Factory Life Quotes

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

Stuff your eyes with wonder," he said, "live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that," he said, "shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.
Ray Bradbury
Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that . Shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
You can destroy a factory, and they'll build another. But once you destroy a life, that's it. You never get that person back.
Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1))
Some people read palms to tell your future, but I read hands to tell your past. Each scar makes a story worth telling. Each callused palm, each cracked knuckle is a missed punch or years in a factory.
Sarah Kay
I’m a fake fact factory. The things I make are the things I make up. Also, as a side business, I make love. Actually, I just made that up.
Dora J. Arod (Love quotes for the ages. And the ageless sages.)
I don't know if you remember me, but I used to work here in the factory." Were you one of those despicable spies who every day tried to steal my life's work and sell it to those paraseeded cop cat, candy making cads?" No sir!" Then wonderful, welcome back!
Johnny Depp
Apparently, the world is not a wish-granting factory.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
I’m a modern man, a man for the millennium. Digital and smoke free. A diversified multi-cultural, post-modern deconstruction that is anatomically and ecologically incorrect. I’ve been up linked and downloaded, I’ve been inputted and outsourced, I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech low-life. A cutting edge, state-of-the-art bi-coastal multi-tasker and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond! I’m new wave, but I’m old school and my inner child is outward bound. I’m a hot-wired, heat seeking, warm-hearted cool customer, voice activated and bio-degradable. I interface with my database, my database is in cyberspace, so I’m interactive, I’m hyperactive and from time to time I’m radioactive. Behind the eight ball, ahead of the curve, ridin the wave, dodgin the bullet and pushin the envelope. I’m on-point, on-task, on-message and off drugs. I’ve got no need for coke and speed. I've got no urge to binge and purge. I’m in-the-moment, on-the-edge, over-the-top and under-the-radar. A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistic missionary. A street-wise smart bomb. A top-gun bottom feeder. I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps and run victory laps. I’m a totally ongoing big-foot, slam-dunk, rainmaker with a pro-active outreach. A raging workaholic. A working rageaholic. Out of rehab and in denial! I’ve got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant and a personal agenda. You can’t shut me up. You can’t dumb me down because I’m tireless and I’m wireless, I’m an alpha male on beta-blockers. I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever, laid-back but fashion-forward. Up-front, down-home, low-rent, high-maintenance. Super-sized, long-lasting, high-definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built-to-last! I’m a hands-on, foot-loose, knee-jerk head case pretty maturely post-traumatic and I’ve got a love-child that sends me hate mail. But, I’m feeling, I’m caring, I’m healing, I’m sharing-- a supportive, bonding, nurturing primary care-giver. My output is down, but my income is up. I took a short position on the long bond and my revenue stream has its own cash-flow. I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds and I watch trash sports! I’m gender specific, capital intensive, user-friendly and lactose intolerant. I like rough sex. I like tough love. I use the “F” word in my emails and the software on my hard-drive is hardcore--no soft porn. I bought a microwave at a mini-mall; I bought a mini-van at a mega-store. I eat fast-food in the slow lane. I’m toll-free, bite-sized, ready-to-wear and I come in all sizes. A fully-equipped, factory-authorized, hospital-tested, clinically-proven, scientifically- formulated medical miracle. I’ve been pre-wash, pre-cooked, pre-heated, pre-screened, pre-approved, pre-packaged, post-dated, freeze-dried, double-wrapped, vacuum-packed and, I have an unlimited broadband capacity. I’m a rude dude, but I’m the real deal. Lean and mean! Cocked, locked and ready-to-rock. Rough, tough and hard to bluff. I take it slow, I go with the flow, I ride with the tide. I’ve got glide in my stride. Drivin and movin, sailin and spinin, jiving and groovin, wailin and winnin. I don’t snooze, so I don’t lose. I keep the pedal to the metal and the rubber on the road. I party hearty and lunch time is crunch time. I’m hangin in, there ain’t no doubt and I’m hangin tough, over and out!
George Carlin
Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right.... Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.
Kofi Annan
And in that one grey hair I saw my whole life and I said "I think I need a hair.
Tim Burton (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1))
I have received no assurance that anything we can do will eradicate suffering. I think the best results are obtained by people who work quietly away at limited objectives, such as the abolition of the slave trade, or prison reform, or factory acts, or tuberculosis, not by those who think they can achieve universal justice, or health, or peace. I think the art of life consists in tackling each immediate evil as well as we can.
C.S. Lewis (The Weight of Glory)
Written up in marker on a factory sign: I struggle with the feeling that my life isn't mine
Coldplay (Mylo Xyloto #2: Cover-Up)
Life is not a wish granting factory.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
Koschei smiled. His pale lips sought hers, crushing her into a kiss like dying. She tasted sweetness there, as though he still kissed her with honey and sugar on his tongue. When he pulled away, his eyes shone. "I don't care, Marya Morevna. Kiss him. Take him to your bed, and the vila, too, for all it matters to me. Do you understand me, wife? There need never be any rules between us. Let us be greedy together; let us hoard. Let us hit each other with birch branches and lock each other in dungeons; let us drink each other's blood in the night and betray each other in the sun. Let us lie and lust and take hundreds of lovers; let us dance until snow melts beneath us. Let us steal and eat until we grow fat and roll in the pleasures of life, clutching each other for purchase. Only leave me my death — let me hold this one thing sacred and unmolested and secret — and I will serve you a meal myself, served on a platter of all the world's bounty. Only do not leave me, swear that you will never leave me, and no empress will stand higher. Forget the girls in the factory. Be selfish and cruel and think nothing of them. I am selfish. I am cruel. My mate cannot be less than I. I will have you in my hoard, Marya Morevna, my black mirror.
Catherynne M. Valente (Deathless)
people used to tell me that i had beautiful hands told me so often, in fact, that one day i started to believe them until i asked my photographer father, “hey daddy could i be a hand model” to which he said no way, i dont remember the reason he gave me and i wouldve been upset, but there were far too many stuffed animals to hold too many homework assignment to write, too many boys to wave at too many years to grow, we used to have a game, my dad and i about holding hands cus we held hands everywhere, and every time either he or i would whisper a great big number to the other, pretending that we were keeping track of how many times we had held hands that we were sure, this one had to be 8 million 2 thousand 7 hundred and fifty three. hands learn more than minds do, hands learn how to hold other hands, how to grip pencils and mold poetry, how to tickle pianos and dribble a basketball, and grip the handles of a bicycle how to hold old people, and touch babies , i love hands like i love people, they're the maps and compasses in which we navigate our way through life, some people read palms to tell your future, but i read hands to tell your past, each scar marks the story worth telling, each calloused palm, each cracked knuckle is a missed punch or years in a factory, now ive seen middle eastern hands clenched in middle eastern fists pounding against each other like war drums, each country sees theyre fists as warriors and others as enemies. even if fists alone are only hands. but this is not about politics, no hands arent about politics, this is a poem about love, and fingers. fingers interlock like a beautiful zipper of prayer. one time i grabbed my dads hands so that our fingers interlocked perfectly but he changed positions, saying no that hand hold is for your mom. kids high five, but grown ups, we learn how to shake hands, you need a firm hand shake,but dont hold on too tight, but dont let go too soon, but dont hold down for too long, but hands are not about politics, when did it become so complicated. i always thought its simple. the other day my dad looked at my hands, as if seeing them for the first time, and with laughter behind his eye lids, with all the seriousness a man of his humor could muster, he said you know you got nice hands, you could’ve been a hand model, and before the laughter can escape me, i shake my head at him, and squeeze his hand, 8 million 2 thousand 7hundred and fifty four.
Sarah Kay
You can't imagine how hard it is to come home from hell and be expected to pick up the threads of a life. Apply for jobs, go to a factory, punch in, punch out. Put your lunch in a bag and get on the omnibus every day. Like nothing happened. Nothing.
Simone St. James (The Haunting of Maddy Clare)
The whole time I pretend I have mental telepathy. And with my mind only, I’ll say — or think? — to the target, 'Don’t do it. Don’t go to that job you hate. Do something you love today. Ride a roller coaster. Swim in the ocean naked. Go to the airport and get on the next flight to anywhere just for the fun of it. Maybe stop a spinning globe with your finger and then plan a trip to that very spot; even if it’s in the middle of the ocean you can go by boat. Eat some type of ethnic food you’ve never even heard of. Stop a stranger and ask her to explain her greatest fears and her secret hopes and aspirations in detail and then tell her you care because she is a human being. Sit down on the sidewalk and make pictures with colorful chalk. Close your eyes and try to see the world with your nose—allow smells to be your vision. Catch up on your sleep. Call an old friend you haven’t seen in years. Roll up your pant legs and walk into the sea. See a foreign film. Feed squirrels. Do anything! Something! Because you start a revolution one decision at a time, with each breath you take. Just don’t go back to thatmiserable place you go every day. Show me it’s possible to be an adult and also be happy. Please. This is a free country. You don’t have to keep doing this if you don’t want to. You can do anything you want. Be anyone you want. That’s what they tell us at school, but if you keep getting on that train and going to the place you hate I’m going to start thinking the people at school are liars like the Nazis who told the Jews they were just being relocated to work factories. Don’t do that to us. Tell us the truth. If adulthood is working some death-camp job you hate for the rest of your life, divorcing your secretly criminal husband, being disappointed in your son, being stressed and miserable, and dating a poser and pretending he’s a hero when he’s really a lousy person and anyone can tell that just by shaking his slimy hand — if it doesn’t get any better, I need to know right now. Just tell me. Spare me from some awful fucking fate. Please.
Matthew Quick (Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock)
A person cannot grow up through happiness. Happiness makes a person shallow. It is only through suffering that we grow up, transform, and come to a better understanding of life.
Leslie T. Chang (Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China)
We seldom consider how much of our lives we must render in return for some object we barely want, seldom need, buy only because it was put before us...And this is understandable given the workings of our system where without a job we perish, where if we don't want a job and are happy to get by we are labeled irresponsible, non-contributing leeches on society. But if we hire a fleet of bulldozers, tear up half the countryside and build some monstrous factory, casino or mall, we are called entrepreneurs, job-creators, stalwarts of the community. Maybe we should all be shut away on some planet for the insane. Then again, maybe that is where we are.
