therefore, we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved let us never impute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own views. It is the action of an uninstructed person to reproach others for his own misfortunes; of one entering upon instruction, to reproach himself; and of one perfectly instructed, to reproach neither others or himself.
Epictetus (The Enchiridion of Epictetus)
There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it. Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief - WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care? People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us. For values or guiding principles to be truly effective they have to be verbs. It’s not “integrity,” it’s “always do the right thing.” It’s not “innovation,” it’s “look at the problem from a different angle.” Articulating our values as verbs gives us a clear idea - we have a clear idea of how to act in any situation. Happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders—in that order. Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to. You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills. Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left. Trust is maintained when values and beliefs are actively managed. If companies do not actively work to keep clarity, discipline and consistency in balance, then trust starts to break down. All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.
Simon Sinek (Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action)
When what you value and dream about doesn’t match the life you are living, you have pain.
Shannon L. Alder
Finding this, she was much perplexed as to Henchard's motives in opening the matter at all; for in such cases we attribute to an enemy a power of consistent action which we never find in ourselves or or in our friends...
Thomas Hardy (The Mayor of Casterbridge)
Ideas are ultimately worthless unless you activate them with focused and consistent action. The best leaders never leave the site of a good idea without doing something—no matter how small—to breathe some life into it. Lots of people have good ideas. But the masters become masters because they had the courage and conviction to act on ideas.
Robin S. Sharma (The Leader Who Had No Title)
We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We need to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—hourly and daily. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfill the task which it constantly sets for each individual.
Viktor E. Frankl
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)
Words lie. Actions can lie too. Consistency speaks the truth.
Trent Shelton
Belief, in one of its accepted senses, may consist in a merely intellectual assent, while faith implies such confidence and conviction as will impel to action.
James E. Talmage (Articles of Faith (Missionary Reference Library))
Persistent, consistent, and frequent stories, delivered to an aligned audience, will earn attention, trust, and action.
Seth Godin (This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See)
action is only meaningful if it’s consistent.
Lilly Singh (How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life)
Is it true that existence consists only in the action of energy? Or is it not rather that energy is an output of Existence?
Sri Aurobindo
I’ve found most authors have the wrong mental picture of the process. Instead of a sprint, publishing is more like a marathon. Slow, steady and consistent action will get you your audience and success.
W. Terry Whalin (10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed)
Your life is not a result of your potential, skills or desires, but of your consistent expectations and actions, which largely flow from your values and beliefs.
Christopher Babson
Revenge is the thinking man’s reflex, a complex blend of action and consistency no other animal species has so far succeeded in evolving. Evolutionary speaking, the practice of taking revenge has shown itself to the so effective that only the most vengeful of us have survived.
Jo Nesbø
And so was Luria, whose words now came back to me: ‘A man does not consist of memory alone. He has feeling, will, sensibility, moral being ... It is here ... you may touch him, and see a profound change.’ Memory, mental activity, mind alone, could not hold him; but moral attention and action could hold him completely.
Oliver Sacks (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales)
While it does, and should, feel good to be appreciated by another person, if you are dependent upon their appreciation to feel good, you will not be able to consistently feel good, because no other person has the ability, or a responsibility, to hold you as their singular, positive object of attention. Your Inner Being, however, the Source within you, always holds you, with no exceptions, as a constant object of appreciation. So if you will tune your thoughts and actions to that consistent Vibration of Well-Being flowing forth from your Inner Being—you will thrive under any and all conditions.
Esther Hicks (The Essential Law of Attraction Collection)
It is through strength of character, not luck, do we form the predictable path of our future.
Shannon L. Alder
Teach him to live rather than to avoid death: life is not breath, but action, the use of our senses, our mind, our faculties, every part of ourselves which makes us conscious of our being. Life consists less in length of days than in the keen sense of living. A man maybe buried at a hundred and may never have lived at all. He would have fared better had he died young.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
There is enough mystery in human nature to keep the world stuck in a perpetual state of righteous speculation. Only the wise and compassionate will rise above it, with enough vision to see that inconsistency is a normal occurrence, during the spiritual battle of forgiveness and justice.
Shannon L. Alder
But discipleship never consists in this or that specific action: it is always a decision, either for or against Jesus Christ...Christ speaks to us exactly as he spoke to them. It was not as though they first recognized him as the Christ and then received his command. They believed his word and command and recognized him as the Christ--in that order.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
Great ideas and small consistent actions with love can change the world from above.
Debasish Mridha
Faith and hope mean absolutely nothing where consistent action fails to exist.
null
The only difference lies in whether someone decides it is necessary to get better. No necessity, no consistent action.
Brendon Burchard (High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way)
What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life--daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual. These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way. Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements. “Life” does not mean something vague, but something very real and concrete, just as life’s tasks are also very real and concrete. They form man’s destiny, which is different and unique for each individual. No man and no destiny can be compared with any other man or any other destiny. No situation repeats itself, and each situation calls for a different response. Sometimes the situation in which a man finds himself may require him to shape his own fate by action. At other times it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation and to realize assets in this way. Sometimes man may be required simple to accept fate, to bear his cross. Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand. When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single and unique task. He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.
Viktor E. Frankl
The other great heritage is Christian ethics—the basis of action on love, the brotherhood of all men, the value of the individual, the humility of the spirit. These two heritages are logically, thoroughly consistent.
Richard P. Feynman (The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist)
You can be an expert any field of study with consistent effort and consistent learning.
Lailah Gifty Akita
Do it again and again. Consistency makes the rain drops to create holes in the rock. Whatever is difficult can be done easily with regular attendance, attention and action.
Israelmore Ayivor (The Great Hand Book of Quotes)
The only way people will know what you believe is by the things you say and do, and if you’re not consistent in the things you say and do, no one will know what you believe.
Simon Sinek (Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action)
Actions speak louder than words, so you want to find out what his actions say about his feelings towards you. If he is easily willing to come to your aide on a consistent basis, this is proof he genuinely cares for you.
Kara King (The Power of the Pussy - How to Get What You Want From Men: Love, Respect, Commitment and More!: Dating and Relationship Advice for Women)
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.
George Washington
Consistency. Clarity. Courage. I like to stand for consistency, clarity and courage in my thoughts, words, and actions.
Sharad Vivek Sagar
Trust is created over time with consistent actions.
Bruce Rhoades
You can change your life and make it what you want it to be, but only if you take consistent action.
Eddie de Jong (The Power of Habit: be Efficient in Everything you do)
You send a message by what you say and what you do. If words aren’t supported with consistent actions, they will ring hollow.
Frank Sonnenberg (BookSmart: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happiness)
The time of a man's life is as a point; the substance of it ever flowing, the sense obscure; and the whole composition of the body tending to corruption. His soul is restless, fortune uncertain, and fame doubtful; to be brief, as a stream so are all things belonging to the body; as a dream, or as a smoke, so are all that belong unto the soul. Our life is a warfare, and a mere pilgrimage. Fame after life is no better than oblivion. What is it then that will adhere and follow? Only one thing, philosophy. And philosophy doth consist in this, for a man to preserve that spirit which is within him, from all manner of contumelies and injuries, and above all pains or pleasures; never to do anything either rashly, or feignedly, or hypocritically: only to depend from himself, and his own proper actions: all things that happen unto him to embrace contentendly, as coming from Him from whom he himself also came; and above all things, with all meekness and a calm cheerfulness, to expect death, as being nothing else but the resolution of those elements, of which every creature is composed. And if the elements themselves suffer nothing by their perpetual conversion of one into another, that dissolution, and alteration, which is so common unto all, why should it be feared by any? Is not this according to nature? But nothing that is according to nature can be evil.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
Capitalist ideology in general, Zizek maintains, consists precisely in the overvaluing of belief - in the sense of inner subjective attitude - at the expense of the beliefs we exhibit and externalize in our behavior. So long as we believe (in our hearts) that capitalism is bad, we are free to continue to participate in capitalist exchange. According to Zizek, capitalism in general relies on this structure of disavowal. We believe that money is only a meaningless token of no intrinsic worth, yet we act as if it has a holy value. Moreover, this behavior precisely depends upon the prior disavowal - we are able to fetishize money in our actions only because we have already taken an ironic distance towards money in our heads.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
Everyday should be a working day on those difficult tasks. A little bit per day is the only way to make it through. Never feel it can't be done; it can be done with persistent actions, repeated input and consistent attendance!
Israelmore Ayivor (The Great Hand Book of Quotes)
Words lie; actions can lie too. Consistency speaks the truth.
Trent Shelton
Wishes and wants do not transform a person; actions and reactions do so! Show the world your plans by the actions you take progressively and consistently.
Israelmore Ayivor
Get this; without a continuous struggle, your previous struggles will become a waste. Stay on and hold on until the success become evident.
Israelmore Ayivor (Leaders' Frontpage: Leadership Insights from 21 Martin Luther King Jr. Thoughts)
If you want to be taken seriously, be consistent in your craft even when all odds are against you.
Nicky Verd
you create your own personal experience of reality through your beliefs, expectations, attitudes, desires, fears, judgements, feelings, and consistent or persistent thoughts and actions.
Serge Kahili King (Mastering Your Hidden Self: A Guide to the Huna Way)
The constant, obvious flattery, contrary to all evidence, of the people around him [Tsar Nicholas I] had brought him to the point that he no longer saw his contradictions, no longer conformed his actions and words to reality, logic, or even simple common sense, but was fully convinced that all his orders, however senseless, unjust, and inconsistent with each other, became sensible, just, and consistent with each other only because he gave them.
Leo Tolstoy (Hadji Murád)
Science seeks to understand complex processes by reducing them to their essential actions and studying the interplay of those actions--and this reductionist approach extends to art as well. Indeed, my focus on one school of art, consisting of only three major representatives, is an example of this. Some people are concerned that a reductionist analysis will diminish our fascination with art, that it will trivialize art and deprive it of its special force, thereby reducing the beholder's share to an ordinary brain function. I argue to the contrary, that be encouraging a focus on one mental process at a time, reductionism can expand our vision and give us new insights into the nature and creation of art. These new insights will enable us to perceive unexpected aspects of art that derive from the relationships between the biological and psychological phenomena.
Eric R. Kandel
He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it -- namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)
Anyone who has truly practiced a religion knows very well that it is [the set of regularly repeated actions that make up the cult] that stimulates the feelings of joy, inner peace, serenity, and enthusiasm that, for the faithful, stand as experimental proof of their beliefs. The cult is not merely a system of signs by which the faith is outwardly expressed; it is the sum total of means by which that faith is created and recreated periodically. Whether the cult consists of physical operations or mental ones, it is always the cult that is efficacious.
Émile Durkheim (The Elementary Forms of Religious Life)
A private meaning is in fact no meaning at all. Meaning is only possible in communication: a word which meant something to one person only would really be meaningless. It is the same with our aims and actions; their only meaning is their meaning for others. Every human being strives for significance; but people always make mistakes if they do not see that their whole significance must consist in their contribution to the lives of others. An
Alfred Adler (WHAT LIFE COULD MEAN TO YOU (Timeless Wisdom Collection Book 196))
When story and behavior are consistent, we relax; when story and behavior are inconsistent, we get tense. We have a deep psychological need for our stories and behaviors to be consistent. We need to be able to trust the story, because it's the lens through which we see reality. We will go to great lengths in the attempt to make a story that explains an action and supports or restores consistency. If we cannot make story and action fit, we either have to make a new story or change the action. ... [But] The drive for consistency and the ability to redefine abhorrent action so it fits the story are very complex issues. We have a huge ability to continue believing stories we are told are true in order to stay comfortable with actions we don't want to change, or don't feel capable of changing.
Christina Baldwin (Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story)
Your success is entirely contingent upon your foundation of enabling beliefs, your relentless focus, and your actions consistent with those beliefs and focus.
Mike Michalowicz (The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur)
Idealism is only bad if your ideals are bad – or if your ideals are good but your methods don't reflect them.
Starchild
But most of our daily news is inert, consisting of information that gives us something to talk about but cannot lead to any meaningful action.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
For Tragedy is an imitation, not of men, but of an action and of life, and life consists in action, and its end is a mode of action, not a quality.
Aristotle (Poetics)
Remember the key to staying in the flow: taking consistent action, one small step at a time. Make a move, then watch for the universe’s response.
Kerri L. Richardson (What Your Clutter Is Trying to Tell You: Uncover the Message in the Mess and Reclaim Your Life)
Consistent action breeds satisfaction or frustration; either one or both are key ingredients for growth.
Kayambila Mpulamasaka
Formulating your goal and writing it down is not enough. You have to take consistent action!
Eddie de Jong (Goal Setting for Success)
Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? While many investors have ‘sprinted’ toward their investment goals, success is most often found by consistent action, not big action.
Brandon Turner (How to Invest in Real Estate: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Getting Started)
God will not be tolerated. He instructs us to worship and fear Him. In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him. Because we don’t often think about the reality of who God is, we quickly forget that He is worthy to be worshiped and loved. We are to fear Him. The answer to each of these questions is simply this: because He’s God. He has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving. As much as we want God to explain himself to us, His creation, we are in no place to demand that He give an account to us. Can you worship a God who isn’t obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation? If God is truly the greatest good on this earth, would He be loving us if He didn’t draw us toward what is best for us (even if that happens to be Himself)? Doesn’t His courting, luring, pushing, calling, and even “threatening” demonstrate His love? If He didn’t do all of that, wouldn’t we accuse Him of being unloving in the end, when all things are revealed? Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world? Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: He wants all or nothing. Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream. When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream. How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all? True faith means holding nothing back; it bets everything on the hope of eternity. When you are truly in love, you go to great lengths to be with the one you love. You’ll drive for hours to be together, even if it’s only for a short while. You don’t mind staying up late to talk. Walking in the rain is romantic, not annoying. You’ll willingly spend a small fortune on the one you’re crazy about. When you are apart from each other, it’s painful, even miserable. He or she is all you think about; you jump at any chance to be together. There is nothing better than giving up everything and stepping into a passionate love relationship with God, the God of the universe who made galaxies, leaves, laughter, and me and you. Do you recognize the foolishness of seeking fulfillment outside of Him? Are you ready and willing to make yourself nothing? To take the very nature of a servant? To be obedient unto death? True love requires sacrifice. What are you doing right now that requires faith? God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. If one person “wastes” away his day by spending hours connecting with God, and the other person believes he is too busy or has better things to do than worship the Creator and Sustainer, who is the crazy one? Am I loving my neighbor and my God by living where I live, by driving what I drive, by talking how I talk?” If I stop pursuing Christ, I am letting our relationship deteriorate. The way we live out our days is the way we will live our lives. What will people say about your life in heaven? Will people speak of God’s work and glory through you? And even more important, how will you answer the King when He says, “What did you do with what I gave you?
Francis Chan (Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)
Mainly, though, the Democratic Party has become the party of reaction. In reaction to a war that is ill conceived, we appear suspicious of all military action. In reaction to those who proclaim the market can cure all ills, we resist efforts to use market principles to tackle pressing problems. In reaction to religious overreach, we equate tolerance with secularism, and forfeit the moral language that would help infuse our policies with a larger meaning. We lose elections and hope for the courts to foil Republican plans. We lost the courts and wait for a White House scandal. And increasingly we feel the need to match the Republican right in stridency and hardball tactics. The accepted wisdom that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists these days goes like this: The Republican Party has been able to consistently win elections not by expanding its base but by vilifying Democrats, driving wedges into the electorate, energizing its right wing, and disciplining those who stray from the party line. If the Democrats ever want to get back into power, then they will have to take up the same approach. ...Ultimately, though, I believe any attempt by Democrats to pursue a more sharply partisan and ideological strategy misapprehends the moment we're in. I am convinced that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose. For it's precisely the pursuit of ideological purity, the rigid orthodoxy and the sheer predictability of our current political debate, that keeps us from finding new ways to meet the challenges we face as a country. It's what keeps us locked in "either/or" thinking: the notion that we can have only big government or no government; the assumption that we must either tolerate forty-six million without health insurance or embrace "socialized medicine". It is such doctrinaire thinking and stark partisanship that have turned Americans off of politics.
Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream)
But the eventual results were too intriguing to ignore. When people were placed in front of a mirror, or told that their actions were being filmed, they consistently changed their behavior. These self-conscious people worked harder at laboratory tasks. They gave more valid answers to questionnaires (meaning that their answers jibed more closely with their actual behavior). They were more consistent in their actions, and their actions were also more consistent with their values.
Roy F. Baumeister (Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength)
[The wives of powerful noblemen] must be highly knowledgeable about government, and wise – in fact, far wiser than most other such women in power. The knowledge of a baroness must be so comprehensive that she can understand everything. Of her a philosopher might have said: "No one is wise who does not know some part of everything." Moreover, she must have the courage of a man. This means that she should not be brought up overmuch among women nor should she be indulged in extensive and feminine pampering. Why do I say that? If barons wish to be honoured as they deserve, they spend very little time in their manors and on their own lands. Going to war, attending their prince's court, and traveling are the three primary duties of such a lord. So the lady, his companion, must represent him at home during his absences. Although her husband is served by bailiffs, provosts, rent collectors, and land governors, she must govern them all. To do this according to her right she must conduct herself with such wisdom that she will be both feared and loved. As we have said before, the best possible fear comes from love. When wronged, her men must be able to turn to her for refuge. She must be so skilled and flexible that in each case she can respond suitably. Therefore, she must be knowledgeable in the mores of her locality and instructed in its usages, rights, and customs. She must be a good speaker, proud when pride is needed; circumspect with the scornful, surly, or rebellious; and charitably gentle and humble toward her good, obedient subjects. With the counsellors of her lord and with the advice of elder wise men, she ought to work directly with her people. No one should ever be able to say of her that she acts merely to have her own way. Again, she should have a man's heart. She must know the laws of arms and all things pertaining to warfare, ever prepared to command her men if there is need of it. She has to know both assault and defence tactics to insure that her fortresses are well defended, if she has any expectation of attack or believes she must initiate military action. Testing her men, she will discover their qualities of courage and determination before overly trusting them. She must know the number and strength of her men to gauge accurately her resources, so that she never will have to trust vain or feeble promises. Calculating what force she is capable of providing before her lord arrives with reinforcements, she also must know the financial resources she could call upon to sustain military action. She should avoid oppressing her men, since this is the surest way to incur their hatred. She can best cultivate their loyalty by speaking boldly and consistently to them, according to her council, not giving one reason today and another tomorrow. Speaking words of good courage to her men-at-arms as well as to her other retainers, she will urge them to loyalty and their best efforts.
Christine de Pizan (The Treasure of the City of Ladies)
I have no use for a theoretic freedom. Let me have something finite, definite — matter that can lend itself to my operation only insofar as it is commensurate with my possibilities. And such matter presents itself to me together with limitations. I must in turn impose mine upon it. So here we are, whether we like it or not, in the realm of necessity. And yet which of us has ever heard talk of art as other than a realm of freedom? This sort of heresy is uniformly widespread because it is imagined that art is outside the bounds of ordinary activity. Well, in art as in everything else, one can build only upon a resisting foundation: whatever constantly gives way to pressure, constantly renders movement impossible. My freedom thus consists in my moving about within the narrow frame that I have assigned myself for each one of my undertakings. I shall go even further: my freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles. Whatever diminishes constraint, diminishes strength. The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self of the chains that shackle the spirit.
Igor Stravinsky (Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons)
Funny how things work themselves out. Things happen that split up family and friends, then things happen that bring them back together. Everyone is in your life for a reason. My hope is for all the reasons to be good. Those who love you never lose touch, are always consistent, and unquestionable.
April Mae Monterrosa
The relationship between love and appropriate action is demonstrated repeatedly in the scriptures and is highlighted by the Savior's instruction to His Apostles: 'If ye love me, keep my commandments' (John 14:15). Just as our love of and for the Lord is evidenced by walking ever in His ways (see Deuteronomy 19:9), so our love for spouse, parents, and children is reflected most powerfully in our thoughts, our words, and our deeds (see Mosiah 4:30)."Feeling the security and constancy of love from a spouse, a parent, or a child is a rich blessing. Such love nurtures and sustains faith in God. Such love is a source of strength and casts our fear (see 1 John 4:18). Such love is the desire of every human soul."We can become more diligent and concerned at home as we express love—and consistently show it.
David A. Bednar
If you write well and honestly, with character rising from background and action springing from character, and if you remain true to your vision of life, then theme will emerge in the reading process. And if you write what you believe, and only what you believe, the theme will inevitably be consistent.
Gary Provost (Make Every Word Count: A Guide to Writing That Works—for Fiction and Nonfiction)
We consistently label people, actions, words, situations, and events as “bad”, “not good enough”, or “wrong”. We say, “She is annoying”, “She is boring”, and “She is ugly” as if they were facts. Then we experience an emotional reaction to these labels, and we treat ourselves and others according to them.
Noah Elkrief (A Guide to the Present Moment)
(By the way, a question is sometimes raised, whether the moral choice or the actions have most to do with Virtue, since it consists in both: it is plain that the perfection of virtuous action requires both: but for the actions many things are required, and the greater and more numerous they are the more.)
Aristotle (Ethics)
Military operations alone cannot defeat an insurgency because only economic development and political action can address most sources of disaffection. If military operations are not conducted consistent with political objectives or occur without economic development, they are certain to alienate the population further, reduce the amount of intelligence available to [...] security forces, and strengthen rather than weaken the enemy.
H.R. McMaster
NATO bombing of Serbia was undertaken by the ‘international community,’ according to consistent Western rhetoric—although those who did not have their heads buried in the sand knew that it was opposed by most of the world, often quite vocally. Those who do not support the actions of wealth and power are not part of ‘the global community.
Noam Chomsky (9-11)
Being alone comes from separating our Self from others. It’s not about taking alone time in order to recharge. It’s the difference between “I’m alone” vs “I need some time alone”. Introverts can take alone time in a crowded bookstore full of strangers. Being alone comes from a state of emotional separation. It’s that wall we place between us and the external. We can do this while having the physical presence of another person or having people in our lives. People who have many friends can still feel alone. People who feel the most alone consistently hold attitudes and take actions that separate themselves, exclude themselves and hold themselves incomparable to others.
Corin
Many Christians are tempted to believe in billions of years because they have confidence in what the secular scientists teach. But then again, Christians readily accept the resurrection of Christ, the virgin birth, Jesus turning water into wine, and so on—all of which are rejected by secular scientists. Some might respond, “But those are miraculous events—the miracles of Christ go beyond natural law. Normal scientific procedure would not apply.” But isn’t creation a miraculous event? God spoke the universe into existence—something He does not do today. Creation goes beyond the normal everyday operation of the universe. If we arbitrarily dismiss the possibility of supernatural action by God in Genesis, then to be logically consistent, we would have to reject the other miracles in Scripture as well, including the resurrection of Christ—and the resurrection is indeed a “salvation issue” (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17).
Jason Lisle (Why Genesis Matters)
Thoughts close more doors then they open. This causes limitation. Action opens more doors then it closes. This results in liberation. I suggest spending less time on trying to change thoughts and more time on the action steps you will take to prove your current thoughts wrong. Once you take consistent, habitual action the thoughts change, spontaneously.
Charles F. Glassman (Brain Drain The Breakthrough That Will Change Your Life)
There’s no way to get from the point in Hemn space where we are now, to one that includes pink nerve-gas-farting dragons, following any plausible action principle. Which is really just a technical term for there being a coherent story joining one moment to the next. If you simply throw action principles out the window, you’re granting the world the freedom to wander anywhere in Hemn space, to any outcome, without constraint. It becomes pretty meaningless. The mind—even the sline mind—knows that there is an action principle that governs how the world evolves from one moment to the next—that restricts our world’s path to points that tell an internally consistent story. So it focuses its worrying on outcomes that are more plausible, such as you leaving.
Neal Stephenson (Anathem)
One of the study’s major findings was that in the successful relationships, positive attention outweighed negative on a daily basis by a factor of five to one. This positive attention wasn’t about dramatic actions like throwing over-the-top birthday parties or purchasing a dream home. It took the form of small gestures, such as: using a pleased tone of voice when receiving a phone call from the partner, as opposed to an exasperated tone or a rushed pace that implied the partner’s call was interrupting important tasks inquiring about dentist appointments or other details of the other person’s day putting down the remote control, newspaper, or telephone when the other partner walked through the door arriving home at the promised time—or at least calling if there was a delay These small moments turned out to be more predictive of a loving, trusting relationship than were the more innovative steps of romantic vacations and expensive presents. Possibly, that’s because small moments provide consistent tending and nurturing.
Robert Maurer (One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way)
What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
Every good athlete can find the flow,” continues Pastrana, “but it’s what you do with it that makes you great. If you consistently use that state to do the impossible, you get confident in your ability to do the impossible. You begin to expect it. That’s why we’re seeing so much progression in action sports today. It’s the natural result of a whole lot of people starting to expect the impossible.
Steven Kotler (The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance)
Things like taking a few dollars out of a paycheck, putting it into savings, and leaving it there. Or doing a few minutes of exercise every day—and not skipping it. Or reading ten pages of an inspiring, educational, life-changing book every day. Or taking a moment to tell someone how much you appreciate them, and doing that consistently, every day, for months and years. Little things that seem insignificant in the doing, yet when compounded over time yield very big results. You could call these “little virtues” or “success habits.” I call them simple daily disciplines. Simple productive actions, repeated consistently over time. That, in a nutshell, is the slight edge.
Jeff Olson (The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness)
In the past, we had objects to believe in—objects of belief. These have disappeared. But we also had objects not to believe in, which is just as vital a function. Transitional objects, ironic ones, so to speak, objects of our indifference, …Ideologies played this role reasonably well. These, too, have disappeared. And we survive only by a reflex action of collective credulity, which consists not only in absorbing everything put about under the heading of news or information, but in believing in the principal and transcendence of information.
Jean Baudrillard (The Perfect Crime)
He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. And
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)
the moral worth of an action consists not in the consequences that flow from it, but in the intention from which the act is done. What matters is the motive, and the motive must be of a certain kind. What matters is doing the right thing because it’s right, not for some ulterior motive.
Michael J. Sandel (Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?)
You are where you are and what you are because of yourself. Everything you are today, or ever will be in the future, is up to you. Your life today is the sum total result of your choices, decisions and actions up to this point. You can create your own future by changing your behaviors. You can make new choices and decisions that are more consistent with the person you want to be and the things you want to accomplish with your life.
Brian Tracy (Million Dollar Habits: Practical, Proven, Power Practices to Double and Triple Your Income)
And when a countryman says the cold freezes water, though the word freezing seems to import some action, yet truly it signifies nothing, but the effect, videlicet that water, that was before fluid, is become hard and consistent, without containing any idea of the action whereby it is done.
John Locke (An Essay Concerning Human Understanding)
Do you realize why superheroes are called action heroes? Because there is no such thing as a hope hero! Each success we achieve in life is the result of our being emotionally invested in the outcome, to the point that we make ourselves take the consistent actions necessary to create what we want.
Regina Cates (Lead With Your Heart: Creating a Life of Love, Compassion, and Purpose)
Try to hear the impact of what you have done. Don't just hear the action: "You consistently speak over me in work meetings and you do not do that to white people in our meetings." That is easy to brush off as, "I just didn't agree with you," or, "I didn't mean to, I was just excited about a point I was trying to make. Don't make a big deal out of nothing." Try to also hear the impact: "Your bias is invalidating my professional expertise and making me feel singled out and unappreciated in a way which compounds all of the many ways I'm made to feel this way as a woman of color in the workplace.
Ijeoma Oluo (So You Want to Talk About Race)
Studies consistently show that when we look back on our lives the most common regrets are not the risks we took, but the ones we didn’t. Of the many regrets people describe, regrets of inaction outnumber those of action by nearly two to one. Some of the most common include not pursuing more education, not being more assertive, and failing to seize the moment. When people reflect later in life, it is the things they did not do that generate the greatest despair.
Jocelyn K. Glei (Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career (The 99U Book Series))
Students want a safe, predictable, and nurturing environment—one that is consistent. Students like well-managed classes because no one yells at them, and learning takes place. Effective teachers spend the first two weeks teaching students to be in control of their own actions in a consistent classroom environment.
Harry K. Wong (The First Days of School)
Do that which consists in taking no action; Pursue that which is not meddlesome; Savor that which has no flavor. Make the small big and the few many; Do good to him who has done you an injury. Lay plans for the accomplishment of the difficult before it becomes difficult; Make something big by starting with it when small. Difficult things in the word must needs have their beginnings in the easy; Big things must needs have their beginnings in the small. Therefore it is because the sage never attempts to be great that he succeeds in becoming great. One who makes promises rashly rarely keeps good faith; One who is in the habit of considering things easy meets with frequent difficulties. Therefore even the sage treats some things as difficult. That is why in the end no difficulties can get the better of him.
Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
My freedom thus consists in my moving about within the narrow frame that I have assigned to myself for each one of my undertakings. I shall go even further: my freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles. Whatever diminishes constraint diminishes strength. The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees oneself of the claims that shackle the spirit.” — Igor Stravinsky, Poetics of Music
Dennis DeSantis (Making Music: 74 Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers)
The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way —an honorable way—in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
All right,’ said Moreland, ‘love, then. Is it better to love somebody and not have them, or have somebody and not love them? I mean from the point of view of action – living intensely. Does action consist in having or loving? In having – naturally – it might first appear. Loving is just emotion, not action at all. But is that correct? I’m not sure.
Anthony Powell (The Kindly Ones (A Dance to the Music of Time, #6))
Only by the aid of language does reason bring about its most important achievements, namely the harmonious and consistent action of several individuals, the planned cooperation of many thousands, civilization, the State; and then, science, the storing up of previous experience, the summarizing into one concept of what is common, the communication of truth, the spreading of error, thoughts and poems, dogmas and superstitions. The animal learns to know death only when he dies, but man consciously draws every hour nearer his death; and at times this makes life a precarious business, even to the man who has not already recognized this character of constant annihilation in the whole of life itself.
Arthur Schopenhauer (The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1)
If our words are not consistent with our actions, they will never be heard above the thunder of our deeds.
H. Burke Peterson
No plan can assure your success till you head your life by chance
Myra Yadav
Disciplined, consistent, and persistent actions are more of a determining factor in the creation of success than any other combination of things.
Grant Cardone (The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure)
Religion consists much in holy affection; but those exercises of affection which are most distinguishing of true religion are these practical exercises. Friendship between earthly friends consists much in affection; but those strong exercises of affection that actually carry them through fire and water for each other are the highest evidences of true friendship.
Jonathan Edwards (The Religious Affections)
At the beginning of the semester, Ulla wanted to pose only for the 'new trends' - a flea that Meiter, her Easter egg painter had put in her ear; his engagement present to her had been a vocabulary which she tried out in conversations with me. She spoke of relationships, constellations, actions, perspectives, granular structures, processes of fusion, phenomena of erosion. She, whose daily fare consisted exclusively of bananas and tomato juice, spoke of proto-cells, color atoms which in their dynamic flat trajectories found their natural positions in their fields of forces, but did not stop there; no, they went on and on... This was the tone of the conversation with me during our rest periods or when we went out for an occasional cup of coffee in Ratinger-Strasse. Even when her engagement to the dynamic painter of Easter eggs had ceased to be, even when after a brief episode with a Lesbian she took up with one of Kuchen's students and returned to the objective world, she retained this vocabulary which so strained her little face that two sharp, rather fanatical creases formed on either side of her mouth.
Günter Grass (The Tin Drum)
The problem with the unruffled boosters of the Enlightenment as well as its unreconcilable enemies is that they can’t get their minds around the idea that a value may need its opposite not to become dangerous. For them, all good things cohere together, in one single consistent package. The things which we inescapably find good often conflict, sometimes tragically. The attempt to hide this from ourselves is not only an intellectual failing, it is also a source of catastrophically destructive action, as we try to dragoon reality into our narrow conceptual net.
Charles Taylor
Contentment is created when your behaviour is consistent with your values. When you act in ways that are consistent with the core of who you are, even when your actions aren't approved by others, you increase your overall contentment. Happiness, success, money, relationships, and even the approval of others will come and go in your life, but what is ultimately satisfying is feeling content.
Alan Downs (The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World)
We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along the one road leading from the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles. Anyone with very sore feet supported himself on his neighbor's arm. Hardly a word was spoken; the icy wind did not encourage talk. Hiding his mouth behind his upturned collar, the man marching next to me whispered suddenly: "If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don't know what is happening to us." That brought thoughts of my own wife to mind. And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking of his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife's image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise. A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way—an honorable way—in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, "The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.
Viktor E. Frankl
Like a wind, like a storm, like a fire, like an earthquake, like a mud slide, like a deluge, like a tree falling, a torrent roaring, an ice floe breaking, like a tidal wave, like a shipwreak, like an explosion, like a lid blown off, like a consuming fire, like spreading blight, like a sky darkening, a bridge collapsing, a hole opening. Like a volcano erupting. Surely more than just the actions of people: choosing, yielding, braving, lying, understanding, being right, being deceived, being consistent, being visionary, being reckless, being cruel, being mistaken, being original, being afraid . . .
Susan Sontag (The Volcano Lover)
He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)
A hero whose heroism consists of killing people is uninteresting to me, and I detest the hormonal war orgies of our visual media, the mechanical slaughter of endless battalions of black-clad, yellow-toothed, red-eyed demons. War as a moral metaphor is limited, limiting, and dangerous. By reducing the choices of action to “a war against” whatever-it-is, you divide the world into Me or Us (good) and Them or It (bad) and reduce the ethical complexity and moral richness of our life to Yes/No, On/Off. This is puerile, misleading, and degrading. In stories, it evades any solution but violence and offers the reader mere infantile reassurance. All too often the heroes of such fantasies behave exactly as the villains do, acting with mindless violence, but the hero is on the “right” side and therefore will win. Right makes might. Or does might make right?
Ursula K. Le Guin (A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1))
Until the spirit of consistency kicks in, you would never know how far you could possibly go in life. Taking consistent effective actions is the only way that massive success could become a permanent lifestyle in your life.
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Another lesson is that smart professionals might give an instruction to a program based on a sensible-seeming and normally sound assumption (e.g. that trading volume is a good measure of market liquidity), and that this can produce catastrophic results when the program continues to act on the instruction with iron-clad logical consistency even in the unanticipated situation where the assumption turns out to be invalid. The algorithm just does what it does; and unless it is a very special kind of algorithm, it does not care that we clasp our heads and gasp in dumbstruck horror at the absurd inappropriateness of its actions. This is a theme that we will encounter again.
Nick Bostrom (Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies)
In summary, (1) one gets complete with the past, which takes it out of the future (being complete with the past is not to forget the past); (2) in the room that is now available in the future when one’s being and action are no longer shaped by the past, one creates a future (a future that moves, touches, and inspires one); (3) that future starts to shape one’s being and actions in the present so that they are consistent with realizing that future.
Peter Block (Community: The Structure of Belonging)
Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world, after all. He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)
If originality is a “sense of novelty and freshness” then, in the act of constructing ourselves, originality is not the goal. We construct a self-portrait, relying on existing objects – books, quotes from authors and artists, images, art – that we are more than happy to show off to others for them to use as masturbation material or for the material by which they align themselves. This is the new action painting – the curational archive. The referential self portrait. The portrait of any other artist could be readily used to explain yourself, just reblog it and caption it with “same.” The past consistently becomes the present, not through linear time, but through the constant reconstruction and relabeling of it.
Gabby Bess
Today, Medina is simultaneously the archetype of Islamic democracy and the impetus for Islamic militancy. Islamic Modernists like the Egyptian writer and political philosopher Ali Abd ar-Raziq (d. 1966) pointed to Muhammad’s community in Medina as proof that Islam advocated the separation of religious and temporal power, while Muslim extremists in Afghanistan and Iran have used the same community to fashion various models of Islamic theocracy. In their struggle for equal rights, Muslim feminists have consistently drawn inspiration from the legal reforms Muhammad instituted in Medina, while at the same time, Muslim traditionalists have construed those same legal reforms as grounds for maintaining the subjugation of women in Islamic society. For some, Muhammad’s actions in Medina serve as the model for Muslim-Jewish relations; for others, they demonstrate the insurmountable conflict that has always existed, and will always exist, between the two sons of Abraham. Yet regardless of whether one is labeled a Modernist or a Traditionalist, a reformist or a fundamentalist, a feminist or a chauvinist, all Muslims regard Medina as the model of Islamic perfection. Simply put, Medina is what Islam was meant to be.
Reza Aslan (No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam)
The Right is General - It might be supposed from the phraseology of this provision that the right to keep and bear arms was only guaranteed to the militia but this would be an interpretation not warranted by the intent. The militia as has been elsewhere explained consists of those persons who under the law are liable to the performance of military duty and are officered and enrolled for service when called upon. But the law may make provision for the enrollment of all who are fit to perform military duty or of a small number only or it may wholly omit to make any provision at all and if the right were limited to those enrolled the purpose of this guaranty might be defeated altogether by the action or neglect to act of the government it was meant to hold in check. The meaning of the provision undoubtedly is that the people from whom the militia must be taken shall have the right to keep and bear arms and they need no permission or regulation of law for the purpose.
Thomas M. Cooley (General Principles of Constitutional Law in the United States of America;)
ATTITUDE DRIVES ACTIONS. ACTIONS DRIVE RESULTS. RESULTS DRIVE LIFESTYLES. IF YOU DON'T LIKE YOUR LIFESTYLE, LOOK AT YOUR RESULTS. IF YOU DON'T LIKE YOUR RESULTS, LOOK AT YOUR ACTIONS. IF YOU DON'T LIKE YOUR ACTIONS, LOOK AT YOUR ATTITUDE. IF YOU DON'T LIKE YOUR ATTITUDE, LOOK AT YOUR PHILOSOPHY. "If you have a philosophy of service to others, and if you have a positive attitude, then you can BEGIN to become successful and can BEGIN to take success actions." "Successful people do what unsuccessful people don't (won't) do. Successful people live outside their comfort zone. Successful people hang around money or things that make money. Successful people are consistent (will be here next year). Successful people stay in the fire. Successful people know how to access information. Successful people are always learning.
Jeffrey Gitomer (Jeffrey Gitomer's Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude: How to find, build, and keep a YES! attitude for a lifetime of SUCCESS (Jeffrey Gitomer's Little Book Series))
The temporary alliance between the elite and the mob rested largely on this genuine delight with which the former watched the latter destroy respectability. This could be achieved when the German steel barons were forced to deal with and to receive socially Hitler's the housepainter and self-admitted former derelict, as it could be with the crude and vulgar forgeries perpetrated by the totalitarian movements in all fields of intellectual life, insofar as they gathered all the subterranean, nonrespectable elements of European history into one consistent picture. From this viewpoint it was rather gratifying to see that Bolshevism and Nazism began even to eliminate those sources of their own ideologies which had already won some recognition in academic or other official quarters. Not Marx's dialectical materialism, but the conspiracy of 300 families; not the pompous scientificality of Gobineau and Chamberlain, but the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"; not the traceable influence of the Catholic Church and the role played by anti-clericalism in Latin countries, but the backstairs literature about the Jesuits and the Freemasons became the inspiration for the rewriters of history. The object of the most varied and variable constructions was always to reveal history as a joke, to demonstrate a sphere of secret influences of which the visible, traceable, and known historical reality was only the outward façade erected explicitly to fool the people. To this aversion of the intellectual elite for official historiography, to its conviction that history, which was a forgery anyway, might as well be the playground of crackpots, must be added the terrible, demoralizing fascination in the possibility that gigantic lies and monstrous falsehoods can eventually be established as unquestioned facts, that man may be free to change his own past at will, and that the difference between truth and falsehood may cease to be objective and become a mere matter of power and cleverness, of pressure and infinite repetition. Not Stalin’s and Hitler's skill in the art of lying but the fact that they were able to organize the masses into a collective unit to back up their lies with impressive magnificence, exerted the fascination. Simple forgeries from the viewpoint of scholarship appeared to receive the sanction of history itself when the whole marching reality of the movements stood behind them and pretended to draw from them the necessary inspiration for action.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to. Creative individuals don’t have to be dragged out of bed; they are eager to start the day. This is not because they are cheerful, enthusiastic types. Nor do they necessarily have something exciting to do. But they believe that there is something meaningful to accomplish each day, and they can’t wait to get started on it. Most of us don’t feel our actions are that meaningful. Yet everyone can discover at least one thing every day that is worth waking up for. It could be meeting a certain person, shopping for a special item, potting a plant, cleaning the office desk, writing a letter, trying on a new dress. It is easier if each night before falling asleep, you review the next day and choose a particular task that, compared to the rest of the day, should be relatively interesting and exciting. Then next morning, open your eyes and visualize the chosen event—play it out briefly in your mind, like an inner videotape, until you can hardly wait to get dressed and get going. It does not matter if at first the goals are trivial and not that interesting. The important thing is to take the easy first steps until you master the habit, and then slowly work up to more complex goals. Eventually most of the day should consist of tasks you look forward to, until you feel that getting up in the morning is a privilege, not a chore.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention)
Do we always know what consequences flow from certain decisions? Many times, not. Part of living consists of learning, personally and vicariously, what actions produce what consequences. When we govern ourselves by correct principles, we also govern our consequences. As men "act according to their wills," there are consequences, good and bad. Part of maturing spiritually is to realize this. One of the great virtues of meekness is making allowance for the fact that God does know best. Trusting him and trusting his principles is an act of high intelligence.
