Generally Happy Quotes

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Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others...By and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves.
Gordon B. Hinckley
Happiness was but the occasional episode in a general drama of pain.
Thomas Hardy (The Mayor of Casterbridge)
Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.
Aldous Huxley
The days are long, but the years are short.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It's more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted. No one is careful of his feelings or tries to keep his spirits high. He seems self-sufficient; he becomes a cushion for others. And because happiness seems unforced, that person usually gets no credit.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Never start a sentence with the words 'No offense.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Laughter is more than just a pleasurable activity...When people laugh together, they tend to talk and touch more and to make eye contact more frequently.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Nothing,' wrote Tolstoy, 'can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Depression presents itself as a realism regarding the rottenness of the world in general and the rottenness of your life in particular. But the realism is merely a mask for depression's actual essence, which is an overwhelming estrangement from humanity. The more persuaded you are of your unique access to the rottenness, the more afraid you become of engaging with the world; and the less you engage with the world, the more perfidiously happy-faced the rest of humanity seems for continuing to engage with it.
Jonathan Franzen (How to Be Alone)
In politics as in philosophy, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.
George Washington
Look for happiness under your own roof.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
The things that go wrong often make the best memories.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
These illustrations suggest four general maxims[...]. The first is: remember that your motives are not always as altruistic as they seem to yourself. The second is: don't over-estimate your own merits. The third is: don't expect others to take as much interest in you as you do yourself. And the fourth is: don't imagine that most people give enough thought to you to have any special desire to persecute you.
Bertrand Russell (The Conquest of Happiness)
Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, but every day is a clean slate and a fresh opportunity
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
There's a taste in the air, sweet and vaguely antiseptic, that reminds him of his teenage years in these streets, and of a general state of longing, a hunger for life to begin that from this distance seems like happiness.
Ian McEwan (Saturday)
Enthusiasm is more important than innate ability, it turns out, because the single more important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them - while they last. All those things, of course, will still pass away, cycles will come and go, but with dependency gone there is no fear of loss anymore. Life flows with ease.
Eckhart Tolle
When I find myself focusing overmuch on the anticipated future happiness of arriving at a certain goal, I remind myself to 'Enjoy now'. If I can enjoy the present, I don't need to count on the happiness that is (or isn't) waiting for me in the future".
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier.
Amy Poehler (Yes Please)
While friendship has been by far the chief source of my happiness, acquaintance or general society has always meant little to me, and I cannot quite understand why a man should wish to know more people than he can make real friends of.
C.S. Lewis (Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life)
The First Splendid Truth: To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
When I thought about why I was sometimes reluctant to push myself, I realized that it was because I was afraid of failure - but in order to have more success, I needed to be willing to accept more failure.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Studies show that aggressively expressing anger doesn't relieve anger but amplifies it. On the other hand, not expressing anger often allows it to disappear without leaving ugly traces.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
It's about living in the moment and appreciating the smallest things. Surrounding yourself with the things that inspire you and letting go of the obsessions that want to take over your mind. It is a daily struggle sometimes and hard work but happiness begins with your own attitude and how you look at the world.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
You differ from a great man in only one respect: the great man was once a very little man, but he developed one important quality: he recognized the smallness and narrowness of his thoughts and actions. Under the pressure of some task that meant a great deal to him, he learned to see how his smallness, his pettiness endangered his happiness. In other words, a great man knows when and in what way he is a little man. A little man does not know he is little and is afraid to know. He hides his pettiness and narrowness behind illusions of strength and greatness, someone else's strength and greatness. He's proud of his great generals but not of himself. He admires an idea he has not had, not one he has had. The less he understands something, the more firmly he believes in it. And the better he understands an idea, the less he believes in it.
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
I cannot tell if what the world considers ‘happiness’ is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness.
Zhuangzi
I can DO ANYTHING I want, but I can't DO EVERYTHING I want.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Clearly the secret of happiness...is a variation on the general principle of banging your head against a wall, and then stopping.
Stef Penney (The Tenderness of Wolves)
Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
There are no do overs and some things just aren't going to happen. It is a little sad but you just have to embrace what is
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Money. It's a good servant but a bad master.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
What I'm sure of is that you can't be happy without money. That's all. I don't like superficiality and I don't like romanticism. I like to be conscious. And what I've noticed is that there's a kind of spiritual snobbism in certain 'superior beings' who think that money isn't necessary for happiness. Which is stupid, which is false, and to a certain degree cowardly.... For a man who is well born, being happy is never complicated. It's enough to take up the general fate, only not with the will for renunciation like so many fake great men, but with the will for happiness. Only it takes time to be happy. A lot of time. Happiness, too, is a long patience. And in almost every case, we use up our lives making money, when we should be using our money to gain time. That's the only problem that's ever interested me.... To have money is to have time. That's my main point. Time can be bought. Everything can be bought. To be or to become rich is to have time to be happy, if you deserve it.... Everything for happiness, against the world which surrounds us with its violence and its stupidity.... All the cruelty of our civilization can be measured by this one axiom: happy nations have no history.
Albert Camus
I enjoy the fun of failure. It's fun to fail, I kept repeating. It's part of being ambitious; it's part of being creative. If something is worth doing, it's worth doing badly
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
I want to say one last thing, and it’s important. Though I am a generally happy person who feels comfortable in my skin, I do beat myself up because I am influenced by a societal pressure to be thin. All the time. I feel it the same way anybody who picks up a magazine and sees Keira Knightley’s elegantly bony shoulder blades poking out of a backless dress does. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen my shoulder blades once. Honestly, I’m dubious that any part of my body could be so sharp and firm as to be described as a “blade.” I feel it when I wake up in the morning and try on every single pair of my jeans and everything looks bad and I just want to go back to sleep. But my secret is: even though I wish I could be thin, and that I could have the ease of lifestyle that I associate with being thin, I don’t wish for it with all of my heart. Because my heart is reserved for way more important things.
Mindy Kaling (Why Not Me?)
Be studious in your profession, and you will be learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich. Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy. Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy. At least you will, by such conduct, stand the be.
Benjamin Franklin
I believe it will have become evident why, for me, adjectives such as happy, contented, blissful, enjoyable, do not seem quite appropriate to any general description of this process I have called the good life, even though the person in this process would experience each one of these at the appropriate times. But adjectives which seem more generally fitting are adjectives such as enriching, exciting, rewarding, challenging, meaningful. This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-fainthearted. It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one's potentialities. It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life. Yet the deeply exciting thing about human beings is that when the individual is inwardly free, he chooses as the good life this process of becoming.
Carl R. Rogers (On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy)
I drink to the general joy o’ the whole table." Macbeth
William Shakespeare (Macbeth)
New mothers enter the world of parenting feeling much like Alice in Wonderland. - Being a mother is one of the most rewarding jobs on earth and also one of the most challenging. - Motherhood is a process. Learn to love the process. - There is a tremendous amount of learning that takes place in the first year of your baby’s life; the baby learns a lot, too. - It is sometimes difficult to reconcile the fantasy of what you thuoght motherhood would be like, and what you thought you would be like as a mother, with reality. - Take care of yourself. If Mommy isn’t happy, no one else in the family is happy either. - New mother generally need to lower their expectations. - A good mother learns to love her child as he is and adjusts her mothering to suit her child.
Debra Gilbert Rosenberg
... one flaw throws the loveliness of [everything else] into focus. I remember reading that Shakers deliberately introduced a mistake into the things they made, to show that man shouldn't aspire to the perfection of God. Flawed can be more perfect than perfection.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
He is my fate. He's my soul mate. He pervades my whole existence. So, of course, I often ignore him.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
I grasped two things: I wasn't as happy as I could be, and my life wasnt going to change unless I made it change.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
I waited for him to say something more, but he was quiet. "Was there something you wanted?" I asked. He didn't answer right away, but I could feel him struggling, so I waited. "If I asked you something, would you tell me the truth?" It was my turn to hesitate. "I don't know everything," I hedged. "You would know this. When we were walking... me and Jeb... he was telling me some things. Things he thought, but I don't know if he's right." Melanie was suddenly very in my head. Jamie's whisper was hard to hear, quieter than my breathing. "Uncle Jeb thinks that Melanie might still be alive. Inside there with you, I mean." Melanie sighed. I said nothing to either of them. "I didn't know that could happen. Does that happen?" His voice broke and I could hear that he was fighting tears. He was not a boy to cry, and here I'd grieved him this deeply twice in one day. A pain pierced through the general region of my chest. "Does it, Wanda?" "Why won't you answer me?" Jamie was really crying now but trying to muffle the sound. I crawled off the bed, squeezing into the hard space between the mattress and the mat, and threw my arm over his shaking chest. I leaned my head against his hair and felt his tears, warm on my neck. "Is Melanie still alive, Wanda? Please?" He was probably a tool. The old man could have sent him just for this, Jeb was smart enough to see how easily Jamie broke through my defenses. Jamie's body shook beside me. Melanie cried. She battered ineffectually at my control. But I couldn't blame this on Melanie if it turned out to be a huge mistake. I knew who was speaking now. "She promised she would come back, didn't she?" I murmured. "Would Melanie break a promise to you?" Jamie slid his arms around my waist and clung to me for a long time. After a few minutes, he whispered. "Love you, Mel." "She loves you, too. She's so happy that you're here and safe." He was silent long enough for the tears on my skin to dry, leaving a fine, salty dust behind.
Stephenie Meyer (The Host (The Host, #1))
May we generally be happy, generally be witty, generally be honest, but above all always be interesting.
Daniel Handler (The Basic Eight)
What you do everyday matters more than what you do once in a while.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
You can't wish for more wishes or for vague generalities like happiness that are impossible to grant. Your wish has to be something specific enough that I can use my wand to make it happen. Oh, and recently there's been a ban on inserting yourself into the Twilight series. The Cullens are tired of different teenage girls pinging into their story every time they turn around.
Janette Rallison (My Unfair Godmother (My Fair Godmother, #2))
The trouble is that people seem to expect happiness in life. I can't imagine why; but they do. They are unhappy before they marry, and they imagine to themselves that the reason of their unhappiness will be removed when they are married. When it isn't they blame the other person, which is clearly absurd. I believe that is what generally starts the trouble.
Nancy Mitford (Christmas Pudding)
if you are unwilling to endure your own suffering even for an hour, and continually forestall all possible misfortune, if you regard as deserving of annihilation, any suffering and pain generally as evil, as detestable, and as blots on existence, well, you have then, besides your religion of compassion, yet another religion in your heart (and this is perhaps the mother of the former)-the religion of smug ease. Ah, how little you know of the happiness of man, you comfortable and good-natured ones! For happiness and misfortune are brother and sister, and twins, who grow tall together, or, as with you, remain small together!
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science)
In general, if we carefully examine any given situation in a very unbiased and honest way, we will realize that to a large extent we are also responsible for the unfolding of events.
Dalai Lama XIV (The Art of Happiness)
[S]tudies show that one of the best ways to lift your mood is to engineer an easy success, such as tackling a long-delayed chore.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
But of course there's no logic to San Francisco generally, a city built with putty and pipe cleaners, rubber cement and colored construction paper. It's the work of fairies, elves, happy children with new crayons
Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius)
More often than not, people who are obsessed with their desires and feelings are generally unhappier in life vs. people that refocus their attention on service to others or a righteous cause. Have you ever heard someone say their life sucked because they fed the homeless? Made their children laugh? Or, bought a toy for a needy child at Christmas time?
Shannon L. Alder
It was time to expect more of myself. Yet as I thought about happiness, I kept running up against paradoxes. I wanted to change myself but accept myself. I wanted to take myself less seriously -- and also more seriously. I wanted to use my time well, but I also wanted to wander, to play, to read at whim. I wanted to think about myself so I could forget myself. I was always on the edge of agitation; I wanted to let go of envy and anxiety about the future, yet keep my energy and ambition.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Did I have a heart to be contented? Well, no, not particularly. I had a tendency to be discontented: ambitious, dissatisfied, fretful, and tough to please...It's easier to complain than to laugh, easier to yell than to joke around, easier to be demanding than to be satisfied.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
I don't think most people would like my personality. There might be a few--very few, I would imagine--who are impressed by it, but only rarely would anyone like it. Who in the world could possibly have warm feelings, or something like them, for a person who doesn't compromise, who instead, whenever a problem crops up, locks himself away alone in a closet? But is it ever possible for a professional writer to be liked by people? I have no idea. Maybe somewhere in the world it is. It's hard to generalize. For me, at least, I've written novels over many years, I just can't picture someone liking me on a personal level. Being disliked by someone, hated and despised, somehow seems more natural. Not that I'm relieved when that happens. Even I'm not happy when someone dislikes me.
Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)
If one were to build the house of happiness, the largest space would be the waiting room.
Jules Renard (The Journal of Jules Renard)
To eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Happiness in a tablet. This is our world. Prozac. Daxil. Xanax. Billions are spent to advertise such drugs. And billions are spent purchasing them. You don't even need a specific trauma, just 'general depression' is enough, or anxiety, as if sadness is as treatable as the common cold.
Mitch Albom (The Five People You Meet in Heaven)
Enthusiasm is more important to mastery than innate ability, it turns out, because the single most important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Only a fool or philosopher would make sweeping generalizations about the nature of happiness. I am no philosopher, so here goes: Money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important. So are friends. Envy is toxic. So is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude.
Eric Weiner (The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World)
We all recognize grief in moments that should be celebrations; it is the salt in the pudding. Didn't Roman generals hire slaves to march beside them in a triumphant parade and remind them that they too would die? Even your narrator, one morning after what should have been a happy occasion, was found shivering at the end of the bed (spouse: "I really wish you weren't crying right now"). Don't little children, awakened one morning and told, "Now you're five!" - don't they wail at the universe's descent into chaos? The sun slowly dying, the spiral arm spreading, the molecules drifting apart second by second toward our inevitable heat death - shouldn't we all wail to the stars?
Andrew Sean Greer (Less)
The trouble arises from the generally received philosophy of life, according to which life is a contest, a competition, in which respect is to be a ccorded to the victor. This view leads to an undue cultivation of the will at the expense of the senses and the intellect.
Bertrand Russell (The Conquest of Happiness)
What is illusion? M.: To whom is the illusion? Find it out. Then illusion will vanish. Generally people want to know about illusion and do not examine to whom it is. It is foolish. Illusion is outside and unknown. But the seeker is considered to be known and is inside. Find out what is immediate, intimate, instead of trying to find out what is distant and unknown.
Ramana Maharshi (Talks with Ramana Maharshi: On Realizing Abiding Peace and Happiness)
In general, nine-tenths of our happiness depends on our health alone.
