Human Centered Quotes

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It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing. It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive. It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human. It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithlessand therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!” It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children. It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back. It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.
Elie Wiesel (The Night Trilogy: Night, Dawn, The Accident)
Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Robert F. Kennedy
Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe.
Elie Wiesel
He stared up at the stars: and it seemed to him then that they were dancers, stately and graceful, performing a dance almost infinite in its complexity. He imagined he could see the very faces of the stars; pale, they were, and smiling gently, as if they had spent so much time above the world, watching the scrambling and the joy and the pain of the people below them, that they could not help being amused every time another little human believed itself the center of its world, as each of us does.
Neil Gaiman (Stardust)
Intelligence is one of the greatest human gifts. But all too often a search for knowledge drives out the search for love. This is something else I've discovered for myself very recently. I present it to you as a hypothesis: Intelligence without the ability to give and receive affection leads to mental and moral breakdown, to neurosis, and possibly even psychosis. And I say that the mind absorbed in and involved in itself as a self-centered end, to the exclusion of human relationships, can only lead to violence and pain.
Daniel Keyes (Flowers for Algernon)
There is a desire within each of us, in the deep center of ourselves that we call our heart. We were born with it, it is never completely satisfied, and it never dies. We are often unaware of it, but it is always awake. It is the Human desire for Love. Every person in this Earth yearns to love, to be loved, to know love. Our true identity, our reason for being is to be found in this desire. Love is the "why" of life, why we are functioning at all. I am convinced it is the fundamental energy of the human spirit. the fuel on which we run, the wellspring of our vitality. And grace, which is the flowing, creative activity, of love itself, is what makes all goodness possible. Love should come first, it should be the beginning of, and the reason for everything.
Gerald G. May (Living in Love)
At the center of the Universe is a loving heart that continues to beat and that wants the best for every person. Anything that we can do to help foster the intellect and spirit and emotional growth of our fellow human beings, that is our job. Those of us who have this particular vision must continue against all odds. Life is for service.
Fred Rogers
There are some things about myself I can’t explain to anyone. There are some things I don’t understand at all. I can’t tell what I think about things or what I’m after. I don’t know what my strengths are or what I’m supposed to do about them. But if I start thinking about these things in too much detail the whole thing gets scary. And if I get scared I can only think about myself. I become really self-centered, and without meaning to, I hurt people. So I’m not such a wonderful human being.
Haruki Murakami (The Elephant Vanishes)
our obsessive desire to make and have and do and say and go and get—six of the seven most common verbs in English—may ultimately steal away our ability to be, the most common verb in English.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
If a man has to make a woman the center of his love, why should he integrate animality into this sacred human emotion?...Is love incompelete without it?...Is love the name of physical excersize ?
Saadat Hasan Manto
Imagine that human existence is defined by an Ache: the Ache of our not being, each of us, the center of the universe; of our desires forever outnumbering our means of satisfying them.
Jonathan Franzen (How to Be Alone)
In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
She says you're not truly human until you've had your heart broken and you've broken someone's heart.
Catherine Gilbert Murdock (Front and Center (Dairy Queen, #3))
Remember that self-doubt is as self-centered as self-inflation. Your obligation is to reach as deeply as you can and offer your unique and authentic gifts as bravely and beautifully as you're able.
Bill Plotkin (Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World)
I’ve read hundreds of novels in my life, most of them claiming that love was the center of the universe. That it could heal any damage inside of us. That it was what we needed to survive. From Darcy to Heathcliff, I thought they were fools. That love was something fictional, only found in worn pages of a book. That it was just made up to keep humans full of hope, that it was a lie. But all that changed since I met my Elizabeth Bennett. I never thought I would find myself completely and utterly consumed by another until her. She took my hand and led me out of the darkness and showed me that, whatever our souls are made of, hers and mine are the same. I’m sorry, please forgive me. You once asked me who I loved most in this world. It’s you. — Hardin ( Movie- "After" - Hardin's letter to Tessa )
Anna Todd
Every civilization sees itself as the center of the world and writes its history as the central drama of human history.
Samuel P. Huntington (The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order)
Every aspect of Nature reveals a deep mystery and touches our sense of wonder and awe. Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
Each of us is merely one human being, merely an experiment, a way station. But each of us should be on the way toward perfection, should be striving to reach the center, not the periphery.
Hermann Hesse (The Glass Bead Game)
Tattooing, when understood in its entirety, must be seen as a religious act. The human being brings forth images from the center of the self and communicates them to the world. Fantasy is embodied in reality and the person is made whole.
Spider Webb
He puts it on, and his gaze locks to mine. His jewels flicker between passion and defiance—an evocative and intimidating combination. “Fair warning, I intend to make good use of that time. I will be gentle, but I will not be a gentleman. You will be the center of my world. I’ll show you the wonders of Wonderland, and when you’re drunk on the beauty and chaos that your heart so yearns to know, I will take you under my wings and make you forget the human realm ever existed. You’ll never want to leave Wonderland or me again.
A.G. Howard (Unhinged (Splintered, #2))
There is a reason the word belonging has a synonym for want at its center; it is the human condition.
Jodi Picoult (Vanishing Acts)
And so now I'd like to say - people can change anything they want to. And that means everything in the world. People are running about following their little tracks - I am one of them. But we've all got to stop just following our own little mouse trail. People can do anything - this is something that I'm beginning to learn. People are out there doing bad things to each other. That's because they've been dehumanised. It's time to take the humanity back into the center of the ring and follow that for a time. Greed, it ain't going anywhere. They should have that in a big billboard across Times Square. Without people you're nothing. That's my spiel.
Joe Strummer
Man is always inclined to regard the small circle in which he lives as the center of the world and to make his particular, private life the standard of the universe and to make his particular, private life the standard of the universe. But he must give up this vain pretense, this petty provincial way of thinking and judging.
Ernst Cassirer (An Essay on Man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture)
We inhabit a universe where atoms are made in the centers of stars; where each second a thousand suns are born; where life is sparked by sunlight and lightning in the airs and waters of youthful planets; where the raw material for biological evolution is sometimes made by the explosion of a star halfway across the Milky Way; where a thing as beautiful as a galaxy is formed a hundred billion times - a Cosmos of quasars and quarks, snowflakes and fireflies, where there may be black holes and other universe and extraterrestrial civilizations whose radio messages are at this moment reaching the Earth. How pallid by comparison are the pretensions of superstition and pseudoscience; how important it is for us to pursue and understand science, that characteristically human endeavor.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
What have you done to me?" Rhysand stood, running a hand through his short, dark hair. It's custom in my court for bargains to be permanently marked upon flesh." I rubbed my left forearm and hand, the entirety of which was now covered in swirls and whorls of black ink. Even my fingers weren't spared, and a large eye was tattooed in the center of my palm. It was feline, and its slitted pupil stared right back me. "Make it go away," I said, and he laughed. "You humans are truly grateful creatures, aren't you?
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
Onto his stomach. Then knees. Then hands. His elbows quivered, his wrists threatened to buckle under his own weight. Self-centered, stubborn, sentimental, childish, vain. I am humanity. Cynical, naive, kind, cruel, soft as down, hard as tungsten steel. I am humanity He crawled. I am humanity. He fell. I am humanity. He got up.
Rick Yancey (The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave, #2))
If you’ve ever studied mortal age cartoons, you’ll remember this one. A coyote was always plotting the demise of a smirking long-necked bird. The coyote never succeeded; instead, his plans always backfired. He would blow up, or get shot, or splat from a ridiculous height. And it was funny. Because no matter how deadly his failure, he was always back in the next scene, as if there were a revival center just beyond the edge of the animation cell. I’ve seen human foibles that have resulted in temporary maiming or momentary loss of life. People stumble into manholes, are hit by falling objects, trip into the paths of speeding vehicles. And when it happens, people laugh, because no matter how gruesome the event, that person, just like the coyote, will be back in a day or two, as good as new, and no worse—or wiser—for the wear. Immortality has turned us all into cartoons.
Neal Shusterman (Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1))
We have learned more about the brain in the last fifteen years than in all prior human history, and the mind, once considered out of reach, is finally assuming center stage.
Michio Kaku (The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind)
That’s the thing I always love best about the human race: How we pick ourselves back up over and over and just keep on going.
Katherine Center (Things You Save in a Fire)
Love is the movement within life that carries us, that enables us, that causes us to break out of what Alan Watts calls the “skin-encapsulated ego.” Without love, we are self-centered, but love enables us to move the center of our lives outside our ego. Therefore it expands our lives and, needless to say, enriches it. Any human being would give anything to love or be loved. When it really happens, it is like heaven on earth.
Huston Smith
Like an expensive painting or a fragile orchid, I thrive only in extremely specific conditions.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
Loyalty cannot be blueprinted. It cannot be produced on an assembly line. In fact, it cannot be manufactured at all, for its origin is the human heart -- the center of self-respect and human dignity. It is a force which leaps into being only when conditions are exactly right for it -- and it is a force very sensitive to betrayal.
Maurice Franks
There is a deep desire in everyone to commit suicide for the simple reason, that life seems to be meaningless. People go on living, not because they love life, they go on living just because they are afraid to commit suicide. There is a desire to; and in many ways they do commit suicide. Monks and nuns have committed psychological suicide, they have renounced life. And these suicidal people have dominated humanity for centuries. They have condemned everything that is beautiful. They have praised something imaginary and they have condemned the real; the real is mundane and the imaginary is sacred. My whole effort here is to help you see that the real is sacred, that this very world is sacred, that this very life is divine. But the way to see it is first to enquire within. Unless you start feeling the source of light within yourself, you will not be able to see that light anywhere else. First it has to be experienced within one’s own being, then it is found everywhere. Then the whole existence becomes so full of light, so full of joy, so full of meaning and poetry, that each moment one feels grateful for all that god has given, for all that he goes on giving. Sannyas is simply a decision to turn in, to look in. The most primary thing is to find your own center. Once it is found, once you are centered, once you are bathed in your own light you have a different vision, a different perspective, and the whole of life becomes golden. Then even dust is divine. Then life is so rich, so abundantly rich that one can only feel a tremendous gratitude towards existence. That gratitude becomes prayer. Before that, all prayer is false.
The fundamentalist seeks to bring down a great deal more than buildings. Such people are against, to offer just a brief list, freedom of speech, a multi-party political system, universal adult suffrage, accountable government, Jews, homosexuals, women's rights, pluralism, secularism, short skirts, dancing, beardlessness, evolution theory, sex. There are tyrants, not Muslims. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that we should now define ourselves not only by what we are for but by what we are against. I would reverse that proposition, because in the present instance what we are against is a no brainer. Suicidist assassins ram wide-bodied aircraft into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and kill thousands of people: um, I'm against that. But what are we for? What will we risk our lives to defend? Can we unanimously concur that all the items in the preceding list -- yes, even the short skirts and the dancing -- are worth dying for? The fundamentalist believes that we believe in nothing. In his world-view, he has his absolute certainties, while we are sunk in sybaritic indulgences. To prove him wrong, we must first know that he is wrong. We must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more equitable distribution of the world's resources, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love. These will be our weapons. Not by making war but by the unafraid way we choose to live shall we defeat them. How to defeat terrorism? Don't be terrorized. Don't let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared.
Salman Rushdie (Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002)
The weight of the world is love. Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction the weight, the weight we carry is love. Who can deny? In dreams it touches the body, in thought constructs a miracle, in imagination anguishes till born in human— looks out of the heart burning with purity— for the burden of life is love, but we carry the weight wearily, and so must rest in the arms of love at last, must rest in the arms of love. No rest without love, no sleep without dreams of love— be mad or chill obsessed with angels or machines, the final wish is love —cannot be bitter, cannot deny, cannot withhold if denied: the weight is too heavy —must give for no return as thought is given in solitude in all the excellence of its excess. The warm bodies shine together in the darkness, the hand moves to the center of the flesh, the skin trembles in happiness and the soul comes joyful to the eye— yes, yes, that's what I wanted, I always wanted, I always wanted, to return to the body where I was born.
Allen Ginsberg (Howl and Other Poems)
Universe is expanding to infinity without a center in space. How come humans claim a direction to their life?
Vishwanath S J
You can’t see the future coming—not the terrors, for sure, but you also can’t see the wonders that are coming, the moments of light-soaked joy that await each of us.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
With a new awareness, both painful and humorous, I begin to understand why the saints were rarely married women. I am convinced it has nothing inherently to do, as I once supposed, with chastity or children. It has to do primarily with distractions. The bearing, rearing, feeding and educating of children; the running of a house with its thousand details; human relationships with their myriad pulls--woman's normal occupations in general run counter to creative life, or contemplative life, or saintly life. The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Gift from the Sea)
Maybe I owe you something too, human," she said, drawing her pistol. Butler almost reacted, but decided to give Holly the benefit of the doubt. Captain Short plucked a gold coin from her belt, flicking it fifty feet into the moonlit sky. With one fluid movement, she brought her weapon up and loosed a single blast. The coin rose another fifty feet, then spun earthward. Artemis somehow managed to snatch it from the air. The first cool movement of his young life. "Nice shot," he said. The previously solid disk now had a tiny hole in the center. Holly held out her hand, revealing the still raw scar on her finger. "If it wasn't for you, I would have missed altogether. No mech-digit can replicate that kind of accuracy. So, thank you too, I suppose." Artemis held out the coin. "No," said Holly. "You keep it, to remind you." "To remind me?" Holly stared at him frankly. "To remind you that deep beneath the layers of deviousness, you have a spark of decency. Perhaps you could blow on that spark occasionally." Artemis closed his fingers around the coin. It was warm against his palm. "Yes, perhaps.
Eoin Colfer (The Arctic Incident (Artemis Fowl, #2))
The only controls available to those on board were two push-buttons on the center post of the cabin -- one labeled on and one labeled off. The on button simply started a flight from Mars. The off button connected to nothing. It was installed at the insistence of the Martian mental-health experts, who said that human beings were always happier with machinery they thought they could turn off.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (The Sirens of Titan)
Question: You seem to advise me to be self-centered to the point of egoism. Must I not yield even to my interest in other people? Maharaj: Your interest in others is egoistic, self-concerned, self- oriented. You are not interested in others as persons, but only as far as they enrich, or enoble your own image of yourself. And the ultimate in selfishness is to care only for the protection, preservation and multiplication of one's own body. By body I mean all that is related to your name and shape--- your family, tribe, country, race, etc. To be attached to one's name and shape is selfishness. A man who knows that he is neither body nor mind cannot be selfish, for he has nothing to be selfish for. Or, you may say, he is equally 'selfish' on behalf of everybody he meets; everybody's welfare is his own. The feeling 'I am the world, the world is myself' becomes quite natural; once it is es- tablished, there is just no way of being selfish. To be selfish means to covet, to acquire, accumulate on behalf of the part against the whole. I Am That Nisargadatta Maharaj
Nisargadatta Maharaj
The role of United Nations is not policing but awakening the heart centers of the humanity.