Neal A. Maxwell (But for a Small Moment)
Another experiment, conducted by Pascual-Leone when he was a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, provides even more remarkable evidence of the way our patterns of thought affect the anatomy of our brains. Pascual-Leone recruited people who had no experience playing a piano, and he taught them how to play a simple melody consisting of a short series of notes. He then split the participants into two groups. He had the members of one group practice the melody on a keyboard for two hours a day over the next five days. he had the members of the other group sit in front of a keyboard for the same amount of time but only imagine playing the song--without ever touching the keys. Using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, Pascual-Leone mapped the brain activity of all the participants before, during, and after the test. he found that the people who had only imagined playing the notes exhibited precisely the same changes in their brains as those who had actually pressed the keys. Their brains had changed in response to actions that took place purely in their imaginations--in response, that is, to their thoughts. Descartes may have been wrong about dualism, but he appears to have been correct in believing that our thoughts can exert a physical influence on, or at least cause a physical reaction in, our brains. We become, neurologically, what we think. (p33)
Nicholas Carr
Sow the seeds of hard work and you will reap the fruits of success. Find something to do, do it with all your concentration. You will excel. Show the world you are not here to just pass through. Leave great footprints wherever you pass and be remembered for the change you initiated. Flow wherever you go. You can’t be limited. Dare to rise above all limitations and become better than you were. Strive to arrive at the top. Glow wherever you go and let the light of God reflect in the world around you. You carry the light of God and wherever you pass, darkness must flee. Grow your talents and skills through a consistent practice and progressive learning. Learn to relearn and unlearn. Raise the bar for yourself always. Blow out all negative attitudes and live true to your dreams. Talks less and act more. Be confident and see yourself wining even before the victory comes. Know God and let Him be known. You were saved by grace for greater works apportioned for you even before you were born. Share the good news. I am proud of you because greater things that eyes have not seen yet, the Lord will do through you.
Israelmore Ayivor (Become a Better You)
What did theories matter any more? She wanted to say. The rats have taken over the ship, it's often as simple as that; the rest is narcissistic crap. It must be. (...) For exploitation read property and you have the whole bit. First the exploiter hits the wage-slave over the head with his superior wealth; then he brainwashes him into believing that the pursuit of property is a valid motive for breaking him at the grindstone. That way he has him hooked twice over. (...) "You disappoint me, Charlie. All of a sudden you lack consistency. You've made the perceptions. Why don't you go out and do something about them? Why do you appear here one minute as an intellectual who has the eye and brain to see what is not visible to the deluded masses, the next you have not the courage to go out and perform a small service - like theft - like murder - like blowing something up - say, a police station - for the benefit of those whose hearts and minds are enslaved by the capitalist overlords? Come on, Charlie, where's the action? You're the free soul around here. Don't give us the words, give us the deeds." (...) Anger suspended her bewilderment and dulled the pain of her disgrace (...) She wished terribly that she could go mad so that everyone would be sorry for her; she wished she was just a raving lunatic waiting to be let off, not a stupid little fool of a radical actress (...) (part I, chapter 7)
John le Carré (The Little Drummer Girl)
It must be remembered that life consists not of a series of illustrious actions, or elegant enjoyments; the greater part of our time passes in compliance with necessities, in the performance of daily duties, in the removal of small inconveniences, in the procurement of petty pleasures.
Tish Harrison Warren (Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life)
The daily mindfulness, consistency, and discipline is ultimately more important than the amount of time. In other words, it’s more about quality than quantity. If you use 15 minutes effectively, you’ll accomplish more than you would be able to with two hours of unfocused, random actions.
Simon S. Tam (Music Business Hacks)
Perhaps the excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare or abstruse sentiment, as in the comprehension of some obvious and useful truth in a few words. We frequently fall into error and folly, not because the true principles of action are not known, but because, for a time, they are not remembered; and he may therefore be justly numbered among the benefactors of mankind who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences, that may be easily impressed on the memory, and taught by frequent recollection to recur habitually to the mind.
Samuel Johnson
Malaria prevention and eradication should be inspired by General George Patton’s advice: “A good plan executed violently today is better than a perfect plan in a week.” In this war of attrition, millions of people will be lost while waiting on researchers to finally emerge triumphant from their labs with the perfect malaria cure; yet meanwhile, there are plenty of time-proven, practical actions that individuals, families and communities can do today with what is already in hand that can decisively defeat malaria transmission if applied with vigor and disciplined consistency.
T.K. Naliaka
This particular May morning begins with the appearance of a procession on the corner of Pancake and Rosa Luxemburg Streets. The procession is evidently religious: it consists of eight clerical personages, well known to the entire town. But instead of censers, the clerical personages are swinging brooms, which transfers the entire action from the plane of religion to the plane of revolution. These personages are now simply unproductive elements of society performing their labor duty for the benefit of the people. Instead of prayers, golden clouds of dust rise to the heavens. ("X")
Yevgeny Zamyatin (The Dragon: Fifteen Stories)
Religion requires action, labour, diligence; for it does not consist in airy, empty notions and speculations of the head but in the exercise of the mind and heart. Habits must be exerted; grace, improved. Heaven (that is, all uphill) must be strived for and gotten, as it were, by force and victory.
John Fox (Time and the End of Time: Discourses on Redeeming the Time and Considering Our Latter End)
When a person consistently hurts others it is because they deeply hurt within theirself. They disconnect from that side of them that is accountable for their actions. They cast empathy to the darkest part of their soul and choose to live life not in God's light, but the superficial light of significance (compliments, achievements, status, personal gain, other people's approval and ego). This dimmed light will never be greater than the one God gives to those that consistently show compassion, mercy and empathy. These light deprived souls are the ones that will be the hardest to rescue from hell.
Shannon L. Alder
it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
Without a consistent set of goals, it is difficult to develop a coherent self. It is through the patterned investment of psychic energy provided by goals that one creates order in experience. This order, which manifests itself in predictable actions, emotions, and choices, in time becomes recognizable as a more or less unique "self.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life)
He had had a nice, good, idle time all the while—plenty of company—and the fence had three coats of whitewash on it! If he hadn't run out of whitewash he would have bankrupted every boy in the village. Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world, after all. He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)
But none of the feeling which the joys or misfortunes of a real person arouse in us can be awakened except through a mental picture of those joys or misfortunes; and the ingenuity of the first novelist lay in his understanding that, as the image was the one essential element in the complicated structure of our emotions, so that simplification of it which consisted in the suppression, pure and simple, of real people would be a decided improvement. A real person, profoundly as we may sympathise with him, is in a great measure perceptible only through our senses, that is to say, remains opaque, presents a dead weight which our sensibilities have not the strength to lift. If some misfortune comes to him, it is only in one small section of the complete idea we have of him that we are capable of feeling any emotion; indeed it is only in one small section of the complete idea he has of himself that he is capable of feeling any emotion either. The novelist's happy discovery was to think of substituting for those opaque sections, impenetrable to the human soul, their equivalent in immaterial sections, things, that is, which one's soul can assimilate. After which it matters not that the actions, the feelings of this new order of creatures appear to us in the guise of truth, since we have made them our own, since it is in ourselves that they are happening.
Marcel Proust (Swann's Way)
A destructive or creative state of psychological madness must trace itself to a source. By finding the source of their misery, a person might be able to corral the crazy desire prematurely to terminate their existence. An old saying suggests that self-hatred is the central cause of all self-destructive actions. Self-hate might consist of anger that we harbor towards other people who maltreated us. Repressed anger and pent-up hostility that we retain against other people that has no viable direct escape hatch can reflect and turn inward against ourselves. Perhaps we regret that we allowed other people to demean us, or rue that we lacked a protective level of self-esteem to begin with.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
III. Do, soul, do; abuse and contemn thyself; yet a while and the time for thee to respect thyself, will be at an end. Every man's happiness depends from himself, but behold thy life is almost at an end, whiles affording thyself no respect, thou dost make thy happiness to consist in the souls, and conceits of other men. IV. Why should any of these things that happen externally, so much distract thee? Give thyself leisure to learn some good thing, and cease roving and wandering to and fro. Thou must also take heed of another kind of wandering, for they are idle in their actions, who toil and labour in this life, and have no certain scope to which to direct all their motions, and desires.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
As all this suggests our relationship with evidence is seldom purely a cognitive one. Vilifying menstruating women bolstering anti-Muslim stereotypes murdering innocent citizens of Salem plainly evidence is almost always invariably a political social and moral issue as well. To take a particularly stark example consider the case of Albert Speer minister of armaments and war production during the Third Reich close friend to Adolf Hitler and highest-ranking Nazi official to ever express remorse for his actions. In his memoir Inside the Third Reich Speer candidly addressed his failure to look for evidence of what was happening around him. "I did not query a friend who told him not to visit Auschwitz I did not query Himmler I did not query Hitler " he wrote. "I did not speak with personal friends. I did not investigate for I did not want to know what was happening there... for fear of discovering something which might have made me turn away from my course. I had closed my eyes." Judge William Stoughton of Salem Massachusetts became complicit in injustice and murder by accepting evidence that he should have ignored. Albert Speer became complicit by ignoring evidence he should have accepted. Together they show us some of the gravest possible consequences of mismanaging the data around us and the vital importance of learning to manage it better. It is possible to do this: like in the U.S. legal system we as individuals can develop a fairer and more consistent relationship to evidence over time. By indirection Speer himself shows us how to begin. I did not query he wrote. I did not speak. I did not investigate. I closed my eyes. This are sins of omission sins of passivity and they suggest correctly that if we want to improve our relationship with evidence we must take a more active role in how we think must in a sense take the reins of our own minds. To do this we must query and speak and investigate and open our eyes. Specifically and crucially we must learn to actively combat our inductive biases: to deliberately seek out evidence that challenges our beliefs and to take seriously such evidence when we come across it.
Kathryn Schulz (Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error)
After a heated dispute, we each undertook an assignment for the next class: to engage in one pleasurable activity and one philanthropic activity, and write about both. The results were life-changing. The afterglow of the “pleasurable” activity (hanging out with friends, or watching a movie, or eating a hot fudge sundae) paled in comparison with the effects of the kind action. When our philanthropic acts were spontaneous and called upon personal strengths, the whole day went better. One junior told about her nephew phoning for help with his third-grade arithmetic. After an hour of tutoring him, she was astonished to discover that “for the rest of the day, I could listen better, I was mellower, and people liked me much more than usual.” The exercise of kindness is a gratification, in contrast to a pleasure. As a gratification, it calls on your strengths to rise to an occasion and meet a challenge. Kindness is not accompanied by a separable stream of positive emotion like joy; rather, it consists in total engagement and in the loss of self-consciousness. Time stops.
Martin E.P. Seligman (Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment)
Direct democracy, prefigurative politics and direct action are not, we hasten to add, intrinsically flawed.19 Rather than being denounced in themselves, their utility needs to be judged relative to particular historical situations and particular strategic objectives – in terms of their ability to exert real power to create genuine lasting transformation. The reality of complex, globalised capitalism is that small interventions consisting of relatively non-scalable actions are highly unlikely to ever be able to reorganise our socioeconomic system. As we suggest in the second half of this book, the tactical repertoire of horizontalism can have some use, but only when coupled with other more mediated forms of political organisation and action.
Nick Srnicek (Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work)
7. Character is built in the course of your inner confrontation. Character is a set of dispositions, desires, and habits that are slowly engraved during the struggle against your own weakness. You become more disciplined, considerate, and loving through a thousand small acts of self-control, sharing, service, friendship, and refined enjoyment. If you make disciplined, caring choices, you are slowly engraving certain tendencies into your mind. You are making it more likely that you will desire the right things and execute the right actions. If you make selfish, cruel, or disorganized choices, then you are slowly turning this core thing inside yourself into something that is degraded, inconstant, or fragmented. You can do harm to this core thing with nothing more than ignoble thoughts, even if you are not harming anyone else. You can elevate this core thing with an act of restraint nobody sees. If you don’t develop a coherent character in this way, life will fall to pieces sooner or later. You will become a slave to your passions. But if you do behave with habitual self-discipline, you will become constant and dependable. 8. The things that lead us astray are short term—lust, fear, vanity, gluttony. The things we call character endure over the long term—courage, honesty, humility. People with character are capable of a long obedience in the same direction, of staying attached to people and causes and callings consistently through thick and thin. People with character also have scope. They are not infinitely flexible, free-floating, and solitary. They are anchored by permanent attachments to important things. In the realm of the intellect, they have a set of permanent convictions about fundamental truths. In the realm of emotion, they are enmeshed in a web of unconditional loves. In the realm of action, they have a permanent commitment to tasks that cannot be completed in a single lifetime.
