Learning Organizations Quotes

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I’ve learned that you can’t predict [love] or plan for it. For someone like me who is obsessed with organization and planning, I love the idea that love is the one exception to that. Love is the one wild card.
Taylor Swift
I waited patiently - years - for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to start reading Jane Austen, learn how to knit, pretend to love cosmos, organize scrapbook parties, and make out with each other while we leer. And then we'd say, Yeah, he's a Cool Guy.
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Sometimes life gets in your way. it gets all up in your damn way. But it doesn't get all up in your damn way because it wants you to just give up and let it take control. Life doesn't get all up in your damn way because it just wants you to hand it all over and be carried along. Life wants you to fight it Learn how to make it your own. it wants you to grab and axe and hack through the wood. It wants you to get a sledgehammer and break through concrete. It wants you to grab a torch and burn through the metal and steel until you can reach through and grab it. Life wants you to grab all the organized, the alphabetized, the chronological, the sequenced. It wants you to mix it all together, stir it up, blend it.
Colleen Hoover (Slammed (Slammed, #1))
You have to open up to the world and learn optimism...Contentment with the past, happiness with the present, and hope for the future. Learned optimisim.
Jennifer Crusie (Agnes and the Hitman (The Organization, #0))
The curse of mortality. You spend the first portion of your life learning, growing stronger, more capable. And then, through no fault of your own, your body begins to fail. You regress. Strong limbs become feeble, keen senses grow dull, hardy constitutions deteriorate. Beauty withers. Organs quit. You remember yourself in your prime, and wonder where that person went. As your wisdom and experience are peaking, your traitorous body becomes a prison.
Brandon Mull (Fablehaven (Fablehaven, #1))
The American people have this to learn: that where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither person nor property is safe.
Frederick Douglass
The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic, long-term learning process, and not to live in a shell of static, safe mediocrity. Usually, growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or safety.
Josh Waitzkin (The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence)
We have learned that trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body. This imprint has ongoing consequences for how the human organism manages to survive in the present. Trauma results in a fundamental reorganization of the way mind and brain manage perceptions. It changes not only how we think and what we think about, but also our very capacity to think.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
People with large book collections are almost always diligent learners.
Marie Kondō (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing)
Children learn what they live. Put kids in a class and they will live out their lives in an invisible cage, isolated from their chance at community; interrupt kids with bells and horns all the time and they will learn that nothing is important or worth finishing; ridicule them and they will retreat from human association; shame them and they will find a hundred ways to get even. The habits taught in large-scale organizations are deadly.
John Taylor Gatto
I wish someone had just told me the truth right up front, as soon as I was old enough to understand it. I wish someone had just said: “Here’s the deal, Wade. You’re something called a ‘human being.’ That’s a really smart kind of animal. Like every other animal on this planet, we’re descended from a single-celled organism that lived millions of years ago. This happened by a process called evolution, and you’ll learn more about it But trust me, that’s really how we all got here. There’s proof of it everywhere, buried in the rocks. That story you heard? About how we were all created by a super-powerful dude named God who lives up in the sky? Total bullshit. The whole God thing is actually an ancient fairy tale that people have been telling one another for thousands of years. We made it all up. Like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. “Oh, and by the way … there’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny. Also bullshit. Sorry, kid Deal with it.
Ernest Cline (Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1))
Challenge a person's beliefs, and you challenge his dignity, standing, and power. And when those beliefs are based on nothing but faith, they are chronically fragile. No one gets upset about the belief that rocks fall down as opposed to up, because all sane people can see it with their own eyes. Not so for the belief that babies are born with original sin or that God exists in three persons or that Ali is the second-most divinely inspired man after Muhammad. When people organize their lives around these beliefs, and then learn of other people who seem to be doing just fine without them--or worse, who credibly rebut them--they are in danger of looking like fools. Since one cannot defend a belief based on faith by persuading skeptics it is true, the faithful are apt to react to unbelief with rage, and may try to eliminate that affront to everything that makes their lives meaningful.
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
the bad leader is he who the people despise; the good leader is he who the people praise; the great leader is he who the people say, "We did it ourselves
Peter M. Senge (The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization)
Nagumo was suddenly on his own. At this crucial time, the cost of his failure to learn the complicated factors that played into carrier operations suddenly exploded. Now, when every minute counted, it was too late to learn the complexities involved in loading different munitions on different types of planes on the hangar deck, too late to learn how the planes were organized and spotted on the flight decks, too late to learn the flight capabilities of his different types of planes, and far too late to know how to integrate all those factors into a fast-moving and efficient operation with the planes and ordnance available at that moment. Commander Genda, his brilliant operations officer, couldn’t make the decisions for him now. It was all up to Nagumo. At 0730 on June 4, 1942, years of shipbuilding, training, and strategic planning had all come to this moment. Teams of highly trained pilots, flight deck personnel, mechanics, and hundreds of other sailors were ready and awaiting his command. The entire course of the battle, of the Combined Fleet, and even perhaps of Japan were going to bear the results of his decisions, then and there.
Dale A. Jenkins (Diplomats & Admirals: From Failed Negotiations and Tragic Misjudgments to Powerful Leaders and Heroic Deeds, the Untold Story of the Pacific War from Pearl Harbor to Midway)
The most effective people are those who can "hold" their vision while remaining committed to seeing current reality clearly
Peter M. Senge (The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization)
Courage is simply doing whatever is needed in pursuit of the vision
Peter M. Senge (The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization)
I didn’t hear words that were accurate, much less prideful. For example, I never once heard the word clitoris. It would be years before I learned that females possessed the only organ in the human body with no function than to feel pleasure. (If such an organ were unique to the male body, can you imagine how much we would hear about it—and what it would be used to justify?)
Gloria Steinem (The Vagina Monologues)
The only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization's ability to learn faster than the competition.
Peter M. Senge
Constructive criticism and self-criticism are extremely important for any revolutionary organization. Without them, people tend to drown in their mistakes, not learn from them.
Assata Shakur (Assata: An Autobiography)
This is the awe-inspiring universe of magic: There are no atoms, only waves and motions all around. Here, you discard all belief in barriers to understanding. You put aside understanding itself. This universe cannot be seen, cannot be heard, cannot be detected in any way by fixed perceptions. It is the ultimate void where no preordained screens occur upon which forms may be projected. You have only one awareness here—the screen of the magi: Imagination! Here, you learn what it is to be human. You are a creator of order, of beautiful shapes and systems, an organizer of chaos.
Frank Herbert (Heretics of Dune (Dune Chronicles #5))
How can a person have a sense of something if he does not have the germ of it within himself. What I am to understand must develop organically within me--and what I seem to learn is only nourishment--stimulation of the organism.
Novalis
Doubt, I’ve learned, is wisdom. And the older I get, the less I know for certain. Those leaders who never think they are wrong, who never question their judgments or perspectives, are a danger to the organizations and people they lead. In some cases, they are a danger to the nation and the world.
James B. Comey (A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership)
Karl Marx said, “The task is not just to understand the world but to change it.” A variant to keep in mind is that if you want to change the world you’d better try to understand it. That doesn’t mean listening to a talk or reading a book, though that’s helpful sometimes. You learn from participating. You learn from others. You learn from the people you’re trying to organize. We all have to gain the understanding and the experience to formulate and implement ideas.
Noam Chomsky
Just as Wallace learned and evolved, Ali was on his own journey of discovery. Starting out as a 15-year-old cook, Ali learned to collect and mount specimens. He took on responsibility for organizing travel. He nursed Wallace during many bouts of fever and injury.
Paul Spencer Sochaczewski ("Look Here, Sir, What a Curious Bird": Searching for Ali, Alfred Russel Wallace's Faithful Companion)
Because we cannot scrub our inner body we need to learn a few skills to help cleanse our tissues, organs, and mind. This is the art of Ayurveda.
Sebastian Pole (Discovering the True You with Ayurveda: How to Nourish, Rejuvenate, and Transform Your Life)
What it takes to do a job will not be learned from management courses. It is principally a matter of experience, the proper attitude, and common sense — none of which can be taught in a classroom... Human experience shows that people, not organizations or management systems, get things done.
Hyman G. Rickover
In the presence of greatness, pettiness disappears. In the absence of a great dream, pettiness prevails.
Peter M. Senge (The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization)
We will bring humanity across the vast Saharas of emptiness between the stars and create a dynamic, perpetually advancing empire that spans galaxies, universes, and realities. Just as our ancestors wove fabric from organic matter, our descendants will weave the fabric of reality. Humanity’s descendants will be entities beyond our wildest conceptions of the divine. Omnipotence and the ability to create universes will be the least of their powers. Whether they are good or evil—whether they even come to be at all—is up to us. In that sense, we have even more power than they do.
Simone Collins (The Pragmatist’s Guide to Crafting Religion: A playbook for sculpting cultures that overcome demographic collapse & facilitate long-term human flourishing (The Pragmatist's Guide))
I wanted very much to learn to draw, for a reason that I kept to myself: I wanted to convey an emotion I have about the beauty of the world. It's difficult to describe because it's an emotion. It's analogous to the feeling one has in religion that has to do with a god that controls everything in the whole universe: there's a generality aspect that you feel when you think about how things that appear so different and behave so differently are all run "behind the scenes" by the same organization, the same physical laws. It's an appreciation of the mathematical beauty of nature, of how she works inside; a realization that the phenomena we see result from the complexity of the inner workings between atoms; a feeling of how dramatic and wonderful it is. It's a feeling of awe — of scientific awe — which I felt could be communicated through a drawing to someone who had also had this emotion. It could remind him, for a moment, of this feeling about the glories of the universe.
