Dilemma Of Life Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Dilemma Of Life. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.
George Bernard Shaw (The Doctor's Dilemma)
Love has no middle term; either it destroys, or it saves. All human destiny is this dilemma. This dilemma, destruction or salvation, no fate proposes more inexorably than love. Love is life, if it is not death. Cradle; coffin, too. The same sentiment says yes and no in the human heart. Of all the things God has made, the human heart is the one that sheds most light, and alas! most night.
Victor Hugo (Les Miserables)
Here is my final point...About drugs, about alcohol, about pornography...What business is it of yours what I do, read, buy, see, or take into my body as long as I do not harm another human being on this planet? And for those who are having a little moral dilemma in your head about how to answer that question, I'll answer it for you. NONE of your fucking business. Take that to the bank, cash it, and go fucking on a vacation out of my life.
Bill Hicks
A good book, when we return to it, will always have something new to say. It's not the same book, and we're not the same reader
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
Their issues are not your issues.
Iyanla Vanzant (The Value in the Valley: A Black Woman's Guide Through Life's Dilemmas)
Changes in life, taking the turning point. Everyone passes numerous paths along the road of life. There's a dilemma when it comes to choosing.
Hlovate
Whatever I learned, Whatever I knew, Seems like those faded years of childhood that flew, Away in some dilemma, Always in some confusion, The purpose of this life, Seems like an illusion!
Mehek Bassi (Chained: Can you escape fate?)
People read for a multiplicity of reasons. Nearly forty years in, I can tell you why I inhale books like oxygen: I'm grateful for my one life, but I'd prefer to live a thousand --and my favorite books allow me to experience more on the page than I ever could in my actual life.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
When we share our favorite titles, we can't help but share ourselves as well. Shakespeare said the eyes are the windows to the soul, but we readers know one's bookshelves reveal just as much.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
The dilemma of the eighth-grade dance is that boys and girls use music in different ways. Girls enjoy music they can dance to, music with strong vocals and catchy melodies. Boys, on the other hand, enjoy music they can improve by making up filthy new lyrics.
Rob Sheffield (Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time)
When it came to the home-for-dinner dilemma, I installed new boundaries, ones that worked better for me and the girls. We made our schedule and stuck to it. ...It went back to my wishes for them to grow up strong and centered and also unaccommodating to any form of old-school patriarchy: I didn’t want them ever to believe that life began when the man of the house arrived home. We didn’t wait for Dad. It was his job now to catch up with us.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of a dilemma.
H.L. Mencken
No culture has yet solved the dilemma each has faced with the growth of a conscious mind: how to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in all life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s own culture but within oneself.
Barry Lopez (Arctic Dreams)
There is one province in which, sooner or later, virtually everyone gets dealt a leading role--hero, heroine, or villain.... Unlike the slight implications of quotidian dilemmas that confront the average citizen in other areas of life ... the stakes in this realm could not be higher. For chances are that at some point along the line you will hold in your hands another person's heart. There is no greater responsibility on the planet. However you contend with this fragile organ, which pounds or seizes in accordance with your caprice, will take your full measure.
Lionel Shriver (The Post-Birthday World)
When facing a dilemma, choose the more morally demanding alternative.
Harold S. Kushner (Living a Life That Matters: Resolving the Conflict between Conscience and Success)
I feel certain of this: I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I weren’t a reader.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
He had learned that it was the smallness of people that filled him with wonder and tenderness, and the loneliness of that too. The world was made up of people putting one foot in front of the other; and a life might appear ordinary simply because the person living it had been doing it for a long time. Harold could no longer pass a stranger without acknowledging the truth that everyone was the same, and also unique; and that this was the dilemma of being human.
Rachel Joyce (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Harold Fry, #1))
We can’t know what a book will mean to us until we read it. And so we take a leap and choose.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
Eating is an agricultural act,' as Wendell Berry famously said. It is also an ecological act, and a political act, too. Though much has been done to obscure this simple fact, how and what we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world - and what is to become of it. To eat with a fuller consciousness of all that is at stake might sound like a burden, but in practice few things in life can afford quite as much satisfaction. By comparison, the pleasures of eating industrially, which is to say eating in ignorance, are fleeting. Many people today seem erfectly content eating at the end of an industrial food chain, without a thought in the world; this book is probably not for them.
Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals)
So far nothing in your life has interfered with your reasoning process.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
How initially 'to get her in the sack' and subsequently to avoid 'her giving you the sack' are not identical dilemmas faced by the male species, but they sure have a bizarre habit of being bedfellows
Alex Morritt (Impromptu Scribe)
You accept that it’s time to cull your personal library. You lovingly handle each book, determining if it brings you joy. It does. They all do. You are full of bookish joy, but still woefully short on shelf space.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
Imagine if we had a food system that actually produced wholesome food. Imagine if it produced that food in a way that restored the land. Imagine if we could eat every meal knowing these few simple things: What it is we’re eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what it really cost. If that was the reality, then every meal would have the potential to be a perfect meal. We would not need to go hunting for our connection to our food and the web of life that produces it. We would no longer need any reminding that we eat by the grace of nature, not industry, and that what we’re eating is never anything more or less than the body of the world. I don’t want to have to forage every meal. Most people don’t want to learn to garden or hunt. But we can change the way we make and get our food so that it becomes food again—something that feeds our bodies and our souls. Imagine it: Every meal would connect us to the joy of living and the wonder of nature. Every meal would be like saying grace.
Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals)
Reading is often viewed as a solitary act; that’s one of the reasons I love it, and it’s certainly my favorite escape and introvert coping strategy of choice.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
We are between the wild thoat of certainty and the mad zitidar of fact - we can escape neither.
Edgar Rice Burroughs (The Gods of Mars (Barsoom #2))
Every problem, every dilemma, every dead end we find ourselves facing in life, only appears unsolvable inside a particular frame or point of view. Enlarge the box, or create another frame around the data, and problems vanish, while new opportunities appear.
Rosamund Stone Zander (The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life)
Does it make sense to boycott ourselves? Does it hold water to boycott the fluid course of our life? Is it consistent to commit self-sabotage by destroying wittingly our corporeal and mental structure? Those are the questions thousands of people may ask as they are confronted with the schizophrenic dilemma on the point of smoking, boozing, doping, sexual transgressing or environmental polluting. Many seem to be aware of their problem. Many have decided to stop from tomorrow on. But when tomorrow and after tomorrow come many tend to let slip their vow and their self-sabotage goes on to rule their life. Their dissonant behavior transforms them into social losers or hopeless patsies and depresses them into the class of forlorn pariahs. They realize, as such, that self-handicapping makes no sense, but are not able to protect themselves from themselves since they haven’t got the muscle to live down the spell of addiction. Thousands of people may feel having set the bar too high and recognize they are are failing to find the right angle and are missing sufficient insight to steer their life. If, however, they decide to give it a try they should be aware that the road may be very bumpy and that they have to be prepared for disappointments and regressions, that they might have to deal with very slowly crescent improvements, that they shouldn’t take themselves for a ride and that they could only possibly succeed by focusing painfully on the path to breaking free from the hornet's nest they have got themselves into.
Erik Pevernagie
But Radulf had always proved very discreet in his observations about Ben’s sex life, so he trusted the dog not to comment to anyone on his sartorial dilemmas either.
John Wiltshire (Love is a Stranger (More Heat Than the Sun, #1))
A book twin is a joy, and I highly recommend finding one, if you can.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
With apologies to Kathleen Kelly, what I’ve come to learn is this: if my real life reminds me of something I read in a book, I’m reading well—and I’m probably living well, too.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
You’re sad because whatever you read next can’t possibly be as good as the book you just finished. You despair because nothing you read can possibly be as good, ever again.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
I can tell you why I inhale books like oyxgen: I am grateful for my one life, but I'd prefer to live a thousand—and my favorite books allow me to experience more on the page than I ever could in my actual life.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
Tragedy is born of myth, not morality. Prometheus and Icarus are tragic heroes. Yet none of the myths in which they appear has anything to do with moral dilemmas. Nor have the greatest Greek tragedies. If Euripides is the most tragic of the Greek playwrights, it is not because he deals with moral conflicts but because he understood that reason cannot be the guide of life.
John Gray (Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals)
When my husband had an affair with someone else I watched his eyes glaze over when we ate dinner together and I heard him singing to himself without me, and when he tended the garden it was not for me. He was courteous and polite; he enjoyed being at home, but in the fantasy of his home I was not the one who sat opposite him and laughed at his jokes. He didn't want to change anything; he liked his life. The only thing he wanted to change was me. It would have been better if he had hated me, or if he had abused me, or if he had packed his new suitcases and left. As it was he continued to put his arm round me and talk about being a new wall to replace the rotten fence that divided our garden from his vegetable patch. I knew he would never leave our house. He had worked for it. Day by day I felt myself disappearing. For my husband I was no longer a reality, I was one of the things around him. I was the fence which needed to be replaced. I watched myself in the mirror and saw that I was mo longer vivid and exciting. I was worn and gray like an old sweater you can't throw out but won't put on. He admitted he was in love with her, but he said he loved me. Translated, that means, I want everything. Translated, that means, I don't want to hurt you yet. Translated, that means, I don't know what to do, give me time. Why, why should I give you time? What time are you giving me? I am in a cell waiting to be called for execution. I loved him and I was in love with him. I didn't use language to make a war-zone of my heart. 'You're so simple and good,' he said, brushing the hair from my face. He meant, Your emotions are not complex like mine. My dilemma is poetic. But there was no dilemma. He no longer wanted me, but he wanted our life Eventually, when he had been away with her for a few days and returned restless and conciliatory, I decided not to wait in my cell any longer. I went to where he was sleeping in another room and I asked him to leave. Very patiently he asked me to remember that the house was his home, that he couldn't be expected to make himself homeless because he was in love. 'Medea did,' I said, 'and Romeo and Juliet and Cressida, and Ruth in the Bible.' He asked me to shut up. He wasn't a hero. 'Then why should I be a heroine?' He didn't answer, he plucked at the blanket. I considered my choices. I could stay and be unhappy and humiliated. I could leave and be unhappy and dignified. I could Beg him to touch me again. I could live in hope and die of bitterness. I took some things and left. It wasn't easy, it was my home too. I hear he's replaced the back fence.
Jeanette Winterson (Sexing the Cherry)
There are two dilemmas that rattle the human skull: How do you hang onto someone who won't stay? And how do you get rid of someone who won't go?
Danny De Vito
The "omnivore's dilemma" (a term coined by Paul Rozin) is that omnivores must seek out and explore new potential foods while remaining wary of them until they are proven safe. Omnivores therefore go through life with two competing motives: neophilia (an attraction to new things) and neophobia (a fear of new things). People vary in terms of which motive is stronger, and this variation will come back to help us in later chapters: Liberals score higher on measures of neophilia (also known as "openness to experience"), not just for new foods but also for new people, music, and ideas. Conservatives are higher on neophobia; they prefer to stick with what's tried and true, and they care a lot more about guarding borders, boundaries, and traditions.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
One night I dreamed a dream. I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord. When the last scene of my life shot before me I looked back at the footprints in the sand. There was only one set of footprints. I realized that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life. This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma. "Lord, You told me when I decided to follow You, You would walk and talk with me all the way. But I'm aware that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints. I just don't understand why, when I need You most, You leave me." He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.
Margaret Fishback Powers
According to the surgeon general, obesity today is officially an epidemic; it is arguably the most pressing public health problem we face, costing the health care system an estimated $90 billion a year. Three of every five Americans are overweight; one of every five is obese. The disease formerly known as adult-onset diabetes has had to be renamed Type II diabetes since it now occurs so frequently in children. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association predicts that a child born in 2000 has a one-in-three chance of developing diabetes. (An African American child's chances are two in five.) Because of diabetes and all the other health problems that accompany obesity, today's children may turn out to be the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy will actually be shorter than that of their parents. The problem is not limited to America: The United Nations reported that in 2000 the number of people suffering from overnutrition--a billion--had officially surpassed the number suffering from malnutrition--800 million.
Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals)
Books enveloped the room floor to ceiling like wallpaper.
Judy Baer (Million Dollar Dilemma: Love Me, Love My Dog #1 (Life, Faith & Getting It Right #7) (Steeple Hill Cafe))
To readers, those books—the ones we buy and borrow and trade and sell—are more than objects. They are opportunities beckoning us. When we read, we connect with them (or don’t) in a personal way.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
Suddenly the thought that the end of her life was imminent shocked him; it was one thing to pity someone he didn't know, quite another to face the same dilemma with someone he knew intimately. That was the trouble with beds. They turned strangers into intimates more quickly than ten years of polite teas in parlours.
Colleen McCullough (The Ladies of Missalonghi)
Life becomes a dilemma when you are living a purposeless and goalless life
Sunday Adelaja
..by honouring the demands of our bleeding, our blood gives us something in return. The crazed bitch from irritation hell recedes. In her place arises a side of ourselves with whom we may not-at first- be comfortable. She is a vulnerable, highly perceptive genius who can ponder a given issue and take her world by storm. When we're quiet and bleeding, we stumble upon solutions to dilemmas that've been bugging us all month. Inspiration hits and moments of epiphany rumba 'cross de tundra of our senses. In this mode of existence one does not feel antipathy towards a bodily ritual that so profoundly and reinforces our cuntpower.
Inga Muscio (Cunt: A Declaration of Independence)
Every reader goes through this rite of passage: the transition from having books chosen for us to choosing books for ourselves. When given the choice, some choose not to read. But you, dear reader, moved from being told what to read to choosing for yourself. From reading on assignment, perhaps to please someone else, to reading at your own leisure to please only yourself. When faced with the task of establishing your own reading life, you did it, or maybe you’re still in the middle of doing it.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
I couldn't find my cup of tea. So probably, I've been simply taking a sip from everyone else's cup. May be it shouldn't matter as long as there is tea to drink. Or should it?
Sanhita Baruah
He had never been so infuriated by a woman in his life. Or more flummoxed. And never more aroused. He didn’t know whether to rant at her or kiss her.
