Crisis In Life Quotes

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Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant.
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
Life goes on, unmindful of beginning, end…crisis or catharsis, moving forward like a slow, dusty caravan of kochis (nomads).
Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)
Sometimes you need a little crisis to get your adrenaline flowing and help you realize your potential.
Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle)
Our crisis is no longer material; it’s existential, it’s spiritual. We have so much fucking stuff and so many opportunities that we don’t even know what to give a fuck about anymore.
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
I finally figured out that not every crisis can be managed. As much as we want to keep ourselves safe, we can't protect ourselves from everything. If we want to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Breathing Room)
I could never find two people who are perfectly equal: one will always be more valuable than the other. And many people, as a matter of fact, simply have no value.
Pentti Linkola (Can Life Prevail? - A Radical Approach To The Environmental Crisis (Hardcover))
I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.
Haim G. Ginott (Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers)
I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.
Haim G. Ginott
...the routine of life goes on, whatever happens, we do the same things, go through the little performance of eating, sleeping, washing. No crisis can break through the crust of habit.
Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca)
It isn't the big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh - I really think that requires spirit. It's the kind of character that I am going to develop. I am going to pretend that all life is just a game which I must play as skillfully and fairly as I can. If I lose, I am going to shrug my shoulders and laugh - also if I win.
Jean Webster (Daddy Long Legs)
One of the first signs of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die. This life appears unbearable, another unattainable. One is no longer ashamed of wanting to die; one asks to be moved from the old cell, which one hates, to a new one, which one willl only in time come to hate. In this there is also a residue of belief that during the move the master will chance to come along the corridor, look at the prisoner and say: "This man is not to be locked up again, He is to come with me.
Franz Kafka (Blue Octavo Notebooks)
What you and I might rate as an absolute disaster, God may rate as a pimple-level problem that will pass. He views your life the way you view a movie after you've read the book. When something bad happens, you feel the air sucked out of the theater. Everyone else gasps at the crisis on the screen. Not you. Why? You've read the book. You know how the good guy gets out of the tight spot. God views your life with the same confidence. He's not only read your story...he wrote it.
Max Lucado (Grace for the Moment Daily Bible-NCV)
What looks like garbage from one angle might be art from another. Maybe it did take a crisis to get to know yourself; maybe you needed to get whacked hard by life before you understood what you wanted out of it.
Jodi Picoult (Handle with Care)
Embrace the void and have the courage to exist.
Daniel Howell
I told myself, 'All I want is a normal life'. But was that true? I wasn't so sure. Because there was a part of me that enjoyed hating school, and the drama of not going, the potential consequences whatever they were. I was intrigued by the unknown. I was even slightly thrilled that my mother was such a mess. Had I become addicted to crisis? I traced my finger along the windowsill. 'Want something normal, want something normal, want something normal', I told myself.
Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors)
Women only cut their hair in times of crisis... It's somethin' a woman always has the power to do, even when she loses control over everything else. Cuttin' hair is a cry for help.
Bella Pollen (Midnight Cactus)
It struck him that in moments of crisis one is never fighting against an external enemy, but always against one’s own body... On the battlefield, in the torture chamber, on a sinking ship, the issues that you are fighting for are always forgotten, because the body swells up until it fills the universe, and even when you are not paralysed by fright or screaming with pain, life is a moment-to-moment struggle against hunger or cold or sleeplessness, against a sour stomach or an aching tooth.
George Orwell (1984)
The very worst events in life have that effect on a family: we always remember, more sharply than anything else, the last happy moments before everything fell apart.
Fredrik Backman (Beartown (Beartown, #1))
Just when you thought you’d reached a good place in life, a crisis could erupt and spill into the corners you thought most secure.
Barbara Delinsky (Before and Again)
Psychologists call it “learned helplessness” when a person believes, as I did during my youth, that the choices I made had no effect on the outcomes in my life.
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
There is nothing like a crisis to define who you are.
Dexter Morgan
You know what's truly weird about any financial crisis? We made it up. Currency, money, finance, they're all social inventions. When the sun comes up in the morning it's shining on the same physical landscape, all the atoms are in place.
Bruce Sterling
There is no "mid" about it. Life is a crisis from the cradle to the grave.
Graham Joyce (How to Make Friends with Demons)
It’s funny how you can spend your entire life wondering if there’s a God until suddenly in a time of crisis, you’re begging Him for help as if you’d never doubted He existed.
Penelope Ward (Stepbrother Dearest)
Remember,too,that all who succeed in life get off to a bad start,and pass through many heartbreaking struggles before they "arrive". The turning point in the lives of those who succeed usually comes at some moment of crisis,through which they are introduced to their "other selves".
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Because if you base your self-worth on what everyone else thinks of you, you hand all your power over to other people and become dependent on a source outside of yourself for validation. Then you wind up chasing after something you have no control over, and should that something suddenly place its focus somewhere else, or change its mind and decide you’re no longer very interesting, you end up with a full-blown identity crisis.
Jen Sincero (You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life)
It isn't the big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh—I really think that requires spirit!
Jean Webster (Daddy-Long-Legs (Daddy-Long-Legs, #1))
You look like you're having a midlife crisis." "It's not a midlife crisis. It's just a life crisis.
Alice Oseman (Solitaire)
Good in Crisis; Sucks at Normal.’ That about sums up my whole life, doesn’t it?
Neal Shusterman (UnSouled (Unwind, #3))
You have been offered "the gift of crisis". As Kathleen Norris reminds us, the Greek root of the word crisis is "to sift", as in, to shake out the excesses and leave only what's important. That's what crises do. They skae things up until we are forced to hold on to only what matters most. The rest falls away.
Glennon Doyle Melton (Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed)
When the times are a crucible, when the air is full of crisis, those who are the most themselves are the victims.
Gregory Maguire (Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years, #1))
...the chief cause for the impending collapse of the world - the cause sufficient in and by itself - is the enormous growth of the human population: the human flood. The worst enemy of life is too much life: the excess of human life.
Pentti Linkola (Can Life Prevail? - A Radical Approach To The Environmental Crisis (Hardcover))
Was there happiness at the end [of the movie], they wanted to know. If someone were to ask me today whether the story of Hassan, Sohrab, and me ends with happiness, I wouldn't know what to say. Does anybody's? After all, life is not a Hindi movie. Zendagi migzara, Afghans like to say: Life goes on, undmindful of beginning, en, kamyab, nah-kam, crisis or catharsis, moving forward like a slow, dusty caravan of kochis.
Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)
The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together suddenly by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable, event. Such an occurrence would be indistinguishable from a miracle.
Michael Denton (Evolution: A Theory In Crisis)
I don't know who I am right now. But I know who I'm not. And I like that.
Amber Smith (The Way I Used to Be)
Denial is the lid on our emotional pressure cooker: the longer we leave it on, the more pressure we build up. Sooner or later, that pressure is bound to pop the lid, and we have an emotional crisis.
Susan Forward (Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life)
Take my handkerchief, Scarlett. Never, at any crisis of your life, have I known you to have a handkerchief.
Margaret Mitchell
Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade...
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
When faced with a radical crisis, when the old way of being in the world, of interacting with each other and with the realm of nature doesn't work anymore, when survival is threatened by seemingly insurmountable problems, an individual life-form -- or a species -- will either die or become extinct or rise above the limitations of its condition through an evolutionary leap.
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose)
Handling an emotional crisis leads to greater wisdom and results in lifetime benefits. Fear of life is really the fear of emotions. It is not the facts that we fear but our feelings about them. Once we have mastery over our feelings, our fear of life diminishes.
David R. Hawkins (Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender)
I'm a stranger in my own life.
Lang Leav (Sad Girls)
I don’t know who I am, and who I’m not, I don’t know who I’m supposed to be, and I miss who I was; I miss it every day, Kate, but there’s no place for that August anymore. No place for the version of me who wanted to go to school, and have a life, and feel human, because this world doesn’t need that August. It needs someone else.
Victoria Schwab (Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, #2))
But there was a special kind of gift that came with embracing the chaos, even if I cursed most of the way. I'm convinced that, when everything is wiped blank, it's life 's way of forcing you to become acquainted with and aware of who you are now, who you can become. What is the fulfillment of your soul?
Jennifer DeLucy
Even I don’t know myself... In fact, I don’t know if I really have a self at all, as I’m constantly playing different roles and pretending – not so much on stage as in real life...
Simona Panova (Nightmarish Sacrifice)
You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity. Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There's been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away -- all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval. Mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, cometary impacts, volcano eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time. It will certainly survive us. If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the earth was sizzling hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in Arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. It might take a few billion years for life to regain its present variety. Of course, it would be very different from what it is now, but the earth would survive our folly, only we would not. If the ozone layer gets thinner, ultraviolet radiation sears the earth, so what? Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It's powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change. Many forms of life will thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. Do you think this is the first time that's happened? Think about oxygen. Necessary for life now, but oxygen is actually a metabolic poison, a corrosive glass, like fluorine. When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago we didn't have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can't imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven't got the humility to try. We've been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we're gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park / Congo)
There is absolutely no worse death curse than the humdrum daily existence of the living dead.
Anthon St. Maarten
When life attains a crisis, man’s focus narrows. […] The world becomes a stage of immediate concern, swept free of illusion.
Jim Thompson (The Killer Inside Me)
Grow with discipline. Balance intuition with rigor. Innovate around the core. Don't embrace the status quo. Find new ways to see. Never expect a silver bullet. Get your hands dirty. Listen with empathy and overcommunicate with transparency. Tell your story, refusing to let others define you. Use authentic experiences to inspire. Stick to your values, they are your foundation. Hold people accountable, but give them the tools to succeed. Make the tough choices; it's how you execute that counts. Be decisive in times of crisis. Be nimble. Find truth in trials and lessons in mistakes. Be responsible for what you see, hear, and do. Believe.
Howard Schultz (Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul)
By the age of twenty, you know you're not going to be a rock star. By twenty-five, you know you're not going to be a dentist or any kind of professional. And by thirty, darkness starts moving in- you wonder if you're ever going to be fulfilled, let alone wealthy and successful. By thirty-five, you know, basically, what you're going to be doing for the rest of your life, and you become resigned to your fate... ...I mean, why do people live so long? What could be the difference between death at fifty-five and death at sixty-five or seventy-five or eighty-five? Those extra years... what benefit could they possibly have? Why do we go on living even though nothing new happens, nothing new is learned, and nothing new is transmitted? At fifty-five, your story's pretty much over.
Douglas Coupland (Player One: What Is to Become of Us (CBC Massey Lectures))
There’s power in the touch of another person’s hand. We acknowledge it in little ways, all the time. There’s a reason human beings shake hands, hold hands, slap hands, bump hands. “It comes from our very earliest memories, when we all come into the world blinded by light and color, deafened by riotous sound, flailing in a suddenly cavernous space without any way of orienting ourselves, shuddering with cold, emptied with hunger, and justifiably frightened and confused. And what changes that first horror, that original state of terror? “The touch of another person’s hands. “Hands that wrap us in warmth, that hold us close. Hands that guide us to shelter, to comfort, to food. Hands that hold and touch and reassure us through our very first crisis, and guide us into our very first shelter from pain. The first thing we ever learn is that the touch of someone else’s hand can ease pain and make things better. “That’s power. That’s power so fundamental that most people never even realize it exists.
Jim Butcher (Skin Game (The Dresden Files, #15))
I believe that anyone can be successful in life, regardless of natural talent or the environment within which we live. This is not based on measuring success by human competitiveness for wealth, possessions, influence, and fame, but adhering to God's standards of truth, justice, humility, service, compassion, forgiveness, and love.
Jimmy Carter (Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis)
Through each crisis in my life, with acceptance and hope, in a single defining moment, I finally gained the courage to do things differently.
Sharon E. Rainey
Never let a good crisis go to waste. It’s the universe challenging you to learn something new and rise to the next level of your potential.
Timothy Ferriss (Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World)
social mobility isn’t just about money and economics, it’s about a lifestyle change. The wealthy and the powerful aren’t just wealthy and powerful; they follow a different set of norms and mores. When you go from working-class to professional-class, almost everything about your old life becomes unfashionable at best or unhealthy at worst.
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
When life attains a crisis, man’s focus narrows.
Jim Thompson (The Killer Inside Me)
I was starting to see that what looks like garbage from one angle might be art from another. Maybe it did take a crisis to get to know yourself; maybe you needed to get whacked hard by life before you understood what you wanted out of it.
Jodi Picoult (Handle with Care)
...we're told by TV and Reader's Digest that a crisis will trigger massive personal change--and that those big changes will make the pain worthwhile. But from what he could see, big change almost never happens. People simply feel lost. They have no idea what to say or do or feel or think. they become messes and tend to remain messes.
Douglas Coupland (The Gum Thief)
He's one kind of person, you're another. When life is going along normally, you're sort of the same. But when life turns strange and scary, when there's a crisis, suddenly you're completely different people.
Michael Grant (Gone (Gone, #1))
People may call what happens at midlife “a crisis,” but it’s not. It’s an unraveling—a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re “supposed” to live. The unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are.
Brené Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are)
Crisis is what suppressed pain looks like; it always comes to the surface. It shakes you into reflection and healing.
Bryant McGill (Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life)
A person who is truly cool is a work of art. And remember, original works of art cost exponentially higher than imitations. Just take a look at the the coolest people in history. They will always be a part of history for being extremely original individuals, not imitations.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
In a nutshell, the universe is 4% visible, 23% undetectable and 73% unimaginable. Welcome to the cosmos, full of mass you can measure but not manhandle, driven by a force you can infer but not explain.
Tim Radford (The Crisis Of Life On Earth: Our Legacy From The Second Millenium)
Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life,the idea came to him of what he called 'the love of your fate.' Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, 'This is what I need.' It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment--not discouragement--you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.
Joseph Campbell (A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living)
There must be many of us whose lives have been divided into a before and after, with an accident, a death, a crime, a crisis, some moment or year or relationship that came between and changed everything. I want to see how your life moved forward from that point of division.
Kathryn Harrison (While They Slept: An Inquiry Into the Murder of a Family)
After a great blow, or crisis, after the first shock and then after the nerves have stopped screaming and twitching, you settle down to the new condition of things and feel that all possibility of change has been used up. You adjust yourself, and are sure that the new equilibrium is for eternity. . . But if anything is certain it is that no story is ever over, for the story which we think is over is only a chapter in a story which will not be over, and it isn't the game that is over, it is just an inning, and that game has a lot more than nine innings. When the game stops it will be called on account of darkness. But it is a long day.
Robert Penn Warren (All the King's Men)
In every life there is a moment. A crisis. One that says: what I believe is wrong. It happens to everyone, the only difference is how that knowledge changes them. In most cases, it is simply a case of burying that knowledge and pretending it isn’t there. That is how humans grow old. That is ultimately what creases their faces and curves their backs and shrinks their mouths and ambitions. The weight of that denial. The stress of it. This is not unique to humans. The single biggest act of bravery or madness anyone can do is the act of change.
Matt Haig (The Humans)
A NATION'S GREATNESS DEPENDS ON ITS LEADER To vastly improve your country and truly make it great again, start by choosing a better leader. Do not let the media or the establishment make you pick from the people they choose, but instead choose from those they do not pick. Pick a leader from among the people who is heart-driven, one who identifies with the common man on the street and understands what the country needs on every level. Do not pick a leader who is only money-driven and does not understand or identify with the common man, but only what corporations need on every level. Pick a peacemaker. One who unites, not divides. A cultured leader who supports the arts and true freedom of speech, not censorship. Pick a leader who will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes -- or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. Pick a leader who will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. Pick a leader who chooses diplomacy over war. An honest broker in foreign relations. A leader with integrity, one who says what they mean, keeps their word and does not lie to their people. Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor, and the environmentalist -- not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist. Pick a leader who will keep jobs in your country by offering companies incentives to hire only within their borders, not one who allows corporations to outsource jobs for cheaper labor when there is a national employment crisis. Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies. Most importantly, a great leader must serve the best interests of the people first, not those of multinational corporations. Human life should never be sacrificed for monetary profit. There are no exceptions. In addition, a leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands to be revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader. And lastly, pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader's greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
I have no idea whether parents can be of help, and I do not blame mine. It was my own affair to come to terms with myself and to find my own way, and like most well-brought-up children, I managed it badly. Everyone goes through this crisis. For the average person this is the point when the demands of his own life come into the sharpest conflict with his environment, when the way forward has to be sought with the bitterest means at his command. Many people experience the dying and rebirth - which is our fate - only this once during their entire life. Their childhood becomes hollow and gradually collapses, everything they love abandons them and they suddenly feel surrounded by the loneliness and mortal cold of the universe. Very many are caught forever in this impasse, and for the rest of their lives cling painfully to an irrevocable past, the dream of the lost paradise - which is the worst and most ruthless of dreams.
Hermann Hesse (Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend)
The power we discover inside ourselves as we survive a life-threatening experience can be utilized equally well outside of crisis, too. I am, in every moment, capable of mustering the strength to survive again—or of tapping that strength in other good, productive, healthy ways.
Michele Rosenthal (Before the World Intruded)
Oh. No wonder I'd been sick. I hadn't eaten anything since then. I'm a girl who likes her meals, so it hadn't been a weight-loss tactic. I'd just been too busy bumping from crisis to crisis. Go on the Sookie Stackhouse Narrow Avoidance of Death Diet! Run for your life, and miss meals, too! Exercise plus starvation.
Charlaine Harris (Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse, #11))
The greatest fear that human beings experience is not death, which is inevitable, but consideration of the distinct possibility of living a worthless life.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
If origin defines race, then we are all Africans – we are all black.
Abhijit Naskar (We Are All Black: A Treatise on Racism (Humanism Series))
The Mistake With the mistake your life goes in reverse. Now you can see exactly what you did Wrong yesterday and wrong the day before And each mistake leads back to something worse And every nuance of your hypocrisy Towards yourself, and every excuse Stands solidly on the perspective lines And there is perfect visibility. What an enlightenment. The colonnade Rolls past on either side. You needn't move. The statues of your errors brush your sleeve. You watch the tale turn back — and you're dismayed. And this dismay at this, this big mistake Is made worse by the sight of all those who Knew all along where these mistakes would lead — Those frozen friends who watched the crisis break. Why didn't they say? Oh, but they did indeed — Said with a murmur when the time was wrong Or by a mild refusal to assent Or told you plainly but you would not heed. Yes, you can hear them now. It hurts. It's worse Than any sneer from any enemy. Take this dismay. Lay claim to this mistake. Look straight along the lines of this reverse.
James Fenton (Out of Danger)
Competence means keeping your head in a crisis, sticking with a task even when it seems hopeless, and improvising good solutions to tough problems when every second counts. It encompasses ingenuity, determination and being prepared for anything.
Chris Hadfield (An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth)
To you is granted the power of degrading yourself into the lower forms of life, the beasts, and to you is granted the power, contained in your intellect and judgment, to be reborn into the higher forms, the divine.
Zygmunt Bauman (State of Crisis)
Learning to let go of expectations is a ticket to peace. It allows us to ride over every crisis—small or large, brother-in-law or end-of-quarter office lockdown—like a beach ball on water. The next time a problem arises in your life, take a deep breath, let out a sigh, and replace the thought Oh no! with the thought Okay.
Martha N. Beck
Food, particularly chocolate, at a time of grief or crisis is never a mistake.
Lucinda Fleeson (Waking Up in Eden: In Pursuit of an Impassioned Life on an Imperiled Island)
Worrying never heads off a crisis, and it doesn't prepare you for one.
Emilie Richards (Sister's Choice)
Oil may run out, liquidity may dry up, but as long as ink flows freely, the next chapter of Life will continue to be written.
Alex Morritt (Impromptu Scribe)
I don't know anything anymore. Is that normal? Is it normal to notice the enormity of everything and just go blank?
A.M. Homes
All major religious traditions accept that suffering and death are simply part of life. The deep radicalism of humanitarian action is its belief that people are not made to suffer.
David Rieff (A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis)
On the way from the Renaissance to our days we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility. We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life. In the East, it is destroyed by the dealings and machinations of the ruling party. In the West, commercial interests tend to suffocate it. This is the real crisis.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
If you believe that hard work pays off, then you work hard; if you think it’s hard to get ahead even when you try, then why try at all? Similarly, when people do fail, this mind-set allows them to look outward. I once ran into an old acquaintance at a Middletown bar who told me that he had recently quit his job because he was sick of waking up early. I later saw him complaining on Facebook about the “Obama economy” and how it had affected his life. I don’t doubt that the Obama economy has affected many, but this man is assuredly not among them. His status in life is directly attributable to the choices he’s made, and his life will improve only through better decisions. But for him to make better choices, he needs to live in an environment that forces him to ask tough questions about himself. There is a cultural movement in the white working class to blame problems on society or the government, and that movement gains adherents by the day.
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
There is nothing in the world so difficult as that task of making up one's mind. Who is there that has not longed that the power and privilege of selection among alternatives should be taken away from him in some important crisis of his life, and that his conduct should be arranged for him, either this way or that, by some divine power if it were possible, - by some patriarchal power in the absence of divinity, - or by chance, even, if nothing better than chance could be found to do it? But no one dares to cast the die, and to go honestly by the hazard. There must be the actual necessity of obeying the die, before even the die can be of any use.
Anthony Trollope (Phineas Finn)
You are suffering from an ailment that affects ladies of romantic imaginations. Symptoms include fainting, weariness, loss of appetite, low spirits. While on one level the crisis can be ascribed to wandering about in freezing rain without the benefit of adequate waterproofing, the deeper cause is more likely to be found in some emotional trauma. However, unlike the heroines of your favorite novels, your constitution has not been weakened by the privations of life in earlier, harsher centuries. No tuberculosis, no childhood polio, no unhygienic living conditions. You'll survive.' " pg. 303
Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale)
I will be living with chronic pain for the rest of my life. I don’t have the mobility, energy or life options I used to have. I work hard to manage the pain, and I want the medical system to be a respectful and effective partner, not a jailer. The opioid crisis is not my doing.
Sonya Huber
Then the shit hit the fan.
John Kenneth Galbraith (A Life in Our Times)
There is a grotesquerie to grief as well. You lose the sense of your existence being rational, or justifiable. You feel absurd.
Julian Barnes (Levels of Life)
Sentiments that glorify humanity know no racial distinction.
Abhijit Naskar (We Are All Black: A Treatise on Racism (Humanism Series))
Everything in life can be taken away from you and generally will be at some point. Your wealth vanishes, the latest gadgetry suddenly becomes passé, your allies desert you. But if your mind is armed with the art of war, there is no power that can take that away. In the middle of a crisis, your mind will find its way to the right solution. Having superior strategies at your fingertips will give your maneuvers irresistible force. As Sun-tzu says, “Being unconquerable lies with yourself.
Robert Greene (The 33 Strategies Of War (The Robert Greene Collection))
As far as Kiva could tell, whenever selfish humans encountered a wrenching, life-altering crisis, they embarked on a journey of five distinct stages: Denial. Denial. Denial. Fucking Denial. Oh shit everything is terrible grab what you can and run.
John Scalzi (The Last Emperox (The Interdependency, #3))
Towards the end of your life you have something like a pain schedule to fill out—a long schedule like a federal document, only it's your pain schedule. Endless categories. First, physical causes—like arthritis, gallstones, menstrual cramps. New category, injured vanity, betrayal, swindle, injustice. But the hardest items of all have to do with love. The question then is: So why does everybody persist? If love cuts them up so much....
Saul Bellow (More Die of Heartbreak)
Competence means keeping your head in a crisis, sticking with a task even when it seems hopeless, and improvising good solutions to tough problems when every second counts. It encompasses ingenuity, determination and being prepared for anything. Astronauts have these qualities not because we’re smarter than everyone else (though let’s face it, you do need a certain amount of intellectual horsepower to be able to fix a toilet). It’s because we are taught to view the world—and ourselves—differently. My shorthand for it is “thinking like an astronaut.” But you don’t have to go to space to learn to do that. It’s mostly a matter of changing your perspective.
Chris Hadfield (An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth)
I was on a mission. I had to learn to comfort myself, to see what others saw in me and believe it. I needed to discover what the hell made me happy other than being in love. Mission impossible. When did figuring out what makes you happy become work? How had I let myself get to this point, where I had to learn me..? It was embarrassing. In my college psychology class, I had studied theories of adult development and learned that our twenties are for experimenting, exploring different jobs, and discovering what fulfills us. My professor warned against graduate school, asserting, "You're not fully formed yet. You don't know if it's what you really want to do with your life because you haven't tried enough things." Oh, no, not me.." And if you rush into something you're unsure about, you might awake midlife with a crisis on your hands," he had lectured it. Hi. Try waking up a whole lot sooner with a pre-thirty predicament worm dangling from your early bird mouth. "Well to begin," Phone Therapist responded, "you have to learn to take care of yourself. To nurture and comfort that little girl inside you, to realize you are quite capable of relying on yourself. I want you to try to remember what brought you comfort when you were younger." Bowls of cereal after school, coated in a pool of orange-blossom honey. Dragging my finger along the edge of a plate of mashed potatoes. I knew I should have thought "tea" or "bath," but I didn't. Did she want me to answer aloud? "Grilled cheese?" I said hesitantly. "Okay, good. What else?" I thought of marionette shows where I'd held my mother's hand and looked at her after a funny part to see if she was delighted, of brisket sandwiches with ketchup, like my dad ordered. Sliding barn doors, baskets of brown eggs, steamed windows, doubled socks, cupcake paper, and rolled sweater collars. Cookouts where the fathers handled the meat, licking wobbly batter off wire beaters, Christmas ornaments in their boxes, peanut butter on apple slices, the sounds and light beneath an overturned canoe, the pine needle path to the ocean near my mother's house, the crunch of snow beneath my red winter boots, bedtime stories. "My parents," I said. Damn. I felt like she made me say the secret word and just won extra points on the Psychology Game Network. It always comes down to our parents in therapy.
Stephanie Klein (Straight Up and Dirty)
Walk away from every vicious act. Never look back.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Think Great: Be Great! (Beautiful Quotes, #1))
Materialism is an identity crisis.
Bryant McGill (Voice of Reason)
Business crises energize me. Personal crises devastate me. The doctors call it an avoidance tendency. (Mirena to Eve)
J.D. Robb (Glory in Death (In Death, #2))
My experience has taught me that all of us have a reservoir of untapped strength that comes to the fore at moments of crisis.
Gerda Weissmann Klein (All But My Life: A Memoir)
A person experiences anxiety when they realize their insignificance in the cosmic field, which present state of angst can exacerbated by other confusing life questions.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
Being constantly the hub of a network of potential interruptions provides the excitement and importance of crisis management. As well as the false sense of efficiency in multitasking, there is the false sense of urgency in multi-interrupt processing.
Michael Foley (The Age Of Absurdity: Why Modern Life Makes It Hard To Be Happy)
Mamaw and Papaw believed that hard work mattered more. They knew that life was a struggle, and though the odds were a bit longer for people like them, that fact didn’t excuse failure. “Never be like these fucking losers who think the deck is stacked against them,” my grandma often told me. “You can do anything you want to.” Their
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
Considering the way the prebiotic soup is referred to in so many discussions of the origin of life as an already established reality, it comes as something of a shock to realize that there is absolutely no positive evidence for its existence.
Michael Denton (Evolution: A Theory In Crisis)
Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere. With infinite effort we nerve ourselves for a crisis that never comes. The most successful career must show a waste of strength that might have removed mountains, and the most unsuccessful is not that of the man who is taken unprepared, but of him who has prepared and is never taken.
E.M. Forster (Howards End)
By giving the name of progress to its own tendency to a fatal precision, the world is seeking to add to the benefits of life the advantages of death.
Paul Valéry (An Anthology)
During life's crisis...try to worry less and smile more.
Timothy Pina (Hearts for Haiti: Book of Poetry & Inspiration)
I am having a quarter-life crisis," I announced to my mother. "My generation never had those, we just had babies and thought about killing them from time to time.
Zoe Whittall (Holding Still For As Long As Possible)
...our free will could convert a curse into a blessing or a blessing into a curse...To transform a crisis into an opportunity was true wisdom
Radhanath Swami (The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami)
We each possess the ability creatively to respond to the ontological mystery of our existence.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
In the biological sense, race does not exist.
Abhijit Naskar (We Are All Black: A Treatise on Racism (Humanism Series))
When the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys.He becomes a sort of hollow,posing dummy,the conventional figure of a sahib.For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the "natives",and so in every crisis he has got to do what the "natives" expect of him.He wears a mask and his face grows to fit it.
George Orwell
I don't mean to sound like a spoiled brat. I know that into every sunny life a little rain must fall and all that, but in my case, the crisis-level hysteria is an all-too-recurring theme. The voices inside my head, which I used to think were just passing through, seem to have taken up residence And I've been on these goddamn pills for years.
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
I live to enjoy life by the littlest things, feeling the grass between my toes, breathing fresh air, watching the wind sway the trees, enjoying the company of loved ones, a deep conversation, getting lost in a good book, going for a walk in nature, watching my kids grow up. Just the feeling itself of being alive, the absolute amazing fact that we are here right now, breathing, thinking, doing.
Marigold Wellington
I am a firm believer in preordination—everything happens for a reason. Hence, the logic behind the Chinese symbol for crisis, danger and opportunity. Facing a crisis may present hazards of all kinds, but it also presents opportunities. During a crisis, you learn to survive outside the norm. When you face adversity, see it as an opportunity to learn novel ways to cope.
Art Rios (Let's Talk: ...About Making Your Life Exciting, Easier, And Exceptional)
The most fascinating thing to me about your letter is that buried beneath all the anxiety and sorrow and fear and self-loathing, there’s arrogance at its core. It presumes you should be successful at twenty-six, when really it takes most writers much longer to get there.
Cheryl Strayed
I have just four words to leave with you. Four words that have spoken volumes of truth into my life.' He wanted the words to stay in the room, to remain long after he had gone. Though no one wished to hear Paul's radical injunction, it had to be told. 'In everything, give thanks.' This was the lifeboat in any crisis. Over and over again, he had learned this, and over and over again, he had to be reminded.
Jan Karon
Sometimes I wondered if I had made Joan up. Other times I wondered if she would continue to pop in at every crisis of my life to remind me of what I had been, and what I had been through, and carry on her own separate but similar crisis under my nose.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
That is the real story of my lift, and that is why I wrote this book. I want people to know what it feels like to nearly give up on yourself and why you might do it. I want people to understand what happens in the lives of the poor and the psychological impact that spiritual and material poverty has on their children. I want people to understand the American Dream as my family and I encountered it. I want people to understand how upward mobility really feels. And I want people to understand something I learned only recently: that for those of us lucky enough to live the American Dream, the demons of the life we left behind continue to chase us.
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
I don't hold to the idea that God causes suffering and crisis. I just know that those things come along and God uses them. We think life should be a nice, clean ascending line. But inevitably something wanders onto the scene and creates havoc with the nice way we've arranged life to fall in place.
Sue Monk Kidd (When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions)
A crowd whose discontent has risen no higher than the level of slogans is only a crowd. But a crowd that understands the reasons for its discontent and knows the remedies is a vital community, and it will have to be reckoned with. I would rather go before the government with two people who have a competent understanding of an issue, and who therefore deserve a hearing, than with two thousand who are vaguely dissatisfied. But even the most articulate public protest is not enough. We don't live in the government or in institutions or in our public utterances and acts, and the environmental crisis has its roots in our lives. By the same token, environmental health will also be rooted in our lives. That is, I take it, simply a fact, and in the light of it we can see how superficial and foolish we would be to think that we could correct what is wrong merely by tinkering with the institutional machinery. The changes that are required are fundamental changes in the way we are living.
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
A period of darkness is essential in order to expand personal awareness. Experiencing sadness and loss makes a person appreciative of life, more tenderhearted, and open to living life as an ecstatic journey of discovery.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
All improvements, transformations, achievements, liberations; everything you want to change about yourself and your life; everything you want to make happen, any obstacle you want to overcome, any crisis you must survive—the prerequisite is being able to allow yourself to feel whatever it is you feel and not pretend to feel something you don’t.
Augusten Burroughs (This Is How: Surviving What You Think You Can't)
I feel these forbidden thoughts creep in sometimes without warning. Slow thoughts that always start quietly, like whispers you're not even sure you're hearing. And then they get louder and louder until they become every sound in the entire world. Thoughts that can't be undone. Would anyone care? Would anyone even fucking notice? What if one day I just wasn't here anymore? What if one day it all just stopped? What if? What if? What if?
Amber Smith (The Way I Used to Be)
Remember, too, that all who succeed in life get off to a bad start, and pass through many heartbreaking struggles before they “arrive.” The turning point in the lives of those who succeed, usually comes at the moment of some crisis, through which they are introduced to their “other selves.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich)
Developing mental strength isn’t about having to be the best at everything. It also isn’t about earning the most money or achieving the biggest accomplishments. Instead, developing mental strength means knowing that you’ll be okay no matter what happens. Whether you’re facing serious personal problems, a financial crisis, or a family tragedy, you’ll be best prepared for whatever circumstances you encounter when you’re mentally strong. Not only will you be ready to deal with the realities of life, but you’ll be able to live according to your values no matter what life throws your way.
Amy Morin (13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success)
We must realize that growth is but an adolescent phase of life which stops when physical maturity is reached. If growth continues in the period of maturity it is called obesity or cancer. Prescribing growth as the cure for the energy crisis has all the logic of prescribing increasing quantities of food as a remedy for obesity.
Albert A. Bartlett
Margaret realized the chaotic nature of our daily life, and its difference from the orderly sequence that has been fabricated by historians. Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere. With infinite effort we nerve ourselves for a crisis that never comes. The most successful career must show a waste of strength that might have removed mountains, and the most unsuccessful is no that of a man who is taken unprepared, but of him who has prepared and is never taken. On a tragedy of that kind our national morality is duly silent. It assumes that preparation against danger is in itself a good, and that men, like nations, are the better for staggering through life fully armed. The tragedy of preparedness has scarcely been handled, save by the Greeks. Life is indeed dangerous, but not in the way morality would have us believe. It is indeed unmanageable, but the essence of it is not a battle. It is unmanageable, but the essence of it is not a battle. It is unmanageable because it is a romance, and its essence is romantic beauty.
E.M. Forster (Howards End)
Heaven is filled with absolute, perfect, confidence in God. This world is filled with absolute mistrust. And you and I will always reflect the nature of the world we are most aware of. What you live conscious of is what you will reproduce in the world around you. I try to live in such a way that nothing ever gets bigger in my awareness than my conscious awareness of the presence of God upon me. I don’t care what the problem is; if it’s an international crisis or a personal issue, the moment that problem gets bigger than my awareness of the presence of God on me, then I will live in reaction to a problem.
Bill Johnson (Manifesto for a Normal Christian Life)
While part of my mind puzzled that out, I watched my mother with fascination. I'd listened to her tell her stories. I'd seen and felt her fight. But really, truly, I'd never seen her in action in a real-life crisis. She showed every bit of that hard control she did around me, but here, I could see how necessary it was. A situation like this created panic. Even among the guardians, I could sense those who were so keyed up that they wanted to do something drastic. My mother was a voice of reason, a reminder that they had to stay focused and fully assess the situation. Her composure calmed everybody; her strong manner inspired them. This, I realized, was how a leader behaved.
Richelle Mead (Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2))
I should have learned mindfulness, and it’s too late now because it’s no good learning it when you’re already in crisis: you have to start when things are good. But only the very, very oddest would think, Hey, my life is perfect. I know! I’ll sit and waste twenty minutes Observing My Thoughts without Judgement.
Marian Keyes (The Break)
In the beginning of a relationship, you see what you want to see. You fall in love with qualities you want in partner, not necessarily qualities your partner actually has. Then, over time, you begin to realise that no, the man in front of you is not the same person you felt in love with, because the person you felt in love with was a spectre, something of your own invention. Now you're left with a real flesh-and-blood human, and he isn't perfect, and now you have to deal with that. It's a stark time. It's not easy to come to grips with these things, but you can't go your whole life pretending this man is everything you built him up to be in your mind.
G.R. Richards (The Long Way Home)
Sometimes we need a personal crisis to reinforce in our minds what we really value and cherish. The scriptures are filled with examples of people facing crises before learning how to better serve God and others. Perhaps if you, too, search your hearts and courageously assess the priorities in your life, you may discover, as I did, that you need a better balance among your priorities.
M. Russell Ballard
A pandemic-like crisis is an excellent time for you to serve your neighbors, as prudently and safely as possible, because no matter how bad you may have it, someone else has it worse. Crises also allow us to reflect on what truly matters and to put aside the trivial. Leave behind grudges and reconcile. Forgive the relative who slighted you, be the bigger person and reach out to see if they need help. If your marriage has fizzled, spice it up. Relight the passion. This is the perfect time to take toll and fix things that may have needed fixing for a long time.
Art Rios (Let's Talk: ...About Making Your Life Exciting, Easier, And Exceptional)
I’m not studying the heroes who lead navies—and armies—and win wars. I’m studying ordinary people who you wouldn’t expect to be heroic, but who, when there’s a crisis, show extraordinary bravery and self-sacrifice. Like Jenna Geidel, who gave her life vaccinating people during the Pandemic. And the fishermen and retired boat owners and weekend sailors who rescued the British Army from Dunkirk. And Wells Crowther, the twenty-four-year-old equities trader who worked in the World Trade Center. When it was hit by terrorists, he could have gotten out, but instead he went back and saved ten people, and died. I’m going to observe six different sets of heroes in six different situations to try to determine what qualities they have in common.
Connie Willis (Blackout (All Clear, #1))
Life and death in the critical first hours of a calamity typically hinged on the preparedness, resources, and abilities of those in the affected community with the power to help themselves and others in their vicinity. Those who did better were those who didn’t wait idly for help to arrive. In the end, with systems crashing and failing, what mattered most and had the greatest immediate effects were the actions and decisions made in the midst of a crisis by individuals.
Sheri Fink (Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital)
Somewhere along the line, between the idealisms of youth and the realities of adulthood, we become pacified by our jobs; we tolerate how we hurt the world so that we can sustain our lives. At some point, blurred in the past, we traded the greater good for ourselves.
Richard Beckham II
It was no wonder that they thus questioned one another’s actual and bodily existence, and even doubted of their own. So strangely did they meet in the dim wood, that it was like the first encounter, in the world beyond the grave, of the two spirits who had been intimately connected in their former life, but now stood coldly shuddering, in mutual dread, as not yet familiar with their state, more wonted to the companionship of disembodied beings. Each a ghost, and awe-stricken at the other ghost! They were awe-stricken likewise at themselves; because the crisis flung back to them their consciousness, and revealed to each heart its history and experience, as life never does, except at such breathless epochs. The soul beheld its features in the mirror of the passing moment. It was with fear, and tremulously, and, as it were, by a slow, reluctant necessity, that Arthur Dimmesdale put forth his hand, chill as death, and touched the chill hand of Hester Prynne. The grasp, cold as it was, took away what was the dreariest in the interview. They now felt themselves, at last, inhabitants of the same sphere.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter)
We have a task before us which must be speedily performed. We know that it will be ruinous to make delay. The most important crisis of our life calls, trumpet-tongued, for immediate energy and action. We glow, we are consumed with eagerness to commence the work, with the anticipation of whose glorious result our whole souls are on fire. It must, it shall be undertaken to-day, and yet we put it off until to-morrow; and why? There is no answer, except that we feel perverse, using the word with no comprehension of the principle. To-morrow arrives, and with it a more impatient anxiety to do our duty, but with this very increase of anxiety arrives, also, a nameless, a positively fearful, because unfathomable, craving for delay. This craving gathers strength as the moments fly. The last hour for action is at hand. We tremble with the violence of the conflict within us, — of the definite with the indefinite — of the substance with the shadow. But, if the contest have proceeded thus far, it is the shadow which prevails, — we struggle in vain. The clock strikes, and is the knell of our welfare. At the same time, it is the chanticleer-note to the ghost that has so long overawed us. It flies — it disappears — we are free. The old energy returns. We will labor now. Alas, it is too late!
Edgar Allan Poe (The Complete Stories and Poems)
A lot of people don’t heal, and it manifests in a lot of different ways throughout their lives,” she said once. “Because when trauma doesn’t get to work itself through your system, your system idles at a heightened state, and so getting more really intense input calms your system down.” Which is why, Meredith said, “A lot of folks who’ve survived trauma end up being really calm in crisis and freaking out in everyday life.
Mac McClelland (Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story)
Our capacity for calm ultimately depends on our levels of expectation: if we suppose that most things normally turn out to be slightly disappointing (but that this is OK); that change occurs slowly (but that life is long); that most people are neither terribly good nor very wicked (and this includes us); that humanity has faced crisis after crisis (yet muddled through) – if we are able to keep these entirely obvious but highly fugitive thoughts alive in our minds, then we stand to be less easily seduced into panic.
Alain de Botton (The News: A User's Manual)
Most of us abandoned the idea of a life full of adventure and travel sometime between puberty and our first job. Our dreams died under the dark weight of responsibility. Occasionally the old urge surfaces, and we label it with names that suggest psychological aberrations: the big chill, a midlife crisis.
Tim Cahill (Jaguars Ripped My Flesh)
Psychologists call it “learned helplessness” when a person believes, as I did during my youth, that the choices I made had no effect on the outcomes in my life. From Middletown’s world of small expectations to the constant chaos of our home, life had taught me that I had no control. Mamaw and Papaw had saved me from succumbing entirely to that notion, and the Marine Corps broke new ground. If I had learned helplessness at home, the Marines were teaching learned willfulness. The
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
Any attempt to solve the ecological crisis within a bourgeois framework must be dismissed as chimerical. Capitalism is inherently anti-ecological. Competition and accumulation constitute its very law of life, a law … summarised in the phrase, ‘production for the sake of production.’ Anything, however hallowed or rare, ‘has its price’ and is fair game for the marketplace. In a society of this kind, nature is necessarily treated as a mere resource to be plundered and exploited. The destruction of the natural world, far being the result of mere hubristic blunders, follows inexorably from the very logic of capitalist production.
Murray Bookchin
...I believe that when all si said and done, all you can do is to show up for someone in crisis, which seems so inadequate. But then when you do, it can radically change everything. Your there-ness, your stepping into a scared [person's] line of vision, can be life giving, because often everyone else is in hiding...
Anne Lamott
And every historic effort to forge a democratic project has been undermined by two fundamental realities: poverty and paranoia. The persistence of poverty generates levels of despair that deepen social conflict the escalation of paranoia produces levels of distrust that reinforce cultural division. Rae is the most explosive issue in American life precisely because it forces us to confront the tragic facts of poverty and paranoia despair, and distrust. In short, a candid examination of race matters takes us to the core of the crisis of American democracy (p. 107).
Cornel West (Race Matters)
Simple people with less education, sophistication, social ties, and professional obligations seem in general to have somewhat less difficulty in facing this final crisis than people of affluence who lose a great deal more in terms of material luxuries, comfort, and number of interpersonal relationships. It appears that people who have gone through a life of suffering, hard work, and labor, who have raised their children and been gratified in their work, have shown greater ease in accepting death with peace and dignity compared to those who have been ambitiously controlling their environment, accumulating material goods, and a great number of social relationships but few meaningful interpersonal relationships which would have been available at the end of life.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (On Death and Dying)
Have not many of us, in the weary way of life, felt, in some hours, how far easier it were to die than to live? The martyr, when faced even by a death of bodily anguish and horror, finds in the very terror of his doom a strong stimulant and tonic. There is a vivid excitement, a thrill and fervor, which may carry through any crisis of suffering that is the birth-hour of eternal glory and rest. But to live, to wear on, day after day, of mean, bitter, low, harassing servitude, every nerve dampened and depressed, every power of feeling gradually smothered, this long and wasting heart-martyrdom, this slow, daily bleeding away of the inward life, drop by drop, hour after hour, this is the true searching test of what there may be in man or woman.
Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin)
Against all expectations, the symptoms of Van Gogh’s mental illness are conspicuous by their almost complete absence from his letters. Much as he chose not to paint before he had fully recovered from one of his attacks, so he refrained from writing at times of crisis. Throughout his life, admittedly, his letters bear witness to a man possessed, frequently agitated, enraged, dejected, obsessed, but never deranged, or emotionally or intellectually unstable.
Vincent van Gogh (The Letters of Vincent van Gogh)
You need to challenge your fear of life becoming unreasonable - because it is already unreasonable. In truth, your life has never been reasonable, it’s just that you keep hoping tomorrow will be different and that you will find a way to bring more control into your world. Recognize that life will always be full of challenges and crisis. The wise way is not to attempt to find one path that promises you will never have to endure the pain of loss and illness, but instead to learn how to endure and transcend when unreasonable events come your way. Learning to defy gravity in your world - to think, perceive, and act at the mystical level of consciousness - is the greatest gift you can give yourself, because it is the gift of truth. And as we are bound to learn again and again in this life, the truth does indeed set us free.
Caroline Myss
Just as in the second part of a verse bad poets seek a thought to fit their rhyme, so in the second half of their lives people tend to become more anxious about finding actions, positions, relationships that fit those of their earlier lives, so that everything harmonizes quite well on the surface: but their lives are no longer ruled by a strong thought, and instead, in its place, comes the intention of finding a rhyme.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits)
There passes a time of happiness in your life, which I will not describe to you. It is unimportant. Perhaps you think it wrong that I dwell so much on the horrors, the pain, but pain is what shapes us, after all. We are creatures born of heat and pressure and grinding, ceaseless movement. To be still is to be… not alive. But what is important is that you know it was not all terrible. There was peace in long stretches, between each crisis. A chance to cool and solidify before the grind resumed.
N.K. Jemisin (The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1))
Every one of us will go through things that destroy our inner compass and pull meaning out from under us. Everyone who does not die young will go through some sort of spiritual crisis, where we have lost our sense of what is right and wrong, possible and impossible, real and not real. Never underestimate how frightening, angering, confusing, devastating it is to be in that place. Making meaning of what is meaningless is hard work. Soul-searching is painful. This process of making or finding meaning at the end of life is what the chaplain facilitates.
Kerry Egan (On Living)
I do the splits perfectly in PE. I lose half a pound in two days. I get the spinach and pig-meat frittata from the lo-carb section for lunch. And no-one else knows. I mentally construct a MyFace status, polishing the memories carefully until they shine. The need to record my life is as fundamental as my need to breathe. Without MyFace, I'm floating. I have nothing to anchor me down, to prove I exist.
Louise O'Neill
Maybe you are Saul's quarter-life crisis, but so what? Maybe he's yours. Or maybe you two are the luckiest people in the world and you've just found your fireworks-in-the-sky, holding-hands-until-you-die Forever Person. Guess what? There are drawbacks either way. Maybe you break up and it sucks, but then you heal and move on and fall in love again. Or maybe this is it, the last person you'll ever have butterflies for, your last first kiss, but you get to grow up together, start your life together sooner. And you know what else? You don't have to be afraid to walk away either way...
Emily Henry (A Million Junes)
To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity.
Michael Denton (Evolution: A Theory In Crisis)
I can't see that Danish episode as an adventure, or a crisis survived, or a serious quest for anything definable. It was just another happening like today's luncheon, something I got into and got out of. And it reminds me too much of how little life changes: how, without dramatic events or high resolves, without tragedy, without even pathos, a reasonably endowed, reasonably well-intentioned man can walk through the world's great kitchen from end to end and arrive at the back door hungry.
Wallace Stegner (The Spectator Bird)
The problem with the 'masculinity crisis' is not that women have excelled too much and therefore created a crisis for men, but that we have such a stein inability to let go of what it has traditionally meant to be a man...As long as we perpetuate the myth that men have inherent qualities that make them more suitable than women for certain types of work, the shifting nature of the economy (and women's attainment of better jobs) is going to continue to be interpreted as a crisis of masculinity.
Samhita Mukhopadhyay (Outdated: Why Dating Is Ruining Your Love Life)
KAUFMAN Sir, what if a writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens, where people don't change, they don't have any epiphanies. They struggle and are frustrated and nothing is resolved. More a reflection of the real world — MCKEE The real world? KAUFMAN Yes, sir. MCKEE The real fucking world? First of all, you write a screenplay without Conflict or Crisis, you'll bore your audience to tears. Secondly: nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day! There's genocide, war, corruption! Every fucking day somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else! Every fucking day someone somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else! People find love! People lose it! For Christ's sake! A child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church! Someone goes hungry! Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman! If you can't find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don't know CRAP about life! And WHY THE FUCK are you wasting my two precious hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it! KAUFMAN Okay, thanks.
Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation.: The Shooting Script)
Back to my midlife crisis. There is a line I had written down from Viktor Frankl’s memoir about surviving the Holocaust, Man’s Search for Meaning, that stopped me cold when I read it: “it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.” I had never thought about what life expected from me. I had only thought about what I expected from life. That was a book putter-downer. It was a look up at the sky and wonder Where the fuck have I been all my life? moment.
Chelsea Handler (Life Will Be the Death of Me: . . . and you too!)
She said to me, over the phone She wanted to see other people I thought, Well then, look around. They're everywhere Said that she was confused... I thought, Darling, join the club 24 years old, Mid-life crisis Nowadays hits you when you're young I hung up, She called back, I hung up again The process had already started At least it happened quick I swear, I died inside that night My friend, he called I didn't mention a thing The last thing he said was, Be sound Sound... I contemplated an awful thing, I hate to admit I just thought those would be such appropriate last words But I'm still here And small So small.. How could this struggle seem so big? So big... While the palms in the breeze still blow green And the waves in the sea still absolute blue But the horror Every single thing I see is a reminder of her Never thought I'd curse the day I met her And since she's gone and wouldn't hear Who would care? What good would that do? But I'm still here So I imagine in a month...or 12 I'll be somewhere having a drink Laughing at a stupid joke Or just another stupid thing And I can see myself stopping short Drifting out of the present Sucked by the undertow and pulled out deep And there I am, standing Wet grass and white headstones all in rows And in the distance there's one, off on its own So I stop, kneel My new home... And I picture a sober awakening, a re-entry into this little bar scene Sip my drink til the ice hits my lip Order another round And that's it for now Sorry Never been too good at happy endings...
Eddie Vedder
There are many causes for a suicide, and generally the most obvious ones were not the most powerful. Rarely is suicide committed (yet the hypothesis is not excluded) through reflection. What sets off the crisis is almost always unverifiable. Newspapers often speak of "personal sorrows" or of "incurable illness." These explanations are plausible. But one would have to know whether a friend of the desperate man had not that very day addressed him indifferently. He is the guilty one. For that is enough to precipitate all the rancors and all the boredom still in suspension. But if it is hard to fix the precise instant, the subtle step when the mind opted for death, it is easier to deduce from the act itself the consequences it implies. In a sense, and as in melodrama, killing yourself amounts to confessing. It is confessing that life is too much for you or that you do not understand it. Let's not go too far in such analogies, however, but rather return to everyday words. It is merely confessing that that "is not worth the trouble." Living, naturally, is never easy. You continue making the gestures commanded by existence for many reasons, the first of which is habit. Dying voluntarily implies that you have recognized, even instinctively, the ridiculous character of that habit, the absence of any profound reason for living, the insane character of that daily agitation, and the uselessness of suffering. What, then, is that incalculable feeling that deprives the mind of the sleep necessary to life? A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.
Albert Camus
Nearly every person you will read about is deeply flawed. Some have tried to murder other people, and a few were successful. Some have abused their children, physically or emotionally. Many abused (and still abuse) drugs. But I love these people, even those to whom I avoid speaking for my own sanity. And if I leave you with the impression that there are bad people in my life, then I am sorry, both to you and to the people so portrayed. For there are no villains in this story. There's just a ragtag band of hillbillies struggling to find their way - both for their sake and, by the grace of God, for mine.
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
It’s not by accident that people talk of a state of confusion as not being able to see the wood for the trees, or of being out of the woods when some crisis is surmopunted. It is a place of loss, confusion, terror and anger, a place where you can, like Dante, find yourself going down into Hell. But if it’s any comfort, the dark wood isn’t just that. It’s also a place of opportunity and adventure. It is the place in which fortunes can be reversed, hearts mended, hopes reborn.
Amanda Craig
As the twenty-first century unfolds, it is becoming more and more evident that the major problems of our time – energy, the environment, climate change, food security, financial security – cannot be understood in isolation. They are systemic problems, which means that they are all interconnected and interdependent. Ultimately, these problems must be seen as just different facets of one single crisis, which is largely a crisis of perception. It derives from the fact that most people in our modern society, and especially our large social institutions, subscribe to the concepts of an outdated worldview, a perception of reality inadequate for dealing with our overpopulated, globally interconnected world.
Fritjof Capra (The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision)
WHAT 28 FEELS LIKE Every year of your 20s is subject to a very specific set of emotions, at least that’s what I think. 21 is great for obvious, surface-level reasons. 22 is a train wreck if you graduated in four years, and are then thrust into real life. 25 is when pretty much everything changes – from your priorities to your body. And, then, there’s 28. I don’t know what it is about this age in particular, but I’ve deemed it “The Crisis Year” and here’s why. 1. The realization that you’re now officially in your “late 20s” is enough to send you straight into the climax of a full-blown panic attack. You don’t even get to start at the beginning of the said attack, no. You wake up on your 28th birthday, screaming and dry heaving. It’s an instinctual reaction to knowing that, for the next 365 days of your life, you will be teetering on the fine line between actual adulthood and clutching on desperately to your youth. 2. Because you’re now in your late 20s, your parents start to treat you more like an GULP adult. Even if you’ve been paying your own way since forever, maybe you both secretly knew deep down that, in case of a huge emergency, asking them for help wasn’t off-limits. But, when 28 hits, it’s no longer an option. 3. You just feel old(er). There’s something about the curvy lines of the number “8” that cast a darker and much more serious shadow over things. You’ll still go out to popular nightlife establishments, but you will be internally ashamed about your age the entire time you’re there. And the horror if someone is to ask you how old you are! Being 26 in a nightclub is vastly different. Probably because you’re still in your mid-20s and because the shape of the number “6” is naturally fun and loopy, so it makes you feel safe. 4. Everyone you know is getting engaged. 5. Everyone you know is getting married. 6. Almost everyone you know who is married, is pregnant. 7. Let’s face it – after graduation, no one’s never not getting married. Before your eyes, your Facebook feed turns into an endless stream of engagement announcements. And, unless you decide to cast yourself out of society, this parade of seemingly happy couples moving forward together won’t slow down until probably age 30. But there’s something about the specific age of 28 that lends itself to just being drowned in marriage announcements no matter where you turn. It’s either couples who have been together for 6+ years finally taking the plunge, or “real world” couples who met a few years ago and got super serious, super fast. Either way, it’s a single 28-year-old’s worst nightmare. 8. Being tw0 years away from 30 is a bleak reality to face. Four years is like no big deal, because that’s an entire university experience. But two? Two will soon be one, and then you’re 30. 20somethings are delusional in many ways, but one of the biggest is how we think, by 30, our entire lives should be figured out. Married, babies, dream job, bla bla bla – all by 30. It’s a subtle attitude we all have that wants to scream, “30 OR BUST!” But, the closer you inch toward that milestone birthday, the more you realize what a total crock of shit all that is. And how you couldn’t be further away from having it all figured out if you tried. 9. Going back to one of the first points I made, being 28 is like being a brand new, beginner’s level gymnast, perilously seesawing between “real” adulthood and (what feel like) the last crumbs of your true youth. Half of you feels an enormous pressure to fully grow-up, while the other half of you is crippled by the notion of doing so. On one hand, you are sort of ready to get serious about love, career, and overall responsibility. On the other hand, you just want to continue making out at random, dating idiots, and generally freaking the fuck out over the future. Every day you wake up, there’s no telling which of these two ideals your mood is going t
joseph ejiro
Fairy tales are about trouble, about getting into and out of it, and trouble seems to be a necessary stage on the route to becoming. All the magic and glass mountains and pearls the size of houses and princesses beautiful as the day and talking birds and part-time serpents are distractions from the core of most of the stories, the struggle to survive against adversaries, to find your place in the world, and to come into your own. Fairy tales are almost always the stories of the powerless, of youngest sons, abandoned children, orphans, of humans transformed into birds and beasts or otherwise enchanted away from their own lives and selves. Even princesses are chattels to be disowned by fathers, punished by step-mothers, or claimed by princes, though they often assert themselves in between and are rarely as passive as the cartoon versions. Fairy tales are children's stories not in wh they were made for but in their focus on the early stages of life, when others have power over you and you have power over no one. In them, power is rarely the right tool for survival anyway. Rather the powerless thrive on alliances, often in the form of reciprocated acts of kindness -- from beehives that were not raided, birds that were not killed but set free or fed, old women who were saluted with respect. Kindness sewn among the meek is harvested in crisis... In Hans Christian Andersen's retelling of the old Nordic tale that begins with a stepmother, "The Wild Swans," the banished sister can only disenchant her eleven brothers -- who are swans all day look but turn human at night -- by gathering stinging nettles barehanded from churchyard graves, making them into flax, spinning them and knitting eleven long-sleeved shirts while remaining silent the whole time. If she speaks, they'll remain birds forever. In her silence, she cannot protest the crimes she accused of and nearly burned as a witch. Hauled off to a pyre as she knits the last of the shirts, she is rescued by the swans, who fly in at the last moment. As they swoop down, she throws the nettle shirts over them so that they turn into men again, all but the youngest brother, whose shirt is missing a sleeve so that he's left with one arm and one wing, eternally a swan-man. Why shirts made of graveyard nettles by bleeding fingers and silence should disenchant men turned into birds by their step-mother is a question the story doesn't need to answer. It just needs to give us compelling images of exile, loneliness, affection, and metamorphosis -- and of a heroine who nearly dies of being unable to tell her own story.
Rebecca Solnit (The Faraway Nearby)
I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!
Paddy Chayefsky (Network [Screenplay])
most cherished desires of present-day Westerners are shaped by romantic, nationalist, capitalist and humanist myths that have been around for centuries. Friends giving advice often tell each other, ‘Follow your heart.’ But the heart is a double agent that usually takes its instructions from the dominant myths of the day, and the very recommendation to ‘follow your heart’ was implanted in our minds by a combination of nineteenth-century Romantic myths and twentieth-century consumerist myths. The Coca-Cola Company, for example, has marketed Diet Coke around the world under the slogan ‘Diet Coke. Do what feels good.’ Even what people take to be their most personal desires are usually programmed by the imagined order. Let’s consider, for example, the popular desire to take a holiday abroad. There is nothing natural or obvious about this. A chimpanzee alpha male would never think of using his power in order to go on holiday into the territory of a neighbouring chimpanzee band. The elite of ancient Egypt spent their fortunes building pyramids and having their corpses mummified, but none of them thought of going shopping in Babylon or taking a skiing holiday in Phoenicia. People today spend a great deal of money on holidays abroad because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism. Romanticism tells us that in order to make the most of our human potential we must have as many different experiences as we can. We must open ourselves to a wide spectrum of emotions; we must sample various kinds of relationships; we must try different cuisines; we must learn to appreciate different styles of music. One of the best ways to do all that is to break free from our daily routine, leave behind our familiar setting, and go travelling in distant lands, where we can ‘experience’ the culture, the smells, the tastes and the norms of other people. We hear again and again the romantic myths about ‘how a new experience opened my eyes and changed my life’. Consumerism tells us that in order to be happy we must consume as many products and services as possible. If we feel that something is missing or not quite right, then we probably need to buy a product (a car, new clothes, organic food) or a service (housekeeping, relationship therapy, yoga classes). Every television commercial is another little legend about how consuming some product or service will make life better. 18. The Great Pyramid of Giza. The kind of thing rich people in ancient Egypt did with their money. Romanticism, which encourages variety, meshes perfectly with consumerism. Their marriage has given birth to the infinite ‘market of experiences’, on which the modern tourism industry is founded. The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences. Paris is not a city, nor India a country – they are both experiences, the consumption of which is supposed to widen our horizons, fulfil our human potential, and make us happier. Consequently, when the relationship between a millionaire and his wife is going through a rocky patch, he takes her on an expensive trip to Paris. The trip is not a reflection of some independent desire, but rather of an ardent belief in the myths of romantic consumerism. A wealthy man in ancient Egypt would never have dreamed of solving a relationship crisis by taking his wife on holiday to Babylon. Instead, he might have built for her the sumptuous tomb she had always wanted. Like the elite of ancient Egypt, most people in most cultures dedicate their lives to building pyramids. Only the names, shapes and sizes of these pyramids change from one culture to the other. They may take the form, for example, of a suburban cottage with a swimming pool and an evergreen lawn, or a gleaming penthouse with an enviable view. Few question the myths that cause us to desire the pyramid in the first place.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Whereas many people can find happiness by partaking in the ordinary trappings of life, creative people are especially susceptible to enduring an existential crisis, feeling that their life is aimless, irrational, and intolerably painful, especially when they are at an artistic impasse. The impelling act of using their imagination to create enduring artistic testaments is perhaps their only method to blunt the fateful feeling that it is useless to continue living in a world where life has no ultimate meaning, value, and purpose.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
He thought with a kind of astonishment of the biological uselessness of pain and fear, the treachery of the human body which always freezes into inertia at exactly the moment when a special effort is needed. He might have silenced the dark-haired girl if only he had acted quickly enough; but precisely because of the extremity of danger he had lost the power to act. It struck him that in moments of crisis one is never fighting against an external enemy but always against one's own body. Even now, in spite of the gin, the dull ache in his belly made consecutive thought impossible. And it is the same, he percieved, in all seemingly heroic or tragic situatuions. On the battlefield, in the torture chamber, on a sinking ship, the issues that you are fighting for are always forgotten, because the body swells up until it fills the universe, and even when you are not paralyzed by fright or screaming with pain, life is a moment-to-moment struggle against hunger or cold or sleeplessness, against a sour stomach or an aching tooth.
George Orwell (1984)
There are all sorts of families," Tom's grandmother had remarked, and over the following few weeks Tom became part of the Casson family, as Micheal and Sarah and Derek-from-the-camp had done before him. He immediately discovered that being a member of the family was very different from being a welcome friend. If you were a Casson family member, for example, and Eve drifted in from the shed asking, "Food? Any ideas? Or shall we not bother?" then you either joined in the search of the kitchen cupboards or counted the money in the housekeeping jam jar and calculated how many pizzas you could afford. Also, if you were a family member you took care of Rose, helped with homework (Saffron and Sarah were very strict about homework), unloaded the washing machine, learned to fold up Sarah's wheelchair, hunted for car keys, and kept up the hopeful theory that in the event of a crisis Bill Casson would disengage himself from his artistic life in London and rush home to help.
Hilary McKay (Indigo's Star (Casson Family, #2))
There are an estimated 258 million migrants around the world, and many of us are migrating to countries that previously colonized and imperialized us. We have a human right to move, and governments should serve that right, not limit it. The unprecedented movement of people - what some call a "global migration crisis" - is, in reality, a natural progression of history. Yes, we are here because we believe in the promise of the American Dream - the search for a better life, the challenge of dreaming big. But we are also here because you were there - the cost of American imperialism and globalization, the impact of economic policies and political decisions.
Jose Antonio Vargas (Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen)
In moments of spiritual crisis we naturally fall back upon what worked for us, or seemed to work, heretofore. Sometimes this shows up through the reassertion of our old values in belligerent, testy ways. Regression of any kind is just such a return to old presumptions, often after they have been shown to be insufficient for the complexity of larger questions. The virtue of the old presumptions is that they once worked, or seemed to work, and therein lies if not certainty, then nostalgia for a previous, presumptive security. In our private lives, we frequently fall back upon our old roles.
James Hollis (What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life)
In one way, at least, our lives really are like movies. The main cast consists of your family and friends. The supporting cast is made up of neighbors, co-workers, teachers, and daily acquaintances. There are also bit players: the supermarket checkout girl with the pretty smile, the friendly bartender at the local watering hole, the guys you work out with at the gym three days a week. And there are thousands of extras --those people who flow through every life like water through a sieve, seen once and never again. The teenager browsing a graphic novel at Barnes & Noble, the one you had to slip past (murmuring "Excuse me") in order to get to the magazines. The woman in the next lane at a stoplight, taking a moment to freshen her lipstick. The mother wiping ice cream off her toddler's face in a roadside restaurant where you stopped for a quick bite. The vendor who sold you a bag of peanuts at a baseball game. But sometimes a person who fits none of these categories comes into your life. This is the joker who pops out of the deck at odd intervals over the years, often during a moment of crisis. In the movies this sort of character is known as the fifth business, or the chase agent. When he turns up in a film, you know he's there because the screenwriter put him there. But who is screenwriting our lives? Fate or coincidence? I want to believe it's the latter. I want that with all my heart and soul.
Stephen King (Revival)
If we think in term of months, we had probably focus on immediate problems such as the turmoil in the Middle East, the refugee crisis in Europe and the slowing of the Chinese economy. If we think in terms of decades, then global warming, growing inequality and the disruption of the job market loom large. Yet if we take the really grand view of life, all other problems and developments are overshadowed by three interlinked processes: 1.​Science is converging on an all-encompassing dogma, which says that organisms are algorithms and life is data processing. 2.​Intelligence is decoupling from consciousness. 3.​Non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms may soon know us better than we know ourselves. These three processes raise three key questions, which I hope will stick in your mind long after you have finished this book: 1.​Are organisms really just algorithms, and is life really just data processing? 2.​What’s more valuable – intelligence or consciousness? 3.​What will happen to society, politics and daily life when non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms know us better than we know ourselves?
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
The theory of phlogiston was an inversion of the true nature of combustion. Removing phlogiston was in reality adding oxygen, while adding phlogiston was actually removing oxygen. The theory was a total misrepresentation of reality. Phlogiston did not even exist, and yet its existence was firmly believed and the theory adhered to rigidly for nearly one hundred years throughout the eighteenth century. ... As experimentation continued the properties of phlogiston became more bizarre and contradictory. But instead of questioning the existence of this mysterious substance it was made to serve more comprehensive purposes. ... For the skeptic or indeed to anyone prepared to step out of the circle of Darwinian belief, it is not hard to find inversions of common sense in modern evolutionary thought which are strikingly reminiscent of the mental gymnastics of the phlogiston chemists or the medieval astronomers. To the skeptic, the proposition that the genetic programmes of higher organisms, consisting of something close to a thousand million bits of information, equivalent to the sequence of letters in a small library of one thousand volumes, containing in encoded form countless thousands of intricate algorithms controlling, specifying and ordering the growth and development of billions and billions of cells into the form of a complex organism, were composed by a purely random process is simply an affront to reason. But to the Darwinist the idea is accepted without a ripple of doubt - the paradigm takes precedence!
Michael Denton (Evolution: A Theory In Crisis)
You think this is the first time such a thing has happened? Don’t you know about oxygen?” “I know it’s necessary for life.” “It is now,” Malcolm said. “But oxygen is actually a metabolic poison. It’s a corrosive gas, like fluorine, which is used to etch glass. And when oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells—say, around three billion years ago—it created a crisis for all other life on our planet. Those plant cells were polluting the environment with a deadly poison. They were exhaling a lethal gas, and building up its concentration. A planet like Venus has less than one percent oxygen. On earth, the concentration of oxygen was going up rapidly—five, ten, eventually twenty-one percent! Earth had an atmosphere of pure poison! Incompatible with life!” Hammond looked irritated. “So what is your point? That modern pollutants will be incorporated, too?” “No,” Malcolm said. “My point is that life on earth can take care of itself. In the thinking of a human being, a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago, we didn’t have cars and airplanes and computers and vaccines.… It was a whole different world. But to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can’t imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven’t got the humility to try. We have been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we are gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1))
How many people have I heard claim their children as the greatest accomplishment and comfort of their lives? It's the thing they can always lean on during a metaphysical crisis, or a moment of doubt about their relevancy - If I have done nothing else in this life, then at least I have raised my children well. But what if, either by choice or by reluctant necessity, you end up not participating in this comforting cycle of family and continuity? What if you step out? Where do you sit at the reunion? How do you mark time's passage without the fear that you've just fritted away your time on earth without being relevant? You'll need to find another purpose, another measure by which to judge whether or not you have been a successful human being. I love children, but what if I don't have any? What kind of person does that make me? Virginia Woolf wrote, "Across the broad continent of a woman's life falls the shadow of a sword." On one side of that sword, she said, there lies convention and tradition and order, where "all is correct." But on the other side of that sword, if you're crazy enough to cross it and choose a life that does not follow convention, "all is confusion. Nothing follows a regular course." Her argument was that the crossing of the shadow of that sword may bring a far more interesting existence to a woman, but you can bet it will also be more perilous.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
All the comics are sigils. "Sigil" as a word is out of date. All this magic stuff needs new terminology because it's not what people are being told it is at all. It's not all this wearying symbolic misdirection that's being dragged up from the Victorian Age, when no-one was allowed to talk plainly and everything was in coy poetic code. The world's at a crisis point and it's time to stop bullshitting around with Qabalah and Thelema and Chaos and Information and all the rest of the metaphoric smoke and mirrors designed to make the rubes think magicians are 'special' people with special powers. It's not like that. Everyone does magic all the time in different ways. "Life" plus "significance" = magic.
Grant Morrison
This is the way it goes. In your mid-forties you have your first crisis of mortality (death will not ignore me); and ten years later you have your first crisis of age (my body whispers that death is already intrigued by me). But something very interesting happens to you in between. As the fiftieth birthday approaches, you get the sense that your life is thinning out, and will continue to thin out, until it thins out into nothing. And you sometimes say to yourself: That went a bit quick. That went a bit quick. In certain moods, you may want to put it rather more forcefully. As in: OY!! THAT went a BIT FUCKING QUICK!!! ... Then fifty comes and goes, and fifty-one, and fifty-two. And life thickens out again. Because there is now an enormous and unsuspected presence within your being, like an undiscovered continent. This is the past.
Martin Amis (The Pregnant Widow)
This is the way that it goes. In your mid forties you have your first crisis of mortality (death will not ignore me); and ten years later you have your first crisis of age (my body whispers that death is already intrigued by me). But something very interesting happens to you in between. As the fiftieth birthday approaches, you get that sense that your life is thinning out, and will continue to thin out, until it thins out into nothing. And you sometimes say to yourself; That went a bit quick. That went a bit quick. In certain moods you may want to put it a bit more forcefully. As in: OY!! That went a BIT FUCKING QUICK!!!.... Then fifty comes and goes, and fifty-one, and fifty-two. And life thickens out again. Because there is now an enormous and unsuspected presence within your being, like an undiscovered continent. This is the past.
Martin Amis
It is worse, much worse, than you think. The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says it isn’t happening at all, and comes to us bundled with several others in an anthology of comforting delusions: that global warming is an Arctic saga, unfolding remotely; that it is strictly a matter of sea level and coastlines, not an enveloping crisis sparing no place and leaving no life undeformed; that it is a crisis of the “natural” world, not the human one; that those two are distinct, and that we live today somehow outside or beyond or at the very least defended against nature, not inescapably within and literally overwhelmed by it; that wealth can be a shield against the ravages of warming; that the burning of fossil fuels is the price of continued economic growth; that growth, and the technology it produces, will allow us to engineer our way out of environmental disaster; that there is any analogue to the scale or scope of this threat, in the long span of human history, that might give us confidence in staring it down. None of this is true. But let’s begin with the speed of change. The earth has experienced five mass extinctions before the one we are living through now, each so complete a wiping of the fossil record that it functioned as an evolutionary reset, the planet’s phylogenetic tree first expanding, then collapsing, at intervals, like a lung: 86 percent of all species dead, 450 million years ago; 70 million years later, 75 percent; 125 million years later, 96 percent; 50 million years later, 80 percent; 135 million years after that, 75 percent again. Unless you are a teenager, you probably read in your high school textbooks that these extinctions were the result of asteroids. In fact, all but the one that killed the dinosaurs involved climate change produced by greenhouse gas. The most notorious was 250 million years ago; it began when carbon dioxide warmed the planet by five degrees Celsius, accelerated when that warming triggered the release of methane, another greenhouse gas, and ended with all but a sliver of life on Earth dead. We are currently adding carbon to the atmosphere at a considerably faster rate; by most estimates, at least ten times faster. The rate is one hundred times faster than at any point in human history before the beginning of industrialization. And there is already, right now, fully a third more carbon in the atmosphere than at any point in the last 800,000 years—perhaps in as long as 15 million years. There were no humans then. The oceans were more than a hundred feet higher.
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)
Dear my strong girls, you will all go through that phase of life making a mistake of helping a toxic girl whose friendship with you turns into her self-interest. This kind of girls is a real burden towards the empowerment of other females as they can never get past their own insecurity and grow out of high-school-like drama. Despite how advanced we are in educating modern women, this type will still go through life living in identity crisis, endlessly looking for providers of any kind at the end of the day. They can never stand up for others or things that matter because they can't stand up for themselves. They care what everyone thinks only doing things to impress men, friends, strangers, everyone in society except themselves, while at the same time can't stand seeing other women with purpose get what those women want in life. But let me tell you, this is nothing new, let them compete and compare with you as much as they wish, be it your career, love or spirit. You know who you are and you will know who your true girls are by weeding out girls that break our girlie code of honor, but do me a favor by losing this type of people for good. Remind yourself to never waste time with a person who likes to betray others' trust, never. Disloyalty is a trait that can't be cured. Bless yourself that you see a person's true colors sooner than later. With love, your mama. XOXO
Shannon L. Alder
Too often, poverty and deprivation get covered as events. That is, when some disaster strikes, when people die. Yet, poverty is about much more than starvation deaths or near famine conditions. It is the sum total of a multiplicity of factors. The weightage of some of these varies from region to region, society to society, culture to culture. But at the core is a fairly compact number of factors. They include not just income and calorie intake. Land, health, education, literacy, infant mortality rates and life expectancy are also some of them. Debt, assets, irrigation, drinking water, sanitation and jobs count too. You can have the mandatory 2,400 or 2,100 calories a day and yet be very poor. India’s problems differ from those of a Somalia or Ethiopia in crisis. Hunger—again just one aspect of poverty—is far more complex here. It is more low level, less visible and does not make for the dramatic television footage that a Somalia and Ethiopia do. That makes covering the process more challenging—and more important. Many who do not starve receive very inadequate nutrition. Children getting less food than they need can look quite normal. Yet poor nutrition can impair both mental and physical growth and they can suffer its debilitating impact all their lives. A person lacking minimal access to health at critical moments can face destruction almost as surely as one in hunger.
Palagummi Sainath (Everybody loves a good drought)
I watched with incredulity as businessmen ran to the government in every crisis, whining for handouts or protection from the very competition that has made this system so productive. I saw Texas ranchers, hit by drought, demanding government-guaranteed loans; giant milk cooperatives lobbying for higher price supports; major airlines fighting deregulation to preserve their monopoly status; giant companies like Lockheed seeking federal assistance to rescue them from sheer inefficiency; bankers, like David Rockefeller, demanding government bailouts to protect them from their ill-conceived investments; network executives, like William Paley of CBS, fighting to preserve regulatory restrictions and to block the emergence of competitive cable and pay TV. And always, such gentlemen proclaimed their devotion to free enterprise and their opposition to the arbitrary intervention into our economic life by the state. Except, of course, for their own case, which was always unique and which was justified by their immense concern for the public interest.
William E. Simon
Their lives were precarious and they knew it. They were trying their best to fit themselves into a country which would never quite accept them, and to make themselves acceptable in a part of the world where their intrusion was resented in the vain hope that thus their establishments might endure ... The Orient remained strange and hostile. Unfamiliar diseases abounded. No one could be trusted. There was never security or peace for long. In any alley-way an assassin might be lurking, sent down from the Old Man of the Mountain. At any moment the lord might have to rise from his couch to ride out against enemy raiders. At any moment his lady might find herself in charge of the defence of her castle. At any moment the festivities might be interrupted by the sound of the infidel mangonels pounding against the walls. Life was merry, but it was short; and when the crisis came there was no lack of gallantry among the lords and ladies of Outremer. They had tasted with relish the gracious things of life; and they faced their doom with pride and resolution.
Steven Runciman
I used to be in school, like a good boy. Medieval Literature. Von Eschenbach, Chaucer, Milton... Yes, sir, no, sir. Then I had that... Crisis. You know it? Wake up one morning and everything's all wrong? Wake up one morning and it occurs to you the milk's spoiled and the bread is getting moldy. Wake up and it just hits you. Someday you're gonna die. Maybe like that girl last night died. Face down in an alley with a caved in head. Such a terrible thing and what for? Why life? Why This life? Why This soap? Why these hands? What's it all mean? Deep down you fear nothing. But you still hope something. Either way, you're not really sure. That's my crisis. I don't wanna die. But if I'm gonna die, first I'm gonna live. I'm gonna peel life like fruit, and use it up. I'm gonna light up an' burn. I'll burn and burn until I'm snuffed out. Then I'll just fade away. But until then I'm gonna live! I'm ready. I'm gonna do it. Come what may, one hundred percent.
Paul Pope (100%)
Many people in this room have an Etsy store where they create unique, unreplicable artifacts or useful items to be sold on a small scale, in a common marketplace where their friends meet and barter. I and many of my friends own more than one spinning wheel. We grow our food again. We make pickles and jams on private, individual scales, when many of our mothers forgot those skills if they ever knew them. We come to conventions, we create small communities of support and distributed skills--when one of us needs help, our village steps in. It’s only that our village is no longer physical, but connected by DSL instead of roads. But look at how we organize our tribes--bloggers preside over large estates, kings and queens whose spouses’ virtues are oft-lauded but whose faces are rarely seen. They have moderators to protect them, to be their knights, a nobility of active commenters and big name fans, a peasantry of regular readers, and vandals starting the occasional flame war just to watch the fields burn. Other villages are more commune-like, sharing out resources on forums or aggregate sites, providing wise women to be consulted, rabbis or priests to explain the world, makers and smiths to fashion magical objects. Groups of performers, acrobats and actors and singers of songs are traveling the roads once more, entertaining for a brief evening in a living room or a wheatfield, known by word of mouth and secret signal. Separate from official government, we create our own hierarchies, laws, and mores, as well as our own folklore and secret history. Even my own guilt about having failed as an academic is quite the crisis of filial piety--you see, my mother is a professor. I have not carried on the family trade. We dwell within a system so large and widespread, so disorganized and unconcerned for anyone but its most privileged and luxurious members, that our powerlessness, when we can summon up the courage to actually face it, is staggering. So we do not face it. We tell ourselves we are Achilles when we have much more in common with the cathedral-worker, laboring anonymously so that the next generation can see some incremental progress. We lack, of course, a Great Work to point to and say: my grandmother made that window; I worked upon the door. Though, I would submit that perhaps the Internet, as an object, as an aggregate entity, is the cathedral we build word by word and image by image, window by window and portal by portal, to stand taller for our children, if only by a little, than it does for us. For most of us are Lancelots, not Galahads. We may see the Grail of a good Classical life, but never touch it. That is for our sons, or their daughters, or further off. And if our villages are online, the real world becomes that dark wood on the edge of civilization, a place of danger and experience, of magic and blood, a place to make one’s name or find death by bear. And here, there be monsters.
Catherynne M. Valente
Illness especially, may be a blessed forerunner of the individual’s conversion. Not only does it prevent him from realizing his desires; it even reduces his capacity for sin, his opportunities for vice. In that enforced detachment from evil, which is a Mercy of God, he has time to search himself, to appraise his life, to interpret it in terms of larger reality. He considers God, and, at that moment, there is a sense of duality, a confronting of personality with Divinity, a comparison of the facts of his life with the ideal from which he fell. The soul is forced to look inside itself, to inquire whether there is more peace in this suffering than in sinning. Once a sick man, in his passivity, begins to ask, “What is the purpose of my life? Why am I here?” the crisis has already begun. Conversion becomes possible the very moment a man ceases to blame God or life and begins to blame himself; by doing so, he becomes able to distinguish between his sinful barnacles and the ship of his soul. A crack has appeared in the armor of his egotism; now the sunlight of God’s grace can pour in. But until that happens, catastrophes can teach us nothing but despair.
Fulton J. Sheen (Peace of Soul: Timeless Wisdom on Finding Serenity and Joy by the Century's Most Acclaimed Catholic Bishop)
For Gracias, the Tesla and SpaceX investor and Musk’s friend, the 2008 period told him everything he would ever need to know about Musk’s character. He saw a man who arrived in the United States with nothing, who had lost a child, who was being pilloried in the press by reporters and his ex-wife and who verged on having his life’s work destroyed. “He has the ability to work harder and endure more stress than anyone I’ve ever met,” Gracias said. “What he went through in 2008 would have broken anyone else. He didn’t just survive. He kept working and stayed focused.” That ability to stay focused in the midst of a crisis stands as one of Musk’s main advantages over other executives and competitors. “Most people who are under that sort of pressure fray,” Gracias said. “Their decisions go bad. Elon gets hyperrational. He’s still able to make very clear, long-term decisions. The harder it gets, the better he gets. Anyone who saw what he went through firsthand came away with more respect for the guy. I’ve just never seen anything like his ability to take pain.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
Don’t strive to be a well-rounded leader. Instead, discover your zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else. Admitting a weakness is a sign of strength. Acknowledging weakness doesn’t make a leader less effective. Everybody in your organization benefits when you delegate responsibilities that fall outside your core competency. Thoughtful delegation will allow someone else in your organization to shine. Your weakness is someone’s opportunity. Leadership is not always about getting things done “right.” Leadership is about getting things done through other people. The people who follow us are exactly where we have led them. If there is no one to whom we can delegate, it is our own fault. As a leader, gifted by God to do a few things well, it is not right for you to attempt to do everything. Upgrade your performance by playing to your strengths and delegating your weaknesses. There are many things I can do, but I have to narrow it down to the one thing I must do. The secret of concentration is elimination. Devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing. My competence in these areas defines my success as a pastor. A sixty-hour workweek will not compensate for a poorly delivered sermon. People don’t show up on Sunday morning because I am a good pastor (leader, shepherd, counselor). In my world, it is my communication skills that make the difference. So that is where I focus my time. To develop a competent team, help the leaders in your organization discover their leadership competencies and delegate accordingly. Once you step outside your zone, don’t attempt to lead. Follow. The less you do, the more you will accomplish. Only those leaders who act boldly in times of crisis and change are willingly followed. Accepting the status quo is the equivalent of accepting a death sentence. Where there’s no progress, there’s no growth. If there’s no growth, there’s no life. Environments void of change are eventually void of life. So leaders find themselves in the precarious and often career-jeopardizing position of being the one to draw attention to the need for change. Consequently, courage is a nonnegotiable quality for the next generation leader. The leader is the one who has the courage to act on what he sees. A leader is someone who has the courage to say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. It is not his insight that sets the leader apart from the crowd. It is his courage to act on what he sees, to speak up when everyone else is silent. Next generation leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price than remain silent and die on the inside. The first person to step out in a new direction is viewed as the leader. And being the first to step out requires courage. In this way, courage establishes leadership. Leadership requires the courage to walk in the dark. The darkness is the uncertainty that always accompanies change. The mystery of whether or not a new enterprise will pan out. The reservation everyone initially feels when a new idea is introduced. The risk of being wrong. Many who lack the courage to forge ahead alone yearn for someone to take the first step, to go first, to show the way. It could be argued that the dark provides the optimal context for leadership. After all, if the pathway to the future were well lit, it would be crowded. Fear has kept many would-be leaders on the sidelines, while good opportunities paraded by. They didn’t lack insight. They lacked courage. Leaders are not always the first to see the need for change, but they are the first to act. Leadership is about moving boldly into the future in spite of uncertainty and risk. You can’t lead without taking risk. You won’t take risk without courage. Courage is essential to leadership.
Andy Stanley (Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future)
Emotional exhaustion follows fast on the footsteps of physical and mental depletion. I feel my lifeblood draining away in an oily spigot of inner turmoil. Questions abound and personal survival hinges upon sorting through possible solutions and selecting the most fitting answers. Is my pain real or simply an illusion of a frustrated ego? What do I believe in? What is my purpose? I aspire to discover a means to live in congruence with the trinity of the mind, body, and spirit. Can I discover a noble path that frees me from the shallowness of decadent physical and emotional desires? Can I surrender any desire to seek fame and fortune? Can I terminate a craving to punish other persons for their perceived wrongs? Can I recognize that forgiving persons whom offended me is a self-initiated, transformative act? Can I conquer an irrational fear of the future? Can I accept the inevitable chaos that accompanies life? Can I find a means to achieve inner harmony by steadfastly resolving to live in the moment free of angst? Can I purge egotisms that mar an equitable perception of life by renunciation of the self and all worldly endeavors? Can I live a harmonious existence devoid the panache of vanities?
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18) I came from a family of wonderful people who nevertheless struggled with how to be happy. There were many things we didn't know about living in peace. We mixed our love with fear. What I experienced in my childhood family seemed to color my life with confusion. I joined the Church at nineteen. Though my conversion was real, many of my emotions continued to be out of harmony with gospel teachings, and I didn't know what to do about them. I was not at rest. As a young mother I felt that I was only barely keeping my distress from leaking out. But it did leak out. I struggled to be cheerful at home. I was too often tense with my children, especially as their behavior reflected negatively on me. I was perfectionistic. I was irritable and controlling. But I was also loving, patient, appreciative, happy; I frequently felt the Spirit of the Lord, and I did many parenting things well, but so inconsistently. Sooner or later the crisis comes for good people who live in ignorance and neglect of spiritual law. The old ways don't work anymore, and it may feel as though the foundations of life are giving way. If we don't learn consistent, mature love in our childhood homes we often struggle to learn it when we become marriage partners and parents.
M. Catherine Thomas
Come, Paul!" she reiterated, her eye grazing me with its hard ray like a steel stylet. She pushed against her kinsman. I thought he receded; I thought he would go. Pierced deeper than I could endure, made now to feel what defied suppression, I cried - "My heart will break!" What I felt seemed literal heart-break; but the seal of another fountain yielded under the strain: one breath from M. Paul, the whisper, "Trust me!" lifted a load, opened an outlet. With many a deep sob, with thrilling, with icy shiver, with strong trembling, and yet with relief - I wept. "Leave her to me; it is a crisis: I will give her a cordial, and it will pass," said the calm Madame Beck. To be left to her and her cordial seemed to me something like being left to the poisoner and her bowl. When M. Paul answered deeply, harshly, and briefly - "Laissez-moi!" in the grim sound I felt a music strange, strong, but life-giving. "Laissez-moi!" he repeated, his nostrils opening, and his facial muscles all quivering as he spoke. "But this will never do," said Madame, with sternness. More sternly rejoined her kinsman - "Sortez d'ici!" "I will send for Père Silas: on the spot I will send for him," she threatened pertinaciously. "Femme!" cried the Professor, not now in his deep tones, but in his highest and most excited key, "Femme! sortez à l'instant!" He was roused, and I loved him in his wrath with a passion beyond what I had yet felt. "What you do is wrong," pursued Madame; "it is an act characteristic of men of your unreliable, imaginative temperament; a step impulsive, injudicious, inconsistent - a proceeding vexatious, and not estimable in the view of persons of steadier and more resolute character." "You know not what I have of steady and resolute in me," said he, "but you shall see; the event shall teach you. Modeste," he continued less fiercely, "be gentle, be pitying, be a woman; look at this poor face, and relent. You know I am your friend, and the friend of your friends; in spite of your taunts, you well and deeply know I may be trusted. Of sacrificing myself I made no difficulty but my heart is pained by what I see; it must have and give solace. Leave me!" This time, in the "leave me" there was an intonation so bitter and so imperative, I wondered that even Madame Beck herself could for one moment delay obedience; but she stood firm; she gazed upon him dauntless; she met his eye, forbidding and fixed as stone. She was opening her lips to retort; I saw over all M. Paul's face a quick rising light and fire; I can hardly tell how he managed the movement; it did not seem violent; it kept the form of courtesy; he gave his hand; it scarce touched her I thought; she ran, she whirled from the room; she was gone, and the door shut, in one second. The flash of passion was all over very soon. He smiled as he told me to wipe my eyes; he waited quietly till I was calm, dropping from time to time a stilling, solacing word. Ere long I sat beside him once more myself - re-assured, not desperate, nor yet desolate; not friendless, not hopeless, not sick of life, and seeking death. "It made you very sad then to lose your friend?" said he. "It kills me to be forgotten, Monsieur," I said.
Charlotte Brontë (Villette)
I just came from Bunker Hill,’ I told Sam. ‘Hel offered me a reunion with my mother.’ I managed to tell her the story. Samirah reached out as if to touch my arm, then apparently changed her mind. ‘I’m so sorry, Magnus. But Hel lies. You can’t trust her. She’s just like my father, only colder. You made the right choice.’ ‘Yeah … still. You ever do the right thing, and you know it’s the right thing, but it leaves you feeling horrible?’ ‘You’ve just described most days of my life.’ Sam pulled up her hood. ‘When I became a Valkyrie … I’m still not sure why I fought that frost giant. The kids at Malcolm X were terrible to me. The usual garbage: they asked me if I was a terrorist. They yanked off my hijab. They slipped disgusting notes and pictures into my locker. When that giant attacked … I could’ve pretended to be just another mortal and got myself to safety. But I didn’t even think about running away. Why did I risk my life for those kids?’ I smiled. ‘What?’ she demanded. ‘Somebody once told me that a hero’s bravery has to be unplanned – a genuine response to a crisis. It has to come from the heart, without any thought of reward.’ Sam huffed. ‘That somebody sounds pretty smug.’ ‘Maybe you didn’t need to come here,’ I decided. ‘Maybe I did. To understand why we’re a good team.
Rick Riordan (The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1))
I made spasmodic efforts to work, assuring myself that once I began working I would forget her. The difficulty was in beginning. There was a feeling of weakness, a sort of powerlessness now, as though I were about to be ill but was never quite ill enough, as though I were about to come down with something I did not quite come down with. It seemed to me that for the first time in my life I had been in love, and had lost, because of the grudgingness of my heart, the possibility of having what, too late, I now thought I wanted. What was it that all my life I had so carefully guarded myself against? What was it that I had felt so threatened me? My suffering, which seemed to me to be a strict consequence of having guarded myself so long, appeared to me as a kind of punishment, and this moment, which I was now enduring, as something which had been delayed for half a lifetime. I was experincing, apparently, an obscure crisis of some kind. My world acquired a tendency to crumble as easily as a soda cracker. I found myself horribly susceptible to small animals, ribbons in the hair of little girls, songs played late at night over lonely radios. It became particularly dangerous for me to go near movies in which crippled girls were healed by the unselfish love of impoverished bellhops. I had become excessively tender to all the more obvious evidences of the frailness of existence; I was capable of dissolving at the least kind word, and self-pity, in inexhaustible doses, lay close to my outraged surface. I moved painfully, an ambulatory case, mysteriously injured.
Alfred Hayes (In Love)
Communities need tensions if they are to grow and deepen. Tensions come from conflicts within each person - conflicts born out of a refusal of personal and community growth, conflicts between individual egoisms, conflicts arising from a diminishing gratuite, from a class of temperaments and from individual psychological difficulties. These are natural tensions. Anguish is the normal reaction to being brought up against our own limitations and darkness, to the discovery of our deep wound. Tension is the normal reaction to responsibilities we find hard because they make us feel insecure. We all weep and grieve inwardly at the successive deaths of our own interests. . . . When everything is going well, when the community feels it is living successfully, its members tend to let their energies dissipate, and to listen less carefully to each other. Tensions bring people back to the reality of their helplessness; obliging them to spend more time in prayer and dialogue, to work patiently to overcome the crisis and refind lost unity; making them understand that the community is more than just a human reality, that it also needs the spirit of God if it is to live and deepen. I am told that there is a Chinese word for 'crisis' which means 'opportunity and danger'. Every tension, every crisis can become a source of new life if we approach it wisely, or it can bring death and division.
Jean Vanier (Community And Growth)
What is more, the whole apparatus of life has become so complex and the processes of production, distribution, and consumption have become so specialized and subdivided, that the individual person loses confidence in his own unaided capacities: he is increasingly subject to commands he does not understand, at the mercy of forces over which he exercises no effective control, moving to a destination he has not chosen. Unlike the taboo-ridden savage, who is often childishly over-confident in the powers of his shaman or magician to control formidable natural forces, however inimical, the machine-conditioned individual feels lost and helpless as day by day he metaphorically punches his time-card, takes his place on the assembly line, and at the end draws a pay check that proves worthless for obtaining any of the genuine goods of life. This lack of close personal involvement in the daily routine brings a general loss of contact with reality: instead of continuous interplay between the inner and the outer world, with constant feedback or readjustment and with stimulus to fresh creativity, only the outer world-and mainly the collectively organized outer world of the power system-exercises authority: even private dreams must be channeled through television, film, and disc, in order to become acceptable. With this feeling of alienation goes the typical psychological problem of our time, characterized in classic terms by Erik Erikson as the 'Identity Crisis.' In a world of transitory family nurture, transitory human contacts, transitory jobs and places of residence, transitory sexual and family relations, the basic conditions for maintaining continuity and establishing personal equilibrium disappear. The individual suddenly awakens, as Tolstoi did in a famous crisis in his own life at Arzamas, to find himself in a strange, dark room, far from home, threatened by obscure hostile forces, unable to discover where he is or who he is, appalled by the prospect of a meaningless death at the end of a meaningless life.
Lewis Mumford (The Pentagon of Power (The Myth of the Machine, Vol 2))
Cixi’s lack of formal education was more than made up for by her intuitive intelligence, which she liked to use from her earliest years. In 1843, when she was seven, the empire had just finished its first war with the West, the Opium War, which had been started by Britain in reaction to Beijing clamping down on the illegal opium trade conducted by British merchants. China was defeated and had to pay a hefty indemnity. Desperate for funds, Emperor Daoguang (father of Cixi’s future husband) held back the traditional presents for his sons’ brides – gold necklaces with corals and pearls – and vetoed elaborate banquets for their weddings. New Year and birthday celebrations were scaled down, even cancelled, and minor royal concubines had to subsidise their reduced allowances by selling their embroidery on the market through eunuchs. The emperor himself even went on surprise raids of his concubines’ wardrobes, to check whether they were hiding extravagant clothes against his orders. As part of a determined drive to stamp out theft by officials, an investigation was conducted of the state coffer, which revealed that more “than nine million taels of silver had gone missing. Furious, the emperor ordered all the senior keepers and inspectors of the silver reserve for the previous forty-four years to pay fines to make up the loss – whether or not they were guilty. Cixi’s great-grandfather had served as one of the keepers and his share of the fine amounted to 43,200 taels – a colossal sum, next to which his official salary had been a pittance. As he had died a long time ago, his son, Cixi’s grandfather, was obliged to pay half the sum, even though he worked in the Ministry of Punishments and had nothing to do with the state coffer. After three years of futile struggle to raise money, he only managed to hand over 1,800 taels, and an edict signed by the emperor confined him to prison, only to be released if and when his son, Cixi’s father, delivered the balance. The life of the family was turned upside down. Cixi, then eleven years old, had to take in sewing jobs to earn extra money – which she would remember all her life and would later talk about to her ladies-in-waiting in the court. “As she was the eldest of two daughters and three sons, her father discussed the matter with her, and she rose to the occasion. Her ideas were carefully considered and practical: what possessions to sell, what valuables to pawn, whom to turn to for loans and how to approach them. Finally, the family raised 60 per cent of the sum, enough to get her grandfather out of prison. The young Cixi’s contribution to solving the crisis became a family legend, and her father paid her the ultimate compliment: ‘This daughter of mine is really more like a son!’ Treated like a son, Cixi was able to talk to her father about things that were normally closed areas for women. Inevitably their conversations touched on official business and state affairs, which helped form Cixi’s lifelong interest. Being consulted and having her views acted on, she acquired self-confidence and never accepted the com“common assumption that women’s brains were inferior to men’s. The crisis also helped shape her future method of rule. Having tasted the bitterness of arbitrary punishment, she would make an effort to be fair to her officials.
Jung Chang (Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China)
Antidepression medication is temperamental. Somewhere around fifty-nine or sixty I noticed the drug I’d been taking seemed to have stopped working. This is not unusual. The drugs interact with your body chemistry in different ways over time and often need to be tweaked. After the death of Dr. Myers, my therapist of twenty-five years, I’d been seeing a new doctor whom I’d been having great success with. Together we decided to stop the medication I’d been on for five years and see what would happen... DEATH TO MY HOMETOWN!! I nose-dived like the diving horse at the old Atlantic City steel pier into a sloshing tub of grief and tears the likes of which I’d never experienced before. Even when this happens to me, not wanting to look too needy, I can be pretty good at hiding the severity of my feelings from most of the folks around me, even my doctor. I was succeeding well with this for a while except for one strange thing: TEARS! Buckets of ’em, oceans of ’em, cold, black tears pouring down my face like tidewater rushing over Niagara during any and all hours of the day. What was this about? It was like somebody opened the floodgates and ran off with the key. There was NO stopping it. 'Bambi' tears... 'Old Yeller' tears... 'Fried Green Tomatoes' tears... rain... tears... sun... tears... I can’t find my keys... tears. Every mundane daily event, any bump in the sentimental road, became a cause to let it all hang out. It would’ve been funny except it wasn’t. Every meaningless thing became the subject of a world-shattering existential crisis filling me with an awful profound foreboding and sadness. All was lost. All... everything... the future was grim... and the only thing that would lift the burden was one-hundred-plus on two wheels or other distressing things. I would be reckless with myself. Extreme physical exertion was the order of the day and one of the few things that helped. I hit the weights harder than ever and paddleboarded the equivalent of the Atlantic, all for a few moments of respite. I would do anything to get Churchill’s black dog’s teeth out of my ass. Through much of this I wasn’t touring. I’d taken off the last year and a half of my youngest son’s high school years to stay close to family and home. It worked and we became closer than ever. But that meant my trustiest form of self-medication, touring, was not at hand. I remember one September day paddleboarding from Sea Bright to Long Branch and back in choppy Atlantic seas. I called Jon and said, “Mr. Landau, book me anywhere, please.” I then of course broke down in tears. Whaaaaaaaaaa. I’m surprised they didn’t hear me in lower Manhattan. A kindly elderly woman walking her dog along the beach on this beautiful fall day saw my distress and came up to see if there was anything she could do. Whaaaaaaaaaa. How kind. I offered her tickets to the show. I’d seen this symptom before in my father after he had a stroke. He’d often mist up. The old man was usually as cool as Robert Mitchum his whole life, so his crying was something I loved and welcomed. He’d cry when I’d arrive. He’d cry when I left. He’d cry when I mentioned our old dog. I thought, “Now it’s me.” I told my doc I could not live like this. I earned my living doing shows, giving interviews and being closely observed. And as soon as someone said “Clarence,” it was going to be all over. So, wisely, off to the psychopharmacologist he sent me. Patti and I walked in and met a vibrant, white-haired, welcoming but professional gentleman in his sixties or so. I sat down and of course, I broke into tears. I motioned to him with my hand; this is it. This is why I’m here. I can’t stop crying! He looked at me and said, “We can fix this.” Three days and a pill later the waterworks stopped, on a dime. Unbelievable. I returned to myself. I no longer needed to paddle, pump, play or challenge fate. I didn’t need to tour. I felt normal.
Bruce Springsteen (Born to Run)
There have been ample opportunities since 1945 to show that material superiority in war is not enough if the will to fight is lacking. In Algeria, Vietnam and Afghanistan the balance of economic and military strength lay overwhelmingly on the side of France, the United States, and the Soviet Union, but the will to win was slowly eroded. Troops became demoralised and brutalised. Even a political solution was abandoned. In all three cases the greater power withdrew. The Second World War was an altogether different conflict, but the will to win was every bit as important - indeed it was more so. The contest was popularly perceived to be about issues of life and death of whole communities rather than for their fighting forces alone. They were issues, wrote one American observer in 1939, 'worth dying for'. If, he continued, 'the will-to-destruction triumphs, our resolution to preserve civilisation must become more implacable...our courage must mount'. Words like 'will' and 'courage' are difficult for historians to use as instruments of cold analysis. They cannot be quantified; they are elusive of definition; they are products of a moral language that is regarded sceptically today, even tainted by its association with fascist rhetoric. German and Japanese leaders believed that the spiritual strength of their soldiers and workers in some indefinable way compensate for their technical inferiority. When asked after the war why Japan lost, one senior naval officer replied that the Japanese 'were short on spirit, the military spirit was weak...' and put this explanation ahead of any material cause. Within Germany, belief that spiritual strength or willpower was worth more than generous supplies of weapons was not confined to Hitler by any means, though it was certainly a central element in the way he looked at the world. The irony was that Hitler's ambition to impose his will on others did perhaps more than anything to ensure that his enemies' will to win burned brighter still. The Allies were united by nothing so much as a fundamental desire to smash Hitlerism and Japanese militarism and to use any weapon to achieve it. The primal drive for victory at all costs nourished Allied fighting power and assuaged the thirst for vengeance. They fought not only because the sum of their resources added up to victory, but because they wanted to win and were certain that their cause was just. The Allies won the Second World War because they turned their economic strength into effective fighting power, and turned the moral energies of their people into an effective will to win. The mobilisation of national resources in this broad sense never worked perfectly, but worked well enough to prevail. Materially rich, but divided, demoralised, and poorly led, the Allied coalition would have lost the war, however exaggerated Axis ambitions, however flawed their moral outlook. The war made exceptional demands on the Allied peoples. Half a century later the level of cruelty, destruction and sacrifice that it engendered is hard to comprehend, let alone recapture. Fifty years of security and prosperity have opened up a gulf between our own age and the age of crisis and violence that propelled the world into war. Though from today's perspective Allied victory might seem somehow inevitable, the conflict was poised on a knife-edge in the middle years of the war. This period must surely rank as the most significant turning point in the history of the modern age.
Richard Overy (Why the Allies Won)