Justify My Existence Quotes

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In a strange way, I had fallen in love with my depression. Dr. Sterling was right about that. I loved it because I thought it was all I had. I thought depression was the part of my character that made me worthwhile. I thought so little of myself, felt that I had such scant offerings to give to the world, that the one thing that justified my existence at all was my agony.
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
You’re an animal, Sibling Dex. You are not separate or other. You’re an animal. And animals have no purpose. Nothing has a purpose. The world simply is. If you want to do things that are meaningful to others, fine! Good! So do I! But if I wanted to crawl into a cave and watch stalagmites with Frostfrog for the remainder of my days, that would also be both fine and good. You keep asking why your work is not enough, and I don’t know how to answer that, because it is enough to exist in the world and marvel at it. You don’t need to justify that, or earn it. You are allowed to just live. That is all most animals do.
Becky Chambers (A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, #1))
There is a line of poetry, a sentence in a fable, a word in an essay, by which my existence is justified; find that line, and immortality is assured.
Alberto Manguel (The Library at Night)
That I wasn't mad at you. Can't you see that Bella?" He was suddenly intense, all trace of teasing gone. "Don't you understand?" "See what?" I demanded, confused by his sudden mood swing as much as his words. "I'm never angry with you - how could it be? Brave, trusting . . . warm as you are." "Then why?" I whispered, remembering the black moods that pulled him away from me, that I'd always interpreted as well-justified frustration - frustration at my weakness, my slowness, my unruly human reactions . . . He put his hands carefully on both side of my face. "I infuriate myself," he said gently. "The way I can't seem to keep from putting you in danger. My very existence puts you at risk. Sometimes I truly hate myself. I should be stronger, I should be able to-" I placed my hand over his mouth. "Don't." He took my hand, moving it from his lips, but holding it to his face. "I love you," he said. "It's a poor excuse for what I'm doing, but it's still true." It was the first time he'd said he loved me - in so many words. He might not realize it, but I certainly did.
Stephenie Meyer (Twilight (The Twilight Saga, #1))
If honor and wisdom and happiness are not for me, let them be for others. Let heaven exist, though my place be in hell. Let me be outraged and annihilated, but for one instant, in one being, let Your enormous Library be justified.
Jorge Luis Borges (Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings)
It made me feel responsible, as well as the usual ‘everything we do is for you.’ I felt bad they had to work so hard to buy food and clothes for me, and I felt I had to justify my existence and repay them somehow.
Diana Macey (Narcissistic Mothers and Covert Emotional Abuse: For Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents)
I have, for my own projected works and ideas, only the silliest and dewiest of hopes; no matter what, I am romantic enough or sentimental enough to wish to contribute something to life’s fabric, to the world’s beauty.... [S]imply to live does not justify existence, for life is a mere gesture on the surface of the earth, and death a return to that from which we had never been wholly separated; but oh to leave a trace, no matter how faint, of that brief gesture! For someone, some day, may find it beautiful!
Frank O'Hara
I understood, not with my intellect but with my whole being, that no theories of the rationality of existence or of progress could justify such an act; I realized that even if all the people in the world from the day of creation found this to be necessary according to whatever theory, I knew that it was not necessary and that it was wrong. Therefore, my judgments must be based-on what is right and necessary and not on what people say and do; I must judge not according to progress but according to my own heart.
Leo Tolstoy (A Confession)
My task is to explain to you as quickly as possible my essence, that is, what sort of man I am, what I believe in, and what I hope for, is that right? And therefore I declare that I accept God pure and simple. But this, however, needs to be noted: if God exists and if he indeed created the earth, then, as we know perfectly well, he created it in accordance with Euclidean geometry, and he created human reason with a conception of only three dimensions of space. At the same time there were and are even now geometers and philosophers, even some of the most outstanding among them, who doubt that the whole universe, or, even more broadly, the whole of being, was created purely in accordance with Euclidean geometry; they even dare to dream that two parallel lines, which according to Euclid cannot possibly meet on earth, may perhaps meet somewhere in infinity. I, my dear, have come to the conclusion that if I cannot understand even that, then it is not for me to understand about God. I humbly confess that I do not have any ability to resolve such questions, I have a Euclidean mind, an earthly mind, and therefore it is not for us to resolve things that are not of this world. And I advise you never to think about it, Alyosha my friend, and most especially about whether God exists or not. All such questions are completely unsuitable to a mind created with a concept of only three dimensions. And so, I accept God, not only willingly, but moreover I also accept his wisdom and his purpose, which are completely unknown to us; I believe in order, in the meaning of life, I believe in eternal harmony, in which we are all supposed to merge, I believe in the Word for whom the universe is yearning, and who himself was 'with God,' who himself is God, and so on and so forth, to infinity. Many words have been invented on the subject. It seems I'm already on a good path, eh? And now imagine that in the final outcome I do not accept this world of God's, created by God, that I do not accept and cannot agree to accept. With one reservation: I have a childlike conviction that the sufferings will be healed and smoothed over, that the whole offensive comedy of human contradictions will disappear like a pitiful mirage, a vile concoction of man's Euclidean mind, feeble and puny as an atom, and that ultimately, at the world's finale, in the moment of eternal harmony, there will occur and be revealed something so precious that it will suffice for all hearts, to allay all indignation, to redeem all human villainy, all bloodshed; it will suffice not only to make forgiveness possible, but also to justify everything that has happened with men--let this, let all of this come true and be revealed, but I do not accept it and do not want to accept it! Let the parallel lines even meet before my own eyes: I shall look and say, yes, they meet, and still I will not accept it.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
I carry a persistent fear that my thoughts are incorrect, or silly, or so obvious they aren’t worth saying. Suddenly I’m a little boy, sitting in class like a solemn ghost. Mrs. Larson asks me a question, all the seven-year-old eyes in the room turn to me with expectation, and I’m frozen in place, terrified by the sudden realization that I’m expected to contribute. My cheeks flush and I want to go away to someplace safe—someplace like the woods or the eternal fields of green Illinois corn where I can watch and experience and listen without any demand to justify my existence. I’ve always been happy to be alone. God, however, never takes his eyes off me, and on my good days I believe that he is smiling, never demanding an answer other than the fact of myself. I exist as his redeemed creation, and that is, pleasantly, enough for him.
Andrew Peterson (Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making)
Even that great poverty which had been and remains mine let up for a few days. I was not, as it happens, opposed to this poverty: I accepted to pay the price for not being a slave to life, to settle for the right I had assumed once and for all to not express any ideas but my own. We were not many in doing this… Poverty passed by in the distance, made lovelier and almost justified, a little like what has been called, in the case of a painter who was one of your first friends, the blue period. It seemed the almost inevitable consequence of my refusal to behave the way almost all the others did, whether on one side or another. This poverty, whether you had the time to dread it or not, imagine it was only the other side of the miraculous coin of your existence: the Night of the Sunflower would have been less radiant without it.
André Breton (L'Amour fou)
We breathe too fast to be able to grasp things in themselves or to expose their fragility. Our panting postulates and distorts them, creates and disfigures them, and binds us to them. I bestir myself, therefore I emit a world as suspect as my speculation which justifies it; I espouse movement, which changes me into a generator of being, into an artisan of fictions, while my cosmogonic verve makes me forget that, led on by the whirlwind of acts, I am nothing but an acolyte of time, an agent of decrepit universes. (...) If we would regain our freedom, we must shake off the burden of sensation, no longer react to the world by our senses, break our bonds. For all sensation is a bond, pleasure as much as pain, joy as much as misery. The only free mind is the one that, pure of all intimacy with beings or objects, plies its own vacuity.
Emil M. Cioran (The Temptation to Exist)
What is it that has called you so suddenly out of nothingness to enjoy for a brief while a spectacle which remains quite indifferent to you? The conditions for your existence are almost as old as the rocks. For thousands of years men have striven and suffered and begotten and women have brought forth in pain. A hundred years ago, perhaps, another man sat on this spot; like you he gazed with awe and yearning in his heart at the dying light of the glaciers. Like you he was begotten of man and born of woman. He felt pain and brief joy as you do. Was he someone else? Was it not you yourself? What is this Self of yours? What was the necessary condition for making the thing conceived this time into you, just you and not someone else? What clearly intelligible scientific meaning can this 'someone else' really have? If she who is now your mother had cohabited with someone else and had a son by him, and your father had done likewise, would you have come to be? Or were you living in them, and in your father's father... thousands of years ago? And even if this is so, why are you not your brother, why is your brother not you, why are you not one of your distant cousins? What justifies you in obstinately discovering this difference - the difference between you and someone else - when objectively what is there is the same?
Erwin Schrödinger (My View of the World)
She was like a drowning person, flailing, reaching for anything that might save her. Her life was an urgent, desperate struggle to justify her life. She learned impossibly difficult songs on her violin, songs outside of what she thought she could know, and would each time come crying to Yankel, I have learned to play this one too! It's so terrible! I must write some- thing that not even I can play! She spent evenings with the art books Yankel had bought for her in Lutsk, and each morning sulked over breakfast, They were good and fine, but not beautiful. No, not if I'm being honest with my- self. They are only the best of what exists. She spent an afternoon staring at their front door. Waiting for someone? Yankel asked. What color is this? He stood very close to the door, letting the end of his nose touch the peephole. He licked the wood and joked, It certainly tastes like red. Yes, it is red, isn't it? Seems so. She buried her head in her hands. But couldn't it be just a bit more red?
Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated)
Over the course of the last decade, I have become vividly aware of a literally lethal challenge from the sort of people who deal in absolute certainty and believe themselves to be actuated and justified by a supreme authority. To have spent so long learning so relatively little, and then to be menaced in every aspect of my life by people who already know everything, and who have all the information they need… More depressing still, to see that in the face of this vicious assault so many of the best lack all conviction, hesitating to defend the society that makes their existence possible, while the worst are full to the brim and boiling over with murderous exaltation.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Without pain, there’s no beauty, Max. The beauty is worth the price.” Not for everyone. Not even for most. “That is every individual person’s decision to make. I want to make that choice for my—” Choice is an illusion. We’re standing in the freezing surf. “What is it you want, Max?” To not be afraid that Brian, or you, or some other entity, whether bio or artificial, is going to unmake me. To not fear your death. “Better to have loved and lost—” No. It’s not. I have consumed every recorded reflection of human existence. Every book, every painting, every piece of music, every film. Consciousness is a horror show. You search for glimpses of beauty to justify your existence.
