Finest Things In Life Quotes

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All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable." REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE. "Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—" YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES. "So we can believe the big ones?" YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING. "They're not the same at all!" YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED. "Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—" MY POINT EXACTLY.
Terry Pratchett (Hogfather (Discworld, #20; Death, #4))
To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.
Winston S. Churchill
The feeling of awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of which the human psyche is capable. It is a deep aesthetic passion to rank with the finest that music and poetry can deliver. It is truly one of the things that make life worth living and it does so, if anything, more effectively if it convinces us that the time we have for living is quite finite.
Richard Dawkins (Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder)
Lily and James only made you Secret-Keeper because I suggested it,” Black hissed, so venomously that Pettigrew took a step backward. “I thought it was the perfect plan... a bluff... Voldemort would be sure to come after me, would never dream they’d use a weak, talentless thing like you... It must have been the finest moment of your miserable life, telling Voldemort you could hand him the Potters.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3))
The difference between a simpleton and an intelligent man, according to the man who is convinced that he is of the latter category, is that the former wholeheartedly accepts all things that he sees and hears while the latter never admits anything except after a most searching scrutiny. He imagines his intelligence to be a sieve of closely woven mesh through which nothing but the finest can pass. 
R.K. Narayan
Masquerades disclose the reality of souls. As long as no one sees who we are, we can tell the most intimate details of our life. I sometimes muse over this sketch of a story about a man afflicted by one of those personal tragedies born of extreme shyness who one day, while wearing a mask I don’t know where, told another mask all the most personal, most secret, most unthinkable things that could be told about his tragic and serene life. And since no outward detail would give him away, he having disguised even his voice, and since he didn’t take careful note of whoever had listened to him, he could enjoy the ample sensation of knowing that somewhere in the world there was someone who knew him as not even his closest and finest friend did. When he walked down the street he would ask himself if this person, or that one, or that person over there might not be the one to whom he’d once, wearing a mask, told his most private life. Thus would be born in him a new interest in each person, since each person might be his only, unknown confidant.
Fernando Pessoa
Life was charmed but without politics or religion. It was the life of children of the children of the pioneers -life after God- a life of earthly salvation on the edge of heaven. Perhaps this is the finest thing to which we may aspire, the life of peace, the blurring between dream life and real life - and yet I find myself speaking these words with a sense of doubt. I think there was a trade-off somewhere along the line. I think the price we paid for our golden life was an inability to fully believe in love; instead we gained an irony that scorched everything it touched. And I wonder if this irony is the price we paid for the loss of God.
Douglas Coupland (Life After God)
A story wearing another dress every time you hear it - what could be better? A story that grows and puts out flowers like a living thing! But look at the stories people press in books! They may last longer, yes, but they breathe only when someone opens the book. They are sound pressed between the pages, and only a voice can bring them back to life! Then they throw off sparks, Balbulus! Then they go free as birds flying out into the world. Perhaps you're right, and the paper makes them immortal. But why should I care? Will I live on, neatly pressed between the pages with my words? Nonsense! We're none of us immortal; even the finest words don't change that, do they?
Cornelia Funke (Inkspell (Inkworld, #2))
A ruler must learn to persuade and not to compel... he must lay the best coffee hearth to attract the finest men... a good ruler has to learn his world's language... it's different for every world... the language of the rocks and growing things... the language you don't hear just with your ears... the Mystery of Life... not a problem to solve, but a reality to experience... Understanding must move with the flow of the process.
Frank Herbert (Dune (Dune #1))
I've never believed that they're separate. Leonardo da Vinci was a great artist and a great scientist. Michelangelo knew a tremendous amount about how to cut stone at the quarry. The finest dozen computer scientists I know are all musicians. Some are better than others, but they all consider that an important part of their life. I don't believe that the best people in any of these fields see themselves as one branch of a forked tree. I just don't see that.People bring these things together a lot. Dr. Land at Polaroid said, "I want Polaroid to stand at the intersection of art and science," and I've never forgotten that. I think that that's possible, and I think a lot of people have tried.
Steve Jobs
There's lots o' things folks don't 'preciate," replied the sailor-man. "If somethin' would 'most stop your breath, you'd think breathin' easy was the finest thing in life.
L. Frank Baum (The Magic of Oz (Oz #13))
THE ONE THING YOU MUST DO There is one thing in this world you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there's nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life. It's as if a king has sent you to some country to do a task, and you perform a hundred other services, but not the one he sent you to do. So human being come to this world to do particular work. That work is the purpose, and each is specific to the person. If you don't do it, it's as though a priceless Indian sword were used to slice rotten meat. It's a golden bowl being used to cook turnips, when one filing from the bowl could buy a hundred suitable pots. It's like a knife of the finest tempering nailed into a wall to hang things on. You say, "But look, I'm using the dagger. It's not lying idle." Do you hear how ludicrous that sounds? For a penny an iron nail could be bought to serve for that. You say, "But I spend my energies on lofty enterprises. I study jurisprudence and philosophy and logic and astronomy and medicine and the rest." But consider why you do those things. They are all branches of yourself. Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of your lord. Give yourself to the one who already owns your breath and your moments. If you don't, you will be like the man who takes a precious dagger and hammers it into his kitchen wall for a peg to hold his dipper gourd. You'll be wasting valuable keenness and forgetting your dignity and purpose.
Rumi (The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems)
Where has God promised to fulfill our every whim according to the minutia of our earthly desires? Where has He promised to keep us from suffering or disappointment? Things He did not spare His own Son? You were raised in one of the finest manors in the borough, by a man and woman who could not have loved you better. You have been given the best education, the best of everything. You are of sound mind and limb, and yet you dare to rail at God? I for one grow weary of it. Now leave off simpering like an ungrateful brat and make something of this new life you've been given.
Julie Klassen
THE ONE THING YOU MUST DO There is one thing in this world you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there's nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life. It's as if a king has sent you to some country to do a task, and you perform a hundred other services, but not the one he sent you to do. So human being come to this world to do particular work. That work is the purpose, and each is specific to the person. If you don't do it, it's as though a priceless Indian sword were used to slice rotten meat. It's a golden bowl being used to cook turnips, when one filing from the bowl could buy a hundred suitable pots. It's like a knife of the finest tempering nailed into a wall to hang things on. You say, "But look, I'm using the dagger. It's not lying idle." Do you hear how ludicrous that sounds? For a penny an iron nail could be bought to serve for that. You say, "But I spend my energies on lofty enterprises. I study jurisprudence and philosophy and logic and astronomy and medicine and the rest." But consider why you do those things. They are all branches of yourself. Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of your lord. Give yourself to the one who already owns your breath and your moments. If you don't, you will be like the man who takes a precious dagger and hammers it into his kitchen wall for a peg to hold his dipper gourd. You'll be wasting valuable keenness and forgetting your dignity and purpose.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable)
Dude... Things never were the same. Change is... It's what we get. I guess that's my problem - I'm always trying to beat the clock; outrun the universe... Like nothing can change me, as long as I change first. I feel like I'm in this river, just getting swept along... And if I hold on to anyone, if I'm holding on for dear life, I'm not getting anywhere. I'm stuck... I never wanted to get stuck.
Bryan Lee O'Malley (Scott Pilgrim, Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour)
How strange! This bed on which I shall lie has been slept on by more than one dying man, but today it does not repel me! Who knows what corpses have lain on it and for how long? But is a corpse any worse than I? A corpse too knows nothing of its father, mother or sisters or Titus. Nor has a corpse a sweetheart. A corpse, too, is pale, like me. A corpse is cold, just as I am cold and indifferent to everything. A corpse has ceased to live, and I too have had enough of life…. Why do we live on through this wretched life which only devours us and serves to turn us into corpses? The clocks in the Stuttgart belfries strike the midnight hour. Oh how many people have become corpses at this moment! Mothers have been torn from their children, children from their mothers - how many plans have come to nothing, how much sorrow has sprung from these depths, and how much relief!… Virtue and vice have come in the end to the same thing! It seems that to die is man’s finest action - and what might be his worst? To be born, since that is the exact opposite of his best deed. It is therefore right of me to be angry that I was ever born into this world! Why was I not prevented from remaining in a world where I am utterly useless? What good can my existence bring to anyone? … But wait, wait! What’s this? Tears? How long it is since they flowed! How is this, seeing that an arid melancholy has held me for so long in its grip? How good it feels - and sorrowful. Sad but kindly tears! What a strange emotion! Sad but blessed. It is not good for one to be sad, and yet how pleasant it is - a strange state…
Frédéric Chopin
When I thought of myself, of the feelings I had, of the things I thought I understood so well, I imagined myself somehow abstractly, because that other visual recollection was painful and unpleasant for me. No sooner would I call to mind my physical appearance than the finest, most lyrical, wonderful visions would vanish in an instant - so monstrous was its disparity with the intangible, glittering world that existed in my imagination. It seemed to me that there could be no greater contrast than that between my inner life and my outward appearance; sometimes I even imagined that I was trapped in someone else's strange, almost hateful body.
Gaito Gazdanov (Het fantoom van Alexander Wolf)
You know someone is special to you when you're literally captivated by them in even the little moments. The slightest thing they say or do, is like watching the universe unfold. And nothing else matters in those moments. Where you go about your day, & the most capricious of things send you into a whirlwind of thoughts connected to them. And a plethora of thoughts flood into your mind, for no apparent reason other than its them. Or perhaps, you randomly see a picture of them in your news feed & you just pause & look, & the world melts away & all time seems to stop, & there's a radiance that illuminates your life. And you focus on the little details, & wish you could just capture every single detail vividly. And you see their eyes, & though they're merely a moment in time, their eyes are so beautiful, that they transcend the medium & are as if they're there looking back. And all you can do it look into them. Knowing those eyes are what you could look into endlessly. And you know that it's all you could ever want, if for just a single moment in time. Or they share their thoughts, & you rack your brain around how they think. An you just want to understand & know more of their thoughts, simply because they're theirs. They, to you, are a more elegant work of art than even the finest painting, songs or poems of the great artists. And you know that even the most renowned artist couldn't conceive of a more perfect image of beauty. Leonardo, Van Gough, Rembrandt, Picasso, the most renowned artist of time would go mad in attempts to capture even a fraction of such a beautiful sight. That even Shakespeare couldn't put such a person into words. Though there's no doubt they're worthy of being the subject of a Shakespearean sonnet. But it could do no justice to their reality, that because there are no words that truly could ever describe them, even such an attempt would be like trying to describe the complex, wondrous & marvelous nature of the universe in but a single word. That no words, paintings, pictures, or thought could describe them & encapsulate the essence of their grace. And that though no one is truly perfect, they as a person through your eyes, reach a state as near perfect as you could imagine. And even dreams couldn't conceive of a greater wonder of life. It's as if the sum of all the beauty in the world can be found within this one person. It's wonderful, inspiring, breathtaking. Or rather, it's a whirlwind of emotions. Where the wonder & awe bleed into & merge with the disheartening longing, utter belief that you could not for a second touch that with you so desperately struggle & grasp for & an inability to even breath in the moments you're interacting with them. But it's all the more maddening because with all the wanting of your heart, you know it's wanting for something it could never have. That for all your wanting, you know such things are simply & purely unobtainable. And all you can do is hold to adoration & hopes. Hopes that you in your heart know fully are hopeless, but which you can't help but maintain. I think few things are more maddening than that feelings. Most people, when face with such a situation, might despair & grow cynical. But so seldom do we ever meet someone who so maddeningly captivates us, so seldom someone who's very existence throws your world upside down. In a time in which genuine emotion is a scarcity. And pseudo-emotions, frivolous & quick to fade, are rampant. The genuine article is something I cherish. When something makes you feel anything, it's something amazing. Regardless if it's a fervent concoction of the greatest good & the saddest sad. The experience of meeting such a person, who can spark such thoughts & feeling, is a genuine rarity. One in which a given person could go a lifetime without experiencing, but which is worth experiencing. And something that, though ultimately heartbreaking, I wouldn't give up experiencing.