Ferenc Máté (A Reasonable Life: Toward a Simpler, Secure, More Humane Existence)
This was a factory, a sorting house. We were no different from dogs and pigs and cows: all of us were allowed to play when we were small, but then, just before reaching maturity, we were sorted and classified. Being a high school student was the first step toward becoming a domestic animal.
Ryū Murakami (69)
Today was just another shit day in a life that sometimes felt like a factory specializing in the construction of shit days.
Tommy Wallach (We All Looked Up)
One very difficult aspect of sin is that my sin never feels like sin to me. My sin feels like life to me, plain and simple. My heart is an idol factory, and my mind is an excuse-making factory.
Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that, shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ASS.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
Show me it’s possible to be an adult and also be happy. Please. This is a free country. You don’t have to keep doing this if you don’t want to. You can do anything you want. Be anyone you want. That’s what they tell us at school, but if you keep getting on that train and going to the place you hate I’m going to start thinking the people at school are liars like the Nazis who told the Jews they were just being relocated to work factories. Don’t do that to us. Tell us the truth. If adulthood is working some death-camp job you hate for the rest of your life, divorcing your secretly criminal husband, being disappointed in your son, being stressed and miserable, and dating a poser and pretending he’s a hero when he’s really a lousy person and anyone can tell that just by shaking his slimy hand—if it doesn’t get any better, I need to know right now. Just tell me. Spare me from some awful fucking fate. Please.
Matthew Quick (Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock)
Yes, yes, I see it all! — an enormous social activity, a mighty civilization, a profuseness of science, of art, of industry, of morality, and afterwords, when we have filled the world with industrial marvels, with great factories, with roads, museums and libraries, we shall fall exhausted at the foot of it all, and it will subsist — for whom? Was man made for science or was science made for man?
Miguel de Unamuno (Tragic Sense of Life)
The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the Unabridged Dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing factory.
Edwin Conklin
I want to work, and I’m lucky enough to be able to. Of course I’m grateful for that. How could I not be? Except, well, I don’t want to work. I really don’t. Life has nothing to do with work and work has no real bearing on life. I used to think they were connected, but now I can see there’s just no way.
Hiroko Oyamada (The Factory)
With AI drawing art, creating music, and writing, human creativity is being challenged. Artists, musicians, composers, and writers are all experiencing upheaval which could match that of a factory becoming automated.
Roger Spitz (The Definitive Guide to Thriving on Disruption: Volume III - Beta Your Life: Existence in a Disruptive World)
He presses his thumbs hard against his eyebrows, as if he hopes they're two buttons and if he keeps them pressed at the same time for ten seconds he'll be able to restore life to its factory settings.
Fredrik Backman (Anxious People)
You asked me if I believed in magic, and I said yes, and that's how. You just step out, start pulling your life out of the air. You make friends, you find work you really like doing, you find places. You find diners and Laundromats. You find beaches. You find a junk car and drive it for a month, then lave it beside the road. You find someone to fall in love with you. You make it all up as you go. Or, you know, maybe it makes you up.
Brad Barkley (Dream Factory)
Maria, lonely prostitute on a street of pain, You, at least, hail me and speak to me While a thousand others ignore my face. You offer me an hour of love, And your fees are not as costly as most. You are the madonna of the lonely, The first-born daughter in a world of pain. You do not turn fat men aside, Or trample on the stuttering, shy ones, You are the meadow where desperate men Can find a moment's comfort. Men have paid more to their wives To know a bit of peace And could not walk away without the guilt That masquerades as love. You do not bind them, lovely Maria, you comfort them And bid them return. Your body is more Christian than the Bishop's Whose gloved hand cannot feel the dropping of my blood. Your passion is as genuine as most, Your caring as real! But you, Maria, sacred whore on the endless pavement of pain, You, whose virginity each man may make his own Without paying ought but your fee, You who know nothing of virgin births and immaculate conceptions, You who touch man's flesh and caress a stranger, Who warm his bed to bring his aching skin alive, You make more sense than stock markets and football games Where sad men beg for virility. You offer yourself for a fee--and who offers himself for less? At times you are cruel and demanding--harsh and insensitive, At times you are shrewd and deceptive--grasping and hollow. The wonder is that at times you are gentle and concerned, Warm and loving. You deserve more respect than nuns who hide their sex for eternal love; Your fees are not so high, nor your prejudice so virtuous. You deserve more laurels than the self-pitying mother of many children, And your fee is not as costly as most. Man comes to you when his bed is filled with brass and emptiness, When liquor has dulled his sense enough To know his need of you. He will come in fantasy and despair, Maria, And leave without apologies. He will come in loneliness--and perhaps Leave in loneliness as well. But you give him more than soldiers who win medals and pensions, More than priests who offer absolution And sweet-smelling ritual, More than friends who anticipate his death Or challenge his life, And your fee is not as costly as most. You admit that your love is for a fee, Few women can be as honest. There are monuments to statesmen who gave nothing to anyone Except their hungry ego, Monuments to mothers who turned their children Into starving, anxious bodies, Monuments to Lady Liberty who makes poor men prisoners. I would erect a monument for you-- who give more than most-- And for a meager fee. Among the lonely, you are perhaps the loneliest of all, You come so close to love But it eludes you While proper women march to church and fantasize In the silence of their rooms, While lonely women take their husbands' arms To hold them on life's surface, While chattering women fill their closets with clothes and Their lips with lies, You offer love for a fee--which is not as costly as most-- And remain a lonely prostitute on a street of pain. You are not immoral, little Maria, only tired and afraid, But you are not as hollow as the police who pursue you, The politicians who jail you, the pharisees who scorn you. You give what you promise--take your paltry fee--and Wander on the endless, aching pavements of pain. You know more of universal love than the nations who thrive on war, More than the churches whose dogmas are private vendettas made sacred, More than the tall buildings and sprawling factories Where men wear chains. You are a lonely prostitute who speaks to me as I pass, And I smile at you because I am a lonely man.
James Kavanaugh (There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves)
Rosie: I don't know what you're talking about! I am not waiting for Alex! Ruby: Yes you are, my dear friend. He must be some man because nobody can ever measure up to him. And I know that's what you do every time you meet someone: compare. I'm sure he's a fabulous friend and I'm sure he always says sweet and wonderful thing to you. But he's not here. He's thousands of miles away, working as a doctor in a great big hospital and he lives in a fancy apartment with his fancy doctor fiancee. I don't think he's thinking of leaving that life anytime soon to come back to a single mother who's living in a tiny flat working in a crappy part-time job in a paperclip factory with a crazy friend who emails her every second. So stop waiting and move on. Live your life.
Cecelia Ahern (Where Rainbows End)
I will choose what enters me, what becomes of my flesh. Without choice, no politics, no ethics lives. I am not your cornfield, not your uranium mine, not your calf for fattening, not your cow for milking. You may not use me as your factory. Priests and legislators do not hold shares in my womb or my mind. This is my body. If I give it to you I want it back. My life is a non-negotiable demand.
Marge Piercy
When I started reading the literature of molecular biology, I was stunned by certain descriptions. Admittedly, I was on the lookout for anything unusual, as my investigation had led me to consider that DNA and its cellular machinery truly were an extremely sophisticated technology of cosmic origin. But as I pored over thousands of pages of biological texts, I discovered a world of science fiction that seemed to confirm my hypothesis. Proteins and enzymes were described as 'miniature robots,' ribosomes were 'molecular computers,' cells were 'factories,' DNA itself was a 'text,' a 'program,' a 'language,' or 'data.' One only had to do a literal reading of contemporary biology to reach shattering conclusions; yet most authors display a total lack of astonishment and seem to consider that life is merely 'a normal physiochemical phenomenon.
Jeremy Narby (The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge)
My life came complete with a factory-installed biological brother seven years my senior.
Augusten Burroughs
So, putting my faith in other passengers who told me it was definitely going to the city, I boarded a bus and spent well over an hour standing, swaying and trying to look out of the window to guess where we were. Traffic was solid, as expected. When we moved, we crawled. Eventually the bus reached somewhere that seemed significant – at least, somewhere a lot of people were getting off – and, sure enough, I was in the city, and there were taxis. The wrong side of the city, as it transpired, so a long taxi ride ensued. Nearly four hours from leaving the factory to reaching the hotel. I wasn’t doing that again.
Oliver Dowson (There's No Business Like International Business: Business Travel – But Not As You Know It)
And this is what mere humanity always does. It's made up of these inventors or artists, millions and millions of them, each in his own way trying to recruit other people to play a supporting role and sustain him in his make-believe. The great chiefs and leaders recruit the greatest number, and that's what their power is. There's one image that gets out in front to lead the rest and can impose its claim to being genuine with more force than others, or one voice enlarged to thunder is heard above the others. Then a huge invention, which is the invention maybe of the world itself, and of nature, becomes the actual world - with cities, factories, public buildings, railroads, armies, dams, prisons, and movies - becomes the actuality. That’s the struggle of humanity, to recruit others to your version of what’s real. Then even the flowers and the moss on the stones become the moss and the flowers of a version.
Saul Bellow (The Adventures of Augie March)
A Dream of Trees There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees, A quiet house, some green and modest acres A little way from every troubling town, A little way from factories, school, laments. I would have time, I thought, and time to spare, With only streams and birds for company, To build out of my life a few wild stanzas. And then it came to me, that so was death, A little way away from everywhere.
Mary Oliver (New and Selected Poems, Volume One)
Each person entering our world brings either a contribution or destruction. Trying to be “always nice” is to invite certain disaster. Those with poisonous attitudes, strange opinions, and caustic conversations love to look for someone nice who will listen to them. They love to dump their verbal garbage into the mental factory of anyone willing to listen. A major challenge in life is for each person to learn the art of standing guard at the doorway of their mind. Carefully examine the credentials and authority of those seeking to enter within that place where your attitudes are formed.
Jim Rohn (The Seasons of Life)
God's word tells us that righteousness is a gift; it cannot be earned. But godliness is not a gift. We must pay a price to touch godliness through a daily decision to die to self and embrace the cross. God calls us to learn godliness in the classroom of life among people as we sit on airplanes and buses, walk among our neighbors and labor at our factories or desks.
K.P. Yohannan (Touching Godliness)
Some animal rights activists are demanding vegetarianism, even veganism now, or nothing. But since only 4 or 5 percent of Americans claim to be vegetarians, 'nothing' is the far more likely outcome. I ask these activists to weigh the horrors of Bladen County's industrial farms and the Tar Heel slaughterhouse against the consequences of doing nothing to alleviate the hour-to-hour sufferings of its victims. Is not a life lived off the factory farm and a death humanely inflicted superior to the terrible lives we know they lead and the horrible deaths we know they suffer in Bladen County today?