David Brooks (The Road to Character)
How often does it occur that information provided you on morning radio or television, or in the morning newspaper, causes you to alter your plans for the day, or to take some action you would not otherwise have taken, or provides insight into some problem you are required to solve? For most of us, news of the weather will sometimes have consequences; for investors, news of the stock market; perhaps an occasional story about crime will do it, if by chance it occurred near where you live or involved someone you know. But most of our daily news is inert, consisting of information that gives us something to talk about but cannot lead to any meaningful action...You may get a sense of what this means by asking yourself another series of questions: What steps do you plan to take to reduce the conflict in the Middle East? Or the rates of inflation, crime and unemployment? What are your plans for preserving the environment or reducing the risk of nuclear war? What do you plan to do about NATO, OPEC, the CIA, affirmative action, and the monstrous treatment of the Baha’is in Iran? I shall take the liberty of answering for you: You plan to do nothing about them. You may, of course, cast a ballot for someone who claims to have some plans, as well as the power to act. But this you can do only once every two or four years by giving one hour of your time, hardly a satisfying means of expressing the broad range of opinions you hold. Voting, we might even say, is the next to last refuge of the politically impotent. The last refuge is, of course, giving your opinion to a pollster, who will get a version of it through a desiccated question, and then will submerge it in a Niagara of similar opinions, and convert them into—what else?—another piece of news. Thus, we have here a great loop of impotence: The news elicits from you a variety of opinions about which you can do nothing except to offer them as more news, about which you can do nothing.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
We have seen segments of our Government, in their attitudes and action, adopt tactics unworthy of a democracy, and occasionally reminiscent of totalitarian regimes. We have seen a consistent pattern in which programs initiated with limited goals, such as preventing criminal violence or identifying foreign spies, were expanded to what witnesses characterized as "vacuum cleaners", sweeping in information about lawful activities of American citizens. The tendency of intelligence activities to expand beyond their initial scope is a theme which runs through every aspect of our investigative findings. Intelligence collection programs naturally generate ever-increasing demands for new data. And once intelligence has been collected, there are strong pressures to use it against the target.
Church Committee
Destiny never consists in step-by-step deterministic relations between presents which succeed one another according to the order of a represented time. Rather, it implies between successive presents non-localisable connections, actions at a distance, systems of replay, resonance and echoes, objective chances, signs, signals, and roles which transcend spatial locations and temporal successions.
Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition)
The people close to you influence your outlook, your values, how you spend your time, and how you treat other people. In other words, who you hang out with matters. If you are consistently in the company of someone who gossips, for example, it’s likely you’ll gossip. If you live with someone who is depressed, in my experience you are likely to become depressed. Spending time with positive, uplifting people will make you feel positive and hopeful. If you want to improve your attitude and conduct, spend time with someone whose conduct and values you admire. Emulate his or her behavior, and you will likely find it rubs off! You’ll notice yourself avoiding actions and statements that might cause disapproval in the person you admire. By the same token, you find yourself naturally guided toward better, more life-affirming, behavior.
Daniel G. Amen (Healing the Hardware of the Soul: How Making the Brain-Soul Connection Can Optimize Your Life, Love, and Spiritual Growth)
Education -- whether its object be children or adults, individuals or an entire people, or even oneself -- consists in creating motives. To show what is beneficial, what is obligatory, what is good -- that is the task of education. Education concerns itself with the motives for effective action. For no action is ever carried out in the absence of motives capable of supplying the indispensable amount of energy for its execution.
Simone Weil
[I]f it be any part of religion to believe that man was made by a good Being, it is more consistent with that faith to believe, that this Being gave all human faculties that they might be cultivated and unfolded, not rooted out and consumed, and that he takes delight in every nearer approach made by his creatures to the ideal conception embodied in them, every increase in any of their capabilities of comprehension, of action, or of enjoyment.
Robert Wright (The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology)
In his famous book Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl writes, “Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life.” He quotes Nietzsche’s words, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.” But then Frankl made a crucial, helpful point: It’s fruitless to try to think in the abstract about what life in general means. The meaning of one’s life is only discernible within the specific circumstances of one’s own specific life. In the concentration camp, he writes, “We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and right conduct.
David Brooks (The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement)
Natural causes, as we know, are at work, which tend to modify, if they do not at length destroy, all the dimensions of the earth and the whole solar system. But though in the course of ages catastrophes have occurred and may yet occur in the heavens, though ancient systems may be dissolved and new systems evolved out of their ruins, the molecules out of which these systems are built-the foundation stones of the material universe-remain unbroken and unworn. They continue this day as they were created-perfect in number and measure and weight, and form the innefaceable characters impressed on them we may learn that those aspirations after accuracy in measurement, truth in statement, and justice in action, which we reckon among our noblest attributes as men, are ours because they are essential constituents of the image of Him who in the beginning created, not only the heaven and the earth, but the materials which heaven and earth consist.
James Clerk Maxwell
has been said that Nazism is not a philosophy but a passion for destruction. Destruction, however, cannot be achieved with the Nazi consistency or on the Nazi scale, except by means of a certain philosophy and as an expression of it. It has been said that the Nazis are not ideologists but power-lusters. In fact, they are power-lusters whose power depends on a specific ideology. It has been said that the Nazis are not thinkers but criminals. The truth is that they are criminals spawned by thinkers, i.e., philosophically produced criminals—which is what gave them the kind of world-historical role denied to any plain criminal. The intellectuals of the West today (as at the time of Hitler) are a product of the same philosophical trend. Most of them, still reflecting some remnant of a better past, condemn the actions of Hitler, while advocating the same basic ideas that he did (though in different variants). Such men are helpless to understand Nazism or to explain its emergence or to fight it.
Leonard Peikoff (The Cause of Hitler's Germany)
Right and wrong, good and bad, he regarded as qualities solely of conduct—of acts and omissions; there being no feeling which may not lead, and does not frequently lead, either to good or to bad actions: conscience itself, the very desire to act right, often leading people to act wrong. Consistently carrying out the doctrine, that the object of praise and blame should be the discouragement of wrong conduct and the encouragement of right, he refused to let his praise or blame be influenced by the motive of the agent.
Christopher Hitchens (The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever)
There were two ways of looking at life;or two extremes of viewpoint, anyway, with a continuum between them. One proposed that every human action necessarily carried with it the obliteration of every other action which might have been performed instead; life therefore consisted of a succession of small and large choices, expressions of free will, so that the individual was like the captain of some paddle steamer chugging down the mighty Mississipi of life. The other proposed that it was all inevitability, that pre-history ruled, that a human life was no more than a bump on a log which was itself being propelled down the mighty Mississipi, tugged and bullied, smacked and weedled, by currents and eddies and hazards over which no control was possible. Paul thought it did not have to be one or the other. He thought a life – his own, of course – could be lived first under the dispensation of inevitability, and later under the dispensation of free will. But he also realized that retrospective reorderings of life are always likely to be self-serving.
Julian Barnes (The Only Story)
...fascism is more plausibly linked to a set of "mobilizing passions" that shape fascist action than to a consistent and fully articulated philosophy. At the bottom is a passionate nationalism. Allied to it is a conspiratorial and Manichean view of history as a battle between the good and evil camps, between the pure and the corrupt, in which one's own community or nation has been the victim. In this Darwinian narrative, the chosen people have been weakened by political parties, social classes, unassimilable minorities, spoiled rentiers, and rationalist thinkers who lack the necessary sense of community. These "mobilizing passions," mostly taken for granted and not always overtly argued as intellectual propositions, form the emotional lava that set fascism's foundations: -a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions; -the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it; -the belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external; -dread of the group's decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences; -the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary; -the need for authority by natural leaders (always male), culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the groups' destiny; -the superiority of the leader's instincts over abstract and universal reason; -the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group's success; -the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group's prowess within a Darwinian struggle. ...Fascism was an affair of the gut more than the brain, and a study of the roots of fascism that treats only the thinkers and the writers misses the most powerful impulses of all.
Robert O. Paxton (The Anatomy of Fascism)
We have seen that imagining an act engages the same motor and sensory programs that are involved in doing it. We have long viewed our imaginative life with a kind of sacred awe: as noble, pure, immaterial, and ethereal, cut off from our material brain. Now we cannot be so sure about where to draw the line between them. Everything your “immaterial” mind imagines leaves material traces. Each thought alters the physical state of your brain synapses at a microscopic level. Each time you imagine moving your fingers across the keys to play the piano, you alter the tendrils in your living brain. These experiments are not only delightful and intriguing, they also overturn the centuries of confusion that have grown out of the work of the French philosopher René Descartes, who argued that mind and brain are made of different substances and are governed by different laws. The brain, he claimed, was a physical, material thing, existing in space and obeying the laws of physics. The mind (or the soul, as Descartes called it) was immaterial, a thinking thing that did not take up space or obey physical laws. Thoughts, he argued, were governed by the rules of reasoning, judgment, and desires, not by the physical laws of cause and effect. Human beings consisted of this duality, this marriage of immaterial mind and material brain. But Descartes—whose mind/body division has dominated science for four hundred years—could never credibly explain how the immaterial mind could influence the material brain. As a result, people began to doubt that an immaterial thought, or mere imagining, might change the structure of the material brain. Descartes’s view seemed to open an unbridgeable gap between mind and brain. His noble attempt to rescue the brain from the mysticism that surrounded it in his time, by making it mechanical, failed. Instead the brain came to be seen as an inert, inanimate machine that could be moved to action only by the immaterial, ghostlike soul Descartes placed within it, which came to be called “the ghost in the machine.” By depicting a mechanistic brain, Descartes drained the life out of it and slowed the acceptance of brain plasticity more than any other thinker. Any plasticity—any ability to change that we had—existed in the mind, with its changing thoughts, not in the brain. But now we can see that our “immaterial” thoughts too have a physical signature, and we cannot be so sure that thought won’t someday be explained in physical terms. While we have yet to understand exactly how thoughts actually change brain structure, it is now clear that they do, and the firm line that Descartes drew between mind and brain is increasingly a dotted line.
Norman Doidge (The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science)
Perfect Joy (excerpts) Is there to be found on earth a fullness of joy, or is there no such thing? . . . What the world values is money, reputation, long life, achievement. What it counts as joy is health and comfort of body, good food, fine clothes, beautiful things to look at, pleasant music to listen to. What it condemns is lack of money, a low social rank, a reputation for being no good, and an early death. What it considers misfortune is bodily discomfort and labour, no chance to get your fill of good food, not having good clothes to wear, having no way to amuse or delight the eye, no pleasant music to listen to. If people find that they are deprived of these things, they go into a panic or fall into despair. They are so concerned for their life that their anxiety makes life unbearable, even when they have the things they think they want. Their very concern for enjoyment makes them unhappy. . . . I cannot tell if what the world considers "happiness" is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness. . . . My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it. My greatest happiness consists precisely in doing nothing whatever that is calculated to obtain happiness: and this, in the minds of most people, is the worst possible course. I will hold to the saying that:"Perfect Joy is to be without joy. Perfect praise is to be without praise." If you ask "what ought to be done" and "what ought not to be done" on earth in order to produce happiness, I answer that these questions do not have an answer. There is no way of determining such things. Yet at the same time, if I cease striving for happiness, the "right" and the "wrong" at once become apparent all by themselves. Contentment and well-being at once become possible the moment you cease to act with them in view, and if you practice non-doing (wu wei), you will have both happiness and well-being. Here is how I sum it up: Heaven does nothing: its non-doing is its serenity. Earth does nothing: its non-doing is its rest. From the union of these two non-doings All actions proceed, All things are made. How vast, how invisible This coming-to-be! All things come from nowhere! How vast, how invisible - No way to explain it! All beings in their perfection Are born of non-doing. Hence it is said: "Heaven and earth do nothing Yet there is nothing they do not do." Where is the man who can attain To this non-doing?
