I Think Therefore I Play Quotes

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Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you...it means that you do not treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security; for our bodies to be treated as objects, our minds are in mortal danger. It means insisting that those to whom you give your friendship and love are able to respect your mind. It means being able to say, with Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre: "I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all the extraneous delights should be withheld or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give. Responsibility to yourself means that you don't fall for shallow and easy solutions--predigested books and ideas...marrying early as an escape from real decisions, getting pregnant as an evasion of already existing problems. It means that you refuse to sell your talents and aspirations short...and this, in turn, means resisting the forces in society which say that women should be nice, play safe, have low professional expectations, drown in love and forget about work, live through others, and stay in the places assigned to us. It means that we insist on a life of meaningful work, insist that work be as meaningful as love and friendship in our lives. It means, therefore, the courage to be "different"...The difference between a life lived actively, and a life of passive drifting and dispersal of energies, is an immense difference. Once we begin to feel committed to our lives, responsible to ourselves, we can never again be satisfied with the old, passive way.
Adrienne Rich
From the complications of loving you I think there is no end or return. No answer, no coming out of it. Which is the only way to love, isn’t it? This isn’t a play ground, this is earth, our heaven, for a while. Therefore I have given precedence to all my sudden, sullen, dark moods that hold you in the center of my world. And I say to my body: grow thinner still. And I say to my fingers, type me a pretty song. And I say to my heart: rave on.
Mary Oliver (Thirst)
All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or back gammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obli­gation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority.
Henry David Thoreau (On the Duty of Civil Disobedience)
I don’t feel pressure, either. I don’t give a toss about it. I spent the afternoon of Sunday, July 9, 2006, in Berlin sleeping and playing the PlayStation. In the evening, I went out and won the World Cup.
Andrea Pirlo (I Think Therefore I Play)
Now you might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I personally will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.
J.K. Rowling (Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination)
Philosophy as such is nothing but genuine awareness of the problems, i.e., of the fundamental and comprehensive problems. It is impossible to think about these problems without becoming inclined toward a solution, toward one or the other of the very few typical solutions. Yet as long as there is no wisdom but only quest for wisdom, the evidence of all solutions is necessarily smaller than the evidence of the problems. Therefore the philosopher ceases to be a philosopher at the moment at which the 'subjective certainty' [quoting M. Alexandre Kojève] of a solution becomes stronger than his awareness of the problematic character of that solution. At that moment the sectarian is born. The danger of succumbing to the attraction of solutions is essential to philosophy which, without incurring this danger, would degenerate into playing with the problems. But the philosopher does not necessarily succumb to this danger, as is shown by Socrates, who never belonged to a sect and never founded one. And even if the philosophic friends are compelled to be members of a sect or to found one, they are not necessarily members of one and the same sect: Amicus Plato.
Leo Strauss (What is Political Philosophy?)
O VENENO ARDENTE DO DESGOSTO. THE WHITE HOT POISON OF ANGER. When others make us angry at them- at their shamelessness, injustice, inconsideration- then they exercise power over us, they proliferate and gnaw at our soul, then anger is like a white-hot poison that corrods all mild, noble and balanced feelings and robs us of sleep. Sleepless, we turn on the light and are angry at the anger that has lodged like a succubus who sucks us dry and debilitates us. We are not only furious at the damage, but also that it develops in us all by itself, for while we sit on the edge of the bed with aching temples, the distant catalyst remains untouched by the corrosive force of the anger that eats at us. On the empty internal stage bathed in the harsh light of mute rage, we perform all by ourselves a drama with shadow figures and shadow words we hurl against enemies in helpless rage we feel as icy blazing fire in our bowels. And the greater our despair that is only a shadow play and not a real discussion with the possibility of hurting the other and producing a balance of suffering, the wilder the poisonous shadows dance and haunt us even in the darkest catacombs of our dreams. (We will turn the tables, we think grimly, and all night long forge words that will produce in the other the effect of a fire bomb so that now he will be the one with the flames of indignation raging inside while we, soothed by schadenfreude, will drink our coffee in cheerful calm.) What could it mean to deal appropriately with anger? We really don't want to be soulless creatures who remain thoroughly indifferent to what they come across, creatures whose appraisals consist only of cool, anemic judgments and nothing can shake them up because nothing really bothers them. Therefore, we can't seriously wish not to know the experience of anger and instead persist in an equanimity that wouldn't be distinguished from tedious insensibility. Anger also teaches us something about who we are. Therefore this is what I'd like to know: What can it mean to train ourselves in anger and imagine that we take advantage of its knowledge without being addicted to its poison? We can be sure that we will hold on to the deathbed as part of the last balance sheet- and this part will taste bitter as cyanide- that we have wasted too much, much too much strength and time on getting angry and getting even with others in a helpless shadow theater, which only we, who suffered impotently, knew anything about. What can we do to improve this balance sheet? Why did our parents, teachers and other instructors never talk to us about it? Why didn't they tell something of this enormous significance? Not give us in this case any compass that could have helped us avoid wasting our soul on useless, self-destructive anger?
Pascal Mercier (Night Train to Lisbon)
A Faint Music by Robert Hass Maybe you need to write a poem about grace. When everything broken is broken, and everything dead is dead, and the hero has looked into the mirror with complete contempt, and the heroine has studied her face and its defects remorselessly, and the pain they thought might, as a token of their earnestness, release them from themselves has lost its novelty and not released them, and they have begun to think, kindly and distantly, watching the others go about their days— likes and dislikes, reasons, habits, fears— that self-love is the one weedy stalk of every human blossoming, and understood, therefore, why they had been, all their lives, in such a fury to defend it, and that no one— except some almost inconceivable saint in his pool of poverty and silence—can escape this violent, automatic life’s companion ever, maybe then, ordinary light, faint music under things, a hovering like grace appears. As in the story a friend told once about the time he tried to kill himself. His girl had left him. Bees in the heart, then scorpions, maggots, and then ash. He climbed onto the jumping girder of the bridge, the bay side, a blue, lucid afternoon. And in the salt air he thought about the word “seafood,” that there was something faintly ridiculous about it. No one said “landfood.” He thought it was degrading to the rainbow perch he’d reeled in gleaming from the cliffs, the black rockbass, scales like polished carbon, in beds of kelp along the coast—and he realized that the reason for the word was crabs, or mussels, clams. Otherwise the restaurants could just put “fish” up on their signs, and when he woke—he’d slept for hours, curled up on the girder like a child—the sun was going down and he felt a little better, and afraid. He put on the jacket he’d used for a pillow, climbed over the railing carefully, and drove home to an empty house. There was a pair of her lemon yellow panties hanging on a doorknob. He studied them. Much-washed. A faint russet in the crotch that made him sick with rage and grief. He knew more or less where she was. A flat somewhere on Russian Hill. They’d have just finished making love. She’d have tears in her eyes and touch his jawbone gratefully. “God,” she’d say, “you are so good for me.” Winking lights, a foggy view downhill toward the harbor and the bay. “You’re sad,” he’d say. “Yes.” “Thinking about Nick?” “Yes,” she’d say and cry. “I tried so hard,” sobbing now, “I really tried so hard.” And then he’d hold her for a while— Guatemalan weavings from his fieldwork on the wall— and then they’d fuck again, and she would cry some more, and go to sleep. And he, he would play that scene once only, once and a half, and tell himself that he was going to carry it for a very long time and that there was nothing he could do but carry it. He went out onto the porch, and listened to the forest in the summer dark, madrone bark cracking and curling as the cold came up. It’s not the story though, not the friend leaning toward you, saying “And then I realized—,” which is the part of stories one never quite believes. I had the idea that the world’s so full of pain it must sometimes make a kind of singing. And that the sequence helps, as much as order helps— First an ego, and then pain, and then the singing
Robert Hass (Sun under Wood)
have I heard that grief softens the mind, and makes it fearful and degenerate; think therefore on revenge and cease to weep.’” Veronica wasn’t sure which play the quote was from, but she knew exactly what it meant: You get tough. You get even. You get tough. Had Mars Investigations been the sort of outfit that bothered to draft a list of its “Core Values,” that would’ve been a top fiver.
Rob Thomas (Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars #2))
You must want to be free. It must become first with you before anything else. Everything that you’ve done all your life, is only a game, a game you’re playing with your self, only it seems to be real. The only reality is the Self and you are That. Why look for anything else? Everything else will take care of itself. You’ve got to abide in the Self, just in the Self. Everything else will take care of itself in a beautiful way. You are boundless space, like the ocean, like the sky, all-pervasive. This is your real nature. But for some reason you believe you are a body, confined to a small space. This is not you. It’s illusion. You are all-pervading absolute reality. This is your true nature. This is who you really are. Just by thinking about these things all the time, something begins to happen to you, something wonderful. Do not think about the weather, or about the day’s work or your problems. For all the thinkers, who thinks? Find out who has the problems? Find out who you really are, who am I? It’s up to you to awaken from this mortal dream. You can keep on going like you are right now, with the good things and the bad things. Yet you live in a universe of dualities, which means for every good there is a bad. For every bad there is a good. It’s a false world in which you live. You need to awaken to this truth. Be aware of yourself, always. The world goes through its own karma. It has absolutely nothing to do with you. You belong to God. Everything you see is God. This is why you should be nonjudgemental. Leave everything alone. By practising these things, you become radiantly happy. Everyone wants something. If your mind stops thinking, what happens? Some of you believe you will not have anything, that you will have more problems. But it’s in reverse. You experience bliss, joy and happiness when you don’t want anything. From what we know, people want something and when they get it, they become more miserable than ever before. Nothing is wrong. Everything is right just the way it is. Do not try to understand this or figure it out. Leave it alone. It will happen by itself, by keeping yourself quiet and still. You quiet the mind because of realization. Let it be calm. In all situations be calm. Let it be still and quiet. The world doesn’t need any help from you. Aren’t you the world, aren’t you the Creator? You created the world the way it is. It came out of you, of your mind. The world that you are in, is a creation of your own mind. When the mind becomes still, the world begins to disappear. And you’re in divine harmony and joy. Therefore, happiness comes to you when you stop thinking, when you stop judging, when you stop being afraid. When you begin to contemplate what is happiness. All the answers are within you. Everything you’re looking for is within you, everything. Nobody can help but your Self. Know who you are. You are the power. All the power of the universe is within you. You have all the power you need. All is well, exceedingly well. It has always been well, it will always be well. When you leave here today act like a god or a goddess. Do not act like a human being any longer. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, saying you’re unhappy. Stand up tall. Know the truth about yourself. Become the witness of all phenomena that you see and be free. Peace.
Robert Adams (Silence of the Heart: Dialogues with Robert Adams)
To begin with, we have to be more clear about what we mean by patriotic feelings. For a time when I was in high school, I cheered for the school athletic teams. That's a form of patriotism — group loyalty. It can take pernicious forms, but in itself it can be quite harmless, maybe even positive. At the national level, what "patriotism" means depends on how we view the society. Those with deep totalitarian commitments identify the state with the society, its people, and its culture. Therefore those who criticized the policies of the Kremlin under Stalin were condemned as "anti-Soviet" or "hating Russia". For their counterparts in the West, those who criticize the policies of the US government are "anti-American" and "hate America"; those are the standard terms used by intellectual opinion, including left-liberal segments, so deeply committed to their totalitarian instincts that they cannot even recognize them, let alone understand their disgraceful history, tracing to the origins of recorded history in interesting ways. For the totalitarian, "patriotism" means support for the state and its policies, perhaps with twitters of protest on grounds that they might fail or cost us too much. For those whose instincts are democratic rather than totalitarian, "patriotism" means commitment to the welfare and improvement of the society, its people, its culture. That's a natural sentiment and one that can be quite positive. It's one all serious activists share, I presume; otherwise why take the trouble to do what we do? But the kind of "patriotism" fostered by totalitarian societies and military dictatorships, and internalized as second nature by much of intellectual opinion in more free societies, is one of the worst maladies of human history, and will probably do us all in before too long. With regard to the US, I think we find a mix. Every effort is made by power and doctrinal systems to stir up the more dangerous and destructive forms of "patriotism"; every effort is made by people committed to peace and justice to organize and encourage the beneficial kinds. It's a constant struggle. When people are frightened, the more dangerous kinds tend to emerge, and people huddle under the wings of power. Whatever the reasons may be, by comparative standards the US has been a very frightened country for a long time, on many dimensions. Quite commonly in history, such fears have been fanned by unscrupulous leaders, seeking to implement their own agendas. These are commonly harmful to the general population, which has to be disciplined in some manner: the classic device is to stimulate fear of awesome enemies concocted for the purpose, usually with some shreds of realism, required even for the most vulgar forms of propaganda. Germany was the pride of Western civilization 70 years ago, but most Germans were whipped to presumably genuine fear of the Czech dagger pointed at the heart of Germany (is that crazier than the Nicaraguan or Grenadan dagger pointed at the heart of the US, conjured up by the people now playing the same game today?), the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy aimed at destroying the Aryan race and the civilization that Germany had inherited from Greece, etc. That's only the beginning. A lot is at stake.
Noam Chomsky
If a forward makes a mistake, he can try again. If he scores, he’s in with a shout of the Ballon d’Or. But when it’s a defender who slips up, it’s a far more delicate situation. In percentage terms, the people who play at the back make fewer mistakes than those further forward.
Andrea Pirlo (I Think Therefore I Play)
Ah me! think, sister, how our father perished, amid hate and scorn, when sins bared by his own search had moved him to strike both eyes with self-blinding hand; then the mother wife, two names in one, with twisted noose did despite unto her life; and last, our two brothers in one day,-each shedding, hapless one, a kinsman's blood,-wrought out with mutual hands their common doom. And now we in turn-we two left all alone think how we shall perish, more miserably than all the rest, if, in defiance of the law, we brave a king's decree or his powers. Nay, we must remember, first, that we were born women, as who should not strive with men; next, that we are ruled of the stronger, so that we must obey in these things, and in things yet sorer. I, therefore, asking the Spirits Infernal to pardon, seeing that force is put on me herein, will hearken to our rulers. for 'tis witless to be over busy.
Sophocles (Antigone (The Theban Plays, #3))
In this life, you’re either a man or an actor, there’s nothing in between.
Andrea Pirlo (I Think Therefore I Play)
When a dream dies like that, there's no way of striking back. You take the punch and suffer the consequences. Physical ones, yes, but more than anything they're psychological.
Andrea Pirlo (I Think Therefore I Play)
We shouldn't let our envy of distinguished masters of the arts distract us from the wonder of how each of us gets new ideas. Perhaps we hold on to our superstitions about creativity in order to make our own deficiencies seem more excusable. For when we tell ourselves that masterful abilities are simply unexplainable, we're also comforting ourselves by saying that those superheroes come endowed with all the qualities we don't possess. Our failures are therefore no fault of our own, nor are those heroes' virtues to their credit, either. If it isn't learned, it isn't earned. When we actually meet the heroes whom our culture views as great, we don't find any singular propensities––only combinations of ingredients quite common in themselves. Most of these heroes are intensely motivated, but so are many other people. They're usually very proficient in some field--but in itself we simply call this craftmanship or expertise. They often have enough self-confidence to stand up to the scorn of peers--but in itself, we might just call that stubbornness. They surely think of things in some novel ways, but so does everyone from time to time. And as for what we call "intelligence", my view is that each person who can speak coherently already has the better part of what our heroes have. Then what makes genius appear to stand apart, if we each have most of what it takes? I suspect that genius needs one thing more: in order to accumulate outstanding qualities, one needs unusually effective ways to learn. It's not enough to learn a lot; one also has to manage what one learns. Those masters have, beneath the surface of their mastery, some special knacks of "higher-order" expertise, which help them organize and apply the things they learn. It is those hidden tricks of mental management that produce the systems that create those works of genius. Why do certain people learn so many more and better skills? These all-important differences could begin with early accidents. One child works out clever ways to arrange some blocks in rows and stacks; a second child plays at rearranging how it thinks. Everyone can praise the first child's castles and towers, but no one can see what the second child has done, and one may even get the false impression of a lack of industry. But if the second child persists in seeking better ways to learn, this can lead to silent growth in which some better ways to learn may lead to better ways to learn to learn. Then, later, we'll observe an awesome, qualitative change, with no apparent cause--and give to it some empty name like talent, aptitude, or gift.
Marvin Minsky (The Society of Mind)
This here," he said playing with it, "is a stone, and will, after a certain time, perhaps turn into soil, and will turn from soil into a plant or animal or human being. In the past, I would have said: This stone is just a stone, it is worthless, it belongs to the world of the Maja; but because it might be able to become also a human being and a spirit in the cycle of transformations, therefore I also grant it importance. Thus, I would perhaps have thought in the past. But today I think: this stone is a stone, it is also animal, it is also god, it is also Buddha, I do not venerate and love it because it could turn into this or that, but rather because it is already and always everything— and it is this very fact, that it is a stone, that it appears to me now and today as a stone, this is why I love it and see worth and purpose in each of its veins and cavities, in the yellow, in the gray, in the hardness, in the sound it makes when I knock at it, in the dryness or wetness of its surface. There are stones which feel like oil or soap, and others like leaves, others like sand, and every one is special and prays the Om in its own way, each one is Brahman, but simultaneously and just as much it is a stone, is oily or juicy, and this is this very fact which I like and regard as wonderful and worthy of worship.
Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha)
All I’m after is a few square metres to be myself. A space where I can continue to profess my creed: take the ball, give it to a team-mate, team-mate scores. It’s called an assist and it’s my way of spreading happiness.
Andrea Pirlo (I Think Therefore I Play)
Just so you know,’ I explained, remembering my own earlier arrogance, ‘if you’ve ever owned a cat and therefore think you know how to handle a puma, you don’t. It would be like playing with sharks because you once owned a goldfish.
Peter Allison (How to Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling Through South America)
Greek and the Hebrew—and whichever side you embrace more strongly determines to a large extent how you see life. From the Greeks—specifically from the glory days of ancient Athens—we have inherited our ideas about secular humanism and the sanctity of the individual. The Greeks gave us all our notions about democracy and equality and personal liberty and scientific reason and intellectual freedom and open-mindedness and what we might call today “multiculturalism.” The Greek take on life, therefore, is urban, sophisticated, and exploratory, always leaving plenty of room for doubt and debate. On the other hand, there is the Hebrew way of seeing the world. When I say “Hebrew” here, I’m not specifically referring to the tenets of Judaism. (In fact, most of the contemporary American Jews I know are very Greek in their thinking, while it’s the American fundamentalist Christians these days who are profoundly Hebrew.) “Hebrew,” in the sense that philosophers use it here, is shorthand for an ancient world-view that is all about tribalism, faith, obedience, and respect. The Hebrew credo is clannish, patriarchal, authoritarian, moralistic, ritualistic, and instinctively suspicious of outsiders. Hebrew thinkers see the world as a clear play between good and evil, with God always firmly on “our” side. Human actions are either right or wrong. There is no gray area. The collective is more important than the individual, morality is more important than happiness, and vows are inviolable.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Committed: A Sceptic Makes Peace With Marriage)
XII. If there pushed any ragged thistle-stalk Above its mates, the head was chopped, the bents Were jealous else. What made those holes and rents In the dock's harsh swarth leaves, bruised as to baulk All hope of greenness? Tis a brute must walk Pashing their life out, with a brute's intents. XIII. As for the grass, it grew as scant as hair In leprosy; thin dry blades pricked the mud Which underneath looked kneaded up with blood. One stiff blind horse, his every bone a-stare, Stood stupified, however he came there: Thrust out past service from the devil's stud! XIV. Alive? he might be dead for aught I knew, With that red gaunt and colloped neck a-strain. And shut eyes underneath the rusty mane; Seldom went such grotesqueness with such woe; I never saw a brute I hated so; He must be wicked to deserve such pain. XV. I shut my eyes and turned them on my heart, As a man calls for wine before he fights, I asked one draught of earlier, happier sights, Ere fitly I could hope to play my part. Think first, fight afterwards, the soldier's art: One taste of the old time sets all to rights. XVI. Not it! I fancied Cuthbert's reddening face Beneath its garniture of curly gold, Dear fellow, till I almost felt him fold An arm to mine to fix me to the place, The way he used. Alas, one night's disgrace! Out went my heart's new fire and left it cold. XVII. Giles then, the soul of honour - there he stands Frank as ten years ago when knighted first, What honest man should dare (he said) he durst. Good - but the scene shifts - faugh! what hangman hands Pin to his breast a parchment? His own bands Read it. Poor traitor, spit upon and curst! XVIII. Better this present than a past like that: Back therefore to my darkening path again! No sound, no sight as far as eye could strain. Will the night send a howlet or a bat? I asked: when something on the dismal flat Came to arrest my thoughts and change their train. XIX. A sudden little river crossed my path As unexpected as a serpent comes. No sluggish tide congenial to the glooms; This, as it frothed by, might have been a bath For the fiend's glowing hoof - to see the wrath Of its black eddy bespate with flakes and spumes. XX. So petty yet so spiteful! All along, Low scrubby alders kneeled down over it; Drenched willows flung them headlong in a fit Of mute despair, a suicidal throng: The river which had done them all the wrong, Whate'er that was, rolled by, deterred no whit. XXI. Which, while I forded - good saints, how I feared To set my foot upon a dead man's cheek, Each step, of feel the spear I thrust to seek For hollows, tangled in his hair or beard! - It may have been a water-rat I speared, But, ugh! it sounded like a baby's shriek. XXII. Glad was I when I reached the other bank. Now for a better country. Vain presage! Who were the strugglers, what war did they wage, Whose savage trample thus could pad the dank soil to a plash? Toads in a poisoned tank Or wild cats in a red-hot iron cage - XXIII. The fight must so have seemed in that fell cirque, What penned them there, with all the plain to choose? No footprint leading to that horrid mews, None out of it. Mad brewage set to work Their brains, no doubt, like galley-slaves the Turk Pits for his pastime, Christians against Jews.
Robert Browning
While altering the saga of Odysseus’s Return to make my Elyman suitors serve as Penelope’s lovers, I had to protect myself against scandal. What if someone recognized the story and supposed that I, Nausicaa the irreproachable, had played the promiscuous harlot in my father’s absence? So, according to my poem, Penelope must have remained faithful to Odysseus throughout those twenty years. And because this change meant that Aphrodite had failed to take her traditional revenge, I must make Poseidon, not her, the enemy who delayed him on his homeward voyage after the Fall of Troy. I should therefore have to omit the stories of Penelope’s banishment and the oar mistaken for a flail, and Odysseus’s death from Telemachus’s sting-ray spear. When I told Phemius of these decisions, he pointed out, rather nastily, that since Poseidon had fought for the Greeks against the Trojans, and since Odysseus had never failed to honour him, I must justify this enmity by some anecdote. “Very well,” I answered. “Odysseus blinded a Cyclops who, happening to be Poseidon’s son, prayed to him for vengeance.” “My dear Princess, every Cyclops in the smithies of Etna was born to Uranus, Poseidon’s grandfather, by Mother Earth.” “Mine was an exceptional Cyclops,” I snapped. “He claimed Poseidon as his father and kept sheep in a Sican cave, like Conturanus. I shall call him Polyphemus—that is, ‘famous’—to make my hearers think him a more important character than he really was.” “Such deceptions tangle the web of poetry.” “But if I offer Penelope as a shining example for wives to follow when their husbands are absent on long journeys, that will excuse the deception.
Robert Graves (Homer's Daughter)
He reminded MacLeish of the “profound part that culture and society play in the very definition of human values, human salvation and liberation.” Therefore, “I think that what is needed is something far subtler than the emancipation of the individual from society; it involves, with an awareness that the past one hundred and fifty years have rendered progressively more acute, the basic dependence of man on his fellows.
Kai Bird (American Prometheus)
Most of this fixation was easy to explain. Brady was a midfield player, a passer, and Arsenal haven’t really had one since he left. It might surprise those who have a rudimentary grasp of the rules of the game to learn that a First Division football team can try to play football without a player who can pass the ball, but it no longer surprises the rest of us: passing went out of fashion just after silk scarves and just before inflatable bananas. Managers, coaches and therefore players now favour alternative methods of moving the ball from one part of the field to another, the chief of which is a sort of wall of muscle strung across the half-way line in order to deflect the ball in the general direction of the forwards. Most, indeed all, football fans regret this. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we used to like passing, that we felt that on the whole it was a good thing. It was nice to watch, football’s prettiest accessory (a good player could pass to a team-mate we hadn’t seen, or find an angle we wouldn’t have thought of, so there was a pleasing geometry to it), but managers seemed to feel that it was a lot of trouble, and therefore stopped bothering to produce any players who could do it. There are still a couple of passers in England, but then, there are still a number of blacksmiths.
Nick Hornby (Fever Pitch)
To quote Gould: Wind the tape of time back to Burgess times, and let it play again. If Pikaia does not survive in the replay, we are wiped out of future history—all of us, from shark to robin to orangutan. And I don’t think that any handicapper, given Burgess evidence as known today, would have granted very favorable odds for the persistence of Pikaia. And so, if you wish to ask the question of the ages—why do humans exist?—a major part of the answer, touching those aspects of the issue that science can treat at all, must be: because Pikaia survived the Burgess decimation. This response does not cite a single law of nature; it embodies no statement about predictable evolutionary pathways, no calculation of probabilities based on general rules of anatomy or ecology. The survival of Pikaia was a contingency of “just history.” I do not think that any “higher” answer can be given, and I cannot imagine that any resolution could be more fascinating. We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes—one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximum freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way.
Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything)
His performance was also intensely visual, with his volatile movements in front of the piano, and his cries and wild vocal accompaniment to his playing, all of which spoke eloquently of his extraordinary passion for the instrument and the music he coaxed, tickled and sometimes pounded out of him. Many critics were put off by all this, thinking it was a mere outward show- and therefore insincere. In fact it is an essential part of music-making for Jarrett, his way of achieving his state of grace… the ecstasy of inspiration. Miles Davis understood that immediately, and so did most other musicians. Jack DeJohonette says: “The one thing that struck me about Keith, that made him stand out from other players, was that he really has a love affair with the piano, it’s a relationship with that instrument… Keith’s hands are actually quire small but because of that he can do things that a person like myself, or other pianists with normal hand spans, can’t do… it enables him to overlap certain chord sequences and do rhythmic things and contrapuntal lines and get these effects of like, four people playing the piano… But I’ve never seen anybody just have such a rapport with their instrument and know its limitations but also push them to the limits, transcend the instrument – which is what I try and do with the drums as well.
Ian Carr (Keith Jarrett: The Man And His Music)
Do you like Phil Collins? I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe. Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument. Sabrina, remove your dress. In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Sabrina, why don't you, uh, dance a little. Take the lyrics to Land of Confusion. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. In Too Deep is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I've heard in rock. Christy, get down on your knees so Sabrina can see your asshole. Phil Collins' solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like In the Air Tonight and Against All Odds. Sabrina, don't just stare at it, eat it. But I also think Phil Collins works best within the confines of the group, than as a solo artist, and I stress the word artist. This is Sussudio, a great, great song, a personal favorite.
Bret Easton Ellis
You’ve said, “You can lie or distort the story of the French Revolution as long as you like and nothing will happen. Propose a false theory in chemistry and it will be refuted tomorrow.” How does your approach to the world as a scientist affect and influence the way you approach politics? Nature is tough. You can’t fiddle with Mother Nature, she’s a hard taskmistress. So you’re forced to be honest in the natural sciences. In the soft fields, you’re not forced to be honest. There are standards, of course; on the other hand, they’re very weak. If what you propose is ideologically acceptable, that is, supportive of power systems, you can get away with a huge amount. In fact, the difference between the conditions that are imposed on dissident opinion and on mainstream opinion is radically different. For example, I’ve written about terrorism, and I think you can show without much difficulty that terrorism pretty much corresponds to power. I don’t think that’s very surprising. The more powerful states are involved in more terrorism, by and large. The United States is the most powerful, so it’s involved in massive terrorism, by its own definition of terrorism. Well, if I want to establish that, I’m required to give a huge amount of evidence. I think that’s a good thing. I don’t object to that. I think anyone who makes that claim should be held to very high standards. So, I do extensive documentation, from the internal secret records and historical record and so on. And if you ever find a comma misplaced, somebody ought to criticize you for it. So I think those standards are fine. All right, now, let’s suppose that you play the mainstream game. You can say anything you want because you support power, and nobody expects you to justify anything. For example, in the unimaginable circumstance that I was on, say, Nightline, and I was asked, “Do you think Kadhafi is a terrorist?” I could say, “Yeah, Kadhafi is a terrorist.” I don’t need any evidence. Suppose I said, “George Bush is a terrorist.” Well, then I would be expected to provide evidence—“Why would you say that?” In fact, the structure of the news production system is, you can’t produce evidence. There’s even a name for it—I learned it from the producer of Nightline, Jeff Greenfield. It’s called “concision.” He was asked in an interview somewhere why they didn’t have me on Nightline. First of all, he says, “Well, he talks Turkish, and nobody understands it.” But the other answer was, “He lacks concision.” Which is correct, I agree with him. The kinds of things that I would say on Nightline, you can’t say in one sentence because they depart from standard religion. If you want to repeat the religion, you can get away with it between two commercials. If you want to say something that questions the religion, you’re expected to give evidence, and that you can’t do between two commercials. So therefore you lack concision, so therefore you can’t talk. I think that’s a terrific technique of propaganda. To impose concision is a way of virtually guaranteeing that the party line gets repeated over and over again, and that nothing else is heard.
Noam Chomsky (On Anarchism)
Therefore," said the Bishop, "I intend to go without escort." "You do not really mean that, Monseigneur!" exclaimed the mayor. "I do mean it so thoroughly that I absolutely refuse any gendarmes, and shall set out in an hour." "Set out?" "Set out." "Alone?" "Alone." "Monseigneur, you will not do that!" "There exists yonder in the mountains," said the Bishop, "a tiny community no bigger than that, which I have not seen for three years. They are my good friends, those gentle and honest shepherds. They own one goat out of every thirty that they tend. They make very pretty woollen cords of various colors, and they play the mountain airs on little flutes with six holes. They need to be told of the good God now and then. What would they say to a bishop who was afraid? What would they say if I did not go?" "But the brigands, Monseigneur?" "Hold," said the Bishop, "I must think of that. You are right. I may meet them. They, too, need to be told of the good God." "But, Monseigneur, there is a band of them! A flock of wolves!" "Monsieur le maire, it may be that it is of this very flock of wolves that Jesus has constituted me the shepherd. Who knows the ways of Providence?" "They will rob you, Monseigneur." "I have nothing." "They will kill you." "An old goodman of a priest, who passes along mumbling his prayers? Bah! To what purpose?" "Oh, mon Dieu! what if you should meet them!" "I should beg alms of them for my poor." "Do not go, Monseigneur. In the name of Heaven! You are risking your life!" "Monsieur le maire," said the Bishop, "is that really all? I am not in the world to guard my own life, but to guard souls.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
Seriously... a sermon is not going to achieve anything. We all know perfectly well that one must not commit suicide. And yet there are times when the world we live in becomes so tough on us that we play with the thought. Therefore, it's useless to appeal to ethics; he ought to go with a more practical and concrete approach. If I were to stop suicide, I would do it like this: "Dying means falling into an eternal state of nothingness, a perfect void that can't be conceived by anything that is alive. Just think about it: your brain goes away. You do not have any thought anymore. Surely, you've heard of the phrase 'I think, thus I am,' no? Give it some careful thought. Nothing exists. Do you get this? Nothing exists. How many seconds could you endure being in a world without sound, without light, and without any kind of sensation? A world where you don't even get hungry. Where you have no desires at all. Can you follow me? But death is a perfect void, so it exceeds even such a sensation-less world. There is no future. Heaven is just a construct people who fear death made up. You should know why there will always be people who believe in a world after death despite the advent of science; it's because they are scared. Scared of what waits beyond death. So, don't think ending your own life will save you! It simply ends. It E-N-D-S. Suicide is the act of killing yourself, and dying without comprehending the meaning of death is but escaping from reality. Although the result is the same in both cases. All right, come on. Try to kill yourself if you can; try to kill yourself now that you've learned the truth." At the very least, I couldn't kill myself. After all, the only reason why I'm here now is because I'm more afraid of death than most.
Eiji Mikage (神栖麗奈は此処にいる [Kamisu Reina Wa Koko Ni Iru] (神栖麗奈シリーズ #1))
His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it. “You appear to be astonished,” he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. “Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.” “To forget it!” “You see,” he explained, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.” “But the Solar System!” I protested. “What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently; “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.” I was on the point of asking him what that work might be, but something in his manner showed me that the question would be an unwelcome one. I pondered over our short conversation, however, and endeavoured to draw my deductions from it. He said that he would acquire no knowledge which did not bear upon his object. Therefore all the knowledge which he possessed was such as would be useful to him. I enumerated in my own mind all the various points upon which he had shown me that he was exceptionally well-informed. I even took a pencil and jotted them down. I could not help smiling at the document when I had completed it. It ran in this way— SHERLOCK HOLMES—his limits. 1. Knowledge of Literature.—Nil. 2. Philosophy.—Nil. 3. Astronomy.—Nil. 4. Politics.—Feeble. 5. Botany.—Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening. 6. Geology.—Practical, but limited. Tells at a glance different soils from each other. After walks has shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their colour and consistence in what part of London he had received them. 7. Chemistry.—Profound. 8. Anatomy.—Accurate, but unsystematic. 9. Sensational Literature.—Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century. 10. Plays the violin well. 11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman. 12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.
Arthur Conan Doyle (A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes, #1))
Don't you know that what you can do, I can do? Don't you know that I can summon your own winds, move the plates of this earth, just as you do? This earth is not yours; it's ours. Don't you fucking know this? Why do you play with us when you know I will do the same, and worse, to you? I will bring the winds of your world to bear against you. I will take your winds and twist them and throw them to you. I will mix them with your oceans, I will wrench them together and send them up to you and watch you drown in screaming waters of the blood and bones of your favorites. Look at you. Look at you! You all hairless and white with eyes burning black and red --- what makes you so sure I won't hurt you the same way? ... What makes you think i won't stalk you to the corners of the earth to pay for this? What makes you so sure that I won't bring it all back to you? I shall have waters of blood cast yuo away! I will sit upon the mount and send judgment down upon you. You shall cleave to my house! Therefore shall evil come upon thee; and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know! ... To who will ye flee for help? And where will yet have your glory?--
Don't you know that what you can do, I can do? Don't you know that I can summon your own winds, move the plates of this earth, just as you do? This earth is not yours; it's ours. Don't you fucking know this? Why do you play with us when you know I will do the same, and worse, to you? I will bring the winds of your world to bear against you. I will take your winds and twist them and throw them to you. I will mix them with your oceans, I will wrench them together and send them up to you and watch you drown in screaming waters of the blood and bones of your favorites. Look at you. Look at you! You all hairless and white with eyes burning black and red --- what makes you so sure I won't hurt you the same way? ... What makes you think i won't stalk you to the corners of the earth to pay for this? What makes you so sure that I won't bring it all back to you? I shall have waters of blood cast yuo away! I will sit upon the mount and send judgment down upon you. You shall cleave to my house! Therefore shall evil come upon thee; and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know! ... To who will ye flee for help? And where will yet have your glory?--
Dave Eggers (You Shall Know Our Velocity!)
Because,' he said, 'I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you, especially when you are near me, as now; it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situation in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land, come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapped; and the nI've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you, you'd forget me.' 'That I never would, sir; you know -,' impossible to proceed. [...] The vehemence of emotion, stirred by grief and love within me, was claiming mastery, and struggling for full sway and asserting a right to predominate - to overcome, to live, rise, and reign at last; yes, and to speak. 'I grieve to leave Thornfield; I love Thornfield; I love it, because I have lived in it a full and delightful life, momentarily at least. I have not been trampled on. I have not been petrified. I have not been buried with inferior minds, and excluded from every glimpse of communion with what is bright, and energetic, and high. I have talked, face to face, with what I reverence; with what I delight in, with an origin, a vigorous, and expanded mind. I have known you, Mr. Rochester; and it strikes me with terror and anguish to feel I absolutely must be torn from you forever. I see the necessity of departure; and it is like looking on the necessity of death.' 'Where do you see the necessity?' he asked, suddenly. 'Where? You, sir, have placed it before me.' 'In what shape?' 'In the shape of Miss Ingram; a noble and beautiful woman, your bride.' 'My bride! What bride? I have no bride!' 'But you will have.' 'Yes; I will! I will!' He set his teeth. 'Then I must go; you have said it yourself.' 'No; you must stay! I swear it, and the oath shall be kept.' 'I tell you I must go!' I retorted, roused to something like passion. 'Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automation? a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! I have as much soul as you, and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty, and much wealth, I should have made it hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh; it is my spirit that addresses your spirits; just as if both had passed through the grace, and we stood at God's feel, equal - as we are!' 'As we are!' repeated Mr. Rochester - 'so,' he added, including me in his arms, gathering me to his breast, pressing his lips on my lips; 'so, Jane!' 'Yes, so, sir,' I rejoined; 'and yet not so; for you are a married man, or as good as a married man, and we'd to one inferior to you - to one with whom you have no sympathy - whom I do not believe you truly love; for I have seen and heard you sneer at her. I would scorn such a union; therefore I am better than you - let me go!' 'Where, Jane? to Ireland?' 'Yes - to Ireland. I have spoke my mind, and can go anywhere now.' 'Jane, be still; don't struggle so, like a wild, frantic bird that is tending its own plumage in its desperation.' 'I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being, with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.' Another effort set me at liberty, and I stood erect before him. 'And your will shall decide your destiny,' he said; 'I offer you my hand, my heart, and a share of all my possessions.' 'You play a farce, which I merely taught at.' 'I ask you to pass through life at my side - to be my second self, and best earthly companion.' [...] 'Do you doubt me, Jane?' 'Entirely.' 'You have no faith in me?' 'Not a whit.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
The evidence for the cognitive interpretation of the above-average effect is that when people are asked about a task they find difficult (for many of us this could be “Are you better than average in starting conversations with strangers?”), they readily rate themselves as below average. The upshot is that people tend to be overly optimistic about their relative standing on any activity in which they do moderately well. I have had several occasions to ask founders and participants in innovative start-ups a question: To what extent will the outcome of your effort depend on what you do in your firm? This is evidently an easy question; the answer comes quickly and in my small sample it has never been less than 80%. Even when they are not sure they will succeed, these bold people think their fate is almost entirely in their own hands. They are surely wrong: the outcome of a start-up depends as much on the achievements of its competitors and on changes in the market as on its own efforts. However, WYSIATI plays its part, and entrepreneurs naturally focus on what they know best—their plans and actions and the most immediate threats and opportunities, such as the availability of funding. They know less about their competitors and therefore find it natural to imagine a future in which the competition plays little part.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
Dear Hopeless Soul, Listening to my heartbeat was the only comfort I had. However, my heavy heart sinks from carrying what seems like everlasting pain. My heart is now ripped from my soul because I cannot feel the warm blood in my veins. I feel a cold front coming, and now my heart is frozen. I am cold—a cold-hearted soul. My heart no longer beats for borrowed peace because it is paralyzed from continually having to start over again. I have officially lost hope. What is hope? In my eyes, hope is a teaser. I had hoped that things will get better, but when? Hope is not for now—it is for the future. Therefore, I guess hope is saying that things will not be better today, but maybe years or decades from now. With that being said, hope is not faith. Hope is wishful thinking. Hope is always shattered by one disappointment after another. Right now, I am in my own shadow. It is dark and lonely. I am a nightwalker trying to find the light within me somewhere. I can’t find myself in my own shadow. Well, what do I expect? My heart is cold. Hope has played with my emotions one too many times, and the only thing I can count on as of right now is my shadow. I do not have anything in life. I am a soul that is trying to find my way. Where am I going? I do not know. Everything has been taken from me, but they cannot take my shadow, and they cannot own my name. Faded from within.
Charlena E. Jackson (Pinwheels and Dandelions)
Being good at something feels great. Playing ninja turtles with two little boys for hours on end is sometimes less great. It’s so easy to hop on a plane or say yes to one more meeting or project, to get that little buzz of being good at something, or the pleasure bump of making someone happy, or whatever it is that drives you. And many of us continue to pretend we don’t have a choice—the success just happened, and we’re along for the ride. The opportunities kept coming, and anyone in our position would have jumped to meet them. But we’re the ones who keep putting up the chairs. If I work in such a way that I don’t have enough energy to give to my marriage, I need to take down some chairs. If I say yes to so many work things that my kids only get to see tired mommy, I need to take down some chairs. I know I’ve let my work win sometimes. I know I’ve gotten the math wrong, sometimes unwittingly, believing I could fit in more than I could. There have been times I’ve hidden behind my work, because work is easier to control than a hard conversation with someone you love. That’s part of the challenge of stewarding a calling, for all of us: you get it wrong sometimes. And part of stewarding that calling is sometimes taking down some chairs. We have more authority, and therefore, more responsibility than we think. We decide where the time goes. There’s so much freedom in that, and so much responsibility
Shauna Niequist (Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living)
That’s the thing. “Why should I have my guns taken off me? I’ve done nothing wrong.” Look, I agree with you. If you’re a responsible gun owner and you don’t fuck around with them, then you should be allowed your guns. You really should. But that’s not how society works. We have to play to the 1% that are such fuckwits they ruin it for the rest of us. We have to walk as slow as our slowest person to keep society fucking moving, right? I take drugs like a fucking champion, right? [Audience cheering] We should all be allowed to take fucking drugs, but we can’t, can we? Because Sarah took drugs and she stabbed her fucking kids. Oh! “Oh, thanks, Sarah. You fucked it up for everyone.” Right? Everyone should be allowed to drive their car as fast as they can do it, right? But we can’t because Jonathan got drunk and ran over a family. “Thanks, Jonathan! Now I have to drive at 30, you fucking idiot!” See, that’s the thing. “Why should I have my guns taken off me, I’m responsible, just because that guy’s crazy?” Who’s to say you’re not crazy? That’s the thing about crazy people. They don’t know they’re crazy. That’s what makes them crazy. The only thing you know for sure on this Earth is, “I think, therefore I am.” You know that you exist. Anything past that is open to interpretation, right? You know you exist and that’s it. Right now, I think I’m in Boston talking to 1,200 people. That’s what I think I’m doing, but there is a good to fair chance that I’m in a mental home, standing in front of a white wall, going, [Slurring speech] “I hate guns. I hate guns. I hate guns.” [Audience applauding]
Jim Jefferies
Have you ever talked to Vyse without feeling tired?’ ‘I can scarcely discuss —’ ‘No, but have you ever? He is the sort who are all right so long as they keep to things — books, pictures — but kill when they come to people. That’s why I’ll speak out through all this muddle even now. It’s shocking enough to lose you in any case, but generally a man must deny himself joy, and I would have held back if your Cecil had been a different person. I would never have let myself go. But I saw him first in the National Gallery, when he winced because my father mispronounced the names of great painters. Then he brings us here, and we find it is to play some silly trick on a kind neighbour. That is the man all over — playing tricks on people, on the most sacred form of life that he can find. Next, I meet you together, and find him protecting and teaching you and your mother to be shocked, when it was for you to settle whether you were shocked or no. Cecil all over again. He daren’t let a woman decide. He’s the type who’s kept Europe back for a thousand years. Every moment of his life he’s forming you, telling you what’s charming or amusing or ladylike, telling you what a man thinks is womanly; and you, you of all women, listen to his voice instead of to your own. So it was at the rectory, when I met you both again; so it has been the whole of this afternoon. Therefore — not “therefore I kissed you”, because the book made me do that, and I wish to goodness I had more self-control. I’m not ashamed. I don’t apologise. But it has frightened you, and you may not have noticed that I love you. Or would you have told me to go, and dealt with a tremendous thing so lightly? But therefore — therefore, I settled to fight him.
E.M. Forster (A Room with a View)
We say “universe” and the word makes us think of a possible unification of things. One can be a spiritualist, a materialist, a pantheist, just as one can be indifferent to philosophy and satisfied with common sense: the fact remains that one always conceives of one or several simple principles by which the whole of material and moral things might be explained. This is because our intelligence loves simplicity. It seeks to reduce effort, and insists that nature was arranged in such a way as to demand of us, in order to be thought, the least possible labor. It therefore provides itself with the exact minimum of elements and principles with which to recompose the indefinite series of objects and events. But if instead of reconstructing things ideally for the greater satisfaction of our reason we confine ourselves purely and simply to what is given us by experience, we should think and express ourselves in quite another way. While our intelligence with its habits of economy imagines effects as strictly proportioned to their causes, nature, in its extravagance, puts into the cause much more than is required to produce the effect. While our motto is Exactly what is necessary, nature’s motto is More than is necessary,—too much of this, too much of that, too much of everything. Reality, as James sees it, is redundant and superabundant. Between this reality and the one constructed by the philosophers, I believe he would have established the same relation as between the life we live every day and the life which actors portray in the evening on the stage. On the stage, each actor says and does only what has to be said and done; the scenes are clear-cut; the play has a beginning, a middle and an end; and everything is worked out as economically as possible with a view to an ending which will be happy or tragic. But in life, a multitude of useless things are said, many superfluous gestures made, there are no sharply-drawn situations; nothing happens as simply or as completely or as nicely as we should like; the scenes overlap; things neither begin nor end; there is no perfectly satisfying ending, nor absolutely decisive gesture, none of those telling words which give us pause: all the effects are spoiled. Such is human life.
Henri Bergson (The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics)
OTHER RELAXATION TECHNIQUES There are many other stress management techniques that can help you to “bring yourself down” quickly when you are highly stressed. You can use them before a situation where anticipation raises tensions that do not automatically subside after a few minutes. You also can use them during an interaction or when a surprise threatens to escalate your stress out of control. Or use them after an encounter has raised your stress level, if it is not subsiding naturally. Mental Imagery You experimented with mental imagery in the previous chapter on goal-setting. The use of mental imagery also can be an effective tool for anxiety control. Think of it as a new application of skills you already have: memory and imagination. When I asked you earlier to recall how many windows there are in your bedroom, you used imagery to retrieve the information. Mentally, you went into the room, looked from wall to wall, and counted. That process is mental imagery. From a relaxation perspective, your nervous system cannot distinguish between reality and imagery. Material passed from the body to the senses, whether real or imagined, is processed the same way. Therefore, imagery can play an important role in inducing internal self-regulation and relaxation. If there is a particular image—such as the warm, sandy beach of the previous exercise, a cool forest clearing covered with a blanket of pine needles, or even a clear blue sky—that represents relaxation to you, it would be valuable for you to be able to tune in to it whenever stress threatens to interfere with your life. Be sure to conjure up the reactions of all five senses: Imagine the look, sound, smell, taste, and feel of your surroundings. Mental gateways are a valuable part of the relaxation exercise we just went through. And it is important to be aware that your nervous system—which is what overreacts in a stressful situation—cannot distinguish between reality and imagination. Here’s how to use mental imagery to create a mental getaway: (a) Choose a favorite place, a pleasant, relaxing setting that you have enjoyed in the past or one you would enjoy visiting in the future. (b) Close your eyes and think about the scene. Use your senses of hearing, smell, sight, taste, and touch to develop the scene. Put yourself there. If your mind wanders a bit, that’s okay. You’ll drift back to the scene after a short while.
Jonathan Berent (Beyond Shyness: How to Conquer Social Anxieties)
Consider: Anyone can turn his hand to anything. This sounds very simple, but its psychological effects are incalculable. The fact that everyone between seventeen and thirty-five or so is liable to be (as Nim put it) “tied down to childbearing,” implies that no one is quite so thoroughly “tied down” here as women, elsewhere, are likely to be—psychologically or physically. Burden and privilege are shared out pretty equally; everybody has the same risk to run or choice to make. Therefore nobody here is quite so free as a free male anywhere else. Consider: A child has no psycho-sexual relationship to his mother and father. There is no myth of Oedipus on Winter. Consider: There is no unconsenting sex, no rape. As with most mammals other than man, coitus can be performed only by mutual invitation and consent; otherwise it is not possible. Seduction certainly is possible, but it must have to be awfully well timed. Consider: There is no division of humanity into strong and weak halves, protective/protected, dominant/submissive, owner/chattel, active/passive. In fact the whole tendency to dualism that pervades human thinking may be found to be lessened, or changed, on Winter. The following must go into my finished Directives: when you meet a Gethenian you cannot and must not do what a bisexual naturally does, which is to cast him in the role of Man or Woman, while adopting towards him a corresponding role dependent on your expectations of the patterned or possible interactions between persons of the same or the opposite sex. Our entire pattern of sociosexual interaction is nonexistent here. They cannot play the game. They do not see one another as men or women. This is almost impossible for our imagination to accept. What is the first question we ask about a newborn baby? Yet you cannot think of a Gethenian as “it.” They are not neuters. They are potentials, or integrals. Lacking the Karhidish “human pronoun” used for persons in somer, I must say “he,” for the same reasons as we used the masculine pronoun in referring to a transcendent god: it is less defined, less specific, than the neuter or the feminine. But the very use of the pronoun in my thoughts leads me continually to forget that the Karhider I am with is not a man, but a manwoman. The First Mobile, if one is sent, must be warned that unless he is very self-assured, or senile, his pride will suffer. A man wants his virility regarded, a woman wants her femininity appreciated, however indirect and subtle the indications of regard and appreciation. On Winter they will not exist. One is respected and judged only as a human being. It is an appalling experience. Back
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Left Hand of Darkness)
If one could prove from established and reliable histories that the events in Judith really happened, it would be a noble and fine book, and should properly be in the Bible. Yet it hardly squares with the historical accounts of the Holy Scriptures, especially Jeremiah and Ezra. For these show how Jerusalem and the whole country were destroyed, and were thereafter laboriously rebuilt during the time of the monarchy of the Persians who occupied the land. Against this the first chapter of Judith claims that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was the first one to set about conquering this territory; it creates the impression that these events took place before the captivity of the Jews, and before the rise of the Persian monarchy. Philo, on the contrary, says that they happened after the release and return of the Jews from Babylon under King Ahasuerus, at which time the Jews had rebuilt neither the temple nor Jerusalem, and had no government. Thus as to both time and name, error and doubt are still present, so that I cannot reconcile [the accounts] at all. Such an interpretation strikes my fancy, and I think that the poet deliberately and painstakingly inserted the errors of time and name in order to remind the reader that the book should be taken and understood as that kind of a sacred, religious, composition. It may even be that in those days they dramatized literature like this, Just as among us the Passion and other sacred stories are performed. In a common presentation or play they conceivably wanted to teach their people and youth to trust God, to be righteous, and to hope in God for all help and comfort, in every need, against all enemies, etc. Therefore this is a fine, good, holy, useful book, well worth reading by us Christians. For the words spoken by the persons in it should be understood as though they were uttered in the Holy Spirit by a spiritual, holy poet or prophet who, in presenting such persons in his play, preaches to us through them. Next after Judith, therefore, like a song following a play, belongs the Wisdom of Philo, a work which denounces tyrants and praises the help which God bestows on his people. The song [that follows] may well be called an illustration of this book [of Judith].
Martin Luther (Luther's Works, Volume 35: Word and Sacrament I)
If one could prove from established and reliable histories that the events in Judith really happened, it would be a noble and fine book, and should properly be in the Bible. Yet it hardly squares with the historical accounts of the Holy Scriptures, especially Jeremiah and Ezra. For these show how Jerusalem and the whole country were destroyed, and were thereafter laboriously rebuilt during the time of the monarchy of the Persians who occupied the land. Against this the first chapter of Judith claims that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was the first one to set about conquering this territory; it creates the impression that these events took place before the captivity of the Jews, and before the rise of the Persian monarchy. Philo, on the contrary, says that they happened after the release and return of the Jews from Babylon under King Ahasuerus, at which time the Jews had rebuilt neither the temple nor Jerusalem, and had no government. Thus as to both time and name, error and doubt are still present, so that I cannot reconcile [the accounts] at all. Such an interpretation strikes my fancy, and I think that the poet deliberately and painstakingly inserted the errors of time and name in order to remind the reader that the book should be taken and understood as that kind of a sacred, religious, composition. It may even be that in those days they dramatized literature like this, Just as among us the Passion and other sacred stories are performed. In a common presentation or play they conceivably wanted to teach their people and youth to trust God, to be righteous, and to hope in God for all help and comfort, in every need, against all enemies, etc. Therefore this is a fine, good, holy, useful book, well worth reading by us Christians. For the words spoken by the persons in it should be understood as though they were uttered in the Holy Spirit by a spiritual, holy poet or prophet who, in presenting such persons in his play, preaches to us through them. Next after Judith, therefore, like a song following a play, belongs the Wisdom of Philo, a work which denounces tyrants and praises the help which God bestows on his people. The song [that follows] may well be called an illustration of this book [of Judith].
Martin Luther (Luther's Works, Volume 35: Word and Sacrament I)
All voting is a sort of gaming, like chequers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail.
Henry David Thoreau (Civil Disobedience and Other Essays)
In the cybernetic universe where everything is calculable, can't Evil in the sense of disorder and chaos slip into and penetrate the integral reality of the network? Isn't that what hackers do for example? Accidents are involved, certainly. Paul Virilio speaks of this much better than I can. But what I am saying is of another order: it is unpredictable. It is power turning against itself. It is not necessarily the apocalypse but it is a disaster in the sense of a form made irrepressible regardless of the will of the actors and their negative actions or sabotage. Certainly, many negative things can happen to the system, but it will always be an objective or objectal negativity related to the technology itself, not a symbolic irruption. I am afraid that this game remains internal to integral reality. Perhaps there are some who can penetrate the cracks in this cybernetic universe? I must say that I do not know the internal rules of the game for this world, and I do not have the means to play it. This is not a philosophical or moral disavowal or prejudice on my part. It is just that I am situated somewhere else and I cannot do otherwise. From the outside, I can see that everything works and that the machine allows everything to function. Let us allow that system to proceed normally - or abnormally- until it runs its course; let us leave to the machine what belongs to the machine without trying to humanize it or make it an anthropoid object. For me, I will always have an empty, perfectly nonfunctional and therefore free space where I can express my thoughts. Once the machine has exhausted all of its functions, I slip into what is left, without trying to judge or condemn it. Judgment is foreign to the radicality of thought. This thinking has nothing scientific, analytic or even critical about it, since those aspects are now all regulated by machines. And maybe a new spacetime domain for thought is now opening?
Jean Baudrillard (The Agony of Power)
The object of the mediating function, therefore, according to Schiller, is “living form,” for this would be precisely a symbol in which the opposites are united; “a concept that serves to denote all aesthetic qualities of phenomena and, in a word, what we call Beauty in the widest sense of the term.”75 But the symbol presupposes a function that creates symbols, and in addition a function that understands them. This latter function takes no part in the creation of the symbol, it is a function in its own right, which one could call symbolic thinking or symbolic understanding. The essence of the symbol consists in the fact that it represents in itself something that is not wholly understandable, and that it hints only intuitively at its possible meaning. The creation of a symbol is not a rational process, for a rational process could never produce an image that represents a content which is at bottom incomprehensible. To understand a symbol we need a certain amount of intuition which apprehends, if only approximately, the meaning of the symbol that has been created, and then incorporates it into consciousness. Schiller calls the symbol-creating function a third instinct, the play instinct; it bears no resemblance to the two opposing functions, but stands between them and does justice to both their natures—always provided (a point Schiller does not mention) that sensation and thinking are serious functions. But there are many people for whom neither function is altogether serious, and for them seriousness must occupy the middle place instead of play. Although elsewhere Schiller denies the existence of a third, mediating, basic instinct,76 we will nevertheless assume, though his conclusion is somewhat at fault, his intuition to be all the more accurate. For, as a matter of fact, something does stand between the opposites, but in the pure differentiated type it has become invisible. In the introvert it is what I have called feeling-sensation. On account of its relative repression, the inferior function is only partly attached to consciousness; its other part is attached to the unconscious. The differentiated function is the most fully adapted to external reality; it is essentially the reality-function; hence it is as much as possible shut off from any admixture of fantastic elements. These elements, therefore, become associated with the inferior functions, which are similarly repressed. For this reason the sensation of the introvert, which is usually sentimental, has a very strong tinge of unconscious fantasy. The third element, in which the opposites merge, is fantasy activity, which is creative and receptive at once. This is the function Schiller calls the play instinct, by which he means more than he actually says. He exclaims: “For, to declare it once and for all, man plays only when he is in the full sense of the word a man, and he is only wholly man when he is playing.” For him the object of the play instinct is beauty. “Man shall only play with Beauty, and only with Beauty shall he play.”77
C.G. Jung (Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 6: Psychological Types (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung Book 16))
The difficulty of happiness, according to the ancient Greeks, has two components. First, happiness is a matter of activity—not acquisition. Not even a nice family, lots of friends, wealth, reputation, honor, and living long can ward off unhappiness. Happiness is a matter of what we do and how we do it. As Aristotle writes, “Activities are what give life its character.” Second, happiness is not something we can stumble into, despite Tony’s suspicions about the “happy wanderers.” To live a happy life requires a conscious effort to revise and integrate the goals we have picked up from a common-sense understanding of what makes life good. This effort is required because the aims we have, before thinking philosophically about our lives, inevitably conflict. This is demonstrated in a spectacular way by Tony Soprano, who aims to be both loving father and murderer. But our aims might only be to pursue family and career. Do we have to think philosophically about our goals and revise them as well? Something as seemingly benign as trying to “juggle” family and career can perpetuate a misunderstanding of what it is to be happy if we think we only need to strike the right “balance” between these pursuits. Like Tony Soprano, our efforts to “juggle” different goals may keep us from following Plato’s recommendation—not to strike some external harmony (just enough work and just enough play) but an internal harmony.
Peter J. Vernezze (The Sopranos and Philosophy: I Kill Therefore I Am (Popular Culture and Philosophy))
He was convinced that if the attack on Omando had caused such interest in the world it was not so much because of the victim’s importance, but because fear, resentment and repeated disillusion in the age of slavery and radiation death had in the end branded the hearts of millions of human beings with an edge of misanthropy, which made them follow with sympathy, and perhaps some feeling of personal re- venge, the story of '‘the man who had changed species.” He turned toward Laurent with sympathy. It was difficult not to like that generous, slightly sing-song voice, not to like that black giant who spoke so frankly about himself when he thought he was speaking only of the African fauna. inclined to a gentle skepticism which usually sufficed to protect him both against excessive illusions about human nature and against excessive doubt of it a sort of Saint Francis of Assisi, only more energetic, more dashing, more muscular he had the greatest respect for humor, because it was one of the best weapons ever forged by man for the struggle against himself. devoured by some ravenous dream of hygiene and universal health who desperately pursue a certain ideal of human decency, call it tolerance, justice or liberty The idea, too, that people who have suffered too much aren’t any longer capable of ... of complicity with you, for that’s what it amounts to. That they aren’t any longer capable of playing ball with us. The idea that they’ve somehow been spoiled once for all. It was partly on account of this idea that the German theorists of racialism preached the extermination of the Jews; they had been made to suffer too much, and therefore they could not be anything after that but enemies of the human race. A man can’t spend his life in Africa without acquiring something pretty close to a great affection for the elephants. Those great herds are, after all, the last symbol of liberty left among us. It s something that’s fast disappearing, from more points of view than one. Every time you come upon them in the open, moving their trunks and their great ears, an irresistible smile rises to your lips. I defy anyone to look upon elephants without a sense of wonder. Their very enormity, their, clumsiness, their giant stature, represent a mass of liberty that sets you dreaming. They’re . . . yes, they’re the last individuals. a trace of superiority, of condescension toward me, as though to point out to me that this was obviously something I could not understand, a private and secret world which I was not permitted to enter. Yes, there are some among us who are fighting for the independence of Africa. But why? To protect the elephants. To take the protection of African fauna into their own hands. Perhaps for them elephants are only an image of their own liberty. That suits me: liberty always suits me. Personally, I have no patience with nationalism: the new or the old, the white or the black, the red or the yellow. They aim between the eyes, just because it’s big, free and beautiful. That’s what they call a fine shot. A trophy. people have been seized by such a need for friendship and company that the dogs can’t manage it. We’ve been asking too much of them. The job has broken them down— they’ve had it. Just think how long they’ve been doing their damnedest for us, wagging their tails and holding out their paws— they’ve had enough . . .’ It’s natural: they’ve seen too much. And the people feel lonely and deserted, and they need something bigger that can really take the strain. Dogs aren’t enough any more; men need elephants. ‘Look here, my friend, for three years I was a bus conductor in Paris. I recommend it during rush hours; it gave me what you might call a knowledge of human nature— a good, solid knowledge which prompted me to change sides and go over to the elephants. there was around him an air of authenticity impossible to disregard: the authenticity of sheer physical nobility
Romain Gary
I have had several occasions to ask founders and participants in innovative start-ups a question: To what extent will the outcome of your effort depend on what you do in your firm? This is evidently an easy question; the answer comes quickly and it has never been less than 80%. Even when they are not sure they will succeed, these bold people think their fate is almost entirely in their own hands. They are surely wrong: the outcome of a start-up depends as much on the achievements of its competitors and on changes in the market as on its own efforts. However, entrepreneurs naturally focus on what they know best—their plans and actions and the most immediate threats and opportunities, such as the availability of funding. They know less about their competitors and therefore find it natural to imagine a future in which the competition plays little part.
Morgan Housel (The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness)
I had an old man Devolcano for music also, he did not think I could play my trombone, with the rest of the class. Therefore, he used to say to me to go into the storage room that smelled like- rat turds and turpentine and learn it. ‘And do not come out to you do.’ He would shout! ‘Go make farting noises, and giggle about it mindlessly, with him, that is all you will ever do!’ He can go and suck on my trombone slide! I can read, and I can read music, no thanks to him, and do more than he does. Unlike all of them in his class, I can do a lot of things. Plus, my mom is more than he will ever be. He needs to stop saying shit about her! My mother and I can count above four also. This was my education also, sitting in small rooms. Learning nothing while everyone laughed in my face. Never in a nice way while everyone else looked at me as if I was a hunk of shit. Thus, in the room with sluggish Steve the euphonium player, I went to whom he thought could not play or read or play music either. He and the class thought that all I do is giggle and make weird sounds together with him. Whatever- think what you like, about me. Oh, yes- I would like to say to him, no- ‘We are not a match made in heaven!’ -so stop saying that we are. Anyways enough about that, my greatest obstacles were- trying to understand- why. I always want to be the fix, yet I think I just added more drama, than what I was worth for everybody.
Marcel Ray Duriez
2Yes. And as for money it’s only mankind’s most important invention. With respect to money I think everyone has received fair warning. Money is the reason you have no responsibility to that starving girl. It is simply the single most important entity in the world today. Any discussion of justice, morality, and the like betrays a naïve ignorance of this fact. If you have money none of these ephemera matter. The only people crying for justice and fair play are the poor and therefore weak. Take your guy Hurd for example. Do you have any doubt that if he had an excess of bills his problems would evaporate? Imagine the difference, what was his bail?
Sergio de la Pava
A PRACTICE FOR MINDFUL EATING When you do anything consciously, including eating, you override the brain’s default setting and communicate directly with the higher brain, which is responsible for conscious thoughts and actions. Very often we eat unconsciously, without thinking or weighing the consequences of what we’re doing. You can change the situation with a simple mindfulness practice. The next time you eat anything, whether as a meal or a snack, do the following: Step 1: Pause before you eat the first bite and take a deep breath. Step 2: Ask yourself, “Why am I eating this?” Step 3: Whatever answer you get, take note of it. Better yet, write it down—you might even start a mindful eating journal. Step 4: Make a conscious choice to eat or not eat. There is nothing more to do, but this simple practice can lead to major benefits. Your goal is to return to a normal biorhythm of hunger and satiation. When you pause to make a choice, your reason for eating should therefore be “I’m hungry.” But there are a host of other reasons we reach for food, like the following: “I’m bored.” “I can’t resist.” “I need comforting.” “There’s no use letting all this food go to waste.” “I’m stressed out.” “I feel a craving.” “I’m depressed.” “I’m anxious.” “I don’t know why.” “I’m lonely.” “I’m sick of dieting.” “The other people I’m with are eating.” “There’s not much left. I might as well finish the package.” “I feel like celebrating.” When you ask yourself why you are eating, it’s likely that some of these reasons will come into play. Don’t judge against them, and don’t force yourself to reject the food out of guilt. Mindfulness is a conscious state, nothing more or less. In this state you are self-aware, and that’s the key. When you are self-aware, change comes with less effort than in any other state. The end of unconscious eating is often enough to turn around a person’s weight problems, especially if they are mild to moderate. As you can see, there is hope beyond dieting, a way forward for people who moan “I’ve tried everything. Nothing works.” A whole-system approach to weight loss ends the struggle; no longer is your body the enemy and you its victim.
Deepak Chopra (The Healing Self: Supercharge your immune system and stay well for life)
God is not a robot. He isn’t a comptroller of an accounting company trying to make things add up or work out. He is a being full of deep emotion, longing, and memories of what it used to be like. The incarnation therefore isn’t about an equation but about remembering what home used to be like and making a plan to get back there. Consider this reboot of the Genesis creation account. It may help you see God’s emotion a little better. First off, nothing … but God. No light, no time, no substance, no matter. Second off, God says the word and WHAP! Stuff everywhere! The cosmos in chaos: no shape, no form, no function—just darkness … total. And floating above it all, God’s Holy Spirit, ready to play. Day one: Then God’s voice booms out, “Lights!” and, from nowhere, light floods the skies and “night” is swept off the scene. God gives it the big thumbs up, calls it “day”. Day two: God says, “I want a dome—call it ‘sky’—right there between the waters above and below.” And it happens. Day three: God says, “Too much water! We need something to walk on, a huge lump of it—call it ‘land’. Let the ‘sea’ lick its edges.” God smiles, says, “Now we’ve got us some definition. But it’s too plain! It needs colour! Vegetation! Loads of it. A million shades. Now!” And the earth goes wild with trees, bushes, plants, flowers and fungi. “Now give it a growth permit.” Seeds appear in every one. “Yesss!” says God. Day four: “We need a schedule: let’s have a ‘sun’ for the day, a ‘moon’ for the night; I want ‘seasons’, ‘years’; and give us ‘stars’, masses of stars—think of a number, add a trillion, then times it by the number of trees and we’re getting there: we’re talking huge! Day five: “OK, animals: amoeba, crustaceans, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals … I want the whole caboodle teeming with a million varieties of each—and let’s have some fun with the shapes, sizes, colours, textures!” God tells them all, “You’ve got a growth permit—use it!” He sits back and smiles, says, “Result!” Day six: Then God says, “Let’s make people—like us, but human, with flesh and blood, skin and bone. Give them the job of caretakers of the vegetation, game wardens of all the animals.” So God makes people, like him, but human. He makes male and female.… He smiles at them and gives them their job description: “Make babies! Be parents, grandparents, great-grandparents—fill the earth with your families and run the planet well. You’ve got all the plants to eat from, so have all the animals—plenty for all. Enjoy.” God looks at everything he’s made, and says, “Fantastic. I love it!” Day seven: Job done—the cosmos and the earth complete. God takes a bit of well-earned R&R and just enjoys. He makes an announcement: “Let’s keep this day of the week special, a day off—battery-recharge day: Rest Day.”2 I’m not normally a paraphrase guy, but we always read the creation story like a textbook. I love this rendition because it captures the enthusiastic emotion that God felt about everything He created, especially humans. He loved it all. He loved us. Most of all, He loved the way things were.
Hugh Halter (Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth)
For All in the Family and the many shows it spawned, the generation gap merged with class distinctions as the new generation seemed less held back by class than by culture. Mature white working-class men in popular culture, therefore, would be hard-pressed to have values in any enviable sense. This came to the fore in August 1974, when actor Carroll O’Connor refused to show up on the set while replacement workers did the jobs of striking electrical equipment operators at CBS. His nearly month-long show of solidarity single-handedly halted production of All in the Family, earning him the wrath of the producers, television critics, and fans alike. Meantime, his otherwise politically progressive co-stars saw little wrong with going to work in the midst of a strike and treated O’Connor as a bit of an oddity. “I don’t think he has any support anywhere,” remarked Jean Stapleton who played Edith; “It was very noble-sounding, but not, uh, wise.
Jefferson R. Cowie (Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class)
Writing is a solitary act—but it's only the first act. What comes next is what really matters. However, personally, I have never been all that comfortable with the second act. I'm a solitary person by nature and not much of a joiner. Yet still I've come to see the nonfiction writer's solitary act as important to the greater cause—really the only cause—of decreasing cruelty and increasing sympathy. In that service, nonfiction writers can perform two fundamental tasks that are unavailable to the writers of fiction. Like Florence Reece, we can bear witness and we can call for change—for an end to injustices. It is precisely on this subject of bearing witness that I find John D'Agata's recent writing about the genre of nonfiction so malicious and inept. D'Agata argues that nonfiction must serve the greater good of art, and therefore reality can be altered in the name of art. But to elevate reality to the level of art is one of the fundamental tasks of the nonfiction writer, and to say it cannot be done honestly, as D'Agata claims, displays an astonishing lack of imagination as well as an equally unflattering amount of arrogance and pedantry. But let's put aside the either-or nature of this line of thinking. The real problem here is that such an attitude robs nonfiction of it greatest strength and virtue—its ability to bear witness and the veracity that comes from that act. To admit that one only has a passing interest in representing reality is to forfeit one's moral authority to call that reality into question. That is to say, I have no right to call mountaintop removal an injustice—one in need of a new reality—if I cannot be trusted to depict the travesty of strip mining as it now exists. To play D'Agata's game is to lose the reader's trust, and without that, it seems to me that the nonfiction writer has very little left. Writers of that persuasion can align themselves with Picasso's famous sentiment that art is the lie that tells the truth, but I have no truck with such pretentiousness. The work of the nonfiction writers I most admire is telling a truth that exposes a lie.
Sean Prentiss (The Far Edges of the Fourth Genre: An Anthology of Explorations in Creative Nonfiction)
It is a shame that Mama doesn't use the hundreds of other fruits and vegetables and spices available from around the world. If it isn't Indian, according to her, it isn't good. I think she stared so long at the blueberries that they shriveled. The butcher gave me three whole breasts of fresh free-range chicken. All of a sudden I have become very particular about ecological vegetables and free-range chickens. If they've petted the chicken and played with it before cutting it open for my eating pleasure, I'll be happy to purchase its body parts. Even if I have a tough time understanding this ecological nonsense, I feel better for buying carrots that were grown without chemicals, and I can't come up with a good reason to deny myself that happiness. I marinated the chicken breasts in white wine and salt and pepper for a while and then grilled them on the barbecue outside. The blueberry sauce was ridiculously simple. Fry some onions in butter, add the regular green chili, ginger, garlic, and fry a while longer. Add just a touch of tomato paste along with white wine vinegar. In the end add the blueberries. Cook until everything becomes soft. Blend in a blender. Put it in a saucepan and heat it until it bubbles. In the end because G'ma wouldn't shut up about going back right away, I added, in anger and therefore in too much quantity: cayenne pepper. I felt the sauce needed a little bite... but I think I bit off more than the others could swallow. I took the grilled chicken, cut the breasts in long slices, and poured the sauce over them. I made some regularbasmatiwith fried cardamoms and some regular tomato and onion raita.I put too much green chili in the raitaas well.
Amulya Malladi (Serving Crazy with Curry)
On Mr. Phipps' discovering the place of my concealment, he cocked his gun and aimed at me. I requested him not to shoot and I would give up, upon which he demanded my sword. I delivered it to him, and he brought me to prison. During the time I was pursued, I had many hair breadth escapes, which your time will not permit you to relate. I am here loaded with chains, and willing to suffer the fate that awaits me. I here proceeded to make some inquiries of him after assuring him of the certain death that awaited him, and that concealment would only bring destruction on the innocent as well as guilty, of his own color, if he knew of any extensive or concerted plan. His answer was, I do not. When I questioned him as to the insurrection in North Carolina happening about the same time, he denied any knowledge of it; and when I looked him in the face as though I would search his inmost thoughts, he replied, 'I see sir, you doubt my word; but can you not think the same ideas, and strange appearances about this time in the heaven's might prompt others, as well as myself, to this undertaking.' I now had much conversation with and asked him many questions, having forborne to do so previously, except in the cases noted in parenthesis; but during his statement, I had, unnoticed by him, taken notes as to some particular circumstances, and having the advantage of his statement before me in writing, on the evening of the third day that I had been with him, I began a cross examination, and found his statement corroborated by every circumstance coming within my own knowledge or the confessions of others whom had been either killed or executed, and whom he had not seen nor had any knowledge since 22d of August last, he expressed himself fully satisfied as to the impracticability of his attempt. It has been said he was ignorant and cowardly, and that his object was to murder and rob for the purpose of obtaining money to make his escape. It is notorious, that he was never known to have a dollar in his life; to swear an oath, or drink a drop of spirits. As to his ignorance, he certainly never had the advantages of education, but he can read and write, (it was taught him by his parents,) and for natural intelligence and quickness of apprehension, is surpassed by few men I have ever seen. As to his being a coward, his reason as given for not resisting Mr. Phipps, shews the decision of his character. When he saw Mr. Phipps present his gun, he said he knew it was impossible for him to escape as the woods were full of men; he therefore thought it was better to surrender, and trust to fortune for his escape. He is a complete fanatic, or plays his part most admirably. On other subjects he possesses an uncommon share of intelligence, with a mind capable of attaining any thing; but warped and perverted by the influence of early impressions. He is below the ordinary stature, though strong and active, having the true negro face, every feature of which is strongly marked. I shall not attempt to describe the effect of his narrative, as told and commented on by himself, in the condemned hole of the prison. The calm, deliberate composure with which he spoke of his late deeds and intentions, the expression of his fiend-like face when excited by enthusiasm, still bearing the stains of the blood of helpless innocence about him; clothed with rags and covered with chains; yet daring to raise his manacled hands to heaven, with a spirit soaring above the attributes of man; I looked on him and my blood curdled in my veins.
Nat Turner (The Confessions of Nat Turner)
All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency.
Henry David Thoreau (Civil Disobedience)
The inner urge to go somewhere else, to breathe a different air, became ever more pressing and intense. The poetry that had always surrounded me was now becoming routine
Andrea Pirlo (I Think Therefore I Play)
After the wheel, the PlayStation is the best invention of all time.
Andrea Pirlo (I Think Therefore I Play)
There are always lessons to be found in the darkest moments. It's a moral obligation to dig deep and find that little glimmer of hope or pearl of wisdom. You might hit upon an elegant phrase that stays with you and makes the journey that little less bitter.
Andrea Pirlo (I Think Therefore I Play)
The drawn out death of an intense love that's destined to disappear, second by second, piece by piece, until it's nothing but one-way affection. And if there's only fondness from one side, the whole thing becomes a bit pointless.
Andrea Pirlo (I Think Therefore I Play)
Mate, I’ve only been here for a few weeks, but I don’t think anyone even knows my name. I’ve already slipped three spots down the batting order. I’ve got no idea what the lyrics to the club song are. And every time I get a hit at training, I hear the faint sound of blokes whispering that one word under their breath: “Yuck.” What am I doing wrong?’ I began, nervously. Nuggsy paused, took a long swig of his Reschs schooner, and reclined languidly into his seat. He scratched his bald head for a moment, seemingly in deep thought, before embarking on the long-winded response that would indeed shape my cricketing future. ‘Listen, bud. You’re a grade cricketer now. And it’s time you learned a little bit about what that means. This isn’t club cricket, “Shires” cricket, or that stupid school shit that you wasted your time on for all those years. This is grade cricket: the highest level of amateur cricket in the world,’ he said with pride. Just for those who don’t already know, I should quickly provide a bit of background on the grade cricket competition. Grade cricket (or ‘Premier cricket’, as it is known in some states/territories) is the level directly below the state competition.  Despite this close proximity to the professional arena, it is nonetheless an amateur competition. Sure, one or two first graders might get paid a little bit under the table, but everyone else must pay a registration fee in order to play. Normally, each club has four to five grades — first grade being the strongest; fifth grade the weakest. Those in first grade enjoy a status that the fifth graders can only dream about. Being a first grader is like being a celebrity to 50 blokes whose names you’ll never know — or never even need to know — unless you end up playing with them after a severe run of poor form (or a serious disciplinary breach). The rest of the club — seconds, thirds, and fourth grade — is basically an assortment of talented youngsters and ageing desperates. The common denominator between the young and old brigade is that they were all once told they were ‘good enough to play for Australia’. In many cases, it was the first and last compliment they ever received — and the reason why they’re still playing. In all cases, it was the worst thing that could have ever happened to them. The ultimate grade cricketer, therefore, will possess the perfect balance of good and not good enough that will haunt them for all of their playing days. All this of course, is something that can only be learned with experience. At this early stage in my grade cricket career, I considered these young players to be ‘cool’ and the older players worthy of my respect. Nuggsy tilted his head to one side as he lit up a cigarette. He took a deep drag, holding it in for what seemed like hours, before launching his head back to expel a thick plume of smoke towards the ceiling. ‘Listen, great man,’ he began. ‘Success in grade cricket has nothing to do with skill, ability, or even results. It’s all about the social ladder, bud. You’ve got the big dogs up top, the peasants down the bottom, and everyone in between is just trying to stay relevant,’ he offered. In many ways, grade cricket social hierarchy bears great similarity to the feudal systems that first appeared in the Middle Ages in Europe — something I’d learned a bit about at high school. As I remembered, kings and monarchs sat at the top, enjoying their pick of the land, women and food. They were the ones who established the rules that everyone had to live under. The barons leased their land from the king; the knights leased their land from the barons; and the knights granted the lowly peasants their land.  The peasants were not allowed to marry, nor could they even leave the manor without permission. Basically, they were the fifth graders of the 8-12th Century.
Sam Perry (The Grade Cricketer)
كوني جزء من المنتخب الإيطالي يجعلني اشعر بشعور جيد، دائما اعتبره أفضل من ممارسة الجنس!
Andrea Pirlo
Only after the concept of knowledge has been based on an ontological relation [*Seinsverhältnis*] can we work out the particular kind of being from which the principle of immanence-to-consciousness (the starting point of Idealism and Critical Realism) mistakenly proceeds as though from a primary insight. This is the being of "being-conscious" [*Bewusst-Seins*]. All being-conscious must first of all be brought under the higher concept of ideal being, or, at all events, that of irreal being. The mental item which presents itself in the experiences of consciousness may be real; being-conscious itself never is. However, the concept of consciousness is derivative in not only this sense. Consciousness also presupposes the concept of knowledge. Nothing is more misleading than to proceed in the opposite direction and define knowledge itself as simply a particular "content of consciousness," as we see if we oppose, to the particular kind of knowing and having-known which we call consciousness, another kind of knowledge which precedes it and includes no form of being-conscious. We will call this knowledge *ecstatic* [*ekstatische*] knowledge. It is found quite clearly in animals, primitive people, children, and, further, in certain pathological and other abnormal and supra-normal states (e.g., in recovering from the effects of a drug). I have said elsewhere that the animal never relates to its environment as to an object but only *lives in it* [*es lebe nur "in sie hinein*"]. Its conduct with respect to the external world depends upon whether the latter satisfies its instinctive drives or denies them satisfaction. The animal experiences the surrounding world as resistances of various types. Hence, it is absolutely necessary to contest the principle (in Descartes, Franz Brentano, *et al*.) that every mental function and act is accompanied by an immediate knowledge of it. An even more highly contestable principle is that a relation to the self is an essential condition of all processes of knowledge. It is difficult to reproduce purely ecstatic knowledge in mature, civilized men, whether in memory, reverie, perception, thought, or empathetic identification with things, animals, or men; nonetheless, there is no doubt that in every perception and presentation of things and events we think that we grasp *the things-themselves*, not mere "images" of them or representatives of some sort. Knowledge first becomes conscious knowledge [*Bewusst-sein*], that is, comes out of its original ecstatic form of simply "having" things, in which there is no knowledge of the having or of that through which and in which it is had, when the act of being thrown back on the self (probably only possible for men) comes into play. This act grows out of conspicuous resistances, clashes, and oppositions―in sum, out of pronounced suffering. It is the *actus re-flexivus* in which knowledge of the knowledge of things is added to the knowledge of things. Furthermore, in this act we come to know the kind of knowledge we have, for example, memory, ideation, and perception, and finally, beyond even these, we come to have a knowledge of the relation of the act performed to the self, to the knower. With respect to any specific relation to the self, this last knowledge, so-called conscious self-knowledge, comes only after knowledge about the act. Kant's principle that an "I think" must be *able* to accompany all a man's thoughts may be correct. That it in fact always accompanies them is nevertheless undoubtedly false. However, the kind of being (indeed, of ideal being) which contents possess when they are reflexively *had* in their givenness in conscious acts―when, therefore, they become reflexive―is the being of being-consciously-known." from_Idealism and Realism_
Max Scheler
I wanted to be a musician, but again I thought that this was someone who was especially born to be one, a prodigy type of thing, which nobody chose to call me, so therefore I wasn’t one. The trouble is that all these years later I still think this way. I thought that, if I were to pick up an alto sax, that within an hour or so I would be able to play like Charlie Parker, so I will never pick one up, and thus will always have potential. This thing inhibits me from walking on a tightrope. As long as I never do it, I might be the best in the world.
Marty Feldman (eYE Marty: The Newly Discovered Autobiography of a Comic Genius)
March 3 Vexation … Her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.—1 Samuel 1:6b We don’t use the word rival much in referring to relationships in the office, neighborhood or family. It’s a word used in game-playing or competitive sports. Yet, there is probably one person who loves to push your buttons, who manipulates the conversation, who drinks the last cup of coffee and never makes another pot—you know who I’m talking about. Why, just thinking about the last little trick they pulled makes your face blush a bit with anger or embarrassment. Their daily digs or sick sarcasm is a constant wear on your attempts to be at peace while you do your job. At times you’ve thought of strangling them, but more often you simply try to avoid them. If you are a Christian, you are going to be targeted by the enemy of peace. Satan will send a few darts your way: a bossy co-worker, a meddling aunt, a gossipy neighbor and your most-of-the-time adoring husband to name a few. Don’t be surprised when it happens, because it will happen. Your peace is too good to be true in the world’s eyes. The world doesn’t understand it, the world can’t have it, and therefore the world doesn’t want you to have it either. Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel is an example of the woman who faces daily vexation from someone who is bent on robbing her of her peace and joy in the Lord. When she could take the ridicule no longer, she turned to the Lord. In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:10). She called to God for release of the heaviness in her soul. Is your soul heavy because of conflict in relationships? I encourage you to pray for the person who is casting the darts. Forgive their trespasses against you, and ask for strength from the Lord. Ask boldly; He will hear your request. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses His people with peace (Psalm 29:11).
The writers of Encouraging.com (God Moments: A Year in the Word)
Habits The word “habit” comes from the Old French abit, habit, from Latin habitus “condition, appearance,” from habere “have, consist of.” The term originally meant “dress, attire,” and the noun “habit” meant a monk’s outfit. The habit was an external sign of a monk’s internal constitution, which defined their whole life. Later the meaning of this word drifted to denote physical or mental constitution. Constitution, consisting of, consistency. Habits just scream consistency.[iv] Habits get things done because your mind does not have to focus as much on semiautomatic routines and can therefore conserve energy. It also will spend less time debating with itself about whether to do something. When routines turn into habits, they become the “status quo,” and the rightness of them isn’t debated any more. On the other hand, one-off activities easily generate excuses because it is easier not to do something new than it is to do it. Your mind will think of many reasons for inactivity: Listen to what it is saying . . . • It’s hard, don’t tire yourself. • It’s new, you don’t know the effect or result, so better not risk something bad. • You’ll make a jerk out of yourself, better stay low and enjoy what you’ve got so far. • It’s a lot of fuss, why don’t drink a glass of whisky/play the computer/eat pizza instead? • You have no chance to achieve anything meaningful in a reasonable time (a few minutes); give up, stop wasting the energy. • What? Do you want to do it for years, with no guarantee of success? Are you out of your mind? That’s a lot of energy to commit! • Hey, I love the couch and the TV and there will be less time for that if you commit to this new venture. I protest! You do not consciously think about habits. They are just a part of your constitution. And your mind cannot abandon them once they are a part of you. Any time you install a new activity into your life in the form of a habit, your mind not only accepts it but becomes its guard. Whenever the time or circumstances indicate that the habit should be done, your mind reminds you about it, gently or otherwise.
Michal Stawicki (The Art of Persistence: Stop Quitting, Ignore Shiny Objects and Climb Your Way to Success)
In a letter written to the play's director, Peter Wood, on 30th March 1958, just before the start of rehearsals, Pinter rightly refused to add extra lines explaining or justifying Stanley's motives in withdrawing from the world into a dingy seaside boarding-house: 'Stanley cannot perceive his only valid justification - which is he is what he is - therefore he certainly can never be articulate about it.' But Pinter came much closer than he usually does to offering an explanation of the finished work: We've agreed: the hierarchy, the Establishment, the arbiters, the socio- religious monsters arrive to affect censure and alteration upon a member of the club who has discarded responsibility (that word again) towards himself and others. (What is your opinion, by the way, of the act of suicide?) He does possess, however, for my money, a certain fibre - he fights for his life. It doesn't last long, this fight. His core being a quagmire of delusion, his mind a tenuous fuse box, he collapses under the weight of their accusation - an accusation compounded of the shit- stained strictures of centuries of 'tradition'. This gets us right to the heart of the matter. It is not simply a play about a pathetic victim brainwashed into social conformity. It is a play about the need to resist, with the utmost vigour, dead ideas and the inherited weight of the past. And if you examine the text, you notice how Pinter has toughened up the original image of the man in the Eastbourne digs with 'nowhere to go'. Pinter's Stanley Webber - a palpably Jewish name, incidentally - is a man who shores up his precarious sense of self through fantasy, bluff, violence and his own manipulative form of power-play. His treatment of Meg initially is rough, playful, teasing: he's an ersatz, scarpegrace Oedipus to her boardinghouse Jocasta. But once she makes the fateful, mood-changing revelation - 'I've got to get things in for the two gentlemen' - he's as dangerous as a cornered animal. He affects a wanton grandeur with his talk of a European concert tour. He projects his own fear on to Meg by terrorising her with stories of nameless men coming to abduct her in a van. In his first solo encounter with McCann, he tries to win him over by appealing to a shared past (Maidenhead, Fuller's tea shop, Boots library) and a borrowed patriotism ('I know Ireland very well. I've many friends there. I love that country and I admire and trust its people... I think their policemen are wonderful'). At the start of the interrogation he resists Goldberg's injunction to sit down and at the end of it he knees him in the stomach. And in the panic of the party, he attempts to strangle Meg and rape Lulu. These are hardly the actions of a supine victim. Even though Stanley is finally carried off shaven, besuited, white-collared and ostensibly tamed, the spirit of resistance is never finally quelled. When asked how he regards the prospect of being able to 'make or break' in the integrated outer world, he does not stay limply silent, but produces the most terrifying noises.
Michael Billington (Harold Pinter)
A Complement to Choice I don’t claim that consumer choice is never conscious, or that the quality of a value proposition is irrelevant. To the contrary: people have to have a reason to buy a product in the first place. And sometimes a new technology or a new regulation enables a company to demand consideration of a product—by radically lowering the price, offering new features, or providing a wholly new solution to a customer need. Robust where-to-play and how-to-win choices, therefore, are still essential to strategy. Without a value proposition superior to those of competitors that are attempting to appeal to the same customers, a company has nothing to build on.
Roger L. Martin (A New Way to Think: Your Guide to Superior Management Effectiveness)
In the spread of gender-identity ideology, developments in academia played a crucial role. This is not the place for an extended critique of the thinking that evolved on American campuses out of the 1960s French philosophy and literary criticism into gender studies, queer theory, critical race theory and the like. I will merely focus on what some have dubbed 'applied postmodernism' and the form of activism, known as 'social justice', that seeks to remake humanity along ideological lines. And I will lay out the key elements that have enable transsexuality, once understood as a rare anomaly, to be converted into an all-encompassing theory of sex and gender, and body and mind. Within applied postmodernism, objectivity is essentially impossible. Logic and reason are not ideals to be striven for, but attempts to shore up privilege. Language is taken to shape reality, not describe it. Oppression is brought into existence by discourse. Equality is no longer achieved by replacing unjust laws and practices with new ones that give everyone the chance to thrive, but by individuals defining their own identities, and 'troubling' or 'queering' the definitions of oppressed groups. A dualistic ideology can easily be accommodated within such a framework. Being a man or woman – or indeed non-binary or gender-fluid - becomes a matter of finding your own gender identity and revealing it to the world by the medium of preferred pronouns. It is a feeble form of dualism to be sure: the grandeur of Descartes' 'I think, therefore I am' replaced by 'they/them' on a pronoun badge.
Helen Joyce (Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality)
One of the unique things about Buddhism, particularly in the Sanskrit tradition, is that investigation and experiment play a very important part. Many troubles come out of ignorance, and the only antidote to ignorance is knowledge. Knowledge means a clear understanding of reality, which must come through investigation and experiment. In ancient times, the Nalanda masters14 carried out these investigations mainly through logic and human thought, and perhaps in some cases through meditation. In modern times, there is another way to find out about reality: with help of equipment. I think both science and Buddhist investigation are actually trying to find reality. Furthermore, there is a tradition in Buddhism that if we find something that contradicts our scripture, we have the liberty to reject that scripture. That gives us a kind of freedom to investigate, regardless of what the literature says. For example, there are some descriptions of cosmology in the scriptures that are quite a disgrace. When I give teachings to Buddhist audiences, I often tell them that we cannot accept these things. In the initial stages of my curiosity, I would look out into space and see many things. I was curious how these things came to be. Look at our body. There’s a lot of hair on the head and, underneath it, a skull. Unlike other parts of the body, there is some kind of special protection there. Why? Usually we believe the soul or self lies at the center of the heart. Now it seems that the soul—if we can identify it at all—is here in the head, not in the heart. The Buddhist texts on psychology and epistemology make a clear distinction between two qualitatively different domains of experience. One is the sensory level: our experience of the five senses. The other is what Buddhists refer to as the mental level of experience: thoughts, emotions, and so on. The primary seat, or physical basis, of sensory experience is thought to be the sensory organs themselves. But now it seems to be clear from modern neuroscience that the central organizing principle of sensory experience is really to be found more in the brain than in the sensory organs themselves. Buddhists are very interested to learn such things from scientific findings. I think the relationship is very helpful. Therefore, we began introducing the study of science to selected Buddhist monastic students in India more than four years ago. A systematic introduction of science education in the monastic curriculum is gradually being established. As for my participation here, I have nothing to offer. I am always eager just to listen and learn from these great, experienced scientists. Although there is a language problem, and also my memory problem, it sometimes seems that I learn from the session—but after the session there is nothing left in my head. So there’s the problem! Anyway, it may leave some imprints in my brain.
Jon Kabat-Zinn (The Mind's Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation)
It is time to stop, but not before I have paid duty. "The knowledge of sin is the beginning of salvation." This saying of Epicurus seems to me to be a noble one. For he who does not know that he has sinned does not desire correction; you must discover yourself in the wrong before you can reform yourself. Some boasts of their faults. Do you think that the man has any thought of mending his ways who counts over his vices as if they were virtues? Therefore, as far as possible, prove yourself guilty, hunt up charges against yourself; play the part, first of accuser, then of judge, last of intercessor. At times be harsh with yourself.
Seneca (Letters From A Stoic | Moral Letters To Lucilius)
Aristotle said that the best activities are the most useless. This is because such things are not simply means to a further end but are done entirely for their own sake. Thus watching a baseball game is more important than getting a haircut, and cultivating a friendship is more valuable than making money. The game and the friendship are goods that are excellent in themselves, while getting a haircut and making money are in service of something beyond themselves. This is also why the most important parts of the newspaper are the sports section and the comics, and not, as we would customarily think, the business and political reports. In this sense, the most useless activity of all is the celebration of the Liturgy, which is another way of saying that it is the most important thing we could possibly do. There is no higher good than to rest in God, to honor him for his kindness, to savor his sweetness—in a word, to praise him. As we have seen in chapter three, every good comes from God, reflects God, and leads back to God, and, therefore, all value is summed up in the celebration of the Liturgy, the supreme act by which we commune with God. This is why the great liturgical theologian Romano Guardini said that the liturgy is a consummate form of play. We play football and we play musical instruments because it is simply delightful to do so, and we play in the presence of the Lord for the same reason. In chapter one I spoke of Adam in the garden as being the first priest, which is another way of saying that his life, prior to the fall, was entirely liturgical. At play in the field of the Lord, Adam, with every move and thought, effortlessly gave praise to God. As Dietrich von Hildebrand indicated, this play of liturgy is what rightly orders the personality, since we find interior order in the measure that we surrender everything in us to God. We might say that the Liturgy bookends the entire Scripture, for the priesthood of Adam stands at the beginning of the sacred text and the heavenly Liturgy of the book of Revelation stands at the end. In the closing book of the Bible, John the visionary gives us a glimpse into the heavenly court, and he sees priests, candles, incense, the reading of a sacred text, the gathering of thousands in prayer, prostrations and other gestures of praise, and the appearance of the Lamb of God. He sees,
Robert Barron (Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith)
The next hurdle is the recognition that we have many deeply ingrained habit patterns that take time—a lot of time—to change. At first the typical neophyte is sure that he or she has a tremendous capacity and will grow more quickly than others. Then the sobering realization dawns that the degree of self-transformation is equal to the effort made. If neophytes have persisted thus far, they will almost inevitably encounter doubt (samshaya)—doubt about their own capacity; doubt about their teacher; doubt about the efficacy of the teaching. It is not far from the truth to say that practitioners who do not befriend doubt are bound to become self-deluded. If there really is no doubt or self-delusion, then they are quite simply enlightened. Another obstacle, not often identified, is the fact that practitioners’ karmic tendencies (read unconscious or semiconscious habit patterns) are magnified because awareness is enhanced through regular practice. This can be likened to a bright searchlight shining deep into the well of the mind. In the depth of the unconscious reside all kinds of unpleasant realities that get flushed out by steady application to self-inspection and self-understanding. At times, the unconscious materials that drift into the conscious mind seem overwhelming, and then it becomes clear that spiritual life is a form of brinkmanship. The Indic tradition speaks of the razor-edged path. Gradually spiritual practitioners learn to overcome their intrinsic materialism (i.e., constantly thinking in terms of the visible reality only). There is a progressive loosening of the ego knot or “self-contraction” (ātma-samkoca) by which the ordinary individual anxiously seeks to hold everything together. Spiritual practitioners learn to be humorous about everything, including themselves. Life is seen from a new perspective: as a strange play in which we are willy-nilly involved and which we can either misunderstand and suffer or understand and transcend even while being fully engaged in its drama. Practitioners must prevail over spiritual materialism—the false sense of accumulating “higher” experiences. They can realize inner freedom only to the extent that even the goal of liberation is renounced. Liberation, or enlightenment, is not a thing to be attained or acquired. It is living in the moment from the most profound understanding and without egoic attachment to anything. Those who parade their extraordinary spiritual accomplishments in front of others are possibly the least illumined of all. They merely substitute material commodities for “spiritual” merchandise. The Indic heritage knows of many adepts who after years of intense practice achieved a high state of consciousness or astounding paranormal ability only to promptly plunge from grace. The higher the adept’s elevation, the steeper the drop into oblivion and misery. Therefore the authorities of Yoga ever admonish practitioners to be circumspect, to keep their attainments to themselves, to focus on the cultivation of moral integrity, understanding, self-transcendence, and not least service to others.
Georg Feuerstein (The Deeper Dimension of Yoga: Theory and Practice)
Philosophy as such is nothing but genuine awareness of the problems, i.e., of the fundamental and comprehensive problems. It is impossible to think about these problems without becoming inclined toward a solution, toward one or the other of the very few typical solutions. Yet as long as there is no wisdom but only quest for wisdom, the evidence of all solutions is necessarily smaller than the evidence of the problems. Therefore the philosopher ceases to be a philosopher at the moment at which the "subjective certainty" of a solution becomes stronger than his awareness of the problematic character of that solution. At that moment the sectarian is born. The danger of succumbing to the attraction of solutions is essential to philosophy which, without incurring this danger, would degenerate into playing with the problems. But the philosopher does not necessarily succumb to this danger, as is shown by Socrates, who never belonged to a sect and never founded one. And even if the philosophic friends are compelled to be members of a sect or to found one, they are not necessarily members of one and the same sect: Amicus Plato.
Leo Strauss
I had to create that fusion, to make a chemistry set of the crowd, by rubbishing the very idea they were a crowd. This was not just a nucleus of unstable atoms banging into each other; this was a gathering of sentient beings who for those few hours every night played the most important role in the drama, transporting the band and therefore themselves to some place neither had been before. Finding some moment that none of us had occupied before, or would ever again. Think about that.
Bono (Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story)
I had felt utterly incapable of playing the part of ignorance properly, and therefore was afraid to try. It is also certain that he had brought some ready-made suspicions with him, and that he viewed my politeness as a strange and unnatural phenomenon. And yet how else could I have received him? Not heartily! That was impossible for psychological reasons, which I need not state here. My only object was to keep off his inquiries. Surlily? Yes, but surliness might have provoked a point-blank question. From its novelty to him and from its nature, punctilious courtesy was the manner best calculated to restrain the man. But there was the danger of his breaking through my defence bluntly. I could not, I think, have met him by a direct lie, also for psychological (not moral) reasons. If he had only known how afraid I was of his putting my feeling of identity with the other to the test! But, strangely enough—(I thought of it only afterwards)—I believe that he was not a little disconcerted by the reverse side of that weird situation, by something in me that reminded him of the man he was seeking—suggested a mysterious similitude to the young fellow he had distrusted and disliked from the first.
Elsinore Books (Classic Short Stories: The Complete Collection: All 100 Masterpieces)
All of us have different childhoods. The story of childhood is refracted in one’s own estimation of oneself, that’s where we pick up as it were how we feel about ourselves. Because of the language that we’ve learned in childhood, all of us have acquired expectations of how the world is, and how the world will respond to us, based on certain things that happened in the microcosmic world of the family. So we extrapolate what happened in the family, and generalize outwards to the whole world. It’s a natural thing that we do. Because our families of origin are carrying a lot of warps, and a lot of distortions, we’re likely to approach adult life full of expectations, that are not necessarily very fair, either on ourselves or on other people. We may for example think that everybody thinks we’re boring, or everyone’s out to get us, or anyone that we try to love is going to humiliate us, or that in order to win anyone’s favor we’ll always have to agree with them. We carry stories of what we need to do to get loved and also what we can expect from the world, and these stories carry distortions. And normally we play out these distortions in the busy world of relationships, and the office and our friendships, and no one quite notices, and they’re doing their stuff back to us, so everyone’s kind of projecting wildly into one another. Someone’s going “Everyone hates me”, and the other one’s going “I wanna aggress everyone”, and it’s a mess of projections and counter projections, and no one sees what’s going on and there’s no ultimate forgiveness or reconciliation. But what can happen in therapy is you take your issues and when it’s going well you play them out with the therapist, so you become really convinced that the therapist hates you because you are so boring and because therapy is just a room with a therapist, they can actually observe that and go “No, I don’t think that is necessarily right, but I think I am finding you quite interesting.” The therapist can see in a kind of petri dish things that are normally just lost in the complexity of the day-to-day world, and therefore there is a chance to correct what’s going on, so that all those slightly strange ideas, like we have a chance in the sort of clinical and clean confines of a therapy room, to see what we’re doing and get a chance to question whether it still makes sense. It has an origin but that origin may no longer be fair to reality as we have to live it.
Alain de Botton
Beauty and stone In the huge town square, A statue carved from stone witnessed every passer by, And wondered how it could similar movements acquire, So that it too could walk if not fly, Its eyes constantly looked at the strange faces, Its posture was always the same, It stood at just one place and it could never visit other places, For it had sacrificed everything in the static beauty’s name, That is still, motionless, feelingless and always the same, It even perceives different things with single perception of mind, Cursed to play over and over again the same game, Because for the statue-like beauty everything is predefined, The posture, the view, the stance, and I guess even its every thought, At least that is how I feel when I look at the statue placed in the main town square, It seems to seek what it since eternity has sought, Because it may bear a fixed expression, but that has nothing to do with its desire, Because it expresses what its sculptor felt, And in this crowded town square it looks the same every night, everyday and every time, Of its own sweet will it has never with anything dealt, It has witnessed many lovers’ kisses, and it has been witness to many a crime, But it is its irony to be a statue and nothing else, Beautiful to look at and admire, But it has a missing pulse, That of real, warm, sensitive and sensate beauty in its prime, So, I sometimes look at it and just pretend it noticed me, As I leave the spot, I see it unmoved and feelingless, To it nothing matters, who you are or who you wish to be, Because it is just beauty carved from stone, completely lifeless, And then my love I think of you, and I miss you, So I leave the statue and its stone carved beauty behind, Because the statue is beautiful, but it cannot be you, Therefore, instead in my memories and in my heart beats you I discover and always manage to find!
Javid Ahmad Tak (They Loved in 2075!)