Imitating Others Quotes

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Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
Eric Hoffer (The Passionate State of Mind: And Other Aphorisms)
Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self. There is something which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that. Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
Through others we become ourselves.
Lev S. Vygotsky
Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.
Thomas à Kempis (The Imitation of Christ)
We don't need to shift our responsibilities onto the shoulders of some deified Spiritual Superman, or sit around and wait for Fate to come knocking at the door. We simply need to believe in the power that's within us, and use it. When we do that, and stop imitating others and competing against them, things begin to work for us.
Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh)
When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.
Eric Hoffer
Do not be concerned with the faults of other persons. Do not see others' faults with a hateful mind. There is an old saying that if you stop seeing others' faults, then naturally seniors and venerated and juniors are revered. Do not imitate others' faults; just cultivate virtue. Buddha prohibited unwholesome actions, but did not tell us to hate those who practice unwholesome actions.
Dōgen
The other Max looked at me, and her eyes narrowed. 'They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,' she said snidely. 'So I guess you're really sucking up.' 'Who are you?' I gasped, my eyes wide. 'You're an impostor!' 'No she isn't.' The little creepy one, Angel, turned to look at me. Her arm was still bleeding where Ari had bitten it. 'You are.' I swallowed my anger. Who did she think she was, her and her stupid dog? I gave a concerned smile. 'But Angel,' I said, sincerity dripping from my voice, 'how can you say that? You know who I am.' 'I think I'm Angel,' she said. 'And my dog isn't stupid. You're the stupid one, to think that you could fool us. I can read minds, you idiot.
James Patterson (School's Out—Forever (Maximum Ride, #2))
Desire is both imitative (we like what others like) and competitive (we want to take away from others what they have). As children, we wanted to monopolize the attention of a parent, to draw it away from other siblings. This sense of rivalry... makes people compete for the attention.
Robert Greene (The Art of Seduction)
Above all things -- read. Read the great stylists who cannot be copied rather than the successful writers who must not be copied.
Ngaio Marsh (Death on the Air and Other Stories)
Try to recognize your own talent instead of living a pretentious life of imitating others.
Ansuman Bhagat (Best Inspirational Quotes By Ansuman Bhagat)
Once you pass a certain age, life becomes nothing more than a process of continual loss. Things that are important to your life begin to slip out of your grasp, one after another, like a come losing teeth. And the only things that come to take their place are worthless imitations. Your physical strength, your hopes, your dreams, your ideals, your convictions, all meaning, or then again, the people you love: one by one, they fade away. Some announce their departure before they leave, while others just disappear all of a sudden without warning one day. And once you lose them you can never get them back. Your search for replacements never goes well. It’s all very painful – as painful as actually being cut with a knife.
Haruki Murakami (1Q84 (1Q84 #1-3))
Most people don't know why they're doing what they're doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own.
Derek Sivers (Anything You Want)
Why escape your intended purpose by copying and trying to be someone else? You will discover who you were meant to be only after you have shown confidence being yourself.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
When you are gunning to be like other people, you are foolishly repeating their mistakes, and the worst of it all is that you can't even correct yours.
Michael Bassey Johnson
Everything failed to subdue me. Soon everything seemed dull: another sunrise, the lives of heroes, falling in love, war, the discoveries people made about each other. The only thing that didn't bore me, obviously enough, was how much money Tim Price made, and yet in its obviousness it did. There wasn't a clear, identifiable emotion within me, except for greed and, possibly, total disgust. I had all the characteristics of a human being - flesh, blood, skin, hair - but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that the normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning. Something horrible was happening and yet I couldn't figure out why - I couldn't put my finger on it.
Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho)
Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another. The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbor's, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.
Voltaire
I seemed doomed to always play supporting roles in someone else’s story. Far too many times I had asked myself whether art was imitating life or if it was the other way around.
M.L. Rio (If We Were Villains)
You will find it less easy to unroot faults than to choke them by gaining virtues. Do not think of your faults, still less of others faults; in every person who comes near you look for what is good and strong; honor that; rejoice in it and as you can, try to imitate it; and your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes.
John Ruskin
You were born an original work of art. Stay original always. Originals cost more than imitations.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
When you try to talk about yourself, you dont know who you are, or what your like, or what your like to other people. And the moment you do it's a formula for yourself, and then you're imitating yourself, and then nobody likes you and they dont know why.
Carol Channing
...we have more faith in what we imitate than in what we originate. We cannot derive a sense of absolute certitude from anything which has its roots in us. The most poignant sense of insecurity comes from standing alone and we are not alone when we imitate. It is thus with most of us; we are what other people say we are. We know ourselves chiefly by hearsay.
Bruce Lee (Tao of Jeet Kune Do)
So many people are so terrified to be alone that they settle for a loveless relationship or stay trapped in a miserable one for months and even years on end. But as it turns out, alone means unique, unequaled, and unexcelled. Or in other words: Unparalleled. Unrepeatable. Unable to be imitated or duplicated. Brave. FABULOUSLY ORIGINAL.
Mandy Hale (The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass)
...Attempts at imitation would put the emphasis where it didn't belong. The goal was to improve the lives of others, not oneself.
Tracy Kidder (Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World)
If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.
Confucius
Works of art imitate and provoke other works of art, the process is the source of art itself.
Edward Hirsch
Since 95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.
Robert B. Cialdini (Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials))
He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation. He who chooses his plan for himself, employs all his faculties.
John Stuart Mill (On Liberty)
The Violins waltzed. The Cellos and Basses provided accompaniment. The Violas mourned their fate, while the Concertmaster showed off. The Flutes did bird imitations…repeatedly, and the reed instruments had the good taste to admire my jacket. The Trumpets held a parade in honor of our great nation, while the French Horns waxed nostalgic about something or other. The Trombones had too much to drink. The Percussion beat the band, and the Tuba stayed home playing cards with his landlady, the Harp, taking sips of warm milk a blue little cup. “But the Composer is still dead.
Lemony Snicket (The Composer Is Dead)
But once an original book has been written-and no more than one or two appear in a century-men of letters imitate it, in other words, they copy it so that hundreds of thousands of books are published on exactly the same theme, with slightly different titles and modified phraseology. This should be able to be achieved by apes, who are essentially imitators, provided, of course, that they are able to make use of language.
Pierre Boulle (Planet of the Apes)
Budapest is a prime site for dreams: the East’s exuberant vision of the West, the West’s uneasy hallucination of the East. It is a dreamed-up city; a city almost completely faked; a city invented out of other cities, out of Paris by way of Vienna — the imitation, as Claudio Magris has it, of an imitation.
M. John Harrison (The Course of the Heart)
And whenever any one informs us that he has found a man who knows all the arts, and all things else that anybody knows, and every single thing with a higher degree of accuracy than any other man –whoever tells us this, I think that we can only imagine him to be a simple creature who is likely to have been deceived by some wizard or actor whom he met, and whom he thought all-knowing, because he himself was unable to analyze the nature of knowledge and ignorance and imitation.
Plato (The Republic)
You don't care what people think," he said. She couldn't tell from the way he emphasized the words if he was asking a question or making an observation. Still, she felt obliged to answer. "Of course I care. To a certain extent we all care, but we can't care to the point that we live in fear of others' opinion, that we allow them to change who we are. We must be willing to stand up and defend what represents the very core of our being. Otherwise what is the purpose of individuality? We'd be nothing but imitations of each other, and I daresay we'd all be rather boring.
Lorraine Heath (In Bed with the Devil (Scoundrels of St. James, #1))
Sprinkled across the black waters below were at least a hundred small boats set out to greet the Leviathan, their navigation lights like shifting stars. Among them loomed a glittering cruise liner, her fog horn bellowing in the night. The low groan grew into a chorus as the other great ships in the harbor joined in. Perched on Volger's desk, Bovril attempted to imitate the horns, but wound up sounding like a badly blown tuba. Alek smiled. "But they're already singing our praises!" "They are Americans," Volger said. "They toot their horns for anything.
Scott Westerfeld (Goliath (Leviathan, #3))
As a result of his experiments he concluded that imitation was a real evil that had to be broken before real rhetoric teaching could begin. This imitation seemed to be an external compulsion. Little children didn’t have it. It seemed to come later on, possibly as a result of school itself. That sounded right, and the more he thought about it the more right it sounded. Schools teach you to imitate. If you don’t imitate what the teacher wants you get a bad grade. Here, in college, it was more sophisticated, of course; you were supposed to imitate the teacher in such a way as to convince the teacher you were not imitating, but taking the essence of the instruction and going ahead with it on your own. That got you A’s. Originality on the other hand could get you anything – from A to F. The whole grading system cautioned against it.
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (Phaedrus, #1))
The story of Doubting Thomas is told, not so that we shall admire Thomas, but so that we can admire the other apostles in comparison. Thomas demanded evidence … The other apostles, whose faith was so strong that they did not need evidence, are held to us as worthy of imitation.
Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene)
The original writer is not he who refrains from imitating others, but he who can be imitated by none.
François-René de Chateaubriand
It is only by imitating the vices of others that I have earned my misfortunes.
Marquis de Sade
I give you five minutes to spare your blushes. here is the little bronze key that opens the ebony caskets on the mantle piece in the Louise-Phillipe room. In one of the caskets you will find a scorpion, in the other, a grasshopper, both very cleverly imitated in Japanese bronze: they will say yes or no for you. If you turn the scorpion round, that will mean to me, when I return that you have said yes. The grasshopper will mean no... The grasshopper, be careful of the grass hopper! A grasshopper does not only turn: it hops! It hops! And it hops jolly high!
Gaston Leroux
CHAPTER VI Concerning New Principalities Which Are Acquired By One's Own Arms And Ability LET no one be surprised if, in speaking of entirely new principalities as I shall do, I adduce the highest examples both of prince and of state; because men, walking almost always in paths beaten by others, and following by imitation their deeds, are yet unable to keep entirely to the ways of others or attain to the power of those they imitate. A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savour of it. Let him act like the clever archers who, designing to hit the mark which yet appears too far distant, and knowing the limits to which the strength of their bow attains, take aim much higher than the mark, not to reach by their strength or arrow to so great a height, but to be able with the aid of so high an aim to hit the mark they wish to reach.
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince)
Imitating others, I failed to find myself. I looked inside and discovered I only knew my name. When I stepped outside I found my real Self. ~Rumi
Maryam Mafi (Rumi's Little Book of the Heart)
The end then of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him, as we may the nearest by possessing our souls of true virtue, which being united to the heavenly grace of faith makes up the highest perfection.
John Milton (Milton on Education, the Tractate of Education,: With Supplementary Extracts from Other Writings of Milton)
In order to take control of our lives and accomplish something of lasting value, sooner or later we need to learn to believe. We don't need to shift our responsibilities onto the shoulders of some deified spiritual superman or sit around and wait for fate to come knocking on our door. We simply need to believe in the power that's within us, and use it. When we do that, and stop imitating others and competing against them, things begin to work for us.
Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh)
What makes us so adaptable? In one word, culture – our ability learn from others, to copy, imitate, share and improve.
Ian Leslie (Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on It)
I've been thinking... Maybe you're a mockingbird... Mockingbirds imitate the songs of other birds... No, I've never heard of any copyright problems.
Charles M. Schulz (The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 16: 1981-1982)
When two people talk, they don’t just fall into physical and aural harmony. They also engage in what is called motor mimicry. If you show people pictures of a smiling face or a frowning face, they’ll smile or frown back, although perhaps only in muscular changes so fleeting that they can only be captured with electronic sensors. If I hit my thumb with a hammer, most people watching will grimace: they’ll mimic my emotional state. This is what is meant, in the technical sense, by empathy. We imitate each other’s emotions as a way of expressing support and caring and, even more basically, as a way of communicating with each other.
Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference)
Beauty is present in all creation, but the danger lies in the fact that we allow ourselves to be influenced by what people think. We deny our own beauty because others can't or won't recognize it. We try to imitate what we see around us. We try to be what other people think of as 'pretty' & little by little, our soul fades. We forget the world is what we imagine it to be. We stop being the sun and become, instead, the pool of water reflecting it.
Paulo Coelho (Manuscript Found in Accra)
It is a terrifying thing when the animals laugh at the hunter. Take a tip from Harlequin and the Joker. If you imitate a fool well, you are not likely to be fooled by others. To be it bluntly, albeit unorginally: "A fool who knows he is a fool is indeed a wise man.
Anton Szandor LaVey
We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God's compassionate love for others.
St. Clare of Assisi
Socrates became a trendsetter. Other philosophers, including Plato and Aristotle and Gus, quickly followed suit, dropping their last names too. And, for centuries after that there would be countless imitators including oltaire, Michelangelo, and, much later, Cher.
Demetri Martin (This is a Book)
Children soak up both verbal and nonverbal messages like sponges—indiscriminately. They listen to their parents, they watch their parents, and they imitate their parents’ behavior. Because they have little frame of reference outside the family, the things they learn at home about themselves and others become universal truths engraved deeply in their minds.
Susan Forward (Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life)
We get our voice from the voices of others. Read promiscuously. Imitate, copy, but become your own voice.
Colum McCann (Letters to a Young Writer: Some Practical and Philosophical Advice)
I could do a good imitation of a competent young woman.
Margaret Atwood (Moral Disorder and Other Stories)
I repeat: there was no attraction for me in imitating human beings; I imitated them because I needed a way out, and for no other reason.
Franz Kafka (The Complete Stories)
With a secret smile, not unlike that of a healthy child,he walked along, peacefully, quietly. He wore his gown and walked along exactly like the other monks, but his face and his step, his peaceful downward glance, his peaceful downward-hanging hand, and every finger of his hand spoke of peace, spoke of completeness, sought nothing, imitated nothing, reflected a continuous quiet, an unfading light, an invulnerable peace.
Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha)
Greatness is never achieved by trying to imitate the greatness of another. Greatness is chipping away at all that does not belong to you and then expressing yourself so truly that others can’t help but recognize it.
Jewel (Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story)
Before I can say I am, I was. Heraclitus and I, prophets of flux, know that the flux is composed of parts that imitate and repeat each other. Am or was, I am cumulative, too. I am everything I ever was, whatever you and Leah may think. I am much of what my parents and especially my grandparents were -- inherited stature, coloring, brains, bones (that part unfortunate), plus transmitted prejudices, culture, scruples, likings, moralities, and moral errors that I defend as if they were personal and not familial.
Wallace Stegner (Angle of Repose)
Mimicry, they argue, is also one of the means by which we infect each other with our emotions. In other words, if I smile and you see me and smile in response—even a microsmile that takes no more than several milliseconds—it’s not just you imitating or empathizing with me. It may also be a way that I can pass on my happiness to you.
Malcolm Gladwell
Art creates an incomparable and unique effect, and, having done so, passes on to other things. Nature, upon the other hand, forgetting that that imitation can be made the sincerest form of insult, keeps on repeating this effect until we all become absolutely wearied of it.
Oscar Wilde (The Decay Of Lying)
We are all different and if we all live our lives, instead of imitating the lives of others, we can all contribute something different to this world.
Pierre Alex Jeanty (Unspoken Feelings of a Gentleman)
We may enjoy abundance of peace if we refrain from busying ourselves with the sayings and doings of others, and things which concern not ourselves.
Thomas à Kempis (The Imitation of Christ (Illustrated))
I seemed doomed to always play supporting roles in someone else's story. Far too many times I had asked myself whether art was imitating life or if it was the other way around.
M.L. Rio (If We Were Villains)
Most people believe it is only by constraint they can get any good out of themselves, and so they live in a state of psychological distortion. It is his own self that each of them is most afraid of resembling. Each of them sets up a pattern and imitates it; he doesn't even choose the pattern he imitates: he accepts a pattern that has been chosen for him. And yet I verily believe there are other things to be read in man. But people don't dare to - they don't dare to turn the page. Laws of imitation! Laws of fear, I call them. The fear of finding oneself alone - that is what they suffer from - and so they don't find themselves at all. I detest such moral agoraphobia - the most odious cowardice I call it. Why, one always has to be alone to invent anything - but they don't want to invent anything. The part in each of us that we feel is different from other people is just the part that is rare, the part that makes our special value - and that is the very thing people try to suppress. They go on imitating. And yet they think they love life.
André Gide (The Immoralist)
The neurons that do expire are the ones that made imitation possible. When you are capable of skillful imitation, the sweep of choices before you is too large; but when your brain loses its spare capacity, and along with it some agility, some joy in winging it, and the ambition to do things that don't suit it, then you finally have to settle down to do well the few things that your brain really can do well--the rest no longer seems pressing and distracting, because it is now permanently out of reach. The feeling that you are stupider than you were is what finally interests you in the really complex subjects of life: in change, in experience, in the ways other people have adjusted to disappointment and narrowed ability. You realize that you are no prodigy, your shoulders relax, and you begin to look around you, seeing local color unrivaled by blue glows of algebra and abstraction.
Nicholson Baker (The Mezzanine)
The Almighty Lecturer, by displaying the principles of science in the structure of the universe, has invited man to study and to imitation. It is as if He has said to the inhabitants of this globe that we call ours, "I have made an earth for man to dwell upon, and I have rendered the starry heavens visible, to teach him science and the arts. He can now provide for his own comfort, and learn from my munificence to all to be kind to each other.
Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)
Sometimes Hestia can be quite silly, but I know she is an only child, with an absent mother and a father who wasn’t quite sure how to raise a daughter. She may be trying to imitate me in the extreme, but part of me wonders if she is so afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing that she thinks imitating others is the only way to be safe. Then it’s not her who is the one being rejected.
Tricia Levenseller (The Shadows Between Us (The Shadows Between Us, #1))
It is doubtful if the oppressed ever fight for freedom. They fight for pride and power — power to oppress others. The oppressed want above all to imitate their oppressors. They want to retaliate.
Eric Hoffer
To this day, we humans remain highly susceptible to the moods and emotions of those around us, compelling all kinds of behavior on our part—unconsciously imitating others, wanting what they have, getting swept up in viral feelings of anger or outrage. We
Robert Greene (The Laws of Human Nature)
Greek customs such as wine drinking were regarded as worthy of imitation by other cultures. So the ships that carried Greek wine were carrying Greek civilization, distributing it around the Mediterranean and beyond, one amphora at a time. Wine displaced beer to become the most civilized and sophisticated of drinks—a status it has maintained ever since, thanks to its association with the intellectual achievements of Ancient Greece.
Tom Standage (A History of the World in 6 Glasses)
I think I am trying to make my head as empty as it was when I was born onto this damaged planet fifty years ago. I suspect that this is something most white Americans and nonwhite Americans who imitate white Americans, should do. The things other people have put into my head, at any rate, do not fit together nicely, are often useless and ugly, are out of proportion with one another, are out of proportion with life as it really is outside my head.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Breakfast of Champions)
My grandfather said white people can't exist without speaking. He said they're all just imitations of each other, so it's like they have to speak to distinguish themselves.
Jessica Anthony (The Convalescent)
To account nothing of one's self, and to think always kindly and highly of others, this is great and perfect wisdom.
Thomas à Kempis (The Imitation of Christ (Illustrated))
Not everyone can have the same devotion. One exactly suits this person, another that. Different exercises, likewise, are suitable for different times, some for feast days and some again for weekdays. In time of temptation we need certain devotions. For days of rest and peace we need others. Some are suitable when we are sad, others when we are joyful in the Lord.
Thomas à Kempis (The Imitation of Christ)
The painter will produce pictures of little merit if he takes the works of others as his standard: but if he will apply himself to learn from the objects of nature he will produce good results. This we see was the case with the painters who came after the time of the Romans, for they continually imitated each other, and from age to age their art steadily declined.
Leonardo da Vinci
Some people have a warped idea of living the Christian life. Seeing talented, successful Christians, they attempt to imitate them. For them, the grass on the other side of the fence is always greener. But when they discover that their own gifts are different or their contributions are more modest (or even invisible), they collapse in discouragement and overlook genuine opportunities that are open to them. They have forgotten that they are here to serve Christ, not themselves.
Billy Graham (Hope for Each Day: Words of Wisdom and Faith)
The part in each of us that we feel is different from other people is just the part that is rare, the part that makes our special value - and that is the very thing people try to suppress. They go on imitating. And yet they think they love life
André Gide (The Immoralist)
The painter is not simply someone who looks and who sees. Above all, the artist is someone who exposes a personal vision by rendering it visible. The painter shows or allows the seeing of "something" that without him, without his intervention, would not be seen. He manifests through his work a possibility of seeing that would otherwise remain latent. In other words, painting is an art that reveals or unveils the world from an angle that the world itself does not present to us. Painting creates. It does not limit itself to imitation or reproduction. Any desire to confine painting within the limits of déjà vu would be a gross misunderstanding of the essence of what painting is. Painting allows us to see that which without it would never be seen.
Marcel Paquet (Botero)
Throughout my life I have seen, without one exception, narrow-shouldered men performing innumerable idiotic acts, brustalising their fellows, and corrupted souls by every means. They call the motive for their actions: fame. Seeing these exhibitions I’ve longed to laugh, with the rest, but that strange imitation was impossible. Taking a penknife with a sharp-edged blade, I slit the flesh at the points joining the lips. For an instant I believed my aim was achieved. I saw in a mirror the mouth ruined at my own will! An error! Besides, the blood gushing freely from the two wounds prevented my distinguishing whether this really was the grin of others. But after some moments of comparison I saw quite clearly that my smile did not resemble that of humans: the fact is, I was not laughing.
Comte de Lautréamont
So the soul mate does make us feel complete, like finding the deeper understanding of ourselves...souls will choose to be with or marry others when incarnate. We go through countless experiences, and sometimes one soul outgrows the other one (which also imitates life when one person grows and his or her partner stays stagnant). Of course these two are still connected-it's just that one has evolved to a greater degree than the other half has. This doesn't mean that your soul mate stops watching out for you or loving you-you two will be close for eternity. So instead of looking for the one soul mate, enjoy all the wonderful people you know and love here and from other lives...and even on the Other Side.
Sylvia Browne (Spiritual Connections: How to Find Spirituality Throughout All the Relationships in Your Life)
For since men for the most part follow in the footsteps and imitate the actions of others, and yet are unable to adhere exactly to those paths which others have taken, or attain to the virtues of those whom they would resemble, the wise man should always follow the roads that have been trodden by the great, and imitate those who have most excelled, so that if he cannot reach their perfection, he may at least acquire something of its savour. Acting in this like the skilful archer, who seeing that the object he would hit is distant, and knowing the range of his bow, takes aim much above the destined mark; not designing that his arrow should strike so high, but that flying high it may alight at the point intended.
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince)
Men nearly always follow the tracks made by others and proceed in their affairs by imitation, even though they cannot entirely keep to the tracks of others or emulate the prowess of their models. So a prudent man should always follow in the footsteps of great men and imitate those who have been outstanding. If his own prowess fails to compare with theirs, at least it has an air of greatness about it. He should behave like those archers who, if they are skilful, when the target seems too distant, know the capabilities of their bow and aim a good deal higher than their objective, not in order to shoot so high but so that by aiming high they can reach the target.
Niccolò Machiavelli
This much is already known: for every sensible line of straightforward statement, there are leagues of senseless cacophonies, verbal jumbles and incoherences. (I know of an uncouth region whose librarians repudiate the vain and superstitious custom of finding a meaning in books and equate it with that of finding a meaning in dreams or in the chaotic lines of one's palm . . . They admit that the inventors of this writing imitated the twenty-five natural symbols, but maintain that this application is accidental and that the books signify nothing in themselves. This dictum, we shall see, is not entirely fallacious.)
Jorge Luis Borges (Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings)
The poet is the sayer, the namer, and represents beauty. He is a sovereign, and stands on the centre. For the world is not painted, or adorned, but is from the beginning beautiful; and God has not made some beautiful things, but Beauty is the creator of the universe. Therefore the poet is not any permissive potentate, but is emperor in his own right. Criticism is infested with a cant of materialism, which assumes that manual skill and activity is the first merit of all men, and disparages such as say and do not, overlooking the fact, that some men, namely, poets, are natural sayers, sent into the world to the end of expression, and confounds them with those whose province is action, but who quit it to imitate the sayers. The poet does not wait for the hero or the sage, but, as they act and think primarily, so he writes primarily what will and must be spoken, reckoning the others, though primaries also, yet, in respect to him, secondaries and servants; as sitters or models in the studio of a painter, or as assistants who bring building materials to an architect.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Essays, Second Series)
Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own. They spend decades in pursuit of something that someone convinced them they should want, without realizing that it won’t make them happy. Don’t
Derek Sivers (Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur)
What is your substance, whereof are you made, That millions of strange shadows on you tend? Since everyone hath every one, one shade, And you, but one, can every shadow lend. Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit Is poorly imitated after you. On Helen’s cheek all art of beauty set, And you in Grecian tires are painted new. Speak of the spring and foison of the year; The one doth shadow of your beauty show, The other as your bounty doth appear, And you in every blessèd shape we know. In all external grace you have some part, But you like none, none you, for constant heart.
William Shakespeare (Shakespeare's Sonnets)
Let us understand, once for all, that the ethical progress of society depends, not on imitating the cosmic process, still less in running away from it, but in combating it.
Thomas Henry Huxley (Evolution and Ethics: And Other Essays)
Quickly enough we feel and reckon up what we bear at the hands of others, but we reflect not how much others are bearing from us.
Thomas à Kempis (The Imitation of Christ (Illustrated))
This evil of taking our cue from others has become so deeply ingrained that even that most basic feeling, grief, degenerates into imitation.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation.
John Stuart Mill (On Liberty)
Gacela of the Flight” I have lost myself in the sea many tunes with my ear full of freshly cut flowers, with my tongue full of love awl agony. I have lost myself in the sea many times as I lose myself in the heart of certain children. There is no one who in giving a kiss does not feel the smile of faceless people, and no one who in touching a newborn child forgets the motionless skulls of horses. Because the roses search in the forehead for a hard landscape of hone and the hands of man hate no other purpose than to imitate the roots below the earth. As I lose myself in the heart of certain children, I have lost myself in the sea many times. Ignorant of the water I go seeking a death full of light to consume me.
Federico García Lorca (The Selected Poems)
Have I not already told you', replied Don Quixote, 'that I intend to imitate Amadis, and to act the desperate, foolish, furious lover so as also to imitate the valiant Orlando, when he found signs by a spring that the fair Angelica had disgraced herself with Medoro, and the grief turned him mad, and he uprooted trees, sullied the waters of clear springs, slew shepherds, destroyed flocks, burned cottages, tore down houses, dragged away mares and performed a hundred other excesses, worthy to be recorded on the tablets of eternal fame?' [...] 'But to my mind', said Sancho, 'the knights who did all that were pushed into it and had their reasons for their antics and their penances, but what reason have you got for going mad?' 'That is the whole point', replied Don Quixote, 'and therein lies the beauty of my enterprise. A Knight Errant going mad for a good reason - there is neither pleasure nor merit in that. The thing is to become insane without a cause and have my lady think: If I do all this when dry, what would I not do when wet?
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quixote)
People are eager to walk in other people's pair of shoes that does not fit them. The result is that, their dreams begin to imitate a "tortoise" walk and that I guess is already uncomfortable!
Israelmore Ayivor (Shaping the dream)
The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading subjugation on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it: for man is an imitative animal.
Thomas Jefferson (Notes on the State of Virginia)
The names of virtues, with their precepts, were: 1. Temperance. Eat not do dullness; drink not to elevation. 2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation. 3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. 4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve. 5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing. 6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions. 7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly. 8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty. 9. Moderation. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve. 10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloths, or habitation. 11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable. 12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation. 13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Benjamin Franklin (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin)
Some lives are exemplary, others not; and of exemplary lives, there are those which invite us to imitate them, and those which we regard from a distance with a mixture of revulsion, pity, and reverence.
Susan Sontag
If some men do not choose to think, but survive by imitating and repeating, like trained animals, the routine of sounds and motions they learned from others, never making an effort to understand their own work, it still remains true that their survival is made possible only by those who did choose to think and to discover the motions they are repeating. The survival of such mental parasites depend on blind chance; their unfocused minds are unable to know whom to imitate, whose motions it is safe to follow. They are the men who march into the abyss, trailing after any destroyer who promises them to assume the responsibility they evade: the responsibility of being conscious.
Ayn Rand (The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism)
Anyone that says his mind will be probably regarded a fool, but the true artist is not moved by the comments about the looks of his painting or remarks that are dreadfully sarcastic, but hearken now! That he who says what others want to hear hasn't said anything of his own.
Michael Bassey Johnson
Years ago I predicted that these suffragettes, tried out by victory, would turn out to be idiots. They are now hard at work proving it. Half of them devote themselves to advocating reforms, chiefly of a sexual character, so utterly preposterous that even male politicians and newspaper editors laugh at them; the other half succumb absurdly to the blandishments of the old-time male politicians, and so enroll themselves in the great political parties. A woman who joins one of these parties simply becomes an imitation man, which is to say, a donkey.
H.L. Mencken (In Defense Of Women)
Asked if an army can be made to imitate the SHUAI-JAN, I should answer, Yes. For the men of Wu and the men of Yueh are enemies; yet if they are crossing a river in the same boat and are caught by a storm, they will come to each other's assistance just as the left hand helps the right.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
The disease of the soul is both more common and more deadly than the disease of the body. Just as medicine is the art devoted to healing the body, so philosophy is the art devoted to healing the soul, curing it of improper emotions, false beliefs, and faulty judgments, which are the causes of so much hardship and handicap. To heal the body one turns to the practitioner of the art of healing the body, but to heal the soul there is no doctor to turn to, and each of us is left to become that doctor unto himself. Yet, this need not stop us from exhorting others to imitate us in the godly art, in the forlorn hope that they might transform themselves into better citizens for Athens and better companions for us.
Neel Burton (Plato: Letters to my Son)
In their new personal development the girl and the woman will only be for a short time imitations of the good and bad manners of man and reiterations of man's professions. After the uncertainty of this transition it will appear that women have passed through those many, often ridiculous, changes of disguise, only to free themselves from the disturbing influence of the other sex. For women, in whom life tarries and dwells in a more incommunicable, fruitful and confident form, must at bottom have become richer beings, more ideally human beings than fundamentally easy-going man, who is not drawn down beneath the surface of life by the difficulty of bearing bodily fruit, and who arrogantly and hastily undervalues what he means to love. When this humanity of woman, borne to the full in pain and humiliation, has stripped off in the course of the changes of its outward position the old convention of simple feminine weakness, it will come to light, and man, who cannot yet feel it coming, will be surprised and smitten by it. One day—a day of which trustworthy signs are already speaking and shining forth especially in northern lands—one day that girl and woman will exist, whose name will no longer mean simply a contrast to what is masculine, but something for itself, something that will not make one think of any supplement or limit, but only of life and existence—the feminine human beings. This advance, at first very much against the will of man who has been overtaken—will alter the experience of love, which is now full of error, will change it radically and form it into a relationship, no longer between man and woman, but between human being and human being. And this more human love, which will be carried out with infinite consideration and gentleness and will be good and clean in its tyings and untyings, will be like that love which we are straining and toiling to prepare, the love which consists in this, that two lonely beings protect one another, border upon one another and greet one another.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
A sense of peace and contentment filled him. He loved music, and he loved to dance. Teaching Tess to waltz was going to be a pleasure. A half an hour later, he had revised his opinion drastically, as she stepped on his foot again. Instantly, they both stopped moving and glared at each other. "Young lady, you are not an elephant," he told her. "Kindly refrain from imitating one.
Thea Harrison (Night's Honor (Elder Races, #7))
That’s not the whole of it. As with many other faiths—including our own Christian one—a small group of zealots have distorted Islam to further their own agenda. When many women took to imitating the fashions of the Prophet’s wives, some Moslem men saw an opportunity to put all women under their thumb. They espoused foul laws like those allowing a man to beat his wife or force her into his bed.
Matthew Reilly (The Tournament)
Those who correct others should watch for the Holy Spirit to go ahead of them and touch a person's heart. Learn to imitate Him who reproves gently. . . . When you become outraged over a person's fault, it is generally not "righteous indignation" but your own impatient personality expressing itself. Here is the imperfect pointing a finger at the imperfect. The more you selfishly love yourself, the more critical you will be. Self-love cannot forgive the self- love it discovers in others. Nothing is so offensive to a haughty, conceited heart as the sight of another one. God's love, however, is full of consideration, patience, and tenderness. It leads people out of their weakness and sin one step at a time.
François Fénelon
Within sixty-minute limits or one-hundred-yard limits or the limits of a game board, we can look for perfect moments or perfect structures. In my fiction I think this search sometimes turns out to be a cruel delusion. No optimism, no pessimism. No homesickness for lost values or for the way fiction used to be written. Everybody seems to know everything. Subjects surface and are totally exhausted in a matter of days or weeks, totally played out by the publishing industry and the broadcast industry. Nothing is too arcane to escape the treatment, the process. Making things difficult for the reader is less an attack on the reader than it is on the age and its facile knowledge-market. The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence. The writer is the man or woman who automatically takes a stance against his or her government. There are so many temptations for American writers to become part of the system and part of the structure that now, more than ever, we have to resist. American writers ought to stand and live in the margins, and be more dangerous. Writers in repressive societies are considered dangerous. That’s why so many of them are in jail. Some people prefer to believe in conspiracy because they are made anxious by random acts. Believing in conspiracy is almost comforting because, in a sense, a conspiracy is a story we tell each other to ward off the dread of chaotic and random acts. Conspiracy offers coherence. I see contemporary violence as a kind of sardonic response to the promise of consumer fulfillment in America... I see this desperation against the backdrop of brightly colored packages and products and consumer happiness and every promise that American life makes day by day and minute by minute everywhere we go. Discarded pages mark the physical dimensions of a writer’s labor. Film allows us to examine ourselves in ways earlier societies could not—examine ourselves, imitate ourselves, extend ourselves, reshape our reality. It permeates our lives, this double vision, and also detaches us, turns some of us into actors doing walk-throughs. Every new novel stretches the term of the contract—let me live long enough to do one more book. You become a serious novelist by living long enough.
Don DeLillo
The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even — if you will — eccentricity. That is, something that can’t be feigned, faked, imitated; something even a seasoned impostor couldn’t be happy with. Something, in other words, that can’t be shared, like your own skin — not even by a minority.
Joseph Brodsky (Less Than One: Selected Essays)
Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous, half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is unique.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
Take a little thought experiment. Imagine all the rampage school shooters in Littleton, Colorado; Pearl, Mississippi; Paducah, Kentucky; Springfield, Oregon; and Jonesboro, Arkansas; now imagine they were black girls from poor families who lived instead in Chicago, New Haven, Newark, Philadelphia, or Providence. Can you picture the national debate, the headlines, the hand-wringing? There is no doubt we’d be having a national debate about inner-city poor black girls. The entire focus would be on race, class, and gender. The media would doubtless invent a new term for their behavior, as with wilding two decades ago. We’d hear about the culture of poverty, about how living in the city breeds crime and violence. We’d hear some pundits proclaim some putative natural tendency among blacks toward violence. Someone would likely even blame feminism for causing girls to become violent in a vain imitation of boys. Yet the obvious fact that virtually all the rampage school shooters were middle-class white boys barely broke a ripple in the torrent of public discussion. This uniformity cut across all other differences among the shooters: some came from intact families, others from single-parent homes; some boys had acted violently in the past, and others were quiet and unassuming; some boys also expressed rage at their parents (two killed their parents the same morning), and others seemed to live in happy families.
Michael S. Kimmel (Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era)
If men used as much care in uprooting vices and implanting virtues as they do in discussing problems, there would not be so much evil and scandal in the world, or such laxity in religious organizations. On the day of judgment, surely, we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken but how well we have lived. Tell me, where now are all the masters and teachers whom you knew so well in life and who were famous for their learning? Others have already taken their places and I know not whether they ever think of their predecessors. During life they seemed to be something; now they are seldom remembered.
Thomas à Kempis (The Imitation of Christ)
Here, in college, it was more sophisticated, of course; you were supposed to imitate the teacher in such a way as to convince the teacher you were not imitating, but taking the essence of the instruction and going ahead with it on your own. That got you A’s. Originality on the other hand could get you anything—from A to F. The whole grading system cautioned against it.
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
I think it is the art of the glimpse. If the novel is like an intricate Renaissance painting, the short story is an impressionist painting. It should be an explosion of truth. Its strength lies in what it leaves out just as much as what it puts in, if not more. It is concerned with the total exclusion of meaninglessness. Life, on the other hand, is meaningless most of the time. The novel imitates life, where the short story is bony, and cannot wander. It is essential art.
William Trevor
We imitate each other with slavish devotion and our most strenuous efforts are put forth to try to say the same thing that everyone around us is saying—and yet to find an excuse for saying it, some little safe variation on the approved theme or, if no more, at least a new illustration.
A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God)
If God spares us as a father does his son, let us imitate God. It is natural for children to imitate their parents. Let us imitate God in this one thing: As God spares us, and passes by many failures, so let us be sparing in our censures of others; let us look upon the weaknesses and indiscretions of our brethren with...a more tender, compassionate eye. How much God bears with us!
Thomas Watson
There was a basic harmony between Ántonia and her mistress. They had strong, independent natures, both of them. They knew what they liked, and were not always trying to imitate other people. They loved children and animals and music, and rough play and digging in the earth. They liked to prepare rich, hearty food and to see people eat it; to make up soft white beds and to see youngsters asleep in them. They ridiculed conceited people and were quick to help unfortunate ones. Deep down in each of them there was a kind of hearty joviality, a relish of life, not over-delicate, but very invigorating.
Willa Cather (My Ántonia)
Be your best self and do not imitate anyone else. Find your strengths. They are your talents. They will make you smile and cause you to real joy on the inside. Don’t listen to those who ridicule the choices you make or the dreams you share. Let no one despise your youth. As Og Mandino explained in The Greatest Salesman in the World, “Experience is overrated, usually by old men who nod wisely and speak stupidly.” Create your own experiences. And know that you are creating memories for a lifetime. Life is not about finding yourself; it is about creating yourself. You have to take chances to make your dreams reality. Face your fears head-on and move rapidly. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Make lots of them! Your odds for success will increase with the number of decisions you make. Have patience with your dreams and the expectations you have for others. Be impatient with yourself daily. Live as if this is your last day. Say “I love you” to all those who matter. Know that everyone matters. You must play full-out right now. Sit up, hold your head high. Breathe deeply. Lift your chest up. Stand up straight and with confidence. Dust yourself off. Stop being a party pooper in your own life. Smile. A bigger noticeable smile. Start acting happy. Yes, you act first. I promise the feeling of happiness will soon follow.
Robert Smith
Literature, although it stands apart by reason of the great destiny and general use of its medium in the affairs of men, is yet an art like other arts. Of these we may distinguish two great classes: those arts, like sculpture, painting, acting, which are representative, or as used to be said very clumsily, imitative; and those, like architecture, music, and the dance, which are self-sufficient, and merely presentative.
Robert Louis Stevenson
The presence of otaku culture is a grotesque reflection of the fragility of Japanese identity. This is because the "Japanese" themes and modes of expression created by otaku are in fact all imitations and distortions of U.S.-made material. On the other hand, the presence of this culture is connected to the narcissism of the 1980s and is also a fetish that can feed the illusion of Japan being at the cutting edge of the world.
Hiroki Azuma
Without virtue, it is hard to bear the results of good fortune suitably. Those who lack virtue become arrogant and wantonly aggressive when they have these other goods. They think less of everyone else, and do whatever they please. They do this because they are imitating the magnanimous person though they are not really like him.
Aristotle on the Megalopsychos
He speaks to Klamm, but is it Klamm? Isn’t it rather someone who merely resembles Klamm? Perhaps at the very most a secretary who is a little like Klamm and goes to great lengths to be even more like him and tries to seem important by affecting Klamm’s drowsy, dreamlike manner. That part of his being is easiest to imitate, many try to do so; as for the rest of his being, though, they wisely steer clear of it. And a man such as Klamm, who is so often the object of yearning and yet so rarely attained, easily takes on a variety of shapes in the imagination of people. For instance, Klamm has a village secretary here called Momus. Really? You know him? He too keeps to himself but I have seen him a couple of times. A powerful young gentleman, isn’t he? And so he probably doesn’t look at all like Klamm? And yet you can find people in the village who would swear that Momus is Klamm and none other than he. That’s how people create confusion for themselves. And why should it be any different at the Castle?
Franz Kafka (The Castle)
I like to read great books not because I’m hoping to imitate them but because I want to remind myself how good you have to be to be any good at all. We won’t be read in the light of other writers in our zip code or decade but as we compare to Proust, Joyce, and Nabokov. History has set the bar very high, and one must jump over it, not do the limbo under it.
Edmund White (The Unpunished Vice: A Life of Reading)
The revolutionaries thought they would be destroying vanity when they destroyed the privileges of the noble. But vanity is like a virulent cancer that spreads in a more serious form throughout the body just when one things it has been removed. Who is there left to imitate after the tyrant has been removed. Henceforth men shall copy each other; idolatry of one person is replaced by hatred of a hundred thousand rivals. In Balzac's opinion, too, there is no other god but envy for the modern crowd whose greed is no longer stemmed and held within acceptable limits by the monarch. Men will become gods for each other.
René Girard (Deceit, Desire and the Novel: Self and Other in Literary Structure)
Rag Tags, you see, are absolutely free to do as they please, which for the most part is to imitate each other. And you only have to take a closer look at most youth culture groups to verify that. Mods and rockers, skinheads and greasers, teddy boys, suadeheads, chavs, emos, goths etc. all fear that by being different they’ll be left out in the cold. That’s why they’re Rag Tags
Karl Wiggins (Wrong Planet - Searching for your Tribe)
Considering thus how much honor is awarded to antiquity, and how many times—letting pass infinite other examples—a fragment of an ancient statue has been bought at high price because someone wants to have it near oneself, to honor his house with it, and to be able to have it imitated by those who delight in that art, and how the latter then strive with all industry to represent it in all their works; and seeing, on the other hand, that the most virtuous works the histories show us, which have been done by ancient kingdoms and republics, by kings, captains, citizens, legislators, and others who have labored for their fatherland, are rather admired than imitated—indeed they are so much shunned by everyone in every least thing that no sign of that ancient virtue remains with us—I can do no other than marvel and grieve… From this it arises that the infinite number who read [the histories] take pleasure in hearing of the variety of accidents contained within them without thinking of imitating them, judging that imitation is not only difficult but impossible—as if heaven, sun, elements, men had varied in motion, order, and power from what they were in antiquity. Wishing, therefore, to turn men from this error, I have judged it necessary to write on all those books of Titus Livy...
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Discourses)
We can look outside of ourselves for some larger example out in the sky someplace—maybe even in our imaginations. But in the end, we will imitate each other. In the end, children will imitate their parents, and parents will imitate their parents. And nation will imitate nation. In the end, we will take our cues from each other, until one of us steps out and says, “Not that way. This way.
Neale Donald Walsch (Neale Donald Walsh's Little Book of Life: A User's Manual)
Classic Ballet, Keep away, keep building your creaky fairy castles, keep cloning clones and meaningless manners, hang on to your beanstalk ballerinas and their midget male shadows, run yourself out of business with your tons of froufrou and costly clattery toe shoes that ruin all chances for illusions of lightness, keep on crowding the minds of blind balletomanes who prefer dainty poses to the eloquent strength of momentum, who have forgotten or never known the manings of gesture, who would nod their noses to barefoot embargos ("so grab me" spelt backwards). Continue to repolish your stiff technique and to ignore a public that hungers for something other than a bag of tricks and the empty-headedness of surface patterns. Just keep it up, keep imitating yourself, and, , go grow your own dance makers. Come on, don't keep trying to filter modern ones through your so-safe extablishment. We're to be seen undiluted, undistorted, not absorbed by your hollow world like blood into a sponge. Yours truly, A Different Leaf on Our Family Tree
Paul Taylor (Private Domain: An Autobiography)
You don’t need validation or approval from anyone but yourself. Even if the entire world goes against, disagrees with or attempts to crush you, stand up for what you believe in, and stand up alone if you have to! It’s better to die while living your own truth than to live in the truth of another. Lord Krishna in the holy Bhagavad Gita pointed this out when he said; “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” Integrity is the key to freedom. It’s only your own truth that can ‘set you free.’ It’s perfectly fine if your truth doesn’t match that of others because the experience of physical reality is a completely subjective one. It doesn’t make either of you wrong, as long as you’re both being true to yourselves, that’s all that matters.
Craig Krishna (The Labyrinth: Rewiring the Nodes in the Maze of your Mind)
But what sets me apart from other Chinese writers is that I neither copy the narrative techniques of foreign writers nor imitate their story lines; what I am happy to do is closely explore what is embedded in their work in order to understand their observations of life and comprehend how they view the world we live in. In my mind, by reading the works of others, a writer is actually engaging in a dialogue, maybe even a romance in which, if there is a meeting of the minds, a lifelong friendship is born; if not, an amicable parting is fine, too.
Mo Yan (Shifu, You'll Do Anything for a Laugh: A Novel)
Throughout my life, I have seen narrow-shouldered men, without a single exception, committing innumerable stupid acts, brutalizing their fellows and perverting their souls by every means. They call the motive for their actions glory. On seeing these spectacles, I wanted to laugh with the others, but such a strange imitation was impossible, so I took a sharp-edged penknife and slit my flesh in the two places my lips joined.
Comte de Lautréamont (The Songs of Maldoror)
What fragmented individualism really meant was what happened to a black man who tried to make it in this society: in order to succeed, he had to become an imitation white man - dress white, talk white, think white, express the values of middle-class white culture (at least when he was in the presence of white men). Implied in all this was the hiding, the denial, of his selfhood, his negritude, his culture, as though they were somehow shameful. If he succeeded, he was an alienated marginal man - alienated from the strength of his culture and from fellow black men, and never able, of course, to become that imitation white man because he bore the pigment that made the white man view him as intrinsically other.
John Howard Griffin (Black Like Me)
But he had always believed in fighting for the underdog, against the top dog. He had learned it, not from The Home, or The School, or The Church, but from that fourth and other great moulder of social conscience, The Movies. From all those movies that had begun to come out when Roosevelt went in. He had been a kid back then, a kid who had not been on the bum yet, but he was raised up on all those movies that they made then, the ones that were between '32 and '37 and had not yet degenerated into commercial imitations of themselves like the Dead End Kid perpetual series that we have now. He had grown up with them, those movies like the every first Dead End, like Winternet, like Grapes Of Wrath, like Dust Be My Destiny, and those other movies starring John Garfield and the Lane girls, and the on-the-bum and prison pictures starring James Cagney and George Raft and Henry Fonda.
James Jones (From Here to Eternity)
They tried to substitute for Christianity a body of dogmas called “dialectical materialism.” As Orestes Brownson pointed out in 1849, and as Arnold Toynbee has also written, communism was really a kind of caricature of Christianity, borrowing certain of its moral affirmations, imitating its dogmas, and even appropriating some of its phrases. This made communism all the more dangerous: for the superficial similarities between Christian morality and the pretended Soviet morality sometimes deluded Americans and people in other free states into thinking that communism had high moral aspirations.
Russell Kirk (The American Cause)
This equation has placed our cities among the most dangerous in the world and has placed our youth among the most empty and most bewildered. The situation of our youth is not mysterious. Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. They must, they have no other models. That is exactly what our children are doing. They are imitating our immorality, our disrespect for the pain of others.
James Baldwin (Nobody Knows My Name)
Help us, our Father, to show other nations an America to imitate—not the America of loud jazz music, self-seeking indulgence, and love of money, but the America that loves fair play, honest dealing, straight talk, real freedom, and faith in God. Make us to see that it cannot be done as long as we are content to be coupon clippers on the original investment made by our forefathers. Give us faith in God and love for our fellow men, that we may have something to deposit on which the young people of today can draw interest tomorrow. By Thy grace, let us this day increase the moral capital of this country. Amen.
Catherine Marshall (A Man Called Peter)
To finally surrender ourselves to healing, we have to have three spaces opened up within us - and all at the same time: our opinionated head, our closed-down heart, and our defensive and defended body. That is the summary work of spirituality - and it is indeed work. Yes, it is also the work of “a Power greater than ourselves,” and it will lead to a great luminosity and depth of seeing. That is why true faith is one of the most holistic and free actions a human can perform. It leads to such broad and deep perception that most traditions would just call it “light.” Remember, Jesus said that we also are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), as well as saying it about himself (John 8:12). Strange that we see light in him but do not imitate him in seeing the same light in ourselves. Such luminous seeing is quite the opposite of the closed-minded, dead-hearted, body-denying thing that much religion has been allowed to become. As you surely have heard before, “Religion is lived by people who are afraid of hell. Spirituality is lived by people who have been through hell and come out enlightened.” The innocuous mental belief systems of much religion are probably the major cause of atheism in the world today, because people see that religion has not generally created people who are that different, more caring, or less prejudiced than other people. In fact, they are often worse because they think they have God on their small side. I wish I did not have to say this, but religion either produces the very best people or the very worst. Jesus makes this point in many settings and stories. Mere mental belief systems split people apart, whereas actual faith puts all our parts (body, heart, and head) on notice and on call. Honestly, it takes major surgery and much of one’s life to get head, heart, and body to put down their defenses, their false programs for happiness, and their many forms of resistance to what is right in front of them. This is the meat and muscle of the whole conversion process.
Richard Rohr (Radical Grace: Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr)
But virtue, by the bare statement of its actions, can so affect men's minds as to create at once both admiration of the things done and desire to imitate the doers of them. The goods of fortune we would possess and would enjoy; those of virtue we long to practise and exercise. We are content to receive the former from others, the latter we wish others to experience from us. Moral good is a practical stimulus; it is no sooner seen, than it inspires an impulse to practice, and influences the mind and character not by a mere imitation which we look at, but by the statement of the fact creates a moral purpose which we form.
Plutarch (The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, Vol 1)
In my case, the effort for these years to live in the dress of Arabs, and to imitate their mental foundation, quitted me of my English self, and let me look at the West and its conventions with new eyes: they destroyed it all for me. At the same time I could not sincerely take on the Arab skin: it was an affectation only. Easily was a man made an infidel, but hardly might he be converted to another faith. I had dropped one form and not taken on the other, and has become like Mohammed's coffin in our legend, with a resultant feeling of intense loneliness in life, and a contempt, not for other men, but for all they do. Such detachment came at times to a man exhausted by prolonged physical effort and isolation. His body plodded on mechanically, while his reasonable mind left him, and from without looked down critically on him, wondering what that futile lumber did and why. Sometimes these selves would converse in the void; and then madness was very near, as I believe it would be near the man who could see things through the veils at once of two customs, two educations, two environments.
T.E. Lawrence
Vanderbilt sent me a series of picture postcards showing Hitler making a speech. The face was obscenely comic – a bad imitation of me, with its absurd moustache, unruly, stringy hair and disgusting, thin, little mouth. I could not take Hitler seriously. Each postcard showed a different posture of him: one with his hands claw-like haranguing the crowds, another with one arm up and the other down, like a cricketer about to bowl, and another with hands clenched in front of him as though lifting an imaginary dumb-bell. The salute with the hand thrown back over the shoulder, the palm upwards, made me want to put a tray of dirty dishes on it. ‘This is a nut!’ I thought. But when Einstein and Thomas Mann were forced to leave Germany, this face of Hitler was no longer comic but sinister.
Charlie Chaplin (My Autobiography (Neversink))
Contrary to our metaphors, humans are much more imitative than the other apes. For example: if chimps watch a demonstration on how to get food out of a puzzle box, they, in their turn, skip any unnecessary steps, go straight to the treat. Human children overimitate, reproducing each step regardless of its necessity. There is some reason why, now that it’s our behavior, being slavishly imitative is superior to being thoughtful and efficient, but I forget exactly what that reason is.
Karen Joy Fowler (We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves)
Regardless of who leads it, the professional-class liberalism I have been describing in these pages seems to be forever traveling on a quest for some place of greater righteousness. It is always engaged in a search for some subject of overwhelming, noncontroversial goodness with which it can identify itself and under whose umbrella of virtue it can put across its self-interested class program. There have been many other virtue-objects over the years: people and ideas whose surplus goodness could be extracted for deployment elsewhere. The great virtue-rush of the 1990s, for example, was focused on children, then thought to be the last word in overwhelming, noncontroversial goodness. Who could be against kids? No one, of course, and so the race was on to justify whatever your program happened to be in their name. In the course of Hillary Clinton’s 1996 book, It Takes a Village, the favorite rationale of the day—think of the children!—was deployed to explain her husband’s crime bill as well as more directly child-related causes like charter schools. You can find dozens of examples of this kind of liberal-class virtue-quest if you try, but instead of listing them, let me go straight to the point: This is not politics. It’s an imitation of politics. It feels political, yes: it’s highly moralistic, it sets up an easy melodrama of good versus bad, it allows you to make all kinds of judgments about people you disagree with, but ultimately it’s a diversion, a way of putting across a policy program while avoiding any sincere discussion of the policies in question. The virtue-quest is an exciting moral crusade that seems to be extremely important but at the conclusion of which you discover you’ve got little to show for it besides NAFTA, bank deregulation, and a prison spree.
Thomas Frank (Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People)
My dear Homer, if you are really only once removed from the truth, with reference to virtue, instead of being twice removed and the manufacturer of a phantom, according to our definition of an imitator, and if you need to be able to distinguish between the pursuits which make men better or worse, in private and in public, tell us what city owes a better constitution to you, as Lacedaemon owes hers to Lycurgus, and as many cities, great and small, owe theirs to many other legislators? What state attributes to you the benefits derived from a good code of laws? Italy and Sicily recognize Charondas in this capacity, and we solon. But what state recognizes you.
Plato
If he wasn't angry, he certainly did a good imitation. His voice was clipped and as hard as stone. She wrung her hands together. "I love you. Clay." "No, you don't." Meg felt as though he'd just slapped her. "Yes, I do. When you leave this town, I'll go with you." Narrowing his eyes, he studied her. "Will you marry me?" "Yes." "Will you give me children?" "If I can. Kirk and I were never able to conceive, but if I can have children, I want to have yours." "In this town that we move to, wherever it is, will you walk down the street with me?" "Of course." "Holding my hand?" "Yes." "And the hands of my children?" "Yes." He unfolded his arms and took a step toward her. She wanted to fling herself into his embrace, but something hard in his eyes stopped her. "And what happens, Mrs. Warner, when someone you know rides through town and points at me and calls me a yellow-bellied coward? What will you do then? Will you let go of my hand and take my children to the other side of the street? Will you pretend that you haven't kissed me, that you haven't lain with me beneath the stars?" With disgust marring his features, he turned away. "You think I'm a coward. Go home." "I don't think that. I love you." He spun around. "You don't believe in that love, you don't believe in me." "Yes, I do." He stalked toward her. She backed into the corner and bent her head to meet his infuriated gaze. "How strongly do you believe in our love?" he asked, his voice ominously low. "If they threatened to strip off your clothes unless you denied our love, would you deny our love?" He gave her no chance to respond, but continued on, his voice growing deeper and more ragged, as though he were dredging up events from the past. "If they wouldn't let you sleep until you denied our love, would you deny our love so you could lay your head on a pillow? "If they stabbed a bayonet into your backside every time your eyes drifted closed, would you deny our love so your flesh wouldn't be pierced? "If they applied a hot brand to your flesh until you screamed in agony, would you deny our love so they'd take away the iron? "If they placed you before a firing squad, would you say you didn't love me so they wouldn't shoot you?" He stepped back and plowed his hands through his hair. "You think I'm a coward. You don't think I have the courage to stand beside you and risk the anger of your father. I'd die before I turned away from anyone or anything I believed in. You won't even walk by my side." He looked the way she imagined soldiers who had lost a battle probably looked: weary, tired of the fight, disillusioned. "You don't believe in me," he said quietly. "How can you believe in our love?
Lorraine Heath (Always to Remember)
They would go down fighting, but they were going to die there. And he thought dying would be all right. It was going to break Roland's heart to lose the boy...yet he would go on. As long as the Dark Tower stood, Roland would go on. Jake looked up. "She said, 'Remember the struggle.' " "Susannah did." "Yes. She came forward. Mia let her. And the song moved Mia. She wept." "Say true?" "True. Mia, daughter of none, mother of one. And while Mia was distracted...her eyes blind with tears..." Jake looked around. Oy looked around with him, likely not searching for anything but only imitating his beloved Ake. Callahan was remembering that night on the Pavilion. The lights. The way Oy had stood on his hind legs and bowed to the folken. Susannah, singing. The lights. The dancing, Roland dancing the commala in the lights, the colored lights. Roland dancing in the white. Always Roland; and in the end, after the others had fallen, murdered away one by one in these bloody motions, Roland would remain.
Stephen King (Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, #6))
The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. (...) The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to his worst of passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities.
Thomas Jefferson (Notes on the State of Virginia)
Genie In 1970 a child called Genie was admitted to a children’s hospital in Los Angeles. She was thirteen years old and had spent most of her life tied to a chair in a small closed room. Her father was intolerant of any kind of noise and had beaten the child whenever she made a sound. There had been no radio or television, and Genie’s only other human contact was with her mother who was forbidden to spend more than a few minutes with the child to feed her. Genie had spent her whole life in a state of physical, sensory, social and emotional deprivation. As might be expected, Genie was unable to use language when she was first brought into care. However, within a short period of time, she began to respond to the speech of others, to try to imitate sound and to communicate. Her syntax remained very simple. However, the fact that she went on to develop an ability to speak and understand a fairly large number of English words provides some evidence against the notion that language cannot be acquired at all after the critical period.
George Yule
The most powerful anti-Christian movement is the one that takes over and "radicalizes" the concern for victims in order to paganize it. The powers and principalities want to be “revolutionary” now, and they reproach Christianity for not defending victims with enough ardor. In Christian history they see nothing but persecutions, acts of oppression, inquisitions. This other totalitarianism presents itself as the liberator of humanity. In trying to usurp the place of Christ, the powers imitate him in the way a mimetic rival imitates his model in order to defeat him. They denounce the Christian concern for victims as hypocritical and a pale imitation of the authentic crusade against oppression and persecution for which they would carry the banner themselves. In the symbolic language of the New Testament, we would say that in our world Satan, trying to make a new start and gain new triumphs, borrows the language of victims. ... The Antichrist boasts of bringing to human beings the peace and tolerance that Christianity promised but has failed to deliver. Actually, what the radicalization of contemporary victimology produces is a return to all sorts of pagan practices: abortion, euthanasia, sexual undifferentiation, Roman circus games galore but without real victims, etc. Neo-paganism would like to turn the Ten Commandments and all of Judeo-Christian morality into some alleged intolerable violence, and indeed its primary objective is their complete abolition. Faithful observance of the moral law is perceived as complicity with the forces of persecution that are essentially religious... Neo-paganism locates happiness in the unlimited satisfaction of desires, which means the suppression of all prohibitions. This idea acquires a semblance of credibility in the limited domain of consumer goods, whose prodigious multiplication, thanks to technological progress, weakens certain mimetic rivalries. The weakening of mimetic rivalries confers an appearance of plausibility, but only that, on the stance that turns the moral law into an instrument of repression and persecution.
René Girard (I See Satan Fall Like Lightning)
The desirable thing is to possess sufficient Individuality and Initiative to be your own bellwether – to be a law unto yourself, so far as other men are concerned. The great men – the strong men – care nothing for the flock, which so obediently trots along after them. They derive no satisfaction from this thing, which pleases only inferior minds, and gratifies only petty natures and ambitions. The big men – the great spirits of all ages – have derived more satisfaction from that inward conviction of strength and ability which they felt unfolding into activity within themselves, than in the plaudits of the mob, or in the servility of those imitative creatures who sought to follow in their footsteps.
William Walker Atkinson (The Secret Of Success (with linked TOC))
It has been said that when people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate one another. We look to others for information about what is right or good to do in a given situation, and this social proof shapes everything from the products we buy to the candidates we vote for. The phrase ‘Monkey see, monkey do’ captures more than just our tendency to follow others. If people can’t see what others are doing, they can’t imitate them. So to get our products and ideas to become popular we need to make them more publicly observable
Jonah Berger (Contagious: Why Things Catch On)
Before they are preachers, leaders or church planters, the disciples are to be lovers! This is the test of whether or not they have known Jesus. This remains the case today: this cross-love is the primary, dynamic test of whether or not we have understood the gospel word and experienced its power...It is our cross-love for each other that proclaims the truth of the gospel to a watching and skeptical world. Our love for one another, to the extent that it imitates and conforms to the cross-love of Jesus for us, is evangelistic. pp. 56-7
Tim Chester (Total Church: A Radical Reshaping Around Gospel and Community)
To see wholly, the brain has to be in a state of negation. Negation is not the opposite of the positive; all opposites are related within the fold of each other. Negation has no opposite. The brain has to be in a state of negation for total seeing; it must not interfere, with its evaluations and justifications, with its condemnations and defences. It has to be still, not made still by compulsion of any kind, for then it is a dead brain, merely imitating and conforming. When it is in a state of negation, it is choicelessly still. Only then is there total seeing. In this total seeing which is the quality of the mind, there is no seer, no observer, no experiencer; there's only seeing. The mind then is completely awake.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (Krishnamurti's Notebook)
Did you, like, google me or something?” She frowned. “I don’t know that word.” “You looked me up,” he said. “Almost like you had some interest in me.” She wrinkled her nose. “I have an interest in not making you a new set of clothes every other day. I have an interest in you not smelling so bad and walking around my island in smouldering rags.” “Oh, yeah.” Leo grinned. “You’re really warming up to me.” Her face got even redder. “You are the most insufferable person I have ever met! I was only returning a favour. You fixed my fountain.” “That?” Leo laughed. The problem had been so simple he’d almost forgotten about it. One of the bronze satyrs had been turned sideways and the water pressure was off, so it started making an annoying ticking sound, jiggling up and down and spewing water over the rim of the pool. He’d pulled out a couple of tools and fixed it in about two minutes. “That was no big deal. I don’t like it when things don’t work right.” “And the curtains across the cave entrance?” “The rod wasn’t level.” “And my gardening tools?” “Look, I just sharpened the shears. Cutting vines with a dull blade is dangerous. And the pruners needed to be oiled at the hinge, and—” “Oh, yeah,” Calypso said, in a pretty good imitation of his voice. “You’re really warming up to me.
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4))
The idle apprehend more things, are deeper than the industrious: no task limits their horizon; born into an eternal Sunday, they watch-—and watch themselves watching. Sloth is a somatic skepticism, the way the flesh doubts. In a world of inaction, the idle would be the only ones not to be murderers. But they do not belong to humanity, and, sweat not being their strong point, they live without suffering the consequences of Life and of Sin. Doing neither good nor evil, they disdain—spectators of the human convulsion—the weeks of time, the efforts which asphyxiate consciousness. What would they have to fear from a limitless extension of certain afternoons except the regret of having supported a crudely elementary obviousness? Then, exasperation in the truth might induce them to imitate the others and to indulge in the degrading temptation of tasks. This is the danger which threatens sloth, that miraculous residue of paradise.
Emil M. Cioran (A Short History of Decay)
Girls and women, in their new, particular unfolding, will only in passing imitate men's behavior and misbehavior and follow in male professions. Once the uncertainty of such transitions is over it will emerge that women have only passed through the spectrum and the variety of those (often laughable) disguises in order to purify their truest natures from the distorting influences of the other sex. Women, in whom life abides and dwells more immediately, more fruitfully and more trustingly, are bound to have ripened more thoroughly, become more human human beings, than a man, who is all too light and has not been pulled down beneath the surface of life by the weight of a bodily fruit and who, in his arrogance and impatience, undervalues what he thinks he loves. This humanity which inhabits woman, brought to term in pain and humiliation, will, once she has shrugged off the conventions of mere femininity through the transformations of her outward status, come clearly to light, and men, who today do not yet feel it approaching, will be taken by surprise and struck down by it. One day (there are already reliable signs which speak for it and which begin to spread their light, especially in the northern countries), one day there will be girls and women whose name will no longer just signify the opposite of the male but something in their own right, something which does not make one think of any supplement or limit but only of life and existence: the female human being. This step forward (at first right against the will of the men who are left behind) will transform the experience of love, which is now full of error, alter its root and branch, reshape it into a relation between two human beings and no longer between man and woman. And this more human form of love (which will be performed in infinitely gentle and considerate fashion, true and clear in its creating of bonds and dissolving of them) will resemble the one we are struggling and toiling to prepare the way for, the love that consists in two solitudes protecting, defining and welcoming one another.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
Our forefathers were not only brave. I believe they were right. I believe that what they meant was that every man born had equal right to grow from scratch by way of his own power unhindered to the highest expression of himself possible to him. This of course not antagonistic by sympathetic to the growth of all men as brothers. Free emulation not imitation of the "bravest and the best" is to be expected of him. Uncommon he may and will and should become as inspiration to his fellows, not a reflection upon them, not to be resented but accepted--and in this lies the only condition of the common man's survival. So only is he intrinsic to democracy. Persistently holding quality above quantity only as he attempts to live a superior life of his own, and to whatsoever degree in whatever case he finds it; this is his virtue in a democracy such as ours was designed to be. Only this sense of proportion affords tranquility of spirit, in itself beauty, in either character of action. Nature is never other than serene even in a thunderstorm. The assumption of the "firm countenance, lips compressed" in denial or resentment is not known to her as it is known to civilization. Such negation by human countenance may be moral (civilization is inclined to morality) but even so not nature. Again exuberance is repose but never excess.
Frank Lloyd Wright (A Testament)
The human faculties of perception, judgment, discriminative feeling, mental activity, and even moral preference, are exercised only in making a choice. He who does anything because it is the custom, makes no choice. He gains no practice either in discerning or in desiring what is best. The mental and moral, like the muscular powers, are improved only by being used . . . He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation. He who chooses his plan for himself, employs all his faculties.21
Michael J. Sandel (Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?)
I think I am trying to clear my head of all the junk in there—the assholes, the flags, the underpants. Yes—there is a picture in this book of underpants. I'm throwing out characters from my other books, too. I'm not going to put on any more puppet shows. I think I am trying to make my head as empty as it was when I was born onto this damaged planet fifty years ago. I suspect that this is something most white Americans, and nonwhite Americans who imitate white Americans, should do. The things other people have put into my head, at any rate, do not fit together nicely, are often useless and ugly, are out of proportion with one another, are out of proportion with life as it really is outside my head. I have no culture, no humane harmony in my brains. I can't live without a culture anymore.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Breakfast of Champions)
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, by use all gently, for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows and noise. I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant. It out-herods Herod. Pray you avoid it. Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature. For anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve, the censure of the which one must in your allowance o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly (not to speak profanely), that neither having th' accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of Nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably. Reform it altogether! And let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them, for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too, though in the mean time some necessary question of the play be then to be considered. That's villainous and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go make you ready.
William Shakespeare
Never look back. The past is done. The future is a blank canvas. Work on creating a masterpiece. Only you have the power to make your painting beautiful. Do not waste time chasing after success or comparing yourself to others. Every flower blooms at a different pace. Excel at doing what your passion is and only focus on perfecting it. Eventually people will see what you are great at doing, and if you are truly great, success will come chasing after you. Those who chase after success are flowers with bulbs that fade out early. Those who have success chasing after them, become eternal flowers. But remember, you were born an original work of art. Stay original always. Originals cost more than imitations. Just take a look at the the coolest people in history. History does not remember the forgettable. It honors the unique minority the majority cannot forget.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
You’re still young and healthy. Maybe that’s why you don’t understand what I am saying. Let me give you an example. Once you pass a certain age, life becomes nothing more than a process of continual loss. Things that are important to your life begin to slip out of your grasp, one after another, like a comb losing teeth. And the only things that come to take their place are worthless imitations. Your physical strength, your hopes, your dreams, your ideals, your convictions, all meaning, or, then again, the people you love: one by one, they fade away. Some announce their departure before they leave, while others just disappear all of a sudden without warning one day. And once you lose them you can never get them back. Your search for replacements never goes well. It’s all very painful—as painful as actually being cut with a knife. You will be turning thirty soon, Mr. Kawana, which means that, from now on, you will gradually enter that twilight portion of life—you will be getting older. You are probably beginning to grasp that painful sense that you are losing something, are you not?
Haruki Murakami (1Q84 (1Q84 #1-3))
Disappointed Englishman. Several Englishmen who were inveigled by a mountain guide in eastern Tyrol into climbing the Drei Zinnen with him were so disappointed, after reaching the highest of the three peaks, with what Nature had to offer them on this highest peak that then and there they killed the guide, a family man with three children and, it seems, a deaf wife. When, however, they realized what they had actually done, they threw themselves off the peak, one after the other. After this, a newspaper in Birmingham wrote that Birmingham had lost its most outstanding newspaper publisher, its most extraordinary bank director, and its most able undertaker.
Thomas Bernhard (The Voice Imitator)
Let no man marvel if in what I am about to say concerning Princedoms wholly new, both as regards the Prince and the form of Government, I cite the highest examples. For since men for the most part follow in the footsteps and imitate the actions of others, and yet are unable to adhere exactly to those paths which others have taken, or attain to the virtues of those whom they would resemble, the wise man should always follow the roads that have been trodden by the great, and imitate those who have most excelled, so that if he cannot reach their perfection, he may at least acquire something of its savour. Acting in this like the skilful archer, who seeing that the object he would hit is distant, and knowing the range of his bow, takes aim much above the destined mark; not designing that his arrow should strike so high, but that flying high it may alight at the point intended.
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince)
I have entered upon a performance which is without example, whose accomplishment will have no imitator. I mean to present my fellow-mortals with a man in all the integrity of nature; and this man shall be myself. I know my heart, and have studied mankind; I am not made like any one I have been acquainted with, perhaps like no one in existence; if not better, I at least claim originality, and whether Nature did wisely in breaking the mould with which she formed me, can only be determined after having read this work. Whenever the last trumpet shall sound, I will present myself before the sovereign judge with this book in my hand, and loudly proclaim, thus have I acted; these were my thoughts; such was I. With equal freedom and veracity have I related what was laudable or wicked, I have concealed no crimes, added no virtues; and if I have sometimes introduced superfluous ornament, it was merely to occupy a void occasioned by defect of memory: I may have supposed that certain, which I only knew to be probable, but have never asserted as truth, a conscious falsehood. Such as I was, I have declared myself; sometimes vile and despicable, at others, virtuous, generous and sublime; even as thou hast read my inmost soul: Power eternal! assemble round thy throne an innumerable throng of my fellow-mortals, let them listen to my confessions, let them blush at my depravity, let them tremble at my sufferings; let each in his turn expose with equal sincerity the failings, the wanderings of his heart, and, if he dare, aver, I was better than that man.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Wanting his mind on other matters, she deliiberately challenged his statement. "You don't know so much about me. There was a man once. He was crazy about me." She tried to look wordly. "Absolutely crazy for me." His answering laughter was warm against her neck, her throat. His lips touched the skin over her pulse and skimmed lightly up to her ear. "Are you, by any chance, referring to that foppish boy with the orange hair and spiked collar? Dragon something?" Savannah gasped and pulled away to glare at im. "How could you possibly know about him? I dated him last year." Gregori nuzzled her neck, inhaling her fragrance, his hand sliding over her shoulder, moving gently over her satin skin to take possession of her breast. "He wore boots and rode a Harley." His breath came out in a rush as his palm cupped the soft weight, his thumb brushing her nipple into a hard peak. The feel of his large hand-so strong, so warm and possessive on her-sent heat curling through her body. Desire rose sharply. He was seducing her with tenderness. Savannah didn't want it to happen. Her body felt better, but the soreness was there to remind her where this could all lead. Her hand caught at his wrist. "How did you find out about Dragon?" she asked, desperate to distract him, to distract herself. How could he make her body burn for his when she was so afraid of him, of having sex with him? "Making love," he corrected, his voice husky, caressing, betraying the ease with which his mind moved like a shadow through hers."And to answer your question, I live in you, can touch you whenever I wish.I knew about all of them. Every damn one." He growled the worrds, and her breath caught in her throat. "He was the only one you thought of kissing." His mouth touched hers. Gently. Lightly. Returned for more. Coaxing, teasing, until she opened to him. He stole her breath, her reason, whirling her into a world of feeling.Bright colors and white-hot heat, the room falling away until there was only his broad shoulders,strong arms, hard body, and perfect,perfect mouth. When he lifted his head, Savannah nearly pulled him back to her.He watched her face,her eyes cloudy with desire, her lips so beautiful, bereft of his. "Do you have any idea how beautiful you are, Savannah? There is such beauty in your soul,I can see it shining in your eyes." She touched his face, her palm molding his strong jaw. Why couldn't she resist his hungry eyes? "I think you're casting a spell over me. I can't remember what we were talking about." Gregori smiled. "Kissing." His teeth nibbled gently at her chin. "Specifically,your wanting to kiss that orange-bearded imbecile." "I wanted to kiss every one of them," she lied indignantly. "No,you did not.You were hoping that silly fop would wipe my taste from your mouth for all eternity." His hand stroked back the fall of hair around her face.He feathered kisses along the delicate line of her jaw. "It would not have worked,you know.As I recall,he seemed to have a problem getting close to you." Her eyes smoldered dangerously. "Did you have anything to do with his allergies?" She had wanted someone, anyone,to wipe Gregori's taste from her mouth,her soul. He raised his voice an octave. "Oh, Savannah, I just have to taste your lips," he mimicked. Then he went into a sneezing fit. "You haven't ridden until you've ridden on a Harley,baby." He sneezed, coughed, and gagged in perfect imitation. Savannah pushed his arm, forgetting for a moment her bruised fist. When it hurt, she yelped and glared accusingly at him. "It was you doing all that to him! That poor man-you damaged his ego for life. Each time he touched me, he had a sneezing fit." Gregori raised an eyebrow, completely unrepentant. "Technically,he did not lay a hand on you.He sneezed before he could get that close.
Christine Feehan (Dark Magic (Dark, #4))
We are medians because we will never have enough," Callum said hoarsely. "We aren't normal; we are gods born with pain built in. We are incendiary beings and we are flawed, except the weaknesses we pretend to have are not our true weaknesses at all. We are not soft, we do not suffer impairment or frailty—we imitate it. We tell ourselves we have it. But our only real weakness is that we know we are bigger, stronger, as close to omnipotence as we can be, and we are hungry, we are aching for it. Other people can see their limits, Tristan, but we have none. We want to find our impossible edges, to close our fingers around constraints that don't exist, and that," Callum exhaled. "That is what will drive us to madness.
Olivie Blake (The Atlas Six (The Atlas, #1))
I believe in brevity. I believe that you, the reader, entrust me, the writer, with your most valued commodity—your time. I shouldn’t take more than my share. For that reason, I love the short sentence. Big-time game it is. Hiding in the jungle of circular construction and six-syllable canyons. As I write, I hunt. And when I find, I shoot. Then I drag the treasure out of the trees and marvel. Not all of my prey make their way into chapters. So what becomes of them? I save them. But I can’t keep them to myself. So, may I invite you to see my trophy case? What follows are cuts from this book and a couple of others. Keep the ones you like. Forgive the ones you don’t. Share them when you can. But if you do, keep it brief. Pray all the time. If necessary, use words. Sacrilege is to feel guilt for sins forgiven. God forgets the past. Imitate him. Greed I’ve often regretted. Generosity—never. Never miss a chance to read a child a story. Pursue forgiveness, not innocence. Be doubly kind to the people who bring your food or park your car. In buying a gift for your wife, practicality can be more expensive than extravagance. Don’t ask God to do what you want. Ask God to do what is right. Nails didn’t hold God to a cross. Love did.
Max Lucado (When God Whispers Your Name (The Bestseller Collection))
'how then does soul differ from spirit?' you're probably asking yourself. although he must have been reasonably sure nobody was. "Well, soul is darker of color, denser of volume, saltier of flavor, rougher of texture, and tends to be more maternalistic than paternalistic: soul is connected to Mother Earth just as spirit is connected to Father Sky. Of course, mothers and fathers are prone to copulation, and in their commingled state, soul and spirit often can be difficult to distinguish the one from the other. Generally, if spirit is the fresh air cent and ambient lighting in the house of consciousness, if the spirit is the electrical system that illuminates that house, then soul is the smoky fireplace, the fragrant oven, the dusty wine cellar, the strange creeks we hear in the floorboards late at night. "It's a bit of a cliche to say it, but when you think of soul, you should think of things that are authentic and things that are deep. Anything superficial is not soulful. Anything artificial, imitative, or overly refined is not soulful. Wood has a stronger connection to soul than does plastic, although, paradoxically, thanks to human interface, a funky wooden table or chair can sometimes exceed in soulfulness the soul that may be invoked by a living tree.
Tom Robbins (Villa Incognito)
For feverish mornings after he left, she lay awake in that guest room in their house, in the rumples of the sheet he had slept in. She would get him on every turn: his aftershave lingering on the sides of the pillow that sometimes caught her, waking up from her dreams of him, in nuclear nights, his gaze: drenching her like water drops on burning rocks. She herself didn’t have any smell. He had to really lean in the first time to make out the attar amidst the freckles on her neck. And then there would be at least two, never only one: Jasmine and that other thing that he could never place- a smell that was between imitation pearls and the insides of a Durga Puja afternoon. On some days even in Simla, this she, would waft in by his collars nonchalantly.’ ('Left from Dhakeshwari')
Kunal Sen
Nature had once produced an Englishman whose domed head had been a hive of words; a man who had only to breathe on any particle of his stupendous vocabulary to have that particle live and expand and throw out tremulous tentacles until it became a complex image with a pulsing brain and correlated limbs. Three centuries later, another man, in another country, was trying to render these rhythms and metaphors in a different tongue. This process entailed a prodigious amount of labour, for the necessity of which no real reason could be given. It was as if someone, having seen a certain oak tree (further called Individual T) growing in a certain land and casting its own unique shadow on the green and brown ground, had proceeded to erect in his garden a prodigiously intricate piece of machinery which in itself was as unlike that or any other tree as the translator's inspiration and language were unlike those of the original author, but which, by means of ingenious combination of parts, light effects, breeze-engendering engines, would, when completed, cast a shadow exactly similar to that of Individual T - the same outline, changing in the same manner, with the same double and single spots of sun rippling in the same position, at the same hour of the day. From a practical point of view, such a waste of time and material (those headaches, those midnight triumphs that turn out to be disasters in the sober light of morning!) was almost criminally absurd, since the greatest masterpiece of imitation presupposed a voluntary limitation of thought, in submission to another man's genius.
Vladimir Nabokov (Bend Sinister)
Leave off driving your composers. It might prove to be as dangerous as it is generally unnecessary. After all, composing cannot be turned out like spinning or sewing. Some respected colleagues (Bach, Mozart, Schubert) have spoilt the world terribly. But if we can’t imitate them in the beauty of their writing, we should certainly beware of seeking to match the speed of their writing. It would also be unjust to put all the blame on idleness alone. Many factors combine to make writing harder for us (my contemporaries), and especially me. If, incidentally, they would use us poets for some other purpose, they would see that we are thoroughly and naturally industrious dispositions . . . . I have no time: otherwise I should love to chat on the difficulty of composing and how irresponsible publishers are.
Johannes Brahms (Johannes Brahms: Life and Letters)
Children have an elemental hunger for knowledge and understanding, for mental food and stimulation. They do not need to be told or “motivated” to explore or play, for play, like all creative or proto-creative activities, is deeply pleasurable in itself. Both the innovative and the imitative impulses come together in pretend play, often using toys or dolls or miniature replicas of real-world objects to act out new scenarios or rehearse and replay old ones. Children are drawn to narrative, not only soliciting and enjoying stories from others, but creating them themselves. Storytelling and mythmaking are primary human activities, a fundamental way of making sense of our world. Intelligence, imagination, talent, and creativity will get nowhere without a basis of knowledge and skills, and for this education must be sufficiently structured and focused. But an education too rigid, too formulaic, too lacking in narrative, may kill the once-active, inquisitive mind of a child. Education has to achieve a balance between structure and freedom, and each child’s needs may be extremely variable.
Oliver Sacks (The River of Consciousness)
He proposed an imitation game. There would be a man (A), a woman (B) and an interrogator (C) in a separate room, reading the written answers from the others, trying to work out which was the woman. B would be trying to hinder the process. Now, said Turing, imagine that A was replaced by a computer. Could the interrogator tell whether they were talking to a machine or not after five minutes of questioning? He gave snatches of written conversation to show how difficult the Turing Test would be: Q: Please write me a sonnet on the subject of the Forth Bridge. A: Count me out on this one. I never could write poetry. To imitate that a computer would need deep knowledge of social mores and the use of language. To pass the Turing Test the computer would have to do more than imitate. It would have to be a learning entity.
David Boyle (Alan Turing: Unlocking the Enigma)
Bloom of adulthood. Try a whiff of that. On your back in the dark you remember. Ah you remember. Cloudless May day. She joins you in the little summerhouse. Entirely of logs. Both larch and fir. Six feet across. Eight from floor to vertex. Area twenty-four square feet to the furthest decimal. Two small multicoloured lights vis-a-vis. Small stained diamond panes. Under each a ledge. There on summer Sundays after his midday meal your father loved to retreat with Punch and a cushion. The waist of his trousers unbuttoned he sat on the one ledge and turned the pages. You on the other your feet dangling. When he chuckled you tried to chuckle too. When his chuckle died yours too. That you should try to imitate his chuckle pleased and amused him greatly and sometimes he would chuckle for no other reason than to hear you try to chuckle too. Sometimes you turn your head and look out through a rose-red pane. You press your little nose against the pane and all without is rosy. The years have flown and there at the same place as then you sit in the bloom of adulthood bathed in rainbow light gazing before you. She is late.
Samuel Beckett (As the Story Was Told (Beckett Short))
If the infidels live among the Muslims, in accordance with the conditions set out by the Prophet—there is nothing wrong with it provided they pay Jizya to the Islamic treasury. Other conditions are . . . that they do not renovate a church or a monastery, do not rebuild ones that were destroyed, that they feed for three days any Muslim who passes by their homes . . . that they rise when a Muslim wishes to sit, that they do not imitate Muslims in dress and speech, nor ride horses, nor own swords, nor arm themselves with any kind of weapon; that they do not sell wine, do not show the cross, do not ring church bells, do not raise their voices during prayer, that they shave their hair in front so as to make them easily identifiable, do not incite anyone against the Muslims, and do not strike a Muslim. . . . If they violate these conditions, they have no protection .40
Raymond Ibrahim (Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians)
Can machines think?"... The new form of the problem can be described in terms of a game which we call the 'imitation game." It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays in a room apart front the other two. The object of the game for the interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman. He knows them by labels X and Y, and at the end of the game he says either "X is A and Y is B" or "X is B and Y is A." The interrogator is allowed to put questions to A and B... We now ask the question, "What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game?" Will the interrogator decide wrongly as often when the game is played like this as he does when the game is played between a man and a woman? These questions replace our original, "Can machines think?
Alan Turing (Computing machinery and intelligence)
Freud has said in Totem and Taboo that acts that are illegal for the individual can be justified in another way: the one who initiates the act takes upon himself both the risk and the guilt. The result is truly magic: each member of the group can repeat the act without guilt. They are not responsible, only the leader is. Redl calls this, aptly, "priority magic." But it does something even more than relieve guilt: it actually transforms the fact of murder. This crucial point initiates us directly into the phenomenology of group transformation of the everyday world. If one murders without guilt, and in imitation of the hero who runs the risk, why then it is no longer murder: it is "holy aggression. For the first one it was not." In other words, participation in the group redistills everyday reality and gives it the aura of the sacred-just as, in childhood, play created a heightened reality.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
Two years of Newtrition investment and research had produced CHOW™. CHOW™ contained spun, plaited, and woven protein molecules, capped and coded, carefully designed to be ignored by even the most ravenous digestive tract enzymes; no-cal sweeteners; mineral oils replacing vegetable oils; fibrous materials, colorings, and flavorings. The end result was a foodstuff almost indistinguishable from any other except for two things. Firstly, the price, which was slightly higher, and secondly the nutritional content, which was roughly equivalent to that of a Sony Walkman. It didn’t matter how much you ate, you lost weight.* Fat people had bought it. Thin people who didn’t want to get fat had bought it. CHOW™ was the ultimate diet food—carefully spun, woven, textured, and pounded to imitate anything, from potatoes to venison, although the chicken sold best. Sable sat back and watched the money roll in. He watched CHOW™ gradually fill the ecological niche that used to be filled by the old, untrademarked food. He followed CHOW™ with SNACKS™—junk food made from real junk. MEALS™ was Sable’s latest brainwave. MEALS™ was CHOW™ with added sugar and fat. The theory was that if you ate enough MEALS™ you would a) get very fat, and b) die of malnutrition.
Terry Pratchett (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
Why is it that of every hundred gifted young musicians who study at Juilliard or every hundred brilliant young scientists who go to work in major labs under illustrious mentors, only a handful will write memorable musical compositions or make scientific discoveries of major importance? Are the majority, despite their gifts, lacking in some further creative spark? Are they missing characteristics other than creativity that may be essential for creative achievement—such as boldness, confidence, independence of mind? It takes a special energy, over and above one’s creative potential, a special audacity or subversiveness, to strike out in a new direction once one is settled. It is a gamble as all creative projects must be, for the new direction may not turn out to be productive at all. Creativity involves not only years of conscious preparation and training but unconscious preparation as well. This incubation period is essential to allow the subconscious assimilation and incorporation of one’s influences and sources, to reorganize and synthesize them into something of one’s own. In Wagner’s overture to Rienzi, one can almost trace this emergence. There are echoes, imitations, paraphrases, pastiches of Rossini, Meyerbeer, Schumann, and others—all the musical influences of his apprenticeship. And then, suddenly, astoundingly, one hears Wagner’s own voice: powerful, extraordinary (though, to my mind, horrible), a voice of genius, without precedent or antecedent. The essential element in these realms of retaining and appropriating versus assimilating and incorporating is one of depth, of meaning, of active and personal involvement.
Oliver Sacks (The River of Consciousness)
Similarly with the plongeur. He is a king compared with a rickshaw puller or a gharry pony, but his case is analogous. He is the slave of a hotel or a restaurant, and his slavery is more or less useless. For, after all, where is the REAL need of big hotels and smart restaurants? They are supposed to provide luxury, but in reality they provide only a cheap, shoddy imitation of it. Nearly everyone hates hotels. Some restaurants are better than others, but it is impossible to get as good a meal in a restaurant as one can get, for the same expense, in a private house. No doubt hotels and restaurants must exist, but there is no need that they should enslave hundreds of people. What makes the work in them is not the essentials; it is the shams that are supposed to represent luxury. Smartness, as it is called, means, in effect, merely that the staff work more and the customers pay more; no one benefits except the proprietor, who will presently buy himself a striped villa at Deauville. Essentially, a ‘smart’ hotel is a place where a hundred people toil like devils in order that two hundred may pay through the nose for things they do not really want. If the nonsense were cut out of hotels and restaurants, and the work done with simple efficiency, plongeurs might work six or eight hours a day instead of ten or fifteen.
George Orwell (Down and Out in Paris and London)
It follows from Schopenhauer’s analysis that evert genuine work of art must have its origin in direct perception; that is to say it does not originate in concepts, and concepts are not what it communicates. This is what more than anything else differentiates good art from bad, or more accurately authentic from inauthentic art. The latter often originates in a desire on the part of the artist to meet some demand external to himself – to win approval, say, or be in the fashion, or supply a market – or else to put over a message of some sort. Such an artist starts by trying to thin what it would be a good idea to do – in other words, the starting point of the process for him is something that exists in terms of concepts. The inevitable result is dead art, of whatever kind, whether imitative, academic, commercial, didactic or fashion-conscious. It may be successful in its day because it meets the demands of its day, but once that day is over it has no inner life of its own with which to outlive it.
Bryan Magee (The Philosophy of Schopenhauer)
A scientist who studied monkeys on an island in Indonesia was able to teach a certain one to wash bananas in the river before eating them. Cleansed of sand and dirt, the food was more flavorful. The scientist who did this only because he was studying the learning capacity of monkeys did not imagine what would eventually happen. So he was surprised to see that the other monkeys on the island began to imitate the first one. "And then, one day, when a certain number of monkeys had learned to wash their bananas, the monkeys on all of the other islands in the archipelago began to do the same thing. What was most surprising, though, was that the other monkeys learned to do so without having had any contact with the island where the experiment had been conducted." He stopped. "Do you understand?" "No," I answered. "There are several similar scientific studies. The most common explanation is that when a certain number of people evolve, the entire human race begins to evolve. We don't know how many people are needed but we know that's how it works.
Paulo Coelho (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept)
This summer, a lot of what I was teaching was against Bloom’s Anxiety of Influence, very broadly speaking, this anxiety of sounding too much like another poet, especially a firmly established poet, for fear of not sounding original. I kept telling my students, “Why wouldn’t you want to be influence by these poets! Why wouldn’t you want to sound like Keats or Robert Hayden?” Pound and Eliot were influenced by Browning, and they influenced one another. James Wright—when he came on the scene, many of us were consciously imitating him, trying to do do what he so gloriously did.... I tell them not to worry about influence or imitation as long as you’re emulating the best work, the work you love. How much imitation is too much? You’ll know it when you see it. . . .And that’s just a huge problem in general, especially in America. We’re individuals. we’re the one, not the many. We want to stand out from the crowd. Everyone is trying to differentiate themselves. The fact is we are one big organism. We belong together. We are a tribe. Not one of us can do something that doesn’t affect the other, past or present.
Tony Leuzzi (Passwords Primeval: 20 American Poets in their Own Words)
From her handbag she takes a round gilt compact with violets on the cover. She opens it, unclosing her other self, and runs her fingertip around the corners of her mouth, left one, right one; then she unswivels a pink stick and dots her cheeks and blends them, changing her shape, performing the only magic left to her. Rump on a packsack, harem cushion, pink on the cheeks and black discreetly around the eyes, as red as blood as black as ebony, a seamed and folded imitation of a magazine picture that is itself an imitation of a woman who is also an imitation, the original nowhere, hairless lobed angel in the same heaven where God is a circle, captive princess in someone's head. She is locked in, she isn't allowed to eat or shit or cry or give birth, nothing goes in, nothing comes out. She takes her clothes off or puts them on, paper doll wardrobe, she copulates under strobe lights with the man's torso while his brain watches from its glassed-in control cubicle at the other end of the room, her face twists into poses of exultation and total abandonment, that is all. She is not bored, she has no other interests.
Margaret Atwood (Surfacing)
Love this quote from the book by Stephen Fisher "The Lord requires one that will dare to step out of the boat of complacency and believe his word. This pleases Jesus so much. Jesus waits for an opportunity to move if people would only believe. There is a place in God that you don’t have to work up faith, it comes as natural as the air you breathe, and you don’t have to imitate others." My prayer (Linda Brown).....Let this be my portion Lord! To move in the supernaturally natural Grace of God, the empowering Grace that makes the impossible possible, the unreachable reachable, the unteachable teachable, the invisible visible and the miraculous an everyday part of living, walking, breathing and talking with You. Not by Might but by Your Spirit Oh God!
Stephen Fisher
There is a vast difference between being a Christian and being a disciple. The difference is commitment. Motivation and discipline will not ultimately occur through listening to sermons, sitting in a class, participating in a fellowship group, attending a study group in the workplace or being a member of a small group, but rather in the context of highly accountable, relationally transparent, truth-centered, small discipleship units. There are twin prerequisites for following Christ - cost and commitment, neither of which can occur in the anonymity of the masses. Disciples cannot be mass produced. We cannot drop people into a program and see disciples emerge at the end of the production line. It takes time to make disciples. It takes individual personal attention. Discipleship training is not about information transfer, from head to head, but imitation, life to life. You can ultimately learn and develop only by doing. The effectiveness of one's ministry is to be measured by how well it flourishes after one's departure. Discipling is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside other disciples in order to encourage, equip, and challenge one another in love to grow toward maturity in Christ. This includes equipping the disciple to teach others as well. If there are no explicit, mutually agreed upon commitments, then the group leader is left without any basis to hold people accountable. Without a covenant, all leaders possess is their subjective understanding of what is entailed in the relationship. Every believer or inquirer must be given the opportunity to be invited into a relationship of intimate trust that provides the opportunity to explore and apply God's Word within a setting of relational motivation, and finally, make a sober commitment to a covenant of accountability. Reviewing the covenant is part of the initial invitation to the journey together. It is a sobering moment to examine whether one has the time, the energy and the commitment to do what is necessary to engage in a discipleship relationship. Invest in a relationship with two others for give or take a year. Then multiply. Each person invites two others for the next leg of the journey and does it all again. Same content, different relationships. The invitation to discipleship should be preceded by a period of prayerful discernment. It is vital to have a settled conviction that the Lord is drawing us to those to whom we are issuing this invitation. . If you are going to invest a year or more of your time with two others with the intent of multiplying, whom you invite is of paramount importance. You want to raise the question implicitly: Are you ready to consider serious change in any area of your life? From the outset you are raising the bar and calling a person to step up to it. Do not seek or allow an immediate response to the invitation to join a triad. You want the person to consider the time commitment in light of the larger configuration of life's responsibilities and to make the adjustments in schedule, if necessary, to make this relationship work. Intentionally growing people takes time. Do you want to measure your ministry by the number of sermons preached, worship services designed, homes visited, hospital calls made, counseling sessions held, or the number of self-initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus? When we get to the shore's edge and know that there is a boat there waiting to take us to the other side to be with Jesus, all that will truly matter is the names of family, friends and others who are self initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus because we made it the priority of our lives to walk with them toward maturity in Christ. There is no better eternal investment or legacy to leave behind.
Greg Ogden (Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time)
There are situations in life which are beyond one. The sensible man realizes this, and slides out of such situations, admitting himself beaten. Others try to grapple with them, but it never does any good. When affairs get in a real tangle, it is best to sit still and let them straighten themselves out. Or, if one does not do that, simply to think no more about them. This is Philosophy. The true philosopher is the man who says "All right," and goes to sleep in his arm-chair. One's attitude towards Life's Little Difficulties should be that of the gentleman in the fable, who sat down on an acorn one day and happened to doze. The warmth of his body caused the acorn to germinate, and it grew so rapidly that, when he awoke, he found himself sitting in the fork of an oak sixty feet from the ground. He thought he would go home, but, finding this impossible, he altered his plans. "Well, well," he said, "if I cannot compel circumstances to my will, I can at least adapt my will to circumstances. I decide to remain here." Which he did, and had a not unpleasant time. The oak lacked some of the comforts of home, but the air was splendid and the view excellent. Today's Great Thought for Young Readers. Imitate this man.
P.G. Wodehouse
Selfish desire ultimately desires itself You find yourselfin your desire, so do not say that desire is vain. Ifyou desire yoursel£ you produce the divine son in your embrace with yourself Your desire is the father of the God, your self is the mother of the God, but the son is the new God, your master. If you embrace your sel£ then it will appear to you as if the world has become cold and empty The cOlning God moves into this emptiness. If you are in your solitude, and all the space around you has become cold and unending, then you have moved far from men, and at the same time you have come near to them as never before. Selfish desire only" apparently led you to men, but in reality it led you away from them and in the end to yoursel£ which to you and to others was the most remote. But now, if you are in solitude, your God leads you to the God of others, and through that to the true neighbor, to the neighbor of the self in others. If you are in yoursel£ you become aware of your incapacity. You will see how little capable you are of imitating the heroes and ofbeing a hero yourself So you will also no longer force others to become heroes. Like you, they suffer from incapacity Incapacity; too, wants to live, but it will overthrow your Gods.
C.G. Jung
The average person wastes his life. He has a great deal of energy but he wastes it. The life of an average person seems at the end utterly meaningless…without significance. When he looks back…what has he done? MIND The mind creates routine for its own safety and convenience. Tradition becomes our security. But when the mind is secure it is in decay. We all want to be famous people…and the moment we want to be something…we are no longer free. Intelligence is the capacity to perceive the essential…the what is. It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything new…and in that there’s joy. To awaken this capacity in oneself and in others is real education. SOCIETY It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. Nature is busy creating absolutely unique individuals…whereas culture has invented a single mold to which we must conform. A consistent thinker is a thoughtless person because he conforms to a pattern. He repeats phrases and thinks in a groove. What happens to your heart and your mind when you are merely imitative, naturally they wither, do they not? The great enemy of mankind is superstition and belief which is the same thing. When you separate yourself by belief tradition by nationally it breeds violence. Despots are only the spokesmen for the attitude of domination and craving for power which is in the heart of almost everyone. Until the source is cleared there will be confusion and classes…hate and wars. A man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country to any religion to any political party. He is concerned with the understanding of mankind. FEAR You have religion. Yet the constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear. You can only be afraid of what you think you know. One is never afraid of the unknown…one is afraid of the known coming to an end. A man who is not afraid is not aggressive. A man who has no sense of fear of any kind is really a free and peaceful mind. You want to be loved because you do not love…but the moment you really love, it is finished. You are no longer inquiring whether someone loves you or not. MEDITATION The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence. In meditation you will discover the whisperings of your own prejudices…your own noises…the monkey mind. You have to be your own teacher…truth is a pathless land. The beauty of meditation is that you never know where you are…where you are going…what the end is. Down deep we all understand that it is truth that liberates…not your effort to be free. The idea of ourselves…our real selves…is your escape from the fact of what you really are. Here we are talking of something entirely different….not of self improvement…but the cessation of self. ADVICE Take a break with the past and see what happens. Release attachment to outcomes…inside you will feel good no matter what. Eventually you will find that you don’t mind what happens. That is the essence of inner freedom…it is timeless spiritual truth. If you can really understand the problem the answer will come out of it. The answer is not separate from the problem. Suffer and understand…for all of that is part of life. Understanding and detachment…this is the secret. DEATH There is hope in people…not in societies not in systems but only in you and me. The man who lives without conflict…who lives with beauty and love…is not frightened by death…because to love is to die.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (Think on These Things)
It is like this: Some people care deeply but they don't know how to say it; then some people say words to make it seem like they care deeply, but in reality they don't. Some people care deeply only in the moment, like seeds which last in the soil for three days until dying out; and others can't see the moments, but their roots do run deep. Some people can imitate what it looks like to care deeply and they can fabricate that for a while though they never did feel anything on the inside of them; while others are incapable of showing outwardly how they feel on the inside, it is a monster they struggle with, their feelings so strong they cannot even let those beasts out of their cages, they fear their own creatures! Some people care deeply here, and over there, and all over the place, you never really know where they belong because they seem to belong to everyone and to everything; while others don't care about anybody but you can see where they belong, who they belong to, there is always this one person or those two people and small places. Some people belong to themselves only and if you want to be a part of their lives, you'll have to become a part of them and after you do, they will never leave you because you are inside of their bones now; while others don't even know who they are or where they're going and if you belong to someone like that, you could be here today and gone tomorrow! Some people don't care and don't act like they care and we don't believe them until they make us believe them; while others care and they act like they care and we don't believe them until it's too late. We are often wounded and torn, because we never know which kind of a person they are until we are either wounded and torn, or until we have found a home. It's either or, always either or, and neither of these outcomes are easy ones because either one will change your life.
C. JoyBell C.
He began as a minor imitator of Fitzgerald, wrote a novel in the late twenties which won a prize, became dissatisfied with his work, stopped writing for a period of years. When he came back it was to BLACK MASK and the other detective magazines with a curious and terrible fiction which had never been seen before in the genre markets; Hart Crane and certainly Hemingway were writing of people on the edge of their emotions and their possibility but the genre mystery markets were filled with characters whose pain was circumstantial, whose resolution was through action; Woolrich's gallery was of those so damaged that their lives could only be seen as vast anticlimax to central and terrible events which had occurred long before the incidents of the story. Hammett and his great disciple, Chandler, had verged toward this more than a little, there is no minimizing the depth of their contribution to the mystery and to literature but Hammett and Chandler were still working within the devices of their category: detectives confronted problems and solved (or more commonly failed to solve) them, evil was generalized but had at least specific manifestations: Woolrich went far out on the edge. His characters killed, were killed, witnessed murder, attempted to solve it but the events were peripheral to the central circumstances. What I am trying to say, perhaps, is that Hammett and Chandler wrote of death but the novels and short stories of Woolrich *were* death. In all of its delicacy and grace, its fragile beauty as well as its finality. Most of his plots made no objective sense. Woolrich was writing at the cutting edge of his time. Twenty years later his vision would attract a Truffaut whose own influences had been the philosophy of Sartre, the French nouvelle vague, the central conception that nothing really mattered. At all. But the suffering. Ah, that mattered; that mattered quite a bit.
Barry N. Malzberg (The Fantastic Stories of Cornell Woolrich (Alternatives SF Series))
...it takes great humility to find oneself unjustly condemned and be silent, and to do this is to imitate the Lord Who set us free from all our sins. ... The truly humble person will have a genuine desire to be thought little of, and persecuted, and condemned unjustly, even in serious matters. ... It is a great help to meditate upon the great gain which in any case this is bound to bring us, and to realize how, properly speaking, we can never be blamed unjustly, since we are always full of faults, and a just man falls seven times a day, so that it would be a falsehood for us to say we have no sin. If, then, we are not to blame for the thing that we are accused of, we are never wholly without blame in the way that our good Jesus was. ... Thou knowest, my Good, that if there is anything good in me it comes from no other hands than Thine own. For what is it to Thee, Lord, to give much instead of little? True, I do not deserve it, but neither have I deserved the favors which Thou hast shown me already. Can it be that I should wish a thing so evil as myself to be thought well of by anyone, when they have said such wicked things of Thee, Who art good above all other good? ... Do Thou give me light and make me truly to desire that all should hate me, since I have so often let Thee, Who hast loved me with such faithfulness. ... What does it matter to us if we are blamed by them all, provided we are without blame in the sight of the Lord? ...meditate upon what is real and upon what is not. ... Do you suppose, ... that, if you do not make excuses for yourself, there will not be someone else who will defend you? Remember how the Lord took the Magdalen's part in the Pharisee's house and also when her sister blamed her. He will not treat you as rigorously as He treated Himself: it was not until He was on the Cross that He had even a thief to defend Him. His Majesty, then, will put it into somebody's mind to defend you; if He does not, it will be because there is no need. ...be glad when you are blamed, and in due time you will see what profit you experience in your souls. For it is in this way that you will begin to gain freedom; soon you will not care if they speak ill or well of you; it will seem like someone else's business. ... So here: it becomes such a habit with us not to reply that it seems as if they are not addressing us at all. This may seem impossible to those of us who are very sensitive and not capable of great mortification. It is indeed difficult at first, but I know that, with the Lord's help, the gradual attainment of this freedom, and of renunciation and self-detachment, is quite possible.
Teresa de Jesús
In a private room down the hall, a tired but delighted Cecily was watching her husband with his brand-new son. Cecily had thought that the expression on Tate’s face at their wedding would never be duplicated. But when they placed the tiny little boy in his father’s gowned arms in the delivery room, and he saw his child for the first time, the look on his face was indescribable. Tears welled in his eyes. He’d taken the tiny little fist in his big, dark hand and smoothed over the perfect little fingers and then the tiny little face, seeking resemblances. “Generations of our families,” he said softly, “all there, in that face.” He’d looked down at his wife with unashamedly wet eyes. “In our son’s face.” She wiped her own tears away with a corner of the sheet and coaxed Tate’s head down so that she could do the same for him where they were, temporarily, by themselves. Now she was cleaned up, like their baby, and drowsy as she lay on clean white sheets and watched her husband get acquainted with his firstborn. “Isn’t he beautiful?” he murmured, still awed by the child. “Next time, we have to have a little girl,” he said with a tender smile, “so that she can look like you.” Her heart felt near to bursting as she stared up at that beloved face, above the equally beloved face of their firstborn. “My heart is happy when I see you,” she whispered in Lakota. He chuckled, having momentarily forgotten that he’d taught her how to say it. “Mine is equally happy when I see you,” he replied in English. She reached out and clasped his big hand with her small one. On the table beside her was a bouquet of roses, red and crisp with a delightful soft perfume. Her eyes traced them, and she remembered the first rose he’d ever given her, when she was seventeen: a beautiful red paper rose that he’d brought her from Japan. Now the roses were real, not imitation. Just as her love for him, and his for her, had become real enough to touch. He frowned slightly at her expression. “What is it?” he asked softly. “I was remembering the paper rose you brought me from Japan, just after I went to live with Leta.” She shrugged and smiled self-consciously. He smiled back. “And now you’re covered in real ones,” he discerned. She nodded, delighted to see that he understood exactly what she was talking about. But, then, they always had seemed to read each others’ thoughts-never more than now, with the baby who was a living, breathing manifestation of their love. “Yes,” she said contentedly. “The roses are real, now.” Outside the window, rain was coming down in torrents, silver droplets shattering on the bright green leaves of the bushes. In the room, no one noticed. The baby was sleeping and his parents were watching him, their eyes full of warm, soft dreams.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
It was baking hot in the square when we came out after lunch with our bags and the rod-case to go to Burguete. People were on top of the bus, and others were climbing up a ladder. Bill went up and Robert sat beside Bill to save a place for me, and I went back in the hotel to get a couple of bottles of wine to take with us. When I came out the bus was crowded. Men and women were sitting on all the baggage and boxes on top, and the women all had their fans going in the sun. It certainly was hot. Robert climbed down and fitted into the place he had saved on the one wooden seat that ran across the top. Robert Cohn stood in the shade of the arcade waiting for us to start. A Basque with a big leather wine-bag in his lap lay across the top of the bus in front of our seat, leaning back against our legs. He offered the wine-skin to Bill and to me, and when I tipped it up to drink he imitated the sound of a klaxon motor-horn so well and so suddenly that spilled some of the wine, and everybody laughed. He apologized and made me take another drink. He made the klaxon again a little later, and it fooled me the second time. He was very good at it. The Basques liked it. The man next to Bill was talking to him in Spanish and Bill was not getting it, so he offered the man one of the bottles of wine. The man waved it away. He said it was too hot and he had drunk too much at lunch. When Bill offered the bottle the second time he took a long drink, and then the bottle went all over that part of the bus. Every one took a drink very politely, and then they made us cork it up and put it away. They all wanted us to drink from their leather wine-bottles. They were peasants going up into the hills.
Ernest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises)
Knowledge, taken up to excess without hunger, even in opposition to any need, now works no longer as something which reorganizes, a motivation driving outwards. It stays hidden in a certain chaotic inner world, which that modern man describes with a strange pride as an 'Inwardness' peculiar to him. Thus, people say that we have the content and that only the form is lacking. But with respect to everything alive this is a totally improper contradiction. For our modern culture is not alive, simply because it does let itself be understood without that contradiction; that is, it is really no true culture, but only a way of knowing about culture. There remain in it thoughts of culture, feelings of culture, but no cultural imperatives come from it. In contrast to this, what really motivates and moves outward into action then often amounts to not much more than a trivial convention, a pathetic imitation, or even a raw grimace. At that point the inner feeling is probably asleep, like the snake which has swallowed an entire rabbit and then lies down contentedly still in the sunlight and avoids all movements other than the most essential.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Untimely Meditations)
He didn’t know how to help. If Max were anyone else, Jules would sit with him for a while, looking out at the night, and then start to talk. About nothing too heavy at first. Warming up to get into the hard stuff. Although, maybe, if he tried that now, the man would either open up—Ha, ha, ha! Riotous laughter. Like that would ever happen—or he’d stand up and move outside of talking range, which would put him away from the window with nothing to look at, at which point he might close his eyes for a while. It was certainly worth a try. Of course there were other possibilities. Max could put Jules into a chokehold until he passed out. So okay. Start talking. Although why bother with inconsequential chitchat, designed to make Max relax? And weren’t those words--Max and relax--two that had never before been used together in a sentence? It wasn’t going to happen, so it made sense to just jump right in. Although, what was the best way to tell a friend that the choices he’d made were among the stupidest of all time, and that he was, in short, a complete dumbfuck? Max was not oblivious to Jules’s internal hemming and hawing. “If you have something you need to say, for the love of God, just say it. Don’t sit there making all those weird noises.” What? “What noises? I’m not making weird noises.” “Yeah,” Max said. “You are.” “Like what? Like . . .?” He held out his hands, inviting Max to demonstrate. “Like . . .” Max sighed heavily. “Like . . .” He made a tsking sound with his tongue. Jules laughed. “Those aren’t weird noises. Weird noises are like, whup-whup-whup-whup”-- he imitated sounds from a Three Stooges movie—“or Vrrrrrr.” “Sometimes I really have to work to remind myself that you’re one of the Bureau’s best agents,” Max said.
Suzanne Brockmann (Breaking Point (Troubleshooters, #9))
A reflection on Robert Lowell Robert Lowell knew I was not one of his devotees. I attended his famous “office hours” salon only a few times. Life Studies was not a book of central importance for me, though I respected it. I admired his writing, but not the way many of my Boston friends did. Among poets in his generation, poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Alan Dugan, and Allen Ginsberg meant more to me than Lowell’s. I think he probably sensed some of that. To his credit, Lowell nevertheless was generous to me (as he was to many other young poets) just the same. In that generosity, and a kind of open, omnivorous curiosity, he was different from my dear teacher at Stanford, Yvor Winters. Like Lowell, Winters attracted followers—but Lowell seemed almost dismayed or a little bewildered by imitators; Winters seemed to want disciples: “Wintersians,” they were called. A few years before I met Lowell, when I was still in California, I read his review of Winters’s Selected Poems. Lowell wrote that, for him, Winters’s poetry passed A. E. Housman’s test: he felt that if he recited it while he was shaving, he would cut himself. One thing Lowell and Winters shared, that I still revere in both of them, was a fiery devotion to the vocal essence of poetry: the work and interplay of sentences and lines, rhythm and pitch. The poetry in the sounds of the poetry, in a reader’s voice: neither page nor stage. Winters criticizing the violence of Lowell’s enjambments, or Lowell admiring a poem in pentameter for its “drill-sergeant quality”: they shared that way of thinking, not matters of opinion but the matter itself, passionately engaged in the art and its vocal—call it “technical”—materials. Lowell loved to talk about poetry and poems. His appetite for that kind of conversation seemed inexhaustible. It tended to be about historical poetry, mixed in with his contemporaries. When he asked you, what was Pope’s best work, it was as though he was talking about a living colleague . . . which in a way he was. He could be amusing about that same sort of thing. He described Julius Caesar’s entourage waiting in the street outside Cicero’s house while Caesar chatted up Cicero about writers. “They talked about poetry,” said Lowell in his peculiar drawl. “Caesar asked Cicero what he thought of Jim Dickey.” His considerable comic gift had to do with a humor of self and incongruity, rather than wit. More surreal than donnish. He had a memorable conversation with my daughter Caroline when she was six years old. A tall, bespectacled man with a fringe of long gray hair came into her living room, with a certain air. “You look like somebody famous,” she said to him, “but I can’t remember who.” “Do I?” “Yes . . . now I remember!— Benjamin Franklin.” “He was a terrible man, just awful.” “Or no, I don’t mean Benjamin Franklin. I mean you look like a Christmas ornament my friend Heather made out of Play-Doh, that looked like Benjamin Franklin.” That left Robert Lowell with nothing to do but repeat himself: “Well, he was a terrible man.” That silly conversation suggests the kind of social static or weirdness the man generated. It also happens to exemplify his peculiar largeness of mind . . . even, in a way, his engagement with the past. When he died, I realized that a large vacuum had appeared at the center of the world I knew.
Robert Pinsky
Those who live in retirement, whose lives have fallen amid the seclusion of schools or of other walled-in and guarded dwellings, are liable to be suddenly and for a long while dropped out of the memory of their friends, the denizens of a freer world. Unaccountably, perhaps, and close upon some space of unusually frequent intercourse—some congeries of rather exciting little circumstances, whose natural sequel would rather seem to be the quickening than the suspension of communication—there falls a stilly pause, a wordless silence, a long blank of oblivion. Unbroken always is this blank; alike entire and unexplained. The letter, the message once frequent, are cut off; the visit, formerly periodical, ceases to occur; the book, paper, or other token that indicated remembrance, comes no more. Always there are excellent reasons for these lapses, if the hermit but knew them. Though he is stagnant in his cell, his connections without are whirling in the very vortex of life. That void interval which passes for him so slowly that the very clocks seem at a stand, and the wingless hours plod by in the likeness of tired tramps prone to rest at milestones—that same interval, perhaps, teems with events, and pants with hurry for his friends. The hermit—if he be a sensible hermit—will swallow his own thoughts, and lock up his own emotions during these weeks of inward winter. He will know that Destiny designed him to imitate, on occasion, the dormouse, and he will be conformable: make a tidy ball of himself, creep into a hole of life's wall, and submit decently to the drift which blows in and soon blocks him up, preserving him in ice for the season. Let him say, "It is quite right: it ought to be so, since so it is." And, perhaps, one day his snow-sepulchre will open, spring's softness will return, the sun and south-wind will reach him; the budding of hedges, and carolling of birds and singing of liberated streams will call him to kindly resurrection. Perhaps this may be the case, perhaps not: the frost may get into his heart and never thaw more; when spring comes, a crow or a pie may pick out of the wall only his dormouse-bones. Well, even in that case, all will be right: it is to be supposed he knew from the first he was mortal, and must one day go the way of all flesh, As well soon as syne.
Charlotte Brontë
Many, Lorenzo, have held and still hold the opinion, that there is nothing which has less in common with another, and that is so dissimilar, as civilian life is from the military. Whence it is often observed, if anyone designs to avail himself of an enlistment in the army, that he soon changes, not only his clothes, but also his customs, his habits, his voice, and in the presence of any civilian custom, he goes to pieces; for I do not believe that any man can dress in civilian clothes who wants to be quick and ready for any violence; nor can that man have civilian customs and habits, who judges those customs to be effeminate and those habits not conducive to his actions; nor does it seem right to him to maintain his ordinary appearance and voice who, with his beard and cursing, wants to make other men afraid: which makes such an opinion in these times to be very true. But if they should consider the ancient institutions, they would not find matter more united, more in conformity, and which, of necessity, should be like to each other as much as these (civilian and military); for in all the arts that are established in a society for the sake of the common good of men, all those institutions created to (make people) live in fear of the laws and of God would be in vain, if their defense had not been provided for and which, if well arranged, will maintain not only these, but also those that are not well established. And so (on the contrary), good institutions without the help of the military are not much differently disordered than the habitation of a superb and regal palace, which, even though adorned with jewels and gold, if it is not roofed over will not have anything to protect it from the rain. And, if in any other institutions of a City and of a Republic every diligence is employed in keeping men loyal, peaceful, and full of the fear of God, it is doubled in the military; for in what man ought the country look for greater loyalty than in that man who has to promise to die for her? In whom ought there to be a greater love of peace, than in him who can only be injured by war? In whom ought there to be a greater fear of God than in him who, undergoing infinite dangers every day, has more need for His aid? If these necessities in forming the life of the soldier are well considered, they are found to be praised by those who gave the laws to the Commanders and by those who were put in charge of military training, and followed and imitated with all diligence by others.
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Art of War)
This is how we understand depressive psychosis today: as a bogging down in the demands of others-family job, the narrow horizon of daily duties. In such a bogging down the individual does not feel or see that he has alternatives, cannot imagine any choices or alternate ways of life, cannot release himself from the network of obligations even though these obligations no longer give him a sense of self-esteem, of primary value, of being a heroic contributor to world life even by doing his daily family and job duties. As I once speculated, the schizophrenic is not enough built into his world-what Kierkegaard has called the sickness of infinitude; the depressive, on the other hand, is built into his world too solidly, too overwhelmingly. Kierkegaard put it this way: But while one sort of despair plunges wildly into the infinite and loses itself, a second sort permits itself as it were to be defrauded by "the others." By seeing the multitude of men about it, by getting engaged in all sorts of worldly affairs, by becoming wise about how things go in this world, such a man forgets himself...does not dare to believe in himself, finds it too venturesome a thing to be himself, far easier and safer to be like the others, to become an imitation, a number, a cipher in the crowd. This is a superb characterization of the "culturally normal" man, the one who dares not stand up for his own meanings because this means too much danger, too much exposure. Better not to be oneself, better to live tucked into others, embedded in a safe framework of social and cultural obligations and duties. Again, too, this kind of characterization must be understood as being on a continuum, at the extreme end of which we find depressive psychosis. The depressed person is so afraid of being himself, so fearful of exerting his own individuality, of insisting on what might be his own meanings, his own conditions for living, that he seems literally stupid. He cannot seem to understand the situation he is in, cannot see beyond his own fears, cannot grasp why he has bogged down. Kierkegaard phrases it beautifully: If one will compare the tendency to run wild in possibility with the efforts of a child to enunciate words, the lack of possibility is like being dumb...for without possibility a man cannot, as it were, draw breath. This is precisely the condition of depression, that one can hardly breath or move. One of the unconscious tactics that the depressed person resorts to, to try to make sense out of his situation, is to see himself as immensely worthless and guilty. This is a marvelous "invention" really, because it allows him to move out of his condition of dumbness, and make some kind of conceptualization of his situation, some kind of sense out of it-even if he has to take full blame as the culprit who is causing so much needless misery to others. Could Kierkegaard have been referring to just such an imaginative tactic when he casually observed: Sometimes the inventiveness of the human imagination suffices to procure possibility....
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
Maybe that’s his game, though,” I said. “The hunt for one soul, again and again.” “Then why are you still here?” “The other women lived with him for a long time too. Maybe he wants to wait until my defenses are down, and then-“ “Wow, Clea, you are so jaded. You found your soulmate. People wait their whole lives for this. It’s the most amazing thing in the world, and it’s happened to you. Can’t you just accept it and be happy?” What she said made sense, but… I flopped back on the bed and stared at the ceiling. Without looking at Rayna, I said, “He doesn’t act like he’s my soulmate. Sometimes I think maybe he liked the other women more. I think maybe he wishes I was one of them.” Rayna was silent. This was something I’d never heard. “This is seriously, deep,” she finally said. “You’re feeling insecure because you’re jealous…of yourself.” “I didn’t say I was jealous…” “You’d rather think he’s a serial killer than risk being with him and finding out he doesn’t like you as much as he liked…you?” She scrunched her brow and thought, then tried again. “Yous? Anyway, you know what I mean-the other yous.” “Forget the jealousy thing, okay? There are other reasons to doubt him too. Ben doesn’t trust him at all. He thinks Sage is some kind of demon. He said there’s a spirit called an incubus that comes to women in their sleep, and-“ “Of course Ben said that.” Rayna shrugged. “He’s jealous.” “Of what?” “Ben’s crazy in love with you, Clea. I’ve been saying that forever!” “And I’ve been ignoring you forever, because it’s not true. You just want it to be true because it’s romantic.” “Did you not see the pictures of you from Rio?” I narrowed my eyes. “What are you talking about?” Rayna pulled out her phone. “Honestly, I don’t know how you survive without Google Alerts on yourself. The paparazzi were out in full force for Carnival.” She played with the phone for a minute, then handed it to me. It showed a close-up of Ben and me at the Sambadrome that could only have been taken with a serious zoom. I felt violated. “I hate this,” I muttered. “Why? You look cute!” “I hate that people are sneaking around taking pictures of me!” “I know you do. Ignore that for the moment. Just scroll through.” There were five pictures of Ben and me. Four of them were moments I vividly remembered, pictures of the two of us facing each other, laughing as we did our best to imitate the dancers shimmying and strutting down the parade route. The fifth one I didn’t remember. I wouldn’t have; in it I had my camera up to my face and was concentrating on lining up the perfect shot. Ben stood behind me, but he wasn’t wearing the goofy smile he’d had in the other pictures. He was staring right at me with those big puppydog eyes, and his smile wasn’t goofy at all, but… “Uh-huh,” Rayna said triumphantly. She had climbed into my bed was looking at the picture over my shoulder. “Knew that one would stop you. There is only one word for the look on that boy’s face, Clea: love-struck. Which is probably why a bunch of websites are reporting he’s about to propose.” “What?” “Messenger. Don’t kill the messenger.” I looked back at the picture. Ben did look love-struck. Very love-struck. “It could just be the picture,” I said. “They caught him at a weird moment.” “Yeah, a weird moment when he thought no one was looking so he showed how he really felt.” I gave Rayna back the phone and shook my head. “Ben and I are like brother and sister. That’s gross.” “Hey, I read Flowers in the Attic. It was kind of hot.” “Shut up!” I laughed. “I’m just saying, think about it. Really think about it. Is it that hard to believe that Ben’s in love with you?
Hilary Duff (Elixir (Elixir, #1))
My hypothesis is mimetic: because humans imitate one another more than animals, they have had to find a means of dealing with contagious similarity, which could lead to the pure and simple disappearance of their society. The mechanism that reintroduces difference into a situation in which everyone has come to resemble everyone else is sacrifice. Humanity results from sacrifice; we are thus the children of religion. What I call after Freud the founding murder, in other words, the immolation of a sacrificial victim that is both guilty of disorder and able to restore order, is constantly re-enacted in the rituals at the origin of our institutions. Since the dawn of humanity, millions of innocent victims have been killed in this way in order to enable their fellow humans to live together, or at least not to destroy one another. This is the implacable logic of the sacred, which myths dissimulate less and less as humans become increasingly self-aware. The decisive point in this evolution is Christian revelation, a kind of divine expiation in which God through his Son could be seen as asking for forgiveness from humans for having revealed the mechanisms of their violence so late. Rituals had slowly educated them; from then on, humans had to do without. Christianity demystifies religion. Demystification, which is good in the absolute, has proven bad in the relative, for we were not prepared to shoulder its consequences. We are not Christian enough. The paradox can be put a different way. Christianity is the only religion that has foreseen its own failure. This prescience is known as the apocalypse. Indeed, it is in the apocalyptic texts that the word of God is most forceful, repudiating mistakes that are entirely the fault of humans, who are less and less inclined to acknowledge the mechanisms of their violence. The longer we persist in our error, the stronger God’s voice will emerge from the devastation. […] The Passion unveiled the sacrificial origin of humanity once and for all. It dismantled the sacred and revealed its violence. […] By accepting crucifixion, Christ brought to light what had been ‘hidden since the foundation of the world,’ in other words, the foundation itself, the unanimous murder that appeared in broad daylight for the first time on the cross. In order to function, archaic religions need to hide their founding murder, which was being repeated continually in ritual sacrifices, thereby protecting human societies from their own violence. By revealing the founding murder, Christianity destroyed the ignorance and superstition that are indispensable to such religions. It thus made possible an advance in knowledge that was until then unimaginable. […] A scapegoat remains effective as long as we believe in its guilt. Having a scapegoat means not knowing that we have one. Learning that we have a scapegoat is to lose it forever and to expose ourselves to mimetic conflicts with no possible resolution. This is the implacable law of the escalation to extremes. The protective system of scapegoats is finally destroyed by the Crucifixion narratives as they reveal Jesus’ innocence, and, little by little, that of all analogous victims. The process of education away from violent sacrifice is thus underway, but it is going very slowly, making advances that are almost always unconscious. […] Mimetic theory does not seek to demonstrate that myth is null, but to shed light on the fundamental discontinuity and continuity between the passion and archaic religion. Christ’s divinity which precedes the Crucifixion introduces a radical rupture with the archaic, but Christ’s resurrection is in complete continuity with all forms of religion that preceded it. The way out of archaic religion comes at this price. A good theory about humanity must be based on a good theory about God. […] We can all participate in the divinity of Christ so long as we renounce our own violence.
René Girard (Battling to the End: Conversations with Benoît Chantre)
Hey Pete. So why the leave from social media? You are an activist, right? It seems like this decision is counterproductive to your message and work." A: The short answer is I’m tired of the endless narcissism inherent to the medium. In the commercial society we have, coupled with the consequential sense of insecurity people feel, as they impulsively “package themselves” for public consumption, the expression most dominant in all of this - is vanity. And I find that disheartening, annoying and dangerous. It is a form of cultural violence in many respects. However, please note the difference - that I work to promote just that – a message/idea – not myself… and I honestly loath people who today just promote themselves for the sake of themselves. A sea of humans who have been conditioned into viewing who they are – as how they are seen online. Think about that for a moment. Social identity theory run amok. People have been conditioned to think “they are” how “others see them”. We live in an increasing fictional reality where people are now not only people – they are digital symbols. And those symbols become more important as a matter of “marketing” than people’s true personality. Now, one could argue that social perception has always had a communicative symbolism, even before the computer age. But nooooooothing like today. Social media has become a social prison and a strong means of social control, in fact. Beyond that, as most know, social media is literally designed like a drug. And it acts like it as people get more and more addicted to being seen and addicted to molding the way they want the world to view them – no matter how false the image (If there is any word that defines peoples’ behavior here – it is pretention). Dopamine fires upon recognition and, coupled with cell phone culture, we now have a sea of people in zombie like trances looking at their phones (literally) thousands of times a day, merging their direct, true interpersonal social reality with a virtual “social media” one. No one can read anymore... they just swipe a stream of 200 character headlines/posts/tweets. understanding the world as an aggregate of those fragmented sentences. Massive loss of comprehension happening, replaced by usually agreeable, "in-bubble" views - hence an actual loss of variety. So again, this isn’t to say non-commercial focused social media doesn’t have positive purposes, such as with activism at times. But, on the whole, it merely amplifies a general value system disorder of a “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT HOW GREAT I AM!” – rooted in systemic insecurity. People lying to themselves, drawing meaningless satisfaction from superficial responses from a sea of avatars. And it’s no surprise. Market economics demands people self promote shamelessly, coupled with the arbitrary constructs of beauty and success that have also resulted. People see status in certain things and, directly or pathologically, use those things for their own narcissistic advantage. Think of those endless status pics of people rock climbing, or hanging out on a stunning beach or showing off their new trophy girl-friend, etc. It goes on and on and worse the general public generally likes it, seeking to imitate those images/symbols to amplify their own false status. Hence the endless feedback loop of superficiality. And people wonder why youth suicides have risen… a young woman looking at a model of perfection set by her peers, without proper knowledge of the medium, can be made to feel inferior far more dramatically than the typical body image problems associated to traditional advertising. That is just one example of the cultural violence inherent. The entire industry of social media is BASED on narcissistic status promotion and narrow self-interest. That is the emotion/intent that creates the billions and billions in revenue these platforms experience, as they in turn sell off people’s personal data to advertisers and governments. You are the product, of course.
Peter Joseph