Steven M. Wise (An American Trilogy: Death, Slavery, and Dominion on the Banks of the Cape Fear River)
If the unlettered farmers of Munchkinland and the factory workers of Gillikin believe that their fate is being determined by how the Time Dragon dreams them up, they don't need to bother to take responsibility for their actions or for changing their class and station in life.
Gregory Maguire (Son of a Witch (The Wicked Years, #2))
I long to embrace, to include in my own short life, all that is accessible to man. I long to speak, to read, to wield a hammer in a great factory, to keep watch at sea, to plow. I want to be walking along the Nevsky Prospect, or in the open fields, or on the ocean — wherever my imagination ranges.
Anton Chekhov
To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity.
Michael Denton (Evolution: A Theory In Crisis)
Oppression and the forcing of submission do not begin in the office, factory, or political party; they begin in the very first weeks of an infant’s life. Afterward they are repressed and are then, because of their very nature, inaccessible to argument. Nothing changes in the character of submission or dependency, when it is only their object that is changed.
Alice Miller (The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self)
They'd come back with stories of machines that handed out money and people who picked up dog shit and put it in bags. Jun Do never looked. He knew the televisions were huge and there was all the rice you could eat. Yet he wanted no part of it - he was scared that if he saw it with his own eyes, his entire life would mean nothing. Stealing turnips from an old man who'd gone blind from hunger? That would have been for nothing. Sending another boy instead of himself to clean vats at the paint factory? For nothing.
Adam Johnson (The Orphan Master's Son)
What ticks in the clock, beats here with strong strokes of the hammer. It is Bloodless, who drank life from human thought and thereby got limbs of metals, stone and wood; it is Bloodless, who by human thought gained strength, which man himself does not physically possess. Bloodless reigns in Motala, and through the large foundries and factories he extends his hard limbs, whose joints and parts consist of wheel within wheel, chains, bars, and thick iron wires.
Hans Christian Andersen (Pictures of Sweden)
They had chains which they fastened about the leg of the nearest hog, and the other end of the chain they hooked into one of the rings upon the wheel. So, as the wheel turned, a hog was suddenly jerked off his feet and borne aloft. At the same instant the ear was assailed by a most terrifying shriek; the visitors started in alarm, the women turned pale and shrank back. The shriek was followed by another, louder and yet more agonizing--for once started upon that journey, the hog never came back; at the top of the wheel he was shunted off upon a trolley and went sailing down the room. And meantime another was swung up, and then another, and another, until there was a double line of them, each dangling by a foot and kicking in frenzy--and squealing. The uproar was appalling, perilous to the ear-drums; one feared there was too much sound for the room to hold--that the walls must give way or the ceiling crack. There were high squeals and low squeals, grunts, and wails of agony; there would come a momentary lull, and then a fresh outburst, louder than ever, surging up to a deafening climax. It was too much for some of the visitors--the men would look at each other, laughing nervously, and the women would stand with hands clenched, and the blood rushing to their faces, and the tears starting in their eyes. Meantime, heedless of all these things, the men upon the floor were going about their work. Neither squeals of hogs nor tears of visitors made any difference to them; one by one they hooked up the hogs, and one by one with a swift stroke they slit their throats. There was a long line of hogs, with squeals and life-blood ebbing away together; until at last each started again, and vanished with a splash into a huge vat of boiling water. It was all so very businesslike that one watched it fascinated. It was pork-making by machinery, pork-making by applied mathematics. And yet somehow the most matter-of-fact person could not help thinking of the hogs; they were so innocent, they came so very trustingly; and they were so very human in their protests--and so perfectly within their rights! They had done nothing to deserve it; and it was adding insult to injury, as the thing was done here, swinging them up in this cold-blooded, impersonal way, without a pretence at apology, without the homage of a tear. Now and then a visitor wept, to be sure; but this slaughtering-machine ran on, visitors or no visitors. It was like some horrible crime committed in a dungeon, all unseen and unheeded, buried out of sight and of memory.
Upton Sinclair (The Jungle)
Ordinary clay, it seems, has two basic properties essential to life. It can store energy and also transmit it. So, the scientists reason, clay could have acted as a "chemical factory" for turning inorganic raw materials into more complex molecules. Out of those complex molecules arose life—and, one
Zecharia Sitchin (Genesis Revisited: Is Modern Science Catching Up With Ancient Knowledge?)
For many feverish years he was burdened with the sensation, an ancient one to be sure, that the incredible sprawl of human history was no more than a pathetically partial record of an infinitely vast and shadowed chronicle of universal metamorphoses. How much greater, then, was the feeling that his own pathetic history formed a practically invisible fragment of what itself was merely an obscure splinter of the infinite. Somehow he needed to excarcerate himself from the claustral dungeon cell of his life. In the end, however, he broke beneath the weight of his aspiration. And as the years passed, the only mystery which seemed worthy of his interest, and his amazement, was that unknown day which would inaugurate his personal eternity, that incredible day on which the sun simply would not rise, and forever would begin.
Thomas Ligotti (The Nightmare Factory)
A toy boat, a toy boat, a toy boat,’ she repeated, thus enforcing upon herself the fact that it is not articles by Nick Greene on John Donne nor eight-hour bills nor covenants nor factory acts that matter; it’s something useless, sudden, violent; something that costs a life; red, blue, purple; a spirit; a splash; like those hyacinths (she was passing a fine bed of them); free from taint, dependence, soilure of humanity or care for one’s kind; something rash, ridiculous, like my hyacinth, husband I mean, Bonthrop: that’s what it is — a toy boat on the Serpentine, ecstasy — it’s ecstasy that matters.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando)
When I first took this job at the factory it was not my intention to work there very long, for I once possessed higher hopes for my life, although the exact nature of these hopes remained rather vague in my youthful mind. While the work was not arduous, and my fellow workers congenial enough, I did not imagine myself standing forever at my designated assembly block, fitting together pieces of metal into other pieces of metal, with a few interruptions throughout that day for breaks that were supposed to refresh our minds from the tedium of our work or for meal breaks to allow us to nourish our bodies. Somehow it never occurred to me that the nearby town where I and the others at the factory lived, travelling to and from our jobs along the same fog-strewn road, held no higher opportunities for me or anyone else, which no doubt accounts for the vagueness, the wispy insubstantiality, of my youthful hopes.
Thomas Ligotti (Teatro Grottesco)
So long as we have wage slavery," answered Schliemann, "it matters not in the least how debasing and repulsive a task may be, it is easy to find people to perform it. But just as soon as labor is set free, then the price of such work will begin to rise. So one by one the old, dingy, and unsanitary factories will come down— it will be cheaper to build new; and so the steamships will be provided with stoking machinery , and so the dangerous trades will be made safe, or substitutes will be found for their products. In exactly the same way, as the citizens of our Industrial Republic become refined, year by year the cost of slaughterhouse products will increase; until eventually those who want to eat meat will have to do their own killing— and how long do you think the custom would survive then?— To go on to another item— one of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a democracy is political corruption; and one of the consequences of civic administration by ignorant and vicious politicians, is that preventable diseases kill off half our population. And even if science were allowed to try, it could do little, because the majority of human beings are not yet human beings at all, but simply machines for the creating of wealth for others. They are penned up in filthy houses and left to rot and stew in misery, and the conditions of their life make them ill faster than all the doctors in the world could heal them; and so, of course, they remain as centers of contagion , poisoning the lives of all of us, and making happiness impossible for even the most selfish. For this reason I would seriously maintain that all the medical and surgical discoveries that science can make in the future will be of less importance than the application of the knowledge we already possess, when the disinherited of the earth have established their right to a human existence.
Upton Sinclair (The Jungle)
The time came to put Iris Duarte back on the plane. It was a morning flight which made it difficult. I was used to rising at noon; it was a fine cure for hangovers and would add 5 years to my life. I felt no sadness while driving her to L.A. International. The sex had been fine; there had been laughter. I could hardly remember a more civilized time, neither of us making any demands, yet there had been warmth, it had not been without feeling, dead meat coupled with dead meat. I detested that type of swinging, the Los Angeles, Hollywood, Bel Air, Malibu, Laguna Beach kind of sex. Strangers when you meet, strangers when you part—a gymnasium of bodies namelessly masturbating each other. People with no morals often considered themselves more free, but mostly they lacked the ability to feel or to love. So they became swingers. The dead fucking the dead. There was no gamble or humor in their game—it was corpse fucking corpse. Morals were restrictive, but they were grounded on human experience down through the centuries. Some morals tended to keep people slaves in factories, in churches and true to the State. Other morals simply made good sense. It was like a garden filled with poisoned fruit and good fruit. You had to know which to pick and eat, which to leave alone.
Charles Bukowski (Women)
It has often been suggested to me that the Constitution of the United States is a sufficient safeguard for the freedom of its citizens. It is obvious that even the freedom it pretends to guarantee is very limited. I have not been impressed with the adequacy of the safeguard. The nations of the world, with centuries of international law behind them, have never hesitated to engage in mass destruction when solemnly pledged to keep the peace; and the legal documents in America have not prevented the United States from doing the same. Those in authority have and always will abuse their power. And the instances when they do not do so are as rare as roses growing on icebergs. Far from the Constitution playing any liberating part in the lives of the American people, it has robbed them of the capacity to rely on their own resources or do their own thinking. Americans are so easily hoodwinked by the sanctity of law and authority. In fact, the pattern of life has become standardized, routinized, and mechanized like canned food and Sunday sermons. The hundred-percenter easily swallows syndicated information and factory-made ideas and beliefs. He thrives on the wisdom given him over the radio and cheap magazines by corporations whose philanthropic aim is selling America out. He accepts the standards of conduct and art in the same breath with the advertising of chewing gum, toothpaste, and shoe polish. Even songs are turned out like buttons or automobile tires--all cast from the same mold.
