Incremental Quotes

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Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
Desmond Tutu
The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
Confucius (Confucius: The Analects (English and Mandarin Chinese Edition))
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.
Mother Teresa
Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,...Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
And now, I'm just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time.
Lady Gaga
I've committed to nothing...and that's just suicide...by tiny, tiny increments.
Nick Hornby (High Fidelity)
The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.
Abraham Lincoln
Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.
Mother Teresa
Remake the world, a little at a time, each in your own corner of the world.
Rick Riordan
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
Edmund Burke
In increments both measurable and not, our childhood is stolen from us -- not always in one momentous event but often in a series of small robberies, which add up to the same loss.
John Irving (Until I Find You)
Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Robert F. Kennedy
Because with true friends, no one is keeping score. But it still feels good to repay them – even in the tiniest increments.
Emery Lord (The Start of Me and You (The Start of Me and You, #1))
But hope rises like water trapped by a dam, higher and higher, in increments that mean nothing until you face the flood.
Leigh Bardugo (The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Grishaverse, #0.5, 2.5, 2.6))
Better by far to be good and courageous and bold and to make difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you.
David Nicholls (One Day)
It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.
Louis Sachar
Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
Winston S. Churchill
Live each day as if it's your last', that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn't practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at...something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.
David Nicholls (One Day)
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.
Edward Everett Hale
Everything, in the end, comes down to timing. One second, one minute, one hour, could make all the difference. So much hanging on just these things, tiny increments that together build a life. Like words build a story, and what had Ted said? One word can change the entire world.
Sarah Dessen (This Lullaby)
He was losing her incrementally...As a web is no more than holes woven together, they were bonded by what was no longer there.
Anthony Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena)
I was dying, of course, but then we all are. Every day, in perfect increments, I was dying of loss. The only help for my condition, then as now, is that I refused to let go of what I loved. I wrote everything down, at first in choppy fragments; a sentence here, a few words there, it was the most I could handle at the time. Later I wrote more, my grief muffled but not eased by the passage of time. When I go back over my writing now I can barely read it. The happiness is the worst. Some days I can't bring myself to remember. But I will not relinquish a single detail of the past. What remains of my life depends on what happened six years ago. In my brain, in my limbs, in my dreams, it is still happening.
Meg Rosoff (How I Live Now)
So we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us.
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
Evolution has no foresight. Complex machinery develops its own agendas. Brains — cheat. Feedback loops evolve to promote stable heartbeats and then stumble upon the temptation of rhythm and music. The rush evoked by fractal imagery, the algorithms used for habitat selection, metastasize into art. Thrills that once had to be earned in increments of fitness can now be had from pointless introspection. Aesthetics rise unbidden from a trillion dopamine receptors, and the system moves beyond modeling the organism. It begins to model the very process of modeling. It consumes evermore computational resources, bogs itself down with endless recursion and irrelevant simulations. Like the parasitic DNA that accretes in every natural genome, it persists and proliferates and produces nothing but itself. Metaprocesses bloom like cancer, and awaken, and call themselves I.
Peter Watts (Blindsight (Firefall, #1))
You keep thinking that with practice you will eventually get the knack of enjoying superficial encounters, that you will stop looking for the universal solvent, stop grieving. You will learn to compound happiness out of small increments of mindless pleasure.
Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City)
What good the prophet in the wilderness may do is incremental and personal. It's good for us to hear someone speak the irrational truth. It's good for us when, in spite of all of the sober, pragmatic, and even correct arguments that war is sometimes necessary someone says: war is large-scale murder, us at our worst, the stupidest guy doing the cruelest thing to the weakest being.
George Saunders (The Braindead Megaphone)
Is he my competition?” I asked. “Everyone is your competition.” Peter lifted his hand to his eyes and began lowering it incrementally. “It goes normal human beings, crazies, republicans, my hand, imaginary characters, corpses and then, in a moment of lustful psychosis, you.” By the time he was done, his hand was below the table. Ouch.
Dani Alexander
To me, Elon is the shining example of how Silicon Valley might be able to reinvent itself and be more relevant than chasing these quick IPOs and focusing on getting incremental products out,
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future)
Yet each disappointment Ted felt in his wife, each incremental deflation, was accompanied by a seizure of guilt; many years ago, he had taken the passion he felt for Susan and folded it in half, so he no longer had a drowning, helpless feeling when he glimpsed her beside him in bed: her ropy arms and soft, generous ass. Then he’d folded it in half again, so when he felt desire for Susan, it no longer brought with it an edgy terror of never being satisfied. Then in half again, so that feeling desire entailed no immediate need to act. Then in half again, so he hardly felt it. His desire was so small in the end that Ted could slip it inside his desk or a pocket and forget about it, and this gave him a feeling of safety and accomplishment, of having dismantled a perilous apparatus that might have crushed them both. Susan was baffled at first, then distraught; she’d hit him twice across the face; she’d run from the house in a thunderstorm and slept at a motel; she’d wrestled Ted to the bedroom floor in a pair of black crotchless underpants. But eventually a sort of amnesia had overtaken Susan; her rebellion and hurt had melted away, deliquesced into a sweet, eternal sunniness that was terrible in the way that life would be terrible, Ted supposed, without death to give it gravitas and shape. He’d presumed at first that her relentless cheer was mocking, another phase in her rebellion, until it came to him that Susan had forgotten how things were between them before Ted began to fold up his desire; she’d forgotten and was happy — had never not been happy — and while all of this bolstered his awe at the gymnastic adaptability of the human mind, it also made him feel that his wife had been brainwashed. By him.
Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad)
So much hanging on just these things, tiny increments that together build a life. Like words build a story, and what had Ted said? One word can change the entire world
Sarah Dessen (This Lullaby)
What they say is, life goes on, and that is mostly true. The mail is delivered and the Christmas lights go up and the ladders get put away and you open yet another box of cereal. In time, the volume of my feelings would be turned down in gentle increments to a near quiet, and yet the record would still spin, always spin. There was a place for Rose so deeply within myself that it was another country, another world, with its own light and time and its own language. A lost world. Yet its foundations and edges were permanent-the ruins of Pompeii, the glorious remnants or the Forum. A world that endured, even as it retreated into the past. A world visited, imagined, ever waiting, yet asleep
Deb Caletti (Honey, Baby, Sweetheart)
Ideally, the ISS program will just be one more incremental step on an expanding, incredible journal of exploration and understanding, taking us higher and farther.
Ron Garan (The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles)
Incremental change is better than ambitious failure. . . .Success feeds on itself.
Tal Ben-Shahar (Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment)
Mallory!" Catcher's voice boomed down the stairs. Mallory fixed her mouth into a tight line and walked me into the kitchen. "Ignore it," she advised. "Much like the bubonic plague, it'll go away if you give it enough time." "Mallory! You weren't finished! Get back in here!" I glanced up the stairway. "You didn't leave him handcuffed to the bed or something, did you?" "Jesus, no." I incrementally relaxed, until she continued. "My headboard's a single piece of wood. There's nothing to handcuff him to.
Chloe Neill
Sometimes I am so desperate for quiet that I think I might commit murder for a moment of silence. Instead, I shut down incrementally as I'm able.
Tahereh Mafi (Believe Me (Shatter Me, #6.5))
Ah realise now thit death is usually a process, rather than an event. People generally die by degrees, incrementally. They rot away slowly in homes and hoespitals, or places like this.
Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting (Mark Renton, #2))
When we allow ourselves to celebrate tiny victories as important and meaningful, we start to understand the incremental nature of change—how one vote can help change our democracy; how raising a child who is whole and loved can help change a nation; how educating one girl can change a whole village for the better.
Michelle Obama (The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times)
Tiny positive or negative increments in the quality of your intent, over many thousands of choices, eventually lead to either an increasing or decreasing consciousness quality.
Thomas Campbell (My Big Toe: awakening)
History and societies do not crawl. They make jumps. They go from fracture to fracture, with a few vibrations in between. Yet we (and historians) like to believe in the predictable, small incremental progression.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable)
Life is like crossing a river. If you take a huge step-aim for too bigger dreams-then the current will knock you off your feet and carry you away. The way to do it is small steps, you will take hold of life. You will get there in the end.
Louis Sachar
They (teenage boys)don’t really listen to speeches or talks. They absorb incrementally, through hours and hours of observation.
Rob Lowe (Stories I Only Tell My Friends)
Where recyling takes place only in response to political pressures and exhortations, it need not meet the test of being incrementally worth its incremental costs. Accordingly, studies of government-imposed recycling programs in the United States have shown that what they salvage is usually worth less than the cost of salvaging it.
Thomas Sowell (Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One)
I was dying, of course, but then we all are. Every day, in perfect increments.
Meg Rosoff (How I Live Now)
Previous experience taught her that the pain would not be unending - but neither would it subside smoothly, incrementally, but rather in a series of crashing waves, some of which might still knock her off her feet
Clare Chambers (Small Pleasures)
had suffered pain beyond her imagination. Some people break up after a big fight, but there are also people who drift incrementally apart until they can’t face each other anymore. The latter stay longer in your memory.
Choi Eunyoung (Shoko's Smile)
Please don’t make the mistake of thinking the arts and sciences are at odds with one another. That is a recent, stupid, and damaging idea. You don’t have to be unscientific to make beautiful art, to write beautiful things. If you need proof: Twain, Adams, Vonnegut, McEwen, Sagan, Shakespeare, Dickens. For a start. You don’t need to be superstitious to be a poet. You don’t need to hate GM technology to care about the beauty of the planet. You don’t have to claim a soul to promote compassion. Science is not a body of knowledge nor a system of belief; it is just a term which describes humankind’s incremental acquisition of understanding through observation. Science is awesome.
Tim Minchin
And this is how it started. Just with coffee and the exchange of their long stories. Love can be incremental. Predicaments, too. Coffee can start a life just as it can start a day. This was the meeting of two people who were destined to love from before they were born, from before they made choices that would complicate their lives. This love just rolled toward my mother as though she were standing at the bottom of a steep hill. Mother had no hand in this, only heart.
Tayari Jones (Silver Sparrow)
Incremental climate adaptation needs to shift to exponential climate adaptation.
Roger Spitz (The Definitive Guide to Thriving on Disruption: Volume IV - Disruption as a Springboard to Value Creation)
Don't wait for the right answer and the golden path to present themselves. This is precisely why you're stuck. Starting without seeing the end is difficult, so we often wait until we see the end, scanning relentlessly for the right way, the best way and the perfect way. The way to get unstuck is to start down the wrong path, right now. Step by step, page by page, interaction by interaction. As you start moving, you can't help but improve, can't help but incrementally find yourself getting back toward your north star. You might not end up with perfect, but it's significantly more valuable than being stuck. Don't just start. Continue. Ship. Repeat.
