Desire Short Quotes

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A short cut to riches is to subtract from our desires.
Francesco Petrarca
You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
Ô, Wanderess, Wanderess When did you feel your most euphoric kiss? Was I the source of your greatest bliss?
Roman Payne
It is easy to overlook this thought that life just is. As humans we are inclined to feel that life must have a point. We have plans and aspirations and desires. We want to take constant advantage of all the intoxicating existence we've been endowed with. But what's life to a lichen? Yet its impulse to exist, to be, is every bit as strong as ours—arguably even stronger. If I were told that I had to spend decades being a furry growth on a rock in the woods, I believe I would lose the will to go on. Lichens don't. Like virtually all living things, they will suffer any hardship, endure any insult, for a moment's additional existence. Life, in short, just wants to be.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
I choose you," he said very softly, "Max." Then his hard, rough hand tenderly cuppoed my chin, and suddenly his mouth was on mine, and every synapse in my brain shorted out. We had kissed a couple of times before, but this was different. This time, I squelched my immediate, overwhelming desire to run away screaming. I closed my eyes and put my arms around him despite my fear. Then somehow we slid sideways so we were lying in the cool sand. I was holding him fiercely, and he was kissing me fiercely, and it was...just so, so intensely good. Once I got past my usual, gut-wrenching terror, there was a long, sweet slide into mindlessness, when all I felt was Fang, and all I heard was his breathing, and all I could think was "Oh, God, I want to do this all the time.
James Patterson (Max (Maximum Ride, #5))
We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares. But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think. What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us. This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
That we may not fall short of desire, but let us give way to the unspoken passion hidden in the closet of our discretion. (“Crépuscule du désir”)
Erik Pevernagie
Our lips were for each other and our eyes were full of dreams. We knew nothing of travel and we knew nothing of loss. Ours was a world of eternal spring, until the summer came.
Roman Payne (Hope and Despair)
You give a lot of great advice about what to do. Do you have any advice of what not to do? Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do. Don’t stay when you know you should go or go when you know you should stay. Don’t fight when you should hold steady or hold steady when you should fight. Don’t focus on the short-term fun instead of the long-term fall out. Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore. Don’t seek joy at all costs. I know it’s hard to know what to do when you have a conflicting set of emotions and desires, but it’s not as hard as we pretend it is. Saying it’s hard is ultimately a justification to do whatever seems like the easiest thing to do—have the affair, stay at that horrible job, end a friendship over a slight, keep loving someone who treats you terribly. I don’t think there’s a single dumbass thing I’ve done in my adult life that I didn’t know was a dumbass thing to do while I was doing it. Even when I justified it to myself—as I did every damn time—the truest part of me knew I was doing the wrong thing. Always. As the years pass, I’m learning how to better trust my gut and not do the wrong thing, but every so often I get a harsh reminder that I’ve still got work to do.
Cheryl Strayed (Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar)
A physical attraction is often desired above many things but you'll discover it to be short lived. Find yourself someone that gets under your skin, seduces the dusty corners of your heart, and provides you with a mental connection. That is when you'll know true intimacy.
M.J. Abraham
If what's always distinguished bad writing--flat characters, a narrative world that's clichéd and not recognizably human, etc.--is also a description of today's world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world. If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then [Bret] Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it. Postmodern irony and cynicism's become an end in itself, a measure of hip sophistication and literary savvy. Few artists dare to try to talk about ways of working toward redeeming what's wrong, because they'll look sentimental and naive to all the weary ironists. Irony's gone from liberating to enslaving. There's some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who's come to love his cage… The postmodern founders' patricidal work was great, but patricide produces orphans, and no amount of revelry can make up for the fact that writers my age have been literary orphans throughout our formative years. We enter a spiritual puberty where we snap to the fact that the great transcendent horror is loneliness, excluded encagement in the self. Once we’ve hit this age, we will now give or take anything, wear any mask, to fit, be part-of, not be Alone, we young. The U.S. arts are our guide to inclusion. A how-to. We are shown how to fashion masks of ennui and jaded irony at a young age where the face is fictile enough to assume the shape of whatever it wears. And then it’s stuck there, the weary cynicism that saves us from gooey sentiment and unsophisticated naïveté. Sentiment equals naïveté on this continent. You burn with hunger for food that does not exist. A U. S. of modern A. where the State is not a team or a code, but a sort of sloppy intersection of desires and fears, where the only public consensus a boy must surrender to is the acknowledged primacy of straight-line pursuing this flat and short-sighted idea of personal happiness.
David Foster Wallace
Harry, despite your privileged insight into Voldemort’s world (which, incidentally, is a gift any Death Eater would kill to have), you have never been seduced by the Dark Arts, never, even for a second, shown the slightest desire to become one of Voldemort’s followers!” “Of course I haven’t!” said Harry indignantly. “He killed my mum and dad!” “You are protected, in short, by your ability to love!” said Dumbledore loudly.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6))
I have lived for over three hundred years. In that time, the ideal of beauty has changed many times. Large breasts, small, thin, curved, tall, short, they have all been the height of beauty at one time or another. But in all that time, ma petite, I have never desired anyone the way I desire you." - Jean-Claude
Laurell K. Hamilton (The Killing Dance (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #6))
He'd always thought Roag was one rat short of a plague.
Larissa Ione (Desire Unchained (Demonica #2))
The wish of death had been palpably hanging over this otherwise idyllic paradise for a good many years. All business and politics is personal in the Philippines. If it wasn't for the cheap beer and lovely girls one of us would spend an hour in this dump. They [Jehovah's Witnesses] get some kind of frequent flyer points for each person who signs on. I'm not lazy. I'm just motivationally challenged. I'm not fat. I just have lots of stored energy. You don't get it do you? What people think of you matters more than the reality. Marilyn. Despite standing firm at the final hurdle Marilyn was always ready to run the race. After answering the question the woman bent down behind the stand out of sight of all, and crossed herself. It is amazing what you can learn in prison. Merely through casual conversation Rick had acquired the fundamentals of embezzlement, fraud and armed hold up. He wondered at the price of honesty in a grey world whose half tones changed faster than the weather. The banality of truth somehow always surprises the news media before they tart it up. You've ridden jeepneys in peak hour. Where else can you feel up a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl without even trying? [Ralph Winton on the Philippines finer points] Life has no bottom. No matter how bad things are or how far one has sunk things can always get worse. You could call the Oval Office an information rain shadow. In the Philippines, a whole layer of criminals exists who consider that it is their right to rob you unhindered. If you thwart their wicked desires, to their way of thinking you have stolen from them and are evil. There's honest and dishonest corruption in this country. Don't enjoy it too much for it's what we love that usually kills us. The good guys don't always win wars but the winners always make sure that they go down in history as the good guys. The Philippines is like a woman. You love her and hate her at the same time. I never believed in all my born days that ideas of truth and justice were only pretty words to brighten a much darker and more ubiquitous reality. The girl was experiencing the first flushes of love while Rick was at least feeling the methadone equivalent. Although selfishness and greed are more ephemeral than the real values of life their effects on the world often outlive their origins. Miriam's a meteor job. Somewhere out there in space there must be a meteor with her name on it. Tsismis or rumours grow in this land like tropical weeds. Surprises are so common here that nothing is surprising. A crooked leader who can lead is better than a crooked one who can't. Although I always followed the politics of Hitler I emulate the drinking habits of Churchill. It [Australia] is the country that does the least with the most. Rereading the brief lines that told the story in the manner of Fox News reporting the death of a leftist Rick's dark imagination took hold. Didn't your mother ever tell you never to trust a man who doesn't drink? She must have been around twenty years old, was tall for a Filipina and possessed long black hair framing her smooth olive face. This specter of loveliness walked with the assurance of the knowingly beautiful. Her crisp and starched white uniform dazzled in the late-afternoon light and highlighted the natural tan of her skin. Everything about her was in perfect order. In short, she was dressed up like a pox doctor’s clerk. Suddenly, she stopped, turned her head to one side and spat comprehensively into the street. The tiny putrescent puddle contrasted strongly with the studied aplomb of its all-too-recent owner, suggesting all manner of disease and decay.
John Richard Spencer
Why does one love? How queer it is to see only one being in the world, to have only one thought in one's mind, only one desire in the heart, and only one name on the lips--a name which comes up continually, rising, like the water in a spring, from the depths of the soul to the lips, a name which one repeats over and over again, which one whispers ceaselessly, everywhere, like a prayer.
Guy de Maupassant (The Complete Short Stories of Guy de Maupassant, Part One)
There are three motives for which we live; we live for the body, we live for the mind, we live for the soul. No one of these is better or holier than the other; all are alike desirable, and no one of the three—body, mind, or soul—can live fully if either of the others is cut short of full life and expression.
Wallace D. Wattles (The Science of Getting Rich)
He was strength and safety; fire and desire; comfort and happiness. In short, he was the man I loved.
Cayla Kluver (Sacrifice (Legacy, #3))
As Con and Sin approached the Harrowgate, it flashed and a tank of a blood-bay stallion leaped out, scattering staff and patients. Atop the horse sat a massive male in hard leather armor. His hair was short, reddish brown, and his eyes were black as Sin's. "What the hell are you doing?" Eidolon shouted, but the big male swiveled his head and focused his gaze on Sin with such intensity that Con stiffened. "Why is he looking at you like that?" "I...ah..." She slid him a timid glance. "I sort of slept with him once." Con took a deep breath and tried to rein in his desire to rip out the horse guy's throat. "Where'd you find him? EviLove.com?
Larissa Ione (Sin Undone (Demonica #5))
Fantasies were safe. It was a break from reality. A chance to act on desires for a short period of time.
Maya Banks (Sweet Persuasion (Sweet, #2))
Meanwhile spring arrived. My old dejection passed away and gave place to the unrest which spring brings with it, full of dreams and vague hopes and desires.
Leo Tolstoy (Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy)
I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard-of songs. Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst-burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn't open my mouth, I didn't repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. I said to myself: You are mad! What's the meaning of these waves, these floods, these outbursts? Where is the ebullient infinite woman who...hasn't been ashamed of her strength? Who, surprised and horrified by the fantastic tumult of her drives (for she was made to believe that a well-adjusted normal woman has a ...divine composure), hasn't accused herself of being a monster? Who, feeling a funny desire stirring inside her (to sing, to write, to dare to speak, in short, to bring out something new), hasn't thought that she was sick? Well, her shameful sickness is that she resists death, that she makes trouble.
Hélène Cixous
Ô, Muse of the Heart’s Passion, let me relive my Love’s memory, to remember her body, so brave and so free, and the sound of my Dreameress singing to me, and the scent of my Dreameress sleeping by me, Ô, sing, sweet Muse, my soliloquy!
Roman Payne
the time of the actual enjoyment is short and swift, and made much shorter through their own fault. For they dash from one pleasure to another and cannot stay steady in one desire.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
Life is too short to be anything but happy. So kiss slowly. Love deeply. Forgive quickly. Take chances and never have regrets. Forget the past but remember what it taught you.
Abhysheq Shukla (KISS Life "Life is what you make it")
Renunciation of objects, without the renunciation of desires, is short-lived, however hard you may try.
Mahatma Gandhi (My Experiments with Truth: An Autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi)
However much you possess there's someone else who has more, and you'll be fancying yourself to be short of things you need to exact extent to which you lag behind him.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
A U.S. of modern A. where the State is not a team or a code, but a sort of sloppy intersection of desires and fears, where the only public consensus a boy must surrender to is the acknowledged primacy of straight-line pursuing this flat and short-sighted idea of personal happiness.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
If I can’t be your love, then let me be a simple brooch so I may rest a while against your chest. If I can’t be your love, then let me be a forgotten coin so I may rest a while against your thigh. If I can’t be your love, then let me be an unlit cigarette so I may rest a while in between your lips. If I can’t be your love, then let me at least remain in these words so I may rest a while in your thoughts.
Kamand Kojouri
Just one caress became a symphony of passion, insatiable longing, an unquenchable desire to possess.... Gasps... The sparkling touch, embrace make hard to breathe... A mere short burst of brilliance, explosive need...forbidden sweet... Beneath the warmth of a dancing rainbow summer sunset, slowly tuning into the magic night with the stars flooding the sapphire skies...the sacred emerald island wildlife listens to our song, played with loving fingertips, reflected in diving deep into each other's ocean eyes...
Oksana Rus
We don't just want what we want because we want it; we want what we want because that's what we've learned to want.
Hanne Blank (Straight: The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality)
In space flight, “attitude” refers to orientation: which direction your vehicle is pointing relative to the Sun, Earth and other spacecraft. If you lose control of your attitude, two things happen: the vehicle starts to tumble and spin, disorienting everyone on board, and it also strays from its course, which, if you’re short on time or fuel, could mean the difference between life and death. In the Soyuz, for example, we use every cue from every available source—periscope, multiple sensors, the horizon—to monitor our attitude constantly and adjust if necessary. We never want to lose attitude, since maintaining attitude is fundamental to success. In my experience, something similar is true on Earth. Ultimately, I don’t determine whether I arrive at the desired professional destination. Too many variables are out of my control. There’s really just one thing I can control: my attitude during the journey, which is what keeps me feeling steady and stable, and what keeps me headed in the right direction. So I consciously monitor and correct, if necessary, because losing attitude would be far worse than not achieving my goal.
Chris Hadfield (An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth)
Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, So ... Love the people who treat you right and pray for the ones who don't. Life is 10% what you make it 90% how you take it.
Abhysheq Shukla (Feelings Undefined: The Charm of the Unsaid Vol. 1)
It may be said of Socialism, therefore, that its friends recommended it as increasing equality, while its foes resisted it as decreasing liberty….The compromise eventually made was one of the most interesting and even curious cases in history. It was decided to do everything that had ever been denounced in Socialism, and nothing that had ever been desired in it…we proceeded to prove that it was possible to sacrifice liberty without gaining equality….In short, people decided that it was impossible to achieve any of the good of Socialism, but they comforted themselves by achieving all the bad.
G.K. Chesterton (Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State)
Who is there today who still cares about a well-finished death? No one. Even the rich, who could after all afford this luxury, are beginning to grow lazy and indifferent; the desire to have a death of one's own is becoming more and more rare. In a short time it will be as rare as a life of one's own.
Rainer Maria Rilke (The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge)
In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the established mode to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments avowed, however unequally they may be returned. It is natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could feel gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot–I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. The feelings which, you tell me, have long prevented the acknowledgment of your regard, can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation.” Mr. Darcy, who was leaning against the mantelpiece with his eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her words with no less resentment than surprise. His complexion became pale with anger, and the disturbance of his mind was visible in every feature. He was struggling for the appearance of composure, and would not open his lips till he believed himself to have attained it. The pause was to Elizabeth’s feelings dreadful. At length, with a voice of forced calmness, he said: And this is all the reply which I am to have the honour of expecting! I might, perhaps, wish to be informed why, with so little endeavour at civility, I am thus rejected. But it is of small importance.” I might as well inquire,” replied she, “why with so evident a desire of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character? Was not this some excuse for incivility, if I was uncivil?
Jane Austen
Yes, I’m sure the universe connected us and may do so again when it deems the time is right. Until then, in only a few short hours combined with a set of lovely messages, I have enjoyed something rarely found, a gemstone in the sands of time.
Charles Dyson (A Decade of Desire: Erotic Tales from the Charlie Doyle Diaries)
I dreamily and digestively drowse. I have time, between synaesthesias. And it's extraordinary to think that, if I were asked right now what I want for this short life, I could think nothing better than these long slow minutes, this absence of thought and emotion, of action and almost o sensation itself, this inner sunset of dissipated desire. And then it occurs to me, almost without thinking, that most if not all people live like this, with greater or lesser consciousness, moving forward or standing still, but still with the very same indifference towards ultimate aims, the same renunciation of their personal goals, the same watered-down life.
Fernando Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet)
Myths are universal and timeless stories that reflect and shape our lives – they explore our desires, our fears, our longings, and provide narratives that remind us what it means to be human.
Karen Armstrong (A Short History of Myth)
Love in its essence is unconditional. When conditions, exceptions, and ultimatums are cast into the mix, its purity changes. It is no longer love and should be referred to by a less-desirable name.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Slaying Dragons: Quotes, Poetry, & a few Short Stories for Every Day of the Year)
By giving us control, our new technologies tend to enhance existing idols in our lives. Instead of becoming more like Christ through the forming and shaping influence of the church community, we form, and shape, and personalize our community to make it more like us. We take control of things that are not ours to control. Could it be that our desire for control is short-circuiting the process of change and transformation God wants us to experience through the mess of real world, flesh and blood, face-to-face relationships?
Tim Challies (The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion)
How short a period often reverses the character of our sentiments, rendering that which yesterday we despised, today desirable.
Ann Radcliffe (A Sicilian Romance)
[Hitler] has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security, and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flag and loyalty-parades ... Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet
George Orwell
Well,” she finally said, “he’s coming back shortly, so you are absolved of your responsibilities.” “No.” The word came from him like an oath, emerging from the very core of his being. She looked at him in impatient confusion. “What do you mean?” He stepped forward. He wasn’t sure what he was doing. He knew only that he couldn’t stop. “I mean no. I don’t want to be absolved.” Her lips parted. He took another step. His heart was pounding, and something within him had gone hot, and greedy, and if there was anything in the world besides her, besides him—he did not know it. “I want you,” he said, the words blunt, and almost harsh, but absolutely, indelibly true. “I want you,” he said again, and he reached out and took her hand. “I want you.” “Marcus, I—” “I want to kiss you,” he said, and he touched one finger to her lips. “I want to hold you.” And then, because he couldn’t have kept it inside for one second longer, he said, “I burn for you.” He took her face in his hands and he kissed her. He kissed her with everything that had been building within him, every last aching, hungry burst of desire. Since the moment he had realized he loved her, this passion had been growing within him. It had probably been there all along, just waiting for him to realize it. He loved her.
