Goes Without Saying Quotes

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Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist,'" says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing." "But," says Man, "The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED." "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic. "Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
I don't have to tell you it goes without saying there are some things better left unsaid. I think that speaks for itself. The less said about it the better.
George Carlin (Brain Droppings)
A whore, we've established that, filthy, it goes without saying, but whatever else the hell I am, I AM NOT ENGLISH.
Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity)
Sometimes you want to say, “I love you, but…” Yet the “but” takes away the ‘I love you’. In love their are no ‘buts’ or ‘if’s’ or ‘when’. It’s just there, and always. No beginning, no end. It’s the condition-less state of the heart. Not a feeling that comes and goes at the whim of the emotions. It is there in our heart, a part of our heart…eventually grafting itself into each limb and cell of our bodies. Love changes our brain, the way we move and talk. Love lives in our spirit and graces us with its presence each day, until death. To say “I love you, but….” is to say, “I did not love you at all”. I say this to you now: I love you, with no beginning, no end. I love you as you have become an extra necessary organ in my body. I love you as only a girl could love a boy. Without fear. Without expectations. Wanting nothing in return, except that you allow me to keep you here in my heart, that I may always know your strength, your eyes, and your spirit that gave me freedom and let me fly.
Coco J. Ginger
Peeta opens his mouth for the first bite without hesitation. He swallows, then frowns slightly. "They're very sweet." "Yes they're sugar berries. My mother makes jam from them. Haven't you've ever had them before?" I say, poking the next spoonful in his mouth. "No," he says, almost puzzled. "But they taste familiar. Sugar berries?" "Well, you can't get them in the market much, they only grow wild," I say. Another mouthful goes down. Just one more to go. "They're sweet as syrup," he says, taking the last spoonful. "Syrup." His eyes widen as he realizes the truth. I clamp my hand over his mouth and nose hard, forcing him to swallow instead of spit. He tries to make himself vomit the stuff up, but it's too late, he's already losing consciousness. Even as he fades away, I can see in his eyes what I've done is unforgiveable. I sit back on my heels and look at him with a mixture of sadness and satisfaction. A stray berry stains his chin and I wipe it away. "Who can't lie, Peeta?" I say, even though he can't hear me.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
It goes without saying that a civilization which leaves so large a number of its participants unsatisfied and drives them into revolt neither has nor deserves the prospect of a lasting existence.
Sigmund Freud (The Future of an Illusion)
Last forever!' Who hasn't prayed that prayer? You were lucky to get it in the first place. The present is a freely given canvas. That it is constantly being ripped apart and washed downstream goes without saying.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
HOW do you define a word without concrete meaning? To each his own, the saying goes, so WHY push to attain an ideal state of being that no two random people will agree is WHERE you want to be? Faultless. Finished. Incomparable. People can never be these, and anyway, WHEN did creating a flawless facade become a more vital goal than learning to love the person WHO lives inside your skin? The outside belongs to others. Only you should decide for you - WHAT is perfect.
Ellen Hopkins (Perfect (Impulse, #2))
The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
I know this goes without saying, but Stonehenge really was the most incredible accomplishment. It took five hundred men just to pull each sarsen, plus a hundred more to dash around positioning the rollers. Just think about it for a minute. Can you imagine trying to talk six hundred people into helping you drag a fifty-ton stone eighteen miles across the countryside and muscle it into an upright position, and then saying, 'Right, lads! Another twenty like that, plus some lintels and maybe a couple of dozen nice bluestones from Wales, and we can party!' Whoever was the person behind Stonehenge was one dickens of a motivator, I'll tell you that.
Bill Bryson (Notes from a Small Island)
It goes without saying that you should never have more children than you have car windows
Erma Bombeck
To my babies, Merry Christmas. I'm sorry if these letters have caught you both by surprise. There is just so much more I have to say. I know you thought I was done giving advice, but I couldn't leave without reiterating a few things in writing. You may not relate to these things now, but someday you will. I wasn't able to be around forever, but I hope that my words can be. -Don't stop making basagna. Basagna is good. Wait until a day when there is no bad news, and bake a damn basagna. -Find a balance between head and heart. Hopefully you've found that Lake, and you can help Kel sort it out when he gets to that point. -Push your boundaries, that's what they're there for. -I'm stealing this snippet from your favorite band, Lake. "Always remember there is nothing worth sharing, like the love that let us share our name." -Don't take life too seriously. Punch it in the face when it needs a good hit. Laugh at it. -And Laugh a lot. Never go a day without laughing at least once. -Never judge others. You both know good and well how unexpected events can change who a person is. Always keep that in mind. You never know what someone else is experiencing within their own life. -Question everything. Your love, your religion, your passions. If you don't have questions, you'll never find answers. -Be accepting. Of everything. People's differences, their similarities, their choices, their personalities. Sometimes it takes a variety to make a good collection. The same goes for people. -Choose your battles, but don't choose very many. -Keep an open mind; it's the only way new things can get in. -And last but not least, not the tiniest bit least. Never regret. Thank you both for giving me the best years of my life. Especially the last one. Love, Mom
Colleen Hoover (Slammed (Slammed, #1))
Furthermore, it goes without saying that all of the people, living, dead, and otherwise, in this story are fictional or used in a fictional context. Only the gods are real.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods)
You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be, sans cannon and machine guns and steel plating half a foot thick; you come at them unmenacingly on your own ten toes instead of tearing up the turf with your caterpillar treads, take them on with an open mind, as equals, man to man, as we used to say, and yet you never fail to get them wrong. You might as well have the brain of a tank. You get them wrong before you meet them, while you're anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you're with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion. ... The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It's getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That's how we know we're alive: we're wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that -- well, lucky you.
Philip Roth (American Pastoral (The American Trilogy, #1))
How do I love thee? wondered Orion. "Let me see. I love thee passionately and eternally...obviously eternally-that goes without saying." Holly blinked sweat from her eyes. "Is he serious?" she called over her shoulder to Foaly. "Oh, absolutely," said the centaur "If he asks you to look for birthmarks, say no immediately." "Oh, I would never." Orion assured her. "Ladies don't look for birthmarks; that is work for jolly fellows like the Goodly Beast and myself. Ladies, like Miss Short, do enough by simply existing. They exude beauty, and that is enough." "I am not exuding anything." said Holly, through gritted teeth. Orion tapped her shoulder. "I beg to differ. You're exuding right now, a wonderful aura. It's pastel blue with little dolphins." Holly gripped the wheel tightly. "I'm going to be sick. Did he just say pastel blue?" "And dolphins, little ones," said Foaly.
Eoin Colfer (The Atlantis Complex (Artemis Fowl #7))
You cannot be truly humble, unless you truly believe that life can and will go on without you.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
In asserting that people don't change, what she means is that they don't change for the better. Whereas changing for the worse, that goes without saying.
A.S.A. Harrison (The Silent Wife)
The current ruling ontology denies any possibility of a social causation of mental illness. The chemico-biologization of mental illness is of course strictly commensurate with its depoliticization. Considering mental illness an individual chemico-biological problem has enormous benefits for capitalism. First, it reinforces Capital’s drive towards atomistic individualization (you are sick because of your brain chemistry). Second, it provides an enormously lucrative market in which multinational pharmaceutical companies can peddle their pharmaceuticals (we can cure you with our SSRls). It goes without saying that all mental illnesses are neurologically instantiated, but this says nothing about their causation. If it is true, for instance, that depression is constituted by low serotonin levels, what still needs to be explained is why particular individuals have low levels of serotonin. This requires a social and political explanation; and the task of repoliticizing mental illness is an urgent one if the left wants to challenge capitalist realism.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
A man never begins by presenting himself as an individual of a certain sex; it goes without saying that he is a man.
Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex)
This is another paradox, that many of the most important impressions and thoughts in a person's life are ones that flash through your head so fast that fast isn't even the right word, they seem totally different from or outside of the regular sequential clock time we all live by, and they have so little relation to the sort of linear, one-word-after-another word English we all communicate with each other with that it could easily take a whole lifetime just to spell out the contents of one split-second's flash of thoughts and connections, etc. -- and yet we all seem to go around trying to use English (or whatever language our native country happens to use, it goes without saying) to try to convey to other people what we're thinking and to find out what they're thinking, when in fact deep down everybody knows it's a charade and they're just going through the motions. What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny part of it at any given instant.
David Foster Wallace
It goes without saying that your friends are usually the first to discuss your personal business behind your back.
Terry McMillan (Mama)
Oh dear, all those words again," thought Milo as he climbed into the wagon with Tock and the cabinet members. "How are you going to make it move? It doesn't have a--" "Be very quiet," advised the duke, "for it goes without saying.
Norton Juster
What makes life worth living? No child asks itself that question. To children life is self-evident. Life goes without saying: whether it is good or bad makes no difference. This is because children don’t see the world, don’t observe the world, don’t contemplate the world, but are so deeply immersed in the world that they don’t distinguish between it and their own selves. Not until that happens, until a distance appears between what they are and what the world is, does the question arise: what makes life worth living?
Karl Ove Knausgård (Om høsten (Årstidsencyklopedien, #1))
It goes without saying that all of the people, living, dead, and otherwise, in this story are fictional or used in a fictional context. Only the gods are real.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods (American Gods, #1))
That you should write down valuable ideas that occur to you as soon as possible goes without saying: we sometimes forget even what we have done, so how much more what we have thought.
Arthur Schopenhauer (Essays and Aphorisms)
I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn't be—basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful—nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mash-ups à la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children's books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and—I imagine this goes without saying—vampires.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
But it goes without saying that Michael Jordan could never date Pamela Anderson. That would cause the apocalypse.
Chuck Klosterman (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto)
It goes without saying that the artists sympathised not with the actual working classes but with their own idea of the working classes,
Theodore Dalrymple (Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses)
I suppose it goes without saying that negative speaking so often flows from negative thinking about ourselves. We see our own faults, we speak--or at least think--critically of ourselves, and before long that is how we see everyone and everything. No sunshine, no roses, no promise of hope or happiness. Before long we and everybody around us are miserable.
Jeffrey R. Holland (Created for Greater Things)
How do you move on from something like that?" How do you deal with losing all the people you love?" "You don't, she says. "Not like anyone expects you to." Grandma Brawely signs and rests the frame on the bed. 'Life goes on with or without you, and that's just the reality of it. You never move on, you just keep moving forward.
Shaun David Hutchinson (The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley)
It began to seem that one would have to hold in the mind forever two ideas which seemed to be in opposition. The first idea was acceptance, the acceptance, totally without rancor, of life as it is, and men as they are: in the light of this idea, it goes without saying that injustice is a commonplace. But this did not mean that one could be complacent, for the second idea was of equal power: that one must never, in one's own life, accept these injustices as commonplace but must fight them with all one's strength. This fight begins, however, in the heart and it now had been laid to my charge to keep my own heart free of hatred and despair. This intimation made my heart heavy and, now that my father was irrecoverable, I wished that he had been beside me so that I could have searched his face for the answers which only the future would give me now.
James Baldwin (Notes of a Native Son)
It goes without saying that a fine short poem can have the resonance and depth of an entire novel.
James Wright (Selected Poems)
Perfect? How do you define a word without concrete meaning? To each his own, the saying goes, so why push to attain an ideal state of being that no two random people will agree is where you want to be? Faultless. Finished. Incomparable. People can never be these, and anyway, when did creating a flawless facade become a more vital goal than learning to love the person who lives inside your skin? The outside belongs to others. Only you should decide for you--- what is perfect
Ellen Hopkins (Perfect (Impulse, #2))
There are some things I don't understand about Jess and never will. No wedding dress. No flowers. No photo album. No champagne. The only thing she got out of her wedding was a husband. (I mean, obviously the husband is the main point when you get married. Absolutely. That goes without saying. But still, not even a new pair of shoes?)
Sophie Kinsella (Mini Shopaholic (Shopaholic, #6))
The problems raised by alcohol and tobacco cannot, it goes without saying, be solved by prohibition. The universal and ever-present urge to self-transcendence is not to be abolished by slamming the currently popular Doors in the Wall. The only reasonable policy is to open other, better doors in the hope of inducing men and women to exchange their old bad habits for new and less harmful ones.
Aldous Huxley (The Doors of Perception & Heaven and Hell)
These young men, in other words, represented a variety of types, but one thing they had in common was that they'd all given up on committing positively to anything in life. This was not their fault, however. The blame lay with a certain ubiquitous spirit of the times, transmitted to them by their respective mothers. And perhaps it goes without saying that this "spirit of the times" was in fact an oppressive value system based primarily upon the absolute certainty that nothing in this world was ever going to change.
Ryū Murakami (Popular Hits of the Showa Era)
It goes without saying, I believe, that if we understood ourselves better, we would damage ourselves less.
James Baldwin (The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985)
Yes, it’s tough, it’s tough, that goes without saying. But isn’t waiting itself and longing a wonder, being played on by wind, sun, and shade?
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
Let me put it this way: You cannot live in the world without being in pain, spiritual and physical pain. We have developed mechanisms to deal with these pains, to overcome them somehow. Therapy, religion and spirituality, relationships, material success. All this can work, but also become a problem itself. The pursuit of happiness has even been put into the American constitution a couple centuries ago. Today we're so rich, we own much more than we need, we have liberties unknown before, even though they are endangered in the current political climate in the US - and we forget how wonderful it nevertheless is, compared to most other political and economic systems. We have a saying that goes: Give a man enough rope and he hangs himself.
David Foster Wallace
Women are the most charitable creatures, and the most troublesome. He who shuns women passes up the trouble, but also the benefits. He who puts up with them gains the benefits, but also the trouble. As the saying goes, there's no honey without bees.
Niccolò Machiavelli (Mandragola)
For me, it goes without saying that much of the dogma of many religions is harmful. Thinking other people will burn forever because they love the wrong person or worship the wrong god has done a whole lot of bad. What I wanted was the part where people were asked to get together once a week to talk about how to be a good person and, like, hang out with their neighbors. It's pretty amazing that apparently the only way to get people to do that is to invent an all-seeing, kindhearted sky dad who will be super disappointed/burn you for eternity if you don't show up.
Hank Green (A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor (The Carls, #2))
Algebra applies to the clouds, the radiance of the star benefits the rose--no thinker would dare to say that the perfume of the hawthorn is useless to the constellations. Who could ever calculate the path of a molecule? How do we know that the creations of worlds are not determined by falling grains of sand? Who can understand the reciprocal ebb and flow of the infinitely great and the infinitely small, the echoing of causes in the abyss of being and the avalanches of creation? A mite has value; the small is great, the great is small. All is balanced in necessity; frightening vision for the mind. There are marvelous relations between beings and things, in this inexhaustible whole, from sun to grub, there is no scorn, each needs the other. Light does not carry terrestrial perfumes into the azure depths without knowing what it does with them; night distributes the stellar essence to the sleeping plants. Every bird that flies has the thread of the infinite in its claw. Germination includes the hatching of a meteor and the tap of a swallow's beak breaking the egg, and it guides the birth of the earthworm, and the advent of Socrates. Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has a greater view? Choose. A bit of mold is a pleiad of flowers; a nebula is an anthill of stars. The same promiscuity, and still more wonderful, between the things of the intellect and material things. Elements and principles are mingled, combined, espoused, multiplied one by another, to the point that the material world, and the moral world are brought into the same light. Phenomena are perpetually folded back on themselves. In the vast cosmic changes, universal life comes and goes in unknown quantities, rolling everything up in the invisible mystery of the emanations, using everything, losing no dream from any single sleep, sowing a microscopic animal here, crumbling a star there, oscillating and gyrating, making a force of light, and an element of thought, disseminated and indivisible dissolving all, that geometric point, the self; reducing everything to the soul-atom; making everything blossom into God; entangling from the highest to the lowest, all activities in the obscurity of a dizzying mechanism, linking the flight of an insect to the movement of the earth, subordinating--who knows, if only by the identity of the law--the evolutions of the comet in the firmament to the circling of the protozoa in the drop of water. A machine made of mind. Enormous gearing, whose first motor is the gnat, and whose last is the zodiac.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
Your voice, your eyes, your hands, your lips Our silence, our words Light that goes, light that returns A single smile between us In quest of knowledge I watched night create day O beloved of all, beloved of one alone your mouth silently promised to be happy Away, away, says hate Closer, closer, says love A caress leads us from our infancy Increasingly I see the human form as a lovers’ dialogue The heart has but one mouth Everything by chance All words without thought Sentiments adrift A glance, a word, because I love you Everything moves We must advance to live Aim straight ahead toward those you love I went toward you, endlessly toward the light If you smile, it enfolds me all the better The rays of your arms pierce the mist.
Paul Éluard
How are you going to make it move? It doesn't have a – " "Be very quiet," advised the duke, "for it goes without saying." And, sure enough, as soon as they were all quite still, it began to move quickly through the streets, and in a very short time they arrived at the royal palace.
Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth)
Sometimes what goes without saying is best said anyway.
Iain M. Banks (The Hydrogen Sonata (Culture #10))
It rather goes without saying that Katherine drank her coffee black. Katherines do, generally. They like their coffee like they like their ex-boyfriends: bitter.
John Green (An Abundance of Katherines)
A Great Rabbi stands, teaching in the marketplace. It happens that a husband finds proof that morning of his wife's adultery, and a mob carries her to the marketplace to stone her to death. There is a familiar version of this story, but a friend of mine - a Speaker for the Dead - has told me of two other Rabbis that faced the same situation. Those are the ones I'm going to tell you. The Rabbi walks forward and stands beside the woman. Out of respect for him the mob forbears and waits with the stones heavy in their hands. 'Is there any man here,' he says to them, 'who has not desired another man's wife, another woman's husband?' They murmur and say, 'We all know the desire, but Rabbi none of us has acted on it.' The Rabbi says, 'Then kneel down and give thanks that God has made you strong.' He takes the woman by the hand and leads her out of the market. Just before he lets her go, he whispers to her, 'Tell the Lord Magistrate who saved his mistress, then he'll know I am his loyal servant.' So the woman lives because the community is too corrupt to protect itself from disorder. Another Rabbi. Another city. He goes to her and stops the mob as in the other story and says, 'Which of you is without sin? Let him cast the first stone.' The people are abashed, and they forget their unity of purpose in the memory of their own individual sins. ‘Someday,’ they think, ‘I may be like this woman. And I’ll hope for forgiveness and another chance. I should treat her as I wish to be treated.’ As they opened their hands and let their stones fall to the ground, the Rabbi picks up one of the fallen stones, lifts it high over the woman’s head and throws it straight down with all his might it crushes her skull and dashes her brain among the cobblestones. ‘Nor am I without sins,’ he says to the people, ‘but if we allow only perfect people to enforce the law, the law will soon be dead – and our city with it.’ So the woman died because her community was too rigid to endure her deviance. The famous version of this story is noteworthy because it is so startlingly rare in our experience. Most communities lurch between decay and rigor mortis and when they veer too far they die. Only one Rabbi dared to expect of us such a perfect balance that we could preserve the law and still forgive the deviation. So of course, we killed him. -San Angelo Letters to an Incipient Heretic
Orson Scott Card (Speaker for the Dead (Ender's Saga, #2))
We must have a religion — it goes without saying — but my idea is, to have it cut up into forty free sects, so that they will police each other, as had been the case in the United States in my time. Concentration of power in a political machine is bad; and and an Established Church is only a political machine; it was invented for that; it is nursed, cradled, preserved for that; it is an enemy to human liberty, and does no good which it could not better do in a split-up and scattered condition. That wasn’t law; it wasn’t gospel: it was only an opinion — my opinion, and I was only a man, one man: so it wasn’t worth any more than the pope’s — or any less, for that matter.
Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)
It's probably wrong to believe there can be any limit to the horror which the human mind can experience. On the contrary, it seems that some exponential effect begins to obtain as deeper and deeper darkness falls-as little as one may like to admit it, human experience tends, in a good many ways, to support the idea that when the nightmare grows black enough, horror spawns horror, one coincidental evil begets other, often more deliberate evils, until finally blackness seems to cover everything. And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity. That such events have their own Rube Goldberg absurdity goes almost without saying. At some point, it all starts to become rather funny. That may be the point at which sanity begins either to save itself or to buckle and break down; that point at which one's sense of humor begins to reassert itself.
Stephen King (Pet Sematary)
Besides intercourse (when the Image-repertoire goes to the devil), there is that other embrace, which is a motionless cradling: we are enchanted, bewitched: we are in the realm of sleep, without sleeping; we are within the voluptous infantilism of sleepiness: this is the moment for telling stories, the moment of the voice which takes me, siderates me, this is the return to the mother ("in the loving calm of your arms," says a poem set to music by Duparc). In this companionable incest, everything is suspended: time, law, prohibition: nothing is exhausted, nothing is wanted: all desires are abolished, for they seem definitively fulfilled. Yet, within this infantile embrace, the genital unfailingly appears; it cuts off the diffuse sensuality of the incestuous embrace; the logic of desire begins to function, the will-to-possess returns, the adult is superimposed upon the child. I am then two subjects at once: I want maternity and genitality. (The lover might be defined as a child getting an erection: such was the young Eros.)
Roland Barthes (A Lover's Discourse: Fragments)
I suppose it goes without saying that negative speaking so often flows from negative thinking about ourselves. We see our own faults, we speak-or at least think- critically of ourselves, and before long that is how we see everyone and everyting. No sunshine, no roses, no promise of hopee or happiness. Before long we and everybody around us are miserable.
Jeffrey R. Holland
We have a soul at times. No one’s got it non-stop, for keeps. Day after day, year after year may pass without it. Sometimes it will settle for awhile only in childhood’s fears and raptures. Sometimes only in astonishment that we are old. It rarely lends a hand in uphill tasks, like moving furniture, or lifting luggage, or going miles in shoes that pinch. It usually steps out whenever meat needs chopping or forms have to be filled. For every thousand conversations it participates in one, if even that, since it prefers silence. Just when our body goes from ache to pain, it slips off-duty. It’s picky: it doesn’t like seeing us in crowds, our hustling for a dubious advantage and creaky machinations make it sick. Joy and sorrow aren’t two different feelings for it. It attends us only when the two are joined. We can count on it when we’re sure of nothing and curious about everything. Among the material objects it favors clocks with pendulums and mirrors, which keep on working even when no one is looking. It won’t say where it comes from or when it’s taking off again, though it’s clearly expecting such questions. We need it but apparently it needs us for some reason too.
Wisława Szymborska
There's always more than one way to find something out. People only say there's only one way when they want an excuse to do something incredibly stupid without getting called on it. There are lots of ways to find out, and some of them even involve not pissing off a man who goes by 'the Lord of the Dead.
Seanan McGuire (Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3))
It goes without saying that all mental illnesses are neurologically instantiated, but this says nothing about their causation. If it is true, for instance, that depression is constituted by low serotonin levels, what still needs to be explained is why particular individuals have low levels of serotonin. This requires a social and political explanation; and the task of repoliticizing mental illness is an urgent one if the left wants to challenge capitalist realism.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
My dad used to say that with everything in life, there's the game-changing moment. That one moment everything else hinges upon, but you hardly ever know it at the time.The three-pointer early on in the second quarter that changes up the whole tempo of the game. Wakes people up, brings them back to life. It all goes back to that one moment.
Jenny Han (It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2))
Entertain, yes. That goes without saying. But a good writer does that automatically, it's built into the machine. Telling a thumpingly good, mesmerizing story is what one does without question. But beyond that, any writer worth his/her hire knows that all writing, one way or another, is subversive. It is guerrilla warfare against the status quo.
Harlan Ellison (Slippage: Previously Uncollected, Precariously Poised Stories)
Hannah and Kayla are talking without saying anything. Their conversation goes like this: Hannah: Uh-huh. Kayla: It was like, ugh! Hannah: I know. Kayla: Shit. Come on! Hannah: Well, you know, whatever. Kayla: I guess, but still. Hannah: Yeah. Kayla: You know? Hannah: Yeah.
Deb Caletti (The Nature of Jade)
You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be, sans cannon and machine guns and steel plating half a foot thick; you come at them unmenacingly on your own ten toes instead of tearing up the turf with your caterpillar treads, take them on with an open mind, as equals, man to man, as we used to say, and yet you never fail to get them wrong. You might as well have the "brain" of a tank. You get them wrong before you meet them, while you're anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you're with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion empty of all perception, an astonishing farce of misperception. And yet what are we to do about this terribly significant business of "other people," which gets bled of the significance we think it has and takes on instead a significance that is ludicrous, so ill-equipped are we all to envision one another's interior workings and invisible aims? Is everyone to go off and lock the door and sit secluded like the lonely writers do, in a soundproof cell, summoning people out of words and then proposing that these word people are closer to the real thing than the real people that we mangle with our ignorance every day? The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It's getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That's how we know we're alive: we're wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that--well, lucky you.
Philip Roth (American Pastoral (The American Trilogy, #1))
The facts of history have been too well rehearsed (I'm speaking needless to say not of written history but the oral kind that goes on in you without your having to do anything about it). . .
John Ashbery (Three Poems)
There are blondes and blondes and it is almost a joke word nowadays. All blondes have their points, except perhaps the metallic ones who are as blond as a Zulu under the bleach and as to disposition as soft as a sidewalk. There is the small cute blonde who cheeps and twitters, and the big statuesque blonde who straight-arms you with an ice-blue glare. There is the blonde who gives you the up-from-under look and smells lovely and shimmers and hangs on your arm and is always very tired when you take her home. She makes that helpless gesture and has that goddamned headache and you would like to slug her except that you are glad you found out about the headache before you invested too much time and money and hope in her. Because the headache will always be there, a weapon that never wears out and is as deadly as the bravo’s rapier or Lucrezia’s poison vial. There is the soft and willing and alcoholic blonde who doesn’t care what she wears as long as it is mink or where she goes as long as it is the Starlight Roof and there is plenty of dry champagne. There is the small perky blonde who is a little pal and wants to pay her own way and is full of sunshine and common sense and knows judo from the ground up and can toss a truck driver over her shoulder without missing more than one sentence out of the editorial in the Saturday Review. There is the pale, pale blonde with anemia of some non-fatal but incurable type. She is very languid and very shadowy and she speaks softly out of nowhere and you can’t lay a finger on her because in the first place you don’t want to and in the second place she is reading The Waste Land or Dante in the original, or Kafka or Kierkegaard or studying Provençal. She adores music and when the New York Philharmonic is playing Hindemith she can tell you which one of the six bass viols came in a quarter of a beat too late. I hear Toscanini can also. That makes two of them. And lastly there is the gorgeous show piece who will outlast three kingpin racketeers and then marry a couple of millionaires at a million a head and end up with a pale rose villa at Cap Antibes, an Alfa-Romeo town car complete with pilot and co-pilot, and a stable of shopworn aristocrats, all of whom she will treat with the affectionate absent-mindedness of an elderly duke saying goodnight to his butler.
Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye)
It began to seem that one would have to hold in the mind forever two ideas which seemed to be in opposition. The first idea was acceptance, the acceptance, totally without rancor, of life as it is, and men as they are: in the light of this idea, it goes without saying that injustice is a commonplace. But this did not mean that one could be complacent, for the second idea was of equal power: that one must never, in one own's life, accept these injustices as commonplace but must fight them with all one's strength...
James Baldwin
I won't regret saying this, this thing that I'm saying. Is it better than keeping my mouth shut? That goes without saying. Call, break it off call, break my own heart.
Tegan Quin
(And, like many philosophers, I am of the school that what goes without saying often goes even better with saying.)
Kwame Anthony Appiah (The Ethics of Identity)
I get locked into a cycle of not speaking. It’s like every time I think of something awesome to say, I rehearse it in my head so many times, I forget whether I’ve said it out loud yet. And I think it goes without saying that awesome one-liners are decidedly less awesome when you repeat them by accident. Better not to risk it.
Becky Albertalli (The Upside of Unrequited (Simonverse, #2))
Indeed it may be said with some confidence that the average man never really thinks from end to end of his life. There are moments when his cogitations are relatively more respectable than usual, but even at their climaxes they never reach anything properly describable as the level of serious thought. The mental activity of such people is only a mouthing of clichés. What they mistake for thought is simply a repetition of what they have heard. My guess is that well over eighty per cent. of the human race goes through life without having a single original thought. That is to say, they never think anything that has not been thought before and by thousands.
H.L. Mencken (Minority Report)
Dear friend…' The Witcher swore quietly, looking at the sharp, angular, even runes drawn with energetic sweeps of the pen, faultlessly reflecting the author’s mood. He felt once again the desire to try to bite his own backside in fury. When he was writing to the sorceress a month ago he had spent two nights in a row contemplating how best to begin. Finally, he had decided on “Dear friend.” Now he had his just deserts. 'Dear friend, your unexpected letter – which I received not quite three years after we last saw each other – has given me much joy. My joy is all the greater as various rumours have been circulating about your sudden and violent death. It is a good thing that you have decided to disclaim them by writing to me; it is a good thing, too, that you are doing so so soon. From your letter it appears that you have lived a peaceful, wonderfully boring life, devoid of all sensation. These days such a life is a real privilege, dear friend, and I am happy that you have managed to achieve it. I was touched by the sudden concern which you deigned to show as to my health, dear friend. I hasten with the news that, yes, I now feel well; the period of indisposition is behind me, I have dealt with the difficulties, the description of which I shall not bore you with. It worries and troubles me very much that the unexpected present you received from Fate brings you worries. Your supposition that this requires professional help is absolutely correct. Although your description of the difficulty – quite understandably – is enigmatic, I am sure I know the Source of the problem. And I agree with your opinion that the help of yet another magician is absolutely necessary. I feel honoured to be the second to whom you turn. What have I done to deserve to be so high on your list? Rest assured, my dear friend; and if you had the intention of supplicating the help of additional magicians, abandon it because there is no need. I leave without delay, and go to the place which you indicated in an oblique yet, to me, understandable way. It goes without saying that I leave in absolute secrecy and with great caution. I will surmise the nature of the trouble on the spot and will do all that is in my power to calm the gushing source. I shall try, in so doing, not to appear any worse than other ladies to whom you have turned, are turning or usually turn with your supplications. I am, after all, your dear friend. Your valuable friendship is too important to me to disappoint you, dear friend. Should you, in the next few years, wish to write to me, do not hesitate for a moment. Your letters invariably give me boundless pleasure. Your friend Yennefer' The letter smelled of lilac and gooseberries. Geralt cursed.
Andrzej Sapkowski (Krew elfów (Saga o Wiedźminie, #1))
A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself. Everything you feel or believe or say that goes against yourself is a sin. You go against yourself when you judge or blame yourself for anything. Being without sin is exactly the opposite. Being impeccable is not going against yourself. When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself.
Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom)
Of course the dust is building up unseen, but you learn to repress this for as long as it goes unnoticed by guests. And then one day someone moves a piece of furniture without your say-so, and everything comes into plain view. Dirt and scratch marks. Permanent damage to the parquet floor. By then it’s too late.
Fredrik Backman (Britt-Marie var här)
Andy was receptive, like a deep vessel into which life was poured. If this terrible particular thing hadn't been poured into her, she would have been happier--it goes without saying--but less of a person. She was filled out by her fate. I actually think that this is quite rare, the capacity to become the whole shape of the accidents that happen to you.
Tessa Hadley
All the towering materialism which dominates the modern mind rests ultimately upon one assumption; a false assumption. It is supposed that if a thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork. People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive it would dance. This is a fallacy even in relation to known fact. For the variation in human affairs is generally brought into them, not by life, but by death; by the dying down or breaking off of their strength or desire. A man varies his movements because of some slight element of failure or fatigue. He gets into an omnibus because he is tired of walking; or he walks because he is tired of sitting still. But if his life and joy were so gigantic that he never tired of going to Islington, he might go to Islington as regularly as the Thames goes to Sheerness. The very speed and ecstacy of his life would have the stillness of death. The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE. Heaven may ENCORE the bird who laid an egg. If the human being conceives and brings forth a human child instead of bringing forth a fish, or a bat, or a griffin, the reason may not be that we are fixed in an animal fate without life or purpose. It may be that our little tragedy has touched the gods, that they admire it from their starry galleries, and that at the end of every human drama man is called again and again before the curtain. Repetition may go on for millions of years, by mere choice, and at any instant it may stop. Man may stand on the earth generation after generation, and yet each birth be his positively last appearance.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
The old, endless, approachable and always answering Sorrow," says my father Lucifer. "For who calls on me never goes unanswered. Only prayers to God go without answers.
Robert Nye (Merlin)
The child comes home and the parent puts the hooks in him. The old man, or the woman, as the case may be, hasn’t got anything to say to the child. All he wants is to have that child sit in a chair for a couple of hours and then go off to bed under the same roof. It’s not love. I am not saying that there is not such a thing as love. I am merely pointing to something which is different from love but which sometimes goes by the name of love. It may well be that without this thing which I am talking about there would not be any love. But this thing in itself is not love. It is just something in the blood. It is a kind of blood greed, and it is the fate of a man. It is the thing which man has which distinguishes him from the happy brute creation. When you got born your father and mother lost something out of themselves, and they are going to bust a hame trying to get it back, and you are it. They know they can’t get it all back but they will get as big a chunk out of you as they can.
Robert Penn Warren (All the King's Men)
It is obvious that the concept of truth has become suspect. Of course it is correct that is has been much abused. Intolerance and cruelty have occurred in the name of truth. To that extent people are afraid when someone says, "This is the truth", or even "I have the truth". We never have it, at best is has us. No one will dispute that one must be careful and cautious in claiming the truth. But simply to dismiss it as unattainable is really destructive. (...) We must have the courage to dare to say: Yes, man must seek the truth; he is capable of truth. It goes without saying that truth requires criteria for verification and falsification. It must always be accompanied by tolerance, also. But then truth also points out to us those constant values which have made mankind great. That is why the humility to recognize the truth and to accept it as a standard has to be relearned and practiced again. The truth comes to rule, not through violence, but rather through its own power; this is the central theme of John's Gospel: When brought before Pilate, Jesus professes that he himself is The Truth and the witness to the truth. He does not defend the truth with legions but rather makes it visible through his Passion and thereby also implements it.
Benedict XVI (Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times - A Conversation with Peter Seewald)
Maybe it goes without saying that if you want to become a famous writer before you’re dead, you’ll have to write something. But the folks in my classes with the biggest ideas and the best publicity shots ready to grace the back covers of their best-selling novels are also usually the ones who aren’t holding any paper.
Ariel Gore (How to Become a Famous Writer Before You're Dead: Your Words in Print and Your Name in Lights)
His thumb caressed her cheek. His eyes held her, warm and strong. “I, Christian James, take you, Violet Mary, to be my wife. To have, to hold. To love, honor, and cherish. To amuse, to pleasure, to make smile and laugh. To dance with, at every opportunity. To respect always, and tease on occasion. To confide in, whenever need be. To treasure, protect, admire—” She couldn’t help but give a nervous laugh. “I don’t think these words are in the vows.” “They’re in my vows,” he said gravely. “But in the interests of time, I shall to return to form. All that richer-poorer, sickness-health business goes without saying. And I will gladly forsake all others, so long as we both shall live.” His hand slid back into her hair, grasping tight. Raw emotion roughened his voice. “I need a lifetime with you.
Tessa Dare (Once Upon a Winter's Eve (Spindle Cove, #1.5))
Halfway home, the sky goes from dark gray to almost black and a loud thunder snap accompanies the first few raindrops that fall. Heavy, warm, big drops, they drench me in seconds, like an overturned bucket from the sky dumping just on my head. I reach my hands up and out, as if that can stop my getting wetter, and open my mouth, trying to swallow the downpour, till it finally hits me how funny it is, my trying to stop the rain. This is so funny to me, I laugh and laugh, as loud and free as I want. Instead of hurrying to higher ground, I jump lower, down off the curb, splashing through the puddles, playing and laughing all the way home. In all my life till now, rain has meant staying inside and not being able to go out to play. But now for the first time I realize that rain doesn't have to be bad. And what's more, I understand, sadness doesn't have to be bad, either. Come to think of it, I figure you need sadness, just as you need the rain. Thoughts and ideas pour through my awareness. It feels to me that happiness is almost scary, like how I imagine being drunk might feel - real silly and not caring what anybody else says. Plus, that happy feeling always leaves so fast, and you know it's going to go before it even does. Sadness lasts longer, making it more familiar, and more comfortable. But maybe, I wonder, there's a way to find some happiness in the sadness. After all, it's like the rain, something you can't avoid. And so, it seems to me, if you're caught in it, you might as well try to make the best of it. Getting caught in the warm, wet deluge that particular day in that terrible summer full of wars and fires that made no sense was a wonderful thing to have happen. It taught me to understand rain, not to dread it. There were going to be days, I knew, when it would pour without warning, days when I'd find myself without an umbrella. But my understanding would act as my all-purpose slicker and rubber boots. It was preparing me for stormy weather, arming me with the knowledge that no matter how hard it seemed, it couldn't rain forever. At some point, I knew, it would come to an end.
Antwone Quenton Fisher (Finding Fish: A Memoir)
A non-religious man today ignores what he considers sacred but, in the structure of his consciousness, could not be without the ideas of being and the meaningful. He may consider these purely human aspects of the structure of consciousness. What we see today is that man considers himself to have nothing sacred, no god; but still his life has a meaning, because without it he could not live; he would be in chaos. He looks for being and does not immediately call it being, but meaning or goals; he behaves in his existence as if he had a kind of center. He is going somewhere, he is doing something. We do not see anything religious here; we just see man behaving as a human being. But as a historian of religion, I am not certain that there is nothing religious here… I cannot consider exclusively what that man tells me when he consciously says, ‘I don’t believe in God; I believe in history,’ and so on. For example, I do not think that Jean-Paul Sartre gives all of himself in his philosophy, because I know that Sartre sleeps and dreams and likes music and goes to the theater. And in the theater he gets into a temporal dimension in which he no longer lives his ‘moment historique.’ There he lives in quite another dimension. We live in another dimension when we listen to Bach. Another experience of time is given in drama. We spend two hours at a play, and yet the time represented in the play occupies years and years. We also dream. This is the complete man. I cannot cut this complete man off and believe someone immediately when he consciously says that he is not a religious man. I think that unconsciously, this man still behaves as the ‘homo religiosus,’ has some source of value and meaning, some images, is nourished by his unconscious, by the imaginary universe of the poems he reads, of the plays he sees; he still lives in different universes. I cannot limit his universe to that purely self-conscious, rationalistic universe which he pretends to inhabit, since that universe is not human.
Mircea Eliade
I do not think that life will change for the better without an assault on the Establishment, which goes on exploiting the wretched of the earth. This belief lies at the heart of the concept of revolutionary suicide. Thus it is better to oppose the forces that would drive me to self-murder than to endure them. Although I risk the likelihood of death, there is at least the possibility, if not the probability, of changing intolerable conditions. This possibility is important, because much in human existence is based upon hope without any real understanding of the odds. Indeed, we are all—Black and white alike—ill in the same way, mortally ill. But before we die, how shall we live? I say with hope and dignity; and if premature death is the result, that death has a meaning reactionary suicide can never have. It is the price of self-respect. Revolutionary suicide does not mean that I and my comrades have a death wish; it means just the opposite. We have such a strong desire to live with hope and human dignity that existence without them is impossible. When reactionary forces crush us, we must move against these forces, even at the risk of death. We will have to be driven out with a stick.
Huey P. Newton (Revolutionary Suicide)
It goes without saying that in order for me to buy a teapot at the Oneida, Ltd., outlet store at the Sherrill Shopping Plaza, the second coming of Jesus Christ had to have taken place in the year 70 A.D. To the Oneida Community, 70 A.D., the year the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, marks the beginning of the New Jerusalem. Which means we’ve all been living in heaven on earth for nearly two thousand years. Everyone knows there is no marriage in heaven (though one suspects there’s no shortage of it in hell). So, the Oneidans said, we’re here in heaven, already saved and perfect in the eyes of God, so let’s move upstate and sleep around. (I’m paraphrasing.)
Sarah Vowell (Assassination Vacation)
Imagination! lifting up itself Before the eye and progress of my Song Like and unfather'd vapour; here that Power In all the might of its endowments, came Athwart me; I was lost as in a cloud, Halted without a struggle to break through, And now recovering to my Soul I say I recognize they glory; in such strength Of usurpation, in such visitings Of awful promise, when the light of sense Goes out in flashes that have shewn to us The invisible world, doth Greatness make abode There harbours whether we be young or old. Our destiny, our nature, and our home Is with infinitude, and only there; With hope it is, hope that can never die, Effort, and expectation, and desire, And something evermore about to be.
William Wordsworth (William Wordsworth's The prelude : with a selection from the shorter poems, the sonnets, The recluse, and The excursion and three essays on the art of poetry)
It goes without saying that even those of us who are going to hell will get eternal life—if that territory really exists outside religious books and the minds of believers, that is. Having said that, given the choice, instead of being grilled until hell freezes over, the average sane human being would, needless to say, rather spend forever idling in an extremely fertile garden, next to a lamb or a chicken or a parrot, which they do not secretly want to eat, and a lion or a tiger or a crocodile, which does not secretly want to eat them.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana (The Use and Misuse of Children)
I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and—I imagine this goes without saying—vampires.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
It goes without saying that you could not vanquish the ignorant masses around you; little by little, as you advance in life, you will be obliged to yield and to be swallowed up in the crowd of a hundred thousand human beings; life will stifle you, but you will all the same not have disappeared without having exerted an influence; of women like you, there will be after you perhaps only six, then twelve, and so on, until finally you will become the majority. In two or three hundred years life on earth will be unimaginably beautiful, amazing, astonishing. Man has need of that life and if it doesn't yet exist, he must sense it, wait for it and dream of it, prepare to receive it, and to achieve that he must see and know more than our grandfathers and fathers saw or knew.
Anton Chekhov (The Three Sisters)
You cannot have good without evil,” Audrey says. “They are like DNA strands. Intricately and irrevocably spun together. Sometimes good wins, sometimes evil does. We do not fight for good’s permanent triumph, but for the balance. And so it goes.
Rebecca Serle (The Dinner List)
Without ever exactly putting his mind to it, he's come to believe that loss is the standard trajectory. Something new appears in the world-a baby, say, or a car or a house, or an individual shows some special talent-with luck and huge expenditures of soul and effort you might keep the project stoked for a while, but eventually, ultimately, its going down. This is a truth so brutally self-evident that he can't fathom why it's not more widely percieved, hence his contempt for the usual public shock and outrage when a particular situation goes to hell. The war is fucked? Well, duh. Nine-eleven? Slow train coming. They hate our freedoms? Yo, they hate our actual guts! Billy suspects his fellow Americans secretly know better, but something in the land is stuck on teenage drama, on extravagant theatrics of ravaged innocence and soothing mud wallows of self-justifying pity.
Ben Fountain (Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk)
What is the self? A man goes to the window to see the people passing by; if I pass by, can I say he went there to see me? No, for he is not thinking of me in particular. But what about a person who loves someone for the sake of her beauty; does he love her? No, for smallpox, which will destroy beauty without destroying the person, will put an end to his love for her. And if someone loves me for my judgement or my memory, do they love me? me, myself? No, for I could lose these qualities without losing my self. Where then is this self, if it is neither in the body nor the soul? And how can one love the body or the soul except for the sake of such qualities, which are not what makes up the self, since they are perishable? Would we love the substance of a person's soul, in the abstract, whatever qualities might be in it? That is not possible, and it would be wrong. Therefore we never love anyone, but only qualities. Let us then stop scoffing at those who win honour through their appointments and offices, for we never love anyone except for borrowed qualities.
Blaise Pascal (Pensées)
As children get older, this incidental outdoor activity--say, while waiting to be called to eat--becomes less bumptious, physically and entails more loitering with others, sizing people up, flirting, talking, pushing, shoving and horseplay. Adolescents are always being criticized for this kind of loitering, but they can hardly grow up without it. The trouble comes when it is done not within society, but as a form of outlaw life. The requisite for any of these varieties of incidental play is not pretentious equipment of any sort, but rather space at an immediately convenient and interesting place. The play gets crowded out if sidewalks are too narrow relative to the total demands put on them. It is especially crowded out if the sidewalks also lack minor irregularities in building line. An immense amount of both loitering and play goes on in shallow sidewalk niches out of the line of moving pedestrian feet.
Jane Jacobs (The Death and Life of Great American Cities)
I forgot my eraser,” I told her, “so if you have an extra, could you let me borrow it?” She took her eraser, broke it in two, and gave me half. And smiled broadly. Like the saying goes, in that instant I fell in love.
Haruki Murakami (Men Without Women)
Okay, fine! Since you don't listen to a goddamn thing I say anyway, here goes: I want a new bed in a big room with carpet instead of concrete. A room with a wall of windows that overlook a garden I planted full of flowers—which would be a miracle, as every houseplant I ever had died. I want to move without restriction through this grand house I will be nesting in, and be free to go outside and sit on grass… And I want a pony too, Shepherd. No, forget that. I want a fucking unicorn." Pulling her hair so that she had to look back at him, he scowled. "You may not have a pony, and unicorns don't exist.
Addison Cain (Born to be Broken (Alpha's Claim, #2))
The argument goes something like this: ‘I refuse to prove that I exist,’ says God, ‘for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.’ “ ‘But,’ says Man, ‘the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.’ “ ‘Oh dear,’ says God, ‘I hadn’t thought of that,’ and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic. “ ‘Oh, that was easy,’ says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.
Douglas Adams (The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #1-5))
even if Noam Chomsky were right about everything, the Islamic doctrines related to martyrdom, jihad, blasphemy, apostasy, the rights of women and homosexuals, etc. would still present huge problems for the emergence of a global civil society (and these are problems quite unlike those presented by similar tenets in other faiths, for reasons that I have explained at length elsewhere and touch on only briefly here). And any way in which I might be biased or blinded by “the religion of the state,” or any other form of cultural indoctrination, has absolutely no relevance to the plight of Shiites who have their mosques, weddings, and funerals bombed by Sunni extremists, or to victims of rape who are beaten, imprisoned, or even killed as “adulteresses” throughout the Muslim world. I hope it goes without saying that the Afghan girls who even now are risking their lives by merely learning to read would not be best compensated for their struggles by being handed copies of Chomsky’s books enumerating the sins of the West
Sam Harris
The sun goes down and the sky reddens, pain grows sharp, light dwindles. Then is evening when jasmine flowers open, the deluded say. But evening is the great brightening dawn when crested cocks crow all through the tall city and evening is the whole day for those without their lovers.
Preeta Samarasan
In the Lake Debo region (in Mali, on the Niger), pyramids are also found, and these were dubbed “mounds,” as might be expected. This is the usual procedure in the attempt to disparage African values. In contrast, there is the reverse procedure consisting of describing a clay tumulus—a real mound—in Mesopotamia, as the most perfect temple that the human mind can imagine. It goes without saying that such reconstructions are generally mere wishful thinking.
Cheikh Anta Diop (The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality)
Probably it goes without saying, but time machine guys don't get a lot of action. Had a one night stand with something cute a couple of years ago. Not human exactly. Human-ish. Close enough that she looked awesome without her shirt on.
Charles Yu (How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe)
Lena.” Alex’s voice is stronger, more forceful now, and it finally stops me. He turns so that we’re face-to-face. At that moment my shoes skim off the sand bottom, and I realize that the water is lapping up to my neck. The tide is coming in fast. “Listen to me. I’m not who—I’m not who you think I am.” I have to fight to stand. All of a sudden the currents tug and pull at me. It’s always seemed this way. The tide goes out a slow drain, comes back in a rush. “What do you mean?” His eyes—shifting gold, amber, an animal’s eyes—search my face, and without knowing why, I’m scared again. “I was never cured,” he says. For a moment I close my eyes and imagine I’ve misheard him, imagine I’ve only confused the shushing of the waves for his voice. But when I open my eyes he’s still standing there, staring at me, looking guilty and something else—sad, maybe?—and I know I heard correctly. He says, “I never had the procedure.” “You mean it didn’t work?” I say. My body is tingling, going numb, and I realize then how cold it is. “You had the procedure and it didn’t work? Like what happened to my mom?” “No, Lena. I—” He looks away, squinting, says under his breath, “I don’t know how to explain.
Lauren Oliver (Delirium (Delirium, #1))
Your thoughts cannot be empty. As the old saying goes, nature abhors a vacuum. If you are not entertaining God’s truth, you will be entertaining Satan’s lies.
Dallas Willard (Life Without Lack: Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23)
The idealized market was supposed to deliver ‘friction free’ exchanges, in which the desires of consumers would be met directly, without the need for intervention or mediation by regulatory agencies. Yet the drive to assess the performance of workers and to measure forms of labor which, by their nature, are resistant to quantification, has inevitably required additional layers of management and bureaucracy. What we have is not a direct comparison of workers’ performance or output, but a comparison between the audited representation of that performance and output. Inevitably, a short-circuiting occurs, and work becomes geared towards the generation and massaging of representations rather than to the official goals of the work itself. Indeed, an anthropological study of local government in Britain argues that ‘More effort goes into ensuring that a local authority’s services are represented correctly than goes into actually improving those services’. This reversal of priorities is one of the hallmarks of a system which can be characterized without hyperbole as ‘market Stalinism’. What late capitalism repeats from Stalinism is just this valuing of symbols of achievement over actual achievement. […] It would be a mistake to regard this market Stalinism as some deviation from the ‘true spirit’ of capitalism. On the contrary, it would be better to say that an essential dimension of Stalinism was inhibited by its association with a social project like socialism and can only emerge in a late capitalist culture in which images acquire an autonomous force. The way value is generated on the stock exchange depends of course less on what a company ‘really does’, and more on perceptions of, and beliefs about, its (future) performance. In capitalism, that is to say, all that is solid melts into PR, and late capitalism is defined at least as much by this ubiquitous tendency towards PR-production as it is by the imposition of market mechanisms.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end …'" Mustapha Mond paused, put down the first book and, picking up the other, turned over the pages. "Take this, for example," he said, and in his deep voice once more began to read: "'A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false–a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses.'" Mustapha Mond shut the book and leaned back in his chair. "One of the numerous things in heaven and earth that these philosophers didn't dream about was this" (he waved his hand), "us, the modern world. 'You can only be independent of God while you've got youth and prosperity; independence won't take you safely to the end.' Well, we've now got youth and prosperity right up to the end. What follows? Evidently, that we can be independent of God. 'The religious sentiment will compensate us for all our losses.' But there aren't any losses for us to compensate; religious sentiment is superfluous. And why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires, when youthful desires never fail? A substitute for distractions, when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last? What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity? of consolation, when we have soma? of something immovable, when there is the social order?
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
It's commonplace to say that we 'love' a book, but when we say it, we mean all sorts of things. Sometimes we mean that a book was important to us in out youth, though we haven't picked it up in years; sometimes what we 'love' is an impressionistic idea glimpsed from afar (Combray...madeleins...Tante Leonie...) as apposed to the experience of wallowing and plowing through an actual text, and all too often people claim to love books they haven't read at all. Then there are books we love so much that we read every year or two, and know passages of them by heart; that cheer us up when we are sick or sad and never fail to amuse us when we take them up at random; that we pass on to all our friends and acquaintances; and to which we return again and again with undimmed enthusiasm over the course of a lifetime. I think it goes without saying ghat most books that engage readers on this very high levels are masterpieces; and this is why I believe that True Grit by Charles Portis is a masterpiece.
Donna Tartt (True Grit)
Who told you that?" I say. "Davy Prentiss?" He blinks. "What?" "What do you mean what?" My voice is harder now. "Your new best friend. The man who shot me, Todd, and who you ride to work with laughing every morning." He clenches his hands into fists. "You've been spying on me?" he says. "Three months I don't see you, three months I don't hear nothing from you and you been spying? Is that what yer doing in your spare time when yer not blowing people up?" "Yeah," I yell, my voice getting louder to match his. "Three months of defending you to people who'd only be too happy to call you enemy, Todd. Three months of wondering why the hell you're working so hard for the Mayor and how he knew to go right for the ocean the day after we spoke." He winces, but I keep going, thrusting out my arm and pulling up on the sleeve. "Three months wondering why you put these on women!" His face changes in an instant. He actually calls out as if he felt the pain himself. He puts a hand to his mouth to stifle it but his Noise is suddenly washed with blackness. He moves his fingertips of his other hand within reach of the band, hovering over my skin, over the band that'll never be removed unless I lose my arm. The skin is still red, and band 1391 still trobs, despite the healing of three mistresses. "Oh, no," he says. "Oh, no." The side door opens and the man who let me in leans out. "Everything all right out there, Lieutenant?" "Lieutenant?" I say. "We're fine," Todd chokes a little. "We're fine." The man waits for a second, then goes back inside. "Lieutenant?" I say again, lowering my voice. Todd's leant down, his hands on his knees, staring at the floor. "It wasn't me, was it?" he says, his voice quiet, too. "I didn't-" He gestures again at the band without looking up. "I didn't do it without knowing it was you, did I?
Patrick Ness (The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, #2))
And she leaves. She opens the door and, without a backward glance, goes out and shuts the door. I stand at the window and watch her go. She vanishes in the shadow of a building. Hands resting on the sill, I gaze for the longest time at where she disappeared. Maybe she forgot something she wanted to say and will come back. But she never does. All that’s left is an absence that’s like a hollow space.
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
Investors are people with more money than time. Employees are people with more time than money. Entrepreneurs are simply the seductive go-betweens. Startups are business experiments performed with other people’s money. Marketing is like sex: only losers pay for it.” “Company culture is what goes without saying. There are no real rules, only laws. Success forgives all sins. People who leak to you, leak about you. Meritocracy is the propaganda we use to bless the charade. Greed and vanity are the twin engines of bourgeois society. Most managers are incompetent and maintain their jobs via inertia and politics. Lawsuits are merely expensive feints in a well-scripted conflict narrative between corporate entities. Capitalism is an amoral farce in which every player—investor, employee, entrepreneur, consumer—is complicit.
Antonio García Martínez (Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley)
It goes without saying that these effects do not suffice to annul the necessity for a “change of terrain.” It also goes without saying that the choice between these two forms of deconstruction cannot be simple and unique. A new writing must weave and interlace these two motifs of deconstruction. Which amounts to saying that one must speak several languages and produce several texts at once. I would like to point out especially that the style of the first deconstruction is mostly that of the Heideggerian questions, and the other is mostly the one which dominates France today. I am purposely speaking in terms of a dominant style: because there are also breaks and changes of terrain in texts of the Heideggerian type; because the “change of terrain” is far from upsetting the entire French landscape to which I am referring; because what we need, perhaps, as Nietzsche said, is a change of “style”; and if there is style, Nietzsche reminded us, it must be plural.
Jacques Derrida (Margins of Philosophy)
​As a little girl, a woman is groomed to become a wife and a mother. She is trained to always make wise decisions, yet there will forever be limits and boundaries. As I look back, I remember being told what I could and could not do, simply because I was a girl. A little girl is told she cannot act like a boy; if she does, she will be classified as a “tomboy”. Climbing trees was prohibited, instead, she was taught to put a baby doll in a stroller and take the doll for a walk. She couldn’t sit as she pleased; she was told to only sit with her ankles crossed. Girls were given a kitchen playset that was equipped with a stove, sink, and an accessory set of play food dishes, pots, and pans, etc., along with a tea set to bring out the “elegance” in them. As the saying goes, “Girls are sugar and spice, and everything nice.” I’m taken aback by how girls are groomed to be a certain way; however, boys are able to love life and live freely without limitations and criticism.
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
Each religion makes scores of purportedly factual assertions about everything from the creation of the universe to the afterlife. But on what grounds can believers presume to know that these assertions are true? The reasons they give are various, but the ultimate justification for most religious people’s beliefs is a simple one: we believe what we believe because our holy scriptures say so. But how, then, do we know that our holy scriptures are factually accurate? Because the scriptures themselves say so. Theologians specialize in weaving elaborate webs of verbiage to avoid saying anything quite so bluntly, but this gem of circular reasoning really is the epistemological bottom line on which all 'faith' is grounded. In the words of Pope John Paul II: 'By the authority of his absolute transcendence, God who makes himself known is also the source of the credibility of what he reveals.' It goes without saying that this begs the question of whether the texts at issue really were authored or inspired by God, and on what grounds one knows this. 'Faith' is not in fact a rejection of reason, but simply a lazy acceptance of bad reasons. 'Faith' is the pseudo-justification that some people trot out when they want to make claims without the necessary evidence. But of course we never apply these lax standards of evidence to the claims made in the other fellow’s holy scriptures: when it comes to religions other than one’s own, religious people are as rational as everyone else. Only our own religion, whatever it may be, seems to merit some special dispensation from the general standards of evidence. And here, it seems to me, is the crux of the conflict between religion and science. Not the religious rejection of specific scientific theories (be it heliocentrism in the 17th century or evolutionary biology today); over time most religions do find some way to make peace with well-established science. Rather, the scientific worldview and the religious worldview come into conflict over a far more fundamental question: namely, what constitutes evidence. Science relies on publicly reproducible sense experience (that is, experiments and observations) combined with rational reflection on those empirical observations. Religious people acknowledge the validity of that method, but then claim to be in the possession of additional methods for obtaining reliable knowledge of factual matters — methods that go beyond the mere assessment of empirical evidence — such as intuition, revelation, or the reliance on sacred texts. But the trouble is this: What good reason do we have to believe that such methods work, in the sense of steering us systematically (even if not invariably) towards true beliefs rather than towards false ones? At least in the domains where we have been able to test these methods — astronomy, geology and history, for instance — they have not proven terribly reliable. Why should we expect them to work any better when we apply them to problems that are even more difficult, such as the fundamental nature of the universe? Last but not least, these non-empirical methods suffer from an insuperable logical problem: What should we do when different people’s intuitions or revelations conflict? How can we know which of the many purportedly sacred texts — whose assertions frequently contradict one another — are in fact sacred?
Alan Sokal
Then there was a hard brown lozenge called the Tonsil Tickler. The Tonsil Tickler tasted and smelled very strongly of chloroform. We had not the slightest doubt that these things were saturated in the dreaded anaesthetic which, as Thwaites had many times pointed out to us, could put you to sleep for hours at a stretch. "If my father has to saw off somebody's leg," he said, "he pours chloroform on to a pad and the person sniffs it and goes to sleep and my father saws his leg off without him even feeling it." "But why do they put it into sweets and sell them to us?" we asked him. You might think a question like this would have baffled Thwaites. But Thwaites was never baffled. "My father says Tonsil Ticklers were invented for dangerous prisoners in jail," he said. "They give them one with each meal and the chloroform makes them sleepy and stops them rioting." "Yes," we said, "but why sell them to children?" "It's a plot," Thwaites said. "A grown-up plot to keep us quiet.
Roald Dahl (Boy: Tales of Childhood (Roald Dahl's Autobiography, #1))
It goes without saying that “angry women” are “ugly women,” the cardinal sin in a world where women’s worth, safety, and glory are reliant on their sexual and reproductive value to men around them. None of this leads us to think of anger as the moral or political property of women.
Soraya Chemaly (Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger)
I shrug, and then we sit awhile without saying anything. Then he goes, 'Where'd you learn to fight like that, anyway?' I start to shrug again, and then I stop. 'I guess from my dad,' I say, which, really, is the truth.
E.R. Frank (Life is Funny)
The Babel fish is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with the nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish. Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen it to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing." "But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED." "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic. "Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets killed on the next zebra crossing.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
Perhaps it goes without saying that I believe in the geographic cure. Of course you can't out-travel sadness. You will find it has smuggled itself along in your suitcase. It coats the camera lens, it flavors the local cuisine. In that different sunlight, it stands out, awkward, yours, honking in the brash vowels of your native tongue in otherwise quiet restaurants. You may even feel proud of its stubbornness as it follows you up the bell towers and monuments, as it pants in your ear while you take in the view. I travel not to get away from my troubles but to see how they look in front of famous buildings or on deserted beaches. I take them for walks. Sometimes I get them drunk. Back at home we generally understand each other better.
Elizabeth McCracken (An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination)
So? If I die, then I die! The loss to the world won’t be great. Yes, and I’m fairly bored with myself already. I am like a man who is yawning at a ball, whose reason for not going home to bed is only that his carriage hasn’t arrived yet. But the carriage is ready . . . farewell! I run through the memory of my past in its entirety and can’t help asking myself: Why have I lived? For what purpose was I born? . . . There probably was one once, and I probably did have a lofty calling, because I feel a boundless strength in my soul . . . But I didn’t divine this calling. I was carried away with the baits of passion, empty and unrewarding. I came out of their crucible as hard and cold as iron, but I had lost forever the ardor for noble aspirations, the best flower of life. Since then, how many times have I played the role of the ax in the hands of fate! Like an instrument of execution, I fell on the head of doomed martyrs, often without malice, always without regret . . . My love never brought anyone happiness, because I never sacrificed anything for those I loved: I loved for myself, for my personal pleasure. I was simply satisfying a strange need of the heart, with greediness, swallowing their feelings, their joys, their suffering—and was never sated. Just as a man, tormented by hunger, goes to sleep in exhaustion and dreams of sumptuous dishes and sparkling wine before him. He devours the airy gifts of his imagination with rapture, and he feels easier. But as soon as he wakes: the dream disappears . . . and all that remains is hunger and despair redoubled! And, maybe, I will die tomorrow! . . . And not one being on this earth will have ever understood me totally. Some thought of me as worse, some as better, than I actually am . . . Some will say “he was a good fellow,” others will say I was a swine. Both one and the other would be wrong. Given this, does it seem worth the effort to live? And yet, you live, out of curiosity, always wanting something new . . . Amusing and vexing!
Mikhail Lermontov (A Hero of Our Time)
differences give rise to disagreements, and the combination of these disagreements can give rise to even greater misunderstandings. As a result, sometimes people are unfairly criticized. This goes without saying. It’s not much fun to be misunderstood or criticized, but rather a painful experience that hurts people deeply.
Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)
Do you know the story of the monkeys of the shitty island?" I asked Nobory Wataya. He shook his head, with no sign of interest. "Never heard of it". "Somewhere, far, far away, there's a shitty island. An island without a name. An island not worth giving a name. A shitty island with shitty shape. On this shitty island grow palm trees that also have shitty shapes. And the palm trees produce coconuts that give off a shitty smell. Shitty monkeys live in the trees, and they love to eat these shitty-smelling coconuts,after which they shit the world's foulest shit. The shit falls on the ground and builds up shitty mounds, making the shitty palm trees that grow on them even shittier. It's an endless cycle." I drank the rest of my coffee. "As I sat here looking at you," I continued, " I suddenly remembered the story of this shitty island. What I'm trying to say is this. A certain kind of shittiness, a certain kind of stagnation, a certain kind of darkness, goes on propagating itself by its own power in its own self-contained cycle. And once it passed a certain point, no one can stop it -even if the person himself want to stop it.
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
All efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in one thing: war. War and war only can set a goal for mass movements on the largest scale while respecting the traditional property system. This is the political formula for the situation. The technological formula may be stated as follows: Only war makes it possible to mobilize all of today’s technical resources while maintaining the property system. It goes without saying that the Fascist apotheosis of war does not employ such arguments.
Walter Benjamin (The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction)
I'm sorry!" I blurted out. "I told you, I suck at this. It's like any time I try to do a spell, it goes all big and scary and explodey,and-" Dad rubbed his forehead. "No,Sophie, it's all right. That's what I'd hoped you would do." "You hoped I'd commit mirrorcide?" He laughed, but it sounded a little breathless. "No,I'd hoped to see just how powerful you really are." His eyes were bright, and there was something that might have been pride in them. "You exceeded my expectations." "Well,yay," I said. "So glad my skill at blowing crap up impresses you, Dad." "Your sarcasm is-" "I know,I know, 'an unattractive quality in a young lady.'" But Dad grinned and suddenly looked much younger and less like a guy who ironed his ties. "Actually, I was going to say it's something you must've gotten from me. Grace always hated sarcastic comments." "Oh,I know," I replied without thinking. "I spent most of the seventh grade grounded because of it." He snorted. "She once put me out by the side of the road in Scotland because I made a completely harmless joke about her map-reaking skills." "Really?" "Mm-hmm.Had to walk nearly five bloody kilometers before she stopped to let me back in." "Dude.Mom is hard-core." For a moment we smiled at each other. Then Dad cleared his throat and looked away. "Anyway,your powers are definitely impressive, but what you lack is control." "Yeah, I kind of picked up on that.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
At that shameful stage in the development of our criticism, literary abuse would overstep all limits of decorum; literature itself was a totally extraneous matter in critical articles: they were pure invective, a vulgar battle of vulgar jokes, double-entendres, the most vicious calumnies and offensive constructions. It goes without saying, that in this inglorious battle, the only winners were those who had nothing to lose as far as their good name was concerned. My friends and I were totally deluded. We imagined ourselves engaged in the subtle philosophical disputes of the portico or the academy, or at least the drawing room. In actual fact we were slumming it.
Vladimir Odoyevsky
Apparently the book says that at certain times in your life everything goes wrong and you don’t know which way to turn and it is as if everywhere around you stainless steel doors are clamping shut like in Star Trek. What you have to do is be a heroine and stay brave, without sinking into drink or self-pity and everything will be OK. And that all the Greek myths and many successful movies are all about human beings facing difficult trials and not being wimps but holding hard and thus coming out on top. The
Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones, #1))
I put down my pencil and sigh. “Could you go eat that somewhere else? I swear, you must be the noisiest apple eater in the history of time.” One shoulder goes up in a shrug. “I like it here. And I love eating apples.” The way his voice lowers on the second sentence gives off the hint of an innuendo. It riles me up enough to respond harshly, “I’m sure you do, Jason. I’m sure you love eating all different sorts of apples.” Jesus Christ, did I just say that? Kill me now. “Actually, I’m loyal to just the one apple,” he counters. The way his eyes dance and shine makes me want to laugh. I hate how he does this to me. Our conversation right now is verging on the ridiculous. Still, I don’t let it drop. “You can’t be loyal to only one apple. Once it’s eaten it’s gone, and you need to go find a new one.” “Oh, I could eat my apple over and over again without ever feeling the need to find a new one.” “Maybe your apple doesn’t want to be eaten. Maybe your apple is tired of your apple-eating ways.” He leans forward, one elbow resting on the table, his gaze growing even darker. “On the contrary, my apple loves to be eaten. In fact, my apple is a little cranky right now because she hasn’t been eaten in a while.” The bloody cheek of him!
L.H. Cosway (Six of Hearts (Hearts, #1))
Musicians do not have to be believed in. We do not have to be trusted. Our Music speaks for itself without the listener having to know anything about us. Music touches people's emotions in a way that nothing else can. When people find a musician they like, they are usually fans for Life. If they like the musician and his Music, they will open up their hearts to whatever that musician has to say. It matters not what country the musician or the fan comes from. Music is a language that all understand. It goes beyond and breaks down barriers. This makes the musician very powerful, and with power comes responsibility.
Victor L. Wooten (The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music)
Tolerance, which is one form of love of neighbor, must manifest itself not only in our personal relations, but also in the arena of society as well. In the world of opinion and politics, tolerance is that virtue by which liberated minds conquer the evils of bigotry and hatred. Tolerance implies more than forbearance or the passive enduring of ideas different from our own. Properly conceived, tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another’s beliefs, practices, and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them. Tolerance quickens our appreciation and increases our respect for our neighbor’s point of view. It goes even further; it assumes a militant aspect when the rights of an opponent are assailed. Voltaire’s dictum, “I do not agree with a word that you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” is for all ages and places the perfect utterance of the tolerant ideal.
Joshua Loth Liebman
The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing." "But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED" "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
Douglas Adams
Politically oriented scientists often proclaim that there are no distinct human races, seeking to imply, without actually saying so, that races do not exist. One reason that races exist, though not distinctly, is that the features characteristic of a race are often distributed along a gradient. Almost all northern Chinese have the sinodont pattern of dentition, but the farther one goes toward southern China and Southeast Asia, the greater the percentage of people who are sundadonts and the fewer who are sinodonts.
Nicholas Wade (A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History)
I have got acquainted with Lofty John. Ilse is a great friend of his and often goes there to watch him working in his carpenter shop. He says he has made enough ladders to get to heaven without the priest but that is just his joke.
L.M. Montgomery (Emily of New Moon (Emily, #1))
According to the biographical notes, Monsieur Julian Carax was twenty-seven, born with the century in Barcelona, and currently living in Paris; he wrote in French and worked at night as a professional pianist in a hostess bar. The blurb, written in the pompous, moldy style of the age, proclaimed that this was a first work of dazzling courage, the mark of a protean and trailblazing talent, and a sign of hope for the future of all of European letters. In spite of such solemn claims, the synopsis that followed suggested that the story contained some vaguely sinister elements slowly marinated in saucy melodrama, which, to the eyes of Monsieur Roquefort, was always a plus: after the classics what he most enjoyed were tales of crime, boudoir intrigue, and questionable conduct. One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. By the time the mind is able to comprehend what has happened, the wounds of the heart are already too deep. She laughed nervously. She had around her a burning aura of loneliness. "You remind me a bit of Julian," she said suddenly. "The way you look and your gestures. He used to do what you are doing now. He would stare at you without saying a word, and you wouldn't know what he was thinking, and so, like an idiot, you'd tell him things it would have been better to keep to yourself." "Someone once said that the moment you stop to think about whether you love someone, you've already stopped loving that person forever." I gulped down the last of my coffee and looked at her for a few moments without saying anything. I thought about how much I wanted to lose myself in those evasive eyes. I thought about the loneliness that would take hold of me that night when I said good-bye to her, once I had run out of tricks or stories to make her stay with me any longer. I thought about how little I had to offer her and how much I wanted from her. "You women listen more to your heart and less to all the nonsense," the hatter concluded sadly. "That's why you live longer." But the years went by in peace. Time goes faster the more hollow it is. Lives with no meaning go straight past you, like trains that don't stop at your station.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1))
Of course, there’s no clear line between who creates wealth and who shifts it. Lots of jobs do both. There’s no denying that the financial sector can contribute to our wealth and grease the wheels of other sectors in the process. Banks can help to spread risks and back people with bright ideas. And yet, these days, banks have become so big that much of what they do is merely shuffle wealth around, or even destroy it. Instead of growing the pie, the explosive expansion of the banking sector has increased the share it serves itself.4 Or take the legal profession. It goes without saying that the rule of law is necessary for a country to prosper. But now that the U.S. has seventeen times the number of lawyers per capita as Japan, does that make American rule of law seventeen times as effective?5 Or Americans seventeen times as protected? Far from it. Some law firms even make a practice of buying up patents for products they have no intention of producing, purely to enable them to sue people for patent infringement. Bizarrely, it’s precisely the jobs that shift money around – creating next to nothing of tangible value – that net the best salaries. It’s a fascinating, paradoxical state of affairs. How is it possible that all those agents of prosperity – the teachers, the police officers, the nurses – are paid so poorly, while the unimportant, superfluous, and even destructive shifters do so well?
Rutger Bregman (Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There)
Movies are made out of darkness as well as light; it is the surpassingly brief intervals of darkness between each luminous still image that make it possible to assemble the many images into one moving picture. Without that darkness, there would only be a blur. Which is to say that a full-length movie consists of half an hour or an hour of pure darkness that goes unseen. If you could add up all the darkness, you would find the audience in the theater gazing together at a deep imaginative night. It is the terra incognita of film, the dark continent on every map. In a similar way, a runner’s every step is a leap, so that for a moment he or she is entirely off the ground. For those brief instants, shadows no longer spill out from their feet, like leaks, but hover below them like doubles, as they do with birds, whose shadows crawl below them, caressing the surface of the earth, growing and shrinking as their makers move nearer or farther from that surface. For my friends who run long distances, these tiny fragments of levitation add up to something considerable; by their own power they hover above the earth for many minutes, perhaps some significant portion of an hour or perhaps far more for the hundred-mile races. We fly; we dream in darkness; we devour heaven in bites too small to be measured.
Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)
Ye wanna steer clear o' 'im and 'is little friends. Ye shall come to a nasty end nosin' 'bout that gent." The Spy knew the refrain. He wondered aloud as to the nature of these little friends. "Ain't ever seen 'em, just 'eard of 'em. Cripples and deformed ones. Some ain't got no arms or legs is what I 'ear. they crawl along behind 'im, see? Wrigglin' in the dirt all ruddy worm-like." "He's got an entourage of folk without arms," the Spy said, raising his brows toward the brim of his cocked hat. "Or legs. Following him wherever he goes." "Some got arms, some don't. Some got legs, some don't. Some got neither. That's what I 'ear." The farmer shrugged, made the sign of warding again, and would say no more on the matter.
Laird Barron (The Croning)
The next time you are part of a conversation that goes awry, ask for feedback. Let the other person know that the exchange didn’t go as you hoped and you wonder if you could have phrased things differently, or if you were focused on the wrong things, or if you didn’t understand their point. Then listen. Listen to what they have to say without taking offense. Maybe start with someone you know well, like a sibling or a friend. Listening to constructive criticism is never easy, but if your goal is to become better at conversations, it’s important to get an honest assessment of the areas most in need of improvement.
Celeste Headlee (We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter)
When James entered the breakfast room that morning, it was to varied reactions. Those who hadn't known that he'd arrived started cheerful greetings that sputtered to an end as they got a good look at his face. Those who did know of his arrival and what subsequently followed it were either tactfully silent, grinning from ear to ear, or foolish enough to remark on it. Jeremy fell into the middle and latter categories when he said with a chuckle, "Well,I know the poor Christmas tree didn't do that to you, though you did try valiantly to chop it down to size." "And succeeded,as I recall," James grouched, though he did think to ask, "Was it salvageable, puppy?" "Minus a few of its feathers is all, but those pretty little candles will dress it up so as not to notice- at least if someone other than me finishes the task.I'm much better at hanging the mistletoe." "And making good use of it," Amy noted with a fond smile for her handsome cousin. Jeremy winked at her. "That goes without saying.
Johanna Lindsey (The Holiday Present)
One way of coping with my anxiety has been to imagine it as a tax. In order to do the things I want to do, in order to go about my life, or to get anything done, I just need to pay the anxiety tax first. The tension and soreness I feel in my shoulders that never goes away; the hour of preparation it takes for me to talk myself into leaving the house; the constant fear that I will say the wrongest thing or write the wrongest thing or do the wrongest thing without ever knowing it—these are all part of the tax.
Jonny Sun (Goodbye, Again: Essays, Reflections, and Illustrations)
Three things make people want to change. One is that they hurt sufficiently. They have beat their heads against the same wall so long that they decide they have had enough. They have invested in the same slot machines without a pay-off for so long that they finally are willing either to stop playing, or to move on to others. Their migraines hurt, their ulcers bleed. They are alcoholic. They have hit the bottom. They beg for relief. They want to change. Another thing that makes people want to change is a slow type of despair called ennui, or boredom. This is what the person has who goes through life saying, "So what?" until he finally asks the ultimate big "So What?" He is ready to change. A third thing that makes people want to change is the sudden discovery that they can. This has been an observable effect of Transactional Analysis. Many people who have shown no particular desire to change have been exposed to Transactional Analysis through lectures or by hearing about it from someone else. This knowledge has produced an excitement about new possibilities, which has led to their further inquiry and a growing desire to change. There is also the type of patient who, although suffering from disabling symptoms, still does not really want to change. His treatment contract reads, "I'll promise to let you help me if I don't have to get well." This negative attitude changes, however, as the patient begins to see that there is indeed another way to live. A working knowledge of P-A-C makes it possible for the Adult to explore new and exciting frontiers of life, a desire which has been there all along but has been buried under the burden of the NOT OK.
Thomas A. Harris (I'm OK - You're OK)
It’s not you, libraries, it’s me, as the popular saying goes. The thought of books passing through so many unwashed hands—people reading them in the bath, letting their dogs sit on them, picking their nose and wiping the results on the pages. People eating cheesy crisps and then reading a few chapters without washing their hands first. I just can’t. No, I look for books with one careful owner.
Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)
If you didn’t already know this, the sun is going to die. When I think about the future, I don’t think about inescapable ends. But even if we solve global warming and destroy nuclear bombs and control population, ultimately the human race will annihilate itself if we stay here. Eventually, inevitably, we will no longer be able to live on Earth: we have a giant fireball clock ticking down twilight by twilight. In many ways, I think mortality is more manageable when we consider our eternal components, our genetics and otherwise that carry on after us. Still, soon enough, the books we write and the plants we grow will freeze up and rot in the darkness. But maybe there’s hope. What the universe really boils down to is whether a planet evolves a life-form intelligent enough to create technology capable of transporting and sustaining that life-form off the planet before the sun in that planet’s solar system explodes. I have a limited set of comparative data points, but I’d estimate that we’re actually doing okay at this point. We already have (intelligent) life, technology, and (primitive) space travel. And we still have some time before our sun runs out of hydrogen and goes nuclear. Yet none of that matters unless we can develop a sustainable means of living and traveling in space. Maybe we can. What I’ve concluded is that if we do reach this point, we have crossed a remarkable threshold—and will emerge into the (rare?) evolutionary status of having outlived the very life source that created us. It’s natural selection on a Universal scale. “The Origin of the Aliens,” one could say; a survival of the fittest planets. Planets capable of evolving life intelligent enough to leave before the lights go out. I suppose that without a God, NASA is my anti-nihilism. Alone and on my laptop, these ideas can humble me into apathy.
Marina Keegan (The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories)
How about I tell you what I don't like? I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn't be - basically gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful - nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mashups a la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and cross breeding rarely results in anything satisfying... I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred and fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and - I imagine this goes without saying - vampires.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
how is a Greek chorus like a lawyer they’re both in the business of searching for a precedent finding an analogy locating a prior example so as to be able to say this terrible thing we’re witnessing now is not unique you know it happened before or something much like it we’re not at a loss how to think about this we’re not without guidance there is a pattern we can find an historically parallel case and file it away under ANTIGONE BURIED ALIVE FRIDAY AFTERNOON COMPARE CASE HISTORIES 7, 17 AND 49 now I could dig up those case histories tell you about Danaos and Lykourgos and the sons of Phineus people locked up in a room or a cave or their own dark mind it wouldn’t help you it doesn’t help me it’s Friday afternoon there goes Antigone to be buried alive
Anne Carson (Antigonick)
We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end …'" Mustapha Mond paused, put down the first book and, picking up the other, turned over the pages. "Take this, for example," he said, and in his deep voice once more began to read: "'A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false–a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
You ever work with a UN stabilization force?” Ash asked. Harvath shook his head. “Then trust me. As the old saying goes, you can’t spell unprofessional, unethical, or unaccountable without the UN. The cholera outbreak the old blue helmets caused in Haiti? Over ten thousand dead, and it has spread to the Dominican Republic and Cuba. The rapes and sex crimes they have committed in Mali and everywhere else? The stories of their depravity and brutality are legion.
Brad Thor (Code of Conduct (Scot Harvath, #14))
You have me.” His serious eyes penetrate mine. “For the rest of your days, I will be here for you—someone to trust, to lean on—to have and to hold from this day on.” Marshall is a thing of beauty both inside and out. I reach up and touch my fingers to his lips. Somebody is going to be very lucky to love him fully one day. “Those sounded an awful lot like wedding vows,” I whisper. “You will be everything to me, Skyla. A lover…” He kisses a finger. “A friend…” He kisses the tip of another. “A spouse…” He pushes my finger into his hot mouth and I pluck it out. “Where shall we spend our honeymoon?” He goes right there without provocation. “No honeymoon—but, well…” I fold my arms across my chest. “I’m sort of not really seeing Gage, since I can’t trust him. Logan wants to wait until the end of the faction war before we see where our feelings lie, so I suppose I’m open.” “Open?” His head twitches to the side just so. “You know, for wooing—no kissing though. You’ll have to woo without lingual contact.” “No kissing.” His chest broadens under the guise of this new turn of events. “Fantastic.” He says it sharp as if this were a war and he just gained ground on the enemy. “What shall we do to commemorate our first day of coupledom?
Addison Moore (Toxic Part Two (Celestra, #7.5))
Apology Letter from the Brain Hey there. I’m sorry. OK? But can I say something? Look. I admit I wasn’t perfect. No one is perfect. That’s a fact. Speaking of facts, don’t you think we all need to take a minute and decide who is right and who is wrong? Every side is different; it’s just that my side seems more right. I’m not just saying that because it’s my side. I think a lot of other people would agree with me, given the chance. If I upset you in some way, please know that wasn’t my intention. I didn’t know how sensitive you were. It’s obvious I can set you off very easily. That’s not an insult; it’s just an observation. I think it would help if we talked about this more and argued about who was telling the truth. I would like to see you in person and tell you how the situation has affected me. I may use this opportunity to bring up other times you have hurt me in the past. If possible, I would like to hurt you back. Either way, I want to be in control. Until then, take care. And please, remember I reached out first. I remain, THE BRAIN Apology Letter from the Heart Hey there. I’m sorry. I’ve found it hard to tell you this, and I realize my apology may be too little or come too late. It is important for me to let you know that I am sorry for what I did or said or didn’t do or say. I was wrong. I make mistakes. I HATE that I made one with you. I’m reaching out because life goes by so fast and I just don’t want my one life to go by without expressing this to you. I want to do and be better. This apology is yours. Feel free to do whatever you want with it. My hope is that it gives you comfort, but my goal is that it doesn’t cause you any pain. Again, I am TRULY sorry. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Love, THE HEART P.S. I’m sorry.
Amy Poehler
Mother-daughter relationships can be complicated and fraught with the effects of moments from the past. My mom knew this and wanted me to know it too. On one visit home, I found an essay from the Washington Post by the linguistics professor Deborah Tannen that had been cut out and left on my desk. My mom, and her mom before her, loved clipping newspaper articles and cartoons from the paper to send to Barbara and me. This article was different. Above it, my mom had written a note: “Dear Benny”—I was “Benny” from the time I was a toddler; the family folklore was that when we were babies, a man approached my parents, commenting on their cute baby boys, and my parents played along, pretending our names were Benjamin and Beauregard, later shorted to Benny and Bo. In her note, my mom confessed to doing many things that the writer of this piece had done: checking my hair, my appearance. As a teenager, I was continually annoyed by some of her requests: comb your hair; pull up your jeans (remember when low-rise jeans were a thing? It was not a good look, I can assure you!). “Your mother may assume it goes without saying that she is proud of you,” Deborah Tannen wrote. “Everyone knows that. And everyone probably also notices that your bangs are obscuring your vision—and their view of your eyes. Because others won’t say anything, your mother may feel it’s her obligation to tell you.” In leaving her note and the clipping, my mom was reminding me that she accepted and loved me—and that there is no perfect way to be a mother. While we might have questioned some of the things our mother said, we never questioned her love.
Jenna Bush Hager (Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life)
The basic religious idea in all patriarchal religions is the negation of the sexual needs. Only in very primitive religions were religiosity and sexuality identical. When social organization passed from matriarchy to patriarchy and class society, the unity of religious and sexual cult underwent a split; the religious cult became the antithesis of the sexual. With that, the cult of sexuality went out of existence. It was replaced by the brothel, pornography and backstairs-sexuality. It goes without saying that when sexual experiences ceased to be one with the religious cults, when, instead, they became antithetical to them, religious excitation assumed a new function: that of being a substitute for the lost sexual pleasure, now no longer affirmed by society. Only this contradiction inherent in religious excitation makes the strength and the tenacity of the religions understandable: the contradiction of its being at one and the same time antisexual and a substitute for sexuality.
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)
It’s not you, libraries, it’s me, as the popular saying goes. The thought of books passing through so many unwashed hands – people reading them in the bath, letting their dogs sit on them, picking their nose and wiping the results on the pages. People eating cheesy crisps and then reading a few chapters without washing their hands first.
Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)
My dad used to say that with everything in life, there's the game-changing moment. The one moment everything else hinges upon, but you hardly ever know it at the time. The three-pointer early on in the second quarter that changes up the whole temp of the game. Wakes people up, brings them back to life. It all goes back to that one moment.
Jenny Han (It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2))
I wake with tears in my eyes. I wake to Jeanine’s scream of frustration. “What is it?” She grabs Peter’s gun out of his hand and stalks across the room, pressing the barrel to my forehead. My body stiffens, goes cold. She won’t shoot me. I am a problem she can’t solve. She won’t shoot me. “What is it that clues you in? Tell me. Tell me or I will kill you.” I slowly push myself up from the chair, coming to my feet, pushing my skin harder into the cold barrel. “You think I’m going to tell you?” I say. “You think I believe that you would kill me without figuring out the answer to this question?” “You stupid girl,” she says. “You think this is about you, and your abnormal brain? This is not about you. It is not about me. It is about keeping this city safe from the people who intend to plunge it into hell!” I summon the last of my strength and launch myself at her, clawing at whatever skin my fingernails find, digging in as hard as I can. She screams at the top of her lungs, a sound that turns my blood into fire. I punch her hard in the face. A pair of arms wrap around me, pulling me off her, and a fist meets my side. I groan, and lunge toward her, held at bay by Peter. “Pain can’t make me tell you. Truth serum can’t make me tell you. Simulations can’t make me tell you. I’m immune to all three.” Her nose is bleeding, and I see lines of fingernail scrapes in her cheeks, on the side of her throat, turning red with blossoming blood. She glares at me, pinching her nose closed, her hair disheveled, her free hand trembling. “You have failed. You can’t control me!” I scream, so loud it hurts my throat. I stop struggling and sag against Peter’s chest. “You will never be able to control me.” I laugh, mirthless, a mad laugh. I savor the scowl on her face, the hate in her eyes. She was like a machine; she was cold and emotionless, bound by logic alone. And I broke her. I broke her.
Veronica Roth
Just four or five hours later we begin to see a country whose beauty penetrates our bones. I say beauty I mean beauty. Oftentimes in America you could go stark mad from the ugliness of things. Grass that goes for a thousand miles and never a hill to break it. I ain't saying there ain't beauty on the plains when well there is. But you ain't long travelling on the plains when you begin to feel clear loco. You can rise up out of your saddle and sort of look down on yourself riding, it's as if the stern and relentless monotony makes you die, come back to life, and die again. Your brain is molten in its bowl of bones and you just seeing atrocious wonders everywhere. The mosquitoes have your hide for supper and you are one hallucinating lunatic then. But now in the far distance we see a land begin to be suggested as if maybe a man was out there painting with a huge brush.
