Interesting Man In The World Quotes

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I love you,' Buttercup said. 'I know this must come as something of a surprise to you, since all I've ever done is scorn you and degrade you and taunt you, but I have loved you for several hours now, and every second, more. I thought an hour ago that I loved you more than any woman has ever loved a man, but a half hour after that I knew that what I felt before was nothing compared to what I felt then. But ten minutes after that, I understood that my previous love was a puddle compared to the high seas before a storm. Your eyes are like that, did you know? Well they are. How many minutes ago was I? Twenty? Had I brought my feelings up to then? It doesn't matter.' Buttercup still could not look at him. The sun was rising behind her now; she could feel the heat on her back, and it gave her courage. 'I love you so much more now than twenty minutes ago that there cannot be comparison. I love you so much more now then when you opened your hovel door, there cannot be comparison. There is no room in my body for anything but you. My arms love you, my ears adore you, my knees shake with blind affection. My mind begs you to ask it something so it can obey. Do you want me to follow you for the rest of your days? I will do that. Do you want me to crawl? I will crawl. I will be quiet for you or sing for you, or if you are hungry, let me bring you food, or if you have thirst and nothing will quench it but Arabian wine, I will go to Araby, even though it is across the world, and bring a bottle back for your lunch. Anything there is that I can do for you, I will do for you; anything there is that I cannot do, I will learn to do. I know I cannot compete with the Countess in skills or wisdom or appeal, and I saw the way she looked at you. And I saw the way you looked at her. But remember, please, that she is old and has other interests, while I am seventeen and for me there is only you. Dearest Westley--I've never called you that before, have I?--Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley,--darling Westley, adored Westley, sweet perfect Westley, whisper that I have a chance to win your love.' And with that, she dared the bravest thing she'd ever done; she looked right into his eyes.
William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
Sometimes I wonder if he wasn't born dead. I never met a man who was less interested in the living. Sometimes I think that's the trouble with the world: too many people in high places who are stone-cold dead.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Cat's Cradle)
Occupied in observing Mr. Bingley’s attentions to her sister, Elizabeth was far from suspecting that she was herself becoming an object of some interest in the eyes of his friend. Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty: he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticise. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Of this she was perfectly unaware: to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with.
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
The decisive question for man is: Is he related to something infinite or not? That is the telling question of his life. Only if we know that the thing which truly matters is the infinite can we avoid fixing our interests upon futilities, and upon all kinds of goals which are not of real importance. Thus we demand that the world grant us recognition for qualities which we regard as personal possessions: our talent or our beauty. The more a man lays stress on false possessions, and the less sensitivity he has for what is essential, the less satisfying is his life. He feels limited because he has limited aims, and the result is envy and jealousy. If we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a link with the infinite, desires and attitudes change.
C.G. Jung (Memories, Dreams, Reflections)
Andy Dufresne: 'That's the beauty of music. They can't get that from you...haven't you ever felt that way about music?' Red: 'I played a mean harmonica as a younger man. Lost interest in it though. Didn't make much sense in here.' Andy: 'Here's where it makes the most sense. You need it so you don't forget.' Red: 'Forget?' Andy: 'Forget that...there are places in this world that aren't made out of stone. That there's something inside...that they can't get to, that they can't touch. That's yours.' Red: 'What're you talking about?' Andy: 'Hope.
Stephen King (Different Seasons)
For myself, I am interested in science and in philosophy only because I want to learn something about the riddle of the world in which we live, and the riddle of man's knowledge of that world. And I believe that only a revival of interest in these riddles can save the sciences and philosophy from an obscurantist faith in the expert's special skill and in his personal knowledge and authority.
Karl Popper (The Logic of Scientific Discovery)
What I'm sure of is that you can't be happy without money. That's all. I don't like superficiality and I don't like romanticism. I like to be conscious. And what I've noticed is that there's a kind of spiritual snobbism in certain 'superior beings' who think that money isn't necessary for happiness. Which is stupid, which is false, and to a certain degree cowardly.... For a man who is well born, being happy is never complicated. It's enough to take up the general fate, only not with the will for renunciation like so many fake great men, but with the will for happiness. Only it takes time to be happy. A lot of time. Happiness, too, is a long patience. And in almost every case, we use up our lives making money, when we should be using our money to gain time. That's the only problem that's ever interested me.... To have money is to have time. That's my main point. Time can be bought. Everything can be bought. To be or to become rich is to have time to be happy, if you deserve it.... Everything for happiness, against the world which surrounds us with its violence and its stupidity.... All the cruelty of our civilization can be measured by this one axiom: happy nations have no history.
Albert Camus
Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth. Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star. But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many--perhaps most--of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven--or hell. How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars. Men have been slow to face this prospect; some still hope that it may never become reality. Increasing numbers, however are asking; 'Why have such meetings not occurred already, since we ourselves are about to venture into space?' Why not, indeed? Here is one possible answer to that very reasonable question. But please remember: this is only a work of fiction. The truth, as always, will be far stranger.
Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1))
Masquerades disclose the reality of souls. As long as no one sees who we are, we can tell the most intimate details of our life. I sometimes muse over this sketch of a story about a man afflicted by one of those personal tragedies born of extreme shyness who one day, while wearing a mask I don’t know where, told another mask all the most personal, most secret, most unthinkable things that could be told about his tragic and serene life. And since no outward detail would give him away, he having disguised even his voice, and since he didn’t take careful note of whoever had listened to him, he could enjoy the ample sensation of knowing that somewhere in the world there was someone who knew him as not even his closest and finest friend did. When he walked down the street he would ask himself if this person, or that one, or that person over there might not be the one to whom he’d once, wearing a mask, told his most private life. Thus would be born in him a new interest in each person, since each person might be his only, unknown confidant.
Fernando Pessoa
This concern with the basic condition of freedom — the absence of physical constraint — is unquestionably necessary, but is not all that is necessary. It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison and yet not free — to be under no physical constraint and yet to be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national State, or of some private interest within the nation, want him to think, feel and act.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race. The Great Being saith: Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth. It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.
Bahá'u'lláh
Be a light unto the world, and hurt it not. Seek to build not destroy. Bring My people home. How? By your shining example. Seek only Godliness. Speak only in truthfulness. Act only in love. Live the Law of Love now and forever more. Give everything require nothing. Avoid the mundane. Do not accept the unacceptable. Teach all who seek to learn of Me. Make every moment of your life an outpouring of love. Use every moment to think the highest thought, say the highest word, do the highest deed. In this, glorify your Holy Self, and thus too, glorify Me. Bring peace to the Earth by bringing peace to all those whose lives you touch. Be peace. Feel and express in every moment your Divine Connection with the All, and with every person, place, and thing. Embrace every circumstance, own every fault, share every joy, contemplate every mystery, walk in every man’s shoes, forgive every offense (including your own), heal every heart, honor every person’s truth, adore every person’s God, protect every person’s rights, preserve every person’s dignity, promote every person’s interests, provide every person’s needs, presume every person’s holiness, present every person’s greatest gifts, produce every person’s blessing, pronounce every person’s future secure in the assured love of God. Be a living, breathing example of the Highest Truth that resides within you. Speak humbly of yourself, lest someone mistake your Highest Truth for boast. Speak softly, lest someone think you are merely calling for attention. Speak gently, that all might know of Love. Speak openly, lest someone think you have something to hide. Speak candidly, so you cannot be mistaken. Speak often, so that your word may truly go forth. Speak respectfully, that no one be dishonored. Speak lovingly, that every syllable may heal. Speak of Me with every utterance. Make of your life a gift. Remember always, you are the gift! Be a gift to everyone who enters your life, and to everyone whose life you enter. Be careful not to enter another’s life if you cannot be a gift. (You can always be a gift, because you always are the gift—yet sometimes you don’t let yourself know that.) When someone enters your life unexpectedly, look for the gift that person has come to receive from you…I HAVE SENT YOU NOTHING BUT ANGELS.
Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 2)
Question: You seem to advise me to be self-centered to the point of egoism. Must I not yield even to my interest in other people? Maharaj: Your interest in others is egoistic, self-concerned, self- oriented. You are not interested in others as persons, but only as far as they enrich, or enoble your own image of yourself. And the ultimate in selfishness is to care only for the protection, preservation and multiplication of one's own body. By body I mean all that is related to your name and shape--- your family, tribe, country, race, etc. To be attached to one's name and shape is selfishness. A man who knows that he is neither body nor mind cannot be selfish, for he has nothing to be selfish for. Or, you may say, he is equally 'selfish' on behalf of everybody he meets; everybody's welfare is his own. The feeling 'I am the world, the world is myself' becomes quite natural; once it is es- tablished, there is just no way of being selfish. To be selfish means to covet, to acquire, accumulate on behalf of the part against the whole. I Am That Nisargadatta Maharaj
Nisargadatta Maharaj
If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man's outward actions – if he continues to be just a snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before – then I think we must suspect that his 'conversion' was largely imaginary; and after one's original conversion, every time one thinks one has made an advance, that is the test to apply. Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in 'religion' mean nothing unless they make our actual behavior better; just as in an illness 'feeling better' is not much good if the thermometer shows that your temperature is still going up. In that sense the outer world is quite right to judge Christianity by its results. Christ told us to judge by results. A tree is known by its fruit; or, as we say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world. The war-time posters told us that Careless Talk costs Lives. It is equally true that Careless Lives cost Talk. Our careless lives set the outer world taking; and we give them grounds for talking in a way that throws doubt on the truth of Christianity itself.
C.S. Lewis
A large minority of people still confuse his arrogance for strength, his false bravado for accomplishment, and his superficial interest in them for charisma.
Mary L. Trump (Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man)
In general she had found that the main drawback in being a man was that conversations were less interesting.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Birthday of the World and Other Stories (Hainish Cycle, #9))
He was a man of very few words, and as it was impossible to talk, one had to keep silent. It’s hard work talking to some people, most often males. I have a Theory about it. With age, many men come down with testosterone autism, the symptoms of which are a gradual decline in social intelligence and capacity for interpersonal communication, as well as a reduced ability to formulate thoughts. The Person beset by this Ailment becomes taciturn and appears to be lost in contemplation. He develops an interest in various Tools and machinery, and he’s drawn to the Second World War and the biographies of famous people, mainly politicians and villains. His capacity to read novels almost entirely vanishes; testosterone autism disturbs the character’s psychological understanding.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Any culture which, in the interests of efficiency or in the name of some political or religious dogma, seeks to standardize the human individual, commits an outrage against man’s biological nature.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
A man's interest in the world is only the overflow from his interest in himself.
George Bernard Shaw (Heartbreak House)
He wasn’t stupid. He’d watched enough of his friends drop like flies when the fatal illness struck. Now he was himself stricken; he showed all the Six Deadly Symptoms of a Man in Love: 1) Inability to think straight. 2) An alarming propensity to smile at the oddest moments. 3) Constant thoughts of the object of one’s desire. 4) Absolutely no interest in other members of the opposite sex. 5) A startling sense of goodwill toward the world in general. 6) A perpetual state of sexual arousal.
Jillian Hunter (The Seduction of an English Scoundrel (Boscastle, #1))
A self-destructive man feels completely alienated, utterly alone. He's an outsider to the human community. He thinks to himself, "I must be insane." What he fails to realize is that society has, just as he does, a vested interest in considerable losses and catastrophes. These wars, famines, floods and quakes meet well-defined needs. Man wants chaos. In fact, he has to have it. Depression, strife, riots, murder - all this dread. We're irresistibly drawn to that almost orgiastic state created out of death and destruction. It's in all of us. We revel in it. Sure, the media tries to put a sad face on these things and paints them up as great human tragedies. But we all know the function of the media has never been to eliminate the evils of the world - no! Their job is to persuade us to accept those evils and get used to living with them. The powers that be want us to be passive observers, and they haven't given us any other options outside the occasional, purely symbolic, participatory act of voting. "You want the puppet on the right or the puppet on the left?" I feel that the time has come to project my own inadequacies and dissatisfactions into the sociopolitical and scientific schemes, let my own lack of a voice be heard.
Richard Linklater
It's so much more interesting to study a ... damaged world. I find it difficult to learn anything in a place that's too civilized.
Brian Herbert (House Atreides (Prelude to Dune #1))
In today’s world no one is innocent, no one a neutral. A man is either with the oppressed or he is with the oppressors. He who takes no interest in politics gives his blessing to the prevailing order, that of the ruling classes and exploiting forces.
George Habash (Terrorism: Inside A World Phenomenon)
Realize this, though. Half my genes run through your body, and my selfish genome is heavily evolutionarily pre-programmed to look out for its copies. The other half is copied from the man I admire most in all the worlds and time, so my interest is doubly riveted. The artistic combination of the two, shall we say, arrests my attention.
Lois McMaster Bujold (Mirror Dance (Vorkosigan Saga, #8))
Betrayal wears a lot of different hats. You don’t have to make a show of it like Brutus did, you don’t have to leave anything visible jutting from the base of your best friend’s spine, and afterward you can stand there straining your ears for hours, but you won’t hear a cock crow either. No, the most insidious betrayals are done merely by leaving the life jacket hanging in your closet while you lie to yourself that it’s probably not the drowning man’s size. That’s how we slide, and while we slide we blame the world’s problems on colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, corporatism, stupid white men, and America, but there’s no need to make a brand name of blame. Individual self-interest: that’s the source of our descent, and it doesn’t start in the boardrooms or the war rooms either. It starts in the home.
Steve Toltz (A Fraction of the Whole)
I AM (your true self) is not interested in man’s opinion. All its interest lies in your conviction of yourself. What do you say of the I AM within you? Can you answer and say, “I AM Christ”? Your answer or degree of understanding will determine the place you will occupy in life. Do you say or believe yourself to be a man of a certain family, race, nation, etc.? Do you honestly believe this of yourself? Then life, your true self, will cause these conceptions to appear in your world and you will live with them as though they are real.
Neville Goddard (Your Faith is Your Fortune)
The most sacred part of the human body is the brain and spinal system, revered from all antiquity and symbolized again and again in all the religions of the world. While other parts of the body are of great interest to the student, the mysterious working of the spinal fires by means of which liberation is finally attained is so tremendous that many years must be spent in understanding even the fundamental principles. The spine is the rod which budded, the Yggdrasil Tree, the flaming sword, the staff of comfort, the wand of the Magi.
Manly P. Hall (Melchizedek and the Mystery of Fire)
large minority of people still confuse his arrogance for strength, his false bravado for accomplishment, and his superficial interest in them for charisma.
Mary L. Trump (Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man)
At the highest levels of the medical cartel, vaccines are a top priority because they cause a weakening of the immune system. I know that may be hard to accept, but its true. The medical cartel, at the highest level, is not out to help people, it is out to harm them, to weaken them. To kill them. At one point in my career, I had a long conversation with a man who occupied a high government position in an African nation. He told me that he was well aware of this. He told me that WHO is a front for these depopulation interests
Jon Rappoport interview with ex-vaccine Researcher
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured. On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war--seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln (Great Speeches / Abraham Lincoln: with Historical Notes by John Grafton)
I think a lot about queer villains, the problem and pleasure and audacity of them. I know I should have a very specific political response to them. I know, for example, I should be offended by Disney’s lineup of vain, effete ne’er-do-wells (Scar, Jafar), sinister drag queens (Ursula, Cruella de Vil), and constipated, man-hating power dykes (Lady Tremaine, Maleficent). I should be furious at Downton Abbey’s scheming gay butler and Girlfriend’s controlling, lunatic lesbian, and I should be indignant about Rebecca and Strangers on a Train and Laura and The Terror and All About Eve, and every other classic and contemporary foppish, conniving, sissy, cruel, humorless, depraved, evil, insane homosexual on the large and small screen. And yet, while I recognize the problem intellectually—the system of coding, the way villainy and queerness became a kind of shorthand for each other—I cannot help but love these fictional queer villains. I love them for all of their aesthetic lushness and theatrical glee, their fabulousness, their ruthlessness, their power. They’re always by far the most interesting characters on the screen. After all, they live in a world that hates them. They’ve adapted; they’ve learned to conceal themselves. They’ve survived.
Carmen Maria Machado (In the Dream House)
Seeing modern health care from the other side, I can say that it is clearly not set up for the patient. It is frequently a poor arrangement for doctors as well, but that does not mitigate how little the system accounts for the patient's best interest. Just when you are at your weakest and least able to make all the phone calls, traverse the maze of insurance, and plead for health-care referrals is that one time when you have to — your life may depend on it.
Ross I. Donaldson (The Lassa Ward: One Man's Fight Against One of the World's Deadliest Diseases)
Sometimes I think every man wants to be a writer. They want to invent a world with the perfect imaginary woman, someone they can boss around and undress at will. They can work out their own aggressions with a few fictional rape scenes. Then they can send their fictional surrogate in to save her, a white knight – or a fireman! Someone with all the power and all the agency. Real women, on the other hand, have all these tiresome interests of their own, and won’t follow an outline.
Joe Hill (The Fireman)
The devil can quote Scripture for his purpose; and the text of Scripture which he now most commonly quotes is, “The Kingdom of heaven is within you.” That text has been the stay and support of more Pharisees and prigs and self-righteous spiritual bullies than all the dogmas in creation; it has served to identify self-satisfaction with the peace that passes all understanding. And the text to be quoted in answer to it is that which declares that no man can receive the kingdom except as a little child. What we are to have inside is a childlike spirit; but the childlike spirit is not entirely concerned about what is inside. It is the first mark of possessing it that one is interested in what is outside. The most childlike thing about a child is his curiosity and his appetite and his power of wonder at the world. We might almost say that the whole advantage of having the kingdom within is that we look for it somewhere else.
G.K. Chesterton (What I Saw in America)
The feeling of joy came up in me again the way the lyric of a song might remind a man on the edge of insanity that soon he will be insane again and there is a world there more interesting than his own.
Norman Mailer (An American Dream)
The First [Friend] is the alter ego, the man who first reveals to you that you are not alone in the world by turning out (beyond hope) to share all your most secret delights. There is nothing to be overcome in making him your friend; he and you join like raindrops on a window. But the Second Friend is the man who disagrees with you about everything. He is not so much the alter ego as the antiself. Of course he shares your interests; otherwise he would not become your friend at all. But he has approached them all at a different angle. He has read all the right books but has got the wrong thing out of every one. It is as if he spoke your language but mispronounced it. How can he be so nearly right and yet, invariably, just not right? He is as fascinating (and infuriating) as a woman. When you set out to correct his heresies, you will find that he forsooth to correct yours! And then you go at it, hammer and tongs, far into the night, night after night, or walking through fine country that neither gives a glance to, each learning the weight of the other's punches, and often more like mutually respectful enemies than friends. Actually (though it never seems so at the time) you modify one another's thought; out of this perpetual dogfight a community of mind and a deep affection emerge.
C.S. Lewis (Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life)
I have always been interested in this man. My father had a set of Tom Paine's books on the shelf at home. I must have opened the covers about the time I was 13. And I can still remember the flash of enlightenment which shone from his pages. It was a revelation, indeed, to encounter his views on political and religious matters, so different from the views of many people around us. Of course I did not understand him very well, but his sincerity and ardor made an impression upon me that nothing has ever served to lessen. I have heard it said that Paine borrowed from Montesquieu and Rousseau. Maybe he had read them both and learned something from each. I do not know. But I doubt that Paine ever borrowed a line from any man... Many a person who could not comprehend Rousseau, and would be puzzled by Montesquieu, could understand Paine as an open book. He wrote with a clarity, a sharpness of outline and exactness of speech that even a schoolboy should be able to grasp. There is nothing false, little that is subtle, and an impressive lack of the negative in Paine. He literally cried to his reader for a comprehending hour, and then filled that hour with such sagacious reasoning as we find surpassed nowhere else in American letters - seldom in any school of writing. Paine would have been the last to look upon himself as a man of letters. Liberty was the dear companion of his heart; truth in all things his object. ...we, perhaps, remember him best for his declaration: 'The world is my country; to do good my religion.' Again we see the spontaneous genius at work in 'The Rights of Man', and that genius busy at his favorite task - liberty. Written hurriedly and in the heat of controversy, 'The Rights of Man' yet compares favorably with classical models, and in some places rises to vaulting heights. Its appearance outmatched events attending Burke's effort in his 'Reflections'. Instantly the English public caught hold of this new contribution. It was more than a defense of liberty; it was a world declaration of what Paine had declared before in the Colonies. His reasoning was so cogent, his command of the subject so broad, that his legion of enemies found it hard to answer him. 'Tom Paine is quite right,' said Pitt, the Prime Minister, 'but if I were to encourage his views we should have a bloody revolution.' Here we see the progressive quality of Paine's genius at its best. 'The Rights of Man' amplified and reasserted what already had been said in 'Common Sense', with now a greater force and the power of a maturing mind. Just when Paine was at the height of his renown, an indictment for treason confronted him. About the same time he was elected a member of the Revolutionary Assembly and escaped to France. So little did he know of the French tongue that addresses to his constituents had to be translated by an interpreter. But he sat in the assembly. Shrinking from the guillotine, he encountered Robespierre's enmity, and presently found himself in prison, facing that dread instrument. But his imprisonment was fertile. Already he had written the first part of 'The Age of Reason' and now turned his time to the latter part. Presently his second escape cheated Robespierre of vengeance, and in the course of events 'The Age of Reason' appeared. Instantly it became a source of contention which still endures. Paine returned to the United States a little broken, and went to live at his home in New Rochelle - a public gift. Many of his old companions in the struggle for liberty avoided him, and he was publicly condemned by the unthinking. {The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}
Thomas A. Edison (Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)
We are living in a world where helping others is not usual. People often give help to those with whom they have some vested interest or selfishness. One can barely find someone who is willing to give without any selfish intentions. But some people act like a blessing in disguise, yes we are about the person who never fails to help, the man with a golden heart- Aman Mehndiratta.
Aman Mehndiratta
So it hadn’t been wrong or dishonest of her to say no this morning, when he asked if she hated him, any more than it had been wrong or dishonest to serve him the elaborate breakfast and to show the elaborate interest in his work, and to kiss him goodbye. The kiss, for that matter, had been exactly right—a perfectly fair, friendly kiss, a kiss for a boy you’d just met at a party, a boy who’d danced with you and made you laugh and walked you home afterwards, talking about himself all the way. The only real mistake, the only wrong and dishonest thing, was ever to have seen him as anything more than that. Oh, for a month or two, just for fun, it might be all right to play a game like that with a boy; but all these years! And all because, in a sentimentally lonely time long ago, she had found it easy and agreeable to believe whatever this one particular boy felt like saying, and to repay him for that pleasure by telling easy, agreeable lies of her own, until each was saying what the other most wanted to hear—until he was saying “I love you” and she was saying “Really, I mean it; you’re the most interesting person I’ve ever met.” What a subtle, treacherous thing it was to let yourself go that way! Because once you’d started it was terribly difficult to stop; soon you were saying “I’m sorry, of course you’re right,” and “Whatever you think is best,” and “You’re the most wonderful and valuable thing in the world,” and the next thing you knew all honesty, all truth, was as far away and glimmering, as hopelessly unattainable as the world of the golden people. Then you discovered you were working at life the way the Laurel Players worked at The Petrified Forest, or the way Steve Kovick worked at his drums—earnest and sloppy and full of pretension and all wrong; you found you were saying yes when you meant no, and “We’ve got to be together on this thing” when you meant the very opposite; then you were breathing gasoline as if it were flowers and abandoning yourself to a delirium of love under the weight of a clumsy, grunting, red-faced man you didn’t even like—Shep Campbell!—and then you were face to face, in total darkness, with the knowledge that you didn’t know who you were. (p.416-7)
Richard Yates (Revolutionary Road)
Perhaps,' said Darcy, 'I should have judged better, had I sought an introduction, but I am ill qualified to recommend myself to strangers.' 'Shall we ask your cousin the reason of this?' said Elizabeth, still addressing Colonel Fitzwilliam. 'Shall we ask him why a man of sense and education, and who has lived in the world, is ill qualified to recommend himself to strangers?' 'I can answer your question,' said Fitzwilliam, 'without applying to him. It is because he will not give himself the trouble.' 'I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,' said Darcy, 'of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.' 'My fingers,' said Elizabeth, 'do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women's do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault -- because I would not take the trouble of practising. It is not that I do not believe my fingers as capable as any other woman's of superior execution.' Darcy smiled, and said, 'You are perfectly right. You have employed your time much better. No one admitted to the privilege of hearing you, can think any thing wanting. We neither of us perform to strangers.
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
Von Neumann gave me an interesting idea: that you don’t have to be responsible for the world that you’re in. So I have developed a very powerful sense of social irresponsibility as a result of Von Neumann’s advice. It’s made me a very happy man ever since. But it was Von Neumann who put the seed in that grew into my active irresponsibility!
Richard P. Feynman ("Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character)
To aid and abet in the destruction of a single species or in the extermination of a single tribe is to commit a crime against God, a mortal sin against Mother Nature. Better by far to sacrifice in some degree the interests of mechanical civilization, curtail our gluttonous appetite for things, ever more things, learn to moderate our needs, and most important, and not difficult, learn to control, limit and gradually reduce our human numbers. We humans swarm over the planet like a plague of locusts, multiplying and devouring. There is no justice, sense or decency in this mindless global breeding spree, this obscene anthropoid fecundity, this industrialized mass production of babies and bodies, ever more bodies and babies. The man-centered view of the world in anti-Christian, anti-Buddhist, antinature, antilife, and--antihuman.
Edward Abbey (Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside)
The average man is not directly interested in politics, and when he reads he wants the current struggles of the world to be translated into a simple story about individuals.