Anna Durbin (King of Wands)
Think logically, and you have a chance to solve a problem. Reacting emotionally to it prolongs and worsens your dilemma.
Stewart Stafford
Your favorite book becomes a movie, and you’re terrified to see it because you’re fond of the way you picture the characters and hear their voices in your head.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
A “great” book means different things to different people.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
If you’re drowning and a murderer throws you a line, you can’t wait for someone more agreeable to come along.
Steve Shahbazian (Green and Pleasant Land)
In contrast, investing time and energy in your relationship with your spouse and children typically doesn’t offer that same immediate sense of achievement. Kids misbehave every day. It’s really not until 20 years down the road that you can put your hands on your hips and say, “I raised a good son or a good daughter.” You can neglect your relationship with your spouse, and on a day-to-day basis, it doesn’t seem as if things are deteriorating. People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers—even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.
Clayton M. Christensen (The Innovator's Dilemma with Award-Winning Harvard Business Review Article ?How Will You Measure Your Life?? (2 Items))
When faced with choosing between attributing their pain to “being crazy” and having had abusive parents, clients will choose “crazy” most of the time. Dora, a 38-year-old, was profoundly abused by multiple family perpetrators and has grappled with cutting and eating disordered behaviors for most of her life. She poignantly echoed this dilemma in her therapy: I hate it when we talk about my family as “dysfunctional” or “abusive.” Think about what you are asking me to accept—that my parents didn't love me, care about me, or protect me. If I have to choose between "being abused" or "being sick and crazy," it's less painful to see myself as nuts than to imagine my parents as evil.
Lisa Ferentz (Treating Self-Destructive Behaviors in Trauma Survivors: A Clinician's Guide)
Fiction must convince our bodies for it to have any chance of convincing our minds.
Bonnie Friedman (Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life)
Should is a dangerous word, a warning sign that we’re crossing an important boundary and veering into book bossiness. Should is tangled up with guilt, frustration, and regret; we use it all the time, many of us to speak of the ways we wish we could be more, do more, or just be different. Or that we wish our friends could be different, and they would if they knew what was good for them. Should is bossy.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
The overriding aim of this book is to seek viable responses to the biggest dilemma of our times: reconciling our aspirations for the good life with the constraints of a finite planet.
Tim Jackson (Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet)
It’s like everyone has a central dilemma in their life, and mine was can you be in a committed, mature, loving adult relationship and still get invited to threesomes?" - Dexter Mayhew
David Nicholls (One Day)
As a devoted reader, I lovingly give countless hours to finding the right books for me. I don’t think those hours are wasted; part of the fun of reading is planning the reading. But I’ve learned that sometimes, despite my best efforts, a book unexpectedly finds me and not the other way around. And when it does, it’s okay to reshuffle my To Be Read list and go with it.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
Each and every one of you is a sovereign human being with free will granted to you by the Maker. But he didn’t leave you to wander in this life without guidance. He whispers truth to you in the face of every moral dilemma you encounter. At every turn, with every choice, you have only to listen to your conscience to know the right and just course.
David A. Wells (Reishi Adept (Sovereign of the Seven Isles, #7))
Life is Beautiful? Beyond all the vicissitudes that are presented to us on this short path within this wild planet, we can say that life is beautiful. No one can ever deny that experiencing the whirlwind of emotions inside this body is a marvel, we grow with these life experiences, we strengthen ourselves and stimulate our feelings every day, in this race where the goal is imminent death sometimes we are winners and many other times we lose and the darkness surprises us and our heart is disconnected from this reality halfway and connects us to the server of the matrix once more, debugging and updating our database, erasing all those experiences within this caracara of flesh and blood, waiting to return to earth again. "Life is beautiful gentlemen" is cruel and has unfair behavior about people who looked like a bundle of light and left this platform for no apparent reason, but its nature is not similar to our consciousness and feelings, she has a script for each of us because it was programmed that way, the architects of the game of life they know perfectly well that you must experiment with all the feelings, all the emotions and evolve to go to the next levels. You can't take a quantum leap and get through the game on your own. inventing a heaven and a hell in order to transcend, that comes from our fears of our imagination not knowing what life has in store for us after life is a dilemma "rather said" the best kept secret of those who control us day by day. We are born, we grow up, we are indoctrinated in the classrooms and in the jobs, we pay our taxes, we reproduce, we enjoy the material goods that it offers us the system the marketing of disinformation, Then we get old, get sick and die. I don't like this story! It looks like a parody of Noam Chomsky, Let's go back to the beautiful description of beautiful life, it sounds better! Let's find meaning in all the nonsense that life offers us, 'Cause one way or another we're doomed to imagine that everything will be fine until the end of matter. It is almost always like that. Sometimes life becomes a real nightmare. A heartbreaking horror that we find impossible to overcome. As we grow up, we learn to know the dark side of life. The terrors that lurk in the shadows, the dangers lurking around every corner. We realize that reality is much harsher and ruthless than we ever imagined. And in those moments, when life becomes a real hell, we can do nothing but cling to our own existence, summon all our might and fight with all our might so as not to be dragged into the abyss. But sometimes, even fighting with all our might is not enough. Sometimes fate is cruel and takes away everything we care about, leaving us with nothing but pain and hopelessness. And in that moment, when all seems lost, we realize the terrible truth: life is a death trap, a macabre game in which we are doomed to lose. And so, as we sink deeper and deeper into the abyss, while the shadows envelop us and terror paralyzes us, we remember the words that once seemed to us so hopeful: life is beautiful. A cruel and heartless lie, that leads us directly to the tragic end that death always awaits us.
Marcos Orowitz (THE MAELSTROM OF EMOTIONS: A selection of poems and thoughts About us humans and their nature)
For with love there is no middle course: it destroys, or else it saves. All human destiny is contained in that dilemma, the choice between destruction and salvation, which is nowhere more implacably posed than in love. Love is life, or it is death. It is the cradle, but also the coffin. One and the same impulse moves the human heart to say yes or no. Of all things God has created it is the human heart that sheds the brightest light and, alas, the blackest despair.
Victor Hugo
How could the world be freed from the terrible dilemma of conflict, on the one hand, and psychological and social dissolution, on the other? The answer was this: through the elevation and development of the individual, and through the willingness of everyone to shoulder the burden of Being and to take the heroic path.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
Sometimes I fantasize about getting my hands on my library records. . . my recurring bookworm dream is to peruse my personal library history like it's a historical document. My bookshelves show me the books I've bought or been given. . . But my library books come into my house and go out again, leaving behind only memories and a jotted line in a journal (if I'm lucky). I long for a list that captures these ephemeral reads - all the books I've borrowed in a lifetime of reading, from last week's armful spanning back to when I was a seven-year-old kid with my first library card. I don't need many details - just the titles and dates would be fine - but oh, how I'd love to see them. Those records preserve what my memory has not. I remember the highlights of my grade-school checkouts, but much is lost to time. How I'd love to see the complete list of what I chose to read in second grade, or sixth, or tenth.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
…but I don’t think I’m the only person who is tired of books and movies full of paper-doll characters you don’t care about, who have no self-respect and no respect for anybody or any institution…..And I don’t want to sound preachy or Victorian, but I’m tired of amorality in fiction and in real life. Immorality is a fascinating human dilemma that creates suspense for the readers and tension for the characters, but where is the tension in an amoral situation? When people have no personal code, nothing is threatening and nothing is meaningful.
Olive Ann Burns
The Archaic Revival is a clarion call to recover our birthright, however uncomfortable that may make us. It is a call to realize that life lived in the absence of the psychedelic experience upon which primordial shamanism is based is life trivialized, life denied, life enslaved to the ego and its fear of dissolution in the mysterious matrix of feeling that is all around us. It is in the Archaic Revival that our transcendence of the historical dilemma actually lies.
Terence McKenna (Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge)
When I find myself in a dreaded reading slump, nothing boosts me out of it faster than revisiting an old favorite. Old books, like old friends, are good for the soul. But they're not just comfort reads. No, a good book is exciting to return to, because even though I've been there before, the landscape is always changing. I notice something new each time I read a great book. As Italo Calvino wrote, "A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say." Great books keep surprising me with new things.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
You're looking for a book that reminds you why you read in the first place. One written well and that will feel like it was written just for you—one that will make you think about things in a new way, or feel things you didn't expect a book to make you feel, or see things in a new light. A book you won't want to put down, whose characters you don't want to tell good-bye. A book you will close feeling satisfied and grateful, thinking, Now, that was a good one.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
The self is who we truly are, but the persona or mask (the word comes from the Latin for an actor’s mask) is the face we turn to the world in order to deal with it. A persona is absolutely necessary, but the problem is that we often become identified with it, to the detriment of our self, a dilemma that the existential philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre recognized in his notion of mauvaise foi, or “bad faith,” when one becomes associated exclusively with one’s social role.
Gary Lachman (Jung the Mystic: The Esoteric Dimensions of Carl Jung's Life & Teachings)
Suppose you’re called on to navigate some particularly difficult life dilemma, your own, or that of a close confidant. You yearn to talk matters over with your mentor, spouse, or best friend. Yet, for whatever reason, you can’t get a hold of these valued others—perhaps they’re traveling, busy, or even deceased. Research shows that simply imagining having a conversation with them is as good as actually talking with them. So consult them in your mind. Ask them what advice they’d offer. In this way, a cherished parent or mentor, even if deceased, leaves you with an inner voice that guides you through challenging times. Your past moments of love and connection make you lastingly wiser.
Barbara L. Fredrickson (Love 2.0: Creating Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection)
What is our human dilemma? That the nature of life is problematic. Problems are not an exception; they are the norm. The world offers recurring and seemingly endless conundrums for us to deal with. We cannot stop problems, but we can end our suffering, and we can achieve true, lasting happiness by understanding the nature of our mind and changing the way we approach our emotional struggles.
Karuna Cayton (The Misleading Mind: How We Create Our Own Problems and How Buddhist Psychology Can Help Us Solve Them)
Some women I talk to are so frightened of growing old. I sense their desperation. They say things like I m not going to live to be old I m not going to live to be dependent. The message young women get from youth culture is that it s wonderful to be young and terrible to grow old. If you think about it it s an impossible dilemma how can you make a good start in life if you are being told at the same time how terrible the finish is Because of ageism many women don t fully commit themselves to living life until they can no longer pass as young. They live their lives with one foot in life and one foot outside it. With age you resolve that. I know the value of each day and I m living with both feet in life. I m living much more fully... The power of the old woman is that because she s outside the system she can attack. And I am determined to attack it. One of the ways in which I am particularly conscious of this stance is when I go down the street. People expect me to move over which means to step on the grass or off the curb. I just woke up one day to the fact that I was moving over. I have no idea how many years I ve been doing that. Now I never move over. I simply keep walking. And we hit full force because the other person is so sure that I am going to move over that he isn t even paying any attention and we simply ram each other. If it s a man with a woman he shows embarrassment because he s just knocked down a five foot seventy year old woman and so he quickly apologises. But he s startled he doesn t understand why I didn t move over he doesn t even know how I got there where I came from. I am invisible to him despite the fact that I am on my own side of the street simply refusing to give him that space he assumes is his
Barbara MacDonald
The repetitive phases of cooking leave plenty of mental space for reflection, and as I chopped and minced and sliced I thought about the rhythms of cooking, one of which involves destroying the order of the things we bring from nature into our kitchens, only to then create from them a new order. We butcher, grind, chop, grate, mince, and liquefy raw ingredients, breaking down formerly living things so that we might recombine them in new, more cultivated forms. When you think about it, this is the same rhythm, once removed, that governs all eating in nature, which invariably entails the destruction of certain living things, by chewing and then digestion, in order to sustain other living things. In The Hungry Soul Leon Kass calls this the great paradox of eating: 'that to preserve their life and form living things necessarily destroy life and form.' If there is any shame in that destruction, only we humans seem to feel it, and then only on occasion. But cooking doesn't only distance us from our destructiveness, turning the pile of blood and guts into a savory salami, it also symbolically redeems it, making good our karmic debts: Look what good, what beauty, can come of this! Putting a great dish on the table is our way of celebrating the wonders of form we humans can create from this matter--this quantity of sacrificed life--just before the body takes its first destructive bite.
Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals)
What I have learned from about twenty years of serious reading is this: It is sentences that change my life, not books. What changes my life is some new glimpse of truth, some powerful challenge, some resolution to a long-standing dilemma, and these usually come concentrated in a sentence or two. I do not remember 99% of what I read, but if the 1% of each book or article I do remember is a life-changing insight, then I don't begrudge the 99%. From "Quantitative Hopelessness and the Immeasurable Moment
John Piper
No culture has yet solved the dilemma each has faced with the growth of a conscious mind: how to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in all life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s own culture but within oneself. If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of a leaning into the light.
Barry Lopez (Arctic Dreams)
So much about life in a global economy feels as though it has passed beyond the individual's control--what happens to our jobs, to the prices at the gas station, to the vote in the legislature. But somehow food still feels a little different. We can still decide, every day, what we're going to put into our bodies, what sort of food chain we want to participate in. We can, in other words, reject the industrial omelet on offer and decide to eat another.
Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals)
As the Hindu gods are “immortal” only in a very particular sense—for they are born and they die—they experience most of the great human dilemmas and often seem to differ from mortals in a few trivial details…and from demons even less. Yet they are regarded by the Hindus as a class of beings by definition totally different from any other; they are symbols in a way that no human being, however “archetypal” his life story, can ever be. They are actors playing parts that are real only for us; they are the masks behind which we see our own faces.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods)
I see you are in a dilemma, and one of a peculiar and difficult nature. Two paths lie before you; you conscientiously wish to choose the right one, even though it be the most steep, straight, and rugged; but you do not know which is the right one; you cannot decide whether duty and religion command you to go out into the cold and friendless world, and there to earn your living by governess drudgery, or whether they enjoin your continued stay with your aged mother, neglecting, for the present, every prospect of independency for yourself, and putting up with the daily inconvenience, sometimes even with privations. I can well imagine, that it is next to impossible for you to decide for yourself in this matter, so I will decide it for you. At least, I will tell you what is my earnest conviction on the subject; I will show you candidly how the question strikes me. The right path is that which necessitates the greatest sacrifice of self-interest -- which implies the greatest good to others; and this path, steadily followed, will lead, I believe, in time, to prosperity and to happiness; though it may seem, at the outset, to tend quite in a contrary direction. Your mother is both old and infirm; old and infirm people have but few resources of happiness -- fewer almost than the comparatively young and healthy can conceive; to deprive them of one of these is cruel. If your mother is more composed when you are with her, stay with her. If she would be unhappy in case you left her, stay with her. It will not apparently, as far as short-sighted humanity can see, be for your advantage to remain at XXX, nor will you be praised and admired for remaining at home to comfort your mother; yet, probably, your own conscience will approve, and if it does, stay with her. I recommend you to do what I am trying to do myself. [Quoted from a letter to a friend, referenced in the last chapter of Vol 1. "The Life of Charlotte Bronte" by Elizabeth Gaskell ]
Charlotte Brontë
We are readers. Books are an essential part of our lives and of our life stories. For us, reading isn’t just a hobby or a pastime; it’s a lifestyle. We’re the kind of people who understand the heartbreak of not having your library reserves come in before you leave town for vacation and the exhilaration of stumbling upon the new Louise Penny at your local independent bookstore three whole days before the official publication date. We know the pain of investing hours of reading time in a book we enjoyed right up until the final chapter’s truly terrible resolution, and we know the pleasure of stumbling upon exactly the right book at exactly the right time.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
What appears most disquieting to me in isolation is the dilemma of how to use time. There is either too much or too little of it; we either live inside painfully contracting horizons, or feel ourselves isolated in the vastness of space. I seem to have lived with the palm of my hand balanced on the tip of a knife, writing what in theory I would call the Preface to a Future Book. And the relation of time to creation should always appear like that, a ratio that describes the fullness of energy brought to a particular stage of one's life, so that each work is a preface to a stage at which one has still to arrive, the logical extension of which is death. I live for the blaze of metaphor that unites incongruities. The red wine-stain on my page is like an intoxicant to the dance of words. It is a little ritual I undertake, this sprinkling of wine-spots on paper.
Jeremy Reed
The dilemma, my dear sir, the tragedy, begins where nature has been cruel enough to split the personality, to shatter its harmony by imprisoning a noble and ardent spirit within a body not fit for the stresses of life. Have you heard of Leopardi, Engineer, or you, Lieutenant? An unhappy poet of my own land, a crippled, ailing man, born with a great soul, which his sufferings were constantly humiliating and dragging down into the depths of irony—its lamentations rend the heart to hear.
Thomas Mann (The Magic Mountain)
Harold walked with these strangers and listened. He judged no one, although as the day wore on, and time and places began to melt, he couldn't remember if the tax inspector wore no shoes or had a parrot on his shoulder. It no longer mattered. He had learned that it was the smallness of people that filled him with wonder and tenderness, and the loneliness of that too. The world was made up of people putting one foot in front of the other; and a life might appear ordinary simply because the person living it had been doing so for a long time. Harold could no longer pass a stranger without acknowledging the truth that everyone was the same, and also unique; and that this was the dilemma of being human.
Rachel Joyce (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Harold Fry, #1))
Imagine you are a pregnant young woman with tuberculosis. The father of your unborn child is a short-tempered alcoholic with syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease. You have already had five kids. One is blind, another died young, and a third is deaf and unable to speak. The fourth has tuberculosis—the same disease you have. What would you do in this situation? Should you consider abortion? If you chose to have the abortion, you would have ended a valuable human being—regardless of the possible difficulties it may have brought you. Fortunately, the young woman who was really in this dilemma chose life. Otherwise we would never have heard the Fifth Symphony by Beethoven, for this young woman was his mother.
Sean McDowell (ETHIX: Being Bold in a Whatever World)
It’s funny, how for an entire lifetime we keep thinking ‘How’ will our life-partner look like, how will he be? How will he react to a particular situation? How will he get angry, and how will we love and pamper him? We have so many questions like if he will accept me the way I am? Or if I have to change for him? We all have made plans for our future, subconsciously. We don’t exactly plan out everything with a pen and paper, it’s something that happens automatically, just like an involuntary action. Whenever we are alone and our mood is good, we usually think about our life with our partner. The days and nights in his arms, and the time that we will reserve for him. But when all that turns into reality, it’s strikingly different. Everything that you thought, seems to be a joke, and life laughs at you from a distance! You are helpless and can’t do anything about it, but have to accept it the way it is. You are totally caught into a web of dilemmas and problems before you realize that this is the time you waited for, and that this is the time you dreamt about! You have to make efforts, compromises, sacrifices and you have to change yourselves too sometimes to make things work. You can never expect to get a partner exactly the way you thought or dreamt about. It’s always different in reality and it’s always tough to make both ends meet for a relationship to work, but you have to! It’s your relationship, if you won’t work for it, who else will?
Mehek Bassi
Moving from Hope to Faith to Knowledge Step 1: Realize that your life is meant to progress. Step 2: Reflect on how good it is to truly know something rather than just hoping and believing. Don't settle for less. Step 3: write down your dilemma. Make three separate lists, for the things you hope are true, the things you believe are true, and the things you know are true. Step 4: Ask yourself why you know the things you know. Step 5: Apply what you know to those areas where you have doubts, where only hope and belief exist today. The brain likes to work coherently and methodically, even when it comes to spirituality. The first two steps are psychological preparation; the last three ask you to clear your mind and open the way for knowledge to enter.
Deepak Chopra (Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being)
A properly educated leader, especially when harassed and under pressure, will know from his study of history and the classics that circumstances very much like those he is encountering have occurred from time to time on this earth since the beginning of history. He will avoid the self-indulgent error of seeing himself in a predicament so unprecedented, so unique, as to justify his making an exception to law, custom or morality in favor of himself. The making of such exceptions has been the theme of public life throughout much of our lifetimes. For twenty years, we've been surrounded by gamesmen unable to cope with the wisdom of the ages. They make exceptions to law and custom in favor of themselves because they choose to view ordinary dilemmas as unprecedented crises.
James B. Stockdale
All of us are meaning-seekers. We approach every painting, novel, film, symphony, or ballet unconsciously hoping it will move us one step further on the journey toward answering the question ‘Why am I here?’ People living in the postmodern world, however, are faced with an excruciating dilemma. Their hearts long to find ultimate meaning, while at the same time their critical minds do not believe it exists. We are homesick, but have no home. So we turn to the arts and aesthetics to satisfy our thirst for the Absolute. But if we want to find our true meaning in life, our search cannot end there. Art or beauty is not the destination; it is a signpost pointing toward our desired destination.
Ian Morgan Cron (Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale)
Our parents are never people to us, never, they're always traits, Achilles' heels, dim nightmares, vocal tics, bad noses, hot tears, all handed down and us stuck with them. Our dilemma is utter: turn and look at this woman, understand and pity her, like and talk with her, recognize that she has taken the cold cleanliness of the spartan rooms in which she grew up and turned them, with her considerable and perhaps wounded heart, into a lifelong burst of cooking and cosseting and making her own little corner of the world pretty and welcoming, and the separation is complete - but when that happens you will have to be an adult. There is only room in the lifeboat of your life for one, and you always choose yourself, and turn your parents into whatever it takes to keep you afloat.
Anna Quindlen (One True Thing)
Originally, the atoms of carbon from which we’re made were floating in the air, part of a carbon dioxide molecule. The only way to recruit these carbon atoms for the molecules necessary to support life—the carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins, and lipids—is by means of photosynthesis. Using sunlight as a catalyst the green cells of plants combine carbon atoms taken from the air with water and elements drawn from the soil to form the simple organic compounds that stand at the base of every food chain. It is more than a figure of speech to say that plants create life out of thin air.
Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals)
Spiritual assistance isn't there to make things easy and have everything go your way, but to help you grow into the fuller version of who you are. Rather than revealing that you're on the wrong track, shake-up and breakup often indicate that you're really starting to get somewhere. Of course, it's hard to feel this way while getting battered around by the severe crosswinds of our time, but that's when you most need to know it. In the Western world we lack a clear set of guidelines for times like these. We lack meaningful rites of passage. We fail to equip people for knowing what to expect at key crossroads of the soul. We lack substantial guides for teaching individuals how to stay with their deep inner truth when all hell breaks loose. We get thrown into extreme life-changing passages like birth, first blood, first sex, marriage, pregnancy, child-bearing, divorce and death with only superficial guidance, and no deep cultural support for grasping the full significance of what we're coming out of and going into. So disruptions along the way don't usually appear as well-designed hurdles of initiation in a spiritual journey. Usually they appear as impossible dilemmas that bust your ass and belie evidence of any greater design. Major rites of passage in the Western world rarely come in the form of sacred rituals but are embedded within mundane circumstance. It takes special perception to recognize the initiatory path through the chaos. It takes a shamanic perspective to realize that, like a winepress of the gods, rigorous challenges are there to squeeze out your impurities and release your essence. ...
Mark Borax
In the face of an obstacle which it is impossible to overcome, stubbornness is stupid. If I persist in beating my fist against a stone wall, my freedom exhausts itself in this useless gesture without succeeding in giving itself a content. It debases itself in a vain contingency. Yet, there is hardly a sadder virtue than resignation. It transforms into phantoms and contingent reveries projects which had at the beginning been set up as will and freedom. A young man has hoped for a happy or useful or glorious life. If the man he has become looks upon these miscarried attempts of his adolescence with disillusioned indifference, there they are, forever frozen in the dead past. When an effort fails, one declares bitterly that he has lost time and wasted his powers. The failure condemns that whole part of ourselves which we had engaged in the effort. It was to escape this dilemma that the Stoics preached indifference. We could indeed assert our freedom against all constraint if we agreed to renounce the particularity of our projects. If a door refuses to open, let us accept not opening it and there we are free. But by doing that, one manages only to save an abstract notion of freedom. It is emptied of all content and all truth. The power of man ceases to be limited because it is annulled. It is the particularity of the project which determines the limitation of the power, but it is also what gives the project its content and permits it to be set up. There are people who are filled with such horror at the idea of a defeat that they keep themselves from ever doing anything. But no one would dream of considering this gloomy passivity as the triumph of freedom
Simone de Beauvoir (The Ethics of Ambiguity)
If I could read only great books for the rest of my days, I would be happy. But finding those books—for myself or any other reader—isn't so easy. A "great" book means different things to different people. When we talk about reading, we often focus on the books themselves, but so much of the reading life is about the reader as an active participant. To put a great book in your hands, here's what I need to know: When you turn to the written word, what are you looking for? What themes speak to you? What sorts of places do you want to vicariously visit? What types of characters do you enjoy meeting on the page? What was the last story you wished would never end? Which was the last volume you hurled across the room? Without the details of what "great" means to you, and without knowing what kind of reader you are, the question might be simple, but it's impossible to answer. To hand you a great book, I don't just need to know about books; I need to know you.
Anne Bogel (I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life)
There are, no doubt, lessons here for the contemporary reader. The changing character of the native population, brought about through unremarked pressures on porous borders; the creation of an increasingly unwieldy and rigid bureaucracy, whose own survival becomes its overriding goal; the despising of the military and the avoidance of its service by established families, while its offices present unprecedented opportunity for marginal men to whom its ranks had once been closed; the lip service paid to values long dead; the pretense that we still are what we once were; the increasing concentrations of the populace into richer and poorer by way of a corrupt tax system, and the desperation that inevitably follows; the aggrandizement of executive power at the expense of the legislature; ineffectual legislation promulgated with great show; the moral vocation of the man at the top to maintain order at all costs, while growing blind to the cruel dilemmas of ordinary life—these are all themes with which our world is familiar, nor are they the God-given property of any party or political point of view, even though we often act as if they were. At least, the emperor could not heap his economic burdens on posterity by creating long-term public debt, for floating capital had not yet been conceptualized. The only kinds of wealth worth speaking of were the fruits of the earth.
Thomas Cahill (How the Irish Saved Civilization (Hinges of History Book 1))
To most people any radical change is even more odious than cynicism. The only way between the horns of dilemma is to persist at all costs in the ignorance which permits one to go on doing wrong in the comforting belief that yb doing so one is accomplishing one's duty / one's duty to the company, to the shareholders, to the family, the city, the state, the fatherland, the church. For, of course, poor Hansen's case wasn't in any way unique; on a smaller scale, and therefore with less power to do evil, he was acting like all those civil servants and statesmen and prelates who go through life spreading misery and destruction in the name of their ideals and under orders from their categorical imperatives.
Aldous Huxley (After Many a Summer Dies the Swan)
an empathic and patient listener, coaxing each of us through the maze of our feelings, separating out our weapons from our wounds. He cautioned us when we got too lawyerly and posited careful questions intended to get us to think hard about why we felt the way we felt. Slowly, over hours of talking, the knot began to loosen. Each time Barack and I left his office, we felt a bit more connected. I began to see that there were ways I could be happier and that they didn’t necessarily need to come from Barack’s quitting politics in order to take some nine-to-six foundation job. (If anything, our counseling sessions had shown me that this was an unrealistic expectation.) I began to see how I’d been stoking the most negative parts of myself, caught up in the notion that everything was unfair and then assiduously, like a Harvard-trained lawyer, collecting evidence to feed that hypothesis. I now tried out a new hypothesis: It was possible that I was more in charge of my happiness than I was allowing myself to be. I was too busy resenting Barack for managing to fit workouts into his schedule, for example, to even begin figuring out how to exercise regularly myself. I spent so much energy stewing over whether or not he’d make it home for dinner that dinners, with or without him, were no longer fun. This was my pivot point, my moment of self-arrest. Like a climber about to slip off an icy peak, I drove my ax into the ground. That isn’t to say that Barack didn’t make his own adjustments—counseling helped him to see the gaps in how we communicated, and he worked to be better at it—but I made mine, and they helped me, which then helped us. For starters, I recommitted myself to being healthy. Barack and I belonged to the same gym, run by a jovial and motivating athletic trainer named Cornell McClellan. I’d worked out with Cornell for a couple of years, but having children had changed my regular routine. My fix for this came in the form of my ever-giving mother, who still worked full-time but volunteered to start coming over to our house at 4:45 in the morning several days a week so that I could run out to Cornell’s and join a girlfriend for a 5:00 a.m. workout and then be home by 6:30 to get the girls up and ready for their days. This new regimen changed everything: Calmness and strength, two things I feared I was losing, were now back. When it came to the home-for-dinner dilemma, I installed new boundaries, ones that worked better for me and the girls. We made our schedule and stuck to it. Dinner each night was at 6:30. Baths were at 7:00, followed by books, cuddling, and lights-out at 8:00 sharp. The routine was ironclad, which put the weight of responsibility on Barack to either make it on time or not. For me, this made so much more sense than holding off dinner or having the girls wait up sleepily for a hug. It went back to my wishes for them to grow up strong and centered and also unaccommodating to any form of old-school patriarchy: I didn’t want them ever to believe that life began when the man of the house arrived home. We didn’t wait for Dad. It was his job now to catch up with
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
Every negative complex of emotion conceals a conflict, a problem or dilemma made up of contradictory or opposing motives or desires. Self-observation must recover these emotional seeds of the dramatization of life if real control of habits is to occur. Otherwise, mere control of habits will itself become a form of dramatized conflict or warfare with the motives of our lives. Food desires, sex desires, relational desires, desires for experience and acquisition, for rest, for release, for attention, for solitude, for life, for death, the whole pattern of desires must come under the view of consciousness, the aspects of the conflicts must be differentiated, and habits must be controlled to serve well-being or the pleasurable and effective play of Life. This whole process is truly possible only in the midst of the prolonged occasion of spiritual life in practice, since the mere mechanical and analytical attempts at self-liberation and self-healing do not undermine the principal emotion or seat of conflict, which is the intention to identify with a separate self sense and to reject and forget the prior and natural Condition of Unqualified or Divine Consciousness.
Adi Da Samraj (The Eating Gorilla Comes in Peace: The Transcendental Principle of Life Applied to Diet and the Regenerative Discipline of True Health)
My prolonged study of these photographs led me to appreciate the importance of preserving certain moments for prosperity, and as time moved forwards I also came to see what a powerful influence these framed scenes exerted over us as we went about our daily lives. To watch my uncle pose my brother a maths problem, and at the same time to see him in a picture taken thirty-two years earlier; to watch my father scanning the newspaper and trying, with a half-smile, to catch the tail of a joke rippling across the crowded room, and at that very same moment to see a picture of him to me that my grandmother had framed and frozen these memories so that we could weave them into the present.When, in the tones ordinarily preserved for discussing the founding of a nation, my grandmother spoke of my grandfather who had died so young, and pointed at the frames on the tables and the walls, it seemed that she, like me, was pulled in two direction , wanting to get on with life but also longing to capture the moment of perfection, savouring the ordinary life but still honouring the ideal. But even as I pondered these dilemmas-if you plucked a special moment from life and framed it, were you defying death, decay and the passage of time, or were you submitting to them? - I grew very bored with them.
Orhan Pamuk (Istanbul: Memories and the City)
Our family was starting. We kept on moving with our young lives, shortly afterward and took Ben Young with us everywhere. But pretty soon Pegi started noticing that Ben was not doing the things some other babies were doing. Pegi was wondering if something was wrong. She was young, and nothing had ever gone wrong in her life. People told us kids grow at different rates and do things at different times. But as Ben reached six months old, we found ourselves sitting in a doctor's office. He glanced at us and offhandedly said, "Of course. Ben has cerebral palsy." I was in shock. I walked around in a for for weeks. I couldn't fathom how I had fathered two children with a rare condition that was not supposed to be hereditary, with tow different mothers. I was so angry and confused inside, projecting scenarios in my mind where people said something bad about Ben or Zeke and I would just attack them, going wild. Luckily that never did happen, but there was a root of instability inside me for a while. Although it mellowed with time, I carried that feeling around for years. Eventually Pegi and I, wanting to have another child after Ben, went to se an expert of the subject. That was Pegi's idea. Always organized and methodical in her approach to problems, Pegi planned an approach to our dilemma with her very high intelligence. We both loved children but were a little gun-shy about having another, to say the least. After evaluating our situation and our children, the doctor told us that probably Zeke dis not actually have CP-he likely had suffered a stroke in utero. The symptoms are very similar. Pegi and I weighed this information. To know someone like her and to make a decision about a subject as important as this with her was a gift beyond anything I have ever experienced. It was her idea, and she had guided us to this point. We made a decision together to go forward and have another child.
Neil Young (Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream)
Most such criticism and confrontation, usually made impulsively in anger or annoyance, does more to increase the amount of confusion in the world than the amount of enlightenment. For the truly loving person the act of criticism or confrontation does not come easily; to such a person it is evident that the act has great potential for arrogance. To confront one’s beloved is to assume a position of moral or intellectual superiority over the loved one, at least so far as the issue at hand is concerned. Yet genuine love recognizes and respects the unique individuality and separate identity of the other person. (I will say more about this later.) The truly loving person, valuing the uniqueness and differentness of his or her beloved, will be reluctant indeed to assume, “I am right, you are wrong; I know better than you what is good for you.” But the reality of life is such that at times one person does know better than the other what is good for the other, and in actuality is in a position of superior knowledge or wisdom in regard to the matter at hand. Under these circumstances the wiser of the two does in fact have an obligation to confront the other with the problem. The loving person, therefore, is frequently in a dilemma, caught between a loving respect for the beloved’s own path in life and a responsibility to exercise loving leadership when the beloved appears to need such leadership. The dilemma can be resolved only by painstaking self-scrutiny, in which the lover examines stringently the worth of his or her “wisdom” and the motives behind this need to assume leadership. “Do I really see things clearly or am I operating on murky assumptions? Do I really understand my beloved? Could it not be that the path my beloved is taking is wise and that my perception of it as unwise is the result of limited vision on my part? Am I being self-serving in believing that my beloved needs redirection?” These are questions that those who truly love must continually ask themselves. This self-scrutiny, as objective as possible, is the essence of humility or meekness. In the words of an anonymous fourteenth-century British monk and spiritual teacher, “Meekness in itself is nothing else than a true knowing and feeling of
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
There is the type of man who has great contempt for "immediacy," who tries to cultivate his interiority, base his pride on something deeper and inner, create a distance between himself and the average man. Kierkegaard calls this type of man the "introvert." He is a little more concerned with what it means to be a person, with individuality and uniqueness. He enjoys solitude and withdraws periodically to reflect, perhaps to nurse ideas about his secret self, what it might be. This, after all is said and done, is the only real problem of life, the only worthwhile occupation preoccupation of man: What is one's true talent, his secret gift, his authentic vocation? In what way is one truly unique, and how can he express this uniqueness, give it form, dedicate it to something beyond himself? How can the person take his private inner being, the great mystery that he feels at the heart of himself, his emotions, his yearnings, and use them to live more distinctively, to enrich both himself and mankind with the peculiar quality of his talent? In adolescence, most of us throb with this dilemma, expressing it either with words and thoughts or with simple numb pain and longing. But usually life suck us up into standardized activities. The social hero-system into which we are born marks out paths for our heroism, paths to which we conform, to which we shape ourselves so that we can please others, become what they expect us to be. And instead of working our inner secret we gradually cover it over and forget it, while we become purely external men, playing successfully the standardized hero-game into which we happen to fall by accident, by family connection, by reflex patriotism, ro by the simple need to eat and the urge to procreate.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
I wish I could answer your question. All I can say is that all of us, humans, witches, bears, are engaged in a war already, although not all of us know it. Whether you find danger on Svalbard or whether you fly off unharmed, you are a recruit, under arms, a soldier." "Well, that seems kinda precipitate. Seems to me a man should have a choice whether to take up arms or not." "We have no more choice in that than in whether or not to be born." "Oh, I like choice, though," he said. "I like choosing the jobs I take and the places I go and the food I eat and the companions I sit and yarn with. Don't you wish for a choice once in a while ?" She considered, and then said, "Perhaps we don't mean the same thing by choice, Mr. Scoresby. Witches own nothing, so we're not interested in preserving value or making profits, and as for the choice between one thing and another, when you live for many hundreds of years, you know that every opportunity will come again. We have different needs. You have to repair your balloon and keep it in good condition, and that takes time and trouble, I see that; but for us to fly, all we have to do is tear off a branch of cloud-pine; any will do, and there are plenty more. We don't feel cold, so we need no warm clothes. We have no means of exchange apart from mutual aid. If a witch needs something, another witch will give it to her. If there is a war to be fought, we don't consider cost one of the factors in deciding whether or not it is right to fight. Nor do we have any notion of honor, as bears do, for instance. An insult to a bear is a deadly thing. To us... inconceivable. How could you insult a witch? What would it matter if you did?" "Well, I'm kinda with you on that. Sticks and stones, I'll break yer bones, but names ain't worth a quarrel. But ma'am, you see my dilemma, I hope. I'm a simple aeronaut, and I'd like to end my days in comfort. Buy a little farm, a few head of cattle, some horses...Nothing grand, you notice. No palace or slaves or heaps of gold. Just the evening wind over the sage, and a ceegar, and a glass of bourbon whiskey. Now the trouble is, that costs money. So I do my flying in exchange for cash, and after every job I send some gold back to the Wells Fargo Bank, and when I've got enough, ma'am, I'm gonna sell this balloon and book me a passage on a steamer to Port Galveston, and I'll never leave the ground again." "There's another difference between us, Mr. Scoresby. A witch would no sooner give up flying than give up breathing. To fly is to be perfectly ourselves." "I see that, ma'am, and I envy you; but I ain't got your sources of satisfaction. Flying is just a job to me, and I'm just a technician. I might as well be adjusting valves in a gas engine or wiring up anbaric circuits. But I chose it, you see. It was my own free choice. Which is why I find this notion of a war I ain't been told nothing about kinda troubling." "lorek Byrnison's quarrel with his king is part of it too," said the witch. "This child is destined to play a part in that." "You speak of destiny," he said, "as if it was fixed. And I ain't sure I like that any more than a war I'm enlisted in without knowing about it. Where's my free will, if you please? And this child seems to me to have more free will than anyone I ever met. Are you telling me that she's just some kind of clockwork toy wound up and set going on a course she can't change?" "We are all subject to the fates. But we must all act as if we are not, or die of despair. There is a curious prophecy about this child: she is destined to bring about the end of destiny. But she must do so without knowing what she is doing, as if it were her nature and not her destiny to do it. If she's told what she must do, it will all fail; death will sweep through all the worlds; it will be the triumph of despair, forever. The universes will all become nothing more than interlocking machines, blind and empty of thought, feeling, life...
Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1))
III. They seek for themselves private retiring places, as country villages, the sea-shore, mountains; yea thou thyself art wont to long much after such places. But all this thou must know proceeds from simplicity in the highest degree. At what time soever thou wilt, it is in thy power to retire into thyself, and to be at rest, and free from all businesses. A man cannot any whither retire better than to his own soul; he especially who is beforehand provided of such things within, which whensoever he doth withdraw himself to look in, may presently afford unto him perfect ease and tranquillity. By tranquillity I understand a decent orderly disposition and carriage, free from all confusion and tumultuousness. Afford then thyself this retiring continually, and thereby refresh and renew thyself. Let these precepts be brief and fundamental, which as soon as thou dost call them to mind, may suffice thee to purge thy soul throughly, and to send thee away well pleased with those things whatsoever they be, which now again after this short withdrawing of thy soul into herself thou dost return unto. For what is it that thou art offended at? Can it be at the wickedness of men, when thou dost call to mind this conclusion, that all reasonable creatures are made one for another? and that it is part of justice to bear with them? and that it is against their wills that they offend? and how many already, who once likewise prosecuted their enmities, suspected, hated, and fiercely contended, are now long ago stretched out, and reduced unto ashes? It is time for thee to make an end. As for those things which among the common chances of the world happen unto thee as thy particular lot and portion, canst thou be displeased with any of them, when thou dost call that our ordinary dilemma to mind, either a providence, or Democritus his atoms; and with it, whatsoever we brought to prove that the whole world is as it were one city? And as for thy body, what canst thou fear, if thou dost consider that thy mind and understanding, when once it hath recollected itself, and knows its own power, hath in this life and breath (whether it run smoothly and gently, or whether harshly and rudely), no interest at all, but is altogether indifferent: and whatsoever else thou hast heard and assented unto concerning either pain or pleasure? But the care of thine honour and reputation will perchance distract thee? How can that be, if thou dost look back, and consider both how quickly all things that are, are forgotten, and what an immense chaos of eternity was before, and will follow after all things: and the vanity of praise, and the inconstancy and variableness of human judgments and opinions, and the narrowness of the place, wherein it is limited and circumscribed? For the whole earth is but as one point; and of it, this inhabited part of it, is but a very little part; and of this part, how many in number, and what manner of men are they, that will commend thee? What remains then, but that thou often put in practice this kind of retiring of thyself, to this little part of thyself; and above all things, keep thyself from distraction, and intend not anything vehemently, but be free and consider all things, as a man whose proper object is Virtue, as a man whose true nature is to be kind and sociable, as a citizen, as a mortal creature. Among other things, which to consider, and look into thou must use to withdraw thyself, let those two be among the most obvious and at hand. One, that the things or objects themselves reach not unto the soul, but stand without still and quiet, and that it is from the opinion only which is within, that all the tumult and all the trouble doth proceed. The next, that all these things, which now thou seest, shall within a very little while be changed, and be no more: and ever call to mind, how many changes and alterations in the world thou thyself hast already been an eyewitness of in thy time. This world is mere change, and this life, opinion.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)