Seth Godin
The consolidation of power at the federal level in the guise of public safety is a national trend and should be guarded against at all costs. This erosion of rights, however incremental, is the slow death of freedom. We have reached a point where the power of the federal government is such that they can essentially target anyone of their choosing. Recent allegations that government agencies may have targeted political opponents should alarm all Americans, regardless of party affiliation. Revisionist views of the Constitution by opportunistic politicians and unelected judges with agendas that reinterpret the Bill of Rights to take power away from the people and consolidate it at the federal level threaten the core principles of the Republic. As a free people, keeping federal power in check is something that should be of concern to us all. The fundamental value of freedom is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. We are citizens, not subjects, and we must stay ever vigilant that we remain so.
Jack Carr (The Terminal List (Terminal List, #1))
Everyone’s reputation is made on a daily basis. There are little incremental things—worthwhile efforts, moments you were helpful to others—and after a lifetime, they can add up to something. You can feel as if you lived and it mattered.
Chesley B. Sullenberger (Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters)
He had not opened his eyes in the moment. Her touch had released some tiny increment of the poison bound up in him that would, days to come, ripen into sorrow. And by the time he thought all this he could no longer tell if her caress had truly happened or whether he'd manufactured it out of necessity.
David Wroblewski (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle)
The ultimate gift, in our digital age, is a CEO who has the storytelling talent to capture the imagination of the markets while surrounding themselves with people who can show incremental progress against that vision each day.
Scott Galloway (The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google)
I'd seen glimpses of a different me. It was a different me because in those increments of time I thought I actually became a winner. The truth, however, is painful. It was a truth that told me with a scratching internal brutality that I was me, and that winning wan't natural for me. It had to be fought for, in the echoes and trodden footprints of my mind. In a way, I had to scavenge for moments of alrightness.
Markus Zusak (Getting the Girl (Wolfe Brothers, #3))
And THAT is how you fall into an abusive relationship: when you start acting in a way so as not to upset the other person or set them off. You’ve given away control of your own life, bit by bit, bit by bit. It’s incremental, until one day, you have hidden so much of yourself you get lost.
Rose McGowan (Brave)
So we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us. Gentle tweaks to the status quo stopped being a climate option when we supersized the American Dream in the 1990s, and then proceeded to take it global.
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
Words were no longer simply words, but a curious codes of silence, a way of speaking that continually moved around the thing that was being said. As long as we avoided the real subject, the spell would not broken. We both slipped naturally into this kind of banter, and it became all the more powerful because neither of us abandoned the character. We knew what we were doing, but at the same time we pretended not to. Thus my courtship of Sophie began - slowly, decorously, building by the smallest of increments.
Paul Auster (The Locked Room (The New York Trilogy, #3))
He was losing her incrementally. It might be a few stray hairs listless on the pillow, or the crescents of bitten fingernails tossed behind the headboard, or a dark shape dissolving in soap. As a net is no more than holes tied together, they were bonded by what was no longer there." (ARC p. 63)
Anthony Marra
But there is now a degree to which you have to ask whether his success is an indictment on the rest of us who have been working on much more incremental things. To the extent that the world still doubts Elon, I think it's a reflection on the insanity of the world and not on the supposed insanity of Elon. - Peter Thiel on Elon Musk
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future)
Books are the way that the dead communicate with us. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, the way that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over.
Neil Gaiman (The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction)
Today's Republican Party...is an insurgent outlier. It has become ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition, all but declaring war on the government. The Democratic Party, while no paragon of civic virtue, is more ideologically centered and diverse, protective of the government's role as it developed over the course of the last century, open to incremental changes in policy fashioned through bargaining with the Republicans, and less disposed to or adept at take-no-prisoners conflict between the parties. This asymmetry between the parties, which journalists and scholars often brush aside or whitewash in a quest for "balance," constitutes a huge obstacle to effective governance.
Thomas E. Mann (It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the Politics of Extremism)
Regret was an emotional cancer, destroying you from the inside out. Eating at your most vital parts until there was nothing left but scar tissue and sorrow. It chipped away at you in small increments, shattering your defenses and tiring you out. But, unlike a physical cancer, which might eventually go into remission or be cut out with a few careful strokes of a surgeon’s scalpel, regret would stay with you forever. It was chronic, but not terminal — a constant companion that would haunt you until your deathbed. And there were no cures to diminish its influence. No salves to counteract its effects. Regret didn’t break your body. It crushed your spirit. Mine had just been broken beyond repair.
Julie Johnson (Say the Word)
I eased back on my elbows, tilting my head back to look up at the sky, which was pinkish, streaked with red. This was the time we knew best, that stretch of day going from dusk to dark. It seemed like we were always waiting for nighttime here. I could feel the trampoline easing up and down, moved by our own breathing, bringing us in small increments up and back from the sky as the colors faded, slowly, and the stars began to show themselves.