Emma Goldman (Red Emma Speaks: An Emma Goldman Reader (Contemporary Studies in Philosophy and the Human Sciences))
Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping it's life away
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
So he bought tickets to the Greyhound and they climbed, painfully, inch by inch and with the knowledge that, once they reached the top, there would be one breath-taking moment when the car would tip precariously into space, over an incline six stories steep and then plunge, like a plunging plane. She buried her head against him, fearing to look at the park spread below. He forced himself to look: thousands of little people and hundreds of bright little stands, and over it all the coal-smoke pall of the river factories and railroad yards. He saw in that moment the whole dim-lit city on the last night of summer; the troubled streets that led to the abandoned beaches, the for-rent signs above overnight hotels and furnished basement rooms, moving trolleys and rising bridges: the cagework city, beneath a coalsmoke sky.
Nelson Algren (Never Come Morning)
What happens to the leaves after they turn red and golden and fall away? What happens to the singing birds when they can’t sing any longer? What happens to their quick wings? Do you think there is any personal heaven for any of us? Do you think anyone, the other side of that darkness, will call to us, meaning us? Beyond the trees the foxes keep teaching their children to live in the valley. so they never seem to vanish, they are always there in the blossom of light that stands up every morning in the dark sky. And over one more set of hills, along the sea, the last roses have opened their factories of sweetness and are giving it back to the world. If I had another life I would want to spend it all on some unstinting happiness. I would be a fox, or a tree full of waving branches. I wouldn’t mind being a rose in a field full of roses. Fear has not yet occurred to them, nor ambition. Reason they have not yet thought of. Neither do they ask how long they must be roses, and then what. Or any other foolish question.
Mary Oliver (House of Light)
Names came patterning into the dusk, bodying out the places of their forebears, the villages and towns where the telegrams would be delivered, the houses where the blinds would be drawn, where low moans would come in the afternoon behind closed doors; and the places that had borne them, which would be like nunneries, like dead towns without their life or purpose, without young men at the factories or in the fields, with no husbands for the women, no deep sound of voices in the inns, with the children who would have been born, who would have grown and worked or painted, even governed, left ungenerated in their fathers shattered flesh that lay in stinking shellholes in the beet crop soil, leaving their homes to put up only granite slabs in place of living flesh, on whose inhuman surface the moss and lichen would cast their crawling green indifference.
Sebastian Faulks (Birdsong)
Rimbaud held the keys to a mystical language that I devoured even as I could not fully decipher it. My unrequited love for him was as real to me as anything I had experienced. At the factory where I had labored with a hard-edged, illiterate group of women, I was harassed in his name. Suspecting me of being a Communist for reading a book in a foreign language, they threatened me in the john, prodding me to denounce him. It was within this atmosphere that I seethed. It was for him that I wrote and dreamed. He became my archangel, delivering me from the mundane horrors of factory life. His hands had chiseled a manual of heaven and I held them fast. The knowledge of him added swagger to my step and this could not be stripped away. I tossed my copy of Illuminations in a plaid suitcase. We would escape together.
Patti Smith (Just Kids)
...but I could see how hard it would be for him to imagine the rest of his life, and where it would lead him...It would be like having a job in a fortune cookie factory, standing all day on an assembly line while optimism passed through your hands on flimsy strips of paper-"You will inherit a million dollars," "You will go on an exotic vacation"-but never moving, standing in one place while the damp batter of the fortune cookies slid by, all your possible futures settling into that clamminess as it passed.
Laura Kasischke (White Bird in a Blizzard)
Marx wrote about finance and industry all his life but he only knew two people connected with financial and industrial processes. One was his uncle in Holland, Lion Philips, a successful businessman who created what eventually became the vast Philips Electric Company. Uncle Philips' views on the whole capitalist process would have been well-informed and interesting, had Marx troubled to explore them. But he only once consulted him, on a technical matter of high finance, and though he visited Philips four times, these concerned purely personal mattes of family money. The other knowledgeable man was Engels himself. But Marx declined Engel's invitation to accompany him on a visit to a cotton mill, and so far as we know Marx never set foot in a mill, factory, mine or other industrial workplace in the whole of his life.
Paul Johnson
That's how, on the second-to-last day of the job, the convict crew that tarred the plate-factory roof in 1950 ending up sitting in a row at ten o'clock on a spring morning, drinking Black Label beer supplied by the hardest screw that ever walked a turn at Shawshank Prison. That beer was piss-warm, but it was still the best I ever had in my life. We sat and drank it and felt the sun on our shoulders, and not even the expression of half-amusement, half-contempt on Hadley's face - as if he was watching apes drink beer instead of men - could spoil it. It lasted twenty minutes, that beer-break, and for those twenty minutes we felt like free men. We could have been drinking beer and tarring the roof of one of our own houses.
Stephen King (Different Seasons)
Not long ago-incredible though it may seem-I heard a clerk of Oxford declare that he 'welcomed' the proximity of mass-production robot factories, and the roar of self-obstructive traffic, because it brought his university into 'contact with real life.' He may have meant that the way men were living and working in the twentieth century was increasing in barbarity at an alarming rate, and that the loud demonstration of this in the streets of Oxford might serve as a warning that it is not possible to preserve for long an oasis of sanity in a desert of unreason by mere fences, without actual offensive action (practical and intellectual). I fear he did not. In any case the expression 'real life' in this context seems to fall short of academic standards. The notion that motor-cars are more 'alive' than, say, centaurs or dragons is curious; that they are more 'real' than, say, horses is pathetically absurd. How real, how startlingly alive is a factory chimney compared with an elm tree: poor obsolete thing, insubstantial dream of an escapist!
J.R.R. Tolkien (Tree and Leaf: Includes Mythopoeia and The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth)
That which interests most people leaves me without any interest at all. This includes a list of things such as: social dancing, riding roller coasters, going to zoos, picnics, movies, planetariums, watching tv, baseball games; going to funerals, weddings, parties, basketball games, auto races, poetry readings, museums, rallies, demonstrations, protests, children’s plays, adult plays … I am not interested in beaches, swimming, skiing, Christmas, New Year’s, the 4th of July, rock music, world history, space exploration, pet dogs, soccer, cathedrals and great works of Art. How can a man who is interested in almost nothing write about anything? Well, I do. I write and I write about what’s left over: a stray dog walking down the street, a wife murdering her husband, the thoughts and feelings of a rapist as he bites into a hamburger sandwich; life in the factory, life in the streets and rooms of the poor and mutilated and the insane, crap like that, I write a lot of crap like that
Charles Bukowski (Shakespeare Never Did This)
Each day we wake up and make myriad choices that affect others. We clothe ourselves with shirts, pants, and shoes that may have been sewn together by women working in factories fourteen-plus hours a day for a nonliving wage; we buy products manufactured in ways the destroy forests, pollute waterways, and poison the air; we wash our hair with shampoos that may have been squeezed into the eyes of conscious rabbits or force-fed to them in quantities that kill; and on and on. As Derrick Jensen has written in his book "The Culture of Make Believe", "It is possible to destroy a culture without being aware of its existence. It is possible to commit genocide or ecocide from the comfort of one's living room
Zoe Weil (Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life)
Once a rebel, always a rebel. You can't help being one. You can't deny that. And it's best to be a rebel so as to show 'em it don't pay to try to do you down. Factories and labour exchanges and insurance offices keep us alive and kicking - so they say - but they're booby-traps and will suck you under like sinking-sands if you're not careful. Factories sweat you to death, labour exchanges talk you to death, insurance and income tax offices milk money from your wage packets and rob you to death. And if you're still left with a tiny bit of life in your guts after all this boggering about, the army calls you up and you get shot to death. And if you're clever enough to stay out of the army you get bombed to death. Ay, by God, it's a hard life if you don't weaken, if you don't stop that bastard government from grinding your face in the muck, though there ain't much you can do about it unless you start making dynamite to blow their four-eyed clocks to bits.
Alan Sillitoe (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning)
We are afraid of what we will do to others, afraid of the rage that lies in wait somewhere deep in our souls. How many human beings go through the world frozen with rage against life! This deeply hidden inner anger may be the product of hurt pride or of real frustration in office, factory, clinic, or home. Whatever may be the cause of our frozen rage (which is the inevitable mother of depression), the great word of hope today is that this rage can be conquered and drained off into creative channels … …What should we do? We should all learn that a certain amount of aggressive energy is normal and certainly manageable in maturity. Most of us can drain off the excess of our angry feelings and destructive impulses in exercise, in competitive games, or in the vigorous battles against the evils of nature and society. We also must realize that no one will punish us for the legitimate expression of self-assertiveness and creative pugnacity as our parents once punished us for our undisciplined temper tantrums. Furthermore, let us remember that we need not totally repress the angry part of our nature. We can always give it an outlet in the safe realm of fantasy. A classic example of such fantasy is given by Max Beerborn, who made a practice of concocting imaginary letters to people he hated. Sometimes he went so far as to actually write the letters and in the very process of releasing his anger it evaporated. As mature men and women we should regard our minds as a true democracy where all kinds of ideas and emotions should be given freedom of speech. If in political life we are willing to grant civil liberties to all sorts of parties and programs, should we not be equally willing to grant civil liberties to our innermost thoughts and drives, confident that the more dangerous of them will be outvoted by the majority within our minds? Do I mean that we should hit out at our enemy whenever the mood strikes us? No, I repeat that I am suggesting quite the reverse—self-control in action based upon (positive coping mechanisms such as) self expression in fantasy.
Joshua Loth Liebman (Peace of Mind: Insights on Human Nature That Can Change Your Life)
You see?" Granger turned to Montag. "Grandfather's been dead for all these years, but if you lifted my skull, by God, in the convolutions of my brain you'd find the big ridges of his thumbprint. He touched me. As I said earlier, he was a sculptor. 'I hate a Roman named Status Quo!' he said to me. 'Stuff your eyes with wonder,' he said, 'live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that,' he said, 'shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States entered into World War II to protect our way of life and to help liberate those who had fallen under the Axis occupation. The country rallied to produce one of the largest war efforts in history. Young men volunteered to join the Armed Forces, while others were drafted. Women went to work in factories and took military jobs. Everyone collected their used cooking grease and metals to be used for munitions. They rationed gas and groceries. Factories now were producing airplanes, weapons, and military vehicles. They all wanted to do their part. And they did, turning America into a war machine. The nation was in full support to help our boys win the war and come home quickly. Grandpa wanted to do his part too.
Kara Martinelli (My Very Dearest Anna)
I’m riding a tram and, as is my habit, slowly absorbing every detail of the people around me. By ‘detail’ I mean things, voices, words. In the dress of the girl directly in front of me, for example, I see the material it’s made of, the work involved in making it – since it’s a dress and not just material – and I see in the delicate embroidery around the neck the silk thread with which it was embroidered and all the work that went into that. And immediately, as if in a primer on political economy, I see before me the factories and all the different jobs: the factory where the material was made; the factory that made the darker coloured thread that ornaments with curlicues the neck of the dress’ and I see the different workshops in the factories, the machines, the workmen, the seamstresses. My eyes’ inward gaze even penetrates into the offices, where I see the managers trying to keep calm and the figures set out in the account books, but that’s not all: beyond that I see into the domestic lives of all those who spend their working hours in these factories and offices...A whole world unfolds before my eyes all because the regularly irregular dark green edging to a pale green dress worn by the girl in front of me of whom I see only her brown neck. ‘A whole way of life lies before me. I sense the loves, the secrets, the souls of all those who worked just so that this woman in front of me on the tram should wear around her mortal neck the sinuous banality of a thread of dark green silk on a background of light green cloth. I grow dizzy. The seats on the tram, of fine, strong cane, carry me to distant regions, divide into industries, workmen, houses, lives, realities, everything. I leave the tram exhausted, like a sleepwalker, having lived a whole life.
Fernando Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet)
It is a mistake to think of the expatriate as someone who abdicates, who withdraws and humbles himself, resigned to his miseries, his outcast state. On a closer look, he turns out to be ambitious, aggressive in his disappointments, his very acrimony qualified by his belligerence. The more we are dispossessed, the more intense our appetites and illusions become. I even discern some relation between misfortune and megalomania. The man who has lost everything preserves as a last resort the hope of glory, or of literary scandal. He consents to abandon everything, except his name. [ . . . ] Let us say a man writes a novel which makes him, overnight, a celebrity. In it he recounts his sufferings. His compatriots in exile envy him: they too have suffered, perhaps more. And the man without a country becomes—or aspires to become—a novelist. The consequence: an accumulation of confusions, an inflation of horrors, of frissons that date. One cannot keep renewing Hell, whose very characteristic is monotony, or the face of exile either. Nothing in literature exasperates a reader so much as The Terrible; in life, it too is tainted with the obvious to rouse our interest. But our author persists; for the time being he buries his novel in a drawer and awaits his hour. The illusion of surprise, of a renown which eludes his grasp but on which he reckons, sustains him; he lives on unreality. Such, however, is the power of this illusion that if, for instance, he works in some factory, it is with the notion of being freed from it one day or another by a fame as sudden as it is inconceivable. * Equally tragic is the case of the poet. Walled up in his own language, he writes for his friends—for ten, for twenty persons at the most. His longing to be read is no less imperious than that of the impoverished novelist. At least he has the advantage over the latter of being able to get his verses published in the little émigré reviews which appear at the cost of almost indecent sacrifices and renunciations. Let us say such a man becomes—transforms himself—into an editor of such a review; to keep his publication alive he risks hunger, abstains from women, buries himself in a windowless room, imposes privations which confound and appall. Tuberculosis and masturbation, that is his fate. No matter how scanty the number of émigrés, they form groups, not to protect their interests but to get up subscriptions, to bleed each other white in order to publish their regrets, their cries, their echoless appeals. One cannot conceive of a more heart rending form of the gratuitous. That they are as good poets as they are bad prose writers is to be accounted for readily enough. Consider the literary production of any "minor" nation which has not been so childish as to make up a past for itself: the abundance of poetry is its most striking characteristic. Prose requires, for its development, a certain rigor, a differentiated social status, and a tradition: it is deliberate, constructed; poetry wells up: it is direct or else totally fabricated; the prerogative of cave men or aesthetes, it flourishes only on the near or far side of civilization, never at the center. Whereas prose demands a premeditated genius and a crystallized language, poetry is perfectly compatible with a barbarous genius and a formless language. To create a literature is to create a prose.
Emil M. Cioran (The Temptation to Exist)
Slavery is not a horror safely confined to the past; it continues to exist throughout the world, even in developed countries like France and the United States. Across the world slaves work and sweat and build and suffer. Slaves in Pakistan may have made the shoes you are wearing and the carpet you stand on. Slaves in the Caribbean may have put sugar in your kitchen and toys in the hands of your children. In India they may have sewn the shirt on your back and polished the ring on your finger. They are paid nothing. Slaves touch your life indirectly as well. They made the bricks for the factory that made the TV you watch. In Brazil slaves made the charcoal that tempered the steel that made the springs in your car and the blade on your lawnmower. Slaves grew the rice that fed the woman that wove the lovely cloth you've put up as curtains. Your investment portfolio and your mutual fund pension own stock in companies using slave labor in the developing world. Slaves keep your costs low and returns on your investments high.
Kevin Bales
It's the same thing that makes all pop music so heartbreaking. Even when Miley Cyrus sings "So I put my hands up, they're playin' my song / The butterflies fly away / I'm noddin' my head like 'Yeah!' / Movin' my hips like 'Yeah!'" in her song "Party in the U.S.A." It's that chirping mirth against a backdrop of despair, that juxtaposition of blithe optimism against all the crushing brutalities and inadequacies of life. The image of an ineffably beautiful butterfly flitting by the shattered windows of a dilapidated, abandoned factory is not so poignant because it highlights the indomitable life force. To the contrary, the butterfly (and the pop song) is like a PowerPoint cursor; it's there to whet our perception of and strengthen our affinity for what's moribund, for what's always dying before our eyes. Loving the moribund is our way of signaling the dead from this shore: "We are your kinsmen...
Mark Leyner (The Sugar Frosted Nutsack)
Looking back at the recent history of the world, I find it amazing how far civilization has retrogressed so quickly. As recently as World War I—granted the rules were violated at times—we had a set of rules of warfare in which armies didn’t make war against civilians: Soldiers fought soldiers. Then came World War II and Hitler’s philosophy of total war, which meant the bombing not only of soldiers but of factories that produced their rifles, and, if surrounding communities were also hit, that was to be accepted; then, as the war progressed, it became common for the combatants simply to attack civilians as part of military strategy. By the time the 1980s rolled around, we were placing our entire faith in a weapon whose fundamental target was the civilian population.
Ronald Reagan (An American Life: The Autobiography)
The development of the proletarian elite does not take place in an academic setting. Rather, it is brought about by battles in the factories and unions, by disciplinary punishments and some very dirty fights within the parties and outside of them, by jail sentences and illegality. Students do not flock in large numbers there as they do to the lecture halls and laboratories of the bourgeoisie. The career of a revolutionary does not consists of banquets and honarary titles, of interesting research projects and professional salaries; more likely, it will acquaint them with misery, dishonory and jail and, at the end, uncertainty. These conditions are made bearable only by a super-human faith. Understandably, this way of life will not be the choice of those who are nothing more than clever.
Max Horkheimer
The first twenty years of the young person’s life are spent functioning as a subordinate element in an authority system, and upon leaving school, the male usually moves into either a civilian job or military service. On the job, he learns that although some discreetly expressed dissent is allowable, an underlying posture of submission is required for harmonious functioning with superiors. However much freedom of detail is allowed the individual, the situation is defined as one in which he is to do a job prescribed by someone else. While structures of authority are of necessity present in all societies, advanced or primitive, modern society has the added characteristic of teaching individuals to respond to impersonal authorities. Whereas submission to authority is probably no less for an Ashanti than for an American factory worker, the range of persons who constitute authorities for the native are all personally known to him, while the modern industrial world forces individuals to submit to impersonal authorities, so that responses are made to abstract rank, indicated by an insignia, uniform or title.
Stanley Milgram (Obedience to Authority (Perennial Classics))
God, how I hate the future. It’s a cult. A tyranny of progress. And anyone who speaks against it is shunned. But all tyrannies must efficiently erase the past if they’re to work. I like the past. The past was solid, simple, and real. The rooms were large, the food was good, and we knew who our enemies were. I feel misty for old tyrannies. The ones which beat you, enslaved you, tried to break your spirit, and in doing so gave your life the only enhancement it really needs: a sense of purpose. The tyranny of the future doesn’t take away our choices; it swamps us in them. It doesn’t curb our freedoms; it tube-feeds us with them until we rupture like neglected factory geese.
Matt Suddain (Hunters & Collectors)
There are four independent brain circuits that influence our lasting well-being, Davidson explained. The first is “our ability to maintain positive states.” It makes sense that the ability to maintain positive states or positive emotions would directly impact one’s ability to experience happiness. These two great spiritual leaders were saying that the fastest way to this state is to start with love and compassion. The second circuit is responsible for “our ability to recover from negative states.” What was most fascinating to me was that these circuits were totally independent. One could be good at maintaining positive states but easily fall into an abyss of a negative state from which one had a hard time recovering. That explained a lot in my life. The third circuit, also independent but essential to the others, is “our ability to focus and avoid mind-wandering.” This of course was the circuit that so much of meditation exists to develop. Whether it was focusing on one’s breath, or a mantra, or the analytic meditation that the Dalai Lama did each morning, this ability to focus one’s attention was fundamental. The fourth and final circuit is “our ability to be generous.” That was amazing to me: that we had an entire brain circuit, one of four, devoted to generosity. It is no wonder that our brains feel so good when we help others or are helped by others, or even witness others being helped, which Ekman had described as the elevation that is one dimension of joy. There was strong and compelling research that we come factory equipped for cooperation, compassion, and generosity.
Dalai Lama XIV (The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World)
I became a vegan the day I watched a video of a calf being born on a factory farm. The baby was dragged away from his mother before he hit the ground. The helpless calf strained its head backwards to find his mother. The mother bolted after her son and exploded into a rage when the rancher slammed the gate on her. She wailed the saddest noise I’d ever heard an animal make, and then thrashed and dug into the ground, burying her face in the muddy placenta. I had no idea what was happening respecting brain chemistry, animal instinct, or whatever. I just knew that this was deeply wrong. I just knew that such suffering could never be worth the taste of milk and veal. I empathized with the cow and the calf and, in so doing, my life changed.
James McWilliams
TO MY MIND, THOUGH, there is a third development that has altered our parenting experience above all others, and that is the wholesale transformation of the child’s role, both in the home and in society. Since the end of World War II, childhood has been completely redefined. Today, we work hard to shield children from life’s hardships. But throughout most of our country’s history, we did not. Rather, kids worked. In the earliest days of our nation, they cared for their siblings or spent time in the fields; as the country industrialized, they worked in mines and textile mills, in factories and canneries, in street trades. Over time, reformers managed to outlaw child labor practices. Yet change was slow. It wasn’t until our soldiers returned from World War II that childhood, as we now know it, began. The family economy was no longer built on a system of reciprocity, with parents sheltering and feeding their children, and children, in return, kicking something back into the family till. The relationship became asymmetrical. Children stopped working, and parents worked twice as hard. Children went from being our employees to our bosses. The way most historians describe this transformation is to say that the child went from “useful” to “protected.” But the sociologist Viviana Zelizer came up with a far more pungent phrase. She characterized the modern child as “economically worthless but emotionally priceless.” Today parents pour more capital—both emotional and literal—into their children than ever before, and they’re spending longer, more concentrated hours with their children than they did when the workday ended at five o’clock and the majority of women still stayed home. Yet parents don’t know what it is they’re supposed to do, precisely, in their new jobs. “Parenting” may have become its own activity (its own profession, so to speak), but its goals are far from clear.
Jennifer Senior (All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood)
There are men who carefully manoeuvre a large limousine out of the garage at eight o'clock every morning. Others leave an hour earlier, traveling in a middle-class sedan. Still others leave when it is not yet light, wearing overalls and carrying lunch boxes, to catch buses, subways, or trains to factories or building sites. By a trick of fate, it is always the latter, the poorest, who are exploited by the least attractive women. For, unlike women (who have an eye for money), men notice only woman's external appearance. Therefore, the more desirable women in their own class are always being snatched away from under their noses by men who happen to earn more. No matter what a particular man does or how he spends his day, he has one thing in common with all other men - he spends it in a degrading manner. And he himself does not gain by it. It is not his own livelihood that matters: he would have to struggle far less for that, since luxuries do not mean anything to him anyway it is the fact that he does it for others that makes him so tremendously proud. He will undoubtedly have a photograph of his wife and children on his desk, and will miss no opportunity to hand it around. No matter what a man's job may be - bookkeeper, doctor, bus driver, or managing director - every moment of his life will be spent as a cog in a huge and pitiless system - a system designed to exploit him to the utmost, to his dying day. (...) We have long ceased to play the games of childhood. As children, we became bored quickly and changed from one game to another. A man is like a child who is condemned to play the same game for the rest of his life.
Esther Vilar (The Manipulated Man)
Memories are better than life. Nothing I'm part of is good until later. I love what time does. I make decisions on the basis of sensing what will produce the best memory. They're my finest works: all that multidimensional and liquid maze of experience minus the fear and uncertainty, or with the fear and uncertainty changed to something else. Because they're already finished. I made them up and they comprise me. It's as if experience is only the dark, chaotic factory where these little infinity jewels are pressed into being. Everyone is the poet of their memories. Usually it's better to get things over with so you have the memory. But like the best poems, they're also never really finished because they gain new meaning as time reveals them in different lights. Maybe every memory is inside you from the beginning; they erupt and branch and merge in fantastic patterns, but if you really tried you could trace any one of them back to the same original. Maybe the best ones are all the same: of being born. Or dying, or whatever it is.
Richard Hell
Every man whose business it is to think knows that he must for part of the day create about himself a pool of silence. But in that helter-skelter which we flatter by the name of civilization, the citizen performs the perilous business of government under the worst possible conditions. A faint recognition of this truth inspires the movement for a shorter work day, for longer vacations, for light, air, order, sunlight and dignity in factories and offices. But if the intellectual quality of our life is to be improved that is only the merest beginning. So long as so many jobs are an endless and, for the worker, an aimless routine, a kind of automatism using one set of muscles in one monotonous pattern, his whole life will tend towards an automatism using one set of muscles in one monotonous pattern, his whole life will tend towards an automatism in which nothing is particularly to be distinguished from anything else unless it is announced with a thunderclap. So long as he is physically imprisoned in crowds by day and even by night his attention will flicker and relax. It will not hold fast and define clearly where he is the victim of all sorts of pother, in a home which needs to be ventilated of its welter of drudgery, shrieking children, raucous assertions, indigestible food, bad air, and suffocating ornament. Occasionally perhaps we enter a building which is composed and spacious; we go to a theatre where modern stagecraft has cut away distraction, or go to sea, or into a quiet place, and we remember how cluttered, how capricious, how superfluous and clamorous is the ordinary urban life of our time. We learn to understand why our addled minds seize so little with precision, why they are caught up and tossed about in a kind of tarantella by headlines and catch-words, why so often they cannot tell things apart or discern identity in apparent differences.
Walter Lippmann (Public Opinion)
What were they thinking?' we ask about our ancestors, but we know that, a century hence, our descendents will ask the same thing about us. Who knows what will strike them as strangest? The United States incarcerates 1 percent of its population and subjects many thousands of inmates to years of solitary confinement. In Saudi Arabia, women are forbidden to drive. There are countries today in which homosexuality is punishable by life in prison or by death. Then there's the sequestered reality of factory farming, in which hundreds of millions of mammals, and billions of birds, live a squalid brief existence. Or the toleration of extreme poverty, inside and outside the developed world. One day, people will find themselves thinking not just that an old practice was wrong and a new one right but that there was something shameful in the old ways. In the course of the transition, many will change what they do because they are shamed out of an old way of doing things. So it is perhaps not too much to hope that if we can find the proper place for honor now, we can make the world better.
Kwame Anthony Appiah
In the case of Switzerland, a whole country is concerned with the species-appropriate treatment of all things green. The constitution reads, in part, that "account [is] to be taken of the dignity of creation when handling animals, plants and other organisms." So it's probably not a good idea to decapitate flowers along the highway in Switzerland without good reason. Although this point of view has elicited a lot of head shaking in the international community, I, for one, welcome breaking down the moral barriers between animals and plants. When the capabilities of vegetative beings become known, and their emotional lives and needs are recognized, then the way we treat plants will gradually change, as well. Forests are not first and foremost lumber factories and warehouses for raw material, and only secondarily complex habitats for thousands of species, which is the way modern forestry currently treats them. Completely the opposite, in fact.
Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World)
I was like Robinson Crusoe on the island of Tobago. For hours at a stretch I would lie in the sun doing nothing, thinking of nothing. To keep the mind empty is a feat, a very healthful feat too. To be silent the whole day long, see no newspaper, hear no radio, listen to no gossip, be thoroughly and completely lazy, thoroughly and completely indifferent to the fate of the world is the finest medicine a man can give himself. The book-learning gradually dribbles away; problems melt and dissolve; ties are gently severed; thinking, when you deign to indulge in it, becomes very primitive; the body becomes a new and wonderful instrument; you look at plants or stones or fish with different eyes; you wonder what people are struggling to accomplish with their frenzied activities; you know there is a war on but you haven't the faintest idea what it's about or why people should enjoy killing one another; you look at a place like Albania—it was constantly staring me in the eyes—and you say to yourself, yesterday it was Greek, to-day it's Italian, to-morrow it may be German or Japanese, and you let it be anything it chooses to be. When you're right with yourself it doesn't matter which flag is flying over your head or who owns what or whether you speak English or Monongahela. The absence of newspapers, the absence of news about what men are doing in different parts of the world to make life more livable or unlivable is the greatest single boon. If we could just eliminate newspapers a great advance would be made, I am sure of it. Newspapers engender lies, hatred, greed, envy, suspicion, fear, malice. We don't need the truth as it is dished up to us in the daily papers. We need peace and solitude and idleness. If we could all go on strike and honestly disavow all interest in what our neighbor is doing we might get a new lease on life. We might learn to do without telephones and radios and newspapers, without machines of any kind, without factories, without mills, without mines, without explosives, without battleships, without politicians, without lawyers, without canned goods, without gadgets, without razor blades even or cellophane or cigarettes or money. This is a pipe dream, I know.
Henry Miller (The Colossus of Maroussi)
Some alters are what Dr Ross describes in Multiple Personality Disorder as 'fragments'. which are 'relatively limited psychic states that express only one feeling, hold one memory, or carry out a limited task in the person's life. A fragment might be a frightened child who holds the memory of one particular abuse incident.' In complex multiples, Dr Ross continues, the 'personalities are relatively full-bodied, complete states capable of a range of emotions and behaviours.' The alters will have 'executive control some substantial amount of time over the person's life'. He stresses, and I repeat his emphasis, 'Complex MPD with over 15 alter personalities and complicated amnesia barriers are associated with 100 percent frequency of childhood physical, sexual and emotional abuse.' Did I imagine the castle, the dungeon, the ritual orgies and violations? Did Lucy, Billy, Samuel, Eliza, Shirley and Kato make it all up? I went back to the industrial estate and found the castle. It was an old factory that had burned to the ground, but the charred ruins of the basement remained. I closed my eyes and could see the black candles, the dancing shadows, the inverted pentagram, the people chanting through hooded robes. I could see myself among other children being abused in ways that defy imagination. I have no doubt now that the cult of devil worshippers was nothing more than a ring of paedophiles, the satanic paraphernalia a cover for their true lusts: the innocent bodies of young children.
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
Let us fool ourselves no longer. At the very moment Western nations, threw off the ancient regime of absolute government, operating under a once-divine king, they were restoring this same system in a far more effective form in their technology, reintroducing coercions of a military character no less strict in the organization of a factory than in that of the new drilled, uniformed, and regimented army. During the transitional stages of the last two centuries, the ultimate tendency of this system might b e in doubt, for in many areas there were strong democratic reactions; but with the knitting together of a scientific ideology, itself liberated from theological restrictions or humanistic purposes, authoritarian technics found an instrument at hand that h as now given it absolute command of physical energies of cosmic dimensions. The inventors of nuclear bombs, space rockets, and computers are the pyramid builders of our own age: psychologically inflated by a similar myth of unqualified power, boasting through their science of their increasing omnipotence, if not omniscience, moved by obsessions and compulsions no less irrational than those of earlier absolute systems: particularly the notion that the system itself must be expanded, at whatever eventual co st to life. Through mechanization, automation, cybernetic direction, this authoritarian technics has at last successfully overcome its most serious weakness: its original dependence upon resistant, sometimes actively disobedient servomechanisms, still human enough to harbor purposes that do not always coincide with those of the system. Like the earliest form of authoritarian technics, this new technology is marvellously dynamic and productive: its power in every form tends to increase without limits, in quantities that defy assimilation and defeat control, whether we are thinking of the output of scientific knowledge or of industrial assembly lines. To maximize energy, speed, or automation, without reference to the complex conditions that sustain organic life, have become ends in themselves. As with the earliest forms of authoritarian technics, the weight of effort, if one is to judge by national budgets, is toward absolute instruments of destruction, designed for absolutely irrational purposes whose chief by-product would be the mutilation or extermination of the human race. Even Ashurbanipal and Genghis Khan performed their gory operations under normal human limits. The center of authority in this new system is no longer a visible personality, an all-powerful king: even in totalitarian dictatorships the center now lies in the system itself, invisible but omnipresent: all its human components, even the technical and managerial elite, even the sacred priesthood of science, who alone have access to the secret knowledge by means of which total control is now swiftly being effected, are themselves trapped by the very perfection of the organization they have invented. Like the Pharoahs of the Pyramid Age, these servants of the system identify its goods with their own kind of well-being: as with the divine king, their praise of the system is an act of self-worship; and again like the king, they are in the grip of an irrational compulsion to extend their means of control and expand the scope of their authority. In this new systems-centered collective, this Pentagon of power, there is no visible presence who issues commands: unlike job's God, the new deities cannot be confronted, still less defied. Under the pretext of saving labor, the ultimate end of this technics is to displace life, or rather, to transfer the attributes of life to the machine and the mechanical collective, allowing only so much of the organism to remain as may be controlled and manipulated.
Lewis Mumford
o. It is not wonderful. It is an ugly world. Not like this one. Anarres is all dusty and dry hills. All meager, all dry. And the people aren’t beautiful. They have big hands and feet, like me and the waiter there. But not big bellies. They get very dirty, and take baths together, nobody here does that. The towns are very small and dull, they are dreary. No palaces. Life is dull, and hard work. You can’t always have what you want, or even what you need, because there isn’t enough. You Urrasti have enough. Enough air, enough rain, grass, oceans, food, music, buildings, factories, machines, books, clothes, history. You are rich, you own. We are poor, we lack. You have, we do not have. Everything is beautiful here. Only not the faces. On Anarres nothing is beautiful, nothing but the faces. The other faces, the men and women. We have nothing but that, nothing but each other. Here you see the jewels, there you see the eyes. And in the eyes you see the splendor, the splendor of the human spirit. Because our men and women are free—possessing nothing, they are free. And you the possessors are possessed. You are all in jail. Each alone, solitary, with a heap of what he owns. You live in prison, die in prison. It is all I can see in your eyes—the wall, the wall!
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia)
Repetition and memorization of imposed lessons are indeed tedious work for children, whose instincts urge them constantly to play and think freely, raise their own questions, and explore the world in their own ways. Children did not adapt well to forced schooling, and in many cases they rebelled. This was no surprise to the adults. By this point in history, the idea that children’s own preferences had any value had been pretty well forgotten. Brute force, long used to keep children on task in fields and factories, was transported into the classroom to make children learn. Some of the underpaid, ill-prepared schoolmasters were quite sadistic. One master in Germany kept records of the punishments he meted out in fifty-one years of teaching, a partial list of which included: “911,527 blows with a rod, 124,010 blows with a cane, 20,989 taps with a ruler, 136,715 blows with the hand, 10,235 blows to the mouth, 7,905 boxes on the ear, and 1,118,800 blows on the head.”25 Clearly he was proud of all the educating he had done.
Peter O. Gray (Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life)
An asteroid or comet traveling at cosmic velocities would enter the Earth’s atmosphere at such a speed that the air beneath it couldn’t get out of the way and would be compressed, as in a bicycle pump. As anyone who has used such a pump knows, compressed air grows swiftly hot, and the temperature below it would rise to some 60,000 Kelvin, or ten times the surface temperature of the Sun. In this instant of its arrival in our atmosphere, everything in the meteor’s path—people, houses, factories, cars—would crinkle and vanish like cellophane in a flame. One second after entering the atmosphere, the meteorite would slam into the Earth’s surface, where the people of Manson had a moment before been going about their business. The meteorite itself would vaporize instantly, but the blast would blow out a thousand cubic kilometers of rock, earth, and superheated gases. Every living thing within 150 miles that hadn’t been killed by the heat of entry would now be killed by the blast. Radiating outward at almost the speed of light would be the initial shock wave, sweeping everything before it. For those outside the zone of immediate devastation, the first inkling of catastrophe would be a flash of blinding light—the brightest ever seen by human eyes—followed an instant to a minute or two later by an apocalyptic sight of unimaginable grandeur: a roiling wall of darkness reaching high into the heavens, filling an entire field of view and traveling at thousands of miles an hour. Its approach would be eerily silent since it would be moving far beyond the speed of sound. Anyone in a tall building in Omaha or Des Moines, say, who chanced to look in the right direction would see a bewildering veil of turmoil followed by instantaneous oblivion. Within minutes, over an area stretching from Denver to Detroit and encompassing what had once been Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, the Twin Cities—the whole of the Midwest, in short—nearly every standing thing would be flattened or on fire, and nearly every living thing would be dead. People up to a thousand miles away would be knocked off their feet and sliced or clobbered by a blizzard of flying projectiles. Beyond a thousand miles the devastation from the blast would gradually diminish. But that’s just the initial shockwave. No one can do more than guess what the associated damage would be, other than that it would be brisk and global. The impact would almost certainly set off a chain of devastating earthquakes. Volcanoes across the globe would begin to rumble and spew. Tsunamis would rise up and head devastatingly for distant shores. Within an hour, a cloud of blackness would cover the planet, and burning rock and other debris would be pelting down everywhere, setting much of the planet ablaze. It has been estimated that at least a billion and a half people would be dead by the end of the first day. The massive disturbances to the ionosphere would knock out communications systems everywhere, so survivors would have no idea what was happening elsewhere or where to turn. It would hardly matter. As one commentator has put it, fleeing would mean “selecting a slow death over a quick one. The death toll would be very little affected by any plausible relocation effort, since Earth’s ability to support life would be universally diminished.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
there was nothing to believe but that one colored in the room is fine, two is twenty, and three means close up shop and everybody go home; all living the New York dream in the Cause Houses, within sight of the Statue of Liberty, a gigantic copper reminder that this city was a grinding factory that diced the poor man’s dreams worse than any cotton gin or sugarcane field from the old country. And now heroin was here to make their children slaves again, to a useless white powder. She looked them over, the friends of her life, staring at her. They saw what she saw, she realized. She read it in their faces. They would never win. The game was fixed. The villains would succeed. The heroes would die. The sight of Beanie’s mother howling at her son’s coffin would haunt them all in the next few days. Next week, or next month some time, some other mother would take her place, howling her grief. And another after that. They saw the future, too, she could tell. It would continue forever. It was all so very grim. But then, she thought, every once in a while there’s a glimmer of hope. Just a blip on the horizon, a whack on the nose of the giant that set him back on his heels or to the canvas,
James McBride (Deacon King Kong)
All living things need an atmosphere around them, a secret circle of darkness. If this veil is taken from them, if people condemn a religion, an art, a genius to orbit like a star without an atmosphere, then we should no longer wonder about their rapid decay and the way they become hard and barren. That is the way it is now with all great things which never succeed without some delusion. But every people, indeed every person, who wishes to become mature needs such an enveloping delusion, such a protecting and veiling cloud. But today people generally despise becoming mature, because they honour history more than living. Indeed, people exult over the fact that now 'science is beginning to rule over living'. It is possible that people will attain that goal but it is certain that a life so governed is not worth much, because it is much less living and it establishes a life for the future far less than does the previous life governed not by knowledge but by instinct and powerful illusory images. But, as stated, it is clearly not to be the era of fully developed and mature people, of harmonious personalities, but the era of common work which is as useful as possible. That, however, amounts only to the fact that people are to be trained for the purposes of the time, in order to get to work with their hands as promptly as possible. They are to labour in the factories of the universal utilities before they are mature, that is, so that they really no longer become mature, because this would be a luxury, which would deprive the 'labour market' of a lot of power.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Untimely Meditations)
These young-marrying, contemporaries or juniors of the Beat Generation, have often expressed themselves as follows: "My highest aim in life is to achieve a normal healthy marriage and raise healthy [non-neurotic] children." On the face of it, this remark is preposterous. What was always taken as a usual and advantageous life-condition for work in the world and the service of God, is now regarded as an heroic goal to be striven for. Yet we see that it is a hard goal to achieve against the modern obstacles. Also it is a real goal, with objective problems that a man can work at personally, and take responsibility for, and make decisions about—unlike the interpersonal relations of the corporation, or the routine of the factory job for which the worker couldn't care less. But now, suppose the young man is achieving this goal: he has the wife, the small kids, the suburban home, and the labor-saving domestic devices. How is it that it is the same man who uniformly asserts that he is in a Rat Race? Either the goal does not justify itself, or indeed he is not really achieving it. Perhaps the truth is, if marriage and children are the goal, a man cannot really achieve it. It is not easy to conceive of a strong husband and father who does not justified in his work and independent in the world. Correspondingly, his wife feels justified in the small children, but does she have a man, do the children have a father, if he is running a Rat Race? Into what world do the small children grow up in such a home?
Paul Goodman (Growing Up Absurd: Problems of Youth in the Organized System)
Telegraph Road A long time ago came a man on a track Walking thirty miles with a pack on his back And he put down his load where he thought it was the best Made a home in the wilderness He built a cabin and a winter store And he ploughed up the ground by the cold lake shore And the other travellers came riding down the track And they never went further, no, they never went back Then came the churches, then came the schools Then came the lawyers, then came the rules Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads And the dirty old track was the telegraph road Then came the mines - then came the ore Then there was the hard times, then there was a war Telegraph sang a song about the world outside Telegraph road got so deep and so wide Like a rolling river ... And my radio says tonight it's gonna freeze People driving home from the factories There's six lanes of traffic Three lanes moving slow ... I used to like to go to work but they shut it down I got a right to go to work but there's no work here to be found Yes and they say we're gonna have to pay what's owed We're gonna have to reap from some seed that's been sowed And the birds up on the wires and the telegraph poles They can always fly away from this rain and this cold You can hear them singing out their telegraph code All the way down the telegraph road You know I'd sooner forget but I remember those nights When life was just a bet on a race between the lights You had your head on my shoulder, you had your hand in my hair Now you act a little colder like you don't seem to care But believe in me baby and I'll take you away From out of this darkness and into the day From these rivers of headlights, these rivers of rain From the anger that lives on the streets with these names 'Cos I've run every red light on memory lane I've seen desperation explode into flames And I don't want to see it again ... From all of these signs saying sorry but we're closed All the way down the telegraph road
Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits - 1982-91)
Life in the Cause would lurch forward as it always did. You worked, slaved, fought off the rats, the mice, the roaches, the ants, the Housing Authority, the cops, the muggers, and now the drug dealers. You lived a life of disappointment and suffering, of too-hot summers and too-cold winters, surviving in apartments with crummy stoves that didn’t work and windows that didn’t open and toilets that didn’t flush and lead paint that flecked off the walls and poisoned your children, living in awful, dreary apartments built to house Italians who came to America to work the docks, which had emptied of boats, ships, tankers, dreams, money, and opportunity the moment the colored and the Latinos arrived. And still New York blamed you for all its problems. And who can you blame? You were the one who chose to live here, in this hard town with its hard people, the financial capital of the world, land of opportunity for the white man and a tundra of spent dreams and empty promises for anyone else stupid enough to believe the hype. Sister Gee stared at her neighbors as they surrounded her, and at that moment she saw them as she had never seen them before: they were crumbs, thimbles, flecks of sugar powder on a cookie, invisible, sporadic dots on the grid of promise, occasionally appearing on Broadway stages or on baseball teams with slogans like “You gotta believe,” when in fact there was nothing to believe but that one colored in the room is fine, two is twenty, and three means close up shop and everybody go home; all living the New York dream in the Cause Houses, within sight of the Statue of Liberty, a gigantic copper reminder that this city was a grinding factory that diced the poor man’s dreams worse than any cotton gin or sugarcane field from the old country. And now heroin was here to make their children slaves again, to a useless white powder. She looked them over, the friends of her life, staring at her. They saw what she saw, she realized. She read it in their faces. They would never win. The game was fixed. The villains would succeed. The heroes would die.
James McBride (Deacon King Kong)
The cultural Left has contributed to the formation of this politically useless unconscious not only by adopting “power” as the name of an invisible, ubiquitous, and malevolent presence, but by adopting ideals which nobody is yet able to imagine being actualized. Among these ideals are participatory democracy and the end of capitalism. Power will pass to the people, the Sixties Left believed only when decisions are made by all those who may be affected by the results. This means, for example, that economic decisions will be made by stakeholders rather than by shareholders, and that entrepreneurship and markets will cease to play their present role. When they do, capitalism as we know it will have ended, and something new will have taken its place. […] Sixties leftists skipped lightly over all the questions which had been raised by the experience of non market economies in the so-called socialist countries. They seemed to be suggesting that once we were rid of both bureaucrats and entrepreneurs, “the people” would know how to handle competition from steel mills or textile factories in the developing world, price hikes on imported oil, and so on. But they never told us how “the people” would learn how to do this. The cultural Left still skips over such questions. Doing so is a consequence of its preference for talking about “the system” rather than about specific social practices and specific changes in those practices. The rhetoric of this Left remains revolutionary rather than reformist and pragmatic. Its insouciant use of terms like “late capitalism” suggests that we can just wait for capitalism to collapse, rather than figuring out what, in the absence of markets, will set prices and regulate distribution. The voting public, the public which must be won over if the Left is to emerge from the academy into the public square, sensibly wants to be told the details. It wants to know how things are going to work after markets are put behind us. It wants to know how participatory democracy is supposed to function. The cultural Left offers no answers to such demands for further information, but until it confronts them it will not be able to be a political Left. The public, sensibly, has no interest in getting rid of capitalism until it is offered details about the alternatives. Nor should it be interested in participatory democracy –– the liberation of the people from the power of technocrats –– until it is told how deliberative assemblies will acquire the same know-how which only the technocrats presently possess. […] The cultural Left has a vision of an America in which the white patriarchs have stopped voting and have left all the voting to be done by members of previously victimized groups, people who have somehow come into possession of more foresight and imagination than the selfish suburbanites. These formerly oppressed and newly powerful people are expected to be as angelic as the straight white males were diabolical. If I shared this expectation, I too would want to live under this new dispensation. Since I see no reason to share it, I think that the left should get back into the business of piecemeal reform within the framework of a market economy. This was the business the American Left was in during the first two-thirds of the century. Someday, perhaps, cumulative piecemeal reforms will be found to have brought about revolutionary change. Such reforms might someday produce a presently unimaginable non market economy, and much more widely distributed powers of decision making. […] But in the meantime, we should not let the abstractly described best be the enemy of the better. We should not let speculation about a totally changed system, and a totally different way of thinking about human life and affairs, replace step-by-step reform of the system we presently have.
Richard Rorty (Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America)
But the greatest human problems are not social problems, but decisions that the individual has to make alone. The most important feelings of which man is capable emphasise his separateness from other people, not his kinship with them. The feelings of a mountaineer towards a mountain emphasise his kinship with the mountain rather than with the rest of mankind. The same goes for the leap of the heart experienced by a sailor when he smells the sea, or for the astronomer’s feeling about the stars, or for the archaeologist’s love of the past. My feeling of love for my fellowmen makes me aware of my humanness; but my feeling about a mountain gives me an oddly nonhuman sensation. It would be incorrect, perhaps, to call it ‘superhuman’; but it nevertheless gives me a sense of transcending my everyday humanity. Maslow’s importance is that he has placed these experiences of ‘transcendence’ at the centre of his psychology. He sees them as the compass by which man gains a sense of the magnetic north of his existence. They bring a glimpse of ‘the source of power, meaning and purpose’ inside himself. This can be seen with great clarity in the matter of the cure of alcoholics. Alcoholism arises from what I have called ‘generalised hypertension’, a feeling of strain or anxiety about practically everything. It might be described as a ‘passively negative’ attitude towards existence. The negativity prevents proper relaxation; there is a perpetual excess of adrenalin in the bloodstream. Alcohol may produce the necessary relaxation, switch off the anxiety, allow one to feel like a real human being instead of a bundle of over-tense nerves. Recurrence of the hypertension makes the alcoholic remedy a habit, but the disadvantages soon begin to outweigh the advantage: hangovers, headaches, fatigue, guilt, general inefficiency. And, above all, passivity. The alcoholics are given mescalin or LSD, and then peak experiences are induced by means of music or poetry or colours blending on a screen. They are suddenly gripped and shaken by a sense of meaning, of just how incredibly interesting life can be for the undefeated. They also become aware of the vicious circle involved in alcoholism: misery and passivity leading to a general running-down of the vital powers, and to the lower levels of perception that are the outcome of fatigue. ‘The spirit world shuts not its gates, Your heart is dead, your senses sleep,’ says the Earth Spirit to Faust. And the senses sleep when there is not enough energy to run them efficiently. On the other hand, when the level of will and determination is high, the senses wake up. (Maslow was not particularly literary, or he might have been amused to think that Faust is suffering from exactly the same problem as the girl in the chewing gum factory (described earlier), and that he had, incidentally, solved a problem that had troubled European culture for nearly two centuries). Peak experiences are a by-product of this higher energy-drive. The alcoholic drinks because he is seeking peak experiences; (the same, of course, goes for all addicts, whether of drugs or tobacco.) In fact, he is moving away from them, like a lost traveller walking away from the inn in which he hopes to spend the night. The moment he sees with clarity what he needs to do to regain the peak experience, he does an about-face and ceases to be an alcoholic.
Colin Wilson (New Pathways in Psychology: Maslow & the Post-Freudian Revolution)
Fifteen years ago, a business manager from the United States came to Plum Village to visit me. His conscience was troubled because he was the head of a firm that designed atomic bombs. I listened as he expressed his concerns. I knew if I advised him to quit his job, another person would only replace him. If he were to quit, he might help himself, but he would not help his company, society, or country. I urged him to remain the director of his firm, to bring mindfulness into his daily work, and to use his position to communicate his concerns and doubts about the production of atomic bombs. In the Sutra on Happiness, the Buddha says it is great fortune to have an occupation that allows us to be happy, to help others, and to generate compassion and understanding in this world. Those in the helping professions have occupations that give them this wonderful opportunity. Yet many social workers, physicians, and therapists work in a way that does not cultivate their compassion, instead doing their job only to earn money. If the bomb designer practises and does his work with mindfulness, his job can still nourish his compassion and in some way allow him to help others. He can still influence his government and fellow citizens by bringing greater awareness to the situation. He can give the whole nation an opportunity to question the necessity of bomb production. Many people who are wealthy, powerful, and important in business, politics, and entertainment are not happy. They are seeking empty things - wealth, fame, power, sex - and in the process they are destroying themselves and those around them. In Plum Village, we have organised retreats for businesspeople. We see that they have many problems and suffer just as others do, sometimes even more. We see that their wealth allows them to live in comfortable conditions, yet they still suffer a great deal. Some businesspeople, even those who have persuaded themselves that their work is very important, feel empty in their occupation. They provide employment to many people in their factories, newspapers, insurance firms, and supermarket chains, yet their financial success is an empty happiness because it is not motivated by understanding or compassion. Caught up in their small world of profit and loss, they are unaware of the suffering and poverty in the world. When we are not int ouch with this larger reality, we will lack the compassion we need to nourish and guide us to happiness. Once you begin to realise your interconnectedness with others, your interbeing, you begin to see how your actions affect you and all other life. You begin to question your way of living, to look with new eyes at the quality of your relationships and the way you work. You begin to see, 'I have to earn a living, yes, but I want to earn a living mindfully. I want to try to select a vocation not harmful to others and to the natural world, one that does not misuse resources.' Entire companies can also adopt this way of thinking. Companies have the right to pursue economic growth, but not at the expense of other life. They should respect the life and integrity of people, animals, plants and minerals. Do not invest your time or money in companies that deprive others of their lives, that operate in a way that exploits people or animals, and destroys nature. Businesspeople who visit Plum Village often find that getting in touch with the suffering of others and cultivating understanding brings them happiness. They practise like Anathapindika, a successful businessman who lived at the time of the Buddha, who with the practise of mindfulness throughout his life did everything he could to help the poor and sick people in his homeland.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Creating True Peace: Ending Violence in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community, and the World)