Consume Happiness Quotes

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Happy people produce. Bored people consume.
Stephen Richards
We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.
George Bernard Shaw (Candida)
Man’s happiness today consists in “having fun.” Having fun lies in the satisfaction of consuming and “taking in” commodities, sights, food, drinks, cigarettes, people, lectures, books, movies—all are consumed, swallowed. The world is one great object for our appetite, a big apple, a big bottle, a big breast; we are the sucklers, the eternally expectant ones, the hopeful ones—and the eternally disappointed ones.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
The real thinkers of the world aren't the best dressed. Staying on top of the latest fashions, accessorizing, and presenting oneself is time consuming. It takes a lot of effort, energy and concentration to be incessantly happy and perfectly groomed. You meet somebody like that- ask yourself what they're running from.
Karen Marie Moning (Shadowfever (Fever, #5))
This feeling of love, it transports me, it makes me happy. At the same time, it consumes me and makes me miserable, the way all impossible loves are miserable.
Philippe Besson (Lie With Me)
Silence consumed my whole life; it suppressed things I could never express. My silence was responsible for my family’s happiness. Silence was my prison.
Natasha Preston (Silence (Silence, #1))
Maybe his grief was like her wounded arm. Slowly healing. Gradually becoming les consuming as life delivered other worries and other joys. Other sources of pain and happiness. She wanted that for him. More life. More happiness.
Veronica Rossi (Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky, #3))
Not that happiness is dull. Only that it doesn't tell well. And of our consuming diversions as we age is to recite, not only to others but to ourselves, our own story.
Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
But happiness is a difficult thing-it is, as Aristotle posited in The Nicomachean Ethics, an activity, is is about good social behavior, about being a solid citizen. Happiness is about community, intimacy, relationships, rootedness, closeness, family, stability, a sense of place, a feeling of love. And in this country, where people move from state to state and city to city so much, where rootlessness is almost a virtue ("anywhere I hang my hat...is someone else's home"), where family units regularly implode and leave behind fragments of divorce, where the long loneliness of life finds its antidote not in a hardy, ancient culture (as it would in Europe), not in some blood-deep tribal rites (as it would in the few still-hale Third World nations), but in our vast repository of pop culture, of consumer goods, of cotton candy for all-in this America, happiness is hard.
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
I want to propose a toast!" Taking a spoon he noisily tapped it against the crystal glass.  "Everyone!" He thundered, the large amount of whiskey he had consumed making him reckless.  "To Victor,  Ste. Genevieve's own inventor and my best friend, all the happiness in the world!"  The happy crowd shouted their approval.  "And to the ever, ever fair beauty Celena..." His voice cracking under the strain, and he wondered if he should stop now, before he embarrassed himself, before he made some horrible declaration.
Barbara Sontheimer (Victor's Blessing)
To do what you love and are passionate about is a dream come true, My life is consumed by music and entertainment— and it’s the best life I could ever hope for.
Blake Lewis
I believe in the supreme worth of the individual and in his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty. I believe that the law was made for man and not man for the law; that government is the servant of the people and not their master. I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living. I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living and that economy is a prime requisite of a sound financial structure, whether in government, business or personal affairs. I believe that truth and justice are fundamental to an enduring social order. I believe in the sacredness of a promise, that a man's word should be as good as his bond, that character—not wealth or power or position—is of supreme worth. I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind and that only in the purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free. I believe in an all-wise and all-loving God, named by whatever name, and that the individual's highest fulfillment, greatest happiness and widest usefulness are to be found in living in harmony with His will. I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world; that it alone can overcome hate; that right can and will triumph over might.
John D. Rockefeller
Our culture has bred consumers and addicts. We eat too much, buy too much, and want too much. We set ourselves on the fruitless mission of filling the gaping hole within us with material things. Blindly, we consume more and more, believing we are hungry for more food, status, or money, yet really we are hungry for connection.
Vironika Tugaleva (The Love Mindset: An Unconventional Guide to Healing and Happiness)
Economies thrive when individuals strive, but because individuals will only strive for their own happiness, it is essential that they mistakenly believe that producing and consuming are routes to personal well-being.
Daniel Todd Gilbert (Stumbling on Happiness)
Consumerism tells us that in order to be happy we must consume as many products and services as possible.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
This is very American, too - the insecurity about whether we have earned our happiness. Planet Advertising in America orbits completely around the need to convince the uncertain consumer that yes, you have actually warranted a special treat. This Bud's for You! You Deserve a Break Today! Because You're Worth It! You've Come a Long Way, Baby! And the insecure consumer thinks, Yeah! Thanks! I AM gonna go buy a six-pack, damn it! Maybe even two six-packs! And then comes the reactionary binge. Followed by the remorse. Such advertising campaigns would probably not be as effective in the Italian culture, where people already know that they are entitled enjoyment in this life. The reply in Italy to "You Deserve a Break Today" would probably be, Yeah, no duh. That's why I'm planning on taking a break at noon, to go over to you house and sleep with your wife.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Happy people don’t create anything, their world is one without art and music and skyscrapers, without discoveries and innovations. All leaders, all of your heroes, they’ve been obsessed. Happy people don’t get obsessed, they don’t devote their lives to curing illnesses or making planes take off. The happy leave nothing behind. They live for the sake of living, they’re only on earth as consumers. Not me.
Fredrik Backman (The Deal of a Lifetime)
So now you know where to shop. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. Stop wasting your money on conspicuous consumption. As a first step, work less, earn less, accumulate less, and “consume” more family time, vacations, and other enjoyable activities.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
Having happy families because of happy and prosperous individuals and businesses will fuel world economies. Helping more businesses grow and prosper is good for the economy. What is good for the economy is good for families. What is good for families is good for the consumer. Be good to small businesses for that is best for the consumers. - Strong by Kailin Gow on Strong Economies
Kailin Gow
I can't begin to describe how you've touched my heart. You've brought so much joy and happiness to my life. I never thought I would ever be able to love anyone as much as I do you. You've consumed my very being, completing my soul.
Trin Denise (Worth Dying For)
Being in love was vastly different from loving someone. When you were in love, it consumed you. Devoured you. And made you deliriously happy.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Retribution (Dark-Hunter, #19))
An ardent desire to go took possession of me once more. Not because I wanted to leave - I was quite all right on this Cretan coast, and felt happy and free there and I needed nothing - but because I have always been consumed with one desire; to touch and see as much as possible of the earth and the sea before I die.
Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek)
She was perfectly sane in streets unknown. She loved conversing with people tagged as strangers. She was social, amiable & all that is her. Yet, with known people she felt unknown, she choked words and fought inside. And indeed she tripped insane while traversing those streets known. She stared at others and consumed their happiness through senses cold. And so she waits for Winter's warmth to touch her in streets of distant shore, in her own world of simple happiness.
Debatrayee Banerjee
Kronos had seen by now that his wife was expecting and he readied himself for the happy day when he could consume the sixth of his children. He was taking no chances.
Stephen Fry (Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry's Great Mythology, #1))
I'm taken, absolutely consumed, by seeing him again, thrown back into a world where I fought hard in and lost nearly every battle that was thrown my way, only to leave withouth the one thing that I was fighting for: him.
Anna Todd (After Ever Happy (After, #4))
And when I look around the apartment where I now am,—when I see Charlotte’s apparel lying before me, and Albert’s writings, and all those articles of furniture which are so familiar to me, even to the very inkstand which I am using,—when I think what I am to this family—everything. My friends esteem me; I often contribute to their happiness, and my heart seems as if it could not beat without them; and yet—if I were to die, if I were to be summoned from the midst of this circle, would they feel—or how long would they feel—the void which my loss would make in their existence? How long! Yes, such is the frailty of man, that even there, where he has the greatest consciousness of his own being, where he makes the strongest and most forcible impression, even in the memory, in the heart of his beloved, there also he must perish,—vanish,—and that quickly. I could tear open my bosom with vexation to think how little we are capable of influencing the feelings of each other. No one can communicate to me those sensations of love, joy, rapture, and delight which I do not naturally possess; and though my heart may glow with the most lively affection, I cannot make the happiness of one in whom the same warmth is not inherent. Sometimes I don’t understand how another can love her, is allowed to love her, since I love her so completely myself, so intensely, so fully, grasp nothing, know nothing, have nothing but her! I possess so much, but my love for her absorbs it all. I possess so much, but without her I have nothing. One hundred times have I been on the point of embracing her. Heavens! what a torment it is to see so much loveliness passing and repassing before us, and yet not dare to lay hold of it! And laying hold is the most natural of human instincts. Do not children touch everything they see? And I! Witness, Heaven, how often I lie down in my bed with a wish, and even a hope, that I may never awaken again! And in the morning, when I open my eyes, I behold the sun once more, and am wretched. If I were whimsical, I might blame the weather, or an acquaintance, or some personal disappointment, for my discontented mind; and then this insupportable load of trouble would not rest entirely upon myself. But, alas! I feel it too sadly; I am alone the cause of my own woe, am I not? Truly, my own bosom contains the source of all my pleasure. Am I not the same being who once enjoyed an excess of happiness, who at every step saw paradise open before him, and whose heart was ever expanded towards the whole world? And this heart is now dead; no sentiment can revive it. My eyes are dry; and my senses, no more refreshed by the influence of soft tears, wither and consume my brain. I suffer much, for I have lost the only charm of life: that active, sacred power which created worlds around me,—it is no more. When I look from my window at the distant hills, and behold the morning sun breaking through the mists, and illuminating the country around, which is still wrapped in silence, whilst the soft stream winds gently through the willows, which have shed their leaves; when glorious Nature displays all her beauties before me, and her wondrous prospects are ineffectual to extract one tear of joy from my withered heart,—I feel that in such a moment I stand like a reprobate before heaven, hardened, insensible, and unmoved. Oftentimes do I then bend my knee to the earth, and implore God for the blessing of tears, as the desponding labourer in some scorching climate prays for the dews of heaven to moisten his parched corn.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (The Sorrows of Young Werther)
Not that happiness is dull. Only that it doesn't tell well. And one of our consuming diversions as we age is to recite, not only to others but to ourselves, our own story.
Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
When you’re sad, you cry. When you’re happy, you smile, you laugh. But what do you do when you’re angry? Not just mad, but filled with this ugly, consuming rage?
Rachel Harrison (Such Sharp Teeth)
Most people have heard the phrase, ‘Silence is golden’; many would agree with it: people with screaming children running wild around the house or working in a noisy office. For me, however, it meant something entirely different. Silence consumed my whole life; it suppressed things I could never express. My silence was responsible for my family’s happiness. Silence was my prison.
Natasha Preston (Silence (Silence, #1))
Never underestimate a well-dressed bimbo. The real thinkers of the world aren’t the best dressed. Staying on top of the latestfashions, accessorizing, and presenting oneself is time consuming. It takes a lot of effort, energy, and concentration to be incessantly happy and perfectly groomed. You meet somebody like that—ask yourself what they’re running from.
Karen Marie Moning (Shadowfever (Fever, #5))
i've been reading whitman, you know what he says, cheer up slaves, and horrify foreign despots, he means that's the attitude for the bard, the zen lunacy bard of old desert paths, see the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, dharma bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and there have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn't really want anyway such as refrigerators, tv sets, cars, at least new fancy cars, certain hair oils and deodorants and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, i see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up into the mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em zen lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures
Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums)
How many happy, satisfied people there are, after all, I said to myself. What an overwhelming force! Just consider this life--the insolence and idleness of the strong, the ignorance and bestiality of the weak, all around intolerable poverty, cramped dwellings, degeneracy, drunkenness, hypocrisy, lying...and yet peace and order apparently prevail in all those homes and in the streets. Of the fifty thousand inhabitants of a town, not one will be found to cry out, to proclaim his indignation aloud. We see those who go to the market to buy food, who eat in the daytime and sleep at night, who prattle away, marry, grow old, carry their dead to the cemeteries. But we neither hear nor see those who suffer, and the terrible things in life are played out behind the scenes. All is calm and quiet, and statistics, which are dumb, protest: so many have gone mad, so many barrels of drink have been consumed, so many children died of malnutrition...and apparently this is as it should be. Apparently those who are happy can only enjoy themselves because the unhappy bear their burdens in silence, and but for this silence happiness would be impossible. It is a kind of universal hypnosis. There ought to be a man with a hammer behind the door of every happy man, to remind him by his constant knocks that there are unhappy people, and that happy as he himself may be, life will sooner or later show him its claws, catastrophe will overtake him--sickness, poverty, loss--and nobody will see it, just as he now neither sees nor hears the misfortunes of others. But there is no man with a hammer, the happy man goes on living and the petty vicissitudes of life touch him lightly, like the wind in an aspen-tree, and all is well.
Anton Chekhov
I'm serious. You've been doing so much thinking with your head that you're ignoring your heart completely. There has to be a balance. The fact that both of you are letting other things consume you is about to ruin any chance you'll ever have at being happy.
Colleen Hoover (Slammed (Slammed, #1))
The authoritarian system we live under is set to benefit a tiny minority — an all-powerful elite gets obscenely rich, while billions are cheated out of realizing their true potential. But the system is rotten. It's ripe for collapse. It's the duty of every revolutionary — everyone of us — to hasten that collapse... It's not a crime to fight injustice... The system's conditioned us — hypnotized nearly everybody into accepting that life has to be the way it is. We're hypnotized into believing war is natural — famine is natural — crime is natural... but they're not. They're products of the system and its all-consuming greed! People have become robots — zombies — too busy scrambling for day-to-day existence to be able to see they're really victims. It's up to us to open their eyes. From cradle to grave, we're taught — indoctrinated! — that happiness depends on always getting more. Buy — throw away — buy more! Doesn't matter if we destroy the planet on the way! Politicians say they can fix the world's problems. Just give them more power. Religions say do more of what they order and you'll be happy — but only after you're dead! They've been making the same hollow promises for thousands of years, and we, the people — the sheep — have listened. But it's time to wake up and smell the coffee — the days of external authority and force-backed power are numbered... that's the way the system is set up! A sham democracy that acts as a front for the elite's ambitions... It doesn't have to be like that. We can change it!
Alan Grant
Emptiness felt like a living thing. A parasite growing in the center of your chest, somewhere behind your heart, taking every ounce of warmth and light and happiness and consuming it until there's nothing left. Emptiness feels like exhaustion, like there's no reason to fight, no reason to take another breath, no reason to try to survive. But emptiness also feels like freedom. Because it doesn't just take the good, it takes the bad, too--the anger, the bitterness, the pain--and when it's done, it leaves you with just you. A cold, shell-like echo of yourself, but still you.
Gabe Cole Novoa (Beyond the Red (Beyond the Red, #1))
There are many forms of love and affection, some people can spend their whole lives together without knowing each other's names. Naming is a difficult and time-consuming process; it concerns essences, and it means power. But on the wild nights who can call you home? Only the one who knows your name. Romantic love has been diluted into paperback form and has sold thousands and millions of copies. Somewhere it is still in the original, written on tablets of stone. I would cross seas and suffer sunstroke and give away all I have, but not for a man, because they want to be the destroyer and never the destroyed. That is why they are unfit for romantic love. There are exceptions and I hope they are happy. The unknownness of my needs frightens me. I do not know how huge they are, or how high they are, I only know that they are not being met.
Jeanette Winterson (Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit)
In high school, in college, she was encouraged again and again to find her passion-a reason to get out of bed and breathe. In her experience, few people ever found that raison d'etre. What teachers and professors never told her was about the dark side of finding your purpose. The part where it consumes you. Where it becomes a destroyer of relationship and happiness. And still, she wouldn't trade it. This is the only person she knows how to be.
Blake Crouch (Recursion)
We can protect life, practice generosity, behave responsibly, and consume mindfully.
Barbara Ann Kipfer (1325 Buddhist Ways to Be Happy)
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is a spiritual experience of living every moment with love, grace and gratitude.
Dennis Waitely
Your life AFTER Christ is not static or an end result. You are not suspended in grace above the fray of life. You are looking at God through a kaleidoscope. Your life moves, and the beads shift, and something new emerges. You are defining. Redefining. Figuring it out all over again. You are in motion, in transit, in flux. You will be sad. You will be happy. You will love and doubt and cry and rage, and all of it matters. You are human, and you are beloved, and this is what it is to be Alive.
Addie Zierman (When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over)
The cult of self dominates our cultural landscape. This cult has within it the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity, and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation, a penchant for lying, deception, and manipulation, and the inability to feel remorse or guilt. This is, of course, the ethic promoted by corporations. It is the ethic of unfettered capitalism. It is the misguided belief that personal style and personal advancement, mistaken for individualism, are the same as democratic equality. In fact, personal style, defined by the commodities we buy or consume, has become a compensation for our loss of democratic equality. We have a right, in the cult of the self, to get whatever we desire. We can do anything, even belittle and destroy those around us, including our friends, to make money, to be happy, and to become famous. Once fame and wealth are achieved, they become their own justification, their own morality. How one gets there is irrelevant. Once you get there, those questions are no longer asked.
Chris Hedges (Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle)
Degrade him from what position? As a happy, hard-working, goods-consuming citizen he's perfect. Of course, if you choose some other standard than ours, then perhaps you might say he was degraded. But you've got to stick to one set of postulates. You can't play Electro-magnetic Golf according to rules of Centrifugal Bumble-puppy.