Amit Ray (Nuclear Weapons Free World - Peace on the Earth)
The human condition is imperfection. And that's how it's supposed to be.
Katherine Center (Everyone is Beautiful)
Dreaming is the poetry of Life, and we must be forgiven if we indulge in it a little.
John Galsworthy (Five Speeches to P.E.N. Clubs and a Letter)
Center of your heart is the center of the Universe. Go to that center and radiate positive vibration for the well-being of the humanity.
Amit Ray (Peace Bliss Beauty and Truth: Living with Positivity)
Self-centered, stubborn, sentimental, childish, vain. I am humanity. Cynical, naïve, kind, cruel, soft as down, hard as tungsten steel.
Rick Yancey (The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave, #2))
I can only know my pain, and you can only know yours.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
Liars are highly unlikely to admit their lies, never mind apologize for the hurt they’ve caused. Liars don’t genuinely apologize. Deceit has become their full-out lifestyle. They are centered on themselves with no thoughts of the consequences of their lies. In cowardly style, they tell more lies to try and cover their tracks. They are not good at admitting they actually have shortcomings.
Cathy Burnham Martin (The Bimbo Has Brains: And Other Freaky Facts)
The person with a secular mentality feels himself to be the center of the universe. Yet he is likely to suffer from a sense of meaninglessness and insignificance because he knows he’s but one human among five billion others - all feeling themselves to be the center of things - scratching out an existence on the surface of a medium-sized planet circling a small star among countless stars in a galaxy lost among countless galaxies. The person with the sacred mentality, on the other hand, does not feel herself to be the center of the universe. She considers the Center to be elsewhere and other. Yet she is unlikely to feel lost or insignificant precisely because she draws her significance and meaning from her relationship, her connection, with that center, that Other.
M. Scott Peck (A World Waiting to Be Born: Civility Rediscovered)
The world needs huge positive energy to fight against the negative forces. Go to the center of your inner begin and generate that positive energy for the welfare of the humanity.
Amit Ray (World Peace: The Voice of a Mountain Bird)
To encounter the sacred is to be alive at the deepest center of human existence. Sacred places are the truest definitions of the earth; they stand for the earth immediately and forever; they are its flags and shields. If you would know the earth for what it really is, learn it through its sacred places. At Devil’s Tower or Canyon de Chelly or the Cahokia Mounds, you touch the pulse of the living planet; you feel its breath upon you. You become one with a spirit that pervades geologic time and space.
N. Scott Momaday
Love is possible only if two persons communicate with each other from the center of their existence, hence if each one of them experiences himself from the center of his existence. Only in this “central experience” is human reality, only here is aliveness, only here is the basis for love. Love, experienced thus, is a constant challenge; it is not a resting place, but a moving, growing, working together; even whether there is harmony or conflict, joy or sadness, is secondary to the fundamental fact that two people experience themselves from the essence of their existence, that they are one with each other by being one with themselves, rather than by fleeing from themselves. There is only one proof for the presence of love: the depth of the relationship, and the aliveness and strength in each person concerned; this is the fruit by which love is recognized.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
When you look at the earth’s existence as a whole, we’re nothing. We haven’t even been here long enough to earn bragging rights. Yet humans believe we’re the center of the universe. We focus on the stupidest, most mundane issues. We stress about things that mean absolutely nothing to the universe, when we should be nothing but grateful that evolution even gave our species a chance to have problems. Because one of these days . . . humans won’t exist. History will repeat itself and earth will move on to a different species altogether. Me and you . . . we’re just two people out of an entire race that, in retrospect, is still way less impressive at sustainability than a dinosaur. We just haven’t reached our expiration date yet.
Colleen Hoover (All Your Perfects)
The humanity we all share is more important than the mental illnesses we may not
Elyn R. Saks (The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness)
The only way out is through.” And the only good way through is together.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
Gatsby is a critique of the American Dream. The only people who end up rich or successful in the novel are the ones who start out that way. Almost everyone else ends up dead or destitute. And it’s a critique of the kind of vapid capitalism that can’t find anything more interesting to do with money than try to make more of it. The book lays bare the carelessness of the entitled rich—the kind of people who buy puppies but won’t take care of dogs, or who purchase vast libraries of books but never read any of them.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
THE INVITATION by Oriah Mountain Dreamer It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing. It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive. It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of future pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human. It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours or mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "yes!" It doesn't interest me who you know, or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back. It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with your and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
After the death of the poet Jane Kenyon, her husband Donald Hall wrote, “We did not spend our days gazing into each other’s eyes. We did that gazing when we made love or when one of us was in trouble, but most of the time our gazes met and entwined as they looked at a third thing. Third things are essential to marriages, objects or practices or habits or arts or institutions or games or human beings that provide a site of joint rapture or contentment. Each member of a couple is separate; the two come together in double attention.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
Never predict the end of the world. You’re almost certain to be wrong, and if you’re right, no one will be around to congratulate you.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
hope is the correct response to the strange, often terrifying miracle of consciousness. Hope is not easy or cheap. It is true.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
Everybody has some one thing they do not want to lose," began the man. "You included. And we are professionals at finding out that very thing. Humans by necessity must have a midway point between their desires and their pride. Just as all objects must have a center of gravity. This is something we can pinpoint. Only when it is gone do people realize it even existed.
Haruki Murakami (A Wild Sheep Chase (The Rat, #3))
In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world. . . . This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. . . . I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun. Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed. . . . But this cannot be seen, only believed and ‘understood’ by a peculiar gift.
Thomas Merton (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (Image Classic))
The science of artificial intelligence starts with freedom of humanity and should not end in slavery in any form. The only constraint to freedom is the freedom of others and nothing else.
Amit Ray (Compassionate Artificial Superintelligence AI 5.0)
City wisdom became almost entirely centered on the problems of human relationships, in contrast to the wisdom of any natural tribal group, where relationships with the rest of the animate and inanimate world are still given due place.
James E. Lovelock (Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth)
Love is the vital essence that pervades and permeates, from the center to the circumference, the graduating circles of all thought and action. Love is the talisman of human weal and woe--the open sesame to every soul.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can create a human-centered society that balances technological advancement, economic advancement and spiritual advancement.
Amit Ray (Compassionate Artificial Superintelligence AI 5.0)
But knowing something abstractly is different than knowing it experientially.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
Besides being blind to lots of good things, the GDP also benefits from all manner of human suffering. Gridlock, drug abuse, adultery? Goldmines for gas stations, rehab centers, and divorce attorneys. If you were the GDP, your ideal citizen would be a compulsive gambler with cancer who’s going through a drawn-out divorce that he copes with by popping fistfuls of Prozac and going berserk on Black Friday. Environmental pollution even does double duty: One company makes a mint by cutting corners while another is paid to clean up the mess. By contrast, a centuries-old tree doesn’t count until you chop it down and sell it as lumber.
Rutger Bregman (Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There)
Do you know how old the earth is, Quinn?” “No, but I bet I'm about to find out.” “Four and a half billion years old,” he says. His voice is full of wonder, like this is his absolute favorite thing to talk about. “Do you know how long ago our specific species appeared?” “No idea.” “Only two hundred thousand years ago,” he says. “Only two hundred thousand years out of four and a half billion years. It's unbelievable.” He grabs my hand and lays it palm down on his thigh. He begins tracing over the back of my hand with a lazy finger. “If the back of your hand represented the age of this earth and every species that has ever lived, the entire human race wouldn't even be visible to the naked eye. We are that insignificant.” He drags his finger to the center of the back of my hand and points to a small freckle. “From the beginning of time until now, we could combine every single human that has ever walked this earth, and all their problems and concerns as a whole wouldn't even amount to the size of this freckle right here.” He taps my hand. “Every single one of your life experiences could fit right here in this tiny freckle. So would mine. So would Beyonce's.
Colleen Hoover (All Your Perfects)
Latin America is the region of open veins. Everything from the discovery until our times, has always been transmuted into European--or later--United States-- capital, and as such has accumulated on distant centers of power. Everything: the soil, its fruits nad its mineral-rich depths, the people and their capacity to work and to consume, natural resources and human resources.
Eduardo Galeano (Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent)
--"And then I explained to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the opppresso, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must--at that moment--become the center of the universe." "Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere." "As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our life will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs." ‎" We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.
Elie Wiesel (Night (The Night Trilogy, #1))
You have always been alone, always self-centered and fearful of opening yourself to other persons, for to do so is to risk rejection and pain. But it is a risk we are born to take, we humans. We cannot live alone, cannot find happiness or peace alone, cannot love alone. The person alone must always be fleeing, always searching. He flees from the loneliness without end. He searches, whether he will or not, for another who will fill his emptiness.
Julian May (The Many-Coloured Land (Saga of Pliocene Exile, #1))
A thousand years ago, everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, they knew the Earth was flat. Fifteen minutes ago, you knew we humans were alone on it. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.
Tommy Lee Jones
If you think of human emotions as music, then mine were like an orchestra with no conductor.
Katherine Center (How to Walk Away)
When someone witnesses something amazing, what matters most is not 'out there' . . . but deep within, at the vital emotional center of witness.
Lawrence Weschler (Mr. Wilson's Cabinet Of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology)
The full humanization of man requires the breakthrough from the possession-centered to the activity-centered orientation, from selfishness and egotism to solidarity and altruism.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Being)
Depression is exhausting. It gets old so fast, listening to the elaborate prose of your brain tell you that you’re an idiot for even trying.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
The 114 Chakras are not just the junction points but the divine hidden dimensions of higher consciousness. Body and mind are just the manifestation of those energy centers.
Amit Ray (The Science of 114 Chakras in Human Body)
The five-star scale doesn’t really exist for humans; it exists for data aggregation systems, which is why it did not become standard until the internet era. Making conclusions about a book’s quality from a 175-word review is hard work for artificial intelligences, whereas star ratings are ideal for them.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life. Youth means a tempermental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of 60 more than a boy of 20. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirits back to dust. Whether 60 or 16, there is in every human being's heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing childlike appetite of what's next and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station: so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the Infinite, so long are you young. When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at 20, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at 80.
Samuel Ullman
Yes,” she purred. “I really think you can do better. Lots better.” As she spoke, she trailed a red-painted finger down the center of his chest, over his abdomen, heading straight for the button on his jeans. And oh, hell to the no. “Get your hands off him.” Sadi’s head snapped in my direction. “Excuse me?” “I don’t think I stuttered.” I took a step forward. “But it looks like you need me to repeat it. Get your freaking hands off him.” One side of her plump red lips curled up. “You want to make me?” In the back of my head, I was aware that Sadi didn’t move or speak like the other Luxen. Her mannerisms were too human, but then that thought was quickly chased away when Daemon reached down and pulled her hand away. “Stop it,” he murmured, voice dropped low in that teasing way of his. I saw red. The pictures on the wall rattled and the papers on the desk started to lift up. Static charged over my skin. I was about to pull a Beth right here, seconds away from floating to the ceiling and ripping out every strand of red—
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Opposition (Lux, #5))
Instead, he would make death his final project, the center point of his days. Since everyone was going to die, he could be of great value, right? He could be research. A human textbook. Study me in my slow and patient demise. Watch what happens to me. Learn with me.
Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)
A powerful AI system tasked with ensuring your safety might imprison you at home. If you asked for happiness, it might hook you up to a life support and ceaselessly stimulate your brain's pleasure centers. If you don't provide the AI with a very big library of preferred behaviors or an ironclad means for it to deduce what behavior you prefer, you'll be stuck with whatever it comes up with. And since it's a highly complex system, you may never understand it well enough to make sure you've got it right.
James Barrat (Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era)
The trick of enjoying New York is not to be so busy grinding your way to the center of the earth that you fail to notice the sparkle of the place, a scale and a kind of wonder that puts all human endeavors in their proper place.
David Carr (The Night of the Gun)
I have a serious question." "I will give a serious answer." "Can a god be killed?" The humor drained from Roman's face. "Well, that depends on if you're a pantheist or a Marxist." "What's the difference?" "The first believes that divinity is the universe. The two are synonymous and nonexistent without each other. The second believes in anthropocentrism, seeing man in the center of the universe, and god as just an invention of human conscience. Of course, if you follow Nietzsche, you can kill God just by thinking about him.
Ilona Andrews (Gunmetal Magic (World of Kate Daniels, #6 & #6.5; Andrea Nash, #1, Kate Daniels, #5.5))
Who sees the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror, or the painter?
Pablo Picasso Infant Toddler Center
Contrary to popular belief, the gene-centered theory of evolution does not imply that the point of all human striving is to spread our genes.
Steven Pinker (How the Mind Works)
Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
There is no better people-watching than at the airport: the whole world packed into such a tight space, moving fast with all their essentials in their rolling bags. And what caught my attention, as I took a few breaths and lay my eyes on the crowds, were all the imperfections. Everybody had them. Every single person that walked past me had some kind of flaw. Bushy eyebrows, moles, flared nostrils, crooked teeth, crows'-feet, hunched backs, dowagers' humps, double chins, floppy earlobes, nose hairs, potbellies, scars, nicotine stains, upper arm fat, trick knees, saddlebags, collapsed arches, bruises, warts, puffy eyes, pimples. Nobody was perfect. Not even close. And everybody had wrinkles from smiling and squinting and craning their necks. Everybody had marks on their bodies from years of living - a trail of life left on them, evidence of all the adventures and sleepless nights and practical jokes and heartbreaks that had made them who they were. In that moment, I suddenly loved us all the more for our flaws, for being broken and human, for being embarrassed and lonely, for being hopeful or tired or disappointed or sick or brave or angry. For being who we were, for making the world interesting. It was a good reminder that the human condition is imperfection. And that's how it's supposed to be.
Katherine Center (Everyone is Beautiful)
Anxiety is always a gap between the way things are and the way we think they ought to be. Anxiety is something that stretches between the real and unreal. Our human desire is to avoid what's real and instead to be with our ideas about the world: "I'm terrible." "You're terrible." "You're wonderful." The idea is separated from reality and anxiety is the gap between the idea and the reality that things are just as they are. When we cease to believe in the object that we've created -- which is off to one side of reality, so to speak -- things snap back to the center. That's what being centered means. The anxiety then fades out.