Thomas Merton (The Way of Chuang Tzu (Shambhala Library))
The time of a man's life is as a point; the substance of it ever flowing, the sense obscure; and the whole composition of the body tending to corruption. His soul is restless, fortune uncertain, and fame doubtful; to be brief, as a stream so are all things belonging to the body; as a dream, or as a smoke, so are all that belong unto the soul. Our life is a warfare, and a mere pilgrimage. Fame after life is no better than oblivion. What is it then that will adhere and follow? Only one thing, philosophy. And philosophy doth consist in this, for a man to preserve that spirit which is within him, from all manner of contumelies and injuries, and above all pains or pleasures; never to do anything either rashly, or feignedly, or hypocritically: wholly to depend from himself and his own proper actions: all things that happen unto him to embrace contentedly, as coming from Him from whom he himself also came; and above all things, with all meekness and a calm cheerfulness, to expect death, as being nothing else but the resolution of those elements, of which every creature is composed.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
1)    The woman has intuitive feelings that she is at risk. 2)    At the inception of the relationship, the man accelerated the pace, prematurely placing on the agenda such things as commitment, living together, and marriage. 3)    He resolves conflict with intimidation, bullying, and violence. 4)    He is verbally abusive. 5)    He uses threats and intimidation as instruments of control or abuse. This includes threats to harm physically, to defame, to embarrass, to restrict freedom, to disclose secrets, to cut off support, to abandon, and to commit suicide. 6)    He breaks or strikes things in anger. He uses symbolic violence (tearing a wedding photo, marring a face in a photo, etc.). 7)    He has battered in prior relationships. 8)    He uses alcohol or drugs with adverse affects (memory loss, hostility, cruelty). 9)    He cites alcohol or drugs as an excuse or explanation for hostile or violent conduct (“That was the booze talking, not me; I got so drunk I was crazy”). 10)   His history includes police encounters for behavioral offenses (threats, stalking, assault, battery). 11)   There has been more than one incident of violent behavior (including vandalism, breaking things, throwing things). 12)   He uses money to control the activities, purchase, and behavior of his wife/partner. 13)   He becomes jealous of anyone or anything that takes her time away from the relationship; he keeps her on a “tight leash,” requires her to account for her time. 14)   He refuses to accept rejection. 15)   He expects the relationship to go on forever, perhaps using phrases like “together for life;” “always;” “no matter what.” 16)   He projects extreme emotions onto others (hate, love, jealousy, commitment) even when there is no evidence that would lead a reasonable person to perceive them. 17)   He minimizes incidents of abuse. 18)   He spends a disproportionate amount of time talking about his wife/partner and derives much of his identity from being her husband, lover, etc. 19)   He tries to enlist his wife’s friends or relatives in a campaign to keep or recover the relationship. 20)   He has inappropriately surveilled or followed his wife/partner. 21)   He believes others are out to get him. He believes that those around his wife/partner dislike him and encourage her to leave. 22)   He resists change and is described as inflexible, unwilling to compromise. 23)   He identifies with or compares himself to violent people in films, news stories, fiction, or history. He characterizes the violence of others as justified. 24)   He suffers mood swings or is sullen, angry, or depressed. 25)   He consistently blames others for problems of his own making; he refuses to take responsibility for the results of his actions. 26)   He refers to weapons as instruments of power, control, or revenge. 27)   Weapons are a substantial part of his persona; he has a gun or he talks about, jokes about, reads about, or collects weapons. 28)   He uses “male privilege” as a justification for his conduct (treats her like a servant, makes all the big decisions, acts like the “master of the house”). 29)   He experienced or witnessed violence as a child. 30)   His wife/partner fears he will injure or kill her. She has discussed this with others or has made plans to be carried out in the event of her death (e.g., designating someone to care for children).
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and "fall into a vortex" as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace. Her "scribbling suit" consisted of a black woollen pinafore on which she could wipe her pen at will, and a cap of the same material, adorned with a cheerful red bow, into which she bundled her hair when the decks were cleared for action. This cap was a beacon to the inquiring eyes of her family, who during these periods kept their distance, merely popping in their heads semi-occasionally, to ask, with interest, "Does genius burn, Jo?" They did not always venture even to ask this question, but took an observation of the cap, and judged accordingly. If this expressive article of dress was drawn low upon the forehead, it was a sign that hard work was going on; in exciting moments it was pushed rakishly askew; and when despair seized the author it was plucked wholly off, and cast upon the floor. At such times the intruder silently withdrew; and not until the red bow was seen gayly erect upon the gifted brow, did any one dare address Jo.
Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)
The earth would be covered with men amongst whom there world would be almost no communication; we would make contact at some points without being united by a single one; everyone would remain isolated amongst the rest, everyone would think only of himself; our understanding would not develop; we would live without sensing anything, we would die without having lived; our entire happiness would consist of not knowing our misery; there would be neither goodness in our hearts, nor morality in our actions, and we would never have tasted the most delicious sentiment of the soul, which is the love of virtue.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract & Other Later Political Writings (Texts in the History of Political Thought))
Benefits of the Master Cleanse Detox Diet and How to Conserve a Healthy Cleansing The Master Detox in 14 days , also referred to as lemonade diet regime, is not new and has been known for decades. It demands drinking only lemonade made from fresh squeezed lemons and normal water, maple syrup, along with cayenne pepper. So there is no strong food during the detoxification course of action. Typically, any lemonade diet regime will last for 10 to 14 times and is known to be very efffective regarding colon cleansing. It's good in dissolving built-up wastes in our intestinal tracts. [image error] Besides colon detox, master cleanse diet plan can also be used for rapid weight loss. In 2007, the gifted singer/actress Beyonce Knowles used soda and pop diet pertaining to 14 days and lost Twenty-two lb or 9 kilograms. She made it happen for her part in the video Dreamgirls. As a result, this diet plan received huge advertising attention. Remember that weight loss utilizing master cleanse detox diet is not a long term remedy. After the clean, you should return to a healthy as well as well-balanced diet which consists of plenty of fruits and also fresh vegetables and occasional in included fats as well as sweets. That is how you have a long-lasting and healthful detox. Hence the key to long-term wholesome detoxification is always to focus on receiving plenty of exercise and having a well-balanced eating habits high in fruit and vegetables and low throughout added fatty acids and sugars. Some of the great things about Master Cleanse Detoxification Diet are usually: - Waste food, plague and phlegm that developed and caught up in our digestive tract tracts might be expelled. : Can result in weight loss but should followed healthy way of life after detox otherwise you're sure to gain it back in time.
bdx
For all their shared boundaries, the experiences of fiction and nonfiction are fundamentally different. In the traditional short story or novel, a fictive space is opened up that allows you the reader to disappear into the action, even to the point of forgetting you are reading. In the best nonfiction, it seems to me, you’re always made aware that you are being engaged with a supple mind at work. The story line or plot in nonfiction consists of the twists and turns of a thought process working itself out. This is certainly true for the essay, but it is also true, I think, for classic nonfiction in general, be it Thucydides or Pascal or Carlyle, which follows an organizing principle that can be summarized as “tracking the consciousness of the author.” What makes me want to keep reading a nonfiction text is the encounter with a surprising, well-stocked mind as it takes on the challenge of the next sentence, paragraph, and thematic problem it has set for itself. The other element that keeps me reading nonfiction happily is an evolved, entertaining, elegant, or at least highly intentional literary style. The pressure of style should be brought to bear on every passage. “Consciousness plus style equals good nonfiction” is one way of stating the formula.
Phillip Lopate (To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction)
Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost. The typical reply with which such a man rejected all encouraging arguments was, “I have nothing to expect from life any more.” What sort of answer can one give to that? What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life — daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual. These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way. Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements. “Life” does not mean something vague, but something very real and concrete, just as life’s tasks are also very real and concrete. They form man’s destiny, which is different and unique for each individual. No man and no destiny can be compared with any other man or any other destiny. No situation repeats itself, and each situation calls for a different response. Sometimes the situation in which a man finds himself may require him to shape his own fate by action. At other times it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation and to realize assets in this way. Sometimes man may be required simply to accept fate, to bear his cross. Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise. A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth—that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way —an honorable way—in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
is turning all life into a unified flow experience. If a person sets out to achieve a difficult enough goal, from which all other goals logically follow, and if he or she invests all energy in developing skills to reach that goal, then actions and feelings will be in harmony, and the separate parts of life will fit together—and each activity will “make sense” in the present, as well as in view of the past and of the future. In such a way, it is possible to give meaning to one’s entire life. But isn’t it incredibly naive to expect life to have a coherent overall meaning? After all, at least since Nietzsche concluded that God was dead, philosophers and social scientists have been busy demonstrating that existence has no purpose, that chance and impersonal forces rule our fate, and that all values are relative and hence arbitrary. It is true that life has no meaning, if by that we mean a supreme goal built into the fabric of nature and human experience, a goal that is valid for every individual. But it does not follow that life cannot be given meaning. Much of what we call culture and civilization consists in efforts people have made, generally against overwhelming odds, to create a sense of purpose for themselves and their descendants. It is one thing to recognize that life is, by itself, meaningless. It is another thing entirely to accept this with resignation. The first fact does not entail the second any more than the fact that we lack wings prevents us from flying. From the point of view of an individual, it does not matter what the ultimate goal is—provided it is compelling enough to order a lifetime’s worth of psychic energy. The challenge might involve the desire to have the best beer-bottle collection in the neighborhood, the resolution to find a cure for cancer, or simply the biological imperative to have children who will survive and prosper. As long as it provides clear objectives, clear rules for action, and a way to concentrate and become involved, any goal can serve to give meaning to a person’s life. In the past few years I have come to be quite well acquainted with several Muslim professionals—electronics engineers, pilots, businessmen, and teachers, mostly from Saudi Arabia and from the other Gulf states. In talking to them, I was struck with how relaxed most of them seemed to be even under strong pressure. “There is nothing to it,” those I asked about it told me, in different words, but with the same message: “We don’t get upset because we believe that our life is in God’s hands, and whatever He decides will be fine with us.” Such implicit faith used to be widespread in our culture as well, but it is not easy to find it now. Many of us have to discover a goal that will give meaning to life on our own, without the help of a traditional faith.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience)
Everyone asks me how I got started into writing. I wish I had some cool story to tell, but the truth is pretty lame. My wife and I were having a drink on our back porch and I mentioned a concept I'd been mulling over. She suggested that I write it down, and so I figured I'd make a few notes and get it out of my system. No matter how I tried though, it just wouldn't let me write it in any other way than a story. Believe me when I say I tried, but 63,000 words later I realized that I needed a chart to track the plot and personas to maintain character consistency. So I just gave up and let it write itself from that point on. As far as I'm concerned now, I'm just hanging on and trying to keep up.
Jason Faris (De-published - now part of "For Every Action")
Because most of these patients suffered from alexithymia, it was not easy for them to report their response to the treatments. But their actions spoke for them: They consistently showed up on time for their appointments, even if they had to drive through snowstorms. None of them dropped out, and at the end of the full twenty sessions, we could document significant improvements not only in their PTSD scores,10 but also in their interpersonal comfort, emotional balance, and self-awareness.11 They were less frantic, they slept better, and they felt calmer and more focused. In any case, self-reports can be unreliable; objective changes in behavior are much better indicators of how well treatment works.
Bessel A. van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
Changing our behavior purely for the sake of appearances may seem to conflict with the need to be authentic and consistent, but in many ways it is actually a result of those needs. After all, resolving the tension between standing out from the crowd and becoming isolated requires finding our niche in the world. But what would happen if we weren’t accepted in the place where we felt we belonged? For others to see us as a “poseur” or as “delusional” would be painful. Even worse, what if they were right? The social consequences and self-doubt that follow when our self-perceptions conflict with how others see us can be just as destabilizing to our identity as conflicts between our own self-perceptions and actions.
Sheena Iyengar (The Art of Choosing)
Actors always want to know how I come up with interesting and creative takes on characters, characters that aren’t like me as I appear in daily life and that aren’t like each other. It’s simple: I let the lines and images connect with my imagination. I don’t worry about consistency; I let myself respond moment by moment, piecemeal, to the character’s dialogue and actions. Then I let my responses take me wherever they go, making mistakes and discarding them until choices start repeating themselves on their own no matter how arbitrary they seem at first. Then I know I’m on to something. But I don’t try to put the character together. I leave it in pieces. The script and story put the character together so my moment by moment performance seems like a creative take on the whole character.
Harold Guskin (How to Stop Acting)
Treason the only crime defined in the Constitution. Tyranny as under the Stuart and Tudor kings characterized by the elimination of political dissent under the laws of treason. Treason statutes which were many and unending, the instrument by which the monarch eliminated his opposition and also added to his wealth. The property of the executed traitor forfeited by his heirs because of the loathsomeness of his crime. The prosecution of treason, like witchcraft, an industry. Founding Fathers extremely sensitive to the establishment of a tyranny in this country by means of ambiguous treason law. Themselves traitors under British law. Under their formulation it became possible to be guilty of treason only against the nation, not the individual ruler or party. Treason was defined as an action rather than thought or speech. "Treason against the US shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid & Comfort...No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same Overt act, or on Confession in Open Court." This definition, by members of the constitutional convention, intended that T could not be otherwise defined short of constitutional amendment. "The decision to impose constitutional safeguards on treason prosecutions formed part of a broad emerging American tradition of liberalism...No American has ever been executed for treason against his country," says Nathaniel Weyl, Treason the story of disloyalty and betrayal in American history, published in the year 1950. I say if this be treason make the most of it.
E.L. Doctorow (The Book of Daniel)
So we begin with a very simple object of attention, like the breath, and train ourselves to return to it even as we get distracted over and over again. This first insight into the habit of distraction leads us to understand the value and importance of steadying our attention, because the worlds we create in ourselves and around us all have their origins in our own minds. How many different mind-worlds do we inhabit in our thoughts, even between one breath and the next? And how many actions do we take because of these unnoticed thoughts? By first taking a particular object of concentration and then training the mind to stay focused on it, we can develop calmness and tranquillity. The object may be the breath, a sound or mantra, a visual image, or certain reflections, all of which serve to concentrate the mind. At first, this requires the effort of continually returning each time the mind wanders off. With practice, though, the mind becomes trained, and then rests quite easily in the chosen object. In addition to the feelings of restfulness and peace, the state of concentration also becomes the basis for deepening insight and wisdom. We find ourselves opening to the world’s suffering as well as to its great beauty. Through the power of increased awareness, simple experience often becomes magically alive: the silhouette of a branch against the night sky or trees swaying in the invisible wind. The way that we sense the world becomes purified, our perception of the world transformed. Marcel Proust wrote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.