Sebastian Barry (Days Without End (Days Without End #1))
Similarly, if we ask "What have philosophers ever done for us?" we get involved in the following dialogue: "Well, their examples help us to decide what we think about issues we haven't thought about before." "Oh, yeah, well, that goes without saying, doesn't it?" "And their examples help us discover whether we really believe what we say we believe, or not." " Yeah, all right. I'll grant you that their examples help us to work out what we think, and to think better. But apart from helping us to work out what we think, clarifying our views, and helping us to solve hard problems, what do philosophers ever do for us?" "Well, their examples are amusing." James Taylor, "Why is a Philosopher Like a Python?
Gary L. Hardcastle (Monty Python and Philosophy: Nudge Nudge, Think Think!)
Another way to say this is that the most powerful cultural values are those that go without being said. It is very hard to know what goes without being said in another culture. But often we are not even aware of what goes without being said in our own culture. This is why misunderstanding and misinterpretation happen. When a passage of Scripture appears to leave out a piece of the puzzle because something went without being said, we instinctively fill in the gap with a piece from our own culture-usually a piece that goes without being said.
E. Randolph Richards (Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible)
Without ever exactly putting his mind to it, he's come to believe that loss is standard trajectory. Something new appears in the world—a baby, say, or a car or a house, or an individual shows some special talent—with luck and huge expenditures of soul and effort you might keep the project stoked for a while, but eventually, ultimately, it's going down. This is a truth so brutally self-evident that he can't fathom why it's not more widely perceived, hence his contempt for the usual public shock and outrage when a particular situation goes to hell.
Ben Fountain (Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk)
I think I want to sleep,” I say. And I do, really, I do. The last thing I want is to be awake and to think about how Ilven escaped from the life she didn’t want. And why she never spoke to me, told me, warned me. Perhaps I could have changed her mind. It occurs to me that she never meant to meet me under the trees—that she knew me well enough to predict that I would wait only so long before I left—because then she could take the Leap without any chance of me witnessing her from my tower. My heart goes small, and every limb feels too heavy to lift.
Cat Hellisen (When the Sea Is Rising Red (Hobverse #1))
Countless people live their whole lives without ever knowing this...this unnameable thing that we share. This exclusive and secret club that we are so blessed to be a part of. I suppose that by many people's definition, it would simply be called 'Love'. And yet, this is unlike any other love or feeling or emotion that I have ever felt. Simply calling it 'Love' would be an injustice...it would do a massive disservice to this feeling that seems to envelop me with every breath I take. It's as if wherever I go, it goes; and whichever direction I look, it sees. It moves with me as if we've been doing this dance forever...like we are one being and of one mind. It has to uncanny ability to affect change by just existing; it speaks to me and with me and through me and every time it says my name, it cloaks my entire being with a warm comforting familiar glow...like it's only ever meant to be said that way and no different. It's not just simply love...it's everything.
Charles R. Mackriel
Mujo is a refugee in Germany, has no job, but has a lot of time, so he goes to a Turkish bath. The bath is full of German businessmen with towels around their waists, huffing and puffing, but every once in a while a cell phone rings and they pull their phone out from under the towel and say, Bitte? Mujo seems to be the only one without a cell phone, so he goes to the bathroom and stuffs toilet paper up his butt. He walks back out, a long trail of toilet paper behind him. So a German says, you have some paper, Herr, sticking out behind you. Oh, Mujo says, it looks like I have received a fax.
Aleksandar Hemon (The Lazarus Project)
Well, of course one must have concentration. Courage. Self-control. That goes without saying. But more important than these, one must have... I don't know how to say it. One must be both a mathematician and a poet. As though poetry were a science; or mathematics an art. One must have an affection for proportion to play Go at all well.Ah... what Go is to philosophers and warriors, chess is to accountants and merchants.
Trevanian
Dear Miss Hummingbird,
 The leaves are turning green now, but not with envy. But they should be envious, because I, Jarod Ora Kintz, son of a thousand question marks, now have what every unemployed American most covets: a cat. Oh, and I’ve also got a new job. Almost forgot to mention it. “What will you be doing?” you may be wondering, and “Is it legal?” Those answers, as you can imagine, are gray. But so are elephants. Gray, I mean. Elephants are gray, not illegal, even though a certain political party in this country that’s represented by an elephant mascot certainly does things that to the normal citizen would be considered illegal. But I digress.
 Turns out that right under “Mayor of Orafouraville” on my resume, I can now add “Concierge at the Five-Star Hotel.” Concierge is just a fancy term that means something similar in Latin, I’m sure.
 My job will be to arrange activities for hotel guests for everything from opera tickets to dinner reservations to even organizing the burial of a loved one—though not if the disposal of the body is to be kept secret because a murder has occurred. Murder is such a ghastly (and ghostly) way to spoil dinner reservations for two, wouldn’t you agree? Or, rather, wouldn’t you not disagree?
 This job will allow me to meet interesting people from all over the planet, and possibly even other planets (like Pluto, if that’s still even a planet).
 It’s a full-time job, at least part of the time (40 hours per week out of a possible 168 hours). I’ll be expected to wear a shirt and tie. And, of course, pants—but that goes without saying. What also goes without saying are guests, but I hope some at least say goodbye before they go. 

Jarod Kintz (This Book Has No Title)
All marriages have their bad sides, because all people have weaknesses. If you live with another human being you learn to handle these weaknesses in a variety of ways. For instance, you might take the view that weaknesses are a bit like heavy pieces of furniture, and based on this you must learn to clean around them. To maintain the illusion. Of course the dust is building up unseen, but you learn to repress this for as long as it goes unnoticed by guests. And then one day someone moves a piece of furniture without your say-so, and everything comes into plain view. Dirt and scratch marks. Permanent damage to the parquet floor. By then it’s too late.
Fredrik Backman (Britt-Marie Was Here)
Now, here's the real beauty of this contorting contradiction. Both working mothers and stay-at-home mothers get to be failures. The ethos of intensive mothering has lower status in our culture ("stay-at-home mothers are boring"), but occupies a higher moral ground ("working mothers are neglectful"). So, welcome to the latest media catfight: the supposed war between working mothers and stay-at-home mothers. Why analyze all the ways in which our country has failed to support families while inflating the work ethic to the size of the Hindenburg when you can, instead, project this paradox onto what the media have come to call, incessantly, "the mommy wars." The "mommy wars" puts mothers into two, mutually exclusive categories--working mother versus stay-at-home mother, and never the twain shall meet. It goes without saying that they allegedly hate each other's guts. In real life, millions of mothers move between these two categories, have been one and then the other at various different times, creating a mosaic of work and child-rearing practices that bears no resemblance to the supposed ironclad roles suggested by the "mommy wars." Not only does the media catfight pit mother against mother, but it suggests that all women be reduced to their one role--mother--or get cut out of the picture entirely.
Susan J. Douglas (The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women)
You’re still young and healthy. Maybe that’s why you don’t understand what I am saying. Let me give you an example. Once you pass a certain age, life becomes nothing more than a process of continual loss. Things that are important to your life begin to slip out of your grasp, one after another, like a comb losing teeth. And the only things that come to take their place are worthless imitations. Your physical strength, your hopes, your dreams, your ideals, your convictions, all meaning, or, then again, the people you love: one by one, they fade away. Some announce their departure before they leave, while others just disappear all of a sudden without warning one day. And once you lose them you can never get them back. Your search for replacements never goes well. It’s all very painful—as painful as actually being cut with a knife. You will be turning thirty soon, Mr. Kawana, which means that, from now on, you will gradually enter that twilight portion of life—you will be getting older. You are probably beginning to grasp that painful sense that you are losing something, are you not?
Haruki Murakami (1Q84 (1Q84 #1-3))
But what I would like to know," says Albert, "is whether there would not have been a war if the Kaiser had said No." "I'm sure there would," I interject, "he was against it from the first." "Well, if not him alone, then perhaps if twenty or thirty people in the world had said No." "That's probable," I agree, "but they damned well said Yes." "It's queer, when one thinks about it," goes on Kropp, "we are here to protect our fatherland. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. Now who's in the right?" "Perhaps both," say I without believing it. "Yes, well now," pursues Albert, and I see that he means to drive me into a corner, "but our professors and parsons and newspapers say that we are the only ones that are right, and let's hope so;--but the French professors and parsons and newspapers say that the right is on their side, now what about that?" "That I don't know," I say, "but whichever way it is there's war all the same and every month more countries coming in." Tjaden reappears. He is still quite excited and again joins the conversation, wondering just how a war gets started. "Mostly by one country badly offending another," answers Albert with a slight air of superiority. Then Tjaden pretends to be obtuse. "A country? I don't follow. A mountain in Germany cannot offend a mountain in France. Or a river, or a wood, or a field of wheat." "Are you really as stupid as that, or are you just pulling my leg?" growls Kropp, "I don't mean that at all. One people offends the other--" "Then I haven't any business here at all," replies Tjaden, "I don't feel myself offended." "Well, let me tell you," says Albert sourly, "it doesn't apply to tramps like you." "Then I can be going home right away," retorts Tjaden, and we all laugh, "Ach, man! he means the people as a whole, the State--" exclaims Mller. "State, State"--Tjaden snaps his fingers contemptuously, "Gendarmes, police, taxes, that's your State;--if that's what you are talking about, no, thank you." "That's right," says Kat, "you've said something for once, Tjaden. State and home-country, there's a big difference." "But they go together," insists Kropp, "without the State there wouldn't be any home-country." "True, but just you consider, almost all of us are simple folk. And in France, too, the majority of men are labourers, workmen, or poor clerks. Now just why would a French blacksmith or a French shoemaker want to attack us? No, it is merely the rulers. I had never seen a Frenchman before I came here, and it will be just the same with the majority of Frenchmen as regards us. They weren't asked about it any more than we were." "Then what exactly is the war for?" asks Tjaden. Kat shrugs his shoulders. "There must be some people to whom the war is useful." "Well, I'm not one of them," grins Tjaden. "Not you, nor anybody else here." "Who are they then?" persists Tjaden. "It isn't any use to the Kaiser either. He has everything he can want already." "I'm not so sure about that," contradicts Kat, "he has not had a war up till now. And every full-grown emperor requires at least one war, otherwise he would not become famous. You look in your school books." "And generals too," adds Detering, "they become famous through war." "Even more famous than emperors," adds Kat. "There are other people back behind there who profit by the war, that's certain," growls Detering. "I think it is more of a kind of fever," says Albert. "No one in particular wants it, and then all at once there it is. We didn't want the war, the others say the same thing--and yet half the world is in it all the same.
Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front)
Who can say what goes through the mind of a clapper in the moments before carrying out that evil deed? No doubt whatever those thoughts are, they are lies. However, like all dangerous deceptions, the lies that clappers tell themselves wear seductive disguises. For clappers who have been led to believe their acts are smiled upon by God, their lie is clothed in holy robes and has outstretched arms promising a reward that will never come. For clappers who believe their act will somehow bring about change in the world, their lie is disguised as a crowd looking back at them from the future, smiling in appreciation for what they've done. For clappers who seek only to share their personal misery with the world, their lie is an image of themselves freed from their pain by witnessing the pain of others. And for clappers who are driven by vengeance, their lie is a scale of justice, weighted evenly on both sides, finally in balance It is only when a clapper brings his hands together that the lie reveals itself, abandoning the clapper in that final instant so that he exits this world utterly alone, without so much as a lie to accompany him into oblivion. Or her.
Neal Shusterman (Unwind (Unwind, #1))
Haven’t you figured it out? Giving money away doesn’t solve anything. Asking the zottarich to redeem themselves by giving money away acknowledges that they deserve it all, should be in charge of deciding where it goes. It’s pretending that you can get rich without being a bandit. Letting them decide what gets funded declares the planet to be a giant corporation that the major shareholders get to direct. It says that government is just middle-management, hired or fired on the whim of the directors.
Cory Doctorow (Walkaway)
There's folly in her stride that's the rumor justified by lies I've seen her up close beneath the sheets and sometime during the summer she was mine for a few sweet months in the fall and parts of December ((( To get to the heart of this unsolvable equation, one must first become familiar with the physical, emotional, and immaterial makeup as to what constitutes both war and peace. ))) I found her looking through a window the same window I'd been looking through She smiled and her eyes never faltered this folly was a crime ((( The very essence of war is destructive, though throughout the years utilized as a means of creating peace, such an equation might seem paradoxical to the untrained eye. Some might say using evil to defeat evil is counterproductive, and gives more meaning to the word “futile”. Others, like Edmund Burke, would argue that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.” ))) She had an identity I could identify with something my fingertips could caress in the night ((( There is such a limitless landscape within the mind, no two minds are alike. And this is why as a race we will forever be at war with each other. What constitutes peace is in the mind of the beholder. ))) Have you heard the argument? This displacement of men and women and women and men the minds we all have the beliefs we all share Slipping inside of us thoughts and religions and bodies all bare ((( “Without darkness, there can be no light,” he once said. To demonstrate this theory, during one of his seminars he held a piece of white chalk and drew a line down the center of a blackboard. Explaining that without the blackness of the board, the white line would be invisible. ))) When she left she kissed with eyes open I knew this because I'd done the same Sometimes we saw eye to eye like that Very briefly, she considered an apotheosis a synthesis a rendering of her folly into solidarity ((( To believe that a world-wide lay down of arms is possible, however, is the delusion of the pacifist; the dream of the optimist; and the joke of the realist. Diplomacy only goes so far, and in spite of our efforts to fight with words- there are times when drawing swords of a very different nature are surely called for. ))) Experiencing the subsequent sunrise inhaling and drinking breaking mirrors and regurgitating just to start again all in all I was just another gash in the bark ((( Plato once said: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Perhaps the death of us all is called for in this time of emotional desperation. War is a product of the mind; only with the death of such will come the end of the bloodshed. Though this may be a fairly realistic view of such an issue, perhaps there is an optimistic outlook on the horizon. Not every sword is double edged, but every coin is double sided. ))) Leaving town and throwing shit out the window drinking boroughs and borrowing spare change I glimpsed the rear view mirror stole a glimpse really I've believed in looking back for a while it helps to have one last view a reminder in case one ever decides to rebel in the event the self regresses and makes the declaration of devastation once more ((( Thus, if we wish to eliminate the threat of war today- complete human annihilation may be called for. )))
Dave Matthes (Wanderlust and the Whiskey Bottle Parallel: Poems and Stories)
Leaders instill courage in the hearts of those who follow. This rarely happens through words alone. It generally requires action. It goes back to what we said earlier: Somebody has to go first. By going first, the leader furnishes confidence to those who follow. As a next generation leader, you will be called upon to go first. That will require courage. But in stepping out you will give the gift of courage to those who are watching. What do I believe is impossible to do in my field, but if it could be done would fundamentally change my business? What has been done is safe. But to attempt a solution to a problem that plagues an entire industry - in my case, the local church - requires courage. Unsolved problems are gateways to the future. To those who have the courage to ask the question and the tenacity to hang on until they discover or create an answer belongs the future. Don’t allow the many good opportunities to divert your attention from the one opportunity that has the greatest potential. Learn to say no. There will always be more opportunities than there is time to pursue them. Leaders worth following are willing to face and embrace current reality regardless of how discouraging or embarrassing it might be. It is impossible to generate sustained growth or progress if your plan for the future is not rooted in reality. Be willing to face the truth regardless of how painful it might be. If fear causes you to retreat from your dreams, you will never give the world anything new. it is impossible to lead without a dream. When leaders are no longer willing to dream, it is only a short time before followers are unwilling to follow. Will I allow my fear to bind me to mediocrity? Uncertainty is a permanent part of the leadership landscape. It never goes away. Where there is no uncertainty, there is no longer the need for leadership. The greater the uncertainty, the greater the need for leadership. Your capacity as a leader will be determined by how well you learn to deal with uncertainty. My enemy is not uncertainty. It is not even my responsibility to remove the uncertainty. It is my responsibility to bring clarity into the midst of the uncertainty. As leaders we can afford to be uncertain, but we cannot afford to be unclear. People will follow you in spite of a few bad decisions. People will not follow you if you are unclear in your instruction. As a leader you must develop the elusive skill of leading confidently and purposefully onto uncertain terrain. Next generation leaders must fear a lack of clarity more than a lack of accuracy. The individual in your organization who communicates the clearest vision will often be perceived as the leader. Clarity is perceived as leadership. Uncertainty exposes a lack of knowledge. Pretending exposes a lack of character. Express your uncertainty with confidence. You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. Self-evaluation is helpful, but evaluation from someone else is essential. You need a leadership coach. Great leaders are great learners. God, in His wisdom, has placed men and women around us with the experience and discernment we often lack. Experience alone doesn’t make you better at anything. Evaluated experience is what enables you to improve your performance. As a leader, what you don’t know can hurt you. What you don’t know about yourself can put a lid on your leadership. You owe it to yourself and to those who have chosen to follow you to open the doors to evaluation. Engage a coach. Success doesn’t make anything of consequence easier. Success just raises the stakes. Success brings with it the unanticipated pressure of maintaining success. The more successful you are as a leader, the more difficult this becomes. There is far more pressure at the top of an organization than you might imagine.
Andy Stanley
There is a marvellous Indian story of a boy who leaves home in search of truth. He goes to various teachers, walking endlessly in various parts of the country, every teacher asserting something or other. After many years, as an old man, after searching, searching, asking, meditating, taking certain postures, breathing rightly, fasting, no sex and all that, he comes back to his old house. As he opens the door there it is: the truth is just there. You understand? You might say, ‘It wouldn’t have been there if he hadn’t wandered all over the place.’ That’s a cunning remark, but you miss the beauty of the story if you don’t see that truth is not to be sought after. Truth is not something to be attained, to be experienced, to be held. It is there for those who can see it.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (Meeting Life: Writings and Talks on Finding Your Path Without Retreating from Society)
I know, then, that after I die other bodies, other eyeings, will be born. But this is really the same thing as saying that after I die I will again awake as a baby—any baby, but only one—just as I did before but without remembering the previous trip. For anyone who argues that after death there will be nothingness forever is really saying that when he dies the universe will cease to be. But we know that it goes on after people die, and that because it does the eyeing it is really more my self than this particular body.
Alan W. Watts (Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown)
If we put this whole progression in terms of our discussion of the possibilities of heroism, it goes like this: Man breaks through the bounds of merely cultural heroism; he destroys the character lie that had him perform as a hero in the everyday social scheme of things; and by doing so he opens himself up to infinity, to the possibility of cosmic heroism, to the very service of God. His life thereby acquires ultimate value in place of merely social and cultural, historical value. He links his secret inner self, his authentic talent, his deepest feelings of uniqueness, his inner yearning for absolute significance, to the very ground of creation. Out of the ruins of the broken cultural self there remains the mystery of the private, invisible, inner self which yearned for ultimate significance, for cosmic heroism. This invisible mystery at the heart of every creature now attains cosmic significance by affirming its connection with the invisible mystery at the heart of creation. This is the meaning of faith. At the same time it is the meaning of the merger of psychology and religion in Kierkegaard's thought. The truly open person, the one who has shed his character armor, the vital lie of his cultural conditioning, is beyond the help of any mere "science," of any merely social standard of health. He is absolutely alone and trembling on the bring of oblivion-which is at the same time the brink of infinity. To give him the new support that he needs, the "courage to renounce dread without any dread...only faith is capable of," says Kierkegaard. Not that this is an easy out for man, or a cure-all for the human condition-Kierkegaard is never facile. He gives a strikingly beautiful idea: not that [faith] annihilates dread, but remaining ever young, it is continually developing itself out of the death throe of dread. In other words, as long as man is an ambiguous creature he can never banish anxiety; what he can do instead is to use anxiety as an eternal spring for growth into new dimensions of thought and trust. Faith poses a new life task, the adventure in openness to a multi-dimensional reality.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
The Peacemaker Colt has now been in production, without change in design, for a century. Buy one to-day and it would be indistinguishable from the one Wyatt Earp wore when he was the Marshal of Dodge City. It is the oldest hand-gun in the world, without question the most famous and, if efficiency in its designated task of maiming and killing be taken as criterion of its worth, then it is also probably the best hand-gun ever made. It is no light thing, it is true, to be wounded by some of the Peacemaker’s more highly esteemed competitors, such as the Luger or Mauser: but the high-velocity, narrow-calibre, steel-cased shell from either of those just goes straight through you, leaving a small neat hole in its wake and spending the bulk of its energy on the distant landscape whereas the large and unjacketed soft-nosed lead bullet from the Colt mushrooms on impact, tearing and smashing bone and muscle and tissue as it goes and expending all its energy on you. In short when a Peacemaker’s bullet hits you in, say, the leg, you don’t curse, step into shelter, roll and light a cigarette one-handed then smartly shoot your assailant between the eyes. When a Peacemaker bullet hits your leg you fall to the ground unconscious, and if it hits the thigh-bone and you are lucky enough to survive the torn arteries and shock, then you will never walk again without crutches because a totally disintegrated femur leaves the surgeon with no option but to cut your leg off. And so I stood absolutely motionless, not breathing, for the Peacemaker Colt that had prompted this unpleasant train of thought was pointed directly at my right thigh. Another thing about the Peacemaker: because of the very heavy and varying trigger pressure required to operate the semi-automatic mechanism, it can be wildly inaccurate unless held in a strong and steady hand. There was no such hope here. The hand that held the Colt, the hand that lay so lightly yet purposefully on the radio-operator’s table, was the steadiest hand I’ve ever seen. It was literally motionless. I could see the hand very clearly. The light in the radio cabin was very dim, the rheostat of the angled table lamp had been turned down until only a faint pool of yellow fell on the scratched metal of the table, cutting the arm off at the cuff, but the hand was very clear. Rock-steady, the gun could have lain no quieter in the marbled hand of a statue. Beyond the pool of light I could half sense, half see the dark outline of a figure leaning back against the bulkhead, head slightly tilted to one side, the white gleam of unwinking eyes under the peak of a hat. My eyes went back to the hand. The angle of the Colt hadn’t varied by a fraction of a degree. Unconsciously, almost, I braced my right leg to meet the impending shock. Defensively, this was a very good move, about as useful as holding up a sheet of newspaper in front of me. I wished to God that Colonel Sam Colt had gone in for inventing something else, something useful, like safety-pins.
Alistair MacLean (When Eight Bells Toll)
Disillusioned words like bullets bark As human gods aim for their marks Made everything from toy guns that sparks To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark It's easy to see without looking too far That not much Is really sacred. While preachers preach of evil fates Teachers teach that knowledge waits Can lead to hundred-dollar plates Goodness hides behind its gates But even the President of the United States Sometimes must have To stand naked. An' though the rules of the road have been lodged It's only people's games that you got to dodge And it's alright, Ma, I can make it. Advertising signs that con you Into thinking you're the one That can do what's never been done That can win what's never been won Meantime life outside goes on All around you. Although the masters make the rules For the wise men and the fools I got nothing, Ma, to live up to. For them that must obey authority That they do not respect in any degree Who despite their jobs, their destinies Speak jealously of them that are free Cultivate their flowers to be Nothing more than something They invest in. While some on principles baptized To strict party platforms ties Social clubs in drag disguise Outsiders they can freely criticize Tell nothing except who to idolize And then say God Bless him. While one who sings with his tongue on fire Gargles in the rat race choir Bent out of shape from society's pliers Cares not to come up any higher But rather get you down in the hole That he's in. Old lady judges, watch people in pairs Limited in sex, they dare To push fake morals, insult and stare While money doesn't talk, it swears Obscenity, who really cares Propaganda, all is phony. While them that defend what they cannot see With a killer's pride, security It blows the minds most bitterly For them that think death's honesty Won't fall upon them naturally Life sometimes Must get lonely. And if my thought-dreams could been seen They'd probably put my head in a guillotine But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only.
Bob Dylan
Dear Jessa, I’ve started this letter so many times and I’ve never been able to finish it. So here goes again . . . I’m sorry. I’m sorry that Riley is dead. I’m sorry for ignoring your emails and for not being there for you. I’m sorry I’ve hurt you. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish it had been me that died and not Riley. If I could go back in time and change everything I would. I’m sorry I left without a word. There’s no excuse for my behaviour but please know that it had nothing to do with you. I was a mess. I haven’t been able to talk to anyone for months. And I felt too guilty and didn’t know how to tell you the truth about what happened. I couldn’t bear the thought of you knowing. I got all your emails but I didn’t read them until last week. I couldn’t face it and I guess that makes me the biggest coward you’ll ever meet. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I never replied. You needed me and I wasn’t there for you. I don’t even know how to ask your forgiveness because I don’t deserve it. I’m just glad you’re doing better. I’m better too. I’ve started seeing a therapist – twice a week – you’d like her. She reminds me of Didi. I never thought I’d be the kind of guy who needed therapy, but they made it a condition of me keeping my job. She’s helped me a lot with getting the panic attacks under control. Working in a room the size of a janitor’s closet helps too – there aren’t too many surprises, only the occasional rogue paperclip. I asked for the posting. I have to thank your dad ironically. The demotion worked out. Kind of funny that I totally get where your father was coming from all those years. Looks like I’ll be spending the remainder of my marine career behind a desk, but I’m OK with that. I don’t know what else to say, Jessa. My therapist says I should just write down whatever comes into my head. So here goes. Here’s what’s in my head . . . I miss you. I love you. Even though I long ago gave up the right to any sort of claim over you, I can’t stop loving you. I won’t ever stop. You’re in my blood. You’re the only thing that got me through this, Jessa. Because even during the bad times, the worst times, the times I’d wake up in a cold sweat, my heart thumping, the times I’d think the only way out was by killing myself and just having it all go away, I’d think of you and it would pull me back out of whatever dark place I’d fallen into. You’re my light, Jessa. My north star. You asked me once to come back to you and I told you I always would. I’m working on it. It might take me a little while, and I know I have no right to ask you to wait for me after everything I’ve done, but I’m going to anyway because the truth is I don’t know how to live without you. I’ve tried and I can’t do it. So please, I’m asking you to wait for me. I’m going to come back to you. I promise. And I’m going to make things right. I’ll do whatever it takes. I’ll never stop trying for the rest of my life to make things right between us. I love you. Always. Kit
Mila Gray (Come Back to Me (Come Back to Me, #1))
I guess you’ll just have to get used to having a police car outside the grocery store, the gym, and wherever it is you go for lunch with your friends,” Jack lectured. “And this goes without saying: you need to be careful. The police surveillance is a precautionary measure, but they can’t be everywhere. You should stick to familiar surroundings, and be vigilant and alert at all times.” “I got it. No walking through dark alleys while talking on my cell phone, no running at night with my iPod, no checking out suspicious noises in the basement.” “I seriously hope you’re not doing any of those things anyway.” “Of course not.” Jack pinned her with his gaze. She shifted against the counter. “Okay, maybe, sometimes, I’ve been known to listen to a Black Eyed Peas song or two while running at night. They get me moving after a long day at work.” Jack seemed wholly unimpressed with this excuse. “Well, you and the Peas better get used to running indoors on a treadmill.” Conscious of Wilkins’s presence, and the fact that he was watching her and Jack with what appeared to be amusement, Cameron bit back her retort. Thirty thousand hotel rooms in the city of Chicago and she picked the one that would lead her back to him.
Julie James (Something About You (FBI/US Attorney, #1))
I was amazed, shocked, and sickened by what I heard throughout the day, over and over, by many victims' stories. I can think of no one with whom I didn't recognize a common thread. These monsters, these evil priests, used the same words and methods on all of us. With each session, I would find something that sent a cold chill down my spine. It amazed and frightened me that the actual words used on me, to rape me, to rape me, were the same as the words used on so many others from all over the United States. You would think that all these priests either were educated in how to concur and rape us, or they met privately with each other to compare notes and develop their plan of attack on us. The pattern was so much the same, with the same words, that you would swear it was scripted and disbursed to these priests. Do they secretly have closed-door meetings on how to abuse us? A chilling thought. Neary's routine of saying the “Our Father” during the rape and making me say it with him, repeating the “thy will be done” over and over, the absolution given me after he “finished,” the threats of having God take my parents away, the lectures about offering my suffering up to God, etc., etc., etc. My experience was identical, word-for-word, to that of many others. The exact words during the abuse were not just close, but exactly the same, as if it were some kind of abuse ritual. Ritual abuse is not limited to the religious definition and can include compulsive, abusive behavior performed in an exact series of steps with little variation. How could these similarities occur without the priests taking the same “abuse seminar” together some place, somehow? Was it taught in the seminary? In some dark corner? It goes beyond coincidence—the similarities in deeds and verbiage that these predators use on us. It truly chilled me to the very marrow of my bones.
Charles L. Bailey Jr. (In the Shadow of the Cross)
There is a – let us say – a machine. It evolved itself (I am severely scientific) out of a chaos of scraps of iron and behold! – it knits. I am horrified at the horrible work and stand appalled. I feel it ought to embroider – but it goes on knitting. You come and say: “this is all right; it’s only a question of the right kind of oil. Let us use this – for instance – celestial oil and the machine shall embroider a most beautiful design in purple and gold”. Will it? Alas no. You cannot by any special lubrication make embroidery with a knitting machine. And the most withering thought is that the infamous thing has made itself; made itself without thought, without conscience, without foresight, without eyes, without heart. It is a tragic accident – and it has happened. You can’t interfere with it. The last drop of bitterness is in the suspicion that you can’t even smash it. In virtue of that truth one and immortal which lurks in the force that made it spring into existence it is what it is – and it is indestructible! It knits us in and it knits us out. It has knitted time space, pain, death, corruption, despair and all the illusions – and nothing matters. I’ll admit however that to look at the remorseless process is sometimes amusing.
Joseph Conrad
Death was more like what we went through in the park: two people walking side by side in the mist, rubbing against trees and bushes, and not a word between them. It was something emptier than the name itself and yet right and peaceful, dignified, if you like. It was not a continuation of life, but a leap in the dark and no possibility of ever coming back, not even as a grain of dust. And that was right and beautiful, I said to myself, because why would one want to come back. To taste it once is to taste it forever - life or death. Whichever way the coin flips is right, so long as you hold no stakes. Sure, it's tough to choke on your own spittle - it's disagreeable more than anything else. And besides, one doesn't always die choking to death. Sometimes one goes off in his sleep, peaceful and quiet as a lamb. The Lord comes and gathers you up into the fold, as they say. Anyway, you stop breathing. And why the hell should one want to go on breathing forever? Anything that would have to be done interminably would be torture. The poor human bastards that we are, we ought to be glad that somebody devised a way out. We don't quibble about going to sleep. A third of our lives we snore away like drunken rats. What about that? Is that tragic? Well then, say three-thirds of drunken rat-like sleep. Jesus, if we had any sense we'd be dancing with glee at the thought of it! We could all die in bed tomorrow, without pain, without suffering - if we had the sense to take advantage of our remedies. We don't want to die, that's the trouble with us. That's why God and the whole shooting match upstairs in our crazy dustbins.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Capricorn (Tropic, #2))
BOWLS OF FOOD Moon and evening star do their slow tambourine dance to praise this universe. The purpose of every gathering is discovered: to recognize beauty and love what’s beautiful. “Once it was like that, now it’s like this,” the saying goes around town, and serious consequences too. Men and women turn their faces to the wall in grief. They lose appetite. Then they start eating the fire of pleasure, as camels chew pungent grass for the sake of their souls. Winter blocks the road. Flowers are taken prisoner underground. Then green justice tenders a spear. Go outside to the orchard. These visitors came a long way, past all the houses of the zodiac, learning Something new at each stop. And they’re here for such a short time, sitting at these tables set on the prow of the wind. Bowls of food are brought out as answers, but still no one knows the answer. Food for the soul stays secret. Body food gets put out in the open like us. Those who work at a bakery don’t know the taste of bread like the hungry beggars do. Because the beloved wants to know, unseen things become manifest. Hiding is the hidden purpose of creation: bury your seed and wait. After you die, All the thoughts you had will throng around like children. The heart is the secret inside the secret. Call the secret language, and never be sure what you conceal. It’s unsure people who get the blessing. Climbing cypress, opening rose, Nightingale song, fruit, these are inside the chill November wind. They are its secret. We climb and fall so often. Plants have an inner Being, and separate ways of talking and feeling. An ear of corn bends in thought. Tulip, so embarrassed. Pink rose deciding to open a competing store. A bunch of grapes sits with its feet stuck out. Narcissus gossiping about iris. Willow, what do you learn from running water? Humility. Red apple, what has the Friend taught you? To be sour. Peach tree, why so low? To let you reach. Look at the poplar, tall but without fruit or flower. Yes, if I had those, I’d be self-absorbed like you. I gave up self to watch the enlightened ones. Pomegranate questions quince, Why so pale? For the pearl you hid inside me. How did you discover my secret? Your laugh. The core of the seen and unseen universes smiles, but remember, smiles come best from those who weep. Lightning, then the rain-laughter. Dark earth receives that clear and grows a trunk. Melon and cucumber come dragging along on pilgrimage. You have to be to be blessed! Pumpkin begins climbing a rope! Where did he learn that? Grass, thorns, a hundred thousand ants and snakes, everything is looking for food. Don’t you hear the noise? Every herb cures some illness. Camels delight to eat thorns. We prefer the inside of a walnut, not the shell. The inside of an egg, the outside of a date. What about your inside and outside? The same way a branch draws water up many feet, God is pulling your soul along. Wind carries pollen from blossom to ground. Wings and Arabian stallions gallop toward the warmth of spring. They visit; they sing and tell what they think they know: so-and-so will travel to such-and-such. The hoopoe carries a letter to Solomon. The wise stork says lek-lek. Please translate. It’s time to go to the high plain, to leave the winter house. Be your own watchman as birds are. Let the remembering beads encircle you. I make promises to myself and break them. Words are coins: the vein of ore and the mine shaft, what they speak of. Now consider the sun. It’s neither oriental nor occidental. Only the soul knows what love is. This moment in time and space is an eggshell with an embryo crumpled inside, soaked in belief-yolk, under the wing of grace, until it breaks free of mind to become the song of an actual bird, and God.
Rumi (The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems)
The only criterion I have is that the books must look clean, which means that I have to disregard a lot of potential reading material in the charity shop. I don't use the library for the same reason, although obviously, in principle and reality, libraries are life-enhancing palaces of wonder. It's not you, libraries, it's me, as the popular saying goes. The thought of books passing through so many unwashed hands - people reading them in the bath, letting their dogs sit on them, picking their nose and wiping it on the pages. People eating cheesy crisps and then reading a few chapters without washing their hands first. I just can't. No, I look for books with one careful owner. The books in Tesco are nice and clean. I sometimes treat myself to a few tomes from there on payday.
Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)
When I was a young girl, I studied Greek in school. It's a beautiful language and ever so many good things were written in it. When you speak Greek, it feels like a little bird flapping its wings on your tongue as fast as it can. This is why I sometimes put Greek words into my stories, even though not so many people speak Ancient Greek anymore. Anything beautiful deserves to be shared round, and anything I love goes into my stories for safekeeping. The word I love is Arete. It has a simple meaning and a complicated meaning. The simple one is: excellence. But if that were all, we'd just use Excellence and I wouldn't bring it up until we got to E. Arete means your own excellence. Your very own. A personal excellence that belongs to no one else, one that comes out of all the things that make you special and different. Arete means whatever you are best at, no matter what that is. You might think the Greeks only meant things like fighting with bronze swords or debating philosophy, but they didn't. They meant whatever you're best at. What makes you feel like you're doing the rightest thing in the world. And that might be fighting with bronze swords and it might mean debating philosophy—but it also might mean building machines, or drawing pictures, or playing the guitar, or acting in Shakespeare plays, or writing books, or making a home for people who need one, or listening so hard and so well that people tell you the things they really need to say even if they didn't mean to, or running faster than anyone else, or teaching people patiently and boldly, or even making pillow forts or marching in parades or baking bread. It could be lending out just the right library book to just the right person at just the right moment. It could be standing up to the powerful even if you don't feel very powerful yourself, even if you're lost and as far away from home as you can get. It could be loving someone with the same care and thoroughness that a Wyvern takes with alphabetizing. It could be anything in the world. And it isn't easy to figure out what that is. It's even harder to get that good at it, because nothing, not even being yourself, comes without practice. But your arete goes with you everywhere, just waiting for you to pay attention to it. You can't lose it. You can only find it. And that's my favorite thing that starts with A.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland, #2))
Let us have it plain: my society is comprised of metal-worshipers. They pray to metal, are owned by metal, and metal uses them; it shoots them, it stabs them. I witness its sycophants, grave zombies, moved about humorlessly as its agents. My minions are spiritually rapt as the ages climaxes in gunpowder. One notes that, upon first being handed a rifle -- by Burton or Speke? -- a chieftain blithely shot one of his own lackeys, expressing radiant joy as the man tumbled dead. Do not stop there, happy Klansman, but watch with me early in the morning as I come in from work: across the street here in the clean "burbs" your white policeman goes reverently to his car with a deer rifle coddled in his right arm like a precocious, beautiful child. This man lives with a pistol on his hip all week, but that is not enough, no, he is devout and it is the Christmas season. His own cowardice, affirmed by the use of guns, would not occur to him any more than the cowardice of God. The gun lobby, oh my peaceful friends, you may hate, but first you had better understand that it is a religion, only secondarily connected to the Bill of Rights. The thick-headed, sometimes even close to tearful, gaze you get when chatting with one of its partisans emanates from the view that they're holding a piece of God. There is no persuading them otherwise, even by a genus, because a life without guns implies the end of the known world to them. Any connection they make to our " pioneer past" is also a fraud, a wistful apology. Folks love a gun for what it can do. A murderer always thinks it was an accident, he says, as if a religious episode had passed over him.
Barry Hannah (Bats Out of Hell)
Paul is basically saying that God has not kept who He is a secret. Knowing God is not hard. It’s actually the most obvious thing in the world. All you have to do is glorify Him as God and be thankful. This response, because it agrees with the truth, gives you open access to the vast treasures of the knowledge of God. But without that response, your thoughts become futile and your heart is darkened. Futile means “purposeless.” When we fail to sustain the response of thanksgiving for everything in our lives, our thinking is cut off from our purpose in God. When we lose sight of our purpose, we will inevitably make choices that are outside of God’s intentions for our lives, and this can only be destructive because it works against His design for us. A dark heart is a heart that is unable to perceive spiritual reality. It is unmoved by the desires and affections of the Lord, and therefore cannot respond to His invitation to relationship, which is the source of life. As Paul goes on to explain in Romans chapter 1, a dark heart perverts our desires and leads us into all kinds of sin that degrades our identity and relationships. The most perverted sins known to mankind came about through a door left open because of the absence of thankfulness.
Bill Johnson (Strengthen Yourself in the Lord: How to Release the Hidden Power of God in Your Life)
Our culture is based on will—the will to be, to become, to achieve, to fulfill—therefore, in each one of us there is always the entity who is trying to change, control, alter that which he observes. But is there a difference between that which he observes and himself, or are they one? This is a thing that cannot be merely accepted. It must be thought of, gone into with tremendous patience, gentleness, hesitancy, so that the mind is no longer separated from that which it thinks, so that the observer and the observed are psychologically one. As long as I am psychologically separate from that which I perceive in myself as envy, I try to overcome envy; but is that ‘I’, the maker of effort to overcome envy, different from envy? Or are they both the same, only the ‘I’ has separated himself from envy in order to overcome it because he feels envy is painful, and for various other reasons? But that very separation is the cause of envy. Perhaps you are not used to this way of thinking, and it is a little bit too abstract. But a mind that is envious can never be tranquil because it is always comparing, always trying to become something which it is not; and if one really goes into this problem of envy radically, profoundly, deeply, one must inevitably come upon this problem—whether the entity that wishes to be rid of envy is not envy itself. When one realizes that it is envy itself that wants to get rid of envy, then the mind is aware of that feeling called envy without any sense of condemning or trying to get rid of it. Then from that the problem arises: Is there a feeling if there is no verbalization? Because the very word envy is condemnatory, is it not? Am I saying too much all at once? Is there a feeling of envy if I don’t name that feeling? By the very naming of it, am I not maintaining that feeling? The feeling and the naming are almost simultaneous, are they not? And is it possible to separate them so that there is only a sense of reaction without naming? If you really go into it, you will find that when there is no naming of that feeling, envy totally ceases—not
Jiddu Krishnamurti (As One Is: To Free the Mind from All Condition)
The Mercy The ship that took my mother to Ellis Island eighty-three years ago was named "The Mercy." She remembers trying to eat a banana without first peeling it and seeing her first orange in the hands of a young Scot, a seaman who gave her a bite and wiped her mouth for her with a red bandana and taught her the word, "orange," saying it patiently over and over. A long autumn voyage, the days darkening with the black waters calming as night came on, then nothing as far as her eyes could see and space without limit rushing off to the corners of creation. She prayed in Russian and Yiddish to find her family in New York, prayers unheard or misunderstood or perhaps ignored by all the powers that swept the waves of darkness before she woke, that kept "The Mercy" afloat while smallpox raged among the passengers and crew until the dead were buried at sea with strange prayers in a tongue she could not fathom. "The Mercy," I read on the yellowing pages of a book I located in a windowless room of the library on 42nd Street, sat thirty-one days offshore in quarantine before the passengers disembarked. There a story ends. Other ships arrived, "Tancred" out of Glasgow, "The Neptune" registered as Danish, "Umberto IV," the list goes on for pages, November gives way to winter, the sea pounds this alien shore. Italian miners from Piemonte dig under towns in western Pennsylvania only to rediscover the same nightmare they left at home. A nine-year-old girl travels all night by train with one suitcase and an orange. She learns that mercy is something you can eat again and again while the juice spills over your chin, you can wipe it away with the back of your hands and you can never get enough.
Philip Levine (The Mercy)
Steve Carver-the guy with the faux-surfer hair-and Amanda's best friend, Nicole,are chosen.Rashmi and I groan in a rare moment of camaraderie.Steve pumps a fist in the air.What a meathead. The selecting begins,and Amanda is chosen first. Of course. And then Steve's best friend.Of course. Rashmi elbows me. "bet you five euros I'm picked last." "I'll take that bet.Because it's totally me." Amanda turns in her seat toward me and lowers her voice. "That's a safe bet, Skunk Girl. Who'd want you on their team?" My jaw unhinges stupidly. "St. Clair!" Steve's voice startles me. It figures that St. Clair would be picked early. Everyone looks at him, but he's staring down Amanda. "Me," he says, in answer to her question. "I want Anna on my team,and you'd be lucky to have her." She flushes and quickly turns back around,but not before shooting me another dagger.What have I ever done to her? More names are called. More names that are NOT mine. St. Clair goes to get my attention,but I pretend I don't notice. I can't bear to look at him.I'm too humiliated. Soon the selection is down to me, Rashmi,and a skinny dude who, for whatever reason,is called Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger is always wearing this expresion of surprise, like someone's just called his name, and he can't figure out where the voice is coming from. "Rashmi," Nicole says without hestitation. My heart sinks.Now it's between me and someone named Cheeseburger. I focus my attention down on my desk, at the picture of me that Josh drew earlier today in history. I'm dressed like a medieval peasant (we're studying the Black Plague), and I have a fierce scowl and a dead rat dangling from one hand. Amanda whispers into Steve's ear. I feel her smirking at me,and my face burns. Steve clears his throat. "Cheeseburger.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
You fight your superficiality, you shallowness, as as to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untank-like as you can be, sans cannon and machine guns and steel plating half a foot thick; you come at them unmenacingly on your own ten toes instead of tearing up the turf with your caterpillar treads, take them on with an open mind, as equals, man to man, as we used to say, and yet you never fail to get them wrong, you might as well have the brain if a tank. You get them wrong before you meet them, while you're anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you're with them; and them you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion empty of all perception an astonishing farce of misperception. And yet what are we to do about this terribly significant business of other people, which gets bled of the significance we think it has and takes on instead a significance that is ludicrous, so ill equipped are we all to envision one another's interior workings and invisible aims? Is everyone to go off and lock the door and sit secluded like the lonely writers do, in a soundproof cell, summoning people out of words, and then proposing that there word people are closer to the real thing than we mangle with our ignorance every day? The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It's getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful consideration, getting them wrong again. That's how we know we're alive: we're wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that - well, lucky you.
Philip Roth (American Pastoral (The American Trilogy, #1))
If Makar Denisych was just a clerk or a junior manager, then no one would have dared talk to him in such a condescending, casual tone, but he is a 'writer', and a talentless mediocrity! People like Mr Bubentsov do not understand anything about art and are not very interested in it, but whenever they happen to come across talentless mediocrities they are pitiless and implacable, They are ready to forgive anyone, but not Makar, that eccentric loser with manuscripts lying in his trunk. The gardener damaged the old rubber plant, and ruined lots of expensive plants, and the general does nothing and goes on spending money like water; Mr Bubentsov only got down to work once a month when he was a magistrate, then stammered, muddled up the laws, and spoke a lot of rubbish, but all this is forgiven and not noticed; but there is no way that anyone can pass by the talentless Makar, who writes passable poetry and stories, without saying something offensive. No one cares that the general's sister-in-law slaps the maids' cheeks, and swears like a trooper when she is playing cards, that the priest's wife never pays up when she loses, and the landowner Flyugin stole a a dog from the landower Sivobrazov, but the fact that Our Province returned a bad story to Makar recently is know to the whole district and has provoked mockery, long conversations and indignation, while Makar Denisych is already being referred to as old Makarka. If someone does not write the way required, they never try to explain what is wrong, but just say: 'That bastard has gone and written another load of rubbish!
Anton Chekhov (The Exclamation Mark)
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
I do not know whether it is an act of faithfulness to her or a betrayal of the dignity she never lost, to say that she had bitten her tongue, to say that there was blood flowing across her mouth and lips which my brother kept wiping away. I do not know whether I have the right to say, though I will do so, that her body was shaken with epileptic tremors and that she took enormous, terrifying breaths that went on and on until you could not believe she had the strength for them. I do not know whether, as we thought at the time, she could feel our hands on her forehead and cheek, or whether she had waited until we were both there to die. I did not say 'I am here'. I did not say anything. Her mouth was open wide, as in those portraits by Francis Bacon of caged prisoners in their final extremity. I watched and listened to those terrifying, rattling, hoarse breaths, wondering at the strength remaining in her aged body and at the violence it still had to endure. I looked over at my brother as if he might know, as if he might understand whether she had the strength to continue. He was stroking her forehead, whispering soundlessly to her, attempting even at this moment to reach behind the veil and find her. If you believe that she knew we were there, if you believe--I cannot be sure--that she understood what her sons needed at that instant, her eyes which had been shut and which, by being closed, made her seem completely out of our reach, suddenly opened. Blue-grey eyes, staring up into the ceiling above her sons' heads, upwards, ever upwards, fixed like an exhausted swimmer on the shore. Then her eyes closed and she took the largest, most violent breath of all, and we watched and waited, stood and looked at each other, felt for her pulse and slowly, as seconds turned into minutes, realized that she would never breathe again. There is only one reason to tell you this, to present the scene. It is to say that what happens can never be anticipated. What happens escapes anything you can ever say about it. What happens cannot be redeemed. It can never be anything other than what it is. We tell stories as if to refuse this truth, as if to say that we make our fate, rather than simply endure it. But in truth we make nothing. We live, and we cannot shape life. It is much too great for us, too great for any words. A writer must refuse to believe this, must believe there is nothing that cannot somehow be said. Yet there at last in her presence, in the unending unfolding of that silence, which still goes on, which I still expect to be broken by another drawing in of breath, I knew that all my words could only be in vain, and that all that I had feared and all that I had anticipated could only be lived--without their help or hers.
Michael Ignatieff (Scar Tissue)
We have not thoroughly assessed the bodies snatched from dirt and sand to be chained in a cell. We have not reckoned with the horrendous, violent mass kidnapping that we call the Middle Passage. We have not been honest about all of America's complicity - about the wealth the South earned on the backs of the enslaved, or the wealth the North gained through the production of enslaved hands. We have not fully understood the status symbol that owning bodies offered. We have not confronted the humanity, the emotions, the heartbeats of the multiple generations who were born into slavery and died in it, who never tasted freedom on America's land. The same goes for the Civil War. We have refused to honestly confront the fact that so many were willing to die in order to hold the freedom of others in their hands. We have refused to acknowledge slavery's role at all, preferring to boil things down to the far more palatable "state's rights." We have not confessed that the end of slavery was so bitterly resented, the rise of Jim Crow became inevitable - and with it, a belief in Black inferiority that lives on in hearts and minds today. We have painted the hundred-year history of Jim Crow as little more than mean signage and the inconvenience that white people and Black people could not drink from the same fountain. But those signs weren't just "mean". They were perpetual reminders of the swift humiliation and brutal violence that could be suffered at any moment in the presence of whiteness. Jim Crow meant paying taxes for services one could not fully enjoy; working for meager wages; and owning nothing that couldn't be snatched away. For many black families, it meant never building wealth and never having legal recourse for injustice. The mob violence, the burned-down homes, the bombed churches and businesses, the Black bodies that were lynched every couple of days - Jim Crow was walking through life measuring every step. Even our celebrations of the Civil Rights Movement are sanitized, its victories accentuated while the battles are whitewashed. We have not come to grips with the spitting and shouting, the pulling and tugging, the clubs, dogs, bombs, and guns, the passion and vitriol with which the rights of Black Americans were fought against. We have not acknowledged the bloodshed that often preceded victory. We would rather focus on the beautiful words of Martin Luther King Jr. than on the terror he and protesters endured at marches, boycotts, and from behind jail doors. We don't want to acknowledge that for decades, whiteness fought against every civil right Black Americans sought - from sitting at lunch counters and in integrated classrooms to the right to vote and have a say in how our country was run. We like to pretend that all those white faces who carried protest signs and batons, who turned on their sprinklers and their fire hoses, who wrote against the demonstrations and preached against the changes, just disappeared. We like to pretend that they were won over, transformed, the moment King proclaimed, "I have a dream." We don't want to acknowledge that just as Black people who experienced Jim Crow are still alive, so are the white people who vehemently protected it - who drew red lines around Black neighborhoods and divested them of support given to average white citizens. We ignore that white people still avoid Black neighborhoods, still don't want their kids going to predominantly Black schools, still don't want to destroy segregation. The moment Black Americans achieved freedom from enslavement, America could have put to death the idea of Black inferiority. But whiteness was not prepared to sober up from the drunkenness of power over another people group. Whiteness was not ready to give up the ability to control, humiliate, or do violence to any Black body in the vicinity - all without consequence.
Austin Channing Brown (I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness)
The soul then, thus disguised and clad in the vesture of hope, is secure from its second foe, the world, for St. Paul calls hope the helmet of salvation.10 Now a helmet is armor which protects and covers the whole head, and has no opening except in one place, where the eyes may look through. Hope is such a helmet, for it covers all the senses of the head of the soul in such a way that they cannot be lost in worldly things, and leaves no part of them exposed to the arrows of the world. It has one loophole only through which the eyes may look upwards only; this is the ordinary work of hope, to direct the eyes of the soul to God alone; as David says, “My eyes are always to our Lord,”11 looking for succor nowhere else; as he says in another psalm, “As the eyes of the handmaid on the hands of her mistress, so are our eyes to our Lord God until He have mercy on us,”12 hoping in Him. 9. The green vesture of hope—for the soul is then ever looking upwards unto God, disregarding all else, and delighting only in Him—is so pleasing to the Beloved that the soul obtains from Him all it hopes for. This is why He tells the soul in the Canticle, “Thou hast wounded My heart in one of thine eyes.”13 It would have been useless for the soul, if it had not put on the green robe of hope in God, to claim such love, for it would not have succeeded, because that which influences the Beloved, and prevails, is persevering hope. It is in the vesture of hope that the soul goes forth disguised in this secret and dark night; seeing that it goes forth so detached from all possession, without any consolations, that it regards nothing, and that its sole anxiety is about God, putting its “mouth in the dust if so be there may be hope” in the words of Jeremiah quoted already.14 10.
Juan de la Cruz (Dark Night of the Soul)
And I thought how many satisfied, happy people really do exist in this world! And what a powerful force they are! Just take a look at this life of ours and you will see the arrogance and idleness of the strong, the ignorance and bestiality of the weak. Everywhere there's unspeakable poverty, overcrowding, degeneracy, drunkenness, hypocrisy and stupid lies... And yet peace and quiet reign in every house and street. Out of fifty thousand people you won't find one who is prepared to shout out loud and make a strong protest. We see people buying food in the market, eating during the day, sleeping at night-time, talking nonsense, marrying, growing old and then contentedly carting their dead off to the cemetery. But we don't hear or see those who suffer: the real tragedies of life are enacted somewhere behind the scenes. Everything is calm and peaceful and the only protest comes from statistics - and they can't talk. Figures show that so many went mad, so many bottles of vodka were emptied, so many children died from malnutrition. And clearly this kind of system is what people need. It,s obvious that the happy man feels contented only because the unhappy ones bear their burden without saying a word: if it weren't for their silence, happiness would be quite impossible. It's a kind of mass hypnosis. Someone ought to stand with a hammer at the door of every contented man, continually banging on it to remind him that there are unhappy people around and that however happy he may be at that time, sooner or later life will show him its claws and disaster will overtake him in the form of illness, poverty, bereavement and there will be no one to hear or see him. But there isn't anyone holding a hammer, so our happy man goes his own sweet way and is only gently ruffled by life's trivial cares, as an aspen is ruffled by the breeze. All's well as far as he's concerned
Anton Chekhov (Gooseberries)
Parks waits a long while, until he’s absolutely certain that Justineau’s monologue is finished. The truth is, for most of the time he’s been trying to figure out what it is exactly that she’s trying to tell him. Maybe he was right the first time about where they were heading, and Justineau airing her ancient laundry is just a sort of palate-cleanser before they have sex. Probably not, but you never know. In any case, the countermove to a confession is an absolution, unless you think the sin is unforgivable. Parks doesn’t. “It was an accident,” he tells her, pointing out the obvious. “And probably you would have ended up doing the right thing. You don’t strike me as the sort of person who just lets shit slide.” He means that, as far as it goes. One of the things he likes about Justineau is her seriousness. He frigging flat-out hates frivolous, thoughtless people who dance across the surface of the world without looking down. “Yeah, but you don’t get it,” Justineau says. “Why do you think I’m telling you all this?” “I don’t know,” Parks admits. “Why are you telling me?” Justineau steps away from the parapet wall and squares off against him – range, zero metres. It could be erotic, but somehow it’s not. “I killed that boy, Parks. If you turn my life into an equation, the number that comes out is minus one. That’s my lifetime score, you understand me? And you … you and Caldwell, and Private Ginger f**king Rogers … my God, whether it means anything or not, I will die my own self before I let you take me down to minus two.” She says the last words right into his face. Sprays him with little flecks of spit. This close up, dark as it is, he can see her eyes. There’s something mad in them. Something deeply afraid, but it’s damn well not afraid of him. She leaves him with the bottle. It’s not what he was hoping for, but it’s a pretty good consolation prize.
M.R. Carey (The Girl with All the Gifts (The Girl with All the Gifts, #1))
Catching my breath, I lean against the front of the car and focus on the individual blades of grass hedging my flip-flop, trying not to throw up or pass out or both. In the far distance, a vehicle approaches-the first one to witness the scene of our accident. A million explanations run through my mind, but I can’t imagine a single scenario that would solve all-or any-of our issues right now. None of us can risk going to the hospital. Mom technically doesn’t qualify as human, so I’m sure we’d get a pretty interesting diagnosis. Rachel is technically supposed to be deceased as of the last ten years or so, and while she probably has a plethora of fake IDs, she’s still antsy around cops, which will surely be called to the hospital in the event of a gunshot wound, even if it is just in the foot. And let’s not forget that Mom and Rachel are new handcuff buddies. There just isn’t an explanation for any of this. That’s when I decide I’m not the one who should do the talking. After all, I didn’t kidnap anyone. I didn’t shoot anyone. And I certainly didn’t handcuff myself to the person who shot me. Besides, both Mom and Rachel are obviously much more skilled at deception then I’ll ever be. “If someone pulls over to help us, one of you is explaining all this,” I inform them. “You’ll probably want to figure it out fast, because here comes a car.” But the car comes and goes without even slowing. In fact, a lot of cars come and go, and if the situation weren’t so strange and if I weren’t so thankful that they didn’t actually stop, I’d be forced to reexamine what the world is coming to, not helping strangers in an accident. Then it occurs to me that maybe the passerby don’t realize it’s the scene of an accident. Mom’s car is in the ditch, but the ditch might be steep enough to hide it. It’s possible that no one can even see Rachel and Mom from the side of the road. Still, I am standing at the front of Rachel’s car. An innocent-looking teenage girl just loitering for fun in the middle of nowhere and no one cares to stop? Seriously? Just as I decide that people suck, a vehicle coming from the opposite direction slows and pulls up a few feet behind us. It’s not a good Samaritan traveler pulling over to see what he or she can do to inadvertently complicate things. It’s not an ambulance. It’s not a state trooper. If only we could be so lucky. But, nope, it’s way worse. Because it’s Galen’s SUV. From where I stand, I can see him looking at me from behind the wheel. His face is stricken and tried and relieved and pained. I want to want to want to believe the look in his eyes right now. The look that clearly says he’s found what he’s looking for, in more ways than one.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
Life sometimes is like tossing a coin in the air calling heads or tails, but it doesn’t matter what side it lands on; life goes on. It is hard when you’ve lost the will to fight because you’ve been fighting for so long. You are smothered by the pain. Mentally, you are drained. Physically, you are weak. Emotionally, you are weighed down. Spiritually, you do not have one tiny mustard seed of faith. The common denominator is that other people’s problems have clouded your mind with all of their negativity. You cannot feel anything; you are numb. You do not have the energy to surrender, and you choose not to escape because you feel safe when you are closed in. As you move throughout the day, you do just enough to get by. Your mindset has changed from giving it your all to—well, something is better than nothing. You move in slow motion like a zombie, and there isn’t any color, just black and white, with every now and then a shade of gray. You’ve shut everyone out and crawled back into the rabbit hole. Life passes you by as you feel like you cannot go on. You look around for help; for someone to take the pain away and to share your suffering, but no one is there. You feel alone, you drift away when you glance ahead and see that there are more uphill battles ahead of you. You do not have the option to turn around because all of the roads are blocked. You stand exactly where you are without making a step. You try to think of something, but you are emotionally bankrupt. Where do you go from here? You do not have a clue. Standing still isn’t helping because you’ve welcomed unwanted visitors; voices are in your head, asking, “What are you waiting for? Take the leap. Jump.” They go on to say, “You’ve had enough. Your burdens are too heavy.” You walk towards the cliff; you turn your head and look at the steep hill towards the mountain. The view isn’t helping; not only do you have to climb the steep hill, but you have to climb up the mountain too. You take a step; rocks and dust fall off the cliff. You stumble and you move forward. The voices in your head call you a coward. You are beginning to second-guess yourself because you want to throw in the towel. You close your eyes; a tear falls and travels to your chin. As your eyes are closed the Great Divine’s voice is louder; yet, calmer, soothing; and you feel peace instantly. Your mind feels light, and your body feels balanced. The Great Divine whispers gently and softly in your ear: “Fallen Warrior, I know you have given everything you’ve got, and you feel like you have nothing left to give. Fallen Warrior, I know it’s been a while since you smiled. Fallen Warrior, I see that you are hurting, and I feel your pain. Fallen Warrior, this is not the end. This is the start of your new beginning. Fallen Warrior, do not doubt My or your abilities; you have more going for you than you have going against you. Fallen Warrior, keep moving, you have what it takes; perseverance is your middle name. Fallen Warrior, you are not the victim! You are the victor! You step back because you know why you are here. You know why you are alive. Sometimes you have to be your own Shero. As a fallen warrior, you are human; and you have your moments. There are days when you have more ups than downs, and some days you have more downs than ups. I most definitely can relate. I was floating through life, but I had to change my mindset. During my worst days, I felt horrible, and when I started to think negatively I felt like I was dishonoring myself. I felt sick, I felt afraid, fear began to control my every move. I felt like demons were trying to break in and take over my life.
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
Which philosophers would Alain suggest for practical living? Alain’s list overlaps nearly 100% with my own: Epicurus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Plato, Michel de Montaigne, Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Bertrand Russell. * Most-gifted or recommended books? The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, Essays of Michel de Montaigne. * Favorite documentary The Up series: This ongoing series is filmed in the UK, and revisits the same group of people every 7 years. It started with their 7th birthdays (Seven Up!) and continues up to present day, when they are in their 50s. Subjects were picked from a wide variety of social backgrounds. Alain calls these very undramatic and quietly powerful films “probably the best documentary that exists.” TF: This is also the favorite of Stephen Dubner on page 574. Stephen says, “If you are at all interested in any kind of science or sociology, or human decision-making, or nurture versus nature, it is the best thing ever.” * Advice to your 30-year-old self? “I would have said, ‘Appreciate what’s good about this moment. Don’t always think that you’re on a permanent journey. Stop and enjoy the view.’ . . . I always had this assumption that if you appreciate the moment, you’re weakening your resolve to improve your circumstances. That’s not true, but I think when you’re young, it’s sort of associated with that. . . . I had people around me who’d say things like, ‘Oh, a flower, nice.’ A little part of me was thinking, ‘You absolute loser. You’ve taken time to appreciate a flower? Do you not have bigger plans? I mean, this the limit of your ambition?’ and when life’s knocked you around a bit and when you’ve seen a few things, and time has happened and you’ve got some years under your belt, you start to think more highly of modest things like flowers and a pretty sky, or just a morning where nothing’s wrong and everyone’s been pretty nice to everyone else. . . . Fortune can do anything with us. We are very fragile creatures. You only need to tap us or hit us in slightly the wrong place. . . . You only have to push us a little bit, and we crack very easily, whether that’s the pressure of disgrace or physical illness, financial pressure, etc. It doesn’t take very much. So, we do have to appreciate every day that goes by without a major disaster.
Timothy Ferriss (Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers)
So when Jesus comes along and says to us, “Love your enemy,” we instinctively feel how radical it is. He’s not just giving individuals a personal ethic; he is striking at the very foundation of the world! The world was founded on hating enemies, and now Jesus says, “Don’t do it!” When Jesus said, “Turn the other cheek,” he wasn’t just trying to produce kinder, gentler people; he was trying to refound the world! Instead of retaliatory violence; the world is to be refounded on cosuffering love. Jesus understood that the world had built its societal structures upon shared hatred, scapegoating, and what René Girard calls “sacred violence.” In challenging “sacred violence” (which Israel cherished in their war stories), Jesus was challenging the world at its most basic level. We cherish, honor, and salute sacred violence. We have to! We have a dark instinct that we must honor Cain’s war against Abel—and our own wars upon our hated enemies—or our whole system will fall apart. But Jesus testified against it—that those deeds were evil. This is where the tension begins to build. What Jesus called evil are the very things our cultures and societies have honored in countless myths, memorials, and anthems. It was this deep insight into the dark foundations of the world that Jesus possessed and his brothers did not. James and the rest of Jesus’s brothers and disciples could testify against symptomatic evil of greed and immorality, but they could not testify against the systemic evil of hating national enemies. This is why the world hates Jesus in a way it could not hate his brothers. Ultimately, Jesus’s brothers belonged to the same system as Caesar, Herod, and Caiaphas—the system of hating and seeking to kill one’s national or ethnic enemy. Jesus’s call to love our enemies presents us with a problem—a problem that goes well beyond the challenge we find in trying to live out an ethic of enemy love on a personal level. How can a nation exist without hating its enemies? If nations can’t hate and scapegoat their enemies, how can they cohere? If societies can’t project blame onto a hated “other,” how can they keep from turning on themselves? Jesus’s answer is as simple as it is revolutionary: instead of an arrangement around hate and violence, the world is now to be arranged around love and forgiveness. The fear of our enemy and the pain of being wronged is not to be transferred through blame but dispelled through forgiveness.
Brian Zahnd (A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor's Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace)
While it has been clear that right and wrong is nonexistent, I can't say that the concept of 'right or wrong' isn't needed. Because of ignorance, we still need authorities to set up rules and say 'vandalism is wrong, killing is wrong, et cetera.' People ask, "So, vandalism isn't wrong? Killing isn't wrong?" I answer, "Uneducated people say that vandalism is wrong. More educated people say that vandalism destroys the things that many people have spent their lives making. Uneducated people say that killing is wrong. More educated people say that killing takes away the only thing that matters which is lives." The more educated people are, the freer they will be, and the words 'right or wrong' won't be needed anymore. There was a bomb again in Brussels yesterday. I laughed. In the past, we had tyrannies because people didn't know what they could do and what they couldn't do. Now, we have democracy. Do we deserve democracy? Do we deserve freedom? No, we don't deserve freedom. We certainly don't deserve democracy. People are still voting for Donald Trump. And people still bomb other people. And socioeconomic gap is still high. Ignorance is still prevalent, so, if you ask me, "Do we deserve democracy? Do we deserve freedom? Do we deserve the world without authority, the world of truth, the world of peace?" I answer, "No, we don't." So, when you hear your president shouting 'Peace!', your government speaking 'Freedom!', ask them 'Are you educated?' Someone asks, "So, instead of 'right or wrong', you will now set up the rules about what we can do and we can't do?" I answer, "No. When will you understand? I stand for the world without authority, the world of truth, the world of peace. OK, forget the truth, forget my book, forget my paper. Let me expand science for you. You will let your fellow humans who are more educated than you set up the rules for you. When all the people are finally educated, please come back and reread my book and my paper, and when you finally understand them, please live in the world of no authority, the world of truth, the world of peace. Me? I probably have been gone by then." There is, however, a problem with how many educated people there are in the world. In my paper, I prove that right and wrong is nonexistent by showing that everything that exists is not wrong and is not right because everything that exists is the result of the thing(s) that happened before it and everything that exists can’t be right because future doesn’t exist. I wrote that terrorism is caused by capitalism (democracy) and capitalism (democracy) is caused by death. This paper was rejected. When educated people fail, there goes all your hope in the world.
Andreas Laurencius (Genesis)
Patriotism comes from the same Latin word as father. Blind patriotism is collective transference. In it the state becomes a parent and we citizens submit our loyalty to ensure its protection. We may have been encouraged to make that bargain from our public school education, our family home, religion, or culture in general. We associate safety with obedience to authority, for example, going along with government policies. We then make duty, as it is defined by the nation, our unquestioned course. Our motivation is usually not love of country but fear of being without a country that will defend us and our property. Connection is all-important to us; excommunication is the equivalent of death, the finality we can’t dispute. Healthy adult loyalty is a virtue that does not become blind obedience for fear of losing connection, nor total devotion so that we lose our boundaries. Our civil obedience can be so firm that it may take precedence over our concern for those we love, even our children. Here is an example: A young mother is told by the doctor that her toddler is allergic to peanuts and peanut oil. She lets the school know of her son’s allergy when he goes to kindergarten. Throughout his childhood, she is vigilant and makes sure he is safe from peanuts in any form. Eighteen years later, there is a war and he is drafted. The same mother, who was so scrupulously careful about her child’s safety, now waves goodbye to him with a tear but without protest. Mother’s own training in public school and throughout her life has made her believe that her son’s life is expendable whether or not the war in question is just. “Patriotism” is so deeply ingrained in her that she does not even imagine an alternative, even when her son’s life is at stake. It is of course also true that, biologically, parents are ready to let children go just as the state is ready to draft them. What a cunning synchronic-ity. In addition, old men who decide on war take advantage of the timing too. The warrior archetype is lively in eighteen-year-olds, who are willing to fight. Those in their mid-thirties, whose archetype is being a householder and making a mark in their chosen field, will not show an interest in battlefields of blood. The chiefs count on the fact that young braves will take the warrior myth literally rather than as a metaphor for interior battles. They will be willing to put their lives on the line to live out the collective myth of societies that have not found the path of nonviolence. Our collective nature thus seems geared to making war a workable enterprise. In some people, peacemaking is the archetype most in evidence. Nature seems to have made that population smaller, unfortunately. Our culture has trained us to endure and tolerate, not to protest and rebel. Every cell of our bodies learned that lesson. It may not be virtue; it may be fear. We may believe that showing anger is dangerous, because it opposes the authority we are obliged to appease and placate if we are to survive. This explains why we so admire someone who dares to say no and to stand up or even to die for what he believes. That person did not fall prey to the collective seduction. Watching Jeopardy on television, I notice that the audience applauds with special force when a contestant risks everything on a double-jeopardy question. The healthy part of us ardently admires daring. In our positive shadow, our admiration reflects our own disavowed or hidden potential. We, too, have it in us to dare. We can stand up for our truth, putting every comfort on the line, if only we can calm our long-scared ego and open to the part of us that wants to live free. Joseph Campbell says encouragingly, “The part of us that wants to become is fearless.” Religion and Transference Transference is not simply horizontal, from person to person, but vertical from person to a higher power, usually personified as God. When
David Richo (When the Past Is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds That Sabotage Our Relationships)
Say what you will of religion, but draw applicable conclusions and comparisons to reach a consensus. Religion = Reli = Prefix to Relic, or an ancient item. In days of old, items were novel, and they inspired devotion to the divine, and in the divine. Now, items are hypnotizing the masses into submission. Take Christ for example. When he broke bread in the Bible, people actually ate, it was useful to their bodies. Compare that to the politics, governments and corrupt, bumbling bureacrats and lobbyists in the economic recession of today. When they "broke bread", the economy nearly collapsed, and the benefactors thereof were only a select, decadent few. There was no bread to be had, so they asked the people for more! Breaking bread went from meaning sharing food and knowledge and wealth of mind and character, to meaning break the system, being libelous, being unaccountable, and robbing the earth. So they married people's paychecks to the land for high ransoms, rents and mortgages, effectively making any renter or landowner either a slave or a slave master once more. We have higher class toys to play with, and believe we are free. The difference is, the love of profit has the potential, and has nearly already enslaved all, it isn't restriced by culture anymore. Truth is not religion. Governments are religions. Truth does not encourage you to worship things. Governments are for profit. Truth is for progress. Governments are about process. When profit goes before progress, the latter suffers. The truest measurement of the quality of progress, will be its immediate and effective results without the aid of material profit. Quality is meticulous, it leaves no stone unturned, it is thorough and detail oriented. It takes its time, but the results are always worth the investment. Profit is quick, it is ruthless, it is unforgiving, it seeks to be first, but confuses being first with being the best, it is long scale suicidal, it is illusory, it is temporary, it is vastly unfulfilling. It breaks families, and it turns friends. It is single track minded, and small minded as well. Quality, would never do that, my friends. Ironic how dealing and concerning with money, some of those who make the most money, and break other's monies are the most unaccountable. People open bank accounts, over spend, and then expect to be held "unaccountable" for their actions. They even act innocent and unaccountable. But I tell you, everything can and will be counted, and accounted for. Peace can be had, but people must first annhilate the love of items, over their own kind.
Justin Kyle McFarlane Beau
Hey Pete. So why the leave from social media? You are an activist, right? It seems like this decision is counterproductive to your message and work." A: The short answer is I’m tired of the endless narcissism inherent to the medium. In the commercial society we have, coupled with the consequential sense of insecurity people feel, as they impulsively “package themselves” for public consumption, the expression most dominant in all of this - is vanity. And I find that disheartening, annoying and dangerous. It is a form of cultural violence in many respects. However, please note the difference - that I work to promote just that – a message/idea – not myself… and I honestly loath people who today just promote themselves for the sake of themselves. A sea of humans who have been conditioned into viewing who they are – as how they are seen online. Think about that for a moment. Social identity theory run amok. People have been conditioned to think “they are” how “others see them”. We live in an increasing fictional reality where people are now not only people – they are digital symbols. And those symbols become more important as a matter of “marketing” than people’s true personality. Now, one could argue that social perception has always had a communicative symbolism, even before the computer age. But nooooooothing like today. Social media has become a social prison and a strong means of social control, in fact. Beyond that, as most know, social media is literally designed like a drug. And it acts like it as people get more and more addicted to being seen and addicted to molding the way they want the world to view them – no matter how false the image (If there is any word that defines peoples’ behavior here – it is pretention). Dopamine fires upon recognition and, coupled with cell phone culture, we now have a sea of people in zombie like trances looking at their phones (literally) thousands of times a day, merging their direct, true interpersonal social reality with a virtual “social media” one. No one can read anymore... they just swipe a stream of 200 character headlines/posts/tweets. understanding the world as an aggregate of those fragmented sentences. Massive loss of comprehension happening, replaced by usually agreeable, "in-bubble" views - hence an actual loss of variety. So again, this isn’t to say non-commercial focused social media doesn’t have positive purposes, such as with activism at times. But, on the whole, it merely amplifies a general value system disorder of a “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT HOW GREAT I AM!” – rooted in systemic insecurity. People lying to themselves, drawing meaningless satisfaction from superficial responses from a sea of avatars. And it’s no surprise. Market economics demands people self promote shamelessly, coupled with the arbitrary constructs of beauty and success that have also resulted. People see status in certain things and, directly or pathologically, use those things for their own narcissistic advantage. Think of those endless status pics of people rock climbing, or hanging out on a stunning beach or showing off their new trophy girl-friend, etc. It goes on and on and worse the general public generally likes it, seeking to imitate those images/symbols to amplify their own false status. Hence the endless feedback loop of superficiality. And people wonder why youth suicides have risen… a young woman looking at a model of perfection set by her peers, without proper knowledge of the medium, can be made to feel inferior far more dramatically than the typical body image problems associated to traditional advertising. That is just one example of the cultural violence inherent. The entire industry of social media is BASED on narcissistic status promotion and narrow self-interest. That is the emotion/intent that creates the billions and billions in revenue these platforms experience, as they in turn sell off people’s personal data to advertisers and governments. You are the product, of course.
Peter Joseph
You’re the one who didn’t keep his word. And speaking of your word and its dubious worth, don’t change the subject. I saw the looks you and Miss Turner were exchanging. The lady goes bright pink every time you speak to her. For God’s sake, you put food on her plate without even asking.” “And where’s the crime in that?” Gray was genuinely curious to hear the answer. He hadn’t forgotten that shocked look she’d given him. “Come on, Gray. You know very well one doesn’t take such a liberty with a mere acquaintance. It’s…it’s intimate. The two of you are intimate. Don’t deny it.” “I do deny it. It isn’t true.” Gray took another swig from his flask and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Damn it, Joss. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to trust me. I gave you my word. I’ve kept it.” And it was the truth, Gray told himself. Yes, he’d touched her tonight, but he’d never pledged not to touch her. He had kept his word. He hadn’t bedded her. He hadn’t kissed her. God, what he wouldn’t give just to kiss her… He rubbed the heel of his hand against his chest. That same ache lingered there-the same sharp tug he’d felt when she’d brought her foot down on his and pursed her lips into a silent plea. Please, she’d said. Don’t. As if she appealed to his conscience. His conscience. Where would the girl have gathered such a notion, that he possessed a conscience? Certainly not form his treatment of her. A bitter laugh rumbled through his chest, and Joss shot him a skeptical look. “Believe me, I’ve scarcely spoken to the girl in weeks. You can’t know the lengths I’ve gone to, avoiding her. And it isn’t easy, because she won’t stay put in her cabin, now will she? No, she has to go all over the ship, flirting with the crew, tacking her little pictures in every corner of the boat, taking tea in the galley with Gabriel. I can’t help but see her. And I can see she’s too damn thin. She needs to eat; I put food on her plate. There’s nothing more to it than that.” Joss said nothing, just stared at him as though he’d grown a second head. “Damn it, what now? Don’t you believe me?” “I believe what you’re saying,” his brother said slowly. “I just can’t believe what I’m hearing.” Gray folded his arms and leaned against the wall. “And what are you hearing?” “I wondered why you’d done all this…the dinner. Now I know.” “You know what?” Gray was growing exasperated. Most of all, because he didn’t know. “You care for this girl.” Joss cocked his head. “You care for her. Don’t you?” “Care for her.” Joss’s expression was smug. “Don’t you?” The idea was too preposterous to entertain, but Gray perked with inspiration. “Say I did care for her. Would you release me from that promise? If my answer is yes, can I pursue her?” Joss shook his head. “If the answer is yes, you can-and should-wait one more week. It’s not as though she’ll vanish the moment we make harbor. If the answer is yes, you’ll agree she deserves that much.” Wrong, Gray thought, sinking back into a chair.
Tessa Dare (Surrender of a Siren (The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy, #2))
Christianity . . . does not [simply] stand in the history that we only know and which knowledge we take to ourselves so that we say “Christ died for us and has broken death in us and made it into life. He has paid the debt for us. We need only to comfort ourselves with this and firmly believe that it has happened.” Since we in ourselves find that sin in the flesh is living, desirous and active, that it might work, the new birth out of Christ must be something else that does not work along with the sinful flesh and that does not will sin. . . . Here a Christian is to consider why he calls himself a Christian and is truly to consider whether he is one. Because I may learn to know and understand that I am a sinner, and that Christ has killed my sins on the cross and shed His blood for me, this in no way makes a Christian out of me. The inheritance is only for the children. A maid in the house knows well what the wife would eagerly have. This does not therefore make her an inheritor of the wife’s goods. The devil also knows that there is a God [James 2:19]. That does not therefore make him an angel again. However, if the maid in the household marries the wife’s son, then she can truly come to the inheritance of the wife’s goods. . . . The scorner and the titular Christian is the whore’s son, who must be cast out for he is not to inherit Christ’s inheritance in the kingdom of God (Galatians 4:30). He is no use, and only Babel, a confusion of the one language into many languages. He is only a talker and arguer about the inheritance and wishes to talk and argue to it with his mouth-hypocrisy and appearance of holiness, but he is only a blood-thirsty murderer of Abel his brother who is the true heir. . . . If one says, “I have the will and wish eagerly to do good, but I have earthly flesh that holds me [back] so that I cannot [act]; nevertheless, I shall be blessed by grace because of the merit of Christ. Since I console myself indeed with His suffering and merit, He will take me out of grace, without any merit of mine, and forgive me my sins,” he acts like one who knows of good food for his health and does not eat it, but who eats instead the poison from which he becomes ill and dies. What does it help the soul if it knows the way to God and does not wish to take it, but goes instead on a way of error, and does not reach God? What does it help the soul if it consoles itself with the sonship of Christ, [with] His suffering and death, and is itself hypocritical, but cannot enter into the childlike birth so that it is born a true child out of Christ’s Spirit, out of His suffering, death and resurrection? Certainly and truly, this tickling and hypocrisy about Christ’s merits aside from the true inherited sonship is false and a lie, [regardless of] who teaches. This consolation belongs to the repentant sinner who is in strife with sin and God’s wrath when the temptations come that the devil sets on the soul. Then the soul is to wrap itself completely in the suffering and death of Christ in His merit. [The Way to Christ, trans. Peter Erb, 138-139, 156-158]
Jakob Böhme
Ah yes, the people concerned. That is very important. You remember, perhaps, who they were?’ Depleach considered. ‘Let me see-it’s a long time ago. There were only five people who were really in it, so to speak-I’m not counting the servants-a couple of faithful old things, scared-looking creatures-they didn’t know anything about anything. No one could suspect them.’ ‘There are five people, you say. Tell me about them.’ ‘Well, there was Philip Blake. He was Crale’s greatest friend-had known him all his life. He was staying in the house at the time.He’s alive. I see him now and again on the links. Lives at St George’s Hill. Stockbroker. Plays the markets and gets away with it. Successful man, running to fat a bit.’ ‘Yes. And who next?’ ‘Then there was Blake’s elder brother. Country squire-stay at home sort of chap.’ A jingle ran through Poirot’s head. He repressed it. He mustnot always be thinking of nursery rhymes. It seemed an obsession with him lately. And yet the jingle persisted. ‘This little pig went to market, this little pig stayed at home…’ He murmured: ‘He stayed at home-yes?’ ‘He’s the fellow I was telling you about-messed about with drugs-and herbs-bit of a chemist. His hobby. What was his name now? Literary sort of name-I’ve got it. Meredith. Meredith Blake. Don’t know whether he’s alive or not.’ ‘And who next?’ ‘Next? Well, there’s the cause of all the trouble. The girl in the case. Elsa Greer.’ ‘This little pig ate roast beef,’ murmured Poirot. Depleach stared at him. ‘They’ve fed her meat all right,’ he said. ‘She’s been a go-getter. She’s had three husbands since then. In and out of the divorce court as easy as you please. And every time she makes a change, it’s for the better. Lady Dittisham-that’s who she is now. Open anyTatler and you’re sure to find her.’ ‘And the other two?’ ‘There was the governess woman. I don’t remember her name. Nice capable woman. Thompson-Jones-something like that. And there was the child. Caroline Crale’s half-sister. She must have been about fifteen. She’s made rather a name for herself. Digs up things and goes trekking to the back of beyond. Warren-that’s her name. Angela Warren. Rather an alarming young woman nowadays. I met her the other day.’ ‘She is not, then, the little pig who cried Wee Wee Wee…?’ Sir Montague Depleach looked at him rather oddly. He said drily: ‘She’s had something to cry Wee-Wee about in her life! She’s disfigured, you know. Got a bad scar down one side of her face. She-Oh well, you’ll hear all about it, I dare say.’ Poirot stood up. He said: ‘I thank you. You have been very kind. If Mrs Crale didnot kill her husband-’ Depleach interrupted him: ‘But she did, old boy, she did. Take my word for it.’ Poirot continued without taking any notice of the interruption. ‘Then it seems logical to suppose that one of these five people must have done so.’ ‘One of themcould have done it, I suppose,’ said Depleach, doubtfully. ‘But I don’t see why any of themshould. No reason at all! In fact, I’m quite sure none of themdid do it. Do get this bee out of your bonnet, old boy!’ But Hercule Poirot only smiled and shook his head.
Agatha Christie (Five Little Pigs (Hercule Poirot, #25))
O, Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who turn to you. Amen. . When we meet someone and fall in love, we have a sense that the whole universe is on our side. I saw this happen today as the sun went down. And yet if something goes wrong, there is nothing left! No herons, no distant music, not even the taste of his lips. How is it possible for the beauty that was there only minutes before to vanish so quickly? . Life moves very fast. It rushes us from heaven to hell in a matter of seconds. . I smile and say nothing, . If I must be faithful to someone or something, then I have, first of all, to be faithful to myself. . Everything is an illusion - and that applies to material as well as spiritual things. . She had spent a lot of her life saying 'no' to things to which she would have liked to say 'yes', . My dear, it's better to be unhappy with a rich man than happy with a poor man, and over there you'll have far more chance of becoming an unhappy rich woman. . Love isn't that important. I didn't love your father at first, but money buys everything, even true love. . Hail Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who turn to you. Amen. . She would never find what she was looking for if she couldn't express herself. . At the moment, I'm far too lonely to think about love, but I have to believe that it will happen, that I will find a job and that I am here because I chose this fate. . Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant. . A writer once said that it is not time that changes man, nor knowledge; the only thing that can change someone's mind is love. What nonsense! The person who wrote that clearly knew only one side of the coin. Love was undoubtedly one of the things capable of changing a person's whole life, from one moment to the next. . Again, she seemed like a stranger to herself. . I let fate choose which route I should take. . Some people were born to face life alone, and this is neither good nor bad, it is simply life. . I'm not a body with a soul, I'm a soul that has a visible part called the body. . She was doing it because she had nothing to lose, because her life was one of constant, day-to-day frustration. . Human beings can withstand a week without water, two weeks without food, many years of homelessness, but not loneliness. It is the worst of all tortures, the worst of all sufferings. . We are each of us responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel. . No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. . However tempted she was to continue, however prepared she was for the challenges she had met on her path, all these months living alone with herself had taught her that there is always a right moment to stop something. . He knew everything about her, although she knew nothing about him. . She had opened a door which she didn't know how to close. . Our experiences have been entirely different, but we are both desperate people. . Free yourself from something that cost your heart even more. . One moment, you have nothing, the next, you have more than you can cope with. . Does a soldier go to war in order to kill the enemy? No, he goes in order to die for his country. . What the eyes don't see, the heart doesn't grieve over. . Because we don't want to forget who we are - nor can we. . This was simply a place where people gathered to worship something they could not understand.
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
to be open and straightforward about their needs for attention in a social setting. It is equally rare for members of a group in American culture to honestly and openly express needs that might be in conflict with that individual’s needs. This value of not just honestly but also openly fully revealing the true feelings and needs present in the group is vital for it’s members to feel emotional safe. It is also vital to keeping the group energy up and for giving the feedback that allows it’s members to know themselves, where they stand in relation to others and for spiritual/psychological growth. Usually group members will simply not object to an individual’s request to take the floor—but then act out in a passive-aggressive manner, by making noise or jokes, or looking at their watches. Sometimes they will take the even more violent and insidious action of going brain-dead while pasting a jack-o’-lantern smile on their faces. Often when someone asks to read something or play a song in a social setting, the response is a polite, lifeless “That would be nice.” In this case, N.I.C.E. means “No Integrity or Congruence Expressed” or “Not Into Communicating Emotion.” So while the sharer is exposing his or her vulnerable creation, others are talking, whispering to each other, or sitting looking like they are waiting for the dental assistant to tell them to come on back. No wonder it’s so scary to ask for people’s attention. In “nice” cultures, you are probably not going to get a straight, open answer. People let themselves be oppressed by someone’s request—and then blame that someone for not being psychic enough to know that “Yes” meant “No.” When were we ever taught to negotiate our needs in relation to a group of people? In a classroom? Never! The teacher is expected to take all the responsibility for controlling who gets heard, about what, and for how long. There is no real opportunity to learn how to nonviolently negotiate for the floor. The only way I was able to pirate away a little of the group’s attention in the school I attended was through adolescent antics like making myself fart to get a few giggles, or asking the teacher questions like, “Why do they call them hemorrhoids and not asteroids?” or “If a number two pencil is so popular, why is it still number two,” or “What is another word for thesaurus?” Some educational psychologists say that western culture schools are designed to socialize children into what is really a caste system disguised as a democracy. And in once sense it is probably good preparation for the lack of true democratic dynamics in our culture’s daily living. I can remember several bosses in my past reminding me “This is not a democracy, this is a job.” I remember many experiences in social groups, church groups, and volunteer organizations in which the person with the loudest voice, most shaming language, or outstanding skills for guilting others, controlled the direction of the group. Other times the pain and chaos of the group discussion becomes so great that people start begging for a tyrant to take charge. Many times people become so frustrated, confused and anxious that they would prefer the order that oppression brings to the struggle that goes on in groups without “democracy skills.” I have much different experiences in groups I work with in Europe and in certain intentional communities such as the Lost Valley Educational Center in Eugene, Oregon, where the majority of people have learned “democracy skills.” I can not remember one job, school, church group, volunteer organization or town meeting in mainstream America where “democracy skills” were taught or practiced.
Kelly Bryson (Don't Be Nice, Be Real)