Destructive Criticism Quotes

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Your criticism sounds to me as if you have read too many critical books and are too smart in an artificial, destructive, and very limited way.
Flannery O'Connor (The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor)
Critical and radical thought will only bear fruit when it is blended with the most precious quality man is endowed with - the love of life
Erich Fromm (The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness)
Re-vision – the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction – is for woman more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival. Until we understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot know ourselves. And this drive to self-knowledge, for women, is more than a search for identity: it is part of our refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-dominated society.
Adrienne Rich (On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966-1978)
Part of abandoning the all-or-nothing mentality is allowing yourself room for setbacks. We are bound to have lapses on the road to health and wellness, but it is critical that we learn how to handle small failures positively so that we can minimize their long-term destructive effects. One setback is one setback—it is not the end of the world, nor is it the end of your journey toward a better you.
Jillian Michaels
One who enjoys finding errors will then start creating errors to find.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
Today everybody is talking about the fact that we live in one world; because of globalization, we are all part of the same planet. They talk that way, but do they mean it? We should remind them that the words of the Declaration [of Independence] apply not only to people in this country, but also to people all over the world. People everywhere have the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When the government becomes destructive of that, then it is patriotic to dissent and to criticize - to do what we always praise and call heroic when we look upon the dissenters and critics in totalitarian countries who dare to speak out.
Howard Zinn (Artists in Times of War and Other Essays (Open Media))
the outcaste is a bye-product of the caste system. There will be outcastes as long as there are castes. Nothing can emancipate the outcaste except the destruction of the caste system.
B.R. Ambedkar (Annihilation of Caste: The Annotated Critical Edition)
Pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader's greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Criticizing and objecting to everything means an attempt to destruction. If you do not like something, try to make something better than it. Being destructive causes ruins, while being constructive brings about prosperity.
M. Fethullah Gülen
Because even if they are doing something immoral, I'd be an idiot to start criticizing them for it if I wasn't perfect myself. Smoking is self-destructive. Drinking is self-destructive. Losing your temper and yelling at people is wrong. Lying is wrong. Cheating is wrong. Stealing is wrong. But people do that stuff all the time. Soon as I figure out how to be a perfect human being, then I'm qualified to go lecture other people about how they live their lives.
Jim Butcher (Cold Days (The Dresden Files, #14))
A NATION'S GREATNESS DEPENDS ON ITS LEADER To vastly improve your country and truly make it great again, start by choosing a better leader. Do not let the media or the establishment make you pick from the people they choose, but instead choose from those they do not pick. Pick a leader from among the people who is heart-driven, one who identifies with the common man on the street and understands what the country needs on every level. Do not pick a leader who is only money-driven and does not understand or identify with the common man, but only what corporations need on every level. Pick a peacemaker. One who unites, not divides. A cultured leader who supports the arts and true freedom of speech, not censorship. Pick a leader who will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes -- or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. Pick a leader who will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. Pick a leader who chooses diplomacy over war. An honest broker in foreign relations. A leader with integrity, one who says what they mean, keeps their word and does not lie to their people. Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor, and the environmentalist -- not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist. Pick a leader who will keep jobs in your country by offering companies incentives to hire only within their borders, not one who allows corporations to outsource jobs for cheaper labor when there is a national employment crisis. Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies. Most importantly, a great leader must serve the best interests of the people first, not those of multinational corporations. Human life should never be sacrificed for monetary profit. There are no exceptions. In addition, a leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands to be revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader. And lastly, pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader's greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Verbal abuse is the use of language to shame, scare or hurt another. Dysfunctional parents routinely use name-calling, sarcasm, and destructive criticism to overpower and control their children. Verbal abuse is as commonplace in the American family as homework and table manners. It is modeled as socially acceptable in almost every sitcom on television.
Pete Walker (The Tao of Fully Feeling: Harvesting Forgiveness Out of Blame)
The most destructive criticism is indifference.
E.W. Howe
Unlock joy in any situation! True understanding and mutual respect do not bridge blames, destructive, negative criticisms, false excuses and gossips. To express disappointments and ill-feelings are normal however to gossip around certain people and events in order to put another person down and destroy one's credibility is a form of bullying whether one expresses it publicly or privately. Beware of segregation, regionalism, individualism, discrimination, stereotyping, destructive criticism, false accusations, biased wrong assumptions, prejudice, senseless comparison and unwanted competition because life is much more meaningful to live for where there is unity and harmony.
Angelica Hopes
Surely, if it is the right of the people to "alter or abolish," it is their right to criticize, even severely, policies they believe destructive of the ends for which government has been established. This principle, in the Declaration of Independence, suggests that true patriotism lies in supporting the values the country is supposed to cherish: equality, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. When our government compromises, undermines, or attacks those values, it is being unpatriotic.
Howard Zinn (A Power Governments Cannot Suppress)
Our entire system, in an economic sense, is based on restriction. Scarcity and inefficiency are the movers of money; the more there is of any resource the less you can charge for it. The more problems there are, the more opportunities there are to make money. This reality is a social disease, for people can actually gain off the misery of others and the destruction of the environment. Efficiency, abundance and sustainability are enemies of our economic structure, for they are inverse to the mechanics required to perpetuate consumption. This is profoundly critical to understand, for once you put this together you begin to see that the one billion people currently starving on this planet, the endless slums of the poor and all the horrors of a culture due to poverty and pravity are not natural phenomenon due to some natural human order or lack of earthly resources. They are products of the creation, perpetuation and preservation of artificial scarcity and inefficiency.
Peter Joseph
Never listen to destructive criticism - it's only meant to silence you.
Stewart Stafford
The hope that fuels the pursuit of endless economic growth – that billions of consumers in India & China will one day enjoy the lifestyles of Europeans and Americans – is as absurd & dangerous a fantasy as anything dreamt up by Al-Qaeda. It condemns the global environment to early destruction & looks set to create reservoirs of nihilistic rage & disappointment among hundreds of millions of have-nots – the bitter outcome of the universal triumph of Western Modernity, which turns the revenge of the East into something darkly ambiguous, and all its victories truly Pyrrhic.
Pankaj Mishra (From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia)
Genius moves to creation, not to destruction. Only a very few have combined both.
Edith Hamilton
If an adult does not protest when a child is being attacked with destructive criticism, she is in an unspoken alliance with the critic. The child is forced to assume contempt is normal and acceptable. The witnessing adult has forsaken her/his tribal responsibility to protect the child from parents who perpetrate child abuse.
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
I'm not religious, and I'm not a Christian, but I do reserve the right to believe in the possibility of a God. It's kind of defending the indefensible, though; I'm critical of what religions are becoming, the more destructive they're becoming. But I think as an artist, particularly, it's a necessary part of what I do, that there is some divine element going on within my songs.
Nick Cave
The emphasis and the reason for a pure humility is to result in love for others; not always necessarily the belittlement of self. When there is pride and self-righteousness and being pretentiously too far above, generally, one has a difficult time reaching the compassionate side of love for others, the side that understands (or at least attempts to understand): 'I am aware that I am not so far from falling in the same way.' Humility seeks to understand, and sometimes even relate; and in result, the love lovingly, properly, effectively wills the removal of the destructive sins of another as from oneself.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
To achieve and maintain the relationships we need, we must stop choosing to coerce, force, compel, punish, reward, manipulate, boss, motivate, criticize, blame, complain, nag, badger, rank, rate, and withdraw. We must replace these destructive behaviors with choosing to care, listen, support, negotiate, encourage, love, befriend, trust, accept, welcome, and esteem. These
William Glasser (Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom)
Actually, when bad things happen to us, we tend to have three unfortunate reactions: self-criticism, self-isolation, and self-absorption. Neff’s three components of self-compassion direct us exactly in the opposite direction: self-kindness, recognizing the common humanity in our experience, and a balanced approach to negative emotions.
Christopher K. Germer (The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions)
HUMAN BILL OF RIGHTS [GUIDELINES FOR FAIRNESS AND INTIMACY] I have the right to be treated with respect. I have the right to say no. I have the right to make mistakes. I have the right to reject unsolicited advice or feedback. I have the right to negotiate for change. I have the right to change my mind or my plans. I have a right to change my circumstances or course of action. I have the right to have my own feelings, beliefs, opinions, preferences, etc. I have the right to protest sarcasm, destructive criticism, or unfair treatment. I have a right to feel angry and to express it non-abusively. I have a right to refuse to take responsibility for anyone else’s problems. I have a right to refuse to take responsibility for anyone’s bad behavior. I have a right to feel ambivalent and to occasionally be inconsistent. I have a right to play, waste time and not always be productive. I have a right to occasionally be childlike and immature. I have a right to complain about life’s unfairness and injustices. I have a right to occasionally be irrational in safe ways. I have a right to seek healthy and mutually supportive relationships. I have a right to ask friends for a modicum of help and emotional support. I have a right to complain and verbally ventilate in moderation. I have a right to grow, evolve and prosper.
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
what Shakespeare really aimed to show: the destruction of a soul by demonic forces.
William Shakespeare (Macbeth: Ignatius Critical Editions)
If you are looking for a hate book you have come to the wrong place here. This book may be full of fact and discussion and even argument but it is out of concern, a concern that is not subject to some group partisan issues. It has opinion as well and this is most certainly what many critics will call many things in this book to the point that there will be whole essays of review that are just diatribes of psychological issues on both sides.
Leviak B. Kelly (Religion: The Ultimate STD: Living a Spiritual Life without Dogmatics or Cultural Destruction)
A good sense of humour is the sign of a healthy perspective, which is why people who are uncomfortable around humour are either pompous (inflated) or neurotic (oversensitive). Pompous people mistrust humour because at some level they know their self-importance cannot survive very long in such an atmosphere, so they criticise it as “negative” or “subversive.” Neurotics, sensing that humour is always ultimately critical, view it as therefore unkind and destructive, a reductio ad absurdum which leads to political correctness. Not that laughter can’t be unkind and destructive. Like most manifestations of human behaviour it ranges from the loving to the hateful. The latter produces nasty racial jokes and savage teasing; the former, warm and affectionate banter, and the kind of inclusive humour that says, “Isn’t the human condition absurd, but we’re all in the same boat.