George Orwell (All Art is Propaganda: Critical Essays)
Even now, so many years later, all this is somehow a very evil memory. I have many evil memories now, but ... hadn't I better end my "Notes" here? I believe I made a mistake in beginning to write them, anyway I have felt ashamed all the time I've been writing this story; so it's hardly literature so much as a corrective punishment. Why, to tell long stories, showing how I have spoiled my life through morally rotting in my corner, through lack of fitting environment, through divorce from real life, and rankling spite in my underground world, would certainly not be interesting; a novel needs a hero, and all the traits for an anti-hero are expressly gathered together here, and what matters most, it all produces an unpleasant impression, for we are all divorced from life, we are all cripples, every one of us, more or less. We are so divorced from it that we feel at once a sort of loathing for real life, and so cannot bear to be reminded of it. Why, we have come almost to looking upon real life as an effort, almost as hard work, and we are all privately agreed that it is better in books. And why do we fuss and fume sometimes? Why are we perverse and ask for something else? We don't know what ourselves. It would be the worse for us if our petulant prayers were answered. Come, try, give any one of us, for instance, a little more independence, untie our hands, widen the spheres of our activity, relax the control and we ... yes, I assure you ... we should be begging to be under control again at once. I know that you will very likely be angry with me for that, and will begin shouting and stamping. Speak for yourself, you will say, and for your miseries in your underground holes, and don't dare to say all of us-- excuse me, gentlemen, I am not justifying myself with that "all of us." As for what concerns me in particular I have only in my life carried to an extreme what you have not dared to carry halfway, and what's more, you have taken your cowardice for good sense, and have found comfort in deceiving yourselves. So that perhaps, after all, there is more life in me than in you. Look into it more carefully! Why, we don't even know what living means now, what it is, and what it is called? Leave us alone without books and we shall be lost and in confusion at once. We shall not know what to join on to, what to cling to, what to love and what to hate, what to respect and what to despise. We are oppressed at being men--men with a real individual body and blood, we are ashamed of it, we think it a disgrace and try to contrive to be some sort of impossible generalised man. We are stillborn, and for generations past have been begotten, not by living fathers, and that suits us better and better. We are developing a taste for it. Soon we shall contrive to be born somehow from an idea. But enough; I don't want to write more from "Underground." [The notes of this paradoxalist do not end here, however. He could not refrain from going on with them, but it seems to us that we may stop here.]
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
Wait!” I shouted, chasing after him. Leaves sawed at my face and arms as I crashed into the undergrowth. “I have questions! How do I know this is real? What if it’s just a dream with a lowercase d? What if I change my mind about Hel tomorrow?” I stopped. Ganesha was gone, but I still felt presences in the jungle. I turned right and circled around to where I thought they were lurking. I felt them leave as I ran madly through the vegetation, yelling, “Why doesn’t everyone use the metric system? What happened to all of the yeti? How come I’ve never seen my archdruid in Tír na nÓg? Could he be the Most Interesting Man in the World? Why aren’t people from Trinidad and Tobago called Tobaggans? Do you know any Vogon poetry?” I
Kevin Hearne (Tricked (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #4))
The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible,” he said. He then made his point with the simple example of a taste for strawberries. “There is no abstract and impersonal proof either that strawberries are good or that they are not good. To the man who likes them they are good, to the man who dislikes them they are not. But the man who likes them has a pleasure which the other does not have; to that extent his life is more enjoyable and he is better adapted to the world in which both must live. . . . The more things a man is interested in, the more opportunities of happiness he has.
Terryl L. Givens (The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life)
In the modern world we are in a paradoxical situation; because although in theory man knows that he can extend his attention to something and then remove it, he very often does not do so. In many areas he does not look at something and then detach from it, and look at something else. Once he has found something to interest himself in, he cannot detach himself from it efficiently, and therefore he cannot be objective. Note that, in most if not all languages, we have words like 'objectivity' which leads people to imagine that they have it, or can easily use it. That is equivalent (in reality if not in theory) to saying 'I know the word “gold”, so I am rich.
Idries Shah (Knowing How to Know: A Practical Philosophy in the Sufi Tradition)
...if God had wanted to put everything into the world from the beginning, He would have created a universe without change, without organisms and evolution, and without man and man's experience of change. But He seems to have thought that a live universe with events unexpected even by Himself would be more interesting than a dead one.
Karl Popper (Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography)
Child: "The Major and the soldiers and Mycroft told me what war is like. They say it's the second worst thing in the world." Man: "That's an interesting definition. What did they say is the worst thing?" Child: "Not having anything worth fighting for in the first place.
Ada Palmer (Too Like the Lightning (Terra Ignota, #1))
They laid me down again while somebody fetched a stretcher. As soon as I knew that the bullet had gone clean through my neck I took it for granted that I was done for. I had never heard of a man or an animal getting a bullet through the middle of the neck and surviving it. The blood was dribbling out of the comer of my mouth. ‘The artery's gone,’ I thought. I wondered how long you last when your carotid artery is cut; not many minutes, presumably. Everything was very blurry. There must have been about two minutes during which I assumed that I was killed. And that too was interesting—I mean it is interesting to know what your thoughts would be at such a time. My first thought, conventionally enough, was for my wife. My second was a violent resentment at having to leave this world which, when all is said and done, suits me so well. I had time to feel this very vividly. The stupid mischance infuriated me. The meaninglessness of it! To be bumped off, not even in battle, but in this stale comer of the trenches, thanks to a moment's carelessness! I thought, too, of the man who had shot me—wondered what he was like, whether he was a Spaniard or a foreigner, whether he knew he had got me, and so forth. I could not feel any resentment against him. I reflected that as he was a Fascist I would have killed him if I could, but that if he had been taken prisoner and brought before me at this moment I would merely have congratulated him on his good shooting. It may be, though, that if you were really dying your thoughts would be quite different.
George Orwell (Homage to Catalonia)
It revealed the royal treasury. Chests full of gold, precious stones, and jewellery were everywhere. Even if he was to take only a small bag full of them, Antonio could be the richest man in the world. But, Antonio wanted only to find the key to Isabella’s door; nothing else interested him.
Stjepan Varesevac Cobets (Magic Clogs)
The crowd, in fact, is composed of individuals; it must therefore be in every man's power to become what he is, an individual. From becoming an individual no one, no one at all, is excluded, except he who excludes himself by becoming a crowd. To become a crowd, to collect a crowd about one, is on the contrary to affirm the distinctions of human life. The most well-meaning person who talks about these distinctions can easily offend an individual. But then it is not the crowd which possesses power, influence, repute, and mastery over men, but it is the invidious distinctions of human life which despotically ignore the single individual as the weak and impotent, which in a temporal and worldly interest ignore the eternal truth- the single individual.
Søren Kierkegaard
When once more alone, I reviewed the information I had got; looked into my heart, examined its thoughts and feelings, and endeavoured to bring back with a strict hand such as had been straying through imagination's boundless and trackless waste, into the safe fold of common sense. Arraigned to my own bar, Memory having given her evidence of the hopes, wishes, sentiments I had been cherishing since last night--of the general state of mind in which I had indulged for nearly a fortnight past; Reason having come forward and told, in her quiet way a plain, unvarnished tale, showing how I had rejected the real, and rapidly devoured the ideal--I pronounced judgement to this effect-- That a greater fool than Jane Eyre had never breathed the breath of life; that a more fantastic idiot had never surfeited herself on sweet lies, and swallowed poison as if it were nectar. "You," I said, "a favourite with Mr. Rochester? You're gifted with the power of pleasing him? You're of importance to him in any way? Go!--your folly sickens me. And you have derived pleasure from occasional tokens of preference--equivocal tokens shown by a gentleman of family and a man of the world to dependent and novice. How dared you? Poor stupid dupe! Could not even self-interest make you wiser? You repeated to yourself this morning the brief scene of last night? Cover your face and be ashamed! He said something in praise of your eyes, did he? Blind puppy! Open their bleared lids and look on your own accursed senselessness! It does no good to no woman to be flattered by her superior, who cannot possibly intend to marry her; and it is madness in all women to let a secret love kindle within them, which, if unreturned and unknown, must devour the life that feeds it; and if discovered and responded to, must lead into miry wilds whence there is no extrication. "Listen, then, Jane Eyre, to your sentence: tomorrow, place the glass before you, and draw in chalk your own pictures, faithfully, without softening on defect; omit no harsh line, smooth away no displeasing irregularity; write under it, 'Portrait of a Governess, disconnected, poor, and plain.' "Afterwards, take a piece of smooth ivory--you have one prepared in your drawing-box: take your palette, mix your freshest, finest, clearest tints; choose your most delicate camel-hair pencils; delineate carefully the loveliest face you can imageine; paint it in your softest shades and sweetest lines, according to the description given by Mrs. Fairfax of Blanche Ingram; remember the raven ringlets, the oriental eye--What! you revert to Mr. Rochester as a model! Order! No snivel!--no sentiment!--no regret! I will endure only sense and resolution... "Whenever, in the future, you should chance to fancy Mr. Rochester thinks well of you, take out these two pictures and compare them--say, "Mr. Rochester might probably win that noble lady's love, if he chose to strive for it; is it likely he would waste a serious thought on this indignent and insignifican plebian?" "I'll do it," I resolved; and having framed this determination, I grew calm, and fell asleep.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
You might have thought the colonel would be interested in my experiences of five years’ barbarism, but he wasn’t. I wasn’t long in discovering that it is a rare person in the white world who wants to hear what the other fellow says, all the more so when the other fellow really knows what he is talking about.
Thomas Berger (Little Big Man: A Novel)
For all these stars, nothing is new. They’ve seen all kinds of wars and miracles, too. They know the messengers with their holy books will smile and wash their hands in blood. They know the politicians with their good looks will make the poor eat pies of mud. They’ve seen the Earth freeze and then burn with greed. They’ve seen the trees and the seas emptied. Yet, you won’t hear their sneers when a man arrives and, having experienced a number of years, proclaims: 'I have lived!' Because nothing is new under these stars: the lies, the love, the memories and scars, the ruin, the revolution, the fakes and true, the families, the friends, none of it is new. All of it—even the me and you.
Kamand Kojouri
When Magnus looked at Imasu, he saw Imasu had dropped his head into his hands. "Er," Magnus said. "Are you quite all right?" "I was simply overcome," Imasu said in a faint voice. Magnus preened slightly. "Ah. Well." "By how awful that was," Imasu said. Magnus blinked. "Pardon?" "I can't live a lie any longer!" Imasu burst out. "I have tried to be encouraging. Dignitaries of the town have been sent to me, asking me to plead with you to stop. My own sainted mother begged me, with tears in her eyes - " "It isn't as bad as all that - " "Yes, it is!" It was like a dam of musical critique had broken. Imasu turned on him with eyes that flashed instead of shining. "It is worse than you can possibly imagine! When you play, all of my mother's flowers lose the will to live and expire on the instant. The quinoa has no flavor now. The llamas are migrating because of your music, and llamas are not a migratory animal. The children now believe there is a sickly monster, half horse and half large mournful chicken, that lives in the lake and calls out to the world to grant it the sweet release of death. The townspeople believe that you and I are performing arcane magic rituals - " "Well, that one was rather a good guess," Magnus remarked. " - using the skull of an elephant, an improbably large mushroom, and one of your very peculiar hats!" "Or not," said Magnus. "Furthermore, my hats are extraordinary." "I will not argue with that." Imasu scrubbed a hand through his thick black hair, which curled and clung to his fingers like inky vines. "Look, I know that I was wrong. I saw a handsome man, thought that it would not hurt to talk a little about music and strike up a common interest, but I don't deserve this. You are going to get stoned in the town square, and if I have to listen to you play again, I will drown myself in the lake." "Oh," said Magnus, and he began to grin. "I wouldn't. I hear there is a dreadful monster living in that lake." Imasu seemed to still be brooding about Magnus's charango playing, a subject that Magnus had lost all interest in. "I believe the world will end with a noise like the noise you make!" "Interesting," said Magnus, and he threw his charango out the window. "Magnus!" "I believe that music and I have gone as far as we can go together," Magnus said. "A true artiste knows when to surrender." "I can't believe you did that!" Magnus waved a hand airily. "I know, it is heartbreaking, but sometimes one must shut one's ears to the pleas of the muse." "I just meant that those are expensive and I heard a crunch.
Cassandra Clare (The Bane Chronicles)
Von Neumann gave me an interesting idea: that you don’t have to be responsible for the world that you’re in. So I have developed a very powerful sense of social irresponsibility as a result of Von Neumann’s advice. It’s made me a very happy man ever since.
Richard P. Feynman (Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! Adventures of a Curious Character)
That was why, later on, he began to lose interest in photography: first when colour took over, then when it became plain that the old magic of light-sensitive emulsions was waning, that to the rising generation the enchantment lay in a techne of images without substance, images that could flash through the ether without residing anywhere, that could be sucked into a machine and emerge from it doctored, untrue. He gave up recording the world in photographs then, and transferred his energies to saving the past.
J.M. Coetzee (Slow Man)
One thing you distinctly never want to hear a man you're interested in say softly is that his favorite book in the whole world is The Golden Notebook. Here you are dealing with a liar from the black lagoon and it's time to start feeling in your purse for carfare.
Norman Rush (Mating)
Ill tell you the one that I think will: when a mans in love he wants to keep the one he loves- and cherish her. He wants to build a picket fence twixt them and the world. He doesn't want it temporary, a secret, hidden. He wants the world to know. The one he loves is somebody to him, not a thing to be taken, used and tossed aside. Hell, I'm not saying he shouldn't be interested in your pretty ankles and what a nice sway your bustles got. That's part of it too; but only a part. The rest of it is the long years ahead, the laughing together, and the crying, bringing up your kids, nodding together under the lamplight when your heads have turned white, and finally lying together forever in the long dark...
Frank Yerby (A Woman Called Fancy)
If a man is forever concerned first and foremost with his own interests then he is bound to collide with others. If for any man life is a competition . . . then he will always think of other human beings as enemies, or at least as opponents who must be pushed out of the way . . . and the object of life becomes not to help others up but to push them down.[7]
Duane Elmer (Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility)
In fact the bare adjective "bad" hardly scratches the surface of the man's awesome incapacity.
John Biggins (The Emperor's Coloured Coat: In Which Otto Prohaska, Hero of the Habsburg Empire, Has an Interesting Time While Not Quite Managing to Avert the First World War)
Isn’t it interesting, that a black man, who is a Muslim, and has the name ‘Muhammad’, is the most beloved athlete in the world?
Hamza Yusuf
Before Socrates, philosophers were primarily interested in explaining the world around them and the phenomena of that world—in doing what we would now call science. Although Socrates studied science as a young man, he abandoned it to focus his attention on the human condition.
William B. Irvine (A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy)
You frequently state, and in your letter you imply, that I have developed a completely one-sided outlook and look at everything in terms of science. Obviously my method of thought and reasoning is influenced by a scientific training – if that were not so my scientific training will have been a waste and a failure. But you look at science (or at least talk of it) as some sort of demoralizing invention of man, something apart from real life, and which must be cautiously guarded and kept separate from everyday existence. But science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated. Science, for me, gives a partial explanation of life. In so far as it goes, it is based on fact, experience and experiment. Your theories are those which you and many other people find easiest and pleasantest to believe, but so far as I can see, they have no foundation other than they leaf to a pleasanter view of life (and an exaggerated idea of our own importance)... I agree that faith is essential to success in life (success of any sort) but I do not accept your definition of faith, i.e. belief in life after death. In my view, all that is necessary for faith is the belief that by doing our best we shall come nearer to success and that success in our aims (the improvement of the lot of mankind, present and future) is worth attaining. Anyone able to believe in all that religion implies obviously must have such faith, but I maintain that faith in this world is perfectly possible without faith in another world… It has just occurred to me that you may raise the question of the creator. A creator of what? ... I see no reason to believe that a creator of protoplasm or primeval matter, if such there be, has any reason to be interested in our significant race in a tiny corner of the universe, and still less in us, as still more significant individuals. Again, I see no reason why the belief that we are insignificant or fortuitous should lessen our faith – as I have defined it.
Rosalind Franklin
Even when I worked in that world, I still wanted love so strong that the man would have no interest in another woman. Maybe you will always be incapable of giving that kind of love. You tell me I want too much. And maybe I do. But like you and your imagination, I can't help but be that way.
Amy Tan (The Valley of Amazement)
Höderer: You don't love men, Hugo. You love only principles. Hugo: Men? Why should I love them? Do they love me? Höderer: Then why did you come to us? If you don't love men, you can't fight for them. Hugo: I joined the party because its cause is just, and I shall leave it when that cause ceases to be just. As for men, it's not what they are that interests me, but what they can become. Höderer: And I, I love them for what they are. With all their filth and and all their vices. I love their voices and their warm grasping hands, and their skin, the nudest skin of all, and their uneasy glances, and the desperate struggle each has to pursue against anguish and against death. For me, one man more or less in the world is something that counts. It's something precious. You, I know you now, you are a destroyer. You detest men because you detest yourself. Your purity resembles death. The revolution you dream of is not ours. You don't want to change the world, you want to blow it up.
Jean-Paul Sartre (No Exit and Three Other Plays)
That which interests most people leaves me without any interest at all. This includes a list of things such as: social dancing, riding roller coasters, going to zoos, picnics, movies, planetariums, watching tv, baseball games; going to funerals, weddings, parties, basketball games, auto races, poetry readings, museums, rallies, demonstrations, protests, children’s plays, adult plays … I am not interested in beaches, swimming, skiing, Christmas, New Year’s, the 4th of July, rock music, world history, space exploration, pet dogs, soccer, cathedrals and great works of Art. How can a man who is interested in almost nothing write about anything? Well, I do. I write and I write about what’s left over: a stray dog walking down the street, a wife murdering her husband, the thoughts and feelings of a rapist as he bites into a hamburger sandwich; life in the factory, life in the streets and rooms of the poor and mutilated and the insane, crap like that, I write a lot of crap like that
Charles Bukowski (Shakespeare Never Did This)
Let us suppose that the great empire of China, with all its myriads of inhabitants, was suddenly swallowed up by an earthquake, and let us consider how a man of humanity in Europe, who had no sort of connection with that part of the world, would be affected upon receiving intelligence of this dreadful calamity. He would, I imagine, first of all, express very strongly his sorrow for the misfortune of that unhappy people, he would make many melancholy reflections upon the precariousness of human life, and the vanity of all the labours of man, which could thus be annihilated in a moment. He would too, perhaps, if he was a man of speculation, enter into many reasonings concerning the effects which this disaster might produce upon the commerce of Europe, and the trade and business of the world in general. And when all this fine philosophy was over, when all these humane sentiments had been once fairly expressed, he would pursue his business or his pleasure, take his repose or his diversion, with the same ease and tranquillity, as if no such accident had happened. The most frivolous disaster which could befall himself would occasion a more real disturbance. If he was to lose his little finger to-morrow, he would not sleep to-night; but, provided he never saw them, he will snore with the most profound security over the ruin of a hundred millions of his brethren, and the destruction of that immense multitude seems plainly an object less interesting to him, than this paltry misfortune of his own. To prevent, therefore, this paltry misfortune to himself, would a man of humanity be willing to sacrifice the lives of a hundred millions of his brethren, provided he had never seen them? Human nature startles with horror at the thought, and the world, in its greatest depravity and corruption, never produced such a villain as could be capable of entertaining it. But what makes this difference? When our passive feelings are almost always so sordid and so selfish, how comes it that our active principles should often be so generous and so noble? When we are always so much more deeply affected by whatever concerns ourselves, than by whatever concerns other men; what is it which prompts the generous, upon all occasions, and the mean upon many, to sacrifice their own interests to the greater interests of others? It is not the soft power of humanity, it is not that feeble spark of benevolence which Nature has lighted up in the human heart, that is thus capable of counteracting the strongest impulses of self-love. It is a stronger power, a more forcible motive, which exerts itself upon such occasions. It is reason, principle, conscience, the inhabitant of the breast, the man within, the great judge and arbiter of our conduct.
Adam Smith (The Theory of Moral Sentiments)
The Christian admits that the universe is manifold and even miscellaneous, just as a sane man knows that he is complex. The sane man knows that he has a touch of the beast, a touch of the devil, a touch of the saint, a touch of the citizen. Nay, the really sane man knows that he has a touch of the madman. But the materialist's world is quite simple and solid, just as the madman is quite sure he is sane. The materialist is sure that history has been simply and solely a chain of causation, just as the interesting person before mentioned is quite sure that he is simply and solely a chicken. Materialists and madmen never have doubts.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
So you will not kneel to me?" He said. I will kneel to no man, "She answered, preparing herself for the push that would send her toppling to her death and ready to haul him with her. You interest me, girl. There is no fear in you." Nor in you, apparently, King Priam." He looked surprised. "Fear if for weaklings. Look around you. This is Troy. My Troy. The richest and most powerful city in the world. It was not built by fearful men, but my men with imagination and courage. It's wealth grows Daily, and with it the influence that wealth brings.
David Gemmell
The many ... whom one chooses to call the people, are indeed a collection, but only as a multitude, a formless mass, whose movement and action would be elemental, irrational, savage, and terrible." "Public opinion deserves ... to be esteemed as much as to be despised; to be despised for its concrete consciousness and expression, to be esteemed for its essential fundamental principle, which only shines, more or less dimly, through its concrete expression." "The definition of the freedom of the press as freedom to say and write what one pleases, is parallel to the one of freedom in general, viz., as freedom to do what one pleases. Such a view belongs to the uneducated crudity and superficiality of naïve thinking." "In public opinion all is false and true, but to discover the truth in it is the business of the great man. The great man of his time is he who expresses the will and the meaning of that time, and then brings it to completion; he acts according to the inner spirit and essence of his time, which he realizes. And he who does not understand how to despise public opinion, as it makes itself heard here and there, will never accomplish anything great." "The laws of morality are not accidental, but are essentially Rational. It is the very object of the State that what is essential in the practical activity of men, and in their dispositions, should be duly recognized; that it should have a manifest existence, and maintain its position. It is the absolute interest of Reason that this moral Whole should exist; and herein lies the justification and merit of heroes who have founded states - however rude these may have been." "Such are all great historical men, whose own particular aims involve those large issues which are the will of the World Spirit. ... World historical men - the Heroes of an epoch - must be recognized as its clear-sighted ones; their deeds, their words are the best of that time. Great men have formed purposes to satisfy themselves, not others." "A World-Historical individual is devoted to the One Aim, regardless of all else. It is even possible that such men may treat other great, even sacred interests inconsiderately; conduct which is indeed obnoxious to moral reprehension. But so mighty a form must trample down many an innocent flower or crush to pieces many an object in its path.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
When man is finally able to see himself and the world around him with clear cognition, he finds a picture far more pleasant. Visible in unmistakable clarity and devastating detail is man’s failure to be what he might be and his misuse of his world. This revelation causes him to leap out in search of a way of life and system of values which will enable him to be more than he has been. He seeks a foundation of self-respect, which will have value system rooted in knowledge and cosmic reality where he expresses himself so that all others, all beings can continue to exist. His values now are of a different order from those at previous levels: They arise not from selfish interest but from the recognition of the magnificence of existence and the desire that it shall continue to be.
Clare W. Graves
I was interested when Mr. Morton talked in this manner, giving his thoughts on the way of the world. I knew that most men of his generation fumed at what they considered lack of propriety and dangerous freedom of modern young women, but Mr. Morton was above all a fair and just man, without prejudices. I had once overheard him saying to Colonel Rodsley, 'Certainly I agree with you that women are not the equals of men, Colonel. But neither are men the equals of women. They are quite simply different creatures, thank God, and not to be compared. But that one should be subordinate to the other in the eyes of the law is an injustice I hope to see rectified before I die.
Madeleine Brent (Tregaron's Daughter)
But maybe this is what Hannah has always wanted: a man who will deny her. A man of her own who isn't hers. Isn't it the real reason she broke up with Mike--not because he moved to North Carolina for law school (he wanted her to go with him, and she said no) but because he adored her? If she asked him to get out of bed and bring her a glass of water, he did. If she was in a bad mood, he tried to soothe her. It didn't bother him if she cried, or if she didn't wash her hair or shave her legs or have anything interesting to say. He forgave it all, he always thought she was beautiful, he always wanted to be around her. It became so boring! She'd been raised, after all, not to be accommodated but to accommodate, and if she was his world, then his world was small, he was easily satisfied. After a while, when he parted her lips with his tongue, she'd think, Thrash, thrash, here we go. She wanted to feel like she was striving cleanly forward, walking into a bracing wind and learning from her mistakes, and she felt instead like she was sitting in a deep, squishy sofa, eating Cheetos, in an overheated room. With Oliver, there is always contrast to shape their days, tension to keep them on their toes: You are far form me, you are close to me. We are fighting, we are getting along.
Curtis Sittenfeld (The Man of My Dreams)
The guys from Norway, Magnus and Magnus, had little bits of fur on their robes as trim, which wasn’t necessary, as the shell made sure they were never cold. They were from the late nineties, and had both chosen their names to honor the world’s strongest man, Magnus Ver Magnusson. Their interests included Vikings, heavy metal, and fulfilling stereotypes.
Scott Meyer (Off to Be the Wizard (Magic 2.0, #1))
He is looking down on the two crystal balls that the old man's foul, strong hands have rolled across to him. In one he sees Margaret, not in her raincoat and her nodding plumes, but as she is transfigured in the light of eternity. Long he looks there; then drops a glance to the other, just long enough to see that in its depths Kitty and I walk in bright dresses through our glowing gardens. We had suffered no transfiguration, for we are as we are, and there is nothing more to us. The whole truth about us lies in our material seeming. He sighs a deep sigh of delight and puts out his hand to the ball where Margaret shines. His sleeve catches the other one and sends it down to crash in a thousand pieces on the floor. The old man's smile continues to be lewd and benevolent; he is still not more interested in me than in the bare-armed woman. Chris is wholly inclosed in his intentness on his chosen crystal. No one weeps for this shattering of our world.
Rebecca West (The Return of the Soldier)
Love one another, fathers," the elder taught (as far as Alyosha could recall afterwards). "Love God's people. For we are not holier than those in the world because we have come here and shut ourselves within these walls, but, on the contrary, anyone who comes here, by the very fact that he has come, already knows himself to be worse than all those who are in the world, worse than all on earth...And the longer a monk lives within his walls, the more keenly he must be aware of it. For otherwise he had no reason to come here. But when he knows that he is not only worse than all those in the world, but is also guilty before all people, on behalf of all and for all, for all human sins, the world's and each person's, only then will the goal of our unity be achieved. For you must know, my dear ones, that each of us is undoubtedly guilty on behalf of all and for all on earth, not only because of the common guilt of the world, but personally, each one of us, for all people and for each person on this earth. This knowledge is the crown of the monk's path, and of every man's path on earth. For monks are not a different sort of men, but only such as all men on earth ought also to be. Only then will our hearts be moved to a love that is infinite, universal, and that knows no satiety. Then each of us will be able to gain the whole world by love and wash away the world's sins with his tears...Let each of you keep close company with his heart, let each of you confess to himself untiringly. Do not be afraid of your sin, even when you perceive it, provided you are repentant, but do not place conditions on God. Again I say, do not be proud. Do not be proud before the lowly, do not be proud before the great either. And do not hate those who reject you, disgrace you, revile you, and slander you. Do not hate atheists, teachers of evil, materialists, not even those among them who are wicked, nor those who are good, for many of them are good, especially in our time. Remember them thus in your prayers: save, Lord, those whom there is no one to pray for, save also those who do not want to pray to you. And add at once: it is not in my pride that I pray for it, Lord, for I myself am more vile than all...Love God's people, do not let newcomers draw your flock away, for if in your laziness and disdainful pride, in your self-interest most of all, you fall asleep, they will come from all sides and lead your flock away. Teach the Gospel to the people untiringly...Do not engage in usury...Do not love silver and gold, do not keep it...Believe, and hold fast to the banner. Raise it high...
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
Dickens has not seen it all. The wretched of the earth do not decide to become extinct, they resolve, on the contrary, to multiply: life is their only weapon against life, life is all that they have. This is why the dispossessed and starving will never be convinced (though some may be coerced) by the population-control programs of the civilized. I have watched the dispossessed and starving laboring in the fields which others own, with their transistor radios at their ear, all day long: so they learn, for example, along with equally weighty matters, that the pope, one of the heads of the civilized world, forbids to the civilized that abortion which is being, literally, forced on them, the wretched. The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their ‘vital interests’ are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the ‘sanctity’ of human life, or the ‘conscience’ of the civilized world. There is a ‘sanctity’ involved with bringing a child into this world: it is better than bombing one out of it. Dreadful indeed it is to see a starving child, but the answer to that is not to prevent the child’s arrival but to restructure the world so that the child can live in it: so that the ‘vital interest’ of the world becomes nothing less than the life of the child. However—I could not have said any of this then, nor is so absurd a notion about to engulf the world now. But we were all starving children, after all, and none of our fathers, even at their most embittered and enraged, had ever suggested that we ‘die out.’ It was not we who were supposed to die out: this was, of all notions, the most forbidden, and we learned this from the cradle. Every trial, every beating, every drop of blood, every tear, were meant to be used by us for a day that was coming—for a day that was certainly coming, absolutely certainly, certainly coming: not for us, perhaps, but for our children. The children of the despised and rejected are menaced from the moment they stir in the womb, and are therefore sacred in a way that the children of the saved are not. And the children know it, which is how they manage to raise their children, and why they will not be persuaded—by their children’s murderers, after all—to cease having children.
James Baldwin (The Devil Finds Work)
It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go—let it die away—go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow—and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned old man for the rest of your life.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
What he taught was very simple. He taught that we are all greater than we know and that wisdom is the means to freedom. He taught that it is not essential to salvation to retire from the world, but only to renounce the self. He taught that work done with no selfish interest purifies the mind and that duties are opportunities afforded to man to sink his separate self and become one with the universal self.
W. Somerset Maugham (The Razor's Edge)
Perhaps the reader is astonished by the frankness with which I expose and emphasize my mediocrity; let him remember that frankness is the virtue most appropriate to a defunct. In life, the watchful eye of public opinion, the conflict of interests, the struggle of greed against greed oblige a man to hide his old rags, to conceal the rips and patches, to withhold from the world the revelations that he makes to his own conscience; and the greatest reward comes when a man, in so deceiving others, manages at the same time to deceive himself, for in such case he spares himself shame, which is a painful experience, and hypocrisy, which is a hideous vice. But in death, what a difference! what relief! what freedom! How glorious to throw away your cloak, to dump your spangles in a ditch, to unfold yourself, to strip off all your paint and ornaments, to confess plainly what you were and what you failed to be! For, after all, you have no neighbors, no friends, no enemies, no acquaintances, no strangers, no audience at all. The sharp and judicial eye of public opinion loses its power as soon as we enter the territory of death. I do not deny that it sometimes glances this way and examines and judges us, but we dead folk are not concerned about its judgment. You who still live, believe me, there is nothing in the world so monstrously vast as our indifference.
Machado de Assis (Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas)
Who that has ever visited the borders of this classic sea, has not felt at the first sight of its waters a glow of reverent rapture akin to devotion, and an instinctive sensation of thanksgiving at being permitted to stand before these hallowed waves? All that concerns the Mediterranean is of the deepest interest to civilized man, for the history of its progress is the history of the development of the world; the memory of the great men who have lived and died around its banks; the recollection of the undying works that have come thence to delight us for ever; the story of patient research and brilliant discoveries connected with every physical phenomenon presented by its waves and currents, and with every order of creatures dwelling in and around its waters. The science of the Mediterranean is the epitome of the science of the world.
Edward Forbes (The Natural History of the European Seas)
I have a vested interest in this thing because I want to see you happy. What you need to ask yourself is this: Are you a better person when you're with him? Are you kinder or smarter or happier? Do you think you do more good in the world? One man can be perfectly fine but maybe he doesn't bring out what's good in you, in which case I suggest you not be with him. But if you find a man who makes you better then you need to listen to that.
Jeanne Ray (Step-Ball-Change)
We are all more interested in ourselves than in any one else in this world, until love comes; then we soon learn to a love man more than life, and when a child comes we learn another love, so clear, so high, so purifying, that we become of no moment at all, and live only for those we love." "You
Gene Stratton-Porter (A Daughter of the Land)
People might feel sorry for a man who's fallen on hard times, but when an entire nation is poor, the rest of the world assumes that all its people must be brainless, lazy, dirty, clumsy fools. Instead of pity, the people provoke laughter. It's all a joke: their culture, their customs, their practices. In time the rest of the world may, some of them, begin to feel ashamed for having thought this way, and when they look around and see immigrants from that poor country mopping their floors and doing all the other lowest paying jobs, naturally they worry about what might happen if these workers one day rose up against them. So, to keep things sweet, they start taking an interest in the immigrants' culture and sometimes even pretend they think of them as equals.
Orhan Pamuk
I would not hurt you, little man,' he said. 'I think that I got the disorder in Mullingar,' I explained. I knew that I had gained his confidence and that the danger of violence was now passed. He then did something which took me by surprise. He pulled up his own ragged trouser and showed me his own left leg. It was smooth, shapely and fairly fat but it was made of wood also. 'That is a funny coincidence,' I said. I now perceived the reason for his sudden change of attitude. 'You are a sweet man,' he responded, 'and I would not lay a finger on your personality. I am the captain of all the one-legged men in the country. I knew them all up to now except one—your own self—and that one is now also my friend into the same bargain. If any man looks at you sideways, I will rip his belly.' 'That is very friendly talk,' I said. 'Wide open,' he said, making a wide movement with his hands. 'If you are ever troubled, send for me and I will save you from the woman.' 'Women I have no interest in at all,' I said smiling. 'A fiddle is a better thing for diversion.' 'It does not matter. If your perplexity is an army or a dog, I will come with all the one-leggèd men and rip the bellies. My real name is Martin Finnucane.' 'It is a reasonable name,' I assented. 'Martin Finnucane,' he repeated, listening to his own voice as if he were listening to the sweetest music in the world.
Flann O'Brien (The Third Policeman)
In fact, so far as ‘love’ was concerned, I had been living for some years past in a rather makeshift manner. This was not because I felt the matter to be of little interest, like a man who hardly cares what he eats provided hunger is satisfied, or one prepared to discuss painting, should the subject arise, though never tempted to enter a picture gallery. On the contrary, my interest in love was keen enough, but the thing itself seemed not particularly simple to come by.
Anthony Powell (The Acceptance World (A Dance to the Music of Time, #3))
Boy everyone in this country is running around yammering about their fucking rights. "I have a right, you have no right, we have a right." Folks I hate to spoil your fun, but... there's no such thing as rights. They're imaginary. We made 'em up. Like the boogie man. Like Three Little Pigs, Pinocio, Mother Goose, shit like that. Rights are an idea. They're just imaginary. They're a cute idea. Cute. But that's all. Cute...and fictional. But if you think you do have rights, let me ask you this, "where do they come from?" People say, "They come from God. They're God given rights." Awww fuck, here we go again...here we go again. The God excuse, the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument, "It came from God." Anything we can't describe must have come from God. Personally folks, I believe that if your rights came from God, he would've given you the right for some food every day, and he would've given you the right to a roof over your head. GOD would've been looking out for ya. You know that. He wouldn't have been worried making sure you have a gun so you can get drunk on Sunday night and kill your girlfriend's parents. But let's say it's true. Let's say that God gave us these rights. Why would he give us a certain number of rights? The Bill of Rights of this country has 10 stipulations. OK...10 rights. And apparently God was doing sloppy work that week, because we've had to ammend the bill of rights an additional 17 times. So God forgot a couple of things, like...SLAVERY. Just fuckin' slipped his mind. But let's say...let's say God gave us the original 10. He gave the british 13. The british Bill of Rights has 13 stipulations. The Germans have 29, the Belgians have 25, the Sweedish have only 6, and some people in the world have no rights at all. What kind of a fuckin' god damn god given deal is that!?...NO RIGHTS AT ALL!? Why would God give different people in different countries a different numbers of different rights? Boredom? Amusement? Bad arithmetic? Do we find out at long last after all this time that God is weak in math skills? Doesn't sound like divine planning to me. Sounds more like human planning . Sounds more like one group trying to control another group. In other words...business as usual in America. Now, if you think you do have rights, I have one last assignment for ya. Next time you're at the computer get on the Internet, go to Wikipedia. When you get to Wikipedia, in the search field for Wikipedia, i want to type in, "Japanese-Americans 1942" and you'll find out all about your precious fucking rights. Alright. You know about it. In 1942 there were 110,000 Japanese-American citizens, in good standing, law abiding people, who were thrown into internment camps simply because their parents were born in the wrong country. That's all they did wrong. They had no right to a lawyer, no right to a fair trial, no right to a jury of their peers, no right to due process of any kind. The only right they had was...right this way! Into the internment camps. Just when these American citizens needed their rights the most...their government took them away. and rights aren't rights if someone can take em away. They're priveledges. That's all we've ever had in this country is a bill of TEMPORARY priviledges; and if you read the news, even badly, you know the list get's shorter, and shorter, and shorter. Yeup, sooner or later the people in this country are going to realize the government doesn't give a fuck about them. the government doesn't care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety. it simply doesn't give a fuck about you. It's interested in it's own power. That's the only thing...keeping it, and expanding wherever possible. Personally when it comes to rights, I think one of two things is true: either we have unlimited rights, or we have no rights at all.
George Carlin (It's Bad for Ya)
Very few, even among those who have taken the keenest interest in the progress of the revolution in natural knowledge set afoot by the publication of the 'Origin of Species'; and who have watched, not without astonishment, the rapid and complete change which has been effected both inside and outside the boundaries of the scientific world in the attitude of men's minds towards the doctrines which are expounded in that great work, can have been prepared for the extraordinary manifestation of affectionate regard for the man, and of profound reverence for the philosopher, which followed the announcement, on Thursday last, of the death of Mr Darwin.
Thomas Henry Huxley (Collected Essays of Thomas Henry Huxley)
You,” I said, “a favourite with Mr. Rochester? You gifted with the power of pleasing him? You of importance to him in any way? Go! your folly sickens me. And you have derived pleasure from occasional tokens of preference—equivocal tokens shown by a gentleman of family and a man of the world to a dependent and a novice. How dared you? Poor stupid dupe!—Could not even self-interest make you wiser? You repeated to yourself this morning the brief scene of last night?—Cover your face and be ashamed! He said something in praise of your eyes, did he? Blind puppy! Open their bleared lids and look on your own accursed senselessness! It does good to no woman to be flattered by her superior, who cannot possibly intend to marry her; and it is madness in all women to let a secret love kindle within them, which, if unreturned and unknown, must devour the life that feeds it; and, if discovered and responded to, must lead, ignis-fatus-like, into miry wilds whence there is no extrication.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Lee’s hand shook as he filled the delicate cups. He drank his down in one gulp. “Don’t you see?” he cried. “The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’—that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ Don’t you see?” “Yes, I see. I do see. But you do not believe this is divine law. Why do you feel its importance?” “Ah!” said Lee. “I’ve wanted to tell you this for a long time. I even anticipated your questions and I am well prepared. Any writing which has influenced the thinking and the lives of innumerable people is important. Now, there are many millions in their sects and churches who feel the order, ‘Do thou,’ and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination in ‘Thou shalt.’ Nothing they may do can interfere with what will be. But “Thou mayest’! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.” Lee’s voice was a chant of triumph. Adam said, “Do you believe that, Lee?” “Yes, I do. Yes, I do. It is easy out of laziness, out of weakness, to throw oneself into the lap of deity, saying, ‘I couldn’t help it; the way was set.’ But think of the glory of the choice! That makes a man a man. A cat has no choice, a bee must make honey. There’s no godliness there. And do you know, those old gentlemen who were sliding gently down to death are too interested to die now?” Adam said, “Do you mean these Chinese men believe the Old Testament?” Lee said, “These old men believe a true story, and they know a true story when they hear it. They are critics of truth. They know that these sixteen verses are a history of humankind in any age or culture or race. They do not believe a man writes fifteen and three-quarter verses of truth and tells a lie with one verb. Confucius tells men how they should live to have good and successful lives. But this—this is a ladder to climb to the stars.” Lee’s eyes shone. “You can never lose that. It cuts the feet from under weakness and cowardliness and laziness.” Adam said, “I don’t see how you could cook and raise the boys and take care of me and still do all this.” “Neither do I,” said Lee. “But I take my two pipes in the afternoon, no more and no less, like the elders. And I feel that I am a man. And I feel that a man is a very important thing—maybe more important than a star. This is not theology. I have no bent toward gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed—because ‘Thou mayest.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
I have always been interested in a person’s inner world. I am interested in man, for he contains a universe within himself; and in order to find expression for the idea, for the meaning of human life, there is no need to spread behind it, as it were, a canvas crowded with happenings. I wanted Nostalgia to be free of anything irrelevant or incidental that would stand in the way of my principal objective: the portrayal of someone in a state of profound alienation from the world and himself, unable to find a balance between reality and the harmony for which he longs, in a state of nostalgia provoked not only by his remoteness from home but also by a global yearning for the wholeness of existence. I wanted to pursue the theme of the “weak” man who is no fighter in terms of his outward attributes but whom I none the less see as a victor in this life.
Andrei Tarkovsky
The only gain of civilisation for mankind is the greater capacity for variety of sensations--and absolutely nothing more. And through the development of this many-sidedness man may come to finding enjoyment in bloodshed. In fact, this has already happened to him. Have you noticed that it is the most civilised gentlemen who have been the subtlest slaughterers, to whom the Attilas and Stenka Razins could not hold a candle, and if they are not so conspicuous as the Attilas and Stenka Razins it is simply because they are so often met with, are so ordinary and have become so familiar to us. In any case civilisation has made mankind if not more bloodthirsty, at least more vilely, more loathsomely bloodthirsty. In old days he saw justice in bloodshed and with his conscience at peace exterminated those he thought proper. Now we do think bloodshed abominable and yet we engage in this abomination, and with more energy than ever. Which is worse? Decide that for yourselves. They say that Cleopatra (excuse an instance from Roman history) was fond of sticking gold pins into her slave-girls' breasts and derived gratification from their screams and writhings. You will say that that was in the comparatively barbarous times; that these are barbarous times too, because also, comparatively speaking, pins are stuck in even now; that though man has now learned to see more clearly than in barbarous ages, he is still far from having learnt to act as reason and science would dictate. But yet you are fully convinced that he will be sure to learn when he gets rid of certain old bad habits, and when common sense and science have completely re-educated human nature and turned it in a normal direction. You are confident that then man will cease from INTENTIONAL error and will, so to say, be compelled not to want to set his will against his normal interests. That is not all; then, you say, science itself will teach man (though to my mind it's a superfluous luxury) that he never has really had any caprice or will of his own, and that he himself is something of the nature of a piano-key or the stop of an organ, and that there are, besides, things called the laws of nature; so that everything he does is not done by his willing it, but is done of itself, by the laws of nature. Consequently we have only to discover these laws of nature, and man will no longer have to answer for his actions and life will become exceedingly easy for him. All human actions will then, of course, be tabulated according to these laws, mathematically, like tables of logarithms up to 108,000, and entered in an index; or, better still, there would be published certain edifying works of the nature of encyclopaedic lexicons, in which everything will be so clearly calculated and explained that there will be no more incidents or adventures in the world.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from the Underground)
Mankind will someday realize that we are actually in contact with the dead and with the other world, whatever it is; right now we could predict, if we only exerted enough mental will, what is going to happen within the next hundred years and be able to take steps to avoid all kinds of catastrophes. When a man dies he undergoes a mutation in his brain that we know nothing about now but which will be very clear someday if scientists get on the ball. The bastards right now are only interested in seeing if they can blow up the world.
Jack Kerouac (On the Road)
As an observer, I am particularly interested in watching women, married, divorced, single. So many of them trapped in lives they think they must live, in roles they have come to resent, with little job and no laughter. They've "settled." They've compromised. They've learned to adjust. Among the divorced, many are bitter, coloring their lives with resentment; others live only to meet the man who will complete them. I have no intentions of adjusting, and I am not looking to define myself by the man I am with. The new me is feeling rebellious, looking for excitement, bursting with energy to explore. There is no way that I am going to sit around feeling sorry for myself, thinking that the only way I can enjoy life is with a man. With no possessions, no home, and no precedent, I am free to design a life that fits me. Best of all, I have tasted the life I want. My Mexican adventure opened me up. I want more. During my four months away, I met interesting people, I was never bored, and I laughed more than I had in years. I resolve to continue exploring the world, ignoring the THEY who define how people should live.
Rita Golden Gelman (Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World)
It is really not desirable for men who do not believe that knowledge is of value for its own sake to take up this kind of life. The question constantly put to us in civilization was and still is: "What is the use? Is there gold? or Is there coal?" The commercial spirit of the present day can see no good in pure science: the English manufacturer is not interested in research which will not give him a financial return within one year: the city man sees in it only so much energy wasted on unproductive work: truly they are bound to the wheel of conventional life.
Apsley Cherry-Garrard (The Worst Journey in the World: Antarctic 1910-1913)
That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained; And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed; Until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will; Until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all men, as they are in the eyes of Heaven; Until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight, if necessary, and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil.
Haile Selassie
It is very easy to grow tired at collecting; the period of a low tide is about all men can endure. At first the rocks are bright and every moving animal makes his mark on the attention. The picture is wide and colored and beautiful. But after an hour and a half the attention centers weary, the color fades, and the field is likely to narrow to an individual animal. Here one may observe his own world narrowed down until interest and, with it, observation, flicker and go out. And what if with age this weariness becomes permanent and observation dim out and not recover? Can this be what happens to so many men of science? Enthusiasm, interest, sharpness, dulled with a weariness until finally they retire into easy didacticism? With this weariness, this stultification of attention centers, perhaps there comes the pained and sad memory of what the old excitement was like, and regret might turn to envy of the men who still have it. Then out of the shell of didacticism, such a used-up man might attack the unwearied, and he would have in his hands proper weapons of attack. It does seem certain that to a wearied man an error in a mass of correct data wipes out all the correctness and is a focus for attack; whereas the unwearied man, in his energy and receptivity, might consider the little dross of error a by-product of his effort. These two may balance and produce a purer thing than either in the end. These two may be the stresses which hold up the structure, but it is a sad thing to see the interest in interested men thin out and weaken and die. We have known so many professors who once carried their listeners high on their single enthusiasm, and have seen these same men finally settle back comfortably into lectures prepared years before and never vary them again. Perhaps this is the same narrowing we observe in relation to ourselves and the tide pool—a man looking at reality brings his own limitations to the world. If he has strength and energy of mind the tide pool stretches both ways, digs back to electrons and leaps space into the universe and fights out of the moment into non-conceptual time. Then ecology has a synonym which is ALL.
John Steinbeck (The Log from the Sea of Cortez)
Vocation” comes from the Latin vocare (to call) and means the work a man is called to by God. There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of society, say, or the superego, or self-interest. The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need to do and (b) that the world needs to have done. If you find your work rewarding, you have presumably met requirement (a), but if your work does not benefit others, the chances are you have missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work does benefit others, you have probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you are unhappy with it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a) but probably aren’t helping your customers much either. Neither the hair shirt nor the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s hunger meet.
Frederick Buechner
Once I was asked by a seatmate on a trans-Pacific flight, a man who took the liberty of glancing repeatedly at the correspondence in my lap, what instruction he should give his fifteen-year-old daughter, who wanted to be a writer. I didn't know how to answer him, but before I could think I heard myself saying, 'Tell your daughter three things.' "Tell her to read, I said. Tell her to read whatever interests her, and protect her if someone declares what she's reading to be trash. No one can fathom what happens between a human being and written language. She may be paying attention to things in the world beyond anyone else's comprehension, things that feed her curiosity, her singular heart and mind. Tell her to read classics like The Odyssey. They've been around a long time because the patterns in them have proved endlessly useful, and, to borrow Evan Connell's observation, with a good book you never touch bottom. But warn your daughter that ideas of heroism, of love, of human duty and devotion that women have been writing about for centuries will not be available to her in this form. To find these voices she will have to search. When, on her own, she begins to ask, make her a present of George Eliot, or the travel writing of Alexandra David-Neel, or To the Lighthouse. "Second, I said, tell your daughter that she can learn a great deal about writing by reading and by studying books about grammar and the organization of ideas, but that if she wishes to write well she will have to become someone. She will have to discover her beliefs, and then speak to us from within those beliefs. If her prose doesn't come out of her belief, whatever that proves to be, she will only be passing on information, of which we are in no great need. So help her discover what she means. "Finally, I said, tell your daughter to get out of town, and help her do that. I don't necessarily mean to travel to Kazakhstan, or wherever, but to learn another language, to live with people other than her own, to separate herself from the familiar. Then, when she returns, she will be better able to understand why she loves the familiar, and will give us a fresh sense of how fortunate we are to share these things. "Read. Find out what you truly are. Get away from the familiar. Every writer, I told him, will offer you thoughts about writing that are different, but these three I trust.
Barry Lopez (About This Life)
The third dimension is that the rebel is not interested in domination over others. He has no lust for power, because that is the ugliest thing in the world. The lust for power has destroyed humanity and has not allowed it to be more creative, to be more beautiful, to be more healthy, to be more wholesome. And it is this lust for power that ultimately leads to conflicts, competitions, jealousies, and finally to wars. Lust for power is the foundation of all wars. If you look at human history, the whole of it is nothing but a history of wars, man killing man. Reasons have changed, but the killing continues.
Osho (Living on Your Own Terms: What Is Real Rebellion?)
A man of adequate vitality and zest will surmount all misfortunes by the emergence after each blow of an interest in life and the world which cannot be narrowed down so much as to make one loss fatal. To be defeated by one loss or even by several is not something to be admired as a proof of sensibility, but something to be deplored as a failure in vitality. All our affections are at the mercy of death, which may strike down those whom we love at any moment. It is therefore necessary that our lives should not have that narrow intensity which puts the whole meaning and purpose of our life at the mercy of accident.
Bertrand Russell
The presence of God compelled human[s] to quest for an ideal. They had to strive for something to win God's blessing.... Nietzsche feared that with God's passing even that striving would stop. No one would think it worthwhile to try to overcome himself. People who would live happily with their own limitations.... Worse was life in which humanity had lost all interest in ideals. This was the world epitomized by "The Last Man." This creature hops and blinks on the Earth's crust, small and self-seeking, lives with the most pitiable credo: `One still works, for work is a form of entertainment. But one is careful lest the entertainment be too harrowing. One no longer becomes poor or rich: Both require too much exertion. Who still wants to rule? Who obey? Both require too much exertion.' The Last Man has his `little poison now and then: That makes for agreeable dreams'; he is cautious, self-absorbed, noncommittal.... What happens now and in the future if our most intelligent students never learn to strive to overcome what they are?
Mark Edmundson
He came back the next day, and the next, and the day after that, and they argued. The arguments always started about the binding itself, but then they began to stray out into more interesting topics--the relationships and interrelationships in their families, the politics that went on, and the doings of the kingdoms and lordships of the world; and finally, about themselves, or rather, each other. The arguments started early and ended late: it was almost improper. After about three days of this, T'Thelaih realized that she was going to have to be bound to this man, just to have the leisure to argue properly with him.
Diane Duane (Spock's World)
It was as though most managers in the world were primarily interested either in results or in people. The managers who were interested in results often seemed to be labeled "autocratic," while the managers interested in people were often labeled "democratic." The young man thought each of these managers — the "tough" autocrat and the "nice" democrat — were only partially effective. "It's like being half a manager," he thought.
Kenneth H. Blanchard (Leadership by the Book (The One Minute Manager))
The modern world has forgotten the necessity of encouraging men to be better. They speak of sick men or healthy men, of interesting people or uninteresting people; they never, or seldom, indicate that there is and must be an interior and spiritual improvement in man before any of the glowing coals of humanity can be reached. They have cultivated everything but the goodness of man. The result of such shallowness is everywhere apparent.
Francis Beauchesne Thornton (How to Improve Your Personality by Reading)
As soon as I knew that the bullet had gone clean through my neck I took it for granted that I was done for. I had never heard of a man or an animal getting a bullet through the middle of the neck and surviving it. The blood was dribbling out of the corner of my mouth. 'The artery's gone,' I thought. I wondered how long you last when your carotid artery is cut; not many minutes, presumably. Everything was very blurry. There must have been about two minutes during which I assumed that I was killed. And that too was interesting - I mean it is interesting to know what your thoughts would be at such a time. My first thought, conventionally enough, was for my wife. My second was a violent resentment at having to leave this world which, when all is said and done, suits me so well. I had time to feel very vividly. The stupid mischance infuriated me. The meaninglessness of it!
George Orwell (Homage to Catalonia)
You big ugly. You too empty. You desert with your nothing nothing nothing. You scorched suntanned. Old too quickly. Acres of suburbs watching the telly. You bore me. Freckle silly children. You nothing much. With your big sea. Beach beach beach. I’ve seen enough already. You dumb dirty city with bar stools. You’re ugly. You silly shopping town. You copy. You too far everywhere. You laugh at me. When I came this woman gave me a box of biscuits. You try to be friendly but you’re not very friendly. You never ask me to your house. You insult me. You don’t know how to be with me. Road road tree tree. I came from crowded and many. I came from rich. You have nothing to offer. You’re poor and spread thin. You big. So what. I’m small. It’s what’s in. You silent on Sunday. Nobody on your streets. You dead at night. You go to sleep too early. You don’t excite me. You scare me with your hopeless. Asleep when you walk. Too hot to think. You big awful. You don’t match me. You burnt out. You too big sky. You make me a dot in the nowhere. You laugh with your big healthy. You want everyone to be the same. You’re dumb. You do like anybody else. You engaged Doreen. You big cow. You average average. Cold day at school playing around at lunchtime. Running around for nothing. You never accept me. For your own. You always ask me where I’m from. You always ask me. You tell me I look strange. Different. You don’t adopt me. You laugh at the way I speak. You think you’re better than me. You don’t like me. You don’t have any interest in another country. Idiot centre of your own self. You think the rest of the world walks around without shoes or electric light. You don’t go anywhere. You stay at home. You like one another. You go crazy on Saturday night. You get drunk. You don’t like me and you don’t like women. You put your arm around men in bars. You’re rough. I can’t speak to you. You burly burly. You’re just silly to me. You big man. Poor with all your money. You ugly furniture. You ugly house. You relaxed in your summer stupor. All year. Never fully awake. Dull at school. Wait for other people to tell you what to do. Follow the leader. Can’t imagine. Workhorse. Thick legs. You go to work in the morning. You shiver on a tram.
Ania Walwicz
This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of the herd nature, the military system, which I abhor. That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism—how I hate them! War seems to me a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business. And yet so high, in spite of everything, is my opinion of the human race that I believe this bogey would have disappeared long ago, had the sound sense of the nations not been systematically corrupted by commercial and political interests acting through the schools and the Press.
Albert Einstein (The World As I See It)
Our immediate interests are after all of but small moment. It is what we do for the future, what we add to the sum of man's knowledge, that counts most. As someone has said, 'The individual withers and the world is more and more.' Man dies at 70, 80, or 90, or at some earlier age, but through his power of physical reproduction, and with the means that he has to transmit the results of effort to those who come after him, he may be said to be immortal.
Willis R. Whitney
So it is that the great man through his actions will not set out to harm others, nor make much of benevolence and charity; he does not make any move for gain, nor consider the servant at the gate as lowly; he will not barter for property and riches, nor does he make much of having turned them down; he asks for no one’s help, nor does he make much of his own self-reliance, nor despise the greedy and mean; he does not follow the crowd, nor does he make much of being so different; he comes behind the crowd, but does not make much of those who get ahead through flattery. The titles and honours of this world are of no interest to him, nor is he concerned at the disgrace of punishments. He knows there is no distinction between right and wrong, nor between great and little. I have heard it said, “The Tao man earns no reputation, perfect Virtue is not followed, the great man is self-less.” In perfection, this is the path he follows.
Zhuangzi (The Book of Chuang Tzu)
After a moment or two a man in brown crimplene looked in at us, did not at all like the look of us and asked us if we were transit passengers. We said we were. He shook his head with infinite weariness and told us that if we were transit passengers then we were supposed to be in the other of the two rooms. We were obviously very crazy and stupid not to have realized this. He stayed there slumped against the door jamb, raising his eyebrows pointedly at us until we eventually gathered our gear together and dragged it off down the corridor to the other room. He watched us go past him shaking his head in wonder and sorrow at the stupid futility of the human condition in general and ours in particular, and then closed the door behind us. The second room was identical to the first. Identical in all respects other than one, which was that it had a hatchway let into one wall. A large vacant-looking girl was leaning through it with her elbows on the counter and her fists jammed up into her cheekbones. She was watching some flies crawling up the wall, not with any great interest because they were not doing anything unexpected, but at least they were doing something. Behind her was a table stacked with biscuits, chocolate bars, cola, and a pot of coffee, and we headed straight towards this like a pack of stoats. Just before we reached it, however, we were suddenly headed off by a man in blue crimplene, who asked us what we thought we were doing in there. We explained that we were transit passengers on our way to Zaire, and he looked at us as if we had completely taken leave of our senses. 'Transit passengers? he said. 'It is not allowed for transit passengers to be in here.' He waved us magnificently away from the snack counter, made us pick up all our gear again, and herded us back through the door and away into the first room where, a minute later, the man in the brown crimplene found us again. He looked at us. Slow incomprehension engulfed him, followed by sadness, anger, deep frustration and a sense that the world had been created specifically to cause him vexation. He leaned back against the wall, frowned, closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. 'You are in the wrong room,' he said simply. `You are transit passengers. Please go to the other room.' There is a wonderful calm that comes over you in such situations, particularly when there is a refreshment kiosk involved. We nodded, picked up our gear in a Zen-like manner and made our way back down the corridor to the second room. Here the man in blue crimplene accosted us once more but we patiently explained to him that he could fuck off.
Douglas Adams (Last Chance to See)
I was like Robinson Crusoe on the island of Tobago. For hours at a stretch I would lie in the sun doing nothing, thinking of nothing. To keep the mind empty is a feat, a very healthful feat too. To be silent the whole day long, see no newspaper, hear no radio, listen to no gossip, be thoroughly and completely lazy, thoroughly and completely indifferent to the fate of the world is the finest medicine a man can give himself. The book-learning gradually dribbles away; problems melt and dissolve; ties are gently severed; thinking, when you deign to indulge in it, becomes very primitive; the body becomes a new and wonderful instrument; you look at plants or stones or fish with different eyes; you wonder what people are struggling to accomplish with their frenzied activities; you know there is a war on but you haven't the faintest idea what it's about or why people should enjoy killing one another; you look at a place like Albania—it was constantly staring me in the eyes—and you say to yourself, yesterday it was Greek, to-day it's Italian, to-morrow it may be German or Japanese, and you let it be anything it chooses to be. When you're right with yourself it doesn't matter which flag is flying over your head or who owns what or whether you speak English or Monongahela. The absence of newspapers, the absence of news about what men are doing in different parts of the world to make life more livable or unlivable is the greatest single boon. If we could just eliminate newspapers a great advance would be made, I am sure of it. Newspapers engender lies, hatred, greed, envy, suspicion, fear, malice. We don't need the truth as it is dished up to us in the daily papers. We need peace and solitude and idleness. If we could all go on strike and honestly disavow all interest in what our neighbor is doing we might get a new lease on life. We might learn to do without telephones and radios and newspapers, without machines of any kind, without factories, without mills, without mines, without explosives, without battleships, without politicians, without lawyers, without canned goods, without gadgets, without razor blades even or cellophane or cigarettes or money. This is a pipe dream, I know.
Henry Miller (The Colossus of Maroussi)
Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth. Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star. But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many—perhaps most—of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-size heaven—or hell.
Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1))
[...] the most insidious betrayals are done merely by leaving the life jacket hanging in your closet while you lie to yourself that it’s probably not the drowning man’s size. That’s how we slide, and while we slide we blame the world’s problems on colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, corporatism, stupid white men, and America, but there’s no need to make a brand name of blame. Individual self-interest: that’s the source of our descent, and it doesn’t start in the boardrooms or the war rooms either. It starts in the home.
Steve Toltz (A Fraction of the Whole)
THE greatest of English dramatists except Shakespeare, the first literary dictator and poet-laureate, a writer of verse, prose, satire, and criticism who most potently of all the men of his time affected the subsequent course of English letters: such was Ben Jonson, and as such his strong personality assumes an interest to us almost unparalleled, at least in his age. Ben Jonson came of the stock that was centuries after to give to the world Thomas Carlyle; for Jonson's grandfather was of Annandale, over the Solway, whence he
Ben Jonson (Every Man In His Humour)
In the course of evolution nature has gone to endless trouble to see that every individual is unlike every other individual. We reproduce our kind by bringing the father’s genes into contact with the mother’s. These hereditary factors may be combined in an almost infinite number of ways. Physically and mentally, each one of us is unique. Any culture which, in the interests of efficiency or in the name of some political or religious dogma, seeks to standardize the human individual, commits an outrage against man’s biological nature.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
Among this bewildering multiplicity of ideals which shall we choose? The answer is that we shall choose none. For it is clear that each one of these contradictory ideals is the fruit of particular social circumstances. To some extent, of course, this is true of every thought and aspiration that has ever been formulated. Some thoughts and aspirations, however, are manifestly less dependent on particular social circumstances than others. And here a significant fact emerges: all the ideals of human behaviour formulated by those who have been most successful in freeing themselves from the prejudices of their time and place are singularly alike. Liberation from prevailing conventions of thought, feeling and behaviour is accomplished most effectively by the practice of disinterested virtues and through direct insight into the real nature of ultimate reality. (Such insight is a gift, inherent in the individual; but, though inherent, it cannot manifest itself completely except where certain conditions are fulfilled. The principal pre-condition of insight is, precisely, the practice of disinterested virtues.) To some extent critical intellect is also a liberating force. But the way in which intellect is used depends upon the will. Where the will is not disinterested, the intellect tends to be used (outside the non-human fields of technology, science or pure mathematics) merely as an instrument for the rationalization of passion and prejudice, the justification of self-interest. That is why so few even of die acutest philosophers have succeeded in liberating themselves completely from the narrow prison of their age and country. It is seldom indeed that they achieve as much freedom as the mystics and the founders of religion. The most nearly free men have always been those who combined virtue with insight. Now, among these freest of human beings there has been, for the last eighty or ninety generations, substantial agreement in regard to the ideal individual. The enslaved have held up for admiration now this model of a man, now that; but at all times and in all places, the free have spoken with only one voice. It is difficult to find a single word that will adequately describe the ideal man of the free philosophers, the mystics, the founders of religions. 'Non-attached* is perhaps the best. The ideal man is the non-attached man. Non-attached to his bodily sensations and lusts. Non-attached to his craving for power and possessions. Non-attached to the objects of these various desires. Non-attached to his anger and hatred; non-attached to his exclusive loves. Non-attached to wealth, fame, social position. Non-attached even to science, art, speculation, philanthropy. Yes, non-attached even to these. For, like patriotism, in Nurse Cavel's phrase, 'they are not enough, Non-attachment to self and to what are called 'the things of this world' has always been associated in the teachings of the philosophers and the founders of religions with attachment to an ultimate reality greater and more significant than the self. Greater and more significant than even the best things that this world has to offer. Of the nature of this ultimate reality I shall speak in the last chapters of this book. All that I need do in this place is to point out that the ethic of non-attachment has always been correlated with cosmologies that affirm the existence of a spiritual reality underlying the phenomenal world and imparting to it whatever value or significance it possesses.
Aldous Huxley (Ends and Means)
On the flat expanse of pancake ice, War stood by the Pale Rider’s side. Though their forms did not touch, their shadows intertwined, black on black, in a smoky caress. “Knew you’d come,” Death said cheerfully. She smiled, and that slow motion of her lips hinted at many things. “The White Rider divided, and the world on the brink of destruction. How could I stay away?” “I could set my watch by you.” “You don’t have a watch.” Her smile broadened into a grin. “An hourglass, maybe . . .” “Please, not another joke about a scythe . . .” She mimed zipping her mouth shut. A pause, as they listened to the sounds of the boy healing and the man summoning doom. “I like him,” War said. Even though she hadn’t specified whether she meant the boy or the man, Death smiled and nodded. “Me too.” “You like everyone.” “Well, yes.” The two shared a quiet laugh, their voices mingling in perfect harmony. A longer pause, and then War asked, “What of Famine?” “What of her? She’s not mine. Not yet, anyway. She will be soon enough.” The Red Rider slid him a look. “That’s cold, even for you.” “Eh, just practical.” A shrug. “Everyone comes to me eventually. It’s the journey that makes it interesting.” “Such a people person!” He flashed her a grin. “My best quality.” “Oh,” said War, sliding her gloved hand into his pale one, “I can think of others that are better.
Jackie Morse Kessler (Loss (Riders of the Apocalypse, #3))
One always feels the need to wash one’s hands after being forced to deal with the methods of U.S. interventionism. It is so unpleasant and filthy that one shudders. When one hears the pious nonsense of the Jewish-led world plutocracy over the radio or reads it in the press, one need only to look behind the scenes to feel pity for the miseries of mankind. That such a man has the impudence to judge us, to call on God and the world as witnesses of the purity of his deeds, to incite war and send innocent people singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” to battle for his filthy financial interests can only fill anyone with even the most primitive sense of decency with the deepest horror. Were there only such people in the world, one would have to despise humanity. "Mr. Roosevelt Cross-Examined", 30 November 1941
Joseph Goebbels
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago--never mind how long precisely--having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me. There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs--commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there. Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall, northward. What do you see?--Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster--tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here? But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling in. And there they stand--miles of them--leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues--north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither? Once more. Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries--stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, the Whale)
Arthur Church, who as I say took local journalism very seriously, wrote an eloquent defence of reporting even the nasty things. The gist of it was this, that it was in the public interest that the truth be known and known because it has been carefully reported and published. Without it, you are relying on the man in the pub, and rumour, possibly malicious rumour. If the local paper does for some reason get it wrong, then this would be known, and an apology and clarification would be made. This was not the best of all worlds, but better than the world of hearsay.
Terry Pratchett (A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction)
But what is the use of the humanities as such? Admittedly they are not practical, and admittedly they concern themselves with the past. Why, it may be asked, should we engage in impractical investigations, and why should we be interested in the past? The answer to the first question is: because we are interested in reality. Both the humanities and the natural sciences, as well as mathematics and philosophy, have the impractical outlook of what the ancients called vita contemplativa as opposed to vita activa. But is the contemplative life less real or, to be more precise, is its contribution to what we call reality less important, than that of the active life? The man who takes a paper dollar in exchange for twenty-five apples commits an act of faith, and subjects himself to a theoretical doctrine, as did the mediaeval man who paid for indulgence. The man who is run over by an automobile is run over by mathematics, physics and chemistry. For he who leads the contemplative life cannot help influencing the active, just as he cannot prevent the active life from influencing his thought. Philosophical and psychological theories, historical doctrines and all sorts of speculations and discoveries, have changed, and keep changing, the lives of countless millions. Even he who merely transmits knowledge or learning participates, in his modest way, in the process of shaping reality - of which fact the enemies of humanism are perhaps more keenly aware than its friends. It is impossible to conceive of our world in terms of action alone. Only in God is there a "Coincidence of Act and Thought" as the scholastics put it. Our reality can only be understood as an interpenetration of these two.
Erwin Panofsky (Meaning in the Visual Arts)
Mr. Roosevelt liked to be liked. He courted and wooed people. He had good taste, an affable disposition, and profound delight in people and human relationships. This was probably the single most revealing of all his characteristics; it was both a strength and a weakness, and is a clue to much. To want to be liked by everybody does not merely mean amiability; it connotes will to power, for the obvious reason that if the process is carried on long enough and enough people like the person, his power eventually becomes infinite and universal. Conversely, any man with great will to power and sense of historical mission, like Roosevelt, not only likes to be liked; he has to be liked, in order to feed his ego. But FDR went beyond this; he wanted to be liked not only by contemporaries on as broad a scale as possible, but by posterity. This, among others, is one reason for his collector's instinct. He collected himself—for history. He wanted to be spoken of well by succeeding generations, which means that he had the typical great man's wish for immortality, and hence—as we shall see in a subsequent chapter—he preserved everything about himself that might be of the slightest interest to historians. His passion for collecting and cataloguing is also a suggestive indication of his optimism. He was quite content to put absolutely everything on the record, without fear of what the world verdict of history would be.
John Gunther (Roosevelt in Retrospect.)
Now and then I am asked as to "what books a statesman should read," and my answer is, poetry and novels—including short stories under the head of novels. I don't mean that he should read only novels and modern poetry. If he cannot also enjoy the Hebrew prophets and the Greek dramatists, he should be sorry. He ought to read interesting books on history and government, and books of science and philosophy; and really good books on these subjects are as enthralling as any fiction ever written in prose or verse. Gibbon and Macaulay, Herodotus, Thucydides and Tacitus, the Heimskringla, Froissart, Joinville and Villehardouin, Parkman and Mahan, Mommsen and Ranke—why! there are scores and scores of solid histories, the best in the world, which are as absorbing as the best of all the novels, and of as permanent value. The same thing is true of Darwin and Huxley and Carlyle and Emerson, and parts of Kant, and of volumes like Sutherland's "Growth of the Moral Instinct," or Acton's Essays and Lounsbury's studies—here again I am not trying to class books together, or measure one by another, or enumerate one in a thousand of those worth reading, but just to indicate that any man or woman of some intelligence and some cultivation can in some line or other of serious thought, scientific or historical or philosophical or economic or governmental, find any number of books which are charming to read, and which in addition give that for which his or her soul hungers. I do not for a minute mean that the statesman ought not to read a great many different books of this character, just as every one else should read them. But, in the final event, the statesman, and the publicist, and the reformer, and the agitator for new things, and the upholder of what is good in old things, all need more than anything else to know human nature, to know the needs of the human soul; and they will find this nature and these needs set forth as nowhere else by the great imaginative writers, whether of prose or of poetry.
Theodore Roosevelt (Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography)
All heaven is interested in the happiness of man. Our heavenly Father does not close the avenues of joy to any of His creatures. The divine requirements call upon us to shun those indulgences that would bring suffering and disappointment, that would close to us the door of happiness and heaven. The world's Redeemer accepts men as they are, with all their wants, imperfections, and weaknesses; and He will not only cleanse from sin and grant redemption through His blood, but will satisfy the heart-longing of all who consent to wear His yoke, to bear His burden. It is His purpose to impart peace and rest to all who come to Him for the bread of life. He requires us to perform only those duties that will lead our steps to heights of bliss to which the disobedient can never attain. The true, joyous life of the soul is to have Christ formed within, the hope of glory.
Ellen G. White (Steps to Christ)
There are two kinds of directors; those who have the public in mind when they conceive and make their films and those who don't consider the public at all. For the former, cinema is an art of spectacle; for the latter, it is an individual adventure. There is nothing intrinsically better about one or the other; it's simply a matter of different approaches. For Hitchcock as for Renoir, as for that matter almost all American directors, a film has not succeeded unless it is a success, that is, unless it touches the public that one has had in mind right from the moment of choosing the subject matter to the end of production. While Bresson, Tati, Rossellini, Ray make films their own way and then invite the public to join the "game," Renoir, Clouzot, Hitchcock and Hawks make movies for the public, and ask themselves all the questions they think will interest their audience. Alfred Hitchcock, who is a remarkably intelligent man, formed the habit early--right from the start of his career in England--of predicting each aspect of his films. All his life he has worked to make his own tastes coincide with the public', emphasizing humor in his English period and suspense in his American period. This dosage of humor and suspense has made Hitchcock one of the most commercial directors in the world (his films regularly bring in four times what they cost). It is the strict demands he makes on himself and on his art that have made him a great director.
François Truffaut (The Films in My Life)
Yet Percy, even in the glimpses he had had in the streets, as he drove from the volor station outside the People's Gate, of the old peasant dresses, the blue and red-fringed wine carts, the cabbage-strewn gutters, the wet clothes flapping on strings, the mules and horses -- strange though these were, he had found them a refreshment. It had seemed to remind him that man was human, and not divine as the rest of the world proclaimed -- human, and therefore careless and individualistic; human, and therefore occupied with interests other than those of speed, cleanliness, and precision.
Robert Hugh Benson (Lord of the World)
Twenty-five hundred years ago it might have been said that man understood himself as well as any other part of his world. Today he is the thing he understands least. Physics and biology have come a long way, but there has been no comparable development of anything like a science of human behavior. Greek physics and biology are now of historical interest only (no modern physicist or biologist would turn to Aristotle for help), but the dialogues of Plato are still assigned to students and cited as if they threw light on human behavior. Aristotle could not have understood a page of modern physics or biology, but Socrates and his friends would have little trouble in following most current discussions of human affairs. And as to technology, we have made immense strides in controlling the physical and biological worlds, but our practices in government, education, and much of economics, though adapted to very different conditions, have not greatly improved. We can scarcely explain this by saying that the Greeks knew all there was to know about human behavior. Certainly they knew more than they knew about the physical world, but it was still not much. Moreover, their way of thinking about human behavior must have had some fatal flaw. Whereas Greek physics and biology, no matter how crude, led eventually to modern science, Greek theories of human behavior led nowhere. If they are with us today, it is not because they possessed some kind of eternal verity, but because they did not contain the seeds of anything better.
B.F. Skinner (Beyond Freedom and Dignity (Hackett Classics))
But when a man has once broken through the paper walls of everyday circumstance, those unsubstantial walls that hold so many of us securely prisoned from the cradle to the grave, he has made a discovery. If the world does not please you, you can change it. Determine to alter it at any price, and you can change it altogether. You may change it to something sinister and angry, to something appalling, but it may be you will change it to something brighter, something more agreeable, and at the worst something much more interesting. There is only one sort of man who is absolutely to blame for his own misery, and that is the man who finds life dull and dreary. There are no circumstances in the world that determined action cannot alter, unless perhaps they are the walls of a prison cell, and even those will dissolve and change, I am told, into the infirmary compartment at any rate, for the man who can fast with resolution.
H.G. Wells (The History of Mr. Polly)
Why should you desire to compel others; why should you seek to have power— that evil, bitter, mocking thing, which has been from of old, as it is today, the sorrow and curse of the world—over your fellow-men and fellow-women? Why should you desire to take from any man or woman their own will and intelligence, their free choice, their own self-guidance, their inalienable rights over themselves; why should you desire to make of them mere tools and instruments for your own advantage and interest; why should you desire to compel them to serve and follow your opinions instead of their own; why should you deny in them the soul—that suffers so deeply from all constraint—and treat them as a sheet of blank paper upon which you may write your own will and desires, of whatever kind they may happen to be? Who gave you the right, from where do you pretend to have received it, to degrade other men and women from their own true rank as human beings, taking from them their will, their conscience, and intelligence—in a word, all the best and highest part of their nature—turning them into mere empty worthless shells, mere shadows of the true man and women, mere counters in the game you are mad enough to play, and just because you are more numerous or stronger than they, to treat them as if they belonged not to themselves, but to you? Can you believe that good will ever come by morally and spiritually degrading your fellow-men? What happy and safe and permanent form of society can you hope to build on this pitiful plan of subjecting others, or being yourselves subjected by them?
Auberon Herbert
As we advance in the spiritual life and in the practice of systematic self-examination we are often surprised by the discovery of vast unknown tracts of the inner life of the soul. They seem like great plains stretching out in mystery and wrapt in mists that sometimes for a moment lift, or sweep off and leave one looking for one brief instant upon great reaches of one’s own life, unknown, unmeasured, unexplored. Men stand at such moments breathless in wonder and in awe gazing upon these great tracts upon which they have never looked before, with kindling eyes and beating hearts; and while they look the mists steal back till all is lost to sight once more and they are left wondering if what they saw was reality, or the creation of their fancy. Or sometimes they see, not far-stretching plains which fill the soul with an awestruck sense of its expansiveness and of how much has been left absolutely uncultivated, not these plains but mountain peaks climbing and reaching upwards till lost in the heavens, echoing it may be with the voice of many streams whose waters fertilize and enrich those small tracts of the soul’s life which have been reclaimed and cultivated and which many a man has thought to be his whole inner self, though he never asked himself whence those rich streams had their source. Now he sees how their source lay in unmeasured heights of his own inner being whose existence he never dreamed of before. In one brief instant they have unveiled themselves. He looks again, and they are shut out from his eyes, there is no token visible that he possesses such reaches, such heights of life. The commonplaces of his existence gather in and crowd upon him, the ordinary routine of life settles down upon him, limiting and confining him on all sides, the same unbroken line measures his horizon, such as he has always known it, the same round of interests and occupations crowd in upon his hours and fill them, the pressure of the hard facts of life upon him are as unmistakable and as leveling as ever, bidding him forget his dreams and meet and obey the requirements of the world in which he lives. And yet the man who has caught but a momentary glimpse of that vast unknown inner life can never be the same as he was before; he must be better or worse, trying to explore and possess and cultivate that unknown world within him, or trying—oh, would that he could succeed!—to forget it. He has seen that alongside of, or far out beyond the reach of, the commonplace life of routine, another life stretches away whither he knows not, he feels that he has greater capacities for good or evil than he ever imagined. He has, in a word, awakened with tremulous awe to the discovery that his life which he has hitherto believed limited and confined to what he knew, reaches infinitely beyond his knowledge and is far greater than he ever dreamed.
Basil W. Maturin (Self-Knowledge and Self-Discipline)
A circular letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to all German authorities abroad shortly after the November pogroms of 1918 stated: "The emigration movement of only about 100,000 Jews has already sufficed to awaken the interest of many countries to the Jewish danger.... Germany is very interested in maintaining the dispersal of Jewry... the influx of Jews in all parts of the world invokes the opposition of the native population and thereby forms the best propaganda for the German Jewish policy.... The poorer and therefore more burdensome the immigrating Jews is to the country absorbing him, the stronger the country will react.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
Elinor made no answer. Her thoughts were silently fixed on the irreparable injury which too early an independence and its consequent habits of idleness, dissipation, and luxury, had made in the mind, the character, the happiness, of a man who, to every advantage of person and talents, united a disposition naturally open and honest, and a feeling, affectionate temper. The world had made him extravagant and vain—Extravagance and vanity had made him cold-hearted and selfish. Vanity, while seeking its own guilty triumph at the expense of another, had involved him in a real attachment, which extravagance, or at least its offspring, necessity, had required to be sacrificed. Each faulty propensity in leading him to evil, had led him likewise to punishment. The attachment, from which against honour, against feeling, against every better interest he had outwardly torn himself, now, when no longer allowable, governed every thought; and the connection, for the sake of which he had, with little scruple, left her sister to misery, was likely to prove a source of unhappiness to himself of a far more incurable nature. From a reverie of this kind she was recalled at the end of some minutes by Willoughby, who, rousing himself from a reverie at least equally painful, started up in preparation for going, and said—
Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility)
Our world was a battleground on which good and evil clashed, and many of the combatants on the dark side were known to everyone. Terrorists, dictators, politicians who were merchants of lies and hate, crooked businessmen in league with them, power-mad bureaucrats, corrupted policemen, embezzlers, street thugs, rapists, and their ilk waged part of the war, and their actions were what made the evening news so colorful and depressing. But those fighting in that dark army had their secret schemes, too, intentions and desires and goals that would make their public villainy seem almost innocent by comparison. They were assisted by other politicians who concealed their hatred and envy, by judges who secretly had no respect for the law, by clergymen who in private worshipped nothing but money or the tender bodies of children, by celebrities who trumpeted their concern for the common man while in their off-screen lives assiduously hobnobbing with and advancing the interests of the elite of elites.… The war unseen by most people was one of clandestine militias, unincorporated businesses, unchartered organizations, philosophical movements that could not survive fresh air and sunlight, secretive coalitions of lunatics who didn’t recognize their own lunacy, nature cults and science cults and religious cults.
Dean Koontz (Saint Odd (Odd Thomas, #7))
Education is at present concerned with outward efficiency, and it utterly disregards, or deliberately perverts, the inward nature of man; it develops only one part of him and leaves the rest to drag along as best it can. Our inner confusion, antagonism and fear ever overcome the outer structure of society, however nobly conceived and cunningly built. When there is not the right kind of education we destroy one another, and physical security for every individual is denied. To educate the student rightly is to help him to understand the total process of himself; for it is only when there is integration of the mind and heart in everyday action that there can be intelligence and inward transformation. While offering information and technical training, education should above all encourage an integrated outlook on life; it should help the student to recognize and break down in himself all social distinctions and prejudices, and discourage the acquisitive pursuit of power and domination. It should encourage the right kind of self-observation and the experiencing of life as a whole, which is not to give significance to the part, to the "me" and the "mine", but to help the mind to go above and beyond itself to discover the real. Freedom comes into being only through self-knowledge in one's daily occupations, that is, in one's relationship with people, with things, with ideas and with nature. If the educator is helping the student to be integrated, there can be no fanatical or unreasonable emphasis on any particular phase of life. It is the understanding of the total process of existence that brings integration. When there is self-knowledge, the power of creating illusions ceases, and only then is it possible for reality or God to be. Human beings must be integrated if they are to come out of any crisis, and specially the present world crisis, without being broken; therefore, to parents and teachers who are really interested in education, the main problem is how to develop an integrated individual. To do this, the educator himself must obviously be integrated; so the right kind of education is of the highest importance, not only for the young, but also for the older generation if they are willing to learn and are not too set in their ways. What we are in ourselves is much more important than the traditional question of what to teach the child, and if we love our children we will see to it that they have the right kind of educators.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (Education and the Significance of Life)
Here is a Man coming and illuminating life with the light of reason, and he shouts: 'Oh, ho! you straying roaches! It's time, high time, for you to understand that all your interests are one, that everyone has the need to live, everyone has the desire to grow!' The Man who shouts this is alone, and therefore he cries aloud; he needs comrades, he feels dreary in his loneliness, dreary and cold. And at his call the staunch hearts unite into one great, strong heart, deep and sensitive as a silver bell not yet cast. And hark! This bell rings forth the message.. 'Men of all countries, unite into one family! Love is the mother of life, not hate!' My brothers! I hear this message sounding through the world!
Maxim Gorky (Mother)
Forever, Tom thought. Maybe he’d never go back to the States. It was not so much Europe itself as the evenings he had spent alone, here and in Rome, that made him feel that way. Evenings by himself simply looking at maps, or lying around on sofas thumbing through guidebooks. Evenings looking at his clothes - his clothes and Dickie’s - and feeling Dickie’s rings between his palms, and running his fingers over the antelope suitcase he had bought at Gucci’s. He had polished the suitcase with a special English leather dressing, not that it needed polishing because he took such good care of it, but for its protection. He loved possessions, not masses of them, but a select few that he did not part with. They gave a man self-respect. Not ostentation but quality, and the love that cherished the quality. Possessions reminded him that he existed, and made him enjoy his existence. It was as simple as that. And wasn’t that worth something? He existed. Not many people in the world knew how to, even if they had the money. It really didn’t take money, masses of money, it took a certain security. He had been on the road to it, even with Marc Priminger. He had appreciated Marc’s possessions, and they were what had attracted him to the house, but they were not his own, and it had been impossible to make a beginning at acquiring anything of his own on forty dollars a week. It would have taken him the best years of his life, even if he had economised stringently, to buy the things he wanted. Dickie’s money had given him only an added momentum on the road he had been travelling. The money gave him the leisure to see Greece, to collect Etruscan pottery if he wanted (he had recently read an interesting book on that subject by an American living in Rome), to join art societies if he cared to and to donate to their work. It gave him the leisure, for instance, to read his Malraux tonight as late as he pleased, because he did not have to go to a job in the morning. He had just bought a two-volume edition of Malraux’s Psychologic de I’art which he was now reading, with great pleasure, in French with the aid of a dictionary.
Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley (Ripley, #1))
In 1908, in a wild and remote area of the North Caucasus, Leo Tolstoy, the greatest writer of the age, was the guest of a tribal chief “living far away from civilized life in the mountains.” Gathering his family and neighbors, the chief asked Tolstoy to tell stories about the famous men of history. Tolstoy told how he entertained the eager crowd for hours with tales of Alexander, Caesar, Frederick the Great, and Napoleon. When he was winding to a close, the chief stood and said, “But you have not told us a syllable about the greatest general and greatest ruler of the world. We want to know something about him. He was a hero. He spoke with a voice of thunder; he laughed like the sunrise and his deeds were strong as the rock….His name was Lincoln and the country in which he lived is called America, which is so far away that if a youth should journey to reach it he would be an old man when he arrived. Tell us of that man.” “I looked at them,” Tolstoy recalled, “and saw their faces all aglow, while their eyes were burning. I saw that those rude barbarians were really interested in a man whose name and deeds had already become a legend.” He told them everything he knew about Lincoln’s “home life and youth…his habits, his influence upon the people and his physical strength.” When he finished, they were so grateful for the story that they presented him with “a wonderful Arabian horse.” The next morning, as Tolstoy prepared to leave, they asked if he could possibly acquire for them a picture of Lincoln. Thinking that he might find one at a friend’s house in the neighboring town, Tolstoy asked one of the riders to accompany him. “I was successful in getting a large photograph from my friend,” recalled Tolstoy. As he handed it to the rider, he noted that the man’s hand trembled as he took it. “He gazed for several minutes silently, like one in a reverent prayer, his eyes filled with tears.” Tolstoy went on to observe, “This little incident proves how largely the name of Lincoln is worshipped throughout the world and how legendary his personality has become. Now, why was Lincoln so great that he overshadows all other national heroes? He really was not a great general like Napoleon or Washington; he was not such a skilful statesman as Gladstone or Frederick the Great; but his supremacy expresses itself altogether in his peculiar moral power and in the greatness of his character. “Washington was a typical American. Napoleon was a typical Frenchman, but Lincoln was a humanitarian as broad as the world. He was bigger than his country—bigger than all the Presidents together. “We are still too near to his greatness,” Tolstoy concluded, “but after a few centuries more our posterity will find him considerably bigger than we do. His genius is still too strong and too powerful for the common understanding, just as the sun is too hot when its light beams directly on us.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals:The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln)
Sometimes huge truths are uttered in unusual contexts. I fly too much, a concept and a sentence that would have been impossible for me to understand as a young man, when every plane journey was exciting and miraculous, when I would stare out of the window at the clouds below and imagine that they were a city, or a world, somewhere I could walk safely. Still, I find myself, at the start of each flight, meditating and pondering the wisdom offered by the flight attendants as if it were a koan or a tiny parable, or the high point of all wisdom. This is what they say: Secure your own mask before helping others. And I think of us, all the people, and the masks we wear, the masks we hide behind and the masks that reveal. I imagine people pretending to be what they truly are, and discovering that other people are so much more and so much less than they imagine themselves to be or present themselves as. And then, I think about the need to help others, and how we mask ourselves to do it, and how unmasking makes us vulnerable… We are all wearing masks That is what makes us interesting.
Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances)
a woman may achieve greatness, or at any rate great renown, by merely being a wonderful wife and mother, like the mother of the Gracchi; whereas the men who have achieved great renown by being devoted husbands and fathers might be counted on the fingers of one hand. Charles I was an unfortunate king, but an admirable family man. Still, you would scarcely class him as one of the world’s great fathers, and his children were not an unqualified success. Dear me! Being a great father is either a very difficult or a very sadly unrewarded profession. Wherever you find a great man, you will find a great mother or a great wife standing behind him—or so they used to say. It would be interesting to know how many great women have had great fathers and husbands behind them.
Dorothy L. Sayers (Gaudy Night (Lord Peter Wimsey, #12))
It’s one of the first things an intelligent man like Kevin, who comes to the church later in life, notices. There is a pervasive incongruity between the church’s theology and the way most of us in the church live.” “Hypocrisy.” “One of its faces, yes. Hypocrisy. Saying one thing but doing another. Studying to be a priest while hiding a small cocaine addiction, for example. The world flushes this out and cries scandal. But the more ominous face isn’t nearly so obvious. This is what interested Kevin the most. He was quite astute, really.” “I’m not sure I follow. What’s not so obvious?” “The evil that lies in all of us,” the professor said. “Not blatant hypocrisy, but deception. Not even realizing that the sin we regularly commit is sin at all. Going about life honestly believing that we are pure when all along we are riddled with sin.” She looked at his gentle smile, taken by the simplicity of his words. “A preacher stands against the immorality of adultery, but all the while he harbors anger toward the third parishioner from the left because the parishioner challenged one of his teachings three months ago. Is anger not as evil as adultery? Or a woman who scorns the man across the aisle for alcoholic indiscretions, while she routinely gossips about him after services. Is gossip not as evil as any vice? What’s especially damaging in both cases is that neither the man who harbors anger nor the woman who gossips seriously considers the evil of their own actions. Their sins remain hidden. This is the true cancer in the church.
Ted Dekker (Thr3e)
That a greater fool than Jane Eyre had never breathed the breath of life, that a more fantastic idiot had never surfeited herself on sweet lies and swallowed poison as if it were nectar. YOU, I said, a favourite with Mr. Rochester? YOU gifted with the power of pleasing him? YOU of importance to him in any way? Go; your folly sickens me. And you have derived pleasure from occasional tokens of peference, equivocal tokens shown by a gentleman of family and a man of the world, to a dependent and a novice. How dared you? Poor stupid dupe? Could not even self-interest make you wiser? You repeated to yourself this morning the brief scene of last night; Cover your face and be ashamed. He said something in praise of your eyes did he> Blind puppy. Open their bleared lids and look on your own accursed senselessness. It does good to no woman to be flattered by her superior who cannot possibly intend to marry her, and it is madness in all women to let a secret love kindle within them which, if unreturned and unknown, must devour the life that feeds it, and if discovered and responded to, must lead ignis-fatus-like into miry wilds whence there is no extrication.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
I had better say something here about this question of age, since it is particularly important for mathematicians. No mathematician should ever allow himself to forget that mathematics, more than any other art or science, is a young man's game. To take a simple illustration at a comparatively humble level, the average age of election to the Royal Society is lowest in mathematics. We can naturally find much more striking illustrations. We may consider, for example, the career of a man who was certainly one of the world's three greatest mathematicians. Newton gave up mathematics at fifty, and had lost his enthusiasm long before; he had recognized no doubt by the time he was forty that his greatest creative days were over. His greatest idea of all, fluxions and the law of gravitation, came to him about 1666 , when he was twentyfour—'in those days I was in the prime of my age for invention, and minded mathematics and philosophy more than at any time since'. He made big discoveries until he was nearly forty (the 'elliptic orbit' at thirty-seven), but after that he did little but polish and perfect. Galois died at twenty-one, Abel at twenty-seven, Ramanujan at thirty-three, Riemann at forty. There have been men who have done great work a good deal later; Gauss's great memoir on differential geometry was published when he was fifty (though he had had the fundamental ideas ten years before). I do not know an instance of a major mathematical advance initiated by a man past fifty. If a man of mature age loses interest in and abandons mathematics, the loss is not likely to be very serious either for mathematics or for himself.
G.H. Hardy (A Mathematician's Apology)
Then he says, “I once read a story about three brothers who washed up on an island in Hawaii. A myth. An old one. I read it when I was a kid, so I probably don’t have the story exactly right, but it goes something like this. Three brothers went out fishing and got caught in a storm. They drifted on the ocean for a long time until they washed up on the shore of an uninhabited island. It was a beautiful island with coconuts growing there and tons of fruit on the trees, and a big, high mountain in the middle. The night they got there, a god appeared in their dreams and said, ‘A little farther down the shore, you will find three big, round boulders. I want each of you to push his boulder as far as he likes. The place you stop pushing your boulder is where you will live. The higher you go, the more of the world you will be able to see from your home. It’s entirely up to you how far you want to push your boulder.’” The young man takes a drink of water and pauses for a moment. Mari looks bored, but she is clearly listening. “Okay so far?” he asks. Mari nods. “Want to hear the rest? If you’re not interested, I can stop.” “If it’s not too long.” “No, it’s not too long. It’s a pretty simple story.” He takes another sip of water and continues with his story. “So the three brothers found three boulders on the shore just as the god had said they would. And they started pushing them along as the god told them to. Now these were huge, heavy boulders, so rolling them was hard, and pushing them up an incline took an enormous effort. The youngest brother quit first. He said, ‘Brothers, this place is good enough for me. It’s close to the shore, and I can catch fish. It has everything I need to go on living. I don’t mind if I can’t see that much of the world from here.’ His two elder brothers pressed on, but when they were midway up the mountain, the second brother quit. He said, ‘Brother, this place is good enough for me. There is plenty of fruit here. It has everything I need to go on living. I don’t mind if I can’t see that much of the world from here.’ The eldest brother continued walking up the mountain. The trail grew increasingly narrow and steep, but he did not quit. He had great powers of perseverance, and he wanted to see as much of the world as he possibly could, so he kept rolling the boulder with all his might. He went on for months, hardly eating or drinking, until he had rolled the boulder to the very peak of the high mountain. There he stopped and surveyed the world. Now he could see more of the world than anyone. This was the place he would live—where no grass grew, where no birds flew. For water, he could only lick the ice and frost. For food, he could only gnaw on moss. Be he had no regrets, because now he could look out over the whole world. And so, even today, his great, round boulder is perched on the peak of that mountain on an island in Hawaii. That’s how the story goes.
Haruki Murakami (After Dark)
Vladimir Nabokov and George Orwell had quite different gifts, and their self-images were quite different. But, I shall argue, their accomplishment was pretty much the same. Both of them warn the liberal ironist intellectual against temptations to be cruel. Both of them dramatise the tension between private irony and liberal hope. In the following passage, Nabokov helped blur the distinctions which I want to draw: ...'Lolita' has no moral in tow. For me a work of fiction exists only in so far as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm. There are not many such books. All the rest is either topical trash or what some call the Literature of Ideas, which very often is topical trash coming in huge blocks of plaster that are carefully transmitted from age to age until somebody comes along with a hammer and takes a good crack at Balzac, at Gorki, at Mann. Orwell blurred the same distinctions when, in one of his rare descents into rant, "The Frontiers of Art and Propaganda," he wrote exactly the sort of thing Nabokov loathed: You cannot take a purely aesthetic interest in a disease you are dying from; you cannot feel dispassionately about a man who is about to cut your throat. In a world in which Fascism and Socialism were fighting one another, any thinking person had to take sides... This period of ten years or so in which literature, even poetry was mixed up with pamphleteering, did a great service to literary criticism, because it destroyed the illusion of pure aestheticism... It debunked art for art's sake.
Richard M. Rorty (Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity)
I don't myself think much of science as a phase of human development. It has given us a lot of ingenious toys; they take our attention away from the real problems, of course, and since the problems are insoluble, I suppose we ought to be grateful for distraction. But the fact is, the human mind, the individual mind, has always been made more interesting by dwelling on the old riddles, even if it makes nothing of them. Science hasn't given us any new amazements, except of the superficial kind we get from witnessing dexterity and sleight-of-hand. It hasn't given us any richer pleasures, as the Renaissance did, nor any new sins-not one! Indeed, it takes our old ones away. It's the laboratory, not the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world. You'll agree there is not much thrill about a physiological sin. We were better off when even the prosaic matter of taking nourishment could have the magnificence of a sin. I don't think you help people by making their conduct of no importance-you impoverish them. As long as every man and woman who crowded into the cathedrals on Easter Sunday was a principal in a gorgeous drama with God, glittering angels on one side and the shadows of evil coming and going on the other, life was a rich thing. The king and the beggar had the same chance at miracles and great temptations and revelations. And that's what makes men happy, believing in the mystery and importance of their own little individual lives. It makes us happy to surround our creature needs and bodily instincts with as much pomp and circumstance as possible. Art and religion (they are the same thing, in the end, of course) have given man the only happiness he has ever had.
Willa Cather (The Professor's House)
Aside from what I feel to be the intrinsic interest of questions that are so fundamental and deep, I would, in this connection, call attention to the general problem of fragmentation of human consciousness, which is discussed in chapter 1. It is proposed there that the widespread and pervasive distinctions between people (race, nation, family, profession, etc., etc.), which are now preventing mankind from working together for the common good, and indeed, even for survival, have one of the key factors of their origin in a kind of thought that treats things as inherently divided, disconnected, and ‘broken up’ into yet smaller constituent parts. Each part is considered to be essentially independent and self-existent. When man thinks of himself in this way, he will inevitably tend to defend the needs of his own ‘Ego’ against those of the others; or, if he identifies with a group of people of the same kind, he will defend this group in a similar way. He cannot seriously think of mankind as the basic reality, whose claims come first. Even if he does try to consider the needs of mankind he tends to regard humanity as separate from nature, and so on. What I am proposing here is that man’s general way of thinking of the totality, i.e. his general world view, is crucial for overall order of the human mind itself. If he thinks of the totality as constituted of independent fragments, then that is how his mind will tend to operate, but if he can include everything coherently and harmoniously in an overall whole that is undivided, unbroken, and without a border (for every border is a division or break) then his mind will tend to move in a similar way, and from this will flow an orderly action within the whole.
David Bohm (Wholeness and the Implicate Order (Routledge Classics))
are much more beautiful in body than women. It is only a man whose intellect is clouded by his sexual impulse that could give the name of the fair sex to that undersized, narrow-shouldered, broad-hipped, and short-legged race; for the whole beauty of the sex is bound up with this impulse. Instead of calling them beautiful there would be more warrant for describing women as the unesthetic sex. Neither for music, nor for poetry, nor for the fine arts, have they really and truly any sense of susceptibility; it is a mere mockery if they make a pretense of it in order to assist their endeavor to please... They are incapable of taking a purely objective interest in anything... The most distinguished intellects among the whole sex have never managed to produce a single achievement in the fine arts that is really genuine and original; or given to the world any work of permanent value in any sphere.[711] This veneration of women is a product of Christianity and of German sentimentality; and it is in turn a cause of that Romantic movement which exalts feeling, instinct and will above the intellect.[712] The Asiatics know better, and frankly recognize the inferiority of woman. "When the laws gave women equal rights with men, they ought also to have endowed them with masculine intellects.
Will Durant (The Story of Philosophy)
It is not enough for a population or a section of the population to have Christian faith and be docile to the ministers of religion in order to be in a position properly to judge political matters. If this population has no political experience, no taste for seeing clearly for itself nor a tradition of initiative and critical judgment, its position with respect to politics grows more complicated, for nothing is easier for political counterfeiters than to exploit good principles for purposes of deception, and nothing is more disastrous than good principles badly applied. And moreover nothing is easier for human weakness than to merge religion with prejudices of race, family or class, collective hatreds, passions of a clan and political phantoms which compensate for the rigors of individual discipline in a pious but insufficiently purified soul. Politics deal with matters and interests of the world and they depend upon passions natural to man and upon reason. But the point I wish to make here is that without goodness, love and charity, all that is best in us—even divine faith, but passions and reason much more so—turns in our hands to an unhappy use. The point is that right political experience cannot develop in people unless passions and reason are oriented by a solid basis of collective virtues, by faith and honor and thirst for justice. The point is that, without the evangelical instinct and the spiritual potential of a living Christianity, political judgment and political experience are ill protected against the illusions of selfishness and fear; without courage, compassion for mankind and the spirit of sacrifice, the ever-thwarted advance toward an historical ideal of generosity and fraternity is not conceivable.
Jacques Maritain (Christianity And Democracy)
I have felt ashamed all the time I've been writing this story; so it's hardly literature so much as a corrective punishment. Why, to tell long stories, showing how I have spoiled my life through morally rotting in my corner, through lack of fitting environment, through divorce from real life, and rankling spite in my underground world, would certainly not be interesting; a novel needs a hero, and all the traits for an anti-hero are EXPRESSLY gathered together here, and what matters most, it all produces an unpleasant impression, for we are all divorced from life, we are all cripples, every one of us, more or less. We are so divorced from it that we feel at once a sort of loathing for real life, and so cannot bear to be reminded of it. Why, we have come almost to looking upon real life as an effort, almost as hard work, and we are all privately agreed that it is better in books.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
I am a man and what I have to recapture is the whole past of the world, I am not responsible only for the slavery involved in Santo Domingo, every time man has contributed to the victory of the dignity of the spirit, every time a man has said no to an attempt to subjugate his fellows, I have felt solidarity with his act. In no way does my basic vocation have to be drawn from the past of peoples of color. In no way do I have to dedicate myself to reviving some black civilization unjustly ignored. I will not make myself the man of any past. My black skin is not a repository for specific values. Haven’t I got better things to do on this earth than avenge the blacks of the 17th century? I as a man of color do not have the right to hope that in the white man there will be a crystallization of guilt towards the past of my race. I as a man of color do not have the right of stamping down the pride of my former master. I have neither the right nor the duty to demand reparations for my subjugated ancestors. There is no black mission. There is no white burden. I do not want to be victim to the rules of a black world. Am I going to ask this white man to answer for the slave traders of the 17th century? Am I going to try by every means available to cause guilt to burgeon in their souls? I am not a slave to slavery that dehumanized my ancestors. It would be of enormous interest to discover a black literature or architecture from the 3rd century B.C, we would be overjoyed to learn of the existence of a correspondence between some black philosopher and Plato, but we can absolutely not see how this fact would change the lives of 8 year old kids working the cane fields of Martinique or Guadeloupe. I find myself in the world and I recognize I have one right alone: of demanding human behavior from the other.
Frantz Fanon
Patriotism,” said Lymond, “like honesty is a luxury with a very high face value which is quickly pricing itself out of the spiritual market altogether. [...] It is an emotion as well, and of course the emotion comes first. A child’s home and the ways of its life are sacrosanct, perfect, inviolate to the child. Add age; add security; add experience. In time we all admit our relatives and our neighbours, our fellow townsmen and even, perhaps, at last our fellow nationals to the threshold of tolerance. But the man living one inch beyond the boundary is an inveterate foe. [...] Patriotism is a fine hothouse for maggots. It breeds intolerance; it forces a spindle-legged, spurious riot of colour.… A man of only moderate powers enjoys the special sanction of purpose, the sense of ceremony; the echo of mysterious, lost and royal things; a trace of the broad, plain childish virtues of myth and legend and ballad. He wants advancement—what simpler way is there? He’s tired of the little seasons and looks for movement and change and an edge of peril and excitement; he enjoys the flowering of small talents lost in the dry courses of daily life. For all these reasons, men at least once in their lives move the finger which will take them to battle for their country.… “Patriotism,” said Lymond again. “It’s an opulent word, a mighty key to a royal Cloud-Cuckoo-Land. Patriotism; loyalty; a true conviction that of all the troubled and striving world, the soil of one’s fathers is noblest and best. A celestial competition for the best breed of man; a vehicle for shedding boredom and exercising surplus power or surplus talents or surplus money; an immature and bigoted intolerance which becomes the coin of barter in the markets of power— [...] These are not patriots but martyrs, dying in cheerful self-interest as the Christians died in the pleasant conviction of grace, leaving their example by chance to brood beneath the water and rise, miraculously, to refresh the centuries. The cry is raised: Our land is glorious under the sun. I have a need to believe it, they say. It is a virtue to believe it; and therefore I shall wring from this unassuming clod a passion and a power and a selflessness that otherwise would be laid unquickened in the grave. [...] “And who shall say they are wrong?” said Lymond. “There are those who will always cleave to the living country, and who with their uprooted imaginations might well make of it an instrument for good. Is it quite beyond us in this land? Is there no one will take up this priceless thing and say, Here is a nation, with such a soul; with such talents; with these failings and this native worth? In what fashion can this one people be brought to live in full vigour and serenity, and who, in their compassion and wisdom, will take it and lead it into the path?
Dorothy Dunnett (The Game of Kings (The Lymond Chronicles, #1))
The root of all evil, the liberal insists, was precisely this interference with the freedom of employment, trade and currencies practiced by the various schools of social, national, and monopolistic protectionism since the third quarter of the nineteenth century; but for the unholy alliance of trade unions and labor parties with monopolistic manufacturers and agrarian interests, which in their shortsighted greed joined forces to frustrate economic liberty, the world would be enjoying today the fruits of an almost automatic system of creating material welfare. Liberal leaders never weary of repeating that the tragedy of the nineteenth century sprang from the incapacity of man to remain faithful to the inspiration of the early liberals; that the generous initiative of our ancestors was frustrated by the passions of nationalism and class war, vested interests, and monopolists, and above all, by the blindness of the working people to the ultimate beneficence of unrestricted economic freedom to all human interests, including their own. A great intellectual and moral advance was thus, it is claimed; frustrated by the intellectual and moral weaknesses of the mass of the people; what the spirit of Enlightenment had achieved was put to nought by the forces of selfishness. In a nutshell this is the economic liberal’s defense. Unless it is refuted, he will continue to hold the floor in the contest of arguments.
Karl Polanyi (The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time)
The experience of psychological trauma, as is typically diagnosed (posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD]), has at least some of the following symptoms: • Reliving the trauma: This can happen through nightmares, flashbacks, or reexperiencing as a result of being in the presence of stimuli reminiscent of the traumatic event. • Efforts to avoid thoughts or feelings that are associated with the trauma. • Efforts to avoid activities or situations that arouse memories of the trauma. • Inability to remember some important aspect of the trauma (psychogenic amnesia). • Marked reduced interest in important activities. • Feeling of a lack of interest or expulsion by others. • Limited affect; such as inability to cherish loving feelings. • A feeling of not having any future (foreshortened future); not expecting to have a career, get married, have children, or live a long life. • Hypervigilance (heightened sensitivity to possible traumatic stimuli).
Alan Downs (The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World)
In a world dominated by violent and passive-aggressive men, and by male institutions dispensing violence, it is extraordinary to note how often women are represented as the perpetrators of violence, most of all when we are simply fighting in self-defense or for our children, or when we collectively attempt to change the institutions that are making war on us and on our children. In reality, the feminist movement could be said to be trying to visualize and make way for a world in which abortion would not be necessary; a world free from poverty and rape, in which young girls would grow up with intelligent regard for and knowledge of their bodies and respect for their minds, in which the socialization of women into heterosexual romance and marriage would no longer be the primary lesson of culture; in which single women could raise children with a less crushing cost to themselves, in which female creativity might or might not choose to express itself in motherhood. Yet, when radical feminists and lesbian/feminists begin to speak of such a world, when we begin to sketch the conditions of a life we have collectively envisioned, the first charge we are likely to hear is a charge of violence: that we are “man-haters.” We hear that the women’s movement is provoking men to rape; that it has caused an increase in violent crimes by women; and when we demand the right to rear our children in circumstances where they have a chance for more than mere physical survival, we are called fetus-killers. The beating of women in homes across this country, the rape of daughters by fathers and brothers, the fear of rape that keeps old—as well as young—women off the streets, the casual male violence that can use a car to run two jogging women off a country road, the sadistic exploitation of women’s bodies to furnish a multibillion-dollar empire of pornography, the decision taken by powerful white males that one-quarter of the world’s women shall be sterilized or that certain selected women—poor and Third World—shall be used as subjects for psychosurgery and contraceptive experiments—these ordinary, everyday events inevitably must lead us to ask: who indeed hates whom, who is killing whom, whose interest is served, and whose fantasies expressed, by representing abortion as the selfish, willful, morally contagious expression of woman’s predilection for violence?
Adrienne Rich (On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966-1978)
At any time, and under any circumstances of human interest, is it not strange to see how little real hold the objects of the natural world amid which we live can gain on our hearts and minds? We go to Nature for comfort in trouble, and sympathy in joy, only in books. Admiration of those beauties of the inanimate world, which modern poetry so largely and so eloquently describes, is not, even in the best of us, one of the original instincts of our nature. As children, we none of us possess it. No uninstructed man or woman possesses it. Those whose lives are most exclusively passed amid the ever-changing wonders of sea and land are also those who are most universally insensible to every aspect of Nature not directly associated with the human interest of their calling. Our capacity of appreciating the beauties of the earth we live on is, in truth, one of the civilised accomplishments which we all learn as an Art; and, more, that very capacity is rarely practised by any of us except when our minds are most indolent and most unoccupied. How much share have the attractions of Nature ever had in the pleasurable or painful interests and emotions of ourselves or our friends? What space do they ever occupy in the thousand little narratives of personal experience which pass every day by word of mouth from one of us to the other? All that our minds can compass, all that our hearts can learn, can be accomplished with equal certainty, equal profit, and equal satisfaction to ourselves, in the poorest as in the richest prospect that the face of the earth can show. There is surely a reason for this want of inborn sympathy between the creature and the creation around it, a reason which may perhaps be found in the widely-differing destinies of man and his earthly sphere. The grandest mountain prospect that the eye can range over is appointed to annihilation. The smallest human interest that the pure heart can feel is appointed to immortality.
Wilkie Collins
We are often told, that in the critical periods of history it is the national soul which counts: that "where there is no vision, the people perish." No nation is truly defeated which retains its spiritual self-possession. No nation is truly victorious which does not emerge with soul unstained. If this be so, it becomes a part of true patriotism to keep the spiritual life, both of the individual citizen and of the social group, active and vigorous; its vision of realities unsullied by the entangled interests and passions of the time. This is a task in which all may do their part. The spiritual life is not a special career, involving abstraction from the world of things. It is a part of every man's life; and until he has realised it he is not a complete human being, has not entered into possession of all his powers. It is therefore the function of a practical mysticism to increase, not diminish, the total efficiency, the wisdom and steadfastness, of those who try to practise it. It will help them to enter, more completely than ever before, into the life of the group to which they belong. It will teach them to see the world in a truer proportion, discerning eternal beauty beyond and beneath apparent ruthlessness. It will educate them in a charity free from all taint of sentimentalism; it will confer on them an unconquerable hope; and assure them that still, even in the hour of greatest desolation, "There lives the dearest freshness deep down things.
Evelyn Underhill (Practical Mysticism)
Socrates tried to soothe us, true enough. He said there were only two possibilities. Either the soul is immortal or, after death, things would be again as blank as they were before we were born. This is not absolutely comforting either. Anyway it was natural that theology and philosophy should take the deepest interest in this. They owe it to us not to be boring themselves. On this obligation they don’t always make good. However, Kierkegaard was not a bore. I planned to examine his contribution in my master essay. In his view the primacy of the ethical over the esthetic mode was necessary to restore the balance. But enough of that. In myself I could observe the following sources of tedium: 1) The lack of a personal connection with the external world. Earlier I noted that when I was riding through France in a train last spring I looked out of the window and thought that the veil of Maya was wearing thin. And why was this? I wasn’t seeing what was there but only what everyone sees under a common directive. By this is implied that our worldview has used up nature. The rule of this view is that I, a subject, see the phenomena, the world of objects. They, however, are not necessarily in themselves objects as modern rationality defines objects. For in spirit, says Steiner, a man can step out of himself and let things speak to him about themselves, to speak about what has meaning not for him alone but also for them. Thus the sun the moon the stars will speak to nonastronomers in spite of their ignorance of science. In fact it’s high time that this happened. Ignorance of science should not keep one imprisoned in the lowest and weariest sector of being, prohibited from entering into independent relations with the creation as a whole. The educated speak of the disenchanted (a boring) world. But it is not the world, it is my own head that is disenchanted. The world cannot be disenchanted. 2) For me the self-conscious ego is the seat of boredom. This increasing, swelling, domineering, painful self-consciousness is the only rival of the political and social powers that run my life (business, technological-bureaucratic powers, the state). You have a great organized movement of life, and you have the single self, independently conscious, proud of its detachment and its absolute immunity, its stability and its power to remain unaffected by anything whatsoever — by the sufferings of others or by society or by politics or by external chaos. In a way it doesn’t give a damn. It is asked to give a damn, and we often urge it to give a damn but the curse of noncaring lies upon this painfully free consciousness. It is free from attachment to beliefs and to other souls. Cosmologies, ethical systems? It can run through them by the dozens. For to be fully conscious of oneself as an individual is also to be separated from all else. This is Hamlet’s kingdom of infinite space in a nutshell, of “words, words, words,” of “Denmark’s a prison.
Saul Bellow (Humboldt's Gift)
According to the gospels, Christ healed diseases, cast out devils, rebuked the sea, cured the blind, fed multitudes with five loaves and two fishes, walked on the sea, cursed a fig tree, turned water into wine and raised the dead. How is it possible to substantiate these miracles? The Jews, among whom they were said to have been performed, did not believe them. The diseased, the palsied, the leprous, the blind who were cured, did not become followers of Christ. Those that were raised from the dead were never heard of again. Can we believe that Christ raised the dead? A widow living in Nain is following the body of her son to the tomb. Christ halts the funeral procession and raises the young man from the dead and gives him back to the arms of his mother. This young man disappears. He is never heard of again. No one takes the slightest interest in the man who returned from the realm of death. Luke is the only one who tells the story. Maybe Matthew, Mark and John never heard of it, or did not believe it and so failed to record it. John says that Lazarus was raised from the dead. It was more wonderful than the raising of the widow’s son. He had not been laid in the tomb for days. He was only on his way to the grave, but Lazarus was actually dead. He had begun to decay. Lazarus did not excite the least interest. No one asked him about the other world. No one inquired of him about their dead friends. When he died the second time no one said: “He is not afraid. He has traveled that road twice and knows just where he is going.” We do not believe in the miracles of Mohammed, and yet they are as well attested as this. We have no confidence in the miracles performed by Joseph Smith, and yet the evidence is far greater, far better. If a man should go about now pretending to raise the dead, pretending to cast out devils, we would regard him as insane. What, then, can we say of Christ? If we wish to save his reputation we are compelled to say that he never pretended to raise the dead; that he never claimed to have cast out devils. We must take the ground that these ignorant and impossible things were invented by zealous disciples, who sought to deify their leader. In those ignorant days these falsehoods added to the fame of Christ. But now they put his character in peril and belittle the authors of the gospels. Christianity cannot live in peace with any other form of faith. If that religion be true, there is but one savior, one inspired book, and but one little narrow grass-grown path that leads to heaven. Why did he not again enter the temple and end the old dispute with demonstration? Why did he not confront the Roman soldiers who had taken money to falsely swear that his body had been stolen by his friends? Why did he not make another triumphal entry into Jerusalem? Why did he not say to the multitude: “Here are the wounds in my feet, and in my hands, and in my side. I am the one you endeavored to kill, but death is my slave”? Simply because the resurrection is a myth. The miracle of the resurrection I do not and cannot believe. We know nothing certainly of Jesus Christ. We know nothing of his infancy, nothing of his youth, and we are not sure that such a person ever existed. There was in all probability such a man as Jesus Christ. He may have lived in Jerusalem. He may have been crucified; but that he was the Son of God, or that he was raised from the dead, and ascended bodily to heaven, has never been, and, in the nature of things, can never be, substantiated.
Robert G. Ingersoll
They did not awaken quickly, nor fling about nor shock their systems with any sudden movement. No, they arose from slumber as gently as a soap bubble floats out from its pipe. Down into the gulch they trudged, still only half awake. Gradually their wills coagulated. They built a fire and boiled some tea and drank it from the fruit jars, and at last they settled in the sun on the front porch. The flaming flies made halos about their heads. Life took shape about them, the shape of yesterday and of tomorrow. Discussion began slowly, for each man treasured the little sleep he still possessed. From this time until well after noon, intellectual comradeship came into being. Then roofs were lifted, houses peered into, motives inspected, adventures recounted. Ordinarily their thoughts went first to Cornelia Ruiz, for it was a rare day and night during which Cornelia had not some curious and interesting adventure. And it was an unusual adventure from which no moral lesson could be drawn. The sun glistened in the pine needles. The earth smelled dry and good. The rose of Castile perfumed the world with its flowers. This was one of the best of times for the friends of Danny. The struggle for existence was remote. They sat in judgment on their fellows, judging not for morals, but for interest. Anyone having a good thing to tell saved it for recounting at this time. The big brown butterflies came to the rose and sat on the flowers and waved their wings slowly, as though they pumped honey out by wing power.
John Steinbeck (Tortilla Flat)
It's true,' replied Doris with a sniff in Bessy's direction to make her sensible of a victory, even if a minor one. 'It is amazing how so many people go insane. One day a man is a normal, friendly husband and the next he suddenly becomes a raging schizoid and slays his wife and himself as well. The result of what cause? Why, perhaps he chanced to find some schoolgirl treasure of another beau who had been his greatest rival and is stunned to discover that she secretly retains this. But usually the matter is not so simple, you know. Next to nothing may happen, jarring awake some sleeping monstrosity in a man's complex mental machinery and turning him from a sane person to a mentally sick individual. It is wholly impossible to say when a man is sane, for' -she tittered- 'scarce one of us is normal.' 'You mean - it might happen to any of us?' 'Of course,' said Doris, charmed by all this interest. 'One moment we are seated here, behaving normally and the next some tiny thing, a certain voice, a certain combination of thoughts may throw out the balance wheel of our intellects and we become potential inmates for asylums the rest of our lives. No, not one of us knows when the world will cease to be a normal, ordinary place. You know, no one ever knows when he goes insane: He supposes it is the world altering, not himself. Rooms become peopled with strange shapes and beings, sounds distort themselves into awful cries and, poof! we are judged insane.' 'Poof -' said Jacob, feeling weak and ill. ("He Didn't Like Cats")
L. Ron Hubbard
We see, then, that even from the zoological point of view, which is the least interesting and—note this—not decisive, a being in such condition can never achieve a genuine equilibrium; we also see something that differs from the idea of challenge-response in Toynbee and, in my judgement, effectively constitutes human life: namely, that no surroundings or change of surroundings can in itself be described as an obstacle, a difficulty, and a challenge for man, but that the difficulty is always relative to the projects which man creates in his imagination, to what he customarily calls his ideals; in short, relative to what man wants to be. This affords us an idea of challenge-and-response which is much deeper and more decisive than the merely anecdotal, adventitious, and accidental idea which Toynbee proposes. In its light, all of human life appears to us as what it is permanently: a dramatic confrontation and struggle of man with the world and not a mere occasional maladjustment which is produced at certain moments.
José Ortega y Gasset (An Interpretation of Universal History)
That Russia would become such a power in the world had been foreseen as long ago as the 1830s by Alexis de Tocqueville, who said, in a famous passage from Democracy in America, that even then, “There are on earth today two great peoples, who, from different points of departure, seem to be advancing toward the same end. They are the Anglo-Americans and the Russians. . . . All the other peoples appear to have attained approximately their natural limits, and to have nothing left but to conserve their positions; but these two are growing. . . . To attain his end, the first depends on the interest of the individual person, and allows the force and intelligence of individuals to act freely, without directing them. The second in some way concentrates all the power of society in one man. The one has liberty as the chief way of doing things; the other servitude. Their points of departure are divergent; nevertheless, each seems summoned by a secret design of providence to hold in his hands, some day, the destinies of half the world.
Charles L. Mee Jr. (Saving a Continent: The Untold Story of the Marshall Plan)
To be loved by a pure young girl, to be the first to reveal to her the strange mystery of love, is indeed a great happiness, but it is the simplest thing in the world. To take captive a heart which has had no experience of attack, is to enter an unfortified and ungarrisoned city. Education, family feeling, the sense of duty, the family, are strong sentinels, but there are no sentinels so vigilant as not to be deceived by a girl of sixteen to whom nature, by the voice of the man she loves, gives the first counsels of love, all the more ardent because they seem so pure. The more a girl believes in goodness, the more easily will she give way, if not to her lover, at least to love, for being without mistrust she is without force, and to win her love is a triumph that can be gained by any young man of five-and-twenty. See how young girls are watched and guarded! The walls of convents are not high enough, mothers have no locks strong enough, religion has no duties constant enough, to shut these charming birds in their cages, cages not even strewn with flowers. Then how surely must they desire the world which is hidden from them, how surely must they find it tempting, how surely must they listen to the first voice which comes to tell its secrets through their bars, and bless the hand which is the first to raise a corner of the mysterious veil! But to be really loved by a courtesan: that is a victory of infinitely greater difficulty. With them the body has worn out the soul, the senses have burned up the heart, dissipation has blunted the feelings. They have long known the words that we say to them, the means we use; they have sold the love that they inspire. They love by profession, and not by instinct. They are guarded better by their calculations than a virgin by her mother and her convent; and they have invented the word caprice for that unbartered love which they allow themselves from time to time, for a rest, for an excuse, for a consolation, like usurers, who cheat a thousand, and think they have bought their own redemption by once lending a sovereign to a poor devil who is dying of hunger without asking for interest or a receipt. Then, when God allows love to a courtesan, that love, which at first seems like a pardon, becomes for her almost without penitence. When a creature who has all her past to reproach herself with is taken all at once by a profound, sincere, irresistible love, of which she had never felt herself capable; when she has confessed her love, how absolutely the man whom she loves dominates her! How strong he feels with his cruel right to say: You do no more for love than you have done for money. They know not what proof to give. A child, says the fable, having often amused himself by crying "Help! a wolf!" in order to disturb the labourers in the field, was one day devoured by a Wolf, because those whom he had so often deceived no longer believed in his cries for help. It is the same with these unhappy women when they love seriously. They have lied so often that no one will believe them, and in the midst of their remorse they are devoured by their love.
Alexandre Dumas (La Dame aux Camélias)
We, that is, the traditionalists like myself, use the term ‘‘modernism’’ not in a vague way as characterizing just things that happen to be around today, but as a particular way of looking at the world, a worldview that began in the Renaissance in the West with such components as Renaissance humanism, rationalism, et cetera. As I have mentioned already, modernism rejects the primacy of absolute and ultimate truth transcending the human order and descend- ing upon the human realm from the Divine Order. It places man himself at the center of the stage as ‘‘the absolute.’’ In a sense it absolutizes the human being in his or her earthly reality. Usually it does not come out and say so explicitly, but that is what it really means; that is, it takes the absolute away from God and puts it on the human plane, and therefore makes human reason, human perceptions, human interests the criteria of reality, of knowledge, of the truth, of the goal of human life. Therefore, as a consequence it substitutes the significance of the temporal and the transient for the abiding and the eternal.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (در جست‌وجوی امر قدسي)
JFK asked his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to break up organized crime. Nobody high-up in government has tangled the Mafia. J. E. Hoover, the hired hands of FBI and CIA, ran the assassination teams. They have been used since World War II. JFK was attempting to end the oil-tax depletion rip-offs, to get tax money from oil companies. JFK instituted the nuclear test ban treaty, often called “the kiss of death,” to oppose the Pentagon. JFK called off the Invasion of Cuba. He allowed Castro to live, antagonized narcotics and gambling, oil and sugar interests, formerly in Cuba. JFK asked his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to break up the CIA, the “hidden government behind my back.” Allen Dulles was fired. Dulles, the attorney for international multinationals, was angry. JFK planned to withdraw troops from Vietnam after the 1964 elections. Nov. 24, 1963, two days after JFK’s burial, the Pentagon escalated the Vietnam war … with no known provocations, after JFK was gone. There was no chance Kennedy could survive antagonizing the CIA, oil companies, Pentagon, organized crime. He was not their man. The assassination of JFK employed people from the Texas-Southwest. It was not a Southern plot. Upstarts could not have controlled the northern CIA, FBI, Kennedy family connections. This was a more detailed, sophisticated conspiracy that was to set the pattern for future murders to take place. The murder was funded by Permindex, with headquarters in Montreal and Switzerland. Their stated purpose was to encourage trade between nations in the Western world. Their actual purpose was fourfold: 1) To fund and direct assassinations of European, Mid-East and world leaders considered threats to the western world, and to Petroleum Interests of their backers. 2) Provide couriers, agents for transporting and depositing funds through Swiss Banks for Vegas, Miami and the international gambling syndicate. 3) Coordinate the espionage activities of White Russian Solidarists and Division V of the FBI, headed by William Sullivan. 4) Build, acquire and operate hotels and gambling casinos. See: Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal, by William Torbitt.
Mae Brussell (The Essential Mae Brussell: Investigations of Fascism in America)
We see throughout the world extremes of poverty and riches, abundance and at the same time starvation; we have class distinction and racial hatred, the stupidity of nationalism and the appalling cruelty of war. There is exploitation of man by man; religions with their vested interests have become the means of exploitation, also dividing man from man. There is anxiety, confusion, hopelessness, frustration. We see all this. It is part of our daily life. Caught up in the wheel of suffering, if you are at all thoughtful you must have asked yourself how these human problems can be solved. Either you are conscious of the chaotic state of the world, or you are completely asleep, living in a fantastic world, in an illusion. If you are aware, you must be grappling with these problems. In trying to solve them, some turn to experts for their solution, and follow their ideas and theories. Gradually they form themselves into an exclusive body, and thus they come into conflict with other experts and their parties; and the individual merely becomes a tool in the hands of the group or of the expert. Or you try to solve these problems by following a particular system, which, if you carefully examine it, becomes merely another means of exploiting the individual. Or you think that to change all this cruelty and horror there must be a mass movement, a collective action. Now the idea of a mass movement becomes merely a catchword if you, the individual, who are part of the mass, do not understand your true function. True collective action can take place only when you, the individual, who are also the mass, are awake and take the full responsibility for your action without compulsion. Please bear in mind that I am not giving you a system of philosophy which you can follow blindly, but I am trying to awaken the desire for true and intelligent fulfillment, which alone can bring about happy order and peace in the world. There can be fundamental and lasting change in the world, there can be love and intelligent fulfillment, only when you wake up and begin to free yourself from the net of illusions, the many illusions which you have created about yourself through fear.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti)
The offerings of Machiavelli (1469–1527), Guicciardini (1483–1540), La Rochefoucauld (1613–80) and La Bruyère (1645–96) give us an indication of the manoeuvres that workers may, aside from their regular advertised roles, have to perform in order to flourish: The need to beware of colleagues: ‘Men are so false, so insidious, so deceitful and cunning in their wiles, so avid in their own interest, and so oblivious to others’ interests, that you cannot go wrong if you believe little and trust less.’ GUICCIARDINI ‘We must live with our enemies as if they might one day become our friends, and live with our friends as if they might some time or other become our enemies’. LA BRUYÈRE The need to lie and exaggerate: ‘The world more often rewards signs of merit than merit itself.’ LA ROCHEFOUCAULD ‘If you are involved in important affairs, you must always hide failures and exaggerate successes. It is swindling but since your fate more often depends upon the opinion of others rather than on facts, it is a good idea to create the impression that things are going well.’ GUICCIARDINI ‘You are an honest man, and do not make it your business either to please or displease the favourites. You are merely attached to your master and to your duty. You are finished.’ LA BRUYÈRE The need to threaten: ‘It is much safer to be feared than loved. Love is sustained by a bond of gratitude which, because men are excessively self-interested, is broken whenever they see a chance to benefit themselves. But fear is sustained by a dread of punishment that is always effective.’ MACHIAVELLI ‘Since the majority of men are either not very good or not very wise, one must rely more on severity than on kindness.’ GUICCIARDINI
Alain de Botton (Status Anxiety)
This is the way it ought to be!" said the Little Russian, returning. "Because, mark you, mother dear, a new heart is coming into existence, a new heart is growing up in life. All hearts are smitten in the conflict of interests, all are consumed with a blind greed, eaten up with envy, stricken, wounded, and dripping with filth, falsehood, and cowardice. All people are sick; they are afraid to live; they wander about as in a mist. Everyone feels only his own toothache. But lo, and behold! Here is a Man coming and illuminating life with the light of reason, and he shouts: 'Oh, ho! you straying roaches! It's time, high time, for you to understand that all your interests are one, that everyone has the need to live, everyone has the desire to grow!' The Man who shouts this is alone, and therefore he cries aloud; he needs comrades, he feels dreary in his loneliness, dreary and cold. And at his call the stanch hearts unite into one great, strong heart, deep and sensitive as a silver bell not yet cast. And hark! This bell rings forth the message: 'Men of all countries, unite into one family! Love is the mother of life, not hate!' My brothers! I hear this message sounding through the world!
Maxim Gorky (Mother)
His eyes were shockingly blue in that suntanned face, his brief smile a dazzling flash of white. He was very handsome, his features strong and even, with faint, pale whisks of laugh lines radiating from the outer corners of his eyes. He seemed like someone who would be irreverent and amusing, but there was also something shrewd about him, something a bit flinty. As if he'd had his share of experience in the world, and had few illusions left. Somehow that made him even more attractive. He came to them without haste. A pleasant outdoors scent clung to him: sun and air, a dusty, sedgelike sweetness and a hint of smoke, as if he'd been standing near a peat fire. His eyes were the darkest blue she'd ever seen, the irises rimmed with black. It had been a long time since a man had looked at Phoebe like this, direct and interested, and the slightest bit flirty. The strangest feeling came over her, something that reminded her a little of the early days of her marriage to Henry... that shaky, embarrassing, inexplicable desire to press her body intimately against someone else's. Until now, she'd never felt it for anyone but her husband, and never anything like this fire-and-ice jolt of awareness.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels, #5))
I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music. Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did. On the other hand, novels which are works of the imagination, though not of a very high order, have been for years a wonderful relief and pleasure to me, and I often bless all novelists. A surprising number have been read aloud to me, and I like all if moderately good, and if they do not end unhappily–against which a law ought to be passed. A novel, according to my taste, does not come into the first class unless it contains some person whom one can thoroughly love, and if a pretty woman all the better. This curious and lamentable loss of the higher aesthetic tastes is all the odder, as books on history, biographies, and travels (independently of any scientific facts which they may contain), and essays on all sorts of subjects interest me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive. A man with a mind more highly organised or better constituted than mine, would not, I suppose, have thus suffered; and if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.
Charles Darwin (Autobiography Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Descent of Man A Naturalist's Voyage Round the World Coral Reefs Voyage of the Beagle Origin of Species Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals)
No one pours liquid into a cracked and broken vase which can hold nothing. Your heart is divided into as many pieces representing the cares you hold: each care is a broken piece; and do you think that God will pour his grace into such a useless vessel? Ask the wise man, who says: “The heart of a fool is like a broken vessel, and not all wisdom shall it hold.” [47]   God instills this devout and very sweet wisdom of which we speak into the hearts of the righteous, the golden vessels and cups from which he drinks our good desires, symbolized by the goblets from which King Solomon drank which were all gold. A golden vase cannot easily be broken, neither can the heart of the just be divided between different interests without urgent necessity. However, the hearts of unreflecting men are like the ill-baked clay vessels which David was given in the desert when persecuted by Absalom.[48] This clay vessel is broken because the man's exterior and worldly actions are not referred to God nor performed purely for his sake, but some are done to please men, others by the inspiration of the devil, others for pleasure or vainglory, so that his heart being divided, cannot retain the grace of devotion or the sweetness of the heavenly liquor.
Francisco De Osuna (Third Spiritual Alphabet (Contemplative Series Book 5))
My Dear Mrs Winter. (I had half a mind when I dipped my pen in the ink, to address you by your old natural Christian name.) The snow lies so deep on the Northern Railway, and the Posts have been so interrupted in consequence, that your charming note arrived here only this morning... I get the heartache again when I read your commission, written in the hand which I find now to be not in the least changed, and yet it is a great pleasure to be entrusted with it, and to have that share in your gentler remembrances which I cannot find it still my privilege to have, without a stirring of the old fancies. ... I am very very sorry you mistrusted me in not writing before your little girl was born; but I hope now you know me better you will teach her, one day, to tell her children, in times to come when they have some interest in wondering about it, that I loved her mother with the most extraordinary earnestness when I was a boy. I have always believed since, and always shall to the last, that there never was such a faithful and devoted poor fellow as I was. Whatever of fancy, romance, energy, passion, aspiration and determination belong to me, I never have separated and never shall separate from the hard hearted little woman - you - whom it is nothing to say I would have died for, with the greatest alacrity! I never can think, and I never seem to observe, that other young people are in such desperate earnest, or set so much, so long, upon one absorbing hope. It is a matter of perfect certainty to me that I began to fight my way out of poverty and obscurity, with one perpetual idea of you. This is so fixed in my knowledge that to the hour when I opened your letter last Friday night, I have never heard anybody addressed by your name or spoken of by your name, without a start. The sound of it has always filled me with a kind of pity and respect for the deep truth that I had, in my silly hobbledehoyhood, to bestow upon one creature who represented the whole world to me. I have never been so good a man since, as I was when you made me wretchedly happy. I shall never be half so good a fellow any more. This is all so strange now, both to think of, and to say, after every change that has come about; but I think, when you ask me to write to you, you are not unprepared for what it is so natural to me to recall, and will not be displeased to read it. I fancy, - though you may not have thought in the old time how manfully I loved you - that you may have seen in one of my books a faithful reflection of the passion I had for you, and may have thought that it was something to have been loved so well, and may have seen in little bits of "Dora" touches of your old self sometimes, and a grace here and there that may be revived in your little girls, years hence, for the bewilderment of some other young lover - though he will never be as terribly in earnest as I and David Copperfield were. People used to say to me how pretty all that was, and how fanciful it was, and how elevated it was above the little foolish loves of very young men and women. But they little thought what reason I had to know it was true and nothing more nor less. These are things that I have locked up in my own breast, and that I never thought to bring out any more. But when I find myself writing to you again "all to your self", how can I forbear to let as much light in upon them as will shew you that they are there still! If the most innocent, the most ardent, and the most disinterested days of my life had you for their Sun - as indeed they had - and if I know that the Dream I lived in did me good, refined my heart, and made me patient and persevering, and if the Dream were all of you - as God knows it was - how can I receive a confidence from you, and return it, and make a feint of blotting all this out! ...
Charles Dickens
On reflection, looking at shows like this and considering my own experiences, what fascinated me was that we have so many stories like this that help us empathize with monstrous men. “Yes, these men are flawed, but they are not as evil as this man.” Even more chilling, they tend to be stories that paint women as roadblocks, aggressors, antagonists, complications—but only in the context of them being a bitch, a whore, a Madonna. The women are never people. Stories about monstrous men are not meant to teach us how to empathize with the women and children murdered, but with the men fighting over their bodies. As a woman menaced by monsters, I find this particularly interesting, this erasure of me from a narrative meant to, if not justify, then explain the brokenness of men. There are shows much better at this, of course, which don’t paint women out of the story—Mad Men is the first to come to mind, and Game of Thrones—but True Detective doubled down. The women terrorized by monsters in real life are active agents. They are monster-slayers, monster-pacifiers, monster-nurturers, monster-wranglers—and some of them are monsters, too. In truth, if we are telling a tale of those who fight monsters, it fascinates me that we are not telling more women’s stories, as we’ve spun so many narratives like True Detective that so blatantly illustrate the sexist masculinity trap that turns so many human men into the very things they despise. Where are the women who fight them? Who partner with them? Who overcome them? Who battle their own monsters to fight greater ones? Because I have and continue to be one of those women, navigating a horror show world of monsters and madmen. We are women who write books and win awards and fight battles and carve out extraordinary lives from ruin and ash. We are not background scenery, our voices silenced, our motives and methods constrained to sex. I cannot fault the show’s men for forgetting that; they’ve created the world as they see it. But I can prod the show’s exceptional writers, because in erasing the narrative of those whose very existence is constantly threatened by these monsters, including trusted monsters whose natures vacillate wildly, they sided with the monsters. I’m not a bit player in a monster’s story. But with narratives like this perpetuated across our media, it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s how my obituary read: a catalogue of the men who sired me, and fucked me, and courted me. Stories that are not my own. Funny, isn’t it? The power of story. It’s why I picked up a pen. I slay monsters, too.
Kameron Hurley (The Geek Feminist Revolution)
Homophobia and the closet are allies. Like an unhealthy co-dependent relationship they need each other to survive. One plays the victim living in fear and shame while the other plays the persecutor policing what is ‘normal’. The only way to dismantle homophobia is for every gay man and lesbian in the world to come out and live authentic lives. Once they realise how normal we are and see themselves in us….the controversy is over. It is interesting to think what would happen though....on a particularly pre-determined day that every single gay man and lesbian came out. Imagine the impact when, on that day, people all around the world suddenly discovered their bosses, mums, dads, daughters, sons, aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, doctors, neighbours, colleagues, politicians, their favourite actors, celebrities and sports heroes, the people they loved and respected......were indeed gay. All stereotypes would immediately be broken.....just by the same single act of millions of people…..and at last there would no longer be need for secrecy. The closet would become the lounge room. How much healthier would we be emotionally and psychologically when we could all be ourselves doing life without the internal and societal negatives that have been attached to our sexual orientation.
Anthony Venn-Brown OAM (A Life of Unlearning - a journey to find the truth)
And even in the open air the stench of whiskey was appalling. To this fiendish poison, I am certain, the greater part of the squalor I saw is due. Many of these vermin were obviously not foreigners—I counted at least five American countenances in which a certain vanished decency half showed through the red whiskey bloating. Then I reflected upon the power of wine, and marveled how self-respecting persons can imbibe such stuff, or permit it to be served upon their tables. It is the deadliest enemy with which humanity is faced. Not all the European wars could produce a tenth of the havock occasioned among men by the wretched fluid which responsible governments allow to be sold openly. Looking upon that mob of sodden brutes, my mind’s eye pictured a scene of different kind; a table bedecked with spotless linen and glistening silver, surrounded by gentlemen immaculate in evening attire—and in the reddening faces of those gentlemen I could trace the same lines which appeared in full development of the beasts of the crowd. Truly, the effects of liquor are universal, and the shamelessness of man unbounded. How can reform be wrought in the crowd, when supposedly respectable boards groan beneath the goblets of rare old vintages? Is mankind asleep, that its enemy is thus entertained as a bosom friend? But a week or two ago, at a parade held in honour of the returning Rhode Island National Guard, the Chief Executive of this State, Mr. Robert Livingston Beeckman, prominent in New York, Newport, and Providence society, appeared in such an intoxicated condition that he could scarce guide his mount, or retain his seat in the saddle, and he the guardian of the liberties and interests of that Colony carved by the faith, hope, and labour of Roger Williams from the wilderness of savage New-England! I am perhaps an extremist on the subject of prohibition, but I can see no justification whatsoever for the tolerance of such a degrading demon as drink.
H.P. Lovecraft (Lord of a Visible World: An Autobiography in Letters)
And now he learned how men can consider other men as beasts and that the easiest way to get along with such men was to be a beast. A clean face, an open face, an eye raised to meet an eye—these drew attention and attention drawn brought punishment. Adam thought how a man doing an ugly or a brutal thing has hurt himself and must punish someone for the hurt. To be guarded at work by men with shotguns, to be shackled by the ankle at night to a chain, were simple matters of precaution, but the savage whippings for the least stir of will, for the smallest shred of dignity or resistance, these seemed to indicate that guards were afraid of prisoners, and Adam knew from his years in the army that a man afraid is a dangerous animal. And Adam, like anyone in the world, feared what whipping would do to his body and his spirit. He drew a curtain around himself. He removed expression from his face, light from his eyes, and silenced his speech. Later he was not so much astonished that it had happened to him but that he had been able to take it and with a minimum of pain. It was much more horrible afterward than when it was happening. It is a triumph of self-control to see a man whipped until the muscles of his back show white and glistening through the cuts and to give no sign of pity or anger or interest. And Adam learned this.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
But the greatest human problems are not social problems, but decisions that the individual has to make alone. The most important feelings of which man is capable emphasise his separateness from other people, not his kinship with them. The feelings of a mountaineer towards a mountain emphasise his kinship with the mountain rather than with the rest of mankind. The same goes for the leap of the heart experienced by a sailor when he smells the sea, or for the astronomer’s feeling about the stars, or for the archaeologist’s love of the past. My feeling of love for my fellowmen makes me aware of my humanness; but my feeling about a mountain gives me an oddly nonhuman sensation. It would be incorrect, perhaps, to call it ‘superhuman’; but it nevertheless gives me a sense of transcending my everyday humanity. Maslow’s importance is that he has placed these experiences of ‘transcendence’ at the centre of his psychology. He sees them as the compass by which man gains a sense of the magnetic north of his existence. They bring a glimpse of ‘the source of power, meaning and purpose’ inside himself. This can be seen with great clarity in the matter of the cure of alcoholics. Alcoholism arises from what I have called ‘generalised hypertension’, a feeling of strain or anxiety about practically everything. It might be described as a ‘passively negative’ attitude towards existence. The negativity prevents proper relaxation; there is a perpetual excess of adrenalin in the bloodstream. Alcohol may produce the necessary relaxation, switch off the anxiety, allow one to feel like a real human being instead of a bundle of over-tense nerves. Recurrence of the hypertension makes the alcoholic remedy a habit, but the disadvantages soon begin to outweigh the advantage: hangovers, headaches, fatigue, guilt, general inefficiency. And, above all, passivity. The alcoholics are given mescalin or LSD, and then peak experiences are induced by means of music or poetry or colours blending on a screen. They are suddenly gripped and shaken by a sense of meaning, of just how incredibly interesting life can be for the undefeated. They also become aware of the vicious circle involved in alcoholism: misery and passivity leading to a general running-down of the vital powers, and to the lower levels of perception that are the outcome of fatigue. ‘The spirit world shuts not its gates, Your heart is dead, your senses sleep,’ says the Earth Spirit to Faust. And the senses sleep when there is not enough energy to run them efficiently. On the other hand, when the level of will and determination is high, the senses wake up. (Maslow was not particularly literary, or he might have been amused to think that Faust is suffering from exactly the same problem as the girl in the chewing gum factory (described earlier), and that he had, incidentally, solved a problem that had troubled European culture for nearly two centuries). Peak experiences are a by-product of this higher energy-drive. The alcoholic drinks because he is seeking peak experiences; (the same, of course, goes for all addicts, whether of drugs or tobacco.) In fact, he is moving away from them, like a lost traveller walking away from the inn in which he hopes to spend the night. The moment he sees with clarity what he needs to do to regain the peak experience, he does an about-face and ceases to be an alcoholic.
Colin Wilson (New Pathways in Psychology: Maslow & the Post-Freudian Revolution)
Now sensitiveness to the state of mind of the public is a difficult thing to achieve or maintain. Any man can tell you with more or less accuracy and clearness his own reactions on any particular issue. But few men have the time or the interest or the training to develop a sense of what other persons think or feel about the same issue. In his own profession the skilled practitioner is sensitive and understanding. lhe lawyer can tell what argument will appeal to court or jury. “The salesman can tell what points to stress to his prospective buyers. The politician can tell what to emphasize to his audience, but the ability to estimate group reactions on a large scale over a wide geographic and psychological area is a specialized ability which must be developed with the same painstaking self-criticism and with the same dependence on experience that are required for the development of the clinical sense in the doctor or the surgeon. The significant revolution of modern times is not industrial or economic or political, but the revolution which is taking place in the art of creating consent among the governed. Within the life of the new generation now in control of affairs, persuasion has become a self-conscious art and a regular organ of popular government. None of us begins to understand the consequences, but it is no daring prophecy to say that the knowledge of how to create consent will alter every political premise. Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the world alone, the only constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the cardinal dogma of democracy that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception and to farms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach.
Walter Lippmann
Literature before the Renaissance had frequently offered ideal patterns for living which were dominated by the ethos of the church, but after the Reformation the search for individual expression and meaning took over. Institutions were questioned and re-evaluated, often while being praised at the same time. But where there had been conventional modes of expression, reflecting ideal modes of behaviour - religious, heroic, or social - Renaissance writing explored the geography of the human soul, redefining its relationship with authority, history, science, and the future. This involved experimentation with form and genre, and an enormous variety of linguistic and literary innovations in a short period of time. Reason, rather than religion, was the driving force in this search for rules to govern human behaviour in the Renaissance world. The power and mystique of religion had been overthrown in one bold stroke: where the marvellous no longer holds sway, real life has to provide explanations. Man, and the use he makes of his powers, capabilities, and free will, is thus the subject matter of Renaissance literature, from the early sonnets modelled on Petrarch to the English epic which closes the period, Paradise Lost, published after the Restoration, when the Renaissance had long finished. The Reformation gave cultural, philosophical, and ideological impetus to English Renaissance writing. The writers in the century following the Reformation had to explore and redefine all the concerns of humanity. In a world where old assumptions were no longer valid, where scientific discoveries questioned age-old hypotheses, and where man rather than God was the central interest, it was the writers who reflected and attempted to respond to the disintegration of former certainties. For it is when the universe is out of control that it is at its most frightening - and its most stimulating. There would never again be such an atmosphere of creative tension in the country. What was created was a language, a literature, and a national and international identity.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Such is Fascist planning-the planning of those who reject the ideal postulates of Christian civilization and of the older Asiatic civilization which preceded ti and from which it derived-the planning of men whose intentions are avowedly bad. Let us now consider examples of planning by political leaders who accept the ideal postulates, whose intentions are good. The first thing to notice is that none of these men accepts the ideal postulates whole-heartedly. All believe that desirable ends can be achieved by undesirable means. Aiming to reach goals diametrically opposed to those of Fascism, they yet persist in taking the same roads as are taken by the Duces and Fuehrers. They are pacifists, but pacifists who act on the theory that peace can be achieved by means of war; they are reformers and revolutionaries, but reformers who imagine that unfair and arbitrary acts can produce social justice, revolutionaries who persuade themselves that the centralization of power and the enslavement of the masses can result in liberty for all. Revolutionary Russia has the largest army in the world; a secret police, that for ruthless efficiency rivals the German or the Italian; a rigid press censorship; a system of education that, since Stalin "reformed" it, is as authoritarian as Hitler's; an all-embracing system of military training that is applied to women and children as well as men; a dictator as slavishly adored as the man-gods of Rome and Berlin; a bureaucracy, solidly entrenched as the new ruling class and employing the powers of the state to preserve its privileges and protect its vested interests; an oligarchical party which dominates the entire country and within which there is no freedom even for faithful members. (Most ruling castes are democracies so far as their own members are concerned. Not so the Russian Communist Party, in which the Central Executive Committee acting through the Political Department, can override or altogether liquidate any district organization whatsoever.) No opposition is permitted in Russia. But where opposition is made illegal, it automatically goes underground and becomes conspiracy. Hence the treason trials and purges of 1936 and 1937. Large-scale manipulations of the social structure are pushed through against the wishes of the people concerned and with the utmost ruthlessness. (Several million peasants were deliberately starved to death in 1933 by the Soviet planners.) Ruthlessness begets resentment; resentment must be kept down by force. As usual the chief result of violence is the necessity to use more violence. Such then is Soviet planning-well-intentioned, but making use of evil means that are producing results utterly unlike those which the original makers of the revolution intended to produce.
Aldous Huxley (Ends and Means)
What Kant took to be the necessary schemata of reality,' says a modern Freudian, 'are really only the necessary schemata of repression.' And an experimental psychologist adds that 'a sense of time can only exist where there is submission to reality.' To see everything as out of mere succession is to behave like a man drugged or insane. Literature and history, as we know them, are not like that; they must submit, be repressed. It is characteristic of the stage we are now at, I think, that the question of how far this submission ought to go--or, to put it the other way, how far one may cultivate fictional patterns or paradigms--is one which is debated, under various forms, by existentialist philosophers, by novelists and anti-novelists, by all who condemn the myths of historiography. It is a debate of fundamental interest, I think, and I shall discuss it in my fifth talk. Certainly, it seems, there must, even when we have achieved a modern degree of clerical scepticism, be some submission to the fictive patterns. For one thing, a systematic submission of this kind is almost another way of describing what we call 'form.' 'An inter-connexion of parts all mutually implied'; a duration (rather than a space) organizing the moment in terms of the end, giving meaning to the interval between tick and tock because we humanly do not want it to be an indeterminate interval between the tick of birth and the tock of death. That is a way of speaking in temporal terms of literary form. One thinks again of the Bible: of a beginning and an end (denied by the physicist Aristotle to the world) but humanly acceptable (and allowed by him to plots). Revelation, which epitomizes the Bible, puts our fate into a book, and calls it the book of life, which is the holy city. Revelation answers the command, 'write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter'--'what is past and passing and to come'--and the command to make these things interdependent. Our novels do likewise. Biology and cultural adaptation require it; the End is a fact of life and a fact of the imagination, working out from the middle, the human crisis. As the theologians say, we 'live from the End,' even if the world should be endless. We need ends and kairoi and the pleroma, even now when the history of the world has so terribly and so untidily expanded its endless successiveness. We re-create the horizons we have abolished, the structures that have collapsed; and we do so in terms of the old patterns, adapting them to our new worlds. Ends, for example, become a matter of images, figures for what does not exist except humanly. Our stories must recognize mere successiveness but not be merely successive; Ulysses, for example, may be said to unite the irreducible chronos of Dublin with the irreducible kairoi of Homer. In the middest, we look for a fullness of time, for beginning, middle, and end in concord. For concord or consonance really is the root of the matter, even in a world which thinks it can only be a fiction. The theologians revive typology, and are followed by the literary critics. We seek to repeat the performance of the New Testament, a book which rewrites and requites another book and achieves harmony with it rather than questioning its truth. One of the seminal remarks of modern literary thought was Eliot's observation that in the timeless order of literature this process is continued. Thus we secularize the principle which recurs from the New Testament through Alexandrian allegory and Renaissance Neo-Platonism to our own time. We achieve our secular concords of past and present and future, modifying the past and allowing for the future without falsifying our own moment of crisis. We need, and provide, fictions of concord.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
And it is a very great fault amongst a very great part of Christians, that in their enquiries of religion, even the best of them ordinarily ask but these two questions, "Is it lawful? Is it necessary?" If they find it lawful, they will do it without scruple or restraint; and then they suffer imperfection, or receive the reward of folly: for it may be lawful, and yet not fit to be done; it may be it is not expedient; and he that will do all that he can do lawfully, would, if he durst, do something that is not lawful. And as great an error is on the other hand in the other question. He that too strictly enquires of an action whether it be necessary or no, would do well to ask also whether it be good? whether it be of advantage to the interest of his soul? For if a christian man or woman; that is, a redeemed, blessed, obliged person, a great beneficiary, endeared to God beyond all the comprehensions of a man's imagination, one that is less than the least of all God's mercies, and yet hath received many great ones and hopes for more, if he should do nothing but what is necessary, that is, nothing but what he is compelled to; then he hath the obligations of a son, and the affections of a slave, which is the greatest undecency of the world in the accounts of christianity. If a Christian will do no more than what is necessary, he will quickly be tempted to omit something of that also. . . . He that will do every thing that is lawful, and nothing but what is necessary, will be an enemy when he dares, and a friend when he cannot help it.
Jeremy Taylor
Athletes, by and large, are people who are happy to let their actions speak for them, happy to be what they do. As a result, when you talk to an athlete, as I do all the time in locker rooms, in hotel coffee shops and hallways, standing beside expensive automobiles—even if he’s paying no attention to you at all, which is very often the case—he’s never likely to feel the least bit divided, or alienated, or one ounce of existential dread. He may be thinking about a case of beer, or a barbecue, or some man-made lake in Oklahoma he wishes he was waterskiing on, or some girl or a new Chevy shortbed, or a discothèque he owns as a tax shelter, or just simply himself. But you can bet he isn’t worried one bit about you and what you’re thinking. His is a rare selfishness that means he isn’t looking around the sides of his emotions to wonder about alternatives for what he’s saying or thinking about. In fact, athletes at the height of their powers make literalness into a mystery all its own simply by becoming absorbed in what they’re doing. Years of athletic training teach this; the necessity of relinquishing doubt and ambiguity and self-inquiry in favor of a pleasant, self-championing one-dimensionality which has instant rewards in sports. You can even ruin everything with athletes simply by speaking to them in your own everyday voice, a voice possibly full of contingency and speculation. It will scare them to death by demonstrating that the world—where they often don’t do too well and sometimes fall into depressions and financial imbroglios and worse once their careers are over—is complexer than what their training has prepared them for. As a result, they much prefer their own voices and questions or the jabber of their teammates (even if it’s in Spanish). And if you are a sportswriter you have to tailor yourself to their voices and answers: “How are you going to beat this team, Stu?” Truth, of course, can still be the result—“We’re just going out and play our kind of game, Frank, since that’s what’s got us this far”—but it will be their simpler truth, not your complex one—unless, of course, you agree with them, which I often do. (Athletes, of course, are not always the dummies they’re sometimes portrayed as being, and will often talk intelligently about whatever interests them until your ears turn to cement.)
Richard Ford (The Sportswriter)
I wish I could answer your question. All I can say is that all of us, humans, witches, bears, are engaged in a war already, although not all of us know it. Whether you find danger on Svalbard or whether you fly off unharmed, you are a recruit, under arms, a soldier." "Well, that seems kinda precipitate. Seems to me a man should have a choice whether to take up arms or not." "We have no more choice in that than in whether or not to be born." "Oh, I like choice, though," he said. "I like choosing the jobs I take and the places I go and the food I eat and the companions I sit and yarn with. Don't you wish for a choice once in a while ?" She considered, and then said, "Perhaps we don't mean the same thing by choice, Mr. Scoresby. Witches own nothing, so we're not interested in preserving value or making profits, and as for the choice between one thing and another, when you live for many hundreds of years, you know that every opportunity will come again. We have different needs. You have to repair your balloon and keep it in good condition, and that takes time and trouble, I see that; but for us to fly, all we have to do is tear off a branch of cloud-pine; any will do, and there are plenty more. We don't feel cold, so we need no warm clothes. We have no means of exchange apart from mutual aid. If a witch needs something, another witch will give it to her. If there is a war to be fought, we don't consider cost one of the factors in deciding whether or not it is right to fight. Nor do we have any notion of honor, as bears do, for instance. An insult to a bear is a deadly thing. To us... inconceivable. How could you insult a witch? What would it matter if you did?" "Well, I'm kinda with you on that. Sticks and stones, I'll break yer bones, but names ain't worth a quarrel. But ma'am, you see my dilemma, I hope. I'm a simple aeronaut, and I'd like to end my days in comfort. Buy a little farm, a few head of cattle, some horses...Nothing grand, you notice. No palace or slaves or heaps of gold. Just the evening wind over the sage, and a ceegar, and a glass of bourbon whiskey. Now the trouble is, that costs money. So I do my flying in exchange for cash, and after every job I send some gold back to the Wells Fargo Bank, and when I've got enough, ma'am, I'm gonna sell this balloon and book me a passage on a steamer to Port Galveston, and I'll never leave the ground again." "There's another difference between us, Mr. Scoresby. A witch would no sooner give up flying than give up breathing. To fly is to be perfectly ourselves." "I see that, ma'am, and I envy you; but I ain't got your sources of satisfaction. Flying is just a job to me, and I'm just a technician. I might as well be adjusting valves in a gas engine or wiring up anbaric circuits. But I chose it, you see. It was my own free choice. Which is why I find this notion of a war I ain't been told nothing about kinda troubling." "lorek Byrnison's quarrel with his king is part of it too," said the witch. "This child is destined to play a part in that." "You speak of destiny," he said, "as if it was fixed. And I ain't sure I like that any more than a war I'm enlisted in without knowing about it. Where's my free will, if you please? And this child seems to me to have more free will than anyone I ever met. Are you telling me that she's just some kind of clockwork toy wound up and set going on a course she can't change?" "We are all subject to the fates. But we must all act as if we are not, or die of despair. There is a curious prophecy about this child: she is destined to bring about the end of destiny. But she must do so without knowing what she is doing, as if it were her nature and not her destiny to do it. If she's told what she must do, it will all fail; death will sweep through all the worlds; it will be the triumph of despair, forever. The universes will all become nothing more than interlocking machines, blind and empty of thought, feeling, life...
Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1))
The great self-limitation practiced by man for ten centuries yielded, between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries, the whole flower of the so-called "Renaissance." The root, usually, does not resemble the fruit in appearance, but there is an undeniable connection between the root's strength and juiciness and the beauty and taste of the fruit. The Middle Ages, it seems, have nothing in common with the Renaissance and are opposite to it in every way; nonetheless, all the abundance and ebullience of human energies during the Renaissance were based not at all on the supposedly "renascent" classical world, nor on the imitated Plato and Virgil, nor on manuscripts torn from the basements of old monasteries, but precisely on those monasteries, on those stern Franciscians and cruel Dominicans, on Saints Bonaventure, Anselm of Canterbury, and Bernard of Clairvaux. The Middle Ages were a great repository of human energies: in the medieval man's asceticism, self-abnegation, and contempt for his own beauty, his own energies, and his own mind, these energies, this heart, and this mind were stored up until the right time. The Renaissance was the epoch of the discovery of this trove: the thin layer of soil covering it was suddenly thrown aside, and to the amazement of following centuries dazzling, incalculable treasures glittered there; yesterday's pauper and wretched beggar, who only knew how to stand on crossroads and bellow psalms in an inharmonious voice, suddenly started to bloom with poetry, strength, beauty, and intelligence. Whence came all this? From the ancient world, which had exhausted its vital powers? From moldy parchments? But did Plato really write his dialogues with the same keen enjoyment with which Marsilio Ficino annotated them? And did the Romans, when reading the Greeks, really experience the same emotions as Petrarch, when, for ignorance of Greek, he could only move his precious manuscripts from place to place, kiss them now and then, and gaze sadly at their incomprehensible text? All these manuscripts, in convenient and accurate editions, lie before us too: why don't they lead us to a "renascence" among us? Why didn't the Greeks bring about a "renascence" in Rome? And why didn't Greco-Roman literature produce anything similar to the Italian Renaissance in Gaul and Africa from the second to the fourth century? The secret of the Renaissance of the fourteenth-fifteenth centuries does not lie in ancient literature: this literature was only the spade that threw the soil off the treasures buried underneath; the secret lies in the treasures themselves; in the fact that between the fourth and fourteenth centuries, under the influence of the strict ascetic ideal of mortifying the flesh and restraining the impulses of his spirit, man only stored up his energies and expended nothing. During this great thousand-year silence his soul matured for The Divine Comedy; during this forced closing of eyes to the world - an interesting, albeit sinful world-Galileo was maturing, Copernicus, and the school of careful experimentation founded by Bacon; during the struggle with the Moors the talents of Velasquez and Murillo were forged; and in the prayers of the thousand years leading up to the sixteenth century the Madonna images of that century were drawn, images to which we are able to pray but which no one is able to imitate. ("On Symbolists And Decadents")
Vasily Rozanov (The Silver Age of Russian Culture: An Anthology)
At this point, I must describe an important study carried out by Clare W. Graves of Union College, Schenectady, N.Y. on deterioration of work standards. Professor Graves starts from the Maslow-McGregor assumption that work standards deteriorate when people react against workcontrol systems with boredom, inertia, cynicism... A fourteen-year study led to the conclusion that, for practical purposes, we may divide people up into seven groups, seven personality levels, ranging from totally selfpreoccupied and selfish to what Nietzsche called ‘a selfrolling wheel’-a thoroughly self-determined person, absorbed in an objective task. This important study might be regarded as an expansion of Shotover’s remark that our interest in the world is an overflow of our interest in ourselves—and that therefore nobody can be genuinely ‘objective’ until they have fully satiated the subjective cravings. What is interesting—and surprising—is that it should not only be possible to distinguish seven clear personality-ypes, but that these can be recognised by any competent industrial psychologist. When Professor Graves’s theories were applied in a large manufacturing organisation—and people were slotted into their proper ‘levels’—the result was a 17% increase in production and an 87% drop in grumbles. The seven levels are labelled as follows: (1) Autistic (2) Animistic (3) Awakening and fright (4) Aggressive power seeking (5) Sociocentric (6) Aggressive individualistic (7) Pacifist individualistic. The first level can be easily understood: people belonging to it are almost babylike, perhaps psychologically run-down and discouraged; there is very little to be done with these people. The animistic level would more probably be encountered in backward countries: primitive, superstitious, preoccupied with totems and taboos, and again poor industrial material. Man at the third level is altogether more wide-awake and objective, but finds the complexity of the real world frightening; the best work is to be got out of him by giving him rules to obey and a sense of hierarchical security. Such people are firm believers in staying in the class in which they were born. They prefer an autocracy. The majority of Russian peasants under the Tsars probably belonged to this level. And a good example of level four would probably be the revolutionaries who threw bombs at the Tsars and preached destruction. In industry, they are likely to be trouble makers, aggressive, angry, and not necessarily intelligent. Management needs a high level of tact to get the best out of these. Man at level five has achieved a degree of security—psychological and economic—and he becomes seriously preoccupied with making society run smoothly. He is the sort of person who joins rotary clubs and enjoys group activities. As a worker, he is inferior to levels three and four, but the best is to be got out of him by making him part of a group striving for a common purpose. Level six is a self-confident individualist who likes to do a job his own way, and does it well. Interfered with by authoritarian management, he is hopeless. He needs to be told the goal, and left to work out the best way to achieve it; obstructed, he becomes mulish. Level seven is much like level six, but without the mulishness; he is pacifistic, and does his best when left to himself. Faced with authoritarian management, he either retreats into himself, or goes on his own way while trying to present a passable front to the management. Professor Graves describes the method of applying this theory in a large plant where there was a certain amount of unrest. The basic idea was to make sure that each man was placed under the type of supervisor appropriate to his level. A certain amount of transferring brought about the desired result, mentioned above—increased production, immense decrease in grievances, and far less workers leaving the plant (7% as against 21% before the change).
Colin Wilson (New Pathways in Psychology: Maslow & the Post-Freudian Revolution)
He perceived too in these still hours how little he had understood her hitherto. He had been blinded, — obsessed. He had been seeing her and himself and the whole world far too much as a display of the eternal dualism of sex, the incessant pursuit. Now with his sexual imaginings newly humbled and hopeless, with a realization of her own tremendous minimization of that fundamental of romance, he began to see all that there was in her personality and their possible relations outside that. He saw how gravely and deeply serious was her fine philanthropy, how honest and simple and impersonal her desire for knowledge and understandings. There is the brain of her at least, he thought, far out of Sir Isaac's reach. She wasn't abased by her surrenders, their simplicity exalted her, showed her innocent and himself a flushed and congested soul. He perceived now with the astonishment of a man newly awakened just how the great obsession of sex had dominated him — for how many years? Since his early undergraduate days. Had he anything to put beside her own fine detachment? Had he ever since his manhood touched philosophy, touched a social question, thought of anything human, thought of art, or literature or belief, without a glancing reference of the whole question to the uses of this eternal hunt? During that time had he ever talked to a girl or woman with an unembarrassed sincerity? He stripped his pretences bare; the answer was no. His very refinements had been no more than indicative fig-leaves. His conservatism and morality had been a mere dalliance with interests that too brutal a simplicity might have exhausted prematurely. And indeed hadn't the whole period of literature that had produced him been, in its straining purity and refinement, as it were one glowing, one illuminated fig-leaf, a vast conspiracy to keep certain matters always in mind by conspicuously covering them away? But this wonderful woman — it seemed — she hadn't them in mind! She shamed him if only by her trustful unsuspiciousness of the ancient selfish game of Him and Her that he had been so ardently playing.... He idealized and worshipped this clean blindness. He abased himself before it.
H.G. Wells (The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman)
One of the things that most tormented him indeed in this recent existence was a perpetual pricking sense of the contrast between this small world of his ancestral possessions and traditions, with all its ceremonial and feudal usage, and the great rushing world outside it of action and of thought. Do what he would, he could not un-king himself within the limits of the Maxwell estate. To the people living upon it he was the man of most importance within their ken, was inevitably their potentate and earthly providence. He confessed that there was a real need of him, if he did his duty. But on this need the class-practice of generations had built up a deference, a sharpness of class-distinction, which any modern must find more and more irksome in proportion to his modernness. What was in Aldous's mind, as he stood with drawn brows looking out over the view which showed him most of his domain, was a sort of hot impatience of being made day by day, in a hundred foolish ways, to play at greatness. Yet, as we know, he was no democrat by conviction, had no comforting faith in what seemed to him the rule of a multitudinous ignorance. Still every sane man of to-day knows, at any rate, that the world has taken the road of democracy, and that the key to the future, for good or ill, lies not in the revolts and speculations of the cultivated few, but in the men and movements that can seize the many. Aldous's temper was despondently critical towards the majority of these, perhaps; he had, constitutionally, little of that poet's sympathy with the crowd, as such, which had given Hallin his power. But, at any rate, they filled the human stage—these men and movements—and his mind as a beholder. Beside the great world-spectacle perpetually in his eye and thought, the small old-world pomps and feudalisms of his own existence had a way of looking ridiculous to him. He constantly felt himself absurd. It was ludicrously clear to him, for instance, that in this kingdom he had inherited it would be thought a huge condescension on his part if he were to ask the secretary of a trades union to dine with him at the Court. Whereas, in his own honest opinion, the secretary had a far more important and interesting post in the universe than he.
Mary Augusta Ward (Marcella)
She could envision Shakespeare's sister. But she imagined a violent, an apocalyptic end for Shakespeare's sister, whereas I know that isn't what happened. You see, it isn't necessary. I know that lots of Chinese women, given in marriage to men they abhorred and lives they despised, killed themselves by throwing themselves down the family well. I'm not saying it doesn't happen. I'm only saying that isn't what usually happens. It it were, we wouldn't be having a population problem. And there are so much easier ways to destroy a woman. You don't have to rape or kill her; you don't even have to beat her. You can just marry her. You don't even have to do that. You can just let her work in your office for thirty-five dollars a week. Shakespeare's sister did...follow her brother to London, but she never got there. She was raped the first night out, and bleeding and inwardly wounded, she stumbled for shelter into the next village she found. Realizing before too long that she was pregnant, she sought a way to keep herself and her child safe. She found some guy with the hots for her, realized he was credulous, and screwed him. When she announced her pregnancy to him, a couple months later, he dutifully married her. The child, born a bit early, makes him suspicious: they fight, he beats her, but in the end he submits. Because there is something in the situation that pleases him: he has all the comforts of home including something Mother didn't provide, and if he has to put up with a screaming kid he isn't sure is his, he feels now like one of the boys down at the village pub, none of whom is sure they are the children of the fathers or the fathers of their children. But Shakespeare's sister has learned the lesson all women learn: men are the ultimate enemy. At the same time she knows she cannot get along in the world without one. So she uses her genius, the genius she might have used to make plays and poems with, in speaking, not writing. She handles the man with language: she carps, cajoles, teases, seduces, calculates, and controls this creature to whom God saw fit to give power over her, this hulking idiot whom she despises because he is dense and fears because he can do her harm. So much for the natural relation between the sexes. But you see, he doesn't have to beat her much, he surely doesn't have to kill her: if he did, he'd lose his maidservant. The pounds and pence by themselves are a great weapon. They matter to men, of course, but they matter more to women, although their labor is generally unpaid. Because women, even unmarried ones, are required to do the same kind of labor regardless of their training or inclinations, and they can't get away from it without those glittering pounds and pence. Years spent scraping shit out of diapers with a kitchen knife, finding places where string beans are two cents less a pound, intelligence in figuring the most efficient, least time-consuming way to iron men's white shirts or to wash and wax the kitchen floor or take care of the house and kids and work at the same time and save money, hiding it from the boozer so the kid can go to college -- these not only take energy and courage and mind, but they may constitute the very essence of a life. They may, you say wearily, but who's interested?...Truthfully, I hate these grimy details as much as you do....They are always there in the back ground, like Time's winged chariot. But grimy details are not in the background of the lives of most women; they are the entire surface.
Marilyn French (The Women's Room)
BROADBENT [stiffly]. Devil is rather a strong expression in that connexion, Mr Keegan. KEEGAN. Not from a man who knows that this world is hell. But since the word offends you, let me soften it, and compare you simply to an ass. [Larry whitens with anger]. BROADBENT [reddening]. An ass! KEEGAN [gently]. You may take it without offence from a madman who calls the ass his brother--and a very honest, useful and faithful brother too. The ass, sir, is the most efficient of beasts, matter-of-fact, hardy, friendly when you treat him as a fellow-creature, stubborn when you abuse him, ridiculous only in love, which sets him braying, and in politics, which move him to roll about in the public road and raise a dust about nothing. Can you deny these qualities and habits in yourself, sir? BROADBENT [goodhumoredly]. Well, yes, I'm afraid I do, you know. KEEGAN. Then perhaps you will confess to the ass's one fault. BROADBENT. Perhaps so: what is it? KEEGAN. That he wastes all his virtues--his efficiency, as you call it--in doing the will of his greedy masters instead of doing the will of Heaven that is in himself. He is efficient in the service of Mammon, mighty in mischief, skilful in ruin, heroic in destruction. But he comes to browse here without knowing that the soil his hoof touches is holy ground. Ireland, sir, for good or evil, is like no other place under heaven; and no man can touch its sod or breathe its air without becoming better or worse. It produces two kinds of men in strange perfection: saints and traitors. It is called the island of the saints; but indeed in these later years it might be more fitly called the island of the traitors; for our harvest of these is the fine flower of the world's crop of infamy. But the day may come when these islands shall live by the quality of their men rather than by the abundance of their minerals; and then we shall see. LARRY. Mr Keegan: if you are going to be sentimental about Ireland, I shall bid you good evening. We have had enough of that, and more than enough of cleverly proving that everybody who is not an Irishman is an ass. It is neither good sense nor good manners. It will not stop the syndicate; and it will not interest young Ireland so much as my friend's gospel of efficiency. BROADBENT. Ah, yes, yes: efficiency is the thing. I don't in the least mind your chaff, Mr Keegan; but Larry's right on the main point. The world belongs to the efficient.
George Bernard Shaw (John Bull's Other Island)
III. They seek for themselves private retiring places, as country villages, the sea-shore, mountains; yea thou thyself art wont to long much after such places. But all this thou must know proceeds from simplicity in the highest degree. At what time soever thou wilt, it is in thy power to retire into thyself, and to be at rest, and free from all businesses. A man cannot any whither retire better than to his own soul; he especially who is beforehand provided of such things within, which whensoever he doth withdraw himself to look in, may presently afford unto him perfect ease and tranquillity. By tranquillity I understand a decent orderly disposition and carriage, free from all confusion and tumultuousness. Afford then thyself this retiring continually, and thereby refresh and renew thyself. Let these precepts be brief and fundamental, which as soon as thou dost call them to mind, may suffice thee to purge thy soul throughly, and to send thee away well pleased with those things whatsoever they be, which now again after this short withdrawing of thy soul into herself thou dost return unto. For what is it that thou art offended at? Can it be at the wickedness of men, when thou dost call to mind this conclusion, that all reasonable creatures are made one for another? and that it is part of justice to bear with them? and that it is against their wills that they offend? and how many already, who once likewise prosecuted their enmities, suspected, hated, and fiercely contended, are now long ago stretched out, and reduced unto ashes? It is time for thee to make an end. As for those things which among the common chances of the world happen unto thee as thy particular lot and portion, canst thou be displeased with any of them, when thou dost call that our ordinary dilemma to mind, either a providence, or Democritus his atoms; and with it, whatsoever we brought to prove that the whole world is as it were one city? And as for thy body, what canst thou fear, if thou dost consider that thy mind and understanding, when once it hath recollected itself, and knows its own power, hath in this life and breath (whether it run smoothly and gently, or whether harshly and rudely), no interest at all, but is altogether indifferent: and whatsoever else thou hast heard and assented unto concerning either pain or pleasure? But the care of thine honour and reputation will perchance distract thee? How can that be, if thou dost look back, and consider both how quickly all things that are, are forgotten, and what an immense chaos of eternity was before, and will follow after all things: and the vanity of praise, and the inconstancy and variableness of human judgments and opinions, and the narrowness of the place, wherein it is limited and circumscribed? For the whole earth is but as one point; and of it, this inhabited part of it, is but a very little part; and of this part, how many in number, and what manner of men are they, that will commend thee? What remains then, but that thou often put in practice this kind of retiring of thyself, to this little part of thyself; and above all things, keep thyself from distraction, and intend not anything vehemently, but be free and consider all things, as a man whose proper object is Virtue, as a man whose true nature is to be kind and sociable, as a citizen, as a mortal creature. Among other things, which to consider, and look into thou must use to withdraw thyself, let those two be among the most obvious and at hand. One, that the things or objects themselves reach not unto the soul, but stand without still and quiet, and that it is from the opinion only which is within, that all the tumult and all the trouble doth proceed. The next, that all these things, which now thou seest, shall within a very little while be changed, and be no more: and ever call to mind, how many changes and alterations in the world thou thyself hast already been an eyewitness of in thy time. This world is mere change, and this life, opinion.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
I pull into the driveway outside of my father's house and shut off the engine. I sit behind the wheel for a moment, studying the house. He'd called me last night and demanded that I come over for dinner tonight. Didn't request. He demanded. What struck me though, was that he sounded a lot more stressed out and harried than he did when he interrupted my brunch with Gabby to demand my presence at a “family”dinner. Yeah, that had been a fun night filled with my father and Ian badgering me about my job. For whatever reason, they'd felt compelled to make a concerted effort to belittle what I do –more so than they usually do anyway -- try to undermine my confidence in my ability to teach, and all but demand that I quit and come to work for my father's company. That had been annoying, and although they were more insistent than normal, it's pretty par for the course with those two. They always think they know what's best for me and have no qualms about telling me how to live my life. When he'd called me last night though, and told me to come to dinner tonight, there was something in my father's voice that had rattled me. It took me a while to put a finger on what it was I heard in his voice, but when I figured it out, it really shook me. I heard fear. Outright fear. My father isn't a man who fears much or is easily intimidated. In fact, he's usually the one doing the intimidating. But, something has him really spooked and even though we don't always see eye-to-eye or get along, hearing that fear in his voice scared me. In all my years, I've never known him to sound so downright terrified. With a sigh and a deep sense of foreboding, I climb out of my car and head to the door, trying to steel myself more with each step. Call me psychic, but I have a feeling that this is going to be a long, miserable night. “Good evening, Miss Holly,”Gloria says as she opens the door before I even have a chance to knock. “Nice to see you again.”“It's nice to see you too, Gloria,”I say and smile with genuine affection. Gloria has been with our family for as far back as I can remember. Honestly, after my mother passed away from ovarian cancer, Gloria took a large role in raising me. My father had plunged himself into his work –and had taken Ian under his wing to help groom him to take over the empire one day –leaving me to more or less fend for myself. It was like I was a secondary consideration to them. Because I'm a girl and not part of the testosterone-rich world of construction, neither my father nor Ian took much interest in me or my life. Unless they needed something from me, of course. The only time they really paid any attention to me was when they needed me to pose for family pictures for company literature.
R.R. Banks (Accidentally Married (Anderson Brothers, #1))
From *the form of time and of the single dimension* of the series of representations, on account of which the intellect, in order to take up one thing, must drop everything else, there follows not only the intellect’s distraction, but also its *forgetfulness*. Most of what it has dropped it never takes up again, especially as the taking up again is bound to the principle of sufficient reason, and thus requires an occasion which the association of ideas and motivation have first to provide. Yet this occasion may be the remoter and the smaller, the more our susceptibility to it is enhanced by interest in the subject. But, as I have already shown in the essay *On the Principle of Sufficient Reason*, memory is not a receptacle, but a mere faculty, acquired by practice, of bringing forth any representations at random, so that these have always to be kept in practice by repetition, otherwise they are gradually lost. Accordingly, the knowledge even of the scholarly head exists only *virtualiter* as an acquired practice in producing certain representations. *Actualiter*, on the other hand, it is restricted to one particular representation, and for the moment is conscious of this one alone. Hence there results a strange contrast between what a man knows *potentia* and what he knows *actu*, in other words, between his knowledge and his thinking at any moment. The former is an immense and always somewhat chaotic mass, the latter a single, distinct thought. The relation is like that between the innumerable stars of the heavens and the telescope’s narrow field of vision; it stands out remarkably when, on some occasion, a man wishes to bring to distinct recollection some isolated fact from his knowledge, and time and trouble are required to look for it and pick it out of that chaos. Rapidity in doing this is a special gift, but depends very much on the day and the hour; therefore sometimes memory refuses its service, even in things which, at another time, it has ready at hand. This consideration requires us in our studies to strive after the attainment of correct insight rather than an increase of learning, and to take to heart the fact that the *quality* of knowledge is more important than its quantity. Quantity gives books only thickness; quality imparts thoroughness as well as style; for it is an *intensive* dimension, whereas the other is merely extensive. It consists in the distinctness and completeness of the concepts, together with the purity and accuracy of the knowledge of perception that forms their foundation. Therefore the whole of knowledge in all its parts is permeated by it, and is valuable or troubling accordingly. With a small quantity but good quality of knowledge we achieve more than with a very great quantity but bad quality." —from_The World as Will and Representation_. Translated from the German by E. F. J. Payne in two volumes: volume II, pp. 139-141
Arthur Schopenhauer
Any Justification that does not lead to Biblical sanctification and mortification of sinful desires is a false justification no matter how many Solas you attach to it”. “See that your chief study be about the heart, that there God’s image may be planted, and his interest advanced, and the interest of the world and flesh subdued, and the love of every sin cast out, and the love of holiness succeed; and that you content not yourselves with seeming to do good in outward acts, when you are bad yourselves, and strangers to the great internal duties. The first and great work of a Christian is about his heart.” ~ Richard Baxter Never forget that truth is more important to the church than peace ~ JC Ryle "Truth demands confrontation. It must be loving confrontation, but there must be confrontation nonetheless.” ~ Francis Schaeffer I am not permitted to let my love be so merciful as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order...when these are concerned, (neither toleration nor mercy are in order, but only anger, dispute, and destruction - to be sure, only with the Word of God as our weapon. ~ Martin Luther “Truth must be spoken, however it be taken.” ~ John Trapp “Hard words, if they be true, are better than soft words if they be false.” – C.H. Spurgeon “Oh my brethren, Bold hearted men are always called mean-spirited by cowards” – CH Spurgeon “The Bible says Iron sharpens Iron, But if your words don't have any iron in them, you ain't sharpening anyone”. “Peace often comes as a result of conflict!” ~ Don P Mt 18:15-17 Rom 12:18 “Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” ~ Martin Luther “The Scriptures argue and debate and dispute; they are full of polemics… We should always regret the necessity; but though we regret it and bemoan it, when we feel that a vital matter is at stake we must engage in argument. We must earnestly contend for the truth, and we are all called upon to do that by the New Testament.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Romans – Atonement and Justification) “It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults. So to love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him, and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher “Truth bites and it stings and it has a blade on it.” ~ Paul Washer Soft words produce hard hearts. Show me a church where soft words are preached and I will show you a church of hard hearts. Jeremiah said that the word of God is a hammer that shatters. Hard Preaching produces soft hearts. ~ J. MacArthur Glory follows afflictions, not as the day follows the night but as the spring follows the winter; for the winter prepares the earth for the spring, so do afflictions sanctified, prepare the soul for glory. ~ Richard Sibbes “Cowards never won heaven. Do not claim that you are begotten of God and have His royal blood running in your veins unless you can prove your lineage by this heroic spirit: to dare to be holy in spite of men and devils.” ~ William Gurnall
Various
Consider a world in which cause and effect are erratic. Sometimes the first precedes the second, sometimes the second the first. Or perhaps cause lies forever in the past while effect in the future, but future and past are entwined. On the terrace of the Bundesterrasse is a striking view: the river Aare below and the Bernese Alps above. A man stands there just now, absently emptying his pockets and weeping. Without reason, his friends have abandoned him. No one calls any more, no one meets him for supper or beer at the tavern, no one invites him to their home. For twenty years he has been the ideal friend to his friends, generous, interested, soft-spoken, affectionate. What could have happened? A week from this moment on the terrace, the same man begins acting the goat, insulting everyone, wearing smelly clothes, stingy with money, allowing no one to come to his apartment on Laupenstrasse. Which was cause and which effect, which future and which past? In Zürich, strict laws have recently been approved by the Council. Pistols may not be sold to the public. Banks and trading houses must be audited. All visitors, whether entering Zürich by boat on the river Limmat or by rail on the Selnau line, must be searched for contraband. The civil military is doubled. One month after the crackdown, Zürich is ripped by the worst crimes in its history. In daylight, people are murdered in the Weinplatz, paintings are stolen from the Kunsthaus, liquor is drunk in the pews of the Münsterhof. Are these criminal acts not misplaced in time? Or perhaps the new laws were action rather than reaction? A young woman sits near a fountain in the Botanischer Garten. She comes here every Sunday to smell the white double violets, the musk rose, the matted pink gillyflowers. Suddenly, her heart soars, she blushes, she paces anxiously, she becomes happy for no reason. Days later, she meets a young man and is smitten with love. Are the two events not connected? But by what bizarre connection, by what twist in time, by what reversed logic? In this acausal world, scientists are helpless. Their predictions become postdictions. Their equations become justifications, their logic, illogic. Scientists turn reckless and mutter like gamblers who cannot stop betting. Scientists are buffoons, not because they are rational but because the cosmos is irrational. Or perhaps it is not because the cosmos is irrational but because they are rational. Who can say which, in an acausal world? In this world, artists are joyous. Unpredictability is the life of their paintings, their music, their novels. They delight in events not forecasted, happenings without explanation, retrospective. Most people have learned how to live in the moment. The argument goes that if the past has uncertain effect on the present, there is no need to dwell on the past. And if the present has little effect on the future, present actions need not be weighed for their consequence. Rather, each act is an island in time, to be judged on its own. Families comfort a dying uncle not because of a likely inheritance, but because he is loved at that moment. Employees are hired not because of their résumés, but because of their good sense in interviews. Clerks trampled by their bosses fight back at each insult, with no fear for their future. It is a world of impulse. It is a world of sincerity. It is a world in which every word spoken speaks just to that moment, every glance given has only one meaning, each touch has no past or no future, each kiss is a kiss of immediacy.
Alan Lightman (Einstein's Dreams)
They won’t do it, Ian,” Jordan Townsende said the night after Ian was released on his own recognizance. Pacing back and forth across Ian’s drawing room, he said again, “They will not do it.” “They’ll do it,” Ian said dispassionately. The words were devoid of concern; not even his eyes showed interest. Days ago Ian had passed the point of caring about the investigation. Elizabeth was gone; there had been no ransom note, nothing whatever-no reason in the world to continue believing that she’d been taken against her will. Since Ian knew damned well he hadn’t killed her or had her abducted, the only remaining conclusion was that Elizabeth had left him for someone else. The authorities were still vacillating about the other man she’d allegedly met in the arbor because the gardener’s eyesight had been proven to be extremely poor, and even he admitted that it “might have been tree limbs moving around her in the dim light, instead of a man’s arms.” Ian, however, did not doubt it. The existence of a lover was the only thing that made sense; he had even suspected it the night before she disappeared. She hadn’t wanted him in her bed; if anything but a lover had been worrying her that night, she’d have sought the protection of his arms, even if she didn’t confide in him. But he had been the last thing she’d wanted. No, he hadn’t actually suspected it-that would have been more pain than he could have endured then. Now, however, he not only suspected it, he knew it, and the pain was beyond anything he’d ever imagined existed. “I tell you they won’t bring you to trial,” Jordan repeated. “Do you honestly think they will?” he demanded, looking first to Duncan and then to the Duke of Stanhope, who were seated in the drawing room. In answer, both men raised dazed, pain-filled eyes to Jordan’s, shook their heads in an effort to seem decisive, then looked back down at their hands. Under English law Ian was entitled to a trial before his peers; since he was a British lord, that meant he could only be tried in the House of Lords, and Jordan was clinging to that as if it were Ian’s lifeline. “You aren’t the first man among us to have a spoiled wife turn missish on him and vanish for a while in hopes of bringing him to heel,” Jordan continued, desperately trying to make it seem as if Elizabeth were merely sulking somewhere-no doubt unaware that her husband’s reputation had been demolished and that his very life was going to be in jeopardy. “They aren’t going to convene the whole damn House of Lords just to try a beleaguered husband whose wife has taken a start,” he continued fiercely. “Hell, half the lords in the House can’t control their wives. Why should you be any different?” Alexandra looked up at him, her eyes filled with misery and disbelief. Like Ian, she knew Elizabeth wasn’t indulging in a fit of the sullens. Unlike Ian, however, she could not and would not believe her friend had taken a lover and run away. Ian’s butler appeared in the doorway, a sealed message in his hand, which he handed to Jordan. “Who knows?” Jordan tried to joke as he opened it. “Maybe this is from Elizabeth-a note asking me to intercede with you before she dares present herself to you.” His smile faded abruptly. “What is it?” Alex cried, seeing his haggard expression. Jordan crumpled the summons in his hand and turned to Ian with angry regret. “They’re convening the House of Lords.” “It’s good to know,” Ian said with cold indifference as he pushed out of his chair and started for his study, “that I’ll have one friend and one relative there.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))