Joseph Goldstein (One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism)
I am of the opinion that an entirely new light would illuminate many psychological and psycho-physiological questions if we recognised that distinct perception is merely cut, for the purposes of practical existence, out of a wider canvas. In psychology and elsewhere, we like to go from the part to the whole, and our customary system of explanation consists in reconstructing ideally our mental life with simple elements, then in supposing that the combination of these elements has really produced our mental life. If things happened this way, our perception would as a matter of fact be inextensible; it would consist of the assembling of certain specific materials, in a given quantity, and we should never find anything more in it than what had been put there in the first place. But the facts, taken as they are, without any mental reservation about providing a mechanical explanation of the mind, suggest an entirely different interpretation. They show us, in normal psychological life, a constant effort of the mind to limit its horizon, to turn away from what it has a material interest in not seeing. Before philosophizing one must live; and life demands that we put on blinders, that we look neither to the right, nor to the left nor behind us, but straight ahead in the direction we have to go. Our knowledge, far from being made up of a gradual association of simple elements, is the effect of a sudden dissociation: from the immensely vast field of our virtual knowledge, we have selected, in order to make it into actual knowledge, everything which concerns our action upon things; we have neglected the rest.
Henri Bergson (The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics)
The most important feeling in the world is trust. The worse is betrayal. Without trust, there is no love. Without trust, there is betrayal. And betrayal is the ultimate consequence of selfishness and naiveness, both ramifications of egotism. Whenever you can't confront reality, you can't love and you can't protect yourself against the lack of it. Wisdom can help you, because wisdom consists in the ability to love oneself, confront reality and accept the mistakes of others. That requires courage, but courage without wisdom is foolishness in disguise. You must be wise to see through and remain calm. It is a never-ending goal, and as much as the intensity of the complexities you're faced with. More complexities require more wisdom. Peace can't be found without an action towards it, and solutions that justify it. An antagonistic solution would only present itself as one whenever wisdom has failed. An avatar must be immensely wise to live with himself but not ignorant enough to accept the masses when confronted with their ignorance. However, if you're just a mortal being struggling against endless challenges, pray to God for wisdom, for He will bring forth to your realm His most highly recommended masters and meaningful literature. If you find them, don't judge them by how they appear, look or are dressed. Don't judge them as well by when and where they appear to you. For the unwise does not have the right to judge the mysteries unveiling his own ignorance. And if you find a book in a trashcan, do not judge it as well by where you have found it. Salvation is everywhere. It is wise to believe that. We suffer more due to the immense signs we reject than those we accept.
Robin Sacredfire
The three conditions without which healthy growth does not take place can be taken for granted in the matrix of the womb: nutrition, a physically secure environment and the unbroken relationship with a safe, ever-present maternal organism. The word matrix is derived from the Latin for “womb,” itself derived from the word for “mother.” The womb is mother, and in many respects the mother remains the womb, even following birth. In the womb environment, no action or reaction on the developing infant’s part is required for the provision of any of his needs. Life in the womb is surely the prototype of life in the Garden of Eden where nothing can possibly be lacking, nothing has to be worked for. If there is no consciousness — we have not yet eaten of the Tree of Knowledge — there is also no deprivation or anxiety. Except in conditions of extreme poverty unusual in the industrialized world, although not unknown, the nutritional needs and shelter requirements of infants are more or less satisfied. The third prime requirement, a secure, safe and not overly stressed emotional atmosphere, is the one most likely to be disrupted in Western societies. The human infant lacks the capacity to follow or cling to the parent soon after being born, and is neurologically and biochemically underdeveloped in many other ways. The first nine months or so of extrauterine life seem to have been intended by nature as the second part of gestation. The anthropologist Ashley Montagu has called this phase exterogestation, gestation outside the maternal body. During this period, the security of the womb must be provided by the parenting environment. To allow for the maturation of the brain and nervous system that in other species occurs in the uterus, the attachment that was until birth directly physical now needs to be continued on both physical and emotional levels. Physically and psychologically, the parenting environment must contain and hold the infant as securely as she was held in the womb. For the second nine months of gestation, nature does provide a near-substitute for the direct umbilical connection: breast-feeding. Apart from its irreplaceable nutritional value and the immune protection it gives the infant, breast-feeding serves as a transitional stage from unbroken physical attachment to complete separation from the mother’s body. Now outside the matrix of the womb, the infant is nevertheless held close to the warmth of the maternal body from which nourishment continues to flow. Breast-feeding also deepens the mother’s feeling of connectedness to the baby, enhancing the emotionally symbiotic bonding relationship. No doubt the decline of breast-feeding, particularly accelerated in North America, has contributed to the emotional insecurities so prevalent in industrialized countries. Even more than breast-feeding, healthy brain development requires emotional security and warmth in the infant’s environment. This security is more than the love and best possible intentions of the parents. It depends also on a less controllable variable: their freedom from stresses that can undermine their psychological equilibrium. A calm and consistent emotional milieu throughout infancy is an essential requirement for the wiring of the neurophysiological circuits of self-regulation. When interfered with, as it often is in our society, brain development is adversely affected.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Like Plato, Kant believed that human beings have a dual nature: part animal and part rational. The animal part of us follows the laws of nature, just as does a falling rock or a lion killing its prey. There is no morality in nature; there is only causality. But the rational part of us, Kant said, can follow a different kind of law: It can respect rules of conduct, and so people (but not lions) can be judged morally for the degree to which they respect the right rules. What might those rules be? Here Kant devised the cleverest trick in all moral philosophy. He reasoned that for moral rules to be laws, they had to be universally applicable. If gravity worked differently for men and women, or for Italians and Egyptians, we could not speak of it as a law. But rather than searching for rules to which all people would in fact agree (a difficult task, likely to produce only a few bland generalities), Kant turned the problem around and said that people should think about whether the rules guiding their own actions could reasonably be proposed as universal laws. If you are planning to break a promise that has become inconvenient, can you really propose a universal rule that states people ought to break promises that have become inconvenient? Endorsing such a rule would render all promises meaningless. Nor could you consistently will that people cheat, lie, steal, or in any other way deprive other people of their rights or their property, for such evils would surely come back to visit you. This simple test, which Kant called the “categorical imperative,” was extraordinarily powerful. It offered to make ethics a branch of applied logic, thereby giving it the sort of certainty that secular ethics, without recourse to a sacred book, had always found elusive.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
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
The American novel claims to find its unity in reducing man either to elementals or to his external reactions and to his behavior. It does not choose feelings or passions to give a detailed description of, such as we find in classic French novels. It rejects analysis and the search for a fundamental psychological motive that could explain and recapitulate the behavior of a character. This is why the unity of this novel form is only the unity of the flash of recognition. Its technique consists in describing men by their outside appearances, in their most casual actions, of reproducing, without comment, everything they say down to their repetitions, and finally by acting as if men were entirely defined by their daily automatisms. On this mechanical level men, in fact, seem exactly alike, which explains this peculiar universe in which all the characters appear interchangeable, even down to their physical peculiarities. This technique is called realistic only owing to a misapprehension. In addition to the fact that realism in art is, as we shall see, an incomprehensible idea, it is perfectly obvious that this fictitious world is not attempting a reproduction, pure and simple, of reality, but the most arbitrary form of stylization. It is born of a mutilation, and of a voluntary mutilation, performed on reality. The unity thus obtained is a degraded unity, a leveling off of human beings and of the world. It would seem that for these writers it is the inner life that deprives human actions of unity and that tears people away from one another. This is a partially legitimate suspicion. But rebellion, which is one of the sources of the art of fiction, can find satisfaction only in constructing unity on the basis of affirming this interior reality and not of denying it. To deny it totally is to refer oneself to an imaginary man.
Albert Camus (The Rebel)
for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth—that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way —an honorable way—in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
MARCH 14 I WILL CLEANSE YOUR LIFE FROM SECRET FAULTS MY CHILD, BE aware of the danger of trying to hide your faults or actions from Me, for I see the hidden secrets in your heart. Nothing can be hidden from the light of My presence. You were once darkness, but now you are light in Me. Live as children of light (for My light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases Me. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Everything exposed by My light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. Be very careful how you live—not as unwise by as wise—making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. PSALM 19:12–13; JEREMIAH 23:24; EPHESIANS 5:8–16 Prayer Declaration Lord, cleanse my life from secret faults. I renounce secret and shameful ways. I will not use deception, nor will I distort the Word of God. The only thing that I will hide in my heart is the Word of God, so that I might not sin against You.
John Eckhardt (Daily Declarations for Spiritual Warfare: Biblical Principles to Defeat the Devil)
Probing Wolf’s construction of rape crisis feminism as victim feminism also shows that Wolf ignores an important aspect of victim identity that rape crisis feminists acknowledge centrally. Namely, the much-examined tendency of victims of rape to engage in self-blame and ‘experience only self-directed anger’ (Alcoff and Gray, 1993, p. 284). Wolf espouses a version of survivorship called power feminism, without carrying through rape crisis feminism’s cautions about forms of agency that centrally involve self-blame. A core argument of Wolf is that victims are peculiarly at risk of failing to assume personal responsibility – this is what is so disabling about victim identity. Rape crisis feminists put the problem very differently: victims often assume excessive responsibility, for their own actions and for the actions of others. In fact, for rape crisis feminists, ‘victim identity’ primarily consists of this self-blaming consciousness. ... Rather than seek the ‘rewards’ of victim recognition, the self-blaming victim situates themselves as the agent of their own victimization.
Rebecca Stringer (Knowing Victims: Feminism, Agency and Victim Politics in Neoliberal Times)
Whatever their contradictions, Americans were consistent, before and after their first revolution, in deeply distrusting government. Having been left on their own for so long, the colonists saw as sinister any British action affecting them: “[ T] he most minor incidents,” the historian Gordon Wood has shown, “erupted into major constitutional questions involving the basic liberties of the people.” 49 Allergies that extreme don’t easily disappear, and this one lasted long after Great Britain accepted the independence of the United States in 1783. The Americans simply turned it upon themselves. Perhaps victory made forbearance less necessary. Perhaps it exposed an issue they’d so far evaded: had the revolution secured equality of opportunity—the right to rise to inequality—or of condition—the obligation not to? Perhaps corruptions in British society had now, like smallpox, infected its American counterpart. Perhaps legislation, if unchecked, always produced tyranny, whether in parliaments or confederations. Perhaps the people themselves weren’t to be trusted. Perhaps the British had been right, some Americans thought but couldn’t say, in having tried to replace neglect with a heavier hand.
John Lewis Gaddis (On Grand Strategy)
Sheepwalking I define “sheepwalking” as the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a brain-dead job and enough fear to keep them in line. You’ve probably encountered someone who is sheepwalking. The TSA “screener” who forces a mom to drink from a bottle of breast milk because any other action is not in the manual. A “customer service” rep who will happily reread a company policy six or seven times but never stop to actually consider what the policy means. A marketing executive who buys millions of dollars’ worth of TV time even though she knows it’s not working—she does it because her boss told her to. It’s ironic but not surprising that in our age of increased reliance on new ideas, rapid change, and innovation, sheepwalking is actually on the rise. That’s because we can no longer rely on machines to do the brain-dead stuff. We’ve mechanized what we could mechanize. What’s left is to cost-reduce the manual labor that must be done by a human. So we write manuals and race to the bottom in our search for the cheapest possible labor. And it’s not surprising that when we go to hire that labor, we search for people who have already been trained to be sheepish. Training a student to be sheepish is a lot easier than the alternative. Teaching to the test, ensuring compliant behavior, and using fear as a motivator are the easiest and fastest ways to get a kid through school. So why does it surprise us that we graduate so many sheep? And graduate school? Since the stakes are higher (opportunity cost, tuition, and the job market), students fall back on what they’ve been taught. To be sheep. Well-educated, of course, but compliant nonetheless. And many organizations go out of their way to hire people that color inside the lines, that demonstrate consistency and compliance. And then they give these people jobs where they are managed via fear. Which leads to sheepwalking. (“I might get fired!”) The fault doesn’t lie with the employee, at least not at first. And of course, the pain is often shouldered by both the employee and the customer. Is it less efficient to pursue the alternative? What happens when you build an organization like W. L. Gore and Associates (makers of Gore-Tex) or the Acumen Fund? At first, it seems crazy. There’s too much overhead, there are too many cats to herd, there is too little predictability, and there is way too much noise. Then, over and over, we see something happen. When you hire amazing people and give them freedom, they do amazing stuff. And the sheepwalkers and their bosses just watch and shake their heads, certain that this is just an exception, and that it is way too risky for their industry or their customer base. I was at a Google conference last month, and I spent some time in a room filled with (pretty newly minted) Google sales reps. I talked to a few of them for a while about the state of the industry. And it broke my heart to discover that they were sheepwalking. Just like the receptionist at a company I visited a week later. She acknowledged that the front office is very slow, and that she just sits there, reading romance novels and waiting. And she’s been doing it for two years. Just like the MBA student I met yesterday who is taking a job at a major packaged-goods company…because they offered her a great salary and promised her a well-known brand. She’s going to stay “for just ten years, then have a baby and leave and start my own gig.…” She’ll get really good at running coupons in the Sunday paper, but not particularly good at solving new problems. What a waste. Step one is to give the problem a name. Done. Step two is for anyone who sees themselves in this mirror to realize that you can always stop. You can always claim the career you deserve merely by refusing to walk down the same path as everyone else just because everyone else is already doing it.