John Cleese (So Anyway)
An emotionally destructive marriage is one where one’s personhood, dignity, and freedom of choice is regularly denied, criticized, or crushed. This can be done through words, behaviors, economics, attitudes, and misusing the Scriptures.
Leslie Vernick (The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope)
Biographers rue the destruction or loss of letters; they might also curse the husband and wife who never leave each other’s side, and thus perform a kind of epistolary abortion.
Janet Malcolm (Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey)
the thinker’s natural process is inappropriate when used in personal relations with feeling types, because it includes a readiness to criticize. Criticism is of great value when thinkers apply it to their own conduct or conclusions, but it has a destructive effect upon feeling types, who need a harmonious climate.
Isabel Briggs Myers (Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type)
it must be shown to American Jews that the choice between Israel’s survival and Palestinian rights is a false one; that it is in fact Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights and reflexive resort to criminal force that are pushing it toward destruction; that it is possible to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict so that everyone, Israeli Jew and Palestinian Arab, can preserve their full human dignity; and that such a settlement has been within reach for decades, but that Israel—with critical U.S. backing, largely because of the Israel lobby—has blocked it.
Norman G. Finkelstein (Knowing Too Much)
It has been said that the hurting, hurt others. If you have been abused in your childhood, and you are perpetuating that abuse in your marriage or your home, ask God to forgive you. Ask God to stop the anger and whatever is causing you to abuse others. If you do not judge yourself in this area, God will judge you. It is critical that you get God's strength to overcome. Go for help. Go to your Pastor. Go to counselors because that abusive spirit inside you is demonic…it is satanic. It is destructive. We are called to love. We are called to kindness. We are called to gentleness…not
Mike Murdock (The Wisdom Commentary, Volume 3)
When I was little, people often misread the Kanji in my name as Mon-De... So the boys flipped it around and called me De-Mon, as in The Devil. Demons plague humanity, but I wasn't doing anything wrong. Ever since, I've been uncomfortable with how people cheerfully unite against perceived enemies".
Inio Asano (デッドデッドデーモンズデデデデデストラクション 4 (Dead Dead Demon's Dededede Destruction, #4))
Many people, observing religious conflict in the contemporary world, have become hostile to religion as such and regard it as a source of violence and intolerance.5 In a world of overlapping and plural religious environments, this can clearly be the case. But they fail to put religion in its broader historical context, where it was a critical factor in permitting broad social cooperation that transcended kin and friends as a source of social relationships. Moreover, secular ideologies like Marxism-Leninism or nationalism that have displaced religious beliefs in many contemporary societies can be and have been no less destructive due to the passionate beliefs that they engender.
Francis Fukuyama (The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution)
The triviality of American popular culture, its emptiness and gossip, accelerates this destruction of critical thought. It expands the void, the mindlessness that makes the magic, mythology, and irrationality of the Christian Right palatable. Television, the movement’s primary medium, allows viewers to preoccupy themselves with context-free information. The homogenized empty chatter on the airwaves, the banal amusement and clichés, the bizarre doublespeak endlessly repeated on cable news channels and the huge spectacles in sports stadiums have replaced America’s political, social and moral life, indeed replaced community itself. Television lends itself perfectly to this world of signs and wonders, to the narcissism of national and religious self-exaltation. Television discourages real communication. Its rapid frames and movements, its constant use of emotional images, its sudden shifts from one theme to an unrelated theme, banish logic and reason with dizzying perplexity. It, too, makes us feel good. It, too, promises to protect and serve us. It, too, promises to life us up and thrill us. The televangelists have built their movement on these commercial precepts. The totalitarian creed of the Religious Right has found in television the perfect medium. Its leaders know how television can be used to seduce and encourage us to walk away from dwindling, less exciting collectives that protect and nurture us. They have mastered television’s imperceptible, slowly induced hypnosis. And they understand the enticement of credo quia absurdum—I believe because it is absurb.
Chris Hedges (American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America)
Faith in life, in oneself, in others must be built on the hard rock of realism; that is to say, on the capacity to see evil where it is, to see swindle, destructiveness, and selfishness not only when they are obvious but in their many disguises and rationalizations. Indeed, faith, love, and hope must go together with such a passion for seeing reality in all its nakedness that the outsider would be prone to call the attitude 'cynicism.' And cynical it is, when we mean by it the refusal to be taken in by the sweet and plausible lies that cover almost everything that is said and believed. But this kind of cynicism is not cynicism; it is uncompromisingly critical, a refusal to play the game in a system of deception.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Being)
Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter—with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command—and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad—that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness—for the present only in the East—with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?
Adolf Hitler
There is no such thing as constructive criticism. There is constructive advice, constructive guidance, constructive counsel, encouragement, suggestion, and instruction. Criticism, however, is not constructive but a destructive means of faultfinding that cripples all parties involved. Don't be fooled into thinking otherwise.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
The chief causes of the environmental destruction that faces us today are not biological, or the product of individual human choice. They are social and historical, rooted in the productive relations, technological imperatives, and historically conditioned demographic trends that characterize the dominant social system. Hence, what is ignored or downplayed in most proposals to remedy the environmental crisis is the most critical challenge of all: the need to transform the major social bases of environmental degradation, and not simply to tinker with its minor technical bases. As long as prevailing social relations remain unquestioned, those who are concerned about what is happening are left with few visible avenues for environmental action other than purely personal commitments to recycling and green shopping, socially untenable choices between jobs and the environment, or broad appeals to corporations, political policy-makers, and the scientific establishment--the very interests most responsible for the current ecological mess.
John Bellamy Foster (The Vulnerable Planet: A Short Economic History of the Environment (Cornerstone Books))
Painful self-doubt and self-criticism are epidemic in our culture, and can wield a power that is enormously destructive and paralysing.
Rob Burbea (Seeing That Frees: Meditations on Emptiness and Dependent Arising)
The popular distinction between 'constructive' and 'destructive' criticism is a sentimentality: the mind too weak to perceive in what respects the bad fails is not strong enough to appreciate in what the good succeeds. To be without discrimination is to be unable to praise. The critic who lets you know that he always looks for something to like in works he discusses is not telling you anything about the works or about art; he is saying 'see what a nice person I am.
Brigid Brophy (Fifty Works of English Literature We Could Do Without)
A destructive thought process exists within all of us, and we are plagued to varying degrees by an internal dialogue that is harmful, restrictive, and at its ultimate extreme, self-destructive.
Lisa Firestone
[Israel's military occupation is] in gross violation of international law and has been from the outset. And that much, at least, is fully recognized, even by the United States, which has overwhelming and, as I said, unilateral responsibility for these crimes. So George Bush No. 1, when he was the U.N. ambassador, back in 1971, he officially reiterated Washington's condemnation of Israel's actions in the occupied territories. He happened to be referring specifically to occupied Jerusalem. In his words, actions in violation of the provisions of international law governing the obligations of an occupying power, namely Israel. He criticized Israel's failure "to acknowledge its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as its actions which are contrary to the letter and spirit of this Convention." [...] However, by that time, late 1971, a divergence was developing, between official policy and practice. The fact of the matter is that by then, by late 1971, the United States was already providing the means to implement the violations that Ambassador Bush deplored. [...] on December 5th [2001], there had been an important international conference, called in Switzerland, on the 4th Geneva Convention. Switzerland is the state that's responsible for monitoring and controlling the implementation of them. The European Union all attended, even Britain, which is virtually a U.S. attack dog these days. They attended. A hundred and fourteen countries all together, the parties to the Geneva Convention. They had an official declaration, which condemned the settlements in the occupied territories as illegal, urged Israel to end its breaches of the Geneva Convention, some "grave breaches," including willful killing, torture, unlawful deportation, unlawful depriving of the rights of fair and regular trial, extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. Grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, that's a serious term, that means serious war crimes. The United States is one of the high contracting parties to the Geneva Convention, therefore it is obligated, by its domestic law and highest commitments, to prosecute the perpetrators of grave breaches of the conventions. That includes its own leaders. Until the United States prosecutes its own leaders, it is guilty of grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, that means war crimes. And it's worth remembering the context. It is not any old convention. These are the conventions established to criminalize the practices of the Nazis, right after the Second World War. What was the U.S. reaction to the meeting in Geneva? The U.S. boycotted the meeting [..] and that has the usual consequence, it means the meeting is null and void, silence in the media.
Noam Chomsky
We passed a very pleasant evening, though I made the slight mistake of taking Poirot to a crook play. There is one piece of advice I offer to all my readers. Never take a soldier to a military play, a sailor to a naval play, a Scotsman to a Scottish play, a detective to a thriller -- and an actor to any play whatsoever! The shower of destructive criticism in each case is somewhat devastating.
Agatha Christie (Dumb Witness (Hercule Poirot, #17))
Too often, poverty and deprivation get covered as events. That is, when some disaster strikes, when people die. Yet, poverty is about much more than starvation deaths or near famine conditions. It is the sum total of a multiplicity of factors. The weightage of some of these varies from region to region, society to society, culture to culture. But at the core is a fairly compact number of factors. They include not just income and calorie intake. Land, health, education, literacy, infant mortality rates and life expectancy are also some of them. Debt, assets, irrigation, drinking water, sanitation and jobs count too. You can have the mandatory 2,400 or 2,100 calories a day and yet be very poor. India’s problems differ from those of a Somalia or Ethiopia in crisis. Hunger—again just one aspect of poverty—is far more complex here. It is more low level, less visible and does not make for the dramatic television footage that a Somalia and Ethiopia do. That makes covering the process more challenging—and more important. Many who do not starve receive very inadequate nutrition. Children getting less food than they need can look quite normal. Yet poor nutrition can impair both mental and physical growth and they can suffer its debilitating impact all their lives. A person lacking minimal access to health at critical moments can face destruction almost as surely as one in hunger.
Palagummi Sainath (Everybody loves a good drought)
Spinoza or Nietzsche are philosophers whose critical and destructive powers are without equal, but this power always springs from affirmation, from joy, from a cult of affirmation and joy, from the exigency of life against those who would mutilate and mortify life. For me, that is philosophy itself.
Gilles Deleuze
Irony got dangerous when it became a habit. Wallace quoted Lewis Hyde…”Irony has only emergency use. Carried over time, it is the voice of the trapped who have come to enjoy the cage.” Then he continued: This is because irony, entertaining as it is, serves an almost exclusively negative function. It’s critical and destructive, a ground clearing…. Irony’s singularly unuseful when it comes to constructing anything to replace the hypocrisies it debunks. That was it exactly—Irony was defeatist, timid, the telltale of a generation too afraid to say what it meant, and so in danger of forgetting it had anything to say.
Lewis Hyde
To begin with, we have to be more clear about what we mean by patriotic feelings. For a time when I was in high school, I cheered for the school athletic teams. That's a form of patriotism — group loyalty. It can take pernicious forms, but in itself it can be quite harmless, maybe even positive. At the national level, what "patriotism" means depends on how we view the society. Those with deep totalitarian commitments identify the state with the society, its people, and its culture. Therefore those who criticized the policies of the Kremlin under Stalin were condemned as "anti-Soviet" or "hating Russia". For their counterparts in the West, those who criticize the policies of the US government are "anti-American" and "hate America"; those are the standard terms used by intellectual opinion, including left-liberal segments, so deeply committed to their totalitarian instincts that they cannot even recognize them, let alone understand their disgraceful history, tracing to the origins of recorded history in interesting ways. For the totalitarian, "patriotism" means support for the state and its policies, perhaps with twitters of protest on grounds that they might fail or cost us too much. For those whose instincts are democratic rather than totalitarian, "patriotism" means commitment to the welfare and improvement of the society, its people, its culture. That's a natural sentiment and one that can be quite positive. It's one all serious activists share, I presume; otherwise why take the trouble to do what we do? But the kind of "patriotism" fostered by totalitarian societies and military dictatorships, and internalized as second nature by much of intellectual opinion in more free societies, is one of the worst maladies of human history, and will probably do us all in before too long. With regard to the US, I think we find a mix. Every effort is made by power and doctrinal systems to stir up the more dangerous and destructive forms of "patriotism"; every effort is made by people committed to peace and justice to organize and encourage the beneficial kinds. It's a constant struggle. When people are frightened, the more dangerous kinds tend to emerge, and people huddle under the wings of power. Whatever the reasons may be, by comparative standards the US has been a very frightened country for a long time, on many dimensions. Quite commonly in history, such fears have been fanned by unscrupulous leaders, seeking to implement their own agendas. These are commonly harmful to the general population, which has to be disciplined in some manner: the classic device is to stimulate fear of awesome enemies concocted for the purpose, usually with some shreds of realism, required even for the most vulgar forms of propaganda. Germany was the pride of Western civilization 70 years ago, but most Germans were whipped to presumably genuine fear of the Czech dagger pointed at the heart of Germany (is that crazier than the Nicaraguan or Grenadan dagger pointed at the heart of the US, conjured up by the people now playing the same game today?), the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy aimed at destroying the Aryan race and the civilization that Germany had inherited from Greece, etc. That's only the beginning. A lot is at stake.
Noam Chomsky
The problem of modern man is no longer so much how he can live with gods and demons, but how he can survive with the bomb, revolution and the destruction of the balance of nature. He usurps more and more of nature and takes it under his control. The vital question for him, therefore, is how this world which he has usurped can be human- ized.36 His main problem is no longer the universal finitude which he experiences in solidarity with all other creatures, but the humanity of his own world.
Jürgen Moltmann (The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ As the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology)
You can’t stop the triggering of unhappy memories, self-critical thoughts and judgmental ways of thinking – but you can stop what happens next. You can stop the spiral from feeding off itself and triggering the next cycle of negative thoughts. You can stop the cascade of destructive emotions that can end up making you unhappy, anxious, stressed, irritable or exhausted.
J. Mark G. Williams (Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world)
Re-vision--the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction--is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival. Until we can understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot know ourselves. And this drive to self-knowledge, for women, is more than a search for identity: it is part of our refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-dominated society. A radical critique of literature, feminist in its impulse, would take the work first of all as a clue to how we live, how we have been living, how we have been led to imagine ourselves, how our language has trapped as well as liberated us, how the very act of naming has been till now a male prerogative, and how we can begin to see and name--and therefore live--afresh. A change in the concept of sexual identity is essential if we are not going to see the old political order reassert itself in every new revolution. We need to know the writing of the past, and know it differently than we have ever known it; not to pass on a tradition but to break its hold over us.
Adrienne Rich (On Lies, Secrets, and Silence. Selected Prose 1966-1978)
Instead of looking at things, examining them critically and asking ourselves whether they are really sane, whether they are harmful or destructive, whether they will really bring us peace of mind and a good night’s sleep, we just let ourselves go with the flow of what others are doing.
Mango Wodzak (2020 Vision)
Many critics of the Crusades would seem to suppose that after the Muslims had overrun a major portion of Christendom, they should have been ignored or forgiven; suggestions have been made about turning the other cheek. This outlook is certainly unrealistic and probably insincere. Not only had the Byzantines lost most of their empire; the enemy was at their gates. And the loss of Spain, Sicily, and southern Italy, as well as a host of Mediterranean islands, was bitterly resented in Europe. Hence, as British historian Derek Lomax (1933-1992) explained, 'The popes, like most Christians, believed war against the Muslims to be justified partly because the latter had usurped by force lands which once belonged to Christians and partly because they abused the Christians over whom they ruled and such Christian lands as they could raid for slaves, plunder and the joys of destruction.' It was time to strike back.
Rodney Stark (God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades)
Berlusconi, in particular, was a role model for Putin according to Zygar: The Italian prime minister “had used his business empire to win elections and then used politics to further enrich his business. That made Berlusconi a natural ally of Putin’s. Neither man ever criticized or found fault with the other.
Rachel Maddow (Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth)
Don't bury personal obsessions. Capitalize on them. ``The connection between personal obsession and the work you do is the most important thing.'' -- Be yourself. ``Singularity is what you need.'' -- Avoid self-censorship: ``We are very self-critical in a way that can be very destructive. In our culture there are voices in our head which have taught us to say, `Oh, I wouldn't do that if I were you.' Don't ever think about anybody peering over your shoulder.'' -- Don't be afraid to show off, even if you think, ``I'm very close to making a complete fool of myself.'' -- Don't be afraid to entertain. ``I want to entertain. I don't want to lose people. I feel responsible as I write to give people the best time I can.'' -- ``Love your failures'' instead of beating yourself up over them. -- ``Learn to love the process'' of writing. -- Just do it. Barker likes something director Stanley Kubrick said: ``If you want to make a film, pick up a camera.
Clive Barker
What is truth?” retorted Pilate. jn 18,38 Must I add that, in the whole New Testament, there appears but a solitary figure worthy of honour? Pilate, the Roman viceroy. To regard a Jewish imbroglio seriously—that was quite beyond him. One Jew more or less—what did it matter?... The noble scorn of a Roman, before whom the word “truth” was shamelessly mishandled, enriched the New Testament with the only saying that has any value—and that is at once its criticism and its destruction: “What is truth?...
Friedrich Nietzsche
Can anyone capable of genuinely appreciating Mozart and Mizoguchi possibly say that he is not, in that respect, immeasurably better off than someone whose cultural horizon is limited to bingo and The Black and White Minstrel Show? The assimilation will not necessarily make him a better person (a common, and obviously fallacious, assumption), but it will open to him possibilities that are closed to his less fortunate fellow humans. If that is what is meant by an "élite," then I for one shall not willingly sacrifice my membership of it in the name of some perverse and destructive egalitarianism: to put it succinctly, nothing is ever going to come between me and The Magic Flute. It is not, however, an elite from which I would wish anyone to feel excluded: on the contrary, I would like to share my advantages with as many others as possible. That is why I am a teacher.
Robin Wood
Domination and critique have always formed an apparatus covertly against a common hostis: the conspirator, who works under cover, who used everything THEY give him and everything THEY attribute to him as a mask. The conspirator is everywhere hated, although THEY will never hate him as much as he enjoys playing his game. No doubt a certain amount of what one usually calls “perversion” accounts for the pleasure, since what he enjoys, among other things, is his opacity. But that isn’t the reason THEY continue to push the conspirator to make himself a critic, to subjectivate himself as critic, nor the reason for the hate THEY so commonly express. The reason is quite simply the danger he represents. The danger, for Empire, is war machines: that one person, that people transform themselves into war machines, ORGANICALLY JOIN THEIR TASTE FOR LIFE AND THEIR TASTE FOR DESTRUCTION.
Tiqqun
The truth was that life is meaningless. I had as it were lived, lived, and walked, walked, till I had come to a precipice and saw clearly that there was nothing ahead of me but destruction. It was impossible to stop, impossible to go back, and impossible to close my eyes or avoid seeing that there was nothing ahead but suffering and real death -- complete annihilation.
Leo Tolstoy (A Confession (Annotated with Biography and Critical Essay))
Emotional abuse poisons a relationship and infuses it it with hostility, contempt, and hatred. No matter how much a couple once loved each other, once emotional abuse becomes a consistent aspect of the relationship, that love is overshadowed by fear, anger, guilt, and shame. Whether it is one or both partners who are being emotionally abusive, the relationship becomes increasingly more toxic as time goes by. In this polluted environment it is difficult for love not only to grow but to survive. At the very least, emotional abuse causes both the abuser and the victim to lose sight of any redeeming qualitites his or her partner once had. The more a partner is allowed to degrade, criticize, or dominate her partner, the less she will respect her partner. And the more a partner is emotionally abused, the more he will slowly build up an intense hatred towards his abuser. The disrespect and hatred each partner begins to feel leads to more and more emotional abuse and to each partner justifying inappropriate, even destructive, behavior. Over time, anger can build up on the part of both abuser and victim, and emotional abuse can turn to physical violence.
Beverly Engel The Emotionally Abusive Relationship How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing
Nevertheless several things might be said in criticism of his disappointment. Strictly speaking it is not justified, for it consists in the destruction of an illusion. Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces.
Sigmund Freud (Reflections on War and Death)
It's important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine. The evidence is all around of tremendous suffering and tremendous destruction. The hope I'm interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act. It's also not a sunny everything-is-getting-better narrative, though it may be a counter to the everything-is-getting-worse narrative. You could call it an account of complexities and uncertainties, with openings. "Critical thinking without hope is cynicism, but hope without critical thinking is naïveté," the Bulgarian writer Maria Popova recently remarked. And Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, early on described the movement's mission as to "Provide hope and inspiration for collective action to build collective power to achieve collective transformation, rooted in grief and rage but pointed towards vision and dreams." It's a statement that acknowledges that grief and hope can coexist.
Rebecca Solnit (Hope in the Dark: The Untold History of People Power)
I resolutely refuse to believe that the state of Edward's health had anything to do with this, and I don't say this only because I was once later accused of attacking him 'on his deathbed.' He was entirely lucid to the end, and the positions he took were easily recognizable by me as extensions or outgrowths of views he had expressed (and also declined to express) in the past. Alas, it is true that he was closer to the end than anybody knew when the thirtieth anniversary reissue of his Orientalism was published, but his long-precarious condition would hardly argue for giving him a lenient review, let alone denying him one altogether, which would have been the only alternatives. In the introduction he wrote for the new edition, he generally declined the opportunity to answer his scholarly critics, and instead gave the recent American arrival in Baghdad as a grand example of 'Orientalism' in action. The looting and destruction of the exhibits in the Iraq National Museum had, he wrote, been a deliberate piece of United States vandalism, perpetrated in order to shear the Iraqi people of their cultural patrimony and demonstrate to them their new servitude. Even at a time when anything at all could be said and believed so long as it was sufficiently and hysterically anti-Bush, this could be described as exceptionally mendacious. So when the Atlantic invited me to review Edward's revised edition, I decided I'd suspect myself more if I declined than if I agreed, and I wrote what I felt I had to. Not long afterward, an Iraqi comrade sent me without comment an article Edward had contributed to a magazine in London that was published by a princeling of the Saudi royal family. In it, Edward quoted some sentences about the Iraq war that he off-handedly described as 'racist.' The sentences in question had been written by me. I felt myself assailed by a reaction that was at once hot-eyed and frigidly cold. He had cited the words without naming their author, and this I briefly thought could be construed as a friendly hesitance. Or as cowardice... I can never quite act the stern role of Mr. Darcy with any conviction, but privately I sometimes resolve that that's 'it' as it were. I didn't say anything to Edward but then, I never said anything to him again, either. I believe that one or two charges simply must retain their face value and not become debauched or devalued. 'Racist' is one such. It is an accusation that must either be made good upon, or fully retracted. I would not have as a friend somebody whom I suspected of that prejudice, and I decided to presume that Edward was honest and serious enough to feel the same way. I feel misery stealing over me again as I set this down: I wrote the best tribute I could manage when he died not long afterward (and there was no strain in that, as I was relieved to find), but I didn't go to, and wasn't invited to, his funeral.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Critics of soccer contend that the game inherently culminates in death and destruction. They argue that the game gives life to tribal identities which should be disappearing in a world where a European Union and globalization are happily shredding such ancient sentiments. Another similar widely spread thesis that holds that the root cause of violence can be found in the pace of the game itself. Because goals come so irregularly, fans spend far too much time sublimating their emotions, anticipating but never releasing. When those emotions swell and become uncontainable, the fans erupt into dark, Dionysian fits of ecstatic violence.
Franklin Foer (How Soccer Explains the World)
As Luxenberg's work has only recently been published we must await its scholarly assessment before we can pass any judgements. But if his analysis is correct then suicide bombers, or rather prospective martyrs, would do well to abandon their culture of death, and instead concentrate on getting laid 72 times in this world, unless of course they would really prefer chilled or white raisins, according to their taste, in the next.
Ibn Warraq
I don’t remember when I stopped noticing—stopped noticing every mirror, every window, every scale, every fast-food restaurant, every diet ad, every horrifying model. And I don’t remember when I stopped counting, or when I stopped caring what size my pants were, or when I started ordering what I wanted to eat and not what seemed “safe,” or when I could sit comfortably reading a book in my kitchen without noticing I was in my kitchen until I got hungry—or when I started just eating when I got hungry, instead of questioning it, obsessing about it, dithering and freaking out, as I’d done for nearly my whole life. I don’t remember exactly when recovery took hold, and went from being something I both fought and wanted, to being simply a way of life. A way of life that is, let me tell you, infinitely more peaceful, infinitely happier, and infinitely more free than life with an eating disorder. And I wouldn’t give up this life of freedom for the world. What I know is this: I chose recovery. It was a conscious decision, and not an easy one. That’s the common denominator among people I know who have recovered: they chose recovery, and they worked like hell for it, and they didn’t give up. Recovery isn’t easy, at first. It takes time. It takes more work, sometimes, than you think you’re willing to do. But it is worth every hard day, every tear, every terrified moment. It’s worth it, because the trade-off is this: you let go of your eating disorder, and you get back your life. There are a couple of things I had to keep in mind in early recovery. One was that I was going to recover, even though I didn’t feel “ready.” I realized I was never going to feel ready—I was just going to jump in and do it, ready or not, and I am deeply glad that I did. Another was that symptoms were not an option. Symptoms, as critically necessary and automatic as they feel, are ultimately a choice. You can choose to let the fallacy that you must use symptoms kill you, or you can choose not to use symptoms. Easier said than done? Of course. But it can be done. I had to keep at the forefront of my mind the reasons I wanted to recover so badly, and the biggest one was this: I couldn’t believe in what I was doing anymore. I couldn’t justify committing my life to self-destruction, to appearance, to size, to weight, to food, to obsession, to self-harm. And that was what I had been doing for so long—dedicating all my strength, passion, energy, and intelligence to the pursuit of a warped and vanishing ideal. I just couldn’t believe in it anymore. As scared as I was to recover, to recover fully, to let go of every last symptom, to rid myself of the familiar and comforting compulsions, I wanted to know who I was without the demon of my eating disorder inhabiting my body and mind. And it turned out that I was all right. It turned out it was all right with me to be human, to have hungers, to have needs, to take space. It turned out that I had a self, a voice, a whole range of values and beliefs and passions and goals beyond what I had allowed myself to see when I was sick. There was a person in there, under the thick ice of the illness, a person I found I could respect. Recovery takes time, patience, enormous effort, and strength. We all have those things. It’s a matter of choosing to use them to save our own lives—to survive—but beyond that, to thrive. If you are still teetering on the brink of illness, I invite you to step firmly onto the solid ground of health. Walk back toward the world. Gather strength as you go. Listen to your own inner voice, not the voice of the eating disorder—as you recover, your voice will get clearer and louder, and eventually the voice of the eating disorder will recede. Give it time. Don’t give up. Love yourself absolutely. Take back your life. The value of freedom cannot be overestimated. It’s there for the taking. Find your way toward it, and set yourself free.
Marya Hornbacher
Yes, O’Reilly had some legitimate grievances about the liberal values of some major news outlets. But in the Trump years most constructive sorts of media criticism were replaced by destructive attacks. They didn’t even buy what they were selling half the time: The same Fox talkers who called The New York Times “failing” relied on it for story ideas and background information. The same hosts who bashed CNN texted me links to their latest segments, hoping for coverage from CNN.
Brian Stelter (Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth)
Meanwhile, Mme Mao and her cohorts were renewing their efforts to prevent the country from working. In industry, their slogan was: "To stop production is revolution itself." In agriculture, in which they now began to meddle seriously: "We would rather have socialist weeds than capitalist crops." Acquiring foreign technology became "sniffing after foreigners' farts and calling them sweet." In education: "We want illiterate working people, not educated spiritual aristocrats." They called for schoolchildren to rebel against their teachers again; in January 1974, classroom windows, tables, and chairs in schools in Peking were smashed, as in 1966. Mme Mao claimed this was like "the revolutionary action of English workers destroying machines in the eighteenth century." All this demagoguery' had one purpose: to create trouble for Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiao-ping and generate chaos. It was only in persecuting people and in destruction that Mme Mao and the other luminaries of the Cultural Revolution had a chance to "shine." In construction they had no place. Zhou and Deng had been making tentative efforts to open the country up, so Mme Mao launched a fresh attack on foreign culture. In early 1974 there was a big media campaign denouncing the Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni for a film he had made about China, although no one in China had seen the film, and few had even heard of it or of Antonioni. This xenophobia was extended to Beethoven after a visit by the Philadelphia Orchestra. In the two years since the fall of Lin Biao, my mood had changed from hope to despair and fury. The only source of comfort was that there was a fight going on at all, and that the lunacy was not reigning supreme, as it had in the earlier years of the Cultural Revolution. During this period, Mao was not giving his full backing to either side. He hated the efforts of Zhou and Deng to reverse the Cultural Revolution, but he knew that his wife and her acolytes could not make the country work. Mao let Zhou carry on with the administration of the country, but set his wife upon Zhou, particularly in a new campaign to 'criticize Confucius." The slogans ostensibly denounced Lin Biao, but were really aimed at Zhou, who, it was widely held, epitomized the virtues advocated by the ancient sage. Even though Zhou had been unwaveringly loyal, Mao still could not leave him alone. Not even now, when Zhou was fatally ill with advanced cancer of the bladder.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
I found that we must build our consciousness or faith step by step. When we make certain impressions on our subconscious mind and live for years by those impressions we cannot expect to destroy them in a few days. We must patiently substitute constructive, loving, harmonious thoughts for destructive, critical ones. The more you realize your freedom, the happier you become. Faith, joy, health, contentment, you just bubble over with these wonderful attributes and they attract the best people and environment.
Venice J. Bloodworth (Key to Yourself: Opening the Door to a Joyful Life From Within)
C. G. Jung, often very critical of Christianity, said that the “Archetype of the God-Man” (Christ) is a relatively adequate map of the unconscious human journey, and it should not be dismissed until and unless one has walked through it oneself. He feared that Western civilization would lose this map and that it would be quite dangerous and disastrous for us if we let this map wither in our midst. In that sense, we need an effective “Savior” who can name and guide us on the necessary path. Without a good map, Jung feared the manipulation, violation, and even “annulment” of the human personality.4 That sounds like an overstatement until you note the hugely destructive isms of our time: totalitarian communism, Nazism, consumerism itself, materialism in general, and what John Paul II called “rigid capitalism,” all of which deny many of the essentials of humanness, and often our very core.
Richard Rohr (Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self)
I believe this movement will prevail. I don’t mean it will defeat, conquer, or create harm to someone else. Quite the opposite. I don’t tender the claim in an oracular sense. I mean that the thinking that informs the movement’s goals will reign. It will soon suffuse most institutions, but before then, it will change a sufficient number of people so as to begin the reversal of centuries of frenzied self-destructive behavior. Some say it is too late, but people never change when they are comfortable. Helen Keller threw aside the gnawing fears of chronic bad news when she declared, “I rejoice to live in such a splendidly disturbing time!” In such a time, history is suspended and thus unfinished. It will be the stroke of midnight for the rest of our lives. My hopefulness about the resilience of human nature is matched by the gravity of our environmental and social condition. If we squander all our attention on what is wrong, we will miss the prize: In the chaos engulfing the world, a hopeful future resides because the past is disintegrating before us. If that is difficult to believe, take a winter off and calculate what it requires to create a single springtime. It’s not too late for the world’s largest institutions and corporations to join in saving the planet, but cooperation must be on the planet’s terms. The “Help Wanted” signs are everywhere. All people and institutions including commerce, governments, schools, churches and cities, need to learn from life and reimagine the world from the bottom up, based on the first principles if justice and ecology. Ecological restoration is extraordinarily simple: You remove whatever prevents the system from healing itself. Social restoration is no different. We have the heart, knowledge, money and sense to optimize out social and ecological fabric. It is time for all that is harmful to leave. One million escorts are here to transform the nightmares of empire and the disgrace of war on people and place. We are the transgressors and we are the forgivers. “We” means all of us, everyone. There can be no green movement unless there is also a black, brown and copper movement. What is more harmful resides within is, the accumulated wounds of the past, the sorrow, shame, deceit, and ignominy shared by every culture, passed down to every person, as surely as DNA, as history of violence and greed. There is not question that the environmental movement is most critical to our survival. Our house is literally burning, and it is only logical that environmentalists expect the social justice movement to get on the environmental bus. But is actually the other way around; the only way we are going to put out this fire is to get on the social justice bus and heal our wounds, because in the end, there is only one bus. Armed with that growing realization, we can address all that is harmful externally. What will guide us is a living intelligence that creates miracles every second, carried forth by a movement with no name.
Paul Hawken
Then there are those of us who are simply self-critical. Even without comparing ourselves to the world’s greatest, we set such high standards for ourselves that neither we nor anyone else could ever meet them—and nothing is more destructive to creativity than this. We fail to realize that mastery is not about perfection. It’s about a process, a journey. The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year. The master is the one who is willing to try, and fail, and try again, for as long as he or she lives. ​Chapter 13 Mastering the Commonplace Our preoccupation with goals, results, and the quick fix has separated us from our own experiences. To put it more starkly, it has robbed us of countless hours of the time of our lives. We awaken in the morning and hurry to get dressed. (Getting dressed doesn’t count.) We hurry to eat breakfast so that we can leave for work. (Eating breakfast doesn’t count.) We hurry to get to work. (Getting to work doesn’t count.) Maybe work will be interesting and satisfying and we won’t have to simply endure it while waiting for lunchtime to come. And maybe lunch will bring a warm, intimate meeting, with fascinating conversation. But
George Leonard (Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment)
In all conflicts between groups, there are three elements. One: the certitude that our group is morally superior, possibly even chosen by God. All others should follow our example or be at our service. In order to bring peace to the world, we have to impose our set of beliefs upon others, through manipulation, force, and fear, if necessary. Two: a refusal or incapacity to see or admit to any possible errors or faults in our group. The undeniable nature of our own goodness makes us think we are infallible; there can be no wrong in us. Three: a refusal to believe that any other group possesses truth or can contribute anything of value. At best, others may be regarded as ignorant, unenlightened, and possessing only half—truths; at worst, they are seen as destructive, dangerous, and possessed by evil spirits: they need to be overpowered for the good of humanity. Society and cultures are, then, divided into the “good” and the “bad”; the good attributing to themselves the mission to save, to heal, to bring peace to a wicked world, according to their own terms and under their controlling power. Such is the story of all civilizations through the ages as they spread over the earth by invading and colonizing. Differences must be suppressed; “savages” must be civilized. We must prove by all possible means that our culture, our power, our knowledge, and our technology are the best, that our gods are the only gods! This is not just the story of civilizations but also of all wars of religion, inquisitions, censorships, dictatorships; all things, in short, that are ideologies. An ideology is a set of ideas translated into a set of values. Because they are held to be absolutely true, these ideas and values need to be imposed on others if they are not readily accepted. A political system, a school of psychology, and a philosophy of economics can all be ideologies. Even a place of work can be an ideology. Religious sub—groups, sects, are based upon ideological principles. Religions themselves can become ideologies. And ideologues, by their nature, are not open to new ideas or even to debate; they refuse to accept or listen to anyone else’s reality. They refuse to admit any possibility of error or even criticism of their system; they are closed up in their set of ideas, theories, and values. We human beings have a great facility for living illusions, for protecting our self—image with power, for justifying it all by thinking we are the favoured ones of God.
Jean Vanier (Becoming Human)
The church the future needs is one of people gathering to share and recommit themselves to loving relationships with themselves, their families, the wider community, and the planet. Such a church need not fear the discoveries of science, history, archaeology, psychology, or literature; it will only be enhanced by such discoveries. Such a church need not avoid the implications of critical thinking for its message; it will only become more effective. Such a church need not cling to and justify a particular source for its authority; it will draw on the wisdom of the ages and challenge divisive and destructive barriers.
Gretta Vosper (With Or Without God: Why the Way We Live is More Important Than What We Believe)
One clue’s to be found in the fact that irony is still around, bigger than ever after 30 long years as the dominant mode of hip expression. It’s not a rhetorical mode that wears well. As Hyde (whom I pretty obviously like) puts it, “Irony has only emergency use. Carried over time, it is the voice of the trapped who have come to enjoy their cage.” 32 This is because irony, entertaining as it is, serves an almost exclusively negative function. It’s critical and destructive, a ground-clearing. Surely this is the way our postmodern fathers saw it. But irony’s singularly unuseful when it comes to constructing anything to replace the hypocrisies it debunks. This is why Hyde seems right about persistent irony being tiresome. It is unmeaty. Even gifted ironists work best in sound bites. I find gifted ironists sort of wickedly fun to listen to at parties, but I always walk away feeling like I’ve had several radical surgical procedures. And as for actually driving cross-country with a gifted ironist, or sitting through a 300 page novel full of nothing but trendy sardonic exhaustion, one ends up feeling not only empty but somehow… oppressed. Think, for a moment, of Third World rebels and coups. Third World rebels are great at exposing and overthrowing corrupt hypocritical regimes, but they seem noticeably less great at the mundane, non-negative task of then establishing a superior governing alternative. Victorious rebels, in fact, seem best at using their tough, cynical rebel-skills to avoid being rebelled against themselves—in other words, they just become better tyrants.
David Foster Wallace (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments)
The ruinous deeds of the ravaging foe (Beowulf) The best-known long text in Old English is the epic poem Beowulf. Beowulf himself is a classic hero, who comes from afar. He has defeated the mortal enemy of the area - the monster Grendel - and has thus made the territory safe for its people. The people and the setting are both Germanic. The poem recalls a shared heroic past, somewhere in the general consciousness of the audience who would hear it. It starts with a mention of 'olden days', looking back, as many stories do, to an indefinite past ('once upon a time'), in which fact blends with fiction to make the tale. But the hero is a mortal man, and images of foreboding and doom prepare the way for a tragic outcome. He will be betrayed, and civil war will follow. Contrasts between splendour and destruction, success and failure, honour and betrayal, emerge in a story which contains a great many of the elements of future literature. Power, and the battles to achieve and hold on to power, are a main theme of literature in every culture - as is the theme of transience and mortality. ................ Beowulf can be read in many ways: as myth; as territorial history of the Baltic kingdoms in which it is set; as forward-looking reassurance. Questions of history, time and humanity are at the heart of it: it moves between past, present, and hope for the future, and shows its origins in oral tradition. It is full of human speech and sonorous images, and of the need to resolve and bring to fruition a proper human order, against the enemy - whatever it be - here symbolised by a monster and a dragon, among literature's earliest 'outsiders'. ....... Beowulf has always attracted readers, and perhaps never more than in the 1990s when at least two major poets, the Scot Edwin Morgan and the Irishman Seamus Heaney, retranslated it into modern English. Heaney's version became a worldwide bestseller, and won many awards, taking one of the earliest texts of English literature to a vast new audience.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Mature adults find ways to free themselves from exploding off irregular behavior. I try to change from being critical of the difficult person to feeling sorry for him. Isn’t it sad that someone you care about is limiting, possibly destroying, relationships by behavior that causes chaos? How awful to be so insecure, so cocksure, so caught in compulsive behaviors, so unwilling to change destructive patterns that a person stands as alone as an island, rather than joining hands in an alliance. Pity the person who drives others away by feigned illness, clinging dependency, fears, or efforts to control. Feeling sorrow instead of hurt turns angry fists into compassionate hands.
Elizabeth B. Brown (Living Successfully with Screwed-Up People)
Yet, if we insist on dividing the world into multiple worlds, and if we consider all the wars, crimes, plundering, and exploitation the so-called ‘first world’ has committed against the worlds ranked lower, then does that really make it ‘first’ in anything? Is a world that commits all these atrocities worthy of being called ‘first’? If we, for the sake of argument, assume that the ‘first’ world is called so because it is more technologically and scientifically advanced, then we must raise another critical question, should humans be measured by their advances in technology, nuclear power, and other destructive weapons, or should they be measured by their level of humanity, mercy, and kindness?
Louis Yako
The West has to take a critical look at itself and examine the apparent double standards at work that allow it to attack Iraq for possessing weapons of mass destruction but not North Korea, whose leader shared Saddam Hussein's megalomaniacal qualities; that permit it to rail against Iran about nuclear weapons but be silent about Israel's arsenal; that allow it to only selectively demand enforcement of UN resolutions. The West has to own up to the mistakes it has made: such as with Abu Ghraib and the torture in Afghan prisons; in the errant attacks on civilians; in its disregard for the basic precept of a civilized legal system, which maintains that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty.
Kathy Gannon (I Is for Infidel: From Holy War to Holy Terror: 18 Years Inside Afghanistan)
We understand deeply that until all women are free no man can be free. Even when we believe that we've taken everything into consideration we acknowledge that we may be behaving as badly and as snoolishly as our forefathers. We are learning to recognize this as a culturally inherited blind spot that leads inevitably to the destruction of women and all life on Earth, including ourselves. Moreover: We resolve to accept counsel when criticism is offered regarding our deficiencies and to make every effort to improve. We resolve not to unduly burden our Sisters by insisting that they teach us, correct us, and explain to us. We resolve to respect Women's Space. We resolve to encourage all women to activate the fullness of their potential and never stand in the way. We resolve to take responsibility for our share of domestic chores and childcare. We resolve to meet together regularly as men to learn how to transform our violent tendencies. We resolve to eradicate all eroticism that depends upon a paradigm of dominance and submission. We resolve to continue diligently the process of forgetting “how to be a man.” Statement from the Biophilic Brotherhood, dated January 1, 2019 BE
Mary Daly (Quintessence...Realizing the Archaic Future: A Radical Elemental Feminist Manifesto)
commencement address at Harvard University in 1978, Solzhenitsyn shocked his audience by suggesting that “the Western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion” was not attractive to those living in Russia. “It is time, in the West,” Solzhenitsyn said, “to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.” The triumph of rights over obligations had resulted in a destructive and irresponsible freedom, leading to “the abyss of human decadence.” He criticized the “misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, such as motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror,” which illustrated the surrender of the West to the corrosion of evil. “The problem at the root of the West’s malaise,” Solzhenitsyn explained, was rooted in the “rationalistic humanism” of the so-called Enlightenment:
Joseph Pearce (Benedict XVI: Defender of the Faith)
Themes of descent often turn on the struggle between the titanic and the demonic within the same person or group. In Moby Dick, Ahab’s quest for the whale may be mad and “monomaniacal,” as it is frequently called, or even evil so far as he sacrifices his crew and ship to it, but evil or revenge are not the point of the quest. The whale itself may be only a “dumb brute,” as the mate says, and even if it were malignantly determined to kill Ahab, such an attitude, in a whale hunted to the death, would certainly be understandable if it were there. What obsesses Ahab is in a dimension of reality much further down than any whale, in an amoral and alienating world that nothing normal in the human psyche can directly confront. The professed quest is to kill Moby Dick, but as the portents of disaster pile up it becomes clear that a will to identify with (not adjust to) what Conrad calls the destructive element is what is really driving Ahab. Ahab has, Melville says, become a “Prometheus” with a vulture feeding on him. The axis image appears in the maelstrom or descending spiral (“vortex”) of the last few pages, and perhaps in a remark by one of Ahab’s crew: “The skewer seems loosening out of the middle of the world.” But the descent is not purely demonic, or simply destructive: like other creative descents, it is partly a quest for wisdom, however fatal the attaining of such wisdom may be. A relation reminiscent of Lear and the fool develops at the end between Ahab and the little black cabin boy Pip, who has been left so long to swim in the sea that he has gone insane. Of him it is said that he has been “carried down alive to wondrous depths, where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro . . . and the miser-merman, Wisdom, revealed his hoarded heaps.” Moby Dick is as profound a treatment as modern literature affords of the leviathan symbolism of the Bible, the titanic-demonic force that raises Egypt and Babylon to greatness and then hurls them into nothingness; that is both an enemy of God outside the creation, and, as notably in Job, a creature within it of whom God is rather proud. The leviathan is revealed to Job as the ultimate mystery of God’s ways, the “king over all the children of pride” (41:34), of whom Satan himself is merely an instrument. What this power looks like depends on how it is approached. Approached by Conrad’s Kurtz through his Antichrist psychosis, it is an unimaginable horror: but it may also be a source of energy that man can put to his own use. There are naturally considerable risks in trying to do so: risks that Rimbaud spoke of in his celebrated lettre du voyant as a “dérèglement de tous les sens.” The phrase indicates the close connection between the titanic and the demonic that Verlaine expressed in his phrase poète maudit, the attitude of poets who feel, like Ahab, that the right worship of the powers they invoke is defiance.
Northrop Frye (Words with Power: Being a Second Study of the Bible and Literature)
The more I know the human being, the more I cling to animal nature. Mention poem 2013 Since its beginnings, the human being has been a complex and enigmatic being, capable of great achievements and feats, and at the same time, of the most cruel and vile acts. There is no doubt that our species is one of the most evolved and sophisticated of the planet, but at what cost? What is behind our apparent superiority? When we observe human behavior, we can see that it hides a mixture of animal instincts and rational thoughts. Although human beings take pride in our ability for critical thinking and reflection, We are also emotional, impulsive and visceral beings. And it is precisely this duality that makes us so different from animals. that cohabit this planet with us. It is often difficult for us to understand the nature of animals, because we cannot access their internal world. However, what we can say is that animals are transparent beings, His actions are always a consequence of his instincts, not from premeditated thoughts or complex emotions. For animals, living is following their instinct, something that allows them to act quickly and effectively in situations of danger or threat. Animals are beings in balance with their environment, They don't feel the need to constantly change, nor to think beyond the here and now. On the other hand, we have human beings, beings capable of conceiving abstract thoughts, create works of art, invent technologies and, at the same time, of destroying the environment, oppressing other human beings and commit acts of extreme cruelty. The human being is a complex, contradictory being, capable of loving and hating, forgiving and punishing, healing and destroying. We are creatures of light and darkness, in a constant search for balance between both parties. But what is behind our duality as human beings? Why are we capable of the worst acts of destruction and cruelty? If we look back at the history of humanity, we can see that our genetic patterns are impregnated of violence, war and resentment. History has been a constant parade of wars and conflicts, each one more brutal than the last. This being the only way in which many cultures they have found to impose their ideas or consolidate power. It is precisely here that the idea is born that the creators of humanity They have intoxicated us with the yoke of evil. Who are these forgers? They are the same societies, cultures, religions, policies, which have used violence, war and resentment as a tool to impose their desires and ideals on others. This is the curse that we have dragged like chains since long ago, that of a genetic pattern that drags us towards violence and war. It is true that, as human beings, we can choose our own paths, our own decisions, and not fall into the trap of cruelty and evil. However, it is also true that we carry within us an ancestral burden that is difficult to overcome. What will the most advanced civilizations in the universe think of us? Will we be violent and hateful beings for them? Or will we be beings like animals, in balance with our environment? The answer is not easy, since it remains an unknown. if we are able to overcome our animal instincts and embrace only the best of our humanity. The key to this lies in becoming aware of our own duality, to recognize that we carry both light and darkness within us, and make a real effort to choose the best of ourselves, instead of letting ourselves be carried away by our internal evil.
Marcos Orowitz
We believe that the most terrifying and destructive feeling that a person can experience is psychological isolation. This is not the same as being alone. It is a feeling that one is locked out of the possibility of human connection and of being powerless to change the situation. In the extreme, psychological isolation can lead to a sense of hopelessness and desperation. People will do almost anything to escape this combination of condemned isolation and powerlessness. The part of this definition that is critical to understanding shame is the sentence 'People will do almost anything to escape this combination of condemned isolation and powerlessness.' Shame often leads to desperation. And reactions to this desperate need to escape from isolation and fear can run the gamut from numbing to addiction, depression, self-injury, eating disorders, bullying, violence, and suicide.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
Zeus in his sphere of power, Aphrodite in hers, are irresistible. To be a god is to be totally absorbed in the exercise of one's own power, the fulfillment of one's own nature, unchecked by any thought of others except as obstacles to be overcome; it is to be incapable of self questioning or self-criticism. But there are human beings who are like this. Preeminent in their particular sphere of power, they impose their will on others with the confidence, the unquestioning certainty of their own right and worth that is characteristic of gods. Such people the Greeks called "heroes"; they recognized the fact that they transcended the norms of humanity by according them worship at their tombs after death. Heroes might be, usually were, violent, antisocial, destructive, but they offered an assurance that in some chosen vessels humanity is capable of superhuman greatness, that there are some human beings who can deny the imperative which others obey in order to live. The heroes are godlike in their passionate self-esteem. But they are not gods, not immortal. They are subject, like the rest of us, to failure, above all to the irremediable failure of death. And sooner or later, in suffering, in disaster, they come to realize their limits, accept mortality and establish (or reestablish) a human relationship with their fellowmen.
Bernard Knox (The Iliad)
[Self]-distrust manifests blatantly in the judge's reaction to your experiences of expansion. 'Expansion' here refers to situations when you try something new, success at something you're never done before, stop a self-destructive habit, speak up in your own defense, recognize a truth about yourself, take on a new responsibility, and so on. The expansion is a shift in your sense of who you are or who you have taken yourself to be: who you are becomes a little bigger, includes a little more than it did before. What does the judge do with these moments? Most everyone has experienced some sort of contraction after they expand: some letdown, some fear creeping in, some shame about being bigger, some withdrawal from the expansion. In one sense, this is part of a natural cycle of expansion and contraction. However, the contraction is seldom seen as part of the normal flow of the unfolding soul.
Byron Brown (Soul Without Shame: A Guide to Liberating Yourself from the Judge Within)
For centuries after obtaining power during the reign of Constantine, Christians went on a censorship rampage that led to the virtual illiteracy of the ancient Western world and ensured that their secret would be hidden from the masses. The scholars of other schools/sects evidently did not easily give up their arguments against the historicizing of a very ancient mythological creature. We have lost the exact arguments of these learned dissenters because Christians destroyed any traces of their works. Nonetheless, the Christians preserved the contentions of their detractors through their own refutations. For example, early Church Father Tertullian (c. 160-220 CE), an 'ex-Pagan' and a presbyter at Carthage, ironically admitted the true origins of the Christ story and other such myths by stating in refutation of his critics, 'You say we worship the sun; so do you. Interestingly, a previously strident believer and defender of the faith, Tertullian later renounced orthodox Christianity after becoming a Montanist.
D.M. Murdock (The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus Christ)
Terrorism cannot be overcome by the use of force because it does not address the complex underlying problems. In fact the use of force may not only fail to solve the problems, it may exacerbate them and frequently leaves destruction and suffering in its wake. Human conflicts should be resolved with compassion. The key is non-violence. Retaliatory military action by the United States may bring some satisfaction and short-term results but it will not root out the problem of terrorism. Long-term measures need to be taken. The US must examine the factors that breed and give rise to terrorism. I have written to President Bush urging him to exercise restraint and not to seek a brutal revenge for the 11th September attacks. I expressed my sympathy but I suggested that responding to violence with more violence might not be the answer. I would also like to point out that to talk of nonviolence when things are going smoothly is not of much relevance. It is precisely when things become really difficult, urgent and critical that we should think and act nonviolently.
Dalai Lama XIV
There were, however, major differences between the respective upsurges of cooperativism in the 1880s and the 1960s, centered around the fact that the earlier one was part of a broad-based labor movement, unlike the later. Thus, the skilled and semi-skilled cooperators during the 1870s and 1880s explicitly used cooperatives as a way to guarantee employment, and arguably they were more ambitious, with their revolutionary hopes for a cooperative commonwealth. Their ideology, of course, was not the educated middle-class countercultural and anti-authoritarian one of the 1960s’ youth movements but “laborist,” “producerist,” devoted to the Jeffersonian ideal of a republic of free laborers, mostly artisans and craftsmen. Some scholars have argued that this fact proves the Knights of Labor were “backward-looking” rather than truly revolutionary—that the future lay in mass production, not skilled labor or artisanry168—but this criticism seems partly off the mark. It is true that the Knights were hostile to mechanization, just as workers have been in the era of the AFL-CIO, because in both cases it threatened to put them out of a job or to result in the lowering of wages and the deskilling of work. If this aversion to the degradation and mechanization of work is reactionary, so be it. But it is also a source of such revolutionary demands as democratization of production relations, cooperative organization of the economy, public ownership of industry, destruction of the capitalist class and its frequent tool the state, and other hopes cherished by millions of workers in the late nineteenth century.
Chris Wright (Worker Cooperatives and Revolution: History and Possibilities in the United States)
It caused my opposition to any ideologies—Marxist, Fascist, National Socialist, what you will—because they were incompatible with science in the rational sense of critical analysis. I again refer back to Max Weber as the great thinker who brought that problem to my attention; and I still maintain today that nobody who is an ideologist can be a competent social scientist." It is extremely difficult to engage in a critical discussion of National Socialist ideas, as I found out when I gave my semester course on “Hitler and the Germans” in 1964 in Munich, because in National Socialist and related documents we are still further below the level on which rational argument is possible than in the case of Hegel and Marx. In order to deal with rhetoric of this type, one must first develop a philosophy of language, going into the problems of symbolization on the basis of the philosophers’ experience of humanity and of the perversion of such symbols on the vulgarian level by people who are utterly unable to read a philosopher’s work. A person on this level—which I characterize as the vulgarian and, so far as it becomes socially relevant, as the ochlocratic level—again, is not admissible to the position of a partner in discussion but can only be an object of scientific research. Because of this attitude I have been called every conceivable name by partisans of this or that ideology. I have in my files documents labeling me a Communist, a Fascist, a National Socialist, an old liberal, a new liberal, a Jew, a Catholic, a Protestant, a Platonist, a neo-Augustinian, a Thomist, and of course a Hegelian—not to forget that I was supposedly strongly influenced by Huey Long. This list I consider of some importance, because the various characterizations of course always name the pet bête noire of the respective critic and give, therefore, a very good picture of the intellectual destruction and corruption that characterize the contemporary academic world. Understandably, I have never answered such criticisms; critics of this type can become objects of inquiry, but they cannot be partners in a discussion. Anybody with an informed and reflective mind who lives in the twentieth century since the end of the First World War, as I did, finds himself hemmed in, if not oppressed, from all sides by a flood of ideological language—meaning thereby language symbols that pretend to be concepts but in fact are unanalyzed topoi or topics. Moreover, anybody who is exposed to this dominant climate of opinion has to cope with the problem that language is a social phenomenon. He cannot deal with the users of ideological language as partners in a discussion, but he has to make them the object of investigation. There is no community of language with the representatives of the dominant ideologies.
Eric Voegelin (Autobiographical Reflections (Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Volume 34))
The proper conclusion from the considerations I have advanced is by no means that we may confidently accept all the old and traditional values. Nor even that there are any values or moral principles, which science may not occasionally question. The social scientist who endeavours to understand how society functions, and to discover where it can be improved, must claim the right critically to examine, and even to judge, every single value of our society. The consequence of what I have said is merely that we can never at one and the same time question all its values. Such absolute doubt could lead only to the destruction of our civilisation and – in view of the numbers to which economic progress has allowed the human race to grow – to extreme misery and starvation. Complete abandonment of all traditional values is, of course, impossible; it would make man incapable of acting. If traditional and taught values formed by man in the course of the evolution of civilisation were renounced, this could only mean falling back on those instinctive values, which man developed in hundreds of thousands of years of tribal life, and which now are probably in a measure innate.
Friedrich A. Hayek
ASPARTAME AND MSG: EXCITOTOXINS Aspartame is, in fact, an excitotoxin, one of a group of substances, usually acidic amino acids, that in high amounts react with specialized receptors in the brain, causing destruction of certain types of neurons. A growing number of neurosurgeons and neurologists are convinced that excitotoxins play a critical role in the development of several neurological disorders, including migraines, seizures, learning disorders in children, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).1 Glutamate and aspartate are two powerful amino acids that act as neurotransmitters in the brain in very small concentrations, but they are also commonly available in food additives. Glutamate is in MSG, a flavor enhancer, and in hydrolyzed vegetable protein, found in hundreds of processed foods. Aspartate is one of three components of aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), a sugar substitute. In higher concentrations as food additives, these chemicals constantly stimulate brain cells and can cause them to undergo a process of cell death known as excitotoxicity—the cells are excited to death.
Carolyn Dean (The Magnesium Miracle (Revised and Updated))
These changes, I believe, can be the basis of a true Islamic Reformation, one that progresses to the twenty-first century rather than regresses to the seventh. Some of these changes may strike readers as too fundamental to Islamic belief to be feasible. But like the partition walls or superfluous stairways that a successful renovation removes, they can in fact be modified without causing the entire structure to collapse. Indeed, I believe these modifications will actually strengthen Islam by making it easier for Muslims to live in harmony with the modern world. It is those hell-bent on restoring it to its original state who are much more likely to lead Islam to destruction. Here again are my five theses, nailed to a virtual door: 1. Ensure that Muhammad and the Qur’an are open to interpretation and criticism. 2. Give priority to this life, not the afterlife. 3. Shackle sharia and end its supremacy over secular law. 4. End the practice of “commanding right, forbidding wrong.” 5. Abandon the call to jihad. In the chapters that follow, I will explore the source of the ideas and doctrines in question and evaluate the prospects for reforming them. For now, we may simply note that they are closely interrelated.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now)
Women of the world, our time has come! Our leaders have taken us down a road of destruction. Aggressive, masculine reflexes have created more violence and rage, have left us with little hope for remedy in the Middle East or anywhere else. Our hope of survival lies in honoring the feminine, that which a patriarchal society has tried vehemently to squelch. Their legacy has left us living in a deluded universe, a world that worships a fixed and righteous view. In order to feel secure, we only welcome change that men in power determine for us. Our patriarchal religions are prime examples of this, creating a one-sided world gone from static, brittle believes. Let us remember that patriarchy is founded on division not unity. We concentrate on the differences instead of giving importance to the similarities. There is good and bad, there is black and white. We are constantly in a state of opposites. Where does unity come into the picture? It is no wonder women have been seen as evil, an abhorrent influence that must be destroyed. Intuition, psychic energy, spiritual force, the unknown, creation itself…merely feminine mockeries of sanity—or so it has been claimed by religious men in power. Women have died at the stake for challenging such beliefs, and to this day dogmatic religious views have persisted in undermining the feminine. Therefore it is up to us to develop a balance between the feminine and the masculine. That’s the formula for a stable democracy. Wisdom and compassion working together will swing the pendulum away from aggression and fear toward peace and conciliation. I’ll venture to say it’s already begun. We have reached a critical mass. Now the energy of woman is being powerfully unleashed. Negative powers have reached levels where enough of us are reacting against them to instigate change. The critical mass that we have reached cannot be turned back, and the force of it will literally shift the energy of our planet, creating a new paradigm.
Perri Birney (Pure Vision: The Magdalene Revelation)
Yoga has been superficially misunderstood by certain Western writers, but its critics have never been its practitioners. Among many thoughtful tributes to yoga may be mentioned one by Dr. C. G. Jung, the famous Swiss psychologist. “When a religious method recommends itself as ‘scientific,’ it can be certain of its public in the West. Yoga fulfills this expectation,” Dr. Jung writes (7). “Quite apart from the charm of the new, and the fascination of the half-understood, there is good cause for Yoga to have many adherents. It offers the possibility of controllable experience, and thus satisfies the scientific need of ‘facts,’ and besides this, by reason of its breadth and depth, its venerable age, its doctrine and method, which include every phase of life, it promises undreamed-of possibilities. “Every religious or philosophical practice means a psychological discipline, that is, a method of mental hygiene. The manifold, purely bodily procedures of Yoga (8) also mean a physiological hygiene which is superior to ordinary gymnastics and breathing exercises, inasmuch as it is not merely mechanistic and scientific, but also philosophical; in its training of the parts of the body, it unites them with the whole of the spirit, as is quite clear, for instance, in the Pranayama exercises where Prana is both the breath and the universal dynamics of the cosmos. “When the thing which the individual is doing is also a cosmic event, the effect experienced in the body (the innervation), unites with the emotion of the spirit (the universal idea), and out of this there develops a lively unity which no technique, however scientific, can produce. Yoga practice is unthinkable, and would also be ineffectual, without the concepts on which Yoga is based. It combines the bodily and the spiritual with each other in an extraordinarily complete way. “In the East, where these ideas and practices have developed, and where for several thousand years an unbroken tradition has created the necessary spiritual foundations, Yoga is, as I can readily believe, the perfect and appropriate method of fusing body and mind together so that they form a unity which is scarcely to be questioned. This unity creates a psychological disposition which makes possible intuitions that transcend consciousness.” The Western day is indeed nearing when the inner science of self- control will be found as necessary as the outer conquest of nature. This new Atomic Age will see men’s minds sobered and broadened by the now scientifically indisputable truth that matter is in reality a concentrate of energy. Finer forces of the human mind can and must liberate energies greater than those within stones and metals, lest the material atomic giant, newly unleashed, turn on the world in mindless destruction (9).
Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi (Illustrated and Annotated Edition))
Now everyone knows that to try to say something in the mainstream Western media that is critical of U.S. policy or Israel is extremely difficult; conversely, to say things that are hostile to the Arabs as a people and culture, or Islam as a religion, is laughably easy. For in effect there is a cultural war between spokespersons for the West and those of the Muslim and Arab world. In so inflamed a situation, the hardest thing to do as an intellectual is to be critical, to refuse to adopt a rhetorical style that is the verbal equivalent of carpet-bombing, and to focus instead on those issues like U.S. support for unpopular client re­gimes, which for a person writing in the U.S. are somewhat more likely to be affected by critical discussion. Of course, on the other hand, there is a virtual cer­tainty of getting an audience if as an Arab intellectual you passionately, even slavishly support U.S. policy, you attack its critics, and if they happen to be Arabs, you invent evi­dence to show their villainy; if they are American you confect stories and situations that prove their duplicity; you spin out stories concerning Arabs and Muslims that have the effect of defaming their tradition, defacing their history, accentuating their weaknesses, of which of course there are plenty. Above all, you attack the officially ap­ proved enemies-Saddam Hussein, Baathism, Arab na­tionalism, the Palestinian movement, Arab views of Israel. And of course this earns you the expected accolades: you are characterized as courageous, you are outspoken and passionate, and on and on. The new god of course is the West. Arabs, you say, should try to be more like the West, should regard the West as a source and a reference point. · Gone is the history of what the West actually did. Gone are the Gulf War's destructive results. We Arabs and Mus­lims are the sick ones, our problems are our own, totally self-inflicted. A number of things stand out about these kinds of performance. In the first place, there is no universalism here at all. Because you serve a god uncritically, all the devils are always on the other side: this was as true when you were a Trotskyist as it i's now when you are a recanting former Trotskyist. You do not think of politics in terms of interrelationships or of common histories such as, for instance, the long and complicated dynamic that has bound the Arabs and Muslims to the West and vice versa. Real intellectual analysis forbids calling one side innocent, the other evil. Indeed the notion of a side is, where cultures are at issue, highly problematic, since most cultures aren't watertight little packages, all homogenous, and all either good or evil. But if your eye is on your patron, you cannot think as an intellectual, but only as a disciple or acolyte. In the back of your mind there is the thought that you must please and not displease.
Edward W. Said (Representations of the Intellectual)
It is already the fashion to diminish Eliot by calling him derivative, the mouthpiece of Pound, and so forth; and yet if one wanted to understand the apocalypse of early modernism in its true complexity it would be Eliot, I fancy, who would demand one's closest attention. He was ready to rewrite the history of all that interested him in order to have past and present conform; he was a poet of apocalypse, of the last days and the renovation, the destruction of the earthly city as a chastisement of human presumption, but also of empire. Tradition, a word we especially associate with this modernist, is for him the continuity of imperial deposits; hence the importance in his thought of Virgil and Dante. He saw his age as a long transition through which the elect must live, redeeming the time. He had his demonic host, too; the word 'Jew' remained in lower case through all the editions of the poems until the last of his lifetime, the seventy-fifth birthday edition of 1963. He had a persistent nostalgia for closed, immobile hierarchical societies. If tradition is, as he said in After Strange Gods--though the work was suppressed--'the habitual actions, habits and customs' which represent the kinship 'of the same people living in the same place' it is clear that Jews do not have it, but also that practically nobody now does. It is a fiction, a fiction cousin to a myth which had its effect in more practical politics. In extenuation it might be said that these writers felt, as Sartre felt later, that in a choice between Terror and Slavery one chooses Terror, 'not for its own sake, but because, in this era of flux, it upholds the exigencies proper to the aesthetics of Art.' The fictions of modernist literature were revolutionary, new, though affirming a relation of complementarity with the past. These fictions were, I think it is clear, related to others, which helped to shape the disastrous history of our time. Fictions, notably the fiction of apocalypse, turn easily into myths; people will live by that which was designed only to know by. Lawrence would be the writer to discuss here, if there were time; apocalypse works in Woman in Love, and perhaps even in Lady Chatterley's Lover, but not n Apocalypse, which is failed myth. It is hard to restore the fictive status of what has become mythical; that, I take it, is what Mr. Saul Bellow is talking about in his assaults on wastelandism, the cant of alienation. In speaking of the great men of early modernism we have to make very subtle distinctions between the work itself, in which the fictions are properly employed, and obiter dicta in which they are not, being either myths or dangerous pragmatic assertions. When the fictions are thus transformed there is not only danger but a leak, as it were, of reality; and what we feel about. all these men at times is perhaps that they retreated inso some paradigm, into a timeless and unreal vacuum from which all reality had been pumped. Joyce, who was a realist, was admired by Eliot because he modernized myth, and attacked by Lewis because he concerned himself with mess, the disorders of common perception. But Ulysses ,alone of these great works studies and develops the tension between paradigm and reality, asserts the resistance of fact to fiction, human freedom and unpredictability against plot. Joyce chooses a Day; it is a crisis ironically treated. The day is full of randomness. There are coincidences, meetings that have point, and coincidences which do not. We might ask whether one of the merits of the book is not its lack of mythologizing; compare Joyce on coincidence with the Jungians and their solemn concordmyth, the Principle of Synchronicity. From Joyce you cannot even extract a myth of Negative Concord; he shows us fiction fitting where it touches. And Joyce, who probably knew more about it than any of the others, was not at tracted by the intellectual opportunities or the formal elegance of fascism.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction. A good form of government may hold the rotten materials together for some time, but beyond a certain pitch, even the best constitution will be ineffectual, and slavery must ensue. On the other hand, when the manners of a nation are pure, when true religion and internal principles maintain their vigour, the attempts of the most powerful enemies to oppress them are commonly baffled and disappointed. . . . [H]e is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy to God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country. Do not suppose, my brethren, that I mean to recommend a furious and angry zeal for the circumstantials of religion, or the contentions of one sect with another about their peculiar distinctions. I do not wish you to oppose any body’s religion, but every body’s wickedness. Perhaps there are few surer marks of the reality of religion, than when a man feels himself more joined in spirit to a true holy person of a different denomination, than to an irregular liver of his own. It is therefore your duty in this important and critical season to exert yourselves, every one in his proper sphere, to stem the tide of prevailing vice, to promote the knowledge of God, the reverence of his name and worship, and obedience to his laws. . . . Many from a real or pretended fear of the imputation of hypocrisy, banish from their conversation and carriage every appearance of respect and submission to the living God. What a weakness and meanness of spirit does it discover, for a man to be ashamed in the presence of his fellow sinners, to profess that reverence to almighty God which he inwardly feels: The truth is, he makes himself truly liable to the accusation which he means to avoid. It is as genuine and perhaps a more culpable hypocrisy to appear to have less religion than you really have, than to appear to have more. . . . There is a scripture precept delivered in very singular terms, to which I beg your attention; “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart, but shalt in any wise rebuke him, and not suffer sin upon him.” How prone are many to represent reproof as flowing from ill nature and surliness of temper? The spirit of God, on the contrary, considers it as the effect of inward hatred, or want of genuine love, to forbear reproof, when it is necessary or may be useful. I am sensible there may in some cases be a restraint from prudence, agreeably to that caution of our Saviour, “Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rent you.” Of this every man must judge as well as he can for himself; but certainly, either by open reproof, or expressive silence, or speedy departure from such society, we ought to guard against being partakers of other men’s sins.
John Witherspoon
Spellbinders are characterized by pathological egotism. Such a person is forced by some internal causes to make an early choice between two possibilities: the first is forcing other people to think and experience things in a manner similar to his own; the second is a feeling of being lonely and different, a pathological misfit in social life. Sometimes the choice is either snake-charming or suicide. Triumphant repression of selfcritical or unpleasant concepts from the field of consciousness gradually gives rise to the phenomena of conversive thinking (twisted thinking), or paralogistics (twisted logic), paramoralisms (twisted morality), and the use of reversion blockades (Big Lies). They stream so profusely from the mind and mouth of the spellbinder that they flood the average person’s mind. Everything becomes subordinated to the spellbinder’s over-compensatory conviction that they are exceptional, sometimes even messianic. An ideology emerges from this conviction, true in part, whose value is supposedly superior. However, if we analyze the exact functions of such an ideology in the spellbinder’s personality, we perceive that it is nothing other than a means of self-charming, useful for repressing those tormenting selfcritical associations into the subconscious. The ideology’s instrumental role in influencing other people also serves the spellbinder’s needs. The spellbinder believes that he will always find converts to his ideology, and most often, they are right. However, they feel shock (or even paramoral indignation) when it turns out that their influence extends to only a limited minority, while most people’s attitude to their activities remains critical, pained and disturbed. The spellbinder is thus confronted with a choice: either withdraw back into his void or strengthen his position by improving the ef ectiveness of his activities. The spellbinder places on a high moral plane anyone who has succumbed to his influence and incorporated the experiential method he imposes. He showers such people with attention and property, if possible. Critics are met with “moral” outrage. It can even be proclaimed that the compliant minority is in fact the moral majority, since it professes the best ideology and honors a leader whose qualities are above average. Such activity is always necessarily characterized by the inability to foresee its final results, something obvious from the psychological point of view because its substratum contains pathological phenomena, and both spellbinding and self-charming make it impossible to perceive reality accurately enough to foresee results logically. However, spellbinders nurture great optimism and harbor visions of future triumphs similar to those they enjoyed over their own crippled souls. It is also possible for optimism to be a pathological symptom. In a healthy society, the activities of spellbinders meet with criticism effective enough to stifle them quickly. However, when they are preceded by conditions operating destructively upon common sense and social order; such as social injustice, cultural backwardness, or intellectually limited rulers sometimes manifesting pathological traits, spellbinders’ activities have led entire societies into large-scale human tragedy. Such an individual fishes an environment or society for people amenable to his influence, deepening their psychological weaknesses until they finally join together in a ponerogenic union. On the other hand, people who have maintained their healthy critical faculties intact, based upon their own common sense and moral criteria, attempt to counteract the spellbinders’ activities and their results. In the resulting polarization of social attitudes, each side justifies itself by means of moral categories. That is why such commonsense resistance is always accompanied by some feeling of helplessness and deficiency of criteria.
Andrew Lobabczewski