Charlotte Joko Beck
Humans by necessity must have a midway point between their desires and their pride. Just as all objects must have a center of gravity. This is something we can pinpoint. Only when it is gone do people realize it even existed
Haruki Murakami (A Wild Sheep Chase (The Rat, #3))
The people at the center of these stories of power couples mostly choose to see their own motives as selfless. In Elizabeth Edwards’ autobiography Resilience, she wrote of her marriage to John, U.S. senator from North Carolina, ‘We were lovers, life companions, crusaders, side by side, for a vision of what the country could be.’ When she found out he was cheating on her, the crusading together became ‘the glue’ that kept them together. ‘I grabbed hold of it. I needed to,’ Edwards wrote. ‘Although I no longer knew what I could trust between the two of us, I knew I could trust in our work together.’ She wanted ‘an intact family fighting for causes more important than any one of us.
Anne Michaud (Why They Stay: Sex Scandals, Deals, and Hidden Agendas of Eight Political Wives)
It is in the capacity to love, that is to SEE, that the liberation of the soul from fantasy consists. The freedom which is a proper human goal is the freedom from fantasy, that is the realism of compassion. What I have called fantasy, the proliferation of blinding self-centered aims and images, is itself a powerful system of energy, and most of what is often called 'will' or 'willing' belongs to this system. What counteracts the system is attention to reality inspired by, consisting of, love.
Iris Murdoch (The Sovereignty of Good)
I am highly suspicious of attempts to brightside human suffering, especially suffering that—as in the case of almost all infectious diseases—is unjustly distributed. I’m not here to criticize other people’s hope, but personally, whenever I hear someone waxing poetic about the silver linings to all these clouds, I think about a wonderful poem by Clint Smith called “When people say, ‘we have made it through worse before.’” The poem begins, “all I hear is the wind slapping against the gravestones / of those who did not make it.” As in Ibn Battuta’s Damascus, the only path forward is true solidarity—not only in hope, but also in lamentation.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
Humanity has in the course of time had to endure from the hands of science two great outrages upon its naive self-love. The first was when it realized that our earth was not the center of the universe, but only a tiny speck in a world-system of a magnitude hardly conceivable; this is associated in our minds with the name of Copernicus, although Alexandrian doctrines taught something very similar. The second was when biological research robbed man of his peculiar privilege of having been specially created, and relegated him to a descent from the animal world, implying an ineradicable animal nature in him: this transvaluation has been accomplished in our own time upon the instigation of Charles Darwin, Wallace, and their predecessors, and not without the most violent opposition from their contemporaries. But man's craving for grandiosity is now suffering the third and most bitter blow from present-day psychological research which is endeavoring to prove to the ego of each one of us that he is not even master in his own house, but that he must remain content with the veriest scraps of information about what is going on unconsciously in his own mind. We psycho-analysts were neither the first nor the only ones to propose to mankind that they should look inward; but it appears to be our lot to advocate it most insistently and to support it by empirical evidence which touches every man closely.
Sigmund Freud (Introduction à la psychanalyse)
Human connection had its upsides, but it sure was a lot of work. The risk-reward ratio was low, at best.
Katherine Center (Things You Save in a Fire)
The world is a very different place, where steel can be bent and twisted. But maybe that is the point - that steel is no the greatest metal in the world - the human spirit is.
Tribute WTC Visitor Center (9/11: The World Speaks)
That's just the human condition, sweetheart. We're always doomed to waste our time.
Katherine Center (Things You Save in a Fire)
It’s no coincidence that the scientific revolution in Britain coincided with the rise of British participation in the Atlantic slave trade and the growing wealth being extracted from colonies and enslaved labor.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and 15 minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.
Steve Perry (Men in Black)
When we reject the truth of someone’s story—the ultimate failure of story stewardship—it’s often because we’ve stealthily centered ourselves in their story, and the narrative takeover is about protecting our ego, behavior, or privilege. The less diverse our lived experiences, the more likely we are to find ourselves struggling with narrative takeover or narrative tap-out.
Brené Brown (Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience)
When we say to people, 'I will pray for you,' we make a very important commitment. The sad thing is that this remark often remains nothing but a well-meant expression of concern. But when we learn to descend with our mind into our heart, then all those who have become part of our lives are led into the healing presence of God and touched by him in the center of our being. We are speaking here about a mystery for which words are inadequate. It is the mystery that the heart, which is the center of our being, is transformed by God into his own heart, a heart large enough to embrace the entire universe. Through prayer we can carry in our heart all human pain and sorrow, all conflicts and agonies, all torture and war, all hunger, loneliness, and misery, not because of some great psychological or emotional capacity, but because God's heart has become one with ours.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers)
It has often been noted that three major revolutions in thought have threatened the idea of human centrality. First, Copernicus demonstrated that Earth was not the center about which all celestial bodies revolved. Next, Darwin showed us that we were not central in the chain of life but, like all other creatures, had evolved from other life-forms. Third, Freud demonstrated that we are not masters in our own house-that much of our behavior is governed by forced outside of our consciousness. There is no doubt that Freud’s unacknowledged co-revolutionary was Arthur Schopenhauer, who, long before Freud’s birth, had posited that we are governed by deep biological forced and then delude ourselves into thinking that we consciously choose our activities.
Irvin D. Yalom (The Schopenhauer Cure)
Perception requires imagination because the data people encounter in their lives are never complete and always equivocal. For example, most people consider that the greatest evidence of an event one can obtain is to see it with their own eyes, and in a court of law little is held in more esteem than eyewitness testimony. Yet if you asked to display for a court a video of the same quality as the unprocessed data catptured on the retina of a human eye, the judge might wonder what you were tryig to put over. For one thing, the view will have a blind spot where the optic nerve attaches to the retina. Moreover, the only part of our field of vision with good resolution is a narrow area of about 1 degree of visual angle around the retina’s center, an area the width of our thumb as it looks when held at arm’s length. Outside that region, resolution drops off sharply. To compensate, we constantly move our eyes to bring the sharper region to bear on different portions of the scene we wish to observe. And so the pattern of raw data sent to the brain is a shaky, badly pixilated picture with a hole in it. Fortunately the brain processes the data, combining input from both eyes, filling in gaps on the assumption that the visual properties of neighboring locations are similar and interpolating. The result - at least until age, injury, disease, or an excess of mai tais takes its toll - is a happy human being suffering from the compelling illusion that his or her vision is sharp and clear. We also use our imagination and take shortcuts to fill gaps in patterns of nonvisual data. As with visual input, we draw conclusions and make judgments based on uncertain and incomplete information, and we conclude, when we are done analyzing the patterns, that out “picture” is clear and accurate. But is it?
Leonard Mlodinow (The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives)
We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.
Elie Wiesel (Night)
Men mistook measurement for understanding. And they always had to put themselves at the center of everything. That was their greatest conceit. The earth is becoming warmer-it must be our fault! The mountain is destroying us-we have not propitiated the gods! It rains too much, it rains too little-a comfort to think that these things are somehow connected to our behavior, that if only we lived a little better, a little more frugally, our virtue would be rewarded. But here was nature, sweeping toward him-unknowable, all-conquering, indifferent-and he saw in her fires the futility of human pretensions.
Robert Harris (Pompeii)
The cross is the crux, the crossroads, the twisted knot at the center of reality, to which all previous history leads and from which all subsequent history flows. By it we know all reality is cruciform—the love of God, the shape of creation, the labyrinth of human history.
Peter J. Leithart
Humans need to share their darkest parts. Unburdening makes you closer to everyone. There’s that thing that all addicts have, that you’re a piece of shit in the center of the universe. That everybody’s obsessed with the ways you fall short. But the truth is, we all have the same, boring problems. Sometimes the best thing you can do is talk about it. It makes no sense, but glory if it doesn’t work like a charm.
Mary H.K. Choi (Yolk)
I always have the feeling we are merely fearfully trying to save room for God; I would rather speak of God at the center than at the limits, in strength rather than weakness, and thus in human life and goodness rather than in death and guilt.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Is human dignity and human life so cheap that the rights protecting it can be traded away to appease the appetite for intimidation and prejudice of a vicious and self-centered group - for whatever reason, power, politics, nationalism, or unity?
Christina Engela (Bugspray)
Thus man is heaven, earth, and hell in one, and his salvation is a much more personal problem than he realizes. Realizing that the human body is a mass of psychic centers and that during life the form is crisscrossed with endless currents of energy, that all through the form are sunbursts of electric force and magnetic power, man can be seen by chose who know how to see as a solar system of scars and planets, suns and moons, with comets in irregular orbits circling through them. As the Milky Way is supposed co be a gigantic cosmic embryo, so man is himself a galaxy
Manly P. Hall (Melchizedek and the Mystery of Fire)
Did you know that the center of a Protostar (the star in the middle of a nebula) is called a Nuclear Furnace? So you can call that the star's "heart." The heart of a star is a furnace. Not much unlike the human heart.
C. JoyBell C.
Many signs point to the fact that the youth of the Third World will no longer tolerate living in circumstances that give them no hope for the future. From the young boys I met in the demobilization camps in Sierra Leone to the suicide bombers of Palestine and Chechnya, to the young terrorists who fly planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we can no longer afford to ignore them. We have to take concrete steps to remove the causes of their rage, or we have to be prepared to suffer the consequences.
Roméo Dallaire (Shake Hands with the Devil)
I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lies are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men and women are prosecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must--at that moment--become the center of the universe.
Elie Wiesel (Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech)
The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple. A good example of a simple technology with profound historical consequences is hay. Nobody knows who invented hay, the idea of cutting grass in the autumn and storing it in large enough quantities to keep horses and cows alive through the winter. All we know is that the technology of hay was unknown to the Roman Empire but was known to every village of medieval Europe. Like many other crucially important technologies, hay emerged anonymously during the so-called Dark Ages. According to the Hay Theory of History, the invention of hay was the decisive event which moved the center of gravity of urban civilization from the Mediterranean basin to Northern and Western Europe. The Roman Empire did not need hay because in a Mediterranean climate the grass grows well enough in winter for animals to graze. North of the Alps, great cities dependent on horses and oxen for motive power could not exist without hay. So it was hay that allowed populations to grow and civilizations to flourish among the forests of Northern Europe. Hay moved the greatness of Rome to Paris and London, and later to Berlin and Moscow and New York.
Freeman Dyson (Infinite in All Directions)
Your love life is insignificant when it comes to raising your children to be respectable human beings. The moment you see them suffer or lower their standards because of your selfishness, is the day you should realize that nothing matters more than them. You are not just the queen or king of your fairy tale. The real story of your life is the gift of time God gave you with them.
Shannon L. Alder
To enter heaven is to become more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth; to enter hell is to be banished from humanity. What is cast (or casts itself) into hell is not a man: it is “remains.” To be a complete man means to have the passions obedient to the will and the will offered to God: to have been a man – to be an ex-man or “damned ghost” – would presumably mean to consist of a will utterly centered in its self and passions utterly uncontrolled by the will.
C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.
Elie Wiesel (Night)
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
Could God have justified Himself before human history, so full of suffering, without placing Christ's Cross at the center of that history? . . . But God, who besides being Omnipotence is Wisdom and--to repeat once again--Love, desires to justify Himself to mankind. He is not the Absolute that remains outside of the world, indifferent to human suffering. he is Emmanuel, God-with-us, a God who shares man's lot and participates in his destiny.
Pope John Paul II (Crossing the Threshold of Hope)
She had a hundred reasons: because Bear had carved a statue of her in the center of the topiary garden, because she could always make him laugh, because he'd let her return to the station, because he won at chess and lost at hockey, because he ran as fast as he could to polar bear births, because he had seal breath even as a human, because his hands were soft, because he was her Bear. "Because i want my husband back," Cassie said.
Sarah Beth Durst (Ice)
ceremony is essential to humans: It's a circle that we draw around important events to separate the momentous from the ordinary. And ritual is a sort of magical safety harness that guides us from one stage of our lives into the next, making sure we don't stumble or lose ourselves along the way. Ceremony and ritual march us carefully right through the center of our deepest fears about change…
Elizabeth Gilbert (Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage)
the top 10 percent of humanity have come to hold 90 percent of the planet’s wealth. It is no wonder that the American voting public—like other publics around the world—has turned more resentful and suspicious in recent years, embracing populist movements on the left and right, bringing socialism and nationalism into the center of political life in a way that once seemed unthinkable, and succumbing to all manner of conspiracy theory and fake news.
Anand Giridharadas (Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World)
It occurred to me. . .that aberrance is a wholly human construct. There were no such things as monsters outside the human mind. We are vain and arrogant, evolution's highest achievement and most dismal failure, prisoners of our self-awareness and the illusion that we stand in the center, that there is us and then there is everything else but us. But we do not stand apart from or above or in the middle of anything. There is nothing apart, nothing above, and the middle is everywhere - and nowhere. We are no more beautiful and essential or magnificent than an earthworm. In fact - and dare we go there, you and I? - you could say the worm is more beautiful, because it is innocent and we are not. The worm has no motive but to survive long enough to make baby worms. There is no betrayal, no cruelty, no envy, no lust, and no hatred in the worm's heart, and so who are the monsters and which species shall we call aberrant?
Rick Yancey (The Final Descent (The Monstrumologist, #4))
Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
When I saw myself thus wholly cut off from human succour, incapable of attempting anything for my deliverance, I thought of heavenly succour. Memories of my childhood, of my mother...came back to me. I began to pray, little as I deserved that God should know me when I had forgotten Him so long; and I prayed fervently.
Jules Verne (A Journey to the Center of the Earth)
Society nowadays tells people that their happiness is all that matters but happiness is never found if it costs someone else’s theirs. That is not what happiness is, nor would such a person deserve it, because happiness is forged by the setting aside of self and in doing for others to make them happy first and foremost, so if you have to hurt another human being to “find your happiness,” then you have no clue what the word actually means or what it’s willing to do, and in being so self-centered and entitled, it’s veritably tragic that the only care and concern you have is for yourself.
Donna Lynn Hope
Finally, our new brain needs a purpose. A purpose is expressed as a series of goals. In the case of our biological brains, our goals are established by the pleasure and fear centers that we have inherited from the old brain. These primitive drives were initially set by biological evolution to foster the survival of species, but the neocortex has enabled us to sublimate them. Watson’s goal was to respond to Jeopardy! queries. Another simply stated goal could be to pass the Turing test. To do so, a digital brain would need a human narrative of its own fictional story so that it can pretend to be a biological human. It would also have to dumb itself down considerably, for any system that displayed the knowledge of, say, Watson would be quickly unmasked as nonbiological.
Ray Kurzweil (How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed)
Homes should mean something to us humans. They are a basic instinct. A home, with a life that centers only on food and sleep, is not really a home, it's a house. Beauty and graciousness, joy of living, being used in every part, these are the things that make a house a home. (chapter header quote from Popular Home Decorations, 1940)
Ellen Baker (Keeping the House)
To aid and abet in the destruction of a single species or in the extermination of a single tribe is to commit a crime against God, a mortal sin against Mother Nature. Better by far to sacrifice in some degree the interests of mechanical civilization, curtail our gluttonous appetite for things, ever more things, learn to moderate our needs, and most important, and not difficult, learn to control, limit and gradually reduce our human numbers. We humans swarm over the planet like a plague of locusts, multiplying and devouring. There is no justice, sense or decency in this mindless global breeding spree, this obscene anthropoid fecundity, this industrialized mass production of babies and bodies, ever more bodies and babies. The man-centered view of the world in anti-Christian, anti-Buddhist, antinature, antilife, and--antihuman.
Edward Abbey (Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside)
Most Americans are aware of the brutality and injustice used to maintain the excesses of their selfish consumer society and empire. Yet I suspect...they do not care. They don’t want to see what is done in their name. They do not want to look at the rows of flag-draped coffins, the horribly maimed bodies and faces of veterans, or the human suffering in the blighted and deserted former manufacturing centers. It is too upsetting. Government and corporate censorship is therefore welcomed and appreciated.
Curtis White
Humans are by nature self-centered. It doesn’t matter how civilized or primitive they are. If they want something, they’ll find a way to get it or take it. The old empires used land, women, religion, pride in one’s nationality, or preservation of their culture as an excuse to start war. Presently, you use technology, world policing, expanding markets, and protecting national interest, but the underlying theme has never changed. As long as there are greedy people in this world, there will always be wars.
Ednah Walters (Runes (Runes, #1))
Luz Castro "And then i explain that the world did know and remained silent. and that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. NEUTRALITY HELPS THE OPPRESSOR, NEVER THE VICTIM. SILENCE ENCOURAGES THE TORMENTOR, NEVER THE TORMENTED. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must- at that moment- become the center of the universe." Elie Wiesel (from his speech when given the Nobel Peace Prize.)
Elie Wiesel (Night (The Night Trilogy, #1))
Whether we are speaking of a flower or an oak tree, of an earthworm or a beautiful bird, of an ape or a person, we will do well, I believe, to recognize that life is an active process, not a passive one. Whether the stimulus arises from within or without, whether the environment is favorable or unfavorable, the behaviors of an organism can be counted on to be in the direction of maintaining, enhancing, and reproducing itself. This is the very nature of the process we call life. This tendency is operative at all times. Indeed, only the presence or absence of this total directional process enables us to tell whether a given organism is alive or dead. The actualizing tendency can, of course, be thwarted or warped, but it cannot be destroyed without destroying the organism. I remember that in my boyhood, the bin in which we stored our winter's supply of potatoes was in the basement, several feet below a small window. The conditions were unfavorable, but the potatoes would begin to sprout—pale white sprouts, so unlike the healthy green shoots they sent up when planted in the soil in the spring. But these sad, spindly sprouts would grow 2 or 3 feet in length as they reached toward the distant light of the window. The sprouts were, in their bizarre, futile growth, a sort of desperate expression of the directional tendency I have been describing. They would never become plants, never mature, never fulfill their real potential. But under the most adverse circumstances, they were striving to become. Life would not give up, even if it could not flourish. In dealing with clients whose lives have been terribly warped, in working with men and women on the back wards of state hospitals, I often think of those potato sprouts. So unfavorable have been the conditions in which these people have developed that their lives often seem abnormal, twisted, scarcely human. Yet, the directional tendency in them can be trusted. The clue to understanding their behavior is that they are striving, in the only ways that they perceive as available to them, to move toward growth, toward becoming. To healthy persons, the results may seem bizarre and futile, but they are life's desperate attempt to become itself. This potent constructive tendency is an underlying basis of the person-centered approach.
Carl R. Rogers
The stories that science tells about the world filter out into the wider culture, changing the way that we look at the world around us and our place in it. The discovery that the Earth was not at the center of the universe, Darwin’s theory of evolution, the Big Bang and an expanding universe nearly 14 billion years old, containing hundreds of billions of galaxies, each containing hundreds of billions of stars—these ideas have radically altered humanity’s conception of itself.
Adam Becker (What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics)
People,” Wax said, “are like cords, Steris. We snake out, striking this way and that, always looking for something new. That’s human nature, to discover what is hidden. There’s so much we can do, so many places we can go.” He shifted in his seat, changing his center of gravity, which caused the sphere to rotate upward on its tether. “But if there aren’t any boundaries,” he said, “we’d get tangled up. Imagine a thousand of these cords, zipping through the room. The law is there to keep us from ruining everyone else’s ability to explore. Without law, there’s no freedom. That’s why I am what I am.
Brandon Sanderson (The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn, #6))
The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism. From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal—God is the Omnipotent Father—hence the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates. —GORE VIDAL
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
For most of my life, I’ve believed we’re in the fourth quarter of human history, and perhaps even the last days of it. But lately, I’ve come to believe that such despair only worsens our already slim chance at long-term survival. We must fight like there is something to fight for, like we are something worth fighting for, because we are. And so I choose to believe that we are not approaching the apocalypse, that the end is not coming, and that we will find a way to survive the coming changes.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet)
I should have learned many things from that experience, but when I look back on it, all I gained was one single, undeniable fact. That ultimately I am a person who can do evil. I never consciously tried to hurt anyone, yet good intentions notwithstanding, when necessity demanded, I could become completely self-centered, even cruel. I was the kind of person who could, using some plausible excuse, inflict on a person I cared for a wound that would never heal. College transported me to a new town, where I tried, one more time, to reinvent myself. Becoming someone new, I could correct the errors of my past. At first I was optimistic: I could pull it off. But in the end, no matter where I went, I could never change. Over and over I made the same mistake, hurt other people, and hurt myself in the bargain. Just after I turned twenty, this thought hit me: Maybe I've lost the chance to ever be a decent human being. The mistakes I'd committed—maybe they were part of my very makeup, an inescapable part of my being. I'd hit rock bottom, and I knew it.
Haruki Murakami (South of the Border, West of the Sun)
She slowly became convinced…that at the center of the universe not God but a tremendous deadness reigned. The stillness of a drunk God, passed out cold…She had learned of it in that house…where the drunks crashed…Things had happened to her there. She was neither raped nor robbed, nor did she experience God’s absence to any greater degree than other people did. She wasn’t threatened or made to harm anyone against her will. She wasn’t beaten, either, or deprived of speech or voice. It was, rather, the sad blubbering stories she heard in the house. Delphine witnessed awful things occurring to other humans. Worse than that, she was powerless to alter their fate. It would be that way all her life – disasters, falling like chairs all around her, falling so close they disarranged her hair, but not touching her.
Louise Erdrich (The Master Butchers Singing Club)
From the heart arise unknowable impulses as well as conscious feelings, moods, and wishes. The heart, too, has its reasons and is the center of perception and understanding. Finally, the heart is the seat of the will: it makes plans and comes to good decisions. Thus the heart is the central and unifying organ of our personal life. Our heart determines our personality, and is therefore not only the place where God dwells but also the place to which Satan directs his fiercest attacks. It is this heart that is the place of prayer. The prayer of the heart is a prayer that directs itself to God from the center of the person and thus affects the whole of our humanness.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers)
Man would not be man if his dreams did not exceed his grasp. ... Like John Donne, man lies in a close prison, yet it is dear to him. Like Donne's, his thoughts at times overleap the sun and pace beyond the body. If I term humanity a slime mold organism it is because our present environment suggest it. If I remember the sunflower forest it is because from its hidden reaches man arose. The green world is his sacred center. In moments of sanity he must still seek refuge there. ... If I dream by contrast of the eventual drift of the star voyagers through the dilated time of the universe, it is because I have seen thistledown off to new worlds and am at heart a voyager who, in this modern time, still yearns for the lost country of his birth.
Loren Eiseley (The Invisible Pyramid)
Just like we need food and water, humans need each other. A brain study revealed that when placed in an MRI, a patient's reward center lit up when another person sat in the room. Neurons fire when talk to someone, think about someone, and they go haywire when we hold someone's hand. Our brains and bodies are actually programmed to seek each other out and connect. So then why do so many people prefer being alone? Why do we often run for the hills when we feel the slightest connection? Why we do we feel compelled to fight what we're hardwired to do? Maybe it's because when we find someone or something to hold on to, that feeling becomes like air. And we're terrified we're going to lose it. And trust me, you can get pretty good at the alone thing. But most things are better when they're shared with someone else.
Meredith Grey
Clark had always been fond of beautiful objects, and in his present state of mind, all objects were beautiful. He stood by the case and found himself moved by every object he saw there, by the human enterprise each object had required. Consider the snow globe. Consider the mind that invented those miniature storms, the factory worker who turned sheets of plastic into white flakes of snow, the hand that drew the plan for the miniature Severn City with its church steeple and city hall, the as**sembly-line worker who watched the globe glide past on a conveyer belt somewhere in China. Consider the white gloves on the hands of the woman who inserted the snow globes into boxes, to be packed into larger boxes, crates, shipping containers. Consider the card games played belowdecks in the evenings on the ship carrying the containers across the ocean, a hand stubbing out a cigarette in an overflowing ashtray, a haze of blue smoke in dim light, the cadences of a half dozen languages united by common profanities, the sailors’ dreams of land and women, these men for whom the ocean was a gray-line horizon to be traversed in ships the size of overturned skyscrapers. Consider the signature on the shipping manifest when the ship reached port, a signature unlike any other on earth, the coffee cup in the hand of the driver delivering boxes to the distribution center, the secret hopes of the UPS man carrying boxes of snow globes from there to the Severn City Airport. Clark shook the globe and held it up to the light. When he looked through it, the planes were warped and caught in whirling snow.
Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven)
So long as we have wage slavery," answered Schliemann, "it matters not in the least how debasing and repulsive a task may be, it is easy to find people to perform it. But just as soon as labor is set free, then the price of such work will begin to rise. So one by one the old, dingy, and unsanitary factories will come down— it will be cheaper to build new; and so the steamships will be provided with stoking machinery , and so the dangerous trades will be made safe, or substitutes will be found for their products. In exactly the same way, as the citizens of our Industrial Republic become refined, year by year the cost of slaughterhouse products will increase; until eventually those who want to eat meat will have to do their own killing— and how long do you think the custom would survive then?— To go on to another item— one of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a democracy is political corruption; and one of the consequences of civic administration by ignorant and vicious politicians, is that preventable diseases kill off half our population. And even if science were allowed to try, it could do little, because the majority of human beings are not yet human beings at all, but simply machines for the creating of wealth for others. They are penned up in filthy houses and left to rot and stew in misery, and the conditions of their life make them ill faster than all the doctors in the world could heal them; and so, of course, they remain as centers of contagion , poisoning the lives of all of us, and making happiness impossible for even the most selfish. For this reason I would seriously maintain that all the medical and surgical discoveries that science can make in the future will be of less importance than the application of the knowledge we already possess, when the disinherited of the earth have established their right to a human existence.
Upton Sinclair (The Jungle)
preventable diseases kill off half our population. And even if science were allowed to try, it could do little, because the majority of human beings are not yet human beings at all, but simply machines for the creating of wealth for others. They are penned up in filthy houses and left to rot and stew in misery, and the conditions of their life make them ill faster than all the doctors in the world could heal them; and so, of course, they remain as centers of contagion, poisoning the lives of all of us, and making happiness impossible for even the most selfish. For this reason I would seriously maintain that all the medical and surgical discoveries that science can make in the future will be of less importance than the application of the knowledge we already possess, when the disinherited of the earth have established their right to a human existence.
Upton Sinclair (The Jungle)
I’ve come to understand the cumulative dialogue of my work as a kind of cartography of wisdom about our emerging world. This book is a map in words to important territory we all are on now together. It’s a collection of pointers that treat the margins as seriously as the noisy center. For change has always happened in the margins, across human history, and it’s happening there now. Seismic shifts in common life, as in geophysical reality, begin in spaces and cracks.
Krista Tippett (Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living)
Here’s what I need to do to stay centered: sleep eight hours, exercise for forty-five minutes, and have both breakfast and dinner with my family. If I skip one or two of those things for a day or two, it’s OK. But that’s the routine. Also, every so often I need to read a novel (ideally one a week), go away for a romantic weekend with my husband (ideally four times a year), and take a two-week vacation with siblings and parents (once a year). If I can manage to do those things, I can usually stay centered no matter what storms are raging around me.
Kim Malone Scott (Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity)
Why the delay? Why does God let evil and pain so flagrantly exist, even thrive, on this planet?...He holds back for our sakes. Re-creation involves us; we are, in fact, at the center of his plan...the motive behind all human history, is to develop us, not God. Our very existence announces to the powers in the universe that restoration is under way. Every act of faith by every one of the people of God is like the tolling of a bell, and a faith like Job's reverberates throughout the universe.
Philip Yancey (Disappointment with God)
She had challenged him on this point one night at Anne and George's, inhibitions weakened by Ronrico: "Explain this Mass to me!" There was a silence as he sat still, apparently looking at the dinner plates and chicken bones. "Consider the Star of David," he said quietly. "Two triangles, one pointing down, one pointing up. I find this a powerful image—the Divine reaching down, humanity reaching upward. And in the center, an intersection, where the Divine and human meet. The Mass takes place in that space." His eyes lifted and met hers: a look of lucid candor. "I understand it as a place where the Divine and the human are one. And as a promise, perhaps. That God will reach toward us if we reach toward Him, that we and our most ordinary human acts—like eating bread and drinking wine—can be transformed and made sacred.