Arthur Schopenhauer (Parerga and Paralipomena)
For particulars, as everyone knows, make for virtue and happiness; generalities are intellectually necessary evils. Not philosophers but fretsawyers and stamp collectors compose the backbone of society.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
I esteem myself happy to have as great an ally as you in my search for truth. I will read your work ... all the more willingly because I have for many years been a partisan of the Copernican view because it reveals to me the causes of many natural phenomena that are entirely incomprehensible in the light of the generally accepted hypothesis. To refute the latter I have collected many proofs, but I do not publish them, because I am deterred by the fate of our teacher Copernicus who, although he had won immortal fame with a few, was ridiculed and condemned by countless people (for very great is the number of the stupid). {Letter to fellow revolutionary astronomer Johannes Kepelr}
Galileo Galilei (Frammenti e lettere)
Happiness," wrote Yeats, "is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing." Contemporary researchers make the same argument: that it isn't goal attainment but the process of striving after goals-that is, growth-that brings happiness.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Studies show that each common interest between people boosts the chances of a lasting relationship and also brings about a 2 percent increase in life satisfaction.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
We love men because they can never fake orgasms, even if they wanted to. Because they write poems, songs, and books in our honor. Because they never understand us, but they never give up. Because they can see beauty in women when women have long ceased to see any beauty in themselves. Because they come from little boys. Because they can churn out long, intricate, Machiavellian, or incredibly complex mathematics and physics equations, but they can be comparably clueless when it comes to women. Because they are incredible lovers and never rest until we’re happy. Because they elevate sports to religion. Because they’re never afraid of the dark. Because they don’t care how they look or if they age. Because they persevere in making and repairing things beyond their abilities, with the naïve self-assurance of the teenage boy who knew everything. Because they never wear or dream of wearing high heels. Because they’re always ready for sex. Because they’re like pomegranates: lots of inedible parts, but the juicy seeds are incredibly tasty and succulent and usually exceed your expectations. Because they’re afraid to go bald. Because you always know what they think and they always mean what they say. Because they love machines, tools, and implements with the same ferocity women love jewelry. Because they go to great lengths to hide, unsuccessfully, that they are frail and human. Because they either speak too much or not at all to that end. Because they always finish the food on their plate. Because they are brave in front of insects and mice. Because a well-spoken four-year old girl can reduce them to silence, and a beautiful 25-year old can reduce them to slobbering idiots. Because they want to be either omnivorous or ascetic, warriors or lovers, artists or generals, but nothing in-between. Because for them there’s no such thing as too much adrenaline. Because when all is said and done, they can’t live without us, no matter how hard they try. Because they’re truly as simple as they claim to be. Because they love extremes and when they go to extremes, we’re there to catch them. Because they are tender they when they cry, and how seldom they do it. Because what they lack in talk, they tend to make up for in action. Because they make excellent companions when driving through rough neighborhoods or walking past dark alleys. Because they really love their moms, and they remind us of our dads. Because they never care what their horoscope, their mother-in-law, nor the neighbors say. Because they don’t lie about their age, their weight, or their clothing size. Because they have an uncanny ability to look deeply into our eyes and connect with our heart, even when we don’t want them to. Because when we say “I love you” they ask for an explanation.
Paulo Coelho
I’d noticed soon after starting the job that whenever I got angry at the same things as everyone else, they all seemed happy. If I went along with the manager when he was annoyed or joined in the general irritation at someone skiving off the night shift, there was a strange sense of solidarity as everyone seemed pleased that I was angry too.
Sayaka Murata (Convenience Store Woman)
No, this, she felt, was real life and if she wasn’t as curious or passionate as she had once been, that was only to be expected. It would be inappropriate, undignified, at thirty-eight, to conduct friendships or love affairs with the ardour and intensity of a twenty-two-year-old. Falling in love like that? Writing poetry, crying at pop songs? Dragging people into photo-booths, taking a whole day to make a compilation tape, asking people if they wanted to share your bed, just for company? If you quoted Bob Dylan or T.S. Eliot or, God forbid, Brecht at someone these days they would smile politely and step quietly backwards, and who would blame them? Ridiculous, at thirty-eight, to expect a song or book or film to change your life. No, everything had evened out and settled down and life was lived against a general background hum of comfort, satisfaction and familiarity. There would be no more of these nerve-jangling highs and lows. The friends they had now would be the friends they had in five, ten, twenty years’ time. They expected to get neither dramatically richer or poorer; they expected to stay healthy for a little while yet. Caught in the middle; middle class, middle-aged; happy in that they were not overly happy. Finally, she loved someone and felt fairly confident that she was loved in return. If someone asked Emma, as they sometimes did at parties, how she and her husband had met, she told them: ‘We grew up together.
David Nicholls (One Day)
[Benjamin Franklin]identified thirteen virtues he wanted to cultivate--temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and humility--and made a chart with those virtues plotted against the days of the week. Each day, Franklin would score himself on whether he practiced those thirteen virtues.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
What's fun for other people may not be fun for you- and vice versa.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
- "Women should all move to Amazonia, or at least vacation there four times a year." - "Amazonia?" - "It's the girl world in my head, where I go when I'm annoyed with Carter, or just men in general. There are five shoe stores per capita, nothing has any calories, and all the books and movies end happy ever after." - "I like Amazonia. When do we leave?
Nora Roberts
I think adversity magnifies behavior. Tend to be a control freak? You'll become more controlling. Eat for comfort? You'll eat more. And on the positive, if you tend to focus on solutions and celebrate small successes, that's what you'll do in adversity.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
There are two roads which human beings can follow, one of wisdom and the other of ignorance. The path of the masses is generally the path of ignorance which leads them into negative situations, thoughts and deeds. These in turn lead to ill health and sorrow in life. The other road is based on wisdom and it leads to health, true happiness and enlightenment.
Muata Ashby (EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD The Book of Coming Forth By Day)
He's bound to have done something,” Nobby repeated. In this he was echoing the Patrician's view of crime and punishment. If there was crime, there should be punishment. If the specific criminal should be involved in the punishment process then this was a happy accident, but if not then any criminal would do, and since everyone was undoubtedly guilty of something, the net result was that, in general terms, justice was done.
Terry Pratchett (Men at Arms (Discworld, #15; City Watch, #2))
you have to do that kind of work for yourself. If you do it for other people, you end up wanting them to acknowledge it and to be grateful and to give you credit. If you do it for yourself, you don't expect other people to react in a particular way.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Realize that in modern society, the downside risk is not that large. Even personal bankruptcy can wipe the debts clean in good ecosystems. I’m most familiar with Silicon Valley, but generally, people will forgive failures as long as you were honest and made a high-integrity effort. There’s not really that much to fear in terms of failure, and so people should take on a lot more accountability than they do. [78]
Eric Jorgenson (The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness)
Enthusiasm is a form of social courage.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
I'm generally a happy person -with the help of antidepressants, that is- so there is something to be said for surrounding myself with happy people.
Rachel Machacek (The Science of Single: One Woman's Grand Experiment in Modern Dating, Creating Chemistry, and Finding Love)
Our country in general assumes that "the pursuit of happiness" really means "the pursuit of pleasure" and that therefore pleasure is the greatest good.
Madeleine L'Engle (A Circle of Quiet (Crosswicks Journals #1))
Studies show that in a phenomenon called "emotional contagion," we unconsciously catch emotions from other people--whether good moods or bad ones. Taking the time to be silly means that we're infecting one another with good cheer, and people who enjoy silliness are one third more likely to be happy.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Life is too short to save your good china or your good lingerie or your good ANYTHING for later because truly, later may never come.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
What are the dead, anyway, but waves and energy? Light shining from a dead star? That, by the way, is a phrase of Julian's. I remember it from a lecture of his on the Iliad, when Patroklos appears to Achilles in a dream. There is a very moving passage where Achilles overjoyed at the sight of the apparition – tries to throw his arms around the ghost of his old friend, and it vanishes. The dead appear to us in dreams, said Julian, because that's the only way they can make us see them; what we see is only a projection, beamed from a great distance, light shining at us from a dead star… Which reminds me, by the way, of a dream I had a couple of weeks ago. I found myself in a strange deserted city – an old city, like London – underpopulated by war or disease. It was night; the streets were dark, bombed-out, abandoned. For a long time, I wandered aimlessly – past ruined parks, blasted statuary, vacant lots overgrown with weeds and collapsed apartment houses with rusted girders poking out of their sides like ribs. But here and there, interspersed among the desolate shells of the heavy old public buildings, I began to see new buildings, too, which were connected by futuristic walkways lit from beneath. Long, cool perspectives of modern architecture, rising phosphorescent and eerie from the rubble. I went inside one of these new buildings. It was like a laboratory, maybe, or a museum. My footsteps echoed on the tile floors.There was a cluster of men, all smoking pipes, gathered around an exhibit in a glass case that gleamed in the dim light and lit their faces ghoulishly from below. I drew nearer. In the case was a machine revolving slowly on a turntable, a machine with metal parts that slid in and out and collapsed in upon themselves to form new images. An Inca temple… click click click… the Pyramids… the Parthenon. History passing beneath my very eyes, changing every moment. 'I thought I'd find you here,' said a voice at my elbow. It was Henry. His gaze was steady and impassive in the dim light. Above his ear, beneath the wire stem of his spectacles, I could just make out the powder burn and the dark hole in his right temple. I was glad to see him, though not exactly surprised. 'You know,' I said to him, 'everybody is saying that you're dead.' He stared down at the machine. The Colosseum… click click click… the Pantheon. 'I'm not dead,' he said. 'I'm only having a bit of trouble with my passport.' 'What?' He cleared his throat. 'My movements are restricted,' he said. 'I no longer have the ability to travel as freely as I would like.' Hagia Sophia. St. Mark's, in Venice. 'What is this place?' I asked him. 'That information is classified, I'm afraid.' 1 looked around curiously. It seemed that I was the only visitor. 'Is it open to the public?' I said. 'Not generally, no.' I looked at him. There was so much I wanted to ask him, so much I wanted to say; but somehow I knew there wasn't time and even if there was, that it was all, somehow, beside the point. 'Are you happy here?' I said at last. He considered this for a moment. 'Not particularly,' he said. 'But you're not very happy where you are, either.' St. Basil's, in Moscow. Chartres. Salisbury and Amiens. He glanced at his watch. 'I hope you'll excuse me,' he said, 'but I'm late for an appointment.' He turned from me and walked away. I watched his back receding down the long, gleaming hall.
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
Perhaps the strangest thing about this illusion of control is not that it happens but that it seems to confer many of the psychological benefits of genuine control. In fact, the one group of people who seem generally immune to this illusion are the clinically depressed, who tend to estimate accurately the degree to which they can control events in most situation.
Daniel Todd Gilbert (Stumbling on Happiness)
Change is the only constant. Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier. Maybe I should have called this book Surf Your Life. The cover could feature a picture of me on a giant wave wearing a wizard hat. I wonder if it’s too late. I’ll make a call.
Amy Poehler (Yes Please)
On the job people feel skillful and challenged, and therefore feel more happy, strong, creative, and satisfied. In their free time people feel that there is generally not much to do and their skills are not being used, and therefore they tend to feel more sad, weak, dull, and dissatisfied. Yet they would like to work less and spend more time in leisure. What does this contradictory pattern mean? There are several possible explanations, but one conclusion seems inevitable: when it comes to work, people do not heed the evidence of their senses. They disregard the quality of immediate experience, and base their motivation instead on the strongly rooted cultural stereotype of what work is supposed to be like. They think of it as an imposition, a constraint, an infringement of their freedom, and therefore something to be avoided as much as possible.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience)
The gods know, happiness is a precious and rare commodity, and indeed it seems that the more intelligent and perceptive the individual, the less happy they generally are. The cost of seeing things as they are, I expect.
Steven Erikson (Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8))
However, if you want to know how people would like to be treated, it's more helpful to look at how they themselves act than what they say.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Although we presume that we act because of the way we feel, in fact we often feel because of the way we act.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
People get hung up on happiness and joy, but fun will take you at least as far and it's generally cheaper to obtain.
T. Kingfisher (What Moves the Dead)
According to current research, in the determination of a person's level of happiness, genetics accounts for about 50 percent; life circumstances, such as age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, income, health, occupation, and religious affiliation, account for about 10 to 20 percent; and the remainder is a product of how a person thinks and acts.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
I realized that for my own part, I was much more likely to take risks, reach out to others, and expose myself to rejection and failure when I felt happy. When I felt unhappy, I felt defensive, touchy, and self-conscious.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Who could ever reckon up the damage done to love and friendship and all hopes of happiness by a surfeit or depletion of this or that neurotransmitter? And who will ever find a morality, an ethics down among the enzymes and amino acids when the general taste is for looking in the other direction?
Ian McEwan (Saturday)
The general teaching of the Upanishads is that works alone, even the highest, can bring only temporary happiness and must inevitably bind a man unless through them he gains knowledge of his real Self.
Paramananda (The Upanishads)
Do you always laugh when you make love?' said Fabrice. I hadn't thought about it, but I suppose I do. I generally laugh when I'm happy and cry when I'm not. Do you find it odd?
Nancy Mitford
There is a preppy wabi-sabi to soft, faded khakis and cotton shirts, but it's not nice to be surrounded by things that are worn out or stained or used up.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Another study suggested that getting one extra hour of sleep each night would do more for a person's happiness than getting a $60,000 raise.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Getters generally don’t get happiness; givers get it.
John C. Maxwell (Thinking for a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work)
Originally and naturally, sexual pleasure was the good, the beautiful, the happy, that which united man with nature in general. When sexual feelings and religious feelings became separated from one another, that which is sexual was forced to become the bad, the internal, the diabolical.
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)
Generally speaking, though, Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused with everything from porn to theme parks to wars, but that's not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment. Americans work harder and longer and more stressful hours than anyone in the world today. But...we seem to like it. Alarming statistics back this observation up, showing that many Americans feel more happy and fulfilled in their offices than they do in their own homes. Of course, we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, eating cereal straight out of the box and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure). Americans don't really know how to do NOTHING. This is the cause of that great sad American stereotype-the overstressed executive who goes on vacation but who cannot relax.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
I realized I could really become hooked on these happy pills. They gave me a glorious feeling of general well-being and didn't make me fat, like alcohol. I wondered if there was any harm in being addicted to only these.
Augusten Burroughs (Magical Thinking: True Stories)
Her experience had been of a kind to teach her, rightly or wrongly, that the doubtful honor of a brief transit through a sorry world hardly called for effusiveness, even when the path was suddenly irradiated at some half-way point by daybeams rich as hers. But her strong sense that neither she nor any human being deserved less than was given, did not blind her to the fact that there were others receiving less who had deserved much more. And in being forced to class herself among the fortunate she did not cease to wonder at the persistence of the unforeseen, when the one to whom such unbroken tranquility had been accorded in the adult stage was she whose youth had seemed to teach that happiness was but the occasional episode in a general drama of pain.
Thomas Hardy (The Mayor of Casterbridge)
Both money and health contribute to happiness mostly in the negative; the lack of them brings much more unhappiness than possessing them brings happiness. p 169
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
I needed to change the lens through which I viewed everything familiar.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
the more intelligent and perceptive the individual, the less happy they generally are. The cost of seeing things as they are, I expect.
Steven Erikson (Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8))
If we can use an H-bomb--and as you said it's no checker game; it's real, it's war and nobody is fooling around--isn't it sort of ridiculous to go crawling around in the weeds, throwing knives and maybe getting yourself killed . . . and even losing the war . . . when you've got a real weapon you can use to win? What's the point in a whole lot of men risking their lives with obsolete weapons when one professor type can do so much more just by pushing a button?' Zim didn't answer at once, which wasn't like him at all. Then he said softly, 'Are you happy in the Infantry, Hendrick? You can resign, you know.' Hendrick muttered something; Zim said, 'Speak up!' I'm not itching to resign, sir. I'm going to sweat out my term.' I see. Well, the question you asked is one that a sergeant isn't really qualified to answer . . . and one that you shouldn't ask me. You're supposed to know the answer before you join up. Or you should. Did your school have a course in History and Moral Philosophy?' What? Sure--yes, sir.' Then you've heard the answer. But I'll give you my own--unofficial--views on it. If you wanted to teach a baby a lesson, would you cuts its head off?' Why . . . no, sir!' Of course not. You'd paddle it. There can be circumstances when it's just as foolish to hit an enemy with an H-Bomb as it would be to spank a baby with an ax. War is not violence and killing, pure and simple; war is controlled violence, for a purpose. The purpose of war is to support your government's decisions by force. The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him . . . but to make him do what you want him to do. Not killing . . . but controlled and purposeful violence. But it's not your business or mine to decide the purpose of the control. It's never a soldier's business to decide when or where or how--or why--he fights; that belongs to the statesmen and the generals. The statesmen decide why and how much; the generals take it from there and tell us where and when and how. We supply the violence; other people--"older and wiser heads," as they say--supply the control. Which is as it should be. That's the best answer I can give you. If it doesn't satisfy you, I'll get you a chit to go talk to the regimental commander. If he can't convince you--then go home and be a civilian! Because in that case you will certainly never make a soldier.
Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers)
Now it was like her brain was split in two. One half understood that the person writing to her was just down the street. But the other half still couldn't let go of the more general idea of him, the comforting and mysterious stranger with whom she could talk about anything. His sudden presence here had thrown her wildly off balance, and even as she noticed--with a little thrill--that a new email from him had indeed arrived, there was something disconcerting about it.
Jennifer E. Smith (This Is What Happy Looks Like (This is What Happy Looks Like, #1))
In the face of God's obvious inadequacies, the pious have generally held that one cannot apply earthly norms to the Creator of the universe. This argument loses its force the moment we notice that the Creator who purports to be beyond human judgment is consistently ruled by human passions— jealousy, wrath, suspicion, and the lust to dominate. A close study of our holy books reveals that the God of Abraham is a ridiculous fellow—capricious, petulant, and cruel—and one with whom a covenant is little guarantee of health or happiness. If these are the characteristics of God, then the worst among us have been created far more in his image than we ever could have hoped.
Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)
Cyber bullying occurs online daily. Most don't consider their actions or words to be bullying. Here's a few clues that you're a cyber bully. (1) You post information about someone in order to ruin their character. (2) You post threats to someone. (3) You tag someone in vulgar degrading posts. (4) You post any information intended to harm or shame another individual seeking to gain attention. Then, you are a cyber bully and need to get some help.
Amaka Imani Nkosazana (Sweet Destiny)
The young people nowadays – men and women, amateurs and pros – generally fall into one of two categories: either they don’t know what it is that’s most important to them, or they know but don’t have the power to go after it. But this girl’s different. She knows what’s most important to her and she knows how to get it, but she doesn’t let on what it is. I’m pretty sure it’s not money, or success, or a normal happy life, or a strong man, or some weird religion, but that’s about all I can tell you. She’s like smoke: you think you’re seeing her clearly enough, but when you reach for her there’s nothing there. That’s a sort of strength, I suppose. But it makes her hard to figure out.
Ryū Murakami (Audition)
I had everything I could possibly want -- yet I was failing to appreciate it. Bogged down in petty complaints and passing crises, weary of struggling with my own nature, I too often failed to comprehend the splendor of what I had.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Because money permits a constant stream of luxuries and indulgences, it can take away their savor, and by permitting instant gratification, money shortcuts the happiness of anticipation. Scrimping, saving, imagining, planning, hoping--these stages enlarge the happiness we feel.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Thank you, Mr. Secretary General, UNICEF Executive Director, Excellencies and distinguished guests from across the world. My name is Kim Nam Jun, also known as RM, the leader of the group BTS. It’s an incredible honour to be invited to an occasion with such significance for today’s young generation. Last November, BTS launched the “Love Myself” campaign with UNICEF, building on our belief that “true love first begins with loving myself.” We have been partnering with UNICEF’s #ENDviolence program to protect children and young people all over the world from violence. Our fans have become a major part of this campaign with their action and enthusiasm. We truly have the best fans in the world! I would like to begin by talking about myself. I was born in Ilsan, a city near Seoul, South Korea. It’s a beautiful place, with a lake, hills, and even an annual flower festival. I spent a happy childhood there, and I was just an ordinary boy. I would look up at the night sky in wonder and dream the dreams of a boy. I used to imagine that I was a superhero, saving the world. In an intro to one of our early albums, there is a line that says, “My heart stopped…I was maybe nine or ten.” Looking back, that’s when I began to worry about what other people thought of me and started seeing myself through their eyes. I stopped looking up at the stars at night. I stopped daydreaming. I tried to jam myself into moulds that other people made. Soon, I began to shut out my own voice and started to listen to the voices of others. No one called out my name, and neither did I. My heart stopped and my eyes closed shut. So, like this, I, we, all lost our names. We became like ghosts. I had one sanctuary, and that was music. There was a small voice in me that said, ‘Wake up, man, and listen to yourself!” But it took me a long time to hear music calling my name. Even after making the decision to join BTS, there were hurdles. Most people thought we were hopeless. Sometimes, I just wanted to quit. I think I was very lucky that I didn’t give it all up. I’m sure that I, and we, will keep stumbling and falling. We have become artists performing in huge stadiums and selling millions of albums. But I am still an ordinary, twenty-four-year-old guy. If there’s anything that I’ve achieved, it was only possible because I had my other BTS members by my side, and because of the love and support of our ARMY fans. Maybe I made a mistake yesterday, but yesterday’s me is still me. I am who I am today, with all my faults. Tomorrow I might be a tiny bit wiser, and that’s me, too. These faults and mistakes are what I am, making up the brightest stars in the constellation of my life. I have come to love myself for who I was, who I am, and who I hope to become. I would like to say one last thing. After releasing the “Love Yourself” albums and launching the “Love Myself” campaign, we started to hear remarkable stories from our fans all over the world, how our message helped them overcome their hardships in life and start loving themselves. These stories constantly remind us of our responsibility. So, let’s all take one more step. We have learned to love ourselves, so now I urge you to "speak yourself". I would like to ask all of you. What is your name? What excites you and makes your heart beat? Tell me your story. I want to hear your voice, and I want to hear your conviction. No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin colour, gender identity: speak yourself. Find your name, find your voice by speaking yourself. I’m Kim Nam Jun, RM of BTS. I’m a hip-hop idol and an artist from a small town in Korea. Like most people, I made many mistakes in my life. I have many faults and I have many fears, but I am going to embrace myself as hard as I can, and I’m starting to love myself, little by little. What is your name? Speak Yourself!
Kim Namjoon
A personality disorder is not the foreign presence of demonic possession or a cancerous cluster of cells spreading among the internal organs. It is a pattern of cognition and reaction that impares the capacity to be productive, happy and generally at ease. It is a fractured sense of self giving way to the weight of stressful interpersonal dynamics.
Merri Lisa Johnson
Happiness gives you the freedom to enhance your ability to achieve success. Your choices in life are a direct reflection of your level of happiness. It's the sunshine for your soul that you need in order to grow
Amaka Imani Nkosazana (Sweet Destiny)
When it comes to fake food, I’m like Samuel Johnson, who remarked, "Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.” In other words, I can give something up altogether, but I can’t indulge occasionally.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
i've been reading whitman, you know what he says, cheer up slaves, and horrify foreign despots, he means that's the attitude for the bard, the zen lunacy bard of old desert paths, see the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, dharma bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and there have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn't really want anyway such as refrigerators, tv sets, cars, at least new fancy cars, certain hair oils and deodorants and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, i see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up into the mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em zen lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures
Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums)
Marriage isn't just domesticity, or the continuance of the race, or institutionalized sex, or a form of property right. And it damned well isn't happiness, as that word is generally used. I think it's a way of finding your soul.
Robertson Davies (The Lyre of Orpheus (Cornish Trilogy, #3))
Even if we take Nietzsche figuratively (which he would have much preferred anyway), fifty years of research on stress shows that stressors are generally bad for people,3 contributing to depression, anxiety disorders, and heart disease.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
I have an idea of who I wish I were, and that obscures my understanding of who I actually am. Sometimes I pretend even to myself to enjoy activities that I don't really enjoy, such as shopping, or to be interested in subjects that don't much interest me, such as foreign policy.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
A person cannot direct his emotional life in the way he bids his motor system to reach for a cup. He cannot will himself to want the right thing or to love the right person or to be happy after a disappointment, or even to be happy in happy times. People lack this capacity not through a deficiency of discipline but because the jurisdiction of will is limited to the latest brain and to those functions within its purview. Emotional life can be influenced, but it cannot be commanded.
Thomas Lewis (A General Theory of Love)
...the Puritans compressed whatever mirth and public joy they deemed allowable to human infirmity; thereby so far dispelling the customary cloud, that, for the space of a single holiday, they appeared scarcely more grave than most other communities at a period of general affliction.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter)
Vronsky meanwhile, in spite of the complete fulfilment of what he had so long desired, was not completely happy. He soon felt that the realization of his longing gave him only one grain of the mountain of bliss he had anticipated. That realization showed him the eternal error men make by imagining that happiness consists in the gratification of their wishes. When first he united his life with hers and donned civilian clothes, he felt the delight of freedom in general, such as he had not before known, and also the freedom of love—he was contented then, but not for long. Soon he felt rising in his soul a desire for desires—boredom. Involuntarily he began to snatch at every passing caprice, mistaking it for a desire and a purpose.
Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)
Happy people generally are more forgiving, helpful, and charitable, have better self-control, and are more tolerant of frustration than unhappy people, while unhappy people are more often withdrawn, defensive, antagonistic, and self-absorbed. Oscar Wilde observed, “One is not always happy when one is good; but one is always good when one is happy.
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project)
The world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don't mind happiness not always being so very much fun if you don't mind a touch of hell now and then just when everything is fine because even in heaven they don't sing all the time The world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don't mind some people dying all the time or maybe only starving some of the time which isn't half bad if it isn't you Oh the world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don't much mind a few dead minds in the higher places or a bomb or two now and then in your upturned faces or such other improprieties as our Name Brand society is prey to with its men of distinction and its men of extinction and its priests and other patrolmen and its various segregations and congressional investigations and other constipations that our fool flesh is heir to Yes the world is the best place of all for a lot of such things as making the fun scene and making the love scene and making the sad scene and singing low songs and having inspirations and walking around looking at everything and smelling flowers and goosing statues and even thinking and kissing people and making babies and wearing pants and waving hats and dancing and going swimming in rivers on picnics in the middle of the summer and just generally 'living it up' Yes but then right in the middle of it comes the smiling mortician
Lawrence Ferlinghetti (City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology)
To answer your question as honestly as I can, I've wanted since I was very little to not have to worry about money. I've never been poverty-level poor (I mean, there's been years where I've been officially beneath the poverty line, but that wasn't poverty: that was being a student and living the Student Lifestyle), but I've been in a place where you know you can't afford a better-quality food, where you can't do certain things because of money, and I'd prefer not to have those problems if I can. I sort of have troubles with money in general, with how it determines so much of our lives but with how we all try to ignore it, but I would like to be (and stay) in a place where I can pick up some new comics and games and not worry about how much they cost. This is terrible; you're asking me where I want to be in the future, what I want my life to be like, and the only thing I can tell you is "Man, all I know is I don't want to be POOR.
Ryan North
Questions about happiness generally assume that we know what a happy life looks like. Happiness is often described as the result of having a great many ducks lined up in a row - spouse, offspring, private property, erotic experiences - even though a millisecond of reflection will bring to mind countless people who have all those things and are still miserable.
Rebecca Solnit (The Mother of All Questions)
I can't wait for him to visit me again. He's just so handsome, don't you think?" she asked. I paused. "Yeah, he's cute." "Come on, America! You have to have noticed those eyes and his voice..." "Except when he laughs!" Just remembering Maxon's laugh had me grinning. It was cute but awkward. He pushed his breaths out, and then made a jagged noise when he inhaled, almost like another laugh in itself. "Yes, okay, he does have a funny laugh, but it's cute." "Sure, if you like the lovable sound of an asthma attack in your ear every time you tell a joke." Marlee lost it and doubled over in laughter. "All right, all right," she said, coming up for air. "You have to think there's something attractive about him." I opened my mouth and shut it two or three times. I was tempted to take another jab at Maxon, but I didn't want Marlee to see him in a negative light. So I thought about it. What was attractive about Maxon? "Well, when he lets his guard down, he's okay. Like when he just talks without checking his words or you catch him just looking at something like...like he's really looking for the beauty in it." Marlee smiled, and I knew she'd seen that in him, too. "And I like that he seems genuinely involved when he's there, you know? Like even though he's got a country to run and a thousand things to do, it's like he forgets it all when he's with you. He just dedicates himself to what's right in front of him. I like that. "And...well, don't tell anyone this, but his arms. I like his arms." I blushed at the end. Stupid...why hadn't I just stuck to the general good things about his personality? Luckily, Marlee was happy to pick up the conversation. "Yes! You can really feel them under those thick suits, can't you? He must be incredibly strong." Marlee gushed. "I wonder why. I mean, what's the point of him being that strong? He does deskwork. It's weird." "Maybe he likes to flex in front of the mirror," Marlee said, making a face and flexing her own tiny arms. "Ha, ha! I bet that's it. I dare you to ask him!" "No way!
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
Thirty years later he could not come to any other conclusion: women were indisputably better than men. They were gentler, more affectionate, more loving and more compassionate, they were rarely violent, selfish, cruel or self-centred. Moreover, they were more rational, more intelligent and more hardworking. What on earth were men for? Michael wondered as he watched sunlight play across the closed curtains. In earlier times, when bears were more common, perhaps masculinity served a particular function, but for centuries now, men served no useful purpose. For the most part, they assuaged their boredom playing squash, which was a lesser evil; but from time to time they felt the need to change history - which expressed itself in leading a revolution or starting a war somewhere. Aside from the senseless suffering they caused, revolutions and war destroyed the achievements of the past, forcing societies to build again. Without the notion of continuous progress, human evolution took random, irregular and violent turns for which men (with their predilection for risk and danger, their repulsive egotism, their volatile nature and their violent tendencies) were directly to blame. A society of women would be immeasurably superior, tracing a slow, unwavering progression, with no U-turns and no chaotic insecurity, towards a general happiness.
Michel Houellebecq (The Elementary Particles)
Our every action has consequences. Thoughts have consequences. Since actions start from thoughts I guess I can say technically that thoughts in general have consequences. In our thoughts we make dreams. So if I think I can do it, then my actions will be "I CAN" and I am able to do it. So the result or the consequence will be "I did it!".
Diana Rose Morcilla
There are two ways of being happy: We may either diminish our wants or augment our means- either will do- the result in the same; and it is for each man to decide for himself, and do that which happens to be the easiest. If you are idle or sick or poor, however hard it may be to diminish your wants, it will be harder to augment your means. If you are active and prosperous or young and in good health, it may be easier for you to augment your means than to diminish your wants. But if you are wise, you will do both at the same time, young or old, rich or poor, sick or well; and if you are very wise you will do both in such a way as to augment the general happiness of society.
Benjamin Franklin
A landmark 2010 study from the Massachusetts General Hospital had even more startling findings. The researchers randomly assigned 151 patients with stage IV lung cancer, like Sara’s, to one of two possible approaches to treatment. Half received usual oncology care. The other half received usual oncology care plus parallel visits with a palliative care specialist. These are specialists in preventing and relieving the suffering of patients, and to see one, no determination of whether they are dying or not is required. If a person has serious, complex illness, palliative specialists are happy to help. The ones in the study discussed with the patients their goals and priorities for if and when their condition worsened. The result: those who saw a palliative care specialist stopped chemotherapy sooner, entered hospice far earlier, experienced less suffering at the end of their lives—and they lived 25 percent longer. In other words, our decision making in medicine has failed so spectacularly that we have reached the point of actively inflicting harm on patients rather than confronting the subject of mortality.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
We can conclude from this that we are drawn to call something beautiful whenever we detect that it contains in a concentrated form those qualities in which we personally, or our societies more generally, are deficient. We respect a style which can move us away from what we fear and towards what we crave: a style which carries the correct dosage of our missing virtues.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
It's amazing how people can find all the mistakes in the world concerning another person, but look into the mirror every day without making changes within. Stop looking down your nose at others, What does that achieve? We all can make room for improvements. Most of the time it starts with a little attitude adjustment.
Amaka Imani Nkosazana (Sweet Destiny)
Government is nothing more than the combined force of society or the united power of the multitude for the peace, order, safety, good, and happiness of the people... There is no king or queen bee distinguished from all the others by size or figure or beauty and variety of colors in the human hive. No man has yet produced any revelation from heaven in his favor, any divine communication to govern his fellow men. Nature throws us all into the world equal and alike... The preservation of liberty depends upon the intellectual and moral character of the people. As long as knowledge and virtue are diffused generally among the body of a nation it is impossible they should be enslaved. Ambition is one of the more ungovernable passions of the human heart. The love of power is insatiable and uncontrollable... There is a danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living wth power to endanger public liberty.
David McCullough (John Adams)
A happy mood loosens the control of System 2 over performance: when in a good mood, people become more intuitive and more creative but also less vigilant and more prone to logical errors. Here again, as in the mere exposure effect, the connection makes biological sense. A good mood is a signal that things are generally going well, the environment is safe, and it is all right to let one’s guard down. A bad mood indicates that things are not going very well, there may be a threat, and vigilance is required.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
Although I am a political liberal, I believe that conservatives have a better understanding of moral development (although not of moral psychology in general—they are too committed to the myth of pure evil). Conservatives want schools to teach lessons that will create a positive and uniquely American identity, including a heavy dose of American history and civics, using English as the only national language. Liberals are justifiably wary of jingoism, nationalism, and the focus on books by “dead white males,” but I think everyone who cares about education should remember that the American motto of e pluribus, unum (from many, one) has two parts. The celebration of pluribus should be balanced by policies that strengthen the unum.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
It was the general opinion of ancient nations, that the divinity alone was adequate to the important office of giving laws to men... and modern nations, in the consecrations of kings, and in several superstitious chimeras of divine rights in princes and nobles, are nearly unanimous in preserving remnants of it... Is the jealousy of power, and the envy of superiority, so strong in all men, that no considerations of public or private utility are sufficient to engage their submission to rules for their own happiness? Or is the disposition to imposture so prevalent in men of experience, that their private views of ambition and avarice can be accomplished only by artifice? — … There is nothing in which mankind have been more unanimous; yet nothing can be inferred from it more than this, that the multitude have always been credulous, and the few artful. The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature: and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or labouring in merchandize or agriculture: it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. As Copley painted Chatham, West, Wolf, and Trumbull, Warren and Montgomery; as Dwight, Barlow, Trumbull, and Humphries composed their verse, and Belknap and Ramzay history; as Godfrey invented his quadrant, and Rittenhouse his planetarium; as Boylston practised inoculation, and Franklin electricity; as Paine exposed the mistakes of Raynal, and Jefferson those of Buffon, so unphilosophically borrowed from the Recherches Philosophiques sur les Américains those despicable dreams of de Pauw — neither the people, nor their conventions, committees, or sub-committees, considered legislation in any other light than ordinary arts and sciences, only as of more importance. Called without expectation, and compelled without previous inclination, though undoubtedly at the best period of time both for England and America, to erect suddenly new systems of laws for their future government, they adopted the method of a wise architect, in erecting a new palace for the residence of his sovereign. They determined to consult Vitruvius, Palladio, and all other writers of reputation in the art; to examine the most celebrated buildings, whether they remain entire or in ruins; compare these with the principles of writers; and enquire how far both the theories and models were founded in nature, or created by fancy: and, when this should be done, as far as their circumstances would allow, to adopt the advantages, and reject the inconveniences, of all. Unembarrassed by attachments to noble families, hereditary lines and successions, or any considerations of royal blood, even the pious mystery of holy oil had no more influence than that other of holy water: the people universally were too enlightened to be imposed on by artifice; and their leaders, or more properly followers, were men of too much honour to attempt it. Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favour of the rights of mankind. [Preface to 'A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America', 1787]
John Adams (A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America: Akashic U.S. Presidents Series)
The idea that people would be happier if they maintained a constant state of realism is a beautiful sentiment, but Taylor and Brown found just the opposite. They presented a new theory that suggested that well-being came from unrealistic views of reality. They said you reduce the stress of terminal illness or a high-pressure job or unexpected tragedy by resorting to optimism and delusion. Your wildly inaccurate self-evaluations get you through rough times and help motivate you when times are good. Indeed, later research backed up their claims, showing that people who are brutally honest with themselves are not as happy day to day as people with unrealistic assumptions about their abilities. People who take credit for the times when things go their way but who put the blame on others when they stumble or fall are generally happier people.
David McRaney (You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself)
Just look at this life: the insolence and idleness of the strong, the ignorance and brutishness of the weak, impossible poverty all around us, overcrowding, degeneracy, drunkenness, hypocrisy, lies...Yet in all the houses and streets it's quiet, peaceful; of the fifty thousand people who live in town there is not one who would cry out or become loudly indignant. We see those who go to the market to buy food, eat during the day, sleep during the night, who talk their nonsense, get married, grow old, complacently drag their dead to the cemetery; but we don't see or hear those who suffer, and the horrors of life go on somewhere behind the scenes. Everything is quiet, peaceful, and only mute statistics protest: so many gone mad, so many buckets drunk, so many children dead of malnutrition... And this order is obviously necessary; obviously the happy man feels good only because the unhappy bear their burden silently, and without that silence happiness would be impossible. It's a general hypnosis. At the door of every happy, contented man somebody should stand with a little hammer, constantly tapping, to remind him that unhappy people exist, that however happy he may be, sooner or later life will show him its claws, some calamity will befall him--illness, poverty, loss--and nobody will hear or see, just as he doesn't hear or see others now. But there is nobody with a little hammer, the happy man lives on, and the petty cares of life stir him only slightly, as wind stirs an aspen--and everything is fine.
Anton Chekhov (Five Great Short Stories)
If you want what’s best for your kids, one surefire way to provide them with a healthy, happy home is to make sure they have lesbian parents. In the longest-running study of lesbian families to date,2 zero percent of children reported physical or sexual abuse—not a one. In the general population, 26 percent of children report physical abuse and 8.3 percent report sexual abuse.
Jessica Valenti (Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness)
Of course it's not enough to sit around wanting to be happy; you must make the effort to take steps toward happiness by acting with more love, finding work you enjoy, and all the rest. But for me, asking myself whether I was happy had been a crucial step toward cultivating my happiness more wisely through my actions. Also, only through recognizing my happiness did I really appreciate it. Happiness depends partly on external circumstances, and it also depends on how you view those circumstances. -Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun)
Photojournalism has frequently been lambasted for being the product of circumstance. In fact rarely are any of these images considered in terms of their composition and semantic intent. They are merely news, a happy intersection of event and opportunity. It hardly helps that photographs in general also take only a fraction of a second to acquire. It is incredible how so many people can constantly misread speed to mean ease. This is certainly most common where photography is concerned. However simply because anyone can buy a camera, shutter away, and then with a slightly prejudiced eye justify the product does not validate the achievement. Shooting a target with a rifle is accomplished with similar speed and yet because the results are so objective no one suggests that marksmanship is easy.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
In the last twenty-five years, the borderline patient, who confronts the psychiatrist not with well-defined symptoms but with diffuse dissatisfactions, has become increasingly common. He does not suffer from debilitating fixations or phobias or from the conversion of repressed sexual energy into nervous ailments; instead he complains "of vague, diffuse dissatisfactions with life" and feels his "amorphous existence to be futile and purposeless." He describes "subtly experienced yet pervasive feelings of emptiness and depression," "violent oscillations of self-esteem," and "a general inability to get along." He gains "a sense of heightened self-esteem only by attaching himself to strong, admired figures whose acceptance he craves and by whom he needs to feel supported." Although he carries out his daily responsibilities and even achieves distinction, happiness eludes him, and life frequently strikes him as not worth living.
Christopher Lasch (The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in An Age of Diminishing Expectations)
in general, from the violation of a few simple laws of humanity arises the wretchedness of mankind - that as a species we have in our possession the as yet unwroght elements of content - and that, even now, in the present darkness and madness of all thought on the great question of social condition, it is not impossible that man, the individual, under certain unusual and highly fortuitous conditions, my be happy
Edgar Allan Poe (Selected Prose, Poetry, and Eureka)
Pay up." Eve rolled over, rubbed her bare butt, and wondered if she'd have rug burns. Still vibrating from the last orgasm, she closed her eyes again. "Huh?" "Fifty credits." He leaned over, gently kissed the tip of her breast. "You lost, Lieutenant." "I'm naked," she pointed out. "I don't generally keep credits up my -- " "I'm happy to take your IOU." He rose, all graceful, gleaming muscles, and took a memo card from his console. "Here you are." Handed it to her. She stared down at it, knowing dignity was as lost as the fifty credits. "You're really enjoying this." "Oh, more than you can possibly imagine." Scowling at him, she engaged the memo. "I owe you, Roarke, fifty credits, Dallas, Lieutenant Eve." She shoved the memo at him. "Satisfied." "In every possible way." He thought, sentimentally, that he would tuck the memo away with the little gray suit button he'd kept from their very first meeting. "I love you, Dallas, Lieutenant Eve, in every possible way.
J.D. Robb (Ceremony in Death (In Death, #5))
Happiness, after all, is generally measured as reported satisfaction with one's life - a state of mind perhaps more accessible to those who are affluent, who conform to social norms, who suppress judgment in the service of faith, and who are not overly bothered by societal injustice...The real conservatism of positive psychology lies in its attachment to the status quo, with all its inequalities and abuses of power. Positive psychologists' tests of happiness and well-being, for example, rest heavily on measures of personal contentment with things as they are.
Barbara Ehrenreich (Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America)
There is never a right time to break someone's heart. And anyone with even a microgram of sensitivity in his or her body will agonise for an age over that timing. Only problem is there is always some reason not to make someone unhappy. The day a relationship end, if that relationship was at all important to the suckers involved, becomes as important an anniversary as a wedding day or birthday. Obviously, the average person doesn't want to kick someone they once loved while that person is down.   It's not just hard times when someone is down that become obstacles to making your getaway. After times of bereavement, unemployment and general unhappiness, those events that should be happy ones also make some times off limits for the eager would- be dumper. Christmas, birthdays, Easter  all impossible. A clever person with a sensitive lover that they sense is not quite as into them as he or she used to be, could starve off the inevitable for years by carefully spacing out this crucial dates.
Chris Manby (Getting Personal)
What?” Eric said, leaning closer and kissing her cheek. “Never had a man pay for dinner before?” “I usually try to pay.” “Of course you do,” he said, his tone somehow both teasing and kind. “Well... society being what it is... when a man pays for a meal he generally expects more than a thank you.” “Boys,” he said, his voice a bit disgusted. “expect more than a thank you. A man is just happy to spend a few hours in your company.
Jessica Gadziala
The 1970s was the decade of liberation, of anger at injustice and demands for recognition and rights. But over time, the demand for specific rights degraded into a generalized sense of entitlement, the demand for specific recognition into a generalized demand for attention and the anger at specific injustice into a generalized feeling of grievance and resentment. The result is a culture of entitlement, attention-seeking and complaint.
Michael Foley (The Age Of Absurdity: Why Modern Life Makes It Hard To Be Happy)
In general I lacked principally the ability to provide even in the slightest detail for the real future. I thought only of things in the present and their present condition, not because of thoroughness or any special, strong interest, but rather, to the extent that weakness in thinking was not the cause, because of sorrow and fear – sorrow, because the present was so sad for me that I thought I could not leave it before it resolved itself into happiness; fear, because, like my fear of the slightest action in the present, I also considered myself, in view of my contemptible, childish appearance, unworthy of forming a serious, responsible opinion of the great, manly future which usually seemed so impossible to me that every short step forward appeared to me to be counterfeit and the next step unattainable.
Franz Kafka (Diaries, 1910-1923)
The point of these studies is that moral judgment is like aesthetic judgment. When you see a painting, you usually know instantly and automatically whether you like it. If someone asks you to explain your judgment, you confabulate. You don’t really know why you think something is beautiful, but your interpreter module (the rider) is skilled at making up reasons, as Gazzaniga found in his split-brain studies. You search for a plausible reason for liking the painting, and you latch on to the first reason that makes sense (maybe something vague about color, or light, or the reflection of the painter in the clown’s shiny nose). Moral arguments are much the same: Two people feel strongly about an issue, their feelings come first, and their reasons are invented on the fly, to throw at each other. When you refute a person’s argument, does she generally change her mind and agree with you? Of course not, because the argument you defeated was not the cause of her position; it was made up after the judgment was already made.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
It's your world, but I make my way in it. At fifteen, no, I couldn't stand up to you. The age of illusions, when we know nothing, we hope for everything; we're wandering in a mist ... And the half of the world that's never had any use for us, suddenly is besieging us. You need us, you adore us, you're suffering for us. You want everything--except to know what we think. You look deep in our eyes--and put your hand up our dress. You call us, "Pretty thing." That confuses us. The most beautiful woman, the highest ranked, lives half dazzled by constant attention, half stifled by obvious contempt. We think all we're good for is pleasing you--till one day, long acquaintance with you dispels the last mist. In a clear light, we suddenly see you as you are--and generally we start preferring ourselves. At thirty, I could finally say no--or really say yes. That's when you begin backing away from us. Now I'm full-grown. I pursue my happiness the same as any man.
Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze Di Figaro): Vocal Score)
I hope to have told you all this myself,” Bail Organa’s voice said. “I hope we have enjoyed many more happy years as a family, that we have seen the Empire fall, and that we have gone forth together to find General Kenobi and your brother. If so, this recording can serve only one purpose. You must be listening after my death, so let this be my chance to say once again how much I love you. No other daughter could ever have brought me more joy.” Tears welled in Leia’s eyes, but she fought them back. If she began to sob, she wouldn’t be able to hear her father’s voice any longer. He concluded, “Please know that my love for you, and your mother’s love, endures long past our deaths. We are forever with you, Leia. In your brightest triumphs and your darkest troubles, always know that we are by your side.” She
Claudia Gray (Bloodline)
And now, Henry," said Miss Tilney, "that you have made us understand each other, you may as well make Miss Morland understand yourself—unless you mean to have her think you intolerably rude to your sister, and a great brute in your opinion of women in general. Miss Morland is not used to your odd ways." "I shall be most happy to make her better acquainted with them." "No doubt; but that is no explanation of the present." "What am I to do?" "You know what you ought to do. Clear your character handsomely before her. Tell her that you think very highly of the understanding of women." "Miss Morland, I think very highly of the understanding of all the women in the world—especially of those—whoever they may be—with whom I happen to be in company." "That is not enough. Be more serious." "Miss Morland, no one can think more highly of the understanding of women than I do. In my opinion, nature has given them so much that they never find it necessary to use more than half.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
It was an interesting dilemma and pointed up a real point of difference between Nazism and Communism as forms of government: there was no room for the individual in Soviet Russia; conversely not everything was state-managed in Germany. The Nazis never shot anyone for being stupid, inefficient or just plain unlucky. Generally speaking the Nazis looked for a reason to shoot you, the commies were quite happy to shoot you without any reason at all - but when you're going to be shot, what's the difference?
Philip Kerr (A Man Without Breath (Bernie Gunther #9))
Indeed, the purpose of an encyclopedia is to collect knowledge disseminated around the globe; to set forth its general system to the men with whom we live, and transmit it to those who will come after us, so that the work of preceding centuries will not become useless to the centuries to come; and so that our offspring, becoming better instructed, will at the same time become more virtuous and happy, and that we should not die without having rendered a service to the human race in the future years to come.
Denis Diderot
How did so many women get to this unhappy place of not understanding how truly "simple" men are in their requirements and how much benevolent power their wives have over them? Why did notions like assuaging "male ego" and using "feminine wiles" rocket into disrepute? How is it that so many women are angry with men in general yet expect to have a happy life married to one of them? There are a number of reasons for this, and I believe they all revolve around the assault upon, and virtual collapse of, the values of religious morality, modesty, fidelity, chastity, respect for life, and a commitment to family and child-rearing.
Laura Schlessinger
No, Maximilien, I am not offended," answered she, "but do you not see what a poor, helpless being I am, almost a stranger and an outcast in my father's house, where even he is seldom seen; whose will has been thwarted, and spirits broken, from the age of ten years, beneath the iron rod so sternly held over me; oppressed, mortified, and persecuted, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, no person has cared for, even observed my sufferings, nor have I ever breathed one word on the subject save to yourself. Outwardly and in the eyes of the world, I am surrounded by kindness and affection; but the reverse is the case. The general remark is, `Oh, it cannot be expected that one of so stern a character as M. Villefort could lavish the tenderness some fathers do on their daughters. What though she has lost her own mother at a tender age, she has had the happiness to find a second mother in Madame de Villefort.' The world, however, is mistaken; my father abandons me from utter indifference, while my mother-in-law detests me with a hatred so much the more terrible because it is veiled beneath a continual smile.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
The reckoning what to do or abstain from in particular circumstances will constantly include a reference, implicit or explicit, to generalities. […] Because of it human conduct is not left to be distinguished from the behavior of other animals by the fact that in it calculation is used by which to ascertain the means to perfectly particular ends. The human wants things like health and happiness and science and fair repute and virtue and prosperity, he does not simply want, e.g., that such-and-such a thing should be in such-and-such a place at such-and-such a time.
G.E.M. Anscombe (The Collected Philosophical Papers Of G. E. M. Anscombe)
The church has a reputation for being antipleasure. Many characterize Christians in general the way H. L. Mencken wryly described Puritans: people with a “haunting fear that someone, somewhere might be happy.”3 In reality, the church has led the way in the art of enjoyment and pleasure. New Testament scholar Ben Witherington points out that it was the church, not Starbucks, that created coffee culture.4 Coffee was first invented by Ethiopian monks—the term cappuccino refers to the shade of brown used for the habits of the Capuchin monks of Italy. Coffee is born of extravagance, an extravagant God who formed an extravagant people, who formed a craft out of the pleasures of roasted beans and frothed milk.
Tish Harrison Warren (Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life)
I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch – hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently study diseases, generally. I forget which was the first distemper I plunged into – some fearful, devastating scourge, I know – and, before I had glanced half down the list of “premonitory symptoms,” it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it. I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever – read the symptoms – discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it – wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus’s Dance – found, as I expected, that I had that too, – began to get interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started alphabetically – read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright’s disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid’s knee. ... I had walked into that reading-room a happy, healthy man. I crawled out a decrepit wreck. I went to my medical man. He is an old chum of mine, and feels my pulse, and looks at my tongue, and talks about the weather, all for nothing, when I fancy I’m ill; so I thought I would do him a good turn by going to him now. “What a doctor wants,” I said, “is practice. He shall have me. He will get more practice out of me than out of seventeen hundred of your ordinary, commonplace patients, with only one or two diseases each.” So I went straight up and saw him, and he said: “Well, what’s the matter with you?” I said: “I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the matter with me. Life is brief, and you might pass away before I had finished. But I will tell you what is NOT the matter with me. I have not got housemaid’s knee. Why I have not got housemaid’s knee, I cannot tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it. Everything else, however, I HAVE got.” And I told him how I came to discover it all. Then he opened me and looked down me, and clutched hold of my wrist, and then he hit me over the chest when I wasn’t expecting it – a cowardly thing to do, I call it – and immediately afterwards butted me with the side of his head. After that, he sat down and wrote out a prescription, and folded it up and gave it me, and I put it in my pocket and went out. I did not open it. I took it to the nearest chemist’s, and handed it in. The man read it, and then handed it back. He said he didn’t keep it. I said: “You are a chemist?” He said: “I am a chemist. If I was a co-operative stores and family hotel combined, I might be able to oblige you. Being only a chemist hampers me.” I read the prescription. It ran: “1 lb. beefsteak, with 1 pt. bitter beer every 6 hours. 1 ten-mile walk every morning. 1 bed at 11 sharp every night. And don’t stuff up your head with things you don’t understand.” I followed the directions, with the happy result – speaking for myself – that my life was preserved, and is still going on.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat (Three Men, #1))
See the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming... all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures...
Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums)
Anyone who manages to experience the history of humanity as a whole as his own history will feel in an enormously generalized way all the grief of an invalid who thinks of health, of an old man who thinks of the dream of his youth, of a lover deprived of his beloved, of the martyr whose ideal is perishing, of the hero on the evening after a battle that has decided nothing but brought him wounds and the loss of his friend. But if one endured, if one could endure this immense sum of grief of all kinds while yet being the hero who, as the second day of battle breaks, welcomes the dawn and his fortune, being a person whose horizon encompasses thousands of years, past and future, being the heir of all the nobility of all past spirit - an heir with a sense of obligation, the most aristocratic of old nobles and at the same time the first of a new nobility - the like of which no age has yet seen or dreamed of; if one could burden one’s soul with all of this - the oldest, the newest, losses, hopes, conquests, and the victories of humanity; if one could finally contain all this in one soul and crowd it into a single feeling - this would surely have to result in a happiness that humanity has not known so far: the happiness of a god full of power and love, full of tears and laughter, a happiness that, like the sun in the evening, continually bestows its inexhaustible riches, pouring them into the sea, feeling richest, as the sun does, only when even the poorest fishermen is still rowing with golden oars! This godlike feeling would then be called - humaneness.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science)
Nothing is more vital to him than prejudices. Let us not take this word in bad part. It does not necessarily signify false ideas, but only, in the strict sense of the word, any opinions adopted without examination. Now, these kinds of opinion are essential to man; they are the real basis of his happiness and the palladium of empires. Without them, there can be neither religion, morality, nor government. There should be a state religion just as there is a state political system; or rather, religion and political dogmas, mingled and merged together, should together form a general or national mind sufficiently strong to repress the aberrations of the individual reason which is, of its nature, the mortal enemy of any association whatever because it gives birth only to divergent opinions.
Joseph de Maistre
If you are genetically endowed with an optimistic bias, you hardly need to be told that you are a lucky person—you already feel fortunate. An optimistic attitude is largely inherited, and it is part of a general disposition for well-being, which may also include a preference for seeing the bright side of everything. If you were allowed one wish for your child, seriously consider wishing him or her optimism. Optimists are normally cheerful and happy, and therefore popular; they are resilient in adapting to failures and hardships, their chances of clinical depression are reduced, their immune system is stronger, they take better care of their health, they feel healthier than others and are in fact likely to live longer. A study of people who exaggerate their expected life span beyond actuarial predictions showed that they work longer hours, are more optimistic about their future income, are more likely to remarry after divorce (the classic “triumph of hope over experience”), and are more prone to bet on individual stocks. Of
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
The thing about being barren is that you’re not allowed to get away from it. Not when you’re in your thirties. My friends were having children, friends of friends were having children, pregnancy and birth and first birthday parties were everywhere. I was asked about it all the time. My mother, our friends, colleagues at work. When was it going to be my turn? At some point our childlessness became an acceptable topic of Sunday-lunch conversation, not just between Tom and me, but more generally. What we were trying, what we should be doing, do you really think you should be having a second glass of wine? I was still young, there was still plenty of time, but failure cloaked me like a mantle, it overwhelmed me, dragged me under, and I gave up hope. At the time, I resented the fact that it was always seen as my fault, that I was the one letting the side down. But as the speed with which he managed to impregnate Anna demonstrates, there was never any problem with Tom’s virility. I was wrong to suggest that we should share the blame; it was all down to me. Lara, my best friend since university, had two children in two years: a boy first and then a girl. I didn’t like them. I didn’t want to hear anything about them. I didn’t want to be near them. Lara stopped speaking to me after a while. There was a girl at work who told me—casually, as though she were talking about an appendectomy or a wisdom-tooth extraction—that she’d recently had an abortion, a medical one, and it was so much less traumatic than the surgical one she’d had when she was at university. I couldn’t speak to her after that, I could barely look at her. Things became awkward in the office; people noticed. Tom didn’t feel the way I did. It wasn’t his failure, for starters, and in any case, he didn’t need a child like I did. He wanted to be a dad, he really did—I’m sure he daydreamed about kicking a football around in the garden with his son, or carrying his daughter on his shoulders in the park. But he thought our lives could be great without children, too. “We’re happy,” he used to say to me. “Why can’t we just go on being happy?” He became frustrated with me. He never understood that it’s possible to miss what you’ve never had, to mourn for it.
Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train)
The desire to avoid loss ran deep, and expressed itself most clearly when the gamble came with the possibility of both loss and gain. That is, when it was like most gambles in life. To get most people to flip a coin for a hundred bucks, you had to offer them far better than even odds. If they were going to lose $100 if the coin landed on heads, they would need to win $200 if it landed on tails. To get them to flip a coin for ten thousand bucks, you had to offer them even better odds than you offered them for flipping it for a hundred. “The greater sensitivity to negative rather than positive changes is not specific to monetary outcomes,” wrote Amos and Danny. “It reflects a general property of the human organism as a pleasure machine. For most people, the happiness involved in receiving a desirable object is smaller than the unhappiness involved in losing the same object.” It wasn’t hard to imagine why this might be—a heightened sensitivity to pain was helpful to survival. “Happy species endowed with infinite appreciation of pleasures and low sensitivity to pain would probably not survive the evolutionary battle,” they wrote.
Michael Lewis (The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds)
You certainly remember this scene from dozens of films: a boy and a girl are running hand in hand in a beautiful spring (or summer) landscape. Running, running, running and laughing. By laughing the two runners are proclaiming to the whole world, to audiences in all the movie theaters: "We're happy, we're glad to be in the world, we're in agreement with being!" It's a silly scene, a cliche, but it expresses a basic human attitude: serious laughter, laughter "beyond joking." All churches, all underwear manufacturers, all generals, all political parties, are in agreement about that kind of laughter, and all of them rush to put the image of the two laughing runners on the billboards advertising their religion, their products, their ideology, their nation, their sex, their dishwashing powder.
Milan Kundera (The Book of Laughter and Forgetting)
To finally surrender ourselves to healing, we have to have three spaces opened up within us - and all at the same time: our opinionated head, our closed-down heart, and our defensive and defended body. That is the summary work of spirituality - and it is indeed work. Yes, it is also the work of “a Power greater than ourselves,” and it will lead to a great luminosity and depth of seeing. That is why true faith is one of the most holistic and free actions a human can perform. It leads to such broad and deep perception that most traditions would just call it “light.” Remember, Jesus said that we also are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), as well as saying it about himself (John 8:12). Strange that we see light in him but do not imitate him in seeing the same light in ourselves. Such luminous seeing is quite the opposite of the closed-minded, dead-hearted, body-denying thing that much religion has been allowed to become. As you surely have heard before, “Religion is lived by people who are afraid of hell. Spirituality is lived by people who have been through hell and come out enlightened.” The innocuous mental belief systems of much religion are probably the major cause of atheism in the world today, because people see that religion has not generally created people who are that different, more caring, or less prejudiced than other people. In fact, they are often worse because they think they have God on their small side. I wish I did not have to say this, but religion either produces the very best people or the very worst. Jesus makes this point in many settings and stories. Mere mental belief systems split people apart, whereas actual faith puts all our parts (body, heart, and head) on notice and on call. Honestly, it takes major surgery and much of one’s life to get head, heart, and body to put down their defenses, their false programs for happiness, and their many forms of resistance to what is right in front of them. This is the meat and muscle of the whole conversion process.
Richard Rohr (Radical Grace: Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr)
A pretty vampire woman in a cheongsam came flying down the hallway, ribbons waving from her purple-streaked hair like a silken flag. Her face was familiar. Alec had seen her at Taki’s, and around the city more generally, usually with Raphael. “Save us, oh fearless leader,” said Raphael’s lady friend. “Elliott’s in a huge aquarium puking blue and green. He tried to drink mermaid blood. He tried to drink selkie blood. He tried to—” “Ahem,” said Raphael, with a savage jerk of his head in Alec’s direction. Alec waved. “Shadowhunter,” he said. “Right here. Hi.” “He tried to keep to the Accords and obey all the known Laws!” the woman declared. “Because that’s the New York clan’s idea of a truly festive good time.” Alec remembered Magnus and tried not to look like he was here to ruin the Downworlder party. There was one thing he and this woman had in common. He recognized the bright purple she was wearing. “I think I saw you earlier,” said Alec hesitantly. “You were—making out with a faerie girl?” “Yeah, you’re gonna have to be more specific than that,” said the vampire woman. “This is a party. I’ve made out with six faerie girls, four faerie boys, and a talking toadstool whose gender I’m unsure about. Pretty sexy for a toadstool, though.” Raphael covered his face briefly with his non-texting hand. “Why, you want to make something of it?” The woman bristled. “How happy I am to see the Nephilim constantly crashing our parties. Were you even invited?” “I’m a plus-one,” said Alec. The vampire girl relaxed slightly. “Oh, right, you’re Magnus’s latest disaster,” she said. “That’s what Raphael calls you. I’m Lily.” She lifted a hand in a halfhearted wave. Alec glanced at Raphael, who arched his eyebrow at Alec in an unfriendly way. “Didn’t realize Raphael and I were on pet name terms,” said Alec. He continued to study Raphael. “Do you know Magnus well?” “Hardly at all,” said Raphael. “Barely acquainted. I don’t think much of his personality. Or his dress sense. Or the company he keeps. Come away, Lily. Alexander, I hope I never see you again.” “I’ve decided I detest you,” Lily told Alec. “It’s mutual,” Alec said dryly. Unexpectedly, that made Lily smile, before Raphael dragged her away.
Cassandra Clare (The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses, #1))
Where I come from, nobody reads novels unless they're like my mother-- fetishizing the artistic media of a bygone era, probably because it was the last time she was happy. But regular people don't read books there. That quasi- telepathic pact between author and reader held little interest for a general audience. Because the dominant storytelling medium of my world involved the seamless integration of an individual's subconscious wiring into the narrative, evoking deep personal wonder and terror, familiarity and delight, yearning and fury, and a triggering catharsis so spellbinding and essential that the idea of sitting down to page through a novel that's not even intended to be about the secret box inside your mind-- why would anyone want to do that for, like, fun? Unless, of course, you were constitutionally inclined to sublimate yourself to a stronger personality, in which case reading a book where every word is fixed in place by the deliberate choices of a controlling vision, surrendering agency over your own imagination to a stranger you'll likely never meet, is some sort of masochistic pleasure.
Elan Mastai (All Our Wrong Todays)
It is an interesting, though idle, speculation, what would be the effect on us if all our reformers, revolutionaries, planners, politicians, and life-arrangers in general were soaked in Homer from their youth up, like the Greeks. They might realize that on the happy day when there is a refrigerator in every home, and two in none, when we all have the opportunity of working for the common good (whatever that is), when Common Man (whoever he is) is triumphant, though not improved--that men will still come and go like the generations of leaves in the forest; that he will still be weak, and the gods strong and incalculable; that the quality of a man matters more than his achievement; that violence and recklessness will still lead to disaster, and that this will fall on the innocent as well as on the guilty.
H.D.F. Kitto (The Greeks)
Tom felt that it was time to wake up; this sort of life might be romantic enough, in his blighted condition, but it was getting to have too little sentiment and too much distracting variety about it. So he thought over various plans for relief, and finally hit pon that of professing to be fond of Pain-killer. He asked for it so often that he became a nuisance, and his aunt ended by telling him to help himself and quit bothering her. If it had been Sid, she would have had no misgivings to alloy her delight; but since it was Tom, she watched the bottle clandestinely. She found that the medicine did really diminish, but it did not occur to her that the boy was mending the health of a crack in the sitting-room floor with it. One day Tom was in the act of dosing the crack when his aunt's yellow cat came along, purring, eying the teaspoon avariciously, and begging for a taste. Tom said: "Don't ask for it unless you want it, Peter." But Peter signified that he did want it. "You better make sure." Peter was sure. "Now you've asked for it, and I'll give it to you, because there ain't anything mean about me; but if you find you don't like it, you mustn't blame anybody but your own self." Peter was agreeable. So Tom pried his mouth open and poured down the Pain-killer. Peter sprang a couple of yards in the air, and then delivered a war-whoop and set off round and round the room, banging against furniture, upsetting flower-pots, and making general havoc. Next he rose on his hind feet and pranced around, in a frenzy of enjoyment, with his head over his shoulder and his voice proclaiming his unappeasable happiness. Then he went tearing around the house again spreading chaos and destruction in his path. Aunt Polly entered in time to see him throw a few double summersets, deliver a final mighty hurrah, and sail through the open window, carrying the rest of the flower-pots with him. The old lady stood petrified with astonishment, peering over her glasses; Tom lay on the floor expiring with laughter.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)
What infinite heart's-ease Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy! And what have kings, that privates have not too, Save ceremony, save general ceremony? And what art thou, thou idle ceremony? What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers? What are thy rents? what are thy comings in? O ceremony, show me but thy worth! What is thy soul of adoration? Art thou aught else but place, degree and form, Creating awe and fear in other men? Wherein thou art less happy being fear'd Than they in fearing. What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet, But poison'd flattery? O, be sick, great greatness, And bid thy ceremony give thee cure! Think'st thou the fiery fever will go out With titles blown from adulation? Will it give place to flexure and low bending? Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee, Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream, That play'st so subtly with a king's repose; I am a king that find thee, and I know 'Tis not the balm, the sceptre and the ball, The sword, the mace, the crown imperial, The intertissued robe of gold and pearl, The farced title running 'fore the king, The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp That beats upon the high shore of this world, No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous ceremony, Not all these, laid in bed majestical, Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave, Who with a body fill'd and vacant mind Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread; Never sees horrid night, the child of hell, But, like a lackey, from the rise to set Sweats in the eye of Phoebus and all night Sleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn, Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse, And follows so the ever-running year, With profitable labour, to his grave: And, but for ceremony, such a wretch, Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep, Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king. The slave, a member of the country's peace, Enjoys it; but in gross brain little wots What watch the king keeps to maintain the peace, Whose hours the peasant best advantages.
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
Such is the pure movement of nature prior to all reflection. Such is the force of natural pity, which the most depraved mores still have difficulty destroying, since everyday one sees in our theaters someone affected and weeping at the ills of some unfortunate person, and who, were he in the tyrant's place, would intensify the torments of his enemy still more; [like the bloodthirsty Sulla, so sensitive to ills he had not caused, or like Alexander of Pherae, who did not dare attend the performance of any tragedy, for fear of being seen weeping with Andromache and Priam, and yet who listened impassively to the cries of so many citizens who were killed everyday on his orders. Nature, in giving men tears, bears witness that she gave the human race the softest hearts.] Mandeville has a clear awareness that, with all their mores, men would never have been anything but monsters, if nature had not given them pity to aid their reason; but he has not seen that from this quality alone flow all the social virtues that he wants to deny in men. In fact, what are generosity, mercy, and humanity, if not pity applied to the weak, to the guilty, or to the human species in general. Benevolence and even friendship are, properly understood, the products of a constant pity fixed on a particular object; for is desiring that someone not suffer anything but desiring that he be happy?
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Discourse on the Origin of Inequality)
[I]n other words, we should live with due knowledge of the course of things in the world. For whenever a man in any way loses self-control, or is struck down by a misfortune, grows angry, or loses heart, he shows in this way that he finds things different from what he expected, and consequently that he laboured under a mistake, did not know the world and life, did not know how at every step the will of the individual is crossed and thwarted by the chance of inanimate nature, by contrary aims and intentions, even by the malice inspired in others. Therefore either he has not used his reason to arrive at a general knowledge of this characteristic of life, or he lacks the power of judgement, when he does not again recognize in the particular what he knows in general, and when he is therefore surprised by it and loses his self-control. Thus every keen pleasure is an error, an illusion, since no attained wish can permanently satisfy, and also because every possession and every happiness is only lent by chance for an indefinite time, and can therefore be demanded back in the next hour. Thus both originate from defective knowledge. Therefore the wise man always holds himself aloof from jubilation and sorrow, and no event disturbs his ἀταραξία [ataraxia]." —from_The World as Will and Representation_. Translated from the German by E. F. J. Paye in two volumes: volume I, p. 88
Arthur Schopenhauer
I have observed that gentlemen suppose that the general legislature will do every thing mischievous they possibly can, and that they will omit to do every thing good which they are authorized to do. If this were a reasonable supposition, their objections would be good. I consider it reasonable to conclude that they will as readily do their duty as deviate from it; nor do I go on the grounds mentioned by gentlemen on the other side — that we are to place unlimited confidence in them, and expect nothing but the most exalted integrity and sublime virtue. But I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men; so that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.” James Madison (speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 20 June 1788)
James Madison
All languages that derive fromLatin form the word 'compassion' by combining the prefix meaning 'with' (com-) and the root meaning 'suffering' (Late Latin, passio). In other languages- Czech, Polish, German, and Swedish, for instance- this word is translated by a noun formed of an equivalent prefixcombined with the word that means 'feeling' (Czech, sou-cit; Polish, wsspół-czucie; German, Mit-gefühl; Swedish, medkänsla). In languages that derive from Latin, 'compassion' means: we cannot look on coolly as others suffer; or, we sympathize with those who suffer. Another word with approximately the same meaning, 'pity' (French, pitié; Italian, pietà; etc.), connotes a certain condescension towards the sufferer. 'To take pity on a woman' means that we are better off than she, that we stoop to her level, lower ourselves. That is why the word 'compassion' generally inspires suspicion; it designates what is considered an inferior, second-rate sentiment that has little to do with love. To love someone out of compassion means not really to love. In languages that form the word 'compassion' not from the root 'suffering' but from the root 'feeling', the word is used in approximately the same way, but to contend that it designates a bad or inferior sentiment is difficult. The secret strength of its etymology floods the word with another light and gives it a broader meaning: to have compassion (co-feeling) means not only to be able to live with the other's misfortune but also to feel with him any emotion- joy, anxiety, happiness, pain. This kind of compassion (in the sense of soucit, współczucie, Mitgefühl, medkänsla) therefore signifies the maximal capacity of affective imagination, the art of emotional telepathy. In the hierarchy of sentiments, then, it is supreme. By revealing to Tomas her dream about jabbing needles under her fingernails, Tereza unwittingly revealed that she had gone through his desk. If Tereza had been any other woman, Tomas would never have spoken to her again. Aware of that, Tereza said to him, 'Throw me out!' But instead of throwing her out, he seized her and kissed the tips of her fingers, because at that moment he himself felt the pain under her fingernails as surely as if the nerves of her fingers led straight to his own brain. Anyone who has failed to benefit from the the Devil's gift of compassion (co-feeling) will condemn Tereza coldly for her deed, because privacy is sacred and drawers containing intimate correspondence are not to be opened. But because compassion was Tomas's fate (or curse), he felt that he himself had knelt before the open desk drawer, unable to tear his eyes from Sabina's letter. He understood Tereza, and not only was he incapable of being angry with her, he loved her all the more.
Milan Kundera
October 17, 1946 D’Arline, I adore you, sweetheart. I know how much you like to hear that — but I don't only write it because you like it — I write it because it makes me warm all over inside to write it to you. It is such a terribly long time since I last wrote to you — almost two years but I know you'll excuse me because you understand how I am, stubborn and realistic; and I thought there was no sense to writing. But now I know my darling wife that it is right to do what I have delayed in doing, and that I have done so much in the past. I want to tell you I love you. I want to love you. I always will love you. I find it hard to understand in my mind what it means to love you after you are dead — but I still want to comfort and take care of you — and I want you to love me and care for me. I want to have problems to discuss with you — I want to do little projects with you. I never thought until just now that we can do that. What should we do. We started to learn to make clothes together — or learn Chinese — or getting a movie projector. Can't I do something now? No. I am alone without you and you were the "idea-woman" and general instigator of all our wild adventures. When you were sick you worried because you could not give me something that you wanted to and thought I needed. You needn’t have worried. Just as I told you then there was no real need because I loved you in so many ways so much. And now it is clearly even more true — you can give me nothing now yet I love you so that you stand in my way of loving anyone else — but I want you to stand there. You, dead, are so much better than anyone else alive. I know you will assure me that I am foolish and that you want me to have full happiness and don't want to be in my way. I'll bet you are surprised that I don't even have a girlfriend (except you, sweetheart) after two years. But you can't help it, darling, nor can I — I don't understand it, for I have met many girls and very nice ones and I don't want to remain alone — but in two or three meetings they all seem ashes. You only are left to me. You are real. My darling wife, I do adore you. I love my wife. My wife is dead. Rich. PS Please excuse my not mailing this — but I don't know your new address.
Richard P. Feynman
Imagine a day in which you feel generally fine. After waking up, you spend a few minutes in bed lightly thinking ahead about some of the people you will see and the things you will do. You hit traffic on the way to work, but you don’t fight it; you just listen to the radio and don’t let the other drivers bother you. You may not be excited about your job, but today you’re focusing on the sense of accomplishment you feel as you complete each task. On the way home, your partner calls and asks you to stop at the store; it’s not your favorite thing to do after work, but you remind yourself it’s just fifteen extra minutes. In the evening, you look forward to a TV show and you enjoy watching it. Now let’s look at the same day, but imagine approaching it in a different way. After waking up, you spend a few minutes in bed pessimistically anticipating the day ahead and thinking about how boring work will be. Today, the traffic really gets under your skin, and when a car cuts you off, you get angry and honk your horn. You’re still rankled by the incident when you start work, and to make matters worse, you have an unbelievable number of rote tasks to get through. By the time you’re driving home, you feel fried and don’t want to do a single extra thing. Your partner calls to ask you to stop at the store. You feel put upon but don’t say anything and go to the store. Then you spend much of the evening quietly seething that you do all the work around the house. Your favorite show is on, but it’s hard to enjoy watching it, you feel so tired and irritated. Over these two imaginary days, the same exact things happened. All that was different was how your brain dealt with them—the setting that it used.
Rick Hanson (Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence)
These two Kings and two Queens governed Narnia well, and long and happy was their reign. At first much of their time was spent in seeking out the remnants of the White Witch's army and destroying them, and indeed for a long time there would be news of evil things lurking in the wilder parts of the forest- a haunting here and a killing there, a glimpse of a werewolf one month and a rumor of a hag the next. But in the end all that foul brood was stamped out. And they made good laws and kept the peace and saved good trees from being unnecessarily cut down, and liberated young dwarfs and young satyrs from being sent to school, and generally stopped busybodies and interferers and encouraged ordinary people who wanted to live and let live. And they drove back the fierce giants (quite a different sort from Giant Rumblebuffin) in the North of Narnia when these ventured across the frontier. And they entered into friendship and alliance with countries beyond the sea and paid them visits of state and received visits of state from them. And they themselves grew and changed as the years passed over them. And Peter became a tall and deep-chested man and a great warrior, and he was called King Peter the Magnificent. And Susan grew into a tall and gracious woman with black hair that fell almost to her feet and the kings of the countries beyond the sea began to send ambassadors asking for her hand in marriage. And she was called Queen Susan the Gentle. Edmund was a graver and quieter man than Peter, and great in council and judgement. He was called King Edmund the Just. But as for Lucy, she was always gay and golden-haired, and all the princes in those parts desired her to be their Queen, and her own people called her Queen Lucy the Valiant.
C.S. Lewis (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1))
Human reason reduced to its own resources is perfectly worthless, not only for creating but also for preserving any political or religious association, because it only produces disputes, and, to conduct himself well, man needs not problems but beliefs. His cradle should be surrounded by dogmas, and when his reason is awakened, it should find all his opinions ready-made, at least all those relating to his conduct. Nothing is so important to him as prejudices, Let us not take this word in a bad sense. It does not necessarily mean false ideas, but only, in the strict sense of the word, opinions adopted before any examination. Now these sorts of opinions are man’s greatest need, the true elements of his happiness, and the Palladium of empires. Without them, there can be neither worship, nor morality, nor government. There must be a state religion just as there is a state policy; or, rather, religious and political dogmas must be merged and mingled together to form a complete common or national reason strong enough to repress the aberrations of individual reason, which of its nature is the mortal enemy of any association whatever because it produces only divergent opinions. All known nations have been happy and powerful to the extent that they have more faithfully obeyed this national reason, which is nothing other than the annihilation of individual dogmas and the absolute and general reign of national dogmas, that is to say, of useful prejudices. Let each man call upon his individual reason in the matter of religion, and immediately you will see the birth of an anarchy of belief or the annihilation of religious sovereignty. Likewise, if each man makes himself judge of the principles of government, you will at once see the birth of civil anarchy or the annihilation of political sovereignty. Government is a true religion: it has its dogmas, its mysteries, and its ministers. To annihilate it or submit it to the discussion of each individual is the same thing; it lives only through national reason, that is to say through political faith, which is a creed. Man’s first need is that his nascent reason be curbed under this double yoke, that it be abased and lose itself in the national reason, so that it changes its individual existence into another common existence, just as a river that flows into the ocean always continues to exist in the mass of water, but without a name and without a distinct reality.
Joseph de Maistre (Against Rousseau: On the State of Nature and On the Sovereignty of the People)
This new concept of the "finest, highest achievement of art" had no sooner entered my mind than it located the imperfect enjoyment I had had at the theater, and added to it a little of what it lacked; this made such a heady mixture that I exclaimed, "What a great artiste she is!" It may be thought I was not altogether sincere. Think, however, of so many writers who, in a moment of dissatisfaction with a piece they have just written, may read a eulogy of the genius of Chateaubriand, or who may think of some other great artist whom they have dreamed of equaling, who hum to themselves a phrase of Beethoven for instance, comparing the sadness of it to the mood they have tried to capture in their prose, and are then so carried away by the perception of genius that they let it affect the way they read their own piece, no longer seeing it as they first saw it, but going so far as to hazard an act of faith in the value of it, by telling themselves "It's not bad you know!" without realizing that the sum total which determines their ultimate satisfaction includes the memory of Chateaubriand's brilliant pages, which they have assimilated to their own, but which, of course, they did not write. Think of all the men who go on believing in the love of a mistress in whom nothing is more flagrant than her infidelities; of all those torn between the hope of something beyond this life (such as the bereft widower who remembers a beloved wife, or the artist who indulges in dreams of posthumous fame, each of them looking forward to an afterlife which he knows is inconceivable) and the desire for a reassuring oblivion, when their better judgement reminds them of the faults they might otherwise have to expiate after death; or think of the travelers who are uplifted by the general beauty of a journey they have just completed, although during it their main impression, day after day, was that it was a chore--think of them before deciding whether, given the promiscuity of the ideas that lurk within us, a single one of those that affords us our greatest happiness has not begun life by parasitically attaching itself to a foreign idea with which it happened to come into contact, and by drawing from it much of the power of pleasing which it once lacked.
Marcel Proust (In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower)
Security ... what does this word mean in relation to life as we know it today? For the most part, it means safety and freedom from worry. It is said to be the end that all men strive for; but is security a utopian goal or is it another word for rut? Let us visualize the secure man; and by this term, I mean a man who has settled for financial and personal security for his goal in life. In general, he is a man who has pushed ambition and initiative aside and settled down, so to speak, in a boring, but safe and comfortable rut for the rest of his life. His future is but an extension of his present, and he accepts it as such with a complacent shrug of his shoulders. His ideas and ideals are those of society in general and he is accepted as a respectable, but average and prosaic man. But is he a man? has he any self-respect or pride in himself? How could he, when he has risked nothing and gained nothing? What does he think when he sees his youthful dreams of adventure, accomplishment, travel and romance buried under the cloak of conformity? How does he feel when he realizes that he has barely tasted the meal of life; when he sees the prison he has made for himself in pursuit of the almighty dollar? If he thinks this is all well and good, fine, but think of the tragedy of a man who has sacrificed his freedom on the altar of security, and wishes he could turn back the hands of time. A man is to be pitied who lacked the courage to accept the challenge of freedom and depart from the cushion of security and see life as it is instead of living it second-hand. Life has by-passed this man and he has watched from a secure place, afraid to seek anything better What has he done except to sit and wait for the tomorrow which never comes? Turn back the pages of history and see the men who have shaped the destiny of the world. Security was never theirs, but they lived rather than existed. Where would the world be if all men had sought security and not taken risks or gambled with their lives on the chance that, if they won, life would be different and richer? It is from the bystanders (who are in the vast majority) that we receive the propaganda that life is not worth living, that life is drudgery, that the ambitions of youth must he laid aside for a life which is but a painful wait for death. These are the ones who squeeze what excitement they can from life out of the imaginations and experiences of others through books and movies. These are the insignificant and forgotten men who preach conformity because it is all they know. These are the men who dream at night of what could have been, but who wake at dawn to take their places at the now-familiar rut and to merely exist through another day. For them, the romance of life is long dead and they are forced to go through the years on a treadmill, cursing their existence, yet afraid to die because of the unknown which faces them after death. They lacked the only true courage: the kind which enables men to face the unknown regardless of the consequences. As an afterthought, it seems hardly proper to write of life without once mentioning happiness; so we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?
Hunter S. Thompson
of the problem was that Chaos got a little creation-happy. It thought to its misty, gloomy self: Hey, Earth and Sky. That was fun! I wonder what else I can make. Soon it created all sorts of other problems—and by that I mean gods. Water collected out of the mist of Chaos, pooled in the deepest parts of the earth, and formed the first seas, which naturally developed a consciousness—the god Pontus. Then Chaos really went nuts and thought: I know! How about a dome like the sky, but at the bottom of the earth! That would be awesome! So another dome came into being beneath the earth, but it was dark and murky and generally not very nice, since it was always hidden from the light of the sky. This was Tartarus, the Pit of Evil; and as you can guess from the name, when he developed a godly personality, he didn't win any popularity contests. The problem was, both Pontus and Tartarus liked Gaea, which put some pressure on her relationship with Ouranos. A bunch of other primordial gods popped up, but if I tried to name them all we’d be here for weeks. Chaos and Tartarus had a kid together (don’t ask how; I don’t know) called Nyx, who was the embodiment of night. Then Nyx, somehow all by herself, had a daughter named Hemera, who was Day. Those two never got along because they were as different as…well, you know. According to some stories, Chaos also created Eros, the god of procreation... in other words, mommy gods and daddy gods having lots of little baby gods. Other stories claim Eros was the son of Aphrodite. We’ll get to her later. I don’t know which version is true, but I do know Gaea and Ouranos started having kids—with very mixed results. First, they had a batch of twelve—six girls and six boys called the Titans. These kids looked human, but they were much taller and more powerful. You’d figure twelve kids would be enough for anybody, right? I mean, with a family that big, you’ve basically got your own reality TV show. Plus, once the Titans were born, things started to go sour with Ouranos and Gaea’s marriage. Ouranos spent a lot more time hanging out in the sky. He didn't visit. He didn't help with the kids. Gaea got resentful. The two of them started fighting. As the kids grew older, Ouranos would yell at them and basically act like a horrible dad. A few times, Gaea and Ouranos tried to patch things up. Gaea decided maybe if they had another set of kids, it would bring them closer…. I know, right? Bad idea. She gave birth to triplets. The problem: these new kids defined the word UGLY. They were as big and strong as Titans, except hulking and brutish and in desperate need of a body wax. Worst of all, each kid had a single eye in the middle of his forehead. Talk about a face only a mother could love. Well, Gaea loved these guys. She named them the Elder Cyclopes, and eventually they would spawn a whole race of other, lesser Cyclopes. But that was much later. When Ouranos saw the Cyclops triplets, he freaked. “These cannot be my kids! They don’t even look like me!” “They are your children, you deadbeat!” Gaea screamed back. “Don’t you dare leave me to raise them on my own!
Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson's Greek Gods)
All great, simple images reveal a psychic state. The house, even more than the landscape, is a "psychic state," and even when reproduced as it appears from the outside, it bespeaks intimacy. Psychologists generally, and Francoise Minkowska in particular, together with those whom she has succeeded interesting in the subject, have studied the drawing of houses made by children, and even used them for testing. Indeed, the house-test has the advantage of welcoming spontaneity, for many children draw a house spontaneously while dreaming over their paper and pencil. To quote Anne Balif: "Asking a child to draw his house is asking him to reveal the deepest dream shelter he has found for his happiness. If he is happy, he will succeed in drawing a snug, protected house which is well built on deeply-rooted foundations." It will have the right shape, and nearly always there will be some indication of its inner strength. In certain drawings, quite obviously, to quote Mme. Balif, "it is warm indoors, and there is a fire burning, such a big fire, in fact, that it can be seen coming out of the chimney." When the house is happy, soft smoke rises in gay rings above the roof. If the child is unhappy, however, the house bears traces of his distress. In this connection, I recall that Francoise Minkowska organized an unusually moving exhibition of drawings by Polish and Jewish children who had suffered the cruelties of the German occupation during the last war. One child, who had been hidden in a closet every time there was an alert, continued to draw narrow, cold, closed houses long after those evil times were over. These are what Mme. Minkowska calls "motionless" houses, houses that have become motionless in their rigidity. "This rigidity and motionlessness are present in the smoke as well as in the window curtains. The surrounding trees are quite straight and give the impression of standing guard over the house". Mme. Minkowska knows that a live house is not really "motionless," that, particularly, it integrates the movements by means of which one accedes to the door. Thus the path that leads to the house is often a climbing one. At times, even, it is inviting. In any case, it always possesses certain kinesthetic features. If we were making a Rorschach test, we should say that the house has "K." Often a simple detail suffices for Mme. Minkowska, a distinguished psychologist, to recognize the way the house functions. In one house, drawn by an eight-year-old child, she notes that there is " a knob on the door; people go in the house, they live there." It is not merely a constructed house, it is also a house that is "lived-in." Quite obviously the door-knob has a functional significance. This is the kinesthetic sign, so frequently forgotten in the drawings of "tense" children. Naturally, too, the door-knob could hardly be drawn in scale with the house, its function taking precedence over any question of size. For it expresses the function of opening, and only a logical mind could object that it is used to close as well as to open the door. In the domain of values, on the other hand, a key closes more often than it opens, whereas the door-knob opens more often than it closes. And the gesture of closing is always sharper, firmer, and briefer than that of opening. It is by weighing such fine points as these that, like Francoise Minkowska, one becomes a psychologist of houses.
Gaston Bachelard (The Poetics of Space)
I HAD TO GO to America for a while to give some talks. Going to America always does me good. It’s where I’m from, after all. There’s baseball on the TV, people are friendly and upbeat, they don’t obsess about the weather except when there is weather worth obsessing about, you can have all the ice cubes you want. Above all, visiting America gives me perspective. Consider two small experiences I had upon arriving at a hotel in downtown Austin, Texas. When I checked in, the clerk needed to record my details, naturally enough, and asked for my home address. Our house doesn’t have a street number, just a name, and I have found in the past that that is more deviance than an American computer can sometimes cope with, so I gave our London address. The girl typed in the building number and street name, then said: “City?” I replied: “London.” “Can you spell that please?” I looked at her and saw that she wasn’t joking. “L-O-N-D-O-N,” I said. “Country?” “England.” “Can you spell that?” I spelled England. She typed for a moment and said: “The computer won’t accept England. Is that a real country?” I assured her it was. “Try Britain,” I suggested. I spelled that, too—twice (we got the wrong number of T’s the first time)—and the computer wouldn’t take that either. So I suggested Great Britain, United Kingdom, UK, and GB, but those were all rejected, too. I couldn’t think of anything else to suggest. “It’ll take France,” the girl said after a minute. “I beg your pardon?” “You can have ‘London, France.’ ” “Seriously?” She nodded. “Well, why not?” So she typed “London, France,” and the system was happy. I finished the check-in process and went with my bag and plastic room key to a bank of elevators a few paces away. When the elevator arrived, a young woman was in it already, which I thought a little strange because the elevator had come from one of the upper floors and now we were going back up there again. About five seconds into the ascent, she said to me in a suddenly alert tone: “Excuse me, was that the lobby back there?” “That big room with a check-in desk and revolving doors to the street? Why, yes, it was.” “Shoot,” she said and looked chagrined. Now I am not for a moment suggesting that these incidents typify Austin, Texas, or America generally or anything like that. But it did get me to thinking that our problems are more serious than I had supposed. When functioning adults can’t identify London, England, or a hotel lobby, I think it is time to be concerned. This is clearly a global problem and it’s spreading. I am not at all sure how we should tackle such a crisis, but on the basis of what we know so far, I would suggest, as a start, quarantining Texas.
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island)
Religion has clearly performed great services for human civilization. It has contributed much towards the taming of the asocial instincts. But not enough. It has ruled human society for many thousands of years and has had time to show what it can achieve. If it had succeeded in making the majority of mankind happy, in comforting them, in reconciling them to life and in making them into vehicles of civilization, no one would dream of attempting to alter the existing conditions. But what do we see instead? We see that an appallingly large number of people are dissatisfied with civilization and unhappy in it, and feel it as a yoke which must be shaken off; and that these people either do everything in their power to change that civilization, or else go so far in their hostility to it that they will have nothing to do with civilization or with a restriction of instinct. At this point it will be objected against us that this state of affairs is due to the very fact that religion has lost a part of its influence over human masses precisely because of the deplorable effect of the advances of science. We will note this admission and the reason given for it, and we shall make use of it later for our own purposes; but the objection itself has no force. It is doubtful whether men were in general happier at a time when religious doctrines held unrestricted sway; more moral they certainly were not. They have always known how to externalize the precepts of religion and thus to nullify their intentions. The priests, whose duty it was to ensure obedience to religion, met them half-way in this. God's kindness must lay a restraining hand on His justice. One sinned, and then one made a sacrifice or did penance and then one was free to sin once more. Russian introspectiveness has reached the pitch of concluding that sin is indispensable for the enjoyment of all the blessings of divine grace, so that, at bottom, sin is pleasing to God. It is no secret that the priests could only keep the masses submissive to religion by making such large concessions as these to the instinctual nature of man. Thus it was agreed: God alone is strong and good, man is weak and sinful. In every age immorality has found no less support in religion than morality has. If the achievements of religion in respect to man’s happiness, susceptibility to culture and moral control are no better than this, the question cannot but arise whether we are not overrating its necessity for mankind, and whether we do wisely in basing our cultural demands upon it.
Sigmund Freud (The Future of an Illusion)
Perfect Joy (excerpts) Is there to be found on earth a fullness of joy, or is there no such thing? . . . What the world values is money, reputation, long life, achievement. What it counts as joy is health and comfort of body, good food, fine clothes, beautiful things to look at, pleasant music to listen to. What it condemns is lack of money, a low social rank, a reputation for being no good, and an early death. What it considers misfortune is bodily discomfort and labour, no chance to get your fill of good food, not having good clothes to wear, having no way to amuse or delight the eye, no pleasant music to listen to. If people find that they are deprived of these things, they go into a panic or fall into despair. They are so concerned for their life that their anxiety makes life unbearable, even when they have the things they think they want. Their very concern for enjoyment makes them unhappy. . . . I cannot tell if what the world considers "happiness" is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness. . . . My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it. My greatest happiness consists precisely in doing nothing whatever that is calculated to obtain happiness: and this, in the minds of most people, is the worst possible course. I will hold to the saying that:"Perfect Joy is to be without joy. Perfect praise is to be without praise." If you ask "what ought to be done" and "what ought not to be done" on earth in order to produce happiness, I answer that these questions do not have an answer. There is no way of determining such things. Yet at the same time, if I cease striving for happiness, the "right" and the "wrong" at once become apparent all by themselves. Contentment and well-being at once become possible the moment you cease to act with them in view, and if you practice non-doing (wu wei), you will have both happiness and well-being. Here is how I sum it up: Heaven does nothing: its non-doing is its serenity. Earth does nothing: its non-doing is its rest. From the union of these two non-doings All actions proceed, All things are made. How vast, how invisible This coming-to-be! All things come from nowhere! How vast, how invisible - No way to explain it! All beings in their perfection Are born of non-doing. Hence it is said: "Heaven and earth do nothing Yet there is nothing they do not do." Where is the man who can attain To this non-doing?
Thomas Merton (The Way of Chuang Tzu (Shambhala Library))
Asking a writer why they like to write {in the theoretical sense of the question} is like asking a person why they breathe. For me, writing is a natural reflex to the beauty, the events, and the people I see around me. As Anais Nin put it, "We write to taste life twice." I live and then I write. The one transfers to the other, for me, in a gentle, necessary way. As prosaic as it sounds, I believe I process by writing. Part of the way I deal with stressful situations, catty people, or great joy or great trials in my own life is by conjuring it onto paper in some way; a journal entry, a blog post, my writing notebook, or my latest story. While I am a fair conversationalist, my real forte is expressing myself in words on paper. If I leave it all chasing round my head like rabbits in a warren, I'm apt to become a bug-bear to live with and my family would not thank me. Some people need counselors. Some people need long, drawn-out phone-calls with a trusted friend. Some people need to go out for a run. I need to get away to a quiet, lonesome corner--preferably on the front steps at gloaming with the North Star trembling against the darkening blue. I need to set my pen fiercely against the page {for at such moments I must be writing--not typing.} and I need to convert the stress or excitement or happiness into something to be shared with another person. The beauty of the relationship between reading and writing is its give-and-take dynamic. For years I gathered and read every book in the near vicinity and absorbed tale upon tale, story upon story, adventures and sagas and dramas and classics. I fed my fancy, my tastes, and my ideas upon good books and thus those aspects of myself grew up to be none too shabby. When I began to employ my fancy, tastes, and ideas in writing my own books, the dawning of a strange and wonderful idea tinged the horizon of thought with blush-rose colors: If I persisted and worked hard and poured myself into the craft, I could create one of those books. One of the heart-books that foster a love of reading and even writing in another person somewhere. I could have a hand in forming another person's mind. A great responsibility and a great privilege that, and one I would love to be a party to. Books can change a person. I am a firm believer in that. I cannot tell you how many sentiments or noble ideas or parts of my own personality are woven from threads of things I've read over the years. I hoard quotations and shadows of quotations and general impressions of books like a tzar of Russia hoards his icy treasures. They make up a large part of who I am. I think it's worth saying again: books can change a person. For better or for worse. As a writer it's my two-edged gift to be able to slay or heal where I will. It's my responsibility to wield that weapon aright and do only good with my words. Or only purposeful cutting. I am not set against the surgeon's method of butchery--the nicking of a person's spirit, the rubbing in of a salty, stinging salve, and the ultimate healing-over of that wound that makes for a healthier person in the end. It's the bitter herbs that heal the best, so now and again you might be called upon to write something with more cayenne than honey about it. But the end must be good. We cannot let the Light fade from our words.
Rachel Heffington
Thomas Jefferson's Letter to John Holmes on the Missouri Statehood Question – April 20, 1820 I thank you, dear Sir, for the copy you have been so kind as to send me of the letter to your constituents on the Missouri question. It is a perfect justification to them. I had for a long time ceased to read newspapers, or pay any attention to public affairs, confident they were in good hands, and content to be a passenger in our bark to the shore from which I am not distant. But this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the moment. But this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper. I can say, with conscious truth, that there is not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would to relieve us from this heavy reproach, in any practicable way. The cession of that kind of property, for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle which would not cost me a second thought, if, in that way, a general emancipation and expatriation could be effected; and, gradually, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. But as it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other. Of one thing I am certain, that as the passage of slaves from one State to another, would not make a slave of a single human being who would not be so without it, so their diffusion over a greater surface would make them individually happier, and proportionally facilitate the accomplishment of their emancipation, by dividing the burthen on a greater number of coadjutors. An abstinence too, from this act of power, would remove the jealousy excited by the undertaking of Congress to regulate the condition of the different descriptions of men composing a State. This certainly is the exclusive right of every State, which nothing in the constitution has taken from them and given to the General Government. Could Congress, for example, say, that the non- freemen of Connecticut shall be freemen, or that they shall not emigrate into any other State? I regret that I am now to die in the belief, that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it. If they would but dispassionately weigh the blessings they will throw away, against an abstract principle more likely to be effected by union than by scission, they would pause before they would perpetrate this act of suicide on themselves, and of treason against the hopes of the world. To yourself, as the faithful advocate of the Union, I tender the offering of my high esteem and respect. Th. Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Mr. President I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Most men indeed as well as most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them it is so far error. Steele a Protestant in a Dedication tells the Pope, that the only difference between our Churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines is, the Church of Rome is infallible and the Church of England is never in the wrong. But though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their sect. In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another's throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good. I have never whispered a syllable of them abroad. Within these walls they were born, and here they shall die. If every one of us in returning to our Constituents were to report the objections he has had to it, and endeavor to gain partizans in support of them, we might prevent its being generally received, and thereby lose all the salutary effects & great advantages resulting naturally in our favor among foreign Nations as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent unanimity. Much of the strength & efficiency of any Government in procuring and securing happiness to the people, depends, on opinion, on the general opinion of the goodness of the Government, as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its Governors. I hope therefore that for our own sakes as a part of the people, and for the sake of posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this Constitution (if approved by Congress & confirmed by the Conventions) wherever our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts & endeavors to the means of having it well administred. On the whole, Sir, I can not help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.
Benjamin Franklin
Duroy, who felt light hearted that evening, said with a smile: "You are gloomy to-day, dear master." The poet replied: "I am always so, young man, so will you be in a few years. Life is a hill. As long as one is climbing up one looks towards the summit and is happy, but when one reaches the top one suddenly perceives the descent before one, and its bottom, which is death. One climbs up slowly, but one goes down quickly. At your age a man is happy. He hopes for many things, which, by the way, never come to pass. At mine, one no longer expects anything - but death." Duroy began to laugh: "You make me shudder all over." Norbert de Varenne went on: "No, you do not understand me now, but later on you will remember what I am saying to you at this moment. A day comes, and it comes early for many, when there is an end to mirth, for behind everything one looks at one sees death. You do not even understand the word. At your age it means nothing; at mine it is terrible. Yes, one understands it all at once, one does not know how or why, and then everything in life changes its aspect. For fifteen years I have felt death assail me as if I bore within me some gnawing beast. I have felt myself decaying little by little, month by month, hour by hour, like a house crumbling to ruin. Death has disfigured me so completely that I do not recognize myself. I have no longer anything about me of myself - of the fresh, strong man I was at thirty. I have seen death whiten my black hairs, and with what skillful and spiteful slowness. Death has taken my firm skin, my muscles, my teeth, my whole body of old, only leaving me a despairing soul, soon to be taken too. Every step brings me nearer to death, every movemebt, every breath hastens his odious work. To breathe, sleep, drink, eat, work, dream, everything we do is to die. To live, in short, is to die. Oh, you will realize this. If you stop and think for a moment you will understand. What do you expect? Love? A few more kisses and you will be impotent. Then money? For what? Women? Much fun that will be! In order to eat a lot and grow fat and lie awake at night suffering from gout? And after that? Glory? What use is that when it does not take the form of love? And after that? Death is always the end. I now see death so near that I often want to stretch my arms to push it back. It covers the earth and fills the universe. I see it everywhere. The insects crushed on the path, the falling leaves, the white hair in a friend's head, rend my heart and cry to me, 'Behold it!' It spoils for me all I do, all I see, all that I eat and drink, all that I love; the bright moonlight, the sunrise, the broad ocean, the noble rivers, and the soft summer evening air so sweet to breath." He walked on slowly, dreaming aloud, almost forgetting that he had a listener: "And no one ever returns - never. The model of a statue may be preserved, but my body, my face, my thoughts, my desires will never reappear again. And yet millions of beings will be born with a nose, eyes, forehead, cheeks, and mouth like me, and also a soul like me, without my ever returning, without even anything recognizable of me appearing in these countless different beings. What can we cling to? What can we believe in? All religions are stupid, with their puerile morality and their egotistical promises, monstrously absurd. Death alone is certain." "Think of that, young man. Think of it for days, and months and years, and life will seem different to you. Try to get away from all the things that shut you in. Make a superhuman effort to emerge alive from your own body, from your own interests, from your thoughts, from humanity in general, so that your eyes may be turned in the opposite direction. Then you understand how unimportant is the quarrel between Romanticism and Realism, or the Budget debates.
Guy de Maupassant
Her pretty name of Adina seemed to me to have somehow a mystic fitness to her personality. Behind a cold shyness, there seemed to lurk a tremulous promise to be franker when she knew you better. Adina is a strange child; she is fanciful without being capricious. She was stout and fresh-coloured, she laughed and talked rather loud, and generally, in galleries and temples, caused a good many stiff British necks to turn round. She had a mania for excursions, and at Frascati and Tivoli she inflicted her good-humoured ponderosity on diminutive donkeys with a relish which seemed to prove that a passion for scenery, like all our passions, is capable of making the best of us pitiless. Adina may not have the shoulders of the Venus of Milo...but I hope it will take more than a bauble like this to make her stoop. Adina espied the first violet of the year glimmering at the root of a cypress. She made haste to rise and gather it, and then wandered further, in the hope of giving it a few companions. Scrope sat and watched her as she moved slowly away, trailing her long shadow on the grass and drooping her head from side to side in her charming quest. It was not, I know, that he felt no impulse to join her; but that he was in love, for the moment, with looking at her from where he sat. Her search carried her some distance and at last she passed out of sight behind a bend in the villa wall. I don't pretend to be sure that I was particularly struck, from this time forward, with something strange in our quiet Adina. She had always seemed to me vaguely, innocently strange; it was part of her charm that in the daily noiseless movement of her life a mystic undertone seemed to murmur "You don't half know me! Perhaps we three prosaic mortals were not quite worthy to know her: yet I believe that if a practised man of the world had whispered to me, one day, over his wine, after Miss Waddington had rustled away from the table, that there was a young lady who, sooner or later, would treat her friends to a first class surprise, I should have laid my finger on his sleeve and told him with a smile that he phrased my own thought. .."That beautiful girl," I said, "seems to me agitated and preoccupied." "That beautiful girl is a puzzle. I don't know what's the matter with her; it's all very painful; she's a very strange creature. I never dreamed there was an obstacle to our happiness--to our union. She has never protested and promised; it's not her way, nor her nature; she is always humble, passive, gentle; but always extremely grateful for every sign of tenderness. Till within three or four days ago, she seemed to me more so than ever; her habitual gentleness took the form of a sort of shrinking, almost suffering, deprecation of my attentions, my petits soins, my lovers nonsense. It was as if they oppressed and mortified her--and she would have liked me to bear more lightly. I did not see directly that it was not the excess of my devotion, but my devotion itself--the very fact of my love and her engagement that pained her. When I did it was a blow in the face. I don't know what under heaven I've done! Women are fathomless creatures. And yet Adina is not capricious, in the common sense... .So these are peines d'amour?" he went on, after brooding a moment. "I didn't know how fiercely I was in love!" Scrope stood staring at her as she thrust out the crumpled note: that she meant that Adina--that Adina had left us in the night--was too large a horror for his unprepared sense...."Good-bye to everything! Think me crazy if you will. I could never explain. Only forget me and believe that I am happy, happy, happy! Adina Beati."... Love is said to be par excellence the egotistical passion; if so Adina was far gone. "I can't promise to forget you," I said; "you and my friend here deserve to be remembered!
Henry James (Adina)