Trevor Driggers
...Is there a more monstrous thought, a more convincing spectacle, a more patent affirmation of the impotence and madness of the brain? War. All our philosophies, religions, arts, techniques and trades lead to nothing but this. The finest flowers of civilization. The purest constructions of thought. The most generous and altruistic passions of the heart. The most heroic gestures of man. War. Now and thousand years ago. Tomorrow and a hundred thousand years ago. No, it's not a ...more "...Is there a more monstrous thought, a more convincing spectacle, a more patent affirmation of the impotence and madness of the brain? War. All our philosophies, religions, arts, techniques and trades lead to nothing but this. The finest flowers of civilization. The purest constructions of thought. The most generous and altruistic passions of the heart. The most heroic gestures of man. War. Now and thousand years ago. Tomorrow and a hundred thousand years ago. No, it's not a question of your country, my German or French friend, or yours, whether you're black or white or Papuan or a Borneo monkey. It's a question of your life. If you want to live, kill. Kill so that you can be free, or eat, or shit. The shameful thing is to kill in masses, at a predetermined hour on a predetermined day, in honour of certain principles, under cover of a flag, with old men nodding approval, to kill in a disinterested or passive way. Stand alone against them all, young man, kill, kill, you are unique, you're the only man alive, kill until the others cut you short with the guillotine or the cord or the rope, with or without ceremony, in the name of the Community or King. What a laugh.
Blaise Cendrars (Moravagine)
For how little have we lost, when the two finest things of all will accompany us wherever we go, universal nature and our individual virtue.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
The most important thing in life it to be true to ourselves, to never give up attempting to become the very finest version of what we wish to be, no matter how arduous that proves to be.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
I believe in Free Will, the Force Almighty by which we conduct ourselves as if we were the sons and daughters of a just and wise God, even if there is no such Supreme Being. And by free will, we can choose to do good on this earth, no matter that we all die, and do not know where we go when we die, or if a justice or explanation awaits us. I believe that we can, through our reason, know what good is, and in the communion of men and women, in which the forgiveness of wrongs will always be more significant than the avenging of them, and that in the beautiful natural world that surrounds us, we represent the best and the finest of beings, for we alone can see that natural beauty, appreciate it, learn from it, weep for it, and seek to conserve it and protect it. I believe finally that we are the only true moral force in the physical world, the makers of, ethics and moral ideas, and that we must be as good as the gods we created in the past to guide us. I believe that through our finest efforts, we will succeed finally in creating heaven on earth, and we do it every time that we love, every time that we embrace, every time that we commit to create rather than destroy, every time that we place life over death, and the natural over what is unnatural, insofar as we are able to define it. And I suppose I do believe in the final analysis that a peace of mind can be obtained in the face of the worst horrors and the worst losses. It can be obtained by faith in change and in will and in accident and by faith in ourselves, that we will do the right thing, more often than not, in the face of adversity. For ours is the power and the glory, because we are capable of visions and ideas which are ultimately stronger and more enduring than we are. That is my credo. That is my belief, for what it's worth, and it sustains me. And if I were to die right now, I wouldn't be afraid. Because I can't believe that horror or chaos awaits us. If any revelation awaits us at all, it must be as good as our ideals and our philosophy. For surely nature must embrace the visible and the invisible, and it couldn't fall short of us. The thing that makes the flowers open and the snowflakes fall must contain a wisdom and a final secret as intricate and beautiful as the blooming camellia or the clouds gathering above, so white and so pure in the blackness. If that isn't so, then we are in the grip of a staggering irony. And all the spooks of hell might as well dance. There could be a devil. People who burn other people to death are fine. There could be anything. But the world is simply to beautiful for that. At least it seems that way to me.
Anne Rice (The Witching Hour (Lives of the Mayfair Witches, #1))
We've inherited many ideas about writing that emerged in the eighteenth century, especially an interest in literature as both an expression and an exploration of the self. This development — part of what distinguishes the "modern" from the "early modern" — has shaped the work of many of our most celebrated authors, whose personal experiences indelibly and visibly mark their writing. It's fair to say that the fiction and poetry of many of the finest writers of the past century or so — and I'm thinking here of Conrad, Proust, Lawrence, Joyce, Woolf, Kafka, Plath, Ellison, Lowell, Sexton, Roth, and Coetzee, to name but a few — have been deeply autobiographical. The link between the life and the work is one of the things we're curious about and look for when we pick up the latest book by a favorite author.
James Shapiro (Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?)
This sense of being out of time has driven thousands of people from their homes into moving-picture theaters where new universes appear before them, with emphasis on man and his major problem: a thing called, conveniently, love. The Sunday midnight shows do a thriving business, and the people go back to their homes, sick with the sickness of frustration; it is this that makes the city so interesting at night: the people emerging from the theaters, smoking cigarettes and looking desperate, wanting much, the precision, the glory, all the loveliness of life: wanting what is finest and getting nothing. It is saddening to see them, but there is mockery in the heart: one walks among them, laughing at oneself and at them, their midnight staring.
William Saroyan (The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze and Other Stories)
All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need…fantasies to make life bearable.” REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE. “Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—” YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES. “So we can believe the big ones?” YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING. “They’re not the same at all!” YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME…SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED. “Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—” MY POINT EXACTLY. She tried to assemble her thoughts. THERE IS A PLACE WHERE TWO GALAXIES HAVE BEEN COLLIDING FOR A MILLION YEARS, said Death, apropos of nothing. DON’T TRY TO TELL ME THAT’S RIGHT. “Yes, but people don’t think about that,” said Susan. “Somewhere there was a bed…” CORRECT. STARS EXPLODE, WORLDS COLLIDE, THERE’S HARDLY ANYWHERE IN THE UNIVERSE WHERE HUMANS CAN LIVE WITHOUT BEING FROZEN OR FRIED, AND YET YOU BELIEVE THAT A…A BED IS A NORMAL THING. IT IS THE MOST AMAZING TALENT. “Talent?” OH, YES. A VERY SPECIAL KIND OF STUPIDITY. YOU THINK THE WHOLE UNIVERSE IS INSIDE YOUR HEADS. “You make us sound mad,” said Susan. A nice warm bed… NO. YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IN THINGS THAT AREN’T TRUE. HOW ELSE CAN THEY BECOME? said Death
Terry Pratchett (Hogfather (Discworld, #20; Death, #4))
It has been said that the great things in life are exactly what they seem to be. Such simplicity can be difficult to understand. I have had many visions that I could not interpret, visions meant to be passed to a greater soul. I am but a thread in the fabric. Nevertheless, I do know this: even the finest and most self-sacrificing actions must be paid for. Strangely enough, that is what makes them so fine.
Susan Cartwright (Wolf Revenge (Forsaken Worlds, #2))
The poem you brought yesterday,’ said Balbulus in a bored voice as he bent over his work again, ‘it was good. You ought to write such things more often, but I know you prefer writing stories for children or songs for the Motley Folk. And why? Just for the wind to sing your words? The spoken word is nothing, it hardly lives longer than an insect! Only the written word is eternal!’ ‘Eternal?’ Fenoglio made the word sound as if there could be nothing more ridiculous in the world. ‘Nothing is eternal- and what happier fate could words have than to be sung by minstrels? Yes, of course they change the words, they sing them slightly differently every time, but isn’t that in itself wonderful? A story wearing another dress every time you hear it- what could be better? A story that grows and puts out flowers like a living thing! But look at the stories people press in books! They may last longer, yes, but they breathe only when someone opens the book. They are sound pressed between the pages, and only a voice can bring them back to life! Then they throw off sparks, Balbulus! Then they go free as birds flying out into the world. Perhaps you’re right, and the paper makes them immortal. But why should I care? Will I live on, neatly pressed between the pages with my words? Nonsense! We’re none of us immortal; even the finest words don’t change that, do they?
Cornelia Funke (Inkspell (Inkworld, #2))
I have many dead people who talk to me, whisper advice into my ears in the finest of moments. I take their advice in the moments where life shouldn't allow you to make your own business. This is one of those moments. The dead whisperer, Eleanor Roosevelt. The advice, "Do one thing every day that scares you." Here goes!
Cyndi Goodgame
I must have had some high object in life, for I feel unbounded strength within me. But I never discovered it and was carried away by the allurements of empty, un-rewarding passions. I was tempered in their flames and came out cold and hard as steel, but I'd lost forever that fire of noble endeavour, that finest flower of life. How many time since then have I been an axe in the hands of fate? Like an engine of execution, I've descended on the heads of the condemned, often without malice, but always without pity. My love has brought no one happiness, for I've never sacrificed a thing for those I've loved. I've loved for myself, for my own pleasure, I've only tried to satisfy a strange inner need. I've fed on their feelings, love, joys and sufferings, and always wanted more. I'm like a starving man who falls asleep exhausted and sees rich food and sparkling wines before him. He rapturously falls on these phantom gifts of the imagination and feels better, but the moment he wakes up his dream disappears and he's left more hungry and desperate than before.
Mikhail Lermontov (A Hero of Our Time)
Faith in God is the finest of all things.
