Harm No One Quotes

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Technically, I am unarmed. But no one should ever underestimate the harm that fingernails can do. Especially if the target is unprepared.
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
In love, no one can harm anyone else; we are each of us responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel. It hurt when I lost each of the various men I fell in love with. Now, though, I am convinced that no one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.
Paulo Coelho
Some people—and I am one of them—hate happy ends. We feel cheated. Harm is the norm. Doom should not jam. The avalanche stopping in its tracks a few feet above the cowering village behaves not only unnaturally but unethically.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pnin)
The desire to annoy no one, to harm no one, can equally well be the sign of a just as of an anxious disposition.
Friedrich Nietzsche
In love, no one can harm anyone else; we are each responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel.
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives. I’m not talking about the short-term gratification of pleasures like sex, drugs or gambling (though I’m not knocking them), but something that will bring true and lasting happiness. The kind that sticks.
Dalai Lama XIV
One more thing,” Ash said in his dangerous, soft voice as we turned away. “If you do not return with her,” Ash continued, staring him down, “if she comes to any harm while she is with you, I will turn this entire camp into a bloodbath. That is my promise, lieutenant.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, #3))
If someone can prove me wrong and show me my mistake in any thought or action, I shall gladly change. I seek the truth, which never harmed anyone: the harm is to persist in one's own self-deception and ignorance.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
We cannot protect the young from harm. Pain must and will come.
Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8))
Do as you will, but harm no one. What you give will be returned to you threefold. Fall in love whenever you can.
Alice Hoffman (The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic, #0.2))
No one is to be called an enemy, all are your benefactors, and no one does you harm. You have no enemy except yourselves.
Francis of Assisi
I used to think that finding the right one was about the man having a list of certain qualities. If he has them, we'd be compatible and happy. Sort of a checkmark system that was a complete failure. But I found out that a healthy relationship isn't so much about sense of humor or intelligence or attractive. It's about avoiding partners with harmful traits and personality types. And then it's about being with a good person. A good person on his own, and a good person with you. Where the space between you feels uncomplicated and happy. A good relationship is where things just work. They work because, whatever the list of qualities, whatever the reason, you happen to be really, really good together.
Deb Caletti (The Secret Life of Prince Charming)
Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.
John Locke (Second Treatise of Government)
I place this day, my life, my loved ones, my work in the Lord's hands. There is no harm in the Lord's hands, only good. Whatever happens, whatever results, if I am in the Lord's hands it is the Lord's will and it is good.
Norman Vincent Peale (The Power of Positive Thinking)
For me, the most ironic token of [the first human moon landing] is the plaque signed by President Richard M. Nixon that Apollo 11 took to the moon. It reads: "We came in peace for all Mankind." As the United States was dropping 7 ½ megatons of conventional explosives on small nations in Southeast Asia, we congratulated ourselves on our humanity. We would harm no one on a lifeless rock.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
It is curious that while good people go to great lengths to spare their children from suffering, few of them seem to notice that the one (and only) guaranteed way to prevent all the suffering of their children is not to bring those children into existence in the first place.
David Benatar (Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence)
Aye, well, he'll be wed a long time," he said callously. "Do him no harm to keep his breeches on for one night. And they do say that abstinence makes the heart grow firmer, no?" "Absence," I said, dodging the spoon for a moment. "AND fonder. If anything's growing firmer from abstinence, it wouldn't be his heart.
Diana Gabaldon (Voyager (Outlander, #3))
Four. That’s the number of people who saw me hiding around the corner from my own apartment in just a skirt and a bra. Eleven. That’s the number of ant bites I got on my shoeless feet. Twenty-seven. That’s the number of times I was tempted to do myself physical harm because I am an IDIOT. One. That’s the number of times I tried not to cry, but failed.
Cora Carmack (Losing It (Losing It, #1))
I think there must be probably different types of suicides. I'm not one of the self-hating ones. The type of like "I'm shit and the world'd be better off without poor me" type that says that but also imagines what everybody'll say at their funeral. I've met types like that on wards. Poor-me-I-hate-me-punish-me-come-to-my-funeral. Then they show you a 20 X 25 glossy of their dead cat. It's all self-pity bullshit. It's bullshit. I didn't have any special grudges. I didn't fail an exam or get dumped by anybody. All these types. Hurt themselves. I didn't want to especially hurt myself. Or like punish. I don't hate myself. I just wanted out. I didn't want to play anymore is all. I wanted to just stop being conscious. I'm a whole different type. I wanted to stop feeling this way. If I could have just put myself in a really long coma I would have done that. Or given myself shock I would have done that. Instead.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Passion is bright and warm... But passion has a dark side too. It links with fear. Our hearts fill with terror at the thought of harm coming to our loved ones, don't they?
Marie Lu (The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1))
MATTHEW'S RULES OF SURVIVAL 1. Sometimes, the people who mean you harm are the ones who say they love you. 2. Fear is your friend. When you feel it, act. 3. Protect the little ones. 4. If you coped before, you can cope now. 5. Always remember: In the end, the survivor gets to tell the story.
Nancy Werlin (The Rules of Survival)
No one and nothing can harm us, child, except what we fear and love.
Sigrid Undset (The Wreath (Kristin Lavransdatter #1))
Bad people...are in conflict with themselves; they desire one thing and will another, like the incontinent who choose harmful pleasures instead of what they themselves believe to be good.
Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics)
One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient. In fact, a man convinced of his virtue even in the midst of his vice is the worst kind of man.
Charles M. Blow
The blade sings to me. Faintly, so soft against my ears, its voice calms my worries and tells me that one touch will take it all away. It tells me that I just need to slide a long horizontal cut, and make a clean slice. It tells me the words that I have been begging to hear: this will make it ok.
Amanda Steele (The Cliff)
When I hold you in my arms and I feel my finger on your trigger I know no one can do me no harm because happiness is a warm gun.
John Lennon
Can you cite one speck of hard evidence of the benefits of "diversity" that we have heard gushed about for years? Evidence of its harm can be seen — written in blood — from Iraq to India, from Serbia to Sudan, from Fiji to the Philippines. It is scary how easily so many people can be brainwashed by sheer repetition of a word.
Thomas Sowell
You can never escape me. Bullets don't harm me. Nothing harms me. But I know pain. I KNOW pain. Sometimes I share it. With someone like you.
Frank Miller (Batman: Year One)
One ought to be afraid of nothing other then things possessed of power to do us harm, but things innoucuous need not be feared.
Dante Alighieri (Inferno)
I used to shrink at harsh tones, used to be afraid. Until I learned it takes nothing to be hostile. Nothing. It is easy to be the one yelling, chucking words that burn like coals, neon red, meant to harm. I have learned I am water. The coals sizzle, extinguishing when they reach me. I see how, those fiery coals are just black stones, sinking to the bottom.
Chanel Miller (Know My Name)
I don't want to prove anything; I merely want to live, to do no one harm but myself. I have the right to do that, haven't I?
Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)
One doesn’t become a witch to run around being harmful, or to run around being helpful either, a district visitor on a broomstick. It’s to escape all that - to have a life of one’s own, not an existence doled out to by others.
Sylvia Townsend Warner (Lolly Willowes)
The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practise compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone's back - not even seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouth do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space, and they will come back to us in due time. One man's pain will hurt us all. One man's joy will make everyone smile.
Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)
It's come at last," she thought, "the time when you can no longer stand between your children and heartache. When there wasn't enough food in the house you pretended that you weren't hungry so they could have more. In the cold of a winter's night you got up and put your blanket on their bed so they wouldn't be cold. You'd kill anyone who tried to harm them - I tried my best to kill that man in the hallway. Then one sunny day, they walk out in all innocence and they walk right into the grief that you'd give your life to spare them from.
Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
But the fucked-up part is once you start self-harming, you can never not be a creepy freak, because your whole body is now a scarred and charred battlefield and nobody likes that on a girl, nobody will love that, and so all of us, every one, is screwed, inside and out. Wash, rinse, fucking repeat.
Kathleen Glasgow (Girl in Pieces)
A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.
Abraham Joshua Heschel
One could only damage oneself through the harm one did to others. One could never get directly at oneself.
Jean-Paul Sartre
Know the ways of the ones who take care of you, so that you may take care of them. Introduce yourself. Be accountable as the one who comes asking for life. Ask permission before taking. Abide by the answer. Never take the first. Never take the last. Take only what you need. Take only that which is given. Never take more than half. Leave some for others. Harvest in a way that minimizes harm. Use it respectfully. Never waste what you have taken. Share. Give thanks for what you have been given. Give a gift, in reciprocity for what you have taken. Sustain the ones who sustain you and the earth will last forever.
Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants)
Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere globs of gas atoms. I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination - stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one - million - year - old light. A vast pattern - of which I am a part... What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?
Richard P. Feynman
DUMBLEDORE: You ask me, of all people, how to protect a boy in terrible danger? We cannot protect the young from harm. Pain must and will come. HARRY: So I’m supposed to stand and watch? DUMBLEDORE: No. You’re supposed to teach him how to meet life.
Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8))
The scars you can't see are the ones that hurt the most.
Michelle Hodkin (The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions, #1))
That's when I wanted to cut. I cut to quiet the cacophony. I cut to end this abstracted agony, to reel my selves back to one present and physical whole, whose blood was the proof of her tangibility.
Caroline Kettlewell (Skin Game)
Maybe from as early as when you're five or six, there's been a whisper going at the back of your head, saying: “One day, maybe not so long from now, you'll get to know how it feels.” So you're waiting, even if you don't quite know it, waiting for the moment when you realise that you really are different to them; that there are people out there, like Madame, who don't hate you or wish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you – of how you were brought into this world and why – and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs. The first time you glimpse yourself through the eyes of a person like that, it's a cold moment. It's like walking past a mirror you've walked past every day of your life, and suddenly it shows you something else, something troubling and strange.
Kazuo Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go)
One of the few things in life that cannot possibly do harm in the end is the honest pursuit of the truth.
Peter Kreeft (Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics)
In any new situation, whether it involves an elevator or a rocket ship, you will almost certainly be viewed in one of three ways. As a minus one: actively harmful, someone who creates problems. Or as a zero: your impact is neutral and doesn't tip the balance one way or the other. Or you'll be seen as a plus one: someone who actively adds value. Everyone wants to be a plus one, of course. But proclaiming your plus-oneness at the outset almost guarantees you'll be perceived as a minus one, regardless of the skills you bring to the table or how you actually perform.
Chris Hadfield (An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth)
When the black thing was at its worst, when the illicit cocktails and the ten-mile runs stopped working, I would feel numb as if dead to the world. I moved unconsciously, with heavy limbs, like a zombie from a horror film. I felt a pain so fierce and persistent deep inside me, I was tempted to take the chopping knife in the kitchen and cut the black thing out I would lie on my bed staring at the ceiling thinking about that knife and using all my limited powers of self-control to stop myself from going downstairs to get it.
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
Phaedra shook her head. “If your people mean no offense, they should not speak their thoughts out loud in front of their children, Tesadora. Because it will be their children who come to slaughter us one day, all because of careless words passed down by their elders who meant no harm.
Melina Marchetta (Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2))
Violence harms the one who does it as much as the one who receives it. You could cut down a tree with an axe. The axe does violence to the tree, and escapes unharmed. Is that how you see it? Wood is soft compared to steel, but the sharp steel is dulled as it chops, and the sap of the tree will rust and pit it. The mighty axe does violence to the helpless tree, and is harmed by it. So it is with men, though the harm is in the spirit.
Robert Jordan (The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1))
Since every country stands in numerous and various relations with the other countries of the world, and many, our own among the number, exercise actual authority over some of these, a knowledge of the established rules of international morality is essential to the duty of every nation, and therefore of every person in it who helps to make up the nation, and whose voice and feeling form a part of what is called public opinion. Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject. It depends on the habit of attending to and looking into public transactions, and on the degree of information and solid judgment respecting them that exists in the community, whether the conduct of the nation as a nation, both within itself and towards others, shall be selfish, corrupt, and tyrannical, or rational and enlightened, just and noble.
John Stuart Mill (Inaugural Address Delivered to the University of St Andrews, 2/1/1867 (Collected Works))
Simon: You're in a dangerous line of work, Jayne. Odds are you'll be under my knife again, often. So I want you to understand one thing very clearly: No matter what you do or say or plot, no matter how you come down on us, I will never, ever harm you. You're on this table, you're safe... 'cause I'm your medic. And however little we may like or trust each other, we're on the same crew. Got the same troubles, same enemies, and more than enough of both. Now, we could circle each other and growl, sleep with one eye open, but that thought wearies me. I don't care what you've done, I don't know what you're planning on doing, but I'm trusting you. I think you should do the same. 'Cause I don't see this working any other way. River: Also, I can kill you with my brain.
Ben Edlund
[...] I grew up out of that strange, dreamy childhood of mine and went into the world of reality. I met with experiences that bruised my spirit - but they never harmed my ideal world. That was always mine to retreat into at will. I learned that that world and the real world clashed hopelessly and irreconcilably; and I learned to keep them apart so that the former might remain for me unspoiled. I learned to meet other people on their own ground since there seemed to be no meeting place on mine. I learned to hide the thoughts and dreams and fancies that had no place in the strife and clash of the market place. I found that it was useless to look for kindred souls in the multitude; one might stumble on such here and there, but as a rule it seemed to me that the majority of people lived for the things of time and sense alone and could not understand my other life. So I piped and danced to other people's piping - and held fast to my own soul as best I could.
L.M. Montgomery (My Dear Mr. M: Letters to G.B. Macmillan from L.M. Montgomery)
That's what so many people didn't understand about life. The real world is the one within the walls of homes; the outside world, of careers and politics and money and fame, that was the fake world, where nothing lasted, and things were real only to the extent they harmed or helped people inside their homes.
Orson Scott Card (Hidden Empire (Empire, #2))
I measure every Grief I meet With narrow, probing, Eyes; I wonder if It weighs like Mine, Or has an Easier size. I wonder if They bore it long, Or did it just begin? I could not tell the Date of Mine, It feels so old a pain. I wonder if it hurts to live, And if They have to try, And whether, could They choose between, It would not be, to die. I note that Some -- gone patient long -- At length, renew their smile. An imitation of a Light That has so little Oil. I wonder if when Years have piled, Some Thousands -- on the Harm Of early hurt -- if such a lapse Could give them any Balm; Or would they go on aching still Through Centuries above, Enlightened to a larger Pain By Contrast with the Love. The Grieved are many, I am told; The reason deeper lies, -- Death is but one and comes but once, And only nails the eyes. There's Grief of Want and Grief of Cold, -- A sort they call "Despair"; There's Banishment from native Eyes, In sight of Native Air. And though I may not guess the kind Correctly, yet to me A piercing Comfort it affords In passing Calvary, To note the fashions of the Cross, And how they're mostly worn, Still fascinated to presume That Some are like My Own.
Emily Dickinson (I'm Nobody! Who Are You? (Scholastic Classics))
Here is your flaw, Shaitan, Lord of the Dark, Lord of Envy, Lord of Nothing, here is why you fail. It was not about me. It’s never been about me.” It was about a woman, torn and beaten down, cast from her throne and made a puppet. A woman who had crawled when she had to. That woman still fought. It was about a man that love repeatedly forsook. A man who found relevance in a world that others would have let pass them by. A man who remembered stories and who took fool boys under his wing when the smarter move would have been to keep on walking. That man still fought. It was about a woman with a secret, a hope for the future. A woman who had hunted the truth before others could. A woman who had given her live, then had it returned. That woman still fought. It was about a man whose family was taken from him, but who stood tall in his sorrow and protected those he could. It was about a woman who refused to believe that she could not help, could not heal those who had been harmed. It was about a hero who insisted with every breath that he was anything but a hero. It was about a woman who would not bend her back while she was beaten, and who shown with a light for all who watched, including Rand. It was about them all. ~Rand al Thor
Robert Jordan (A Memory of Light (The Wheel of Time, #14))
You don't know me; you never knew my heart. No man knows my history. I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it. I don't blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I would not have believed it myself. I never did harm any man since I was born in the world. My voice is always for peace.
Joseph Smith Jr.
one of my favorites: Robby gave her a skeptical look. "Ye're an angel of death. No offense, but I would call that a wee bit of harm." "We're called Deliverers, actually. And we're not supposed to take someone before their time." "How does that work?" Gregori lifted his camera, focusing on her. "I mean do you just go down a line, saying, 'Eenie meenie mynie moe, sorry, dude you gotta go'?
Kerrelyn Sparks (Vampire Mine (Love at Stake, #10))
But then why is it so terrible for me to be with the girl I love? Everyone one is permitted to have what they want, express their love as they please, without fear of harassment, ostracism, persecution, or even the law. Even emotionally abusive, adulterous relationships are often tolerated, despite the harm they cause others. In our progressive, permissive society, all these harmful, unhealthy types of "love" are allowed--but not ours.
Tabitha Suzuma (Forbidden)
No changing of place at a hundred miles an hour will make us one whit stronger, or happier, or wiser. There was always more in the world than man could see, walked they ever so slowly; they will see it no better for going fast. The really precious things are thought and sight, not pace. It does a bullet no good to go fast; and a man, if he be truly a man, no harm to go slow; for his glory is not at all in going, but in being.
John Ruskin (Modern Painters: Volume 3. Of Many Things)
If a man crosses a river and an empty boat collides with his own skiff, Even though he be bad tempered man He will not become very angry. But if he sees a man in the boat, He will shout at him to steer clear. If the shout is not heard, he will shout again, and yet again, and begin cursing. And all because someone is in the boat. Yet if the boat were empty, He would not be shouting, and not angry. If you can empty your own boat Crossing the river of the world, No one will oppose you, No one will seek to harm you
Zhuangzi
His mind was freshly inclined toward sorrow; toward the fact that the world was full of sorrow; that everyone labored under some burden of sorrow; that all were suffering; that whatever way one took in this world, one must try to remember that all were suffering (none content; all wronged, neglected, overlooked, misunderstood), and therefore one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact; that his current state of sorrow was not uniquely his, not at all, but, rather, its like had been felt, would be felt, by scores of others, in all times, in every time, and must not be prolonged or exaggerated, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone and, given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help, or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
We see that substance addictions are only one specific form of blind attachment to harmful ways of being, yet we condemn the addict's stubborn refusal to give up something deleterious to his life or to the life of others. Why do we despise, ostracize and punish the drug addict, when as a social collective, we share the same blindness and engage in the same rationalizations?
Gabor Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
Oh God just look at me now... one night opens words and utters pain... I cannot begin to explain to you... this... I am not here. This is not happening. Oh wait, it is, isn't it? I am a ghost. I am not here, not really. You see skin and cuts and frailty...these are symptoms, you known, of a ghost. An unclear image with unclear thoughts whispering vague things... If I told you what was really in my head, you''d never let me leave this place. And I have no desire to spend time in hell while I'm still, in theory, alive.
Emily Andrews (The Finer Points of Becoming Machine (Cutting Edge))
Creating new people, by having babies, is so much a part of human life that it is rarely thought even to require a justification. Indeed, most people do not even think about whether they should or should not make a baby. They just make one. In other words, procreation is usually the consequence of sex rather than the result of a decision to bring people into existence. Those who do indeed decide to have a child might do so for any number of reasons, but among these reasons cannot be the interests of the potential child. One can never have a child for that child’s sake.
David Benatar (Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence)
Why must I cling to the customs and practices of a particular country forever, just because I happened to be born there? What does it matter if its distinctiveness is lost? Need we be so attached to it? What's the harm if everyone on earth shares the same thoughts and feelings, if they stand under a single banner of laws and regulations? What if we can't be recognized as Indians any more? Where's the harm in that? No one can object if we declare ourselves to be citizens of the world. Is that any less glorious?
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay
Maybe that's why superheroes wore capes. Maybe they weren't capes at all, but safety blankets, like the one Aru kept at the bottom of her bed and pulled up under her chin before she went to sleep. Maybe superheroes just tied their blankies around their necks so they'd have a little bit of comfort wherever they went. Because honestly? Saving the world was scary. No harm admitting that.
Roshani Chokshi (Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava, #1))
Wild animals run from the dangers they actually see, and once they have escaped them worry no more. We however are tormented alike by what is past and what is to come. A number of our blessings do us harm, for memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confines his unhappiness to the present.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Van Houten, I’m a good person but a shitty writer. You’re a shitty person but a good writer. We’d make a good team. I don’t want to ask you any favors, but if you have time – and from what I saw, you have plenty – I was wondering if you could write a eulogy for Hazel. I’ve got notes and everything, but if you could just make it into a coherent whole or whatever? Or even just tell me what I should say differently. Here’s the thing about Hazel: Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting death. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That’s what bothers me most, is being another unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease. I want to leave a mark. But Van Houten: The marks humans leave are too often scars. You build a hideous minimall or start a coup or try to become a rock star and you think, “They’ll remember me now,” but (a) they don’t remember you, and (b) all you leave behind are more scars. Your coup becomes a dictatorship. Your minimall becomes a lesion. (Okay, maybe I’m not such a shitty writer. But I can’t pull my ideas together, Van Houten. My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.) We are like a bunch of dogs squirting on fire hydrants. We poison the groundwater with our toxic piss, marking everything MINE in a ridiculous attempt to survive our deaths. I can’t stop pissing on fire hydrants. I know it’s silly and useless – epically useless in my current state – but I am an animal like any other. Hazel is different. She walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the earth. Hazel knows the truth: We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either. People will say it’s sad that she leaves a lesser scar, that fewer remember her, that she was loved deeply but not widely. But it’s not sad, Van Houten. It’s triumphant. It’s heroic. Isn’t that the real heroism? Like the doctors say: First, do no harm. The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention. The guy who invented the smallpox vaccine didn’t actually invented anything. He just noticed that people with cowpox didn’t get smallpox. After my PET scan lit up, I snuck into the ICU and saw her while she was unconscious. I just walked in behind a nurse with a badge and I got to sit next to her for like ten minutes before I got caught. I really thought she was going to die, too. It was brutal: the incessant mechanized haranguing of intensive care. She had this dark cancer water dripping out of her chest. Eyes closed. Intubated. But her hand was still her hand, still warm and the nails painted this almost black dark blue and I just held her hand and tried to imagine the world without us and for about one second I was a good enough person to hope she died so she would never know that I was going, too. But then I wanted more time so we could fall in love. I got my wish, I suppose. I left my scar. A nurse guy came in and told me I had to leave, that visitors weren’t allowed, and I asked if she was doing okay, and the guy said, “She’s still taking on water.” A desert blessing, an ocean curse. What else? She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you: You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
I can prove at any time that my education tried to make another person out of me than the one I became. It is for the harm, therefore, that my educators could have done me in accordance with their intentions that I reproach them; I demand from their hands the person I now am, and since they cannot give him to me, I make of my reproach and laughter a drumbeat sounding in the world beyond.
Franz Kafka
The trouble with most forms of transport, he thought, is basically one of them not being worth all the bother. On Earth — when there had been an Earth, before it was demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass — the problem had been with cars. The disadvantages involved in pulling lots of black sticky slime from out of the ground where it had been safely hidden out of harm's way, turning it into tar to cover the land with, smoke to fill the air with and pouring the rest into the sea, all seemed to outweigh the advantages of being able to get more quickly from one place to another — particularly when the place you arrived at had probably become, as a result of this, very similar to the place you had left, i.e. covered with tar, full of smoke and short of fish.
Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2))
The one thing I can tell you is that you wont survive for yourself. I know because I would never have come this far. A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together some passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with words of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and shield it from harm with your body. As for me my only hope is for eternal nothingness and I hope it with all my heart.
Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
Being cut off from our own natural self-compassion is one of the greatest impairments we can suffer. Along with our ability to feel our own pain go our best hopes for healing, dignity and love. What seems nonadapative and self-harming in the present was, at some point in our lives, an adaptation to help us endure what we then had to go through. If people are addicted to self-soothing behaviours, it's only because in their formative years they did not receive the soothing they needed. Such understanding helps delete toxic self-judgment on the past and supports responsibility for the now. Hence the need for compassionate self-inquiry.
Gabor Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our actions. The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed.
Epictetus (Enchiridion and Selections from the Discourses)
I like places like this," he announced. I like old places too," Josh said, "but what's to like about a place like this?" The king spread his arms wide. "What do you see?" Josh made a face. "Junk. Rusted tractor, broken plow, old bike." Ahh...but I see a tractor that was once used to till these fields. I see the plow it once pulled. I see a bicycle carefully placed out of harm's way under a table." Josh slowly turned again, looking at the items once more. And i see these things and I wonder at the life of the person who carefully stored the precious tractor and plow in the barn out of the weather, and placed their bike under a homemade table." Why do you wonder?" Josh asked. "Why is it even important?" Because someone has to remember," Gilgamesh snapped, suddenly irritated. "Some one has to remember the human who rode the bike and drove the tractor, the person who tilled the fields, who was born and lived and died, who loved and laughed and cried, the person who shivered in the cold and sweated in the sun." He walked around the barn again, touching each item, until his palm were red with rust." It is only when no one remembers, that you are truely lost. That is the true death.
Michael Scott (The Sorceress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #3))
Now even if I die, no one will be so grieved as to do himself bodily harm. No [...] I know just how much sadness my death will cause you. Undoubtedly you will weep when you learn the news--apart, of course, from such ornamental sentimentality as you may indulge in--but if you will please try to think of my joy at being liberated completely from the suffering of living and this hateful life itself, I believe that your sorrow will gradually dissolve.
Osamu Dazai (The Setting Sun (New Directions Book))
I thought I saw how stories of this kind could steal past a certain inhibition which had paralysed much of my own religion in childhood. Why did one find it so hard to feel as one was told one ought to feel about God or the sufferings of Christ? I thought the chief reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze feelings. And reverence itself did harm. The whole subject was associated with lowered voices; almost as if it were something medical. But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday School associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency? Could one not thus steal past those watchful dragons? I thought one could.
C.S. Lewis
THE MAXIMS OF MEDICINE Before you examine the body of a patient, Be patient to learn his story. For once you learn his story, You will also come to know His body. Before you diagnose any sickness, Make sure there is no sickness in the mind or heart. For the emotions in a man’s moon or sun, Can point to the sickness in Any one of his other parts. Before you treat a man with a condition, Know that not all cures can heal all people. For the chemistry that works on one patient, May not work for the next, Because even medicine has its own Conditions. Before asserting a prognosis on any patient, Always be objective and never subjective. For telling a man that he will win the treasure of life, But then later discovering that he will lose, Will harm him more than by telling him That he may lose, But then he wins. THE MAXIMS OF MEDICINE by Suzy Kassem
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
If a man is crossing a river and an empty boat collides with his own skiff, even though he be a bad-tempered man he will not become very angry. But if he sees a man in the boat, he will shout at him to steer clear. If the shout is not heard, he will shout again, and yet again, and begin cursing. And all because there is somebody in the boat. Yet if the boat were empty, he would not be shouting, and not angry. If you can empty your own boat crossing the river of the world, no one will oppose you, no one will seek to harm you…. Who can free himself from achievement, and from fame, descend and be lost amid the masses of men? He will flow like Tao, unseen, he will go about like Life itself with no name and no home. Simple is he, without distinction. To all appearances he is a fool. His steps leave no trace. He has no power. He achieves nothing, has no reputation. Since he judges no one, no one judges him. Such is the perfect man: His boat is empty.
Osho
I am a cutter, you see. Also a snipper, a slicer, a carver, a jabber. I am a very special case. I have a purpose. My skin, you see, screams. It's covered with words - cook, cupcake, kitty, curls - as if a knife-wielding first-grader learned to write on my flesh. I sometimes, but only sometimes, laugh. Getting out of the bath and seeing, out of the corner of my eye, down the side of a leg: babydoll. Pull on a sweater and, in a flash of my wrist: harmful. Why these words? Thousands of hours of therapy have yielded a few ideas from the good doctors. They are often feminine, in a Dick and Jane, pink vs. puppy dog tails sort of way. Or they're flat-out negative. Number of synonyms for anxious carved in my skin: eleven. The one thing I know for sure is that at the time, it was crucial to see these letters on me, and not just see them, but feel them. Burning on my left hip: petticoat. And near it, my first word, slashed on an anxious summer day at age thirteen: wicked. I woke up that morning, hot and bored, worried about the hours ahead. How do you keep safe when your whole day is as wide and empty as the sky? Anything could happen. I remember feeling that word, heavy and slightly sticky across my pubic bone. My mother's steak knife. Cutting like a child along red imaginary lines. Cleaning myself. Digging in deeper. Cleaning myself. Pouring bleach over the knife and sneaking through the kitchen to return it. Wicked. Relief. The rest of the day, I spent ministering to my wound. Dig into the curves of W with an alcohol-soaked Q-tip. Pet my cheek until the sting went away. Lotion. Bandage. Repeat.
Gillian Flynn (Sharp Objects)
It has seemed to me sometimes as though the Lord breathes on this poor gray ember of Creation and it turns to radiance - for a moment or a year or the span of a life. And then it sinks back into itself again, and to look at it no one would know it had anything to do with fire, or light .... Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don't have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it? .... Theologians talk about a prevenient grace that precedes grace itself and allows us to accept it. I think there must also be a prevenient courage that allows us to be brave - that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm.
Marilynne Robinson (Gilead)
When I say that evil has to do with killing, I do not mean to restrict myself to corporeal murder. Evil is that which kills spirit. There are various essential attributes of life -- particularly human life -- such as sentience, mobility, awareness, growth, autonomy, will. It is possible to kill or attempt to kill one of these attributes without actually destroying the body. Thus we may "break" a horse or even a child without harming a hair on its head. Erich Fromm was acutely sensitive to this fact when he broadened the definition of necrophilia to include the desire of certain people to control others-to make them controllable, to foster their dependency, to discourage their capacity to think for themselves, to diminish their unpredectibility and originalty, to keep them in line. Distinguishing it from a "biophilic" person, one who appreciates and fosters the variety of life forms and the uniqueness of the individual, he demonstrated a "necrophilic character type," whose aim it is to avoid the inconvenience of life by transforming others into obedient automatons, robbing them of their humanity. Evil then, for the moment, is the force, residing either inside or outside of human beings, that seeks to kill life or liveliness. And goodness is its opposite. Goodness is that which promotes life and liveliness.
M. Scott Peck (People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil)
Sorry,” Kiersten says to Lake and I. “Mom says the FCC is responsible for inventing cusswords just for media shock value. She says if everyone would just use them enough, they wouldn’t be considered cusswords anymore and no one would ever be offended by them” This kid is hard to keep up with! “Your mother encourages you to cuss?” Gavin says. Kiersten nods. “I don’t see it that way. It’s more like she’s encouraging us to undermine a system flawed through overuse of words that are made out to be harmful, when in fact they’re just letters, mixed together like every other word. That’s all they are, mixed up letters. Like, take the word “butterfly” for example. What if someone decided one day that butterfly is a cussword? People would eventually start using butterfly as an insult, and to emphasize things in a negative way. The actual WORD doesn’t mean anything. It’s the negative association people give these words that make them cusswords. So if we all just decided to keep saying butterfly all the time, eventually people would stop caring. The shock value would subside…and it would just become another word again. Same with every other so-called bad word. If we would all just start saying them all the time, They wouldn’t be bad anymore. That’s what my mom says anyway.” “Kiersten?” Eddie says. “Will you be my new best friend?” Lake grabs a french fry off her plate and throws it at Eddie, hitting her in the face with it. “That’s Bullshit,” Lake says. “Oh, go BUTTERFLY yourself,” Eddie says. She returns a fry in Lakes direction.
Colleen Hoover (Point of Retreat (Slammed, #2))
Then don't. I can't help you. They say that women dream of danger to those in their care and men of danger to themselves. But I don't dream at all. You say you can't? Then don't do it. That's all. Because I am done with my own whorish heart and I have been for a long time. You talk about taking a stand but there is no stand to take. My heart was ripped out of me the night he was born so don't ask for sorrow now. There is none. Maybe you'll be good at this. I doubt it, but who knows. The one thing I can tell you is that you won't survive for yourself. I know because I would have never have come this far. A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together some passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with words of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and sheild it from harm with your body. As for me my only hope is for eternal nothingness and I hope it with all my heart.
Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
Why do I take a blade and slash my arms? Why do I drink myself into a stupor? Why do I swallow bottles of pills and end up in A&E having my stomach pumped? Am I seeking attention? Showing off? The pain of the cuts releases the mental pain of the memories, but the pain of healing lasts weeks. After every self-harming or overdosing incident I run the risk of being sectioned and returned to a psychiatric institution, a harrowing prospect I would not recommend to anyone. So, why do I do it? I don't. If I had power over the alters, I'd stop them. I don't have that power. When they are out, they're out. I experience blank spells and lose time, consciousness, dignity. If I, Alice Jamieson, wanted attention, I would have completed my PhD and started to climb the academic career ladder. Flaunting the label 'doctor' is more attention-grabbing that lying drained of hope in hospital with steri-strips up your arms and the vile taste of liquid charcoal absorbing the chemicals in your stomach. In most things we do, we anticipate some reward or payment. We study for status and to get better jobs; we work for money; our children are little mirrors of our social standing; the charity donation and trip to Oxfam make us feel good. Every kindness carries the potential gift of a responding kindness: you reap what you sow. There is no advantage in my harming myself; no reason for me to invent delusional memories of incest and ritual abuse. There is nothing to be gained in an A&E department.
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
A charmed life is so rare that for every one such life there are millions of wretched lives. Some know that their baby will be among the unfortunate. Nobody knows, however, that their baby will be one of the allegedly lucky few. Great suffering could await any person that is brought into existence. Even the most privileged people could give birth to a child that will suffer unbearably, be raped, assaulted, or be murdered brutally. The optimist surely bears the burden of justifying this procreational Russian roulette. Given that there are no real advantages over never existing for those who are brought into existence, it is hard to see how the significant risk of serious harm could be justified. If we count not only the unusually severe harms that anybody could endure, but also the quite routine ones of ordinary human life, then we find that matters are still worse for cheery procreators. It shows that they play Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun—aimed, of course, not at their own heads, but at those of their future offspring.
David Benatar (Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence)
Some people say, “Once you learn to be happy, you won't tolerate being around people who make you feel anything less.” My Christ says, “Your job is to get off your self righteous butt and start reaching out to the difficult people because my ministry wasn’t about a bunch of nice people getting together once a week to sing hymns and get a feel good message, that you may or may not apply, depending on the depth of your anger for someone. It is about caring for and helping the broken hearted, the difficult, the hurt, the misunderstood, the repulsive, the wicked and the liars. It is about turning the other cheek when someone hurts you. It is about loving one another and making amends. It is allowing people as many chances as they need because God gives them endless chances. When you do this then you will know me and you will know true happiness and peace. Until then, you will never know who I really am. You will always be just a fan or a Sunday only warrior. You will continue to represent who you are to the world, but not me. I am the God that rescues.
Shannon L. Alder
May I be an enemy to no one and the friend of what abides eternally. May I never quarrel with those nearest me, and be reconciled quickly if I should. May I never plot evil against others, and if anyone plot evil against me, may I escape unharmed and without the need to hurt anyone else. May I love, seek and attain only what is good. May I desire happiness for all and harbor envy for none. May I never find joy in the misfortune of one who has wronged me. May I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make reparation. May I gain no victory that harms me or my opponent. May I reconcile friends who are mad at each other. May I, insofar as I can, give all necessary help to my friends and to all who are in need. May I never fail a friend in trouble. May I be able to soften the pain of the grief stricken and give them comforting words. May I respect myself. May I always maintain control of my emotions. May I habituate myself to be gentle, and never angry with others because of circumstances. May I never discuss the wicked or what they have done, but know good people and follow in their footsteps. [Prayer to practice the Golden Rule]
Eusebius
The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to someone else. The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
John Stuart Mill (On Liberty)
Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still. For once on the face of the earth let's not speak in any language, let's stop for one second, and not move our arms so much. It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines, we would all be together in a sudden strangeness. Fishermen in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would look at his hurt hands. Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victory with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing. What I want should not be confused with total inactivity. Life is what it is about; I want no truck with death. If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive. Now I'll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go.
Pablo Neruda
Where am I?" Magnus croaked. "Nazca." "Oh, so we went on a little trip." "You broke into a man's house," Catarina said. "You stole a carpet and enchanted it to fly. Then you sped off into the night air. We pursued you on foot." "Ah," said Magnus. "You were shouting some things." "What things?" "I prefer not to repeat them," Catarina said. "I also prefer not to remember the time we spent in the desert. It is a mammoth desert, Magnus. Ordinary deserts are quite large. Mammoth deserts are so called because they are larger than ordinary deserts." "Thank you for that interesting and enlightening information," Magnus croaked. "You told us to leave you in the desert, because you planned to start a new life as a cactus," Catarina said, her voice flat. "Then you conjured up tiny needles and threw them at us. With pinpoint accuracy." "Well," he said with dignity. "Considering my highly intoxicated state, you must have been impressed with my aim." "'Impressed' is not the word to use to describe how I felt last night, Magnus." "I thank you for stopping me there," Magnus said. "It was for the best. You are a true friend. No harm done. Let's say no more about it. Could you possibly fetch me - " "Oh, we couldn't stop you," Catarina interrupted. "We tried, but you giggled, leaped onto the carpet, and flew away again. You kept saying that you wanted to go to Moquegua." "What did I do in Moquegua?" "You never got there," Catarina said. "But you were flying about and yelling and trying to, ahem, write messages for us with your carpet in the sky." "We then stopped for a meal," Catarina said. "You were most insistent that we try a local specialty that you called cuy. We actually had a very pleasant meal, even though you were still very drunk." "I'm sure I must have been sobering up at that point," Magnus argued. "Magnus, you were trying to flirt with your own plate." "I'm a very open-minded sort of fellow!" "Ragnor is not," Catarina said. "When he found out that you were feeding us guinea pigs, he hit you over the head with your plate. It broke." "So ended our love," Magnus said. "Ah, well. It would never have worked between me and the plate anyway. I'm sure the food did me good, Catarina, and you were very good to feed me and put me to bed - " Catarina shook her head."You fell down on the floor. Honestly, we thought it best to leave you sleeping on the ground. We thought you would remain there for some time, but we took our eyes off you for one minute, and then you scuttled off. Ragnor claims he saw you making for the carpet, crawling like a huge demented crab.
Cassandra Clare (The Bane Chronicles)
As virtuous men pass mildly away, And whisper to their souls to go, Whilst some of their sad friends do say, "The breath goes now," and some say, "No," So let us melt, and make no noise, No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move; 'Twere profanation of our joys To tell the laity our love. Moving of the earth brings harms and fears, Men reckon what it did and meant; But trepidation of the spheres, Though greater far, is innocent. Dull sublunary lovers' love (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit Absence, because it doth remove Those things which elemented it. But we, by a love so much refined That our selves know not what it is, Inter-assured of the mind, Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss. Our two souls therefore, which are one, Though I must go, endure not yet A breach, but an expansion. Like gold to airy thinness beat. If they be two, they are two so As stiff twin compasses are two: Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show To move, but doth, if the other do; And though it in the center sit, Yet when the other far doth roam, It leans, and hearkens after it, And grows erect, as that comes home. Such wilt thou be to me, who must, Like the other foot, obliquely run; Thy firmness makes my circle just, And makes me end where I begun.
John Donne
Rose, I’m sorry I had to leave so quickly, but when the Alchemists tell me to jump … well, I jump. I’ve hitched a ride back to that farm town we stayed in so that I can pick up the Red Hurricane, and then I’m off to Saint Petersburg. Apparently, now that you’ve been delivered to Baia, they don’t need me to stick around anymore. I wish I could tell you more about Abe and what he wants from you. Even if I was allowed to, there isn’t much to say. In some ways, he’s as much a mystery to me as he is to you. Like I said, a lot of the business he deals in is illegal—both among humans and Moroi. The only time he gets directly involved with people is when something relates to that business—or if it’s a very, very special case. I think you’re one of those cases, and even if he doesn’t intend you harm, he might want to use you for his own purposes. It could be as simple as him wanting to contract you as a bodyguard, seeing as you’re rogue. Maybe he wants to use you to get to others. Maybe this is all part of someone else’s plan, someone who’s even more mysterious than him. Maybe he’s doing someone a favor. Zmey can be dangerous or kind, all depending on what he needs to accomplish. I never thought I’d care enough to say this to a dhampir, but be careful. I don’t know what your plans are now, but I have a feeling trouble follows you around. Call me if there’s anything I can help with, but if you go back to the big cities to hunt Strigoi, don’t leave any more bodies unattended! All the best, Sydney P.S. “The Red Hurricane” is what I named the car. P.P.S. Just because I like you, it doesn’t mean I still don’t think you’re an evil creature of the night. You are.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
Here is another truth about wintering: you’ll find wisdom in your winter, and once it’s over, it’s your responsibility to pass it on. And in return, it’s our responsibility to listen to those who have wintered before us. It’s an exchange of gifts in which nobody loses out. This may involve the breaking of a lifelong habit, one passed down carefully through generations: that of looking at other people’s misfortunes and feeling certain that they brought them upon themselves in a way that you never would. This isn’t just an unkind attitude. It does us harm, because it keeps us from learning that disasters do indeed happen and how we can adapt when they do. It stops us from reaching out to those who are suffering. And when our own disaster comes, it forces us into a humiliated retreat, as we try to hunt down mistakes that we never made in the first place or wrongheaded attitudes that we never held. Either that, or we become certain that there must be someone out there we can blame. Watching winter and really listening to its messages, we learn that effect is often disproportionate to cause; that tiny mistakes can lead to huge disasters; that life is often bloody unfair, but it carries on happening with or without our consent. We learn to look more kindly on other people’s crises, because they are so often portents of our own future.
Katherine May (Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times)
That dead-eyed anhedonia is but a remora on the ventral flank of the true predator, the Great White Shark of pain. Authorities term this condition clinical depression or involutional depression or unipolar dysphoria. Instead of just an incapacity for feeling, a deadening of soul, the predator-grade depression Kate Gompert always feels as she Withdraws from secret marijuana is itself a feeling. It goes by many names — anguish, despair, torment, or q.v. Burton's melancholia or Yevtuschenko's more authoritative psychotic depression — but Kate Gompert, down in the trenches with the thing itself, knows it simply as It. It is a level of psychic pain wholly incompatible with human life as we know it. It is a sense of radical and thoroughgoing evil not just as a feature but as the essence of conscious existence. It is a sense of poisoning that pervades the self at the self's most elementary levels. It is a nausea of the cells and soul. It is an unnumb intuition in which the world is fully rich and animate and un-map-like and also thoroughly painful and malignant and antagonistic to the self, which depressed self It billows on and coagulates around and wraps in Its black folds and absorbs into Itself, so that an almost mystical unity is achieved with a world every constituent of which means painful harm to the self. Its emotional character, the feeling Gompert describes It as, is probably mostly indescribable except as a sort of double bind in which any/all of the alternatives we associate with human agency — sitting or standing, doing or resting, speaking or keeping silent, living or dying — are not just unpleasant but literally horrible. It is also lonely on a level that cannot be conveyed. There is no way Kate Gompert could ever even begin to make someone else understand what clinical depression feels like, not even another person who is herself clinically depressed, because a person in such a state is incapable of empathy with any other living thing. This anhedonic Inability To Identify is also an integral part of It. If a person in physical pain has a hard time attending to anything except that pain, a clinically depressed person cannot even perceive any other person or thing as independent of the universal pain that is digesting her cell by cell. Everything is part of the problem, and there is no solution. It is a hell for one. The authoritative term psychotic depression makes Kate Gompert feel especially lonely. Specifically the psychotic part. Think of it this way. Two people are screaming in pain. One of them is being tortured with electric current. The other is not. The screamer who's being tortured with electric current is not psychotic: her screams are circumstantially appropriate. The screaming person who's not being tortured, however, is psychotic, since the outside parties making the diagnoses can see no electrodes or measurable amperage. One of the least pleasant things about being psychotically depressed on a ward full of psychotically depressed patients is coming to see that none of them is really psychotic, that their screams are entirely appropriate to certain circumstances part of whose special charm is that they are undetectable by any outside party. Thus the loneliness: it's a closed circuit: the current is both applied and received from within.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Words are small things. No one means any harm by them, they keep saying that. Everyone is just doing their job. The police say it all the time. 'I'm just doing my job here.' That's why no one asks what the boy did; as soon as the girl starts to talk they interrupt her instead with questions about what she did. Did she go up the stairs ahead of him or behind him? Did she lie down on the bed voluntarily or was she forced? Did she unbutton her own blouse? Did she kiss him? No? Did she kiss him back, then? Had she been drinking alcohol? Had she smoked marijuana? Did she say no? Was she clear about that? Did she scream loudly enough? Did she struggle hard enough? Why didn't she take photographs of her bruises right away? Why did she run from the party instead of saying anything to the other guests? They have to gather all the information, they say, when they ask the same question ten times in different ways in order to see if she changes her answer. This is a serious allegation, they remind her, as if it's the allegation that's the problem. She is told all the things she shouldn't have done: She shouldn't have waited so long before going to the police. She shouldn't have gotten rid of the clothes she was wearing. Shouldn't have showered. Shouldn't have drunk alcohol. Shouldn't have put herself in that situation. Shouldn't have gone into the room, up the stairs, given him the impression. If only she hadn't existed, then none of this would have happened, why didn't she think of that? She's fifteen, above the age of consent, and he's seventeen, but he's still 'the boy' in every conversation. She's 'the young woman.' Words are not small things.
Fredrik Backman (Beartown (Beartown, #1))
Do you know that feeling? When everything you do seems like a struggle. Where you dont wanna leave the house because you know everyone is judging you. Where you cant even ask for directions in fear that they critise you. Where everyone always seems to be picking out your flaws. That feeling where you feel so damn sick for no reason. Do you know that feeling where you look in the mirror and completly hate what you see. When you grab handfuls and handfuls of fat and just want to cut it all off. That feeling when you see other beautiful girls and just wish you looked like them. When you compare yourself to everyone you meet. When you realise why no one ever showed intrest in you. That feeling where you become so self conscious you dont even turn up at school. That feeling when you feel so disappointed in who you are and everything you have become. That feeling when every bite makes you wanna be sick. When hunger is more satifying that food. The feeling of failure when you eat a meal. Do you know that feeling when you cant run as far as your class. Fear knowing that everyone thinks of you as the"Unfit FAT BITCH" That feeling when you just wanna let it all out but you dont wanna look weak. The fear you have in class when you dont understand something but your too afraid to ask for help. The feeling of being to ashamed to stand up for yourself. Do you know the feeling when your deepest fear becomes a reality. Fear that you will NEVER be good enough. When you feel as if you deserve all the pain you give yourself. When you finally understand why everyone hates you. FINALLY realising the harsh truth. Understanding that every cut, every burn, every bruise you have even given yourself, you deserved. In fact you deserved worse. That feeling when you believe you deserve constant and brutal pain. Do you know what it feels like to just want to give up. When you just want all the pain to end but you want it to continue? Or am i just insane
Anonymous.
You’re thinking, maybe it would be easier to let it slip let it go say ”I give up” one last time and give him a sad smile. You’re thinking it shouldn’t be this hard, shouldn’t be this dark, thinking love could flow easily with no holding back and you’ve seen others find their match and build something great together, of each other, like two halves fitting perfectly and now they achieve great things one by one, always together, and it seems grand. But you love him. Love him like a black stone in your chest you couldn’t live without because it fits in there. Makes you who you are and the thought of him gone—no more—makes your chest tighten up and maybe this is your fairytale. Maybe this is your castle. You could get it all on a shiny piece of glass with wooden stools and a neverending blooming garden but that’s not yours. This is yours. The cracks and the faults, the ugly words in the winter walking home alone and angry but falling asleep thinking you love him. This is your fairy tale. The quiet in the hallway, wishing for him to turn around, tell you to stay, tell you to please don’t go I need you like you need me and maybe it’s not a Jane Austen novel but this is your novel and your castle and you can run from it your whole life but this is here in front of you. Maybe nurture it? Sweet girl, maybe close the world off and look at him for an hour or two. This is your fairy. It ain’t perfect and it ain’t honey sweet with roses on the bed. It’s real and raw and ugly at times. But this is your love. Don’t throw it away searching for someone else’s love. Don’t be greedy. Instead, shelter it. Protect it. Capture every second of easy, pull through every storm of hardship. And when you can, look at him, lying next to you, trusting you not to harm him. Trusting you not to go. Be someone’s someone for someone. Be that someone for him. That’s your fairy tale. This is your castle. Now move in. Build a home. Build a house. Build a safety around things you love. It’s yours if you make it so. Welcome home, sweet girl, it will be all be fine.
Charlotte Eriksson
Harry’s letter to his daughter: If I could give you just one thing, I’d want it to be a simple truth that took me many years to learn. If you learn it now, it may enrich your life in hundreds of ways. And it may prevent you from facing many problems that have hurt people who have never learned it. The truth is simply this: No one owes you anything. Significance How could such a simple statement be important? It may not seem so, but understanding it can bless your entire life. No one owes you anything. It means that no one else is living for you, my child. Because no one is you. Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel. When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be. It means no one has to love you. If someone loves you, it’s because there’s something special about you that gives him happiness. Find out what that something special is and try to make it stronger in you, so that you’ll be loved even more. When people do things for you, it’s because they want to — because you, in some way, give them something meaningful that makes them want to please you, not because anyone owes you anything. No one has to like you. If your friends want to be with you, it’s not out of duty. Find out what makes others happy so they’ll want to be near you. No one has to respect you. Some people may even be unkind to you. But once you realize that people don’t have to be good to you, and may not be good to you, you’ll learn to avoid those who would harm you. For you don’t owe them anything either. Living your Life No one owes you anything. You owe it to yourself to be the best person possible. Because if you are, others will want to be with you, want to provide you with the things you want in exchange for what you’re giving to them. Some people will choose not to be with you for reasons that have nothing to do with you. When that happens, look elsewhere for the relationships you want. Don’t make someone else’s problem your problem. Once you learn that you must earn the love and respect of others, you’ll never expect the impossible and you won’t be disappointed. Others don’t have to share their property with you, nor their feelings or thoughts. If they do, it’s because you’ve earned these things. And you have every reason to be proud of the love you receive, your friends’ respect, the property you’ve earned. But don’t ever take them for granted. If you do, you could lose them. They’re not yours by right; you must always earn them. My Experience A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything. For so long as I’d thought there were things I was entitled to, I’d been wearing myself out —physically and emotionally — trying to collect them. No one owes me moral conduct, respect, friendship, love, courtesy, or intelligence. And once I recognized that, all my relationships became far more satisfying. I’ve focused on being with people who want to do the things I want them to do. That understanding has served me well with friends, business associates, lovers, sales prospects, and strangers. It constantly reminds me that I can get what I want only if I can enter the other person’s world. I must try to understand how he thinks, what he believes to be important, what he wants. Only then can I appeal to someone in ways that will bring me what I want. And only then can I tell whether I really want to be involved with someone. And I can save the important relationships for th
Harry Browne
I circled the site before I came in. If there's anyone within five kilometers, I'll eat my quiver." Halt regarded him, eyebrow arched once more. "Anyone?" "Anyone other than Crowley," Will amended, making a dismissive gesture. "I saw him watching me from that hide he always uses about two kilometers out. I assumed he'd be back in here by now." Halt cleared his throat loudly. "Oh, you saw him, did you?" he said. "I imagine he'll be overjoyed to hear that." Secretly, he was pleased with his former pupil. In spite of his curiosity and obvious excitement, he hadn't forgotten to take the precautions that had been drilled into him. THat augured well for what lay ahead, Halt thought, a sudden grimness settling onto his manner. Will didn't notice the momentary change of mood. He was loosening Tug saddle girth. As he spoke, his voice was muffled against the horses's flank. "he's becoming too much a creature of habit," he said. "he's used that hide for the last three Gatherings. It's time he tried something new. Everyone must be onto it by now." Rangers constantly competed with each other to see before being seen and each year's Gathering was a time of heightened competition. Halt nodded thoughtfully. Crowley had constructed teh virtually invisible observation post some four years previously. Alone among the younger Rangers, Will had tumbled to it after one year. Halt had never mentioned to him that he was the only one who knew of Crowley's hide. The concealed post was the Ranger Commandant's pride and joy. "Well, perhaps not everyone," he said. Will emerged from behind his horse, grinning at the thought of the head of the Ranger Corps thinking he had remained hidden from sight as he watched Will's approach. "All the same, perhaps he's getting a bit long in the tooth to be skulking around hiding in the bushes, don't you think?" he said cheerfully. Halt considered the question for a moment. "Long in the tooth? Well, that's one opinion. Mind you, his silent movement skills are still as good as ever," he said meaningfully. The grin on Will's face slowly faded. He resisted the temptation to look over his shoulder. "He's standing behind me, isn't he?" he asked Halt. THe older Ranger nodded. "He's standing behind me, isn't he?" Will continued and Halt nodded once more. "Is he...close enough to have heard what I said?" Will finally managed to ask, fearin teh worst. This time, Halt didn't have to answer. "Oh, good grief no," came a familiar voice from behind him. "he's so old and decrepit these days he's as deaf as a post." Will's shoulders sagged and he turned to see the sandy-haired Commandant standing a few meters away. The younger man's eyes dropped. "Hullo, Crowley," he said, then mumbled, "Ahhh...I'm sorry about that." Crowley glared at teh young Ranger for a few more seconds, then he couldn't help teh grin breaking out on his face. "No harm done," he said, adding with a small note of triumph, "It's not often these days I amange to get the better of one of you young ones." Secretly, he was impressed at teh news that Will had spotted his hiding place. Only the sarpest eyes could have picked it. Crowley had been in the business of seeing without being seen for thirty years or more, and despite what Will believed, he was still an absolute master of camouflage and unseen movement.
John Flanagan (The Sorcerer in the North (Ranger's Apprentice, #5))
On the first day of November last year, sacred to many religious calendars but especially the Celtic, I went for a walk among bare oaks and birch. Nothing much was going on. Scarlet sumac had passed and the bees were dead. The pond had slicked overnight into that shiny and deceptive glaze of delusion, first ice. It made me remember sakes and conjure a vision of myself skimming backward on one foot, the other extended; the arms become wings. Minnesota girls know that this is not a difficult maneuver if one's limber and practices even a little after school before the boys claim the rink for hockey. I think I can still do it - one thinks many foolish things when November's bright sun skips over the entrancing first freeze. A flock of sparrows reels through the air looking more like a flying net than seventy conscious birds, a black veil thrown on the wind. When one sparrow dodges, the whole net swerves, dips: one mind. Am I part of anything like that? Maybe not. The last few years of my life have been characterized by stripping away, one by one, loves and communities that sustain the soul. A young colleague, new to my English department, recently asked me who I hang around with at school. "Nobody," I had to say, feeling briefly ashamed. This solitude is one of the surprises of middle age, especially if one's youth has been rich in love and friendship and children. If you do your job right, children leave home; few communities can stand an individual's most pitiful, amateur truth telling. So the soul must stand in her own meager feathers and learn to fly - or simply take hopeful jumps into the wind. In the Christian calendar, November 1 is the Feast of All Saints, a day honoring not only those who are known and recognized as enlightened souls, but more especially the unknowns, saints who walk beside us unrecognized down the millennia. In Buddhism, we honor the bodhisattvas - saints - who refuse enlightenment and return willingly to the wheel of karma to help other beings. Similarly, in Judaism, anonymous holy men pray the world from its well-merited destruction. We never know who is walking beside us, who is our spiritual teacher. That one - who annoys you so - pretends for a day that he's the one, your personal Obi Wan Kenobi. The first of November is a splendid, subversive holiday. Imagine a hectic procession of revelers - the half-mad bag lady; a mumbling, scarred janitor whose ravaged face made the children turn away; the austere, unsmiling mother superior who seemed with great focus and clarity to do harm; a haunted music teacher, survivor of Auschwitz. I bring them before my mind's eye, these old firends of my soul, awakening to dance their day. Crazy saints; but who knows what was home in the heart? This is the feast of those who tried to take the path, so clumsily that no one knew or notice, the feast, indeed, of most of us. It's an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: "nothing special," as Buddhists say, meaning "everything." Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral. All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.
Mary Rose O'Reilley (The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd)