I Have Achieved Quotes

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Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.
Bob Marley
Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.
Theodore Roosevelt
I’ve dreamed a lot. I’m tired now from dreaming but not tired of dreaming. No one tires of dreaming, because to dream is to forget, and forgetting does not weigh on us, it is a dreamless sleep throughout which we remain awake. In dreams I have achieved everything.
Fernando Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet)
Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.
Dalai Lama XIV
I am two women: one wants to have all the joy, passion and adventure that life can give me. The other wants to be a slave to routine, to family life, to the things that can be planned and achieved. I'm a housewife and a prostitute, both of us living in the same body and doing battle with each other.
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.
Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies)
[I]f we revert to history, we shall find that the women who have distinguished themselves have neither been the most beautiful nor the most gentle of their sex.
Mary Wollstonecraft (A Vindication of the Rights of Woman)
The degree to which I can create relationships, which facilitate the growth of others as separate persons, is a measure of the growth I have achieved in myself.
Carl R. Rogers (On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy)
For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow. Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail. A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live. When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all. A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother. So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
Hermann Hesse (Bäume: Betrachtungen und Gedichte)
I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.
B.R. Ambedkar
We are so accustomed to the comforts of "I cannot", "I do not want to" and "it is too difficult" that we forget to realize when we stop doing things for ourselves and expect others to dance around us, we are not achieving greatness. We have made ourselves weak.
Pandora Poikilos (Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out)
Pride should be reserved for something you achieve or obtain on your own, not something that happens by accident of birth. Being Irish isn't a skill... it's a fucking genetic accident. You wouldn't say I'm proud to be 5'11"; I'm proud to have a pre-disposition for colon cancer.
George Carlin
In my life I have found two things of priceless worth - learning and loving. Nothing else - not fame, not power, not achievement for its own sake - can possible have the same lasting value. For when your life is over, if you can say 'I have learned' and 'I have loved,' you will also be able to say 'I have been happy.
Arthur C. Clarke (Rama II (Rama #2))
I can honestly say that my misery had been transformed into common unhappiness, so by Freud's definition I have achieved mental health.
Susanna Kaysen (Girl, Interrupted)
I want you to have big dreams, big goals. I want you to strive to achieve them. But I don't want to see you beating yourself up every time you make a mistake.
Kelley Armstrong (The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1))
What I have achieved by industry and practice, anyone else with tolerable natural gift and ability can also achieve.
Johann Sebastian Bach
My goal, once upon a time, was to succeed. I didn’t realize that success wasn’t grades or scholarships or achievements, but the people I was lucky enough to have in my life.
Elle Kennedy (The Goal (Off-Campus, #4))
But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
I'm astounded whenever I finish something. Astounded and distressed. My perfectionist instinct should inhibit me from finishing: it should inhibit me from even beginning. But I get distracted and start doing something. What I achieve is not the product of an act of my will but of my will's surrender. I begin because I don't have the strength to think; I finish because I don't have the courage to quit. This book is my cowardice.
Fernando Pessoa
Artemis smiled. "You have done well, my lieutenant. You have made me proud, and all those Hunters who perished in my service will never be forgotten. They will achieve Elysium, I am sure." She glared pointedly at Hades. He shrugged. "Probably." Artemis glared at him some more. Okay," Hades grumbled. "I'll streamline their application process.
Rick Riordan (The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5))
During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
Nelson Mandela
When I was little and running on the race track at school, I always stopped and waited for all the other kids so we could run together even though I knew (and everybody else knew) that I could run much faster than all of them! I pretended to read slowly so I could "wait" for everyone else who couldn't read as fast as I could! When my friends were short I pretended that I was short too and if my friend was sad I pretended to be unhappy. I could go on and on about all the ways I have limited myself, my whole life, by "waiting" for people. And the only thing that I've ever received in return is people thinking that they are faster than me, people thinking that they can make me feel bad about myself just because I let them and people thinking that I have to do whatever they say I should do. My mother used to teach me "Cinderella is a perfect example to be" but I have learned that Cinderella can go fuck herself, I'm not waiting for anybody, anymore! I'm going to run as fast as I can, fly as high as I can, I am going to soar and if you want you can come with me! But I'm not waiting for you anymore.
C. JoyBell C.
People often ask me why my style is so simple. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, for no two sentences are alike. It is clarity that I am striving to attain, not simplicity. Of course, some people want literature to be difficult and there are writers who like to make their readers toil and sweat. They hope to be taken more seriously that way. I have always tried to achieve a prose that is easy and conversational. And those who think this is simple should try it for themselves.
Ruskin Bond (Best Of Ruskin Bond)
If this book has a lesson, it is that we are awfully lucky to be here-and by 'we' I mean every living thing. To attain any kind of life in this universe of ours appears to be quite an achievement. As humans we are doubly lucky, of course: We enjoy not only the privilege of existence but also the singular ability to appreciate it and even, in a multitude of ways, to make it better. It is a talent we have only barely begun to grasp.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
Angel Bob: Doctor? Excuse me, hello, Doctor? Angel Bob here, sir. The Doctor: Ah, there you are, Angel Bob. How's life? Sorry, bad subject. Angel Bob: The Angels are wondering what you hope to achieve. The Doctor: Achieve? We're not achieving anything. We're just hanging, it's nice in here: consoles; comfy chairs; a forest... how's things with you? Angel Bob: The Angels are feasting, sir. Soon we will be able to absorb enough power to consume this vessel, this world, and all the stars and worlds beyond. The Doctor: Yeah, but we've got comfy chairs. Did I mention? Angel Bob: We have no need for comfy chairs. The Doctor: [amused] I made him say 'comfy chairs'.
Steven Moffat
Don't be silly, Dawlish. I'm sure you are an excellent Auror, I seem to remember you achieved 'Outstanding' in all your N.E.W.T.s, but if you attempt to — er — 'bring me in' by force, I will have to hurt you.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6))
I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself.
Ralph Ellison (Invisible Man)
To me, the meaning of a human life is to be happy. It's to achieve happiness right now, it's to make sure you're happy in the future. And if some people on YouTube try to have a message to give people, I guess that mine is: do whatever you have to do to be happy.
Daniel Howell
I keep remembering one of my Guru's teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't you will eat away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Say it,” he orders. “Say what?” I use the corner of his blanket to wipe the moisture staining my cheeks. “Say Garrett Graham, you are a sex god. You have achieved what no other man ever has. You—” I punch him in the shoulder. “Oh my God, you’re such a jerk. I will never, ever say those words.” “Sure you will.” He smirks at me. “Once I’m through with you, you’ll be shouting those words out from the rooftops.
Elle Kennedy (The Deal (Off-Campus, #1))
I have discovered that even the mediocre can have adventures and even the fearful can achieve.
Edmund Hillary
You asked how I can be so calm. I don't have time not to be. I would like to grieve and worry and carry on, but that doesn't achieve results.
Maria V. Snyder (Fire Study (Study, #3))
Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair. I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy - ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness--that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what--at last--I have found. With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved. Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer. This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.
Bertrand Russell
I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that your house hasn't burned down, you don't have cancer, and your daughter hasn't been raped or murdered. The bad news is that I ran over your dog. And your son. And his wife. But not before I ran out of gas to achieve all of that.
Jarod Kintz (The Days of Yay are Here! Wake Me Up When They're Over.)
I can’t reveal the mystery to either saint or sinner; I can’t state at length what I’ve said curtly; I achieve an altered state that I can’t explain; I have a secret that I cannot share.
Omar Khayyám (Quatrains - Ballades)
Why am I compelled to write?... Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger... To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispell the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit... Finally I write because I'm scared of writing, but I'm more scared of not writing.
Gloria E. Anzaldúa
What were you thinking?" I demanded once we were moving to the music. I was trying to ignore his hands. "Do you know how much trouble you may have gotten me in?" Adrian grinned. "Nah. They all feel bad for you. You'll achieve martyrdom after dancing with a mean, wicked vampire. Job security with the Alchemists.
Richelle Mead (The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3))
I’m a modern man, a man for the millennium. Digital and smoke free. A diversified multi-cultural, post-modern deconstruction that is anatomically and ecologically incorrect. I’ve been up linked and downloaded, I’ve been inputted and outsourced, I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech low-life. A cutting edge, state-of-the-art bi-coastal multi-tasker and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond! I’m new wave, but I’m old school and my inner child is outward bound. I’m a hot-wired, heat seeking, warm-hearted cool customer, voice activated and bio-degradable. I interface with my database, my database is in cyberspace, so I’m interactive, I’m hyperactive and from time to time I’m radioactive. Behind the eight ball, ahead of the curve, ridin the wave, dodgin the bullet and pushin the envelope. I’m on-point, on-task, on-message and off drugs. I’ve got no need for coke and speed. I've got no urge to binge and purge. I’m in-the-moment, on-the-edge, over-the-top and under-the-radar. A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistic missionary. A street-wise smart bomb. A top-gun bottom feeder. I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps and run victory laps. I’m a totally ongoing big-foot, slam-dunk, rainmaker with a pro-active outreach. A raging workaholic. A working rageaholic. Out of rehab and in denial! I’ve got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant and a personal agenda. You can’t shut me up. You can’t dumb me down because I’m tireless and I’m wireless, I’m an alpha male on beta-blockers. I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever, laid-back but fashion-forward. Up-front, down-home, low-rent, high-maintenance. Super-sized, long-lasting, high-definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built-to-last! I’m a hands-on, foot-loose, knee-jerk head case pretty maturely post-traumatic and I’ve got a love-child that sends me hate mail. But, I’m feeling, I’m caring, I’m healing, I’m sharing-- a supportive, bonding, nurturing primary care-giver. My output is down, but my income is up. I took a short position on the long bond and my revenue stream has its own cash-flow. I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds and I watch trash sports! I’m gender specific, capital intensive, user-friendly and lactose intolerant. I like rough sex. I like tough love. I use the “F” word in my emails and the software on my hard-drive is hardcore--no soft porn. I bought a microwave at a mini-mall; I bought a mini-van at a mega-store. I eat fast-food in the slow lane. I’m toll-free, bite-sized, ready-to-wear and I come in all sizes. A fully-equipped, factory-authorized, hospital-tested, clinically-proven, scientifically- formulated medical miracle. I’ve been pre-wash, pre-cooked, pre-heated, pre-screened, pre-approved, pre-packaged, post-dated, freeze-dried, double-wrapped, vacuum-packed and, I have an unlimited broadband capacity. I’m a rude dude, but I’m the real deal. Lean and mean! Cocked, locked and ready-to-rock. Rough, tough and hard to bluff. I take it slow, I go with the flow, I ride with the tide. I’ve got glide in my stride. Drivin and movin, sailin and spinin, jiving and groovin, wailin and winnin. I don’t snooze, so I don’t lose. I keep the pedal to the metal and the rubber on the road. I party hearty and lunch time is crunch time. I’m hangin in, there ain’t no doubt and I’m hangin tough, over and out!
George Carlin
It had become usual to give Napoleon the Credit for every Successful achievement and every stroke of good fortune. You would often hear one hen remark to another, “Under the guidance of our leader, Comrade Napoleon, I have laid five eggs in six days” or two cows, enjoying a drink at the pool, would exclaim, “thanks to the leadership of Comrade Napoleon, how excellent this water tastes!”...
George Orwell (Animal Farm)
While the astronauts, heroes forever, spent mere hours on the moon, I have remained in this new world for nearly thirty years. I know that my achievement is quite ordinary. I am not the only man to seek his fortune far from home, and certainly I am not the first. Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination." (from "The Third and Final Continent")
Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter Of Maladies (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition))
It goes a long way back, some twenty years. All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself. But first I had to discover that I am an invisible man!
Ralph Ellison
I believe some people are inherently evil. I believe guilt is a powerful motivator. I believe redemption is something you can strive for but never fully achieve. I believe second chances exist only in dreams, never in reality. I believe you don't have years, or months, or weeks to impact a person's life. You have seconds. Seconds to win them over, And seconds to lose them.
K.A. Tucker (Four Seconds to Lose (Ten Tiny Breaths, #3))
This is the middle of my life, I think of it as a place, like the middle of a river, the middle of a bridge, halfway across, halfway over. I'm supposed to have accumulated things by now: possessions, responsibilities, achievements, experience and wisdom. I'm supposed to be a person of substance.
Margaret Atwood (Cat’s Eye)
I believe that half the trouble in the world comes from people asking 'What have I achieved?' rather than 'What have I enjoyed?' I've been writing about a subject I love as long as I can remember--horses and the people associated with them, anyplace, anywhere, anytime. I couldn't be happier knowing that young people are reading my books. But even more important to me is that I've enjoyed so much the writing of them.
Walter Farley (The Black Stallion (The Black Stallion, #1))
I've wanted to win at everything, every day, since I was a kid. And time doesn't change a person, it just helps you get a handle on who you are. Even at age 41, I still hate losing--I'm just more gracious about it. I'm also aware that setbacks have an upside; they fuel new dreams.
Dara Torres (Age Is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life)
In my country, we value achievement. People are free to decide what that means to them, and I’ve always considered helping others to be my way of accomplishing something important. I was hoping to serve others with my new job, but that’s history now, so I’m going to have to accomplish something big, or I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.
Steven Decker (Projector for Sale)
The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I'm not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there's two things: You're getting off first, or I'm going to die. It's really that simple, right? You're not going to out-work me. It's such a simple, basic concept. The guy who is willing to hustle the most is going to be the guy that just gets that loose ball. The majority of people who aren't getting the places they want or aren't achieving the things that they want in this business is strictly based on hustle. It's strictly based on being out-worked; it's strictly based on missing crucial opportunities. I say all the time if you stay ready, you ain't gotta get ready.
Will Smith
Inevitably we construct ourselves. Let me explain. I enter this house and immediately I become what I have to become, what I can become: I construct myself. That is, I present myself to you in a form suitable to the relationship I wish to achieve with you. And, of course, you do the same with me.
Luigi Pirandello
Do you know the hallmark of a second rater? It's resentment of another man's achievement. Those touchy mediocrities who sit trembling lest someone's work prove greater than their own - they have no inkling of the loneliness that comes when you reach the top. The loneliness for an equal - for a mind to respect and an achievement to admire. They bare their teeth at you from out of their rat holes,thinking that you take pleasure in letting your brilliance dim them - while you'd give a year of my life to see a flicker of talent anywhere among them. They envy achievement, and their dream of greatness is a world where all men have become their acknowledged inferiors. They don't know that that dream is the infallible proof of mediocrity, because that sort of world is what the man of achievement would not be able to bear. They have no way of knowing what he feels when surrounded by inferiors - hatred? no, not hatred, but boredom - the terrible, hopeless, draining, paralyzing boredom. Of what account are praise and adulation from men whom you don't respect? Have you ever felt the longing for someone you could admire? For something, not to look down at, but up to?" "I've felt it all my life," she said.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
It is extraordinarily entertaining to watch the historians of the past ... entangling themselves in what they were pleased to call the "problem" of Queen Elizabeth. They invented the most complicated and astonishing reasons both for her success as a sovereign and for her tortuous matrimonial policy. She was the tool of Burleigh, she was the tool of Leicester, she was the fool of Essex; she was diseased, she was deformed, she was a man in disguise. She was a mystery, and must have some extraordinary solution. Only recently has it occrurred to a few enlightened people that the solution might be quite simple after all. She might be one of the rare people were born into the right job and put that job first.
Dorothy L. Sayers (Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society)
Every second of the search is an encounter with God. When I have been truly searching for my treasure, every day has been luminous...I've discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve.
Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)
On the surface, I was calm: in secret, without really admitting it, I was waiting for something. Her return? How could I have been waiting for that? We all know that we are material creatures, subject to the laws of physiology and physics, and not even the power of all our feelings combined can defeat those laws. All we can do is detest them. The age-old faith of lovers and poets in the power of love, stronger than death, that finis vitae sed non amoris, is a lie, useless and not even funny. So must one be resigned to being a clock that measures the passage of time, now out of order, now repaired, and whose mechanism generates despair and love as soon as its maker sets it going? Are we to grow used to the idea that every man relives ancient torments, which are all the more profound because they grow comic with repetition? That human existence should repeat itself, well and good, but that it should repeat itself like a hackneyed tune, or a record a drunkard keeps playing as he feeds coins into the jukebox... Must I go on living here then, among the objects we both had touched, in the air she had breathed? In the name of what? In the hope of her return? I hoped for nothing. And yet I lived in expectation. Since she had gone, that was all that remained. I did not know what achievements, what mockery, even what tortures still awaited me. I knew nothing, and I persisted in the faith that the time of cruel miracles was not past.
Stanisław Lem (Solaris)
Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet. And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more. This is a complete record of its thoughts from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it. Ah … ! What’s happening? it thought. Er, excuse me, who am I? Hello? Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life? What do I mean by who am I? Calm down, get a grip now … oh! this is an interesting sensation, what is it? It’s a sort of … yawning, tingling sensation in my … my … well I suppose I’d better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let’s call it my stomach. Good. Ooooh, it’s getting quite strong. And hey, what’s about this whistling roaring sound going past what I’m suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that … wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do … perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I’ve found out what it’s for. It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What’s this thing? This … let’s call it a tail – yeah, tail. Hey! I can can really thrash it about pretty good can’t I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn’t seem to achieve very much but I’ll probably find out what it’s for later on. Now – have I built up any coherent picture of things yet? No. Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I’m quite dizzy with anticipation … Or is it the wind? There really is a lot of that now isn’t it? And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like … ow … ound … round … ground! That’s it! That’s a good name – ground! I wonder if it will be friends with me? And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence. Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
I'm terrified of the thought of time passing (or whatever is meant by that phrase) whether I 'do' anything or not. In a way I may believe, deep down, that doing nothing acts as a brake on 'time's - it doesn't of course. It merely adds the torment of having done nothing, when the time comes when it really doesn't matter if you've done anything or not.
Philip Larkin (Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica)
The aching in my chest isn't because I miss you, it's realizing that you have become someone I no longer know, your fears, your 4 am thoughts, your achievements, are things I no longer have an equivalent to. Who we were and who we are are four different people, and the me from now doesn't relate to the me from then, let alone to the you from now. -Tanzy Sayadi and Jarod Kintz
Tanzy Sayadi (liQUID PROse QUOtes)
Maybe that is the best lesson I learned in my first semester at Yale, because if I had gone to a less-demanding school and continued to sail along on the top, I am sure I would never have attained the subsequent achievements in my life.
Ben Carson (Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence)
I think what I want is for someone to know me. Really know me. Know me better than anyone else and maybe even me. Isn’t that why we commit to another? It’s not for sex. If it were for sex, we wouldn’t marry one person. We’d just keep finding new partners. We commit for many reasons, I know, but the more I think about it, the more I think long-term relationships are for getting to know someone. I want someone to know me, really know me, almost like that person could get into my head. What would that feel like? To have access, to know what it’s like in someone else’s head. To rely on someone else, have him rely on you. That’s not a biological connection like the one between parents and children. This kind of relationship would be chosen. It would be something cooler, harder to achieve than one built on biology and shared genetics. I think that’s it. Maybe that’s how we know when a relationship is real. When someone else previously unconnected to us knows us in a way we never thought or believed possible.
Iain Reid (I'm Thinking of Ending Things)
I will live this day as if it is my last. …I will waste not a moment mourning yesterday’s misfortunes, Yesterday’s defeats, yesterday’s aches of the heart, for why should I throw good after bad?” I will live this day as if it is my last. This day is all I have and these hours are now my eternity. I greet this sunrise with cries of joy as a prisoner who is reprieved from death. I lift mine arms with thanks for this priceless gift of a new day. So too, I will beat upon my heart with gratitude as I consider all who greeted yesterday’s sunrise who are no longer with the living today. I am indeed a fortunate man and today’s hours are but a bonus, undeserved. Why have I been allowed to live this extra day when others, far better than I, have departed? Is it that they have accomplished their purpose while mine is yet to be achieved? Is this another opportunity for me to become the man I know I can be?
Og Mandino (The Greatest Salesman in the World)
I have a message for my fans. Whatever you want to do in this world, it is achievable. The most important thing that I've found, that perhaps you could use, is be passionate and enthusiastic in the direction that you choose in life, and you'll be a winner.
Steve Irwin
Unless you write yourself, you can’t know how wonderful it is; I always used to bemoan the fact that I couldn’t draw, but now I’m overjoyed that at least I can write. And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. But I want to achieve more than that.
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
I have received no assurance that anything we can do will eradicate suffering. I think the best results are obtained by people who work quietly away at limited objectives, such as the abolition of the slave trade, or prison reform, or factory acts, or tuberculosis, not by those who think they can achieve universal justice, or health, or peace. I think the art of life consists in tackling each immediate evil as well as we can.
C.S. Lewis (The Weight of Glory)
If one really has a feeling of contribution, one will no longer have any need for recognition from others. Because one will already have the real awareness that “I am of use to someone,” without needing to go out of one’s way to be acknowledged by others. In other words, a person who is obsessed with the desire for recognition does not have any community feeling yet, and has not managed to engage in self-acceptance, confidence in others, or contribution to others.
Ichiro Kishimi (The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness)
I want you, Hank. I'm much more of an animal than you think. I wanted you from the first moment I saw you - and the only thing I'm ashamed of is that I did not know it. I did not know why, for two years, the brightest moments I found were the ones in your office, where I could lift my head to look up at you. I did not know the nature of what I felt in your presence, nor the reason. I know it now. That is all I want, Hank. I want you in my bed - and you are free of me for all the rest of your time. There's nothing you'll have to pretend - don't think of me, don't feel; don't care - I do not want your mind, your will, your being or your soul, so long as it's to me you will come for that lowest one of your desires. I am an animal who wants nothing but the sensation of pleasure which you despise - but I want it from you. You'd give up amy height of virtue for it , while I - I haven't any to give up. There's none I seek or wish to reach. I am so low that I would exchange the greatest sight of beauty in the world for the sight of your figure in the cab of a railroad engine. Amd seeing it, I would not be able to see it indifferently. You don't have to fear that you're now dependent on me. It's I who will depend on any whim of yours. You'll have me anytime you wish, anywhere, on any terms. Did you call it the obscenity of my talent? It's such that it gives you a safer hold on me than on any other property you own. You may dispose of me as you please - I'm not afraid to admit it - I have nothing to protect from you and nothing to reserve. You think that this is a threat to your achievement, but it is not to mine. I will sit at my desk, and work, and when the things around me get hard to bear, I will think that for my reward I will be in your bed that night. Did you call it depravity? I am much more depraved than you are: you hold it as your guilt, and I - as my pride. I'm more proud of it than anything I've done, more proud than of building the Line. If I'm asked to name my proudest attainment, I will say: I have slept with Hank Rearden. I had earned it.
Ayn Rand
There are seconds, they come only five or six at a time, and you suddenly feel the presence of eternal harmony, fully achieved. It is nothing earthly; not that it's heavenly, but man cannot endure it in his earthly state. One must change physically or die. The feeling is clear and indisputable. As if you suddenly sense the whole of nature and suddenly say: yes, this is true. God, when he was creating the world, said at the end of each day of creation: 'Yes, this is true, this is good.' This . . . this is not tenderheartedness, but simply joy. You don't forgive anything, because there is no longer anything to forgive. You don't really love — oh, what is here is higher than love! What's most frightening is that it's so terribly clear, and there's such joy. If it were longer than five seconds — the soul couldn't endure it and would vanish. In those five seconds I live my life through, and for them I would give my whole life, because it's worth it. To endure ten seconds one would have to change physically . . . .
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Demons)
I know how much you grieve over those who are under your care: those you try to help and fail, those you cannot help. Have faith in God and remember that He will is His own way and in His own time complete what we so poorly attempt. Often we do not achieve for others the good that we intend but achieve something, something that goes on from our effort. Good is an overflow. Where we generously and sincerely intend it, we are engaged in a work of creation which may be mysterious even to ourselves - and because it is mysterious we may be afraid of it. But this should not make us draw back. God can always show us, if we will, a higher and a better way; and we can only learn to love by loving. Remember that all our failures are ultimately failures in love. Imperfect love must not be condemned and rejected but made perfect. The way is always forward, never back.
Iris Murdoch (The Bell)
You cannot reconcile creativeness with technical achievement. You may be perfect in playing the piano, and not be creative. You may be able to handle color, to put paint on canvas most cleverly, and not be a creative painter...having lost the song, we pursue the singer. We learn from the singer the technique of song, but there is no song; and I say the song is essential, the joy of singing is essential. When the joy is there, the technique can be built up from nothing; you will invent your own technique, you won't have to study elocution or style. When you have, you see, and the very seeing of beauty is an art.
J. Krishnamurti
A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth-that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which a man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of human is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for the brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when a man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way-an honorable way-in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words,"The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning)
I don't mean to say that I'm about to state my credo here on this page, but merely to affirm, sincerely for the first time in my life, my belief in man as an individual and independent entity. Certainly not independence in the everyday sense of the word, but pertaining to a freedom and mobility of thought that few people are able - or even have the courage - to achieve.
Hunter S. Thompson (Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century)
I hate the indifferent. I believe that living means taking sides. Those who really live cannot help being a citizen and a partisan. Indifference and apathy are parasitism, perversion, not life. That is why I hate the indifferent. The indifference is the deadweight of history. The indifference operates with great power on history. The indifference operates passively, but it operates. It is fate, that which cannot be counted on. It twists programs and ruins the best-conceived plans. It is the raw material that ruins intelligence. That what happens, the evil that weighs upon all, happens because the human mass abdicates to their will; allows laws to be promulgated that only the revolt could nullify, and leaves men that only a mutiny will be able to overthrow to achieve the power. The mass ignores because it is careless and then it seems like it is the product of fate that runs over everything and everyone: the one who consents as well as the one who dissents; the one who knew as well as the one who didn’t know; the active as well as the indifferent. Some whimper piously, others curse obscenely, but nobody, or very few ask themselves: If I had tried to impose my will, would this have happened? I also hate the indifferent because of that: because their whimpering of eternally innocent ones annoys me. I make each one liable: how they have tackled with the task that life has given and gives them every day, what have they done, and especially, what they have not done. And I feel I have the right to be inexorable and not squander my compassion, of not sharing my tears with them. I am a partisan, I am alive, I feel the pulse of the activity of the future city that those on my side are building is alive in their conscience. And in it, the social chain does not rest on a few; nothing of what happens in it is a matter of luck, nor the product of fate, but the intelligent work of the citizens. Nobody in it is looking from the window of the sacrifice and the drain of a few. Alive, I am a partisan. That is why I hate the ones that don’t take sides, I hate the indifferent.
Antonio Gramsci
I think no more than a week after I started writing I ran into the first block. It's hard to describe it in a way that will be understandable to anyone who is not a neurotic. I will try. All my life I have been haunted by the obsession that to desire a thing or to love a thing intensely is to place yourself in a vulnerable position, to be a possible, if not a probable, loser of what you most want. Let's leave it like that. That block has always been there and always will be, and my chance of getting, or achieving, anything that I long for will always be gravely reduced by the interminable existence of that block.
Tennessee Williams
Perhaps you can explain it to me, then,” she said, “how is it fair that my utterly inept cousin is in command of me, for no reason other than that he’s a man and I’m a woman? How is it fair that I master Latin and Greek as well as any man at Oxford, yet I am taught over a baker’s shop? How is it fair that a man can tell me my brain was wired wrong, when his main achievement in life seems to be his birth into a life of privilege? And why do I have to beg a man to please make it his interest that I, too, may vote on the laws that govern my life every day?
Evie Dunmore (Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women, #1))
People can do great things. However, there are somethings they just can't do. I, for instance, have not been able to transform myself into a Popsicle, despite years of effort. I could, however, make myself insane, if I wished. (Though if I achieved the second, I might be able to make myself think I'd achieved the first....) Anyway, if there's a lesson to be learned, it's this: great success often depends on being able to distinguish between the impossible and the improbable. Or, in easier terms, distinguishing between Popsicles and insanity. Any questions?
Brandon Sanderson (Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1))
Em, we've known each other five or six years now, but two years properly, as, you know, 'friends', which isn't that long but I think I know a bit about you and I think I know what your problem is. Here it is. I think you're scared of being happy, Emma. I think you think that the natural way of things is for your life to be grim and grey and dour and to hate your job, hate where you live, not to have success or money or God forbid a boyfriend. In fact, I think I'll go further and say that I think you actually get a kick out of being disappointed and under-achieving, because it's easier, isn't it? Failure and unhappiness is easier because you can make a joke out of it.
David Nicholls
Since I am writing a book about depression, I am often asked in social situations to describe my own experiences, and I usually end by saying that I am on medication. “Still?” people ask. “But you seem fine!” To which I invariably reply that I seem fine because I am fine, and that I am fine in part because of medication. “So how long do you expect to go on taking this stuff?” people ask. When I say that I will be on medication indefinitely, people who have dealt calmly and sympathetically with the news of suicide attempts, catatonia, missed years of work, significant loss of body weight, and so on stare at me with alarm. “But it’s really bad to be on medicine that way,” they say. “Surely now you are strong enough to be able to phase out some of these drugs!” If you say to them that this is like phasing the carburetor out of your car or the buttresses out of Notre Dame, they laugh. “So maybe you’ll stay on a really low maintenance dose?” They ask. You explain that the level of medication you take was chosen because it normalizes the systems that can go haywire, and that a low dose of medication would be like removing half of your carburetor. You add that you have experienced almost no side effects from the medication you are taking, and that there is no evidence of negative effects of long-term medication. You say that you really don’t want to get sick again. But wellness is still, in this area, associated not with achieving control of your problem, but with discontinuation of medication. “Well, I sure hope you get off it sometime soon,” they say.
Andrew Solomon (The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression)
We have too much technological progress, life is too hectic, and our society has only one goal: to invent still more technological marvels to make life even easier and better. The craving for every new scientific discovery breeds a hunger for greater comfort and the constant struggle to achieve it. All that kills the soul, kills compassion, understanding, nobility. It leaves no time for caring what happens to other people, least of all criminals. Even the officials in Venezuela's remote areas are better for they're also concerned with public peace. It gives them many headaches, but they seem to believe that bringing about a man's salvation is worth the effort. I find that magnificent.
Henri Charrière (Papillon)
This is the truth: We are a nation accustomed to being afraid. If I’m being honest, not just with you but with myself, it’s not just the nation, and it’s not just something we’ve grown used to. It’s the world, and it’s an addiction. People crave fear. Fear justifies everything. Fear makes it okay to have surrendered freedom after freedom, until our every move is tracked and recorded in a dozen databases the average man will never have access to. Fear creates, defines, and shapes our world, and without it, most of us would have no idea what to do with ourselves. Our ancestors dreamed of a world without boundaries, while we dream new boundaries to put around our homes, our children, and ourselves. We limit our potential day after day in the name of a safety that we refuse to ever achieve. We took a world that was huge with possibility, and we made it as small as we could.
Mira Grant (Feed (Newsflesh, #1))
What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory. He rides the drifts like an escaped ski. His course is a caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance. Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape.
Leonard Cohen (Beautiful Losers)
Sometimes the most remarkable things seem commonplace. I mean when you think about it jet travel is pretty freaking remarkable. You get in a plane it defies the gravity of a entire planet by exploiting a loophole with air pressure and it flies across distances that would take months or years to cross by any means of travel that has been significant for more than a century or three. You hurtle above the earth at enough speed to kill you instantly should you bump into something and you can only breathe because someone built you a really good tin can that seems tight enough to hold in a decent amount of air. Hundreds of millions of man-hours of work and struggle and research blood sweat tears and lives have gone into the history of air travel and it has totally revolutionized the face of our planet and societies. But get on any flight in the country and I absolutely promise you that you will find someone who in the face of all that incredible achievement will be willing to complain about the drinks.
Jim Butcher (Summer Knight (The Dresden Files, #4))
When we lose certain people, or when we are dispossessed from a place, or a community, we may simply feel that we are undergoing something temporary, that mourning will be over and some restoration of prior order will be achieved. But maybe when we undergo what we do, something about who we are is revealed, something that delineates the ties we have to others, that shows us that these ties constitute what we are, ties or bonds that compose us. It is not as if an “I” exists independently over here and then simply loses a “you” over there, especially if the attachment to “you” is part of what composes who “I” am. If I lose you, under these conditions, then I not only mourn the loss, but I become inscrutable to myself. Who “am” I, without you? When we lose some of these ties by which we are constituted, we do not know who we are or what to do. On one level, I think I have lost “you” only to discover that “I” have gone missing as well.
Judith Butler (Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence)
There appears to be a vast amount of confusion on this point, but I do not know many Negroes who are eager to be "accepted" by white people, still less to be loved by them; they, the blacks, simply don't wish to be beaten over the head by the whites every instant of our brief passage on this planet. White people in this country will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this -- which will not be tomorrow and will not be today and may very well be never -- the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.
James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time)
I have a young friend who dreams of becoming a novelist, but he never seems to be able to complete his work. According to him, his job keeps him too busy, and he can never find enough time to write novels, and that's why he can't complete work and enter it for writing awards. But is that the real reason? No! It's actually that he wants to leave the possibility of "I can do it if I try" open, by not committing to anything. He doesn't want to expose his work to criticism, and he certainly doesn't want to face the reality that he might produce an inferior piece of writing and face rejection. He wants to live inside that realm of possibilities, where he can say that he could do it if he only had the time, or that he could write if he just had the proper environment, and that he really does have the talent for it. In another five or ten years, he will probably start using another excuses like "I'm not young anymore" or "I've got a family to think about now
Ichiro Kishimi (The Courage to Be Disliked: How to Free Yourself, Change Your Life, and Achieve Real Happiness)
Do I, then, belong to the heavens? Why, if not so, should the heavens Fix me thus with their ceaseless blue stare, Luring me on, and my mind, higher Ever higher, up into the sky, Drawing me ceaselessly up To heights far, far above the human? Why, when balance has been strictly studied And flight calculated with the best of reason Till no aberrant element should, by rights, remain- Why, still, should the lust for ascension Seem, in itself, so close to madness? Nothing is that can satify me; Earthly novelty is too soon dulled; I am drawn higher and higher, more unstable, Closer and closer to the sun's effulgence. Why do these rays of reason destroy me? Villages below and meandering streams Grow tolerable as our distance grows. Why do they plead, approve, lure me With promise that I may love the human If only it is seen, thus, from afar- Although the goal could never have been love, Nor, had it been, could I ever have Belonged to the heavens? I have not envied the bird its freedom Nor have I longed for the ease of Nature, Driven by naught save this strange yearning For the higher, and the closer, to plunge myself Into the deep sky's blue, so contrary To all organic joys, so far From pleasures of superiority But higher, and higher, Dazzled, perhaps, by the dizzy incandescence Of waxen wings. Or do I then Belong, after all, to the earth? Why, if not so, should the earth Show such swiftness to encompass my fall? Granting no space to think or feel, Why did the soft, indolent earth thus Greet me with the shock of steel plate? Did the soft earth thus turn to steel Only to show me my own softness? That Nature might bring home to me That to fall, not to fly, is in the order of things, More natural by far than that improbable passion? Is the blue of the sky then a dream? Was it devised by the earth, to which I belonged, On account of the fleeting, white-hot intoxication Achieved for a moment by waxen wings? And did the heavens abet the plan to punish me? To punish me for not believing in myself Or for believing too much; Too earger to know where lay my allegiance Or vainly assuming that already I knew all; For wanting to fly off To the unknown Or the known: Both of them a single, blue speck of an idea?
Yukio Mishima (Sun & Steel)
The boy continued to listen to his heart as they crossed the desert. He came to understand its dodges and tricks, and to accept it as it was. He lost his fear, and forgot about his need to go back to the oasis, because, one afternoon, his heart told him that it was happy. "Even though I complain sometimes," it said, "it's because I'm the heart of a person, and people's hearts are that way. People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don't deserve them, or that they'll be unable to achieve them. We, their hearts, become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren't, or of treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands. Because, when these things happen, we suffer terribly.
Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)
But I realized something. About art. And psychiatry. They're both self-perpetuating systems. Like religion. All three of them promise you a sense of inner worth and meaning, and spend a lot of time telling you about the suffering you have to go through to achieve it. As soon as you get a problem in any one of them, the solution it gives is always to go deeper into the same system. They're all in rather uneasy truce with one another in what's actually a mortal battle. Like all self-reinforcing systems. At best, each is trying to encompass the other two and define them as sub-groups. You know: religion and art are both forms of madness and madness is the realm of psychiatry. Or, art is the study and praise of man and man's ideals, so therefore a religious experience just becomes a brutalized aesthetic response and psychiatry is just another tool for the artist to observe man and render his portraits more accurately. And the religious attitude I guess is that the other two are only useful as long as they promote the good life. At worst, they all try to destroy one another. Which is what my psychiatrist, whether he knew it or not, was trying, quite effectively, to do to my painting. I gave up psychiatry too, pretty soon. I just didn't want to get all wound up in any systems at all.
Samuel R. Delany (Dhalgren)
Study, along the lines which the theologies have mapped, will never lead us to discovery of the fundamental facts of our existence. That goal must be attained by means of exact science and can only be achieved by such means. The fact that man, for ages, has superstitiously believed in what he calls a God does not prove at all that his theory has been right. There have been many gods – all makeshifts, born of inability to fathom the deep fundamental truth. There must be something at the bottom of existence, and man, in ignorance, being unable to discover what it is through reason, because his reason has been so imperfect, undeveloped, has used, instead, imagination, and created figments, of one kind or another, which, according to the country he was born in, the suggestions of his environment, satisfied him for the time being. Not one of all the gods of all the various theologies has ever really been proved. We accept no ordinary scientific fact without the final proof; why should we, then, be satisfied in this most mighty of all matters, with a mere theory? Destruction of false theories will not decrease the sum of human happiness in future, any more than it has in the past... The days of miracles have passed. I do not believe, of course, that there was ever any day of actual miracles. I cannot understand that there were ever any miracles at all. My guide must be my reason, and at thought of miracles my reason is rebellious. Personally, I do not believe that Christ laid claim to doing miracles, or asserted that he had miraculous power... Our intelligence is the aggregate intelligence of the cells which make us up. There is no soul, distinct from mind, and what we speak of as the mind is just the aggregate intelligence of cells. It is fallacious to declare that we have souls apart from animal intelligence, apart from brains. It is the brain that keeps us going. There is nothing beyond that. Life goes on endlessly, but no more in human beings than in other animals, or, for that matter, than in vegetables. Life, collectively, must be immortal, human beings, individually, cannot be, as I see it, for they are not the individuals – they are mere aggregates of cells. There is no supernatural. We are continually learning new things. There are powers within us which have not yet been developed and they will develop. We shall learn things of ourselves, which will be full of wonders, but none of them will be beyond the natural. [Columbian Magazine interview]
Thomas A. Edison
I finally realized that I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that’s what I want! I know I can write ..., but it remains to be seen whether I really have talent ... And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. But I want to achieve more than that. I can’t imagine living like Mother, Mrs. van Daan and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! ... I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me! When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?
Anne Frank
The reason we are so controlled is not that we don't have the power to decide our own destiny, it is that we give that power away every minute of our lives. When something happens that we don't like, we look for someone else to blame. When there is a problem in the world, we say "What are they going to do about it". At which point they, who have secretly created the problem in the first place, respond to this demand by introducing a 'solution' - more centralisation of power and erosion of freedom. If you want to give more powers to the police, security agencies and military, and you want the public to demand you do it, then ensure there is more crime, violence and terrorism, and then it's a cinch to achieve your aims. Once the people are in fear of being burgled, mugged or bombed, they will demand that you take their freedom away to protect them from what they have been manipulated to fear. The Oklahoma bombing is a classic of this kind, as I detail in ..And The Truth Shall Set You Free. I call this technique problem-reaction-solution. Create the problem, encourage the reaction "something must be done", and then offer the solution. It is summed up by the Freemason motto 'Ordo Ab Chao' -order out of chaos. Create the chaos and then offer the way to restore order. Your order. The masses are herded and directed by many and varios forms of emotional and mental control. It is the only way it coud be done.
David Icke
Everything is possible, and yet nothing is. All is permitted, and yet again, nothing. No matter which way we go, it is no better than any other. It is all the same whether you achieve something or not, have faith or not, just as it is all the same whether you cry or remain silent. There is an explanation for everything, and yet there is none. Everything is both real and unreal, normal and absurd, splendid and insipid. There is nothing worth more than anything else, nor any idea better than any other. Why grow sad from one’s sadness and delight in one’s joy? What does it matter whether our tears come from pleasure or pain? Love your unhappiness and hate your happiness, mix everything up, scramble it all! Be a snowflake dancing in the air, a flower floating downstream! Have courage when you don’t need to, and be a coward when you must be brave! Who knows? You may still be a winner! And if you lose, does it really matter? Is there anything to win in this world? All gain is a loss, and all loss is a gain. Why always expect a definite stance, clear ideas, meaningful words? I feel as if I should spout fire in response to all the questions which were ever put, or not put, to me.
Emil M. Cioran (On the Heights of Despair)
Is that all?” he blurted out. Crowley and Halt exchanged slightly puzzled glances. Then Crowley pursed his lips thoughtfully. “Um…it seems to be…Listed your trainging, mentioned a few achievements, made sure you know which end of an arrow is the sharp part…decided your new name…I think that’s…” Then it seemed that understanding dawned on him and his eyes opened wide. “Of course! You have to have you Silver…whatsis, don ‘t you?” He took hold of the chain that held his own Silver Oakleaf around his throat and shook it lightly. It was a badge of a Graduate Ranger. Then he began to search through his pockets, frowning. “Had it here! Had it here! Where the devil is it…wait. I heard something fall on the boards as I came in! Must have dropped it. Just check outside the front door, will you, Will?” Too stunned to talk, Will rose and went to the door. As he set his hand on the latch, he looked back at the two Rangers, still seated at the table. Crowley made a small shooing motion with the back of his hand, urging him to go outside. Will was still looking back at them when he opened the door and stepped through on the verandah. “Congratulations!” The massive cry went up from at least forty throats. He swung around in shock to find all his friends gathered in the clearing outside around the table laid for a feast, their faces beaming with smiles. Baron Arald, Sir Rodney, Lady Pauline and Master Chubb were all there. So were Jenny and George, his former wardmates. There were a dozen others in the Ranger uniform – men he had met worked with over the past five years. And wonder of wonders, there were Erak and Svengal , bellowing his name and waving their huge axes overhead in his praise. Close by them stood Horace and Gilan, both brandishing their swords overhead as well. It looked like a dangerous section of the crowd to be in, Will thought. After the first concerted shout, people began cheering and calling his name, laughing and waving to him. Halt and Crowley joined him on the verandah. The Commandant was doubled over with laughter. “Oh, if you could have seen yourself!” he wheezed. “Your face! Your face! It was priceless! ‘Is that all?’” He mimicked Will’s plaintive tones and doubled over again. Will tuned to Halt accusingly. His teacher grinned at him. “Your face was a study,” he said. “Do you so that to all apprentices?” Will asked. Halt nodded vigorously. “Every one. Stops them getting a swelled head at the last minute. You have to swear never to let an apprentice in on the secret.
John Flanagan (Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, #7))
The LSD phenomenon, on the other hand, is—to me at least—more interesting. It is an intentionally achieved schizophrenia, with the expectation of a spontaneous remission—which, however, does not always follow. Yoga, too, is intentional schizophrenia: one breaks away from the world, plunging inward, and the ranges of vision experienced are in fact the same as those of a psychosis. But what, then, is the difference? What is the difference between a psychotic or LSD experience and a yogic, or a mystical? The plunges are all into the same deep inward sea; of that there can be no doubt. The symbolic figures encountered are in many instances identical (and I shall have something more to say about those in a moment). But there is an important difference. The difference—to put it sharply—is equivalent simply to that between a diver who can swim and one who cannot. The mystic, endowed with native talents for this sort of thing and following, stage by stage, the instruction of a master, enters the waters and finds he can swim; whereas the schizophrenic, unprepared, unguided, and ungifted, has fallen or has intentionally plunged, and is drowning.
Joseph Campbell (Myths to Live By)
It is the fate of great achievements, born from a way of life that sets truth before security, to be gobbled up by you and excreted in the form of shit. For centuries great, brave, lonely men have been telling you what to do. Time and again you have corrupted, diminished and demolished their teachings; time and again you have been captivated by their weakest points, taken not the great truth, but some trifling error as your guiding principal. This, little man, is what you have done with Christianity, with the doctrine of sovereign people, with socialism, with everything you touch. Why, you ask, do you do this? I don't believe you really want an answer. When you hear the truth you'll cry bloody murder, or commit it. … You had your choice between soaring to superhuman heights with Nietzsche and sinking into subhuman depths with Hitler. You shouted Heil! Heil! and chose the subhuman. You had the choice between Lenin's truly democratic constitution and Stalin's dictatorship. You chose Stalin's dictatorship. You had your choice between Freud's elucidation of the sexual core of your psychic disorders and his theory of cultural adaptation. You dropped the theory of sexuality and chose his theory of cultural adaptation, which left you hanging in mid-air. You had your choice between Jesus and his majestic simplicity and Paul with his celibacy for priests and life-long compulsory marriage for yourself. You chose the celibacy and compulsory marriage and forgot the simplicity of Jesus' mother, who bore her child for love and love alone. You had your choice between Marx's insight into the productivity of your living labor power, which alone creates the value of commodities and the idea of the state. You forgot the living energy of your labor and chose the idea of the state. In the French Revolution, you had your choice between the cruel Robespierre and the great Danton. You chose cruelty and sent greatness and goodness to the guillotine. In Germany you had your choice between Goring and Himmler on the one hand and Liebknecht, Landau, and Muhsam on the other. You made Himmler your police chief and murdered your great friends. You had your choice between Julius Streicher and Walter Rathenau. You murdered Rathenau. You had your choice between Lodge and Wilson. You murdered Wilson. You had your choice between the cruel Inquisition and Galileo's truth. You tortured and humiliated the great Galileo, from whose inventions you are still benefiting, and now, in the twentieth century, you have brought the methods of the Inquisition to a new flowering. … Every one of your acts of smallness and meanness throws light on the boundless wretchedness of the human animal. 'Why so tragic?' you ask. 'Do you feel responsible for all evil?' With remarks like that you condemn yourself. If, little man among millions, you were to shoulder the barest fraction of your responsibility, the world would be a very different place. Your great friends wouldn't perish, struck down by your smallness.
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
I wish Mara knew that I’m jealous of her.” I whipped around to face him. “You can’t be serious.” Brooke shook her finger. “No interruptions, Mara.” My brother cleared his throat. “I wish she knew that I think she’s the most hilarious person on Earth. And that whenever she’s not home, I feel like I’m missing my partner in crime.” My throat tightened. Do not cry. Do not cry. “I wish she knew that she’s really Mom’s favorite—” I shook my head here. “—the princess she always wanted. That Mom used to dress her up like a little doll and parade her around like Mara was her greatest achievement. I wish Mara knew that I never minded, because she’s my favorite too.” A chin quiver. Damn. “I wish she knew that I’ve always had acquaintances instead of friends because I’ve spent every second I’m not in school studying or practicing piano. I wish she knew that she is literally as smart as I am—her IQ is ONE POINT lower,” he said, raising his eyes to meet mine. “Mom had us tested. And that she could get the same grades if she weren’t so lazy.” I slouched in my seat, and may or may not have crossed my arms over my chest defensively. “I wish she knew that I am really proud of her, and that I always will be, no matter what.
Michelle Hodkin (The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2))
... one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader. And I shall tell you why. When we read a book for the first time the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation. When we look at a painting we do no have to move our eyes in a special way even if, as in a book, the picture contains elements of depth and development. The element of time does not really enter in a first contact with a painting. In reading a book, we must have time to acquaint ourselves with it. We have no physical organ (as we have the eye in regard to a painting) that takes in the whole picture and can enjoy its details. But at a second, or third, or fourth reading we do, in a sense, behave towards a book as we do towards a painting. However, let us not confuse the physical eye, that monstrous achievement of evolution, with the mind, an even more monstrous achievement. A book, no matter what it is - a work of fiction or a work of science (the boundary line between the two is not as clear as is generally believed) - a book of fiction appeals first of all to the mind. The mind, the brain, the top of the tingling spine, is, or should be, the only instrument used upon a book.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lectures on Literature)
David Foster Wallace: I think the reason why people behave in an ugly manner is that it’s really scary to be alive and to be human, and people are really really afraid. And that the reasons… That the fear is the basic condition, and there are all kinds of reasons for why we’re so afraid. But the fact of the matter is, is that, is that the job that we’re here to do is to learn how to live in a way that we’re not terrified all the time. And not in a position of using all kinds of different things, and using people to keep that kind of terror at bay. That is my personal opinion. Well for me, as an American male, the face I’d put on the terror is the dawning realization that nothing’s enough, you know? That no pleasure is enough, that no achievement is enough. That there’s a kind of queer dissatisfaction or emptiness at the core of the self that is unassuageable by outside stuff. And my guess is that that’s been what’s going on, ever since people were hitting each other over the head with clubs. Though describable in a number of different words and cultural argots. And that our particular challenge is that there’s never been more and better stuff comin’ from the outside, that seems temporarily to sort of fill the hole or drown out the hole. Personally, I believe that if it’s assuageable in any way it’s by internal means. And I don’t know what that means. I think it’s fine in some way. I think it’s probably assuageable by internal means. I think those internal means have to be earned and developed, and it has something to do with, um, um, the pop-psych phrase is lovin’ yourself. It’s more like, if you can think of times in your life that you’ve treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable as human beings. The ability to do that with ourselves. To treat ourselves the way we would treat a really good, precious friend. Or a tiny child of ours that we absolutely loved more than life itself. And I think it’s probably possible to achieve that. I think part of the job we’re here for is to learn how to do this.
David Lipsky (Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace)
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured. On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war--seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln (Great Speeches / Abraham Lincoln: with Historical Notes by John Grafton)
Citizens of Luna, I ask that you stop what you’re doing to listen to this message. My name is Selene Blackburn. I am the daughter of the late Queen Channary, niece to Princess Levana, and the rightful heir to Luna’s throne. You were told that I died thirteen years ago in a nursery fire, but the truth is that my aunt, Levana, did try to kill me, but I was rescued and taken to Earth. There, I have been raised and protected in preparation for the time when I would return to Luna and reclaim my birthright. In my absence, Levana has enslaved you. She takes your sons and turns them into monsters. She takes your shell infants and slaughters them. She lets you go hungry, while the people in Artemisia gorge themselves on rich foods and delicacies. But Levana’s rule is coming to an end. I have returned and I am here to take back what’s mine. Soon, Levana is going to marry Emperor Kaito of Earth and be crowned the empress of the Eastern Commonwealth, an honor that could not be given to anyone less deserving. I refuse to allow Levana to extend her tyranny. I will not stand aside while my aunt enslaves and abuses my people here on Luna, and wages a war across Earth. Which is why, before an Earthen crown can be placed on Levana’s head, I will bring an army to the gates of Artemisia. I ask that you, citizens of Luna, be that army. You have the power to fight against Levana and the people that oppress you. Beginning now, tonight, I urge you to join me in rebelling against this regime. No longer will we obey her curfews or forgo our rights to meet and talk and be heard. No longer will we give up our children to become her disposable guards and soldiers. No longer will we slave away growing food and raising wildlife, only to see it shipped off to Artemisia while our children starve around us. No longer will we build weapons for Levana’s war. Instead, we will take them for ourselves, for our war. Become my army. Stand up and reclaim your homes from the guards who abuse and terrorize you. Send a message to Levana that you will no longer be controlled by fear and manipulation. And upon the commencement of the royal coronation, I ask that all able-bodied citizens join me in a march against Artemisia and the queen’s palace. Together we will guarantee a better future for Luna. A future without oppression. A future in which any Lunar, no matter the sector they live in or the family they were born to, can achieve their ambitions and live without fear of unjust persecution or a lifetime of slavery. I understand that I am asking you to risk your lives. Levana’s thaumaturges are powerful, her guards are skilled, her soldiers are brutal. But if we join together, we can be invincible. They can’t control us all. With the people united into one army, we will surround the capital city and overthrow the imposter who sits on my throne. Help me. Fight for me. And I will be the first ruler in the history of Luna who will also fight for you.
Marissa Meyer (Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4))
Dear friend…' The Witcher swore quietly, looking at the sharp, angular, even runes drawn with energetic sweeps of the pen, faultlessly reflecting the author’s mood. He felt once again the desire to try to bite his own backside in fury. When he was writing to the sorceress a month ago he had spent two nights in a row contemplating how best to begin. Finally, he had decided on “Dear friend.” Now he had his just deserts. 'Dear friend, your unexpected letter – which I received not quite three years after we last saw each other – has given me much joy. My joy is all the greater as various rumours have been circulating about your sudden and violent death. It is a good thing that you have decided to disclaim them by writing to me; it is a good thing, too, that you are doing so so soon. From your letter it appears that you have lived a peaceful, wonderfully boring life, devoid of all sensation. These days such a life is a real privilege, dear friend, and I am happy that you have managed to achieve it. I was touched by the sudden concern which you deigned to show as to my health, dear friend. I hasten with the news that, yes, I now feel well; the period of indisposition is behind me, I have dealt with the difficulties, the description of which I shall not bore you with. It worries and troubles me very much that the unexpected present you received from Fate brings you worries. Your supposition that this requires professional help is absolutely correct. Although your description of the difficulty – quite understandably – is enigmatic, I am sure I know the Source of the problem. And I agree with your opinion that the help of yet another magician is absolutely necessary. I feel honoured to be the second to whom you turn. What have I done to deserve to be so high on your list? Rest assured, my dear friend; and if you had the intention of supplicating the help of additional magicians, abandon it because there is no need. I leave without delay, and go to the place which you indicated in an oblique yet, to me, understandable way. It goes without saying that I leave in absolute secrecy and with great caution. I will surmise the nature of the trouble on the spot and will do all that is in my power to calm the gushing source. I shall try, in so doing, not to appear any worse than other ladies to whom you have turned, are turning or usually turn with your supplications. I am, after all, your dear friend. Your valuable friendship is too important to me to disappoint you, dear friend. Should you, in the next few years, wish to write to me, do not hesitate for a moment. Your letters invariably give me boundless pleasure. Your friend Yennefer' The letter smelled of lilac and gooseberries. Geralt cursed.
Andrzej Sapkowski (Krew elfów (Saga o Wiedźminie, #1))
I wish I'd been accepted sooner and better. When I was younger, not being accepted made me enraged, but now, I am not inclined to dismantle my history. If you banish the dragons, you banish the heroes--and we become attached to the heroic strain in our personal history. We choose our own lives. It is not simply that we decide on the behaviors that construct our experience; when given our druthers, we elect to be ourselves. Most of us would like to be more successful or more beautiful or wealthier, and most people endure episodes of low self-esteem or even self-hatred. We despair a hundred times a day. But we retain the startling evolutionary imperative for the fact of ourselves, and with that splinter of grandiosity we redeem our flaws. These parents have, by and large, chosen to love their children, and many of them have chosen to value their own lives, even though they carry what much of the world considers an intolerable burden. Children with horizontal identities alter your self painfully; they also illuminate it. They are receptacles for rage and joy-even for salvation. When we love them, we achieve above all else the rapture of privileging what exists over what we have merely imagined. A follower of the Dalai Lama who had been imprisoned by the Chinese for decades was asked if he had ever been afraid in jail, and he said his fear was that he would lose compassion for his captors. Parents often think that they've captured something small and vulnerable, but the parents I've profiled here have been captured, locked up with their children's madness or genius or deformity, and the quest is never to lose compassion. A Buddhist scholar once explained to me that most Westerners mistakenly think that nirvana is what you arrive at when your suffering is over and only an eternity of happiness stretches ahead. But such bliss would always be shadowed by the sorrow of the past and would therefore be imperfect. Nirvana occurs when you not only look forward to rapture, but also gaze back into the times of anguish and find in them the seeds of your joy. You may not have felt that happiness at the time, but in retrospect it is incontrovertible. For some parents of children with horizontal identities, acceptance reaches its apogee when parents conclude that while they supposed that they were pinioned by a great and catastrophic loss of hope, they were in fact falling in love with someone they didn't yet know enough to want. As such parents look back, they see how every stage of loving their child has enriched them in ways they never would have conceived, ways that ar incalculably precious. Rumi said that light enters you at the bandaged place. This book's conundrum is that most of the families described here have ended up grateful for experiences they would have done anything to avoid.
Andrew Solomon (Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity)
Do not despise your inner world. That is the first and most general piece of advice I would offer… Our society is very outward-looking, very taken up with the latest new object, the latest piece of gossip, the latest opportunity for self-assertion and status. But we all begin our lives as helpless babies, dependent on others for comfort, food, and survival itself. And even though we develop a degree of mastery and independence, we always remain alarmingly weak and incomplete, dependent on others and on an uncertain world for whatever we are able to achieve. As we grow, we all develop a wide range of emotions responding to this predicament: fear that bad things will happen and that we will be powerless to ward them off; love for those who help and support us; grief when a loved one is lost; hope for good things in the future; anger when someone else damages something we care about. Our emotional life maps our incompleteness: A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger. But for that very reason we are often ashamed of our emotions, and of the relations of need and dependency bound up with them. Perhaps males, in our society, are especially likely to be ashamed of being incomplete and dependent, because a dominant image of masculinity tells them that they should be self-sufficient and dominant. So people flee from their inner world of feeling, and from articulate mastery of their own emotional experiences. The current psychological literature on the life of boys in America indicates that a large proportion of boys are quite unable to talk about how they feel and how others feel — because they have learned to be ashamed of feelings and needs, and to push them underground. But that means that they don’t know how to deal with their own emotions, or to communicate them to others. When they are frightened, they don’t know how to say it, or even to become fully aware of it. Often they turn their own fear into aggression. Often, too, this lack of a rich inner life catapults them into depression in later life. We are all going to encounter illness, loss, and aging, and we’re not well prepared for these inevitable events by a culture that directs us to think of externals only, and to measure ourselves in terms of our possessions of externals. What is the remedy of these ills? A kind of self-love that does not shrink from the needy and incomplete parts of the self, but accepts those with interest and curiosity, and tries to develop a language with which to talk about needs and feelings. Storytelling plays a big role in the process of development. As we tell stories about the lives of others, we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events. At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves. As we grow older, we encounter more and more complex stories — in literature, film, visual art, music — that give us a richer and more subtle grasp of human emotions and of our own inner world. So my second piece of advice, closely related to the first, is: Read a lot of stories, listen to a lot of music, and think about what the stories you encounter mean for your own life and lives of those you love. In that way, you will not be alone with an empty self; you will have a newly rich life with yourself, and enhanced possibilities of real communication with others.
Martha C. Nussbaum
There is some confusion as to what magic actually is. I think this can be cleared up if you just look at the very earliest descriptions of magic. Magic in its earliest form is often referred to as “the art”. I believe this is completely literal. I believe that magic is art and that art, whether it be writing, music, sculpture, or any other form is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness. The very language about magic seems to be talking as much about writing or art as it is about supernatural events. A grimmoir for example, the book of spells is simply a fancy way of saying grammar. Indeed, to cast a spell, is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people's consciousness. And I believe that this is why an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world that you are likely to see to a Shaman. I believe that all culture must have arisen from cult. Originally, all of the faucets of our culture, whether they be in the arts or sciences were the province of the Shaman. The fact that in present times, this magical power has degenerated to the level of cheap entertainment and manipulation, is, I think a tragedy. At the moment the people who are using Shamanism and magic to shape our culture are advertisers. Rather than try to wake people up, their Shamanism is used as an opiate to tranquilize people, to make people more manipulable. Their magic box of television, and by their magic words, their jingles can cause everyone in the country to be thinking the same words and have the same banal thoughts all at exactly the same moment. In all of magic there is an incredibly large linguistic component. The Bardic tradition of magic would place a bard as being much higher and more fearsome than a magician. A magician might curse you. That might make your hands lay funny or you might have a child born with a club foot. If a Bard were to place not a curse upon you, but a satire, then that could destroy you. If it was a clever satire, it might not just destroy you in the eyes of your associates; it would destroy you in the eyes of your family. It would destroy you in your own eyes. And if it was a finely worded and clever satire that might survive and be remembered for decades, even centuries. Then years after you were dead people still might be reading it and laughing at you and your wretchedness and your absurdity. Writers and people who had command of words were respected and feared as people who manipulated magic. In latter times I think that artists and writers have allowed themselves to be sold down the river. They have accepted the prevailing belief that art and writing are merely forms of entertainment. They’re not seen as transformative forces that can change a human being; that can change a society. They are seen as simple entertainment; things with which we can fill 20 minutes, half an hour, while we’re waiting to die. It’s not the job of the artist to give the audience what the audience wants. If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn’t be the audience. They would be the artists. It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need.
Alan Moore