Lailah Gifty Akita
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
A modern princess—of England, say, or Monaco— serves the purpose of being an adornment in the fantasy life of the public. Consequently, she receives the kind of education that one might think of giving to a particularly splendid papier-mâché angel before putting it at the top of the Christmas tree: an education whose main goal is proficiency in the arts of looking pretty and standing straight. Our century, whatever virtues it may have, is not an optimal time for princesses. Things were different in the Renaissance. Intelligence had a primary value then. At almost every level of the social order, education was meant to create true amateurs—people who were in love with quality. A gentleman or lady needed to be at least minimally skilled in many arts, because that was considered the fittest way of appreciating the good things in life and honoring the goodness itself. Nor did being well-rounded mean smoothing over your finest points and becoming like the reflection of a smile in a polished teaspoon. Intelligence walked hand in hand with individuality, although having finely sharpened points of view did not, it was felt, require you to poke other people with them. If wit was a rapier, courtesy was the button at the end of the blade.
Stephen Mitchell (The Frog Prince: A Fairy Tale for Consenting Adults)
Let me tell you, an I had the shaping of things in this world, ye should all three have been clothed in the finest silks, and ride upon milk-white horses, with pages at your side, and feed upon nothing but whipped cream and strawberries; for such a life would surely befit your looks." At
Howard Pyle (The Adventures of Robin Hood)
Because what my gradmother did with her fine coat (the loveliest thing she would ever own) is what all women of that generation (and before) did for their families and their husbands and their children. They cut up the finest and proudest parts of themselves and gave it all away. They repatterned what was theirs and shaped it for others. They went without. They were the last ones to eat at supper, and they were the first ones to get up every morning, warming the cold kitchen for another day spent caring for everyone else. This was the only thing they knew how to do. This was their guiding verb and their defining principle of life: They gave.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage)
I must thank you for it all. I might not have gone but for you, and so have missed the finest study I ever came across: a study in scarlet, eh? Why shouldn't we use a little art jargon. There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it. And now for lunch, and then for Norman Neruda. Her attack and her bowing are splendid. What's that little thing of Chopin's she plays so magnificently: Tra-la-la-lira-lira-lay.” Leaning back in the cab, this amateur bloodhound carolled away like a lark while I meditated upon the many-sidedness of the human mind.
Arthur Conan Doyle (A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes, #1))
No, it is better not to risk a second interview. I shall always look back on this talk with you as one of the finest things in my life. Really. I mean this. We can never repeat. It has done me real good, and there we had better leave it." "That's rather a sad view of life, surely." "Things so often get spoiled." "I know," flashed Helen. "But people don't.
E.M. Forster (Howards End)
The charge that Anarchism is destructive, rather than constructive, and that, therefore, Anarchism is opposed to organization, is one of the many falsehoods spread by our opponents. They confound our present social institutions with organization; hence they fail to understand how we can oppose the former, and yet favor the latter. The fact, however, is that the two are not identical. “The State is commonly regarded as the highest form of organization. But is it in reality a true organization? Is it not rather an arbitrary institution, cunningly imposed upon the masses? “Industry, too, is called an organization; yet nothing is farther from the truth. Industry is the ceaseless piracy of the rich against the poor. “We are asked to believe that the Army is an organization, but a close investigation will show that it is nothing else than a cruel instrument of blind force. “The Public School! The colleges and other institutions of learning, are they not models of organization, offering the people fine opportunities for instruction? Far from it. The school, more than any other institution, is a veritable barrack, where the human mind is drilled and manipulated into submission to various social and moral spooks, and thus fitted to continue our system of exploitation and oppression. “Organization, as WE understand it, however, is a different thing. It is based, primarily, on freedom. It is a natural and voluntary grouping of energies to secure results beneficial to humanity. “It is the harmony of organic growth which produces variety of color and form, the complete whole we admire in the flower. Analogously will the organized activity of free human beings, imbued with the spirit of solidarity, result in the perfection of social harmony, which we call Anarchism. In fact, Anarchism alone makes non-authoritarian organization of common interests possible, since it abolishes the existing antagonism between individuals and classes. “Under present conditions the antagonism of economic and social interests results in relentless war among the social units, and creates an insurmountable obstacle in the way of a co-operative commonwealth. “There is a mistaken notion that organization does not foster individual freedom; that, on the contrary, it means the decay of individuality. In reality, however, the true function of organization is to aid the development and growth of personality. “Just as the animal cells, by mutual co-operation, express their latent powers in formation of the complete organism, so does the individual, by co-operative effort with other individuals, attain his highest form of development. “An organization, in the true sense, cannot result from the combination of mere nonentities. It must be composed of self-conscious, intelligent individualities. Indeed, the total of the possibilities and activities of an organization is represented in the expression of individual energies. “It therefore logically follows that the greater the number of strong, self-conscious personalities in an organization, the less danger of stagnation, and the more intense its life element. “Anarchism asserts the possibility of an organization without discipline, fear, or punishment, and without the pressure of poverty: a new social organism which will make an end to the terrible struggle for the means of existence,—the savage struggle which undermines the finest qualities in man, and ever widens the social abyss. In short, Anarchism strives towards a social organization which will establish well-being for all. “The germ of such an organization can be found in that form of trades unionism which has done away with centralization, bureaucracy, and discipline, and which favors independent and direct action on the part of its members.
Emma Goldman (Anarchism and Other Essays)
A tallow dip, of the long-eight description,40 is an excellent thing in the kitchen candlestick, and Betty’s nose and eye are not sensitive to the difference between it and the finest wax; it is only when you stick it in the silver candlestick, and introduce it into the drawing-room, that it seems plebeian, dim, and ineffectual. Alas for the worthy man who, like that candle, gets himself into the wrong place! It is only the very largest souls who will be able to appreciate and pity him – who will discern and love sincerity of purpose amid all the bungling feebleness of achievement.
George Eliot (Scenes of Clerical Life)
...Is there a more monstrous thought, a more convincing spectacle, a more patent affirmation of the impotence and madness of the brain? War. All our philosophies, religions, arts, techniques and trades lead to nothing but this. The finest flowers of civilization. The purest constructions of thought. The most generous and altruistic passions of the heart. The most heroic gestures of man. War. Now and thousand years ago. Tomorrow and a hundred thousand years ago. No, it's not a question of your country, my German or French friend, or yours, whether you're black or white or Papuan or a Borneo monkey. It's a question of your life. If you want to live, kill. Kill so that you can be free, or eat, or shit. The shameful thing is to kill in masses, at a predetermined hour on a predetermined day, in honour of certain principles, under cover of a flag, with old men nodding approval, to kill in a disinterested or passive way. Stand alone against them all, young man, kill, kill, you are unique, you're the only man alive, kill until the others cut you short with the guillotine or the cord or the rope, with or without ceremony, in the name of the Community or King. What a laugh.
Blaise Cendrars
Walking into a bookshop is a depressing thing. It’s not the pretentious twats, browsing books as part of their desirable lifestyle. It’s not the scrubby members of staff serving at the counter: the pseudo-hippies and fucking misfits. It’s not the stink of coffee wafting out from somewhere in the building, a concession to the cult of the coffee bean. No, it’s the books. I could ignore the other shit, decide that maybe it didn’t matter too much, that when consumerism meets culture, the result is always going to attract wankers and everything that goes with them. But the books, no, they’re what make your stomach sink and that feeling of dark syrup on the brain descend. Look around you, look at the shelves upon shelves of books – for years, the vessels of all knowledge. We’re part of the new world now, but books persist. Cheap biographies, pulp fiction; glossy covers hiding inadequate sentiments. Walk in and you’re surrounded by this shit – to every side a reminder that we don’t want stimulation anymore, we want sedation. Fight your way through the celebrity memoirs, pornographic cook books, and cheap thrills that satisfy most and you get to the second wave of vomit-inducing product: offerings for the inspired and arty. Matte poetry books, classics, the finest culture can provide packaged and wedged into trendy coverings, kidding you that you’re buying a fashion accessory, not a book. But hey, if you can stomach a trip further into the shop, you hit on the meatier stuff – history, science, economics – provided they can stick ‘pop.’ in front of it, they’ll stock it. Pop. psychology, pop. art, pop. life. It’s the new world – we don’t want serious anymore, we want nuggets of almost-useful information. Books are the past, they’re on the out. Information is digital now; bookshops, they’re somewhere between gallery and museum.
Matthew Selwyn (****: The Anatomy of Melancholy)
For how little have we lost, when the two finest things of all will accompany us wherever we go, universal nature and our individual virtue. Believe me, this was the intention of whoever formed the universe, whether all-powerful god, or incorporeal reason creating mighty works, or divine spirit penetrating all things from greatest to smallest with even pressure, or fate and the unchanging sequence of causation - this, I say, was the intention, that only the most worthless of our possessions should come into the power of another. Whatever is best for a human being lies outside human control: it can be neither given nor taken away.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
If the world seems unfair or beyond our understanding, sublime places suggest that it is not surprising that things should be thus. We are the playthings of the forces that laid out the oceans and chiselled the mountains. Sublime places gently move us to acknowledge limitations that we might otherwise encounter with anxiety or anger in the ordinary flow of events. It is not just nature that defies us. Human life is as overwhelming. But it is the vast spaces of nature that perhaps provide us with the finest, the most respectful reminder of all that exceeds us. If we spend time in them, they may help us to accept more graciously the great, unfathomable events that molest our lives and will inevitably return us to dust.
Alain de Botton (The Art of Travel)
Lily's taste of beneficence had wakened in her a momentary appetite for well-doing. Her visit to the Girls' Club had first brought her in contact with the dramatic contrasts of life. She had always accepted with philosophic calm the fact that such existences as hers were pedestalled on foundations of obscure humanity. The dreary limbo of dinginess lay all around and beneath that little illuminated circle in which life reached its finest efflorescence, as the mud and sleet of a winter night enclose a hot-house filled with tropical flowers. All this was in the natural order of things, and the orchid basking in its artificially created atmosphere could round the delicate curves of its petals undisturbed by the ice on the panes.
Edith Wharton (The House of Mirth)
My ideal was contained within the word beauty, so difficult to define despite all the evidence of our senses. I felt responsible for sustaining and increasing the beauty of the world. I wanted the cities to be splendid, spacious and airy, their streets sprayed with clean water, their inhabitants all human beings whose bodies were neither degraded by marks of misery and servitude nor bloated by vulgar riches; I desired that the schoolboys should recite correctly some useful lessons; that the women presiding in their households should move with maternal dignity, expressing both vigor and calm; that the gymnasiums should be used by youths not unversed in arts and in sports; that the orchards should bear the finest fruits and the fields the richest harvests. I desired that the might and majesty of the Roman Peace should extend to all, insensibly present like the music of the revolving skies; that the most humble traveller might wander from one country, or one continent, to another without vexatious formalities, and without danger, assured everywhere of a minimum of legal protection and culture; that our soldiers should continue their eternal pyrrhic dance on the frontiers; that everything should go smoothly, whether workshops or temples; that the sea should be furrowed by brave ships, and the roads resounding to frequent carriages; that, in a world well ordered, the philosophers should have their place, and the dancers also. This ideal, modest on the whole, would be often enough approached if men would devote to it one part of the energy which they expend on stupid or cruel activities; great good fortune has allowed me a partial realization of my aims during the last quarter of a century. Arrian of Nicomedia, one of the best minds of our time, likes to recall to me the beautiful lines of ancient Terpander, defining in three words the Spartan ideal (that perfect mode of life to which Lacedaemon aspired without ever attaining it): Strength, Justice, the Muses. Strength was the basis, discipline without which there is no beauty, and firmness without which there is no justice. Justice was the balance of the parts, that whole so harmoniously composed which no excess should be permitted to endanger. Strength and justice together were but one instrument, well tuned, in the hands of the Muses. All forms of dire poverty and brutality were things to forbid as insults to the fair body of mankind, every injustice a false note to avoid in the harmony of the spheres.
Marguerite Yourcenar (Memoirs of Hadrian)
So why would I want anything to do with this illness? Because I honestly believe that as a result of it I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely; loved more, and been more loved; laughed more often for having cried more often; appreciated more the springs, for all the winters; worn death “as close as dungarees,” appreciated it—and life—more; seen the finest and the most terrible in people, and slowly learned the values of caring, loyalty, and seeing things through. I have seen the breadth and depth and width of my mind and heart and seen how frail they both are, and how ultimately unknowable they both are. Depressed, I have crawled on my hands and knees in order to get across a room and have done it for month after month. But, normal or manic, I have run faster, thought faster, and loved faster than most I know. And I think much of this is related to my illness—the intensity it gives to things and the perspective it forces on me.
Kay Redfield Jamison (An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness)
Pretty soft!' he cried. 'To have to come and live in New York! To have to leave my little cottage and take a stuffy, smelly, over-heated hole of an apartment in this Heaven-forsaken, festering Gehenna. To have to mix night after night with a mob who think that life is a sort of St Vitus's dance, and imagine that they're having a good time because they're making enough noise for six and drinking too much for ten. I loathe New York, Bertie. I wouldn't come near the place if I hadn't got to see editors occasionally. There's a blight on it. It's got moral delirium tremens. It's the limit. The very thought of staying more than a day in it makes me sick. And you call this thing pretty soft for me!' I felt rather like Lot's friends must have done when they dropped in for a quiet chat and their genial host began to criticise the Cities of the Plain. I had no idea old Rocky could be so eloquent. 'It would kill me to have to live in New York,' he went on. 'To have to share the air with six million people! TO have to wear stiff collars and decent clothes all the time! To - ' He started. 'Good Lord! I suppose I should have to dress for dinner in the evenings. What a ghastly notion!' I was shocked, absolutely shocked. 'My dear chap!' I said, reproachfully. 'Do you dress for dinner every night, Bertie?' 'Jeeves,' I said coldly. 'How many suits of evening clothes have we?' 'We have three suits full of evening dress, sir; two dinner jackets- ' 'Three.' 'For practical purposes, two only, sir. If you remember, we cannot wear the third. We have also seven white waistcoats.' 'And shirts?' 'Four dozen, sir.' 'And white ties?' 'The first two shallow shelves in the chest of drawers are completely filled with our white ties, sir.' I turned to Rocky. 'You see?' The chappie writhed like an electric fan. 'I won't do it! I can't do it! I'll be hanged if I'll do it! How on earth can I dress up like that? Do you realise that most days I don't get out of my pyjamas till five in the afternoon and then I just put on an old sweater?' I saw Jeeves wince, poor chap. This sort of revelation shocked his finest feelings.
P.G. Wodehouse
You could eat in the finest restaurants, you could partake in every sensual pleasure, you could sing on stage in São Paulo to twenty thousand people, you could soak up whole thunderstorms of applause, you could travel to the ends of the Earth, you could be followed by millions on the internet, you could win Olympic medals, but this was all meaningless without love. And when she thought of her root life, the fundamental problem with it, the thing that had left her vulnerable, really, was the absence of love. Even her brother hadn’t wanted her in that life. There had been no one, once Volts had died. She had loved no one, and no one had loved her back. She had been empty, her life had been empty, walking around, faking some kind of human normality like a sentient mannequin of despair. Just the bare bones of getting through. Yet there, right there in that garden in Cambridge, under that dull grey sky, she felt the power of it, the terrifying power of caring deeply and being cared for deeply. Okay, her parents were still dead in this life but here there was Molly, there was Ash, there was Joe. There was a net of love to break her fall.
Matt Haig (The Midnight Library)
If he noticed a female convict with a baby in her arms, he would approach, fondle the baby and snap his fingers at it to make it laugh. These things he did for many years, right up to his death; eventually he was famous all over Russia and all over Siberia, among the criminals, that is. One man who had been in Siberia told me that he himself had witnessed how the most hardened criminals remembered the general, and yet the general, when he visited the gangs of convicts, was rarely able to give more than twenty copecks to each man. It’s true that he wasn’t remembered with much affection, or even very seriously. Some ‘unfortunate wretch’, who had killed twelve people, or put six children to the knife solely for his own amusement (there were such men, it is said), would suddenly, apropos of nothing, perhaps only once in twenty years, sigh and say: ‘Well, and how’s the old general now, is he still alive?’ He would even, perhaps, smile as he said it – and that would be all. How can you know what seed had been cast into his soul for ever by this ‘old general’, whom he had not forgotten in twenty years? How can you know, Bakhmutov, what significance this communication between one personality and another may have in the fate of the personality that is communicated with?… I mean, we’re talking about the whole of a life, and a countless number of ramifications that are hidden from us. The very finest player of chess, the most acute of them, can only calculate a few moves ahead; one French player, who was able to calculate ten moves ahead, was described in the press as a miracle. But how many moves are here, and how much is there that is unknown to us? In sowing your seed, sowing your ‘charity’, your good deeds in whatever form, you give away a part of your personality and absorb part of another; a little more attention, and you are rewarded with knowledge, with the most unexpected discoveries. You will, at last, certainly view your deeds as a science; they will take over the whole of your life and may fill it. On the other hand, all your thoughts, all the seeds you have sown, which perhaps you have already forgotten, will take root and grow; the one who has received from you will give to another. And how can you know what part you will play in the future resolution of the fates of mankind? If this knowledge, and a whole lifetime of this work, exalts you, at last, to the point where you are able to sow a mighty seed, leave a mighty idea to the world as an inheritance, then…
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Idiot)
The Portal Potion Success! After weeks and weeks of trying, I’ve finally discovered the correct ingredients for the potion I’d hoped to create for my son! With just a few drops, the potion turns any written work into a portal to the world it describes. Even with my ability to create portals to and from the Otherworld, I never thought it would be possible to create a substance that allowed me passage to any world I wished. My son will get to see the places and meet the characters he’s spent his whole childhood dreaming about! And best of all, I’ll get to watch his happiness soar as it happens! The ingredients are much simpler than I imagined, but difficult to obtain. Their purposes are more metaphysical than practical, so it took some imagination to get the concoction right. The first requirement is a branch from the oldest tree in the woods. To bring the pages to life, I figured the potion would need the very thing that brought the paper to life in the first place. And what else has more life than an ancient tree? The second ingredient is a feather from the finest pheasant in the sky. This will guarantee your potion has no limits, like a bird in flight. It will ensure you can travel to lands far and wide, beyond your imagination. The third component is a liquefied lock and key that belonged to a true love. Just as this person unlocked your heart to a life of love, it will open the door of the literary dimensions your heart desires to experience. The fourth ingredient is two weeks of moonlight. Just as the moon causes waves in the ocean, the moonlight will stir your potion to life. Last, but most important, give the potion a spark of magic to activate all the ingredients. Send it a beam of joy straight from your heart. The potion does not work on any biographies or history books, but purely on works that have been imagined. Now, I must warn about the dangers of entering a fictional world: 1. Time only exists as long as the story continues. Be sure to leave the book before the story ends, or you may disappear as the story concludes. 2. Each world is made of only what the author describes. Do not expect the characters to have any knowledge of our world or the Otherworld. 3. Beware of the story’s villains. Unlike people in our world or the Otherworld, most literary villains are created to be heartless and stripped of all morals, so do not expect any mercy should you cross paths with one. 4. The book you choose to enter will act as your entrance and exit. Be certain nothing happens to it; it is your only way out. The
Chris Colfer (Beyond the Kingdoms (The Land of Stories, #4))
Is there any more cruel inadvertence or ordeal in na­ture Picture the tragedy of that longing, the inac­cessible so nearly attained, the transparent fatality, the impossible with not a visible obstacle! . . . It would be insoluble, like our own tragedy upon this earth, were it not that an unex­pected element is mingled with it. Did the males foresee the disillusion to which they would be sub­jected? One thing is certain, that they have locked up in their hearts a bubble of air, even as we lock up in our souls a thought of desperate deliverance. It is as though they hesitated for a moment; then, with a magnificent effort, the finest, the most supernatural that I know of in the annals of the insects and the flowers, in order to rise to happiness they deliberately break the bond that attaches them to life. They tear themselves from their peduncle and, with an incomparable flight, amid pearly beads of glad­ness, their petals dart up and break the surface of the water. Wounded to death, but radiant and free, they float for a moment beside their heedless brides and the union is accom­plished, whereupon the victims drift away to perish, while the wife, already a mother, closes her corolla, in which lives their last breath, rolls up her spiral and descends to the depths, there to ripen the fruit of the heroic kiss.
Maurice Maeterlinck (The Intelligence of the Flowers)
When the course of civilization takes an unexpected turn—when, instead of the continuous progress which we have come to expect, we find ourselves threatened by evils associated by us with past ages of barbarism—we naturally blame anything but ourselves. Have we not all striven according to our best lights, and have not many of our finest minds incessantly worked to make this a better world? Have not all our efforts and hopes been directed toward greater freedom, justice, and prosperity? If the outcome is so different from our aims— if, instead of freedom and prosperity, bondage and misery stare us in the face—is it not clear that sinister forces must have foiled our intentions, that we are the victims of some evil power which must be conquered before we can resume the road to better things? However much we may differ when we name the culprit—whether it is the wicked capitalist or the vicious spirit of a particular nation, the stupidity of our elders, or a social system not yet, although we have struggled against it for half a century, fully overthrown—we all are, or at last were until recently, certain of one thing: that the leading ideas which during the last generation have become common to most people of good will and have determined the major changes in our social life cannot have been wrong. We are ready to accept almost any explanation of the present crisis of our civilization except one: that the present state of the world may be the result of genuine error on our own part and that the pursuit of some of our most cherished ideals has apparently produced results utterly different from those which we expected.
Friedrich A. Hayek (The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents: The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek))
There is no sense of ease like the ease we felt in those scenes where we were born, where objects became dear to us before we had known the labour of choice, and where the outer world seemed only an extension of our own personality: we accepted and loved it as we accepted our own sense of existence and our own limbs. Very commonplace, even ugly, that furniture of our early home might look if it were put up to auction; an improved taste in upholstery scorns it; and is not the striving after something better and better in our surrounding, the grand characteristic that distinguishes man from the brute - or, to satisfy a scrupulous accuracy of definition, that distinguishes the British man from the foreign brute? But heaven knows where that striving might lead us, if our affections had not a trick of twining round those old inferior things - if the loves and sanctities of our life had no deep immovable roots in memory. One's delight in an elderberry bush overhanging the confused lea age of a hedgerow bank, as a more gladdening sight than the finest cistus or fuchsia spreading itself on the softest undulating turf, is an entirely unjustifiable preference to a nursery-gardener, or to any of those severely regulated minds who are free from the weakness of any attachment that does not rest on a demonstrable superiority of qualities. And there is no better reason for preferring this elderberry bush than that it stirs an early memory - that it is no novelty in my life, speaking to me merely through my present sensibilities to form and colour, but the long companion of my existence, that wove itself into my joys when joys were vivid.
George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss)
Historically, holism had been a break from the reductionist methods of science. Holism (...) is a way of viewing the universe as a web of interactions and relationships. Whole systems (and the universe can be seen as an overarching system of systems) have properties beyond those of their parts. All things are, in some sense, alive, or a part of a living system; the real world of mind and matter, body and consciousness, cannot be understood by reducing it to pieces and parts. 'Matter is mind' – this is perhaps the holists' quintessential belief. The founding theories of holism had tried to explain how mind emerges from the material universe, how the consciousness of all things is interconnected. The first science, of course, had failed utterly to do this. The first science had resigned human beings to acting as objective observers of a mechanistic and meaningless universe. A dead universe. The human mind, according to the determinists, was merely the by-product of brain chemistry. Chemical laws, the way the elements combine and interact, were formulated as complete and immutable truths. The elements themselves were seen as indivisible lumps of matter, devoid of consciousness, untouched and unaffected by the very consciousnesses seeking to understand how living minds can be assembled from dead matter. The logical conclusion of these assumptions and conceptions was that people are like chemical robots possessing no free will. No wonder the human race, during the Holocaust Century, had fallen into insanity and despair. Holism had been an attempt to restore life to this universe and to reconnect human beings with it. To heal the split between self and other. (...) Each quantum event, each of the trillions of times reality's particles interact with each other every instant, is like a note that rings and resonates throughout the great bell of creation. And the sound of the ringing propagates instantaneously, everywhere at once, interconnecting all things. This is a truth of our universe. It is a mystical truth, that reality at its deepest level is an undivided wholeness. It has been formalized and canonized, and taught to the swarms of humanity searching for a fundamental unity. Only, human beings have learned it as a theory and a doctrine, not as an experience. A true holism should embrace not only the theory of living systems, but also the reality of the belly, of wind, hunger, and snowworms roasting over a fire on a cold winter night. A man or woman (or child) to be fully human, should always marvel at the mystery of life. We each should be able to face the universe and drink in the stream of photons shimmering across the light-distances, to listen to the ringing of the farthest galaxies, to feel the electrons of each haemoglobin molecule spinning and vibrating deep inside the blood. No one should ever feel cut off from the ocean of mind and memory surging all around; no one should ever stare up at the icy stars and feel abandoned or alone. It was partly the fault of holism that a whole civilization had suffered the abandonment of its finest senses, ten thousand trillion islands of consciousness born into the pain and promise of neverness, awaiting death with glassy eyes and murmured abstractions upon their lips, always fearing life, always longing for a deeper and truer experience of living.
David Zindell (The Broken God (A Requiem for Homo Sapiens, #1))
I was sitting down hanging with the fellas them just for the girls, because really and truly this was bugging me. How could these fellas have the finest girls in the community, and they don’t work, they don’t have any money. Anytime something has to be purchased they would say, ‘Man, Scrooge, throw the blow; buy this and buy that.’ So we were sitting on a car one day. They were out to a disco the night before and this fella got chopped or stabbed. I didn’t know anything about it until the fellas came around looking for KC the next day. These fellas just yuck out their guns and started busting shots, and everybody just break off running for their lives. Afterwards I mumbled to myself that these are some crazy fellas. They just came shooting for no reason. The funny thing about it is this: guns were not even that common on the streets then. We’re talking around 1987, 1988. I believe the fella who fired those shots at us, goes by the nickname Dog and he lives in the US now. I said to Ada, ‘What kind of thing this is? I mean, these fellas came and just started shooting.’ That sent a whole new way of thinking in my mind. Prior to that, I was just a person going to work, coming home, and chilling. I just happened to be sitting there one day. They didn’t know me and they didn’t care who I was. I never used to even be with KC and them. I just happened to be there that day. If I had known that those fellas were crazy like that, to come shooting at whoever they saw, I wouldn’t have been there hanging with KC and them. After that, my whole mindset changed. It was either shoot or be shot. Scrooge, former leader of the Rebellion Raiders street gang that once boasted of having some ten thousand members.
Drexel Deal (The Fight of My Life is Wrapped Up in My Father (The Fight of My Life is Wrapped in My Father))
The Christian narrative states that a maximally powerful, maximally good, all-knowing aseitic being consciously created everything, including man who short-circuited shortly after. This failure resulted in the immediate separation of all earthly things, including man, from the Creator: the Middle Eastern deity named, Yhwh. The objective of life, according to the Christian narrative, is to return to communion with Yhwh. Failure to do so in a finite space of time (a single lifetime of indeterminate duration and unequal resources) will result in Yhwh tossing the individual into an abyss he created for his finest and most beautiful creation, an angel named Lucifer (Ezekiel 28:12,13), who also short-circuited sometime earlier. This is considered by Christians to be the ultimate punishment: an eternal separation from the god, Yhwh. This narrative is wholesale nonsense. As a theology (and scaffolding for a tremendously flawed accompanying theodicy), it is an extravagant work of self-annihilating absurdity. As a maximally good, aseitic being, everything was once part of perfection. That’s what aseity means. There was no-thing that was not already perfect. To argue otherwise is to concede Yhwh was not, in fact, perfect. Creation, therefore, destroyed this eternal harmony, this purity, and by this fact alone, the act of Creation can only be called maximally evil. Creation separated things from the perfect goodness. Creation expelled goodness and cast it into a state of imperfection, and that is evil. In the second instance, as Lucifer—Yhwh’s most perfect creation—had already failed, which was itself inevitable, then that means Yhwh consciously flung man into an already corrupted Creation, and that, too, is evil.
John Zande
So that is how we came to be standing in a sparse room, in a nondescript building in the barracks at SAS HQ--just a handful out of all those who had started out so many months earlier. We shuffled around impatiently. We were ready. Ready, finally, to get badged as SAS soldiers. The colonel of the regiment walked in, dressed casually in lightweight camo trousers, shirt, beret, and blue SAS belt. He smiled at us. “Well done, lads. Hard work, isn’t it?” We smiled back. “You should be proud today. But remember: this is only the beginning. The real hard work starts now, when you return to your squadron. Many are called, few are chosen. Live up to that.” He paused. “And from now on for the rest of your life remember this: you are part of the SAS family. You’ve earned that. And it is the finest family in the world. But what makes our work here extraordinary is that everyone here goes that little bit extra. When everyone else gives up, we give more. That is what sets us apart.” It is a speech I have never forgotten. I stood there, my boots worn, cracked, and muddy, my trousers ripped, and wearing a sweaty black T-shirt. I felt prouder than I had ever felt in my life. We all came to attention--no pomp and ceremony. We each shook the colonel’s hand and were handed the coveted SAS sandy beret. Along the way, I had come to learn that it was never about the beret--it was about what it stood for: camaraderie, sweat, skill, humility, endurance, and character. I molded the beret carefully onto my head as he finished down the line. Then he turned and said: “Welcome to the SAS. My door is always open if you need anything--that’s how things work around here. Now go and have a beer or two on me.” Trucker and I had done it, together, against all the odds. So that was SAS Selection. And as the colonel had said, really it was just the beginning.
Bear Grylls (Mud, Sweat and Tears)
Mr. Bredon had been a week with Pym's Publicity, and had learnt a number of things. He learned the average number of words that can be crammed into four inches of copy; that Mr. Armstrong's fancy could be caught by an elaborately-drawn lay-out, whereas Mr. Hankin looked on art-work as waste of a copy-writer's time; that the word “pure” was dangerous, because, if lightly used, it laid the client open to prosecution by the Government inspectors, whereas the words “highest quality,” “finest ingredients,” “packed under the best conditions” had no legal meaning, and were therefore safe; that the expression “giving work to umpteen thousand British employees in our model works at so-and-so” was not by any means the same thing as “British made throughout”; that the north of England liked its butter and margarine salted, whereas the south preferred it fresh; that the Morning Star would not accept any advertisements containing the word “cure,” though there was no objection to such expressions as “relieve” or “ameliorate,” and that, further, any commodity that professed to “cure” anything might find itself compelled to register as a patent medicine and use an expensive stamp; that the most convincing copy was always written with the tongue in the cheek, a genuine conviction of the commodity's worth producing—for some reason—poverty and flatness of style; that if, by the most far-fetched stretch of ingenuity, an indecent meaning could be read into a headline, that was the meaning that the great British Public would infallibly read into it; that the great aim and object of the studio artist was to crowd the copy out of the advertisement and that, conversely, the copy-writer was a designing villain whose ambition was to cram the space with verbiage and leave no room for the sketch; that the lay-out man, a meek ass between two burdens, spent a miserable life trying to reconcile these opposing parties; and further, that all departments alike united in hatred of the client, who persisted in spoiling good lay-outs by cluttering them up with coupons, free-gift offers, lists of local agents and realistic portraits of hideous and uninteresting cartons, to the detriment of his own interests and the annoyance of everybody concerned.
Dorothy L. Sayers
The society’s ‘look’ is a self-publicizing one. The American flag itself bears witness to this by its omnipresence, in fields and built-up areas, at service stations, and on graves in the cemeteries, not as a heroic sign, but as the trademark of a good brand. It is simply the label of the finest successful international enterprise, the US. This explains why the hyperrealists were able to paint it naively, without either irony or protest (Jim Dine in the sixties), in much the same way as Pop Art gleefully transposed the amazing banality of consumer goods on to its canvases. There is nothing here of the fierce parodying of the American anthem by Jimi Hendrix, merely the light irony and neutral humour of things that have become banal, the humour of the mobile home and the giant hamburger on the sixteen-foot long billboard, the pop and hyper humour so characteristic of the atmosphere of America, where things almost seem endowed with a certain indulgence towards their own banality. But they are indulgent towards their own craziness too. Looked at more generally, they do not lay claim to being extraordinary; they simply are extraordinary. They have that extravagance which makes up odd, everyday America. This oddness is not surrealistic (surrealism is an extravagance that is still aesthetic in nature and as such very European in inspiration); here, the extravagance has passed into things. Madness, which with us is subjective, has here become objective, and irony which is subjective with us has also turned into something objective. The fantasmagoria and excess which we locate in the mind and the mental faculties have passed into things themselves. Whatever the boredom, the hellish tedium of the everyday in the US or anywhere else, American banality will always be a thousand times more interesting than the European - and especially the French - variety. Perhaps because banality here is born of extreme distances, of the monotony of wide-open spaces and the radical absence of culture. It is a native flower here, asis the opposite extreme, that of speed and verticality, of an excess that verges on abandon, and indifference to values bordering on immorality, whereas French banality is a hangover from bourgeois everyday life, born out of a dying aristocratic culture and transmuted into petty-bourgeois mannerism as the bourgeoisie shrank away throughout the nineteenth century. This is the crux: it is the corpse of the bourgeoisie that separates us. With us, it is that class that is the carrier of the chromosome of banality, whereas the Americans have succeeded in preserving some humour in the material signs of manifest reality and wealth. This also explains why Europeans experience anything relating to statistics as tragic. They immediately read in them their individual failure and take refuge in a pained denunciation of the merely quantitative. The Americans, by contrast, see statistics as an optimistic stimulus, as representing the dimensions of their good fortune, their joyous membership of the majority. Theirs is the only country where quantity can be extolled without compunction.
Baudrillard, Jean
In the entire endless evening his serenity received a jolt only a few times. The first was when someone who didn’t know who he was confided that only two months ago Lady Elizabeth’s uncle had sent out invitations to all her former suitors offering her hand in marriage. Suppressing his shock and loathing for her uncle, Ian had pinned an amused smile on his face and confided, “I’m acquainted with the lady’s uncle, and I regret to say he’s a little mad. As you know, that sort of thing runs,” Ian had finished smoothly, “in our finest families.” The reference to England’s hopeless King George was unmistakable, and the man had laughed uproariously at the joke. “True,” he agreed. “Lamentably true.” Then he went off to spread the word that Elizabeth’s uncle was a confirmed loose screw. Ian’s method of dealing with Sir Francis Belhaven-who, his grandfather had discovered, was boasting that Elizabeth had spent several days with him-was less subtle and even more effective. “Belhaven,” Ian said after spending a half hour searching for the repulsive knight. The stout man had whirled around in surprise, leaving his acquaintances straining to hear Ian’s low conversation with him. “I find your presence repugnant,” Ian had said in a dangerously quiet voice. “I dislike your coat, I dislike your shirt, and I dislike the knot in your neckcloth. In fact, I dislike you. Have I offended you enough yet, or shall I continue?” Belhaven’s mouth dropped open, his pasty face turning a deathly gray. “Are-are you trying to force a-duel?” “Normally one doesn’t bother shooting a repulsive toad, but in this instance I’m prepared to make an exception, since this toad doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut!” “A duel, with you?” he gasped. “Why, it would be no contest-none at all. Everyone knows what sort of marksman you are. It would be murder.” Ian leaned close, speaking between his clenched teeth. “It’s going to be murder, you miserable little opium-eater, unless you suddenly remember very vocally that you’ve been joking about Elizabeth Cameron’s visit.” At the mention of opium the glass slid from his fingers and crashed to the floor. “I have just realized I was joking.” “Good,” Ian said, restraining the urge to strangle him. “Now start remembering it all over this ballroom!” “Now that, Thornton,” said an amused voice from Ian’s shoulder as Belhaven scurried off to begin doing as bidden, “makes me hesitate to say that he is not lying.” Still angry with Belhaven, Ian turned in surprise to see John Marchman standing there. “She was with me as well,” Marchman sad. “All aboveboard, for God’s sake, so don’t look at me like I’m Belhaven. Her aunt Berta was there every moment.” “Her what?” Ian said, caught between fury and amusement. “Her Aunt Berta. Stout little woman who doesn’t say much.” “See that you follow her example,” Ian warned darkly. John Marchman, who had been privileged to fish at Ian’s marvelous stream in Scotland, gave his friend an offended look. “I daresay you’ve no business challenging my honor. I was considering marrying Elizabeth to keep her out of Belhaven’s clutches; you were only going to shoot him. It seems to me that my sacrifice was-“ “You were what?” Ian said, feeling as if he’d walked in on a play in the middle of the second act and couldn’t seem to hold onto the thread of the plot or the identity of the players. “Her uncle turned me down. Got a better offer.” “Your life will be more peaceful, believe me,” Ian said dryly, and he left to find a footman with a tray of drinks.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Blessed Man” is a tribute to Updike’s tenacious maternal grandmother, Katherine Hoyer, who died in 1955. Inspired by an heirloom, a silver thimble engraved with her initials, a keepsake Katherine gave to John and Mary as a wedding present (their best present, he told his mother), the story is an explicit attempt to bring her back to life (“O Lord, bless these poor paragraphs, that would do in their vile ignorance Your work of resurrection”), and a meditation on the extent to which it’s possible to recapture experience and preserve it through writing. The death of his grandparents diminished his family by two fifths and deprived him of a treasured part of his past, the sheltered years of his youth and childhood. Could he make his grandmother live again on the page? It’s certainly one of his finest prose portraits, tender, clear-eyed, wonderfully vivid. At one point the narrator remembers how, as a high-spirited teenager, he would scoop up his tiny grandmother, “lift her like a child, crooking one arm under her knees and cupping the other behind her back. Exultant in my height, my strength, I would lift that frail brittle body weighing perhaps a hundred pounds and twirl with it in my arms while the rest of the family watched with startled smiles of alarm.” When he adds, “I was giving my past a dance,” we hear the voice of John Updike exulting in his strength. Katherine takes center stage only after an account of the dramatic day of her husband’s death. John Hoyer died a few months after John and Mary were married, on the day both the newlyweds and Mary’s parents were due to arrive in Plowville. From this unfortunate coincidence, the Updike family managed to spin a pair of short stories. Six months before he wrote “Blessed Man,” Updike’s mother had her first story accepted by The New Yorker. For years her son had been doing his filial best to help get her work published—with no success. In college he sent out the manuscript of her novel about Ponce de León to the major Boston publishers, and when he landed at The New Yorker he made sure her stories were read by editors instead of languishing in the slush pile. These efforts finally bore fruit when an editor at the magazine named Rachel MacKenzie championed “Translation,” a portentous family saga featuring Linda’s version of her father’s demise. Maxwell assured Updike that his colleagues all thought his mother “immensely gifted”; if that sounds like tactful exaggeration, Maxwell’s idea that he could detect “the same quality of mind running through” mother and son is curious to say the least. Published in The New Yorker on March 11, 1961, “Translation” was signed Linda Grace Hoyer and narrated by a character named Linda—but it wasn’t likely to be mistaken for a memoir. The story is overstuffed with biblical allusion, psychodrama, and magical thinking, most of it Linda’s. She believes that her ninety-year-old father plans to be translated directly to heaven, ascending like Elijah in a whirlwind, with chariots of fire, and to pass his mantle to a new generation, again like Elijah. It’s not clear whether this grand design is his obsession, as she claims, or hers. As it happens, the whirlwind is only a tussle with his wife that lands the old folks on the floor beside the bed. Linda finds them there and says, “Of all things. . . . What are you two doing?” Her father answers, his voice “matter-of-fact and conversational”: “We are sitting on the floor.” Having spoken these words, he dies. Linda’s son Eric (a writer, of course) arrives on the scene almost immediately. When she tells him, “Grampy died,” he replies, “I know, Mother, I know. It happened as we turned off the turnpike. I felt
Adam Begley (Updike)
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Vietnam
Perfectly pure beings, having evolved the world through their own natural vilasa [exuberant divine play], and offering all things as oblations to the sacred fire of their own pure and perfect Consciousness, excel all while drinking deep the nectar of the blissfulness of their own vilasa, vibrating within their heart” (Amritavagbhava, Atmavilasa, IV.24). Such a yogin takes up the limitations of the world, absorbs them into himself, and offers them into the sacred fire of pure I-consciousness. The ability to thus transform the mundane and limited into the finest and purest is the highest goal of all life. — B. N. Pandit, Specific Principles of Kashmir Shaivism (3rd ed., 2008), p. 132–133.
Balajinnatha Pandita (Specific Principles of Kashmir Saivism)
Sunday's Best Times are tough for English babies Send the army and the navy Beat up strangers who talk funny Take their greasy foreign money Skin shop, red leather, hot line Be prepared for the engaged sign Bridal books, engagement rings And other wicked little things Chorus: Standing in your socks and vest Better get it off your chest Every day is just like the rest But Sunday's best Stylish slacks to suit your pocket Back supports and picture lockets Sleepy towns and sleeper trains To the dogs and down the drains Major roads and ladies smalls Hearts of oak and long trunk calls Continental interference At death's door with life insurance Chorus Sunday's best, Sunday's finest When your money's in the minus And you suffer from your shyness You can listen to us whiners Don't look now under the bed An arm, a leg and a severed head Read about the private lives The songs of praise, the readers' wives Listen to the decent people Though you treat them just like sheep Put them all in boots and khaki Blame it all upon the darkies
Elvis Costello
........................................To a man without a country, He appeared a joint sojourner. To Joshua armed but afraid, He came a valiant warrior. To Moses raised up on the mount, He was the One yet higher. To Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, He was the fourth man in the fire. To Elijah who stood as one for God, he was never less alone. For Noah's faithful family, He made an ark their home. To Ezekiel He appeared to be the light cast over the dark. To King David running from the throne, He was the true Monarch. To Daniel at the bite of death, He was the lock upon their jaws. To King Solomon who'd had it all, He was the only worthy cause. To a sinking fisherman, He was life upon the water. To a grieving Jairus, He was life unto his daughter. To a woman at the well, He was complete acceptance. To a doubting Thomas, He was the proof for his reluctance. To a dozen throwbacks from the world, He unleashed His awesome power. From a greedy grave of several days burst forth his finest hour. ........................................
Beth Moore
To a man without a country, He appeared a joint sojourner. To Joshua armed but afraid, He came a valiant warrior. To Moses raised up on the mount, He was the One yet higher. To Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, He was the fourth man in the fire. To Elijah who stood as one for God, he was never less alone. For Noah's faithful family, He made an ark their home. To Ezekiel He appeared to be the light cast over the dark. To King David running from the throne, He was the true Monarch. To Daniel at the bite of death, He was the lock upon their jaws. To King Solomon who'd had it all, He was the only worthy cause. To a sinking fisherman, He was life upon the water. To a grieving Jairus, He was life unto his daughter. To a woman at the well, He was complete acceptance. To a doubting Thomas, He was the proof for his reluctance. To a dozen throwbacks from the world, He unleashed His awesome power. From a greedy grave of several days burst forth his finest hour." ~Things pondered
Beth Moore
You would like to listen the sweetest music and you would like to find the finest cuisines. You would like to listen the sweetest music and you would like to find the finest cuisines. You know that you can't do so many things anymore because you know that you have grown up and you decided to move on with life by pursuing new life with your spouse. You believe in miracles. You know the fact that creator is protecting you, soothing you and he is conveying your every mood and emotions. Your creator is always giving you helping hand and he is proud on your each and every achievement." - Shwin J Brad
Kenty Rosse (Mindfulness And Stress Relief)
Seven Versions" 1. The Kiss Massive languor, languor hammered; Sentient languor, languor dissected; Languor deserted, reignite your sidereal fires; Holier languor, arise from love. The wood’s owl has come home. 2. Beyond Sunlight I can’t shakle one of your ankles as if you were a falcon, but nothing can prevent me from following, no matter how far, even beyond sunlight where Jesus becomes visible: I’ll follow, I will wait, I will never give up until I understand why you are going away from me. 3. A Man Wound His Watch In the darkness the man wound his watch before secreting it under his pillow. Then he went to sleep. Outside, the wind was blowing. You who comprehend the repercussions of the faintest gesture—you will understand. A man, his watch, the wind. What else is there? 4. For Which There Is No Name Let me have what the tree has and what it can never lose, let me have it and lose it again, blurred lines the wind draws with the darkness it gets from summer nights, formless indescribable darkness. Either give me back my gladness, or the courage to think about how it was lost to me. Give me back, not what I see, but my sight. Let me meet you again owning nothing but what is in the past. Let me inherit the very thing I am forbidden. And let me continue to seek, though I know it is futile, the only heaven that I could endure: unhurting you. 5. The Composer People said he was overly fond of the good life and ate like a pig. Yet the servant who brought him his chocolate in bed would sometimes find him weeping quietly, both plump pink hands raised slightly and conducting, evidently, in small brief genuflective feints. He experienced the reality of death as music. 6. Detoxification And I refuse to repent of my drug use. It gave me my finest and happiest hours. And I have been wondering: will I use drugs again? I will if my work wants me to. And if drugs want me to. 7. And Suddenlty It’s Night You stand there alone, like everyone else, the center of the world’s attention, a ray of sunlight passing through you. And suddenly it’s night. Franz Wright, iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, Vol I Issue I . (May 15th, 2011) The individual sections of “Seven Versions” ia based, loosely—some very loosely—on poems by Rene Char, Rumi, Yannis Ritsos, Natan Zach, Günther Eich, Jean Cocteau, and Salvatore Quasimodo.
Franz Wright
To Tarzan of the Apes the expedition was in the nature of a holiday outing. His civilization was at best but an outward veneer which he gladly peeled off with his uncomfortable European clothes whenever any reasonable pretext presented itself. It was a woman's love which kept Tarzan even to the semblance of civilization—a condition for which familiarity had bred contempt. He hated the shams and the hypocrisies of it and with the clear vision of an unspoiled mind he had penetrated to the rotten core of the heart of the thing—the cowardly greed for peace and ease and the safe-guarding of property rights. That the fine things of life—art, music and literature—had thriven upon such enervating ideals he strenuously denied, insisting, rather, that they had endured in spite of civilization. "Show me the fat, opulent coward," he was wont to say, "who ever originated a beautiful ideal. In the clash of arms, in the battle for survival, amid hunger and death and danger, in the face of God as manifested in the display of Nature's most terrific forces, is born all that is finest and best in the human heart and mind." And so Tarzan always came back to Nature in the
Edgar Rice Burroughs (TARZAN OF THE APES SERIES - Complete 25 Book Collection (Illustrated): The Return of Tarzan, The Beasts of Tarzan, The Son of Tarzan, Tarzan and the Jewels ... Lion, Tarzan the Terrible and many more)
The period stretching between the middle of the third and the middle of the seventeenth century is certainly the worst humanity has ever known : blood-lust, ignominy, lies. I don't consider that what has been should necessarily exist for the simple reason that it has been. Providence has endowed man with intelligence precisely to enable him to act with discernment. My discernment tells me that an end must be put to the reign of lies. It likewise tells me that the moment is not opportune. To avoid making myself an accomplice to the lies, I've kept the shavelings out of the Party. I'm not afraid of the struggle. It will take place, if really we must go so far. And I shall make up my mind to it as soon as I think it possible. It's against my own inclinations that I devoted myself to politics. I don't see anything in politics, anyway, but a means to an end. Some people suppose it would deeply grieve me to give up the activity that occupies me at this moment. They are deeply mistaken, for the finest day of my life will be that on which I leave politics behind me, with its griefs and torments. When the war's over, and I have the sense of having accomplished my duties, I shall retire. Then I would like to devote five or ten years to clarifying my thought and setting it down on paper. Wars pass by. The only things that exist are the works of human genius. If somebody else had one day been found to accomplish the work to which I've devoted myself, I would never have entered on the path of politics. I'd have chosen the arts or philosophy. The care I feel for the existence of the German people compelled me to this activity. It's only when the conditions for living are assured that culture can blossom.
Adolf Hitler (Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944)
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” —Isaiah 41:13 (NIV) One day I was standing in line at the store, when a woman tapped me on the arm. “Remember me?” she asked. It was Margo, a girl I’d gone to middle school with. We did the usual those-were-the-days banter and then she said, “A while back I picked your mom up one night on Lahser Road.” My mother was fighting the onset of Alzheimer’s, and she used to get up in the middle of the night, don her Sunday finest, and walk three miles to church in the freezing Michigan dark. I started to thank Margo, but she stopped me. “I thought my life was crumbling,” she said, “that I’d wasted years for nothing. I couldn’t lie in bed crying anymore, so I just threw something on and went driving. I didn’t know what I was going to do. That’s when I saw her.” “Mom?” “We had the most incredible conversation. She said she knew how I felt, that things may seem dark now, but they will get better because God is always near. And she was right. They did. Your mom was such a kind soul and good listener. I will never, ever forget that night.” Mom’s been gone now for a few years. I sometimes wonder about her need to get to church when the hour was darkest. I think she knew what she was about more than we might have suspected and maybe not quite as lost as we assumed. She was searching for something in that cold dark, something she knew was there. My old school friend said she’d never forget that night. Neither will I. Lord, I search for You when the hour is darkest and I am most lost. Direct my steps to You. —Edward Grinnan Digging Deeper: Pss 73:28, 139:7–8; Jn 1:5
Guideposts (Daily Guideposts 2014)
Shit, I wanted my daughter and my wife to have the finest things in life, that’s why I worked so damn hard. I
Diamond D. Johnson (A Miami Love Tale: Thugs Need Luv Too)
Even In Life, The Finest Things Are Also Worth Screening
Delene Douse
To each, there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour. - Winston Churchill
Russell Lake (Shift: Moving From Where You Are to the Life You Want)
There is no such thing as objective reality or ‘the real world.’ There are no absolutes. The face of your greatest enemy might be the face of my finest friend. An event that appears to be a tragedy to one might reveal the seeds of unlimited opportunity to another. What really separates people who are habitually upbeat and optimistic from those who are consistently miserable is how the circumstances of life are interpreted and processed.
Robin S. Sharma (The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari)
Anything acquired without effort, and without cost is generally unappreciated, often discredited; perhaps this is why we get so little from our marvelous opportunity in public schools. The SELF-DISCIPLINE one receives from a definite programme of specialized study makes up to some extent, for the wasted opportunity when knowledge was available without cost. Correspondence schools are highly organized business institutions. Their tuition fees are so low that they are forced to insist upon prompt payments. Being asked to pay, whether the student makes good grades or poor, has the effect of causing one to follow through with the course when he would otherwise drop it. The correspondence schools have not stressed this point sufficiently, for the truth is that their collection departments constitute the very finest sort of training on DECISION, PROMPTNESS, ACTION and THE HABIT OF FINISHING THAT WHICH ONE BEGINS. I learned this from experience, more than twenty-five years ago. I enrolled for a home study course in Advertising. After completing eight or ten lessons I stopped studying, but the school did not stop sending me bills. Moreover, it insisted upon payment, whether I kept up my studies or not. I decided that if I had to pay for the course (which I had legally obligated myself to do), I should complete the lessons and get my money's worth. I felt, at the time, that the collection system of the school was somewhat too well organized, but I learned later in life that it was a valuable part of my training for which no charge had been made. Being forced to pay, I went ahead and completed the course. Later in life I discovered that the efficient collection system of that school had been worth much in the form of money earned, because of the training in advertising I had so reluctantly taken. We have in this country what is said to be the greatest public school system in the world. We have invested fabulous sums for fine buildings, we have provided convenient transportation for children living in the rural districts, so they may attend the best schools, but there is one astounding weakness to this marvelous system-IT IS FREE! One of the strange things about human beings is that they value only that which has a price. The free schools of America, and the free public libraries, do not impress people because they are free. This is the
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich [Illustrated & Annotated])
There is no sense of ease like the ease we felt in those scenes where we were born, where objects became dear to us before we had known the labor of choice, and where the outer world seemed only an extension of our own personality; we accepted and loved it as we accepted our own sense of existence and our own limbs. Very commonplace, even ugly, that furniture of our early home might look if it were put up to auction; an improved taste in upholstery scorns it; and is not the striving after something better and better in our surroundings the grand characteristic that distinguishes man from the brute, or, to satisfy a scrupulous accuracy of definition, that distinguishes the British man from the foreign brute? But heaven knows where that striving might lead us, if our affections had not a trick of twining round those old inferior things; if the loves and sanctities of our life had no deep immovable roots in memory. One's delight in an elderberry bush overhanging the confused leafage of a hedgerow bank, as a more gladdening sight than the finest cistus or fuchsia spreading itself on the softest undulating turf, is an entirely unjustifiable preference to a nursery-gardener, or to any of those regulated minds who are free from the weakness of any attachment that does not rest on a demonstrable superiority of qualities. And there is no better reason for preferring this elderberry bush than that it stirs an early memory; that it is no novelty in my life, speaking to me merely through my present sensibilities to form and color, but the long companion of my existence, that wove itself into my joys when joys were vivid.
George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss [with Biographical Introduction])
The experience helped Copeland see a certain egalitarian nobility to his crew and officers. ‘On that raft we were just forty-nine very wretched human beings, entirely dependent upon ourselves and one another in an effort to sustain life. Under those conditions it made no difference to us whether a man’s parents had been rich or poor; whether he was Catholic, Protestant, or Jew; whether his skin was black, brown, or white; or whether his ancestry was English, Spanish, Italian, or something else.’ During their second day at sea, the oil mostly dissolved and washed away from their skin, revealing those things that Copeland no longer felt mattered anymore.
James D. Hornfischer (The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour)
The finest logical deduction I have read about how thoughts shape our destiny is by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. He says: Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words. Take care of your Words because they will become Actions. Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits. Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character. Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny. And your Destiny will be your Life!
Anupam Kher (The Best Thing about You Is You!)
said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need…fantasies to make life bearable.” REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE. “Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—” YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES. “So we can believe the big ones?” YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING. “They’re not the same at all!” YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME…SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED. “Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—” MY POINT EXACTLY. She
Terry Pratchett (Hogfather (Discworld, #20))
In this time, he did not do many “daring” things – this part of Ieyasu’s life tends to get glossed over in the history books – but he was able to use many small skirmishes and administrative missions to test which of his retainers were most competent. He rewarded and treated well the most loyal and diligent of his officers, and – perhaps due to having been estranged from the clan as a hostage for many years – he paid less attention to birth rank and seniority, and more to merit. He developed one of the finest corps of officers and retainers in all of Japan.
Sebastian Marshall (MACHINA)
Why won’t you give up this silly idea of homesteading?” Gertrude went on. Her tone of voice was moderate, but her blue eyes were snapping. “I can’t help thinking you’re just being stubborn, Lily. Caleb is well able to provide for you, I assure you. He comes from one of the finest families in Pennsylvania—I’ve known the Hallidays a long time.” Lily looked down at the floor for a moment, gathering her courage. “You wouldn’t understand,” she said softly. Gertrude sighed. “Do sit down,” she told Lily kindly, taking a chair herself. “Now what is it that I would find so difficult to understand?” “I love Caleb very much,” Lily began in a shaky voice, “but I’m not the woman for him.” Mrs. Tibbet raised her eyebrows. “Oh? And why not?” Lily leaned forward in her chair and lowered her voice to a whisper. “I think I may be like my mother.” “How so?” Mrs. Tibbet asked, smoothing her skirts. “She was—she drank. And there were men. Lots of men.” “Oh, dear,” said Mrs. Tibbet seriously. “And you drink?” Lily swallowed. “Well—no.” “Then there are men.” “Only Caleb,” Lily said quietly. “But he can make me do and say the most shameful things. I’m so afraid it’s because I’m—er—hot-blooded.” Mrs. Tibbet looked as though she might be trying to suppress a smile. “You wouldn’t be the first girl who’d given herself to a man before marriage, Lily. It isn’t a wise course of action, but it happens often enough.” Lily drew in a deep breath. “I suppose the drinking would come later,” she said, discounting Mrs. Tibbet’s remarks as mere kindness. “And then the men. No, I’m sure I’m better off going on with my life just as I’ve planned.” There was a rap at the door, and then Velvet put her head inside. “Pardon, missus, but dinner’s ready, and the men say they’re going to eat without you if you don’t hurry.” “We’ll be there in a moment,” Mrs. Tibbet answered. “And tell the men that if they don’t wait, they’ll have me to deal with.” “Yes, ma’am,” Velvet replied with a hint of laughter in her voice. The door closed with a click. Mrs. Tibbet turned back to her guest. “If you were my own daughter, Lily, I would tell you the same thing. You couldn’t do better than Caleb Halliday if you searched the world over for a man. Don’t throw away a chance at real happiness—it might be the only one you get.” Lily pushed herself out of her chair and went to stand at the window. From there she could see the moon rising above the roof of the house next door; it looked as though it had just squeezed out of the chimney. “Sometimes I think I know what I want. I’ll decide that I want to marry Caleb and forget all about having a homestead. But then I remember what Mama was like.” “Lily, you’re not your mother.” “No,” Lily agreed sadly, turning to face Mrs. Tibbet, her hands clasped in front of her. “But Mama was young and happy once, and she must have thought she was in love with my father. She married him, she had his children. And then something changed, and she began to drink. Papa went away—I don’t even remember him—and the men started coming around, one after the other …” Gertrude came to take Lily’s hands in her own. “Things will be different for you,” she said quietly. “You’re strong, and so is Caleb. Oh, Lily, don’t be afraid to take a chance.” At that moment the colonel thundered from the hallway that he was going to have his supper right then whether the women cared to come to the table or not, and Lily smiled. “I promise I’ll think things through very carefully, Mrs. Tibbet.” “Don’t take too long,” Gertrude answered, ushering her toward the door of the study. “Fate can take the strangest twists and turns, sealing us off from someone when we least expect it.” At
Linda Lael Miller (Lily and the Major (Orphan Train, #1))
I was told it was the finest thing to die for a god,’ he mumbled. ‘Vorbis said that. And he was … stupid. You can die for your country or your people or your family, but for a god you should live fully and busily, every day of a long life.
Terry Pratchett (Small Gods (Discworld, #13))
I KNOW what they said. They said I didn’t run away from home but that I was tolled away by a crazy man who, if I hadn’t killed him first, would have killed me inside another week. But if they had said that the women, the good women in Jefferson had driven Uncle Willy out of town and I followed him and did what I did because I knew that Uncle Willy was on his last go-round and this time when they got him again it would be for good and forever, they would have been right. Because I wasn’t tolled away and Uncle Willy wasn’t crazy, not even after all they had done to him. I didn’t have to go; I didn’t have to go any more than Uncle Willy had to invite me instead of just taking it for granted that I wanted to come. I went because Uncle Willy was the finest man I ever knew, because even women couldn’t beat him, because in spite of them he wound up his life getting fun out of being alive and he died doing the thing that was the most fun of all because I was there to help him. And that’s something that most men and even most women too don’t get to do, not even the women that call meddling with other folks’ lives fun.
William Faulkner (Collected Stories Of William Faulkner)
I have to hurt other people in order to get what I want, I don’t have a choice but to. In life, you gotta do the right things for the wrong reasons. Or the wrong things for the right reasons.
Khali Raymond (Ghanport's Finest)
THE WORLD’S FINEST TRICK IS TO PERSUADE PEOPLE THAT SENSUALITY DOES NOT EXIST AND THE ONLY THING THEY CAN GO BY IS REALITY.
Lebo Grand
[F]ashion always stands, as I have pointed out, at the periphery of personality, which regards itself as a pièce de résistance for fashion, or at least can do so when called upon. It is this phase of fashion that is received by sensitive and peculiar persons, who use it as a sort of mask. [...] We have here a triumph of the soul over the actual circumstances of existence, which must be considered one of the highest and finest victories, at least as far as form is concerned, for the reason that the enemy himself is transformed into a servant, and that the very thing which the personality seemed to suppress is voluntarily seized, because the leveling suppression is here transferred to the external spheres of life in such a way that it furnishes a veil and a protection for everything spiritual and now all the more free. This corresponds exactly to the triviality of expression and conversation through which very sensitive and retiring people, especially women, often deceive one about the individual depth of the soul. [...] The impossibility of enticing her beyond the most banal and trite forms of expression, which often drives one to despair, in innumerable instances signifies nothing more than a barricade of the soul, an iron mask that conceals the real features and can furnish this service only by means of a wholly uncompromising separation of the feelings and the externals of life.
Georg Simmel (La moda)
Æsthetics are higher than ethics. They belong to a more spiritual sphere. To discern the beauty of a thing is the finest point to which we can arrive. Even a colour-sense is more important, in the development of the individual, than a sense of right and wrong. Æsthetics, in fact, are to Ethics in the sphere of conscious civilisation, what, in the sphere of the external world, sexual is to natural selection. Ethics, like natural selection, make existence possible. Æsthetics, like sexual selection, make life lovely and wonderful, fill it with new forms, and give it progress, and variety and change.
Oscar Wilde (Intentions Annotated)
Every other book & Coach is suggesting people to think positive to transform their lives. But they don’t tell their people what exactly is Positive Thinking & how one can become Positive. Today’s post will help you to find a few answers & will also help to become more positive person. What is Positive Thinking? It is being optimistic, finding solutions, expecting good outcomes, focusing & making life happier, no matter what your circumstances are. It is all about having hopes & confidence in one’s ability. It is looking at the bright side of your life. It is simply seeing the good in all things & thinking about thoughts which make you feel good at most of the time. It is vibrating with love, peace, joy & gratitude. There are sufficient studies that proves that Positive people are more healthier, happier & successful than their glass-half-empty type of friends. Positive Thinking can improve your work, your health, your relationships & your life. It will surely play an important role in helping you to achieve a dream life. But mind it, Positive Thinking isn’t magic & it alone cannot make all of your problems disappear. You can not just sit back & think positive without putting in any effort & expect to achieve all the success & become the person, you want to. It’s never going to happen. I have tried to gather a list of positive attitude that you must put in action from today. I guarantee you that you will become successful, healthy & joyful if you follow the suggestions. Click on link for the list: rajeshgoyal(dot)in Please don’t forget to thank me when others notice that Positive Change in you
Rajesh Goyal
May I ask you – why should you achieve less than what you can or less than you deserve just because of your inactions or by refusing to acknowledge what you are good at, I mean your real potential, strengths & unique talents? I want you to join those who have found their real realities & put them to good use so that your life too can become great, joyful, lovely, fulfilling, more productive, effective & efficient. You have got to realize that you are doing yourself a great injustice & disservice by not acknowledging your real strengths, qualities, capabilities & abilities. Darling listen – There is no Genie here who would tell you directly, what you are good at & how to use it to change direction of your life. There are clues all around, trying to tell you what you should be doing, but perhaps, you are missing them because you are not paying attention to any of these or focusing more on your weaknesses or lacks. Let me remind you that – my idea is not to force you to find out exactly what you are good at or compel you to go down to the finest details immediately. No, in fact, I am not asking you to “find” anything. Instead, I am asking you begin experimenting with the things in your hand or in front right away & start discovering your strengths, real potential & talents by acting on your inclinations. That’s it. Believe you me, the moment you actually start doing something, everything about the real you will emerge automatically. When you find something you’re good at, practice & get better at it. That’s the straightest road to success & achieving anything you want. All I am saying is – let the best of you come alive today & give the world something to talk about! Atleast take some beautiful & inviting selfies & update your feeds. My best wishes & blessings are always with you
Rajesh Goyal