Aldous Huxley
So what motivates people to work hard every day to do things that will satisfy the economy’s needs but not their own? Like so many thinkers, Smith believed that people want just one thing—happiness—hence economies can blossom and grow only if people are deluded into believing that the production of wealth will make them happy.14 If and only if people hold this false belief will they do enough producing, procuring, and consuming to sustain their economies.
Daniel Todd Gilbert (Stumbling on Happiness)
We think too much of production, and too little of consumption. One result is that we attach too little importance to enjoyment and simple happiness, and that we do not judge production by the pleasure that it gives to the consumer.
Bertrand Russell (In Praise of Idleness)
I'm the man of the house, the husband-fuck it- I'm the king, and I had to make my queen happy.
Skyla Madi (Forever Consumed (Consumed, #3))
Consumerism tells us that in order to be happy we must consume as many products and services as possible. If we feel that something is missing or not quite right, then we probably need to buy a product (a car, new clothes, organic food) or a service (housekeeping, relationship therapy, yoga classes). Every television commercial is another little legend about how consuming some product or service will make life better.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
We consume so we never have to answer the hard questions. When we are bored we eat. When we are lonely we watch a movie, read the newspaper, jump on social media. Each time we do we cover up our real emotions and keep throwing another layer of confusion and anxiety on top, making it almost impossible to dig ourselves out of the hole, or at least see which way is up.
Evan Sutter (Solitude: How Doing Nothing Can Change the World)
When I became convinced that the Universe is natural – that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts, and bars, and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf or a slave. There was for me no master in all the wide world -- not even in infinite space. I was free -- free to think, to express my thoughts -- free to live to my own ideal -- free to live for myself and those I loved -- free to use all my faculties, all my senses -- free to spread imagination's wings -- free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope -- free to judge and determine for myself -- free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the "inspired" books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past -- free from popes and priests -- free from all the "called" and "set apart" -- free from sanctified mistakes and holy lies -- free from the fear of eternal pain -- free from the winged monsters of the night -- free from devils, ghosts and gods. For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of thought -- no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings -- no chains for my limbs -- no lashes for my back -- no fires for my flesh -- no master's frown or threat – no following another's steps -- no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously, faced all worlds. And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers who gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain -- for the freedom of labor and thought -- to those who fell on the fierce fields of war, to those who died in dungeons bound with chains -- to those who proudly mounted scaffold's stairs -- to those whose bones were crushed, whose flesh was scarred and torn -- to those by fire consumed -- to all the wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons of men. And then I vowed to grasp the torch that they had held, and hold it high, that light might conquer darkness still.
Robert G. Ingersoll
most cherished desires of present-day Westerners are shaped by romantic, nationalist, capitalist and humanist myths that have been around for centuries. Friends giving advice often tell each other, ‘Follow your heart.’ But the heart is a double agent that usually takes its instructions from the dominant myths of the day, and the very recommendation to ‘follow your heart’ was implanted in our minds by a combination of nineteenth-century Romantic myths and twentieth-century consumerist myths. The Coca-Cola Company, for example, has marketed Diet Coke around the world under the slogan ‘Diet Coke. Do what feels good.’ Even what people take to be their most personal desires are usually programmed by the imagined order. Let’s consider, for example, the popular desire to take a holiday abroad. There is nothing natural or obvious about this. A chimpanzee alpha male would never think of using his power in order to go on holiday into the territory of a neighbouring chimpanzee band. The elite of ancient Egypt spent their fortunes building pyramids and having their corpses mummified, but none of them thought of going shopping in Babylon or taking a skiing holiday in Phoenicia. People today spend a great deal of money on holidays abroad because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism. Romanticism tells us that in order to make the most of our human potential we must have as many different experiences as we can. We must open ourselves to a wide spectrum of emotions; we must sample various kinds of relationships; we must try different cuisines; we must learn to appreciate different styles of music. One of the best ways to do all that is to break free from our daily routine, leave behind our familiar setting, and go travelling in distant lands, where we can ‘experience’ the culture, the smells, the tastes and the norms of other people. We hear again and again the romantic myths about ‘how a new experience opened my eyes and changed my life’. Consumerism tells us that in order to be happy we must consume as many products and services as possible. If we feel that something is missing or not quite right, then we probably need to buy a product (a car, new clothes, organic food) or a service (housekeeping, relationship therapy, yoga classes). Every television commercial is another little legend about how consuming some product or service will make life better. 18. The Great Pyramid of Giza. The kind of thing rich people in ancient Egypt did with their money. Romanticism, which encourages variety, meshes perfectly with consumerism. Their marriage has given birth to the infinite ‘market of experiences’, on which the modern tourism industry is founded. The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences. Paris is not a city, nor India a country – they are both experiences, the consumption of which is supposed to widen our horizons, fulfil our human potential, and make us happier. Consequently, when the relationship between a millionaire and his wife is going through a rocky patch, he takes her on an expensive trip to Paris. The trip is not a reflection of some independent desire, but rather of an ardent belief in the myths of romantic consumerism. A wealthy man in ancient Egypt would never have dreamed of solving a relationship crisis by taking his wife on holiday to Babylon. Instead, he might have built for her the sumptuous tomb she had always wanted. Like the elite of ancient Egypt, most people in most cultures dedicate their lives to building pyramids. Only the names, shapes and sizes of these pyramids change from one culture to the other. They may take the form, for example, of a suburban cottage with a swimming pool and an evergreen lawn, or a gleaming penthouse with an enviable view. Few question the myths that cause us to desire the pyramid in the first place.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
We may distinguish both true and false needs. “False” are those which are superimposed upon the individual by particular social interests in his repression: the needs which perpetuate toil, aggressiveness, misery, and injustice. Their satisfaction might be most gratifying to the individual, but this happiness is not a condition which has to be maintained and protected if it serves to arrest the development of the ability (his own and others) to recognize the disease of the whole and grasp the chances of curing the disease. The result then is euphoria in unhappiness. Most of the prevailing needs to relax, to have fun, to behave and consume in accordance with the advertisements, to love and hate what others love and hate, belong to this category of false needs.
Herbert Marcuse (One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society)
When my sister was released from the mental hospital, she came to live with me in the tilting and crumbling one-bedroom house I'd bought with the small amount of money I inherited when our parents died. She arrived one afternoon unannounced in a taxi. She must have known instinctively that I'd take her in. I don't know how or why they released her. Probably due to overcrowding, and they had her scratch her name on a form then pushed her out the door. Or maybe she just slipped away when no one was looking (who'd notice in a place like that?)--she never did tell me and I didn't ask her. I was so happy to have her with me again that the last thing I wanted to do was break the spell by letting reality intrude. Ever since they'd dragged her away weeping with laughter and reaching out for me with our parents' blood still coating her hands with shiny red gloves, I'd felt amputated, like they'd pulled her kicking and screaming and insane out of my guts.
Michael Gira (The Consumer)
Oh, you knew exactly what I meant. Not that happiness is dull. Only that it doesn't tell well. And one of our consuming diversions as we age is to recite, not only to others but to ourselves, our own story.
Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
When she woke up crying for one of her nightmares, the Kolker would stay with her, brush her hair with his hands, collect her tears in thimbles for her to drink the next morning (The only way to overcome sadness is to consume it, he said), and more than that: once her eyes closed and she fell back asleep, he was left to bear the insomnia. There was a complete transfer, like a speeding billiard ball colliding with a resting one. Should Brod feel depressed - she was always depressed - the Kolker would sit with her until he could convince her that it’s OK. It is. Really. And when she would move on with her day, he would stay behind, paralysed with a grief he couldn’t name and that wasn’t his. Should Brod become sick, it was the Kolker that would be bedridden by week’s end. Should Brod feel bored, knowing too many languages, too many facts, with too much knowledge to be happy, the Kolker would stay up all night studying her books, studying the pictures, so the next day he could try to make the kind of small talk that would please his young wife.
Jonathan Safran Foer
To believe that life's problems will somehow work themselves out, everything bad is fixable and something about samsara has to be worth fighting for makes it virtually impossible to nurture a genuine, all-consuming desire to practise the dharma. The only view that truly works for a dharma practitioner is that there are no solutions to the sufferings of samsara and it cannot be fixed.
Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse (Not For Happiness: A Guide to the So-Called Preliminary Practices)
believe no happiness can be found worthy to be compared with that of a soul in Purgatory except that of the saints in Paradise. And day by day this happiness grows as God flows into these souls, more and more as the hindrance to His entrance is consumed. Sin's rust is the hindrance, and the fire burns the rust away so that more and more the soul opens itself up to the divine inflowing.
Catherine of Siena (Fire of Love!: Understanding Purgatory)
While everybody tries to be as close as possible to the rest, everybody remains utterly alone, pervaded by the deep sense of insecurity, anxiety and guilt which always results when human separateness cannot be overcome. Our civilization offers many palliatives which help people to be consciously unaware of this aloneness: first of all the strict routine of bureaucratized, mechanical work, which helps people to remain unaware of their most fundamental human desires, of the longing for transcendence and unity. Inasmuch as the routine alone does not succeed in this, man overcomes his unconscious despair by the routine of amusement, the passive consumption of sounds and sights offered by the amusement industry; furthermore by the satisfaction of buying ever new things, and soon exchanging them for others. Modern man is actually close to the picture Huxley describes in his Brave New World: well fed, well clad, satisfied sexually, yet without self, without any except the most superficial contact with his fellow men, guided by the slogans which Huxley formulated so succinctly, such as: “When the individual feels, the community reels”; or “Never put off till tomorrow the fun you can have today,” or, as the crowning statement: “Everybody is happy nowadays.” Man’s happiness today consists in “having fun.” Having fun lies in the satisfaction of consuming and “taking in” commodities, sights, food, drinks, cigarettes, people, lectures, books, movies—all are consumed, swallowed.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
My definition of gawking would be when you look at her, your heart starts slamming uncontrollably in your chest. So much that it scares you. And every other noise that surrounds you slowly fades away into absolute silence. You only hear the sounds she makes. And when she looks back at you, when her eyes meet yours, it's as if she is looking deep inside your soul. And she can see all of the hatred you're consumed in. Her eyes quench the thirst of your soul, gently soothing your damaged heart in the most alluring way... a way you could only dream of. Then those magical eyes start to look away. The time-freeze you were caught in starts to wear off. And fear takes over. You want to pull those eyes to yours again so that you could once again feel the fascinating sensations of happiness. Then, when she's out of your sight, you feel empty inside. Your heart is back to normal. Only this time, it's left with an aching worse than before. But you can never tell her. You can never be with her. You are alone in your pitiful existence.
E.M. Jade (Captivated (Affliction, #1))
Materialism, to some extent, requires that the consumer is not fully present or happy. In the moments of a spending frenzy you feel more alive so you spend, spend, spend in the pursuit of happiness. For a short period the acquisition of clothes, shoes, a house, a car, a new kitchen, anchors your life into some place of meaning.
Patsy Rodenburg (The Second Circle: How to Use Positive Energy for Success in Every Situation)
Within sixty-minute limits or one-hundred-yard limits or the limits of a game board, we can look for perfect moments or perfect structures. In my fiction I think this search sometimes turns out to be a cruel delusion. No optimism, no pessimism. No homesickness for lost values or for the way fiction used to be written. Everybody seems to know everything. Subjects surface and are totally exhausted in a matter of days or weeks, totally played out by the publishing industry and the broadcast industry. Nothing is too arcane to escape the treatment, the process. Making things difficult for the reader is less an attack on the reader than it is on the age and its facile knowledge-market. The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence. The writer is the man or woman who automatically takes a stance against his or her government. There are so many temptations for American writers to become part of the system and part of the structure that now, more than ever, we have to resist. American writers ought to stand and live in the margins, and be more dangerous. Writers in repressive societies are considered dangerous. That’s why so many of them are in jail. Some people prefer to believe in conspiracy because they are made anxious by random acts. Believing in conspiracy is almost comforting because, in a sense, a conspiracy is a story we tell each other to ward off the dread of chaotic and random acts. Conspiracy offers coherence. I see contemporary violence as a kind of sardonic response to the promise of consumer fulfillment in America... I see this desperation against the backdrop of brightly colored packages and products and consumer happiness and every promise that American life makes day by day and minute by minute everywhere we go. Discarded pages mark the physical dimensions of a writer’s labor. Film allows us to examine ourselves in ways earlier societies could not—examine ourselves, imitate ourselves, extend ourselves, reshape our reality. It permeates our lives, this double vision, and also detaches us, turns some of us into actors doing walk-throughs. Every new novel stretches the term of the contract—let me live long enough to do one more book. You become a serious novelist by living long enough.
Don DeLillo
Some stories consumed you, they made time stop, your worries float into the ether, and when it came to my reading habits I chose romance over any other genre. The appeal of the happy ever after, the winsome heroine being adored for who she was, and the devastatingly handsome hero with more to him than met the eye tugged at my heart.
Rebecca Raisin (The Bookshop on the Corner (The Bookshop, #1; The Gingerbread Cafe, #2.5))
This, as Joseph had pointed out on retreat, is the lie we tell ourselves our whole lives: as soon as we get the next meal, party, vacation, sexual encounter, as soon as we get married, get a promotion, get to the airport check-in, get through security and consume a bouquet of Auntie Anne’s Cinnamon Sugar Stix, we’ll feel really good. But as soon as we find ourselves in the airport gate area, having ingested 470 calories’ worth of sugar and fat before dinner, we don’t bother to examine the lie that fuels our lives. We tell ourselves we’ll sleep it off, take a run, eat a healthy breakfast, and then, finally, everything will be complete. We live so much of our lives pushed forward by these “if only” thoughts, and yet the itch remains. The pursuit of happiness becomes the source of our unhappiness.
Dan Harris (10% Happier)
social media addict? This is a very real problem—so much so that researchers from Norway developed a new instrument to measure Facebook addiction called the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale.[3] Social media has become as ubiquitous as television in our everyday lives, and this research shows that multitasking social media can be as addictive as drugs, alcohol, and chemical substance abuse. A large number of friends on social media networks may appear impressive, but according to a new report, the more social circles a person is linked to, the more likely the social media will be a source of stress.[4] It can also have a detrimental effect on consumer well-being because milkshake-multitasking interferes with clear thinking and decision-making, which lowers self-control and leads to rash, impulsive buying and poor eating decisions. Greater social media use is associated with a higher body mass index, increased binge eating, a lower credit score, and higher levels of credit card debt for consumers with many close friends in their social network—all caused by a lack of self-control.[5] We Can Become Shallow
Caroline Leaf (Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health)
See the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming... all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures...
Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums)
And in touching your own nothingness, in not feeling your permanent base, in not reaching your own infinity, still less your own eternity, you will have a whole-hearted pity for yourself, and you will burn with a sorrowful love for yourself--a love that will consume your so-called self-love, which is merely a species of sensual self-delectation, the self-enjoyment, as it were, of the flesh of your soul.
Miguel de Unamuno (Tragic Sense of Life)
I am not a victim of circumstance, situation, nor any external condition of life. I am an active participant in the creation of my reality, meaning, I am actively participating in the creation of what I think, what I feel, what I spend my time on, who I spend my time with, what I consume mentally and physically, and all the blessings and contrastive experiences that come my way. Every effect has a cause and every cause has an effect, all of which include me because it is my life to live, my life to use, and my life to enjoy.
Alaric Hutchinson
Moment by moment, inhale by exhale, every heartbeat of hers against mine erased our separation. The lust consuming me all night revealed for what it truly was: my need to be with Josephine for the rest of my life. Not only her body but everything that she was: her scribbled words, her lonely heart and her victorious happiness.
Emma Scott (How to Save a Life (Dreamcatcher, #1))
Taking architecture seriously therefore makes some singular strenuous demands upon us. It requires that we open ourselves to the idea that we are affected by our surroundings even when they are made of vinyl and would be expensive and time-consuming to ameliorate. It means conceding that we are inconveniently vulnerable to the color of our wallpaper and that our sense of purpose may be derailed by an unfortunate bedspread. At the same time, it means acknowledging that buildings are able to solve no more than a fraction of our dissatisfactions or prevent evil from unfolding under their watch. Architecture, even at its most accomplished, will only ever constitute a small, and imperfect (expensive, prone to destruction, and morally unreliable), protest against the state of things. More awkwardly still, architecture asks us to imagine that happiness might often have an unostentatious, unheroic character to it, that it might be found in a run of old floorboards or in a wash of morning light over a plaster wall—in undramatic, frangible scenes of beauty that move us because we are aware of the darker backdrop against which they are set.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
The most powerful anti-Christian movement is the one that takes over and "radicalizes" the concern for victims in order to paganize it. The powers and principalities want to be “revolutionary” now, and they reproach Christianity for not defending victims with enough ardor. In Christian history they see nothing but persecutions, acts of oppression, inquisitions. This other totalitarianism presents itself as the liberator of humanity. In trying to usurp the place of Christ, the powers imitate him in the way a mimetic rival imitates his model in order to defeat him. They denounce the Christian concern for victims as hypocritical and a pale imitation of the authentic crusade against oppression and persecution for which they would carry the banner themselves. In the symbolic language of the New Testament, we would say that in our world Satan, trying to make a new start and gain new triumphs, borrows the language of victims. ... The Antichrist boasts of bringing to human beings the peace and tolerance that Christianity promised but has failed to deliver. Actually, what the radicalization of contemporary victimology produces is a return to all sorts of pagan practices: abortion, euthanasia, sexual undifferentiation, Roman circus games galore but without real victims, etc. Neo-paganism would like to turn the Ten Commandments and all of Judeo-Christian morality into some alleged intolerable violence, and indeed its primary objective is their complete abolition. Faithful observance of the moral law is perceived as complicity with the forces of persecution that are essentially religious... Neo-paganism locates happiness in the unlimited satisfaction of desires, which means the suppression of all prohibitions. This idea acquires a semblance of credibility in the limited domain of consumer goods, whose prodigious multiplication, thanks to technological progress, weakens certain mimetic rivalries. The weakening of mimetic rivalries confers an appearance of plausibility, but only that, on the stance that turns the moral law into an instrument of repression and persecution.
René Girard (I See Satan Fall Like Lightning)
We have paid a price for our inclusiveness, but but we have bought ourselves a more humane society, with greater opportunity for racial minorities, women, gay people, the handicapped, and others - that is, for most people. And even if some people think the price was too steep, we can't go back, either to a pre-consumer society or to ethnically homogeneous enclaves. All we can do is search for ways that we might reduce our anomie without excluding large classes of people.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
Happiness is for children and animals, it doesn’t have any biological function. Happy people don’t create anything, their world is one without art and music and skyscrapers, without discoveries and innovations. All leaders, all of your heroes, they’ve been obsessed. Happy people don’t get obsessed, they don’t devote their lives to curing illnesses or making planes take off. The happy leave nothing behind. They live for the sake of living, they’re only on earth as consumers. Not me.
Fredrik Backman (The Deal of a Lifetime)
Ben felt paralyzed with shock. But she hadn't finished. In fact, she'd barely started. She went on to give him a scorching lecture about how he was a victim of this ridiculous, upside-down consumer culture in which everyone was constantly being bombarded with the pernicious promise of happiness, and even worse, being told at every turn that they had the goddamn right to be happy. And if they weren't, they could be, if they just got themselves a new car or a new dishwasher or a new outfit or a new lover. The messages were everywhere, Sally said, in every magazine you picked up. on every dumb TV show, feeling greed and envy, making people dissatisfied with what they had, persuading them they could change it and be happy and successful and beautiful, if only they had some gorgeous new thing or a new girlfriend or a new face or a new pair of silicone tits....
Nicholas Evans (The Divide)
Children of the most privileged group in the wealthiest country in the history of the world were getting hooked and dying in almost epidemic numbers from substances meant to, of all things, numb pain. “What pain?” a South Carolina cop asked rhetorically one afternoon as we toured the fine neighborhoods south of Charlotte where he arrested kids for pills and heroin. Crime was at historic lows, drug overdose deaths at record highs. A happy façade covered a disturbing reality. I grew consumed by this story.
Sam Quinones (Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic)
Perishable, It Said Perishable, it said on the plastic container, And below, in different ink, The date to be used by, the last teaspoon consumed. I found myself looking; Now at the back of each hand, Now inside the knees, Now turning over each foot to look at the sole. Then at the leaves of the young tomato plants, Then at the arguing jays. Under the wooden table and lifted stones, looking. Coffee cups, olives, cheeses, Hunger, sorrow, fears- These too would certainly vanish, without knowing when. How suddenly then The strange happiness took me, Like a man with strong hands and strong mouth, Inside that hour with its perishing perfumes and clashings.
Jane Hirshfield (Come, Thief)
I shall die. I shall no longer feel the agonies which now consume me, or be the prey of feelings unsatisfied, yet unquenched. He is dead who called me into being; and when I shall be no more, the very remembrance of us both will speedily vanish. I shall no longer see the sun or stars, or feel the winds play on my cheeks. Light, feeling, and sense, will pass away; and in this condition must I find my happiness.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein: The 1818 Text)
The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries abandoned the idea of spiritual or intellectual happiness in order to have this material happiness, consisting of a certain number of essential consumer goods. And hence, in the nineteenth century, happiness was linked to a well-being obtained by mechanical means, industrial means, production. The new thing that Saint-Just spoke about was that, in the past, happiness could appear as a very vague, very distant prospect for humanity, whereas now, people seemed to be within reach of the concrete, material possibility of attaining it. That was why happiness was to become an absolutely essential image for the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie, and for modern society. Happiness was attainable thanks to industrial development, and this image of happiness brought us fully into the consumer society.
Jacques Ellul (Perspectives on Our Age)
There is nothing extreme about ethical veganism. What is extreme is eating decomposing flesh and animal secretions. What is extreme is that we regard some animals as members of our family while, at the same time, we stick forks into the corpses of other animals. What is extreme is thinking that it is morally acceptable to inflict suffering and death on other sentient creatures simply because we enjoy the taste of animal products or because we like the look of clothes made from animals. What is extreme is that we say that we recognize that “unnecessary” suffering and death cannot be morally justified and then we proceed to engage in exploitation on a daily basis that is completely unnecessary. What is extreme is pretending to embrace peace while we make violence, suffering, torture and death a daily part of our lives. What is extreme is that we excoriate people like Michael Vick, Mary Bale and Sarah Palin as villains while we continue to eat, use, and consume animal products. What is extreme is that we say that we care about animals and that we believe that they are members of the moral community, but we sponsor, support, encourage and promote “happy” meat/dairy labeling schemes. (see 1, 2, 3) What is extreme is not eating flesh but continuing to consume dairy when there is absolutely no rational distinction between meat and dairy (or other animal products). There is as much suffering and death in dairy, eggs, etc., as there is in meat. What is extreme is that we are consuming a diet that is causing disease and resulting in ecological disaster. What is extreme is that we encourage our children to love animals at the same time that we teach them those that they love can also be those whom they harm. We teach our children that love is consistent with commodification. That is truly extreme—and very sad. What is extreme is the fantasy that we will ever find our moral compass with respect to animals as long as they are on our plates and our tables, on our backs, and on our feet. No, ethical veganism is not extreme. But there are many other things that we do not even pay attention to that are extreme. If you are not vegan, go vegan. It’s easy; it’s better for your health and for the planet. But, most important, it’s the morally right thing to do.
Gary L. Francione
I never knew the difference between loving someone and being in love,” he began. “I don’t know why, because now it seems so obvious. I mean, it’s in the name: in love. When you love someone that just means you care; but when you’re in love, that means you’re a part of it.” He scanned the audience and landed on Paxton and Jade holding hands in the third row. “The feeling consumes you,” he continued. “And when you’re surrounded by that want and that need to make that other person happy, you can’t see anything else. You’re blind to all of the hate and the hurt that’s waiting on the outside. None of it matters, because in here – in love – nothing hurts.” Larson watched as a drop of his own tears fell onto the surface in front of him. “I don’t care if I’m blind for the rest of my life. I loved Owen. I’m in love with him. And even though he’s gone, I’ll never leave this place we made.
Megan Duke (Small Circles)
Quick Review of Core Behavior Patterns Reds are quick and more than happy to take command if needed. They make things happen. However, when they get going, they become control freaks and can be hopeless to deal with. And they repeatedly trample on people’s toes. Yellows can be amusing, creative, and elevate the mood regardless of who they’re with. However, when they are given unlimited space, they will consume all the oxygen in the room, they won’t allow anyone into a conversation, and their stories will reflect reality less and less. The friendly Greens are easy to hang out with because they are so pleasant and genuinely care for others. Unfortunately, they can be too wishy-washy and unclear. Anyone who never takes a stand eventually becomes difficult to handle. You don’t know where they really stand, and indecision kills the energy in other people. The analytical Blues are calm, levelheaded, and think before they speak. Their ability to keep a cool head is undoubtedly an enviable quality for all who aren’t capable of doing that. However, Blues’ critical thinking can easily turn to suspicion and questioning those around them. Everything can become suspect and sinister.
Thomas Erikson (Surrounded by Idiots: The Four Types of Human Behavior and How to Effectively Communicate with Each in Business (and in Life))
He makes love to me then, like only Naz can, alternating between slow and deep and rough and hard, sending me into a tailspin. It's a breath-catching, skin-slapping, soul-capturing kind of love. The man owns me. He consumes me. Every part of me was made for every part of him. It's the kind of love I can't imagine ever living without. It's raw, and real, and it's ours. It's ours. It goes on forever. Life flashes before my eyes. We're old and gray and happy. We're happy. Nothing is going to get in our way now.
J.M. Darhower (Target on Our Backs (Monster in His Eyes, #3))
For a moment I am jealous: He has grown up here, fearless, happy. Perhaps he will never even know about the world on the other side of the fence, the real world. For him there will be no such thing. But there will also be no medicine for him when he is sick, and never enough food to go around, and winters so cold the mornings are like a punch in the gut. And someday-unless the resistance succeeds and takes the country back-the planes and the fires will find him. Someday the eye will turn in this direction, like a laser beam, consuming everything in its path. Someday all the Wilds will be razed, and we will be left with a concrete landscape, a land of pretty houses and trim gardens and planned parks and forests, and a world that works as smoothly as a clock, neatly wound: a world of metal and gears, and people going tick-tick-tick to their deaths.