Richard P. Feynman (Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character)
We can't control on how each day will fall, but we can control how we fall into each day. Learn to make adjustments to match the circumstances.
Anthony Liccione
Learn to start each day by smiling inwardly to your vital organs and thanking them for sustaining your life.
Mantak Chia (Chi Nei Tsang: Chi Massage for the Vital Organs)
The seasons tell us, everything in organic life tells us, that there is no holding on; still, we try to do just that. Sometimes, though, we learn the kind of wisdom that celebrates the open hand.
Elizabeth Berg (Never Change)
An early lesson I learned in my career was that whenever a large organization attempts to do anything, it always comes down to a single person who can delay the entire project.
Ben Horowitz (The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers)
And it came to pass that AC learned how to reverse the direction of entropy. But there was now no man to whom AC might give the answer of the last question. No matter. The answer--by demonstration--would take care of that, too. For another timeless interval, AC thought how best to do this. Carefully, AC organized the program. The consciousness of AC encompassed all of what had been a Universe and brooded over what was now Chaos. Step by step, it must be done. And AC said, "LET THERE BE LIGHT!" And there was light--
Isaac Asimov (Robot Dreams (Robot, #0.4))
Sometimes people walk away from love because it is so beautiful that it terrifies them. Sometimes they leave because the connection shines a bright light on their dark places and they are not ready to work them through. Sometimes they run away because they are not developmentally prepared to merge with another- they have more individuation work to do first. Sometimes they take off because love is not a priority in their lives- they have another path and purpose to walk first. Sometimes they end it because they prefer a relationship that is more practical than conscious, one that does not threaten the ways that they organize reality. Because so many of us carry shame, we have a tendency to personalize love's leavings, triggered by the rejection and feelings of abandonment. But this is not always true. Sometimes it has nothing to do with us. Sometimes the one who leaves is just not ready to hold it safe. Sometimes they know something we don't- they know their limits at that moment in time. Real love is no easy path- readiness is everything. May we grieve loss without personalizing it. May we learn to love ourselves in the absence of the lover.
Jeff Brown
-Put on the lights there, now. Before we go any further here, has it ever occurred to any of you that all this is simply one grand misunderstanding? Since you're not here to learn anything, but to be taught so you can pass these tests, knowledge has to be organized so it can be taught, and it has to be reduced to information so it can be organized do you follow that? In other words this leads you to assume that organization is an inherent property of knowledge itself, and that disorder and chaos are simply irrelevant forces that threaten it from outside. In fact it's exactly the opposite. Order is simply a thin, perilous condition we try to impose on the basic reality of chaos...
William Gaddis (JR)
More sports for everyone, group spirit, fun and you don't have to think, eh? Organize and organize and superorganize super-super sports. More cartoons in books. More pictures. The mind drinks less and less.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
Let us learn to dream, gentlemen, then perhaps we shall find the truth
August Kekulé
Reality is made up of circles but we see straight lines.
Peter M. Senge (The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization)
The conscious experience of being a subject arises when a single organism learns to enslave itself.
Thomas Metzinger (The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self)
The "non-profit" institution neither supplies goods or services not controls. Its "product" is neither a pair of shoes nor an effective regulation. Its product is a changed human being. The non-profit institutions are human-change agents. Their "product" is a cured patient, a child that learns, a young man or woman grown into a self-respecting adult; a changed human life altogether.
Peter F. Drucker (Managing the Non-Profit Organization: Principles and Practices)
truthfully, this is the fabric of all my fantasies: love shown not by a kiss or a wild look or a careful hand but by a willingness for research. i don’t dream of someone who understands me immediately, who seems to have known me my entire life, who says, i know me too. i want someone keen to learn my own strange organization, amazed at what’s revealed; someone who asks, and then what, and then what?
Elizabeth McCracken (The Giant's House)
By instructing students how to learn, unlearn and relearn, a powerful new dimension can be added to education. Psychologist Herbert Gerjuoy of the Human Resources Research Organization phrases it simply: ‘The new education must teach the individual how to classify and reclassify information, how to evaluate its veracity, how to change categories when necessary, how to move from the concrete to the abstract and back, how to look at problems from a new direction—how to teach himself. Tomorrow’s illiterate will not be the man who can’t read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn.
Alvin Toffler
Have you ever had the experience where you thought what you were doing was a good thing but later learned that it had hurt someone? At the time, you were totally unconcerned, oblivious to the other person’s feelings. This is somewhat similar to the way many of us treat our socks.
Marie Kondō (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Magic Cleaning #1))
If the professor is not capable of giving a class without preparation, don’t attend. People should only teach what they have learned organically, through experience and curiosity…or get another job.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (Incerto Book 4))
Learning organic chemistry is not any more challenging than getting to know some new characters. The elements each have their own unique personalities. The more you understand those personalities, the more you will be able to read their situations and predict the outcomes of reactions.” —Kathleen Nolta, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer in Chemistry
Barbara Oakley (A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra))
Thinking is computation, I claim, but that does not mean that the computer is a good metaphor for the mind. The mind is a set of modules, but the modules are not encapsulated boxes or circumscribed swatches on the surface of the brain. The organization of our mental modules comes from our genetic program, but that does not mean that there is a gene for every trait or that learning is less important than we used to think. The mind is an adaptation designed by natural selection, but that does not mean that everything we think, feel, and do is biologically adaptive. We evolved from apes, but that does not mean we have the same minds as apes. And the ultimate goal of natural selection is to propagate genes, but that does not mean that the ultimate goal of people is to propagate genes.
Steven Pinker (How the Mind Works)
We define learning as the transformative process of taking in information that, when internalized and mixed with what we have experienced, changes what we know and builds on what we can do. It’s based on input, process, and reflection. It is what changes us.
Marcia Conner (The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media)
This is a crucial job of being an organizer. You leave a dark basement and try to explain to people in the sunshine what it's like to live down there. I've learned this is best done by bringing these different groups of people together. Those with extra money discover how much more satisfying it is to see talent and fairness grow then to see objects accumulate. Those without money learn the valuable lesson that money doesn't cure all woes. Instead, it may actually insulate and isolate.
Gloria Steinem
There are so many important lessons I’ve learned in my journey to now. Trust your instincts, follow your bliss, make plans, work hard, learn to let things go. Don’t be late. Remember that fortune favors the brave. Live. If you need to run, try and run toward something. Study for tests. Laugh at silly cartoons. Be organized. If you fall seven times, get up eight. Always carry an extra pen. Believe you can do everything. Find your key. And the most valuable lesson I’ve learned will forever live in my heart, right beside my husband. Love the one who proves to you that happily ever after is only the beginning.
Nina Lane (Awaken (Spiral of Bliss, #3))
And we learned, perhaps the hard way, that church isn’t static. It’s not a building, or a denomination, or a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Church is a moment in time when the kingdom of God draws near, when a meal, a story, a song, an apology, and even a failure is made holy by the presence of Jesus among us and within us.
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
... one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader. And I shall tell you why. When we read a book for the first time the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation. When we look at a painting we do no have to move our eyes in a special way even if, as in a book, the picture contains elements of depth and development. The element of time does not really enter in a first contact with a painting. In reading a book, we must have time to acquaint ourselves with it. We have no physical organ (as we have the eye in regard to a painting) that takes in the whole picture and can enjoy its details. But at a second, or third, or fourth reading we do, in a sense, behave towards a book as we do towards a painting. However, let us not confuse the physical eye, that monstrous achievement of evolution, with the mind, an even more monstrous achievement. A book, no matter what it is - a work of fiction or a work of science (the boundary line between the two is not as clear as is generally believed) - a book of fiction appeals first of all to the mind. The mind, the brain, the top of the tingling spine, is, or should be, the only instrument used upon a book.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lectures on Literature)
But it so happens that everything on this planet is, ultimately, irrational; there is not, and cannot be, any reason for the causal connexion of things, if only because our use of the word "reason" already implies the idea of causal connexion. But, even if we avoid this fundamental difficulty, Hume said that causal connexion was not merely unprovable, but unthinkable; and, in shallower waters still, one cannot assign a true reason why water should flow down hill, or sugar taste sweet in the mouth. Attempts to explain these simple matters always progress into a learned lucidity, and on further analysis retire to a remote stronghold where every thing is irrational and unthinkable. If you cut off a man's head, he dies. Why? Because it kills him. That is really the whole answer. Learned excursions into anatomy and physiology only beg the question; it does not explain why the heart is necessary to life to say that it is a vital organ. Yet that is exactly what is done, the trick that is played on every inquiring mind. Why cannot I see in the dark? Because light is necessary to sight. No confusion of that issue by talk of rods and cones, and optical centres, and foci, and lenses, and vibrations is very different to Edwin Arthwait's treatment of the long-suffering English language. Knowledge is really confined to experience. The laws of Nature are, as Kant said, the laws of our minds, and, as Huxley said, the generalization of observed facts. It is, therefore, no argument against ceremonial magic to say that it is "absurd" to try to raise a thunderstorm by beating a drum; it is not even fair to say that you have tried the experiment, found it would not work, and so perceived it to be "impossible." You might as well claim that, as you had taken paint and canvas, and not produced a Rembrandt, it was evident that the pictures attributed to his painting were really produced in quite a different way. You do not see why the skull of a parricide should help you to raise a dead man, as you do not see why the mercury in a thermometer should rise and fall, though you elaborately pretend that you do; and you could not raise a dead man by the aid of the skull of a parricide, just as you could not play the violin like Kreisler; though in the latter case you might modestly add that you thought you could learn. This is not the special pleading of a professed magician; it boils down to the advice not to judge subjects of which you are perfectly ignorant, and is to be found, stated in clearer and lovelier language, in the Essays of Thomas Henry Huxley.
Aleister Crowley
To confuse compulsory schooling with equal educational opportunity is like confusing organized religion with spirituality. One does not necessarily lead to the other. Schooling confuses teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new.
Wendy Priesnitz
And often the worst thing wasn't the victims--they were dead, after all, and beyond any more pain. The worst thing was those who loved them and survived them. Often the walking dead from now on, shell-shocked, hearts ruptured, stumbling through the remainder of their lives without anything left inside of them but blood and organs, impervious to pain, having learned nothing except that the worst things did, in fact, sometimes happen. (Mystic River)
Dennis Lehane
When you get older, you notice your sheets are dirty. Sometimes, you do something about it. And sometimes, you read the front page of the newspaper and sometimes you floss and sometimes you stop biting your nails and sometimes you meet a friend for lunch. You still crave lemonade, but the taste doesn’t satisfy you as much as it used to. You still crave summer, but sometimes you mean summer, five years ago. You remember your umbrella, you check up on people to see if they got home, you leave places early to go home and make toast. You stand by the toaster in your underwear and a big t-shirt, wondering if you should just turn in or watch one more hour of television. You laugh at different things. You stop laughing at other things. You think about old loves almost like they are in a museum. The socks, you notice, aren’t organized into pairs and you mentally make a note of it. You cover your mouth when you sneeze, reaching for the box of tissues you bought, contains aloe. When you get older, you try different shampoos. You find one you like. You try sleeping early and spin class and jogging again. You try a book you almost read but couldn’t finish. You wrap yourself in the blankets of: familiar t-shirts, caffe au lait, dim tv light, texts with old friends or new people you really want to like and love you. You lose contact with friends from college, and only sometimes you think about it. When you do, it feels bad and almost bitter. You lose people, and when other people bring them up, you almost pretend like you know what they are doing. You try to stop touching your face and become invested in things like expensive salads and trying parsnips and saving up for a vacation you really want. You keep a spare pen in a drawer. You look at old pictures of yourself and they feel foreign and misleading. You forget things like: purchasing stamps, buying more butter, putting lotion on your elbows, calling your mother back. You learn things like balance: checkbooks, social life, work life, time to work out and time to enjoy yourself. When you get older, you find yourself more in control. You find your convictions appealing, you find you like your body more, you learn to take things in stride. You begin to crave respect and comfort and adventure, all at the same time. You lay in your bed, fearing death, just like you did. You pull lint off your shirt. You smile less and feel content more. You think about changing and then often, you do.
Alida Nugent (You Don't Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism)
Briefly summarising, we can express the proposed law thus: consciousness is bound up with learning in organic substance; organic competence is unconscious. Still more briefly, and put in a form which is admittedly rather obscure and open to misunderstanding: Becoming is conscious, being unconscious.
Erwin Schrödinger (My View of the World)
Why do we sacrifice so much energy to our art? Not in order to teach others but to learn with them what our existence, our organism, our personal and repeatable experience have to give us; to learn to break down the barriers which surround us and to free ourselves from the breaks which hold us back, from the lies about ourselves which we manufacture daily for ourselves and for others; to destroy the limitations caused by our ignorance or lack of courage; in short, to fill the emptiness in us: to fulfill ourselves...art is a ripening, an evolution, an uplifting which enables us to emerge from darkness into a blaze of light.
Jerzy Grotowski
Now, my dear little girl, you have come to an age when the inward life develops and when some people (and on the whole those who have most of a destiny) find that all is not a bed of roses. Among other things there will be waves of terrible sadness, which last sometimes for days; irritation, insensibility, etc., etc., which taken together form a melancholy. Now, painful as it is, this is sent to us for an enlightenment. It always passes off, and we learn about life from it, and we ought to learn a great many good things if we react on it right. (For instance, you learn how good a thing your home is, and your country, and your brothers, and you may learn to be more considerate of other people, who, you now learn, may have their inner weaknesses and sufferings, too.) Many persons take a kind of sickly delight in hugging it; and some sentimental ones may even be proud of it, as showing a fine sorrowful kind of sensibility. Such persons make a regular habit of the luxury of woe. That is the worst possible reaction on it. It is usually a sort of disease, when we get it strong, arising from the organism having generated some poison in the blood; and we mustn't submit to it an hour longer than we can help, but jump at every chance to attend to anything cheerful or comic or take part in anything active that will divert us from our mean, pining inward state of feeling. When it passes off, as I said, we know more than we did before. And we must try to make it last as short as time as possible. The worst of it often is that, while we are in it, we don't want to get out of it. We hate it, and yet we prefer staying in it—that is a part of the disease. If we find ourselves like that, we must make something ourselves to some hard work, make ourselves sweat, etc.; and that is the good way of reacting that makes of us a valuable character. The disease makes you think of yourself all the time; and the way out of it is to keep as busy as we can thinking of things and of other people—no matter what's the matter with our self.
William James
Things nature is good at include - organizing matter in a way that is multi functional, mass customization, network adaptation to circumstance, responsive evolution, growth as a mechanism for construction, decentralization, data management and asset management. Regardless of what kind of business we are talking about, there's something vital to learn from nature.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr. (Principles of a Permaculture Economy)
They were staggered to learn that a real tangible person, living in Minnesota, and married to their own flesh-and-blood relation, could apparently believe that divorce may not always be immoral; that illegitimate children do not bear any special and guaranteed form of curse; that there are ethical authorities outside of the Hebrew Bible; that men have drunk wine yet not died in the gutter; that the capitalistic system of distribution and the Baptist wedding-ceremony were not known in the Garden of Eden; that mushrooms are as edible as corn-beef hash; that the word "dude" is no longer frequently used; that there are Ministers of the Gospel who accept evolution; that some persons of apparent intelligence and business ability do not always vote the Republican ticket straight; that it is not a universal custom to wear scratchy flannels next the skin in winter; that a violin is not inherently more immoral than a chapel organ; that some poets do not have long hair; and that Jews are not always peddlers or pants-makers. "Where does she get all them theories?" marveled Uncle Whittier Smail; while Aunt Bessie inquired, "Do you suppose there's many folks got notions like hers? My! If there are," and her tone settled the fact that there were not, "I just don't know what the world's coming to!
Sinclair Lewis (Main Street)
Has it ever occurred to any of you that all this is simply one grand misunderstanding? Since you're not here to learn anything, but to be taught so you can pass these tests, knowledge has to be organized so it can be taught, and it has to be reduced to information so it can be organized do you follow that? In other words this leads you to assume that organization is an inherent property of the knowledge itself, and that disorder and chaos are simply irrelevant forces that threaten it from the outside. In fact it's exactly the opposite. Order is simply a thin, perilous condition we try to impose on the basic reality of chaos...
William Gaddis (JR)
[Public housing projects] are not lacking in natural leaders,' [Ellen Lurie, a social worker in East Harlem] says. 'They contain people with real ability, wonderful people many of them, but the typical sequence is that in the course of organization leaders have found each other, gotten all involved in each others' social lives, and have ended up talking to nobody but each other. They have not found their followers. Everything tends to degenerate into ineffective cliques, as a natural course. There is no normal public life. Just the mechanics of people learning what s going on is so difficult. It all makes the simplest social gain extra hard for these people.
Jane Jacobs (The Death and Life of Great American Cities)
The true essence of things is invisible to the eyes...Our sensory organs love to lead us astray, and eyes are the most deceptive of all. We rely too heavily on them. We believe that we see the world around us, and yet it is only the surface that we perceive. We must learn to divine the true nature of things, their substance, and the eyes are rather a hindrance than a help in that regard. They distract us. We love to be dazzled. A person who relies too heavily on his eyes neglects his other senses--and I mean more than his hearing or sense of smell. I'm talking about the organ within us for which we have no name. Let us call it the compass of the heart.
Jan-Philipp Sendker (The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, #1))
Authenticity is not the search for uniqueness. An oak tree does not try to become an oak tree. A cactus does not try to become a cactus. All living things simply reach for nourishment - they reach for sun, reach for water, reach their roots deeper into the ground. By being open to receiving what they need, they become unique effortlessly. So let yourself fall open. Forget about crafting yourself a unique personality. Just allow. Allow in love. Allow pain. Allow desire. Allow learning. Allow healing. Allow frustration. Allow uncertainty. Allow yourself to experience what you must experience and learn what you need to learn, so that your uniqueness can emerge organically.
Vironika Tugaleva
Understand: your mind is weaker than your emotions. But you become aware of this weakness only in moments of adversity,precisely the time when you need strength. What best equips you to cope with tthe heat of battle is neither more knowledge nor more intellect. What makes your mind stronger, and more able to control your emotions, is internal discipline and toughness.No one can teach you this skill; you cannot learn it by reading about it. Like any discipline, it can come only through practice, experience, even a little suffering. The first step in building up presence of mind is to see the need for it, to want it badly enough to be willing to work for it.
Robert Greene (The 33 Strategies of War)
Imagine trying to live in a world dominated by dihydrogen oxide, a compound that has no taste or smell and is so variable in its properties that it is generally benign but at other times swiftly lethal. Depending on its state, it can scald you or freeze you. In the presence of certain organic molecules it can form carbonic acids so nasty that they can strip the leaves from trees and eat the faces off statuary. In bulk, when agitated, it can strike with a fury that no human edifice could withstand. Even for those who have learned to live with it, it is an often murderous substance. We call it water.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
Each person’s private trouble cannot be solved by a social revolution, because revolutions are destabilizing and dangerous. We have learned to live together and organize our complex societies slowly and incrementally, over vast stretches of time, and we do not understand with sufficient exactitude why what we are doing works. Thus, altering our ways of social being carelessly in the name of some ideological shibboleth (diversity springs to mind) is likely to produce far more trouble than good, given the suffering that even small revolutions generally produce.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
Our prevailing system of management has destroyed our people. People are born with intrinsic motivation, self-respect, dignity, curiosity to learn, joy in learning. The forces of destruction begin with toddlers—a prize for the best Halloween costume, grades in school, gold stars—and on up through the university. On the job, people, teams, and divisions are ranked, reward for the top, punishment for the bottom. Management by Objectives, quotas, incentive pay, business plans, put together separately, division by division, cause further loss, unknown and unknowable.
Peter M. Senge (The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization)
most cherished desires of present-day Westerners are shaped by romantic, nationalist, capitalist and humanist myths that have been around for centuries. Friends giving advice often tell each other, ‘Follow your heart.’ But the heart is a double agent that usually takes its instructions from the dominant myths of the day, and the very recommendation to ‘follow your heart’ was implanted in our minds by a combination of nineteenth-century Romantic myths and twentieth-century consumerist myths. The Coca-Cola Company, for example, has marketed Diet Coke around the world under the slogan ‘Diet Coke. Do what feels good.’ Even what people take to be their most personal desires are usually programmed by the imagined order. Let’s consider, for example, the popular desire to take a holiday abroad. There is nothing natural or obvious about this. A chimpanzee alpha male would never think of using his power in order to go on holiday into the territory of a neighbouring chimpanzee band. The elite of ancient Egypt spent their fortunes building pyramids and having their corpses mummified, but none of them thought of going shopping in Babylon or taking a skiing holiday in Phoenicia. People today spend a great deal of money on holidays abroad because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism. Romanticism tells us that in order to make the most of our human potential we must have as many different experiences as we can. We must open ourselves to a wide spectrum of emotions; we must sample various kinds of relationships; we must try different cuisines; we must learn to appreciate different styles of music. One of the best ways to do all that is to break free from our daily routine, leave behind our familiar setting, and go travelling in distant lands, where we can ‘experience’ the culture, the smells, the tastes and the norms of other people. We hear again and again the romantic myths about ‘how a new experience opened my eyes and changed my life’. Consumerism tells us that in order to be happy we must consume as many products and services as possible. If we feel that something is missing or not quite right, then we probably need to buy a product (a car, new clothes, organic food) or a service (housekeeping, relationship therapy, yoga classes). Every television commercial is another little legend about how consuming some product or service will make life better. 18. The Great Pyramid of Giza. The kind of thing rich people in ancient Egypt did with their money. Romanticism, which encourages variety, meshes perfectly with consumerism. Their marriage has given birth to the infinite ‘market of experiences’, on which the modern tourism industry is founded. The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences. Paris is not a city, nor India a country – they are both experiences, the consumption of which is supposed to widen our horizons, fulfil our human potential, and make us happier. Consequently, when the relationship between a millionaire and his wife is going through a rocky patch, he takes her on an expensive trip to Paris. The trip is not a reflection of some independent desire, but rather of an ardent belief in the myths of romantic consumerism. A wealthy man in ancient Egypt would never have dreamed of solving a relationship crisis by taking his wife on holiday to Babylon. Instead, he might have built for her the sumptuous tomb she had always wanted. Like the elite of ancient Egypt, most people in most cultures dedicate their lives to building pyramids. Only the names, shapes and sizes of these pyramids change from one culture to the other. They may take the form, for example, of a suburban cottage with a swimming pool and an evergreen lawn, or a gleaming penthouse with an enviable view. Few question the myths that cause us to desire the pyramid in the first place.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
eveything that comes together, falls apart," the Old Man said. "Everything. the chair I'm sitting on. It was built, and so it will fall apart. I'm gonna fall apart, probably before this chair. And you're gonna fall apart. the cells and organs and systems that make you you - they came together, grew together and so must fall apart. the buddha knew one thing that science didn't prove for millenia after his dead: entropy increases. Things fall apart." We are all going, I thought, and it applies to turtles and turtlenecks, Alaska the girl and Alaska the place, because nothing can last, not even the earth itself. The buddah said that suffering was caused by desire, we'd learned, and that the cessation of desire meant the cessation of suffering. when you stopped wishing things wouldn't fall apart, you'd stop suffering when they did. Some day no one will remember that she ever existed, i wrote in my notebook, and then, or that I did. Because memories fall apart too. And then you're left with nothing, left not even with a ghost, but with its shadow. In the beginning, she had haunted me, haunted my dreams, but even now, just weeks later, she was slipping away, falling apart in my memory and everyone else's, dying away. (...) I'd tasted her boozy breath. and then something invisible snapped inside her and that which had come together commenced to fall apart. And maybe that was the only asnwer we'd ever have. She fell apart because that's what happens.
John Green (Looking for Alaska)
(on the word "fuck") 'Oh, come on, Mum,' I sighed at her protest. 'It's just an old Anglo-Saxon word for the female organ which has been adopted by an inherently misogynist language as a negative epithet. It's the same as "fuck", it basically means the same as copulate, but the latter is perfectly acceptable. Why? Because copulate has its roots in Latin and Latin reminds us that we are a sophisticated, learned species, not the rutting animals that these prehistoric grunts would have us appear to be, and isn't that really the issue here? We don't want to admit that we are essentially animals? We want to distinguish ourselves from the fauna with grand conceits and elaborate language; become angels worthy of salvation, not dumb creatures consigned to an earthly, terminal end. It's just a word, Mum; a sound meaning a thing; and your disgust is just denial of a greater horror: that our consciousness is not an indication of our specialness but the terrifying key to knowing how truly insignificant we are.' She told me to got fuck myself.
Simon Pegg (Nerd Do Well)
In a short time a group of commissioners arrived to begin organization of a new Indian agency in the valley. One of them mentioned the advantages of schools for Joseph’s people. Joseph replied that the Nez Percés did not want the white man’s schools. “Why do you not want schools?” the commissioner asked. “They will teach us to have churches,” Joseph answered. “Do you not want churches?” “No, we do not want churches.” “Why do you not want churches?” “They will teach us to quarrel about God,” Joseph said. “We do not want to learn that. We may quarrel with men sometimes about things on this earth, but we never quarrel about God. We do not want to learn that.
Dee Brown (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West)
Many amateurs believe that plants and animals reproduce on a one-way route toward perfection. Translating the idea in social terms, they believe that companies and organizations are, thanks to competition (and the discipline of the quarterly report), irreversibly heading toward betterment. The strongest will survive; the weakest will become extinct. As to investors and traders, they believe that by letting them compete, the best will prosper and the worst will go learn a new craft (like pumping gas or, sometimes, dentistry). Things are not as simple as that. We will ignore the basic misuse of Darwinian ideas in the fact that organizations do not reproduce like living members of nature—Darwinian ideas are about reproductive fitness, not about survival.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets (Incerto))
How great indeed is our debt to [Joseph Smith]. His life began in Vermont and ended in Illinois, and marvelous were the things that happened between that simple beginning and that tragic ending. It was he who brought us a true knowledge of God the Eternal Father and His Risen Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. During the short time of his great vision he learned more concerning the nature of Deity than all of those who through centuries had argued that matter in learned councils and scholarly forums. He brought us this marvelous book, the Book of Mormon, as another witness for the living reality of the Son of God. To him, from those who held it anciently, came the priesthood, the power, the gift, the authority, the keys to speak and act in the name of God. He gave us the organization of the Church and its great and sacred mission. Through him were restored the keys of the holy temples, that men and women might enter into eternal covenants with God, and that the great work for the dead might be accomplished. . . . "He was the instrument in the hands of the Almighty.
Gordon B. Hinckley
I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. I was also surprised to find many intelligent and wide-awake people who lived (as far as one could make out) as if they had never learned to use their sense organs: They did not see the things before their eyes, hear the words sounding in their ears, or notice the things they touched or tasted. Some lived without being aware of the state of their own bodies. There are others who seemed to live in a most curious condition of consciousness, as if the state they had arrived at today were final, with no possibility of change, or as if the world and the psyche were static and would remain so forever. They seemed devoid of all imagination, and they entirely and exclusively depended upon their sense-perception. Chances and possibilities did not exist in their world, and in “today” there was no real “tomorrow.” The future was just the repetition of the past.
C.G. Jung (Man and His Symbols)
The acquisition of knowledge from books provides an experience different from the Internet. Reading is relatively time-consuming; to ease the process, style is important. Because it is not possible to read all books on a given subject, much less the totality of all books, or to organize easily everything one has read, learning from books places a premium on conceptual thinking—the ability to recognize comparable data and events and project patterns into the future. And style propels the reader into a relationship with the author, or with the subject matter, by fusing substance and aesthetics. Traditionally, another way of acquiring knowledge has been through personal conversations. The discussion and exchange of ideas has for millennia provided an emotional and psychological dimension in addition to the factual content of the information exchanged. It supplies intangibles of conviction and personality. Now the culture of texting produces a curious reluctance to engage in face-to-face interaction, especially on a one-to-one basis.
Henry Kissinger (World Order: Reflections on the Character of Nations and the Course of History)
Another fallacy comes creeping in whose errors you should be meticulous in trying to avoid. Don't think our eyes, our bright and shining eyes, were made for us to look ahead with. Don't suppose our thigh bones fitted our shin bones and our shins our ankles so that we might take steps. Don't think that arms dangled from shoulders and branched out in hands with fingers at their ends, both right and left, for us to do whatever need required for our survival. All such argument, all such interpretation is perverse, fallacious, puts the cart before the horse. No bodily thing was born for us to use. Nature had no such aim, but what was born creates the use. There could be no such thing as sight before the eyes were formed. No speech before the tongue was made, but tongues began long before speech were uttered. and the ears were fashioned long before a sound was heard. And all the organs I feel sure, were there before their use developed. They could not evolve for the sake of use be so designed. But battling hand to hand and slashing limbs, fouling the foe in blood, these antedate the flight of shining javelins. Nature taught men out to dodge a wound before they learned the fit of shield to arm. Rest certainly is older in the history of man than coverlets or mattresses, and thirst was quenched before the days of cups or goblets. Need has created use as man contrives device for his comfort. but all these cunning inventions are far different from all those things much older, which supply their function from their form. The limbs, the sense, came first, their usage afterwards. Never think they could have been created for the sake of being used.
Lucretius (The Way Things Are)
Why does this magnificent applied science which saves work and makes life easier bring us so little happiness? The simple answer runs: because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it. In war it serves that we may poison and mutilate each other. In peace it has made our lives hurried and uncertain. Instead of freeing us in great measure from spiritually exhausting labor, it has made men into slaves of machinery, who for the most part complete their monotonous long day's work with disgust and must continually tremble for their poor rations. It is not enough that you should understand about applied science in order that your work may increase man's blessings. Concern for the man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavours; [..] concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labor and the distribution of goods in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations. - From a speech to students at the California Institute of Technology, in "Einstein Sees Lack in Applying Science", The New York Times (16 February 1931)
Albert Einstein
Since I had the inclinatation and the training, helping people came naturally. I wasn't thinking in terms of organizing members, but just a duty that I had to do. That goes back to my mother's training. It was not until later that I realized that this was a good organizing tool, although maybe unconsciously, I was already beggining to understand. But I was used by people for a long time until I wised up. It wasn't that they wanted to do it, but that I was not prepared or able to tell them what to do in return. My work was just another war on poverty gimick, which is what happens when people are given everything and don't give anything in return. you can't mold them into any action. Well, one night it just hit me. Once you helped people, most became very loyal. The people who helped us back when we wanted volunteers were the people we had helped. So I began to get a group of those people around me. Once I realized helping people was an organizing technique, I increased that work. I was willing to work all day and night and go to hell and back for people- provided they also did something for the CSO in return. I never felt bad asking for that. It didn't contradict my parents' teachings, because I wasn't asking for something for myself. For a long time we didn't know how to put that work together into an organization. But we learned after a while- we learned how to help people by making them responsible. Today it's the same principle with the Union. And it works. We don't get everybody, but we get enough to get that nucleus. I think solving problems for people is the only way to build solid groups.
César Chávez
Ms. Terwilliger didn’t have a chance to respond to my geological ramblings because someone knocked on the door. I slipped the rocks into my pocket and tried to look studious as she called an entry. I figured Zoe had tracked me down, but surprisingly, Angeline walked in. "Did you know," she said, "that it’s a lot harder to put organs back in the body than it is to get them out?" I closed my eyes and silently counted to five before opening them again. “Please tell me you haven’t eviscerated someone.” She shook her head. “No, no. I left my biology homework in Miss Wentworth’s room, but when I went back to get it, she’d already left and locked the door. But it’s due tomorrow, and I’m already in trouble in there, so I had to get it. So, I went around outside, and her window lock wasn’t that hard to open, and I—” "Wait," I interrupted. "You broke into a classroom?" "Yeah, but that’s not the problem." Behind me, I heard a choking laugh from Ms. Terwilliger’s desk. "Go on," I said wearily. "Well, when I climbed through, I didn’t realize there was a bunch of stuff in the way, and I crashed into those plastic models of the human body she has. You know, the life size ones with all the parts inside? And bam!" Angeline held up her arms for effect. "Organs everywhere." She paused and looked at me expectantly. "So what are we going to do? I can’t get in trouble with her." "We?" I exclaimed. "Here," said Ms. Terwilliger. I turned around, and she tossed me a set of keys. From the look on her face, it was taking every ounce of self-control not to burst out laughing. "That square one’s a master. I know for a fact she has yoga and won’t be back for the rest of the day. I imagine you can repair the damage—and retrieve the homework—before anyone’s the wiser.” I knew that the “you” in “you can repair” meant me. With a sigh, I stood up and packed up my things. “Thanks,” I said. As Angeline and I walked down to the science wing, I told her, “You know, the next time you’ve got a problem, maybe come to me before it becomes an even bigger problem.” "Oh no," she said nobly. "I didn’t want to be an inconvenience." Her description of the scene was pretty accurate: organs everywhere. Miss Wentworth had two models, male and female, with carved out torsos that cleverly held removable parts of the body that could be examined in greater detail. Wisely, she had purchased models that were only waist-high. That was still more than enough of a mess for us, especially since it was hard to tell which model the various organs belonged to. I had a pretty good sense of anatomy but still opened up a textbook for reference as I began sorting. Angeline, realizing her uselessness here, perched on a far counter and swing her legs as she watched me. I’d started reassembling the male when I heard a voice behind me. "Melbourne, I always knew you’d need to learn about this kind of thing. I’d just kind of hoped you’d learn it on a real guy." I glanced back at Trey, as he leaned in the doorway with a smug expression. “Ha, ha. If you were a real friend, you’d come help me.” I pointed to the female model. “Let’s see some of your alleged expertise in action.” "Alleged?" He sounded indignant but strolled in anyways. I hadn’t really thought much about asking him for help. Mostly I was thinking this was taking much longer than it should, and I had more important things to do with my time. It was only when he came to a sudden halt that I realized my mistake. "Oh," he said, seeing Angeline. "Hi." Her swinging feet stopped, and her eyes were as wide as his. “Um, hi.” The tension ramped up from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds, and everyone seemed at a loss for words. Angeline jerked her head toward the models and blurted out. “I had an accident.” That seemed to snap Trey from his daze, and a smile curved his lips. Whereas Angeline’s antics made me want to pull out my hair sometimes, he found them endearing.
Richelle Mead (The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4))
what is the expression which the age demands? the age demands no expression whatever. we have seen photographs of bereaved asian mothers. we are not interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. there is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. do not even try. you will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. we have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and dislocation. you are playing to people who have experienced a catastrophe. this should make you very quiet. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. everyone knows you are in pain. you cannot tell the audience everything you know about love in every line of love you speak. step aside and they will know what you know because you know it already. you have nothing to teach them. you are not more beautiful than they are. you are not wiser. do not shout at them. do not force a dry entry. that is bad sex. if you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you promise. and remember that people do not really want an acrobat in bed. what is our need? to be close to the natural man, to be close to the natural woman. do not pretend that you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very moment. the bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have destroyed more than just the trees and villages. they have also destroyed the stage. did you think that your profession would escape the general destruction? there is no more stage. there are no more footlights. you are among the people. then be modest. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. be by yourself. be in your own room. do not put yourself on. do not act out words. never act out words. never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death. do not fix your burning eyes on me when you speak about love. if you want to impress me when you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under your dress and play with yourself. if ambition and the hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the material. this is an interior landscape. it is inside. it is private. respect the privacy of the material. these pieces were written in silence. the courage of the play is to speak them. the discipline of the play is not to violate them. let the audience feel your love of privacy even though there is no privacy. be good whores. the poem is not a slogan. it cannot advertise you. it cannot promote your reputation for sensitivity. you are students of discipline. do not act out the words. the words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition. the poem is nothing but information. it is the constitution of the inner country. if you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. you are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. think of the words as science, not as art. they are a report. you are speaking before a meeting of the explorers' club of the national geographic society. these people know all the risks of mountain climbing. they honour you by taking this for granted. if you rub their faces in it that is an insult to their hospitality. do not work the audience for gasps ans sighs. if you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. it will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. it will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence. avoid the flourish. do not be afraid to be weak. do not be ashamed to be tired. you look good when you're tired. you look like you could go on forever. now come into my arms. you are the image of my beauty.
Leonard Cohen (Death of a Lady's Man)
Once I was asked be a seatmate on a trans-Pacific flight....what instruction he should give his fifteen-year-old daughters, who wanted to be a writer. [I said], "Tell your daughter three things." Tell her to read...Tell her to read whatever interests her, and protect her if someone declares what she's reading to be trash. No one can fathom what happens between a human being and written language. She may be paying attention to things in the words beyond anyone else's comprehension, things that feed her curiosity, her singular heart and mind. ...Second, I said, tell your daughter that she can learn a great deal about writing by reading and by studying books about grammar and the organization of ideas, but that if she wishes to write well she will have to become someone. She will have to discover her beliefs, and then speak to us from within those beliefs. If her prose doesn't come out of her belief, whatever that proves to be, she will only be passing along information, of which we are in no great need. So help her discover what she means. Finally, I said, tell your daughter to get out of town, and help her do that. I don't necessarily mean to travel to Kazakhstan, or wherever, but to learn another language, to live with people other than her own, to separate herself from the familiar. Then, when she returns, she will be better able to understand why she loves the familiar, and will give us a fresh sense of how fortunate we are to share these things. Read. Find out what you truly believe. Get away from the familiar. Every writer, I told him, will offer you thoughts about writing that are different, but these are three I trust. -- from "A Voice
Barry Lopez (About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory)
10 ways to raise a wild child. Not everyone wants to raise wild, free thinking children. But for those of you who do, here's my tips: 1. Create safe space for them to be outside for a least an hour a day. Preferable barefoot & muddy. 2. Provide them with toys made of natural materials. Silks, wood, wool, etc...Toys that encourage them to use their imagination. If you're looking for ideas, Google: 'Waldorf Toys'. Avoid noisy plastic toys. Yea, maybe they'll learn their alphabet from the talking toys, but at the expense of their own unique thoughts. Plastic toys that talk and iPads in cribs should be illegal. Seriously! 3. Limit screen time. If you think you can manage video game time and your kids will be the rare ones that don't get addicted, then go for it. I'm not that good so we just avoid them completely. There's no cable in our house and no video games. The result is that my kids like being outside cause it's boring inside...hah! Best plan ever! No kid is going to remember that great day of video games or TV. Send them outside! 4. Feed them foods that support life. Fluoride free water, GMO free organic foods, snacks free of harsh preservatives and refined sugars. Good oils that support healthy brain development. Eat to live! 5. Don't helicopter parent. Stay connected and tuned into their needs and safety, but don't hover. Kids like adults need space to roam and explore without the constant voice of an adult telling them what to do. Give them freedom! 6. Read to them. Kids don't do what they are told, they do what they see. If you're on your phone all the time, they will likely be doing the same thing some day. If you're reading, writing and creating your art (painting, cooking...whatever your art is) they will likely want to join you. It's like Emilie Buchwald said, "Children become readers in the laps of their parents (or guardians)." - it's so true! 7. Let them speak their truth. Don't assume that because they are young that you know more than them. They were born into a different time than you. Give them room to respectfully speak their mind and not feel like you're going to attack them. You'll be surprised what you might learn. 8. Freedom to learn. I realize that not everyone can homeschool, but damn, if you can, do it! Our current schools system is far from the best ever. Our kids deserve better. We simply can't expect our children to all learn the same things in the same way. Not every kid is the same. The current system does not support the unique gifts of our children. How can they with so many kids in one classroom. It's no fault of the teachers, they are doing the best they can. Too many kids and not enough parent involvement. If you send your kids to school and expect they are getting all they need, you are sadly mistaken. Don't let the public school system raise your kids, it's not their job, it's yours! 9. Skip the fear based parenting tactics. It may work short term. But the long term results will be devastating to the child's ability to be open and truthful with you. Children need guidance, but scaring them into listening is just lazy. Find new ways to get through to your kids. Be creative! 10. There's no perfect way to be a parent, but there's a million ways to be a good one. Just because every other parent is doing it, doesn't mean it's right for you and your child. Don't let other people's opinions and judgments influence how you're going to treat your kid. Be brave enough to question everything until you find what works for you. Don't be lazy! Fight your urge to be passive about the things that matter. Don't give up on your kid. This is the most important work you'll ever do. Give it everything you have.
Brooke Hampton
God’s plan to suicide himself could not work, though, as long as He existed as a unified entity outside of space-time and matter. Seeking to nullify His oneness so that He could be delivered into nothingness, he shattered Himself—Big Bang-like—into the time-bound fragments of the universe, that is, all those objects and organisms that have been accumulating here and there for billions of years. In Mainländer’s philosophy, “God knew that he could change from a state of super-reality into non-being only through the development of a real world of multiformity.” Employing this strategy, He excluded Himself from being. “God is dead,” wrote Mainländer, “and His death was the life of the world.” Once the great individuation had been initiated, the momentum of its creator’s self-annihilation would continue until everything became exhausted by its own existence, which for human beings meant that the faster they learned that happiness was not as good as they thought it would be, the happier they would be to die out.
Thomas Ligotti (The Conspiracy Against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror)
Direct action meant that the goal of any and all of these activities was to provide ways for people to get in touch with their own powers and capacities, to take back the power of naming themselves and their lives. It was to be distinguished from more conventional political activity even in a democratic system. Instead of attempting to make change by forming interest groups to pressure politicians, anarchists insisted that we learn to think and act for ourselves by joining together in organizations in which our experience, our perception, and our activity can guide and make the change. Knowledge does not precede experience, it flows from it: "We begin by deciding to work, and through working, we learn ... We will learn how to live in libertarian communism by living in it." People learn how to be free only by exercising freedom: "We are not going to find ourselves ... with people ready-made for the future ... Without the continued exercise of their faculties, there will be no free people ... The external revolution and the internal revolution presuppose one another, and they must be simultaneous in order to be successful.
Martha A. Ackelsberg (Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women)
State philosophy reposes on a double identity: of the thinking subject, and of the concepts it creates and to which it lends its own presumed attributes of sameness and constancy. The subjects, its concepts, and also the objects in the world to which the concepts are applied have a shared, internal essence: the self-resemblance at the basis of identity. Representational thought is analogical; its concern is to establish a correspondence between these symmetrically structured domains. The faculty of judgment is the policeman of analogy, assuring that each of these terms is honestly itself, and that the proper correspondences obtain. In thought its end is truth, in action justice. The weapons it wields in their pursuit are limitive distribution (the determination of the exclusive set of properties possessed by each term in contradistinction to the others: logos, law) and hierarchical ranking (the measurement of the degree of perfection of a term’s self-resemblance in relation to a supreme standard, man, god, or gold: value, morality). The modus operandi is negation: x = x = not y. Identity, resemblance, truth, justice, and negation. The rational foundation for order. The established order, of course: philosophers have traditionally been employees of the State. The collusion between philosophy and the State was most explicitly enacted in the first decade of the nineteenth century with the foundation of the University of Berlin, which was to become the model of higher learning throughout Europe and in the United States. The goal laid out for it by Wilhelm von Humboldt (based on proposals by Fichte and Schleiermacher) was the ‘spiritual and moral training of the nation,’ to be achieved by ‘deriving everything from an original principle’ (truth), by ‘relating everything to an ideal’ (justice), and by ‘unifying this principle and this ideal to a single Idea’ (the State). The end product would be ‘a fully legitimated subject of knowledge and society’ – each mind an analogously organized mini-State morally unified in the supermind of the State. More insidious than the well-known practical cooperation between university and government (the burgeoning military funding of research) is its philosophical role in the propagation of the form of representational thinking itself, that ‘properly spiritual absolute State’ endlessly reproduced and disseminated at every level of the social fabric.
Gilles Deleuze (A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia)
Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader. And I shall tell you why. When we read a book for the first time the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation. When we look at a painting we do not have to move our eyes in a special way even if, as in a book, the picture contains elements of depth and development. The element of time does not really enter in a first contact with a painting. In reading a book, we must have time to acquaint ourselves with it. We have no physical organ (as we have the eye in regard to a painting) that takes in the whole picture and then can enjoy its details. But at a second, or third, or fourth reading we do, in a sense, behave towards a book as we do towards a painting. However, let us not confuse the physical eye, that monstrous masterpiece of evolution, with the mind, an even more monstrous achievement. A book, no matter what it is—a work of fiction or a work of science (the boundary line between the two is not as clear as is generally believed)—a book of fiction appeals first of all to the mind. The mind, the brain, the top of the tingling spine, is, or should be, the only instrument used upon a book.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lectures on Literature)
So I looked with fascination at those people in their mobes, and tried to fathom what it would be like. Thousands of years ago, the work that people did had been broken down into jobs that were the same every day, in organizations where people were interchangeable parts. All of the story had been bled out of their lives. That was how it had to be; it was how you got a productive economy. But it would be easy to see a will at work behind this: not exactly an evil will, but a selfish will. The people who'd made the system thus were jealous, not of money and not of power but of story. If their employees came home at day's end with interesting stories to tell, it meant that something had gone wrong: a blackout, a strike, a spree killing. The Powers That Be would not suffer others to be in stories of their own unless they were fake stories that had been made up to motivate them. People who couldn't live without story had been driven into the concents or into jobs like Yul's. All others had to look somewhere outside of work for a feeling that they were part of a story, which I guessed was why Sæculars were so concerned with sports, and with religion. How else could you see yourself as part of an adventure? Something with a beginning, middle, and end in which you played a significant part? We avout had it ready-made because we were a part of this project of learning new things. Even if it didn't always move fast enough for people like Jesry, it did move. You could tell where you were and what you were doing in that story. Yul got all of this for free by living his stories from day to day, and the only drawback was that the world held his stories to be of small account. Perhaps that was why he felt such a compulsion to tell them, not just about his own exploits in the wilderness, but those of his mentors.
Neal Stephenson (Anathem)
To begin with, there is the frightful debauchery of taste that has already been effected by a century of mechanisation. This is almost too obvious and too generally admitted to need pointing out. But as a single instance, take taste in its narrowest sense - the taste for decent food. In the highly mechanical countries, thanks to tinned food, cold storage, synthetic flavouring matters, etc., the palate it almost a dead organ. As you can see by looking at any greengrocer’s shop, what the majority of English people mean by an apple is a lump of highly-coloured cotton wool from America or Australia; they will devour these things, apparently with pleasure, and let the English apples rot under the trees. It is the shiny, standardized, machine-made look of the American apple that appeals to them; the superior taste of the English apple is something they simply do not notice. Or look at the factory-made, foil wrapped cheeses and ‘blended’ butter in an grocer’s; look at the hideous rows of tins which usurp more and more of the space in any food-shop, even a dairy; look at a sixpenny Swiss roll or a twopenny ice-cream; look at the filthy chemical by-product that people will pour down their throats under the name of beer. Wherever you look you will see some slick machine-made article triumphing over the old-fashioned article that still tastes of something other than sawdust. And what applies to food applies also to furniture, houses, clothes, books, amusements and everything else that makes up our environment. These are now millions of people, and they are increasing every year, to whom the blaring of a radio is not only a more acceptable but a more normal background to their thoughts than the lowing of cattle or the song of birds. The mechanisation of the world could never proceed very far while taste, even the taste-buds of the tongue, remained uncorrupted, because in that case most of the products of the machine would be simply unwanted. In a healthy world there would be no demand for tinned food, aspirins, gramophones, gas-pipe chairs, machine guns, daily newspapers, telephones, motor-cars, etc. etc.; and on the other hand there would be a constant demand for the things the machine cannot produce. But meanwhile the machine is here, and its corrupting effects are almost irresistible. One inveighs against it, but one goes on using it. Even a bare-arse savage, given the change, will learn the vices of civilisation within a few months. Mechanisation leads to the decay of taste, the decay of taste leads to demand for machine-made articles and hence to more mechanisation, and so a vicious circle is established.
George Orwell (The Road to Wigan Pier)
The only gain of civilisation for mankind is the greater capacity for variety of sensations--and absolutely nothing more. And through the development of this many-sidedness man may come to finding enjoyment in bloodshed. In fact, this has already happened to him. Have you noticed that it is the most civilised gentlemen who have been the subtlest slaughterers, to whom the Attilas and Stenka Razins could not hold a candle, and if they are not so conspicuous as the Attilas and Stenka Razins it is simply because they are so often met with, are so ordinary and have become so familiar to us. In any case civilisation has made mankind if not more bloodthirsty, at least more vilely, more loathsomely bloodthirsty. In old days he saw justice in bloodshed and with his conscience at peace exterminated those he thought proper. Now we do think bloodshed abominable and yet we engage in this abomination, and with more energy than ever. Which is worse? Decide that for yourselves. They say that Cleopatra (excuse an instance from Roman history) was fond of sticking gold pins into her slave-girls' breasts and derived gratification from their screams and writhings. You will say that that was in the comparatively barbarous times; that these are barbarous times too, because also, comparatively speaking, pins are stuck in even now; that though man has now learned to see more clearly than in barbarous ages, he is still far from having learnt to act as reason and science would dictate. But yet you are fully convinced that he will be sure to learn when he gets rid of certain old bad habits, and when common sense and science have completely re-educated human nature and turned it in a normal direction. You are confident that then man will cease from INTENTIONAL error and will, so to say, be compelled not to want to set his will against his normal interests. That is not all; then, you say, science itself will teach man (though to my mind it's a superfluous luxury) that he never has really had any caprice or will of his own, and that he himself is something of the nature of a piano-key or the stop of an organ, and that there are, besides, things called the laws of nature; so that everything he does is not done by his willing it, but is done of itself, by the laws of nature. Consequently we have only to discover these laws of nature, and man will no longer have to answer for his actions and life will become exceedingly easy for him. All human actions will then, of course, be tabulated according to these laws, mathematically, like tables of logarithms up to 108,000, and entered in an index; or, better still, there would be published certain edifying works of the nature of encyclopaedic lexicons, in which everything will be so clearly calculated and explained that there will be no more incidents or adventures in the world.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from the Underground)
We sat on a crate of oranges and thought what good men most biologists are, the tenors of the scientific world--temperamental, moody, lecherous, loud-laughing, and healthy. Once in a while one comes on the other kind--what used in the university to be called a 'dry-ball'--but such men are not really biologists. They are the embalmers of the field, the picklers who see only the preserved form of life without any of its principle. Out of their own crusted minds they create a world wrinkled with formaldehyde. The true biologist deals with life, with teeming boisterous life, and learns something from it, learns that the first rule of life is living. The dry-balls cannot possibly learn a thing every starfish knows in the core of his soul and in the vesicles between his rays. He must, so know the starfish and the student biologist who sits at the feet of living things, proliferate in all directions. Having certain tendencies, he must move along their lines to the limit of their potentialities. And we have known biologists who did proliferate in all directions: one or two have had a little trouble about it. Your true biologist will sing you a song as loud and off-key as will a blacksmith, for he knows that morals are too often diagnostic of prostatitis and stomach ulcers. Sometimes he may proliferate a little too much in all directions, but he is as easy to kill as any other organism, and meanwhile he is very good company, and at least he does not confuse a low hormone productivity with moral ethics.
John Steinbeck (The Log from the Sea of Cortez)
Once I was asked by a seatmate on a trans-Pacific flight, a man who took the liberty of glancing repeatedly at the correspondence in my lap, what instruction he should give his fifteen-year-old daughter, who wanted to be a writer. I didn't know how to answer him, but before I could think I heard myself saying, 'Tell your daughter three things.' "Tell her to read, I said. Tell her to read whatever interests her, and protect her if someone declares what she's reading to be trash. No one can fathom what happens between a human being and written language. She may be paying attention to things in the world beyond anyone else's comprehension, things that feed her curiosity, her singular heart and mind. Tell her to read classics like The Odyssey. They've been around a long time because the patterns in them have proved endlessly useful, and, to borrow Evan Connell's observation, with a good book you never touch bottom. But warn your daughter that ideas of heroism, of love, of human duty and devotion that women have been writing about for centuries will not be available to her in this form. To find these voices she will have to search. When, on her own, she begins to ask, make her a present of George Eliot, or the travel writing of Alexandra David-Neel, or To the Lighthouse. "Second, I said, tell your daughter that she can learn a great deal about writing by reading and by studying books about grammar and the organization of ideas, but that if she wishes to write well she will have to become someone. She will have to discover her beliefs, and then speak to us from within those beliefs. If her prose doesn't come out of her belief, whatever that proves to be, she will only be passing on information, of which we are in no great need. So help her discover what she means. "Finally, I said, tell your daughter to get out of town, and help her do that. I don't necessarily mean to travel to Kazakhstan, or wherever, but to learn another language, to live with people other than her own, to separate herself from the familiar. Then, when she returns, she will be better able to understand why she loves the familiar, and will give us a fresh sense of how fortunate we are to share these things. "Read. Find out what you truly are. Get away from the familiar. Every writer, I told him, will offer you thoughts about writing that are different, but these three I trust.
Barry Lopez (About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory)
We shouldn't let our envy of distinguished masters of the arts distract us from the wonder of how each of us gets new ideas. Perhaps we hold on to our superstitions about creativity in order to make our own deficiencies seem more excusable. For when we tell ourselves that masterful abilities are simply unexplainable, we're also comforting ourselves by saying that those superheroes come endowed with all the qualities we don't possess. Our failures are therefore no fault of our own, nor are those heroes' virtues to their credit, either. If it isn't learned, it isn't earned. When we actually meet the heroes whom our culture views as great, we don't find any singular propensities––only combinations of ingredients quite common in themselves. Most of these heroes are intensely motivated, but so are many other people. They're usually very proficient in some field--but in itself we simply call this craftmanship or expertise. They often have enough self-confidence to stand up to the scorn of peers--but in itself, we might just call that stubbornness. They surely think of things in some novel ways, but so does everyone from time to time. And as for what we call "intelligence", my view is that each person who can speak coherently already has the better part of what our heroes have. Then what makes genius appear to stand apart, if we each have most of what it takes? I suspect that genius needs one thing more: in order to accumulate outstanding qualities, one needs unusually effective ways to learn. It's not enough to learn a lot; one also has to manage what one learns. Those masters have, beneath the surface of their mastery, some special knacks of "higher-order" expertise, which help them organize and apply the things they learn. It is those hidden tricks of mental management that produce the systems that create those works of genius. Why do certain people learn so many more and better skills? These all-important differences could begin with early accidents. One child works out clever ways to arrange some blocks in rows and stacks; a second child plays at rearranging how it thinks. Everyone can praise the first child's castles and towers, but no one can see what the second child has done, and one may even get the false impression of a lack of industry. But if the second child persists in seeking better ways to learn, this can lead to silent growth in which some better ways to learn may lead to better ways to learn to learn. Then, later, we'll observe an awesome, qualitative change, with no apparent cause--and give to it some empty name like talent, aptitude, or gift.
Marvin Minsky (The Society of Mind)
2-Make eye contact. When someone is speaking, keep your eyes on him or her at all times. If someone makes a comment, turn and face that person. 3-During discussions, respect other students’ comments, opinions, and ideas. When possible, make statements like, “I agree with John, and I also feel that…” or “I disagree with Sarah. She made a good point I feel that…” or “I think Victor made an excellent observation, and it made me realize…” 4-If you win or do well at something, do not brag. If you lose, do not show anger. Instead, say something like, “I really enjoyed the competition, and I look forward to playing you again,” or “good game,” or don’t say anything at all. To show anger or sarcasm, such as “I wasn’t playing hard anyway” or “You really aren’t that good,” shows weakness. 5-“When you cough or sneeze or burp, it is appropriate to turn your head away from others and cover your mouth with the full part of your hand. Using a fist is not acceptable. Afterward, you should say, “Excuse me.” 6- “Do not smack your lips, tsk, roll your eyes, or show disrespect with gestures.” 7-“Always say thank you when I give you something. 8-“Surprise others by performing random acts of kindness. Go our of your way to do something surprisingly kind and generous for someone at least once a month.” 9-“You will make every effort to be as organized as possible.” 10-"Quickly learn the name of other teachers in the school and greet them by saying things like, "Good morning Mrs. Graham," or "Good afternoon Ms. Ortiz. 11-"When we go on field trips, we will meet different people. When I introduce you to people, make sure that you remember their names. Then, when we are leaving, make sure to shake their hands and thank them, mentioning their names as you do so." 12-“If you approach a door and someone is following you, hold the door. If the door opens by pulling, pull it open, stand to the side, and allow the other person 13-to pass through it first, then you can walk through. If the door opens by pushing, hold the door open after you push through." "Be positive and enjoy life. Some things just aren't worth getting upset over. Keep everything in perspective and focus on the good in your life.
Ron Clark
Leaders instill courage in the hearts of those who follow. This rarely happens through words alone. It generally requires action. It goes back to what we said earlier: Somebody has to go first. By going first, the leader furnishes confidence to those who follow. As a next generation leader, you will be called upon to go first. That will require courage. But in stepping out you will give the gift of courage to those who are watching. What do I believe is impossible to do in my field, but if it could be done would fundamentally change my business? What has been done is safe. But to attempt a solution to a problem that plagues an entire industry - in my case, the local church - requires courage. Unsolved problems are gateways to the future. To those who have the courage to ask the question and the tenacity to hang on until they discover or create an answer belongs the future. Don’t allow the many good opportunities to divert your attention from the one opportunity that has the greatest potential. Learn to say no. There will always be more opportunities than there is time to pursue them. Leaders worth following are willing to face and embrace current reality regardless of how discouraging or embarrassing it might be. It is impossible to generate sustained growth or progress if your plan for the future is not rooted in reality. Be willing to face the truth regardless of how painful it might be. If fear causes you to retreat from your dreams, you will never give the world anything new. it is impossible to lead without a dream. When leaders are no longer willing to dream, it is only a short time before followers are unwilling to follow. Will I allow my fear to bind me to mediocrity? Uncertainty is a permanent part of the leadership landscape. It never goes away. Where there is no uncertainty, there is no longer the need for leadership. The greater the uncertainty, the greater the need for leadership. Your capacity as a leader will be determined by how well you learn to deal with uncertainty. My enemy is not uncertainty. It is not even my responsibility to remove the uncertainty. It is my responsibility to bring clarity into the midst of the uncertainty. As leaders we can afford to be uncertain, but we cannot afford to be unclear. People will follow you in spite of a few bad decisions. People will not follow you if you are unclear in your instruction. As a leader you must develop the elusive skill of leading confidently and purposefully onto uncertain terrain. Next generation leaders must fear a lack of clarity more than a lack of accuracy. The individual in your organization who communicates the clearest vision will often be perceived as the leader. Clarity is perceived as leadership. Uncertainty exposes a lack of knowledge. Pretending exposes a lack of character. Express your uncertainty with confidence. You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. Self-evaluation is helpful, but evaluation from someone else is essential. You need a leadership coach. Great leaders are great learners. God, in His wisdom, has placed men and women around us with the experience and discernment we often lack. Experience alone doesn’t make you better at anything. Evaluated experience is what enables you to improve your performance. As a leader, what you don’t know can hurt you. What you don’t know about yourself can put a lid on your leadership. You owe it to yourself and to those who have chosen to follow you to open the doors to evaluation. Engage a coach. Success doesn’t make anything of consequence easier. Success just raises the stakes. Success brings with it the unanticipated pressure of maintaining success. The more successful you are as a leader, the more difficult this becomes. There is far more pressure at the top of an organization than you might imagine.
Andy Stanley
What happened? Stan repeats. To us? To the country? What happened when childhood ends in Dealey Plaza, in Memphis, in the kitchen of the Ambassador, your belief your hope your trust lying in a pool of blood again? Fifty-five thousand of your brothers dead in Vietnam, a million Vietnamese, photos of naked napalmed children running down a dirt road, Kent State, Soviet tanks roll into Prague so you turn on drop out you know you can't reinvent the country but maybe you reimagine yourself you believe you really believe that you can that you can create a world of your own and then you lower that expectation to just a piece of ground to make a stand on but then you learn that piece of ground costs money that you don't have. What happened? Altamont, Charlie Manson, Sharon Tate, Son of Sam, Mark Chapman we saw a dream turn into a nightmare we saw love and peace turn into endless war and violence our idealism into realism our realism into cynicism our cynicism into apathy our apathy into selfishness our selfishness into greed and then greed was good and we Had babies, Ben, we had you and we had hopes but we also had fears we created nests that became bunkers we made our houses baby-safe and we bought car seats and organic apple juice and hired multilingual nannies and paid tuition to private schools out of love but also out of fear. What happened? You start by trying to create a new world and then you find yourself just wanting to add a bottle to your cellar, a few extra feet to the sunroom, you see yourself aging and wonder if you've put enough away for that and suddenly you realize that you're frightened of the years ahead of you what Happened? Watergate Irangate Contragate scandals and corruption all around you and you never think you'll become corrupt but time corrupts you, corrupts as surely as gravity and erosion, wears you down wears you out I think, son, that the country was like that, just tired, just worn out by assassinations, wars, scandals, by Ronald Reagan, Bush the First selling cocaine to fund terrorists, a war to protect cheap gas, Bill Clinton and realpolitik and jism on dresses while insane fanatics plotted and Bush the Second and his handlers, a frat boy run by evil old men and then you turn on the TV one morning and those towers are coming down and the war has come home what Happened? Afghanistan and Iraq the sheer madness the killing the bombing the missiles the death you are back in Vietnam again and I could blame it all on that but at the end of the day at the end of the day we are responsible for ourselves. We got tired, we got old we gave up our dreams we taught ourselves to scorn ourselves to despise our youthful idealism we sold ourselves cheap we aren't Who we wanted to be.
Don Winslow (The Kings of Cool (Savages, #1))
From a very early age Edison became used to doing things for himself, by necessity. His family was poor, and by the age of twelve he had to earn money to help his parents. He sold newspapers on trains, and traveling around his native Michigan for his job, he developed an ardent curiosity about everything he saw. He wanted to know how things worked—machines, gadgets, anything with moving parts. With no schools or teachers in his life, he turned to books, particularly anything he could find on science. He began to conduct his own experiments in the basement of his family home, and he taught himself how to take apart and fix any kind of watch. At the age of fifteen he apprenticed as a telegraph operator, then spent years traveling across the country plying his trade. He had no chance for a formal education, and nobody crossed his path who could serve as a teacher or mentor. And so in lieu of that, in every city he spent time in, he frequented the public library. One book that crossed his path played a decisive role in his life: Michael Faraday’s two-volume Experimental Researches in Electricity. This book became for Edison what The Improvement of the Mind had been for Faraday. It gave him a systematic approach to science and a program for how to educate himself in the field that now obsessed him—electricity. He could follow the experiments laid out by the great Master of the field and absorb as well his philosophical approach to science. For the rest of his life, Faraday would remain his role model. Through books, experiments, and practical experience at various jobs, Edison gave himself a rigorous education that lasted about ten years, up until the time he became an inventor. What made this successful was his relentless desire to learn through whatever crossed his path, as well as his self-discipline. He had developed the habit of overcoming his lack of an organized education by sheer determination and persistence. He worked harder than anyone else. Because he was a consummate outsider and his mind had not been indoctrinated in any school of thought, he brought a fresh perspective to every problem he tackled. He turned his lack of formal direction into an advantage. If you are forced onto this path, you must follow Edison’s example by developing extreme self-reliance. Under these circumstances, you become your own teacher and mentor. You push yourself to learn from every possible source. You read more books than those who have a formal education, developing this into a lifelong habit. As much as possible, you try to apply your knowledge in some form of experiment or practice. You find for yourself second-degree mentors in the form of public figures who can serve as role models. Reading and reflecting on their experiences, you can gain some guidance. You try to make their ideas come to life, internalizing their voice. As someone self-taught, you will maintain a pristine vision, completely distilled through your own experiences—giving you a distinctive power and path to mastery.
Robert Greene (Mastery (The Modern Machiavellian Robert Greene Book 1))
That night at the Brooklyn party, I was playing the girl who was in style, the girl a man like Nick wants: the Cool Girl. Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl. Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men—friends, coworkers, strangers—giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much—no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version—maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”) I waited patiently—years—for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to start reading Jane Austen, learn how to knit, pretend to love cosmos, organize scrapbook parties, and make out with each other while we leer. And then we’d say, Yeah, he’s a Cool Guy. But it never happened. Instead, women across the nation colluded in our degradation! Pretty soon Cool Girl became the standard girl. Men believed she existed—she wasn’t just a dreamgirl one in a million. Every girl was supposed to be this girl, and if you weren’t, then there was something wrong with you. But it’s tempting to be Cool Girl. For someone like me, who likes to win, it’s tempting to want to be the girl every guy wants. When I met Nick, I knew immediately that was what he wanted, and for him, I guess I was willing to try. I will accept my portion of blame. The thing is, I was crazy about him at first. I found him perversely exotic, a good ole Missouri boy. He was so damn nice to be around. He teased things out in me that I didn’t know existed: a lightness, a humor, an ease. It was as if he hollowed me out and filled me with feathers. He helped me be Cool
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)