Fascinating Famous Quotes

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Don’t talk to your horse, dear. People are watching,” Pauline said quietly. Halt turned a perplexed look toward her. “How do you know when I’m doing that?” She smiled at him. “Your nose twitches.” … On the way, Kane [stableboy] kept glancing surreptitiously at the famous Ranger, fascinated by the fact that he kept staring down his nose and tweaking its tip between his forefinger and thumb.
John Flanagan (The Royal Ranger (Ranger's Apprentice #12 Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger #1))
On arrival at Orly Airport, Fritz and Magda hired a taxi which drove them to the city. They saw before them a metropolis crowned with triumphal architecture and magnificent monuments. The first Parisian landmark that caught their eye was the majestic Eiffel Tower and, in the background, on a distant hill, the white church of Montmartre. They immediately opted that their hotel could wait and asked the driver to take them around the city, though they knew that this would cost them a whole day's budget. What they began to see was simply spectacular: wide areas edified with splendid monuments, fantastic fountains, enchanting gardens and bronze statues representing the best exponents who flourished in the city, amongst whom artists, philosophers, musicians and great writers. The River Seine fascinated them, with boatloads of tourists all eager to see as much as they could of the city. They also admired a number of bridges, amongst which the flamboyant Pont Alexandre III. The driver, a friendly, balding man of about fifty, with moustaches à la Clemenceau, informed them that quite nearby there was the famous Pont Neuf which, ironically, was the first to be built way back in 1607. They continued their tour...
Anton Sammut (Memories of Recurrent Echoes)
Throughout your career, you will compete against people who are more established, more famous, more connected, more specialized. But they can’t be you. They can’t capture your highest distinct value. Only you have you.
Sally Hogshead (How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination)
Other times I just lie on my bed and stare at the ceiling, imagining the kind of life I want to have when I get older. I picture myself at the top of the Eiffel Tower, climbing pyramids in Egypt, dancing in the streets in Spain, riding in a boat in Venice, and walking on the Great Wall of China. In these dreams, I’m a famous writer who wears flamboyant scarves and travels all around the world, meeting fascinating people. No one tells me what to do. I go wherever I want and do whatever I please.
Erika L. Sánchez (I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter)
Yoga has been superficially misunderstood by certain Western writers, but its critics have never been its practitioners. Among many thoughtful tributes to yoga may be mentioned one by Dr. C. G. Jung, the famous Swiss psychologist. “When a religious method recommends itself as ‘scientific,’ it can be certain of its public in the West. Yoga fulfills this expectation,” Dr. Jung writes.10 “Quite apart from the charm of the new and the fascination of the half-understood, there is good cause for Yoga to have many adherents. It offers the possibility of controllable experience and thus satisfies the scientific need for ‘facts’; and, besides this, by reason of its breadth and depth, its venerable age, its doctrine and method, which include every phase of life, it promises undreamed-of possibilities. “Every religious or philosophical practice means a psychological discipline, that is, a method of mental hygiene. The manifold, purely bodily procedures of Yoga11 also mean a physiological hygiene which is superior to ordinary gymnastics and breathing exercises, inasmuch as it is not merely mechanistic and scientific, but also philosophical; in its training of the parts of the body, it unites them with the whole of the spirit, as is quite clear, for instance, in the Pranayama exercises where Prana is both the breath and the universal dynamics of the cosmos…. “Yoga practice...would be ineffectual without the concepts on which Yoga is based. It combines the bodily and the spiritual in an extraordinarily complete way. “In the East, where these ideas and practices have developed, and where for several thousand years an unbroken tradition has created the necessary spiritual foundations, Yoga is, as I can readily believe, the perfect and appropriate method of fusing body and mind together so that they form a unity which is scarcely to be questioned. This unity creates a psychological disposition which makes possible intuitions that transcend consciousness.
Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi (Self-Realization Fellowship))
Buenos Aires, sophisticated and fascinating, is the Paris of Latin America; with a vibrant cultural scene, the best theater and live music, it is the birthplace of many world-famous writers.
Isabel Allende (Violeta)
Närpes is famous as Finland's tomato capital, and the countryside is dotted with greenhouses to prove it. The flat rural landscape is lovely – if uniform – and it's worth a stop for good eating and fascinating local culture.
Lonely Planet Finland
the Chicago Symphony was in a class by itself. Fritz Reiner, the famous Hungarian conductor, was fascinating to watch. He was somewhat stout, hunched over with round shoulders, and his arm and baton movements were tiny—you almost had to look at him with binoculars to see what he was doing. But those tiny movements forced the players to peer at him intently, and then he would suddenly raise his arms up over his head and the entire orchestra would go crazy.
Philip Glass (Words Without Music: A Memoir)
It is difficult for me to wag my finger at you from so very far away, particularly as my heart aches for you but really, darling, you must pack up this nonsensical situation once and for all. It is really beneath your dignity, not your dignity as a famous artist and a glamorous star, but your dignity as a human, only too human being. Curly [the shaven-headed Brynner] is attractive, beguiling, tender and fascinating, but he is not the only man in the world who merits those delightful adjectives?… do please try to work out for yourself a little personal philosophy and DO NOT, repeat DO NOT be so bloody vulnerable. To hell with God damned ‘L’Amour.’ It always causes far more trouble than it is worth. Don’t run after it. Don’t court it. Keep it waiting off stage until you’re good and ready for it and even then treat it with the suspicious disdain that it deserves … I am sick to death of you waiting about in empty houses and apartments with your ears strained for the telephone to ring. Snap out of it, girl! A very brilliant writer once said (Could it have been me?) ‘Life is for the living.’? Well, that is all it is for… …Unpack your sense of humour, and get on with living and ENJOY IT. Incidentally, there is one fairly strong-minded type who will never let you down and who loves you very much indeed. Just try to guess who it is. XXXX.
Noël Coward
What one should add here is that self-consciousness is itself unconscious: we are not aware of the point of our self-consciousness. If ever there was a critic of the fetishizing effect of fascinating and dazzling "leitmotifs", it is Adorno: in his devastating analysis of Wagner, he tries to demonstrate how Wagnerian leitmotifs serve as fetishized elements of easy recognition and thus constitute a kind of inner-structural commodification of his music. It is then a supreme irony that traces of this same fetishizing procedure can be found in Adorno's own writings. Many of his provocative one-liners do effectively capture a profound insight or at least touch on a crucial point (for example: "Nothing is more true in pscyhoanalysis than its exaggeration"); however, more often than his partisans are ready to admit, Adorno gets caught up in his own game, infatuated with his own ability to produce dazzlingly "effective" paradoxical aphorisms at the expense of theoretical substance (recall the famous line from Dialectic of Englightment on how Hollywood's ideological maniuplation of social reality realized Kant's idea of the transcendental constitution of reality). In such cases where the dazzling "effect" of the unexpected short-circuit (here between Hollywood cinema and Kantian ontology) effectively overshadows the theoretical line of argumentation, the brilliant paradox works precisely in the same manner as the Wagnerian leitmotif: instead of serving as a nodal point in the complex network of structural mediation, it generates idiotic pleasure by focusing attention on itself. This unintended self-reflexivity is something of which Adorno undoubtedly was not aware: his critique of the Wagnerian leitmotif was an allegorical critique of his own writing. Is this not an exemplary case of his unconscious reflexivity of thinking? When criticizing his opponent Wagner, Adorno effectively deploys a critical allegory of his own writing - in Hegelese, the truth of his relation to the Other is a self-relation.