Lauren Oliver (Pandemonium (Delirium, #2))
I shall quit your vessel on the ice-raft which brought me hither, and shall seek the most northern extremity of the globe; I shall collect my funeral pile, and consume to ashes this miserable frame, that its remains may afford no light to any curious and unhallowed wretch, who would create such another as I have been. I shall die. I shall no longer feel the agonies which now consume me, or be the prey of feelings unsatisfied, yet unquenched. He is dead who called me into being; and when I shall be no more, the very remembrance of us both will speedily vanish. I shall no longer see the sun or stars, or feel the winds play on my cheeks. Light, feeling, and sense, will pass away; and in this condition must I find my happiness.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Romanticism tells us that in order to make the most of our human potential we must have as many different experiences as we can. We must open ourselves to a wide spectrum of emotions; we must sample various kinds of relationships; we must try different cuisines; we must learn to appreciate different styles of music. One of the best ways to do all that is to break free from our daily routine, leave behind our familiar setting, and go travelling in distant lands, where we can ‘experience’ the culture, the smells, the tastes and the norms of other people. We hear again and again the romantic myths about ‘how a new experience opened my eyes and changed my life’. Consumerism tells us that in order to be happy we must consume as many products and services as possible. If we feel that something is missing or not quite right, then we probably need to buy a product (a car, new clothes, organic food) or a service (housekeeping, relationship therapy, yoga classes). Every television commercial is another little legend about how consuming some product or service will make life better. Romanticism, which encourages variety, meshes perfectly with consumerism. Their marriage has given birth to the infinite ‘market of experiences’, on which the modern tourism industry is founded.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Most of them, I suspect, come to the mall not because there is something specific that they need to buy. Rather, they come in the hope that doing so will trigger a desire for something that, before going to the mall, they didn't want. It might be a desire for a cashmere sweater, a set of socket wrenches, or the latest cell phone. Why go out of their way to trigger desire? Because if they trigger one, they can enjoy the rush that comes when they extinguish that desire by buying its object. It is a rush, of course, that has little to do with their long-term happiness as taking a hit of heroin has to do with the long-term happiness of a heroin addict. My ability to form desires for consumer goods seems to have atrophied. What brought about this state of affairs? The profound realization, thanks to the practice of Stoicism, that requiring the things that those in my social circle typically crave and work hard to afford will, in the long run, make zero difference in how happy I am and will in no way contribute to my having a good life.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
If I start doing more things with my hands, whether that's woodworking or gardening or knitting or baking cookies, I might fall into the condition made famous by the psychologist with the impossible name: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. That condition is "flow." It means becoming completely involved in an activity not for the sake of the outcome but for the sheer joy of it. It means feeling alive when we are fully in the groove of doing something. According to Csikszentmihalyi, the path to greatest happiness lies not with mindless consuming but with challenging ourselves to experience or produce something new, becoming in the process more engaged, connected and alive.
Catherine Friend (Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet)
When Christianity says that God loves man it means that God LOVES man: not that He has some 'disinterested'; because really indifferent, concern for our welfare, but that in awful and surprising truth, we are the objects of His love. You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the 'lord of terrible aspect', is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds... ...How this should be, I do not know: it passes reason to explain why any creatures, not to say creatures such as we should have a value so prodigious in their Creator's eyes. It is certainly a burden of glory, not only beyond our deserts but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring; we are inclined, like the maidens in the old play, to deprecate the love of Zeus.
C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
The all-consuming selves we take for granted today are “merely empty receptacles of desire.” Infinitely plastic and decentered, the modern citizen of the republic of consumption lives on slippery terrain, journeying to nowhere in particular. So too, nothing could be more corrosive of the kinds of social sympathy and connectedness that constitute the emotional substructure of collective resistance and rebellion. Instead, consumer culture cultivates a politics of style and identity focused on the rights and inner psychic freedom of the individual, one not comfortable with an older ethos of social rather than individual liberation. On the contrary, it tends to infantilize, encouraging insatiable cravings for more and more novel forms of a faux self-expression. The individuality it promises is a kind of perpetual tease, nowadays generating, for example, an ever-expanding galaxy of internet apps leaving in their wake a residue of chronic anticipation. Hibernating inside this “material girl” quest for more stuff and self-improvement is a sacramental quest for transcendence, reveries of what might be, a “transubstantiation of goods, using products and gear to create a magical realm in which all is harmony, happiness, and contentment… in which their best and most admirable self will emerge at last.” The privatization of utopia! Still, what else is there?
Steve Fraser (The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power)
When he wrote back, he pretended to be his old self, he lied his way into sanity. For fear of his psychiatrist who was also their censor, they could never be sensual, or even emotional. His was considered a modern, enlightened prison, despite its Victorian chill. He had been diagnosed, with clinical precision, as morbidly oversexed, and in need of help as well as correction. He was not to be stimulated. Some letters—both his and hers—were confiscated for some timid expression of affection. So they wrote about literature, and used characters as codes. All those books, those happy or tragic couples they had never met to discuss! Tristan and Isolde the Duke Orsino and Olivia (and Malvolio too), Troilus and Criseyde, Once, in despair, he referred to Prometheus, chained to a rock, his liver devoured daily by a vulture. Sometimes she was patient Griselde. Mention of “a quiet corner in a library” was a code for sexual ecstasy. They charted the daily round too, in boring, loving detail. He described the prison routine in every aspect, but he never told her of its stupidity. That was plain enough. He never told her that he feared he might go under. That too was clear. She never wrote that she loved him, though she would have if she thought it would get through. But he knew it. She told him she had cut herself off from her family. She would never speak to her parents, brother or sister again. He followed closely all her steps along the way toward her nurse’s qualification. When she wrote, “I went to the library today to get the anatomy book I told you about. I found a quiet corner and pretended to read,” he knew she was feeding on the same memories that consumed him “They sat down, looked at each other, smiled and looked away. Robbie and Cecilia had been making love for years—by post. In their coded exchanges they had drawn close, but how artificial that closeness seemed now as they embarked on their small talk, their helpless catechism of polite query and response. As the distance opened up between them, they understood how far they had run ahead of themselves in their letters. This moment had been imagined and desired for too long, and could not measure up. He had been out of the world, and lacked the confidence to step back and reach for the larger thought. I love you, and you saved my life. He asked about her lodgings. She told him. “And do you get along all right with your landlady?” He could think of nothing better, and feared the silence that might come down, and the awkwardness that would be a prelude to her telling him that it had been nice to meet up again. Now she must be getting back to work. Everything they had, rested on a few minutes in a library years ago. Was it too frail? She could easily slip back into being a kind of sister. Was she disappointed? He had lost weight. He had shrunk in every sense. Prison made him despise himself, while she looked as adorable as he remembered her, especially in a nurse’s uniform. But she was miserably nervous too, incapable of stepping around the inanities. Instead, she was trying to be lighthearted about her landlady’s temper. After a few more such exchanges, she really was looking at the little watch that hung above her left breast, and telling him that her lunch break would soon be over.
Ian McEwan (Atonement)
Miserable humanity was clamouring from the depths of its abyss of suffering, and the clamour swept along, sending a shudder down every spine, for one and all were plunged in agony, refusing to die, longing to compel God to grant them eternal life. Ah ! life, life! That was what all those unfortunates, who had come from so far, amid so many obstacles, wanted - that was the one boon they asked for, in their wild desire to live it over again, to live it always! O Lord, whatever our misery, whatever the torment of our life may be, cure us, grant that we may begin to live again and suffer once more what we have suffered already. However unhappy we may be, to be is what we wish. It is not heaven that we ask Thee for, it is earth; and grant that we may leave it at the latest possible moment , never leave it indeed, if such be Thy good pleasure. And even when we no longer implore a physical cure, but a moral favour, it is still happiness that we ask for; happiness , the thirst for which alone consumes us. Oh Lord, grant that we may be happy and healthy; let us live, ay, let us live forever!
Émile Zola (Lourdes (Three Cities Trilogy, #1))
Is it possible nevertheless that our consumer culture does make good on its promises, or could do so? Might these, if fulfilled, lead to a more satisfying life? When I put the question to renowned psychologist Tim Krasser, professor emeritus of psychology at Knox College, his response was unequivocal. "Research consistently shows," he told me, "that the more people value materialistic aspirations as goals, the lower their happiness and life satisfaction and the fewer pleasant emotions they experience day to day. Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse also tend to be higher among people who value the aims encouraged by consumer society." He points to four central principles of what he calls ACC — American corporate capitalism: it "fosters and encourages a set of values based on self-interest, a strong desire for financial success, high levels of consumption, and interpersonal styles based on competition." There is a seesaw oscillation, Tim found, between materialistic concerns on the one hand and prosocial values like empathy, generosity, and cooperation on the other: the more the former are elevated, the lower the latter descend. For example, when people strongly endorse money, image, and status as prime concerns, they are less likely to engage in ecologically beneficial activities and the emptier and more insecure they will experience themselves to be. They will have also lower-quality interpersonal relationships. In turn, the more insecure people feel, the more they focus on material things. As materialism promises satisfaction but, instead, yields hollow dissatisfaction, it creates more craving. This massive and self-perpetuating addictive spiral is one of the mechanisms by which consumer society preserves itself by exploiting the very insecurities it generates. Disconnection in all its guises — alienation, loneliness, loss of meaning, and dislocation — is becoming our culture's most plentiful product. No wonder we are more addicted, chronically ill, and mentally disordered than ever before, enfeebled as we are by such malnourishment of mind, body and soul.