Sarah Dessen (This Lullaby)
Imagine that you have to break someone's arm. Right or left, doesn't matter. The point is that you have to break it, because if you don't...well, that doesn't matter either. Let's just say bad things will happen if you don't. Now, my question goes like this: do you break the arm quickly -- snap, whoops, sorry, here let me help you with that improvised splint -- or do you drag the whole business out for a good eight minutes, every now and then increasing the pressure in the tiniest of increments, until the pain becomes pink and green and hot and cold and altogether howlingly unbearable? Well exactly. Of course. The right thing to do, the only thing to do, is to get it over with as quickly as possible. Break the arm, ply the brandy, be a good citizen. There can be no other answer. Unless. Unless unless unless. What if you were to hate the person on the other end of the arm? I mean really, really hate them.
Hugh Laurie (The Gun Seller)
But we must not forget that all things in the world are connected with one another and depend on one another, and that we ourselves and all our thoughts are also a part of nature. It is utterly beyond our power to measure the changes of things by time. Quite the contrary, time is an abstraction, at which we arrive by means of the change of things; made because we are not restricted to any one definite measure, all being interconnected. A motion is termed uniform in which equal increments of space described correspond to equal increments of space described by some motion with which we form a comparison, as the rotation of the earth. A motion may, with respect to another motion, be uniform. But the question whether a motion is in itself uniform, is senseless. With just as little justice, also, may we speak of an “absolute time” --- of a time independent of change. This absolute time can be measured by comparison with no motion; it has therefore neither a practical nor a scientific value; and no one is justified in saying that he knows aught about it. It is an idle metaphysical conception.
Ernst Mach (Science of Mechanics)
Old people only say that life happens quickly to make themselves feel better. The truth is that it all happens in tiny increments like now now now now now now and it only takes twenty to thirty consecutive nows to realize that you’re aimed straight at a bench in Singleton Park. Fair play though, if I was old and had forgotten to do something worthwhile with my life, I would spend those final few years on a bench in the botanical gardens, convincing myself that time is so quick that even plants – who have no responsibilities whatsoever – hardly get a chance to do anything decent with their lives except, perhaps, produce one or two red or yellow flowers and, with a bit of luck and insects, reproduce. If the old man manages to get the words father and husband on his bench plaque then he thinks he can be reasonably proud of himself.
Joe Dunthorne (Submarine)
Over time I’ve learned, surprisingly, that it’s tremendously hard to get teams to be super ambitious. It turns out most people haven’t been educated in this kind of moonshot thinking. They tend to assume that things are impossible, rather than starting from real-world physics and figuring out what’s actually possible. It’s why we’ve put so much energy into hiring independent thinkers at Google, and setting big goals. Because if you hire the right people and have big enough dreams, you’ll usually get there. And even if you fail, you’ll probably learn something important. It’s also true that many companies get comfortable doing what they have always done, with a few incremental changes. This kind of incrementalism leads to irrelevance over time, especially in technology, because change tends to be revolutionary not evolutionary. So you need to force yourself to place big bets on the future.
Eric Schmidt (How Google Works)
Since natural selection “selects” or preserves functionally advantageous mutations or variations, it can explain the origin of systems that could have arisen through a series of incremental steps, each of which maintains or confers a functional advantage on a living organism. Nevertheless, by this same logic, selection and mutation face difficulty in explaining structures or systems that could not have been built through a close series of functional intermediates. Moreover, since selection operates only on what mutation first produces, mutation and selection do not readily explain appearances of design that require discrete jumps of complexity that exceed the reach of chance; that is to say, the available probabilistic resources.
Stephen C. Meyer (Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design)
These human eyes seemed weak to me at first," said Eskar, still staring away from me, scratching her short black hair. "They detect fewer colors and have terrible resolution, but they see things dragon eyes cannot. They can see beyond surfaces. I don't understand how that's possible, but it happened incrementally as I traveled with Orma: I began to see the inside of him. His questioning and gentle nature. His conviction. I'd glimpse it in something as incongruous as his hand holding a teacup, or his eyes when he spoke of you.
Rachel Hartman (Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2))
The food problem is a flavor problem. For half a century, we've been making the stuff people should eat--fruits, vegetables, whole grains, unprocessed meats--incrementally less delicious. Meanwhile, we've been making the food people shouldn't eat--chips, fast food, soft drinks, crackers--taste ever more exciting. The result is exactly what you'd expect.
Mark Schatzker (The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor)
There was always something yet unseen. The ground itself was daily renewed, kicked up and muddled by passing travelers, such that it was impossible to repeat the same journey twice. Alif thought of all the times he had left the duplex in Baqara District bent on some mundane errand: the courtyard gate closing behind him with a rattle, rattling again when he returned the same way; to him, ordinary and frustrating, to the world, a process full of tiny variations, all existing, as Sheikh Bilal had said, simultaneously and without contradiction. He had been given eternity in modest increments, and had thought nothing of it.
G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen)
Must be frustrating being a scientist. There you are, incrementally discovering how the universe works via a series of complex tests and experiments, for the benefit of all mankind - and what thanks do you get? People call you "egghead" or "boffin" or "heretic", and they cave your face in with a rock and bury you out in the wilderness. Not literally - not in this day and age - but you get the idea. Scientists are mistrusted by huge swathes of the general public, who see them as emotionless lab-coated meddlers-with-nature rather than, say, fellow human beings who've actually bothered getting off their arses to work this shit out.
Charlie Brooker
World-class cereal-eating is a dance of fine compromises. The giant heaping bowl of sodden cereal, awash in milk, is the mark of the novice. Ideally one wants the bone-dry cereal nuggets and the cryogenic milk to enter the mouth with minimal contact and for the entire reaction between them to take place in the mouth. Randy has worked out a set of mental blueprints for a special cereal-eating spoon that will have a tube running down the handle and a little pump for the milk, so that you can spoon dry cereal up out of a bowl, hit a button with your thumb, and squirt milk into the bowl of the spoon even as you are introducing it into your mouth. The next best thing is to work in small increments, putting only a small amount of Cap’n Crunch in your bowl at a time and eating it all up before it becomes a pit of loathsome slime, which, in the case of Cap’n Crunch, takes about thirty seconds.
Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon (Crypto, #1))
I know your race and mine are never on the best of terms." There was a cold smile in his voice if not on his face. "But I do only what you force me to. You rationalize, Keeton. You defend. You reject unpalatable truths, and if you can't reject them outright you trivialize them. Incremental evidence is never enough for you. You hear rumors of Holocaust; you dismiss them. You see evidence of genocide; you insist it can't be so bad. Temperatures rise, glaciers melt—species die—and you blame sunspots and volcanoes. Everyone is like this, but you most of all. You and your Chinese Room. You turn incomprehension into mathematics, you reject the truth without even knowing what it is.
Peter Watts (Blindsight (Firefall, #1))
Each person’s private trouble cannot be solved by a social revolution, because revolutions are destabilizing and dangerous. We have learned to live together and organize our complex societies slowly and incrementally, over vast stretches of time, and we do not understand with sufficient exactitude why what we are doing works. Thus, altering our ways of social being carelessly in the name of some ideological shibboleth (diversity springs to mind) is likely to produce far more trouble than good, given the suffering that even small revolutions generally produce.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
So it went. Bob was increasingly cynical, leery, uneasy; Jesse was increasingly cavalier, merry, moody, fey, unpredictable. If his gross anatomy suggested a strong smith in his twenties, his actual physical constitution was that of a man who was incrementally dying. He was sick with rheums and aches and lung congestions, he tilted against chairs and counters and walls, in cold weather he limped with a cane. He coughed incessantly when lying down, his clever mind was often in conflict, insomnia stained his eye sockets like soot, he seemed in a state of mourning. He counteracted the smell of neglected teeth with licorice and candies, he browned his graying hair with dye, he camouflaged his depressions and derangements with masquerades of extreme cordiality, courtesy, and good will toward others.
Ron Hansen (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)
Do you want a revolution in science? Do what businesspeople do when they want a technological revolution: Just change the rules a bit. Let in a few revolutionaries. Make the hierarchy a bit flatter, to give the young people more scope and freedom. Create some opportunities for high-risk/high-payoff people, so as to balance the huge investment you made in low-risk, incremental science. The technology companies and investment banks use this strategy. Why not try it in academia? The payoff could be discovering how the universe works.
Lee Smolin (The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science and What Comes Next)
Imagine you are Siri Keeton: You wake in an agony of resurrection, gasping after a record-shattering bout of sleep apnea spanning one hundred forty days. You can feel your blood, syrupy with dobutamine and leuenkephalin, forcing its way through arteries shriveled by months on standby. The body inflates in painful increments: blood vessels dilate; flesh peels apart from flesh; ribs crack in your ears with sudden unaccustomed flexion. Your joints have seized up through disuse. You're a stick-man, frozen in some perverse rigor vitae. You'd scream if you had the breath. Vampires did this all the time, you remember. It was normal for them, it was their own unique take on resource conservation. They could have taught your kind a few things about restraint, if that absurd aversion to right-angles hadn't done them in at the dawn of civilization. Maybe they still can. They're back now, after all— raised from the grave with the voodoo of paleogenetics, stitched together from junk genes and fossil marrow steeped in the blood of sociopaths and high-functioning autistics. One of them commands this very mission. A handful of his genes live on in your own body so it too can rise from the dead, here at the edge of interstellar space. Nobody gets past Jupiter without becoming part vampire.
Peter Watts (Blindsight (Firefall, #1))
Personal growth is not like the development of a skill. It does not take place in observable increments that can be measured and charted. Indeed, as we have seen, when we're growing in sensitivity, generosity, and compassion, we're not aware of it, because we're not focusing on ourselves. The recovery of emotional freedom simply does not have the quality, for most of us, of a controllable sequence of transformations. It's more a career of discovering futher and further weaknesses and shedding them in turn.
C. Terry Warner (Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves)
...what it had indexed to was only an idea of a place, an abstraction formed from memories too brief and passing to account for the small effects of time: wind scouring and lifting the dust of the plains of Nineveh in immeasurable increments, the tuck of a river farther into its bend, hour by hour, year by year; the map would become less and less a picture of fact and more a poor translation of memory in two dimensions. It reminded me of talking, how what is said is never quite what was thought, and what is heard is never quite what was said. It wasn't much in the way of comfort, but everything has a little failure in it, and we still make do somehow.
Kevin Powers (The Yellow Birds)
Perhaps worse still is what liberal societies might do to themselves in the face of this new and different threat [of terrorism]. They begin, by small but dangerous increments, to cease to be as liberal as they once were. They begin to restrict their own hard-won rights and freedoms as a protection against the crminial minority who attempt (and as we thus see, by forcing liberty to commit suidcide, succed in doing) to terrorise society.
A.C. Grayling (Toward the Light of Liberty: The Struggles for Freedom and Rights That Made the Modern Western World)
The Engineering Question Can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements? 2. The Timing Question Is now the right time to start your particular business? 3. The Monopoly Question Are you starting with a big share of a small market? 4. The People Question Do you have the right team? 5. The Distribution Question Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product? 6. The Durability Question Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future? 7. The Secret Question Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)
There are much better ways to die than this, Little Fox.' 'Your attempts to comfort are tr-tragic,' Evangeline stuttered. 'You're still alive,' he grumbled. His fingers found her eyelids then, and with feather-soft touches, he brushed away the melting ice. Maybe he wasn't entirely hopeless. She wondered if he just hadn't had much practice at this. Comforting someone was an intimate thing, and according to the stories, intimacy didn't end well with Jacks. But he clearly knew how to be gentle. She felt herself thaw in increments as his fingers went to her cheeks, sweeping away the frozen tears.
Stephanie Garber (Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart, #1))
Remembering your mistakes more acutely than any minor success. This was the worst. The things that kept you up at night. Tip a waiter that was too small. The words that didn't fit the moment. Words that didn't come till to late. You could kill yourself in increments, punishing your spirit day after day-regret. Guilt. Not the guilt of the little girl who woke in the night embarrassed God was mad at her because she had ticked balls under her shirt, pretending to have breasts. "I even felt sexy." That was sweet, and pure, no crime at all. But the crime of obsessive replay-get rid of it, get rid of it. Who could ever have known that hardest punishments would be the ones you gave yourself?
Naomi Shihab Nye (There Is No Long Distance Now)
They don’t really listen to speeches or talks. They absorb incrementally, through hours and hours of observation. The sad truth about divorce is that it’s hard to teach your kids about life unless you are living life with them: eating together, doing homework, watching Little League, driving them around endlessly, being bored with nothing to do, letting them listen while you do business, while you negotiate love and the frustrations and complications and rewards of living day in and out with your wife. Through this, they see how adults handle responsibility, honesty, commitment, jealousy, anger, professional pressures, and social interactions. Kids learn from whoever is around them the most.
Rob Lowe (Stories I Only Tell My Friends)
As I’ve been alluding to, my one saving grace is distraction. It keeps me sane. It helps me cope, considering the length of time I’ve been performing this job. The trouble is, who could ever replace me? Who could step in while I take a break in your stock-standard resort-style vacation destination, whether it be tropical or of the ski trip variety? The answer, of course, is nobody, which has prompted me to make a conscious, deliberate decision — to make distraction my vacation. Needless to say, I vacation in increments. In colors.
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
The tattoo artist inflicts pain and I take it. With each breath I count to one again. Each inhale, each exhale, time passes in the smallest of pieces, and pieces still smaller than those. This is how you count a life. This is how you go through it. Each second of hurt is a second that's already passed, one you never have to go through again. I have counted in pieces that small, when walking from the bed to the fridge seemed an insurmountable goal. I have counted my breaths, my steps, my eye-blinks, my hiccups, the tiny pulse in my thumb. And when I started getting tattooed, two of the things I used to need were gone: to write on myself, and to find irrelevant things to count. A second of intense pain is the most profound thing you can live through. And another, and another, and another, and then you know what it is to feel, and to struggle through that feeling one small agonizing increment at a time, and if you know that, you know what it is to live with mental illness.
Stacy Pershall (Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl)
I have heard it said that if you tell a lie often enough, loudly enough, and long enough, the myth will become accepted as a fact. Repetition, volume, and longevity will twist and turn a myth, or a lie, into a commonly accepted way of doing things. Entire populations have been lulled into the approval of ghastly deeds and even participation in them by gradually moving from the truth to a lie. Throughout history, twisted logic, rationalization, and incremental changes have allowed normally intelligent people to be party to ridiculous things. Propaganda, in particular, has played a big part in allowing these things to happen.
Dave Ramsey (The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness)
I feel to that the gap between my new life in New York and the situation at home in Africa is stretching into a gulf, as Zimbabwe spirals downwards into a violent dictatorship. My head bulges with the effort to contain both worlds. When I am back in New York, Africa immediately seems fantastical – a wildly plumaged bird, as exotic as it is unlikely. Most of us struggle in life to maintain the illusion of control, but in Africa that illusion is almost impossible to maintain. I always have the sense there that there is no equilibrium, that everything perpetually teeters on the brink of some dramatic change, that society constantly stands poised for some spasm, some tsunami in which you can do nothing but hope to bob up to the surface and not be sucked out into a dark and hungry sea. The origin of my permanent sense of unease, my general foreboding, is probably the fact that I have lived through just such change, such a sudden and violent upending of value systems. In my part of Africa, death is never far away. With more Zimbabweans dying in their early thirties now, mortality has a seat at every table. The urgent, tugging winds themselves seem to whisper the message, memento mori, you too shall die. In Africa, you do not view death from the auditorium of life, as a spectator, but from the edge of the stage, waiting only for your cue. You feel perishable, temporary, transient. You feel mortal. Maybe that is why you seem to live more vividly in Africa. The drama of life there is amplified by its constant proximity to death. That’s what infuses it with tension. It is the essence of its tragedy too. People love harder there. Love is the way that life forgets that it is terminal. Love is life’s alibi in the face of death. For me, the illusion of control is much easier to maintain in England or America. In this temperate world, I feel more secure, as if change will only happen incrementally, in manageable, finely calibrated, bite-sized portions. There is a sense of continuity threaded through it all: the anchor of history, the tangible presence of antiquity, of buildings, of institutions. You live in the expectation of reaching old age. At least you used to. But on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, those two states of mind converge. Suddenly it feels like I am back in Africa, where things can be taken away from you at random, in a single violent stroke, as quick as the whip of a snake’s head. Where tumult is raised with an abruptness that is as breathtaking as the violence itself.
Peter Godwin (When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa)
We create the world around us based on our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and emotions. Evil, dark forces, dark energy etc. are forms of the “negative” and are all a projections of the self. There is no separation. Once one realizes this, these energies start to fade and eventually disappear. What’s left is wholeness, contentment, self-realization, gratitude and a perpetual state of well-being. There is a popular saying amongst the healing community “where the mind goes, energy flows”. Use this mantra to your benefit. Lose the “non-sense” of all despair and anguish and catapult your self to a higher place that is incapable of entertaining the “negative” or “destructive”. Achieving this (even in increments) will only transform you to into a better positive place
Gary Hopkins
The ovarian world is the product of a life rhythm. The moment a child is born it becomes part of a world in which there is not only the life rhythm but the death rhythm. The frantic desire to live, to live at any cost, is not a result of the life rhythm in us, but of the death rhythm. There is not only no need to keep alive at any price, but, if life is undesirable, it is absolutely wrong. This keeping oneself alive, out of a blind urge to defeat death, is in itself a means of sowing death. Every one who has not fully accepted life, who is not incrementing life, is helping to fill the world with death. To make the simplest gesture with the hand can convey the utmost sense of life; a word spoken with the whole being can give life. Activity in itself means nothing: it is often a sign of death.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Capricorn (Tropic, #2))
Two things consistently bring me pleasure: hot sweet tea and writing. Which is not to say that either are particularly good for me…I use entirely too much sugar and so far don’t find sucralose to be a good alternative. Also, writing is not a practice that engenders confidence. Quite the opposite. It’s about making yourself deliberately insecure so that you can write the next thing and have it be worth reading. And that’s not even taking into consideration the business end of things, which can make you bitter if you’re not careful… But I’ve spent my the bulk of my life to date figuring out the right mix of fat and sugar in my tea and also, how to get incrementally better (I hope…) at the writing, so I’m not giving it/them up!
Ariel Gordon
I wish I could hold time in my hands. I wish I could talk to it. Oh, how I would ask it to give me just a few more increments of its elusive power. How can something we can’t touch or see have so much control over our lives. It was time that took you too soon, too young, before I got to say all of the things I wanted to, needed to. Things you will never know. And I carry them like a weight, these words, these sentences, right in the middle of my chest, because they have nowhere else to go. If only time had allowed me to understand the things I would want to say after you were gone. That’s the thing. They told me “don’t leave anything unsaid.” But I didn’t know what I wanted to say until it was too late, until you were gone. It was the time afterward that held all the wisdom.
Jacqueline Simon Gunn
People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another. And I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world: They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters. They get excited over one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they’re satisfied with small changes. Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world. People who want to make a difference get frustrated along the way. But if they have a particularly stressful day, they don’t quit. They keep going. Given their accomplishments, most of them are shockingly normal and the way they spend each day can be quite mundane. They don’t teach grand lessons that suddenly enlighten entire communities; they teach small lessons that can bring incremental improvement to one man or woman, boy or girl. They don’t do anything to call attention to themselves, they simply pay attention to the everyday needs of others, even if it’s only one person. They bring change in ways most people will never read about or applaud. And because of the way these world-changers are wired, they wouldn’t think of living their lives any other way.
Katie Davis (Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption)
Even earthquakes are the consequence of tensions built up over long spans of time, imperceptibly, incrementally. You don't notice the buildup, just the release. You see a sick person, an old person, a dying person, the sight sinks in, and somewhere down the road you change your life. In movies and novels, people change suddenly and permanently, which is convenient and dramatic but not much like life, where you gain distance on something, relapse, resolve, try again, and move along in stops, starts, and stutters. Change is mostly slow. In my life, there had been transformative events, and I'd had a few sudden illuminations and crises, crossed a rubicon or two, but mostly I'd had the incremental.
Rebecca Solnit (The Faraway Nearby)
Jazz presumes that it would be nice if the four of us--simpatico dudes that we are--while playing this complicated song together, might somehow be free and autonomous as well. Tragically, this never quite works out. At best, we can only be free one or two at a time--while the other dudes hold onto the wire. Which is not to say that no one has tried to dispense with wires. Many have, and sometimes it works--but it doesn't feel like jazz when it does. The music simply drifts away into the stratosphere of formal dialectic, beyond our social concerns. Rock-and-roll, on the other hand, presumes that the four of us--as damaged and anti-social as we are--might possibly get it to-fucking-gether, man, and play this simple song. And play it right, okay? Just this once, in tune and on the beat. But we can't. The song's too simple, and we're too complicated and too excited. We try like hell, but the guitars distort, the intonation bends, and the beat just moves, imperceptibly, against our formal expectations, whetehr we want it to or not. Just because we're breathing, man. Thus, in the process of trying to play this very simple song together, we create this hurricane of noise, this infinitely complicated, fractal filigree of delicate distinctions. And you can thank the wanking eighties, if you wish, and digital sequencers, too, for proving to everyone that technologically "perfect" rock--like "free" jazz--sucks rockets. Because order sucks. I mean, look at the Stones. Keith Richards is always on top of the beat, and Bill Wyman, until he quit, was always behind it, because Richards is leading the band and Charlie Watts is listening to him and Wyman is listening to Watts. So the beat is sliding on those tiny neural lapses, not so you can tell, of course, but so you can feel it in your stomach. And the intonation is wavering, too, with the pulse in the finger on the amplified string. This is the delicacy of rock-and-roll, the bodily rhetoric of tiny increments, necessary imperfections, and contingent community. And it has its virtues, because jazz only works if we're trying to be free and are, in fact, together. Rock-and-roll works because we're all a bunch of flakes. That's something you can depend on, and a good thing too, because in the twentieth century, that's all there is: jazz and rock-and-roll. The rest is term papers and advertising.