Slavoj Žižek (Living in the End Times)
The most frequent misconception about celebrities, is that they must be so fascinating. The opposite is often the case. Most of my famous clients with some important exceptions, have been uninteresting, some have been outright boring. We tend to confuse their public persona and surroundings which fascinate us with their private personalities which are banal, mundane and self-centered. Many of them have no ideas, no insights, and little to say about matters outside the narrow spheres of their professional lives. Yet we listen to their often uninformed opinions on important issues of the day affecting the world, just because they have a handsome face, strong muscles or other talents or attributes that are irrelevant to their presumed credibility on the matters about which they’re opining. Celebrities may seem fascinating from a distance, but the reality viewed up close, is often very different.
Alan M. Dershowitz
It was raining and I had to walk on the grass. I’ve got mud all over my shoes. They’re brand-new, too.” “I’ll carry you across the grass on the return trip, if you like,” Colby offered with twinkling eyes. “It would have to be over one shoulder, of course,” he added with a wry glance at his artificial arm. She frowned at the bitterness in his tone. He was a little fuzzy because she needed glasses to see at distances. “Listen, nobody in her right mind would ever take you for a cripple,” she said gently and with a warm smile. She laid a hand on his sleeve. “Anyway,” she added with a wicked grin, “I’ve already given the news media enough to gossip about just recently. I don’t need any more complications in my life. I’ve only just gotten rid of one big one.” Colby studied her with an amused smile. She was the only woman he’d ever known that he genuinely liked. He was about to speak when he happened to glance over her shoulder at a man approaching them. “About that big complication, Cecily?” “What about it?” she asked. “I’d say it’s just reappeared with a vengeance. No, don’t turn around,” he said, suddenly jerking her close to him with the artificial arm that looked so real, a souvenir of one of his foreign assignments. “Just keep looking at me and pretend to be fascinated with my nose, and we’ll give him something to think about.” She laughed in spite of the racing pulse that always accompanied Tate’s appearances in her life. She studied Colby’s lean, scarred face. He wasn’t anybody’s idea of a pinup, but he had style and guts and if it hadn’t been for Tate, she would have found him very attractive. “Your nose has been broken twice, I see,” she told Colby. “Three times, but who’s counting?” He lifted his eyes and his eyebrows at someone behind her. “Well, hi, Tate! I didn’t expect to see you here tonight.” “Obviously,” came a deep, gruff voice that cut like a knife. Colby loosened his grip on Cecily and moved back a little. “I thought you weren’t coming,” he said. Tate moved into Cecily’s line of view, half a head taller than Colby Lane. He was wearing evening clothes, like the other men present, but he had an elegance that made him stand apart. She never tired of gazing into his large black eyes which were deep-set in a dark, handsome face with a straight nose, and a wide, narrow, sexy mouth and faintly cleft chin. He was the most beautiful man. He looked as if all he needed was a breastplate and feathers in his hair to bring back the heyday of the Lakota warrior in the nineteenth century. Cecily remembered him that way from the ceremonial gatherings at Wapiti Ridge, and the image stuck stubbornly in her mind. “Audrey likes to rub elbows with the rich and famous,” Tate returned. His dark eyes met Cecily’s fierce green ones. “I see you’re still in Holden’s good graces. Has he bought you a ring yet?” “What’s the matter with you, Tate?” Cecily asked with a cold smile. “Feeling…crabby?” His eyes smoldered as he glared at her. “What did you give Holden to get that job at the museum?” he asked with pure malice. Anger at the vicious insinuation caused her to draw back her hand holding the half-full coffee cup, and Colby caught her wrist smoothly before she could sling the contents at the man towering over her. Tate ignored Colby. “Don’t make that mistake again,” he said in a voice so quiet it was barely audible. He looked as if all his latent hostilities were waiting for an excuse to turn on her. “If you throw that cup at me, so help me, I’ll carry you over and put you down in the punch bowl!” “You and the CIA, maybe!” Cecily hissed. “Go ahead and try…!” Tate actually took a step toward her just as Colby managed to get between them. “Now, now,” he cautioned. Cecily wasn’t backing down an inch. Neither was Tate.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
The unnamed narrator of Rebecca begins her story with a dream, with a first sentence that has become famous: Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again. Almost all the brief first chapter is devoted to that dream, describing her progress up the long winding drive, by moonlight, to Manderley itself. The imagery, of entwined trees and encroaching undergrowth that have “mated,” is sexual; the style is slightly scented and overwritten, that of a schoolgirl, trying to speak poetically, and struggling to impress. Moving forward, with a sense of anticipation and revulsion, the dream narrator first sees Manderley as intact; then, coming closer, she realizes her mistake: she is looking at a ruin, at the shell of a once-great house. With this realization—one of key importance to the novel—the dreamer wakes. She confirms that Manderley has indeed been destroyed, and that the dream was a true one. (“Dreaming true” was a term invented by du Maurier’s grandfather, George du Maurier, author of Trilby; it was a concept that fascinated her all her life. Daphne was aware of Freud and Jung: George was not.)
Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca)
Distributions can only be based on measurements, but as in the case of measuring intelligence, the nature of measurement is often complicated and troubled by ambiguities. Consider the problem of noise, or what is known as luck in human affairs. Since the rise of the new digital economy, around the turn of the century, there has been a distinct heightening of obsessions with contests like American Idol, or other rituals in which an anointed individual will suddenly become rich and famous. When it comes to winner-take-all contests, onlookers are inevitably fascinated by the role of luck. Yes, the winner of a singing contest is good enough to be the winner, but even the slightest flickering of fate might have changed circumstances to make someone else the winner. Maybe a different shade of makeup would have turned the tables. And yet the rewards of winning and losing are vastly different. While some critics might have aesthetic or ethical objections to winner-take-all outcomes, a mathematical problem with them is that noise is amplified. Therefore, if a societal system depends too much on winner-take-all contests, then the acuity of that system will suffer. It will become less reality-based.
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)
She thought constantly about Paris and avidly read all the society pages in the papers. Their accounts of receptions, celebrations, the clothes worn, and all the accompanying delights enjoyed, whetted her appetite still further. Above all, however, she was fascinated by what these reports merely hinted at. The cleverly phrased allusions half-lifted a veil beyond which could be glimpsed devastatingly attractive horizons promising a whole new world of wicked pleasure. From where she lived, she looked on Paris as representing the height of all magnificent luxury as well as licentiousness...she conjured up the images of all the famous men who made the headlines and shone like brilliant comets in the darkness of her sombre sky. She pictured the madly exciting lives they must lead, moving from one den of vice to the next, indulging in never-ending and extraordinarily voluptuous orgies, and practising such complex and sophisticated sex as to defy the imagination. It seemed to her that hidden behind the façades of the houses lining the canyon-like boulevards of the city, some amazing erotic secret must lie. "The uneventful life she lived had preserved her like a winter apple in an attic. Yet she was consumed from within by unspoken and obsessive desires. She wondered if she would die without ever having tasted the wicked delights which life had to offer, without ever, not even once, having plunged into the ocean of voluptuous pleasure which, to her, was Paris.