Julia Quinn (Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet #1))
I have reveled in my littleness and irresponsibility. It has relieved me of the harassing desire to live, I feel content to live dangerously, indifferent to my fate; I have discovered I am a fly, that we are all flies, that nothing matters. It’s a great load off my life, for I don’t mind being such a micro-organism—to me the honour is sufficient of belonging to the universe—such a great universe, so grand a scheme of things. Not even Death can rob me of that honour. For nothing can alter the fact that I have lived; I have been I, if for ever so short a time. And when I am dead, the matter which composes my body is indestructible—and eternal, so that come what may to my “Soul,” my dust will always be going on, each separate atom of me playing its separate part—I shall still have some sort of a finger in the Pie. When I am dead, you can boil me, burn me, drown me, scatter me—but you cannot destroy me: my little atoms would merely deride such heavy vengeance. Death can do no more than kill you.
W.N.P. Barbellion (The Journal of a Disappointed Man)
When I was a child, I thought, Casually, that solitude Never needed to be sought. Something everybody had, Like nakedness, it lay at hand, Not specially right or specially wrong, A plentiful and obvious thing Not at all hard to understand. Then, after twenty, it became At once more difficult to get And more desired -- though all the same More undesirable; for what You are alone has, to achieve The rank of fact, to be expressed In terms of others, or it's just A compensating make-believe. Much better stay in company! To love you must have someone else, Giving requires a legatee, Good neighbours need whole parishfuls Of folk to do it on -- in short, Our virtues are all social; if, Deprived of solitude, you chafe, It's clear you're not the virtuous sort. Viciously, then, I lock my door. The gas-fire breathes. The wind outside Ushers in evening rain. Once more Uncontradicting solitude Supports me on its giant palm; And like a sea-anemone Or simple snail, there cautiously Unfolds, emerges, what I am." (Best Company)
Philip Larkin (Collected Poems)
On Generosity On our own, we conclude: there is not enough to go around we are going to run short of money of love of grades of publications of sex of beer of members of years of life we should seize the day seize our goods seize our neighbours goods because there is not enough to go around and in the midst of our perceived deficit you come you come giving bread in the wilderness you come giving children at the 11th hour you come giving homes to exiles you come giving futures to the shut down you come giving easter joy to the dead you come – fleshed in Jesus. and we watch while the blind receive their sight the lame walk the lepers are cleansed the deaf hear the dead are raised the poor dance and sing we watch and we take food we did not grow and life we did not invent and future that is gift and gift and gift and families and neighbours who sustain us when we did not deserve it. It dawns on us – late rather than soon- that you “give food in due season you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” By your giving, break our cycles of imagined scarcity override our presumed deficits quiet our anxieties of lack transform our perceptual field to see the abundance………mercy upon mercy blessing upon blessing. Sink your generosity deep into our lives that your muchness may expose our false lack that endlessly receiving we may endlessly give so that the world may be made Easter new, without greedy lack, but only wonder, without coercive need but only love, without destructive greed but only praise without aggression and invasiveness…. all things Easter new….. all around us, toward us and by us all things Easter new. Finish your creation, in wonder, love and praise. Amen.
Walter Brueggemann
So, if people didn’t settle down to take up farming, why then did they embark on this entirely new way of living? We have no idea – or actually, we have lots of ideas, but we don’t know if any of them are right. According to Felipe Fernández-Armesto, at least thirty-eight theories have been put forward to explain why people took to living in communities: that they were driven to it by climatic change, or by a wish to stay near their dead, or by a powerful desire to brew and drink beer, which could only be indulged by staying in one place.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Because life is short. I feel we’re made of a hunger, a desire for life – if that can be described as a material. As I get older, I’m trying to open that channel more. If you don’t, if you close off desire and get complacent, life loses its freshness and sweetness, and that’s what I crave. That’s my bliss.
Sarah Slean
Our thoughts, feelings, desires and actions are being robotized; 'life' is coming to mean feeding apparatuses and being fed by them. In short: Everything is becoming absurd. So where is there room for human freedom?
Vilém Flusser (Towards a Philosophy of Photography)
I understand the temptation to sell short, but I also know that impulse is driven by your mind’s desire for comfort, and it’s not telling you the truth.
David Goggins (Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds)
Religion is a totalitarian belief. It is the wish to be a slave. It is the desire that there be an unalterable, unchallengeable, tyrannical authority who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep, who can subject you to total surveillance around the clock every waking and sleeping minute of your life, before you're born and, even worse and where the real fun begins, after you're dead. A celestial North Korea. Who wants this to be true? Who but a slave desires such a ghastly fate? I've been to North Korea. It has a dead man as its president, Kim Jong-Il is only head of the party and head of the army. He's not head of the state. That office belongs to his deceased father, Kim Il-Sung. It's a necrocracy, a thanatocracy. It's one short of a trinity I might add. The son is the reincarnation of the father. It is the most revolting and utter and absolute and heartless tyranny the human species has ever evolved. But at least you can f#$%ing die and leave North Korea!
Christopher Hitchens
You are living as if destined to live for ever; your own frailty never occurs to you; you don't notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply - though all the while that very day which you are devoting to somebody or something may be your last. You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.
Seneca (On The Shortness Of Life: De Brevitate Vitae (A New Translation with Image Gallery and Seneca Biography) (Stoics In Their Own Words Book 4))
In short, the way to wealth, if you desire it, is as plain as the way to market. It depends chiefly on two words: industry and frugality. Waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. He that gets all he can honestly, and saves all he can, will certainly become rich.
Benjamin Franklin (The Way to Wealth: Ben Franklin on Money and Success)
wanting it for its beauty is not wanting to inspect it: it is wanting to contemplate it—and that is something more than a search for information or an expression of appetite. Here is a want without a goal: a desire that cannot be fulfilled since there is nothing that would count as its fulfilment.
Roger Scruton (Beauty: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions))
You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life (Penguin Great Ideas))
But I no longer had a taste for anything, a wish for anything, a love for anybody, a desire for anything whatever, any ambition, or any hope.
Guy de Maupassant (Complete Original Short Stories of Guy De Maupassant)
All that I desire in life are three... A wilderness: A beach on the sun-drenched sea, A puff of opium, And thee.
Roman Payne
All my senses seemed to desire to veil themselves and, feeling that I was about to slip from them, I pressed the palms of my hands together until they trembled, murmuring: “O love! O love!” many times.
James Joyce (Araby: Short Story)
My eye is still used to searching for her in a crowd. My breath is still used to catching when I see her and the light is angled just right. My body is still used to hers moving next to mine. So the distance—anything short of contact—is a constant rejection. We were together for six months, and in each of those months my desire found new ways to be fueled by her. It’s over can’t kill that. All of the songs I wrote in my head were for her, and now I can’t stop them from playing. This null soundtrack. I’m tired, she’d said, and I told her that I was tired, too, and that I wanted to take some time for us, too. And then she’d said, No, I’m tired of you, and I slipped into the surreal-but-true universe where we were over and I wasn’t over it. She was no longer any kind of here that I could get to
David Levithan (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist)
By capitulating to life, this world has betrayed nothingness. . . . I resign from movement, and from my dreams. Absence! You shall be my sole glory. . . . Let “desire” be forever stricken from the dictionary, and from the soul! I retreat before the dizzying farce of tomorrows. And if I still cling to a few hopes, I have lost forever the faculty of hoping
Emil M. Cioran (A Short History of Decay)
Bach: a scale of tears upon which our desires for God ascend.
Emil M. Cioran (A Short History of Decay)
The desire to avoid short-term hardships leads to major dislocations in [housing] markets.
Richard A. Epstein (Why Progressive Institutions Are Unsustainable)
..Holidays far apart from each other, going short of things, hours of cold and solitude? Fears? Does money cut distances short, bring people together?
Grégoire Delacourt (The List of my Desires)
But what desires can always be satisfied despite external circumstances? What are they? Love, self-sacrifice.' He
Leo Tolstoy (Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy [with Biographical Introduction])
In short, liturgies make us certain kinds of people, and what defines us is what we love.
James K.A. Smith (Desiring the Kingdom (Cultural Liturgies): Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation)
Desire is an art.
Talismanist Giebra (Talismanist: Fragments of the Ancient Fire. Philosophy of Fragmentism Series.)
How could someone as good looking as him not fall for someone as stunning and sexy as me?
Nishta Kochar (Cinnamon Bizarre : Collection of Short Stories)
The means of learning are abundant—it’s the desire to learn that’s scarce.
Timothy Ferriss (Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World)
40. The gods either have power or they have not. If they have not, why pray to them? If they have, then instead of praying to be granted or spared such-and-such a thing, why not rather pray to be delivered from dreading it, or lusting for it, or grieving over it? Clearly, if they can help a man at all, they can help him in this way. You will say, perhaps, ‘But all that is something they have put in my own power.’ Then surely it were better to use your power and be a free man, than to hanker like a slave and a beggar for something that is not in your power. Besides, who told you the gods never lend their aid even towards things that do lie in our own power? Begin praying in this way, and you will see. Where another man prays ‘Grant that I may possess this woman,’ let your own prayer be, ‘Grant that I may not lust to possess her.’ Where he prays, ‘Grant me to be rid of such-and-such a one,’ you pray, ‘Take from me my desire to be rid of him.’ Where he begs, ‘Spare me the loss of my precious child,’ beg rather to be delivered from the terror of losing him. In short, give your petitions a turn in this direction, and see what comes.
Marcus Aurelius
Her mom always encouraged her to ask for things. Tell the truth. Ask permission. Unless you have to do something you know is right and can’t wait for permission. Then ask for forgiveness. But always be true to yourself and be honest with your feelings. No point beating around the bush when life is short.
Aja James (Dark Desires (Pure/ Dark Ones #3))
The idealized market was supposed to deliver ‘friction free’ exchanges, in which the desires of consumers would be met directly, without the need for intervention or mediation by regulatory agencies. Yet the drive to assess the performance of workers and to measure forms of labor which, by their nature, are resistant to quantification, has inevitably required additional layers of management and bureaucracy. What we have is not a direct comparison of workers’ performance or output, but a comparison between the audited representation of that performance and output. Inevitably, a short-circuiting occurs, and work becomes geared towards the generation and massaging of representations rather than to the official goals of the work itself. Indeed, an anthropological study of local government in Britain argues that ‘More effort goes into ensuring that a local authority’s services are represented correctly than goes into actually improving those services’. This reversal of priorities is one of the hallmarks of a system which can be characterized without hyperbole as ‘market Stalinism’. What late capitalism repeats from Stalinism is just this valuing of symbols of achievement over actual achievement. […] It would be a mistake to regard this market Stalinism as some deviation from the ‘true spirit’ of capitalism. On the contrary, it would be better to say that an essential dimension of Stalinism was inhibited by its association with a social project like socialism and can only emerge in a late capitalist culture in which images acquire an autonomous force. The way value is generated on the stock exchange depends of course less on what a company ‘really does’, and more on perceptions of, and beliefs about, its (future) performance. In capitalism, that is to say, all that is solid melts into PR, and late capitalism is defined at least as much by this ubiquitous tendency towards PR-production as it is by the imposition of market mechanisms.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
You must realize that the true desire to express affection can be motivated by things other than true love.... In short, one might simply say: save your kisses--you might need them someday. And when anyof you--men and women--are given entrance to the heart of a trusting young friend, you stand on holy ground. In such a place you must be honest with yourself--and with your friend--about love and the expression of it's symbols.
Bruce C. Hafen
The former breathes only peace and liberty; he desires only to live and be free from labor; even the ataraxia of the Stoic falls far short of his profound indifference to every other object.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
In a community coursed through by energies every road leads to a worthwhile goal, provided one doesn't hesitate or reflect too long. Targets are short-term, but since life is short too, results are maximized, which is all people need to be happy, because the soul is formed by what you accomplish, whereas what you desire without achieving it merely warps the soul. Happiness depends very little on what we want, but only on achieving whatever it is.
Robert Musil (The Man Without Qualities)
We desire and love and hate and quarrel and deceive and weep – and in a short while we’re gone and our lives leave no trace, and all those tears and all that laughter might never have happened.
Nicci Gerrard (The Moment You Were Gone)
If you desire truly to live you will cease trying to find magic tricks and short-cuts to life and learn the simple laws of being, and order your life in conformity with these. Realign your life with the laws of nature—this and this alone constitutes living to live.
Herbert M. Shelton (Getting Well)
If you want to see philosophy in action, pay a visit to a robo-rat laboratory. A robo-rat is a run-ofthe-mill rat with a twist: scientists have implanted electrodes into the sensory and reward areas in the rat’s brain. This enables the scientists to manoeuvre the rat by remote control. After short training sessions, researchers have managed not only to make the rats turn left or right, but also to climb ladders, sniff around garbage piles, and do things that rats normally dislike, such as jumping from great heights. Armies and corporations show keen interest in the robo-rats, hoping they could prove useful in many tasks and situations. For example, robo-rats could help detect survivors trapped under collapsed buildings, locate bombs and booby traps, and map underground tunnels and caves. Animal-welfare activists have voiced concern about the suffering such experiments inflict on the rats. Professor Sanjiv Talwar of the State University of New York, one of the leading robo-rat researchers, has dismissed these concerns, arguing that the rats actually enjoy the experiments. After all, explains Talwar, the rats ‘work for pleasure’ and when the electrodes stimulate the reward centre in their brain, ‘the rat feels Nirvana’. To the best of our understanding, the rat doesn’t feel that somebody else controls her, and she doesn’t feel that she is being coerced to do something against her will. When Professor Talwar presses the remote control, the rat wants to move to the left, which is why she moves to the left. When the professor presses another switch, the rat wants to climb a ladder, which is why she climbs the ladder. After all, the rat’s desires are nothing but a pattern of firing neurons. What does it matter whether the neurons are firing because they are stimulated by other neurons, or because they are stimulated by transplanted electrodes connected to Professor Talwar’s remote control? If you asked the rat about it, she might well have told you, ‘Sure I have free will! Look, I want to turn left – and I turn left. I want to climb a ladder – and I climb a ladder. Doesn’t that prove that I have free will?
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
Twenty-two months are a long time and a lot of things can happen in them- there is time for new families to be formed, for babies to be born and even begin to talk, for a great house to rise where once there was only a field, for a beautiful woman to grow old and no one desire her any more, for an illness- for a long illness- to ripen (yet men live on heedlessly), to consume the body slowly, to recede for short periods as if cured, to take hold again more deeply and drain away the last hopes; there is time for a man to die and be buried, for his son to be able to laugh again and in the evening take the girls down the avenues and past the cemetery gates without a thought. But it seemed as if Drogo’s existence had come to a halt. The same day, the same things, had repeated themselves hundreds of times without taking a step forward. The river of time flowed over the Fort, crumbled the walls, swept down dust and fragments of stone, wore away the stairs and the chain, but over Drogo it passed in vain- it had not yet succeeded in catching him, bearing him with it as it flowed.
Dino Buzzati (The Tartar Steppe)
I understand the temptation to sell short, but I also know that impulse is driven by your mind’s desire for comfort, and it’s not telling you the truth. It’s your identity trying to find sanctuary, not help you grow. It’s looking for status quo, not reaching for greatness
David Goggins (Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds)
Time is so subjective, its measure totally dependent upon the means by which we mark its passage. When we follow the conventional milestones, meting out our lives with birthdays and graduations and anniversaries and funerals, we are left with voids along the way-vast stretches of empty space lost forever, never to be filled. As time grows short, the significance of each moment increases, until finally every heartbeat is of monumental importance. Or so it seems at first. I have discovered, almost too late, that time is not just arbitrary, but of no great consequence after all. She has taught me that a touch is a lifetime, a kiss forever, and that passion will transcend the limitations of fragile existence to span eternity. I no longer worry about the beat of my heart-I need only the memory of her to live on. My soul, my very being, pulses with wonder at the places within me that she has filled, with gratitude for the wounds she has healed, and with everlasting devotion for the love she has given. In her arms, I found passion and peace and a place to rest. No matter where I travel or what road I take to reach my detestation, I will always have the comfort of her hand in my and the soft whisper of her voice reminding me that I do not need to be afraid. This, this has always been my secret desire, and now I need search no further. I am Loved, and I am content,
Radclyffe (Love's Masquerade)
A U.S. of modern A. where the State is not a team or a code, but a sort of sloppy intersection of desires and fears, where the only public consensus a boy must surrender to is the acknowledged primacy of straight-line pursuing this flat and short-sighted idea of personal happiness:
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
If we examine what is behind our desires, we can usually get what we want without compromising: love, caring, confidence, respectability, excitement. Compromising is necessary only if what we want is in short supply.
Ellen J. Langer (Mindfulness (A Merloyd Lawrence Book))
You want to know the story? I'd be happy to tell you. I think I have just enough caloric energy stored up to make it through the telling of the tale. It's short. I am monstrously fat. I am a glutton. My wife was disgusted and repulsed. She gave me six months to lose one hundred pounds. I joined Weight Watchers . . . see it there, right across the street, that gaunt storefront? This afternoon was the big six-month weigh-in. So to speak. I had gained almost seventy pounds in the six months. An errant Snickers bar fell out of the cuff of my pants and rolled against my wife's foot as I stepped on the scale. The scale over there across the street is truly an ingenious device. One preprograms the desired new weight into it, and if one has achieved or gone below that new low weight, the scale bursts into recorded whistles and cheers and some lively marching-band tune. Apparently, tiny flags protrude from the top and wave mechanically back and forth. A failure--see for instance mine--results in a flatulent dirge of disappointed and contemptuous tuba. To the strains of the latter my wife left, the establishment, me, on the arm of a svelte yogurt distributor whom I am even now planning to crush, financially speaking, first thing tomorrow morning. Ms. Beadsman, you will find an eclair on the floor to the left of your chair. Could you perhaps manipulate it onto this plate with minimal chocolate loss and pass it to me.
David Foster Wallace (The Broom of the System)
In becoming forcibly and essentially aware of my mortality, and of what I wished and wanted for my life, however short it might be, priorities and omissions became strongly etched in a merciless light and what I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid? To question or to speak as I believed could have meant pain, or death. But we all hurt in so many different ways, all the time, and pain will either change, or end. Death, on the other hand, is the final silence. And that might be coming quickly, now, without regard for whether I had ever spoken what needed to be said, or had only betrayed myself into small silences, while I planned someday to speak, or waited for someone else's words. And I began to recognize a source of power within myself that comes from the knowledge that while it is most desirable not to be afraid, learning to put fear into a perspective gave me great strength. I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.
Audre Lorde (The Cancer Journals)
She could not fail to observe that a life of academic distinction was singularly ill rewarded. She had no desire whatever to teach and she took pleasure in contacts with minds much less brilliant than her own. In short, she had a taste for people, all sorts of people—and not the same people the whole time.
Agatha Christie (4:50 from Paddington (Miss Marple, #8))
41 Never exaggerate. It isn’t wise to use superlatives. They offend the truth and cast doubt on your judgment. By exaggerating, you squander your praise and reveal a lack of knowledge and taste. Praise awakens curiosity, which begets desire, and later, when the goods seem overpriced, as often happens, expectation feels cheated and avenges itself by running down the praised and the praiser. The prudent show restraint, and would rather fall short than long. True eminences are rare, so temper your esteem. To overvalue something is a form of lying. It can ruin your reputation for good taste, and—even worse—for wisdom.
Baltasar Gracián (The Art of Worldly Wisdom)
It is vital that we recognize and tend to our unmet needs, because if we don’t take the time to care for them we will constantly find ourselves headed down paths that lead us away from our goals rather than toward what we desire. When we don’t deal with the unfulfilled needs inside us, they continue to drive us to act impulsively, to forsake our long-term vision in favor of short-term gratification. Then our unfulfilled needs, not our vision, drive our behaviors.
Debbie Ford (The Right Questions)
Desire, to know why, and how, curiosity; such as is in no living creature but man: so that man is distinguished, not only by his reason; but also by this singular passion from other animals; in whom the appetite of food, and other pleasures of sense, by predominance, take away the care of knowing causes; which is a lust of the mind, that by a perseverance of delight in the continual and indefatigable generation of knowledge, exceedeth the short vehemence of any carnal pleasure.
Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan)
Excuse me while I throw this down, I’m old and cranky and tired of hearing the idiocy repeated by people who ought to know better. Real women do not have curves. Real women do not look like just one thing. Real women have curves, and not. They are tall, and not. They are brown-skinned, and olive-skinned, and not. They have small breasts, and big ones, and no breasts whatsoever. Real women start their lives as baby girls. And as baby boys. And as babies of indeterminate biological sex whose bodies terrify their doctors and families into making all kinds of very sudden decisions. Real women have big hands and small hands and long elegant fingers and short stubby fingers and manicures and broken nails with dirt under them. Real women have armpit hair and leg hair and pubic hair and facial hair and chest hair and sexy moustaches and full, luxuriant beards. Real women have none of these things, spontaneously or as the result of intentional change. Real women are bald as eggs, by chance and by choice and by chemo. Real women have hair so long they can sit on it. Real women wear wigs and weaves and extensions and kufi and do-rags and hairnets and hijab and headscarves and hats and yarmulkes and textured rubber swim caps with the plastic flowers on the sides. Real women wear high heels and skirts. Or not. Real women are feminine and smell good and they are masculine and smell good and they are androgynous and smell good, except when they don’t smell so good, but that can be changed if desired because real women change stuff when they want to. Real women have ovaries. Unless they don’t, and sometimes they don’t because they were born that way and sometimes they don’t because they had to have their ovaries removed. Real women have uteruses, unless they don’t, see above. Real women have vaginas and clitorises and XX sex chromosomes and high estrogen levels, they ovulate and menstruate and can get pregnant and have babies. Except sometimes not, for a rather spectacular array of reasons both spontaneous and induced. Real women are fat. And thin. And both, and neither, and otherwise. Doesn’t make them any less real. There is a phrase I wish I could engrave upon the hearts of every single person, everywhere in the world, and it is this sentence which comes from the genius lips of the grand and eloquent Mr. Glenn Marla: There is no wrong way to have a body. I’m going to say it again because it’s important: There is no wrong way to have a body. And if your moral compass points in any way, shape, or form to equality, you need to get this through your thick skull and stop with the “real women are like such-and-so” crap. You are not the authority on what “real” human beings are, and who qualifies as “real” and on what basis. All human beings are real. Yes, I know you’re tired of feeling disenfranchised. It is a tiresome and loathsome thing to be and to feel. But the tit-for-tat disenfranchisement of others is not going to solve that problem. Solidarity has to start somewhere and it might as well be with you and me
Hanne Blank
Each of us is allowed to revel in our own desires, no matter how dark or depraved they may seem; for we are the only ones that know what lies within our own imagination. Inside these erotic visions there is no shame -- only pleasure. It is a chance to dip a toe into something that may have only ever seemed a fleeting thought.
K. Kiker (WHITE (Book of Fantasies Trilogy, Book 1))
When I was seventeen I found a man, or maybe he found me. Away from home for the first time, out of reach of my father’s archaic restrictions and my mother’s culinary insistence, I cut off my hair, dropped my Christian name, wore black and toyed with anorexia, passing incognito among the city workers, just another ant in that vast heap.
Nell Grey
Every act of will is an act of self-limitation. To desire action is to desire limitation. In that sense, every act is an act of self-sacrifice. When you choose anything, you reject everything else... Every act is an irrevocable selection and exclusion. Just as when you marry one woman you give up all the others, so when you take one course of action you give up all the other courses… Art is limitation; the essence of every picture is the frame. If you draw a giraffe, you must draw him with a long neck. If, in you bold creative way, you hold yourself free to draw a giraffe with a short neck, you will really find that you are not free to draw a giraffe. The moment you step into the world of facts, you step into a world of limits. You can free things from alien or accidental laws, but not from the laws of their own nature. You may, if you like, free a tiger from his bars; but do not free him from his stripes. Do not free a camel from the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel. Do not go about as a demagogue, encouraging triangles to break out of the prison of their three sides. If a triangle breaks out of its three sides, its life comes to a lamentable end. Somebody wrote a work called “The Loves of the Triangles”; I never read it, but I am sure that if triangles ever were loved, they were loved for being triangular. This is certainly the case with all artistic creation, which is in some ways the most decisive example of pure will. The artist loves his limitations: they constitute the thing he is doing.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
kids who were able to overcome their desire for short-term reward in favor of a better outcome later weren’t smarter than the other kids, nor were they less gluttonous. They just had a better grasp of how to trick themselves into doing what was best for them.
David McRaney (You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself)
It is worth recalling here that the injudicious use of rewards and praise can be pressure tactics no less than verbal or physical coercion. As we have seen, there are three dangers with motivating by means of reward and praise. First, they feed the anxiety that not the person but the desired achievement is what is valued by the parent. They directly reinforce the insecurity of the ADD child. Second, since children can sense the parents’ will pushing them, even if under benign disguises such as gifts or warm words, counterwill will be strengthened. Third, praise and reward will themselves become the goal, at the expense of the child’s interest in the actual process of what he is doing. Children thus motivated will sooner or later learn to get by with the least amount of effort necessary to earn the praise or the reward. Short cuts and cheating often follow. Accepting
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates And What You Can Do About It)
I ask myself whether his rush had really carried him out of that mist in which he loomed interesting if not very big, with floating outlines - a straggler yearning inconsolably for his humble place in the ranks. And besides, the last word is not said, - probably shall never be said. Are not our lives too short for that full utterance which through all our stammerings is of course our only and abiding intention?...There is never time to say our last word - the last word of our love, of our desire, faith, remorse, submissions, revolt. ...My last words about Jim shall be few. I affirmed that he achieved greatness.
Joseph Conrad (Lord Jim)
We would be in each other's lives again. No, he hadn't been the best father, but he was my father, and we loved each other. We needed each other. Though he'd disappointed me countless times through the years, life had already proven too short for me to hold on to that. So I let go of my hurt. I let go years of frustration between us. Most of all, I let go of any desire to change my father and I accepted him for who he was. I took all of my anguish and released it like a fistful of helium balloons to the sky, and I chose to forgive him.
Liz Murray (Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard)
If we are being sold the idea of cool via a pair of trousers, we subconsciously feel a pressure to obtain and maintain that coolness. And all too often, when we have spent a lot of money on a desired item, we have a sinking feeling. The craving for the thing is rarely met by the satisfaction of getting it. And so we crave more. And the cycle repeats. We are encouraged to want what will only make us want more. We are, in short, encouraged to be addicts.
Matt Haig (Notes on a Nervous Planet)
Viking names included ‘desirous of beer’, ‘squat-wiggle’, ‘lust-hostage’, ‘short penis’, ‘able to fill a bay with fish by magic’, ‘the man who mixes his drinks’ and ‘the man without trousers’.
John Lloyd (1,411 QI Facts To Knock You Sideways)
Hence, too, my main concern will be to locate the forms of power, the channels it takes, and the discourses it permeates in order to reach the most tenuous and individual modes of behavior, the paths that give it access to the rare or scarcely perceivable forms of desire, how it penetrates and controls everyday pleasure—all this entailing effects that may be those of refusal, blockage, and invalidation, but also incitement and intensification: in short, the “polymorphous techniques of power.
Michel Foucault (The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction)
You were wearing a skirt nearly as short as this. Were you hoping he’d finger you right in front of me?” Embarrassment and desire twine through me. “Maybe.” My breath catches in my throat as his hand shift higher, his rough palm against my bare skin. I swallow hard. “Maybe I was hoping you’d do it.
Katee Robert (Your Dad Will Do (A Touch of Taboo, #1))
Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst - burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a stinking fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn't open my mouth, I didn't repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. I said to myself: You are mad! What's the meaning of these waves, these floods, these outbursts? Where is the ebullient, infinite woman who, immersed as she was in her naiveté, kept in the dark about herself, led into self-disdain by the great arm of parental-conjugal phallocentrism, hasn't been ashamed of her strength? Who, surprised and horrified by the fantastic tumult of her drives (for she was made to believe that a well-adjusted normal woman has a ... divine composure), hasn't accused herself of being a monster? Who, feeling a funny desire stirring inside her (to sing, to write, to dare to speak, in short, to bring out something new), hasn't thought she was sick? Well, her shameful sickness is that she resists death, that she makes trouble.
Hélène Cixous (The Laugh of the Medusa)
AN ASS having heard some Grasshoppers chirping, was highly enchanted; and, desiring to possess the same charms of melody, demanded what sort of food they lived on to give them such beautiful voices. They replied, "The dew." The Ass resolved that he would live only upon dew, and in a short time died of hunger.
Aesop (Aesop's Fables (Illustrated))
You are protected, in short, by your ability to love!” said Dumbledore loudly. “The only protection that can possibly work against the lure of power like Voldemort’s! In spite of all the temptation you have endured, all the suffering, you remain pure of heart, just as pure as you were at the age of eleven, when you stared into a mirror that reflected your heart’s desire, and it showed you only the way to thwart Lord Voldemort, and not immortality or riches. Harry, have you any idea how few wizards could have seen what you saw in that mirror? Voldemort should have known then what he was dealing with, but he did not!
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6))
In short, “fascist” is a modern word for “heretic,” branding an individual worthy of excommunication from the body politic. The left uses other words—“racist,” “sexist,” “homophobe,” “christianist”—for similar purposes, but these words have less elastic meanings. Fascism, however, is the gift that keeps on giving. George Orwell noted this tendency as early as 1946 in his famous essay “Politics and the English Language”: “The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable.
Jonah Goldberg (Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning)
The purpose of college, to put this all another way, is to turn adolescents into adults. You needn't go to school for that, but if you're going to be there anyway, then that's the most important thing to get accomplished. That is the true education: accept no substitutes. The idea that we should take the first four years of young adulthood and devote them to career preparation alone, neglecting every other part of life, is nothing short of an obscenity. If that's what people had you do, then you were robbed. And if you find yourself to be the same person at the end of college as you were at the beginning - the same beliefs, the same values, the same desires, the same goals for the same reasons - then you did it wrong. Go back and do it again.
William Deresiewicz (Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life)
The short space of threescore years can never content the imagination of man; nor can the imperfect joys of this world satisfy his heart. Man alone, of all created beings, displays a natural contempt of existence, and yet a boundless desire to exist; he scorns life, but he dreads annihilation. These different feelings incessantly urged his soul to the contemplation of a future state, and religion directs his musings thither. Religion, then, is simply another form of hope; and it is no less natural to the human heart than hope itself.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
I have never—and I mean ever—had a real desire to let otherwise-unaccounted-for money just chill in my bank account unmolested for more than maybe a week and a half. I barely have the willpower to leave other people’s money alone for the short time it’s in my custody. Money that isn’t earmarked for some pressing (transportation/pharmaceutical/credit card balance) need?! Why, yes, I do need fourteen nearly identical blushes, thank you.
Samantha Irby (We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.)
Gentlemen, I am tormented by questions; answer them for me. You, for instance, want to cure men of their old habits and reform their will in accordance with science and good sense. But how do you know, not only that it is possible, but also that it is desirable to reform man in that way? And what leads you to the conclusion that man's inclinations need reforming? In short, how do you know that such a reformation will be a benefit to man?
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
Lord, give me the capacity of never praying, spare me the insanity of all worship, let this temptation of love pass from me which would deliver me forever unto You. Let the void spread between my heart and heaven! I have no desire to people my deserts by Your presence, to tyrannize my nights by Your light, to dissolve my Siberias beneath Your sun.
Emil M. Cioran (A Short History of Decay)
First I need to do something.’ He pulled me closer towards him until our lips were almost touching. ‘What might that be?’ I managed to stutter, closing my eyes, anticipating the warmth of his lips against mine. But the kiss didn’t come. I opened my eyes. Alex had jumped to his feet. ‘Swim,’ he said, grinning at me. ‘Come on.’ ‘Swim?’ I pouted, unable to hide my disappointment that he wanted to swim rather than make out with me. Alex pulled his T-shirt off in one swift move. My eyes fell straightaway to his chest – which was tanned, smooth and ripped with muscle, and which, when you studied it as I had done, in detail, you discovered wasn’t a six-pack but actually a twelve-pack. My eyes flitted to the shadowed hollows where his hips disappeared into his shorts, causing a flutter in parts of my body that up until three weeks ago had been flutter-dormant. Alex’s hands dropped to his shorts and he started undoing his belt. I reassessed the swimming option. I could definitely do swimming. He shrugged off his shorts, but before I could catch an eyeful of anything, he was off, jogging towards the water. I paused for a nanosecond, weighing up my embarrassment at stripping naked over my desire to follow him. With a deep breath, I tore off my dress then kicked off my underwear and started running towards the sea, praying Nate wasn’t doing a fly-by. The water was warm and flat as a bath. I could see Alex in the distance, his skin gleaming in the now inky moonlight. When I got close to him, his hand snaked under the water, wrapped round my waist and pulled me towards him. I didn’t resist because I’d forgotten in that instant how to swim. And then he kissed me and I prayed silently and fervently that he took my shudder to be the effect of the water. I tried sticking myself onto him like a barnacle, but eventually Alex managed to pull himself free, holding my wrists in his hand so I couldn’t reattach. His resolve was as solid as a nuclear bunker’s walls. Alex had said there were always chinks. But I couldn’t seem to find the one in his armour. He swam two long strokes away from me. I trod water and stayed where I was, feeling confused, glad that the night was dark enough to hide my expression. ‘I’m just trying to protect your honour,’ he said, guessing it anyway. I groaned and rolled my eyes. When was he going to understand that I was happy for him to protect every other part of me, just not my honour?
Sarah Alderson (Losing Lila (Lila, #2))
...perhaps, also this short embrace may infuse in their veins a little of this thrill which they would not have known without it, and will give to those two dead souls, brought to life in a second, the rapid and divine sensation of this intoxication, of this madness which gives to lovers more happiness in an instant than other men can gather during a whole lifetime.
Guy de Maupassant
No he hadn't been the best father, but he was my father, and we loved each other. We needed each other. Though he'd disappointed me countless times through the years, life had already proven too short for me to hold on to that. So I let go of my hurt. I let go years of frustration between us. Most of all, I let go of any desire to change my father and I accepted him for who he was. I took all of my anguish and released it like a fistful of helium balloons to the sky, and I chose to forgive him.
Liz Murray (Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard)
William Butler Yeats’s “Second Coming” seems perfectly to render our present predicament: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.” This is an excellent description of the current split between anaemic liberals and impassioned fundamentalists. “The best” are no longer able to fully engage, while “the worst” engage in racist, religious, sexist fanaticism. However, are the terrorist fundamentalists, be they Christian or Muslim, really fundamentalists in the authentic sense of the term? Do they really believe? What they lack is a feature that is easy to discern in all authentic fundamentalists, from Tibetan Buddhists to the Amish in the U.S.: the absence of resentment and envy, the deep indifference towards the non-believers’ way of life. If today’s so-called fundamentalists really believe they have their way to truth, why should they feel threatened by non-believers, why should they envy them? When a Buddhist encounters a Western hedonist, he hardly condemns him. He just benevolently notes that the hedonist’s search for happiness is self-defeating. In contrast to true fundamentalists, the terrorist pseudo-fundamentalists are deeply bothered, intrigued, fascinated by the sinful life of the non-believers. One can feel that, in fighting the sinful Other, they are fighting their own temptation. These so-called Christian or Muslim fundamentalists are a disgrace to true fundamentalists. It is here that Yeats’s diagnosis falls short of the present predicament: the passionate intensity of a mob bears witness to a lack of true conviction. Deep in themselves, terrorist fundamentalists also lack true conviction-their violent outbursts are proof of it. How fragile the belief of a Muslim must be, if he feels threatened by a stupid caricature in a low-circulation Danish newspaper. The fundamentalist Islamic terror is not grounded in the terrorists’ conviction of their superiority and in their desire to safeguard their cultural-religious identity from the onslaught of global consumerist civilization. The problem with fundamentalists is not that we consider them inferior to us, but rather that they themselves secretly consider themselves inferior. This is why our condescending, politically correct assurances that we feel no superiority towards them only make them more furious and feeds their resentment. The problem is not cultural difference (their effort to preserve their identity), but the opposite fact that the fundamentalists are already like us, that secretly they have already internalized our standards and measure themselves by them. (This clearly goes for the Dalai Lama, who justifies Tibetan Buddhism in Western terms of the pursuit of happiness and avoidance of pain.) Paradoxically, what the fundamentalists really lack is precisely a dose of that true “racist” conviction of one’s own superiority.
Slavoj Žižek (Violence: Six Sideways Reflections)
18. If thou desire to continue friendship in any abode wherein thou enterest, be it as master, as brother, or as friend; wheresoever thou goest, beware of consorting with women. No place prospereth wherein that is done. Nor is it prudent to take part in it; a thousand men have been ruined for the pleasure of a little time short as a dream. Even death is reached thereby; it is a wretched thing. As for the evil liver, one leaveth him for what he doeth, he is avoided. If his desires be not gratified, he regardeth (?) no laws.
Ptah-Hotep (The Instruction of Ptah-hotep And the Instruction of Ke'gemni)
the question that confronts our current era is what happens when this power devolves to the individual. It is a question that requires us to balance the desires of the individual—to carve out a life of happiness and achievement, without undue suffering—with the desires of a society that, in the short term, may be interested only in driving down the burden of disease and the expense of disability.
Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Gene: An Intimate History)
She watched his pale, square hands on the map, the short almost stubby fingers, with their neatly trimmed nails and a sparse scattering of fine black hairs on the bottom section of each finger. Appalled, she felt a stirring of desire. You're pathetic as an adolescent, she savagely chided herself. Like a teenager who fancies the first teacher who says anything nice about your work. Grow up, Jordan!
Val McDermid (The Mermaids Singing (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #1))
When my sons arrived in the family, their legal status was not ambiguous at all. They were our kids. But their wants and affections were still atrophied by a year in the orphanage. They didn't know that flies on their faces were bad. They didn't know that a strange man feeding them their first scary gulps of solid food wasn't a torturer. Life in the cribs alone must have seemed to them like freedom. That's what I was missing about the biblical doctrine of adoption. Sure it's glorious in the long run. But it sure seems like hell in the short run. . . .
Russell D. Moore (Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches)
Some seek the comfort of their therapist’s office, others head for the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I choose running as my therapy. It was the best source of renewal there was. I couldn’t recall a single time that I felt worse after a run than before. What drug could compete? As Lily Tomlin said, “Exercise is for people who can’t handle drugs and alcohol.” I’d also come to recognize that the simplicity of running was quite liberating. Modern man has virtually everything one could desire, but too often we’re still not fulfilled. “Things” don’t bring happiness. Some of my finest moments came while running down the open road, little more than a pair of shoes and shorts to my name. A runner doesn’t need much. Thoreau once said that a man’s riches are based on what he can do without. Perhaps in needing less, you’re actually getting more.
Dean Karnazes (Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner)
By attempting to kill you, Voldemort himself singled out the remarkable person who sits here in front of me, and gave him the tools for the job! It is Voldemort's fault that you were able to see into his thoughts, his ambitions, that you even understand the snakelike language in which he gives orders, and yet, Harry, despite your privileged insight into Voldemort's world (which, incidentally, is a gift any Death Eater would kill to have), you have never been seduced by the Dark Arts, never, even for a second, shown the slightest desire to become one of Voldemort's followers!" "Of course I haven't!" said Harry indignantly. "He killed my mum and dad!" "You are protected, in short, by your ability to love!" said Dumbledore loudly. "The only protection that can possibly work against the lure of power like Voldemort's! In spite of all the temptation you have endured, all the suffering, you remain pure of heart, just as pure as you were at the age of eleven, when you stared into a mirror that reflected your heart's desire, and it showed you only the way to thwart Lord Voldemort, and not immortality or riches. Harry, have you any idea how few wizards could have seen what you saw in that mirror? Voldemort should have known then what he was dealing with, but he did not!
J.K. Rowling
Table 3–1. Definitions of Cognitive Distortions 1. ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING: You see things in black-and-white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure. 2. OVERGENERALIZATION: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. 3. MENTAL FILTER: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that colors the entire beaker of water. 4. DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences. 5. JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion. a. Mind reading. You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out. b. The Fortune Teller Error. You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact. 6. MAGNIFICATION (CATASTROPHIZING) OR MINIMIZATION: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else’s achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections). This is also called the “binocular trick.” 7. EMOTIONAL REASONING: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.” 8. SHOULD STATEMENTS: You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn’ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment. 9. LABELING AND MISLABELING: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a loser.” When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him: “He’s a goddam louse.” Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded. 10. PERSONALIZATION: You see yourself as me cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.
David D. Burns (Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy)
…suffering can be a work of art. It can be made of buried and rising things, helpless and undiscovered, song of frustrated want, silence after desire. It can be the test of the self falling short, constrained, distorted, disturbed or rebuffed, the vacuum left by longing, call without an answer.
Lydia Millet (Oh Pure and Radiant Heart)
Today you are encouraged to work towards your dream! Each of us has a fire in our hearts burning for something. It’s our responsibility in life to find it and keep it lit. This is your life and it’s a short one. Don’t let others extinguish your flame. You must follow your heart. Try what you want to try. Go where you want to go. Follow your own intuition. Dream with your eyes open until you know exactly what it looks like. Then do at least one thing every day to make it a reality. Don’t waste your life fulfilling someone else’s dreams and desires. Believe in yourself and your abilities!
John Geiger
The world is bulging with desirable women, as you have no doubt noticed already, but there are some who have a special presence, as if the space they occupy has more intrinsic depth and reality than that of others. These ones are surreptitiously incandescent, they glow with an invisible light reminiscent of mountains, shortly after dawn, in a tropical land. When I encounter one of these, it is like being in a clearing in the Amazon when a jaguar strolls past, sniffing the air, or like going to the front of a boat, looking down into the water, and seeing dolphins curvetting across the bows.
Louis de Bernières (Labels and Other Stories)
She pictures his jovial figure, dressed up in his T-short, shouting that Kafka was born in Prague, and she feels a desire rising through her body, the irrepressible desire to take a lover. Not to patch up her life as it is. But to turn it completely upside down. Finally take possession of her own fate.
Milan Kundera (Ignorance)
But most people live a life of quiet mediocrity and never achieve the success they truly desire because they get impatient. They want easy success or none at all. They see the path to success as a frustration, an impediment. Each day spent short of the ultimate goal is viewed as a time of failure and as an annoyance. As such, they get distracted by hundreds of little things that each day try to get us off our course. Yet the successful among us know the truth:
Earl Nightingale (How to Completely Change Your Life in 30 Seconds)
This is the first principle of democracy: that the essential things in men are the things they hold in common, not the things they hold separately. And the second principle is merely this: that the political instinct or desire is one of these things which they hold in common. Falling in love is more poetical than dropping into poetry. The democratic contention is that government ... is a thing like falling in love, and not a thing like dropping into poetry. It is not something analogous to playing the church organ, painting on vellum,..., being Astronomer Royal, and so on. For these things we do not wish a man to do at all unless he does them well. It is, on the contrary, a thing analogous to writing one's own love-letters or blowing one's own nose. These things we want a man to do for himself, even if he does them badly. .... In short, the democratic faith is this: that the most terribly important things must be left to ordinary men themselves--the mating of the sexes, the rearing of the young, the laws of the state. This is democracy; and in this I have always believed.
G.K. Chesterton
Among us English-speaking peoples especially do the praises of poverty need once more to be boldly sung. We have grown literally afraid to be poor. We despise any one who elects to be poor in order to simplify and save his inner life. If he does not join the general scramble and pant with the money-making street, we deem him spiritless and lacking in ambition. We have lost the power even of imagining what the ancient idealization of poverty could have meant: the liberation from material attachments, the unbribed soul, the manlier indifference, the paying our way by what we are or do and not by what we have, the right to fling away our life at any moment irresponsibly—the more athletic trim, in short, the moral fighting shape. When we of the so-called better classes are scared as men were never scared in history at material ugliness and hardship; when we put off marriage until our house can be artistic, and quake at the thought of having a child without a bank-account and doomed to manual labor, it is time for thinking men to protest against so unmanly and irreligious a state of opinion. It is true that so far as wealth gives time for ideal ends and exercise to ideal energies, wealth is better than poverty and ought to be chosen. But wealth does this in only a portion of the actual cases. Elsewhere the desire to gain wealth and the fear to lose it are our chief breeders of cowardice and propagators of corruption. There are thousands of conjunctures in which a wealth-bound man must be a slave, whilst a man for whom poverty has no terrors becomes a freeman. Think of the strength which personal indifference to poverty would give us if we were devoted to unpopular causes. We need no longer hold our tongues or fear to vote the revolutionary or reformatory ticket. Our stocks might fall, our hopes of promotion vanish, our salaries stop, our club doors close in our faces; yet, while we lived, we would imperturbably bear witness to the spirit, and our example would help to set free our generation. The cause would need its funds, but we its servants would be potent in proportion as we personally were contented with our poverty. I recommend this matter to your serious pondering, for it is certain that the prevalent fear of poverty among the educated classes is the worst moral disease from which our civilization suffers.
William James (Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study in Human Nature)
Stubbornness is a weapon. People tend to draw it out when a sensitive part of their identity is threatened—be it dignity, honor, pride, desires, etc. If loaded with righteous resolve, stubbornness can assist in overcoming obstacles and achieving great feats; however, more often than not it is loaded with anger, used as a means of destruction for both the possessor and those whom he turns his weapon upon. It is best utilized by wise individuals who are able to dispassionately perceive if their stubbornness will accomplish good, or if it should be put away and replaced by a humble substitute to spare the lives of everyone affected.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Slaying Dragons: Quotes, Poetry, & a few Short Stories for Every Day of the Year)
Are not our lives too short for that full utterance which through all our stammerings is of course our only and abiding intention? I have given up expecting those last words, whose ring, if they could only be pronounced, would shake both heaven and earth. There is never time to say our last word - the last word of our love, of our desire, faith, remorse, submission, revolt. The heaven and earth must not be shaken. I suppose - at least, not by us who know so many truths about either.
Joseph Conrad (Lord Jim)
It is natural to speak of hymns as "poems," indiscriminately, for they have the same structure. But a hymn is not necessarily a poem, while a poem that can be sung as a hymn is something more than a poem. Imagination makes poems; devotion makes hymns. There can be poetry without emotion, but a hymn never. A poem may argue; a hymn must not. In short to be a hymn, what is written must express spiritual feelings and desires. The music of faith, hope and charity will be somewhere in its strain.
Hezekiah Butterworth (The Story of the Hymns and Tunes)
It is always so strange that when you are working you never think of all the inspiring thoughts that made you take up the work in the first instance. Before I was in hospital at all I thought that because I suffered myself I should feel it a grand thing to relieve the sufferings of other people. But now, when I am actually doing something which I know relieves someone's pain, it is nothing but a matter of business. I may think lofty thoughts about the whole thing before or after but never at the time. At least, almost never. Sometimes some quite little thing makes me stop short all of a sudden and I feel a fierce desire to cry in the middle of whatever it is I am doing.
Vera Brittain (Testament of Youth)
As humans we are inclined to feel that life must have a point. We have plans and aspirations and desires. We want to take constant advantage of all the intoxicating existence we've been endowed with. But what's life to a cell? Yet it's impulse to exist, to be, is every bit as strong as ours - perhaps even stronger. Life just wants to be.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
If the history of the last century taught us the dangers of empowering governments to determine genetic “fitness” (i.e., which person fits within the triangle, and who lives outside it), then the question that confronts our current era is what happens when this power devolves to the individual. It is a question that requires us to balance the desires of the individual— to carve out a life of happiness and achievement, without undue suffering— with the desires of a society that, in the short term, may be interested only in driving down the burden of disease and the expense of disability. And operating silently in the background is a third set of actors: our genes themselves, which reproduce and create new variants oblivious of our desires and compulsions— but, either directly or indirectly, acutely or obliquely, influence our desires and compulsions. Speaking at the Sorbonne in 1975, the cultural historian Michel Foucault once proposed that “a technology of abnormal individuals appears precisely when a regular network of knowledge and power has been established.” Foucault was thinking about a “regular network” of humans. But it could just as easily be a network of genes.
Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Gene: An Intimate History)
The Ass And The Grasshopper   AN ASS having heard some Grasshoppers chirping, was highly enchanted; and, desiring to possess the same charms of melody, demanded what sort of food they lived on to give them such beautiful voices. They replied, "The dew." The Ass resolved that he would live only upon dew, and in a short time died of hunger.
Aesop (Aesop's Fables (Illustrated))
Control of sexuality is a classic tool of domination, used by men against women, by white people against people of color, by the abled against the disabled—or, to cut a long list short, by the powerful against the less powerful. It can be expressed in many ways, like rape as a form of political conquest or slave owners marrying off their slaves and splitting families apart. It can look like enforcing purity rules only for women, perpetuating racist sexual stereotypes, or assuming that some groups have no sexual desires at all.
Angela Chen (Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex)
That man is not yet a finished creation but rather a challenge of the spirit; a distant possibility dreaded as much as it is desired; that the way towards it has only been covered for a short distance and with terrible agonies and ecstasies even by those few for whom it is the scaffold today and the monument tomorrow - all this the Steppenwolf, too, suspected.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
You raise one eyebrow and regard me with another intense stare. “Start by stripping please Jenna.” I hear what you say and yet on some level I can’t quite process it. “Strip?” I ask, as though I don’t understand your demand. “Yes, strip. Take off all of your clothes. I want to see you naked. Now please.” I feel dazed, yet I let my jacket fall to the floor, and start work on my shirt buttons. Your eyes never leave me. I can feel them mining into me whilst I tackle the third button. Why is this so weird? You’re my husband after all. You’ve seen me undress and naked countless times. Yet this is different. I am not just undressing, I am stripping. It’s not my decision; it’s at your command. You are not just Oliver now; you’re my Husband – some dominant entity now in charge. For some strange reason, I am finding it really hot! The look in your eyes is not just appreciative; it’s carnal. Waves begin to rise in my pool of desire.
Felicity Brandon (Friday's Lesson)
Despite the liberal atmosphere of our time, it would be naive to assume that the distinction between “weird” and “normal” has disappeared. It stands as secure as ever, waiting to intimidate and herd back into line those who would question the normative limits of love and sex. It may now be deemed “normal” to wear cutoff shorts, expose belly buttons, marry someone of either gender, and watch a little porn for fun, but it also remains indispensably “normal” to believe that true love should be monogamous and that one’s desire should be focused exclusively on one person. To be in dispute with this founding principle is to risk being dismissed, in public or private, with that most dispiriting, caustic and shameful of all epithets: pervert. Rabih
Alain de Botton (The Course of Love)
Another kind of transcendence myth has been dramatization of human life in terms of conflict and vindication. This focuses upon the situation of oppression and the struggle for liberation. It is a short-circuited transcendence when the struggle against oppression becomes an end in itself, the focal point of all meaning. There is an inherent contradiction in the idea that those devoted to a cause have found their whole meaning in the struggle, so that the desired victory becomes implicitly an undesirable meaninglessness. Such a truncated vision is one of the pitfalls of theologies of the oppressed. Sometimes black theology, for example that of James Cone, resounds with a cry for vengeance and is fiercely biblical and patriarchal. It transcends religion as a crutch (the separation and return of much old-fashioned Negro spirituality) but tends to settle for being religion as a gun. Tailored to fit only the situation of racial oppression, it inspires a will to vindication but leaves unexplored other dimensions of liberation. It does not get beyond the sexist models internalized by the self and controlling society — models that are at the root of racism and that perpetuate it. The Black God and the Black Messiah apparently are merely the same patriarchs after a pigmentation operation — their behavior unaltered.
Mary Daly (Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation)
Even though you read much Zen literature, you must read each sentence with a fresh mind. You should not say, “I know what Zen is,” or “I have attained enlightenment.” This is also the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.” - “When you are sitting in the middle of your own problem, which is more real to you: your problem or you yourself? The awareness that you are here, right now, is the ultimate fact. ” - “Knowing that your life is short, to enjoy it day after day, moment after moment, is the life of “form is form and emptiness is emptiness.” - “You may feel as if you are doing something special, but actually it is only the expression of your true nature; it is the activity which appeases your inmost desire. But as long as you think you are practicing zazen for the sake of something, that is not true practice.” - “The most important thing is to forget all gaining ideas, all dualistic ideas. In other words, just practice zazen in a certain posture.
Shunryu Suzuki
Below the surface, the force driving noir stories is the urge to escape: from the past, from the law, from the ordinary, from poverty, from constricting relationships, from the limitations of the self. Noir found its fullest expression in America because the American psyche harbors a passion for independence . . . With this desire for autonomy comes a corresponding fear of loneliness and exile. The more we crave success, the more we dread failure; the more we crave freedom, the more we dread confinement. This is the shadow that spawns all of noir’s shadows: the anxiety imposed by living in a country that elevates opportunity above security; one that instills the compulsion to “make it big," but offers little sympathy to those who fall short. Film noir is about people who break the rules, pursuing their own interests outside the boundaries of decent society, and about how they are destroyed by society - or by themselves. Noir springs from a fundamental conflict between the values of individual freedom and communal safety: a fundamental doubt that the two can coexist. . . . Noir stories are powered by the need to escape, but they are structured around the impossibility of escape: their fierce, thwarted energy turns inward. The ultimate noir landscape, immeasurable as the ocean and confining as a jail cell, is the mind - the darkest city of all.