Dave Hickey (Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy)
If we are ever going to see a paradigm shift, we have to be clear about how we want the present paradigm to shift. We must be clear that veganism is the unequivocal baseline of anything that deserves to be called an “animal rights” movement. If “animal rights” means anything, it means that we cannot morally justify any animal exploitation; we cannot justify creating animals as human resources, however “humane” that treatment may be. We must stop thinking that people will find veganism “daunting” and that we have to promote something less than veganism. If we explain the moral ideas and the arguments in favor of veganism clearly, people will understand. They may not all go vegan immediately; in fact, most won’t. But we should always be clear about the moral baseline. If someone wants to do less as an incremental matter, let that be her/his decision, and not something that we advise to do. The baseline should always be clear. We should never be promoting “happy” or “humane” exploitation as morally acceptable.
Gary L. Francione
Danger, when it is always imminent, does harm. It doesn't need to actually arrive. You exhaust yourself in the act of forever looking over your shoulder. Your body readies itself to fight and never quite discharges that chemical cocktail. You channel it instead into anger and self-pity and anxiety and hopelessness. You divert it into work. But really what you do, with every fibre of your being, is watch. You are incessantly, exhaustingly alert. You don't dare ever let up, just in case the danger takes advantage of your inattention. I've forgotten what it feels like to have space in my brain for anything other than watching. For a long time I kept working teaching, pitching articles, writing editorial reports and for a while, that felt like a life raft. But then, incrementally, it became impossible. I was aware of a fog descending, a seizing of the gears, but it seemed diffuse until now.
Katherine May (Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age)
I lifted the remote control, pushed the Play button, and started the video. I guess, in that moment, I also started my new life as Cameron-the-girl-with-no-parents. Ruth was sort of right, I would learn: A relationship with a higher power is often best practiced alone. For me it was practiced in hour-and-half or two-hour increments, and paused when necessary. I don't think it's overstating it to say that my religion of choice became VHS rentals, and that its messages came in Technicolor and musical montages and fades and jump cuts and silver-screen legends and B-movie nobodies and villains to root for and good guys to hate. But Ruth was wrong, too. There was more than just one other world beyond ours; there were hundreds and hundreds of them, and at 99 cents apiece I could rent them all.
Emily M. Danforth (The Miseducation of Cameron Post)
Many people in this room have an Etsy store where they create unique, unreplicable artifacts or useful items to be sold on a small scale, in a common marketplace where their friends meet and barter. I and many of my friends own more than one spinning wheel. We grow our food again. We make pickles and jams on private, individual scales, when many of our mothers forgot those skills if they ever knew them. We come to conventions, we create small communities of support and distributed skills--when one of us needs help, our village steps in. It’s only that our village is no longer physical, but connected by DSL instead of roads. But look at how we organize our tribes--bloggers preside over large estates, kings and queens whose spouses’ virtues are oft-lauded but whose faces are rarely seen. They have moderators to protect them, to be their knights, a nobility of active commenters and big name fans, a peasantry of regular readers, and vandals starting the occasional flame war just to watch the fields burn. Other villages are more commune-like, sharing out resources on forums or aggregate sites, providing wise women to be consulted, rabbis or priests to explain the world, makers and smiths to fashion magical objects. Groups of performers, acrobats and actors and singers of songs are traveling the roads once more, entertaining for a brief evening in a living room or a wheatfield, known by word of mouth and secret signal. Separate from official government, we create our own hierarchies, laws, and mores, as well as our own folklore and secret history. Even my own guilt about having failed as an academic is quite the crisis of filial piety--you see, my mother is a professor. I have not carried on the family trade. We dwell within a system so large and widespread, so disorganized and unconcerned for anyone but its most privileged and luxurious members, that our powerlessness, when we can summon up the courage to actually face it, is staggering. So we do not face it. We tell ourselves we are Achilles when we have much more in common with the cathedral-worker, laboring anonymously so that the next generation can see some incremental progress. We lack, of course, a Great Work to point to and say: my grandmother made that window; I worked upon the door. Though, I would submit that perhaps the Internet, as an object, as an aggregate entity, is the cathedral we build word by word and image by image, window by window and portal by portal, to stand taller for our children, if only by a little, than it does for us. For most of us are Lancelots, not Galahads. We may see the Grail of a good Classical life, but never touch it. That is for our sons, or their daughters, or further off. And if our villages are online, the real world becomes that dark wood on the edge of civilization, a place of danger and experience, of magic and blood, a place to make one’s name or find death by bear. And here, there be monsters.
Catherynne M. Valente