Seth Godin (Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?: And Other Provocations, 2006-2012)
Concern for one's political community is, of course, right and proper, and Christians can hardly be faulted for wishing to correct their nation's deficiencies. At the same time, this variety of Christian nationalism errs on at least four counts. First, it unduly applies biblical promises intended for the body of Christ as a whole to one of many particular geographic concentrations of people bound together under a common political framework. Once again this requires a somewhat dubious biblical hermeneutic. Second, it tends to identify God's norms for political and cultural life with a particular, imperfect manifestation of those norms at a specific period of a nation's history. Thus, for example, pro-family political activists tend to identify God's norms for healthy family life with the nineteenth-century agrarian family or the mid-twentieth-century suburban nuclear family. Similarly, a godly commonwealth is believed by American Christian nationalists to consist of a constitutional order limiting political power through a system of checks and balances, rather than one based on, in Walter Bagehot's words, a "fusion of powers" in the hands of a cabinet responsible to a parliament. Thus Christian nationalists, like their conservative counterparts, tend to judge their nation's present actions, not by transcendent norms given by God for its life, but by precedents in their nation's history deemed to have embodied these norms. Third, Christian nationalists too easily pay to their nation a homage due only to God. They make too much of their country's symbols, institutions, laws and mores.They see its history as somehow revelatory of God's ways and are largely blind to the outworkings of sin in that same history. When they do detect national sin, they tend to attribute it not to something defective in the nation's ideological underpinnings, but to its departure from a once solid biblical foundation during an imagined pre-Fall golden age. If the nation's beginnings are not as thoroughly Christian as they would like to believe, they will seize whatever evidence is available in this direction and construct a usable past serviceable 34 to a more Christian future. Fourth, and finally, those Christians most readily employing the language of nationhood often find it difficult to conceive the nation in limited terms. Frequently, Christian nationalists see the nation as an undifferentiated community with few if any constraints on its claims to allegiance. 45 Once again this points to the recognition of a modest place for the nation, however it be defined, and away from the totalitarian pretensions of nationalism. Whether the nation is already linked to the body politic or to an ethnically defined people seeking political recognition, it must remain within the normative limits God has placed on everything in his creation.
David T. Koyzis (Political Visions & Illusions: A Survey & Christian Critique of Contemporary Ideologies)
Recall that the collapse of complexity that accompanies 5 percent [i.e. intractable] conflicts happens along many dimensions: - A very complication situation becomes very simple. - A focus on concrete details in the conflict shifts to matters of general abstract principle. - Concerns over obtaining accurate information regarding substantive issues transform into concerns over defending one's identity, ideology, and values. - The out-group, which was seen as made up of many different types of individuals, now are all alike. - The in-group, which was seen as made up of many different types of individuals, now are all similar. - Whereas I once held many contradictions within myself in terms of what I valued, thought, and did; now I am always consistent in this conflict. - Whereas I used to feel different things about this conflict - good, bad, and ambivalent; now I feel only an overwhelming sense of enmity and hate. - I've shifted from long-term thinking and planning toward short-term reactions and concerns. - Where I once had many action options available to me, I now have one: attack. This is the bad news about the 5 percent, but it's also the good news. The collapse of complexity occurs on so many levels, all leading to a similar state of 'us versus them' thinking, that reintroducing a sense of complexity and agency can also be achieved in a wide variety of ways. There are therefore many places to find points of leverage to rupture the certainty and oversimplification that rules in these situations. The question is how to find them.
Peter T. Coleman (The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts)
Kant is sometimes considered to be an advocate of reason. Kant was in favor of science, it is argued. He emphasized the importance of rational consistency in ethics. He posited regulative principles of reason to guide our thinking, even our thinking about religion. And he resisted the ravings of Johann Hamann and the relativism of Johann Herder. Thus, the argument runs, Kant should be placed in the pantheon of Enlightenment greats. That is a mistake. The fundamental question of reason is its relationship to reality. Is reason capable of knowing reality - or is it not? Is our rational faculty a cognitive function, taking its material form reality, understanding the significance of that material, and using that understanding to guide our actions in reality - or is it not? This is the question that divides philosophers into pro- and anti-reason camps, this is the question that divides the rational gnostics and the skeptics, and this was Kant’s question in his Critique of Pure Reason. Kant was crystal clear about his answer. Reality - real, noumenal reality - is forever closed off to reason, and reason is limited to awareness and understanding of its own subjective products… Kant was the decisive break with the Enlightenment and the first major step toward postmodernism. Contrary to the Enlightenment account of reason, Kant held that the mind is not a response mechanism but a constitute mechanism. He held that the mind - and not reality - sets the terms for knowledge. And he held that reality conforms to reason, not vice versa. In the history of philosphy, Kant marks a fundamental shift from objectivity as the standard to subjectivity as the standard. What a minute, a defender of Kant may reply. Kant was hardly opposed to reason. After all, he favored rational consistency and he believed in universal principles. So what is anti-reason about it? The answer is that more fundamental to reason than consistency and universality is a connection to reality. Any thinker who concludes that in principle reason cannot know reality is not fundamentally an advocate of reason… Suppose a thinker argued the following: “I am an advocate of freedom for women. Options and the power to choose among them are crucial to our human dignity. And I am wholeheartedly an advocate of women’s human dignity. But we must understand that a scope of a women’s choice is confined to the kitchen. Beyond the kitchen’s door she must not attempt to exercise choice. Within the kitchen, however, she has a whole feast of choices[…]”. No one would mistake such a thinker for an advocate of women’s freedom. Anyone would point out that there is a whole world beyond the kitchen and that freedom is essentially about exercising choice about defining and creating one’s place in the world as a whole. The key point about Kant, to draw the analogy crudely, is that he prohibits knowledge of anything outside our skulls. The gives reasons lots to do withing the skull, and he does advocate a well-organized and tidy mind, but this hardly makes him a champion of reason… Kant did not take all of the steps down to postmodernism, but he did take the decisive one. Of the five major features of Enlightenment reason - objectivity, competence, autonomy, universality, and being an individual faculty - Kant rejected objectivity.
Stephen R.C. Hicks (Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault)
The same thing happens in the search for the laws of historical movement. The movement of mankind, proceeding from a countless number of human wills, occurs continuously. To comprehend the laws of this movement is the goal of history. But in order to comprehend the laws of the continuous movement of the sum of all individual wills, human reason allows for arbitrary, discrete units. The first method of history consists in taking an arbitrary series of continuous events and examining it separately from others, whereas there is not and cannot be a beginning to any event, but one event always continuously follows another. The second method consists in examining the actions of one person, a king, a commander, as the sum of individual wills, whereas the sum of individual wills is never expressed in the activity of one historical person. Historical science in its movement always takes ever smaller units for examination, and in this way strives to approach the truth. But however small the units that history takes, we feel that allowing for a unit that is separate from another, allowing for the beginning of some phenomenon, and allowing for the notion that all individual wills are expressed in the actions of one historical person, is false in itself. Any conclusion of historical science, without the least effort on the part of criticism, falls apart like dust, leaving nothing behind, only as a result of the fact that criticism selects as an object for observation a larger or smaller discrete unit, which it always has the right to do, because any chosen historical unit is always arbitrary. Only by admitting an infinitesimal unit for observation—a differential of history, that is, the uniform strivings of people—and attaining to the art of intigrating them (taking the sums of these infinitesimal quantities) can we hope to comprehend the laws of history.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
The ridge of the Lammer-muir hills... consists of primary micaceous schistus, and extends from St Abb's head westward... The sea-coast affords a transverse section of this alpine tract at its eastern extremity, and exhibits the change from the primary to the secondary strata... Dr HUTTON wished particularly to examine the latter of these, and on this occasion Sir JAMES HALL and I had the pleasure to accompany him. We sailed in a boat from Dunglass ... We made for a high rocky point or head-land, the SICCAR ... On landing at this point, we found that we actually trode [sic] on the primeval rock... It is here a micaceous schistus, in beds nearly vertical, highly indurated, and stretching from S.E. to N. W. The surface of this rock... has thin covering of red horizontal sandstone laid over it, ... Here, therefore, the immediate contact of the two rocks is not only visible, but is curiously dissected and laid open by the action of the waves... On us who saw these phenomena for the first time, the impression will not easily be forgotten. The palpable evidence presented to us, of one of the most extraordinary and important facts in the natural history of the earth, gave a reality and substance to those theoretical speculations, which, however probable had never till now been directly authenticated by the testimony of the senses... What clearer evidence could we have had of the different formation of these rocks, and of the long interval which separated their formation, had we actually seen them emerging from the bosom of the deep? ... The mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time; and while we listened with earnestness and admiration to the philosopher who was now unfolding to us the order and series of these wonderful events, we became sensible how much farther reason may sometimes go than imagination can venture to follow.
John Playfair (Biographical Account of James Hutton, M.D. F.R.S. Ed.)
The main signpost that helps political realism to find its way through the landscape of international politics is the concept of interest defined in terms of power. This concept provides the link between reason trying to understand international politics and the facts to be understood. It sets politics as an autonomous sphere of action and understanding apart from other spheres, such as economics (understood in terms of interest defined as wealth), ethics, aesthetics, or religion. Without such a concept a theory of politics, international or domestic, would be altogether impossible, for without it we could not distinguish between political and nonpolitical facts, nor could we bring at least a measure of systematic order to the political sphere. We assume that statesmen think and act in terms of interest defined as power, and the evidence of history bears that assumption out. That assumption allows us to retrace and anticipate, as it were, the steps a statesman - past, present, or future - has taken or will take on the political scene. We look over his shoulder when he writes his dispatches; we listen in on his conversation with other statesmen; we read and anticipate his very thoughts. Thinking in terms of interest defined as power, we think as he does, and as disinterested observers we understand his thoughts and actions perhaps better than he, the actor on the political scene, does himself. The concept of interest defined as power imposes intellectual discipline upon the observer, infuses rational order into the subject matter of politics, and thus makes the theoretical understanding of politics possible. On the side of the actor, it provides for rational discipline in action and creates that astounding continuity in foreign policy which makes American, British, or Russian foreign policy appear as an intelligible, rational continuum, by and large consistent within itself, regardless of the different motives, preferences, and intellectual and moral qualities of successive statesmen.
Hans J. Morgenthau (Politics Among Nations)
Just for a moment, imagine that you live in a magnificent ethereal world of indescribable beauty—a world consisting of subtle energies, where every thought you create instantly molds and shapes the immediate environment around you. Imagine a perfect world where your thoughts instantly create any reality you choose. Whatever your heart desires is suddenly made manifest before you. It is a glorious land overflowing with living light, a land where death, disease, and limitations are nonexistent. Imagine yourself in an ideal world where everyone is free to explore and develop their creative pursuits and experience their unlimited potential. Does this sound like heaven? Just think what an immature or undisciplined being could and would do in this ideal thought-responsive world. Picture the chaos and destruction that a single primitive mind could create. One undisciplined mind would wreak complete havoc, destroying the perfection of the subtle environments and the privacy of all the inhabitants. Now for a moment imagine what kind of educational environment would be the perfect training ground for this undisciplined mind. What kind of school would you create to educate this primitive state of consciousness? What kind of lessons would effectively train this disruptive mind to coexist in the thought-responsive heavenly dimensions? Welcome to the slowed-down molecular training ground of consciousness. Welcome to the dense training ground of matter, where focused thoughts are required in order to create and prosper. Welcome to the ideal environment where the young and undisciplined mind can learn by trial and error without contaminating the pure realm of spirit. Welcome to your life. This is one of the primary spiritual lessons we are here to learn. The unaware remain in the dense outer dimensions of the universe until they learn to exercise complete responsibility for their thoughts and actions. They then must learn to escape from the dense gravity field consisting of matter, form, and emotion. Eventually they recognize and break free from the illusions of form and to consciously pursue and experience their spiritual essence.
William Buhlman (The Secret of the Soul)
In the whole psychology of the “Gospels” the concepts of guilt and punishment are lacking, and so is that of reward. “Sin,” which means anything that puts a distance between God and man, is abolished—this is precisely the “ glad tidings.” Eternal bliss is not merely promised, nor is it bound up with conditions: it is conceived as the only reality—what remains consists merely of signs useful in speaking of it. The results of such a point of view project themselves into a new way of life, the special evangelical way of life. It is not a “belief” that marks off the Christian; he is distinguished by a different mode of action; he acts differently. He offers no resistance, either by word or in his heart, to those who stand against him. He draws no distinction between strangers and countrymen, Jews and Gentiles (“neighbour,” of course, means fellow-believer, Jew). He is angry with no one, and he despises no one. He neither appeals to the courts of justice nor heeds their mandates (“Swear not at all”). He never under any circumstances divorces his wife, even when he has proofs of her infidelity.—And under all of this is one principle; all of it arises from one instinct.— The life of the Saviour was simply a carrying out of this way of life—and so was his death.... He no longer needed any formula or ritual in his relations with God—not even prayer. He had rejected the whole of the Jewish doctrine of repentance and atonement; he knew that it was only by a way of life that one could feel one’s self “divine,” “blessed,” “evangelical,” a “child of God.” Not by “repentance,” not by “prayer and forgiveness” is the way to God: only the Gospel way leads to God—it is itself “God!”—What the Gospels abolished was the Judaism in the concepts of “sin,” “forgiveness of sin,” “faith,” “salvation through faith”—the whole ecclesiastical dogma of the Jews was denied by the “glad tidings.” The deep instinct which prompts the Christian how to live so that he will feel that he is “in heaven” and is “immortal,” despite many reasons for feeling that he is not “in heaven”: this is the only psychological reality in “salvation.”—A new way of life, not a new faith....
Nietszche