Imogen Sara Smith (In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City)
How people feel when they are returning home from an absence, long or short, I did not know: I had never experienced the sensation. I had known what it was to come back to Gateshead when a child after a long walk, to be scolded for looking cold or gloomy; and later, what it was to come back from church to Lowood, to long for a plenteous meal and a good fire, and to be unable to get either. Neither of these returnings was very pleasant or desirable: no magnet drew me to a given point, increasing in its strength of attraction the nearer I came. The return to Thornfield was yet to be tried.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
You are living as if destined to live for ever; your own frailty never occurs to you; you don’t notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply — though all the while that very day which you are devoting to somebody or something may be your last. You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire… How late it is to begin really to live just when life must end! How stupid to forget our mortality, and put off sensible plans to our fiftieth and sixtieth years, aiming to begin life from a point at which few have arrived!
Seneca
Pessimism is a towering skyscraper eighty stories high in the suburbs of the soul at the end of a long avenue with waste ground on either side and a few poorly-stocked little shops. Several ultra-fast staircases give access to the building, running up from the cellars to the roof-gardens. The comfort of this place leaves nothing to be desired and only the greatest luxury is acceptable, but every Friday the residents gather on the ground floor to read from a bible bound in the skin of a blind man. The psalmic words they intone rise up through the pipes, sigh in the stoves and sweep the chimneys coated inside with black grease which leaves dirt on the skin. Water runs constantly in the bathrooms and the showers beat down on the numbered bodies, peppering them with sand. On Sundays the bed linen unrolls by itself and nobody makes love. For this tower block, like an obscure phallus scraping the vulva of the sky, is usually a hive of sexual activity. The most beautiful woman lives there, but no-one has ever known her. It is said, that dressed in furs and feathers, she keeps herself shut away in a first-floor apartment as if in a white safe. Her windows are scissors which cut short both shadow and breath. Her name is AURORA.
Michel Leiris (Aurora)
Beyond aspects of pain that are physical, thought Oppenheimer, sickness or injury or privation, beyond the so-called obvious, suffering can be a work of art. It can be made of buried and rising things, helpless and undiscovered, song of frustrated want, silence after desire. It can be the test of the self falling short, constrained, distorted, disturbed or rebuffed, the vacuum left by longing, call without an answer.
Lydia Millet (Oh Pure and Radiant Heart)
This?" He thrust short and hard into her, the impact sending jolts of pleasure through her body. "Yes, that," he murmured to himself as if pleased, and did it again. And again. Until the heat between them combusted. Until she felt hot liquid wash over her limbs. Until she looked up and wondered why she'd ever thought his gray eyes emotionless. He was watching her with passion. With lust. With so much love. She felt tears in her eyes. He groaned above her, his hips jerking without rhythm, but all the while he watched her with those eyes. And when he at last stilled and rested his sweaty forehead against hers, he whispered, "I love you.
Elizabeth Hoyt (Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane, #12))
It is easy to overlook this thought that life just is. As humans we are inclined to feel that life must have a point. We have plans and aspirations and desires. We want to take constant advantage of all the intoxicating existence we’ve been endowed with. But what’s life to a lichen? Yet its impulse to exist, to be, is every bit as strong as ours – arguably even stronger. If I were told that I had to spend decades being a furry growth on a rock in the woods, I believe I would lose the will to go on. Lichens don’t. Like virtually all living things, they will suffer any hardship, endure any insult, for a moment’s additional existence. Life, in short, just wants to be. But – and here’s an interesting point – for the most part it doesn’t want to be much. […] there is one other extremely pertinent quality about life on Earth: it goes extinct. Quite regularly. For all the trouble they take to assemble and preserve themselves, species crumble and die remarkably routinely. And the more complex they get, the more quickly they appear to go extinct. Which is perhaps one reason why so much of life isn’t terribly ambitious.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
Every witch or wizard with a wand has held in his or her hands more power than we will ever know. With the right spell or potion, they can fabricate love, travel through time, change physical form and even extinguish life. In the wrong hands, power and magic can be dark, lethal, and consuming. Lord Voldemort showed us that; he sought power so viciously that he tore apart the fabric of his soul and lost everything that made him human. He is the ultimate villain, motivated by an ice-cold desire for power and destruction. Obviously few people could match Voldemort in general evil intent (though Bellatrix Lestrange and Dolores Umbridge indeed try), but there are certainly other characters attracted to power.
J.K. Rowling (Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (Pottermore Presents, #2))
The number of his wives is uncertain. Abulfeda, who writes with more caution than other of the Arabian historians, limits it to fifteen, though some make it as much as twenty-five. At the time of his death he had nine, each in her separate dwelling, and all in the vicinity of the mosque at Medina. The plea alleged for his indulging in a greater number of wives than he permitted to his followers, was a desire to beget a race of prophets for his people. If such indeed were his desire, it was disappointed. Of all his children, Fatima the wife of Ali alone survived him, and she died within a short time after his death. Of her descendants, none excepting her eldest son Hassan ever sat on the throne of the Caliphs.
Washington Irving (Life of Mohammed)
Beauty in a woman is a treasure rare Which we are never weary of admiring; But a sweet temper is a gift more fair And better worth the youthful maid's desiring. That was the boon bestowed on Cinderella By her wise godmother - her truest glory. The rest was "nought but leather and prunella." Such is the moral of this little story - Beauties that charm become you more than dress, And win a heart with far greater facility. In short, in all things to ensure success, The real Fairy Gift is amiability! Talent, courage, wit, and worth Are rare gifts to own on Earth; But if you want to thrive at court - So, at least, the wise report - You will find you need some others, Such as godfathers or mothers.
Charles Perrault
You see twenty-six years ago, when I was in high school, my goal and mission in life was to win a New York State Wrestling Championship. I committed myself to a lifestyle, made the sacrifices, put in the time, starved myself, shaved my head, had the hunger, desire and determination, but I came up short. For many years, after I graduated it seemed like I got nothing out of my six years of total dedication to the sport. That the trade off of what I gave and what I got in return to this sport was way out of whack. I hated wrestling for it. To put every ounce of your soul into achieving something and to get nothing out of it in return was beyond my comprehension and could not be justified in my head. Until I had adversity in my life. And slowly but surely I started realizing how much the sport of wrestling actually has given back to me. Much more than I ever knew. When life throws you to your back, you need to know how not to get pinned, get off of your back and do enough to make up the difference in order to win.
JohnA Passaro (6 Minutes Wrestling With Life (Every Breath Is Gold #1))
...Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must. He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march. He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient. ...He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low. He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life-or take it, because that is his job. He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed. He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to "square-away" those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. ...Just as did his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over two hundred years. He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding. Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood. And now we have women over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to war when our nation calls us to do so. As you go to bed tonight, remember this. A short lull, a little shade, and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.
Sarah Palin (America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag)
I see that you have come to the last stage of human life; you are close upon your hundreth year, or even beyond: come now, hold an audit of your life. Reckon how much of your time has been taken up by a money-lender, how much by a mistress, a patron, a client, quarreling with your wife, punishing your slaves, dashing about the city on your social obligations. Consider also the diseases which we have brought on ourselves, and the time too which has been unused. You will find that you have fewer years than you reckon. Call to mind when you ever had a fixed purpose; how few days have passed as you had planned; when you were ever at your own disposal; when your face wore its natural expression; when your mind was undisturbed; what work you have achieved in such a long life; how many have plundered your life when you were unaware of your losses; how much you have lost through groundless sorrow, foolish joy, greedy desire, the seductions of society; how little of your own was left to you. You will realize that you are dying prematurely.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
Volunteer sentences are the relics of your education And the desire to emulate the grown-up, workaday prose that surrounds you, Which is made overwhelmingly of sentences that are banal and structurally thoughtless. A volunteer sentence is almost always a perfunctory sentence. That can change. But only after years of questioning the shapes of sentences you read, And every sentence you write. Don’t let the word “years” alarm you. Think of it as months and months and months and months. You may think a volunteer sentence is an inspired one Simply because it volunteers. This is one reason to abandon the idea of inspiration. All the idea of inspiration will do Is stop you from revising a volunteer sentence. Only revision will tell you whether a sentence that offers itself is worth keeping.
Verlyn Klinkenborg (Several Short Sentences About Writing)
READER, You have here an honest book; it does at the outset forewarn You that, in contriving the same, I have proposed to myself no other than a domestic and private end: I have had no consideration at all either to Your service or to my glory. My powers are not capable of any such design. I have dedicated it to the particular commodity of my kinsfolk and friends, so that, having lost me (which they must do shortly), they may therein recover some traits of my conditions and humours, and by that means preserve more whole, and more life-like, the knowledge they had of me. Had my intention been to seek the world's favour, I should surely have adorned myself with borrowed beauties: I desire therein to be viewed as I appear in mine own genuine, simple, and ordinary manner, without study and artifice: for it is myself I paint. My defects are therein to be read to the life, and any imperfections and my natural form, so far as public reverence hath permitted me. If I had lived among those nations, which (they say) yet dwell under the sweet liberty of nature's primitive laws, I assure thee I would most willingly have painted myself quite fully and quite naked. Thus, reader, myself am the matter of my book: there's no reason You should employ Your leisure about so frivolous and vain a subject. Therefore farewell.
Michel de Montaigne (The Complete Essays)
You are protected, in short, by your ability to love!" said Dum-bledore loudly. "The only protection that can possibly work against the lure of power like Voldemort's! In spite of all the temptation you have endured, all the suffering, you remain pure of heart, just as pure as you were at the age of eleven, when you stared into a mir-ror that reflected your heart's desire, and it showed you only the way to thwart Lord Voldemort, and not immortality or riches. Harry, have you any idea how few wizards could have seen what you saw in that mirror? Voldemort should have known then what he was dealing with, but he did not! But he knows it now. You have flitted into Lord Voldemort's mind without damage to yourself, but he cannot possess you with-out enduring mortal agony, as he discovered in the Ministry. I do not think he understands why, Harry, but then, he was in such a hurry to mutilate his own soul, he never paused to understand the incomparable power of a soul that is untarnished and whole." "But, sir," said Harry, making valiant efforts not to sound argu-mentative, "it all comes to the same thing, doesn't it? I've got to try and kill him, or —" "Got to?" said Dumbledore. "Of course you've got to! But not because of the prophecy! Because you, yourself, will never rest until you've tried! We both know it! Imagine, please, just for a moment, that you had never heard that prophecy! How would you feel about Voldemort now? Think!" Harry watched Dumbledore striding up and down in front ol him, and thought. He thought of his mother, his father, and Sinus. He thought of Cedric Diggory. He thought of all the terrible deeds he knew Lord Voldemort had done. A flame seemed to leap inside his chest, searing his throat. "I'd want him finished," said Harry quietly. "And I'd want to do it." "Of course you would!" cried Dumbledore. "You see, the prophecy does not mean you have to do anything! But the prophecy caused Lord Voldemort to mark you as his equal. ... In other words, you are free to choose your way, quite free to turn your back on the prophecy! But Voldemort continues to set store by the prophecy. He will continue to hunt you . . . which makes it certain, really, that —" "That one of us is going to end up killing the other," said Harry. "Yes." But he understood at last what Dumbledore had been trying to tell him. It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumble-dore knew — and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents — that there was all the difference in the world.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6))
In short, conquest is in no sense a necessary sign of higher human development, though conquistadors have always thought otherwise. Any valid concept of organic development must use the primary terms of ecology-cooperation and symbiosis-as well as struggle and conflict, for even predators are part of a food chain, and do not 'conquer' their prey except to eat them. The idea of total conquest is an extrapolation from the existing power system: it indicates, not a desirable end, accomodation, but a pathological aberration, re-enforced by such rewards as this system bestows. As for the climactic notion that "the universe will be man's at last"-what is this but a paranoid fantasy, comparable to the claims of an asylum inmate who imagines that he is Emperor of the World? Such a claim is countless light-years away from reality.
Lewis Mumford (The Pentagon of Power (The Myth of the Machine, Vol 2))
And so when the generation, which itself desired to level and to be emancipated, to destroy authority and at the same time itself, has, through the scepticism of the principle association, started the hopeless forest fire of abstraction; when as a result of levelling with this scepticism, the generation has rid itself of the individual and of everything organic and concrete, and put in its place 'humanity' and the numerical equality of man and man: when the generation has, for a moment, delighted in this unlimited panorama of abstract infinity, unrelieved by even the smallest eminence, undisturbed by even the slightest interest, a sea of desert; then the time has come for work to begin, for every individual must work for himself, each for himself. No longer can the individual, as in former times, turn to the great for help when he grows confused. That is past; he is either lost in the dizziness of unending abstraction or saved for ever in the reality of religion. Perhaps very many will cry out in despair, but it will not help them--already it is too late...Nor shall any of the unrecognizable presume to help directly or to speak directly or to teach directly at the head of the masses, in order to direct their decisions, instead of giving his negative support and so helping the individual to make the decision which he himself has reached; any other course would be the end of him, because he would be indulging in the short-sighted compassion of man, instead of obeying the order of divinity, of an angry, yet so merciful, divinity. For the development is, in spite of everything, a progress because all the individuals who are saved will receive the specific weight of religion, its essence at first hand, from God himself. Then it will be said: 'behold, all is in readiness, see how the cruelty of abstraction makes the true form of worldliness only too evident, the abyss of eternity opens before you, the sharp scythe of the leveller makes it possible for every one individually to leap over the blade--and behold, it is God who waits. Leap, then, into the arms of God'. But the 'unrecognizable' neither can nor dares help man, not even his most faithful disciple, his mother, or the girl for whom he would gladly give his life: they must make the leap themselves, for God's love is not a second-hand gift. And yet the 'unrecognizable' neither can nor dares help man, not even his most faithful disciple, his mother, or the girl for whom he would gladly give his life: they must make the leap themselves, for God's love is not a second-hand gift. And yet the 'unrecognizable' (according to his degree) will have a double work compared with the 'outstanding' man (of the same degree), because he will not only have to work continuously, but at the same time labour to conceal his work.
Søren Kierkegaard (The Present Age)
Real eating restores a sense of of the festivity of being. Food does not exist merely for the sake of its nutritional value. To see it so is to knuckle under still further to the desubstantialization of man, to regard not what things are, but what they mean to us - to become in short solemn idolaters spiritualizing what should be loved as matter. A man's daily meal ought to be an exultation over the smack of desirability which lies at the root of creation. To break real bread is to break the loveless hold of hell upon the world, and, by just that much, to set the secular free.
Robert Farrar Capon (The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection)
It was the gift that every girl dreams of, to be dead long enough for your parents to realize how meaningless their lives were without you, how they were suddenly and at once deeply sorrowed at all of the horrible injustices they caused you, how they had truly never appreciated your natural gifts of beauty and grace, being that their beautiful angel would have such a short time on earth and should have spent that time driving the restored 1965 convertible Mustang she had openly AND PUBLICLY desired. But nope, she spent her last, short, fleeting moments driving a 1980 Chevy Citation, every so clearly a GRANDMA car, with fake red-velvet upholstery, a hatchback, and an interior that smelled like spoiled milk and sometimes meat. Being temporarily run over by a car was the best present I had ever received, and I didn't even have to do anything dramatic to get it, like write a note or buy some rope.
Laurie Notaro (An Idiot Girl's Christmas: True Tales from the Top of the Naughty List)
They lost their sense of reality, the notion of time, the rhythm of daily habits. They closed the doors and windows again so as not to waste time getting undressed and they walked about the house as Remedios the Beauty had wanted to do and they would roll around naked in the mud of the courtyard, and one afternoon they almost drowned as they made love in the cistern. In a short time they did more damage than the red ants: they destroyed the furniture in the parlor, in their madness they tore to shreds the hammock that had resisted the sad bivouac loves of Colonel Aureliano Buendía and they disemboweled the mattresses and emptied them on the floor as they suffocated in storms of cotton. Although Aureliano was just as ferocious a lover as his rival, it was Amaranta ?rsula who ruled in that paradise of disaster with her mad genius and her lyrical voracity, as if she had concentrated in her love the unconquerable energy that her great-great-grandmother had given to the making of little candy animals. And yet, while she was singing with pleasure and dying with laughter over her own inventions, Aureliano was becoming more and more absorbed and silent, for his passion was self-centered and burning. Nevertheless, they both reached such extremes of virtuosity that when they became exhausted from excitement, they would take advantage of their fatigue. They would give themselves over to the worship of their bodies, discovering that the rest periods of love had unexplored possibilities, much richer than those of desire. While he would rub Amaranta ?rsula’s erect breasts with egg whites or smooth her elastic thighs and peach-like stomach with cocoa butter, she would play with Aureliano’s portentous creature as if it were a doll and would paint clown’s eyes on it with her lipstick and give it a Turk’s mustache with her eyebrow pencil, and would put on organza bow ties and little tinfoil hats. One night they daubed themselves from head to toe with peach jam and licked each other like dogs and made mad love on the floor of the porch, and they were awakened by a torrent of carnivorous ants who were ready to eat them alive.
Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
An anarchist society is by definition a Free Society, but a Free Society is not necessarily Anarchist. It might fall short in several respects. Some failings might seriously limit its desirability. For instance, a Revolution carried out by men in a male-dominated society, might perpetuate sex discrimination, which would limit freedom and undermine the Revolution by leaving it possible for aggressive attitudes to be fostered. The liberal illusion that repressive forces must be tolerated which will ultimately wipe out all freedom -- lest the right to dissent be imperilled -- could well destroy the revolution.
Albert Meltzer (Anarchism: Arguments For and Against)
Though the role of theistic morality in the problems besetting the Islamic world is inescapable, many Western intellectuals—who would be appalled if the repression, misogyny, homophobia, and political violence that are common in the Islamic world were found in their own societies even diluted a hundredfold—have become strange apologists when these practices are carried out in the name of Islam.101 Some of the apologetics, to be sure, come from an admirable desire to prevent prejudice against Muslims. Some are intended to discredit a destructive (and possibly self-fulfilling) narrative that the world is embroiled in a clash of civilizations. Some fit into a long history of Western intellectuals execrating their own society and romanticizing its enemies (a syndrome we’ll return to shortly). But many of the apologetics come from a soft spot for religion among theists, faitheists, and Second Culture intellectuals, and a reluctance to go all in for Enlightenment humanism.
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
Religion is a totalitarian belief. It is the wish to be a slave. It is the desire that there be an unalterable, unchallengeable, tyrannical authority who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep, who can subject you to total surveillance around the clock every waking and sleeping minute of your life, before you're born and, even worse and where the real fun begins, after you're dead. A celestial North Korea. Who wants this to be true? Who but a slave desires such a ghastly fate? I've been to North Korea. It has a dead man as its president, Kim Jong-Il is only head of the party and head of the army. He's not head of the state. That office belongs to his deceased father, Kim Il-Sung. It's a necrocracy, a thanatocracy. It's one short of a trinity I might add. The son is the reincarnation of the father. It is the most revolting and utter and absolute and heartless tyranny the human species has ever evolved. But at least you can fucking die and leave North Korea!
Christopher Hitchens
There were twenty-three females on the Keltar estate--not counting Gwen, Chloe, herself, or the cat--Gabby knew, because shortly after Adam had become visible last night, she'd met each and every one, from tiniest tot to tottering ancient. It had begun with a plump, thirtyish maid popping in to pull the drapes for the evening and inquire if the MacKeltars "were wishing aught else?" The moment her bespectacled gaze had fallen on Adam, she'd begun stammering and tripping over her own feet. It had taken her a few moments to regain a semblance of coordination, but she'd managed to stumble from the library, nearly upsetting a lamp and a small end table in her haste. Apparently it had been haste to alert the forces, for a veritable parade had ensued: a blushing curvaceous maid had come offering a warm-up of tear (they'd not been having any), followed by a giggling maid seeking a forgotten dust cloth (which--was anyone surprised?--was nowhere to be found), then a third one looking for a waylaid broom (yeah, right--they swept castles at midnight in Scotland--who believed that?), then a fourth, fifth, and sixth inquiring if the Crystal Chamber would do for Mr. Black (no one seemed to care what chamber might do for her; she half-expected to end up in an outbuilding somewhere). A seventh, eighth, and ninth had come to announce that his chamber was ready would he like an escort? A bath drawn? Help undressing? (Well, okay, maybe they hadn't actually asked the last, but their eyes certainly had.) Then a half-dozen more had popped in at varying intervals to say the same things over again, and to stress that they were there to provide "aught, aught at all Mr. Black might desire." The sixteenth had come to extract two tiny girls from Adam's lap over their wailing protests (and had stayed out of his lap herself only because Adam had hastily stood), the twenty-third and final one had been old enough to be someone's great-great-grandmother, and even she'd flirted shamelessly with the "braw Mr. Black," batting nonexistent lashes above nests of wrinkles, smoothing thin white hair with a blue-veined, age-spotted hand. And if that hadn't been enough, the castle cat, obviously female and obviously in heat, had sashayed in, tail straight up and perkily curved at the tip, and would her furry little self sinuously around Adam's ankles, purring herself into a state of drooling, slanty-eyed bliss. Mr. Black, my ass, she'd wanted to snap (and she liked cats, really she did; she'd certainly never wanted to kick one before, but please--even cats?), he's a fairy and I found him, so that him my fairy. Back off.
Karen Marie Moning (The Immortal Highlander (Highlander, #6))
Why do we complain of Nature? She has shown herself kindly; life, if you know how to use it, is long. But one man is possessed by an avarice that is insatiable, another by a toilsome devotion to tasks that are useless; one man is besotted with wine, another is paralyzed by sloth; one man is exhausted by an ambition that always hangs upon the decision of others, another, driven on by the greed of the trader, is led over all lands and all seas by the hope of gain; some are tormented by a passion for war and are always either bent upon inflicting danger upon others or concerned about their own; some there are who are worn out by voluntary servitude in a thankless attendance upon the great; many are kept busy either in the pursuit of other men's fortune or in complaining of their own; many, following no fixed aim, shifting and inconstant and dissatisfied, are plunged by their fickleness into plans that are ever new; some have no fixed principle by which to direct their course, but Fate takes them unawares while they loll and yawn—so surely does it happen that I cannot doubt the truth of that utterance which the greatest of poets delivered with all the seeming of an oracle: "The part of life we really live is small."5 For all the rest of existence is not life, but merely time. Vices beset us and surround us on every side, and they do not permit us to rise anew and lift up our eyes for the discernment of truth, but they keep us down when once they have overwhelmed us and we are chained to lust. Their victims are never allowed to return to their true selves; if ever they chance to find some release, like the waters of the deep sea which continue to heave even after the storm is past, they are tossed about, and no rest from their lusts abides. Think you that I am speaking of the wretches whose evils are admitted? Look at those whose prosperity men flock to behold; they are smothered by their blessings. To how many are riches a burden! From how many do eloquence and the daily straining to display their powers draw forth blood! How many are pale from constant pleasures! To how many does the throng of clients that crowd about them leave no freedom! In short, run through the list of all these men from the lowest to the highest—this man desires an advocate,6 this one answers the call, that one is on trial, that one defends him, that one gives sentence; no one asserts his claim to himself, everyone is wasted for the sake of another. Ask about the men whose names are known by heart, and you will see that these are the marks that distinguish them: A cultivates B and B cultivates C; no one is his own master. And then certain men show the most senseless indignation—they complain of the insolence of their superiors, because they were too busy to see them when they wished an audience! But can anyone have the hardihood to complain of the pride of another when he himself has no time to attend to himself? After all, no matter who you are, the great man does sometimes look toward you even if his face is insolent, he does sometimes condescend to listen to your words, he permits you to appear at his side; but you never deign to look upon yourself, to give ear to yourself. There is no reason, therefore, to count anyone in debt for such services, seeing that, when you performed them, you had no wish for another's company, but could not endure your own.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
The tendencies we have mentioned are something new for America. They arose when, under the influence of the two World Wars and the consequent concentration of all forces on a military goal, a predominantly military mentality developed, which with the almost sudden victory became even more accentuated. The characteristic feature of this mentality is that people place the importance of what Bertrand Russell so tellingly terms “naked power” far above all other factors which affect the relations between peoples. The Germans, misled by Bismarck’s successes in particular, underwent just such a transformation of their mentality—in consequence of which they were entirely ruined in less than a hundred years. I must frankly confess that the foreign policy of the United States since the termination of hostilities has reminded me, sometimes irresistibly, of the attitude of Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm II, and I know that, independent of me, this analogy has most painfully occurred to others as well. It is characteristic of the military mentality that non-human factors (atom bombs, strategic bases, weapons of all sorts, the possession of raw materials, etc.) are held essential, while the human being, his desires and thoughts—in short, the psychological factors—are considered as unimportant and secondary. Herein lies a certain resemblance to Marxism, at least insofar as its theoretical side alone is kept in view. The individual is degraded to a mere instrument; he becomes “human materiel.” The normal ends of human aspiration vanish with such a viewpoint. Instead, the military mentality raises “naked power” as a goal in itself—one of the strangest illusions to which men can succumb.
Albert Einstein (Essays in Humanism)
I suspect gentlemen, that you're regarding me with pity; you keep repeating to me that an enlightened and cultured man -- such as, in short, as the man of the future will be -- cannot knowingly desire anything unprofitable for himself -- that that's mathematics. I agree totally that it really is mathematics. But I repeat to you for the hundredth time: there is only one case, only one, when a man can intentionally and consciously desire for himself even what is harmful and stupid, even what is extremely stupid: namely, in order to have the right to desire for himself even what is extremely stupid and not be constrained by the obligation to desire for himself only what is intelligent.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
The unexamined life is surely worth living, but is the unloved life worth examining? It seems a strange question until one realizes how much of our so-called mental life is about the lives we are not living, the lives we are missing out on, the lives we could be leading but for some reason are not. What we fantasize about, what we long for, are the experiences, the things and the people that are absent. It is the absence of what we need that makes us think, that makes us cross and sad. We have to be aware of what is missing in our lives - even if this often obscures both what we already have and what is actually available - because we can survive only if our appetites more or less work for us. Indeed, we have to survive our appetites by making people cooperate with our wanting. We pressurize the world to be there for our benefit. And yet we quickly notice as children - it is, perhaps, the first thing we do notice - that our needs, like our wishes, are always potentially unmet. Because we are always shadowed by the possibility of not getting what we want, we lean, at best, to ironize our wishes - that is, to call our wants wishes: a wish is only a wish until, as we say, it comes true - and, at worst, to hate our needs. But we also learn to live somewhere between the lives we have and the lives we would like.(…) There is always what will turn out to be the life we led, and the life that accompanied it, the parallel life (or lives) that never actually happened, that we lived in our minds, the wished-for life (or lives): the risks untaken and the opportunities avoided or unprovided. We refer to them as our unloved lives because somewhere we believe that they were open to us; but for some reason - and we might spend a great deal of our lived lives trying to find and give the reason - they were not possible. And what was not possible all too easily becomes the story of our lives. Indeed, our lived lives might become a protracted mourning for, or an endless tantrum about, the lives we were unable to live. But the exemptions we suffer, whether forced or chosen, make us who we are. As we know more now than ever before about the kinds of lives it is possible to live - and affluence has allowed more people than ever before to think of their lives in terms of choices and options - we are always haunted by the myth of our potential, of what we might have it in ourselves to be or do. So when we are not thinking, like the character in Randall Jarrell's poem, that "The ways we miss our lives is life", we are grieving or regretting or resenting our failure to be ourselves as we imagine we could be. We share our lives with the people we have failed to be. We discover these unloved lives most obviously in our envy of other people, and in the conscious 9and unconscious) demands we make on our children to become something that was beyond us. And, of course, in our daily frustrations. Our lives become an elegy to needs unmet and desires sacrificed, to possibilities refused, to roads not taken. The myth of our potential can make of our lives a perpetual falling-short, a continual and continuing loss, a sustained and sometimes sustaining rage; though at its best it lures us into the future, but without letting us wonder why such lures are required (we become promising through the promises made to us). The myth of potential makes mourning and complaining feel like the realest things we eve do; and makes of our frustration a secret life of grudges. Even if we set aside the inevitable questions - How would we know if we had realized our potential? If we don't have potential what do we have? - we can't imagine our lives without the unloved lives they contain. We have an abiding sense, however obscure and obscured, that the lives we do lead are informed by the lives that escape us. That our lives are defined by loss, but loss of what might have been; loss, that is, of things never experienced.
Adam Phillips (Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life)
Every disciple is a believer, but not every believer is necessarily a disciple. Anything short of discipleship, however, is settling for less than what God really desires for us. Loving God more than anyone or anything else is the very foundation of being a disciple. If you want to live your Christian life to its fullest, then love Jesus more than anyone or anything else. Either you will have harmony with God and friction with people, or you will have harmony with people and friction with God. You become a disciple in the biblical sense only when you are totally and completely committed to Jesus Christ and His Word. As a true disciple, your life won’t only be characterized by practical results and a hunger for Scripture, but you also will have love for others — especially fellow believers. Without all of these characteristics, you can’t really claim to be His disciple. A person who has been with Jesus will boldly share his or her faith. A person who has been with Jesus will be a person of prayer. A person who has been with Jesus will be persecuted. If for you, the Christian life is all about feeling good and having everything go your way, then you won’t like being a disciple. Being a follower of Christ is the most joyful and exciting life there is. But it also can be the most challenging life there is. It’s a life lived out under the command of someone other than yourself. Most prayers are not answered because they are outside the will of God. Once we have discovered God’s will, we can then pray aggressively and confidently for it. We can pray, believing it will happen, because we know it is not something we have dreamed. A forgiven person will be a forgiving person. A true disciple will harbor no grudge toward another. The disciple knows it will hinder his or her prayer life and walk with God. It is far better to sit down for an hour and talk genuinely with one person than to rattle off trite clichés to scores of people. Attending more Bible studies, more prayer meetings, reading more Christian books, and listening to more teaching without an outlet for the truth will cause us to spiritually decay. We need to take what God has given us and use it constructively in the lives of others. You were placed on earth to know God. Everything else is secondary. The more we know God, the more we should want to make Him known to a lost world. Your life belongs to God. You don’t share your time and talents with Him; He shares them with you! He owns you and everything about you. You need to recognize and acknowledge that fact.
Greg Laurie (Start! to Follow: How to Be a Successful Follower of Jesus Christ)
In space flight, “attitude” refers to orientation: which direction your vehicle is pointing relative to the Sun, Earth and other spacecraft. If you lose control of your attitude, two things happen: the vehicle starts to tumble and spin, disorienting everyone on board, and it also strays from its course, which, if you’re short on time or fuel, could mean the difference between life and death. In the Soyuz, for example, we use every cue from every available source—periscope, multiple sensors, the horizon—to monitor our attitude constantly and adjust if necessary. We never want to lose attitude, since maintaining attitude is fundamental to success. In my experience, something similar is true on Earth. Ultimately, I don’t determine whether I arrive at the desired professional destination. Too many variables are out of my control. There’s really just one thing I can control: my attitude during the journey, which is what keeps me feeling steady and stable, and what keeps me headed in the right direction. So I consciously monitor and correct, if necessary, because losing attitude would be far worse than not achieving my goal.
Chris Hadfield (An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth)
7. Character is built in the course of your inner confrontation. Character is a set of dispositions, desires, and habits that are slowly engraved during the struggle against your own weakness. You become more disciplined, considerate, and loving through a thousand small acts of self-control, sharing, service, friendship, and refined enjoyment. If you make disciplined, caring choices, you are slowly engraving certain tendencies into your mind. You are making it more likely that you will desire the right things and execute the right actions. If you make selfish, cruel, or disorganized choices, then you are slowly turning this core thing inside yourself into something that is degraded, inconstant, or fragmented. You can do harm to this core thing with nothing more than ignoble thoughts, even if you are not harming anyone else. You can elevate this core thing with an act of restraint nobody sees. If you don’t develop a coherent character in this way, life will fall to pieces sooner or later. You will become a slave to your passions. But if you do behave with habitual self-discipline, you will become constant and dependable. 8. The things that lead us astray are short term—lust, fear, vanity, gluttony. The things we call character endure over the long term—courage, honesty, humility. People with character are capable of a long obedience in the same direction, of staying attached to people and causes and callings consistently through thick and thin. People with character also have scope. They are not infinitely flexible, free-floating, and solitary. They are anchored by permanent attachments to important things. In the realm of the intellect, they have a set of permanent convictions about fundamental truths. In the realm of emotion, they are enmeshed in a web of unconditional loves. In the realm of action, they have a permanent commitment to tasks that cannot be completed in a single lifetime.
David Brooks (The Road to Character)
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)
Nay even in the life, of the same individual there is succession and not absolute unity: a man is called the same, and yet in the short interval which elapses between youth and age, and in which every animal is said to have life and identity, he is undergoing a perpetual process of loss and reparation—hair, flesh, bones, blood, and the whole body are always changing. Which is true not only of the body, but also of the soul, whose habits, tempers, opinions, desires, pleasures, pains, fears, never remain the same in any one of us, but are always coming and going; and equally true of knowledge, and what is still more surprising to us mortals, not only do the sciences in general spring up and decay, so that in respect of them we are never the same; but each of them individually experiences a like change.
Diotima
In consequence, when the pleasures have been removed which busy people derive from their actual activities, the mind cannot endure the house, the solitude, the walls, and hates to observe its own isolation. From this arises that boredom and self-dissatisfaction, that turmoil of a restless mind and gloomy and grudging endurance of our leisure, especially when we are ashamed to admit the reasons for it and our sense of shame drives the agony inward, and our desires are trapped in narrow bounds without escape and stifle themselves. From this arise melancholy and mourning and a thousand vacillations of a wavering mind, buoyed up by the birth of hope and sickened by the death of it. From this arises the state of mind of those who loathe their own leisure and complain that they have nothing to do, and the bitterest envy at the promotion of others. For unproductive idleness nurtures malice, and because they themselves could not prosper they want everyone else to be ruined. Then from this dislike of others' success and despair of their own, their minds become enraged against fortune, complain about the times, retreat into obscurity, and brood over their own sufferings until they become sick and tired of themselves.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
We desire more public space for secularism, space that would recognize secularism as a legitimate moral stance. But we simultaneously desire more religious freedom (which is not the same as advocating more religion)... We want the freedom not to be religious and the freedom to be religious differently... We think it's important for Americans to come to terms with th fact that Christianity, and often conservative Christianity, functions as the yardstick and measure of what counts as 'religion' and 'morality' in America... In short, for dissenting views to be heard currently, they have to speak the language of a consensus from which they are already excluded. The price of refusing to speak this common language is either not to be recognized at all or to be recognized only so as to be dismissed as an 'extremist.
Janet R. Jakobsen (Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance)
I probably should say that this is what makes you a good traveler in my opinion, but deep down I really think this is just universal, incontrovertible truth. There is the right way to travel, and the wrong way. And if there is one philanthropic deed that can come from this book, maybe it will be that I teach a few more people how to do it right. So, in short, my list of what makes a good traveler, which I recommend you use when interviewing your next potential trip partner: 1. You are open. You say yes to whatever comes your way, whether it’s shots of a putrid-smelling yak-butter tea or an offer for an Albanian toe-licking. (How else are you going to get the volcano dust off?) You say yes because it is the only way to really experience another place, and let it change you. Which, in my opinion, is the mark of a great trip. 2. You venture to the places where the tourists aren’t, in addition to hitting the “must-sees.” If you are exclusively visiting places where busloads of Chinese are following a woman with a flag and a bullhorn, you’re not doing it. 3. You are easygoing about sleeping/eating/comfort issues. You don’t change rooms three times, you’ll take an overnight bus if you must, you can go without meat in India and without vegan soy gluten-free tempeh butter in Bolivia, and you can shut the hell up about it. 4. You are aware of your travel companions, and of not being contrary to their desires/​needs/​schedules more often than necessary. If you find that you want to do things differently than your companions, you happily tell them to go on without you in a way that does not sound like you’re saying, “This is a test.” 5. You can figure it out. How to read a map, how to order when you can’t read the menu, how to find a bathroom, or a train, or a castle. 6. You know what the trip is going to cost, and can afford it. If you can’t afford the trip, you don’t go. Conversely, if your travel companions can’t afford what you can afford, you are willing to slum it in the name of camaraderie. P.S.: Attractive single people almost exclusively stay at dumps. If you’re looking for them, don’t go posh. 7. You are aware of cultural differences, and go out of your way to blend. You don’t wear booty shorts to the Western Wall on Shabbat. You do hike your bathing suit up your booty on the beach in Brazil. Basically, just be aware to show the culturally correct amount of booty. 8. You behave yourself when dealing with local hotel clerks/​train operators/​tour guides etc. Whether it’s for selfish gain, helping the reputation of Americans traveling abroad, or simply the spreading of good vibes, you will make nice even when faced with cultural frustrations and repeated smug “not possible”s. This was an especially important trait for an American traveling during the George W. years, when the world collectively thought we were all either mentally disabled or bent on world destruction. (One anecdote from that dark time: in Greece, I came back to my table at a café to find that Emma had let a nearby [handsome] Greek stranger pick my camera up off our table. He had then stuck it down the front of his pants for a photo. After he snapped it, he handed the camera back to me and said, “Show that to George Bush.” Which was obviously extra funny because of the word bush.) 9. This last rule is the most important to me: you are able to go with the flow in a spontaneous, non-uptight way if you stumble into something amazing that will bump some plan off the day’s schedule. So you missed the freakin’ waterfall—you got invited to a Bahamian family’s post-Christening barbecue where you danced with three generations of locals in a backyard under flower-strewn balconies. You won. Shut the hell up about the waterfall. Sally
Kristin Newman (What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding)
Once, when he had just lulled her to sleep but she had gone no farther than dream's antechamber and was therefore still responsive to him, he said to her, "Good-bye, I'm going now." "Where?" she asked in her sleep. "Away," he answered sternly. "Then I'm going with you," she said, sitting up in bed. "No, you can't. I'm going away for good," he said, going out into the hall. She stood up and followed him out, squinting. She was naked beneath her short nightdress. Her face was blank, expressionless, but she moved energetically. He walked through the hall of the flat into the hall of the building (the hall shared by all the occupants), closing the door in her face. She flung it open and continue to follow him, convinced in her sleep that he meant to leave her for good and she had to stop him. He walked down the stairs to the first landing and waited for her there. She went down after him, took him by the hand, and led him back to bed. Tomas came to this conclusion: Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
In the woodblock prints of the Genroku period one often finds the features of a pair of lovers to be surprisingly similar, with little to distinguish the man from the woman. The universal ideal of beauty in Greek sculpture likewise approaches a close resemblance between the male and female. Might this not be one of the secrets of love? Might it not be that through the innermost recesses of love there courses an unattainable longing in which both the man and the woman desire to become the exact image of the other? Might not this longing drive them on, leading at last to a tragic reaction in which they seek to attain the impossible by going to the opposite extreme? In short, since their mutual love cannot achieve a perfection of mutual identity, is there not a mental process whereby each of them tries instead to emphasize their points of dissimilarity—the man his manliness and the woman her womanliness—and uses this very revolt as a form of coquetry toward the other? Or if they do achieve a similarity, it unfortunately lasts for only a fleeting moment of illusion. Because, as the girl becomes more bold and the boy more shy, there comes an instant at which they pass each other going in opposite directions, overshooting their mark and passing on beyond to some point where the mark no longer exists.
Yukio Mishima (Confessions of a Mask)
There has always been a temptation to classify economic goods in clearly defined groups, about which a number of short and sharp propositions could be made, to gratify at once the student’s desire for logical precision, and the popular liking for dogmas that have the air of being profound and are yet easily handled. But great mischief seems to have been done by yielding to this temptation, and drawing broad artificial lines of division where Nature has made none. The more simple and absolute an economic doctrine is, the greater will be the confusion which it brings into attempts to apply economic doctrines to practice, if the dividing lines to which it refers cannot be found in real life. There is not in real life a clear line of division between things that are and are not Capital, or that are and are not Necessaries, or again between labour that is and is not Productive.
Alfred Marshall (Principles of Economics)
Scott stared at her mouth, just stared like he was hypnotized, paralyzed, like that crimson O was the answer to all of life’s problems, or maybe just his prayers. I kicked his shin to break the spell, which worked; he blinked, then ate the bite himself as if he’d never even offered it to anyone at all. I looked frankly at Carmel; her expression was innocently amused. There are women whose whole selves are engaged in being a public commodity, and Carmel was one of these. Every gesture she made, every syllable she uttered, the tinkle of her laughter, the way her dress’s fabric draped over her breasts, all of it was self-conscious and deliberate, designed to elicit admiration in women, desire in men. This isn’t to say I held any of that against her. Not a bit. I liked her, in fact. The way I saw it, she was a kind of living work of art, and funny and thoughtful besides. Was it her fault if she, as had happened to me, sometimes provoked the basest feelings in a man? Scott and Fred made short work of that second bottle of brandy while Carmel’s and my glasses still held our initial pour. I’d found that drinking very much of any kind of alcohol still did bad things to my stomach. Carmel might have found that it did bad things to her self-preservation; I know that if I looked like her, I’d never let down my guard.
Therese Anne Fowler (Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald)
The “German problem” after 1970 became how to keep up with the Germans in terms of efficiency and productivity. One way, as above, was to serially devalue, but that was beginning to hurt. The other way was to tie your currency to the deutsche mark and thereby make your price and inflation rate the same as the Germans, which it turned out would also hurt, but in a different way. The problem with keeping up with the Germans is that German industrial exports have the lowest price elasticities in the world. In plain English, Germany makes really great stuff that everyone wants and will pay more for in comparison to all the alternatives. So when you tie your currency to the deutsche mark, you are making a one-way bet that your industry can be as competitive as the Germans in terms of quality and price. That would be difficult enough if the deutsche mark hadn’t been undervalued for most of the postwar period and both German labor costs and inflation rates were lower than average, but unfortunately for everyone else, they were. That gave the German economy the advantage in producing less-than-great stuff too, thereby undercutting competitors in products lower down, as well as higher up the value-added chain. Add to this contemporary German wages, which have seen real declines over the 2000s, and you have an economy that is extremely hard to keep up with. On the other side of this one-way bet were the financial markets. They looked at less dynamic economies, such as the United Kingdom and Italy, that were tying themselves to the deutsche mark and saw a way to make money. The only way to maintain a currency peg is to either defend it with foreign exchange reserves or deflate your wages and prices to accommodate it. To defend a peg you need lots of foreign currency so that when your currency loses value (as it will if you are trying to keep up with the Germans), you can sell your foreign currency reserves and buy back your own currency to maintain the desired rate. But if the markets can figure out how much foreign currency you have in reserve, they can bet against you, force a devaluation of your currency, and pocket the difference between the peg and the new market value in a short sale. George Soros (and a lot of other hedge funds) famously did this to the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992, blowing the United Kingdom and Italy out of the system. Soros could do this because he knew that there was no way the United Kingdom or Italy could be as competitive as Germany without serious price deflation to increase cost competitiveness, and that there would be only so much deflation and unemployment these countries could take before they either ran out of foreign exchange reserves or lost the next election. Indeed, the European Exchange Rate Mechanism was sometimes referred to as the European “Eternal Recession Mechanism,” such was its deflationary impact. In short, attempts to maintain an anti-inflationary currency peg fail because they are not credible on the following point: you cannot run a gold standard (where the only way to adjust is through internal deflation) in a democracy.
Mark Blyth (Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea)
It is also worth noting that it was only through my urgent instigation that he printed a short poem of his own. This was in accordance with his essential unassumingness. Though not clearly conscious of it at the time, I now realize that in a young man of twnty-four his selflessness was extraordinary. The clue to his poetic genius was sympathy, not only in his detached outlook upon humanity but in all his actions and responses towards individuals. I can remember nothing in my observations of his character which showed any sign of egotism or desire for self-advancement. When contrasting the two of us, I find that - highly strung and emotional though he was - his whole personality was far more compact and coherent than mine. He readily recognized and appreciated this contrast, and I remember with affection his amused acceptance of my exclamatory enthusiasms and intolerances. Most unfairly to himself, he even likened us to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza!
Siegfried Sassoon (Siegfried's Journey, 1916-1920)
In becoming forcibly and essentially aware of my mortality, and of what I wished and wanted for my life, however short it might be, priorities and omissions became strongly etched in a merciless light and what I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid? To question or to speak as I believed could have meant pain, or death. But we are all hurt in so many different ways, all the time, and pain will either change or end. Death on the other hand, is the final silence. And that might be coming quietly now, without regard for whether I had ever spoken what needed to be said or had only betrayed myself into small silences, while I planned someday to speak, or waited for someone else's words. And I began to recognize a source of power within myself that comes from the knowledge that while it is most desirable not to be afraid, learning to put fear into a perspective gave me great strength. I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences. And it was the concern and caring of all those women which gave me strength and enabled me to scrutinize the essentials of my living.
Audre Lorde (Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches)
There can be no life without faith and love--faith in a human heart, love of a human being! That touch of grace, whose help once in life is the privilege of the most undeserving, flung open for him the portals of beyond, and in contemplating there the certitude immaterial and precious he forgot all the meaningless accidents of existence: the bliss of getting, the delight of enjoying; all the protean and enticing forms of the cupidity that rules a material world of foolish joys, of contemptible sorrows. Faith!--Love!--the undoubting, clear faith in the truth of a soul--the great tenderness, deep as the ocean, serene and eternal, like the infinite peace of space above the short tempests of the earth. It was what he had wanted all his life--but he understood it only then for the first time. It was through the pain of losing her that the knowledge had come. She had the gift! She had the gift! And in all the world she was the only human being that could surrender it to his immense desire.
Joseph Conrad (The Return)
Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise Hath chid down all the majesty of England; Imagine that you see the wretched strangers, Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage, Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation, And that you sit as kings in your desires, Authority quite silent by your brawl, And you in ruff of your opinions clothed; What had you got? I'll tell you: you had taught How insolence and strong hand should prevail, How order should be quelled; and by this pattern Not one of you should live an aged man, For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought, With self same hand, self reasons, and self right, Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes Would feed on one another.... Say now the king Should so much come too short of your great trespass As but to banish you, whither would you go? What country, by the nature of your error, Should give your harbour? go you to France or Flanders, To any German province, to Spain or Portugal, Nay, any where that not adheres to England, Why, you must needs be strangers: would you be pleased To find a nation of such barbarous temper, That, breaking out in hideous violence, Would not afford you an abode on earth, Whet their detested knives against your throats, Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God Owed not nor made you, nor that the claimants Were not all appropriate to your comforts, But chartered unto them, what would you think To be thus used? this is the strangers case; And this your mountainish inhumanity.
William Shakespeare
Here's the plain truth, at least as it has been shown to me: We are never far from wonders. I remember when my son was about two, we were walking in the woods one November morning. We were along a ridge, looking down at a forest in the valley below, where a cold haze seemed to hug the forest floor. I kept trying to get my oblivious two-year-old to appreciate the landscape. At one point, I picked him up and pointed out toward the horizon and said, "Look at that, Henry, just look at it!" And he said, "Weaf!" I said, "What?" And again he said, "Weaf," and then reached out and grabbed a single brown oak leaf from the little tree next to us. I wanted to explain to him that you can see a brown oak leaf anywhere in the eastern United States in November, that nothing in the forest was less interesting. But after watching him look at it, I began to look as well, and I soon realized it wasn't just a brown leaf. Its veins spidered out red and orange and yellow in a pattern too complex for my brain to synthesize, and the more I looked at that leaf with Henry, the more I was compelled into an aesthetic contemplation I neither understood nor desired, face-to-face with something commensurate to my capacity for wonder. Marveling at the perfection of that leaf, I was reminded that aesthetic beauty is as much about how and whether you look as what you see. From the quark to the supernova, the wonders do not cease. It is our attentiveness that is in short supply, our ability and willingness to do the work that awe requires.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed)
slavery never took the form of the large-scale plantations found in the American South, the Caribbean or South America. Plantations, though their establishment was desired by some colonists, were found to be incompatible with Canada’s climate and short growing season (Mackey 2010). As a result, the number of enslaved people in Canada was always lower, and the economy less reliant on slave labour than other parts of the Americas and the Caribbean. These distinctions have underpinned the assumption in some existing scholarship that enslavement in Canada was relatively benign. Yet, the absence of slave plantation economies does not negate the brutality of the centuries-long, state-supported practice of slavery. White individuals and white settler society profited from owning unfree Black (and Indigenous) people and their labour for hundreds of years while exposing them to physical and psychological brutality, and the inferiority ascribed to Blackness in this era would affect the treatment of Black persons living in Canada for centuries to come.
Robyn Maynard (Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present)
I have spent these several days past, in reading and writing, with the most pleasing tranquility imaginable. You will ask, "How that can possibly be in the midst of Rome?" It was the time of celebrating the Circensian games; an entertainment for which I have not the least taste. They have no novelty, no variety to recommend them, nothing, in short, one would wish to see twice. It does the more surprise me therefore that so many thousand people should be possessed with the childish passion of desiring so often to see a parcel of horses gallop, and men standing upright in their chariots. If, indeed, it were the swiftness of the horses, or the skill of the men that attracted them, there might be some pretence of reason for it. But it is the dress they like; it is the dress that takes their fancy. And if, in the midst of the course and contest, the different parties were to change colours, their different partisans would change sides, and instantly desert the very same men and horses whom just before they were eagerly following with their eyes, as far as they could see, and shouting out their names with all their might. Such mighty charms, such wondrous power reside in the colour of a paltry tunic! And this not only with the common crowd (more contemptible than the dress they espouse), but even with serious-thinking people. When I observe such men thus insatiably fond of so silly, so low, so uninteresting, so common an entertainment, I congratulate myself on my indifference to these pleasures: and am glad to employ the leisure of this season upon my books, which others throw away upon the most idle occupations.
Pliny the Younger
Duroy, who felt light hearted that evening, said with a smile: "You are gloomy to-day, dear master." The poet replied: "I am always so, young man, so will you be in a few years. Life is a hill. As long as one is climbing up one looks towards the summit and is happy, but when one reaches the top one suddenly perceives the descent before one, and its bottom, which is death. One climbs up slowly, but one goes down quickly. At your age a man is happy. He hopes for many things, which, by the way, never come to pass. At mine, one no longer expects anything - but death." Duroy began to laugh: "You make me shudder all over." Norbert de Varenne went on: "No, you do not understand me now, but later on you will remember what I am saying to you at this moment. A day comes, and it comes early for many, when there is an end to mirth, for behind everything one looks at one sees death. You do not even understand the word. At your age it means nothing; at mine it is terrible. Yes, one understands it all at once, one does not know how or why, and then everything in life changes its aspect. For fifteen years I have felt death assail me as if I bore within me some gnawing beast. I have felt myself decaying little by little, month by month, hour by hour, like a house crumbling to ruin. Death has disfigured me so completely that I do not recognize myself. I have no longer anything about me of myself - of the fresh, strong man I was at thirty. I have seen death whiten my black hairs, and with what skillful and spiteful slowness. Death has taken my firm skin, my muscles, my teeth, my whole body of old, only leaving me a despairing soul, soon to be taken too. Every step brings me nearer to death, every movemebt, every breath hastens his odious work. To breathe, sleep, drink, eat, work, dream, everything we do is to die. To live, in short, is to die. Oh, you will realize this. If you stop and think for a moment you will understand. What do you expect? Love? A few more kisses and you will be impotent. Then money? For what? Women? Much fun that will be! In order to eat a lot and grow fat and lie awake at night suffering from gout? And after that? Glory? What use is that when it does not take the form of love? And after that? Death is always the end. I now see death so near that I often want to stretch my arms to push it back. It covers the earth and fills the universe. I see it everywhere. The insects crushed on the path, the falling leaves, the white hair in a friend's head, rend my heart and cry to me, 'Behold it!' It spoils for me all I do, all I see, all that I eat and drink, all that I love; the bright moonlight, the sunrise, the broad ocean, the noble rivers, and the soft summer evening air so sweet to breath." He walked on slowly, dreaming aloud, almost forgetting that he had a listener: "And no one ever returns - never. The model of a statue may be preserved, but my body, my face, my thoughts, my desires will never reappear again. And yet millions of beings will be born with a nose, eyes, forehead, cheeks, and mouth like me, and also a soul like me, without my ever returning, without even anything recognizable of me appearing in these countless different beings. What can we cling to? What can we believe in? All religions are stupid, with their puerile morality and their egotistical promises, monstrously absurd. Death alone is certain." "Think of that, young man. Think of it for days, and months and years, and life will seem different to you. Try to get away from all the things that shut you in. Make a superhuman effort to emerge alive from your own body, from your own interests, from your thoughts, from humanity in general, so that your eyes may be turned in the opposite direction. Then you understand how unimportant is the quarrel between Romanticism and Realism, or the Budget debates.
Guy de Maupassant
The ascent of the soul through love, which Plato describes in the Phaedrus, is symbolized in the figure of Aphrodite Urania, and this was the Venus painted by Botticelli, who was incidentally an ardent Platonist, and member of the Platonist circle around Pico della Mirandola. Botticelli’s Venus is not erotic: she is a vision of heavenly beauty, a visitation from other and higher spheres, and a call to transcendence. Indeed, she is self-evidently both the ancestor and the descendant of the Virgins of Fra Filippo Lippi: the ancestor in her pre-Christian meaning, the descendant in absorbing all that had been achieved through the artistic representation of the Virgin Mary as the symbol of untainted flesh. The post-Renaissance rehabilitation of sexual desire laid the foundations for a genuinely erotic art, an art that would display the human being as both subject and object of desire, but also as a free individual whose desire is a favour consciously bestowed. But this rehabilitation of sex leads us to raise what has become one of the most important questions confronting art and the criticism of art in our time: that of the difference, if there is one, between erotic art and pornography. Art can be erotic and also beautiful, like a Titian Venus. But it cannot be beautiful and also pornographic—so we believe, at least. And it is important to see why. In distinguishing the erotic and the pornographic we are really distinguishing two kinds of interest: interest in the embodied person and interest in the body—and, in the sense that I intend, these interests are incompatible. (See the discussion in Chapter 2.) Normal desire is an inter-personal emotion. Its aim is a free and mutual surrender, which is also a uniting of two individuals, of you and me—through our bodies, certainly, but not merely as our bodies. Normal desire is a person to person response, one that seeks the selfhood that it gives. Objects can be substituted for each other, subjects not. Subjects, as Kant persuasively argued, are free individuals; their non-substitutability belongs to what they essentially are. Pornography, like slavery, is a denial of the human subject, a way of negating the moral demand that free beings must treat each other as ends in themselves.
Roger Scruton (Beauty: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions))
None of these men will bring about your death any time sooner, but rather they will teach you how to die. None of them will shorten your lifespan, but each will add the wisdom of his years to yours. In other words, there is nothing dangerous about talking to these people and it won’t cost you a penny. Take from them as much as you wish. It’s up to you to squeeze the most you can from their wisdom. What bliss, what a glorious old age awaits the man who has offered himself as a mate to these intellects! He will have mentors and colleagues from whom he may seek advice on the smallest of matters, companions ever ready with counsel for his daily life, from whom he may hear truth without judgment, praise without flattery, and after whose likeness he may fashion himself. They say ‘you can’t choose your parents,’ that they have been given to us by chance; but the good news is we can choose to be the sons of whomever we desire. There are many respectable fathers scattered across the centuries to choose from. Select a genius and make yourself their adopted son. You could even inherit their name and make claim to be a true descendant and then go forth and share this wealth of knowledge with others. These men will show you the way to immortality, and raise you to heights from which no man can be cast down. This is the only way to extend mortality – truly, by transforming time into immortality. Honors, statues and all other mighty monuments to man’s ambition carved in stone will crumble but the wisdom of the past is indestructible. Age cannot wither nor destroy philosophy which serves all generations. Its vitality is strengthened by each new generation’s contribution to it. The Philosopher alone is unfettered by the confines of humanity. He lives forever, like a god. He embraces memory, utilizes the present and anticipates with relish what is to come. He makes his time on Earth longer by merging past, present and future into one.
Seneca (Stoic Six Pack 2 - Consolations From A Stoic, On The Shortness of Life, Musonius Rufus, Hierocles, Meditations In Verse and The Stoics (Illustrated) (Stoic Six Packs))
Tomorrow is just as real a thing as yesterday. So is day after next, and the rest of them. Because you cannot see the future, it does not follow that it is not there. Your own path may vary widely, but the piece of country you are to travel is solid and real. We have been most erroneously taught not to think of the future; to live only in the present: and at the same time we have been taught to guide our lives by an ideal of the remotest possible future - a postmortem eternity. Between the contradictory ideals of this paradox, most of us drag along, forced by the exigencies of business to consider some future, but ignoring most of it. A single human life is short enough to be well within range of anybody's mind. Allow for it eighty years: if you don't have eight you are that much in - so much less to plan for. Sit down wherever you happen to be; under twenty, over fifty, anywhere on the road; lift your eyes from your footsteps, and "look before and after." Look back, see the remarkable wiggling sort of path you have made; see the places where you made no progress at all, but simply tramped up and down without taking a step. Ask yourself: "If I had thought about what I should be feeling toady, would I have behaved as I did then?" Quite probably not. But why not? Why not, in deciding on own's path and gait at a given moment, consider that inevitable advancing future? Come it will; but how it comes, what it is, depends on us. Then look ahead; not merely just before your nose, but way ahead. It is a good and wholesome thing to plan out one's whole life; as one thinks it is likely to be; as one desires it should be; and then act accordingly. Suppose you are about twenty-five. Consider a number of persons of fifty or sixty, and how they look. Do you want to look like that? What sort of a body do you want at fifty? It is in your hands to make. In health, in character, in business, in friendship, in love, in happiness; your future is very largely yours to make. Then why not make it? Suppose you are thirty, forty, fifty, sixty. So long as you have a year before you it is worth while to consider it in advance. Live as a whole, not in disconnected fractions.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Be big enough to offer the truth to people and if it short circuits them I think that's tragic. I think that's sad but, I will not strike no unholy bargains to self erase. I wont do it. I don't care how many people fucked up their lives. I don't care how many bad choices people have made. I don't care how much pettiness they've consumed and spat out. I don't care how much viciousness , rage, abuse, spanking they've dealt out. I am gonna tell the truth as I see it and I'm going to be who I fucking am and if that causes the world to shift in it's orbit and half the evil people get thrown off the planet and up into space well, you shouldn't of been standing in evil to begin with because, there is gravity in goodness. So, sorry; I have to be who I am. Everyone ells is taken. There is no other place I can go than in my own head. I can't jump from skull to skull until I find one that suits bad people around me better. I don't have that choice. So, be your fucking self. Speak your truth and if there are people around you who tempt you with nonexistence , blast through that and give them the full glory of who you are. Do not withhold yourself from the world. Do not piss on the incandescent gift of your existence. Don't drown yourself in the petty fog and dustiness of other peoples ancient superstitions, beliefs, aggressions, culture, and crap. No, be a flare. We're all born self expressive. We are all born perfectly comfortable with being incredibly inconvenient to our parents. We shit, piss, wake up at night, throw up on their shoulders, scream, and cry. We are in our essence, in our humanity, perfectly comfortable with inconveniencing others. That's how we are born. That's how we grow. That's how we develop. Well, I choose to retain the ability to inconvenience the irrational. You know I had a cancer in me last year and I'm very glad that the surgeons knife and the related medicines that I took proved extremely inconvenient to my cancer and I bet you my cancer was like "Aw shit. I hate this stuff man." Good. I'm only alive because medicine and surgery was highly inconvenient to the cancer within me. That's the only reason I'm alive. So, be who you are. If that's inconvenient to other people that's their goddamn business, not yours. Do not kill yourself because other people are dead. Do not follow people into the grave. Do not atomize yourself because, others have shredded themselves into dust for the sake of their fears and their desire to conform with the history of the dead.
Stefan Molyneux
Leyel had buried himself within the marriage, helping and serving and loving Deet with all his heart. She was wrong, completely wrong about his coming to Trantor. He hadn't come as a sacrifice, againt his will, solely because she wanted to come. On the contrary: because she wanted so much to come, he also wanted to come, changing even his desires to coincide with hers. She commanded his very heart, because it was impossible for him not to desire anything that would bring her happiness. But she, no, she could not do that for him. If she went to Terminus, it would be as a noble sacrifice. She wold never let him forget that she hadn't wanted to. To him, their marriage was his very soul. To Deet, their marriage was just a friendship with sex. Her soul belonged as much to these other women as to him. By dividing her loyalties, she fragmented them; none were strong enough to sway her deepest desires. Thus he discovered what he supposed all faithful men eventually discover--that no human relationship is ever anything but tentative. There is no such thing as an unbreakable bond between people. Like the particles in the nucleus of the atom. They are bound by the strongest forces in the universe, and yet they can be shattered, they can break. Nothing can last. Nothing is, finally, waht it once seemed to be. Deet and he had had a perfect marriage until there came a stress that exposed its imperfection. Anyonewho thinks he has a perfect marriage, a perfect friendship, a perfect trust of any kind, he only believes this becasue the stress that will break it has not yet come. He might die with the illusion of happiness, but all he has proven is that sometimes death comes before betrayal. If you live long enough, betrayal will inevitably come.
Orson Scott Card (Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card)
Suppose he really is in love. What about her? She never has anything good to say about him.” “Yet she blushes whenever he enters a room. And she stares at him a good deal. Or hadn’t you noticed that, either?” “As a matter of fact, I have.” Gazing up at him, she softened her tone. “But I do not want her hurt, Isaac. I must be sure she is desired for herself and not her fortune. Her siblings had a chance of not gaining their inheritance unless the others married, so I always knew that their mates loved them, but she…” She shook her head. “I had to find a way to remove her fortune from the equation.” “I still say you’re taking a big risk.” He glanced beyond her to where Celia was talking to the duke. “Do yo really think she’d be better off with Lyons?” But she doesn’t love him…If you’d just give her a chance- “I do not know,” Hetty said with a sigh. “I do not know anything anymore.” “Then you shouldn’t meddle. Because there’s another outcome you haven’t considered. If you try to manipulate matters to your satisfaction, she may balk entirely. Then you’ll find yourself in the sticky position of having to choose between disinheriting them all or backing down on your ultimatum. Personally, I think you should have given up that nonsense long ago, but I know only too well how stubborn you can be when you’ve got the bit between your teeth.” “Oh?” she said archly. “Have I been stubborn with you?” He gazed down at her. “You haven’t agreed to marry me yet.” Her heart flipped over in her chest. It was not the first time he had mentioned marriage, but she had refused to take him seriously. Until now. It was clear he would not be put off any longer. He looked solemnly in earnest. “Isaac…” “Are you worried that I am a fortune hunter?” “Do not be absurd.” “Because I’ve already told you that I’ll sign any marriage settlement you have your solicitor draw up. I don’t want your brewery or your vast fortune. I know it’s going to your grandchildren. I only want you.” The tender words made her sigh like a foolish girl. “I realize that. But why not merely continue as we have been?” His voice lowered. “Because I want to make you mine in every way.” A sweet shiver swept along her spine. “We do not need to marry for that.” “So all you want from me is an affair?” “No! But-“ “I want more than that. I want to go to sleep with you in my arms and wake with you in my bed. I want the right to be with you whenever I please, night or day.” His tone deepened. “I love you, Hetty. And when a man loves a woman, he wants to spend his life with her.” “But at our age, people will say-“ “Our age is an argument for marriage. We might not have much time left. Why not live it to the fullest, together, while we’re still in good health? Who cares about what people say? Life is too short to let other people dictate one’s choices.” She leaned heavily on his arm as they reached the steps leading up to the dais at the front of the ballroom. He did have a point. She had been balking at marrying him because she was sure people would think her a silly old fool. But then, she had always been out of step with everyone else. Why should this be any different? “I shall think about it,” she murmured as they headed to the center of the dais, where the family was gathering. “I suppose I’ll have to settle for that. For now.” He cast her a heated glance. “But later this evening, once we have the chance to be alone, I shall try more effective methods to persuade you. Because I’m not giving up on this. I can be as stubborn as you, my dear.” She bit back a smile. Thank God for that.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
Though all the brilliant intellects of the ages were to concentrate upon this one theme, never could they adequately express their wonder at this dense darkness of the human mind. Men do not suffer anyone to seize their estates, and they rush to stones and arms if there is even the slightest dispute about the limit of their lands, yet they allow others to trespass upon their life—nay, they themselves even lead in those who will eventually possess it. No one is to be found who is willing to distribute his money, yet among how many does each one of us distribute his life! In guarding their fortune men are often closefisted, yet, when it comes to the matter of wasting time, in the case of the one thing in which it is right to be miserly, they show themselves most prodigal. And so I should like to lay hold upon someone from the company of older men and say: "I see that you have reached the farthest limit of human life, you are pressing hard upon your hundredth year, or are even beyond it; come now, recall your life and make a reckoning. Consider how much of your time was taken up with a moneylender, how much with a mistress, how much with a patron, how much with a client, how much in wrangling with your wife, how much in punishing your slaves, how much in rushing about the city on social duties. Add the diseases which we have caused by our own acts, add, too, the time that has lain idle and unused; you will see that you have fewer years to your credit than you count. Look back in memory and consider when you ever had a fixed plan, how few days have passed as you had intended, when you were ever at your own disposal, when your face ever wore its natural expression, when your mind was ever unperturbed, what work you have achieved in so long a life, how many have robbed you of life when you were not aware of what you were losing, how much was taken up in useless sorrow, in foolish joy, in greedy desire, in the allurements of society, how little of yourself was left to you; you will perceive that you are dying before your season!"7 What, then, is the reason of this? You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last. You have all the fears of mortals and all the desires of immortals. You will hear many men saying: "After my fiftieth year I shall retire into leisure, my sixtieth year shall release me from public duties." And what guarantee, pray, have you that your life will last longer? Who will suffer your course to be just as you plan it? Are you not ashamed to reserve for yourself only the remnant of life, and to set apart for wisdom only that time which cannot be devoted to any business? How late it is to begin to live just when we must cease to live! What foolish forgetfulness of mortality to postpone wholesome plans to the fiftieth and sixtieth year, and to intend to begin life at a point to which few have attained!
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
On true penance and the holy life. Many people think that they are achieving great things in external works such as fasting, going barefoot and other such practices which are called penances. But true penance, and the best kind of penance, is that whereby we can improve ourselves greatly and in the highest measure, and this consists in turning entirely away from all that is not God or of God in ourselves and in all creatures, and in turning fully and completely towards our beloved God in an unshakeable love so that our devotion and desire for him become great. In whatever kind of good work you possess this the more, the more righteous you are, and the more there is of this, the truer the penance and the more it expunges sin and all its punishment. Indeed, in a short space of time you could turn so firmly away from all sin with such revulsion, turning just as firmly to God, that had you committed all the sins since Adam and all those which are still to be, you would be forgiven each and every one together with their punishment and, were you then to die, you would be brought before the face of God. This is true penance, and it is based especially and consummately on the precious suffering in the perfect penance of our Lord Jesus. Christ The more we share13 in this, the more all sin falls away from us, together with the punishment for sin. In all that we do and at all times we should accustom ourselves to sharing in the life and work of our Lord Jesus Christ, in all that he did and chose not to do, in all that he suffered and experienced, and we should be always mindful of him as he was of us. This form of penance is a mind raised above all things into God, and you should freely practise those kinds of works in which you find that you can and do possess this the most. If any external work hampers you in this, whether it be fasting, keeping vigil, reading or whatever else, you should freely let it go without worrying that you might thereby be neglecting your penance. For God does not notice the nature of the works but only the love, the devotion and the spirit which is in them. For he is not so much concerned with our works as with the spirit with which we perform them all and that we should love him in all things. They for whom God is not enough are greedy. The reward for all your works should be that they are known to God and that you seek God in them. Let this always be enough for you. The more purely and simply you seek him, the more effectively all your works will atone for your sins. You could also call to mind the fact that God was a universal redeemer of the world, and that I owe him far greater thanks therefore than if he had redeemed me alone. And so you too should be the universal redeemer of all that you have spoiled in yourself through sin, and you should commend yourself altogether to him with all that you have done, for you have spoiled through sin all that is yours: heart, senses, body, soul, faculties, and whatever else there is in you and about you. All is sick and spoiled. Flee to him then in whom there is no fault but rather all goodness, so that he may be a universal redeemer for all the corruption both of your life within and your life in the world.
Meister Eckhart (Selected Writings)
For Aristotle the literary plot was analogous to the plot of the world in that both were eductions from the potency of matter. Sartre denies this for the world, and specifically denies, in the passage just referred to, that without potentiality there is no change. He reverts to the Megaric view of the matter, which Aristotle took such trouble to correct. But this is not our affair. The fact is that even if you believe in a Megaric world there is no such thing as a Megaric novel; not even Paterson. Change without potentiality in a novel is impossible, quite simply; though it is the hopeless aim of the cut-out writers, and the card-shuffle writers. A novel which really implemented this policy would properly be a chaos. No novel can avoid being in some sense what Aristotle calls 'a completed action.' This being so, all novels imitate a world of potentiality, even if this implies a philosophy disclaimed by their authors. They have a fixation on the eidetic imagery of beginning, middle, and end, potency and cause. Novels, then, have beginnings, ends, and potentiality, even if the world has not. In the same way it can be said that whereas there may be, in the world, no such thing as character, since a man is what he does and chooses freely what he does--and in so far as he claims that his acts are determined by psychological or other predisposition he is a fraud, lâche, or salaud--in the novel there can be no just representation of this, for if the man were entirely free he might simply walk out of the story, and if he had no character we should not recognize him. This is true in spite of the claims of the doctrinaire nouveau roman school to have abolished character. And Sartre himself has a powerful commitment to it, though he could not accept the Aristotelian position that it is through character that plot is actualized. In short, novels have characters, even if the world has not. What about time? It is, effectively, a human creation, according to Sartre, and he likes novels because they concern themselves only with human time, a faring forward irreversibly into a virgin future from ecstasy to ecstasy, in his word, from kairos to kairos in mine. The future is a fluid medium in which I try to actualize my potency, though the end is unattainable; the present is simply the pour-soi., 'human consciousness in its flight out of the past into the future.' The past is bundled into the en-soi, and has no relevance. 'What I was is not the foundation of what I am, any more than what I am is the foundation of what I shall be.' Now this is not novel-time. The faring forward is all right, and fits the old desire to know what happens next; but the denial of all causal relation between disparate kairoi, which is after all basic to Sartre's treatment of time, makes form impossible, and it would never occur to us that a book written to such a recipe, a set of discontinuous epiphanies, should be called a novel. Perhaps we could not even read it thus: the making of a novel is partly the achievement of readers as well as writers, and readers would constantly attempt to supply the very connections that the writer's programme suppresses. In all these ways, then, the novel falsifies the philosophy.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)