Gabor Maté (The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture)
Lately he's consumed by a sense that he is in fact two separate people, and soon he will have to choose which person to be on a full-time basis, and leave the other person behind. He has a life in Carricklea, he has friends. If he went to college in Galway he could stay with the same social group, really, and live the life he has always planned on, getting a good degree, having a nice girlfriend. People would say he had done well for himself. On the other hand, he could go to Trinity like Marianne. Life would be different then. He would start going to dinner parties and having conversations about the Greek bailout. He could fuck some weird-looking girls who turn out to be bisexual. I've read The Golden Notebook, he could tell them. It's true, he has read it. After that he would never come back to Carricklea, he would go somewhere else, London, or Barcelona. People would not necessarily think he had done well; some people might think he had gone very bad, while others would forget about him entirely. What would Lorraine think? She would want him to be happy, and not care what others said. But the old Connell, the one all his friends know, that person would be dead in a way, or worse, buried alive, and screaming under the earth. (26-27)
Sally Rooney (Normal People)
Are we simply self-conscious animals improbably appearing for a moment in a cosmos without purpose or significance? If so, that has implications for life, which even ordinary people can work out. Or are we rather illusions of individuality destined to dissolve into the ultimately real Absolute? That would make a difference. Are we instead really materially acquisitive hedonists or carnally desiring sensualists who have nothing higher to which to aspire than the gratifications of possessions and physical sensations that we can use our money and relations to consume? Or maybe only bodies with capacities to define by means of the exercise of will and discourse our identities through self-description and re-description? Or perhaps are we children of a personal God, whose perfect love is determined to rescue us from our self-destruction in order to bring us into the perfect happiness of divine knowledge and worship? Or maybe something else? The differences matter for how life ought to be lived, how we ought to live, as individuals and as a society.12 And ultimately we have no choice but to adopt some position, even if by default our culture adopts it for us. I think we ought to want to embrace a position that is deliberately considered and believed for good reasons.
Christian Smith (What Is a Person?: Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up)
Every pregnancy results in roughly two years of lost menstruation. If you are a manufacturer of menstrual pads, this is bad for business. So you ought to know about, and be so happy about, the drop in babies per woman across the world. You ought to know and be happy too about the growth in the number of educated women working away from home. Because these developments have created an exploding market for your products over the last few decades among billions of menstruating women now living on Levels 2 and 3. But, as I realized when I attended an internal meeting at one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of sanitary wear, most Western manufacturers have completely missed this. Instead, when hunting for new customers they are often stuck dreaming up new needs among the 300 million menstruating women on Level 4. “What if we market an even thinner pad for bikinis? What about pads that are invisible, to wear under Lycra? How about one pad for each kind of outfit, each situation, each sport? Special pads for mountain climbers!” Ideally, all the pads are so small they need to be replaced several times a day. But like most rich consumer markets, the basic needs are already met, and producers fight in vain to create demand in ever-smaller segments. Meanwhile, on Levels 2 and 3, roughly 2 billion menstruating women have few alternatives to choose from. These women don’t wear Lycra and won’t spend money on ultrathin pads. They demand a low-cost pad that will be reliable throughout the day so they don’t have to change it when they are out at work. And when they find a product they like, they will probably stick to that brand for their whole lives and recommend it to their daughters.
Hans Rosling (Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think)
The music consumed in its blatant rhythm all other rhythms, even that of the heartbeat. I wondered how all this would look to the casual observer, or to the whites in their homes. “The niggers are whooping it up over on Mobile Street tonight,” they might say. “They’re happy.” Or, as one scholar put it, “Despite their lowly status, they are capable of living jubilantly.” Would they see the immense melancholy that hung over the quarter, so oppressive that men had to dull their sensibilities in noise or wine or sex or gluttony in order to escape it? The laughter had to be gross or it would turn to sobs, and to sob would be to realize, and to realize would be to despair. So the noise poured forth like a jazzed-up fugue, louder and louder to cover the whisper in every man’s soul. “You are black. You are condemned.” This is what the white man mistook for “jubilant living” and called “whooping it up.” This is how the white man can say, “They live like dogs,” never realizing why they must, to save themselves, shout, get drunk, shake the hip, pour pleasures into bellies deprived of happiness. Otherwise, the sounds from the quarter would lose order and rhythm and become wails.
John Howard Griffin (Black Like Me)
Methinks I am a prophet new inspired And thus expiring do foretell of him: His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last, For violent fires soon burn out themselves; Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short; He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes; With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder: Light vanity, insatiate cormorant, Consuming means, soon preys upon itself. This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall, Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands, This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England, This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings, Fear'd by their breed and famous by their birth, Renowned for their deeds as far from home, For Christian service and true chivalry, As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry, Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's Son, This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land, Dear for her reputation through the world, Is now leased out, I die pronouncing it, Like to a tenement or pelting farm: England, bound in with the triumphant sea Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame, With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds: That England, that was wont to conquer others, Hath made a shameful conquest of itself. Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life, How happy then were my ensuing death!
William Shakespeare (Richard II)
Feelings of a Pimp They think I was a player because I was devoted to the game They thought I worked hard on my offense to break down these women’s defenses just to score They think it’s the body count that made me manipulate them into my arms to get between their legs They think I’m satisfied with a different woman in my bed every night When during the day, even my bed can feel the loneliness They think I love the easy women They think it’s for the cool points that my heart grew cold They think they have me figured out Another dog chasing after every female dog in the streets They think I’m happy with all the texting buddies, but no wife But they don’t know They don’t know how tired I am of this, how tired I am of myself How tired I am of living like this How tired I am of these games, but that’s the only way I can score with a chick They don’t know how after sleeping with these ladies, I wish I had more chemistry with at least one of them to cuddle, to give goodnight kisses and wake up beside They don’t know how loneliness consumes me With a phone filled with women’s numbers, I still feel unwanted and unworthy They don’t know these easy women make it easy for me to feel confident about myself; although it’s the wrong type of confidence I feel validated by them, I feel accomplished, I feel loved although I’m having sex with them, not making love They don’t know how tired I am of chasing fool’s gold Chasing fast women who would sleep with me in a heartbeat Leaving me with the empty feeling I felt before I started the chase The player in me is played out. I just want love, but that’s the only thing I can’t seem to find So, I keep pimping in hope of finding love Her insecurities were beautiful They opened the door for me as an opportunist She was the perfect candidate Oh so sweet, but oh so hurt How smart would I be if I didn’t capitalize? Some fellas get women drunk and have their way with them I was doing nothing wrong but pretending to be prince charming, just to get the same results I became what they needed emotionally I was the shoulder to cry on, the ear to listen to, the one person who understood I was a smooth criminal manipulating the innocent Did not feel an ounce of guilt because I was weak myself I was insecure I couldn’t help preying on vulnerable women In their weakness I found strength I was a coward, a “wannabe” player I was playing the wrong games, winning the wrong prizes The truth is, no strong man takes advantage of a woman’s vulnerability. It is a trait of the weak. Diary of a Weak Man
Pierre Alex Jeanty (Unspoken Feelings of a Gentleman)
Given an area of law that legislators were happy to hand over to the affected industries and a technology that was both unfamiliar and threatening, the prospects for legislative insight were poor. Lawmakers were assured by lobbyists a) that this was business as usual, that no dramatic changes were being made by the Green or White papers; or b) that the technology presented a terrible menace to the American cultural industries, but that prompt and statesmanlike action would save the day; or c) that layers of new property rights, new private enforcers of those rights, and technological control and surveillance measures were all needed in order to benefit consumers, who would now be able to “purchase culture by the sip rather than by the glass” in a pervasively monitored digital environment. In practice, somewhat confusingly, these three arguments would often be combined. Legislators’ statements seemed to suggest that this was a routine Armageddon in which firm, decisive statesmanship was needed to preserve the digital status quo in a profoundly transformative and proconsumer way. Reading the congressional debates was likely to give one conceptual whiplash. To make things worse, the press was—in 1995, at least—clueless about these issues. It was not that the newspapers were ignoring the Internet. They were paying attention—obsessive attention in some cases. But as far as the mainstream press was concerned, the story line on the Internet was sex: pornography, online predation, more pornography. The lowbrow press stopped there. To be fair, the highbrow press was also interested in Internet legal issues (the regulation of pornography, the regulation of online predation) and constitutional questions (the First Amendment protection of Internet pornography). Reporters were also asking questions about the social effect of the network (including, among other things, the threats posed by pornography and online predators).
James Boyle (The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind)
If the Pentateuch be true, religious persecution is a duty. The dungeons of the Inquisition were temples, and the clank of every chain upon the limbs of heresy was music in the ear of God. If the Pentateuch was inspired, every heretic should be destroyed; and every man who advocates a fact inconsistent with the sacred book, should be consumed by sword and flame. In the Old Testament no one is told to reason with a heretic, and not one word is said about relying upon argument, upon education, nor upon intellectual development—nothing except simple brute force. Is there to-day a christian who will say that four thousand years ago, it was the duty of a husband to kill his wife if she differed with him upon the subject of religion? Is there one who will now say that, under such circumstances, the wife ought to have been killed? Why should God be so jealous of the wooden idols of the heathen? Could he not compete with Baal? Was he envious of the success of the Egyptian magicians? Was it not possible for him to make such a convincing display of his power as to silence forever the voice of unbelief? Did this God have to resort to force to make converts? Was he so ignorant of the structure of the human mind as to believe all honest doubt a crime? If he wished to do away with the idolatry of the Canaanites, why did he not appear to them? Why did he not give them the tables of the law? Why did he only make known his will to a few wandering savages in the desert of Sinai? Will some theologian have the kindness to answer these questions? Will some minister, who now believes in religious liberty, and eloquently denounces the intolerance of Catholicism, explain these things; will he tell us why he worships an intolerant God? Is a god who will burn a soul forever in another world, better than a christian who burns the body for a few hours in this? Is there no intellectual liberty in heaven? Do the angels all discuss questions on the same side? Are all the investigators in perdition? Will the penitent thief, winged and crowned, laugh at the honest folks in hell? Will the agony of the damned increase or decrease the happiness of God? Will there be, in the universe, an eternal auto da fe?
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
How are we going to bring about these transformations? Politics as usual—debate and argument, even voting—are no longer sufficient. Our system of representative democracy, created by a great revolution, must now itself become the target of revolutionary change. For too many years counting, vast numbers of people stopped going to the polls, either because they did not care what happened to the country or the world or because they did not believe that voting would make a difference on the profound and interconnected issues that really matter. Now, with a surge of new political interest having give rise to the Obama presidency, we need to inject new meaning into the concept of the “will of the people.” The will of too many Americans has been to pursue private happiness and take as little responsibility as possible for governing our country. As a result, we have left the job of governing to our elected representatives, even though we know that they serve corporate interests and therefore make decisions that threaten our biosphere and widen the gulf between the rich and poor both in our country and throughout the world. In other words, even though it is readily apparent that our lifestyle choices and the decisions of our representatives are increasing social injustice and endangering our planet, too many of us have wanted to continue going our merry and not-so-merry ways, periodically voting politicians in and out of office but leaving the responsibility for policy decisions to them. Our will has been to act like consumers, not like responsible citizens. Historians may one day look back at the 2000 election, marked by the Supreme Court’s decision to award the presidency to George W. Bush, as a decisive turning point in the death of representative democracy in the United States. National Public Radio analyst Daniel Schorr called it “a junta.” Jack Lessenberry, columnist for the MetroTimes in Detroit, called it “a right-wing judicial coup.” Although more restrained, the language of dissenting justices Breyer, Ginsberg, Souter, and Stevens was equally clear. They said that there was no legal or moral justification for deciding the presidency in this way.3 That’s why Al Gore didn’t speak for me in his concession speech. You don’t just “strongly disagree” with a right-wing coup or a junta. You expose it as illegal, immoral, and illegitimate, and you start building a movement to challenge and change the system that created it. The crisis brought on by the fraud of 2000 and aggravated by the Bush administration’s constant and callous disregard for the Constitution exposed so many defects that we now have an unprecedented opportunity not only to improve voting procedures but to turn U.S. democracy into “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” instead of government of, by, and for corporate power.
Grace Lee Boggs (The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century)
It is now time to face the fact that English is a crazy language — the most loopy and wiggy of all tongues. In what other language do people drive in a parkway and park in a driveway? In what other language do people play at a recital and recite at a play? Why does night fall but never break and day break but never fall? Why is it that when we transport something by car, it’s called a shipment, but when we transport something by ship, it’s called cargo? Why does a man get a hernia and a woman a hysterectomy? Why do we pack suits in a garment bag and garments in a suitcase? Why do privates eat in the general mess and generals eat in the private mess? Why do we call it newsprint when it contains no printing but when we put print on it, we call it a newspaper? Why are people who ride motorcycles called bikers and people who ride bikes called cyclists? Why — in our crazy language — can your nose run and your feet smell?Language is like the air we breathe. It’s invisible, inescapable, indispensable, and we take it for granted. But, when we take the time to step back and listen to the sounds that escape from the holes in people’s faces and to explore the paradoxes and vagaries of English, we find that hot dogs can be cold, darkrooms can be lit, homework can be done in school, nightmares can take place in broad daylight while morning sickness and daydreaming can take place at night, tomboys are girls and midwives can be men, hours — especially happy hours and rush hours — often last longer than sixty minutes, quicksand works very slowly, boxing rings are square, silverware and glasses can be made of plastic and tablecloths of paper, most telephones are dialed by being punched (or pushed?), and most bathrooms don’t have any baths in them. In fact, a dog can go to the bathroom under a tree —no bath, no room; it’s still going to the bathroom. And doesn’t it seem a little bizarre that we go to the bathroom in order to go to the bathroom? Why is it that a woman can man a station but a man can’t woman one, that a man can father a movement but a woman can’t mother one, and that a king rules a kingdom but a queen doesn’t rule a queendom? How did all those Renaissance men reproduce when there don’t seem to have been any Renaissance women? Sometimes you have to believe that all English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane: In what other language do they call the third hand on the clock the second hand? Why do they call them apartments when they’re all together? Why do we call them buildings, when they’re already built? Why it is called a TV set when you get only one? Why is phonetic not spelled phonetically? Why is it so hard to remember how to spell mnemonic? Why doesn’t onomatopoeia sound like what it is? Why is the word abbreviation so long? Why is diminutive so undiminutive? Why does the word monosyllabic consist of five syllables? Why is there no synonym for synonym or thesaurus? And why, pray tell, does lisp have an s in it? If adults commit adultery, do infants commit infantry? If olive oil is made from olives, what do they make baby oil from? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian consume? If pro and con are opposites, is congress the opposite of progress? ...
Richard Lederer
Darkness: I had a dream, which was not all a dream. The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars Did wander darkling in the eternal space, Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air; Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day, And men forgot their passions in the dread Of this their desolation; and all hearts Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light: And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones, The palaces of crowned kings—the huts, The habitations of all things which dwell, Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum'd, And men were gather'd round their blazing homes To look once more into each other's face; Happy were those who dwelt within the eye Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch: A fearful hope was all the world contain'd; Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour They fell and faded—and the crackling trunks Extinguish'd with a crash—and all was black. The brows of men by the despairing light Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits The flashes fell upon them; some lay down And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smil'd; And others hurried to and fro, and fed Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up With mad disquietude on the dull sky, The pall of a past world; and then again With curses cast them down upon the dust, And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'd And, terrified, did flutter on the ground, And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd And twin'd themselves among the multitude, Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food. And War, which for a moment was no more, Did glut himself again: a meal was bought With blood, and each sate sullenly apart Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left; All earth was but one thought—and that was death Immediate and inglorious; and the pang Of famine fed upon all entrails—men Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh; The meagre by the meagre were devour'd, Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one, And he was faithful to a corse, and kept The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay, Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead Lur'd their lank jaws; himself sought out no food, But with a piteous and perpetual moan, And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand Which answer'd not with a caress—he died. The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two Of an enormous city did survive, And they were enemies: they met beside The dying embers of an altar-place Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things For an unholy usage; they rak'd up, And shivering scrap'd with their cold skeleton hands The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath Blew for a little life, and made a flame Which was a mockery; then they lifted up Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld Each other's aspects—saw, and shriek'd, and died— Even of their mutual hideousness they died, Unknowing who he was upon whose brow Famine had written Fiend. The world was void, The populous and the powerful was a lump, Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless— A lump of death—a chaos of hard clay. The rivers, lakes and ocean all stood still, And nothing stirr'd within their silent depths; Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea, And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp'd They slept on the abyss without a surge— The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave, The moon, their mistress, had expir'd before; The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air, And the clouds perish'd; Darkness had no need Of aid from them—She was the Universe.
Lord Byron