Guy de Maupassant (A Parisian Affair and Other Stories)
Yoga has been superficially misunderstood by certain Western writers, but its critics have never been its practitioners. Among many thoughtful tributes to yoga may be mentioned one by Dr. C. G. Jung, the famous Swiss psychologist. “When a religious method recommends itself as ‘scientific,’ it can be certain of its public in the West. Yoga fulfills this expectation,” Dr. Jung writes (7). “Quite apart from the charm of the new, and the fascination of the half-understood, there is good cause for Yoga to have many adherents. It offers the possibility of controllable experience, and thus satisfies the scientific need of ‘facts,’ and besides this, by reason of its breadth and depth, its venerable age, its doctrine and method, which include every phase of life, it promises undreamed-of possibilities. “Every religious or philosophical practice means a psychological discipline, that is, a method of mental hygiene. The manifold, purely bodily procedures of Yoga (8) also mean a physiological hygiene which is superior to ordinary gymnastics and breathing exercises, inasmuch as it is not merely mechanistic and scientific, but also philosophical; in its training of the parts of the body, it unites them with the whole of the spirit, as is quite clear, for instance, in the Pranayama exercises where Prana is both the breath and the universal dynamics of the cosmos. “When the thing which the individual is doing is also a cosmic event, the effect experienced in the body (the innervation), unites with the emotion of the spirit (the universal idea), and out of this there develops a lively unity which no technique, however scientific, can produce. Yoga practice is unthinkable, and would also be ineffectual, without the concepts on which Yoga is based. It combines the bodily and the spiritual with each other in an extraordinarily complete way. “In the East, where these ideas and practices have developed, and where for several thousand years an unbroken tradition has created the necessary spiritual foundations, Yoga is, as I can readily believe, the perfect and appropriate method of fusing body and mind together so that they form a unity which is scarcely to be questioned. This unity creates a psychological disposition which makes possible intuitions that transcend consciousness.” The Western day is indeed nearing when the inner science of self- control will be found as necessary as the outer conquest of nature. This new Atomic Age will see men’s minds sobered and broadened by the now scientifically indisputable truth that matter is in reality a concentrate of energy. Finer forces of the human mind can and must liberate energies greater than those within stones and metals, lest the material atomic giant, newly unleashed, turn on the world in mindless destruction (9).
Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi (Illustrated and Annotated Edition))
The Pythagoreans were fascinated by the regular solids, symmetrical three-dimensional objects all of whose sides are the same regular polygon. The cube is the simplest example, having six squares as sides. There are an infinite number of regular polygons, but only five regular solids. (The proof of this statement, a famous example of mathematical reasoning, is given in Appendix 2.) For some reason, knowledge of a solid called the dodecahedron having twelve pentagons as sides seemed to them dangerous. It was mystically associated with the Cosmos. The other four regular solids were identified, somehow, with the four “elements” then imagined to constitute the world; earth, fire, air and water. The fifth regular solid must then, they thought, correspond to some fifth element that could only be the substance of the heavenly bodies. (This notion of a fifth essence is the origin of our word quintessence.) Ordinary people were to be kept ignorant of the dodecahedron.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
That this exceptionally scholarly man whose judgments, always rich and sensitive, though sometimes austere, should have embarked on an intensely romantic retelling of the old Cornish legend of that famous pair of tragic lovers, Tristan and Queen Iseult, is intriguing in itself. But what makes it even more fascinating is that Daphne du Maurier, asked by “Q” ’s daughter long after her father’s death to finish this novel that he had set aside “near the end of a chapter, halfway through,” did so in such a skillful fashion that it is impossible to guess with any certainty the exact point at which she began to write. She says, in a modest foreword, that she “could not imitate ‘Q’’s style… that would have been robbing the dead,” but she had known him when she was a child, remembered him as a genial host at many a Sunday supper, and “by thinking back to conversations long forgotten” she could recapture something of the man himself and trust herself to “fall into his mood.
Daphne du Maurier (Castle Dor)
And, so, what was it that elevated Rubi from dictator's son-in-law to movie star's husband to the sort of man who might capture the hand of the world's wealthiest heiress? Well, there was his native charm. People who knew him, even if only casually, even if they were predisposed to be suspicious or resentful of him, came away liking him. He picked up checks; he had courtly manners; he kept the party gay and lively; he was attentive to women but made men feel at ease; he was smoothly quick to rise from his chair when introduced, to open doors, to light a lady's cigarette ("I have the fastest cigarette lighter in the house," he once boasted): the quintessential chivalrous gent of manners. The encomia, if bland, were universal. "He's a very nice guy," swore gossip columnist Earl Wilson, who stayed with Rubi in Paris. ""I'm fond of him," said John Perona, owner of New York's El Morocco. "Rubi's got a nice personality and is completely masculine," attested a New York clubgoer. "He has a lot of men friends, which, I suppose, is unusual. Aly Khan, for instance, has few male friends. But everyone I know thinks Rubi is a good guy." "He is one of the nicest guys I know," declared that famed chum of famed playboys Peter Lawford. "A really charming man- witty, fun to be with, and a he-man." There were a few tricks to his trade. A society photographer judged him with a professional eye thus: "He can meet you for a minute and a month later remember you very well." An author who played polo with him put it this way: "He had a trick that never failed. When he spoke with someone, whether man or woman, it seemed as if the rest of the world had lost all interest for him. He could hang on the words of a woman or man who spoke only banalities as if the very future of the world- and his future, especially- depended on those words." But there was something deeper to his charm, something irresistible in particular when he turned it on women. It didn't reveal itself in photos, and not every woman was susceptible to it, but it was palpable and, when it worked, unforgettable. Hollywood dirt doyenne Hedda Hoppe declared, "A friend says he has the most perfect manners she has ever encountered. He wraps his charm around your shoulders like a Russian sable coat." Gossip columnist Shelia Graham was chary when invited to bring her eleven-year-old daughter to a lunch with Rubi in London, and her wariness was transmitted to the girl, who wiped her hand off on her dress after Rubi kissed it in a formal greeting; by the end of lunch, he had won the child over with his enthusiastic, spontaneous manner, full of compliments but never cloying. "All done effortlessly," Graham marveled. "He was probably a charming baby, I am sure that women rushed to coo over him in the cradle." Elsa Maxwell, yet another gossip, but also a society gadabout and hostess who claimed a key role in at least one of Rubi's famous liaisons, put it thus: "You expect Rubi to be a very dangerous young man who personifies the wolf. Instead, you meet someone who is so unbelievably charming and thoughtful that you are put off-guard before you know it." But charm would only take a man so far. Rubi was becoming and international legend not because he could fascinate a young girl but because he could intoxicate sophisticated women. p124
Shawn Levy (The Last Playboy : the High Life of Porfirio Rubirosa)
For the lady’s husband to become actively jealous was considered both doltish and dishonorable, a breach of the spirit of courtesy. Yet the record suggests that this was a fairly common occurrence and one of the occupational hazards of being a troubadour. The most famous crime passionnel of the epoch was the murder of Guilhem de Cabestanh, a troubadour knight whose love for the Lady Seremonda aroused the jealousy of her husband, Raimon de Castel-Roussillon. The story goes that Raimon killed Guilhem while he was out hunting, removed the heart from the body, and had it served to his wife for dinner, cooked and seasoned with pepper. Then comes the great confrontation: “And when the lady had eaten of it, RAimon de Castel-Roussillon said unto her: “Know you of what you have eaten?’ And she said, ‘I know not, save that the taste thereof is good and savoury.’ Then he said to her that that she had eaten of was in very truth the head of SIr Guilhem of Cabestanh, and caused the head to be brought before her, that she might the more readily believe it. And when the lady had seen and heard this, she straightway fell into a swoon, and when she was recovered of it, she spake and said: “Of a truth, my Lord, such good meat have you given me that never more will I eat of other.” THen he, hearing this, ran upon her with his sword and would have struck at her head, but the lady ran to a balcony, and cast herself down, and so died.” ...the story is probably apocryphal… grisly details...borrowed from an ancient legend...the Middle Ages believed it and drew the intended moral conclusion-that husbands should leave well enough alone. Raimon was held up to scorn while Guilhem became one of the great heroes of the troubadour epoch.