Mary Doria Russell (The Sparrow (The Sparrow, #1))
And no matter how much the gray people in power despise knowledge, they can’t do anything about historical objectivity; they can slow it down, but they can’t stop it. Despising and fearing knowledge, they will nonetheless inevitably decide to promote it in order to survive. Sooner or later they will be forced to allow universities and scientific societies, to create research centers, observatories, and laboratories, and thus to create a cadre of people of thought and knowledge: people who are completely beyond their control, people with a completely different psychology and with completely different needs. And these people cannot exist and certainly cannot function in the former atmosphere of low self-interest, banal preoccupations, dull self-satisfaction, and purely carnal needs. They need a new atmosphere— an atmosphere of comprehensive and inclusive learning, permeated with creative tension; they need writers, artists, composers— and the gray people in power are forced to make this concession too. The obstinate ones will be swept aside by their more cunning opponents in the struggle for power, but those who make this concession are, inevitably and paradoxically, digging their own graves against their will. For fatal to the ignorant egoists and fanatics is the growth of a full range of culture in the people— from research in the natural sciences to the ability to marvel at great music. And then comes the associated process of the broad intellectualization of society: an era in which grayness fights its last battles with a brutality that takes humanity back to the middle ages, loses these battles, and forever disappears as an actual force.
Arkady Strugatsky (Hard to Be a God)
We have made money our god and called it the good life. We have trained our children to go for jobs hat bring the quickest corporate advancements at the highest financial levels. We have taught them careerism but not ministry and wonder why ministers are going out of fashion. We fear coddling the poor with food stamps while we call tax breaks for the rich business incentives. We make human community the responsibility of government institutions while homelessness, hunger, and drugs seep from the centers of our cities like poison from open sores for which we do not seek either the cause or the cure. We have created a bare and sterile world of strangers where exploitation is a necessary virtue. We have reduced life to the lowest of values so that the people who have much will not face the prospect of having less. Underlying all of it, we have made women the litter bearers of a society where disadvantage clings to the bottom of the institutional ladder and men funnel to the top, where men are privileged and women are conscripted for the comfort of the human race. We define women as essential to the development of the home but unnecessary to the development of society. We make them poor and render them powerless and shuttle them from man to man. We sell their bodies and question the value of their souls. We call them unique and say they have special natures, which we then ignore in their specialness. We decide that what is true of men is true of women and then say that women are not as smart as men, as strong as men, or as capable as men. We render half the human race invisible and call it natural. We tolerate war and massacre, mayhem and holocaust to right the wrongs that men say need righting and then tell women to bear up and accept their fate in silence when the crime is against them. What’s worse, we have applauded it all—the militarism, the profiteering, and the sexisms—in the name of patriotism, capitalism, and even religion. We consider it a social problem, not a spiritual one. We think it has something to do with modern society and fail to imagine that it may be something wrong with the modern soul. We treat it as a state of mind rather than a state of heart. Clearly, there is something we are failing to see.
Joan D. Chittister (Heart of Flesh: Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men)
Not so much because many occupations would not permit of a loving attitude, but because the spirit of a production-centered, commodity-greedy society is such that only the non-conformist can defend himself successfully against it. Those who are seriously concerned with love as the only rational answer to the problem of human existence must, then, arrive at the conclusion that important and radical changes in our social structure are necessary, if love is to become a social and not a highly individualistic, marginal phenomenon.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
We deem it opportune to remind our children of their duty to take an active part in public life and to contribute toward the attainment of the common good of the entire human family as well as to that of their own political community. They should endeavor, therefore, in the light of their Christian faith and led by love, to insure that the various institutions—whether economic, social, cultural or political in purpose—should be such as not to create obstacles, but rather to facilitate or render less arduous man’s perfecting of himself in both the natural order and the supernatural.... Every believer in this world of ours must be a spark of light, a center of love, a vivifying leaven amidst his fellow men. And he will be this all the more perfectly, the more closely he lives in communion with God in the intimacy of his own soul
Pope John XXIII (Pacem in Terris: On Establishing Universal Peace)
Her eyes bothered him most.  Unlike the Kai, hers were layers of opaque white, blue ringed in gray and black pinpoint centers that expanded or contracted with the light.  The first time he’d witnessed that reaction in a human, all the hairs on his nape stood straight up.  That, and the way the contrasting colors made it easy to see the eyes move in their sockets gave the impression they weren’t body parts but entities unto themselves living as parasites inside their hosts’ skulls. He was used to seeing the frantic eye-rolling in a frightened horse but not a person.  If the parasite impression didn’t repulse him so much, he’d think humans lived in a constant state of hysterical terror.
Grace Draven (Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1))
So far as we know, the tiny fragments of the universe embodied in man are the only centers of thought and responsibility in the visible world. If that be so, the appearance of the human mind has been so far the ultimate stage in the awakening of the world; and all that has gone before, the striving of myriad centers that have taken the risks of living and believing, seem to have all been pursuing, along rival lines, the aim now achieved by us up to this point. They are all akin to us, for all these centers - those which led up to our own existence and the far more numerous others which produced different lines of which many are extinct - may be seen engaged in the same endeavor towards ultimate liberation. We may envisage then a cosmic field which called forth all these centers by offering them a short-lived, limited, hazardous opportunity for making some progress of their own towards an unthinkable consummation. And that is also, I believe, how a Christian is placed when worshiping God.
Michael Polanyi (Personal Knowledge : Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy)
Love implies great freedom—not to do what you like. But love comes only when the mind is very quiet, disinterested, not self-centered. These are not ideals. If you have no love, do what you will—go after all the gods on earth, do all the social activities, try to reform the poor, the politics, write books, write poems—you are a dead human being. And without love your problems will increase, multiply endlessly. And with love, do what you will, there is no risk; there is no conflict. Then love is the essence of virtue. And a mind that is not in a state of love is not a religious mind at all. And it is only the religious mind that is freed from problems, and that knows the beauty of love and truth.
J. Krishnamurti (The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti)
The diagram in the ashes had two epicenters; one he called “reason,” the other, “will.” “Reason” was interconnected directly with a point he called “talking.” Through “talking,” “reason” was indirectly connected to three other points, “feeling,” “dreaming,” and “seeing.” The other epicenter, “will,” was directly connected to “feeling,” “dreaming,” and “seeing”; but only indirectly to “reason” and “talking.” I remarked that the diagram was different from the one I had recorded years before. “The outer form is of no importance,” he said. “These points represent a human being and can be drawn in any way you want.” “Do they represent the body of a human being?” I asked. “Don’t call it the body” he said. “These are eight points on the fibers of a luminous being. A sorcerer says, as you can see in the diagram, that a human being is, first of all, will, because will is directly connected to three points, feeling, dreaming, and seeing; then next, a human being is reason. This is properly a center that is smaller than will; it is connected only with talking.” “What are the other two points, don Juan?” He looked at me and smiled.
Carlos Castaneda (Tales of Power)
In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the highest and most mendacious minute of 'world history' — yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die. One might invent such a fable and still not have illustrated sufficiently how wretched, how shadowy and flighty, how aimless and arbitrary, the human intellect appears in nature. There have been eternities when it did not exist; and when it is done for again, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no further mission that would lead beyond human life. It is human, rather, and only its owner and producer gives it such importance, as if the world pivoted around it. But if we could communicate with the mosquito, then we would learn that he floats through the air with the same self-importance, feeling within itself the flying center of the world. There is nothing in nature so despicable or insignificant that it cannot immediately be blown up like a bag by a slight breath of this power of knowledge; and just as every porter wants an admirer, the proudest human being, the philosopher, thinks that he sees on the eyes of the universe telescopically focused from all sides on his actions and thoughts.
Friedrich Nietzsche (On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense)
Jake, our fearless leader. On a crazed kamikaze mission. I’d never seen him like this. Even in our lowest moments, he’d always been steady. Resolute. He weighed the costs, made a decision, forged ahead. And I’d always wondered how he did it. How he kept it straight in his mind. Yeerks. Visser One. Aliens conquering humans, conquering the planet. Fighting the enemy without becoming like them. How did he sort through all that? The emotions, the ethical dilemmas, the moral crises? How did he wrap his brain around it all so he could make logical decisions? Smart decisions. The kind that saved the lives of his team. The kind that set the enemy back a small step or two. But now I knew. Jake didn’t understand any of it better than the rest of us did. If he defeated the Yeerks, freed humanity, rescued Earth, that was good. But that was just a bonus. His main goal was much simpler. To save his family. That goal was what had given him strength. That goal was what had kept him sane. Allowed him to retain a center of calm focus amid the awful chaos. His family.
Katherine Applegate (The Diversion (Animorphs, #49))
At the core of this grief is our longing to belong. This longing is wired into us by necessity. It assures our safety and our ability to extend out into the world with confidence. This feeling of belonging is rooted in the village and, at times, in extended families. It was in this setting that we emerged as a species. It was in this setting that what we require to become fully human was established. Jean Liedloff writes, "the design of each individual was a reflection of the experience it expected to encounter." We are designed to receive touch, to hear sounds and words entering our ears that soothe and comfort. We are shaped for closeness and for intimacy with our surroundings. Our profound feelings of lacking something are not reflection of personal failure, but the reflection of a society that has failed to offer us what we were designed to expect. Liedloff concludes, "what was once man's confident expectations for suitable treatment and surroundings is now so frustrated that a person often thinks himself lucky if he is not actually homeless or in pain. But even as he is saying, 'I am all right,' there is in him a sense of loss, a longing for something he cannot name, a feeling of being off-center, of missing something. Asked point blank, he will seldom deny it.
Francis Weller (The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief)
Sight isolates, sound incorporates. Whereas sight situates the observer outside what he views, at a distance, sound pours into the hearer. Vision dissects, as Merleau-Ponty has observed (1961). Vision comes to a human being from one direction at a time: to look at a room or a landscape, I must move my eyes around from one part to another. When I hear, however, I gather sound simultaneously from every directions at once; I am at the center of my auditory world, which envelopes me, establishing me at a kind of core of sensation and existence... You can immerse yourself in hearing, in sound. There is no way to immerse yourself similarly in sight. By contrast with vision, the dissecting sense, sound is thus a unifying sense. A typical visual ideal is clarity and distinctness, a taking apart. The auditory ideal, by contrast, is harmony, a putting together. Interiority and harmony are characteristics of human consciousness. The consciousness of each human person is totally interiorized, known to the person from the inside and inaccessible to any other person directly from the inside. Everyone who says 'I' means something different by it from what every other person means. What is 'I' to me is only 'you' to you... In a primary oral culture, where the word has its existence only in sound... the phenomenology of sound enters deeply into human beings' feel for existence, as processed by the spoken word. For the way in which the word is experienced is always momentous in psychic life.
Walter J. Ong (Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word)
But you've never wanted that. You wanted a mirror. People want nothing but mirrors around them. To reflect them while they're reflecting too. You know, like the senseless infinity you get from two mirrors facing each other across a narrow passage. Usually in the more vulgar kind of hotels. Reflections of reflections and echoes of echoes. No beginning and no end. No center and no purpose. I gave you what you wanted. I became what you are, what your friends are, what most of humanity is so busy being--only without the trimmings. I didn't go around spouting book reviews to hide my emptiness of judgment--I said I had no judgment. I didn't borrow designs to hide my creative impotence--I created nothing. I didn't say that equality is a noble conception and unity the chief goal of mankind--I just agreed with everybody. You call it death, Peter? That kind of death--I've imposed it on you and on everyone around us. But you--you haven't done that. People are comfortable with you, they like you, they enjoy your presence. You've spared them the blank death. Because you've imposed it--on yourself.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
Freud described three great historical wounds to the primary narcissism of the self-centered human subject, who tries to hold panic at bay by the fantasy of human exceptionalism. First is the Copernican wound that removed Earth itself, man’s home world, from the center of the cosmos and indeed paved the way for that cosmos to burst open into a universe of inhumane, nonteleological times and spaces. Science made that decentering cut. The second wound is the Darwinian, which put Homo sapiens firmly in the world of other critters, all trying to make an earthly living and so evolving in relation to one another without the sureties of directional signposts that culminate in Man. Science inflicted that cruel cut too. The third wound is the Freudian, which posited an unconscious that undid the primacy of conscious processes, including the reason that comforted Man with his unique excellence, with dire consequences for teleology once again. Science seems to hold that blade too. I want to add a fourth wound, the informatic or cyborgian, which infolds organic and technological flesh and so melds that Great Divide as well.
Donna J. Haraway (When Species Meet)
I mean, it’s not that we lack the technology or the resources to solve every one of the world’s problems, but we lack the political and moral will to prioritize people over profit, or people over power. We lack a worldwide spiritual wellness or a mutual love for others beyond our own tribe or religion, a humanity without racism or bigotry. Our prosperity has morphed into a ravenous, greedy cancer that transforms even basic life needs into cradle-tograve profit centers and corporate dynasties. Even worse, the average person has little control or real voice. Governments, technologies, and innovations systemically move wealth upward but do little or nothing to eliminate poverty or ignorance overall. At what point in time does humanity get honest with ourselves and have an intervention?
Guy Morris (Swarm)
If the multiverse turns out to be the best explanation of the fundamental physical constants, it would not be the first time we have been flabbergasted by worlds beyond our noses. Our ancestors had to swallow the discovery of the Western Hemisphere, eight other planets, a hundred billion stars in our galaxy (many with planets), and a hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe. If reason contradicts intuition once again, so much the worse for intuition. Another advocate of the multiverse, Brian Greene, reminds us: “From a quaint, small, earth-centered universe to one filled with billions of galaxies, the journey has been both thrilling and humbling. We’ve been compelled to relinquish sacred belief in our own centrality, but with such cosmic demotion we’ve demonstrated the capacity of the human intellect to reach far beyond the confines of ordinary experience to reveal extraordinary truth.
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
An imaginary circle of empathy is drawn by each person. It circumscribes the person at some distance, and corresponds to those things in the world that deserve empathy. I like the term "empathy" because it has spiritual overtones. A term like "sympathy" or "allegiance" might be more precise, but I want the chosen term to be slightly mystical, to suggest that we might not be able to fully understand what goes on between us and others, that we should leave open the possibility that the relationship can't be represented in a digital database. If someone falls within your circle of empathy, you wouldn't want to see him or her killed. Something that is clearly outside the circle is fair game. For instance, most people would place all other people within the circle, but most of us are willing to see bacteria killed when we brush our teeth, and certainly don't worry when we see an inanimate rock tossed aside to keep a trail clear. The tricky part is that some entities reside close to the edge of the circle. The deepest controversies often involve whether something or someone should lie just inside or just outside the circle. For instance, the idea of slavery depends on the placement of the slave outside the circle, to make some people nonhuman. Widening the circle to include all people and end slavery has been one of the epic strands of the human story - and it isn't quite over yet. A great many other controversies fit well in the model. The fight over abortion asks whether a fetus or embryo should be in the circle or not, and the animal rights debate asks the same about animals. When you change the contents of your circle, you change your conception of yourself. The center of the circle shifts as its perimeter is changed. The liberal impulse is to expand the circle, while conservatives tend to want to restrain or even contract the circle. Empathy Inflation and Metaphysical Ambiguity Are there any legitimate reasons not to expand the circle as much as possible? There are. To expand the circle indefinitely can lead to oppression, because the rights of potential entities (as perceived by only some people) can conflict with the rights of indisputably real people. An obvious example of this is found in the abortion debate. If outlawing abortions did not involve commandeering control of the bodies of other people (pregnant women, in this case), then there wouldn't be much controversy. We would find an easy accommodation. Empathy inflation can also lead to the lesser, but still substantial, evils of incompetence, trivialization, dishonesty, and narcissism. You cannot live, for example, without killing bacteria. Wouldn't you be projecting your own fantasies on single-cell organisms that would be indifferent to them at best? Doesn't it really become about you instead of the cause at that point?