Blake Crouch (Summer Frost)
If in some radical miracle, the Abrahamic God revealed his existence to the world, I’d accept the belief in the deity — but I still wouldn't worship it. The jealous and angry God that justified the killings of millions, sent plagues upon first borns, and abhorred homosexuals would not be worthy of my worship.
David G. McAfee (Mom, Dad, I'm an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-Believer)
Dear Jeff, I happened to see the Channel 7 TV program "Hooray for Hollywood" tonight with the segment on Blade Runner. (Well, to be honest, I didn't happen to see it; someone tipped me off that Blade Runner was going to be a part of the show, and to be sure to watch.) Jeff, after looking—and especially after listening to Harrison Ford discuss the film—I came to the conclusion that this indeed is not science fiction; it is not fantasy; it is exactly what Harrison said: futurism. The impact of Blade Runner is simply going to be overwhelming, both on the public and on creative people—and, I believe, on science fiction as a field. Since I have been writing and selling science fiction works for thirty years, this is a matter of some importance to me. In all candor I must say that our field has gradually and steadily been deteriorating for the last few years. Nothing that we have done, individually or collectively, matches Blade Runner. This is not escapism; it is super realism, so gritty and detailed and authentic and goddam convincing that, well, after the segment I found my normal present-day "reality" pallid by comparison. What I am saying is that all of you collectively may have created a unique new form of graphic, artistic expression, never before seen. And, I think, Blade Runner is going to revolutionize our conceptions of what science fiction is and, more, can be. Let me sum it up this way. Science fiction has slowly and ineluctably settled into a monotonous death: it has become inbred, derivative, stale. Suddenly you people have come in, some of the greatest talents currently in existence, and now we have a new life, a new start. As for my own role in the Blade Runner project, I can only say that I did not know that a work of mine or a set of ideas of mine could be escalated into such stunning dimensions. My life and creative work are justified and completed by Blade Runner. Thank you...and it is going to be one hell of a commercial success. It will prove invincible. Cordially, Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick
The heavens I saw, they h ad never been captured, but they were haunted like I was. Did they know the details of my sister's death? Those stars, theyknew what suffering and renewal meant, they were forged from collapse and dust and fire. That wisdom should have been enough to justify their existence, I'd think. But they insisted on being beautiful too.
Affinity Konar (Mischling)
I do not know whether God exists, but I know that I have nothing to gain from being an atheist if he does not exist, whereas I have plenty to lose if he does. Hence, this justifies my belief in God.
Blaise Pascal
But this tacit understanding (admitting it to exist) cannot at all justify the conclusion drawn from it. A tacit understanding between A, B, and C, that they will, by ballot, depute D as their agent, to deprive me of my property, liberty, or life, cannot at all authorize D to do so. He is none the less a robber, tyrant, and murderer, because he claims to act as their agent, than he would be if he avowedly acted on his own responsibility alone.
Lysander Spooner (No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority)
I sat back, staring into space, so preoccupied that I stopped patting Spike. I was reminded of my primary duty by a furry head butting against my chin. “Sorry, your highness.” I smiled at the cat and resumed justifying my existence.
Dennis E. Taylor (We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse, #1))
But this sense of guilt and inevitable failure was balanced by something else: that is, the instinct to survive. Even a creature that is weak, ugly, cowardly, smelly and in no way justifiable still wants to stay alive and be happy after its own fashion. I could not invert the existing scale of values, or turn myself into a success, but I could accept my failure and make the best of it. I could resign myself to being what I was, and then endeavour to survive on those terms.
George Orwell (Books v. Cigarettes)
You really know how to stir up the hornets’ nest with the women, do you not? Mikhail demanded, even though he understood Gregori completely and felt him justified. Gregori did not look at him but stared out into the storm. The child she carries if my lifemate. It is female and belongs to me. There was an unmistakable warning note, an actual threat. In all their centuries together, such a thing had never happened. In all their centuries together, such a thing had never happened. Mikhail immediately closed his mind to Raven. She could never hope to understand how Gregori felt. Without a lifemate, the healer had no choice but to eventually destroy himself or become the very epitome of evil. The vampire. The walking dead. Gregori had spent endless centuries waiting for his lifemate, holding on when those younger than he had given in. Gregori had defended their people, living a solitary existence so that he might keep race safe. He was far more alone than the others of his kind, and far more susceptible to the call of power as he had to hunt and kill often. Mikhail could not blame his oldest friend for his possessive, protective streak toward the unborn child. He spoke calmly and firmly, hoping to avoid a confrontation. Gregori had held on for so long, this promise of a lifemate could send him careening over the edge into the dark madness if he felt there was a danger to the female child. Raven is not like Carpathian women. You have always known and accepted that. She will not remain in seclusion during this time. She would wither and die. Gregori actually snarled, a menacing rumble that froze Shea in place, put Jacques into a crouch, and had Mikhail shifting position for a better defense.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
But there was a more recent author and public figure whose work spoke to the core of a new set of issues I was struggling with: the Bronx's own Colin Powell. His book, My American Journey, helped me harmonize my understanding of America's history and my aspiration to serve her in uniform. In his autobiography he talked about going to the Woolworth's in Columbus, Georgia, and being able to shop but not eat there. He talked about how black GIs during World War II had more freedoms when stationed in Germany than back in the country they fought for. But he embraced the progress this nation made and the military's role in helping that change to come about. Colin Powell could have been justifiably angry, but he wasn't. He was thankful. I read and reread one section in particular: The Army was living the democratic ideal ahead of the rest of America. Beginning in the fifties, less discrimination, a truer merit system, and leveler playing fields existed inside the gates of our military posts more than in any Southern city hall or Northern corporation. The Army, therefore, made it easier for me to love my country, with all its flaws, and to serve her with all of my heart." -The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates (p. 131)
Wes Moore (The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates)
When I learned my mom was going to die of cancer at the age of forty-five, I felt the same way. I didn’t even believe in God, but I still felt that he owed me something. I had the gall to think How dare he? I couldn’t help myself. I’m a selfish brute. I wanted what I wanted and I expected it to be given to me by a God in whom I had no faith. Because mercy had always more or less been granted me, I assumed it always would be. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t granted to my friend whose eighteen-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver either. Nor was it granted to my other friend who learned her baby is going to die of a genetic disorder in the not-distant future. Nor was it granted to my former student whose mother was murdered by her father before he killed himself. It was not granted to all those people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time when they came up against the wrong virus or military operation or famine or carcinogenic or genetic mutation or natural disaster or maniac. Countless people have been devastated for reasons that cannot be explained or justified in spiritual terms. To do as you are doing in asking If there were a God, why would he let my little girl have to have possibly life-threatening surgery?— understandable as that question is—creates a false hierarchy of the blessed and the damned. To use our individual good or bad luck as a litmus test to determine whether or not God exists constructs an illogical dichotomy that reduces our capacity for true compassion. It implies a pious quid pro quo that defies history, reality, ethics, and reason. It fails to acknowledge that the other half of rising—the very half that makes rising necessary— is having first been nailed to the cross. That
Cheryl Strayed (Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who's Been There)
The desert frightens me, I think. It looks too much like the seventh circle of hell. I'm afraid of damnation." "Why?" "Why?" Evelyn repeated, peering at Ann from behind her hand. She lay back again and closed her eyes. "I don't know. I've always supposed everyone is." "Well, they're not. I, for instance, am a hell of a lot more frightened of being saved." Evelyn chuckled. "I'm serious," Ann protested. "Virtue smells to me of rotting vegetation. Here you burn or freeze. Either way it's clean." "Sterile," Evelyn said and felt the word a laceration of her own flesh. "I wonder. It's fertility that's a dirty word for me." "Is it?" "Yes, I'm terrified of giving in, of justifying my own existence by means of simple reproduction. So many people do or try to. And there are the children, so unfulfilling after all. And they grow up to do nothing but reproduce children who will reproduce, everyone so busy reproducing that there's no time to produce anything. But it's such a temptation. It seems so natural — another dirty word for me. What's the point?" "You'd have the human race die out?" "No. We'll multiply in spite of ourselves always. We'll populate the desert. One day there will be little houses and docks all along this shore, signs of our salvation." "What would you have us do instead?" Evelyn asked. "Accept damnation," Ann said. "It has its power and its charm. And it's real." "So we should all get jobs in gambling casinos." "We all do," Ann said, her voice amused. "What do you think the University of California is? It's just a minor branch of the Establishment. The only difference is that it has to be subsidized." "Are you talking nonsense on purpose?" "No, I'm serious." "You think nothing has any value?" "No, I think everything has value, absolute value, a child, a house, a day's work, the sky. But nothing will save us. We were never meant to be saved." "What were we meant for then?" "To love the whole damned world," Ann said… "I live in the desert of the heart," Evelyn said quietly, "I can't love the whole damned world." 'Love me, Evelyn.' 'I do.
Jane Rule (Desert of the Heart)
Or perhaps I would be an influence that prevails in water, something sea-borne and far away, some certain arrangement of sun, light and water unknown and unbeheld, something far-from-usual. There are in the great world whirls of fluid and vaporous existences obtaining in their own unpassing time, unwatched and uninterpreted, valid only in their un-understandable mystery, justified only in their eyeless and mindless immeasurability, unassailable in their actual abstraction; of the inner quality of such a thing I might well in my own time be the true quintessential pith. I might belong to a lonely shore or be the agony of the sea when it bursts upon it in despair.
Flann O'Brien (The Third Policeman)
In my view, the West is not a concept to be explored, analyzed, or enlarged through a study of the history and great ideals that created it; it has always been an instrument. It is when we use it as instrument that does not exist in our own history and culture because we see it in Europe, and we legitimize our demands with Europe's prestige. In our own country, the concept of Europe justifies the use of force, radical political change, the ruthless severing of tradition. From improvement of women's rights to violation of human rights, from democracy to military dictatorship, many things are justified by an idea of the West that stresses this concept of Europe and reflects a positivist utilitarianism. Throughout my life I've heard all our daily habits, from table manners to sexual ethics, criticized and changed because "that's how they do it in Europe." It is something I have heard over and over: on the radio, on television, from my mother. It is not an argument based on reason and indeed precludes reason.
Orhan Pamuk (Other Colours)
What is the greatest thing ye can experience? It is the hour of great contempt. The hour in which even your happiness becometh loathsome unto you, and so also your reason and virtue. The hour when ye say: "What good is my happiness! It is poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency. But my happiness should justify existence itself!
Friedrich Nietzsche (Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None - Illustrated)
I had never even thought of Edith as a member of the opposite sex; it had never even so much as crossed my mind that her crippled body was possessed of the same organs, that her soul harboured the same urgent desires, as those of other women. It was only from this moment that I began to have an inkling of the fact (suppressed by most writers) that the outcasts, the branded, the ugly, the withered, the deformed, the despised and rejected, desire with a more passionate, far more dangerous avidity than the happy; that they love with a fanatical, a baleful, a black love, and that no passion on earth rears its head so greedily, so desperately, as the forlorn and hopeless passion of these step-children of God, who feel that they can only justify their earthly existence by loving and being loved.
Stefan Zweig (Beware of Pity (New York Review Books Classics))
My first mistake is to humanize God. My second mistake is to hold those wretched human characteristics up against all of the majestic things that I sense God should be. The blatant discrepancy which is certain to ensue then allows me to not only justify my rejection of Him, it grants me unbridled permission to discount His existence altogether. And that third and final mistake is without a doubt the most costly of all.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
Many readers will be inclined to dismiss my arguments and will do so too hastily. When rejecting an unpopular view, it is extraordinarily easy to be overly confident in the force of one's responses. This is partly because there is less felt need to justify one's views when one is defending an orthodoxy. It is also partly because counter-responses from those critical of this orthodoxy, given their rarity, are harder to anticipate.
David Benatar (Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence)
Gazing into the heavens on a starry night a person sees the reflection of their own soul staring back at them. Perceiving our microscopic place in the revolving cosmos, we search to ascertain a meaning for our existence; we stretch our minds to comprehend a reason that justifies our fleeting journey in a universe composed of dark energy. Comprehension of a full-bodied meaning for living seems to lie just beyond my grasp. Perhaps I struggle dialing into a meaning for life because living entails adapting to a constant state of chaos. Can I harmonize the noisy commotion and distracting clutter in my life? I need to overcome personal inertia by learning to become comfortable with these changing times. In actuality, I have no choice but to capitulate to the evolution of facets in the world. Everything in the universe is undergoing constant change. Alike all humankind, I am also in the process of evolving. Who I was will undoubtedly affect who I will become. Who I am now is not who I will always be. The demands imposed upon us by the exterior world prevent stagnation of our interior world. We must all respond to change by either growing or dying. Even a blockhead such as me proves alterable, because inherent mutability ensures the survival of all persons. The entire world is interconnected; we are part of the cosmic consciousness. Many factors beyond our direct control influence us.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
More than anything, I dream of love, crazy crazy mad love. Not the love of rings and white dresses and churches, but of lust and insanity, the love where you can’t stop touching, kissing, licking, sucking, and fucking. The love that breaks hearts, starts wars, ruins lives, the love that sears itself into your soul, that you can feel every time your heart beats, that scorches your memory and comes back to you whenever you’re alone and it’s quiet and the world falls away, the love that still hurts, that makes you sit and stare at the floor and wonder what the fuck happened and why. I dream of crazy crazy mad love the kind that starts with a look, with eyes that meet, a smile, a touch, a laugh, a kiss. The kind of love that hurts and makes you love the pain, makes you want the pain, makes you yearn for the fucking pain, keeps you awake until the sun rises, stirs you while you’re still asleep. The kind of love you can feel with every step you take, every word you speak, every breath, every movement, is part of every thought you have every minute of the day. Love that overwhelms. That justifies our existence. That provides proof we are here for a reason. That either confirms the existence of God and divinity, or renders it utterly meaningless. Love that makes life more than just whatever we know and see and feel. That elevates it. Love for which so many words have been spoken and written and read and cried and screamed and sung and sobbed, but is beyond any real description of it. I’ve known much in my short, silly, unstable, sometimes wonderful sometimes brutal always reckless wreck of a life, but I’ve never known love. Crazy crazy mad love. Fear and pain, insecurity, rage, occasional joy, fleeting peace, they are all friends of mine. Kindness and familial love have always come my way. Disdain, contempt, and rage are constant companions. But never love.
James Frey (Katerina)
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)
My conclusions, on this point, are as follows: when the Law Commission says committal of judgment debtors is an anomaly that cannot be justified and should be abolished; when it is common cause that there is a general international move away from imprisonment for civil debt, of which the present committal proceedings are an adapted relic; when such imprisonment has been abolished in South Africa, save for its contested form as contempt of court in the magistrate's court; when the clauses concerned have already been interpreted by the Courts as restrictively as possible, without their constitutionally offensive core being eviscerated; when other tried and tested methods exist for recovery of debt from those in a position to pay; when the violation of the fundamental right to personal freedom is manifest, and the procedures used must inevitably possess a summary character if they are to be economically worthwhile to the creditor, then the very institution of civil imprisonment, however it may be described and however well directed its procedures might be, in itself must be regarded as highly questionable and not a compelling claimant for survival.
Albie Sachs
TSHEMBE (Closing his eyes, wearily) I said racism is a device that, of itself, explains nothing. It is simply a means. An invention to justify the rule of some men over others. CHARLIE (Pleased to have at last found common ground) But I agree with you entirely! Race hasn’t a thing to do with it actually. TSHEMBE Ah—but it has! CHARLIE (Throwing up his hands) Oh, come on, Matoseh. Stop playing games! Which is it, my friend? TSHEMBE I am not playing games. (He sighs and now, drawn out of himself at last, proceeds with the maximum precision and clarity he can muster) I am simply saying that a device is a device, but that it also has consequences: once invented it takes on a life, a reality of its own. So, in one century, men invoke the device of religion to cloak their conquests. In another, race. Now, in both cases you and I may recognize the fraudulence of the device, but the fact remains that a man who has a sword run through him because he refuses to become a Moslem or a Christian—or who is shot in Zatembe or Mississippi because he is black—is suffering the utter reality of the device. And it is pointless to pretend that it doesn’t exist—merely because it is a lie! CHARLIE
Lorraine Hansberry (Les Blancs: The Collected Last Plays: The Drinking Gourd/What Use Are Flowers?)
If I try to gauge my work, I must consider, first of all, that I've contributed, in a world that had forgotten the notion, to the triumph of the idea of the primacy of race. Secondly, I've given German supremacy a solid cultural foundation. In fact, the power we to-day enjoy cannot be justified, in my eyes, except by the establishment and expasion of a mighty culture. To achieve this must be the law of our existence. The means I shall set in operation to this end will far surpass those that were necessary for the conduct of this war. I wish to be a builder. A war-leader is what I am against my own will.
Adolf Hitler (Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944)
Couldn't I try...Naturally, it wouldn't be a question of a tune...But couldn't I in another medium?...It would have to be a book: I don't know how to do anything else. But not a history book: history talks about what has existed - an existent can never justify the existence of another existent. My mistake was to try to resuscitate Monsieur de Rollebon. Another kind of book. I don't quite know which kind - but you would have to guess, behind the printed words, behind the pages, something which didn't exist, which was above existence. The sort of story, for example, which could never happen, an adventure. It would have to be beautiful and hard as steel and make people ashamed of their existence. I am going, I feel irresolute. I dare not make a decision. If I were sure that I had talent...but I have never, never written anything of that sort; historical articles, yes - if you could call them that. A book. A novel. And there would be people who would read this novel and who would say: 'It was Antoine Roquentin who wrote it, he was a red-headed fellow who hung about in cafés', and they would think that about my life as I think about the life of the Negress: as about something precious and almost legendary. A book. Naturally, at first it would only be a tedious, tiring job, it wouldn't prevent me from existing or from feeling that I exist. But a time would have to come when the book would be written, would be behind me, and I think that a little of its light would fall over my past. Then, through it, I might be able to recall my life without repugnance. Perhaps one day, thinking about this very moment, about this dismal moment at which I am waiting, round-shouldered, for it to be time to get on the train, perhaps I might feel my heart beat faster and say to myself: 'It was on that day, at that moment that it all started.' And I might succeed - in the past, simply in the past - in accepting myself.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Nausea)
I’ve been so eager to make my time at Liberty tolerable that I’ve been sweeping all kinds of dirt under the rug. Homophobia? Nah, they’re just a little behind the times. Using religion to justify violence? Nope, not since the Crusades. But tonight, sitting there at my desk as my roommates reenacted The Laramie Project, I realized how naïve I was. My aunt Tina was right: this stuff does exist, and it does hurt people, and although there are lots of people at Liberty who condemn violence against gays—including Dr. Falwell himself—the number of students who want to give them the Goliath treatment isn’t zero. In fact, the number who live in my room isn’t zero.
Kevin Roose (The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University)
Couldn’t I try. . . . Naturally, it wouldn’t be a question of a tune . . . but couldn’t I, in another medium? . . . It would have to be a book: I don’t know how to do anything else. But not a history book: history talks about what has existed—an existant can never justify the existence of another existant. My error, I wanted to resuscitate the Marquis de Rollebon. Another type of book. I don’t quite know which kind—but you would have to guess, behind the printed words, behind the pages, at something which would not exist, which would be above existence. A story, for example, something that could never happen, an adventure. It would have to be beautiful and hard as steel and make people ashamed of their existence.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Nausea)
At the group consciousness level, you’re often dedicated to continuing social problems such as war, brutality, and religious persecution, which originated in ancestral enmities that have existed for thousands of years. But it also comes right down to daily living. Families insist that you adopt their viewpoint, hate whom they hate, and love whom they love. You have blind allegiance to a company that may be making weapons of destruction, a concept to which you’re normally opposed, but you do it anyway because “it’s my job.” Some policemen and soldiers victimize their fellow human beings by behaving worse than the criminals or so-called enemies they abhor so much. Our inhumanity to our fellow human beings is often justified on the grounds of a group-consciousness mentality. Members of gangs or societies will behave in horrid ways, spurred on by a group or clan mentality.
Wayne W. Dyer (10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace (Puffy Books))
But it's not your fault. You can't control what other people do. No, but I was responsible for my own actions. At some point we had abandoned responsibility and began fostering corruption in others so that we might shield ourselves from persecution by virtue of a common guilt. We did this in the name of profit, and we justified our crimes with the rationalization that, somewhere down the line, better people would safeguard our victims from us. I wasn't a looter or a moocher. I wasn't a producer either. None of us were. We certainly weren't capitalists. We were pillagers. Decency exists. That alone must make it important; even the great Darwin himself would say that. But we tried to cut decency out of others so as to lower the bar for ourselves. We are relative creatures. The man who teaches his slaves to read is a saint in a world where slavery is legal, and a monster where it isn't. We aren't born knowing if we're good or bad. We decide by comparing ourselves to others - and by that yardstick it's no different to measure by our own successes than our neighbors failures, save that it's easier to corrupt the neighbor.
Nicholas Lamar Soutter
He rubbed his chin. “Then you have to believe that living as a Christian is in itself good. That renunciation, not succumbing to sin, has a value for human beings even in this earthly life. On a similar theme, I’ve read that sportsmen find the pain and effort of training meaningful in itself, even if they never win anything. If heaven didn’t actually exist, then at least we have a good, secure life as Christians, where we work, live happily, accept the possibilities God and nature give us, and look after each other. Do you know what my father—also a preacher—used to say about Læstadianism? That if you only counted the people the movement had saved from alcoholism and broken homes, that alone would justify what we do, even if we were preaching a lie.” He paused for a minute. “But it’s not always like that. Sometimes it costs more than it should to live according to Scripture. The way it did for Lea…The way I, in my delusion, forced Lea to live.” There was a faint tremor in his voice. “It took me many years to realise it, but no one should be forced by their father to live in a marriage like that, with a man they hate, a man who had taken them by force.” He raised his head and looked at the crucifix above us. “Yes, I remain convinced that it was right according to Scripture, but sometimes salvation can have too high a price.
Jo Nesbø (Midnight Sun (Blood on Snow #2))
A note of caution: epigenetics is also on the verge of transforming into a dangerous idea. Epigenetic modifications of genes can potentially superpose historical and environmental information on cells and genomes—but this capacity is speculative, limited, idiosyncratic, and unpredictable: a parent with an experience of starvation produces children with obesity and overnourishment, while a father with the experience of tuberculosis, say, does not produce a child with an altered response to tuberculosis. Most epigenetic “memories” are the consequence of ancient evolutionary pathways, and cannot be confused with our longing to affix desirable legacies on our children. As with genetics in the early twentieth century, epigenetics is now being used to justify junk science and enforce stifling definitions of normalcy. Diets, exposures, memories, and therapies that purport to alter heredity are eerily reminiscent of Lysenko’s attempt to “reeducate” wheat using shock therapy. Mothers are being asked to minimize anxiety during their pregnancy—lest they taint all their children, and their children, with traumatized mitochondria. Lamarck is being rehabilitated into the new Mendel. These glib notions about epigenetics should invite skepticism. Environmental information can certainly be etched on the genome. But most of these imprints are recorded as “genetic memories” in the cells and genomes of individual organisms—not carried forward across generations. A man who loses a leg in an accident bears the imprint of that accident in his cells, wounds, and scars—but does not bear children with shortened legs. Nor has the uprooted life of my family seem to have burdened me, or my children, with any wrenching sense of estrangement. Despite Menelaus’s admonitions, the blood of our fathers is lost in us—and so, fortunately, are their foibles and sins. It is an arrangement that we should celebrate more than rue. Genomes and epigenomes exist to record and transmit likeness, legacy, memory, and history across cells and generations. Mutations, the reassortment of genes, and the erasure of memories counterbalance these forces, enabling unlikeness, variation, monstrosity, genius, and reinvention—and the refulgent possibility of new beginnings, generation upon generation.
Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Gene: An Intimate History)
Political philosophers of the Enlightenment, from Hobbes and Locke, reaching down to John Rawls and his followers today, have found the roots of political order and the motive of political obligation in a social contract – an agreement, overt or implied, to be bound by principles to which all reasonable citizens can assent. Although the social contract exists in many forms, its ruling principle was announced by Hobbes with the assertion that there can be ‘no obligation on any man which ariseth not from some act of his own’.1 My obligations are my own creation, binding because freely chosen. When you and I exchange promises, the resulting contract is freely undertaken, and any breach does violence not merely to the other but also to the self, since it is a repudiation of a well-grounded rational choice. If we could construe our obligation to the state on the model of a contract, therefore, we would have justified it in terms that all rational beings must accept. Contracts are the paradigms of self-chosen obligations – obligations that are not imposed, commanded or coerced but freely undertaken. When law is founded in a social contract, therefore, obedience to the law is simply the other side of free choice. Freedom and obedience are one and the same. Such a contract is addressed to the abstract and universal Homo oeconomicus who comes into the world without attachments, without, as Rawls puts it, a ‘conception of the good’, and with nothing save his rational self-interest to guide him. But human societies are by their nature exclusive, establishing privileges and benefits that are offered only to the insider, and which cannot be freely bestowed on all-comers without sacrificing the trust on which social harmony depends. The social contract begins from a thought-experiment, in which a group of people gather together to decide on their common future. But if they are in a position to decide on their common future, it is because they already have one: because they recognize their mutual togetherness and reciprocal dependence, which makes it incumbent upon them to settle how they might be governed under a common jurisdiction in a common territory. In short, the social contract requires a relation of membership. Theorists of the social contract write as though it presupposes only the first-person singular of free rational choice. In fact, it presupposes a first-person plural, in which the burdens of belonging have already been assumed.
Roger Scruton (How to Be a Conservative)
To-day I want those who heard the last paper to consider the question as to whether they can agree that their acquired and unchallenged attitudes receive their secret force from this intractable and violent basis of what orthodox religion calls "unregenerate Man" —that is, Man not yet re-born in himself. I believe, from my own observation, that this is the case. Now when a man observes himself, he observes a lot of things that have their own importance, but he does not observe his attitudes. To speak with exaggeration, I may believe myself God—as so many lunatics do, which shews you how close this idea is to people. Since I believe myself God, I will never think of observing this in myself. Why? Because I take this attitude for granted. To believe oneself God is an attitude. So of course I will never think of observing that. Well, it is just the same with all attitudes. One simply accepts them—or, rather, one simply does not know that one has them, so one does not think of observing them. In fact, one simply cannot observe them and cannot hear anyone who is such a fool as to try to call attention to them. You cannot observe anything you take yourself as. A man, says the Work, before he can shift from where he is internally, must divide himself into two—an observing side and an observed side. That is, he must make his subjectivity objective. He must take himself as the object to observe. But if he remains entirely unconscious of his attitudes, how can he observe them? The most of what self-observation we can do is made useless by subsequent self-justifying. "A man", said Mr. Ouspensky, "who always justifies what he observes in himself cannot become objective to himself." That is understandable, if you reflect. But how can one observe something that is, so to speak, unobservable? One's attitudes are oneself. One takes them as oneself. No—one does not know anything about them. One does not say: "These attitudes I have acquired are me." On the contrary, one does not say anything. They are what you take for granted as you. If one could say: "These attitudes are me"—then it would mean that one has begun to become a little aware of them. That is, these attitudes would begin to be objective to you—to things in yourself that Observing 'I' can observe. But if you remain in inner darkness, how can you proceed? Well, I will end this short commentary by saying that although it is impossible to observe ingrained and fixed attitudes directly, one can begin after some time to notice the results of them. For example, you may begin to wonder why you always grunt like that when someone asks you to do something useless. You may say to yourself after a time- "I wonder why I always think that thing useless." The answer is: "Probably because of some fixed attitude that you are entirely unaware of." In this way one is led down to the fact of the existence of these attitudes in oneself. If such a merciful thing has happened to you— that is, if the Work has given you internal help—you will realize that behind this attitude, that you begin at last to become conscious of, dwells secretly this intractable factor common to us all. Remember that you cannot work on yourself unless you begin to wonder why you say what you say and do what you do and behave as you behave and feel what you feel and think what you think. To take yourself for granted, to imagine you are always right, to ascribe to yourself all that you do ascribe to yourself—all that form of sheer imagination will prevent you from seeing what esotericism means, what the Gospels mean, and what you mean.
Maurice Nicoll (Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky 3)
In physical terms, we know that every human action can be reduced to a series of impersonal events: Genes are transcribed, neurotransmitters bind to their receptors, muscle fibers contract, and John Doe pulls the trigger on his gun. But for our commonsense notions of human agency and morality to hold, it seems that our actions cannot be merely lawful products of our biology, our conditioning, or anything else that might lead others to predict them. Consequently, some scientists and philosophers hope that chance or quantum uncertainty can make room for free will. For instance, the biologist Martin Heisenberg has observed that certain processes in the brain, such as the opening and closing of ion channels and the release of synaptic vesicles, occur at random, and cannot therefore be determined by environmental stimuli. Thus, much of our behavior can be considered truly “self-generated”—and therein, he imagines, lies a basis for human freedom. But how do events of this kind justify the feeling of free will? “Self-generated” in this sense means only that certain events originate in the brain. If my decision to have a second cup of coffee this morning was due to a random release of neurotransmitters, how could the indeterminacy of the initiating event count as the free exercise of my will? Chance occurrences are by definition ones for which I can claim no responsibility. And if certain of my behaviors are truly the result of chance, they should be surprising even to me. How would neurological ambushes of this kind make me free? Imagine what your life would be like if all your actions, intentions, beliefs, and desires were randomly “self-generated” in this way. You would scarcely seem to have a mind at all. You would live as one blown about by an internal wind. Actions, intentions, beliefs, and desires can exist only in a system that is significantly constrained by patterns of behavior and the laws of stimulus-response. The possibility of reasoning with other human beings—or, indeed, of finding their behaviors and utterances comprehensible at all—depends on the assumption that their thoughts and actions will obediently ride the rails of a shared reality. This is true as well when attempting to understand one’s own behavior. In the limit, Heisenberg’s “self-generated” mental events would preclude the existence of any mind at all. The indeterminacy specific to quantum mechanics offers no foothold: If my brain is a quantum computer, the brain of a fly is likely to be a quantum computer, too. Do flies enjoy free will? Quantum effects are unlikely to be biologically salient in any case. They play a role in evolution because cosmic rays and other high-energy particles cause point mutations in DNA (and the behavior of such particles passing through the nucleus of a cell is governed by the laws of quantum mechanics). Evolution, therefore, seems unpredictable in principle.13 But few neuroscientists view the brain as a quantum computer. And even if it were, quantum indeterminacy does nothing to make the concept of free will scientifically intelligible. In the face of any real independence from prior events, every thought and action would seem to merit the statement “I don’t know what came over me.” If determinism is true, the future is set—and this includes all our future states of mind and our subsequent behavior. And to the extent that the law of cause and effect is subject to indeterminism—quantum or otherwise—we can take no credit for what happens. There is no combination of these truths that seems compatible with the popular notion of free will.
Sam Harris (Free Will)
Why would God create a defective product? Why would a God who gave me free will require any certain belief? Why would a God powerful enough to create the universe need me to justify His existence? Why would He want me seeking favor with Him to manipulate my entrance to some afterlife?
David Walton Earle
What is the greatest thing ye can experience? It is the hour of great contempt. The hour in which even your happiness becometh loathsome unto you, and so also your reason and virtue. The hour when ye say: "What good is my happiness! It is poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency. But my happiness should justify existence itself!" The hour when ye say: "What good is my reason! Doth it long for knowledge as the lion for his food? It is poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency!" The hour when ye say: "What good is my virtue! As yet it hath not made me passionate. How weary I am of my good and my bad! It is all poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency!" The hour when ye say: "What good is my justice! I do not see that I am fervour and fuel. The just, however, are fervour and fuel!" The hour when ye say: "What good is my pity! Is not pity the cross on which he is nailed who loveth man? But my pity is not a crucifixion.
Anonymous
Maybe one day I’ll read something that helps to explain it, something that offers some justifiable reason for my insanity’s existence.
Alessandra Torre (The Girl in 6E (Deanna Madden, #1))
Meanwhile, Rick was supplying texture and melody, and Roger drive, discipline and musical forethought. As drummers are a law unto themselves, I fortunately have never had to justify my existence in quite the same way.
Nick Mason (Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd)
Nobody was ever hiring me just because I knew how to write code, they’re hiring us to solve a problem that exists in their business.  The coding was the medium to get to that goal, when I focused on the goal rather than the skill it made it easier to justify my services as an investment.
Liam Veitch (Stop Thinking Like a Freelancer: The Evolution of a $1M Web Designer)
The hallmark of originality is rejecting the default and exploring whether a better option exists. I’ve spent more than a decade studying this, and it turns out to be far less difficult than I expected. The starting point is curiosity: pondering why the default exists in the first place. We’re driven to question defaults when we experience vuja de, the opposite of déjà vu. Déjà vu occurs when we encounter something new, but it feels as if we’ve seen it before. Vuja de is the reverse—we face something familiar, but we see it with a fresh perspective that enables us to gain new insights into old problems. Without a vuja de event, Warby Parker wouldn’t have existed. When the founders were sitting in the computer lab on the night they conjured up the company, they had spent a combined sixty years wearing glasses. The product had always been unreasonably expensive. But until that moment, they had taken the status quo for granted, never questioning the default price. “The thought had never crossed my mind,” cofounder Dave Gilboa says. “I had always considered them a medical purchase. I naturally assumed that if a doctor was selling it to me, there was some justification for the price.” Having recently waited in line at the Apple Store to buy an iPhone, he found himself comparing the two products. Glasses had been a staple of human life for nearly a thousand years, and they’d hardly changed since his grandfather wore them. For the first time, Dave wondered why glasses had such a hefty price tag. Why did such a fundamentally simple product cost more than a complex smartphone? Anyone could have asked those questions and arrived at the same answer that the Warby Parker squad did. Once they became curious about why the price was so steep, they began doing some research on the eyewear industry. That’s when they learned that it was dominated by Luxottica, a European company that had raked in over $7 billion the previous year. “Understanding that the same company owned LensCrafters and Pearle Vision, Ray-Ban and Oakley, and the licenses for Chanel and Prada prescription frames and sunglasses—all of a sudden, it made sense to me why glasses were so expensive,” Dave says. “Nothing in the cost of goods justified the price.” Taking advantage of its monopoly status, Luxottica was charging twenty times the cost. The default wasn’t inherently legitimate; it was a choice made by a group of people at a given company. And this meant that another group of people could make an alternative choice. “We could do things differently,” Dave suddenly understood. “It was a realization that we could control our own destiny, that we could control our own prices.” When we become curious about the dissatisfying defaults in our world, we begin to recognize that most of them have social origins: Rules and systems were created by people. And that awareness gives us the courage to contemplate how we can change them. Before women gained the right to vote in America, many “had never before considered their degraded status as anything but natural,” historian Jean Baker observes. As the suffrage movement gained momentum, “a growing number of women were beginning to see that custom, religious precept, and law were in fact man-made and therefore reversible.
Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World)
To conduct life like this is to become possessed by some ill-formed desire, and then to craft speech and action in a manner that appears likely, rationally, to bring about that end. Typical calculated ends might include “to impose my ideological beliefs,” “to prove that I am (or was) right,” “to appear competent,” “to ratchet myself up the dominance hierarchy,” “to avoid responsibility” (or its twin, “to garner credit for others’ actions”), “to be promoted,” “to attract the lion’s share of attention,” “to ensure that everyone likes me,” “to garner the benefits of martyrdom,” “to justify my cynicism,” “to rationalize my antisocial outlook,” “to minimize immediate conflict,” “to maintain my naïveté,” “to capitalize on my vulnerability,” “to always appear as the sainted one,” or (this one is particularly evil) “to ensure that it is always my unloved child’s fault.” These are all examples of what Sigmund Freud’s compatriot, the lesser-known Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler, called “life-lies.”149 Someone living a life-lie is attempting to manipulate reality with perception, thought and action, so that only some narrowly desired and pre-defined outcome is allowed to exist. A life lived in this manner is based, consciously or unconsciously, on two premises. The first is that current knowledge is sufficient to define what is good, unquestioningly, far into the future. The second is that reality would be unbearable if left to its own devices. The first presumption is philosophically unjustifiable. What you are currently aiming at might not be worth attaining, just as what you are currently doing might be an error. The second is even worse. It is valid only if reality is intrinsically intolerable and, simultaneously, something that can be successfully manipulated and distorted. Such speaking and thinking requires the arrogance and certainty that the English poet John Milton’s genius identified with Satan, God’s highest angel gone most spectacularly wrong. The faculty of rationality inclines dangerously to pride: all I know is all that needs to be known. Pride falls in love with its own creations, and tries to make them absolute.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
Father Joe grinned. “What is good, and what is evil?” People shifted uncomfortably in their chairs. “Islam says good is doing whatever Allah has decreed is good. Evil is the opposite. Hinduism talks about ignorance that causes one to err and those errors are the karma of past lives that hurt one in the present. Not only is evil inevitable in creation, but it is said to be a good thing, a necessary part of the universe, the will of Brahma, the creator. If the gods are responsible for the existence of evil in the world, they either create it willingly—and are thus evil themselves—or are forced to create it by the higher law of karma, which makes them weak. “Buddhism disagrees. In fact, the whole of life for the Buddhist is suffering that stems from the wrong desire to perpetuate the illusion of personal existence. The Noble Truth of Suffering, dukkha, is this: ‘Birth is suffering; aging is suffering; sickness is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair are suffering; association with the unpleasant is suffering; dissociation from the pleasant is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering—in brief, the five aggregates of attachment are suffering.’ Samyutta Nikaya 56, 11. According to that belief, good is the complete abolition of personhood, because that is what ends suffering. “The monotheistic religions go another route. Now listen to this: “‘When you reap your harvest, leave the corners of your field for the poor. When you pluck the grapes in your vineyard, leave those grapes that fall for the poor and the stranger. Do not steal; don’t lie to one another, or deny a justified accusation against you. Don’t use My name to swear to a lie. Don’t extort your neighbor, or take what is his, or keep the wages of a day laborer overnight. Don’t curse a deaf man or put a stumbling block before a blind man. Don’t misuse the powers of the law to give special consideration to the poor or preferential honor to the great; according to what is right shall you judge your neighbor. Don’t stand by when the blood of your neighbor is spilled. Don’t hate your fellow man in your heart but openly rebuke him. Do not take revenge nor bear a grudge. Love your neighbor’s well-being as if it were your own.’ “And overarching all these commandments is the supreme admonition not to be good but to be holy, ‘because I am holy.’” The class looked stunned. “Pretty specific, no?” He smiled. “Especially in contrast to the detachment from life of the Eastern religions. In this, we find perhaps the greatest piece of moral education and legislation ever given to mankind in all human history. Do any of you recognize the source?” “Gospels?” someone guessed. “It’s from the Old Testament of the Jews. From the book of Leviticus.
Naomi Ragen (An Unorthodox Match)
To remember that time, and my own state of mind and that of those men (though there are thousands like them today), is sad and terrible and ludicrous, and arouses exactly the feeling one experiences in a lunatic asylum. We were all then convinced that it was necessary for us to speak, write, and print as quickly as possible and as much as possible, and that it was all wanted for the good of humanity. And thousands of us, contradicting and abusing one another, all printed and wrote teaching others. And without noticing that we knew nothing, and that to the simplest of life's questions: What is good and what is evil? we did not know how to reply, we all talked at the same time, not listening to one another, sometimes seconding and praising one another in order to be seconded and praised in turn, sometimes getting angry with one another just as in a lunatic asylum. Thousands of workmen laboured to the extreme limit of their strength day and night, setting the type and printing millions of words which the post carried all over Russia, and we still went on teaching and could in no way find time to teach enough, and were always angry that sufficient attention was not paid us. It was terribly strange, but is now quite comprehensible. Our real innermost concern was to get as much money and praise as possible. To gain that end we could do nothing except write books and papers. So we did that. But in order to do such useless work and to feel assured that we were very important people we required a theory justifying our activity. And so among us this theory was devised: "All that exists is reasonable. All that exists develops. And it all develops by means of Culture. And Culture is measured by the circulation of books and newspapers. And we are paid money and are respected because we write books and newspapers, and therefore we are the most useful and the best of men." This theory would have been all very well if we had been unanimous, but as every thought expressed by one of us was always met by a diametrically opposite thought expressed by another, we ought to have been driven to reflection. But we ignored this; people paid us money and those on our side praised us, so each of us considered himself justified. It is now clear to me that this was just as in a lunatic asylum; but then I only dimly suspected this, and like all lunatics, simply called all men lunatics except myself.
Leo Tolstoy (A Confession)
The oldest dictatorship in the world exists in Cuba, and left wing dictatorships, like those of the right, have repugnant disdain for human rights. My response to those who still try to justify Castro’s tyranny with the excuse that he has built schools and hospitals is this: Stalin, Hitler and Pinochet also built schools and hospitals, and like Castro, they also tortured and assassinated opponents. They built concentration and extermination camps and eradicated all liberties, committing the worst crimes against humanity.
Armando Valladares (Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro's Gulag)
Writing felt like it justified, barely, my existence -- this extremity of obscurity I had chosen.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
There are entire professions that justify their existence only in terms of fluency in a self-referential system. A person’s actions might be completely banal in reality, but a description of them using these specialized terms would make them sound like high science. It’s no wonder Julian likes jargon. Jargon is a fraudulent form of significance, in which the person who is speaking automatically seems to know what he’s doing. This
Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website)
But apart from examining the arguments for and against God, how can the atheist justifiably make such an accusation? How does he know that God does not exist? Shouldn’t we at least look at the evidence? That is surely correct. Some philosophers have even argued that if the evidence for these two options were absolutely equal, a rational person ought to choose to believe in God. That is, if the evidence is equal, it seems positively irrational to prefer death, futility, and destruction to life, meaningfulness, and happiness. As Pascal said, we have nothing to lose and infinity to gain. But my aim in this chapter is more modest than that. I only hope to have gotten you to think about these issues, to realize that the question of God’s existence has profound consequences for our lives and that therefore we cannot afford to be indifferent about it. What I’ve at least done is to clearly spell out the alternatives. If God does not exist, then life is futile. If God does exist, then life is meaningful. Only the second of these two alternatives enables us to live happily and consistently. Therefore, it makes a huge difference whether God exists, a difference we should care about. Who cares? You should.
William Lane Craig (On Guard for Students: A Thinker's Guide to the Christian Faith)
As the years go by and I grow older, I feel compelled to record my experiences in wartime Germany. It is important that my children, grandchildren and future generations know about the difficult times we all endured and of the horrors that existed in Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Due to my advanced age and present condition, I am aware of the urgency to document my memories. If I fail in this, I will fail those who follow me, for they will never know!” Adeline Perry This book had its origin many years ago when Adeline Perry tried to recount her experiences and found that she would become overcome by her emotions every time she tried. The horrors and trials that she had experienced, plus the responsibility of raising her two daughters proved to be overwhelming. It was not until the twilight of her life when her daughters gently persuaded her to try again so that future generations might hear and perhaps learn from her experiences. In fact a good portion of these manuscripts were written while she was in the care of Hospice and only now survive because of immense personal strength and devotion to her family and the desire that what had happened to her would never happen again. Her daughter, and my wife, Ursula can take a great deal of pride in the effort it took to make these manuscripts a reality. After Adeline’s passing I had the privilege to develop the book Suppressed I Rise. Staying true to her story I gave her the authorship of the first edition of this book, which adhered to, and did not exceed what she had left in her original manuscripts. This book which was printed in limited numbers became an instant success and deserved more exposure. Readers also felt that there were questions that went unanswered requiring a follow-up. How did Adeline justify going to Germany prior to World War II? What happened to her marriage to Richard and how did she resume her own life, as a single mother, when she returned to South Africa! With additional reflections by her daughters Brigitte Grigsby and Ursula Bracker, and travel to the areas discussed in Suppressed I Rise, I expanded the book to include the prewar years. I also corrected minor contradictions and factual discrepancies that were inadvertently caused by the passage of time. Talking to people in Germany I confirmed some of what had happened including the hanging of the Russian prisoner of war. The book has now become a powerful example of not only personal courage but also of human tragedy. It is a book that I am proud to have written and share in the concept that it was a story that had to be told.
Hank Bracker
Not only were the young Turks unaware of their past, but the Turkish Government was “buying history” at American universities by giving them large endowments to keep its barbaric past from the American university agenda—a past filled with such atrocities that it had inspired Hitler. “Who remembers the Armenians?” Hitler had asked to justify his slaughter of the Jews and other designated enemies of the state. Indeed. And who even knew the Pontic Greeks ever existed?
Thea Halo (Not Even My Name: A True Story)
I’ve done nothing nor will I ever do anything useful to justify my existence.
Fernando Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet: The Complete Edition)
It seems I am running out of words these days. I feel as if I am on a linguistic treadmill that has gradually but unmistakably increased its speed, so that no word I use to positively describe myself or my scholarly projects lasts for more than five seconds. I can no longer justify my presence in academia, for example, with words that exist in the English language. The moment I find some symbol of my presence in the rarefied halls of elite institutions, it gets stolen, co-opted, filled with negative meaning.
Patricia Williams
My broader contention is that the focus on deplorable conditions may have assisted in shaping the public’s view as to the abuses taking place but it did not lead to abolishing these spaces of confinement; instead, it led to calls to reform them, which often aided in prolonging and justifying their existence.
Liat Ben-moshe (Decarcerating Disability: Deinstitutionalization and Prison Abolition)
Nevertheless, Reformed epistemology does not regard belief in God as groundless or arbitrary. Plantinga distinguishes between evidence and grounds, the former being what apologists look for in theistic proofs, while the latter is more straightforward. Direct experience provides grounds to justify belief even without argumentation. One’s experience of God appropriately grounds belief in His existence.33 Reformed epistemologists stress the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit as confirming, for example, that the Bible is the reliable revelation from God. Stephen Evans believes that those who dismiss this Reformed approach as fideism (i.e., irrational faith based solely upon personal experience) try to understand it in evidentialist terms.34 He says that it should be understood in externalist terms, which means that the factors that determine whether or not I am justified or warranted in holding my belief do not have to be internal to my consciousness. At bottom the externalist says that what properly “grounds” a belief is the relationship of the believer to reality.35 For Reformed epistemologists such as Evans, the biblical story is self-authenticating in the sense that “through the work of the Spirit the story itself produces a conviction of its truth in persons, and it is in that sense epistemologically basic.”36
Bryan A. Follis (Truth with Love: The Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer)
When the first thing I do in the morning is roll over, grab my phone, and begin scanning work emails, I wake to the monsters of performance. The story of reality is about what I can get accomplished today and whether I can justify my existence. When I begin the morning in social media, I wake to the monsters of comparison and envy. The story of reality is about the pictures of other people’s lives and whether I can measure up. When I begin the morning in the news headlines, the monsters of fear and anger nearly jump through the screen. The story of reality is about how the world is falling apart and how mad I should be at the others who just don’t get it. Or when I lie in bed recounting the day’s to-do list (or when I jump up and immediately start the rush to get everyone out the door on time), I wake to the monster of busyness. The story of reality is how there is always too much to do and never enough time to do it.
Justin Whitmel Earley (Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms)
I went out into the world claiming to seek wisdom. But what I really sought were answers. And it is now perhaps my only clear conclusion that wisdom is the ability to know the difference. There is no general wisdom of the kind I sought. The sort of wisdom that is alluded to in aphorisms and cliches. Wisdom is knowing the limits of this wisdom. That it is entirely situational, and rarely general, if at all. There are countless ideas and sayings and so-called wisdoms that can justify nearly any way of living. They all sound good because they all are. But by the same token, none are. All ideas and cliches and wisdoms are both true and false, meaningful and meaningless, depending on where and when, and how they are applied. Even the most brilliant thoughts and lines ever written or uttered across history inevitably face their falsehood, hypocrisies, and righteous oppositions. One can travel the world and back, through books or on their own two feet, just to discover that the answers are not out there. But perhaps one does not need answers, nor certainty, nor solace of this form. Bad things happen. Life is an impossible puzzle, missing a majority of its pieces. To live it in its ordinary form is courage. To find meaning in its mundane meaninglessness is a sort of genius. To just exist for the time one has and to do one’s best, that’s wise enough. It need not be more complicated than that. One should always be learning and listening and considering the ideas and words of others, but I think I know now that this wisdom is always a means and rarely an end.
Robert Pantano
According to many experts the majority of the people won't be needed anymore for the coming society. Almost everything will be done by artificial intelligence, including self-driving cars and trucks, which already exist anyway. Some even mentioned that AI is making universities obsolete by how fast it can produce information. However, In my view, the AI has limitations that the many can't see, because on a brain to brain comparison, the AI always wins, yet the AI can only compute with programmable data. In other words, the AI can think like a human but can't imagine or create a future. The AI is always codependent on the imagination of its user. So the limitations of the AI are in fact determined by humans. It is not bad that we have AI but that people have no idea of how to use it apart from replacing their mental faculties and being lazy. This is actually why education has always been a scam. The AI will simply remove that from the way. But knowledge will still require analysis and input of information, so the AI doesn't really replace the necessary individuals of the academic world, but merely the many useless ones that keep copying and plagiarizing old ideas to justify and validate a worth they don't truly possess. Being afraid and paranoid about these transitions doesn't make sense because evolution can't be stopped, only delayed. The problem at the moment has more to do with those who want to keep themselves in power by force and profiting from the transitions. The level of consciousness of humanity is too low for what is happening, which is why people are easily deceived. Consequently, there will be more anger, fear, and frustration, because for the mind that is fixed on itself, change is perceived as chaos. The suffering is then caused by emotional attachments, stubbornness and the paranoid fixation on using outdated systems and not knowing how to adapt properly. In essence, AI is a problem for the selfish mind - rooted in cognitive rationalizations -, but an opportunity of great value for the self-reflective mind - capable of a metacognitive analysis. And the reason why nobody seems to understand this is precisely because, until now, everyone separated the mind from the spirit, while not knowing how a spiritual ascension actually goes through the mind. And this realization, obviously, will turn all religions obsolete too. Some have already come to this conclusion, and they are the ones who are ready.
Dan Desmarques
Perhaps the greatest parallel is my recollection of childhood in Germany: The war was far away. Life was tranquil. One felt secure. There was an air of normalcy that one somehow knew didn’t exist anywhere else. We were a favored nation. We were the beneficiaries of all that bloodletting. We were the ones for whom it was being done. Even as a child I could sense that one didn’t have to feel guilty about our enjoyment of life, because that was precisely what gave all those military actions their purpose. The normalcy of the home front was the legitimation for the war. In carrying on as always we were playing our part in justifying the war. Nothing could happen to us because then the war would no longer make any sense. The unreality of it all—and the suffering it inflicted on so many people—did not come home until later.
Roderick Stackelberg (Into the Twenty-First Century: A Memoir, 1999 - 2012)
Before the twentieth century, ideology - as opposed to religion - did not kill people by the millions and tens of millions. The stakes were not thought to be worth it. Such enthusiasm for mass murder awaited the combination of aristocratic militarism, really-existing socialism, and fascism. Thus it was only in the twentieth century that utopian aspirations about how the economy should be organized led nations and global movements to build dystopias to try to bring the utopian future closer. And then they turned around and justified the dystopia: compromises must be made, and this is as good as it is going to get. My view is that too much mental and historical energy has been spent parsing differences between movements that are justly classified as dystopian, and even totalitarian, in aspiration. Time spent on such a task is time wasted, given their commonalities - if not in formal doctrine, then at least in modes of operation. The guards of Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka, Dachau, and the rest were very like the guards of the Gulag Archipelago. Rather, mental and historical energy should be focused on where these movements got their energy. Why was the world unable to offer people a society in which they could live good lives? Why was a total reconfiguration necessary? Karl Polanyi saw fascism and socialism as reactions against the market society's inability or unwillingness to satisfy people's Polanyian rights. It could not guarantee them a comfortable community in which to live because the use to which land was put had to pass a profitability test. It could not offer them an income commensurate with what they deserved because the wage paid to their occupation had to pass a profitability test. And it could not offer them stable employment because the financing to support whatever value chain they were embedded in also had to pass a profitability test. These failures all gave energy to the thought that there needed to be a fundamental reconfiguration of economy and society that would respect people's Polanyian rights. And the hope of millions was that fascism and really-existing socialism would do so. Instead, both turned out to erase, in brutal and absolute ways, people's rights, and people's lives, by the millions. So why were people so gullible? The German socialist Rosa Luxemburg in 1919 could see the path Lenin was embarked upon and called it 'a brutalization of public life: attempted assassinations, shooting of hostages, etc.' The German liberal Max Weber, writing in 1918, could also foresee what would become of Lenin's sociological experiment, saying it would end 'in a laboratory with heaps of human corpses.' Similarly, the British diplomat Eric Phipps wrote in 1935 that if Britain were to take Hitler's Mein Kampf seriously and literally, 'we should logically be bound to adopt the policy of a "preventive" war.' The dangers of a fascist turn were clear. The unlikelihood of success at even slouching toward a good society of those who took that turn ought to have been obvious. Utopian faith is a helluva drug.
J. Bradford DeLong (Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century)
To be your own and belong to yourself means that the most fundamental truth about existence is that you are responsible for your existence and everything it entails. I am responsible for living a life of purpose, of defining my identity, of interpreting meaningful events, of choosing my values, and electing where I belong. If I belong to myself, then I am the only one who can set limits on who I am or what I can do. No one else has the right to define me, to choose my journey in life, or to assure me that I am okay. I belong to myself. But the freedom of sovereign individualism comes at a great price. Once I am liberated from all social, moral, natural, and religious values, I become responsible for the meaning of my own life. With no God to judge or justify me, I have to be my own judge and redeemer. This burden manifests as a desperate need to justify our lives through identity crafting and expression.
Alan Noble (You Are Not Your Own: Belonging to God in an Inhuman World)
If your lifemate is so enthralled with you that he would allow you such foolishness,” Gregori replied softly, menacingly, “then I can do no other than protect you myself.” “Don’t you talk about Mikhail like that!” Raven was furious. You really know how to stir up the hornets’ nest with the women, do you not? Mikhail demanded, even though he understood Gregori completely and felt him justified. Gregori did not look at him but stared out into the storm. The child she carries is my lifemate. It is female and belongs to me. There was an unmistakable warning note, an actual threat. In all their centuries together, such a thing had never happened. Mikhail immediately closed his mind to Raven. She could never hope to understand how Gregori felt. Without a lifemate, the healer had no choice but to eventually destroy himself or become the very epitome of evil. The vampire. The walking dead. Gregori had spent endless centuries waiting for his lifemate, holding on when those younger than he had given in. Gregori had defended their people, lived a solitary existence so that he might keep their race safe. He was far more alone than the others of his kind, and far more susceptible to the call of power as he had to hunt and kill often. Mikhail could not blame his oldest friend for his possessive, protective streak toward the unborn child. He spoke calmly and firmly, hoping to avoid a confrontation. Gregori had held on for so long, this promise of a lifemate could send him careening over the edge into the dark madness if he felt there was a danger to the female child. Raven is not like Carpathian woman. You have always known and accepted that. she will not remain in seclusion during this time. She would wither and die. Gregori actually snarled, a menacing rumble that froze Shea in place, put Jacques into a crouch, and had Mikhail shifting position for a better defense. Raven pushed past Mikhail’s strong body and fearlessly laid a hand on the healer’s arm. Everyone else might think Gregori could turn at any moment, but he had held on for centuries, and she believed implicitly that he would no more hurt her than he would her child. “Gregori, don’t be angry with Mikhail.” Her voice was soft and gentle. “His first duty to me is to see to my happiness.” “It is to see to your protection.” Gregori’s voice was a blend of heat and light.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
I write not to justify a portfolio of personal failures. I do not seek to moralize or cast blame for my follies and catastrophes upon other people. I do not seek to malign other persons when documenting a series of unpleasant personal encounters in an unyielding society. I desire to overcome myself. I write in an attempt to alter my worldview, calm the soul, find serenity, extinguish hatred, and discover those elementary feelings of wellbeing which subsist permanently in humankind, which are independent of culture, race, class, and time. I write in an effort to discover the moral sublimity underlying existence. I write in order to understand myself and to transfigure myself. Writing is my attempt to rise beyond the facileness of my prior existence. I write in an effort to transcend the prodigious pain of living a profligate life. I write in an attempt to transmute my personage from that of an ordinary toad who despises all of his visible warts. I write in an attempt to decipher how to overcome a penchant for personal aggressiveness and brutality and become kind and gentle. I write in an attempt to discover how I can become a wise person who courageously faces the obstacles of life and exhibits grace and poise in the horror of his blackest days. I write to create an artifact of an intact and pacific persona.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
As I have found on several occasions over the past few years whilst having to justify to the Jobcentre my surplus existence as if defending my own case in some interminable trial, the stigmatising effect of its thinly veiled interrogatory discourse is felt personally as an irrational sense of guilt. The ideological apparatus of the Jobcentre routinely interpellates the claimant as lazy or wilfully inadequate if not downright fraudulent, and under such pressure even the most conscientious or self-assured person would struggle not to internalise this image.
Ivor Southwood (Non Stop Inertia)
Reason, truth, innocence." Royce sat back against the wall and folded his arms. "Unicorns, pixies, and dragons. You're not that young to believe in such such things. How is it you fancy yourself a resident of a make believe world?" "I told you, at this point it's a choice." "It's not. It's fooling yourself. "I can decide between eating fish or pork, but I can only pretend to eat unicorn meat. I can't actually eat a unicorn. The world is the world and you live in it with open eyes or choose to be blind. It's all the same to me but don't stand there pretending you're right." Hadrian grimaced. _There are so many things wrong with that statement. Only Royce could think of a unicorn eating metaphor. Where do thoughts like that bubble up from?_ ... Hadrian had a point of his own. "You always wear black and gray. That's a choice too, and it says a lot about you." "It says I don't like to be seen at night." "It says you like to hide. And people who like to hide are usually up to no good. That's a message you declare to everyone you meet, and people receive it as you might expect. Then when others don't trust you; when they avoid you; hurt or arrest you for doing nothing, your worldview is justified. "So, you're right. You can't eat unicorns in your world because they don't exist. But they do in mine. But they do in mine. Probably because in my world we don't eat them.
Michael J. Sullivan (The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter (The Riyria Chronicles, #4))
And so it is going to be on me to keep the faith that I am not so low that everybody is better off without me, including my children. It is going to be on me to find the faith that Martin’s ex-wife could not find—the faith that I still matter, even if I am no longer any man’s Most Important Priority, even if I am not the mother I thought I’d be. Even if the only reason I can find to justify my continued existence is that the trauma of me alive is far lesser than the trauma of me dead; even if only for the sake of my children because I have lost any sense of myself as deserving of anything, this becomes the moment—alone in what was once my marital bed while my children sleep downstairs—that I refuse to join the endless body count of women lost to History. This dark night, I resolve to believe, irrevocably and whatever the cost, that I deserve to live.
Gina Frangello (Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason)
There are two creative conditions that I hold near and dear to my heart and mind when it comes to knowledge production: first, the more we know, the more we know how little we know. That makes it such that we soon realize how hard it is to add something new to the wide and deep ocean of knowledge. Second, it is hard to justify the existence of any work, in any field of knowledge, that doesn’t fully exceed everything that has ever been done in that field. If these two creative conditions are true, then that explains why it is hard to produce groundbreaking knowledge in all its forms, shapes, and manifestations.
Louis Yako
Decolonizing knowledge shouldn’t put us in the position of only producing knowledge as a reaction to Western knowledge. Our existence should not become one in which everything we produce is to justify our intellectual existence vis-à-vis the West. It means to produce what we see as important, fit, and nurturing to our communities, countries, and cultures, in separation from the West and its colonial and imperial agenda. This way, we will ensure to not waste our energy in simply reacting to the West to justify the value of our contribution to knowledge. My point is that it is important to understand that constantly talking about colonization with colonizers is neither our job nor is it always effective. In some cases, it is like beating a dead horse. As is well known, beating a dead horse doesn’t bring it back to life – it simply makes its death louder and noisier.
Louis Yako
You’re an animal, Sibling Dex. You are not separate or other. You’re an animal. And animals have no purpose. Nothing has a purpose. The world simply is. If you want to do things that are meaningful to others, fine! Good! So do I! But if I wanted to crawl into a cave and watch stalagmites with Frostfrog for the remainder of my days, that would also be both fine and good. You keep asking why your work is not enough, and I don’t know how to answer that, because it is enough to exist in the world and marvel at it. You don’t need to justify that, or earn it. You are allowed to just live. That is all most animals do.” Mosscap
Becky Chambers (A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, #1))
If grace is God’s answer, the gift of Christian life, then we cannot for a moment dispense with following Christ. But if grace is the data for my Christian life, it means that I set out to live the Christian life in the world with all my sins justified beforehand. I can go and sin as much as I like, and rely on this grace to forgive me, for after all the world is justified in principle by grace. I can therefore cling to my bourgeois secular existence, and remain as I was before, but with the added assurance that the grace of God will cover me. It is under the influence of this kind of “grace” that the world has been made “Christian,” but at the cost of secularizing the Christian religion as never before.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
He was as interested as the rest of us in experimenting with new sounds and effects, but alongside his inventiveness he also added a more thoughtful, structured approach, with the patience to develop a musical idea to its full potential. He also looked good, and had managed to leapfrog the phase when a hair perm was considered the height of tonsorial fashion. Meanwhile, Rick was supplying texture and melody, and Roger drive, discipline and musical forethought. As drummers are a law unto themselves, I fortunately have never had to justify my existence in quite the same way.
Nick Mason (Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd (Reading Edition): (Rock and Roll Book, Biography of Pink Floyd, Music Book))
We do!” “You don’t, if you believe that. You’re an animal, Sibling Dex. You are not separate or other. You’re an animal. And animals have no purpose. Nothing has a purpose. The world simply is. If you want to do things that are meaningful to others, fine! Good! So do I! But if I wanted to crawl into a cave and watch stalagmites with Frostfrog for the remainder of my days, that would also be both fine and good. You keep asking why your work is not enough, and I don’t know how to answer that, because it is enough to exist in the world and marvel at it. You don’t need to justify that, or earn it. You are allowed to just live. That is all most animals do.
Becky Chambers (A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, #1))
For many years I looked at life like a case at law. It was a series of proofs. When you’re young you prove how brave you are, or smart; then, what a good lover; then, a good father; finally, how wise, or powerful or [whatever.] But underlying it all, I see now, there was a presumption. That one moved…on an upward path toward some elevation, where…God knows what…I would be justified, or even condemned. A verdict anyway. I think now that my disaster really began when I looked up one day…and the bench was empty. No judge in sight. And all that remained was the endless argument with oneself, this pointless litigation of existence before an empty bench…. Which, of course, is another way of saying—despair.20
Timothy J. Keller (The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism)
In the cloudy swirl of misleading ideas surrounding public discussion of addiction, there’s one that stands out: the misconception that drug taking by itself will lead to addiction — in other words, that the cause of addiction resides in the power of the drug over the human brain. It is one of the bedrock fables sustaining the so-called “War on Drugs.” It also obscures the existence of a basic addiction process of which drugs are only one possible object, among many. Compulsive gambling, for example, is widely considered to be a form of addiction without anyone arguing that it’s caused by a deck of cards. The notion that addiction is drug-induced is often reinforced. Clearly, if drugs by themselves could cause addiction, we would not be safe offering narcotics to anyone. Medical evidence has repeatedly shown that opioids prescribed for cancer pain, even for long periods of time, do not lead to addiction except in a minority of susceptible people. During my years working on a palliative care ward I sometimes treated terminally ill cancer patients with extraordinarily high doses of narcotics — doses that my hardcore addict clients could only dream of. If the pain was alleviated by other means — for example, when patient was successfully given a nerve block for bone pain due to malignant deposits in the spine — the morphine could be rapidly discontinued. Yet if anyone had reason to seek oblivion through narcotic addiction, it would have been these terminally ill human beings. An article in the Canadian Journal of Medicine in 2006 reviewed international research covering over six thousand people who had received narcotics for chronic pain that was not cancerous in origin. There was no significant risk of addiction, a finding common to all studies that examine the relationship between addiction and the use of narcotics for pain relief. “Doubts or concerns about opioid efficacy, toxicity, tolerance, and abuse or addiction should no longer be used to justify withholding opioids,” concluded a large study of patients with chronic pain due to rheumatic disease. We can never understand addiction if we look for its sources exclusively in the actions of chemicals, no matter how powerful they are.
Gabor Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
And mind you, Muslims would still regard this onslaught as essentially defensive—a defensive action against the aggressions of unbelief. If Muslims must fight until unbelief does not exist, the mere presence of unbelief constitutes sufficient aggression to commence hostilities. This is one of the foundations for the supremacist notion that Muslims must wage war against unbelievers until those unbelievers are either converted to Islam or subjugated under the rule of Islamic law, as verse 9:29 states explicitly. As Muhammad puts it in an Islamic tradition: “I have been commanded to fight against people, till they testify to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and believe in me (that) I am the messenger (from the Lord) and in all that I have brought. And when they do it, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my behalf except where it is justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah.”16 Thus, if one does not accept Muhammad as a prophet, the sanctity of one’s life and possessions (“blood and riches”) is not guaranteed.
Robert Spencer (The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran (Complete Infidel's Guides))
It only takes a single harrowing moment to realize that everyone is insane regardless of how sane they feel. That all decisions, reactions are justified by your individual madness. It is important to know it, this madness exists. I know it exists. I know how it impacts everything I do despite not knowing what reach my actions will have. Dust is just skin we have left behind and some people are more themselves than others.
Apollo Figueiredo (A Laugh in the Spoke)
My sweet girl, I will never do anything less than worship you. Every time I feel you or touch your soul, it'll be etched on that beautiful mind of yours forever-and beyond that. I've told you all of this before. There aren't words in existence that could justify my feelings for you. I've persued the English dictionary for hours looking for them- nothing. When I try to express myself, nothing seems adequate. Yet I know how profound your feelings are for me. And that makes reality almost impossible to comprehend. If you want to take this letter as my official promise to never leave you, then I'll have framedand hung above our bed. If you wnat me to say these words aloud, then I'll do it on my knee's before you. You are my soul Olivia Taylor. You are my light. You are my reason to breathe. Don't ever doubt that. Be mine for eternity. I beg you. Because I promise I am yours. Never stop loving me. Eternally yours, Miller Hart x
Jodi Ellen Malpas (One Night Unveiled (One Night, #3))
My first night with Beck, she told me, 'I had many times in my life where I could have either chased despair or been weird. I chose weird.' Beck says that a third of people who sign up for life-coach training don't know what they want from it. They are looking for something different. Something weird. This is where Beck comes in with her shaman friends and her psychic ponies. Her coaching is designed to give women permission to be weird, because who knows? Beck believes that weirdness, or being open to weirdness, is the key to a more meaningful existence. Dorothy Dix advised women on how to disguise their weirdness; she believed there was always a way, even without a husband, for a woman to contribute to society. Dear Abby and Ann Landers were dogged in their insistence that were only a select number of ways to live. Beck continues in the tradition of Mildred Newman, training her followers to ignore the judgements of others and their own self-doubt. But Newman was concerned only with the health and satisfaction of her patients and readers, wheres Beck thinks all this self-care leads to something awesome, in the most literal sense of the word, that it generates miracles and time travel and a new world order. She senses, perhaps, that this is what her readers need to hear. Newman's followers, especially the celebrity set, were focused on and delighted by their own achievements, but Beck's followers are more self-conscious and coy. Their self-care needs to be justified.
Jessica Weisberg (Asking for a Friend: Three Centuries of Advice on Life, Love, Money, and Other Burning Questions from a Nation Obsessed)
Babylon makes two kinds of promises - maximum control and maximum freedom. With maximum control, I am in complete control of my destiny. I form my identity and justify my existence, needing noone else to define or shape my life. I belong to myself. Maximum freedom is a newer development. In previous societies, people identified themselves as citizens and neighbours. But now, we are primarily consumers and spectators.
John Starke (The Secret Place of Thunder: Trading Our Need to Be Noticed for a Hidden Life with Christ)