Horizon Magazine, Summer 1970
I’ve worn Niki’s pants for two days now. I thought a third day in the same clothes might be pushing it.” Ian shrugged with indifference. “It might send Derian through the roof, but it doesn’t bother me. Wear what you want to wear.” Eena wrinkled her nose at him. “Do you really feel that way or are you trying to appear more laissez-faire than Derian?” “More laissez-faire?” “Yes. That’s a real word.” “Two words actually,” he grinned. “Laissez faire et laissez passer, le monde va de lui même!" He coated the words with a heavy French accent. Eena gawked at him. “Since when do you speak French?” “I don’t.” Ian chuckled. “But I did do some research in world history the year I followed you around on Earth. Physics was a joke, but history—that I found fascinating.” Slapping a hand against her chest, Eena exclaimed, “I can’t believe it! Unbeknownst to me, Ian actually studied something in high school other than the library’s collection of sci-fi paperbacks!” He grimaced at her exaggerated performance before defending his preferred choice of reading material. “Hey, popular literature is a valuable and enlightening form of world history. You would know that if you read a book or two.” She ignored his reproach and asked with curiosity, “What exactly did you say?” “In French?” “Duh, yes.” “Don’t ‘duh’ me, you could easily have been referring to my remark about enlightening literature. I know the value of a good book is hard for you to comprehend.” He grinned crookedly at her look of offense and then moved into an English translation of his French quote. “Let it do and let it pass, the world goes on by itself.” “Hmm. And where did that saying come from?” Ian delivered his answer with a surprisingly straight face. “That is what the French Monarch said when his queen began dressing casually. The French revolution started one week following that famous declaration, right after the queen was beheaded by the rest of the aristocracy in her favorite pair of scroungy jeans.” “You are such a brazen-tongued liar!
Richelle E. Goodrich (Eena, The Companionship of the Dragon's Soul (The Harrowbethian Saga #6))
In 1910 Leroux had his greatest literary success with Le Fantôme de l’Opéra (The Phantom of the Opera). This is both a detective story and a dark romantic melodrama and was inspired by Leroux’s passion for and obsession with the Paris Opera House. And there is no mystery as to why he found the building so fascinating because it is one of the architectural wonders of the nineteenth century. The opulent design and the fantastically luxurious furnishings added to its glory, making it the most famous and prestigious opera house in all Europe. The structure comprises seventeen floors, including five deep and vast cellars and sub cellars beneath the building. The size of the Paris Opera House is difficult to conceive. According to an article in Scribner’s Magazine in 1879, just after it first opened to the public, the Opera House contained 2,531 doors with 7,593 keys. There were nine vast reservoirs, with two tanks holding a total of 22,222 gallons of water. At the time there were fourteen furnaces used to provide the heating, and dressing-rooms for five hundred performers. There was a stable for a dozen or so horses which were used in the more ambitious productions. In essence then the Paris Opera House was like a very small magnificent city. During a visit there, Leroux heard the legend of a bizarre figure, thought by many to be a ghost, who had lived secretly in the cavernous labyrinth of the Opera cellars and who, apparently, engineered some terrible accidents within the theatre as though he bore it a tremendous grudge. These stories whetted Leroux’s journalistic appetite. Convinced that there was some truth behind these weird tales, he investigated further and acquired a series of accounts relating to the mysterious ‘ghost’. It was then that he decided to turn these titillating titbits of theatre gossip into a novel. The building is ideal for a dark, fantastic Grand Guignol scenario. It is believed that during the construction of the Opera House it became necessary to pump underground water away from the foundation pit of the building, thus creating a huge subterranean lake which inspired Leroux to use it as one of his settings, the lair, in fact, of the Phantom. With its extraordinary maze-like structure, the various stage devices primed for magical stage effects and that remarkable subterranean lake, the Opera House is not only the ideal backdrop for this romantic fantasy but it also emerges as one of the main characters of this compelling tale. In using the real Opera House as its setting, Leroux was able to enhance the overall sense of realism in his novel.
David Stuart Davies (The Phantom of the Opera)
One can take the ape out of the jungle, but not the jungle out of the ape. This also applies to us, bipedal apes. Ever since our ancestors swung from tree to tree, life in small groups has been an obsession of ours. We can’t get enough of politicians thumping their chests on television, soap opera stars who swing from tryst to tryst, and reality shows about who’s in and who’s out. It would be easy to make fun of all this primate behavior if not for the fact that our fellow simians take the pursuit of power and sex just as seriously as we do. We share more with them than power and sex, though. Fellow-feeling and empathy are equally important, but they’re rarely mentioned as part of our biological heritage. We would much rather blame nature for what we don’t like in ourselves than credit it for what we do like. As Katharine Hepburn famously put it in The African Queen, ”Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.” This opinion is still very much with us. Of the millions of pages written over the centuries about human nature, none are as bleak as those of the last three decades, and none as wrong. We hear that we have selfish genes, that human goodness is a sham, and that we act morally only to impress others. But if all that people care about is their own good, why does a day-old baby cry when it hears another baby cry? This is how empathy starts. Not very sophisticated perhaps, but we can be sure that a newborn doesn’t try to impress. We are born with impulses that draw us to others and that later in life make us care about them. The possibility that empathy is part of our primate heritage ought to make us happy, but we’re not in the habit of embracing our nature. When people commit genocide, we call them ”animals”. But when they give to the poor, we praise them for being ”humane”. We like to claim the latter behavior for ourselves. It wasn’t until an ape saved a member of our own species that there was a public awakening to the possibility of nonhuman humaneness. This happened on August 16, 1996, when an eight-year-old female gorilla named Binti Jua helped a three-year-old boy who had fallen eighteen feet into the primate exhibit at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. Reacting immediately, Binti scooped up the boy and carried him to safety. She sat down on a log in a stream, cradling the boy in her lap, giving him a few gentle back pats before taking him to the waiting zoo staff. This simple act of sympathy, captured on video and shown around the world, touched many hearts, and Binti was hailed as a heroine. It was the first time in U.S. history that an ape figured in the speeches of leading politicians, who held her up as a model of compassion. That Binti’s behavior caused such surprise among humans says a lot about the way animals are depicted in the media. She really did nothing unusual, or at least nothing an ape wouldn’t do for any juvenile of her own species. While recent nature documentaries focus on ferocious beasts (or the macho men who wrestle them to the ground), I think it’s vital to convey the true breadth and depth of our connection with nature. This book explores the fascinating and frightening parallels between primate behavior and our own, with equal regard for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Frans de Waal (Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are)
It actually amazes me that there are people like that, who talk and talk and talk but have never been punched in the face; who just yell at each other and pray that a bouncer comes. I find that legitimately fascinating.
Paul Lazenby (When We Were Bouncers: Famous Actors, Athletes and Others Tell Insane Stories of Their Days Behind the Velvet Rope)
This is a fascinating glamour of the spiritual path. It must be understood that GOD created everyone with a certain unique puzzle piece in the Divine Plan. It is only when all people fulfill their puzzle piece that the Divine Plan can work out. What the negative ego will do, however, is tell a person that it wants them to live out someone else’s puzzle piece. The negative ego feels that their puzzle piece is not glamorous enough. The negative ego may tell you to write a book, when it is not really your dharma to do so. The negative ego may want you to be famous and a player on the world stage, when that is not your puzzle piece. The negative ego may tell you that it wants you to be a channel or spiritual lecturer on a large scale, however, that is not your puzzle piece. I have seen many lightworkers and spiritual leaders get incredibly fouled up and fragmented by allowing this glamour of the negative ego to seduce them. True inner peace and fulfillment can only be found by living out the puzzle piece that is your true destiny, as GOD would have it be. This is also the puzzle piece that will bring you the greatest amount of success and the least amount of stress!
Joshua D. Stone (The Golden Book of Melchizedek: How to Become an Integrated Christ/Buddha in This Lifetime Volume 1)
Becoming a woman felt a bit like becoming famous. For, from being benevolently generally ignored – the base-line existence of most children – a teenage girl is suddenly fascinating to others, and gets bombarded with questions: What size are you? Have you done it yet? Will you have sex with me? Have you got ID? Do you want to try a puff of this? Are you seeing anyone? Have you got protection? What’s your signature style? Can you walk in heels? Who are your heroes? Are you getting a Brazilian? What porn do you like? Do you want to get married? When are you going to have kids? Are you a feminist? Were you just flirting with that man? What do you want to do? WHO ARE YOU? All ridiculous questions to ask of a 13-year-old simply because she now needs a bra. They might as well have been asking my dog. I had absolutely no idea.
Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
A well-lived life of virtue and work in anonymity is now perceived as “drab and undesirable,” while according to Hollywood writer, Clive James, «fame (is) found increasingly fascinating.»518 Instead of actions and virtues taking on lives greater than any one person, the cult of personality dominates—the celebrity is remembered for who he is, not for what he lived. In such circumstances, latter-day Napoleons—not Cincinnati—thrive, the former having thirsted so badly “to be famous, and…want(ing)…fame to last after. death.”519 Daniel Boorstin contrasts the heroism of values and deeds with that of celebrity:   A man’s name (previously) was not apt to become a household word unless he exemplified greatness in some way or other. The twentieth century has confused celebrity worship and hero worship. We have willingly been misled into believing. that fame—well-knowness—is. a hallmark ofgreatness.520
Michael J. Hillyard (Cincinnatus and the Citizen-Servant Ideal: The Roman Legend's Life, Times, and Legacy)
What’s fascinating is that most guards in the Stanford Prison Experiment remained hesitant to apply ‘tough’ tactics at all, even under mounting pressure. Two-thirds refused to take part in the sadistic games. One-third treated the prisoners with kindness, to Zimbardo and his team’s frustration. One of the guards resigned the Sunday before the experiment started, saying he couldn’t go along with the instructions. Most of the subjects stuck it out because Zimbardo paid well. They earned $15 a day–equivalent to about $100 now–but didn’t get the money until afterwards. Guards and prisoners alike feared that if they didn’t play along in Zimbardo’s dramatic production, they wouldn’t get paid. But money was not enough incentive for one prisoner, who got so fed up after the first day that he wanted to quit. This was prisoner number 8612, twenty-two-year-old Douglas Korpi, who broke down on day two (‘I mean, Jesus Christ […] I just can’t take it anymore!’21). His breakdown would feature in all the documentaries and become the most famous recording from the whole Stanford Prison Experiment. A journalist looked him up in the summer of 2017.22 Korpi told him the breakdown had been faked–play-acted from start to finish. Not that he’d ever made a secret of this. In fact, he told several people after the experiment ended: Zimbardo, for example, who ignored him, and a documentary filmmaker, who edited it out of his movie.
Rutger Bregman (Humankind: A Hopeful History)
All of these other people threw themselves into the challenges, yet we don’t remember their names. The razzle-dazzle process that transforms nobodies into exemplary heroes is a curious one because sometimes it celebrates valour while simultaneously ignoring it in others. None of these forgotten people were any less altruistic than the eventual superstars bathed in limelight, but it was only Darling, Nightingale and Seacole who emitted the right sort of narrative charisma. The media found them intrinsically fascinating, and so only they were forged into public heroes, while their comrades in risk slunk back into anonymity.
Greg Jenner (Dead Famous: An Unexpected History of Celebrity from Bronze Age to Silver Screen)
In 1989, Spy Magazine sent out small checks to some of the wealthiest and most famous people to see who would cash them. They first sent out checks for $1.11 to 58 people; 26 people cashed them. They sent a second check for $0.64 to the 26 people who cashed the first check; 13 people cashed the second check. They sent a third check for $0.13 to the 13 people who cashed the second check; only 2 people, a Saudi Arabian arms dealer and Donald Trump, cashed the third check.
David Fickes (Really Interesting Stuff You Don't Need to Know Volume 2: 1,200 Fascinating Facts)
When acquaintances expressed their fascination with his new Palm Beach home {Mar-A-Lago} , the stockbroker often shrugged cynically. 'You know Marjorie said she as going to build a little cottage by the sea. Look what we got!
Nancy Rubin Stuart (American Empress: The Life and Times of Marjorie Merriweather Post)
From Alexander the Great to Lord Byron, we have always been fascinated with the famous. But never has celebrity culture played such a dominant role in so many aspects of our lives. It has a measurable influence on individual health-care decisions, the things we do to stay healthy, how we view ourselves physically, the material goods we want to possess, and our future career aspirations
Timothy Caulfield (Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: How the Famous Sell Us Elixirs of Health, Beauty & Happiness)
The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting. It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example: Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating. None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. The narrator of this story is Steve Jobs, the legendary CEO of Apple. The story was part of his famous Stanford commencement speech in 2005.[23] It’s a perfect illustration of how passion and purpose drive success, not the crossing of an imaginary finish line in the future. Forget the finish line. It doesn’t exist. Instead, look for passion and purpose directly in front of you. The dots will connect later, I promise—and so does Steve.
Jesse Tevelow (The Connection Algorithm: Take Risks, Defy the Status Quo, and Live Your Passions)
Anyone young, famous and beautiful who dies young is forever frozen in time and fascinating to all of us.
Deb Stratas (Diana, A Spencer in Love)
In the same way that Firestone’s embrace of scientific and technological progress as manifest destiny tips its hat to Marx and Engels, so also it resembles (perhaps even more closely) the Marxist-inspired biofuturism of the interwar period, particularly in Britain, in the work of writers such as H. G. Wells, J. B. S. Haldane, J. D. Bernal, Julian Huxley, Conrad Waddington, and their contemporaries (including Gregory Bateson and Joseph Needham, the latter of whose embryological interests led to his enduring fascination with the history of technology in China). Interestingly, it is also in these early twentieth century writings that ideas about artificial reproduction, cybernation, space travel, genetic modification, and ectogenesis abound. As cultural theorist Susan Squier has demonstrated, debates about ectogenesis were crucial to both the scientific ambitions and futuristic narratives of many of the United Kingdom’s most eminent biologists from the 1920s and the 1930s onward. As John Burdon Sanderson (“Jack”) Haldane speculated in his famous 1923 paper “Daedalus, or Science and the Future” (originally read to the Heretics society in Cambridge) ectogenesis could provide a more efficient and rational basis for human reproduction in the future: [W]e can take an ovary from a woman, and keep it growing in a suitable fluid for as long as twenty years, producing a fresh ovum each month, of which 90 per cent can be fertilized, and the embryos grown successfully for nine months, and then brought out into the air.
Mandy Merck (Further Adventures of The Dialectic of Sex: Critical Essays on Shulamith Firestone (Breaking Feminist Waves))
The relationship between the famous and the public who sustain them is governed by a striking paradox. Infinitely remote, the great stars of politics, film and entertainment move across an electric terrain of limousines, bodyguards and private helicopters. At the same time, the zoom lens and the interview camera bring them so near to us that we know their faces and their smallest gestures more intimately than those of our friends. Somewhere in this paradoxical space our imaginations are free to range, and we find ourselves experimenting like impresarios with all the possibilities that these magnified figures seem to offer us. How did Garbo brush her teeth, shave her armpits, probe a worry-line? The most intimate details of their lives seem to lie beyond an already open bathroom door that our imaginations can easily push aside. Caught in the glare of our relentless fascination, they can do nothing to stop us exploring every blocked pore and hesitant glance, imagining ourselves their lovers and confidantes. In our minds we can assign them any roles we choose, submit them to any passion or humiliation. And as they age, we can remodel their features to sustain our deathless dream of them. In a TV interview a few years ago, the wife of a famous Beverly Hills plastic surgeon revealed that throughout their marriage her husband had continually re-styled her face and body, pointing a breast here, tucking in a nostril there. She seemed supremely confident of her attractions. But as she said: ‘He will never leave me, because he can always change me.’ Something of the same anatomizing fascination can be seen in the present pieces, which also show, I hope, the reductive drive of the scientific text as it moves on its collision course with the most obsessive pornography. What seems so strange is that these neutral accounts of operating procedures taken from a textbook of plastic surgery can be radically transformed by the simple substitution of the anonymous ‘patient’ with the name of a public figure, as if the literature and conduct of science constitute a vast dormant pornography waiting to be woken by the magic of fame.
J.G. Ballard (The Atrocity Exhibition)
Leonardo da Vinci. His voluminous notebooks reveal his peculiar fascination with observation and invention. This is his Aristotelian side. But his famous etching of Vitruvian Man reveals his more mystical, Platonic side.
Arthur Herman (The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization)
Political authority, the authority of the State, may arise in a number of possible ways: in Locke's phrase, for instance, a father may become the "politic monarch" of an extended family; or a judge may acquire kingly authority in addition, as in Herodotus' tale. Whatever its first origin, political authority tends to include all four pure types of authority. Medieval scholastic teachings of the divine right of kings display this full extent of political authority. Even in this context, however, calls for independence of the judicial power arose, as exemplified by the Magna Carta; in this way the fact was manifested that the judge's authority, rooted in Eternity, stands apart from the three temporal authorities, which more easily go together, of father, master, and leader. The medieval teaching of the full extent of political authority is complicated and undermined by the existence of an unresolved conflict, namely that arising between ecclesiastical and state power, between Pope and Emperor, on account of the failure to work out an adequate distinction between the political and the ecclesiastical realms. The teachings of absolutism by thinkers such as Bodin and Hobbes resolved this conflict through a unified teaching of sovereignty that removed independent theological authority from the political realm. In reaction to actual and potential abuses of absolutism, constitutional teachings arose (often resting on the working hypothesis of a "social contract") and developed—most famously in Montesquieu—a doctrine of "separation of powers." This new tradition focused its attention on dividing and balancing political power, with a view to restricting it from despotic or tyrannical excess. Kojève makes the astute and fascinating observation that in this development from absolutism to constitutionalism, the authority of the father silently drops out of the picture, without any detailed analysis or discussion; political authority comes to be discussed as a combination of the authority of judge, leader, and master, viewed as judicial power, legislative power, and executive power. In this connection, Kojève makes the conservative or traditionalist Hegelian suggestion that, with the authority of the father dropped from the political realm, the political authority, disconnected from its past, will have a tendency towards constant change.
James H. Nichols (Alexandre Kojève: Wisdom at the End of History (20th Century Political Thinkers))
. . . The idea that sex is something grave belongs to a certain Judeo-Christian superstition. Georges Bataille sees eroticism as a wound through which beings communicate violently, and [René] Étiemble reproaches him for his ‘inverted Christianity,’ with his fascination for the Eros-Thanatos pair. True eroticism is gentle, airy, innocent. Even Sade looks still far too Catholic. We’ve got to de-dramatize. Think of springtime warmth, when the air becomes a vehicle for pollen and the perfume of vigorous activity: ‘All that wonderful awakening of April and May is the vast expanse of sex that proposes voluptuousness sotto voce.’ Let’s not be afraid to be as naive as flowers: pants off and under the sun. Let’s be as simple as doves: let’s mate without fear. Future purity consists of merging with that ‘endless sex orgy… With movies in between.’ The corpus cavernosum has not left the caves. It’s less than the shadow of a shadow. Now we only talk about the sex of the angels—without flesh nor pregnancies, without history nor intimacy, beyond the female and the male, far from marriage and circumcision (a pure spirit has no foreskin). But even angels still have too much consistency. And besides, we don’t believe in them. Rather, let’s compare our sex to Lichtenberg’s famous knife, ‘without a blade, for which the handle is missing’—a knife that cuts nothing…
Fabrice Hadjadj (La Profondeur des sexes: Pour une mystique de la chair)
Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite Another Time in a Vacuum by Roland Burisch is a witty fantasy adventure of anachronistic proportions. Meet Monty, a timetraveling historian who travels back to 1673. Imagine the thrill of excitement that greets him as he meets one of history’s most important diarists, Samuel Pepys. He musters the courage to tell Pepys that he has important information, but the eminent diarist is suspicious that he could be an extortionist. Monty tells Pepys that he is from the future and that he is familiar with the contents of Pepys’s diaries. Monty introduces the diarist to his mobile phone to lend authenticity to his claim. Monty remembers that Sir Isaac Newton is alive in the same period, with which Pepys concurs, unless Newton is beheaded for heresy. But Monty tells him that Newton will go down in history for his work. This fills Pepys with disbelief. Monty brings the two men into the present, and these two historical figures will witness the contemporary period with awe and bewilderment, an adventure that they will fill with many questions. Another Time in a Vacuum is a fascinating time-travel adventure that is intelligent, witty, and at times, sad. While this novel takes the idea of time travel as an essential element in the storyline, it is more about a comparative look at the lifestyle and norms of the past with the present. It is inevitable that the two famous men will not understand Monty initially. But Roland Burisch equips his plot with confidence in the intelligence of Pepys and Newton. They eventually understand why Monty exists in their time without many ramifications about the historical timeline getting altered. Burisch wisely hinges on the mechanics of dialogue and the interaction of the trio for the plot. It is also one of the reasons why this novel works because you like the quirks of the characters. They are wise, funny, and fish out of water. It sounds like a story that you will enjoy reading. It is.
Roland Burisch (Another TIME in a VACUUM)
Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite Another Time in a Vacuum by Roland Burisch is a witty fantasy adventure of anachronistic proportions. Meet Monty, a timetraveling historian who travels back to 1673. Imagine the thrill of excitement that greets him as he meets one of history’s most important diarists, Samuel Pepys. He musters the courage to tell Pepys that he has important information, but the eminent diarist is suspicious that he could be an extortionist. Monty tells Pepys that he is from the future and that he is familiar with the contents of Pepys’s diaries. Monty introduces the diarist to his mobile phone to lend authenticity to his claim. Monty remembers that Sir Isaac Newton is alive in the same period, with which Pepys concurs, unless Newton has been beheaded for heresy. But Monty tells him that Newton will go down in history for his work. This fills Pepys with disbelief. Monty brings the two men into the present, and these two historical figures will witness the contemporary period with awe and bewilderment, an adventure that they will fill with many questions. Another Time in a Vacuum is a fascinating time-travel adventure that is intelligent, witty, and at times, sad. While this novel takes the idea of time travel as an essential element in the storyline, it is more about a comparative look at the lifestyle and norms of the past with the present. It is inevitable that the two famous men will not understand Monty initially. But Roland Burisch equips his plot with confidence in the intelligence of Pepys and Newton. They eventually understand why Monty exists in their time without many ramifications about the historical timeline getting altered. Burisch wisely hinges on the mechanics of dialogue and the interaction of the trio for the plot. It is also one of the reasons why this novel works because you like the quirks of the characters. They are wise, funny, and fish out of water. It sounds like a story that you will enjoy reading. It is.
Roland Burisch (Another TIME in a VACUUM)
If you are a young journalist or student of journalism, I want you to know we need you. Your country needs you. But we need you to be good. Journalism is hard work with tough hours and far too much time away from family. The hard work comes in digging for truth, verifying facts with original sources and writing clearly and concisely on deadline. It is not for the faint of heart and not for those who just want to be famous. But, if you have fire in the belly for it, I cannot imagine a more fascinating, rewarding career. Journalism is the world’s greatest continuing education program. It is also one of those professions where values and ethics matter every day. Journalism is a vocation in which you can pursue justice and practice art.
Scott Pelley (Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter's Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times)
Near the entrance to the famous Specimen Room at Tokyo University, there was a lavishly gilded casket that housed an ancient Egyptian mummy, said by some to have been the favorite concubine of King Tut himself. Elsewhere in the room, the disembodied brains of such celebrated novelists as Natsume Soseki and Kanzo Uchimura were on display, floating dreamily in formaldehyde. Then there was the distinguished married couple, both professors of medicine, who had willed their bodies to science in the 1920s. Now their perfect ivory skeletons stood at attention by the entrance, like a pair of sentries. Interesting though these objects were, the most riveting thing in the room was the collection of vividly colored, intricately-tattooed skins hanging on the walls and suspended from the ceiling. They looked to Kenzo like an eerie parade of souls in limbo, and he gazed at them in awe and fascination.
Akimitsu Takagi (The Tattoo Murder Case)
It would be fascinating — though probably impossible — to write a history of books, designs, plans, and documents attributed to famous men that were actually written by their secretaries.
David Graeber (Bullshit Jobs: A Theory)
La Revue Nègre was a bold statement, drawing from the long history of both Black American vernacular dance and the minstrel and vaudeville theater in which Baker had performed in the United States. It contained elements of the shimmy and the shake, and challenged traditional Western European ideas of dance. “All of these moves that in the European mode would have been considered awkward become beautiful, sexy, silly, and savvy at the same time,” explains Dixon Gottschild. Later, as the performance evolved, Baker incorporated her famous banana skirt and, eventually, a pet cheetah who regularly made his way into the orchestra pit—elements that played into the idea of Baker as an exotic creature and added notes of vaudeville humor. Baker’s performances were complex, as are their legacy. Some have characterized her as a twentieth-century Sarah Baartman, another Black woman put on display for the titillation of fascinated, scandalized bourgeois white spectators. But she is often also criticized for exoticizing herself, knowingly participating in her own exploitation, playing into African stereotypes with her nudity, the banana skirt, and the cheetah. Others interpret La Revue Nègre as a means of reclaiming those stereotypes: Baker enthusiastically, and freely, participated in the performances and made lots of money doing it, and she surely understood that she was engaging with, and even subverting, stereotypes of Black femininity. She was also funny, and her performances always contained elements of humor and parody. From her early days as a chorus girl, she would add an element of knowingness by feigning being a bad dancer onstage for a laugh. She may have been sexualized and objectified by her largely white audience in Paris, but she also maintained significant control over what she was doing.
Heather Radke (Butts: A Backstory)
Otto captured this sacred sixth sense, at once subject and object, in a famous Latin sound bite: the sacred is the mysterium tremendum et fascinans, that is, the mystical (mysterium) as both fucking scary (tremendum) and utterly fascinating (fascinans).80 (page 9) With the sacred viewed within this gripping, emotionally charged sense, it is hardly surprising that these topics are too disturbing to be studied either by religious scholarship or by science. The presence of real siddhis, real psychic effects lurking in the dark boundaries between mind and matter, are so frightening and disorienting that defense mechanisms immediately snap into place to protect our psyches from these disturbing thoughts. We become blind to personal psychic episodes and to the supportive scientific evidence, we conveniently forget mind-shattering synchronicities, and if the intensity of the mysterium tremendum becomes too hot, we angrily deny any interest in the topic while backing away and vigorously making the sign of the cross. Within science this sort of behavior is understandable; science doesn’t like what it can’t explain because it makes scientists feel stupid. But the same resistance is also endemic in comparative religion scholarship, which is supposed to be the discipline that studies the sacred. As Kripal says, scholars of religion “simply ignore … or brush their data aside as ‘primitive,’ ‘mistaken,’ and so on. Now the dismissing word in vogue is ‘anecdotal’ ” (pp. 17–18).80 One reason for this odd state of affairs is that real psi and real siddhis powerfully refute Descartes’s dualism, the very idea that led to the split between science, which deals with matter, and the humanities, which deal with mind. This distinction has carved up the world so successfully that when phenomena appear that harshly illuminate the artificial nature of the split, the resulting glare, says Kripal, “can only violate and offend our present order of knowledge and possibility” (page 24).80 From this analysis, Kripal arrives at his central argument: Psychic phenomena may be thought of as symbols that indicate “the irruption [a bursting in] of meaning in the physical world via the radical collapse of the subject-object structure itself. They are not simply physical events. They are also meaning events” (page 25).80 In other words, where objective and subjective meet, the fabric of reality itself blurs. This is a place that is not quite physical, and not quite mental, but a limbo that somehow contains and creates both.
Dean Radin (Supernormal: Science, Yoga and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities)
There’s a car racing metaphor I find helpful when I’m trying to remind myself to look up from my laptop and take a break. When I was a child, I visited the maintenance pit of the famous Silverstone Formula One racetrack, and of course it was fascinating to learn about the tire switches and refueling that mechanics were able to do in just a few seconds. But what stayed with me most was the idea that success was determined not only by the car’s speed on the track, but also by the “pit strategy”—the race team’s scheduled pit stops. Each stop was a tactical investment in performance, a deliberate slowing down, to enable the car to speed up afterward. Pit stops are not wasted time—they’re an essential part of an efficient, well-planned race. And your brain is like that race car. Downtime is as important to your work as every other part of your day, and you need to make sure you get enough of that time throughout the day. Plan for it, protect it, respect it.
Caroline Webb (How To Have A Good Day: The Essential Toolkit for a Productive Day at Work and Beyond)
This book is the culmination of, the capstone to Robert Ornstein’s brilliant, ground-breaking half century of research into the dimensions, capacities, and purposes of human consciousness. Deeply thoughtful and wide-ranging in scope, his final book goes well beyond the “left-brain, right-brain” work for which he originally became famous, this time bringing the often-confusing and divisive subject of spirituality into a clear and useful 21st-century focus, presenting it as a matter of perception, not belief. Using rigorous, rational, scientific analysis – always his greatest strength – Ornstein shows that the spiritual impulse is innate, a human ability that from the Ice Age forward has been essential to problem solving. As a final part of his legacy, he lays out how this capacity to reach beyond the everyday can, cleared of cobwebs and seen afresh, play a role and be part of preparing humanity to confront today’s staggering global problems. A rewarding and fascinating book. — Tony Hiss, author of Rescuing the Planet: Protecting Half the Land to Heal the Earth
Robert Ornstein (God 4.0: On the Nature of Higher Consciousness and the Experience Called “God”)
Several factors are apparent in those with a strong sense of vocation, be it found or created. First, their calling is endlessly fascinating to them. They care about their work and can spend a vast amount of time on it, when others would become bored and move on to something else. They believe their “work is much more fun than fun.”17 Steve Jobs told college students in a now-famous commencement speech that “your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.
Robert Bruce Shaw (All In: How Obsessive Leaders Achieve the Extraordinary)
The Magic Gang was led by the famous magician Jasper Maskelyne and for details of his war years I am indebted to a fascinating book called The War Magician by David Fisher (Cassell).
Elly Griffiths (The Zig Zag Girl (The Brighton Mysteries #1))
Perhaps the most famous and dramatic example of intellectual development in prison is that of Malcolm X.21 Malcolm Little (as he was born) entered prison immersed in drugs, sex, and petty crime. In prison he met a polymath named John Elton Bembry who was steeped in culture and history, able to hold forth on a wide variety of fascinating topics. On his advice Malcolm began to read—first the dictionary, then books on etymology and linguistics. He studied elementary Latin and German. He converted to Islam, a faith introduced to him by his brothers. In the following years he read the Bible and the Qur’an, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Spinoza, and Kant, as well as works of Asian philosophy. He pored over an especially loved book of the archaeological wonders of the East and the West. He learned the history of colonialism, of slavery, and of African peoples. He felt his old ways of thinking disappear “like snow off of a roof.”22 He filled his letters with verse, writing to his brother: “I’m a real bug for poetry. When you think back over all of our past lives, only poetry could best fit into the vast emptiness created by men.
Zena Hitz (Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life)
We had entered the museum together, but soon I was separated from the group. I lingered near the start of the display, fascinated as well as repelled, transported to the days of my youth in Rhodesia, as I listened to an interview. It was a filmed interview, on a loop, and so the images and the words recurred at regular intervals. A white woman, in her mid-thirties, speaking with those clipped southern African vowels, was setting out her concerns about majority rule. I cannot remember any more detail. But in familiar code-word language, in a reasonable tone, quite matter of fact, as if spelling out the obvious, she justified an evil system. Over, and over, and over again. It became the voice I had heard throughout my youth, and beyond. I watched and listened, mesmerised by this voice from the fifties. Then it hit me. I was overwhelmed by a great wash of sadness for generations lost during the scourge of apartheid. Not just for the millions who died, directly or indirectly, victims of war or preventable disease; but for the might-have-beens, the should-have-beens, the could-have-beens: the unread writers, the unheard musicians, the uncelebrated athletes, the talented and the ordinary – lost to Africa, lost to the world, sacrificed to prejudice. Suddenly and unexpectedly, I was weeping. Or to put it bluntly, I sobbed. There was none of the dignity that can be associated with the word ‘weep’. These were not discreet tears, not dignified drops, rolling down my cheeks. My shoulders shook and my nose ran copiously.
Adam Roberts (Soweto Inside Out: Stories About Africa's Famous Township)
The twentieth-century philosopher of religion Rudolf Otto famously characterized the transcendent God as the mysterium tremendum et fascinans, the mystery that fascinates us even as it causes us to tremble with fear—
Robert Barron (Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith)
This wider history notwithstanding, I believe India still constitutes a special case. Its distinctiveness is threefold. First, the tradition of the thinker-activist persisted far longer in India than elsewhere. While the men who founded the United States in the late eighteenth century had fascinating ideas about democracy and nationhood, thereafter American politicians have merely governed and ruled, or sometimes misgoverned and misruled.1 Their ideas, such as these are, have come from professional ideologues or intellectuals. On the other hand, from the first decades of the nineteenth century until the last decades of the twentieth century, the most influential political thinkers in India were, as often as not, its most influential political actors. Long before India was conceived of as a nation, in the extended run-up to Indian independence, and in the first few decades of freedom, the most interesting reflections on society and politics were offered by men (and women) who were in the thick of political action. Second, the relevance of individual thinkers too has lasted longer in India. For instance, Lenin’s ideas were influential for about seventy years, that is to say, from the time the Soviet state was founded to the time it disappeared. Mao’s heyday was even shorter—roughly three decades, from the victory of the Chinese Revolution in 1949 to the repudiation by Deng Xiaoping of his mentor’s ideas in the late 1970s. Turning to politicians in Western Europe, Churchill’s impassioned defence of the British Empire would find no takers after the 1950s. De Gaulle was famous for his invocation of the ‘grandeur de la France’, but those sentiments have now been (fortunately?) diluted and domesticated by the consolidation of the European Union. On the other hand, as this book will demonstrate, Indian thinkers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries still speak in many ways to the concerns of the present. A third difference has to do with the greater diversity of thinkers within the Indian political tradition. Even Gandhi and Nehru never held the kind of canonical status within their country as Mao or Lenin did in theirs. At any given moment, there were as many Indians who were opposed to their ideas as were guided by them. Moreover, the range of issues debated and acted upon by politicians and social reformers appears to have been far greater in India than in other countries. This depth and diversity of thought was, as I argue below, in good part a product of the depth and diversity of the society itself.
Ramachandra Guha (Makers of Modern India)
From an early age I picked up on the fact that these celebrities seemed more important, as people listened to them, valued them and felt a connection to them. I saw the premium that was put on a famous person’s opinion. Successful people: I wanted to be around them, amongst them, near them. It’s no wonder I ended up working in the magazine industry. I was fascinated by celebrities and what their lives must be like. Every time I was in Sainsbury’s with my mum, the other kids would saunter over to the chocolate and sweets, while I would run over to the magazine section and feast on the cover photos, wondering what these people’s lives were really like behind the scenes.
Emma Gannon (The Success Myth)
For a long time I took a purely theological standpoint on the issue, which is actually so fundamental that it can be used as a springboard for any debate – if environment is the operative factor, for example, if man at the outset is both equal and shapeable and the good man can be shaped by engineering his surroundings, hence my parents’ generation’s belief in the state, the education system and politics, hence their desire to reject everything that had been and hence their new truth, which is not found within man’s inner being, in his detached uniqueness, but on the contrary in areas external to his intrinsic self, in the universal and collective, perhaps expressed in its clearest form by Dag Solstad, who has always been the chronicler of his age, in a text from 1969 containing his famous statement “We won’t give the coffee pot wings”: out with spirituality, out with feeling, in with the new materialism, but it never struck them that the same attitude could lie behind the demolition of old parts of town to make way for roads and parking lots, which naturally the intellectual Left opposed, and perhaps it has not been possible to be aware of this until now when the link between the idea of equality and capitalism, the welfare state and liberalism, Marxist materialism and the consumer society is obvious because the biggest equality creator of all is money, it levels all differences, and if your character and your fate are entities that can be shaped, money is the most natural shaper, and this gives rise to the fascinating phenomena whereby crowds of people assert their individuality and originality by shopping in an identical way while those who ushered all this in with their affirmation of equality, their emphasis on material values and belief in change, are now inveighing against their own handiwork, which they believed the enemy created, but like all simple reasoning this is not wholly true either, life is not a mathematical quantity, it has no theory, only practice, and though it is tempting to understand a generation’s radical rethink of society as being based on its view of the relationship between heredity and environment, this temptation is literary and consists more in the pleasure of speculating, that is, of weaving one’s thoughts through the most disparate areas of human activity, than in the pleasure of proclaiming the truth.
Karl Ove Knausgård (Min kamp 2 (Min kamp, #2))
Snake tongues come in shades of lipstick red, electric blue, and inky black. Outstretched and splayed, they can be longer and wider than their owners’ heads. Kurt Schwenk has been fascinated by them for decades, and he often finds that he’s alone in that. In the second year of his PhD, he told a fellow student what he was working on, eager to revel in the joys of scientific pursuits with a like-minded soul. The student (who is now a famous ecologist) burst out laughing. “That would have been enough to hurt my feelings, but this was a guy who studied the mites that hang out in the nostrils of hummingbirds,” Schwenk tells me, still slightly outraged.
Ed Yong (An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us)
Crow had few peers in the years before…before his transition. But of that latter—change—sufficient has already been recorded elsewhere. A one-time writer of macabre short stories, he occasionally chronicled his own adventures; at other times such work was undertaken by his lifelong friend Henri-Laurent de Marigny (son of Etienne, the world-famous New Orleans mystic), while others of his adventures were reported by mere acquaintances. All of the Titus Crow adventures, in short story or novelette form, are here collected in one volume. They are presented chronologically, as best as may be determined, and along with The Burrowers Beneath and the “post-transition” novels, they complete the Crow canon. In addition to the tales in which Titus Crow is a primary actor, there are three other closely related stories: The Mirror of Nitocris, the one and only personal chronicle of Crow’s apprentice and fellow traveller, de Marigny; Inception, in which Crow plays only a cameo role; and lastly The Black Recalled, in which nothing of Crow appears at all! …Or does it? Only one thing remains to be said. In the light of Titus Crow’s fascination and lifelong affair with matters of dark concern, much of this volume is naturally taken up with narratives of relentless horror. Therefore—it is not a book for the squeamish. You have been warned!
Brian Lumley (The Compleat Crow)