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
It is no longer appropriate to think only in terms of even my nation or my country, let alone my village. If we are to overcome the problems we face, we need what I have called a sense of universal responsibility rooted in love and kindness for our human brothers and sisters. In our present state of affairs, the very survival of humankind depends on people developing concern for the whole of humanity, not just their own community or nation. The reality of our situation impels us to act and think more clearly. Narrow-mindedness and self-centered thinking may have served us well in the past, but today will only lead to disaster. We can overcome such attitudes through the combination of education and training.
Joanna Macy (Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to The Work that Reconnects)
Directly overhead the Milky Way was as distinct as a highway across the sky. The constellations shown brilliantly, except the north, where they were blurred by the white sheets of the Aurora. Now shimmering like translucent curtains drawn over the windows of heaven, the northern lights suddenly streaked across a million miles of space to burst in silent explosions. Fountains of light, pale greens, reds, and yellows, showered the stars and geysered up to the center of the sky, where they pooled to form a multicolored sphere, a kind of mock sun that gave light but no heat, pulsing, flaring, and casting beams in all directions, horizon to horizon. Below, the wolves howled with midnight madness and the two young men stood in speechless awe. Even after the spectacle ended, the Aurora fading again to faint shimmer, they stood as silent and transfixed as the first human beings ever to behold the wonder of creation. Starkmann felt the diminishment that is not self-depreciation but humility; for what was he and what was Bonnie George? Flickers of consciousness imprisoned in lumps of dust; above them a sky ablaze with the Aurora, around them a wilderness where wolves sang savage arias to a frozen moon.
Philip Caputo (Indian Country)
MY BOSS SENDS me home because of all the dried blood on my pants, and I am overjoyed. The hole punched through my cheek doesn’t ever heal. I’m going to work, and my punched-out eye sockets are two swollen-up black bagels around the little piss holes I have left to see through. Until today, it really pissed me off that I’d become this totally centered Zen Master and nobody had noticed. Still, I’m doing the little FAX thing. I write little HAIKU things and FAX them around to everyone. When I pass people in the hall at work, I get totally ZEN right in everyone’s hostile little FACE. Worker bees can leave Even drones can fly away The queen is their slave You give up all your worldly possessions and your car and go live in a rented house in the toxic waste part of town where late at night, you can hear Marla and Tyler in his room, calling each other hum; butt wipe. Take it, human butt wipe. Do it, butt wipe. Choke it down. Keep it down, baby. Just by contrast, this makes me the calm little center of the world. Me, with my punched-out eyes and dried blood in big black crusty stains on my pants, I’m saying HELLO to everybody at work. HELLO! Look at me. HELLO! I am so ZEN. This is BLOOD. This is NOTHING. Hello. Everything is nothing, and it’s so cool to be ENLIGHTENED. Like me. Sigh. Look. Outside the window. A bird. My boss asked if the blood was my blood. The bird flies downwind. I’m writing a little haiku in my head. Without just one nest A bird can call the world home Life is your career I’m counting on my fingers: five, seven, five. The blood, is it mine? Yeah, I say. Some of it. This is a wrong answer.
Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)
Anyway, most of the chapter is Bella telling us how much pain she's in. First she's about to die because delivering Optimus Beyonce nearly killed her. And then she goes on and on about how hot and awful the vampire venom feels as it takes hold of her body. She's in agony and there's nothing she can do about it. Good! I hope it hurts. This is what you get, Bella Swan. This is what you get for being a greedy, self-centered jerk. This is what happens to people who let thousands die in Italy. This is what you get for ruining Jacob's life and ignoring your human friends because you'd rather spend time with pretty people. This is what happens to selfish brats that have no regard for their family. This is what you get for being weak and dependent. This is what you get for lying to your father. This is what you get for crying and complaining about your perfect life. This is what you get for spending pages and pages describing freaking magnets! THIS IS WHAT YOU GET! I only wish the pain lasted longer than a chapter. An entire book of Bella's torture would be nice. And maybe if the book were illustrated…with Octo-Bears…I would finally sympathize with this, the least likable character in the history of novels. Bella, I do not care one tiny bit that you're in pain.
Dan Bergstein
The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray. But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves: that firm strand which will be the indispensable center of a whole web of human relationships. She must find that inner stillness which Charles Morgan describes as 'the stilling of the soul within the activities of the mind and body so that it might be still as the axis of a revolving wheel is still.' This beautiful image is to my mind the one that women could hold before their eyes. This is an end toward which we could strive--to be the still axis within the revolving wheel of relationships, obligations, and activities. Solitude alone is not the answer to this; it is only a step toward it, a mechanical aid, like the 'room of one's own' demanded for women, before they could make their place in the world. The problem is not entirely in finding a room of one's own, the time alone, difficult and necessary as that is. The problem is more how to still the soul in the midst of its activities. In fact, the problem is how to feed the soul.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Gift from the Sea)
I don’t know what to . . . to think.” There was a horrifying burn of tears crawling up my throat. “This is all overwhelming for you, I imagine. The whole world as you know it is on the brink of great change, and you’re here and don’t even know my name.” The man smiled so broadly, I wondered if it hurt. “You can call me Rolland.” Then he extended a hand. My gaze dropped to it and I made no attempt to take it. Rolland chuckled as he turned and strolled back to the desk. “So, you’re a hybrid? Mutated and linked to him on such an intense level that if one of you dies, so does the other?” His question caught me off guard, but I kept quiet. He sat on the edge of the desk. “You’re actually the first hybrid I’ve seen.” “She really isn’t anything special.” The redhead sneered. “Frankly, she’s rather filthy, like an unclean animal.” As stupid as it was, my cheeks heated, because I was filthy, and Daemon had just physically removed me from him. My pride—my everything—was officially wounded. Rolland chuckled. “She’s had a rough day, Sadi.” At her name, every muscle in my body locked up, and my gaze swung back to her. That was Sadi? The one Dee said was trying to molest Daemon—my Daemon? Anger punched through the confusion and hurt. Of course it would have to be a freaking walking and talking model and not a hag. “Rough day or not, I can’t imagine she cleans up well.” Sadi looked at Daemon as she placed a hand on his chest. “I’m kind of disappointed.” “Are you?” Daemon replied.
 Every hair on my body rose as my arms unfolded.
 “Yes,” she purred. “I really think you can do better. Lots better.” As she spoke, she trailed red-painted fingers down the center of his chest, over his abdomen, heading straight for the button on his jeans. And oh, hell to the no. “Get your hands off him.”
 Sadi’s head snapped in my direction. “Excuse me?”
 “I don’t think I stuttered.” I took a step forward. “But it looks like you need me to repeat it. Get your freaking hands off him.” One side of her plump red lips curled up. “You want to make me?”
 In the back of my head, I was aware that Sadi didn’t move or speak like the other Luxen. Her mannerisms were too human, but then that thought was quickly chased away when Daemon reached down and pulled her hand away. “Stop it,” he murmured, voice dropped low in that teasing way of his. I saw red. The pictures on the wall rattled and the papers on the desk started to lift up. Static charged over my skin. I was about to pull a Beth right here, seconds away from floating to the ceiling and ripping out every strand of red— “And you stop it,” Daemon said, but the teasing quality was gone from his words. There was a warning in them that took the wind right out of my pissed-off sails. The pictures settled as I gaped at him. Being slapped in the face would’ve been better.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Opposition (Lux, #5))
The universe was once conceived as the passive stage upon which the dramatic conflict of human wills was enacted and resolved. Today man has discovered that that which seemed simple and stable is, instead, complex and volatile; his own inventions have put into motion new forces, toward which he has yet to invent a new relationship. Unlike Ulysses, he can no longer travel over a universe stable in space and time to find adventures; nor can he solve intimate antagonisms with an adversary sportingly suitable in stature. Rather, each individual is the center of a personal vortex; and the aggressive variety and enormity of the adventures which swirl about and confront him are unified only by his personal identity.... The integrity of the individual identity is counterpointed to the volatile character of a relativistic universe.
Maya Deren (The Legend of Maya Deren: A Documentary Biography and Collected Works)
To Marry One's Soul Being true to who we are means carrying our spirit like a candle in the center of our darkness. If we are to live without silencing or numbing essential parts of who we are, a vow must be invoked and upheld within oneself. The same commitments we pronounce when embarking on a marriage can be understood internally as a devotion to the care of one's soul: to have and to hold … for better or for worse … in sickness and in health … to love and to cherish, till death do us part. This means staying committed to your inner path. This means not separating from yourself when things get tough or confusing. This means accepting and embracing your faults and limitations. It means loving yourself no matter how others see you. It means cherishing the unchangeable radiance that lives within you, no matter the cuts and bruises along the way. It means binding your life with a solemn pledge to the truth of your soul. It is interesting that the nautical definition of marry is “to join two ropes end to end by interweaving their strands.” To marry one's soul suggests that we interweave the life of our spirit with the life of our psychology; the life of our heart with the life of our mind; the life of our faith and truth with the life of our doubt and anxiety. And just as two ropes that are married create a tie that is twice as strong, when we marry our humanness to our spirit, we create a life that is doubly strong in the world.
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have)
People who are depressed at the thought that all our motives are selfish are [confused]. They have mixed up ultimate causation (why something evolved by natural selection) with proximate causation (how the entity works here and now). [A] good way to understand the logic of natural selection is to imagine that genes are agents with selfish motives. [T]he genes have metaphorical motives — making copies of themselves — and the organisms they design have real motives. But they are not the same motives. Sometimes the most selfish thing a gene can do is wire unselfish motives into a human brain — heartfelt, unstinting, deep-in-the-marrow unselfishness. The love of children (who carry one's genes into posterity), a faithful spouse (whose genetic fate is identical to one's own), and friends and allies (who trust you if you're trustworthy) can be bottomless and unimpeachable as far as we humans are concerned (proximate level), even if it is metaphorically self-serving as far as the genes are concerned (ultimate level). Combine this with the common misconception that the genes are a kind of essence or core of the person, and you get a mongrel of Dawkins and Freud: the idea that the metaphorical motives of the genes are the deep, unconscious, ulterior motives of the person. That is an error.
Steven Pinker (The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature)
People in Japan and the Faeroe Islands kill dolphins and pilot whales by running steel rods into their spinal columns while they squeal in pain and terror and thrash in agony. (In Japan, it’s illegal to kill cows and pigs as painfully and inhumanely as they kill dolphins.) The lack of compassion for dolphins and whales indicates that humans’ “theory of mind” is incomplete. We have an empathy shortfall, a compassion deficit. And human-on-human violence, abuse, and ethnic and religious genocide are all too pervasive in our world. No elephant will ever pilot a jetliner. And no elephant will ever pilot a jetliner into the World Trade Center. We have the capacity for wider compassion, but we don’t fully live up to ourselves. Why do human egos seem so threatened by the thought that other animals think and feel? Is it because acknowledging the mind of another makes it harder to abuse them? We seem so unfinished and so defensive. Maybe incompleteness is one of the things that “makes us human.
Carl Safina (Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel)
After all, how can we hope to raise our children to be freethinkers and free-spirited if we aren’t these things ourselves? How can we raise independent, autonomous children if we ourselves aren’t independent and autonomous? How can we raise another human being, another spirit, if our own being has been largely dismissed, our spirit systematically squelched? It may be helpful for me to share with you some of the areas in which I am learning to accept myself: I accept I am a human being before I am a parent I accept I have limitations and many shortcomings, and this is okay I accept I don’t always know the right way I accept I am often ashamed to admit my own failings I accept I frequently lose my center worse than my child ever does I accept I can be selfish and unthinking in my dealings with my child I accept I sometimes fumble and stumble as a parent I accept I don’t always know how to respond to my child I accept that at times I say and do the wrong thing with my child I accept that at times I’m too tired to be sane I accept that at times I’m too preoccupied to be present for my child I accept I am trying my best, and that this is good enough I accept my imperfections and my imperfect life I accept my desire for power and control I accept my ego I accept my yearning for consciousness (even though I often sabotage myself when I am about to enter this state). When
Shefali Tsabary (The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children)
I am leaving this tower and returning home. When I speak with family, and comments are always the same, 'Won't you be glad to get back to the real world?' This is my question after two weeks of time, only two weeks, spent with prairie dogs, 'What is real?' What is real? These prairie dogs and the lives they live and have adapted to in grassland communities over time, deep time? What is real? A gravel pit adjacent to one of the last remaining protected prairie dog colonies in the world? A corral where cowboys in an honest day's work saddle up horses with prairie dogs under hoof for visitors to ride in Bryce Canyon National Park? What is real? Two planes slamming into the World Trade Center and the wake of fear that has never stopped in this endless war of terror? What is real? Forgiveness or revenge and the mounting deaths of thousands of human beings as America wages war in Afghanistan and Iraq? What is real? Steve's recurrence of lymphoma? A closet full of shoes? Making love? Making money? Making right with the world with the smallest of unseen gestures? How do we wish to live And with whom? What is real to me are these prairie dogs facing the sun each morning and evening in the midst of man-made chaos. What is real to me are the consequences of cruelty. What is real to me are the concentric circles of compassion and its capacity to bring about change. What is real to me is the power of our awareness when we are focused on something beyond ourselves. It is a shaft of light shining in a dark corner. Our ability to shift our perceptions and seek creative alternatives to the conundrums of modernity is in direct proportion to our empathy. Can we imagine, witness, and ultimately feel the suffering of another.
Terry Tempest Williams
By day, contrary to common wisdom, you probably won’t see the Great Pyramids at Giza, and you certainly won’t see the Great Wall of China. Their obscurity is partly the result of having been made from the soil and stone of the surrounding landscape. And although the Great Wall is thousands of miles long, it’s only about twenty feet wide—much narrower than the U.S. interstate highways you can barely see from a transcontinental jet. From orbit, with the unaided eye, you would have seen smoke plumes rising from the oil-field fires in Kuwait at the end of the first Persian Gulf War in 1991 and smoke from the burning World Trade Center towers in New York City on September 11, 2001. You will also notice the green–brown boundaries between swaths of irrigated and arid land. Beyond that shortlist, there’s not much else made by humans that’s identifiable from hundreds of miles up in the sky. You can see plenty of natural scenery, though, including hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, ice floes in the North Atlantic, and volcanic eruptions wherever they occur.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry)
I remember: it happened yesterday, or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the Kingdom of Night. I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed. I remember he asked his father, “Can this be true? This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?” And now the boy is turning to me. “Tell me,” he asks, “what have you done with my future, what have you done with your life?” And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices. And then I explain to him how naïve we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.
Elie Wiesel
There is a theory about human behavior called the 10-80-10 principle. I speak of it often when I talk to corporate groups or business leaders. It is the best strategy I know for getting the most out of your team. Think of your team or your organization as a big circle. At the very center of it, the nucleus, are the top 10 percenters, people who give all they've got all the time, who are the essence of self-discipline, self-respect, and the relentless persuit of improvement. They are the elite- the most powerful component of any organization. They are the people I love to coach. Outside the nucleus are the 80 percenters. They are the majority- people who go to work, do a good job, and are relatively reliable. The 80 percenters are for the most part trustworthy and dutiful, but they simply don't have the drive and the unbending will that the nucleus guys do. They just don't burn as hot. The final 10 percenters are uninterested or defiant. They are on the periphery, mostly just coasting through life, not caring about reaching their potential or honoring the gifts they've been given. They are coach killers. The leadership challenge is to move as many of the 80 percenters into the nucleus as you can.
Urban Meyer (Above the Line: Lessons in Leadership and Life from a Championship Season)
It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me. I cannot rest from travel; I will drink life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those that loved me, and alone; on shore, and when Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades Vexed the dim sea. I am become a name; For always roaming with a hungry heart Much have I seen and known---cities of men And manners, climates, councils, governments, Myself not least, but honored of them all--- And drunk delight of battle with my peers, Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy. I am part of all that I have met; Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades Forever and forever when I move. How dull it is to pause, to make an end. To rust unburnished, not to shine in use! As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life Were all too little, and of one to me Little remains; but every hour is saved From that eternal silence, something more, A bringer of new things; and vile it were For some three suns to store and hoard myself, And this gray spirit yearning in desire To follow knowledge like a sinking star, Beyond the utmost bound of human thought. This is my son, my own Telemachus, To whom I leave the scepter and the isle--- Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill This labor, by slow prudence to make mild A rugged people, and through soft degrees Subdue them to the useful and the good. Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere Of common duties, decent not to fail In offices of tenderness, and pay Meet adoration to my household gods, When I am gone. He works his work, I mine. There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail; There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners, Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me--- That ever with a frolic welcome took The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed Free hearts, free foreheads---you and I are old; Old age hath yet his honor and his toil. Death closes all; but something ere the end, Some work of noble note, may yet be done, Not unbecoming men that strove with gods. The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks; The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends. 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world. Push off, and sitting well in order smite the sounding furrows; for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths Of all the western stars, until I die. It may be that the gulfs will wash us down; It may be that we shall touch the Happy Isles, And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. Though much is taken, much abides; and though We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are--- One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Alfred Tennyson
Yes, the issue was courage. It always had been, even as a kid. Things scared him. He couldn't help it. Noise scared him, dark scared him. Tunnels scared him: the time he almost won the Silver Star for valor. But the real issue was courage. It had nothing to do with the Silver Star...Oh, he would've liked winning it, true, but that wasn't the issue. He would've liked showing the medal to his father, the heavy feel of it, looking his father in the eye to show he had been brave, but even that wasn't the real issue. The real issue was the power of will to defeat fear. A matter of figuring a way to do it. Somehow working his way into that secret chamber of the human heart, where, in tangles, lay the circuitry for all that was possible, the full range of what a man might be. He believed, like Doc Peret, that somewhere inside each man is a biological center for the exercise of courage, a piece of tissue that might be touched and sparked and made to respond, a chemical maybe, or a lone chromosome that when made to fire would produce a blaze of valor that even the biles could not extinguish. A filament, a fuse, that if ignited would release the full energy of what might be. There was a Silver Star twinkling somewhere inside him.
Tim O'Brien
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive. It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human. It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!” It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children. It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back. It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer (The Invitation)
But first let me mention the second aid to understanding provided by science. We know today that in a physical experiment the observer himself enters into the experiment and only by doing so can arrive at a physical experience. This means that there is no such thing as pure objectivity in in physics, that even here the result of the experiment, nature's answer, depends on the question put to it. In the answer there is always a bit of the question and a bit of the questioner himself; it reflects not only nature in itself, in its pure objectivity, but also gives back something of man, of what is characteristically ours, a bit of the human subject. This too, mutatis mutandis, is true of the question of God. There is no such thing as a mere observer. There is no such thing as pure objectivity. One can even say that the higher an object stands in human terms, the more it generates the center of individuality; and the more it engages the beholder's individuality, then the smaller the possibility of the mere distancing involved in pure objectivity. Thus, whenever an answer is presented as unemotionally objective, as a statement that finally goes beyond the prejudices of the pious and provides purely factual, scientific information, then it has to be said that the speaker has here fallen victim to self-deception. This kind of objectivity is quite simply denied to man. He cannot ask and exist as a mere observer. He who tries to be a mere observer experiences nothing. Even the reality "God" can only impinge on the vision of him who enters into the experiment with God--the experiment that we call faith. Only be entering does one experience; only by cooperating in the experiment does one ask at all; and only he who asks receives an answer.
Pope Benedict XVI (Introduction to Christianity)
If the case isn't plea bargained, dismissed or placed on the inactive docket for an indefinite period of time, if by some perverse twist of fate it becomes a trial by jury, you will then have the opportunity of sitting on the witness stand and reciting under oath the facts of the case-a brief moment in the sun that clouds over with the appearance of the aforementioned defense attorney who, at worst, will accuse you of perjuring yourself in a gross injustice or, at best, accuse you of conducting an investigation so incredibly slipshod that the real killer has been allowed to roam free. Once both sides have argued the facts of the case, a jury of twelve men and women picked from computer lists of registered voters in one of America's most undereducated cities will go to a room and begin shouting. If these happy people manage to overcome the natural impulse to avoid any act of collective judgement, they just may find one human being guilty of murdering another. Then you can go to Cher's Pub at Lexington and Guilford, where that selfsame assistant state's attorney, if possessed of any human qualities at all, will buy you a bottle of domestic beer. And you drink it. Because in a police department of about three thousand sworn souls, you are one of thirty-six investigators entrusted with the pursuit of that most extraordinary of crimes: the theft of a human life. You speak for the dead. You avenge those lost to the world. Your paycheck may come from fiscal services but, goddammit, after six beers you can pretty much convince yourself that you work for the Lord himself. If you are not as good as you should be, you'll be gone within a year or two, transferred to fugitive, or auto theft or check and fraud at the other end of the hall. If you are good enough, you will never do anything else as a cop that matters this much. Homicide is the major leagues, the center ring, the show. It always has been. When Cain threw a cap into Abel, you don't think The Big Guy told a couple of fresh uniforms to go down and work up the prosecution report. Hell no, he sent for a fucking detective. And it will always be that way, because the homicide unit of any urban police force has for generations been the natural habitat of that rarefied species, the thinking cop.
David Simon
Mountains have long been a geography for pilgrimage, place where people have been humbled and strengthened, they are symbols of the sacred center. Many have traveled to them in order to find the concentrated energy of Earth and to realize the strength of unimpeded space. Viewing a mountain at a distance or walking around its body we can see its shape, know its profile, survey its surrounds. The closer you come to the mountain the more it disappears, the mountain begins to lose its shape as you near it, its body begins to spread out over the landscape losing itself to itself. On climbing the mountain the mountain continues to vanish. It vanishes in the detail of each step, its crown is buried in space, its body is buried in the breath. On reaching the mountain summit we can ask, “What has been attained?” - The top of the mountain? Big view? But the mountain has already disappeared. Going down the mountain we can ask, “What has been attained?” Going down the mountain the closer we are to the mountain the more the mountain disappears, the closer we are to the mountain the more the mountain is realized. Mountain’s realization comes through the details of the breath, mountain appears in each step. Mountain then lives inside our bones, inside our heart-drum. It stands like a huge mother in the atmosphere of our minds. Mountain draws ancestors together in the form of clouds. Heaven, Earth and human meet in the raining of the past. Heaven, Earth and human meet in the winds of the future. Mountain mother is a birth gate that joins the above and below, she is a prayer house, she is a mountain. Mountain is a mountain.
Joan Halifax (The Fruitful Darkness: A Journey Through Buddhist Practice and Tribal Wisdom)
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)
The glow lasted through the night, beyond the bar's closing, when there were no cabs on the street. And so Mathilde and Lotto decided to walk home, her arm in his, chatting about nothing, about everything, the unpleasant, hot breath of the subway belching up from the grates. 'Chthonic', he said, booze letting loose the pretension at his core, which she still found sweet, an allowance from the glory. It was so late, there were few other people out, and it felt, just for this moment, that they had the city to themselves. She thought of all the life just underfoot, the teem of it that they were passing over, unknowing. She said, 'Did you know that the total weight of all the ants on Earth is the same as the total weight of all the humans on Earth.' She, who drank to excess, was a little bit drunk, it was true, there was so much relief in the evening. When the curtains closed against the backdrop, an enormous bolder blocking their future had rolled away. 'They'll still be here when we're gone,' he said. He was drinking from a flask. By the time they were home, he'd be sozzeled. 'The ants and the jellyfish and the cockroaches, they will be the kings of the Earth.'... 'They deserve this place more than we do,' she said. 'We've been reckless with our gifts.' He smiled and looked up. There were no stars, there was too much smog for them. 'Did you know,' he said, 'they just found out just a while ago that there are billions of worlds that can support life in our galaxy alone.' ...She felt a sting behind here eyes, but couldn't say why this thought touched her. He saw clear through and understood. He knew her. The things he didn't know about her would sink an ocean liner. He knew her. 'We're lonely down here,' he said, 'it's true, but we're not alone.' In the hazy space after he died, when she lived in a sort of timeless underground grief, she saw on the internet a video about what would happen to our galaxy in billions of years. We are in an immensely slow tango with the Andromeda galaxy, both galaxies shaped like spirals with outstretched arms, and we are moving toward each other like spinning bodies. The galaxies will gain speed as they draw near, casting off blue sparks, new stars until they spin past each other, and then the long arms of both galaxies will reach longingly out and grasp hands at the last moment and they will come spinning back in the opposite direction, their legs entwined, never hitting, until the second swirl becomes a clutch, a dip, a kiss, and then at the very center of things, when they are at their closest, there will open a supermassive black hole.
Lauren Groff (Fates and Furies)
Alissa Nutting (Made for Love)
The artistically inclined delight in the Game because it provides opportunities for improvisation and fantasy. The strict scholars and scientists despise it – and so do some musicians also – because, they say, it lacks that degree of strictness which their specialties can achieve. Well and good, you will encounter these antinomies, and in time you will discover that they are subjective, not objective – that, for example, a fancy-free artist avoids pure mathematics or logic not because he understands them and could say something about them if he wished, but because he instinctively inclines toward other things. Such instinctive and violent inclinations and disinclinations are signs by which you can recognize the pettier souls. In great souls and superior minds, these passions are not found. Each of us is merely one human being, merely an experiment, a way station. But each of us should be on the way toward perfection, should be striving to reach the center, not the periphery. Remember this: one can be a strict logician or grammarian, and at the same time full of imagination and music. One can be a musician or Glass Bead Game player and at the same time wholly devoted to rule and order. The kind of person we want to develop, the kind of person we aim to become, would at any time be able to exchange his discipline or art for any other. He would infuse the Glass Bead Game with crystalline logic, and grammar with creative imagination. That is how we ought to be. We should be so constituted that we can at any time be placed in a different position without offering resistance or losing our heads.
Hermann Hesse (The Glass Bead Game (Vintage Classics))
Let us fool ourselves no longer. At the very moment Western nations, threw off the ancient regime of absolute government, operating under a once-divine king, they were restoring this same system in a far more effective form in their technology, reintroducing coercions of a military character no less strict in the organization of a factory than in that of the new drilled, uniformed, and regimented army. During the transitional stages of the last two centuries, the ultimate tendency of this system might b e in doubt, for in many areas there were strong democratic reactions; but with the knitting together of a scientific ideology, itself liberated from theological restrictions or humanistic purposes, authoritarian technics found an instrument at hand that h as now given it absolute command of physical energies of cosmic dimensions. The inventors of nuclear bombs, space rockets, and computers are the pyramid builders of our own age: psychologically inflated by a similar myth of unqualified power, boasting through their science of their increasing omnipotence, if not omniscience, moved by obsessions and compulsions no less irrational than those of earlier absolute systems: particularly the notion that the system itself must be expanded, at whatever eventual co st to life. Through mechanization, automation, cybernetic direction, this authoritarian technics has at last successfully overcome its most serious weakness: its original dependence upon resistant, sometimes actively disobedient servomechanisms, still human enough to harbor purposes that do not always coincide with those of the system. Like the earliest form of authoritarian technics, this new technology is marvellously dynamic and productive: its power in every form tends to increase without limits, in quantities that defy assimilation and defeat control, whether we are thinking of the output of scientific knowledge or of industrial assembly lines. To maximize energy, speed, or automation, without reference to the complex conditions that sustain organic life, have become ends in themselves. As with the earliest forms of authoritarian technics, the weight of effort, if one is to judge by national budgets, is toward absolute instruments of destruction, designed for absolutely irrational purposes whose chief by-product would be the mutilation or extermination of the human race. Even Ashurbanipal and Genghis Khan performed their gory operations under normal human limits. The center of authority in this new system is no longer a visible personality, an all-powerful king: even in totalitarian dictatorships the center now lies in the system itself, invisible but omnipresent: all its human components, even the technical and managerial elite, even the sacred priesthood of science, who alone have access to the secret knowledge by means of which total control is now swiftly being effected, are themselves trapped by the very perfection of the organization they have invented. Like the Pharoahs of the Pyramid Age, these servants of the system identify its goods with their own kind of well-being: as with the divine king, their praise of the system is an act of self-worship; and again like the king, they are in the grip of an irrational compulsion to extend their means of control and expand the scope of their authority. In this new systems-centered collective, this Pentagon of power, there is no visible presence who issues commands: unlike job's God, the new deities cannot be confronted, still less defied. Under the pretext of saving labor, the ultimate end of this technics is to displace life, or rather, to transfer the attributes of life to the machine and the mechanical collective, allowing only so much of the organism to remain as may be controlled and manipulated.
Lewis Mumford
Environmental influences also affect dopamine. From animal studies, we know that social stimulation is necessary for the growth of the nerve endings that release dopamine and for the growth of receptors that dopamine needs to bind to in order to do its work. In four-month-old monkeys, major alterations of dopamine and other neurotransmitter systems were found after only six days of separation from their mothers. “In these experiments,” writes Steven Dubovsky, Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at the University of Colorado, “loss of an important attachment appears to lead to less of an important neurotransmitter in the brain. Once these circuits stop functioning normally, it becomes more and more difficult to activate the mind.” A neuroscientific study published in 1998 showed that adult rats whose mothers had given them more licking, grooming and other physical-emotional contact during infancy had more efficient brain circuitry for reducing anxiety, as well as more receptors on nerve cells for the brain’s own natural tranquilizing chemicals. In other words, early interactions with the mother shaped the adult rat’s neurophysiological capacity to respond to stress. In another study, newborn animals reared in isolation had reduced dopamine activity in their prefrontal cortex — but not in other areas of the brain. That is, emotional stress particularly affects the chemistry of the prefrontal cortex, the center for selective attention, motivation and self-regulation. Given the relative complexity of human emotional interactions, the influence of the infant-parent relationship on human neurochemistry is bound to be even stronger. In the human infant, the growth of dopamine-rich nerve terminals and the development of dopamine receptors is stimulated by chemicals released in the brain during the experience of joy, the ecstatic joy that comes from the perfectly attuned mother-child mutual gaze interaction. Happy interactions between mother and infant generate motivation and arousal by activating cells in the midbrain that release endorphins, thereby inducing in the infant a joyful, exhilarated state. They also trigger the release of dopamine. Both endorphins and dopamine promote the development of new connections in the prefrontal cortex. Dopamine released from the midbrain also triggers the growth of nerve cells and blood vessels in the right prefrontal cortex and promotes the growth of dopamine receptors. A relative scarcity of such receptors and blood supply is thought to be one of the major physiological dimensions of ADD. The letters ADD may equally well stand for Attunement Deficit Disorder.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Days after the elections of 2016, asha sent me a link to a talk by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. We have to have hope, she says to me across 3,000 miles, she in Brooklyn, me in Los Angeles. We listen together as Dr. deGrasse Tyson explains that the very atoms and molecules in our bodies are traceable to the crucibles in the centers of stars that once upon a time exploded into gas clouds. And those gas clouds formed other stars and those stars possessed the divine-right mix of properties needed to create not only planets, including our own, but also people, including us, me and her. He is saying that not only are we in the universe, but that the universe is in us. He is saying that we, human beings, are literally made out of stardust. And I know when I hear Dr. deGrasse Tyson say this that he is telling the truth because I have seen it since I was a child, the magic, the stardust we are, in the lives of the people I come from. I watched it in the labor of my mother, a Jehovah's Witness and a woman who worked two and sometimes three jobs at a time, keeping other people's children, working the reception desks at gyms, telemarketing, doing anything and everything for 16 hours a day the whole of my childhood in the Van Nuys barrio where we lived. My mother, cocoa brown and smooth, disowned by her family for the children she had as a very young and unmarried woman. My mother, never giving up despite never making a living wage. I saw it in the thin, brown face of my father, a boy out of Cajun country, a wounded healer, whose addictions were borne of a world that did not love him and told him so not once but constantly. My father, who always came back, who never stopped trying to be a version of himself there were no mirrors for. And I knew it because I am the thirteenth-generation progeny of a people who survived the hulls of slave ships, survived the chains, the whips, the months laying in their own shit and piss. The human beings legislated as not human beings who watched their names, their languages, their Goddesses and Gods, the arc of their dances and beats of their songs, the majesty of their dreams, their very families snatched up and stolen, disassembled and discarded, and despite this built language and honored God and created movement and upheld love. What could they be but stardust, these people who refused to die, who refused to accept the idea that their lives did not matter, that their children's lives did not matter?
Patrisse Khan-Cullors (When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir)
He paused, then, I behind him, arms locked around the powerful ribs, fingers caressing him. To lie with him, to lie with him, burning forgetful in the delicious animal fire. Locked first upright, thighs ground together, shuddering, mouth to mouth, breast to breast, legs enmeshed, then lying full length, with the good heavy weight of body upon body, arching, undulating, blind, growing together, force fighting force: to kill? To drive into burning dark of oblivion? To lose identity? Not love, this, quite. But something else rather. A refined hedonism. Hedonism: because of the blind sucking mouthing fingering quest for physical gratification. Refined: because of the desire to stimulate another in return, not being quite only concerned for self alone, but mostly so. An easy end to arguments on the mouth: a warm meeting of mouths, tongues quivering, licking, tasting. An easy substitute for bad slashing with angry hating teeth and nails and voice: the curious musical tempo of hands lifting under breasts, caressing throat, shoulders, knees, thighs. And giving up to the corrosive black whirlpool of mutual necessary destruction. - Once there is the first kiss, then the cycle becomes inevitable. Training, conditioning, make a hunger burn in breasts and secrete fluid in vagina, driving blindly for destruction. What is it but destruction? Some mystic desire to beat to sensual annihilation - to snuff out one’s identity on the identity of the other - a mingling and mangling of identities? A death of one? Or both? A devouring and subordination? No, no. A polarization rather - a balance of two integrities, changing, electrically, one with the other, yet with centers of coolness, like stars. And there it is: when asked what role I will plan to fill, I say “What do you mean role? I plan not to step into a part on marrying - but to go on living as an intelligent mature human being, growing and learning as I always have. No shift, no radical change in life habits.” Never will there be a circle, signifying me and my operations, confined solely to home, other womenfolk, and community service, enclosed in the larger worldly circle of my mate, who brings home from his periphery of contact with the world the tales only of vicarious experience to me. No, rather, there will be two over-lapping circles, with a certain strong riveted center of common ground, but both with separate arcs jutting out in the world. A balanced tension; adaptible to circumstances, in which there is an elasticity of pull, tension, yet firm unity. Two stars, polarized; in moments of communication that is complete, almost fusing onto one. But fusion is an undesirable impossibility - and quite non-durable. So there will be no illusion of that. So he accuses me of “struggling for dominance”? Sorry, wrong number. Sure, I’m a little scared of being dominated. (Who isn’t? Just the submissive, docile, milky type of individual. And that is Not he, Not me.) But that doesn’t mean I, ipso facto, want to dominate. No, it is not a black-and-white choice or alternative like: “Either-I’m-victorious on-top-or-you-are.” It is only balance that I ask for.
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
In the living room Derek sprawled on the floor on a blanket, his eyes closed, his body human, corded with hard muscle, and covered only with a strategically placed towel. Julie knelt by him, long tweezers in her hand. “What’s going on?” “Quills,” she said. “Very thin quills. There was a magic plant and he decided it would be a good idea to give it a hug. Because he is smart that way.” So they had taken Julie with them. Considering where I’d gone and what I did while there, I didn’t have room to talk. Derek didn’t bother opening his eyes. “I wasn’t giving it a hug. I was shielding Ella.” “Mm-hm.” Julie plucked a thin needle from his stomach. “You shielded her really well. Because it’s not like we didn’t have Carlos with us.” Carlos was a firebug. The plant must’ve gotten torched. “We’ll need to work on mixed-unit tactics,” Curran said. He looked tired. It must’ve been hell. “So what did you do in Mishmar?” Umm. Ehh. In my head I had somehow expected Erra to stay in Mishmar. “I saw my father,” I said. Start small. “How was that?” Curran asked. “He’s a little upset with me.” “Aha.” “I broke Mishmar a little bit.” The three of them looked at me. “But it was mostly my grandmother who did it.” “How much is a little bit?” Derek asked. “There might be a crack. About maybe seven feet at the widest point.” Derek laughed. “And what else?” Curran asked. Perceptive bastard. “And this.” I pulled out the dagger and showed it to him. “You made a magic knife?” he asked. “Yes. In a manner of speaking.” “But you still have to get close enough to stab Roland with it,” Derek said. “That’s not how it works.” Help me, somebody. Curran was looking right at me. “Kate?” “It’s more of an advising kind of knife.” “You should come clean,” he said. “Whatever it is, it’s done and we can handle it.” My aunt tore into existence in the center of the room. “Hello, half-breed.” Curran exploded into a leap. Unfortunately, Derek also exploded at exactly the same time but from the opposite direction. They collided in Erra’s translucent body with a loud thud. Derek fell back and Curran stumbled a few steps. Erra pointed at Curran with her thumb. “You want to marry this? Is there a shortage of men?” Curran leapt forward and swiped at her head. His hand passed through my aunt’s face. Derek jumped to his feet and circled Erra, his eyes glowing. “I fear for my grandnephew,” Erra said. “He will be an idiot.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9))
We are the center. In each of our minds - some may call it arrogance, or selfishness - we are the center, and all the world moves about us, and for us, and because of us. This is the paradox of community, the one and the whole, the desires of the one often in direct conflict with the needs of the whole. Who among us has not wondered if all the world is no more than a personal dream? I do not believe that such thoughts are arrogant or selfish. It is simply a matter of perception; we can empathize with someone else, but we cannot truly see the world as another person sees it, or judge events as they affect the mind and the heart of another, even a friend. But we must try. For the sake of all the world, we must try. This is the test of altruism, the most basic and undeniable ingredient for society. Therein lies the paradox, for ultimately, logically, we each must care more about ourselves than about others, and yet, if, as rational beings we follow that logical course, we place our needs and desires above the needs of our society, and then there is no community. I come from Menzoberranzan, city of drow, city of self. I have seen that way of selfishness. I have seen it fail miserably. When self-indulgence rules, then all the community loses, and in the end, those striving for personal gains are left with nothing of any real value. Because everything of value that we will know in this life comes from our relationships with those around us. Because there is nothing material that measures against the intangibles of love and friendship. Thus, we must overcome that selfishness and we must try, we must care. I saw this truth plainly following the attack on Captain Deudermont in Watership. My first inclination was to believe that my past had precipitated the trouble, that my life course had again brought pain to a friend. I could not bear this thought. I felt old and I felt tired. Subsequently learning that the trouble was possibly brought on by Deudermont's old enemies, not my own, gave me more heart for the fight. Why is that? The danger to me was no less, nor was the danger to Deudermont, or to Catti-brie or any of the others about us. Yet my emotions were real, very real, and I recognized and understood them, if not their source. Now, in reflection, I recognize that source, and take pride in it. I have seen the failure of self-indulgence; I have run from such a world. I would rather die because of Deudermont's past than have him die because of my own. I would suffer the physical pains, even the end of my life. Better that than watch one I love suffer and die because of me. I would rather have my physical heart torn from my chest, than have my heart of hearts, the essence of love, the empathy and the need to belong to something bigger than my corporeal form, destroyed. They are a curious thing, these emotions. How they fly in the face of logic, how they overrule the most basic instincts. Because, in the measure of time, in the measure of humanity, we sense those self-indulgent instincts to be a weakness, we sense that the needs of the community must outweigh the desires of the one. Only when we admit to our failures and recognize our weaknesses can we rise above them. Together.
R.A. Salvatore (Passage to Dawn (Forgotten Realms: Legacy of the Drow, #4; Legend of Drizzt, #10))
The enemy of my soul didn't want me painting that day. To create meant that I would look a little bit like my Creator. To overcome the terrifying angst of the blank canvas meant I would forever have more compassion for other artists. You better believe as I placed the first blue and gray strokes onto the white emptiness before me, the "not good enough" statement was pulsing through my head in almost deafening tones... This parlaying lie is one of his favorite tactics to keep you disillusioned by disappointments. Walls go up, emotions run high, we get guarded, defensive, demotivated, and paralyzed by the endless ways we feel doomed to fail. This is when we quit. This is when we settle for the ease of facebook.... This is when we get a job to simply make money instead of pursuing our calling to make a difference. This is when we put the paintbrush down and don't even try. So there I was. Standing before my painted blue boat, making a choice of which voice to listen to. I'm convinced God was smiling. Pleased. Asking me to find delight in what is right. Wanting me to have compassion for myself by focusing on that part of my painting that expressed something beautiful. To just be eager to give that beauty to whoever dared to look at my boat. To create to love others. Not to beg them for validation. But the enemy was perverting all that. Perfection mocked my boat. The bow was too high, the details too elementary, the reflection on the water too abrupt, and the back of the boat too off-center. Disappointment demanded I hyper-focused on what didn't look quite right. It was my choice which narrative to hold on to: "Not good enough" or "Find delight in what is right." Each perspective swirled, begging me to declare it as truth. I was struggling to make peace with my painting creation, because I was struggling to make make peace with myself as God's creation. Anytime we feel not good enough we deny the powerful truth that we are a glorious work of God in progress. We are imperfect because we are unfinished. So, as unfinished creations, of course everything we attempt will have imperfections. Everything we accomplish will have imperfections. And that's when it hit me: I expect a perfection in me and in others that not even God Himself expects. If God is patient with the process, why can't I be? How many times have I let imperfections cause me to be too hard on myself and too harsh with others? I force myself to send a picture of my boat to at least 20 friends. I was determined to not not be held back by the enemy's accusations that my artwork wasn't good enough to be considered "real art". This wasn't for validation but rather confirmation that I could see the imperfections in my painting but not deem it worthless. I could see the imperfections in me and not deem myself worthless. It was an act of self-compassion. I now knew to stand before each painting with nothing but love, amazement, and delight. I refused to demand anything more from the artist. I just wanted to show up for every single piece she was so brave to put on display.. Might I just be courageous enough to stand before her work and require myself to find everything about it I love? Release my clenched fist and pouty disappointments, and trade my "live up" mentality for a "show up" one? It is so much more freeing to simply show up and be a finder of the good. Break from the secret disappointments. Let my brain venture down the tiny little opening of love.. And I realized what makes paintings so delightful. It's there imperfections. That's what makes it art. It's been touched by a human. It's been created by someone whose hands sweat and who can't possibly transfer divine perfection from what her eyes see to what her fingertips can create. It will be flawed.
Lysa TerKeurst (It's Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered)