Controlled Character Quotes

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The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, because it also means that we are free to change this destiny. One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings, to race, inheritance, background. All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us. We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934)
Your reputation is in the hands of others. That's what the reputation is. You can't control that. The only thing you can control is your character.
Wayne W. Dyer
Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing 1. Never open a book with weather. 2. Avoid prologues. 3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. 4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely. 5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. 6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose." 7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. 8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters. 9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things. 10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. My most important rule is one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
Elmore Leonard
Authors also create lovable, friendly characters, then proceed to do terrible things to them, like throw them in unsightly librarian-controlled dungeons. This makes readers feel hurt and worried for the characters. The simple truth is that authors like making people squirm. If this weren't the case, all novels would be filled completely with cute bunnies having birthday parties.
Brandon Sanderson (Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1))
The overman...Who has organized the chaos of his passions, given style to his character, and become creative. Aware of life's terrors, he affirms life without resentment.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Have you got any soul?" a woman asks the next afternoon. That depends, I feel like saying; some days yes, some days no. A few days ago I was right out; now I've got loads, too much, more than I can handle. I wish I could spread it a bit more evenly, I want to tell her, get a better balance, but I can't seem to get it sorted. I can see she wouldn't be interested in my internal stock control problems though, so I simply point to where I keep the soul I have, right by the exit, just next to the blues.
Nick Hornby (High Fidelity)
How to win in life: 1 work hard 2 complain less 3 listen more 4 try, learn, grow 5 don't let people tell you it cant be done 6 make no excuses
Germany Kent
If you can control your behavior when everything around you is out of control, you can model for your children a valuable lesson in patience and understanding...and snatch an opportunity to shape character.
Jane Clayson Johnson (I Am a Mother)
Politeness is the first thing people lose once they get the power.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
What matters most in a child's development, they say, is not how much information we can stuff into her brain in the first few years. What matters, instead, is whether we are able to help her develop a very different set of qualities, a list that includes persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence.
Paul Tough (How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character)
It is a healthy approach not to expect persons to turn out precisely how you would have wished.
Criss Jami (Healology)
A man's magic demonstrates what sort of person he is, what is held most deeply inside of him. There is no truer gauge of a man's character than the way in which he employs his strength, his power. I was not a murderer. I was not like Victor Sells. I was Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. I was a wizard. Wizards control their power. They don't let it control them. And wizards don't use magic to kill people. They use it to discover, to protect, to mend, to help. Not to destroy.
Jim Butcher (Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1))
I believe that an author who cannot control her characters is, like a mother who cannot control her children, not really fit to look after them.
Margery Allingham
The abuser’s mood changes are especially perplexing. He can be a different person from day to day, or even from hour to hour. At times he is aggressive and intimidating, his tone harsh, insults spewing from his mouth, ridicule dripping from him like oil from a drum. When he’s in this mode, nothing she says seems to have any impact on him, except to make him even angrier. Her side of the argument counts for nothing in his eyes, and everything is her fault. He twists her words around so that she always ends up on the defensive. As so many partners of my clients have said to me, “I just can’t seem to do anything right.” At other moments, he sounds wounded and lost, hungering for love and for someone to take care of him. When this side of him emerges, he appears open and ready to heal. He seems to let down his guard, his hard exterior softens, and he may take on the quality of a hurt child, difficult and frustrating but lovable. Looking at him in this deflated state, his partner has trouble imagining that the abuser inside of him will ever be back. The beast that takes him over at other times looks completely unrelated to the tender person she now sees. Sooner or later, though, the shadow comes back over him, as if it had a life of its own. Weeks of peace may go by, but eventually she finds herself under assault once again. Then her head spins with the arduous effort of untangling the many threads of his character, until she begins to wonder whether she is the one whose head isn’t quite right.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
A man who is good from docility, and not from stern self-control, has no character.
Henry Hazlitt
There's Something Wrong With Your Character If Opportunity Controls Your Loyalty
Trent Shelton
History was indeed controlled by blind forces, as well as character and courage and treachery and love. And accident and random chance. And stray bullets and telegrams and tips. And cats.
Connie Willis (To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel, #2))
Love is the key. Joy is love singing. Peace is love resting. Patience is love enduring. Kindness is love's truth. Goodness is love's character. Faithfulness is love's habit. Gentleness is love's self-forgetfulness. Self-control is being the reins
Donald Grey Barnhouse
People that hold onto hate for so long do so because they want to avoid dealing with their pain. They falsely believe if they forgive they are letting their enemy believe they are a doormat. What they don’t understand is hatred can’t be isolated or turned off. It manifests in their health, choices and belief systems. Their values and religious beliefs make adjustments to justify their negative emotions. Not unlike malware infesting a hard drive, their spirit slowly becomes corrupted and they make choices that don’t make logical sense to others. Hatred left unaddressed will crash a person’s spirit. The only thing he or she can do is to reboot, by fixing him or herself, not others. This might require installing a firewall of boundaries or parental controls on their emotions. Regardless of the approach, we are all connected on this "network of life" and each of us is responsible for cleaning up our spiritual registry.
Shannon L. Alder
Never strike out of anger if at all possible, this will give your enemy the advantage and strengthen his resolve and psyche
Soke Behzad Ahmadi
I wanted very much to learn to draw, for a reason that I kept to myself: I wanted to convey an emotion I have about the beauty of the world. It's difficult to describe because it's an emotion. It's analogous to the feeling one has in religion that has to do with a god that controls everything in the whole universe: there's a generality aspect that you feel when you think about how things that appear so different and behave so differently are all run "behind the scenes" by the same organization, the same physical laws. It's an appreciation of the mathematical beauty of nature, of how she works inside; a realization that the phenomena we see result from the complexity of the inner workings between atoms; a feeling of how dramatic and wonderful it is. It's a feeling of awe — of scientific awe — which I felt could be communicated through a drawing to someone who had also had this emotion. It could remind him, for a moment, of this feeling about the glories of the universe.
Richard P. Feynman (Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character)
We must learn and then teach our children that niceness does not equal goodness. Niceness is a decision, a strategy of social interaction; it is not a character trait. People seeking to control others almost always present the image of a nice person in the beginning. Like rapport-building, charm and the deceptive smile, unsolicited niceness often has a discoverable motive.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
She knows her timing, always knows. The time to strike or the time to starve. Her eyes as a clock, she watches she waits she learns, and in the second she blinks, she changes her mind just like that.
Anthony Liccione
When I say that evil has to do with killing, I do not mean to restrict myself to corporeal murder. Evil is that which kills spirit. There are various essential attributes of life -- particularly human life -- such as sentience, mobility, awareness, growth, autonomy, will. It is possible to kill or attempt to kill one of these attributes without actually destroying the body. Thus we may "break" a horse or even a child without harming a hair on its head. Erich Fromm was acutely sensitive to this fact when he broadened the definition of necrophilia to include the desire of certain people to control others-to make them controllable, to foster their dependency, to discourage their capacity to think for themselves, to diminish their unpredectibility and originalty, to keep them in line. Distinguishing it from a "biophilic" person, one who appreciates and fosters the variety of life forms and the uniqueness of the individual, he demonstrated a "necrophilic character type," whose aim it is to avoid the inconvenience of life by transforming others into obedient automatons, robbing them of their humanity. Evil then, for the moment, is the force, residing either inside or outside of human beings, that seeks to kill life or liveliness. And goodness is its opposite. Goodness is that which promotes life and liveliness.
M. Scott Peck (People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil)
The most exciting part of writing a novel is when the characters take control of the story
Brandt Legg
We must learn and then teach our children that niceness does not equal goodness. Niceness is a decision, a strategy of social interaction; it is not a character trait. People seeking to control others almost always present the image of a nice person in the beginning.
Gavin de Becker
The idea of building grit and building self-control is that you get that through failure,” Randolph told me. “And in most highly academic environments in the United States, no one fails anything.
Paul Tough (How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character)
The church is often called a killjoy for protesting against sexual license. But the real killing of joy comes with the grabbing of pleasure. As with credit card usage. the price tag is hidden at the start, but the physical and emotional debt incurred will take a long time to pay off.
N.T. Wright (After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters)
Photography is like stealing.You rob someone of a moment that exposes something essential about their character,their soul if you like.there are people who are very conscious of that,who find that terrifying.The thought that everyone,friend of foe,can get so close to you,look you straight in the eye and judge you without having any control over it or being able to respond.A part of them has become the property of the photographer.
Esther Verhoef (Close-up)
The Beat Generation, that was a vision that we had, John Clellon Holmes and I, and Allen Ginsberg in an even wilder way, in the late forties, of a generation of crazy, illuminated hipsters suddenly rising and roaming America, serious, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere, ragged, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way--a vision gleaned from the way we had heard the word 'beat' spoken on streetcorners on Times Square and in the Village, in other cities in the downtown city night of postwar America--beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction--We'd even heard old 1910 Daddy Hipsters of the streets speak the word that way, with a melancholy sneer--It never meant juvenile delinquents, it meant characters of a special spirituality who didn't gang up but were solitary Bartlebies staring out the dead wall window of our civilization--the subterraneans heroes who'd finally turned from the 'freedom' machine of the West and were taking drugs, digging bop, having flashes of insight, experiencing the 'derangement of the senses,' talking strange, being poor and glad, prophesying a new style for American culture, a new style (we thought), a new incantation--The same thing was almost going on in the postwar France of Sartre and Genet and what's more we knew about it--But as to the actual existence of a Beat Generation, chances are it was really just an idea in our minds--We'd stay up 24 hours drinking cup after cup of black coffee, playing record after record of Wardell Gray, Lester Young, Dexter Gordon, Willie Jackson, Lennie Tristano and all the rest, talking madly about that holy new feeling out there in the streets- -We'd write stories about some strange beatific Negro hepcat saint with goatee hitchhiking across Iowa with taped up horn bringing the secret message of blowing to other coasts, other cities, like a veritable Walter the Penniless leading an invisible First Crusade- -We had our mystic heroes and wrote, nay sung novels about them, erected long poems celebrating the new 'angels' of the American underground--In actuality there was only a handful of real hip swinging cats and what there was vanished mightily swiftly during the Korean War when (and after) a sinister new kind of efficiency appeared in America, maybe it was the result of the universalization of Television and nothing else (the Polite Total Police Control of Dragnet's 'peace' officers) but the beat characters after 1950 vanished into jails and madhouses, or were shamed into silent conformity, the generation itself was shortlived and small in number.
Jack Kerouac
When I ask French parents what they most want for their children, they say things like "to feel comfortable in their own skin" and "to find their path in the world." They want their kids to develop their own tastes and opinions. In fact, French parents worry if their kids are too docile. They want them to have character. But they believe that children can achieve these goals only if they respect boundaries and have self-control. So alongside character, there has to be cadre.
Pamela Druckerman (Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting)
It was typical of her character that she simply assumed she would, eventually, gain control over the situation.
Gail Carriger (Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1))
Thoughts are giant-powers. They are more powerful than electricity. They control your life, mould your character, and shape your destiny.
Swami Sivananda Saraswati (THOUGHT POWER)
Since self-control is a muscle that tires easily, it is much better to avoid temptation in the first place rather than try to resist it once it arises.
David Brooks (The Road to Character)
Having problems doesn't make you noble or virtuous, it makes you human. Nobility and virtue comes from the way that you handle your problems and either learn to move past them or live with them if out of your control.
Oli Anderson (Personal Revolutions: A Short Course in Realness)
That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you call 'free will' is your mind's freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom, the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and your character.
Ayn Rand
You just like the idea of me. You like the person I present myself under circumstances that I can control. I choose what I say and how I say things. It’s like being attracted to a fictional character in a book. They are scripted and made up. If you think about it, through writings, we all script and make ourselves up. I don’t share the person I become when I am upset. I don’t show you how I look like when I sleep. I don’t tell you about all the times I’ve made someone cry. All the guilty things I’ve done and the bad thoughts I’ve had.
Jiawei Han
For over twenty-five centuries we’ve been bearing the weight of superb and heterogeneous civilizations, all from outside, none made by ourselves, none that we could call our own. This violence of landscape, this cruelty of climate, this continual tension in everything, and even these monuments of the past, magnificent yet incomprehensible because not built by us and yet standing round us like lovely mute ghosts; all those rulers who landed by main force from every direction who were at once obeyed, soon detested, and always misunderstood, their only expressions works of art we couldn't understand and taxes which we understood only too well and which they spent elsewhere: all these things have formed our character, which is thus conditioned by events outside our control as well as by a terrifying insularity of mind.
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (The Leopard)
What is the source of Character Assassination? Jealousy. Jealousy originates from Limitation. A jealous person sees you as having a gift, skill, charisma, talent, or ability that he or she does not have. The mindset of a jealous person is manipulation. How does a Jealous Person manipulate? A Jealous Person controls a group's perception of you, the Gifted Person, by possessing a group's opinion by claiming you are full of fault.
Deborah Bravandt
Reckless. Insatiable. Deceptive. Clingy. Vain. Dismissive. Trivial. Violent. Tactless. Controlling. Impractical. Fearful. Think of one example in your past where you exhibited each of these traits. Whatever memory comes to your mind will usually provide you with a clear illustration. Know that you have the capacity to exhibit all defects.
Alexandra Katehakis (Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence)
To what extent does anybody control his destiny? Life is very much like falling of the edge of a cliff. You have complete freedom to make all the choices you want to take on your way down. My characters choose to yearn and not lose hope even when the odds are completely against them. It doesn't make the landing at the end of that fall any less painful but, somehow, it helps them keep a little dignity their bone broken body.
Etgar Keret
Power unfettered by wisdom and conscious control is dangerous.
Aaron-Michael Hall (Kurintor Nyusi: Diverse Epic Fantasy)
Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. ‘A great man shows his greatness,’ said Carlyle, ‘by the way he treats little men.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.
George Washington
When I though I was utterly past feeling, you sparked my interest. I remain sufficiently curiouse to help you. I have no private agenda. You remain free to use your gifts however you choose." Seth furrowed his brow. "I guess I don't feel more evil than before." "Choices determine character. I can't make you evil any more than you can make me good. You made no decision to become a shadow charmer. These new abilities have been thrust upon you be circumstances beyond your control.
Brandon Mull (Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary (Fablehaven, #4))
I seem finally to have stopped worrying about Elinor, and age. She seems now to be perfectly normal -- about twenty-five, a witty control freak. I like her but I can see how she would drive you mad. She's just the sort of person you'd want to get drunk, just to make her giggling and silly.
Emma Thompson (The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen's Novel to Film)
What is it you do, then? I'll tell you: You leave out whatever doesn't suit you. As the author himself has done before you. Just as you leave things out of your dreams and fantasies. By leaving things out, we bring beauty and excitement into the world. We evidently handle our reality by effecting some sort of compromise with it, an in-between state where the emotions prevent each other from reaching their fullest intensity, graying the colors somewhat. Children who haven't yet reached that point of control are both happier and unhappier than adults who have. And yes, stupid people also leave things out, which is why ignorance is bliss. So I propose, to begin with, that we try to love each other as if we were characters in a novel who have met in the pages of a book. Let's in any case leave off all the fatty tissue that plumps up reality.
Robert Musil (The Man Without Qualities: Volume I (1/2))
I used to send my characters into a fire that necessarily consumed them, but I have learned, a little, how to send them through the fire to a new place. The characters who do not change — most notably Nakota in Cipher, Bibi in Skin, and Lena in Kink — are motivated by an essential selfishness or self-centeredness, an unwillingness to relinquish control to the process, a refusal to become.
Kathe Koja
There’s a moment in every book when the story and characters are finally there; they come to life, they’re in control. They do things they’re not supposed to do and become people they weren’t meant to be. When I reach that place, it’s magic. It’s a kind of rapture.
Sara Gruen
Your character belongs to you; your reputation belongs to other people, who have their own interests at heart, and they use it to control you, not to depict you.
John Whitfield (People Will Talk: The Surprising Science of Reputation)
When we chase the high of instant gratification, we make choices that for many reasons are irresponsible and based on poor reasoning . . . or no reasoning at all. It takes time and self-control to take in information, let people reveal their true character, be consistent and disciplined, and give conflicts time to work themselves out. Delaying gratification means working at becoming more self-aware and humble enough to admit that our first impulses aren’t always smart ones. Let
DeVon Franklin (The Wait: A Powerful Practice for Finding the Love of Your Life and the Life You Love)
How are you awake? I demand. He lifts his head,and I click the bullet into its chamber, raising an eyebrow at him. "The Dauntless leaders...they evaluated my records and removed me from the simulation," he says. "Because they figured out that you already have murderous tendencies and wouldn't mind killing a few hundred people while conscious," I say. "Makes sense." "I'm not...murderous!" "I never knew a Candor who was such a liar." I tap the gun against his skull. "Where are the computers that control the simulations,Peter?" "You won't shoot me." "People tend to overestimate my character," I say quietly. "They think that because I'm small,or a girl, or a Stiff, I can't possibly be cruel. But they're wrong.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
I think a lot about queer villains, the problem and pleasure and audacity of them. I know I should have a very specific political response to them. I know, for example, I should be offended by Disney’s lineup of vain, effete ne’er-do-wells (Scar, Jafar), sinister drag queens (Ursula, Cruella de Vil), and constipated, man-hating power dykes (Lady Tremaine, Maleficent). I should be furious at Downton Abbey’s scheming gay butler and Girlfriend’s controlling, lunatic lesbian, and I should be indignant about Rebecca and Strangers on a Train and Laura and The Terror and All About Eve, and every other classic and contemporary foppish, conniving, sissy, cruel, humorless, depraved, evil, insane homosexual on the large and small screen. And yet, while I recognize the problem intellectually—the system of coding, the way villainy and queerness became a kind of shorthand for each other—I cannot help but love these fictional queer villains. I love them for all of their aesthetic lushness and theatrical glee, their fabulousness, their ruthlessness, their power. They’re always by far the most interesting characters on the screen. After all, they live in a world that hates them. They’ve adapted; they’ve learned to conceal themselves. They’ve survived.
Carmen Maria Machado (In the Dream House)
The child brings with him into the world, not character, but disposition. He has tendencies which may need only to be strengthened, or, again, to be diverted or even repressed. His character — the efflorescence of the man wherein the fruit of his life is a-preparing — is original disposition, modified, directed, expanded by education; by circumstances; later, by self-control and self-culture; above all, by the supreme agency of the Holy Ghost, even where that agency is little suspected, and as little solicited.
Charlotte M. Mason (Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling Series Volume 2 - Parents and Children)
We are the girls with anxiety disorders, filled appointment books, five-year plans. We take ourselves very, very seriously. We are the peacemakers, the do-gooders, the givers, the savers. We are on time, overly prepared, well read, and witty, intellectually curious, always moving … We pride ourselves on getting as little sleep as possible and thrive on self-deprivation. We drink coffee, a lot of it. We are on birth control, Prozac, and multivitamins … We are relentless, judgmental with ourselves, and forgiving to others. We never want to be as passive-aggressive are our mothers, never want to marry men as uninspired as our fathers … We are the daughters of the feminists who said, “You can be anything,” and we heard, “You have to be everything.
Courtney Martin
What matters, instead, is whether we are able to help her develop a very different set of qualities, a list that includes persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit, and self-confidence. Economists refer to these as noncognitive skills, psychologists call them personality traits, and the rest of us sometimes think of them as character.
Paul Tough (How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character)
We're living amid an artificial reality, persuaded to believe it's real by astroturf engineered to look like grassroots.
Sharyl Attkisson (The Smear: How the Secret Art of Character Assassination Controls What You Think, What You Read, and How You Vote)
A quiet woman is a firearms with a silencer.
Efrat Cybulkiewicz
Greatness of character consists in having one’s feelings under control. And even without any pleasure in this restraint, but merely because.
Friedrich Nietzsche
We cannot control our circumstances, but we can control our character.
Patrick Morley (Devotions for the Man in the Mirror: 75 Readings to Cultivate a Deeper Walk with Christ)
With discipline, you can lose weight, you can excel in work, you can win the war.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
You can not control the thought, but you can control the tongue.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends & Influence People)
By constant self-discipline and self-control you can develop greatness of character.
Grenville Kleiser
The qualities of character can be arranged in triads, in each of which the first and last qualities will be extremes and vices, and the middle quality a virtue or an excellence. So between cowardice and rashness is courage; between stinginess and extravagance is liberality; between sloth and greed is ambition; between humility and pride is modesty; between secrecy and loquacity, honesty; between moroseness and buffoonery, good humor; between quarrelsomeness and flattery, friendship; between Hamlet’s indecisiveness and Quixote’s impulsiveness is self-control.49 “Right,” then, in ethics or conduct, is not different from “right” in mathematics or engineering; it means correct, fit, what works best to the best result. The
Will Durant (The Story of Philosophy)
As sinners we are like addicts - addicted to ourselves and our own projects. The theology of glory simply seeks to give those projects eternal legitimacy. The remedy for the theology of glory, therefore, cannot be encouragement and positive thinking, but rather the end of the addictive desire. Luther says it directly: "The remedy for curing desire does not lie in satisfying it, but in extinguishing it." So we are back to the cross, the radical intervention, end of the life of the old and the beginning of the new. Since the theology of glory is like addiction and not abstract doctrine, it is a temptation over which we have no control in and of ourselves, and from which we must be saved. As with the addict, mere exhortation and optimistic encouragement will do no good. It may be intended to build up character and self-esteem, but when the addict realizes the impossibility of quitting, self-esteem degenerates all the more. The alcoholic will only take to drinking in secret, trying to put on the facade of sobriety. As theologians of glory we do much the same. We put on a facade of religious propriety and piety and try to hide or explain away or coddle our sins.... As with the addict there has to be an intervention, an act from without. In treatment of alcoholics some would speak of the necessity of 'bottoming out,' reaching the absolute bottom where one can no longer escape the need for help. Then it is finally evident that the desire can never be satisfied, but must be extinguished. In matters of faith, the preaching of the cross is analogous to that intervention. It is an act of God, entirely from without. It does not come to feed the religious desires of the Old Adam and Eve but to extinguish them. They are crucified with Christ to be made new.
Gerhard O. Forde (On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518)
For many generations…they obeyed the laws and loved the divine to which they were akin…they reckoned that qualities of character were far more important than their present prosperity. So they bore the burden of their wealth and possessions lightly, and did not let their high standard of living intoxicate them or make them lose their self-control… But when the divine element in them became weakened…and their human traits became predominant, they ceased to be able to carry their prosperity with moderation.
Plato (Timaeus)
Men who pride themselves on being shrewd in discovering the weak points, the vanity, the dishonesty, immorality, intrigue, and pettiness of others think they understand character. They know only a part of character. They know only the depths to which some men may sink; they know not the heights to which some men may rise.
William George Jordan (The Kingship of Self-Control: Individual Problems and Possibilities)
If your characters write your story, rather than you writing your characters, it's like your dog taking YOU for a walk. Don't let them control you. Take charge and train them to listen to their master.
Jessica Bell
I told you, I’m awesome at everything,” he teased, putting the PS3 controller on the floor between us. “That includes video games.” I watched as the character Wesley had been operating moved across the screen, doing some sort of odd victory dance. “Not fair,” I muttered. “Your sword was bigger than mine.” “My sword is bigger than everyone’s.
Kody Keplinger (The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend (Hamilton High, #1))
Anyone who has ever tried to write a novel knows what an arduous task it is, undoubtedly one of the worst ways of occupying oneself. You have to remain within yourself all the time, in solitary confinement. It's a controlled psychosis, an obsessive paranoia manacled to work completely lacking in the feather pens and bustles and Venetian masks we would ordinarily associate with it, clothed instead in a butcher's apron and rubber boots, eviscerating knife in hand. You can only barely see from that writerly cellar the feet of passers-by, hear the rapping of their heels. Every so often someone stops and bends down and glances in through the window, and then you get a glimpse of a human face, maybe even exchange a few words. But ultimately the mind is so occupied with its own act, a play staged by the self ofr the self in a hasty, makeshift cabinet of curiosities peopled by author and character, narrator and reader, the person describing and the person described, that feet, shoes, heels, and faces become, sooner or later, mere components of that act.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
You can't fight mental health bias if you label people based on a lists of symptoms and you have no medical degree to diagnose people. We all have crazy running through our blood and so many things trigger that. We all struggle with our anxiety and twisted issues. Defamation of character is not kind, nor Christlike. Because when you label people with self righteous vindication you open the door to the very idea that self righteousness is itself a disorder that we should all be afraid of. This doorway when left open too long gets people to pull away from Christ, not run to him.
Shannon L. Alder
Control your thoughts because they become the words you use. Control your words because they become the actions you perform. Control your actions because they become the character you reflect. Control your character because your character becomes your destiny. Control your destiny by becoming what your Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, want you to be.
Robert E. Wells
Let today be the day you control your emotions. Don't let them get the best of you. Whatever you are feeling right now should not be overwhelming. Don't allow others to dampen your spirit. You are entitled to enjoy peace.
Amaka Imani Nkosazana
Say yes? There’s no way to plan. There’s no way to hide. There’s no way to control this. Not if I am saying yes to everything. Yes to everything scary. Yes to everything that takes me out of my comfort zone. Yes to everything that feels like it might be crazy. Yes to everything that feels out of character. Yes to everything that feels goofy. Yes to everything. Everything. Say yes. Yes.
Shonda Rhimes (Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person)
Many people are partial to the notion that . . . all writers are somehow mere vessels for Truth and Beauty when they compose. That we are not really in control. This is a variation on that twee little fable that writers like to pass off on gullible readers, that a character can develop a will of his own and 'take over a book.' This makes writing sound supernatural and mysterious, like possession by faeries. The reality tends to involve a spare room, a pirated copy of MS Word, and a table bought on sale at Target. A character can no more take over your novel than an eggplant and a jar of cumin can take over your kitchen.
Paul Collins (Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books)
So why bother investing in one’s memory in an age of externalized memories? The best answer I can give is the one I received unwittingly from EP, whose memory had been so completely lost that he could not place himself in time or space, or relative to other people. That is: How we perceive the world and how we act in it are products of how and what we remember. We’re all just a bundle of habits shaped by our memories. And to the extent that we control our lives, we do so by gradually altering those habits, which is to say the networks of our memories. No lasting joke, invention, insight, or work of art was ever produced by an external memory. Not yet, at least. Our ability to find humor in the world, to make connections between previously unconnected notions, to create new ideas, to share in a common culture: All these essentially human acts depend on memory. Now more than ever, as the role of memory in our culture erodes at a faster pace than ever before, we need to cultivate our ability to remember. Our memories make us who we are. They are the seat of our values and source of our character.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
cultivation of the hard skills, while failing to develop the moral and emotional faculties down below. Children are coached on how to jump through a thousand scholastic hoops. Yet by far the most important decisions they will make are about whom to marry and whom to befriend, what to love and what to despise, and how to control impulses. On these matters, they are almost entirely on their own. We are good at talking about material incentives, but bad about talking about emotions and intuitions. We are good at teaching technical skills, but when it comes to the most important things, like character, we have almost nothing to say.
David Brooks (The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement)
niceness does not equal goodness. Niceness is a decision, a strategy of social interaction; it is not a character trait. People seeking to control others almost always present the image of a nice person in the beginning. Like rapport-building, charm and the deceptive smile, unsolicited niceness often has a discoverable motive.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
The issue isn't whether your reputation is based on accurate information. It's that you can't control how people interpret that information. In general when people tell stories about one another they emphasize the characters and their deeds and downplay the details of the situation that might have shaped or excused those deeds.
John Whitfield (People Will Talk: The Surprising Science of Reputation)
Real life this fdar had taught me that in the adult world, fate was chaotic and uncertain. Guidelines for success were arbitrary. But in the world of D&D, at least there was a rule book... By role-playing, we were in control, and our characters... wandered through places of danger, their destinies, ostensibly, within our grasp.
Ethan Gilsdorf
Being truly biblical means that my counsel reflects what the entire Bible is about. The Bible is a narrative, a story of redemption, and its chief character is Jesus Christ. He is the main theme of the narrative, and he is revealed in every passage in the book. This story reveals how God harnessed nature and controlled history to send his Son to rescue rebellious, foolish, and self-focused men and women. He freed them from bondage to themselves, enabled them to live for his glory, and gifted them with an eternity in his presence, far from the harsh realities of the Fall.
Paul David Tripp (Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change)
Eggbeast!” Raziel shouted, his voice finally coming back to him. Hoeru turned, looked at the eggbeast just a few feet away and then back to Raziel. “Yes. That is the eggbeast.” There was a moment of almost silence, the only noise being the wet sloppy sound of the eggbeast’s mouth falling open and its absurdly large tongue falling out of its mouth as it panted happily. “Oh right. I guess no one told you. Kusa convinced it to help us.” “Oh. Thanks. That’s good to know,” Raziel’s words came out stilted as he tried to get his panic and irritation with Hoeru under control. “Sure.” The eggbeast let out a chuffing sound. Hoeru turned his head towards the beast, and it mewled to him, a sound like a squeaky door made for giants. Hoeru nodded. “It also says sorry for trying to eat you.” “You… speak eggbeast?” “Well no. But we both speak squirrel.” “You know, it’s really hard to tell when you’re joking.
Rick Fox (Fate's Pawn)
For before I met my friend there had been a period when I was prey to a morbid melancholy, if not depression, when I really believed I was lost, when for years I did no proper work but spent most of my days in a state of total apathy and often came close to putting an end to my life by my own hand. For years I had taken refuge in a terrible suicidal brooding, which deadened my mind and made everything unendurable, above all myself—brooding on the utter futility all around me, into which I had been plunged by my general weakness, but above all my weakness of character. For a long time I could not imagine being able to go on living, or even existing. I was no longer capable of seizing upon any purpose in life that would have given me control over myself. Every morning on waking I was inevitably caught up in this mechanism of suicidal brooding, and I remained in its grip throughout the day. And I was deserted by everyone because I had deserted everyone—that is the truth—because I no longer wanted anyone. I no longer wanted anything, but I was too much of a coward to make an end of it all. It was probably at the height of my despair—a word that I am not ashamed to use, as I no longer intend to deceive myself or gloss over anything, since nothing can be glossed over in a society and a world that perpetually seeks to gloss over everything in the most sickening manner—that Paul appeared on the scene at Irina’s apartment in the Blumenstockgasse.
Thomas Bernhard (Wittgenstein's Nephew: A Friendship)
Rowing is, in a number of ways, a sport of fundamental paradoxes. For one thing, an eight-oared racing shell—powered by unusually large and physically powerful men or women—is commanded, controlled, and directed by the smallest and least powerful person in the boat. The coxswain (nowadays often a female even in an otherwise male crew) must have the force of character to look men or women twice his or her size in the face, bark orders at them, and be confident that the leviathans will respond instantly and unquestioningly to those orders. It is perhaps the most incongruous relationship in sports.
Daniel James Brown (The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics)
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
Dan Barker (Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning)
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends & Influence People)
I am not in control of how my characters live their lives, only in writing it down.
Kim Iverson
Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
Man is a logical machine run by the scoundrels of emotions.
Raheel Farooq
Control thought-forms are the basis of our deepest moral crisis.
Bryant McGill (Voice of Reason)
An exceptional Sensei has traits such as patience and integrity. Otherwise, natural fighting ability, cruelty and aggressive behavior may be observed in most animal predators.
Soke Behzad Ahmadi (CHOKI MOTOBU Original MMA Fighter)
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” —JOHN WOODEN
Anthony Robbins (Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!)
Circumstances and other people are not in control of an individual’s character or of the life that lies endlessly before
Dallas Willard (The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God)
Creativity without discipline will struggle, creativity with discipline will succeed.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you call ‘free will’ is your mind’s freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom, the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and your character.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
You know where I’m going to be, and you’ll know where I’ve been every step of my way to get there. You’ve made a hobby out of taking things away from me… a lot of them I never even knew to miss, but I know now. I know what you just took, and there’s no way you’re taking anything else from me. It’s time for me to start taking from you,” Wednesday said with a confidence in her voice that even she noticed and was proud to hear. “I thought you said you weren’t running from me anymore,” Klein said with a laugh in his voice. Her face was red, and she felt like she was on fire. She managed, summoning all her will, to keep herself from screaming and instead, keep an even and icy voice. “I’m not, you piece of shit. Now, I’m running at you.
Dennis Sharpe (Wednesday)
They say that to escape reality is when you sleep, but when you sleep your sub conscious is in control of your dreams. For me to escape reality is when I read and write. When I read the world around me doesn't exist. The world in the story does and when I write I'm in control. Think of it as the author is the god of the world that they created. They set the characters fate.
Emily aka xXxWhitelipsxXx
...The happy Warrior... is he... who, doomed to go in company with pain, and fear, and bloodshed, miserable train turns his necessity to glorious gain; in face of these doth exercise a power which is our human nature's highest dower: controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves of their bad influence, and their good receives: by objects, which might force the soul to abate her feeling, rendered more compassionate; is placable— because occasions rise so often that demand such sacrifice; more skillful in self-knowledge, even more pure, as tempted more; more able to endure, as more exposed to suffering and distress; thence, also, more alive to tenderness.
William Wordsworth (Character of the Happy Warrior)
All women are brought up from the very earliest years in the belief that their ideal of character is the very opposite to that of men; not self-will,and government by self-control, but submission and yielding to the control of others. All the moralities tell them that it is their nature to live fir others;to make complete abnegation of themselves,and to have no life but in their affections.
John Stuart Mill
A man may possess a profound knowledge of history and mathematics; he may be an authority in psychology, biology, or astronomy; he may know all the discovered truths pertaining to geology and natural science; but if he has not with this knowledge that nobility of soul which prompts him to deal justly with his fellow men, to practice virtue and holiness in personal life, he is not a truly educated man. "Character is the aim of true education; and science, history, and literature are but means used to accomplish the desired end. Character is not the result of chance work but of continuous right thinking and right acting. "True education seeks, then, to make men and women not only good mathematicians, proficient linguists, profound scientists, or brilliant literary lights, but also honest men, combined with virtue, temperance, and brotherly love-men and women who prize truth, justice, wisdom, benevolence, and self-control as the choicest acquisitions of a successful life.
David O. McKay
This is the difference between an ordinary scribe and a literary writer. The highest level of literary creation is when the characters in a novel possess life in the mind of the writer. The writer is unable to control them, and might not even be able to predict the next action they will take. We can only follow them in wonder to observe and record the minute details of their lives like a voyeur.
Liu Cixin (The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #2))
Real progress in the Christian life is not gauged by our knowledge of scripture, our church attendance, time in prayer, or even our witnessing (although it isn't less than these things) Maturity in the Christian life is measured by only one test: how much closer to his character have we become? the result of the Spirit's work is more not more activity. No, the results of his work are in in our quality of life, they are "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick (Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life)
But children do not need to be in control. They have very little authority or power, and live each day in dependence and trust, receiving everything as a gift. And this, I believe, is what Jesus is advocating.
James Bryan Smith (The Good and Beautiful Life: Putting on the Character of Christ)
The character you seem to have been born with is not necessarily who you are; beyond the characteristics you have inherited, your parents, your friends, and your peers have helped to shape your personality. The Promethean task of the powerful is to take control of the process, to stop allowing others that ability to limit and mold them. Remake yourself into a character of power. Working on yourself like clay should be one of your greatest and most pleasurable life tasks. It makes you in essence an artist — an artist creating yourself.
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
Spencer Tracy, when asked for advice on acting, said, “Know your lines and don’t bump into the furniture.” James Cagney said, “Walk in, plant your feet, look the other fellow in the eye and…tell the truth.” With all due respect to both of these giant talents, I would have to say there’s something more. The true creation of a being, a character other than one’s self, for me is comparable to a mystical or spiritual experience. To stand in another person’s shoes. To see as he sees, to hear as he hears. To know what he knows, and to do all this with a sense of control, a mastering of the dramatic moment, there must be more than a “natural talent” at work.
Leonard Nimoy (I Am Not Spock)
I think the educational and psychological studies I mentioned are examples of what I would like to call cargo cult science. In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they’ve arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas—he’s the controller—and they wait for the airplanes to land. They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn’t work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they’re missing something essential, because the planes don’t land.
Richard P. Feynman (Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! Adventures of a Curious Character)
Whom, then, do I call educated, since I exclude the arts and sciences and specialties? First, those who manage well the circumstances which they encounter day by day, and who possess a judgement which is accurate in meeting occasions as they arise and rarely misses the expedient course of action; next, those who are decent and honorable in their intercourse with all with whom they associate, tolerating easily and good-naturedly what is unpleasant or offensive in others and being themselves as agreeable and reasonable to their associates as it is possible to be; furthermore, those who hold their pleasures always under control and are not unduly overcome by their misfortunes, bearing up under them bravely and in a manner worthy of our common nature; finally, and most important of all, those who are not spoiled by successes and do not desert their true selves and become arrogant, but hold their ground steadfastly as intelligent men, not rejoicing in the good things which have come to them through chance rather than in those which through their own nature and intelligence are theirs from their birth. Those who have a character which is in accord, not with one of these things, but with all of them—these, I contend, are wise and complete men, possessed of all the virtues.
[Since] a player controls every character, it is that player's intelligence that dictates the character's goals and actions, not an arbitrary number on a character sheet. Thus, in a sense, the player _is_ the character's "intelligence score"!
Greg Stafford (King Arthur Pendragon: Epic Roleplaying in Legendary Britain)
That person then, whoever it may be,” Cicero wrote in Tusculan Disputations, “whose mind is quiet through consistency and self-control, who finds contentment in himself, who neither breaks down in adversity nor crumbles in fright, nor burns with any thirsty need nor dissolves into wild and futile excitement, that person is the wise one we are seeking, and that person is happy.
David Brooks (The Road to Character)
An obscure character by the name of Belial. He is interpreted as a minion of the devil by some scholars, but that is wrong. It is ignorance. The name means, literally speaking, 'one who cannot be yoked,' and it is really every one of us who takes control of our own destiny while others blow in the wind. We may be punished for it, but we would never do it another way. We are all Belials.
Matthew Pearl (The Last Bookaneer)
That's how the past came back... not with the same characters, like in novels, but with new ones that trigger the memory of fears that haven't been expunged. And that was very dangerous. I mustn't try to forget the past, as I had thought[...]; instead I should remember it all, so I could keep it under control and use it to strengthen myself against the new experiences that surely lay in wait.
Goliarda Sapienza (The Art Of Joy)
The attitude to foreigners is like the attitude to dogs: dogs are neither human nor British, but so long as you keep them under control, give them their exercise, feed them, pat them, you will find their wild emotions are amusing, and their characters interesting.
V.S. Pritchett (London Perceived)
I was powerless over my childhood but the coping strategies that I developed, to survive, all of which were creative and brilliant and got me through, as an adult those became my defects of character. Those became my shortcomings, control and all that kind of stuff... and that's my responsibility. I was a blameless child in what happened in the home; I take responsibility for my behaviors as an adult.
Ashley Judd
He shook his head in exasperation. “Are you sure you’re not a Succubus? You seem really obsessed with the sin of lust.” “It’s a good sin. I like gluttony an awful lot, too. Sloth has its moments, but I just don’t understand acedia at all. I mean, what the f**k is that anyway? Oh, and greed is good, to quote Gordon Gekko. Anger, envy and pride,” I ticked them off on my fingers. “I don’t often have much use for them. It’s a shortcoming that I’m hoping to correct in the next millennium or two. I’m not very old; I can’t be expected to have mastered them all yet.” “I think you’ve worked too hard on some of those,” he said dryly. “Maybe you should switch over to virtues instead. Give yourself a much needed break.” Virtues? Yeah, right. “Virtues are too difficult,” I told him, shaking my head. “Look how old you are and you’ve hardly made a dent in them. I’ll admit, you seem to have zeal nailed, as well as faith and temperance. Self control? I’ve got my doubts based on your recent actions. I’m not seeing the kindness, love or generosity, either. That humility thing seems to be pretty far beyond your reach, too. Really, really far. I’m sorry to tell you this, but from what I can see, the sin of pride is a major component of your character. Dude, you’re f**king old. You should have these things pretty well ticked off your shopping list by now. I’m seriously disappointed. Seriously.
Debra Dunbar (A Demon Bound (Imp, #1))
Leadership is first and foremost bout character, one who is in power but not subordinate to it, one has control of money but is not lured by it, one whose position opens all doors but prefers the simplicity of lifestyle, and one who is followed by many but takes the heart of a servant.
Wilfrido V. Villacorta (Noynoy: Triumph of a People's Campaign)
The fundamental metaphor of National Socialism as it related to the world around it was the garden, not the wild forest. One of the most important Nazi ideologists, R.W. Darré, made clear the relationship between gardening and genocide: “He who leaves the plants in a garden to themselves will soon find to his surprise that the garden is overgrown by weeds and that even the basic character of the plants has changed. If therefore the garden is to remain the breeding ground for the plants, if, in other words, it is to lift itself above the harsh rule of natural forces, then the forming will of a gardener is necessary, a gardener who, by providing suitable conditions for growing, or by keeping harmful influences away, or by both together, carefully tends what needs tending and ruthlessly eliminates the weeds which would deprive the better plants of nutrition, air, light, and sun. . . . Thus we are facing the realization that questions of breeding are not trivial for political thought, but that they have to be at the center of all considerations, and that their answers must follow from the spiritual, from the ideological attitude of a people. We must even assert that a people can only reach spiritual and moral equilibrium if a well-conceived breeding plan stands at the very center of its culture.
Derrick Jensen (The Culture of Make Believe)
The funny thing about games and fictions is that they have a weird way of bleeding into reality. Whatever else it is, the world that humans experience is animated with narratives, rituals, and roles that organize psychological experience, social relations, and our imaginative grasp of the material cosmos. The world, then, is in many ways a webwork of fictions, or, better yet, of stories. The contemporary urge to “gamify” our social and technological interactions is, in this sense, simply an extension of the existing games of subculture, of folklore, even of belief. This is the secret truth of the history of religions: not that religions are “nothing more” than fictions, crafted out of sociobiological need or wielded by evil priests to control ignorant populations, but that human reality possesses an inherently fictional or fantastic dimension whose “game engine” can — and will — be organized along variously visionary, banal, and sinister lines. Part of our obsession with counterfactual genres like sci-fi or fantasy is not that they offer escape from reality — most of these genres are glum or dystopian a lot of the time anyway — but because, in reflecting the “as if” character of the world, they are actually realer than they appear.
Erik Davis (TechGnosis: Myth, Magic Mysticism in the Age of Information)
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency.
George Washington (George Washington's Farewell Address)
I was realizing that forgiveness was a decision I would have to revisit over and over. It was turning out to be a process, not a single act. Forgiveness neither erased nor diminished the magnitude of Jason's violence and its continuing ripple-effect. It didn't take away the anger, frustration or loss I felt about what he'd done, and it couldn't bring back the life I'd had with him. What forgiveness did do was remind me that there was a human being behind the violence, and that his heinous acts did not represent the sum of who he was. Forgiveness gave me the permission to see and know both aspects of Jason, to be enormously angry and pained by his violent acts, but also to let go of that anguish before it took complete control over my mind and heart. Forgiveness stopped rage from becoming resentment, and it released me from having every aspect of my character and the life I still had ahead from being bound to Jason's violence. Forgiveness put my life back into my own hands.
Shannon Moroney (Through the Glass)
The ending shouldn't determine the meaning of anything, a story or a life. Logically, I don't think it can--didn't Heidegger say something to that effect? That the meaning of all our moments cannot be contingent upon an end-point over which we have no control? That if we are happy right now, that means something, even if we die tomorrow? Narrative integrity is overrated. I don't need to know that the story of my life has a happy ending to enjoy it. A good thing, too, because I hear all the characters die in the end.
Alexa Stevenson
…egalitarianism and despotism do not exclude each other, but usually go hand in hand. To a certain degree, equality invites despotism, because in order to make all members of a society equal, and then to maintain this equality for a long period of time, it is necessary to equip the controlling institutions with exceptional power so they can stamp out any potential threat to equality in every sector of the society and any aspect of human life: to paraphrase a well-known sentence by one of Dostoyevsky’s characters, ‘We start with absolute equality and we end up with absolute despotism.’ Some call it a paradox of equality: the more equality one wants to introduce, the more power one must have; the more power one has, the more one violates the principle of equality; the more one violates the principle of equality, the more one is in a position to make the world egalitarian.
Ryszard Legutko (Triumf człowieka pospolitego)
The smear artist reveals himself by his disparate treatment of people and situations. He drapes himself in a superhero cape, claiming to defend the aggrieved. He pretends to right societal wrongs. In fact, though, he's motivated primarily by paid interests and his own selfish agendas. By definition, the job requires that morality and conscience be cast aside
Sharyl Attkisson (The Smear: How the Secret Art of Character Assassination Controls What You Think, What You Read, and How You Vote)
Break the character and independence of your man and you will have an obedient trooper.
Jan Valtin (Out of the Night: The Memoir of Richard Julius Herman Krebs alias Jan Valtin)
Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
To the best of my judgment, when I look at the human character I see no virtue placed there to counter justice. But I see one to counter pleasure: self-control.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
Life is too short to hide who you really are. Whether you’re a fictional character or a real person, you will not survive if you let other people control you.
Hayley Guertin
Institutional psychiatry in particular was an instrument of oppression to control troublesome or morally deviant characters, whom he called “parasites.
Susannah Cahalan (The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness)
Because the “traumatic” view of early years so controls psychological theory of personality and its development, the focus of our rememberings and the language of our personal story telling have already been infiltrated by the toxins of these theories. Our lives may be determined less by our childhood than by the way we have learned to imagine our childhoods. We are, this book shall maintain, less damaged by the traumas of childhood than by the traumatic way we remember childhood as a time of unnecessary and externally caused calamities that wrongly shaped us.
James Hillman (The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling)
Who are we? Where do we come from? Why are we this way and not some other? What does it mean to be human? Are we capable, if need be, of fundamental change, or do the dead hands of forgotten ancestors impel us in some direction, indiscriminately for good or ill, and beyond our control? Can we alter our character? Can we improve our societies? Can we leave our children a world better than the one that was left to us? Can we free them from the demons that torment us and haunt our civilization? In the long run, are we wise enough to know what changes to make? Can we be trusted with our own future?
Carl Sagan
He taught all to look upon themselves as endowed with precious talents, which if rightly employed would secure for them eternal riches. He weeded all vanity from life, and by His own example taught that every moment of time is fraught with eternal results; that it is to be cherished as a treasure, and to be employed for holy purposes. He passed by no human being as worthless, but sought to apply the saving remedy to every soul. In whatever company He found Himself, He presented a lesson that was appropriate to the time and the circumstances. He sought to inspire with hope the most rough and unpromising, setting before them the assurance that they might become blameless and harmless, attaining such a character as would make them manifest as the children of God. Often He met those who had drifted under Satan’s control, and who had no power to break from his snare. To such a one, discouraged, sick, tempted, and fallen, Jesus would speak words of tenderest pity, words that were needed and could be understood.
Ellen G. White (The Desire of Ages (Conflict of the Ages Series))
[He] seemed to possess, beneath it all, an immutable sense of self-assurance, but in addition to that, the look of a man ensnared by what he perceived to be his own Duty. A Duty that effervesced inside of him impatiently, dry at the mouth, shaking feverishly, and holding its breath in anticipation for—not his action, but in fact—the fruits of his actions, however distant these may have been. The goal was to satiate its thirst in as few moves as possible, instilling each action with an almost implied necessity for having a motive by which it must exist, which is to say that no action was to be wasted for anything, but only for that which was rooted in some definable and clear-cut purpose...Every action had to be a step in some direction and there could be no dillydallying, for Duty bubbling in the bloodstream for too long brought with it a kind of sickness...from which it was difficult to recover. Neither could there be any reconsideration, for the values to which one has sworn were unassailable and beyond the powers of one individual to reassess. And so, Duty, once instilled, must be allowed to carry on unabated, diverting sustenance away from other aspects of one’s character—driving them to a weakened state, brow-beaten by circumstances beyond their immediate control and relegated to their own downtrodden acquiescence to the bravado of the Parasitic Superego, and, as such, cognizant of their growing superfluity.
Ashim Shanker (Don't Forget to Breathe (Migrations, Volume I))
To understand this is to realize that we are not the authors of our thoughts and actions in the way that people generally suppose. Of course, this insight does not make social and political freedom any less important. The freedom to do what one intends, and not to do otherwise, is no less valuable than it ever was. Having a gun to your head is still a problem worth rectifying, wherever intentions come from. But the idea that we, as conscious beings, are deeply responsible for the character of our mental lives and subsequent behavior is simply impossible to map onto reality. Consider what it would take to actually have free will. You would need to be aware of all the factors that determine your thoughts and actions, and you would need to have complete control over those factors. But there is a paradox here that vitiates the very notion of freedom—for what would influence the influences? More influences? None of these adventitious mental states are the real you. You are not controlling the storm, and you are not lost in it. You are the storm.
Sam Harris (Free Will)
Both tend to speak of national security as though it were still capable of being dissociated from universal well-being; in fact, sometimes in these political addresses it sounds as though this nation, or any nation, through force of character or force of arms, could damn well rise above planetary considerations, as though we were greater than our environment, as though the national verve somehow transcended the natural world.
E.B. White (Essays of E.B. White)
All that has been said of the importance of individuality of character, and diversity in opinions and modes of conduct, involves, as of the same unspeakable importance, diversity of education. A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another: and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body. An education established and controlled by the State should only exist, if it exist at all, as one among many competing experiments, carried on for the purpose of example and stimulus, to keep the others up to a certain standard of excellence.
John Stuart Mill (On Liberty)
Words are Hamlet's constant companions, his weapons, and his defenses. ... And yet, words also serve as Hamlet's prison. He analyzes and examines every nuance of his situation until he has exhausted every angle. They cause him to be indecisive. He dallies in his own wit, intoxicated by the mix of words he can concoct; he frustrates his own burning desire to be more like his father, the Hyperion. When he says that Claudius is "... no more like my father than I to Hercules" he recognizes his enslavement to words, his inability to thrust home his sword of truth. No mythic character is Hamlet. He is stuck, unable to avenge his father's death because words control him.
Carla Lynn Stockton (Cliffs Notes on Shakespeare's Hamlet)
For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature. JAMES 3:2 According to this Scripture, the one thing proving our level of spiritual maturity isn’t how religious we are—whether we can quote Scripture, or the good works we do—it is the words from our mouths.
Joyce Meyer (Power Thoughts Devotional: 365 Daily Inspirations for Winning the Battle of the Mind)
Suddenly I realized that a cell's life is controlled by the physical and energetic environment and not by its genes. Genes are simply molecular blueprints used in the construction of cells, tissues, and organs. The environment serves as a "contractor" who reads and engages those genetic blueprints and is ultimately responsible for the character of a cell's life. It is a single cell's "awareness" of the environment, not its genes, that sets into motion the mechanisms of life.
Bruce H. Lipton (The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles)
Patience is a virtue Savannah, to tolerate delay. It implies self control and forbearance, as opposed to wanting what we want when we want it. Something to think about. . . Catherine Weaver (Character), "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Catherine Weaver
Matrices vary in flexibility from reflexes and more or less automatized routines which allow but a few strategic choices, to skills of almost unlimited variety; but all coherent thinking and behaviour is subject to some specifiable code of rules to which its character of coherence is due-even though the code functions partly or entirely on unconscious levels of the mind, as it generally does. A bar-pianist can perform in his sleep or while conversing with the barmaid; he has handed over control to the automatic pilot, as it were.
Arthur Koestler (The Act of Creation)
As my own neurosis became more subdued I found myself unconsciously drawn to female characters who exhibited signs of behaviors I had recognized in myself: repression, delusion, jealousy, paranoia, hysteria. But these issues didn’t magically disappear; they just became buried beneath business and activity, and came back to sideswipe me at inopportune moments. We have more patience, or perhaps more empathy, for fictional characters than we do their real-life counterparts. Faced with neurosis in film and literature, we want to investigate rather than avoid. If watching horror films is cathartic because it provides a temporary feeling of control over the one unknown factor that can’t be controlled (death), then wouldn’t it make sense that a crazy person would find relief in onscreen histrionics?
Kier-la Janisse (House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films)
But nothing external to God can possibly constrain him. If he chooses to restore a broken universe, it is because he "wants" to, because, for example, he loves it and wants the best for it. But he is free to do as he wills, and his character (Who He Is) controls his will.
James W. Sire (The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog)
There are also clear heroes and villains in Thucydides’ history. To a modern audience steeped in the behavioral and social sciences, Thucydides can appear to miss nuances in human temperament, concentrating instead on “objective” and absolute criteria such as timidity and heroism or recklessness versus self-control. In his eyes, human behavior is not predicated on or explained by one’s specific environment or upbringing, but instead directed by the play of chance, fate, and hope upon innate character—conditions universal to all and particular to no man.
Thucydides (The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War)
Prophecy of Balance (Year of the Cat) “There must be balance,” Source repeated, “For mankind to flourish on the Earth-Throne he’s seated.” His life is a gift from the gods, they created, And the power to wield choice, but the outcome is weighted. Seeing the harm and chaos humans manifest, Wore heavily upon the goodness within their immortal breast. But the gods disagreed, and two groups they split, Each one possessing their own talent and wit. One side fights for freedom of Man’s soul, But the other wants slavery, and Man to control. So Source cried, “Enough! Now Observers will be sent, To assist with human minds you’ve cleverly bent!” For balance, the pendulum won’t sway too far to one side, And Universal Laws each god must abide. The gods agreed, but did not stop with their plan, To influence mankind as much as they can.
Kendi Thompson (Year of the Cat: The Thirteenth Realm (Book 1))
Any system that does not allow one to question it, has its roots digging into manipulation and control. And manipulation and control are devised by people in power. Not by gods and angels. If you fear questioning what you have been taught and if you fear to think freely and make decisions based upon what you feel, see and know; because a system has taught you to have that fear, you should know that you are under that manipulation, you are under that control. You have this one life and you are planning to live it based upon a path dictated to you as the truth, instead of questioning and seeking what the truth might actually be. Truth does not need to tell you not to look left and not to look right, because the validity of its character does not depend upon whether you open your eyes or not! Truth remains true in all times and it will encourage you to think freely, to ask questions, and to seek! Truth is not a fragile thing easily broken if you fail to tiptoe around it. Truth is not a fragile thing easily broken if you fail to wrap your hands around it. Truth is never failing and does not need the human race, or any other race living or dead, to validate it.
C. JoyBell C.
Thus we arrive at the problem of the relation of religion to the negation of sexual desire. Sexual debility results in a lowering of self-confidence. In one case it is compensated by the brutalization of sexuality, to maintain sexual repression, in the other by rigid character traits. The compulsion to control one's sexuality, to maintain sexual repression, leads to the development of pathologic, emotionally tinged notions of honor and duty, bravery and self-control. But the pathology and emotionality of these psychic attitudes are strongly at variance with the reality of one's personal behavior. The man who attains genital satisfaction, is honorable, responsible, brave, and controlled, without making much of a fuss about it. These attitudes are an organic part of his personality. The man whose genitals are weakened, whose sexual structure is full of contradictions, must continually remind himself to control his sexuality, to preserve his sexual dignity, to be brave in the face of temptation, etc. The struggle to resist the temptation to masturbate is a struggle that is experienced by every adolescent and every child, without exception. All the elements of the reactionary man's structure are developed in this struggle. It is in the lower middle classes that this structure is reinforced most strongly and embedded most deeply. Every form of mysticism derives it's most active energy and, in part, also it's content from this compulsory suppression of sexuality.
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)
All of this evokes the dicta of successful historic propagandists described earlier. From Alinsky's Rules for Radicals: >"Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." >"Keep the pressure on. Never let up." > "development of operations that will keep a constant pressure on the opposition." >"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." >"Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose." >"Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.
Sharyl Attkisson (The Smear: How the Secret Art of Character Assassination Controls What You Think, What You Read, and How You Vote) was not considered right for a man not to drink, although drink was a dangerous thing. On the contrary, not to drink would have been thought a mark of cowardice and of incapacity for self-control. A man was expected even to get drunk if necessary, and to keep his tongue and his temper no matter how much he drank. The strong character would only become more cautious and more silent under the influence of drink; the weak man would immediately show his weakness. I am told the curious fact that in the English army at the present day officers are expected to act very much after the teaching of the old Norse poet; a man is expected to be able on occasion to drink a considerable amount of wine or spirits without showing the effects of it, either in his conduct or in his speech. "Drink thy share of mead; speak fair or not at all" - that was the old text, and a very sensible one in its way.
Eoghan Odinsson (Northern Lore: A Field Guide to the Northern Mind-Body-Spirit)
There is no pleasure in being "duped" by the text into a helpless viewer, but there is considerable pleasure in selectively viewing the text for points of identification and distance, in controlling one's relationship with the represented characters in the light of one's own social and psychological context.
John Fiske (Television Culture)
Let us fool ourselves no longer. At the very moment Western nations, threw off the ancient regime of absolute government, operating under a once-divine king, they were restoring this same system in a far more effective form in their technology, reintroducing coercions of a military character no less strict in the organization of a factory than in that of the new drilled, uniformed, and regimented army. During the transitional stages of the last two centuries, the ultimate tendency of this system might b e in doubt, for in many areas there were strong democratic reactions; but with the knitting together of a scientific ideology, itself liberated from theological restrictions or humanistic purposes, authoritarian technics found an instrument at hand that h as now given it absolute command of physical energies of cosmic dimensions. The inventors of nuclear bombs, space rockets, and computers are the pyramid builders of our own age: psychologically inflated by a similar myth of unqualified power, boasting through their science of their increasing omnipotence, if not omniscience, moved by obsessions and compulsions no less irrational than those of earlier absolute systems: particularly the notion that the system itself must be expanded, at whatever eventual co st to life. Through mechanization, automation, cybernetic direction, this authoritarian technics has at last successfully overcome its most serious weakness: its original dependence upon resistant, sometimes actively disobedient servomechanisms, still human enough to harbor purposes that do not always coincide with those of the system. Like the earliest form of authoritarian technics, this new technology is marvellously dynamic and productive: its power in every form tends to increase without limits, in quantities that defy assimilation and defeat control, whether we are thinking of the output of scientific knowledge or of industrial assembly lines. To maximize energy, speed, or automation, without reference to the complex conditions that sustain organic life, have become ends in themselves. As with the earliest forms of authoritarian technics, the weight of effort, if one is to judge by national budgets, is toward absolute instruments of destruction, designed for absolutely irrational purposes whose chief by-product would be the mutilation or extermination of the human race. Even Ashurbanipal and Genghis Khan performed their gory operations under normal human limits. The center of authority in this new system is no longer a visible personality, an all-powerful king: even in totalitarian dictatorships the center now lies in the system itself, invisible but omnipresent: all its human components, even the technical and managerial elite, even the sacred priesthood of science, who alone have access to the secret knowledge by means of which total control is now swiftly being effected, are themselves trapped by the very perfection of the organization they have invented. Like the Pharoahs of the Pyramid Age, these servants of the system identify its goods with their own kind of well-being: as with the divine king, their praise of the system is an act of self-worship; and again like the king, they are in the grip of an irrational compulsion to extend their means of control and expand the scope of their authority. In this new systems-centered collective, this Pentagon of power, there is no visible presence who issues commands: unlike job's God, the new deities cannot be confronted, still less defied. Under the pretext of saving labor, the ultimate end of this technics is to displace life, or rather, to transfer the attributes of life to the machine and the mechanical collective, allowing only so much of the organism to remain as may be controlled and manipulated.
Lewis Mumford
But calm is precisely what is absent from love’s classroom. There is simply too much on the line. The “student” isn’t merely a passing responsibility; he or she is a lifelong commitment. Failure will ruin existence. No wonder we may be prone to lose control and deliver cack-handed, hasty speeches which bear no faith in the legitimacy or even the nobility of the act of imparting advice. And no wonder, too, if we end up achieving the very opposite of our goals, because increasing levels of humiliation, anger, and threat have seldom hastened anyone’s development. Few of us ever grow more reasonable or more insightful about our own characters for having had our self-esteem taken down a notch, our pride wounded, and our ego subjected to a succession of pointed insults. We simply grow defensive and brittle in the face of suggestions which sound like mean-minded and senseless assaults on our nature rather than caring attempts to address troublesome aspects of our personality. Had
Alain de Botton (The Course of Love)
Their Biggest Fear   What is a narcissist afraid of most? Narcissist who have had some insight into their own disorder will tell you that the biggest fear of the narcissist is BEING FOUND OUT.   They fear that you will recognize their facade. They fear you will realize that much of their bad behavior is intentional. When the narcissist realizes that YOU KNOW the truth about his lack of empathy; that is when you will be cut off, and he will work to turn all of your mutual relationships against you that he can.   I have written several times thus far about how most of the narcissist's motivations and behavior are subconscious. However, – from time to time, the narcissist does recognize, in brief glimpses, the truth about his envious and angry nature. The truth will rise to the surface of his conscience if he allows you to confront him. Therefore you and your voice absolutely must be suppressed. You also must not be allowed access to his other relationships – the ones he can still control, the relationships he still has fooled. For the narcissist, the  easiest way to suppress your voice is to launch a  character attack against you. He decides he must spread lies about you to everyone so that 1) he can explain your sudden absence in his life (He tells everyone that he discovered you were really a mean, hateful person, and he had to cut you off to maintain his own sanity. There is no way he can allow others to think you cut him off – as that would indicate there might be something wrong with him); and 2) he must convince others that you are a terrible, or at least an unstable person – so that if you ever have a chance to talk
Ellen Cole (The Covert Narcissist in the Family: Their Common Tactics, How to Protect Yourself, and Personal Stories)
God did not create you for time; He created you for eternity. Your lifetime on earth provides the opportunity for you to become acquainted with Him and to choose to enter a relationship with Him. Time is a period during which God wants to develop your character into His likeness. Then eternity will have its fullest dimensions for you. If you merely live for time, you will miss the ultimate purpose of creation. If you live for time, you will allow your past to control and limit your life today. Your life as a child of God ought to be shaped by the future (what you will ultimately be). God uses your present to mold and shape your future here on earth and throughout eternity.
Henry T. Blackaby (Experiencing God)
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. Past events are described in a fictitious manner, future events are described as they will indeed occur, unless they are disrupted by historical agitators, which is beyond the author's control. For now.
Thomas Mullen (The Revisionists)
A heavy and cruel hand has been laid upon us. As a people, we feel ourselves to be not only deeply injured, but grossly misunderstood. Our white countrymen do not know us. They are strangers to our character, ignorant of our capacity, oblivious to our history and progress, and are misinformed as to the principles and ideas that control and guide us, as a people. The great mass of American citizens estimates us as being a characterless and purposeless people; and hence we hold up our heads, if at all, against the withering influence of a nation’s scorn and contempt.1 —Frederick Douglass, in a statement on behalf of delegates to the National Colored Convention held in Rochester, New York, in July 1853
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Revised Edition))
To get rid of a few problems in general health, to increase one's capacity for work, to make one's character gentler and stronger, to free oneself of various complexes, to create in oneself a whole atmosphere of calm and silence, and to do this by exercises in a gymnastic of repose and by a simple but careful method of breath-control - such aims may appear humble enough, rather down to earth, and a far cry form the goal of even the most modest of yogis. Yet I am certain that they will be able to work real miracles here in the West; to change lives and temperaments completely, making them healthier, more open; to increase their degree of engagement; and to render them more receptive to impulses and promptings from heaven.
Jean Déchanet (Christian Yoga)
Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life. Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance. Bestial thoughts crystallize into habits of drunkenness and sensuality, which solidify into circumstances of destitution and disease: impure thoughts of every kind crystallize into enervating and confusing habits, which solidify into distracting and adverse circumstances: thoughts of fear, doubt, and indecision crystallize into weak, unmanly, and irresolute habits, which solidify into circumstances of failure, indigence, and slavish dependence: lazy thoughts crystallize into habits of uncleanliness and dishonesty, which solidify into circumstances of foulness and beggary: hateful and condemnatory thoughts crystallize into habits of accusation and violence, which solidify into circumstances of injury and persecution: selfish thoughts of all kinds crystallize into habits of self-seeking, which solidify into circumstances more or less distressing. On the other hand, beautiful thoughts of all kinds crystallize into habits of grace and kindliness, which solidify into genial and sunny circumstances: pure thoughts crystallize into habits of temperance and self-control, which solidify into circumstances of repose and peace: thoughts of courage, self-reliance, and decision crystallize into manly habits, which solidify into circumstances of success, plenty, and freedom: energetic thoughts crystallize into habits of cleanliness and industry, which solidify into circumstances of pleasantness: gentle and forgiving thoughts crystallize into habits of gentleness, which solidify into protective and preservative circumstances: loving and unselfish thoughts crystallize into habits of self-forgetfulness for others, which solidify into circumstances of sure and abiding prosperity and true riches. A particular train of thought persisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to produce its results on the character and circumstances. A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.
James Allen (As a Man Thinketh)
Whether or not you employ humor in dealing with difficult subjects, the tone of the writing is of the utmost importance. Personally, I can read about almost any subject if I feel a basic trust in, and respect for, the writer. The voice must have authority. But more than that, I must know that the writer is all right. If she describes a suicide attempt or a babysitter's cruelty to her, or a time of acute loneliness, I need to feel that the writer, not the character who survived the experience, is in control of telling the story....The tone of such pieces may be serious, ironic, angry, sad, or almost anything except whiny. There must be no hidden plea for help - no subtle seeking of sympathy. The writer must have done her work, made her peace with the facts, and be telling the story for the story's sake. Although the writing may incidentally turn out to be another step in her recovery, that must not be her visible motivation: literary writing is not therapy. Her first allegiance must be to the telling of the story and I, as the reader, must feel that I'm in the hands of a competent writer who needs nothing from me except my attention.
Judith Barrington (Writing the Memoir)
7. Character is built in the course of your inner confrontation. Character is a set of dispositions, desires, and habits that are slowly engraved during the struggle against your own weakness. You become more disciplined, considerate, and loving through a thousand small acts of self-control, sharing, service, friendship, and refined enjoyment. If you make disciplined, caring choices, you are slowly engraving certain tendencies into your mind. You are making it more likely that you will desire the right things and execute the right actions. If you make selfish, cruel, or disorganized choices, then you are slowly turning this core thing inside yourself into something that is degraded, inconstant, or fragmented. You can do harm to this core thing with nothing more than ignoble thoughts, even if you are not harming anyone else. You can elevate this core thing with an act of restraint nobody sees. If you don’t develop a coherent character in this way, life will fall to pieces sooner or later. You will become a slave to your passions. But if you do behave with habitual self-discipline, you will become constant and dependable. 8. The things that lead us astray are short term—lust, fear, vanity, gluttony. The things we call character endure over the long term—courage, honesty, humility. People with character are capable of a long obedience in the same direction, of staying attached to people and causes and callings consistently through thick and thin. People with character also have scope. They are not infinitely flexible, free-floating, and solitary. They are anchored by permanent attachments to important things. In the realm of the intellect, they have a set of permanent convictions about fundamental truths. In the realm of emotion, they are enmeshed in a web of unconditional loves. In the realm of action, they have a permanent commitment to tasks that cannot be completed in a single lifetime.
David Brooks (The Road to Character)
Do you know where a story is going when you start writing, or do you let the story take control and see where it takes you? This answer deserves one sentence or an essay! I’ll try to summarize it like this: writing, for me, is a little like wood carving. You find the lump of tree (the big central theme that gets you started) and you start cutting the shape that you think you want it to be. But you find, if you do it right, that the wood has a grain of its own (characters develop and present new insights, concentrated thinking about the story opens new avenues). If you’re sensible, you work with the grain and, if you come across a knot hole, you incorporate that into the design. This is not the same as “making it up as you go along”; it’s a very careful process of control.
Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld, #32))
Aristotle tells us that the high-pitched voice of the female is one evidence of her evil disposition, for creatures who are brave or just (like lions, bulls, roosters and the human male) have large deep voices…. High vocal pitch goes together with talkativeness to characterize a person who is deviant from or deficient in the masculine ideal of self-control. Women, catamites, eunuchs and androgynes fall into this category. Their sounds are bad to hear and make men uncomfortable…. Putting a door on the female mouth has been an important project of patriarchal culture from antiquity to the present day. Its chief tactic is an ideological association of female sound with monstrosity, disorder and death…. Woman is that creature who puts the inside on the outside. By projections and leakages of all kinds—somatic, vocal, emotional, sexual—females expose or expend what should be kept in…. [As Plutarch comments,] “…she should as modestly guard against exposing her voice to outsiders as she would guard against stripping off her clothes. For in her voice as she is blabbering away can be read her emotions, her character and her physical condition.”… Every sound we make is a bit of autobiography. It has a totally private interior yet its trajectory is public. A piece of inside projected to the outside. The censorship of such projections is a task of patriarchal culture that (as we have seen) divides humanity into two species: those who can censor themselves and those who cannot…. It is an axiom of ancient Greek and Roman medical theory and anatomical discussion that a woman has two mouths. The orifice through which vocal activity takes place and the orifice through which sexual activity takes place are both denoted by the wordstoma in Greek (os in Latin) with the addition of adverbs ano and kato to differentiate upper mouth from lower mouth. Both the vocal and the genital mouth are connected to the body by the neck (auchen in Greek, cervix in Latin). Both mouths provide access to a hollow cavity which is guarded by lips that are best kept closed.
Anne Carson (Glass, Irony and God)
Maximus was my model for self-control, fixity of purpose, and cheerfulness under ill-health or other misfortunes. His character was an admirable combination of dignity and charm, and all the duties of his station were performed quietly and without fuss. He gave everyone the conviction that he spoke as he believed, and acted as he judged right. Bewilderment or timidity were unknown to him; he was never hasty, never dilatory; nothing found him at a loss. He indulged neither in despondency nor forced gaiety, nor had anger or jealousy any power over him. Kindliness, sympathy, and sincerity all contributed to give the impression of a rectitude that was innate rather than inculcated. Nobody was ever made by him to feel inferior, yet none could have presumed to challenge his pre-eminence. He was also the possessor of an agreeable sense of humour.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
In a situation such as today, by contrast, where people constantly have-or think they have-to decide what to do, they will almost invariably be governed by feelings. Often they cannot distinguish between their feelings and their will, and in their confusion they also quite commonly take feelings to be reasons. And they will in general lack any significant degree of self-control. This will turn their life into a mere drift through the days and years, which addictive behavior promises to allow them to endure. Self-control is the steady capacity to direct yourself to accomplish what you have chosen or decided to do and be, even though you "don't feel like it." Self-control means that you, with steady hand, do what you don't want to do (or what you want not to) when that is needed and do not do what you want to do (what you "feel like" doing) when that is needed.
Dallas Willard (Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ)
In 1944-1945, Dr Ancel Keys, a specialist in nutrition and the inventor of the K-ration, led a carefully controlled yearlong study of starvation at the University of Minnesota Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene. It was hoped that the results would help relief workers in rehabilitating war refugees and concentration camp victims. The study participants were thirty-two conscientious objectors eager to contribute humanely to the war effort. By the experiment's end, much of their enthusiasm had vanished. Over a six-month semi-starvation period, they were required to lose an average of twenty-five percent of their body weight." [...] p193 p193-194 "...the men exhibited physical symptoms...their movements slowed, they felt weak and cold, their skin was dry, their hair fell out, they had edema. And the psychological changes were dramatic. "[...] p194 "The men became apathetic and depressed, and frustrated with their inability to concentrate or perform tasks in their usual manner. Six of the thirty-two were eventually diagnosed with severe "character neurosis," two of them bordering on psychosis. Socially, they ceased to care much about others; they grew intensely selfish and self-absorbed. Personal grooming and hygiene deteriorated, and the men were moody and irritable with one another. The lively and cooperative group spirit that had developed in the three-month control phase of the experiment evaporated. Most participants lost interest in group activities or decisions, saying it was too much trouble to deal with the others; some men became scapegoats or targets of aggression for the rest of the group. Food - one's own food - became the only thing that mattered. When the men did talk to one another, it was almost always about eating, hunger, weight loss, foods they dreamt of eating. They grew more obsessed with the subject of food, collecting recipes, studying cookbooks, drawing up menus. As time went on, they stretched their meals out longer and longer, sometimes taking two hours to eat small dinners. Keys's research has often been cited often in recent years for this reason: The behavioral changes in the men mirror the actions of present-day dieters, especially of anorexics.
Michelle Stacey (The Fasting Girl: A True Victorian Medical Mystery)
A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it. He should make this purpose the centralizing point of his thoughts. It may take the form of a spiritual ideal, or it may be a worldly object, according to his nature at the time being; but whichever it is, he should steadily focus his thought-forces upon the object, which he has set before him. He should make this purpose his supreme duty, and should devote himself to its attainment, not allowing his thoughts to wander away into ephemeral fancies, longings, and imaginings. This is the royal road to self-control and true concentration of thought. Even if he fails again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must until weakness is overcome), the strength of character gained will be the measure of his true success, and this will form a new starting-point for future power and triumph.
James Allen (As a Man Thinketh)
The superego is the inner voice that is always putting us down for not living up to certain standards or rewarding our ego when we fulfill its demands . . . In fact, our superego is one of the most powerful agents of the personality: it is the "inner critic" that keeps us restricted to certain limited possibilities for ourselves. A large part of our initial transformational work centers on becoming more aware of the superego's "voice" in its many guises, both positive and negative. Its voices continually draw us back into identifying with our personality and acting out in self-defeating ways. When we are present, we are able to hear our superego voices without identifying with them; we are able to see the stances and positions of the superego as if they were characters in a play waiting in the wings, ready to jump in and control or attack us once again. When we are present, we hear the superego's voice but we do not give it any energy; the "all-powerful" voice then becomes just another aspect of the moment. However, we must also be on the lookout for the formation of new layers of superego that come from our psychological and spiritual work . . . In fact, one of the biggest dangers that we face in using the Enneagram is our superego's tendency to take over our work and start criticizing us, for example, for not moving up the Levels of Development or going in the Direction of Integration fast enough. The more we are present, however, the more we will recognize the irrelevance of these voices and successfully resist giving them energy. Eventually, they lose their power, and we can regain the space and quiet we need to be receptive to other, more life-giving forces within us. . . . If we feel anxious, depressed, lost, hopeless, fearful, wretched, or weak, we can be sure that our superego is on duty.
Don Richard Riso (The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types)
Character is fate, the Greeks believed. A hundred years of German philosophy went into the making of this decision in which the seed of self-destruction lay embedded, waiting for its hour. The voice was Schlieffen’s, but the hand was the hand of Fichte who saw the German people chosen by Providence to occupy the supreme place in the history of the universe, of Hegel who saw them leading the world to a glorious destiny of compulsory Kultur, of Nietzsche who told them that Supermen were above ordinary controls, of Treitschke who set the increase of power as the highest moral duty of the state, of the whole German people, who called their temporal ruler the “All-Highest.” What made the Schlieffen plan was not Clausewitz and the Battle of Cannae, but the body of accumulated egoism which suckled the German people and created a nation fed on “the desperate delusion of the will that deems itself absolute.” The
Barbara W. Tuchman (The Guns of August)
Top 10 Reasons to Establish Written Goals for Your Life       10. Written goals strengthen your character by promoting a long-term perspective.       9. Written goals allow you to lead your life as opposed to simply managing it.       8. Written goals provide internal, permanent, and consistent motivation.       7. Written goals help you stay focused—to concentrate on what’s most important.       6. Written goals enhance your decision-making ability.       5. Written goals simultaneously require and build self-confidence.       4. Written goals help you create the future in advance.       3. Written goals help you to control changes—to adjust your sails, to work with the wind rather than against it.       2. Written goals heighten your awareness of opportunities that are consistent with your goals.       1. And finally, the most important benefit of setting effective goals is the person you become as a result of the pursuit!
Tommy Newberry (Success Is Not an Accident: Change Your Choices; Change Your Life)
...we're what you call heterogenous. That means we're everywhere, everybody at once. We're both good and bad, right and wrong. We're the great resolvers of conflict. We're like octopuses--because we'll swallow anything. Even men. Even battling and forlorn men like you and your dad. You guys try so hard to be subjects, characters, things, you forget us women are the whole story. We embrace you all. What you really want to destroy is women, that story of yourself you can't control.
Scott Bradfield
But the biggest news that month was the departure from Apple, yet again, of its cofounder, Steve Wozniak. Wozniak was then quietly working as a midlevel engineer in the Apple II division, serving as a humble mascot of the roots of the company and staying as far away from management and corporate politics as he could. He felt, with justification, that Jobs was not appreciative of the Apple II, which remained the cash cow of the company and accounted for 70% of its sales at Christmas 1984. “People in the Apple II group were being treated as very unimportant by the rest of the company,” he later said. “This was despite the fact that the Apple II was by far the largest-selling product in our company for ages, and would be for years to come.” He even roused himself to do something out of character; he picked up the phone one day and called Sculley, berating him for lavishing so much attention on Jobs and the Macintosh division. Frustrated, Wozniak decided to leave quietly to start a new company that would make a universal remote control device he had invented. It would control your television, stereo, and other electronic devices with a simple set of buttons that you could easily program. He informed the head of engineering at the Apple II division, but he didn’t feel he was important enough to go out of channels and tell Jobs or Markkula. So Jobs first heard about it when the news leaked in the Wall Street Journal. In his earnest way, Wozniak had openly answered the reporter’s questions when he called. Yes, he said, he felt that Apple had been giving short shrift to the Apple II division. “Apple’s direction has been horrendously wrong for five years,” he said.
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
A bare two years after Vasco da Gama’s voyage a Portuguese fleet led by Pedro Alvarez Cabral arrived on the Malabar coast. Cabral delivered a letter from the king of Portugal to the Samudri (Samudra-raja or Sea-king), the Hindu ruler of the city-state of Calicut, demanding that he expel all Muslims from his kingdom as they were enemies of the ‘Holy Faith’. He met with a blank refusal; then afterwards the Samudra steadfastly maintained that Calicut had always been open to everyone who wished to trade there… During those early years the people who had traditionally participated in the Indian Ocean trade were taken completely by surprise. In all the centuries in which it had flourished and grown, no state or kings or ruling power had ever before tried to gain control of the Indian Ocean trade by force of arms. The territorial and dynastic ambitions that were pursued with such determination on land were generally not allowed to spill over into the sea. Within the Western historiographical record the unarmed character of the Indian Ocean trade is often represented as a lack, or failure, one that invited the intervention of Europe, with its increasing proficiency in war. When a defeat is as complete as was that of the trading cultures of the Indian Ocean, it is hard to allow the vanquished the dignity of nuances of choice and preference. Yet it is worth allowing for the possibility that the peaceful traditions of the oceanic trade may have been, in a quiet and inarticulate way, the product of a rare cultural choice — one that may have owed a great deal to the pacifist customs and beliefs of the Gujarati Jains and Vanias who played such an important part in it. At the time, at least one European was moved to bewilderment by the unfamiliar mores of the region; a response more honest perhaps than the trust in historical inevitability that has supplanted it since. ‘The heathen [of Gujarat]’, wrote Tomé Pires, early in the sixteenth century, ‘held that they must never kill anyone, nor must they have armed men in their company. If they were captured and [their captors] wanted to kill them all, they did not resist. This is the Gujarat law among the heathen.’ It was because of those singular traditions, perhaps, that the rulers of the Indian Ocean ports were utterly confounded by the demands and actions of the Portuguese. Having long been accustomed to the tradesmen’s rules of bargaining and compromise they tried time and time again to reach an understanding with the Europeans — only to discover, as one historian has put it, that the choice was ‘between resistance and submission; co-operation was not offered.’ Unable to compete in the Indian Ocean trade by purely commercial means, the Europeans were bent on taking control of it by aggression, pure and distilled, by unleashing violence on a scale unprecedented on those shores.
Amitav Ghosh (In an Antique Land)
Sometimes the novel is not ready to be written because you haven't met the inspiration for your main character yet. Sometimes you need two more years of life experience before you can make your masterpiece into something that will feel real and true and raw to other people. Sometimes you're not falling in love because whatever you need to know about yourself is only knowable through solitude. Sometimes you haven't met your next collaborator. Sometimes your sadness encircles you because, one day, it will be the opus upon which you build your life. We all know this: Our experience cannot always be manipulated. Yet, we don't act as though we know this truth. We try so hard to manipulate and control our lives, to make creativity into a game to win, to shortcut success because others say they have, to process emotions and uncertainty as if these are linear journeys. You don't get to game the system of your life. You just don't. You don't get to control every outcome and aspect as a way to never give in to the uncertainty and unpredictability of something that's beyond what you understand. It's the basis of presence: to show up as you are in this moment and let that be enough.
Jamie Varon
Some very eminent critics writing in the decades immediately after the novel's publication felt that Eliot failed to maintain sufficient critical distance in her depiction of Ladislaw--that she fell in love with her own creation in a way that shows a lack of artistic control and is even unseemly, like a hoary movie director whose lens lingers too long on the young flesh of a favored actress. Lord David Cecil calls Ladislaw 'a schoolgirl's dream, and a vulgar one at that,' while Leslie Stephen complained 'Ladislaw is almost obtrusively a favorite with his creator,' and depreciated him as 'an amiable Bohemian.
Rebecca Mead (My Life in Middlemarch)
My Standard of Performance—the values and beliefs within it—guided everything I did in my work at San Francisco and are defined as follows: Exhibit a ferocious and intelligently applied work ethic directed at continual improvement; demonstrate respect for each person in the organization and the work he or she does; be deeply committed to learning and teaching, which means increasing my own expertise; be fair; demonstrate character; honor the direct connection between details and improvement, and relentlessly seek the latter; show self-control, especially where it counts most—under pressure; demonstrate and prize loyalty; use positive language and have a positive attitude; take pride in my effort as an entity separate from the result of that effort; be willing to go the extra distance for the organization; deal appropriately with victory and defeat, adulation and humiliation (don’t get crazy with victory nor dysfunctional with loss); promote internal communication that is both open and substantive (especially under stress); seek poise in myself and those I lead; put the team’s welfare and priorities ahead of my own; maintain an ongoing level of concentration and focus that is abnormally high; and make sacrifice and commitment the organization’s trademark.
Bill Walsh (The Score Takes Care of Itself)
Most people have no understanding of the psychological changes of captivity. Social judgment of chronically traumatized people therefore tends to be extremely harsh. The chronically abused person's apparent helplessness and passivity, her entrapment in the past, her intractable depression and somatic complaints, and her smoldering anger often frustrate the people closest to her. Moreover, if she has been coerced into betrayal of relationships, community loyalties, or moral values, she is frequently subjected to furious condemnation. Observers who have never experienced prolonged terror and who have no understanding of coercive methods of control presume that they would show greater courage and resistance than the victim in similar circumstances. Hence the common tendency to account for the victim's behavior by seeking flaws in her personality or moral character. ... The propensity to fault the character of the victim can be seen even in the case of politically organized mass murder. The aftermath of the Holocaust witnessed a protracted debate regarding the 'passivity' of the Jews and their 'complicity' in their fate. But the historian Lucy Dawidowicz points out that 'complicity' and 'cooperation' are terms that apply to situations of free choice. They do not have the same meaning in situations of captivity.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
What had become of the singular ascending ambition that had driven young Roosevelt from his earliest days? What explains his willingness, against the counsel of his most trusted friends, to accept seemingly low-level jobs that traced neither a clear-cut nor a reliably ascending career path? The answer lies in probing what Roosevelt gleaned from his crucible experience. His expectation of and belief in a smooth, upward trajectory, either in life or in politics, was gone forever. He questioned if leadership success could be obtained by attaching oneself to a series of titled positions. If a person focused too much on a future that could not be controlled, he would become, Roosevelt acknowledged, too “careful, calculating, cautious in word and act.” Thereafter, he would jettison long-term career calculations and focus simply on whatever job opportunity came his way, assuming it might be his last. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are,” he liked to say. In a very real way, Roosevelt had come to see political life as a succession of crucibles—good or bad—able to crush or elevate. He would view each position as a test of character, effort, endurance, and will. He would keep nothing in reserve for some will-o-the-wisp future. Rather, he would regard each job as a pivotal test, a manifestation of his leadership skills.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (Leadership: In Turbulent Times)
Every day we are surrounded with numerous opportunities to act dishonestly. The Lord did not intend for us to live in a world where temptation didn’t exist; it was Satan’s plan to rob us of our free agency. The Lord’s plan was to ‘prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.’ (Abr. 3:25.) Even though we cannot always control our trials and temptations, we can control how we react to them. No matter how strong the motivation or how tempting the opportunity, we can still behave honestly… As we develop a Christlike character, we, too, can learn to make honest choices no matter how great the pressures and opportunity.
Marshall B. Romney
I once read the most widely understood word in the whole world is ‘OK’, followed by ‘Coke’, as in cola. I think they should do the survey again, this time checking for ‘Game Over’. Game Over is my favorite thing about playing video games. Actually, I should qualify that. It’s the split second before Game Over that’s my favorite thing. Streetfighter II - an oldie but goldie - with Leo controlling Ryu. Ryu’s his best character because he’s a good all-rounder - great defensive moves, pretty quick, and once he’s on an offensive roll, he’s unstoppable. Theo’s controlling Blanka. Blanka’s faster than Ryu, but he’s really only good on attack. The way to win with Blanka is to get in the other player’s face and just never let up. Flying kick, leg-sweep, spin attack, head-bite. Daze them into submission. Both players are down to the end of their energy bars. One more hit and they’re down, so they’re both being cagey. They’re hanging back at opposite ends of the screen, waiting for the other guy to make the first move. Leo takes the initiative. He sends off a fireball to force Theo into blocking, then jumps in with a flying kick to knock Blanka’s green head off. But as he’s moving through the air he hears a soft tapping. Theo’s tapping the punch button on his control pad. He’s charging up an electricity defense so when Ryu’s foot makes contact with Blanka’s head it’s going to be Ryu who gets KO’d with 10,000 volts charging through his system. This is the split second before Game Over. Leo’s heard the noise. He knows he’s fucked. He has time to blurt ‘I’m toast’ before Ryu is lit up and thrown backwards across the screen, flashing like a Christmas tree, a charred skeleton. Toast. The split second is the moment you comprehend you’re just about to die. Different people react to it in different ways. Some swear and rage. Some sigh or gasp. Some scream. I’ve heard a lot of screams over the twelve years I’ve been addicted to video games. I’m sure that this moment provides a rare insight into the way people react just before they really do die. The game taps into something pure and beyond affectations. As Leo hears the tapping he blurts, ‘I’m toast.’ He says it quickly, with resignation and understanding. If he were driving down the M1 and saw a car spinning into his path I think he’d in react the same way. Personally, I’m a rager. I fling my joypad across the floor, eyes clenched shut, head thrown back, a torrent of abuse pouring from my lips. A couple of years ago I had a game called Alien 3. It had a great feature. When you ran out of lives you’d get a photo-realistic picture of the Alien with saliva dripping from its jaws, and a digitized voice would bleat, ‘Game over, man!’ I really used to love that.
Alex Garland
Sex is also a positive way of working on one's personal freedom project. After all, it is one of the few areas of real privacy that a person has in an existence that is almost wholly social, entirely shaped by the parents and society. In this sense, sex as a project represents a retreat from the standardizations and monopolizations of the social world. No wonder people dedicate themselves so all-consumingly to it, often from childhood on in the form of secret masturbations that represent a protest and a triumph of the personal self. As we will see in Part II of this book, Rang goes so far as to say that this use of sex explains all sexual conflicts in the individual-"from masturbation to the most varied perversions." The person attempts to use his sex in an entirely individual way in order to control it and relieve it of its determinism. It is as though one tried to transcend the body by depriving it entirely of its given character, to make sport and new invention in place of what nature "intended." The "perversions" of children certainly show this very clearly: they are the true artists of the body, using it as clay to assert their symbolic mastery. Freud saw this and recorded it as "polymorphous perversity"-which is one way of talking about it. But he seems not to have realized that this kind of play is already a very serious attempt to transcend determinism, not merely an animal search for a variety of body-zone pleasures.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
We long ago ceased expecting that a President speak his own words. We no longer expect him actually to know the answers to questions put to him. We have, in effect, come to elect newscasters-and by a similar process: not for their probity or for their intelligence, but for their "believability." "Hope" is a very different exhortation than, for example, save, work, cooperate, sacrifice, think. It means: "Hope for the best, in a process over which you have no control." For, if one had control, if one could endorse a candidate with actual, rational programs, such a candidate demonstrably possessed of character and ability sufficient to offer reasonable chance of carrying these programs out, we might require patience or understanding, but why would we need hope? We have seen the triumph of advertising's bluntest and most ancient tool, the unquantifiable assertion: "New" in what way? "Improved" how? "Better" than what? "Change" what in particular? "Hope" for what? These words, seemingly of broad but actually of no particular meaning, are comforting in a way similar to the self-crafted wedding ceremony. Whether or not a spouse is "respecting the other's space," is a matter of debate; whether or not he is being unfaithful is a matter of discernible fact. The author of his own marriage vows is like the supporter of the subjective assertion. He is voting for codependence. He neither makes nor requires an actual commitment. He'd simply like to "hope.
David Mamet (The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture)
Approaching the trail, he broke through the thicket a short distance ahead of the Empath. Causing the Empaths horse to startle as the surprised rider jerked on the reins. Cap was equally surprised to find a young girl before him instead of an older, experienced male Empath. Cap brought his horse to a quick halt. The young girl pulled a small knife from her boot and cautioned him. "I don't know where you came from, but I'm not easy prey.” Her voice shook slightly with fear as she raised the knife. Not sure how to proceed, they stared silently at each other. Cap had always believed that Empaths didn't carry weapons. This pretty, chestnut haired girl couldn't be more than 18 years old. Her long straight tresses covered the spot on her jacket where the Empathic Emblem was usually worn, causing Cap to doubt she was the one he sought. Not wanting to frighten her any more than he already had, Cap tried to explain. "I'm Commander Caplin Taylor. I’m looking for an Empath that is headed for the Western Hunting Lodge.” "My name is Kendra; I am the Empath you seek.” She answered cautiously, still holding the blade. A noise from the brush drew her attention as a small rodent pounced out, trying to evade an unseen predator. Cap was just close enough to lurch forward and snatch the dirk from her hand. Her head jerked back in alarm. "Bosen May has been mauled by a Sraeb, his shoulder is a mass of pulp." Cap spoke quickly not wanting to hesitate any longer. That was all Kendra needed to hear. She pushed her horse past him and headed quickly down the trail. "Wait!" Cap called after her, turning his horse around. Reining in the horse, she turned back to face him annoyed by the delay. "Are you a good horseman?" Cap asked, as he stuffed her dirk in his jacket. "I've been in the saddle since I was a child." She answered, abruptly. "Okay so just a few years then?" Cap's rebuke angered her. Jerking the horse back toward the trail, she ignored him. "Wait, I'm sorry!" Cap called after her. "It's just that I know a quicker way, if you can handle some rough terrain." "Let’s go then." Kendra replied, gruffly, turning back to face him. Without another word, Cap dove back into the brush and the girl followed.
Alaina Stanford (Tempest Rise (Treborel, #1))
This is one of the great charms of Poirot’s investigations, for they reveal a world where manners and morals are quite different from today. There are no overt and unnecessary sex scenes, no alcoholic, haunted detectives in Poirot’s world. He lives in a simpler, some would say more human, era: a lost England, seen through the admiring eyes of this foreigner, this little Belgian detective. For me, that makes the stories all the more appealing, for although the days he lives in seem far away, they are all the more enchanting because of it." "In those first days after the series had begun on ITV, I realised for the first time that Poirot touches people’s hearts in a way that I had never anticipated when I started to play him. I cannot put my finger on precisely how he does it, but somehow he makes those who watch him feel secure. People see him and feel better. I don’t know exactly why that is, but there is something about him. My performance had touched that nerve." "The more Poirot welcomes his fellow characters, the more the audience sympathise with him, and the more he extends his gentle control over everything around him, as if wrapping it all in his own personal glow. I believe he is unique in fictional detectives in that respect, because he carefully welcomes everyone – be they reader, viewer, or participant character – into his drama. He then quietly explains what it all means and, in doing so, he becomes what one critic called ‘our dearest friend’.
David Suchet (Poirot and Me)
The language of caste may well seem foreign or unfamiliar to some. Public discussions about racial caste in America are relatively rare. We avoid talking about caste in our society because we are ashamed of our racial history. We also avoid talking about race. We even avoid talking about class. Conversations about class are resisted in part because there is a tendency to imagine that one's class reflects upon one's character. What is key to America's understanding of class is the persistent belief - despite all evidence to the contrary - that anyone, with the proper discipline and drive, can move from a lower class to a higher class. We recognize that mobility may be difficult, but the key to our collective self-image is the assumption that mobility is always possible, so failure to move up reflects on one's character. By extension, the failure of a race or ethnic group to move up reflects very poorly on the group as a whole. What is completely missed in the rare public debates today about the plight of African Americans is that a huge percentage of them are not free to move up at all. It is not just that they lack opportunity, attend poor schools, or are plagued by poverty. They are barred by law from doing so. And the major institutions with which they come into contact are designed to prevent their mobility. To put the matter starkly: The current system of control permanently locks a huge percentage of the African American community out of the mainstream society and economy. The system operates through our criminal justice institutions, but it functions more like a caste system than a system of crime control. Viewed from this perspective, the so-called underclass is better understood as an undercaste - a lower caste of individuals who are permanently barred by law and custom from mainstream society. Although this new system of racialized social control purports to be colorblind, it creates and maintains racial hierarchy much as earlier systems of control did. Like Jim Crow (and slavery), mass incarceration operates as a tightly networked system of laws, policies, customs, and institutions that operate collectively to ensure the subordinate status of a group defined largely by race.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
Martise had remained silent since first entering his domain, offering no hint of her character. If he refused her, it would alarm the priests even more. “Martise of Asher.” He smiled when she stiffened. “His Grace has spoken for you during this entire meeting. Have you no words? Or did you suffer as my servant and have your tongue cut out?” He followed her gaze to Gurn. The servant gave her an encouraging nod. Silhara might have considered her easily intimidated, save for that calm demeanor. “No, sir, I’m no mute. It is rude to speak out of turn, is it not?” He stilled at her question. Bursin’s wings, what generous god blessed this woman with such a voice? Refined and sensual, it possessed a silky quality, as if she physically caressed him. The contrast between her dulcet tones and bland appearance startled him. Before she spoke, Martise had faded into her surroundings, forgotten. Now she shone, riveting the attention of anyone within hearing distance. He glanced at Cumbria who treated him to a smug smile. He didn’t like being caught off guard and lashed out. “Far be it from me that I compromise the deportment of a lady. I wouldn’t tempt a well-trained dog into forgetting the commands of ‘Fetch’ and ‘Sit’.” Her jaw tightened. She dropped her gaze, but not before he saw the sparks of anger in her eyes. Not so docile as one might first believe, yet his new apprentice exercised admirable control over her emotions. Behavior of a long-time servant. Cumbria had indeed brought him a spy.
Grace Draven (Master of Crows (Master of Crows, #1))
You haven’t gotten to the point of leaving a glass for her, too.” He covered his eyes but said nothing. She pulled away his hands, and then, looking straight at him, asked, “She’s alive, isn’t she?” He nodded and sat up. “Rong, I used to think that a character in a novel was controlled by her creator, that she would be whatever the author wanted her to be, and do whatever the author wanted her to do, like God does for us.” “Wrong!” she said, standing up and beginning to pace the room. “Now you realize you were wrong. This is the difference between an ordinary scribe and a literary writer. The highest level of literary creation is when the characters in a novel possess life in the mind of the writer. The writer is unable to control them, and might not even be able to predict the next action they will take. We can only follow them in wonder to observe and record the minute details of their lives like a voyeur. That’s how a classic is made.” “So literature, it turns out, is a perverted endeavor.” “It was like that for Shakespeare and Balzac and Tolstoy, at least. The classic images they created were born from their mental wombs. But today’s practitioners of literature have lost that creativity. Their minds give birth only to shattered fragments and freaks, whose brief lives are nothing but cryptic spasms devoid of reason. Then they sweep up these fragments into a bag they peddle under the label ‘postmodern’ or ‘deconstructionist’ or ‘symbolism’ or ‘irrational.’” “So you mean that I’ve become a writer of classic literature?” “Hardly. Your mind is only gestating an image, and it’s the easiest one of all. The minds of those classic authors gave birth to hundreds and thousands of figures. They formed the picture of an era, and that’s something that only a superhuman can accomplish. But what you’ve done isn’t easy. I didn’t think you’d be able to do it.” “Have you ever done it?” “Just once,” she said simply, and dropped the subject. She grabbed his neck, and said, “Forget it. I don’t want that birthday present anymore. Come back to a normal life, okay?” “And if all this continues—what then?” She studied him for a few seconds, then let go of him and shook her head with a smile. “I knew it was too late.” Picking up her bag from the bed, she left. Then
Liu Cixin (The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #2))
Henry Fielding, a highly successful satiric dramatist until the introduction of censorship in 1737, began his novel-writing career with Shamela, a pastiche of Pamela, which humorously attacked the hypocritical morality which that novel displayed. Joseph Andrews (1742) was also intended as a kind of parody of Richardson; but Fielding found that his novels were taking on a moral life of their own, and he developed his own highly personal narrative style - humorous and ironic, with an omniscient narrative presence controlling the lives and destinies of his characters. Fielding focuses more on male characters and manners than Richardson. In doing so, he creates a new kind of hero in his novels. Joseph Andrews is chaste, while Tom Jones in Tom Jones (1749) is quite the opposite. Tom is the model of the young foundling enjoying his freedom (to travel, to have relationships with women, to enjoy sensual experience) until his true origins are discovered. When he matures, he assumes his social responsibilities and marries the woman he has 'always' loved, who has, of course, like a mediaeval crusader's beloved, been waiting faithfully for him. Both of these heroes are types, representatives of their sex. There is a picaresque journey from innocence to experience, from freedom to responsibility. It is a rewriting of male roles to suit the society of the time. The hero no longer makes a crusade to the Holy Land, but the crusade is a personal one, with chivalry learned on the way, and adventure replacing self-sacrifice and battle.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
I hope I have now made it clear why I thought it best, in speaking of the dissonances between fiction and reality in our own time, to concentrate on Sartre. His hesitations, retractations, inconsistencies, all proceed from his consciousness of the problems: how do novelistic differ from existential fictions? How far is it inevitable that a novel give a novel-shaped account of the world? How can one control, and how make profitable, the dissonances between that account and the account given by the mind working independently of the novel? For Sartre it was ultimately, like most or all problems, one of freedom. For Miss Murdoch it is a problem of love, the power by which we apprehend the opacity of persons to the degree that we will not limit them by forcing them into selfish patterns. Both of them are talking, when they speak of freedom and love, about the imagination. The imagination, we recall, is a form-giving power, an esemplastic power; it may require, to use Simone Weil's words, to be preceded by a 'decreative' act, but it is certainly a maker of orders and concords. We apply it to all forces which satisfy the variety of human needs that are met by apparently gratuitous forms. These forms console; if they mitigate our existential anguish it is because we weakly collaborate with them, as we collaborate with language in order to communicate. Whether or no we are predisposed towards acceptance of them, we learn them as we learn a language. On one view they are 'the heroic children whom time breeds / Against the first idea,' but on another they destroy by falsehood the heroic anguish of our present loneliness. If they appear in shapes preposterously false we will reject them; but they change with us, and every act of reading or writing a novel is a tacit acceptance of them. If they ruin our innocence, we have to remember that the innocent eye sees nothing. If they make us guilty, they enable us, in a manner nothing else can duplicate, to submit, as we must, the show of things to the desires of the mind. I shall end by saying a little more about La Nausée, the book I chose because, although it is a novel, it reflects a philosophy it must, in so far as it possesses novel form, belie. Under one aspect it is what Philip Thody calls 'an extensive illustration' of the world's contingency and the absurdity of the human situation. Mr. Thody adds that it is the novelist's task to 'overcome contingency'; so that if the illustration were too extensive the novel would be a bad one. Sartre himself provides a more inclusive formula when he says that 'the final aim of art is to reclaim the world by revealing it as it is, but as if it had its source in human liberty.' This statement does two things. First, it links the fictions of art with those of living and choosing. Secondly, it means that the humanizing of the world's contingency cannot be achieved without a representation of that contingency. This representation must be such that it induces the proper sense of horror at the utter difference, the utter shapelessness, and the utter inhumanity of what must be humanized. And it has to occur simultaneously with the as if, the act of form, of humanization, which assuages the horror. This recognition, that form must not regress into myth, and that contingency must be formalized, makes La Nausée something of a model of the conflicts in the modern theory of the novel. How to do justice to a chaotic, viscously contingent reality, and yet redeem it? How to justify the fictive beginnings, crises, ends; the atavism of character, which we cannot prevent from growing, in Yeats's figure, like ash on a burning stick? The novel will end; a full close may be avoided, but there will be a close: a fake fullstop, an 'exhaustion of aspects,' as Ford calls it, an ironic return to the origin, as in Finnegans Wake and Comment c'est. Perhaps the book will end by saying that it has provided the clues for another, in which contingency will be defeated, ...
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
The existence of the corporation, as we have it with us today, was never dreamed of by the fathers . . .The corporation of today has invaded every department of business, and it’s powerful but invisible hand is felt in almost all activities of life . . . The effect of this change upon the American people is radical and rapid. The individual is fast disappearing as a business factor and in his stead is this new device, the modern corporation . . . The influence of this change upon character cannot be overestimated. The businessman at one time gave his individuality, stamped his mental and moral characteristics upon the business he conducted . . . Today the business once transacted by individuals in every community is in the control of corporations, and many of the men who once conducted an independent business are gathered into the organization, and all personal identity, and all individualities lost.
Robert Marion La Follette
If there are always forces around which are concerned to depress and discourage, there are always forces above and around us which we can draw upon, - draw into ourselves to restore, to fill up again with strength and faith and joy and the power that perseveres and conquers. It is really a habit that one has to get of opening to these helpful forces and either passively receiving them or actively drawing upon them - for one can do either. It is easier if you have the conception of them above and around you and the faith and the will to receive them - for that brings the experience and concrete sense of them and the capacity to receive at need or at will. It is a question of habituating your consciousness to get into touch and keep in touch with these helpful forces - and for that you must accustom yourself to reject the impressions forced on you by the others, depression, self-distrust, repining and all similar disturbances. ... it is part of the experience of those who have advanced far in Yoga that besides the ordinary forces and activities of the mind and life and body in Matter, there are other forces and powers that can act and do act from behind and from above; there is also a spiritual dynamic power which can be possessed by those who are advanced in the spiritual consciousness, though all do not care to possess or, possessing, to use it, and this power is greater than any other and more effective. The invisible Force producing tangible results both inward and outward is the whole meaning of the Yogic consciousness. Your question about Yoga bringing merely a feeling of Power without any result was really very strange. Who would be satisfied with such a meaningless hallucination and call it Power? If we had not had thousands of experiences showing that the Power within could alter the mind, develop its powers, add new ones, bring in new ranges of knowledge, master the vital movements, change the character, influence men and things, control
Sri Aurobindo (Integral Yoga: Teaching and Method of Practice)
In one conspicuous case, that of royalty, the State does already select the parents on purely political grounds; and in the peerage, though the heir to a dukedom is legally free to marry a dairymaid, yet the social pressure on him to confine his choice to politically and socially eligible mates is so overwhelming that he is really no more free to marry the dairymaid than George IV was to marry Mrs Fitzherbert; and such a marriage could only occur as a result of extraordinary strength of character on the part of the dairymaid acting upon extraordinary weakness on the part of the duke. Let those who think the whole conception of intelligent breeding absurd and scandalous ask themselves why George IV was not allowed to choose his own wife whilst any tinker could marry whom he pleased? Simply because it did not matter a rap politically whom the tinker married, whereas it mattered very much whom the king married. The way in which all considerations of the king’s personal rights, of claims of the heart, of the sanctity of the marriage oath, and of romantic morality crumpled up before this political need shews how negligible all these apparently irresistible prejudices are when they come into conflict with the demand for quality in our rulers. We learn the same lesson from the case of the soldier, whose marriage, when it is permitted at all, is despotically controlled with a view solely to military efficiency. Well, nowadays it is not the king that rules, but the tinker. Dynastic wars are no longer feared, dynastic alliances no longer valued. ... On the other hand a sense of the social importance of the tinker’s marriage has been steadily growing. We have made a public matter of his wife’s health in the month after her confinement. We have taken the minds of his children out of his hands and put them into those of our State schoolmaster. We shall presently make their bodily nourishment independent of him. ... King Demos must be bred like all other kings; and with Must there can be no arguing.
George Bernard Shaw
May I inquire what is the point?” he snapped impatiently. “Indeed you may,” Lucinda said, thinking madly for some way to prod him into remembering his long-ago desire for Elizabeth and to prick his conscience. “The point is that I am well apprised of all that transpired between Elizabeth and yourself when you were last together. I, however,” she decreed grandly, “am inclined to place the blame for your behavior not on a lack of character, but rather a lack of judgment.” He raised his brows but said nothing. Taking his silence as assent, she reiterated meaningfully, “A lack of judgment on both your parts.” “Really?” he drawled. “Of course,” she said, reaching out and brushing the dust from the back of a chair, then rubbing her fingers together and grimacing with disapproval. “What else except lack of judgment could have caused a seventeen-year-old girl to rush to the defense of a notorious gambler and bring down censure upon herself for doing it?” “What indeed?” he asked with growing impatience. Lucinda dusted off her hands, avoiding his gaze. “Who can possibly know except you and she? No doubt it was the same thing that prompted her to remain in the woodcutter’s cottage rather than leaving it the instant she discovered your presence.” Satisfied that she’d done the best she was able to on that score, she became brusque again-an attitude that was more normal and, therefore, far more convincing. “In any case, that is all water under the bridge. She has paid dearly for her lack of judgment, which is only right, and even though she is now in the most dire straits because of it, that, too, is justice.” She smiled to herself when his eyes narrowed with what she hoped was guilt, or at least concern. His next words disabused her of that hope: “Madam, I do not have all day to waste in aimless conversation. If you have something to say, say it and be done!” “Very well,” Lucinda said, gritting her teeth to stop herself from losing control of her temper. “My point is that it is my duty, my obligation to see to Lady Cameron’s physical well-being as well as to chaperon her. In this case, given the condition of your dwelling, the former obligation seems more pressing than the latter, particularly since it is obvious to me that the two of you are not in the least need of a chaperon to keep you from behaving with impropriety. You may need a referee to keep you from murdering each other, but a chaperon is entirely superfluous. Therefore, I feel duty-bound to now ensure that adequate servants are brought here at once. In keeping with that, I would like your word as a gentleman not to abuse her verbally or physically while I am gone. She has already been ill-used by her uncle. I will not permit anyone else to make this terrible time in her life more difficult than it already is.” “Exactly what,” Ian asked in spite of himself, “do you mean by a ‘terrible time’?” “I am not at liberty to discuss that, of course,” she said, fighting to keep her triumph from her voice. “I am merely concerned that you behave as a gentleman. Will you give me your word?” Since Ian had no intention of laying a finger on her, or even spending time with her, he didn’t hesitate to nod. “She’s perfectly safe from me.” “That is exactly what I hoped to hear,” Lucinda lied ruthlessly.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Gossip is perhaps the most familiar and elementary form of disguised popular aggression. Though its use is hardly confined to attacks by subordinates on their superiors, it represents a relatively safe social sanction. Gossip, almost by definition has no identifiable author, but scores of eager retailers who can claim they are just passing on the news. Should the gossip—and here I have in mind malicious gossip—be challenged, everyone can disavow responsibility for having originated it. The Malay term for gossip and rumor, khabar angin (news on the wind), captures the diffuse quality of responsibility that makes such aggression possible. The character of gossip that distinguishes it from rumor is that gossip consists typically of stories that are designated to ruin the reputation of some identifiable person or persons. If the perpetrators remain anonymous, the victim is clearly specified. There is, arguably, something of a disguised democratic voice about gossip in the sense that it is propagated only to the extent that others find it in their interest to retell the story.13 If they don’t, it disappears. Above all, most gossip is a discourse about social rules that have been violated. A person’s reputation can be damaged by stories about his tightfistedness, his insulting words, his cheating, or his clothing only if the public among whom such tales circulate have shared standards of generosity, polite speech, honesty, and appropriate dress. Without an accepted normative standard from which degrees of deviation may be estimated, the notion of gossip would make no sense whatever. Gossip, in turn, reinforces these normative standards by invoking them and by teaching anyone who gossips precisely what kinds of conduct are likely to be mocked or despised. 13. The power to gossip is more democratically distributed than power, property, and income, and, certainly, than the freedom to speak openly. I do not mean to imply that gossip cannot and is not used by superiors to control subordinates, only that resources on this particular field of struggle are relatively more favorable to subordinates. Some people’s gossip is weightier than that of others, and, providing we do not confuse status with mere public deference, one would expect that those with high personal status would be the most effective gossipers.
James C. Scott (Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts)
Hey Pete. So why the leave from social media? You are an activist, right? It seems like this decision is counterproductive to your message and work." A: The short answer is I’m tired of the endless narcissism inherent to the medium. In the commercial society we have, coupled with the consequential sense of insecurity people feel, as they impulsively “package themselves” for public consumption, the expression most dominant in all of this - is vanity. And I find that disheartening, annoying and dangerous. It is a form of cultural violence in many respects. However, please note the difference - that I work to promote just that – a message/idea – not myself… and I honestly loath people who today just promote themselves for the sake of themselves. A sea of humans who have been conditioned into viewing who they are – as how they are seen online. Think about that for a moment. Social identity theory run amok. People have been conditioned to think “they are” how “others see them”. We live in an increasing fictional reality where people are now not only people – they are digital symbols. And those symbols become more important as a matter of “marketing” than people’s true personality. Now, one could argue that social perception has always had a communicative symbolism, even before the computer age. But nooooooothing like today. Social media has become a social prison and a strong means of social control, in fact. Beyond that, as most know, social media is literally designed like a drug. And it acts like it as people get more and more addicted to being seen and addicted to molding the way they want the world to view them – no matter how false the image (If there is any word that defines peoples’ behavior here – it is pretention). Dopamine fires upon recognition and, coupled with cell phone culture, we now have a sea of people in zombie like trances looking at their phones (literally) thousands of times a day, merging their direct, true interpersonal social reality with a virtual “social media” one. No one can read anymore... they just swipe a stream of 200 character headlines/posts/tweets. understanding the world as an aggregate of those fragmented sentences. Massive loss of comprehension happening, replaced by usually agreeable, "in-bubble" views - hence an actual loss of variety. So again, this isn’t to say non-commercial focused social media doesn’t have positive purposes, such as with activism at times. But, on the whole, it merely amplifies a general value system disorder of a “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT HOW GREAT I AM!” – rooted in systemic insecurity. People lying to themselves, drawing meaningless satisfaction from superficial responses from a sea of avatars. And it’s no surprise. Market economics demands people self promote shamelessly, coupled with the arbitrary constructs of beauty and success that have also resulted. People see status in certain things and, directly or pathologically, use those things for their own narcissistic advantage. Think of those endless status pics of people rock climbing, or hanging out on a stunning beach or showing off their new trophy girl-friend, etc. It goes on and on and worse the general public generally likes it, seeking to imitate those images/symbols to amplify their own false status. Hence the endless feedback loop of superficiality. And people wonder why youth suicides have risen… a young woman looking at a model of perfection set by her peers, without proper knowledge of the medium, can be made to feel inferior far more dramatically than the typical body image problems associated to traditional advertising. That is just one example of the cultural violence inherent. The entire industry of social media is BASED on narcissistic status promotion and narrow self-interest. That is the emotion/intent that creates the billions and billions in revenue these platforms experience, as they in turn sell off people’s personal data to advertisers and governments. You are the product, of course.
Peter Joseph
When we were first born, Spirit was our predominate guide, but as we ‘matured,’ our society quickly cured us of that. I learned later in my studies that any negative moaning I have about my life is only an affirmation of weakness and makes all those around me not want to be there. Life is nothing more than a dance with God; we just need to follow His lead and quit stepping on His toes. We must be able to release the things we hold dearest in order to truly have. I believe you must know the feeling of hunger before you can truly taste and enjoy food, you can only recognize authenticity by experiencing fraud, and you can only experience true love after enduring heartache. Your level of awareness will increase as you experience the rawness of life on your path to becoming more. God never gives you more than you can handle. He is perfect in His teaching. Know that what comes around goes around, and what you’re unable to forgive and let go will stay around. We need to control what we think, what we say, and how we feel. It’s our thoughts that produce our words, and our words lead to our actions. Our actions over time become habits, which form our character. Our character is what unfolds into our reality. Life is not about a future someone, it’s about ‘becoming’ someone and enjoying every step along the way. There’s no need to wait—significance is available right now. If you had to carry your mental seeds of desired reality around with you, growing to an additional nine pounds concentrated in your belly for nine months, and actually give birth to them, they too would become pretty obvious. The problem with most is they don’t care enough to endure the process, so they wind up aborting their dreams before they have a chance to be born. As you begin to do things to close the gap toward your ideal, you will find that life speeds up. Things quicken, and the closer you get to your goal, the faster it comes for you. The ultimate goal is to condition your body and mind so you can manifest ideals instantly—to think like God thinks. Yearning destroys your ability to have. It’s the carrot dangling just beyond your nose that you will never taste. When you’re obsessed with something you become out of balance and this imbalance creates a barrier between you and what you want. You become too emotionally attached to accept it. We must know the price of our obsessions and refuse to pay it. If Spirit cannot overcome ego and move away from the ways of the world, we will be destined to repeat it. We will die only to perpetuate death. In the beginning of my spiritual quest, I felt left out, alone, and cold. Wandering around in the darkness of my human nature, I came upon a door, and on the door was the word heaven. I knocked on the door but no one answered. I returned back every day, hoping to get someone to hear me and let me in. I became increasingly frustrated, finding myself angrily pounding on the door, but it wouldn’t open. Exhausted, I finally fell to my knees at the foot of the door and prayed, “Please, God, let me in!” The door immediately cracked open. I realized I had been knocking from the inside.
Doug Burnett
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw On a cool fall evening in 2008, four students set out to revolutionize an industry. Buried in loans, they had lost and broken eyeglasses and were outraged at how much it cost to replace them. One of them had been wearing the same damaged pair for five years: He was using a paper clip to bind the frames together. Even after his prescription changed twice, he refused to pay for pricey new lenses. Luxottica, the 800-pound gorilla of the industry, controlled more than 80 percent of the eyewear market. To make glasses more affordable, the students would need to topple a giant. Having recently watched Zappos transform footwear by selling shoes online, they wondered if they could do the same with eyewear. When they casually mentioned their idea to friends, time and again they were blasted with scorching criticism. No one would ever buy glasses over the internet, their friends insisted. People had to try them on first. Sure, Zappos had pulled the concept off with shoes, but there was a reason it hadn’t happened with eyewear. “If this were a good idea,” they heard repeatedly, “someone would have done it already.” None of the students had a background in e-commerce and technology, let alone in retail, fashion, or apparel. Despite being told their idea was crazy, they walked away from lucrative job offers to start a company. They would sell eyeglasses that normally cost $500 in a store for $95 online, donating a pair to someone in the developing world with every purchase. The business depended on a functioning website. Without one, it would be impossible for customers to view or buy their products. After scrambling to pull a website together, they finally managed to get it online at 4 A.M. on the day before the launch in February 2010. They called the company Warby Parker, combining the names of two characters created by the novelist Jack Kerouac, who inspired them to break free from the shackles of social pressure and embark on their adventure. They admired his rebellious spirit, infusing it into their culture. And it paid off. The students expected to sell a pair or two of glasses per day. But when GQ called them “the Netflix of eyewear,” they hit their target for the entire first year in less than a month, selling out so fast that they had to put twenty thousand customers on a waiting list. It took them nine months to stock enough inventory to meet the demand. Fast forward to 2015, when Fast Company released a list of the world’s most innovative companies. Warby Parker didn’t just make the list—they came in first. The three previous winners were creative giants Google, Nike, and Apple, all with over fifty thousand employees. Warby Parker’s scrappy startup, a new kid on the block, had a staff of just five hundred. In the span of five years, the four friends built one of the most fashionable brands on the planet and donated over a million pairs of glasses to people in need. The company cleared $100 million in annual revenues and was valued at over $1 billion. Back in 2009, one of the founders pitched the company to me, offering me the chance to invest in Warby Parker. I declined. It was the worst financial decision I’ve ever made, and I needed to understand where I went wrong.
Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World)
From working with black males for more than a dozen years, I can say with confidence that many black males are both lazy and irresponsible. This view isn't popular with problem profiteers who blame all black woes upon white racism or poverty, but it is true, nonetheless. The young men I work with represent just the tip of the iceberg of a far larger laziness problem within the black male population. The typical black male I work with has no work ethic, has little sense of direction in his life, is hostile toward whites and women, has an attitude of entitlement, and has an amoral outlook on life. He has no strong male role model in his life to teach him the value of hard work, patience, self-control, and character. He is emotionally adrift and is nearly illiterate-either because he dropped out of school or because he's just not motivated enough to learn. Many of the black males I've worked with have had a "don't give a damn" attitude toward work and life and believe that "white America" owes them a living. They have no shame about going on welfare because they believe whites owe them for past discrimination and slavery. This absurd thinking results in a lifetime of laziness and blaming, while taxpayers pick up the tab for individuals who lack character and a strong work ethic. Frequently, blacks who attempt to enter the workforce often become problems for their employers. This is because they also have an entitlement mentality that puts little emphasis on working hard to get ahead. They expect to be paid for doing little work, often show up late, and have bad attitudes while on the job. They're so sensitized to "racism" that they feel abused by every slight, no matter if it's intentional, unconscious, or even based in reality.
Jesse Lee Peterson (Scam: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America)
Like stress, emotion is a concept we often invoke without a precise sense of its meaning. And, like stress, emotions have several components. The psychologist Ross Buck distinguishes between three levels of emotional responses, which he calls Emotion I, Emotion II and Emotion III, classified according to the degree we are conscious of them. Emotion III is the subjective experience, from within oneself. It is how we feel. In the experience of Emotion III there is conscious awareness of an emotional state, such as anger or joy or fear, and its accompanying bodily sensations. Emotion II comprises our emotional displays as seen by others, with or without our awareness. It is signalled through body language — “non-verbal signals, mannerisms, tones of voices, gestures, facial expressions, brief touches, and even the timing of events and pauses between words. [They] may have physiologic consequences — often outside the awareness of the participants.” It is quite common for a person to be oblivious to the emotions he is communicating, even though they are clearly read by those around him. Our expressions of Emotion II are what most affect other people, regardless of our intentions. A child’s displays of Emotion II are also what parents are least able to tolerate if the feelings being manifested trigger too much anxiety in them. As Dr. Buck points out, a child whose parents punish or inhibit this acting-out of emotion will be conditioned to respond to similar emotions in the future by repression. The self-shutdown serves to prevent shame and rejection. Under such conditions, Buck writes, “emotional competence will be compromised…. The individual will not in the future know how to effectively handle the feelings and desires involved. The result would be a kind of helplessness.” The stress literature amply documents that helplessness, real or perceived, is a potent trigger for biological stress responses. Learned helplessness is a psychological state in which subjects do not extricate themselves from stressful situations even when they have the physical opportunity to do so. People often find themselves in situations of learned helplessness — for example, someone who feels stuck in a dysfunctional or even abusive relationship, in a stressful job or in a lifestyle that robs him or her of true freedom. Emotion I comprises the physiological changes triggered by emotional stimuli, such as the nervous system discharges, hormonal output and immune changes that make up the flight-or-fight reaction in response to threat. These responses are not under conscious control, and they cannot be directly observed from the outside. They just happen. They may occur in the absence of subjective awareness or of emotional expression. Adaptive in the acute threat situation, these same stress responses are harmful when they are triggered chronically without the individual’s being able to act in any way to defeat the perceived threat or to avoid it. Self-regulation, writes Ross Buck, “involves in part the attainment of emotional competence, which is defined as the ability to deal in an appropriate and satisfactory way with one’s own feelings and desires.” Emotional competence presupposes capacities often lacking in our society, where “cool” — the absence of emotion — is the prevailing ethic, where “don’t be so emotional” and “don’t be so sensitive” are what children often hear, and where rationality is generally considered to be the preferred antithesis of emotionality. The idealized cultural symbol of rationality is Mr. Spock, the emotionally crippled Vulcan character on Star Trek.
Gabor Maté (When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress)
Unconditional blame is the tendency to explain all difficulties exclusively as the consequence of forces beyond your influence, to see yourself as an absolute victim of external circumstances. Every person suffers the impact of factors beyond his control, so we are all, in a sense, victims. We are not, however, absolute victims. We have the ability to respond to our circumstances and influence how they affect us. In contrast, the unconditional blamer defines his victim-identity by his helplessness, disowning any power to manage his life and assigning causality only to that which is beyond his control. Unconditional blamers believe that their problems are always someone else’s fault, and that there’s nothing they could have done to prevent them. Consequently, they believe that there’s nothing they should do to address them. Unconditional blamers feel innocent, unfairly burdened by others who do things they “shouldn’t” do because of maliciousness or stupidity. According to the unconditional blamer, these others “ought” to fix the problems they created. Blamers live in a state of self-righteous indignation, trying to control people around them with their accusations and angry demands. What the unconditional blamer does not see is that in order to claim innocence, he has to relinquish his power. If he is not part of the problem, he cannot be part of the solution. In fact, rather than being the main character of his life, the blamer is a spectator. Watching his own suffering from the sidelines, he feels “safe” because his misery is always somebody else’s fault. Blame is a tranquilizer. It soothes the blamer, sheltering him from accountability for his life. But like any drug, its soothing effect quickly turns sour, miring him in resignation and resentment. In order to avoid anxiety and guilt, the blamer must disown his freedom and power and see himself as a plaything of others. The blamer feels victimized at work. His job is fraught with letdowns, betrayals, disappointments, and resentments. He feels that he is expected to fix problems he didn’t create, yet his efforts are never recognized. So he shields himself with justifications. Breakdowns are never his fault, nor are solutions his responsibility. He is not accountable because it is always other people who failed to do what they should have done. Managers don’t give him direction as they should, employees don’t support him as they should, colleagues don’t cooperate with him as they should, customers demand much more than they should, suppliers don’t respond as they should, senior executives don’t lead the organization as they should, administration systems don’t work as they should—the whole company is a mess. In addition, the economy is weak, the job market tough, the taxes confiscatory, the regulations crippling, the interest rates exorbitant, and the competition fierce (especially because of those evil foreigners who pay unfairly low wages). And if it weren’t difficult enough to survive in this environment, everybody demands extraordinary results. The blamer never tires of reciting his tune, “Life is not fair!
Fred Kofman (Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values)